September 22, 2012

Happy Hobbit Day!

'My dear Bagginses and Boffins,' he began again, 'and my dear Tooks and Brandybucks, and Grubbs, and Chubbs, and Burrowses, and Hornblowers, and Bolgers, Bracegirdles, Goodbodies, Brockhouses and Proudfoots.
'ProudFEET!' shouted an elderly hobbit from the back of the pavilion.... 'Proudfoots', repeated Bilbo. Also my good Sackville-Bagginses that I welcome back at last to Bag End. Today is my one hundred and eleventh birthday: I am eleventy-one today!'

Today is Hobbit Day, the birthday of Bilbo and Frodo Baggins.  I remember reading and falling in love with those two, and their adventures as recorded in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.  I was eleven or twelve when I first read The Hobbit.  We had just moved and as I was poking through our boxes of books, I came across an old, well worn copy that had belonged to my dad.  I had no idea what this book was about, but it was a book, and so I popped it open and was drawn into the world of Middle Earth.

I discovered The Lord of the Rings about a year later, thanks to two friends of mine.  They were two years older than me, and when my parents would go out for an evening they would come over and help me watch the younger siblings.  After they all went to bed we would sit up and talk, and it was then that they told me all about this neat trilogy that wasn't actually a trilogy and that came after The Hobbit.  I was interested, and found the books from the library.  It's a tradition I've fallen out of recently, but for several years afterwards I would re-read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings each summer.

What is it about these books that made me fall in love with them, that makes me remember and come back to them every September 22nd?  For me the spell that Tolkien cast was one of excitement and the thrill of adventure... he gave me hobbits and elves and men that I couldn't help but fall in love with... he wove a tale of history, of deep reality, a story that I could believe had happened in the ages long past.  He cast a spell full of beauty and wonder, one that I could not easily escape.

Happy Birthday Bilbo and Frodo.  You have been dear friends of mine for many years now, and I am sure we will remain so for many more to come.  Happy Birthday, and may the hairs on your toes never fall out!

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