Imagine growing up and living your entire life with a birthdate that was synonymous with the second greatest military defeat in American history? Kind of makes planning a birthday party difficult, doesn’t it? Especially when you’re ten years old.
Allan B. Calhamer faced that dilemma his whole post-childhood life. He was born on 7 December, 1931, so he turned ten on 7 December, 1941, a “date that will live in infamy.”
I remember talking to Allan about this at the 1972 Chicago DipCon. He told me that having your birthday on the 7th of December after Pearl Harbor was a bit like having it on Christmas, only worse. Not only did you not get to have a birthday party, but everybody was walking around with a sad face. Sort of like the day John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Nobody who was old enough to remember will ever forget where they were on both dates.
I mention this because ever since Allan’s passing I’ve been trying to think of a way the hobby could perpetually honor and remember the man who founded it, but nothing came to mind.
At the same time a different lobe of my brain was trying to think of a way to create a hobby-wide Diplomacy event that would attract all kinds of Diplomacy players all over the world at the same time. It was a mind-boggling idea, but again nothing specific came to mind. Then, a few days ago I happened to read a media account in The Christian Science Monitor entitled: “With its famous food in peril, France goes all out on ‘gastrono-diplomacy’,” and everything fell into place.
As I read the story behind the event the French called “Gout de France/Good France” event I thought to myself, “Why can’t we do that?” You can find out more about it via a Google or Yahoo search. Suffice it to say that the French, in typical French fashion decided to promote their declining gastronomical tradition with a giant event that would include 1,300 chefs across five continents preparing a classic “gastronomic” meal for 100,000 clients. Six hundred and fifty guests, headed by the Foreign Minister of France, Laurent Fabius, dined on a seven-meal that included Dom Perigon Champagne, puff pastry of foie gras, salmon tartar topped with caviar and toasted quinoa stew with shaved truffles, fish, suckling lamb, a cheese plate, and a decadent chocolate pudding. Appropriately, the event was held in the Battles Gallery of the Versailles Palace.
So, with the inspiration of Allan’s birthday and the realization of the Gout de France I would like to propose an event I will call “A World Wide Day to Celebrate Diplomacy.” And because this year the 7th of December falls on a Monday, I suggest it be held on the 6th of December.
The purpose of the event is simple enough: to help grow the world wide hobby and to celebrate its fifty-plus years of existence.
Without going into a lot of specifics here is my idea:
At this point I have no specific procedural rules in mind. I just want to find out how much support there is for the concept. If it seems warranted then we can go forward with the nitty-gritty of planning and organizing the event (and won’t that be fun! ).
If you like the idea and/or would like to participate please contact me sooner rather than later.
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