So it's not any round number – Washington Irving, technically, turned a mere 229 yesterday – but any April 3rd this side of Sunnyside is a good April 3rd to celebrate our most beloved literary legend.
My daughter, 3, got a little stuck though on this 229 bit. While she was more than happy to sing “Happy Birthday Washington Irving” at the reading/party held on his behalf in the Children's Room of the , she kept asking, “how old is he?” trying to work immortality out on ten fingers.
The great aging of legendary figures was something of a theme of the IchabodAlive-sponsored afternoon. The story read to the children was luckily not about the Headless Horseman (save that one for Halloween, of course) but that other guy, Rip Van Winkle, who took a decades-long sleep only to awake and find himself...very old and long of beard indeed.
The animated rendition of the story from veteran reader David Nielson kept the kids awake however, as did the cake to come. There were a few pound cakes (care of Entenmann's), more akin to the sort of cake Irving might have had in his day, and then there was the beautifully white-frosted and blueberry-filled concoction (care of Tarrytown pastry chef Rob Jones).
"I am always at a loss to know how much to believe of my own stories,” from Washington Irving's Tales of a Traveler, 1824