There are times when subjects for an article, essay, or blog post collide with one’s mind and derail it from whatever intended destination anticipated. This morning is the perfect example.
I was doing a morning run down my FB main street when I came upon a post by a writer friend telling us that she’s going wassailing tonight. I slowed down enough to make a reply, without pausing more than a nanosecond to consider each of her words for individual sounds or meaning, and began to pull away from the curb.
An imperative stop sign flashed before my interior eyeballs without regard for the shock I might experience. My mind had flashed on the Christmas carol about “going wassailing,” the tune began playing at full volume along with a group of merry singers, and I focused on the fact that I’d always wondered what that phrase meant and had never taken the time to pursue the subject.
TaDa! My fate was sealed. I suddenly had to find out what “wassailing” was and get the song out of my head for the rest of the day. God help me if it’s on the radio today. I’ll be lost for at least 24 hrs.
Google came to the rescue again. I found the site http://www.whychristmas.com/customs/wassailing.shtml and learned that “wassail” referred to a specific drink that was mixed and served in a bowl, usually of silver or pewter, and drunk at Winter Solstice. A recipe was offered for those who wanted to begin their own celebration.
This centuries-old tradition of roaming around a neighborhood, punch cup in hand, sampling from everyone’s bowl of cheer, seemed a very good way of spending an evening with friends and those on the block. I began wondering how many such meandering block parties would send up peals of laughter and cheer tonight around the country and if specific regions of the country would be more likely to entertain themselves in this way on this night.
I told Sis about my discovery and that we should think about starting our own tradition of wassailing next year. After all, it’s a bit late to begin today, the wallet a bit too flat, and how many neighbors could we invite at this late date? That promising recipe will have to wait until next year to spark a happy new enjoyment for us.
For those who are going wassailing tonight, have a cup of cheer for me, toast to new traditions, old friends, hopeful outcomes, and blessings for all.
A bientot and a Happy Holiday season to all, regardless of celebrations,
We’ve come into the season of holidays; Thanksgiving gives way to Christmas and moves inexorably to New Years. For centuries this season has stood for blessings, fellowship, and unity; if not in actuality, at least on the surface.
This time around something has gone off the tracks. Everyone is edgier, ruder, more desperate. One could attribute this holiday syndrome as an ever-increasing out-pouring of the stress felt by countless millions of people who don’t know what the next year will bring economically, politically, or within the family.
The question is: Why has our population become seemingly unequipped to keep themselves under control?
Our forefathers for centuries lived with the knowledge that nothing in this world is certain. Life and their own common sense taught them to plan for those lean times, rely only on necessities, especially when luxuries cost so much more than most could pay. They lived with few clothes for each member of the family.
A father with more than two pairs of pants, one work shirt and one for Sunday, and who could give the same for each of his family, was a wealthy man by the standards of the time.
A mother who didn’t lose at least two children to stillbirth, illness or injury before they were five years old was truly blessed. Children who still had both birth parents to attend their weddings, complete with cake and a bride’s veil, could remember that for the rest of their lives.
If one owned a small cabin or house, with enough land to provide a kitchen garden that would produce enough food to put away for winter stores, wealth was clear. Size of the home didn’t matter. Everyone would have a place to sleep, warm and secure when cold and snow took over the outer territory. The living room/family room/kitchen, etc. occupied one space, all of which might have measured 15×20 feet. A loft was always necessary for sleeping nooks for the children.
When the world industrialized and cities became the working world for many, credit became common for those who always paid their bills on time. The 1929 Depression and subsequent lean years didn’t teach everyone the price of greed. People afterwards merely moved to different avenues for making money.
By the early 21st Century we’ve become barbarians in subtle ways. Take the incidents these past couple of days across the country. People, so absorbed in their passion to buy the latest and greatest for the cheapest price available, have been willing to kill or maim others to get to a desired item first.
Headlines in the news: Woman pepper sprays others, injuring 20 people, to get to a xbox on sale. Shoppers, anxious to get into a store for first pickings, dismantle a door and trample to death a young woman standing ready to open the door at the appointed time. A man is shot in a store’s parking lot during a sale.
Question: Have we become barbarous murderers in the name of possessions? Or, has greed so possessed our people through constant consumerism propaganda that we’re desensitized to our own actions?
Incidents like the above are on the increase, and not just at this season. When will be grow out of this selfish adolescence and back into the adulthood of our ancestors and their hard-won heritage of living with what you need and feeling blessed that you have that much security?
These are truly things to think about during this time; especially during this season.