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Saturday, February 16, 2008

President's Day Special Almanack

I think it's awfully nice that presidents get their own day. Do you think they get special deals at family-friendly restaurants on their very special day? In the Midwest there used to be a restaurant called Bob Knapp's that offered patrons a birthday deal where you'd get a percentage off based on your age; if you were ten you'd get ten percent off, if you were 100 you'd eat for free. Anything over 100 and I guess they'd owe you. It's no longer around, maybe because centenarians flocked to it. When my daughter turned four she got four percent off plus a slice of very tasty chocolate cake, and they probably sang Happy Birthday to her.

That was a digression. I did this back during the last Clinton administration, when a presidential stain was the stuff of comedy. Not like these days, when a presidential stain is more like Lady Macbeth's.

3 comments:

Dustin Harbin said...

Where do you go to learn to draw like this? That Calvin Coolidge is priceless. Although the style is not particularly similar, the energy reminds me of a guy named William Dempster, who (presumably among other things) illustrated several volumes in the Educator Classics Library in the late 60's. The best was Paul Bunyan--when I was a kid, this was my first introduction to Paul Bunyan, and I still think of him as this scratchily illustrated thing. A confident, inky quill line will always remind me of the Great Saginaw. Sigh.

richardcthompson said...

Stuff like that from your childhood sticks in your head, doesn't it? I remember the cover of a third grade history textbook only because I liked the drawing on it. I don't remember much inside the book, though.

And the Calvin Coolidge was swiped from one by Miguel Covarrubias that I saw years ago (not in third grade, though he did draw the endpapers in the Wonder Book Encyclopdia set my mom bought around 1960; it was the only encyclopedia set we ever had and the last president it covered was Eisenhower). But I swiped the Coolidge for a drawing of him and Grover Cleveland to illustrate the most teetotalling and the most indulging presidents, and I used him again in this drawing (from memory this time, so my conscience is almost clean).

But now I gotta know; who's the Great Saginaw?

Dustin Harbin said...

The 1972 World Book Encyclopedia was the source of all knowledge in my household.

The "great" Saginaw, in case you're not kidding, was a part of (I believe) Michigan, a forest of mythic proportions that stretched across the upper plains states into Canada. In my Dempster illustrated Paul Bunyan volume, it is the great final prize.

Or maybe Montana--I pull it out and reread it every few years. I'd scan pages from it if I didn't think the old hardcover binding wouldn't burst into dust.