It’s finally summertime, a season of fertility and relaxation we celebrate with holiday celebrations, fireworks, festivals, carnivals, heat exhaustion, sunburn and the occasional paralyzing drought.
But if you’re reading this, congratulations, you made it to June 21– the Holy Day of Summer Solsticity– the Official Start of Summer, by enduring some pretty wretched Spring holidays and observances. As we cast one eye ahead to our vacations, our parties and our oppressive heat indexes, let’s cast the other back at how we got through the Spring Holiday Season without killing someone. (And now we’re cross-eyed.)
We started on April 1, the patently useless April Fools’ Day. Nobody ever pulls off a decent prank on this date, nor will we if all we do is listen to every 6- to 11-year-old consistently falsifying the status of our shoelaces and trying to convince us there’s a giant booger-bug the size of a pancake in our hair. There’s a reason parents call it “Duct Tape Your Kids’ Mouths Shut Until April 2” day.
Surviving that, we moved on to Tax Day, April 15, which suddenly this year was replaced with something called Emancipation Day. Regrettably, and despite the name’s implication, Emancipation Day did not free Americans from our tax burden. But it did give Procrastination Nation an extra three days to do our taxes. Thanks, Abe! Your work here is done.
Which brings Christians to the strangest of the major American religious holidays, Easter. The season starts on Ash Wednesday, the first sign that Easter is on its way. Unless the Easter Bunny sees his shadow and gives up chocolate, cigarettes and cursing…then we are stuck with six more weeks of Lent.
The Lenten Season involves giving up something important to you or bad for you (both if it’s cheesecake), but the extent of our sacrifice is usually choking down meatless items like pirogues, Mrs. Paul’s fish sticks, and –worst — white face broccoli pizza for six consecutive Fridays.
Five consecutive Fridays, because I generally don’t observe Good Friday. Even though it’s technically the biggest sacrificing day of all. “It’th a day of fathting” I will remind my uber-Catholic wife through a third plate of gob-and-bacon sliders while she feels guilty about considering eating a watermelon seed.
Many are confused by the odd rituals associated with Easter such as the colored eggs, the bunny, but mostly the meal of traditional Hawaiian pizza toppings. Somewhere in the ancient texts Jesus mysteriously advised His people to eat syrupy, raisin-glazed ham and a pineapple/green bean/marshmallow casserole to celebrate His Resurrection. And we wonder why it was commonly thought the Last Supper.
Of course Grandma will also bring her standard Jello salad…cherry jello topped with whipped cream and filled with oranges, walnuts, peaches, peach pits, onions, fish bones, and car parts…served on a leaf of lettuce for texture. But we’d all rather just have another round of poi, chase it with a dozen Cadbury eggs, and go to May.
May starts with a less complicated holiday, Cinco de Mayo…neither a religious nor a political holiday in the US, May 5 is just a drinking holiday. I don’t drink, so this year a small group of friends gathered, and we built a modest fire, severed our arms and observed a low-key Cinco de Milo instead.
Speaking of severed arms, Mothers’ Day follows closely behind. It was our mothers who reminded us, among other things, that it was a bad idea to ride the school bus with our arms out the window. (Actually, that was an unnecessarily graphic school movie.) But our mothers did teach us other important life lessons, and here is one more…new fathers, you are responsible for your wife’s Mothers Day gift, even though she is no more your mother than is her iguana who craps on the floor every time you clean its cage. But still.
One last holiday we commemorated, Memorial Day, the Unofficial Start of Summer, when Americans take a solemn moment to remember to open the pools at their second homes. And something about wars.
June then arrives knowing its place. It spares us the commitment of any real holidays (really, Flag Day?) because it knows it’s Wedding Season and suffering one or two Bridezillas usually is more than any of us can handle.
So enjoy your summer, you’ve earned it. It’s a scant 91 days this year. Just tell Grandma we’ll handle the jello salad this time.