Sunday, June 28, 2020

How sonorous are the chimes of the weekend, and how noticeable is the rapidity with which those echoes dissipate. As I pen these words (or, since I’m on a computer, as I plunk these words with my finger-digits) it is mid-afternoon on Saturday, and I have no idea which celebrations we’ll actually get to today, if any. This is our lone weekend with a full-on family experience, which means I do not feel like spewing prose onto an empty Word document for a few hours. This is the most sacred of celebrations we have yet encountered during this clustery-fuck of a 2020:


Some forward-thinking dude named Robert Solomon founded this day over a decade ago, as a way to gather friends (and, if necessary, family) together for an early-summer barbecue. He called it Summersgiving, as it was food-centered, and love-heavy. And because it’s not a well-known thing, you don’t have to invite that racist uncle or those cousins who always ruin everything by getting into a leg-wrestling match on the kitchen floor every year.

We embraced the hell out of this one. We didn’t do turkey because we simply don’t care for turkey that much. Even on actual Thanksgiving we lean toward a surf & turf situation. Last night’s feast was steak and crab legs, with a brilliant potato salad and so many desserts just thinking about them again makes me full. I may not eat again for days. This is a lie, of course – our calendar will make sure of that.

But last night was the one meal in which both our kids, our son’s girlfriend, and my mother gathered together to partake in one another’s company and laugh (and drink) into the night. Tonight our son heads to his dad’s for a much less enjoyable feast, and tomorrow they’ll be back in Toronto. So last night was the golden moment, and it just happened to land in tandem with this magnificent celebration.

We were very thankful – immeasurably thankful for last night. It was the high point of the year, and we have been fortunate to have a few high points in this cockeyed year. Happy Summersgiving to all.

National Onion Day

Above is a shot of the potato salad Colton whipped up for us, which included capers, smoked salmon, and yes – onions. To not have eaten onions on this day would have been a waste. It also would have been out of character – most of our meals tend to weave onions in somehow.

Normally here is where I’d go into a lengthy re-telling of the history of onions in cooking, but that will be skipped. It’s all about the visceral this weekend, as I explained in yesterday’s article. We ate onions. We loved onions. Onions are life.

National Chocolate Pudding Day

I was in such a rush on Friday I had no time to cram a thing of chocolate pudding down my throat. It took until the next day for me to dig in. It’s a good thing I didn’t have to make the stuff from scratch.

Also, given the extra-hurried nature of this article, it’s a good thing we had National Vanilla Pudding Day just a few weeks back. I’m sure I wrote all about the glorious history of pudding on that day, taking so long to research it overshadowed the celebration of actually eating the stuff. If not, I’ll catch up on National Butterscotch Pudding Day. Stay tuned!

Bartender & Mixologist Day

We didn’t make it out to a bar yesterday, but we acted as our own mixologists. We also enjoyed a magnificent couple of growlers from our favourite bar in the city, Da-De-O. It’s a unique brew from local brewsmiths Alley Kat, a lager jazzed up with chili pepper to give it a bit of a bite.

I think it’s pretty clear we kicked this day’s ass.

National Sunglasses Day

How on earth could we have celebrated this day in any other way besides wearing sunglasses? Such a question is almost insulting – there is no better way. Yesterday was forecast to be cold and rainy all day, but through some means of unfathomable magic (I call it a Summersgiving miracle), we wound up with sunny skies and decent temperatures all day long. Sunglasses were going to be a novelty thing beneath an overcast shroud, but instead we managed to bask in solar radiance and use our sunglasses as intended.

Sunglasses have come a long way since Inuit folk cut narrow slits into flattened walrus ivory to make the world’s first known sunglasses. We’ve come a long way since China’s 12th century panes of smoky quartz that did little to protect from UV rays but dulled the glare a little. Now we’re in the Ray-bans era and sunglasses work a lot better.

We were thankful for the opportunity to celebrate this one in a genuine way. Today we might not have been so lucky.

National Celebrate Your Marriage Day

I’m not entirely sure about this one.

Here me out – I’ll gladly take any moment of any day to scream to the heavens how grateful I am to be married to this magnificent individual. I’m simply not certain the motivation behind this “holiday” was genuine.

The only link I can find to verify the day is a petition to request the President of the United States (George W. Bush, to give you an idea how out-dated this celebration is) to proclaim the last Saturday in June as National Celebrate Your Marriage Day. This is due to the decline of the respect and sacredness of the institute of marriage.

There it is. This was clearly before the Supreme Court skull-slapped the nation’s intolerant dullards by making gay marriage a legal reality, as that happened during Obama’s reign. There is no mention in this petition of “between a man and a woman”, but that mention of the problems with the institution of marriage got my back up. That said, I’m going to give it a pass, because I can see no stupid bias in the wording of this petition, and honestly, gay marriages need to be worked on just as hard as any other kind, and declaring one’s gratitude for being married to one’s spouse is always a good idea.

So I’ll shelve my suspicions and simply embrace the spirit. I lucked out.

Happy Birthday To You Day

A big ol’ happy birthday to Mildred Hill, composer of the most recognizable song ever written. It used to be called “Good Morning To All”, but she realized a lot more money could be made if it was re-worded to be a birthday song. Actually, I don’t know the full story of how she came to pen this classic, but it was a copywritten song that paid her estate money for decades after her death every time it was used in a movie or TV show.

Mildred was a student of music. She wrote an article in 1892 that suggested that the existing body of black music – back then, mostly spiritual songs – would be the basis for a distinctive American style. Oh, if she only knew. A quick call-back to African-American Music Month there – black music would lead to pretty much every awesome piece of music we know today.

Mildred’s masterpiece didn’t get published as sheet music until 1912. It didn’t actually become famous until after her death in 1916. Her greatest achievement was a posthumous score for her offspring (if she had them). And yesterday the song was for her, on what would have been her 161st birthday. Not a bad legacy.

National Coconut Day

The amazing humans at Da-De-O not only furnished us with the beer to lubricate our Summersgiving festivities, but they also hooked us up with a bevy of desserts that may have otherwise spoiled, as they were closing their doors for a few days. Pictured above is the batch of toasted coconut which gets sprinkled atop their astounding key lime pie.

We were preparing ourselves to potentially degrade this day with something unpleasantly sweet, like a Mounds chocolate bar or something, but dessert was far more delicious than that. It was a good day for coconut.

One more day of manic madness and merely grazing over the writing portion of this magnificence:

  • National Paul Bunyan Day. I don’t see us getting to this one, honestly.
  • National Alaska Day. Some top-notch Alaskan crab will do the trick for this week’s official state.
  • National Tapioca Day. Hmmm. Maybe.
  • Tau Day. Is this day more important than Pi Day? Some believe so. We’ll learn why.
  • Insurance Awareness Day. We will be aware that insurance exists. Fun!
  • National Plan Your Final Playlist Day. This was my creation for the day back in spring when we could create our own holidays. We’ll see how this plays out.

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