This morning I am watching leaves as they bid goodbye to their host of many months. Brown with age, they are being lifted on the wind to a new home on the surface of the grass, their greener friends still in place and seeming to wave at the aged ones below. The freed leaves tumble along with a steady north wind, their ultimate destination subject to the directional whim of the wind, much like all parts of nature, including our own lives at times. The leaves and their fall ritual reminds me that I don’t much care for ritual. I never have really been one to revel in doing things just because we always have. But wait, now that I have actually typed that thought I realize it is inaccurate to a fault. I should have said I dislike particular traditions. Others I enjoy.
I really do like watching the World Series each year and have no quarrel with it, only joy and contentment, except for the incredibly annoying and hyper-self important commentary of Joe Morgan.
I really don’t like Christmas. I really don’t, and I think many others don’t like it as well. I’m not talking about religious significance. I’m talking about the travel to relatives; travel that is expected of you, or you land in the family dog house. My mom’s dog house is a big one. She can fit lots of wayward in there and I understand she is considering adding a couple of rooms. I’m talking about the sister-in-law’s that are amazingly shallow. The ones that think clever conversation is to discuss Oprah’s best shows, followed by expressing genuine reflections about life and Oprah. Or, seeing the same green jello thing with sliced bananas in it that some damn body makes; now 27 years in a row. I never asked who is making this stuff, but it appears that it is a family member that hasn’t passed yet. Or, having to listen to my mom’s second husband who appears to believe that evil is committed and the world is unsafe unless he is talking non-stop about himself, all the while mistakenly assuming that I am the very best listener in the family.
I really do enjoy new green grass in the spring. The scent of the green never fails to remind me of baseball. I go into my garage and stare at the two very large plastic buckets of new baseballs. These are the seldom used balls that survived my years of coaching. I always take one out and carry it in the house with me. I imagine them all raising their hands and saying “take me this time, take me!” Only one gets to go into the house each spring. I love that tradition.
I don’t like praying in public. For all of you that read here, you know that I own a strong spirituality, and still this one gives me the ‘heebies’. I think it began in my youth, listening to male relatives pray before meals using the same worn phrases and prayer clichés. At some point in my youth I ran across the bible quote about always praying in a closet and not making a public spectacle of praying. I like this idea better than the overreaching and bizarre prayers that come out of some people’s consciousness. Now as a family male elder, I am called on for the Christmas or Thanksgiving prayer and I tell you I detest having to do this. Bear in mind that refusing the task results in permanent dog house status with 2 padlocks on the door, a bowl of water and no food. I think of public praying much like I think about public dancing. The amateurs should very definitely leave this task to a professional. At all times.
There you have it; 2 ‘dislikes’ and 2 ‘likes’ about traditions, anyone see a pattern?