I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.

P9226507NOTE: This post will make sense to die-hard Tolkien fans and LOTR uber-geeks (and you know who you are and in which case you'll love the links on this page) and will merely amuse the rest of you. =D

In September of 1973, the author J.R.R. Tolkien died.  As usually happens with notable literary or artistic figures, after their death there is new interest in what they did in life. (I'm noticing this now with the recent death of Pavarotti.)

Meanwhile, back in 1973 . . .

I had just graduated from high school and my sister, Miriam gave me the gift pictured here.
It's The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien.  (can you say, "prized possession?")

What, you are asking yourself, are they doing on the table??
And what, you ask again, are those little figures on top of the books?
Or maybe you are thinking, the uber-geek strikes again!  and that would be totally true.

I read the books for the first time in 1973 and was completely captivated by the amazing story and characters.  (This was the Harry Potter of my day. =D)  I still read the entire trilogy about once a year.  I have read them aloud to each one of my kids.  Yes, the entire trilogy.  Out loud.  Multiple times.  And I never get tired of it.  And yes, I take full credit for turning my family into Hobbit-lovers and Elf-friends (and uber-geeks).  =D

But why are there books on the table?

Because, today is Bilbo and Frodo's birthday.  And every year on September 22nd we have a party. 
No way!

I usually make some kind of beef with a side dish of mushrooms
There is usually a basket of small apples (for Bill the Pony, of course) and an assortment of Lembas bread.  (I warned you that I can be an uber-geek, didn't I??) 
I make placecards with our Elvish names on them. (I'm Ireth Vanimedlë in case you were curious. =D)
And we play Lord of the Rings Trivia (the little figures are from that game).
Amy helps decorate and always brings her life-size standee of Legolas.
We always watch the first movie, The Fellowship of the Ring (Extended version, of course), and clap loudly when Bilbo says,

"It is no bad thing to celebrate a simple life."

We take a break at that point to have cake (it's a birthday party, after all).  ;-)

P92265221 Why all this nonsense?
I started doing this about six years ago as a homeschooling exercise for Lucy and Jonathan, but it was such fun and we all got so into it, we continued doing it every year and even began inviting friends (mostly Adam's friends, who thought the whole thing was so geeky that it was cool) and family (Hi Nat and Katie!).

Because as goofy as it all sounds, it has become A Tradition.  And it is our traditions that set us apart as A Family. 

And for that, I'm completely unapologetic.

"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us." ~ J.R.R. Tolkien

Happy Birthday, Bilbo and Frodo. =D