The End of a Legend


I’m a day late on this, because I wanted to talk about SOPA and PIPA yesterday.  Most of my readers are probably already aware that the Poe Toaster was a no-show for the third consecutive year, leading many to believe that the tradition has come to an end.  For those not aware of the Toaster…how did you find this blog?  He was a mysterious figure, or likely family of figures, who would visit Poe’s grave in Baltimore every year on the anniversary of his birth, leaving a half bottle of cognac and three red roses.

Rumors and questions have surrounded the tradition for years.  Why three roses?  Why cognac?  Why an opened, half bottle?  Who was he?  And now the biggest question of all: where has he gone?  What is known: the tradition passed on from a father to a son several years ago, that the new Toaster controversially included some political commentary in one of his offers a few years back, and now that the tradition has ended.  There are impersonators, people who have tried to keep the tradition alive, but the original line of Toasters haven’t show up since 2009.  Is he dead?  Did he just decide to end the tradition?  Was it always supposed to end?  The last year of the visits coincided with Poe’s 200th birthday, and perhaps that was the correct time to quietly end the ritual.

The end of the tradition saddens me as I’ve written what currently stands as a trunk novel that opens on the Poe Toaster (though decades before the actual Poe Toasters showed up).  It does have me interested in getting back to that novel, but that’s going to have to wait until Nickajack is done, at the absolute earliest.  Because of that novel I’ve been tempted for several years to partake in the vigil, waiting for the Toaster.  I suppose I’m glad I didn’t, because that’s the same time that he stopped showing up, but I wish I’d had the opportunity at one point to join in with other fan’s of Poe’s writing.

So, wherever you went, Toaster, I hope the tradition ended on your own terms.  And perhaps, one day, a Toaster will come again.

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