Sunday, December 13, 2020

Yesterday I did battle with the setting sun. With a wealth of tasks I needed to complete, including numerous celebrations and writing about them, the day slithered away from me in a rush. There was a bed to make, presents to wrap, a garage to tidy. I needed to stretch my writing frantically across two articles so that I could spend most of today either relaxing and watching football or picking up our daughter from the airport. There was little time to waste on a lengthy introductory paragraph, yet here I am, swimming right through the middle of one. Alas, the shore awaits me, as does a hearty list of goings-on for our Saturday. Here’s what we tackled:

Bonza Bottler Day

Just a recap for those who may have forgotten what this day was about. Back in 1985 a woman named Elaine Fremont felt we were lacking in special occasions to celebrate. This was before the internet opened up and showed us how many gazillions of celebrations are scattered about our calendar, most of them for this very reason. She lived in South Carolina, but somehow got the word out that she was looking for a name for her monthly celebrations, which were to take place every month when the month number and day number matched up.

A student in Australia came up with the winning idea: Bonza Bottler Day. Bonza is apparently something Aussies yell out to refer to something that is fantastic or top-notch. I don’t recall the word popping up in Crocodile Dundee or any of the popular Men At Work hits, so I’ll take this student’s word for it. My research into Australian culture and catchphrases is tragically shallow.

So the celebration simply involves cracking open a bottle of something special, something you wouldn’t normally drink, and enjoying it. We have not skipped any of these, sampling new sodas and beers with curiosity and (usually) appreciation. Yesterday it was 12/12, so we grabbed a couple bottles of Stewart’s Black Cherry soda and enjoyed them after dinner. Not a huge event, but I’ve enjoyed this little monthly ritual. Who knows? It might even carry into 2021, though I suspect I’ll skip January 1. The only repeat celebration I’ll be doing on that day is National Hangover Day.

Gingerbread House Day

The history of moulding gingerbread (or some sort of sweet bread) into a house shape goes back a lot further than I’d expected. You can find some stories from ancient Rome about this, but the most interesting to me is the story of the fourth wiseman. Apparently there was another dude who was too sick to make it to the big Jesus party. A rabbi took care of him, and told him about the prophecy of Jesus’s arrival in Bethlehem (which means “house of bread” in Hebrew – go figure). He then told the wiseguy – sorry, wiseman how he gets his students to build houses of bread to “nourish their hope” for the messiah dropping by.

As luck would have it, the gift that particular magnus (singular for magi) was hauling to the birth spot was ginger root. He gave it to the rabbi and encouraged his kids wo work it into their bread for a little extra flavour. So is the Christmas gingerbread house truly a derivation of a rabbi’s tradition? That all depends on how much you believe from those old stories.

We stopped short of building our own gingerbread house yesterday (see our intro paragraph for our flimsy excuse). But we happened upon a contest at our local Safeway. I snapped a few pics and I voted for my favourite. I enjoyed the one built out of pretzels – I don’t know if pretzel and gingerbread go well together, but they really gave it a quality, rustic appearance. And congrats to me for controlling myself and not taste-testing any of them. I have grown so much.

Festival of Unmentionable Thoughts

This, like the festival for dead whales’ souls we celebrated earlier this week, has no definitive origin, and may or may not have actually been celebrated by a single soul on this planet.

Until now.

The couple of websites that mention this offer no conclusive way to celebrate it. Do we just blurt out the thoughts we should not mention? Do we keep them to ourselves and sit quietly while thinking them? Do we write them down in an article that will be uploaded on a website that is visited by tens of people every month, like this one? No, that doesn’t seem smart. I have shared a lot of our lives and a lot of ourselves on this page, but believe me – y’all don’t want to know my unmentionable thoughts.

We all have them. You see someone kneeling down near a staircase and know you could launch them down those stairs with one well-placed boot. You grumble about that neighbour you don’t care for, and think how easy it would be to tuck a properly-sized turd up inside his car door handle so that his fingers sink into it when he tries to open the door. Maybe you’re in a grocery store and you see some un-masked dolt manhandling all the fruits and vegetables then putting them back, or see an idiot neighbour child take a bite of something then put it back under his mother’s watch – would anyone blame you for cramming a dragonfruit in their faces to muffle their screams?

Well, today is the day to accept that we have all had thoughts of this nature. They aren’t thoughts we’d follow through on, or even applaud if some stranger did it (except maybe for that neighbour kid – that actually happened, and this is the same kid who once threw rocks at my dogs). But we need to appreciate their presence in our fickle mind-machines, and not scold ourselves for the fact that they have danced upon our stage.

Feel free to share your unmentionable thoughts in the comments section. Or don’t – they shouldn’t really be mentioned, I suppose. Otherwise they’d be ‘mentionable’ thoughts, and those don’t get their own festival.

National Ding-A-Ling Day

The purpose of this day is to reconnect with people you haven’t spoken to in a while. The notion of ‘ding-a-ling’ referring, of course, to the sound a phone makes when it rings, at least inside the head of whomever concocted this bizarrely-monikered celebration. Did people used to say, “Give me a ding-a-ling tomorrow!”? Was that ever a thing?

I have, like so many folks who have been thrust even deeper into an already isolationist lifestyle choice this year, grown weary about talking on the phone. Last Saturday I connected with one of the greatest friends I have ever known. He moved down to Calgary ages ago, and we have only spoken sporadically online since then, but last week we went over two hours in sparkling phone conversation, just like the old days. Minus the marijuana and constantly-cranked Lenny Kravitz, anyhow. It was wonderful.

To add to the celebration, I also reached out to a couple of folks on Facebook who are on my friends list, but with whom I seldom if ever converse. We have had a few days like this throughout the year, but I always enjoy them.

But let’s talk about that song. “My Ding-A-Ling” was Chuck Berry’s only number one hit, and that’s a piece of trivia that never fails to astound me. It was a novelty song, written in the 50s by Louisiana legend Dave Bartholomew. How it managed to become a hit, when all it contains are lyrics that refer to bells, but which could easily be mistaken for Chuck singing about his penis, is one of the weirdest flukes of rock history. Apparently Boston DJ Jim Connors was the driving force in getting this song spread around the country. Why? I have no idea. But for a short while in 1972, everyone seemed to embrace this double-entendre.

This world is fucking weird.

Today our daughter Abbey rejoins us. She was here to film us diving into a wading pool on January 1, and she’ll be here to throw bread at the wall with us when the year comes to a close. Here’s what we have on tap:

  • National Cocoa Day. We could enjoy chocolate of any variety, but the hot liquid kind is probably best with the forecast high of -16.
  • National Violin Day. I guess I’ll listen to some violin music.
  • National Day of the Horse. Riding an actual horse was a consideration, before the virus. And let’s face it, the weather.
  • Pick A Pathologist Pal Day. From what I’ve read on Facebook lately, it’s easy to be a doctor. Just say words, and call it your professional medical opinion.
  • National Ice Cream Day. Why the hell???
  • Worldwide Candle-Lighting Day. The fact that this happened to land in the middle of Hanukkah makes it an absolutely joyous coincidence.

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