Hope you have had a happy whatever the hell day it is

Happy … something or other! Today is Columbus Day in the United States. It is Thanksgiving Day in Oh Canada. I have never explored the Canadian version of Thanksgiving. I don’t know whether they prefer back bacon to our turkey. I should look that up some day.

This, I mean this post, isn’t about the Canadian Thanksgiving Day. It isn’t all that much about Columbus Day either.

I like reading the Sci Guy and Weather blogs of Houston Chronicle writer Eric Berger, He noted in his Sci Guy  blog that because history showed Columbus was a real asshole who mistreated his slaves among other tribulations a movement ensued to change the Columbus Day designation. One such change was in Hawaii where the holiday became known as Discoverers’ Day. Berger said, and I am much in agreement, that Discoverers’ Day wouldn’t be a bad choice. I m pretty down with that my own bad self.

I liked reading about the discoverers who came to the New World and endured a lot of suffering for lands that might have been named for them although it was usually after the discovering party met an untimely death. French explorer René Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle was such an example.

La Salle keeps watch over traffic in tiny Navasota, Texas
La Salle keeps watch over traffic in tiny Navasota, Texas

La Salle explored the Great Lakes regions and later the Mississippi and the Gulf of Mexico. This all happened in the late 1600s and no doubt that La Salle and his fellow travelers incurred some hellacious geography and weather. After all the Great Lakes and the upper Texas Coast are a bit different from each other. While hanging out on the Texas Gulf Coast La Salle and his men got lost trying to find the Mississippi River in order to return to the Great Lakes. La Salle was supposedly shot  by mutineers and left for dead somewhere in an area of eastern Texas between Huntsville and Navasota.

The first time I passed through Navasota was when I was home on liberty from the Navy. My Dad and I took my Mom to Austin for a conference and we drove back taking the long way home. I saw this statue of La Salle in Navasota that was in the middle of the street. La Salle had a tire around his neck. I don’t know if the slight defacement was for historical symbolism or just some bored kids on a Grimes County weekend. Nevertheless, the folks around those parts had enough confidence that La Salle was killed there that they put up a statue that remains to this day. I have a picture of La Salle with a tire around his neck. If I can ever find it I will put it on the blog. Until then, I will use this one from Wikipedia Commons.

Whether La Salle was harsh like Columbus, only history knows. La Salle is remembered for being pretty inept.

But as Eric Berg points out, there are a lot of later discoverers such as those who flew in space who are worth remembering. So that idea seems fairly meritorious if you ask me. Anyway, I spent my Columbus Day in an informational picket with my fellow furloughed government workers and those who are working, federal prison guards, and aren’t getting paid. Maybe we could change this day to “No Shutdown Day.”

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