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THE NEIGHBORHOOD ARCHIVE - All Things Mister Rogers

Happy Birthday, King Friday XIII

When the day of the week is Friday
And the day of the month, thirteen
Then I celebrate my birthday
Like any King or Queen

I open up my presents
And write my thank-you notes
For the jewels and spice and elephants
And the palaces and boats

But these are merely trinkets
In my exalted sphere
For when I have a birthday
I give gifts that have no peer

-King Friday XIII, King Friday Celebrates LP


Every Friday the Thirteenth is King Friday's birthday. No matter which neighborhood you live in, we at the Neighborhood Archive thought you might want to join with us in wishing a "Prosperous Interval of Time" to the beloved monarch of the Neighborhood of Make Believe. And though he never shied from praise and attention, King Friday was known to turn the tables on the occasion of his birthday, often bestowing on those he cared about, presents of a, well, of a unique nature. He once gave Cornflake S. Pecially the Forest Primeval, and gave X the Owl the moon, two years in a row.

Every Friday the Thirteenth is King Friday's birthday. No matter which neighborhood you live in, we at the Neighborhood Archive thought you might want to join with us in wishing a "Prosperous Interval of Time" to the beloved monarch of the Neighborhood of Make Believe. And though he never shied from praise and attention, King Friday was known to turn the tables on the occasion of his birthday, often bestowing on those he cared about, presents of a, well, of a unique nature. He once gave Cornflake S. Pecially the Forest Primeval, and gave X the Owl the moon, two years in a row.

Furthermore, because the sincerest form of flattery is imitation (and who loves flattery more than King Friday?) we at the Neighborhood Archives are being generous, giving you a gift on King Friday's birthday. In the spirit of lofty generosity, (but lacking kingly resources) we've compiled a list of some simple activities you can do today or any day to be more like King Friday.

1. Birdwatch - King Friday is an avid bird watcher, and though the subjects of his observations are often just his own wooden birds, he supports all ornithological pursuits. Take a walk in your own neighborhood and see how many different types of birds you can find.

2. Fly a Jet - Or a plane. King Friday loves his royal jet, though for most of us we have to be content to be passengers. But never fear! King Friday would be honored if you flew a paper airplane for his birthday. You can find several links on the internet for paper airplane patterns. You might even make one out of purple paper (King Friday's favorite color). They're cheap, hours of fun, and best of all they don't use too much gasoline. (Clown delivery service not included).

3. Be a role model - whether it's counseling a coworker or teaching a child to fold a paper airplane, we all have the opportunity to teach, and one of the best ways to teach is to model what we would want others to do. King Friday wasn't always good at explaining what he wanted or his reasons, but he certainly tried hard to be someone his citizens could look up to. Remember today, and every day, to behave as you expect others to behave. If you find yourself in a shouting match, lower your voice. If you find that you're stressed and stressing out others, take a few minutes to stop and sit. We can't all be the sovereigns of our kingdom, but we can set an example and be mindful that others are watching what we do.

4. Read or write a poem - Nothing says Kingly Leisure like a few minutes each day spent pondering poetry. You might want to reread a favorite poem or use your local library or internet to find something new. Or if you are feeling especially audacious, you might consider rewriting a famous poem or nursery rhyme to sound a little more "royal" such as King Friday's kingly version of Row, Row, Row your boat:

Propel, propel, propel your craft
Gently down liquid solution
Ecstatically, ecstatically, ecstatically
Existence is but an illusion

Need I say more?

5. Spend time with your royal family - This sounds like a suggestion of the utmost simplicity, but of course, with all the tasks of running a kingdom, we all need to make a point to set aside some time to just be together. Hopefully you can do some of the activities mentioned above with your family. Make it a point to enjoy a meal together (perhaps toasting to our beloved monarch), read a book (Kings and Queens of the World anyone?) or maybe go out after dark and see if you can find a comet (they belong to everybody, you know). Though grand gestures and fancy parties are fun, it's the small moments that really make up life, and it's great to spend them with others. In other words, it's great to be the King, but what would be the point without the people we love?

We're confident that King Friday would be proud knowing that you took a little time on this auspicious occasion to behave a bit more royally. And if you like, you may adjourn to the C & I room of the castle, where Edgar Cook and Chef Brockett have prepared some cake and ice cream.

[Contributed by Eric Scales, 2011]

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