Saturday, October 31, 2009

Musings-November 2009

Musings . . .

Wasn’t it just April a bit ago? Oh, and then a couple of months later there was the summer jaunt to the Florida beaches. Yes, and then school started and football—but how can November already be here?! This month’s ready-or-not-here-I-am insistence has caught us off guard. However, always on board for good causes, good times, and good news, we are ready to rally ‘round November’s numerous noteworthy events and holidays—our voting responsibilities on Election Day; our measureless gratitude to fallen, former, and still-fighting American soldiers on Veterans Day; and our celebration of the blessings in our lives on Thanksgiving.

While on the subject of blessings, what inestimable blessings befall us, both as family and community, when our children-turned-professionals choose to come back to their hometowns to establish residence and share with us their lives and their talents. With economic opportunities attracting and awaiting them elsewhere, what is it that brings these young professionals with their burgeoning families back home? Certainly a job market that provides lucrative positions for the levels of shills and degrees they’ve acquired.

Beyond this, though, lies the utopia of having immediate and extended family next door, down the street, across town, or a ten-minute drive away to enfold, nurture, and provide a support system as it instills family values and family traditions. For these returning young couples and their children, how rich will be their growing-up and growing-old years, enjoying first-hand and hands-on their grandparents, great aunts and uncles, aunts and uncles, and cousins galore—not to mention the sisterhood and brotherhood of their moms’ and dads’ friends, deemed “real characters” from grade school. These shared times will not be semi- or quadri-annual catch-up sessions, but instead the literal multi-weekly times of their lives that frame the most phenomenal memories and foster the dearest affections.

In one of our feature articles this month, we spotlight a sampling of these families in Vicksburg, Mississippi, who, with all respect to Thomas Wolfe, have come home again and are thriving in the welcoming arms of their families, friends, and hometowns. Many of our communities are experiencing a similar return of their young professionals, a trend we hope continues on the rise—and surely to be counted a blessing this Thanksgiving--in our lives along and beyond the Mississippi.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Musings-October 2009

Just as the last quarter of football brings fans the excitement of the game’s final moments, so the last quarter of each year promises the most exciting occasions as October brims with festivals and a myriad of autumn events and ushers in the heavyweights of 09’s holiday season.
October’s fun fests and fabulous fairs furnish the perfect panacea for the stress and worries many of us share over the political, economic, and moral pulse of our nation. Putting these cares at bay, festivals surround us with a plethora of positives—perky attitudes, friendly faces, enthusiastic involvement, and a delectable array of fest and fair food, all at no or minimal cost—totally fun-filled days and weekends away from our often too real lives.
For centuries, festivals have brought light-hearted moments to pressure-filled and hope-full times. From the root of our western-world culture, comes the tradition of the ancient Greeks’ using the Dionysian festival to release the tension of their worries and coax the god to grant more productive vineyards and heartier harvests. Also to honor their gods and win their favor, early African tribes staged elaborate pre-planting and pre-harvest festivals to insure the success of their crops, the core of their economy. On the much less urgent side, the Middle Ages gave us May Day festivals, celebrating spring and fertility, and jousting festivals, celebrating knights and warriors’ bravado—virtually any “serious” excuse to go a-festivaling!
And, far be it for us to break with a centuries-old and multi-continent tradition! Granted, festivals now are more of a diversion than a dire need, yet they serve a purpose similar to those of ancient and storied times: They bless us with respite from our “cares and woes,” lighten our hearts, and renew our spirits.
So, this October, do your part to preserve and promote tradition. Take time to “take a load off”; enjoy the festivals; and revel in your communities’ social, theatrical, artistic, and charitable events. However, save some of that energy and enthusiasm for October’s spirited, curtain-call celebration—Halloween—the holiday season’s debut. Of course, even on Halloween, festivals will abound as All Hallow’s Eve honors its spooks and spirits, witches and warlocks, ghouls and goblins and then puts them to rest, issuing in Thanksgiving, Hannukuh, and Christmas. What an exciting month at hand and what exciting months to come in our lives along and beyond the Mississippi!