Good spiders and lots of people

Lucky Seven Eleven. That is the day’s date.
This day is packed full of notable birthdays.

There’s John Quincy Adams, the 6th President of the United States. Not to mention, William the Bruce, the old Scottish King and Hero from the 1300s. And then there’s good old Leon Spinks, the heavyweight boxer from the mid-1970s who won an Olympic Gold in ’76.

But a couple really stand out for me. The most notable, in my circle of existence, is the great Elwyn Brooks White. E.B. White. That gifted writer from the United States, who penned some of my favorite childhood books.
There’s ”Charlotte’s Web” (1952) and “Stuart Little” (1945). He also wrote for “The New Yorker” magazine for almost six decades.

Both of those books took me away when I was a kid. Far, far away. I can remember standing in the kitchen of the old Arable’s farm house, when I learned of the little runt who was going to be killed with an ax. By the father of the family, for crying out loud. Slaughtered — just for being a runt. I was beside myself, to the point of tears. The book had its little miracles, including Templeton the Rat. And of course, that crazy-good spider, Charlotte.

Then there was Stuart Little, the story of that incredible little mouse with a human family. Oh, how I wanted a Stuart Little in my life. In fact, I was certain I could speak to animals at a very early age. And I did. At great length. The glitch occurred when I tried to understand what they were saying in return. I was well-versed in English, but I lacked, when it came to Mouse, and Squirrel, and the other Animalia Languages.

I am forever grateful to Mr. E.B. White for those stories. He was born on this date in 1899. He passed away in 1985. He died from Alzheimer’s disease, which makes me unbelievably sad.

The next notable birthday is that of Yuliy Borisovich Briner. Yul Brynner. The Russian born actor, who played the King in The King and I. He also was the Rameses in The Ten Commandments.

He was born on July 11, 1920. In Primorsky Krai, Russia. When I think of him, I always think of my sister Sue. When she was in High School, at Julienne in Dayton, Ohio, she had a role in The King and I. I am fairly certain I never saw the performance, as I would have been newly born, or a year old. But I saw the photos in the album. In fact, every version of The King and I reminds me of Sue. It isn’t exclusive to Yul.

At any rate, he was a notable actor in his time, with piercing eyes that seemed to mean business. In a way, he sort of scared me a little, when I was little.

Finally, this last one caught my attention. It is the birthday of Matej Gašpar from Zagreb, Croatia. He was born on July 11th in 1987. His claim to fame was his designation by the United Nations as the 5 Billionth Person on Earth. As far as I know, there have been no other people designated in this way. For instance the 6th Billionth, or the 2nd. Among others. But there he was. The 5th Billion Guy.

So there it is, a grand day for birthdays, in the good month of July. Today is another milestone for all of us to be celebrate. It is another day when we can do something little. Spin a web, save a mouse, sing a song, write a letter, share a sandwich. Just one little thing that will amaze the Universe in a good way. Trust me. She’s watching.


“I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.”
― Douglas Adams


“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”
― George Bernard Shaw


“A purpose of human life, no matter who is controlling it, is to love whoever is around to be loved.”
― Kurt Vonnegut, The Sirens of Titan