Yeah, I know Mother’s Day is still a good month or so off. But I’m trying to save your life with this blog post. I have far too often forgotten to think about Mother’s Day until the day itself is upon me and then I have to really scramble…if I don’t forget about the day entirely!
So, this weekend, I had promised my wife I’d take her to a flower/plant show. I have a hard time getting excited about plants. I just do. I can get excited about giant sequoias or redwoods, but other plants? Not really. I guess a Venus flytrap might be pretty interesting, but I’ve never had one for a “pet”.
So, I found myself inside a building filled with people hawking plants and gardening supplies. I’m not sure, though, if there were more plants inside or more people. Not my cup of tea.
But as we wandered around, I found a few things to photograph. One of them is today’s picture…but don’t ask me what this has to do with gardening. I was wandering rather aimlessly looking for photo opportunities and saw this display of pink tools. Pink toolboxes, pink hammers, pink screwdrivers, pink power tools, pink tool tote bags…and all I could think of was “Huh?”
But, maybe your wife would really love you to buy her a bunch of pink tools. What do you think? Nah, me neither. But at least I reminded you about Mother’s Day in time for you to get her something she’d really like.
ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: on April 10, 1866, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) was founded in New York City by philanthropist and diplomat Henry Bergh, 54.
In 1863, Bergh had been appointed by President Abraham Lincoln to a diplomatic post at the Russian court of Czar Alexander II. It was there that he was horrified to witness work horses beaten by their peasant drivers. En route back to America, a June 1865 visit to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in London awakened his determination to secure a charter not only to incorporate the ASPCA but to exercise the power to arrest and prosecute violators of the law.
Back in New York, Bergh pleaded on behalf of “these mute servants of mankind” at a February 8, 1866, meeting at Clinton Hall. He argued that protecting animals was an issue that crossed party lines and class boundaries. “This is a matter purely of conscience; it has no perplexing side issues,” he said. “It is a moral question in all its aspects.” The speech prompted a number of dignitaries to sign his “Declaration of the Rights of Animals.”
Bergh’s impassioned accounts of the horrors inflicted on animals convinced the New York State legislature to pass the charter incorporating the ASPCA on April 10, 1866. Nine days later, the first effective anti-cruelty law in the United States was passed, allowing the ASPCA to investigate complaints of animal cruelty and to make arrests.
Bergh was a hands-on reformer, becoming a familiar sight on the streets and in the courtrooms of New York. He regularly inspected slaughter houses, worked with police to close down dog- and rat-fighting pits and lectured in schools and to adult societies. In 1867, the ASPCA established and operated the nation’s first ambulance for horses.
As the pioneer and innovator of the humane movement, the ASPCA quickly became the model for more than 25 other humane organizations in the United States and Canada. And by the time Bergh died in 1888, 37 of the 38 states in the Union had passed anti-cruelty laws.
Bergh’s dramatic street rescues of mistreated horses and livestock served as a model for those trying to protect abused children. After Mary Ellen McCormack, 9, was found tied to a bed and brutally beaten by her foster parents in 1874, activists founded the New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. Bergh served as one of the group’s first vice presidents.
TRIVIA FOR TODAY: the English language originally delineated between women in different stages of life with the terms “maiden,” “mother,” and “crone.” A maiden referred to a young girl who was unmarried, a mother referred to a woman in her child-bearing years, and a crone described a post-menopausal woman.