Today is January 12.
Sixty years ago today, American playwright Thornton Wilder appeared on the cover of "Time" magazine. Perhaps best known for his play "Our Town" (1938), Wilder is depicted, in Boris Chalifin's cover illustration, before a blackboard on which is a large American flag. The cover is striking and memorable, once seen. You can google it and see it for yourself.
From a service-oriented and religious family, with parents and siblings of note, Wilder is one of many fine products of Madison, Wisconsin, a city that has more than its share of cultural giants to its credit. Wilder is also remembered for the drama, "The Bridge of San Luis Rey" (1928) and "By the Skin of Our Teeth" (1942). You don't get better plays than these; all three works won Wilder the Pulitzer Prize. Wilder also wrote the play "The Matchmaker" which was later adapted as the musical "Hello Dolly!"
Wilder's "Our Town" remains a perennial favorite that tugs on the heart and may even prompt the thoughtful play-goer to reconsider her or his priorities in life. Set in Grover's Corners, New Hampshire, the play follows "one perfect day" as remembered by Emily Webb, who is permitted, after her death, to revisit, look on to, and comment about an ordinary/extraordinary day she recalls from life with her family and friends.
Emily chooses her 12th birthday. While observing it, she comes to understand that everyone seems to be living life but not appreciating how special, fleeting and wonderful it is. Finding this fact too painful to bear, Emily states that life should be valued, "every, every minute." She asks the Stage Manager whether anyone realizes the wonder of life while they live it. He replies,
"No. The saints and poets, maybe – they do some."
You may be doing chores today,or running a half marathon. You may be attending a memorial service or working in the yard. You may get up early or sleep late (it is after all, Saturday). Whatever you do, try to make today a day that you value, "every, every minute."
"The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away." - Psalm 90:10