The dozen days of Nordic Solstice celebration that we now remember as the Twelve Days of Christmas are a day away from ending today; on his way to crossing the Rubicon and eliminating vestiges of democracy from Rome; two thousand sixty-two years ago, Julius Caesar’s forces routed the armies of Titus Labienus at Ruspina; over nine centuries later on, eleven hundred thirty-five years before the here and now, a native English army suffered defeat at the arms of an invading Danish incursion that would soon rule the island; just short of six centuries and two decades subsequently, in 1490, the thirteen year old ruler, Anne, of the Norman-English outpost of Brittany threatened all and sundry who might side with France’s king with charges of Lese-Majeste, or violation of an aristocrat’s ‘dignity;’ a century and a half and two years after that, in 1642, the first Charles king of the British realm issued orders to his troops to arrest Parliamentarians, thereby sending the country into an irreversible descent toward Civil War; exactly seven years yet later, in 1649, the so-called ‘Rump Parliament’ voted to try this Charlie King for treason, a definite insult to dignity; two hundred thirty-two years before the here and now, a male infant was born who would rise as the writer and
linguist Jacob Grimm; two years more than six decades thereafter, in 1847, Samuel Colt’s workers fulfilled U.S. government orders with the first revolvers from Colt factories; half a dozen years onward, in 1853, a free Black whom slavers had kidnapped and sold, Solomon Northup, regained his freedom en route to the memorable recounting of these events in 12 Years a Slave;another dozen years forward in time, in 1865, the New York Stock Exchange started operations from its first permanent headquarters near Wall Street; a hundred thirty-four years back, the baby boy bounced into the world who would mature as the poet and thinker Max Eastman; three hundred sixty-six days past that juncture, in 1884, the ‘friendly socialism’ of the Fabian Society came into being in London; across the Atlantic and part of North America five years henceforth, in 1889, the U.S. offered plus or minus four thousand square miles of the Oklahoma Territory to ‘settlers’ on a first come, first served basis; twelve years beyond those moments, in 1901, a Caribbean male child came along whose destiny was to create the works and words of insight and genius under the name C.L.R. James; thirty-two years nearer to now, in 1933, Iowa’s Farmer Holiday Association began threatening to ‘execute’ bankers who sought to foreclose on agricultural properties in the state; seven years more after that, in 1940, a baby male opened his eyes en route to a life as the Nobel Prize winning writer Gao Xingjian; just a year hence, in 1941, the estimable French Nobelist Henri Bergson breathed his last; another seven hundred thirty day further along, in 1943, across the Atlantic, a female infant shouted out who would grow up as the acclaimed historian and thinker Doris Kearns Goodwin; a year even closer to now, in 1944, Allied forces began dropping arms and supplies to resistance fighters all over Europe in Operation Carpetbagger; seven years farther along time’s arc, in 1951, North Korean and Chinese armed forces captured Seoul during the Korean War; just short of a decade subsequent to that moment, in 1960, a baby boy cried out who
would end up rocking and writing as Michael Stipe, and the still youthful Nobel Literary laureate Albert Camus died in a car wreck; half a decade past that instant, in 1965, as Lyndon Johnson prepared to deliver his Great Society State of the Union speech, over 8,000 social workers went on strike in New York City to protest inadequate help for poor people, and renowned poet, T.S. Elliott, lived through his final stanza; another year more proximate to the present pass, in 1966, Transport Workers Union leaders faced arrest and jail for defying an injunction against a strike by the 35,000 members of New York City’s T.W.U.; two decades still later, in 1986, the legendary savant and storyteller, Christopher Isherwood, breathed no more; eleven years ahead of today’s light and air, the estimable historian and thinker, Robert Heilbroner, lived out his final chapter; ten hundred ninety-five days hence, in 2008, a few thousand miles Southwest in Nicaragua, the trust-funded publisher and journalist, Xavier Chamorro Cardenal, had his final edition.