Abilene News

Published 4:01 pm Thursday, August 9, 2012

August 9 – August is upon us and the days are already noticeably shorter. The good thing is that we know before long we will get some relief from the heat, and perhaps a little more rain. Of course, the rain will be “too little, too late” for most of our gardens and many of our farmers. But any rain is welcome.

August is also a reminder that many organizations that do not meet during the summer months will soon resume their sched-ules. August also means school will soon start.

If you and your family are looking for something to do as a quick trip or “stay-cation”, I highly recommend our Nation's Capitol. On a recent trip to northern Virginia, I took the opportunity to visit one of my favorite places – “the nation's attic” – the Smithsonian Institution. Since most of the Smithsonian museums charge no entrance fee, one of the world's greatest collec-tions of artwork, artifacts, and scientific specimens is free for all to see.

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The Smithsonian is the world's largest museum complex and research organization. It is composed of 19 museums and nine research centers. Its collection encompasses nearly a quarter of a million items. The Institution was the brainchild of an ob-scure British scientist by the name of James Smithson. Smithson never set foot in the United States and, so far as is known, never corresponded with anyone here. When he died in 1829, he left behind a will containing the curious provision that stipu-lated that if Smithson's nephew (his only heir) were to die without heirs, the estate would go “to the United States of America, to found at Washington, under the name of the Smithsonian Institution, an establishment for the increase and diffusion of knowledge among men.” American officials were surprised by this provision, however, when the nephew died without heirs in 1835, the bequest fell into Congress's lap. After several years of debate over exactly what to do with the legacy, on August 10, 1846, President James Polk signed into law an act creating the Smithsonian Institution.

The Institution's mission is exactly what James Smithson specified: “the increase and diffusion of knowledge.” That means connecting Americans to their history and heritage. The Smithsonian's holdings range from the original Star-Spangled Banner (which has been painstakingly restored), to the ruby slippers worn by Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, and the space capsule that carried the Apollo 11 astronauts to the moon and back. Thus, the nickname “the nation's attic.”

Of course, the Smithsonian is not the only sight to see in and around Washington, D.C.

Friends And Neighbors

On Wednesday, August 8, the Woman's Club of Farmville GFWC kicked off the new club year with the Past President's Tea at the Farmville Train Station. The Woman's Club meets the first Wednesday of each month, September through May. If you are interested in knowing more about the Club or joining us, please contact me at 223-2271. Birthday wishes are extended to Delanie Fifield who will celebrate Aug. 10; Nick Zumbro Aug. 12; Jean Marston and Lindsey Zumbro Aug. 16; and Fred Ca-tron Aug. 17.

A REMINDER: On Saturday, August 11, the Abilene Community Club will hold a chicken dinner at the Abilene Communi-ty Center from 4 to 7 p.m. The dinner will include fried chicken, two sides, bread, beverage and dessert at a cost of $8 for adults and $5 for children 10 and under. For more information or tickets, contact Betty Gryder at 223-8343. Proceeds will go to the Abilene Community Club.

If you have any news or announcements that you would like to share, please contact me at 223-2271 or e-mail me at kz5ro@kinex.net.