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The Unexpected Party

    I was born on Hobbit Day. September 22, the day Bilbo and Frodo are said to share a birthday in the beloved Lord of the Rings series. Tolkien's masterpiece was one of the many joyful experiences of my childhood. My mother read (at least part of) the books to us when we were young, we watched the cartoon films, and when Peter Jackson's live-action epic movies came out, we eagerly awaited them.      On my eighteenth birthday, we held the first ever "Hobbit Feast" in celebration. We made a sign for our door that read "No admittance, except on party business." We labeled bottles of sparkling cider: Old Winyard, 1296. There were riddles, laughs, and most importantly, food. Ham, bread, pie, strawberries with cream, mushrooms, cheese, tea. Anything that made our home feel like a Hobbit hole.      We've been doing it ever since. It's a mini-Thanksgiving. It's a celebration of our favorite book, of the first day of Autumn, and honestly my birthday fee

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