Friday, July 15, 2011


No man is a failure who is enjoying life.

William Feather
What? You don't have your barbecue yet? What's the matter with you?

On Wednesday I went to the mall to make a few simple purchases. Along the long outside wall there was an array of barbecue devises. Some of them were very intricate and as large as a small car. Others were simple and could probably fit into a small car. But they were all there to provide for the same thing: "The Famous American Backyard Cook Out."

As I stood there looking at them (no, I have no interest in owning one) I recalled that when I visited that mall in December along that same long wall there were trees. Evergreens. "Christmas Trees."

I remarked to myself how those two items represent two of the rituals of celebration we experience. Friends and family gathering in the back yard to enjoy some tasty food, or coming together to decorate the Christmas Tree. There are also the New Years Eve party, the Fourth of July Parade, the Thanksgiving turkey, and peppered throughout the year are other special days which, along with birthdays, graduations, weddings and anniversaries, mean that every day of the year there is a reason for some group of people somewhere in the land to have fun.

I'm not a particular fan of rituals, as it says in my profile, but I can see and appreciate other people's pleasure in them. And I say it's a grand thing that we live in a part of the world where people can celebrate an event without being threatened, and where the phantoms of fear, failure, suffering, confusion and distress can be shoved aside by an occasion for people to come together and enjoy themselves.

Never give up.
DB - Vagabond Journeys


It's a long, hot, sticky summer, so here's a hot, sticky question for you. Don't let the recent New York State decision rob you of your thunder.

Same sex marriage. Should it be legal or not? If so, why? If not, why not?

9 answers so far.

You have until the last day of summer, but don't dally.
I eagerly await your answer.



Geo. said...

I share your admiration of extended families who gather outdoors around burning biomatter. Unfortunately many of my relatives don't agree with me, especially around food. I usually wear a helmet, but do appreciate living in a country where such recreations are possible without full body armor.

Big Mark 243 said...

Appreciation? Yes. Admiration? No. I don't envy families that celebrate together or think that it is anything noteworthy.

I may wonder what it would be like from time to time... but in all honesty, I have preferred my small 'non-celebration' than I have a get together of any kind...

krissy knox said...


i have been pondering this subject recently. often people, as you stated, will celebrate the new year's eve party with family and friends, then perhaps some kind of spring gathering as the birds come in, then maybe a july 4th celebration, and then thanksgiving, and then christmas. and of course birthdays and other events you mentioned.

and then there is the rhythm of the school year, and the rhythm of the church year, for those who go. etc. to be honest, i love all this. for families and societies, i think it keeps us balanced, gives us a kind of a rhythm and flow to our lives, a kind of stability. a way to make sure we get all the celebrations in also! helps us not to have chaos. and finally, allows us to build tradition.

tradition is a great thing for a society, for a school, for church, for a family. just ask anybody who grew up in a family, and they will tell you they love and deeply treasure the traditions that make them a family, and that only they share -- kind of their little secrets against the world, and that they can pass on to their children!

now i can also relate to mark. there are times that are priceless that come only during times which you would call "ordinary times". these are also precious times -- moments that come along when you don't even expect them. but you know what? even that time is part of the "ritual" time, so to speak. it is the time when there is not anything planned, so to speak -- nothing monumentous planned, no scheduled activities. even during those times, as a society, we find special moments. so that time is even "scheduled" in.

to explain it a little bit better, as you know, in the Roman Catholic Church, we have a lot of feast days and fast days, and a lot of, for instance, seasons of feasting (Christmas) and times of fasting (Lent). Several times during the year we also have times called "Ordinary Time". And it is in this rhythm of life, the times of planning of fun times, celebrations, activities, and yes, even the down quiet times -- even during these periods of "Ordinary Time" we all find one another, enjoy one another and life, and, as you stated in the title of your post -- we celebrate!

thanks for a great and thoughtful piece, dana, as always.

krissy knox :)
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Arlene (AJ) said...

I love getting together with family and friends for different occassions throughout the year, it's nice to be able to share time with each other. We don't always get together for holidays but that is ok, sometimes a nice, quiet, peaceful holiday suits our needs.