I loathe the 24 hours of Dec. 21-22, 2021. And it has nothing to do with this year. I hate Dec. 21 every year and have since before I knew the whole planetary explanation of why I detest the day. (Reason is because the Earth is tilted some 23 degrees and so; oh, go research it.) In a nutshell, Dec. 21 marks the shortest day and longest night of the year. It is called the Winter Solstice (see above) and, as said before, I abhor these 24 hours.
The long daylight hours of the Summer Solstice (see above) fall on June 21 and, in my opinion, should be declared a national holiday just because who doesn’t love sunlight and all it offers humans compared to the shadowy world of nighttime? I absolutely rejoice on March 21 every year, whence cometh the equality of the Vernal Equinox (see above) knowing we have come from long cold, dark nights to a guaranteed 12 hours of wonderful daylight; and in the knowledge that we are but one season away from the bliss of the long sunny days of summer.
There is another reason that late March holds for me, in memory mostly but it crops up in my psyche every once so often, as that was when every two years we elementary students in the 1960s in Greenfield (and I assume in schools throughout the state) were subjected to the CATs; no, not the felines or the Broadway musical (I know, I know; hadn’t been written yet, but I’m a theater rat, so I always have a show plug ready), these were the California Achievement Tests.
These little academic exercises were designed to determine our individual aptitudes in relation to our actual achievements; so, what you were capable of compared to what your report card reflected. This was a bad time for me; as far as I was concerned these cats were ratfinks. When the results of these little snitch tests were available to the school, there was the inevitable conference where I came to hate the word “potential” (still wince when I hear it) and I heard it every two years when applied to why my grades showed Cs and the occasional B and my test results registered in the upper numbers (in most but not all categories), which caused my “percentiles” to reveal that I was “not making use of his potential” or “not living up to his potential.” As I said, ratfink cats. But I digress.
And as much as I find comfort during the Spring, I feel a darkening discomfort on the 21st of September when the Autumnal Equinox (see above) is “Herald of the Longdark,” the time when the sunshine days begin to wane. O, Wretched Foreteller of Dark Hours Ahead! From then on, the year is all downhill until, alas and alack, we are here again, Winter Solstice, the shortest day, the longest night. It is written in the stars this will occur for many moons to come, so I suppose now in my remaining years I either get used to it or continue to be grumpy on this day. Long history tells me the latter will win out.
Of late I have begun to pare down some of my civic activities and commitments, so I assumed the past Fourth of July parade would be the last that I would announce. I have lost count of just exactly how many parades I have announced since the early 1990s, but it is somewhere around 28 to 30 involving three of the Valley towns.
But as many of you know, Hermie Robles Medina, who as co-chair of the 2021 Lighted Christmas Parade was set to announce the parade, passed away suddenly a few days before the event, leaving many in town shocked and saddened. With a void then in the announcer’s stand, the Chamber staff asked if I could fill in. With the able assistance of Raye-Ann Houx and Lincoln Hatch, we did our best to aid in bringing a wonderful parade to the citizens and I feel we honored Hermie’s memory as best we could.
That was Friday night, and on the following day I was involved with a new and exciting event held at Richard and Sharon Casey’s Redtail Ranch up in Pine Canyon. The event was billed as “Bethlehem Experience” and, as the name implies, was a telling of the Christmas story, the birth of a child foretold for many years by prophets of old. This nativity story was wonderfully done by Sol Treasures staff and supporters, with costumed actors, manger animals and a wonderful children’s choir led by the incomparable John Munsee.
In the garb of a Roman Centurion, tax collector, I was the only “heavy” in the cast; everyone else filled roles of the major players: Joseph, Mary, the Magi and others who followed the star to the ancient city of King David’s birth. While I enjoy any role and do my best to play it right, I will admit here that I was a lousy tax collector, as I let many keep the gold shekel they were given upon entrance; let them be considered the earliest Christmas presents. Maybe at next year’s event a tougher tax collector will relieve them of it.
I want to close with a note on the above event. There was some discussion regarding one of the actors and the appropriateness of that person being involved due to alleged accusations of past legal misconduct. It is the opinion of this writer that when such an issue arises that it be kept local and dealt with locally. Postings of such content on social media sites allows the whole world to be aware and that is not how to handle sensitive local issues, as such postings can be invitation to involvement by outside, unknown influences which may cause detriment to any community.
Take care. Peace.