Today is the birthday of John Ronald Reuel Tolkien. It is also the day when fans from around the world honor the date with a toast to the master of Middle-earth. According to the Tolkien Society, the proper way to toast Tolkien is to "stand, raise a glass of your choice of drink (not necessarily alcoholic), and say the words ‘The Professor’ before taking a sip (or swig, if that’s more appropriate for your drink). Sit and enjoy the rest of your drink". It has become almost a holiday for his legions of loyal fans and admirers.
Every year, I too make it a point to take time from my busy schedule to pause and remember my favorite author (and dare I say, "historian") and the man who introduced me to fantasy literature and by extension, gaming in general. This year was no exception. In fact, it turned out to be one of the most memorable in many years. The reason for the significance? Cold weather. Winter is a relative term in the Florida Keys since temperatures rarely fall below seventy degrees. It's rare to get highs in the sixty's and downright unusual for anything less. Well, a very strong cold front made it all the way down and dropped our temps into the fifty's for a high. Standing outside next to a palm tree, bundled up with a glass of wine in my hand, was rather surreal. But having the "cold" weather surround me as I made a toast to Professor Tolkien somehow seemed more appropriate than eighty and sunny.
So once again, let me raise another glass of wine and toast the man that quite literally, changed my life. Feel free to join me.....
"To The Professor!"