Wednesday, June 12, 2013

June 13: St. Anthony, Sewing Machine Day, and the Galloping Ghost's Birthday

St. Anthony was perhaps the most renowned preacher of his day.

St. Anthony died on June 13, 1231 -- which is why Thursday is his feast day. He was canonized a saint of the Roman Catholic Church only a year later, in 1232. Born in Lisbon, Portugal in 1195, he started off religious life as an Augustinian and ended as a Franciscan. You can read about his remarkable career in Wikipedia, the Catholic Encyclopedia, or on the website of Usual Suspect

For all of his accomplishments, you probably best remember St. Anthony when you've forgotten something else.... like your cell phone... or your keys... or the piece of paper with the phone number of that cute girl from marketing. In that circumstance, this little bit of doggerel may come into your head:

Tony, Tony, turn around
Something's lost that must be found

That's not a nursery rhyme; it's a rather irreverent prayer. Yes, in the modern age St. Anthony is best remembered as the patron of lost articles (and, more seriously, of missing persons).

Several of the Usual Suspects offer Sewing Machine Day as an additional candidate for celebration Thursday. Usual Suspect says that June 13 is Sewing Machine Day because it was on June 13, 1790 that Thomas Saint patented the first sewing machine. We have been able to confirm that Thomas Saint did receive the first patent for a sewing machine but (Holy St. Anthony, Batman!) the patent was lost for some 83 years (it was misfiled).

Thursday will also be the 110th anniversary of the birth of Harold Edward "Red" Grange, the Wheaton Iceman, the Galloping Ghost, the running back who was such a huge star in college football that his decision to continue playing football in the National Football League after graduation put the fledgling pro league on the map. Grange was born in Forksville, Pennsylvania on June 13, 1903

It is not true that Red Grange was the last big pro football star to come out of the University of Illinois. There was Dick Butkus, of course, and... well, there was Dick Butkus anyway.

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