It’s the last day of the year—December 31, 2016, and within a month we’ll have to refer to “President Trump”—a phrase that sticks in my craw. But such are the laws of physics. Today is National Champagne Day, but also National Vinegar Day: a strange pairing. Koynezaa is now over (though not technically, since I was born at 11:45 pm on December 30), but it’s the sixth day of its namesake holiday, Kwanzaa.
On this day in 1759, the Guinness factory was opened, and the stout is still being made and is still good for you. In 1853, Wikipedia reports that this happened on December 31: “A dinner party is held inside a life-size model of an iguanodon created by Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins and Sir Richard Owen in south London, England.” That was, of course, 6 years before Darwin’s Origin was published. On this day in 1857, Queen Victoria chose Ottawa as the capital of Canada, and so it remains. On December 31, 1879, Thomas Edison demonstrated his incandescent light bulb to the public for the first time. In 1991, the Soviet Union was officially dissolved, and one year later Czechoslovakia was split in two. On this day in 1999, Boris Yeltsin resigned as Russia’s president, leaving the odious Putin in charge, and on that same day the U.S. handed over the Panama Canal to Panama.
Those who were born on the last day of the year include Henri Matisse (1869), Simon Wiesenthal (1908), Alex Ferguson (1941), Ben Kingsley (1943), Donna Summer (1948, died 2012), Bebe Neuwirth (1958 ♥), and Val Kilmer (1959). Those who died on this day include Robert Boyle (1691), Roberto Clemente (1972; I saw him play for the Pirates), Marshall McLuhan (1980) and Natalie Cole (2015). Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Ms. Hili can’t think of what message she wants to impart to the world at year’s end. Perhaps tomorrow. . . .
A: What would you like to tell the world today?Hili: This requires some thought.
Ja: Co chciałabyś dziś przekazać światu?
Hili: To wymaga przemyślenia.
Always eager to slap my name on every unnamed cat I find, I told him that it should be named “Jerry”. Mr. Das bridled, telling me that “Jerry” was actually a female kitten and that women weren’t named “Jerry”. I immediately Googled Jerry Hall and showed him that women could bear that name, and so he relented, and that’s the kitten’s name.
Now Mr. Das is famous as a sweetmaker: he runs the K.C. Das & Company chain of sweetshops, and has factories in Calcutta, and Bangalore. One of his products, and my second favorite among all Indian sweets (the first is sonpapri which is very different), is rasmalai, a declicious confection of Indian cottage cheese boiled in sugar syrup and then served soaked in cream or condensed milk, flavored with cardamom, pistachio, and sometimes saffron. It’s served cold.
So here we have kitten Jerry enjoying a treat on his (presumably my) birthday. This is not an illustration for our book, and I hope some publisher actually picks up our book, but I hope we will get it published and that both American and Indian children (and their parents) will like it.
The kitten is ecstatic, of course (her eyes are closed in joy!), and Kelly has called this sketch:
Rasmalai for JerryDecember 30, 2016
Don’t forget that you can support Kelly’s work by purchasing some of her art at her eBay store, and don’t forget the fantastic gold-embossed Darwin greeting cards, now back in stock (only 7 boxes left).