Unashamedly inspired by (it’s on our Christmas Mix):
Today is the feast day of St. Jerome, patron saint of librarians, translators and encyclopedists. The Preus Library article by Jane Kemp skillfully describes his life and library:
St. Jerome’s personal library was considered to be the most important private collection of the period. He was a great bibliophile, interested in collecting both pagan and Christian books. His learning was considered unequaled during the time he lived since he was an insatiable reader and had a phenomenal memory for what he learned. Finally, his scholarship broke new ground with his translations of the Bible and Biblical commentaries.
If you’ve never lived in Philadelphia then you, like me, have never heard of the Mummers Parade – perhaps the oldest folk festival in the U.S. The Mummers Parade happens on New Years Day, and is based on the Mummers Play tradition from the U.K. and Ireland, which is one of several begging traditions from around Christmas and New Years.
Though the Mummers Parade has been broadcast locally since 1993 and digitally streamed since 2011, it seems to have had far less fan fair than the West coast’s Rose Parade. I hate to think this is because of football.
Thanksgiving has always felt important to me, though I could never really articulate why. It means more and more to me as I get older. It is like all harvest celebrations, where historically we have been grateful for food enough to live the winter. Our circumstances have changed for the most part, but pausing to give thanks, to any and all powers you believe are responsible, is beautiful. A nation doing it together is beautiful.
Lately, I think we and our government need to be reminded of the great ideals our country was built upon. So here:
Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th. day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be. That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks, for his kind care and protection of the People of this country previous to their becoming a Nation, for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his providence, which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war, for the great degree of tranquillity, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed, for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted, for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.
And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions, to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually, to render our national government a blessing to all the People, by constantly being a government of wise, just and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed, to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shown kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord. To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease of science among them and Us, and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.79
– George Washington, October 3, 1789, Thanksgiving proclamation at the Library of Congress.
And the conversation goes something like this:
Alvin (yeah, all grown up): “What are you supposed to be?”
Annie: “I’m a gorgon, you know – Medusa- What are you?”
Alvin: “Ah, um, I dunno – an army dude?”
Annie: “An army dude…because of cammo pants? Why didn’t you even try?”
Levi: “Hair’s too long, kid.”
Annie: “It’s not just that – not that you’re any better. I mean, you really went all out with that makeup.”
Levi: “Thank you!”
Annie: “I was being sarcastic.”
Alvin: “Are those snakes real?”
Annie: “Of course not.”
Alvin: “I think one just hissed at me.”
I’m a little late for ‘happy new year!’ but it is the year of the snake for 10 or so more months.
Oh, yeah, the whole story of original sin/human acquisitions of knowledge is fascinating to me. Thus the apple.
I don’t know how I could have forgotten about Wondermark, but I was reminded a little bit ago and had this comic open in a tab for a over a week now. I’m sorry I’ve been keeping it to myself. It’s not too late after Halloween, is it?