Celebrating the solstice, the season, grammar, and a poem
By Chuck Wiser, I write the words to share what my eyes see and my heart feels
Given all of the holidays that we celebrate, Christmas is likely the most joyous. It is celebrated worldwide and has a couple of spin offs tied into it. Given its highly emotional effect on people its downside is likewise potentially the most heart breaking. The true meaning of the joyous day has no downside, but the practice of gift giving introduces the potential for disappointment, grief, or stress, as we ponder the receipt or giving. I won’t delve any deeper into that as my upbeat feelings shall prevail.
Today is the “winter solstice,” by definition, the shortest day and longest night of the year. As noted in a previous article featuring the various solstice dates, winter is the most inflexible as it nearly always is on the 21st, but occasionally may also occur on the 20th. Given my birth on the 20th of December my mother would likely have felt that the 20th of December in 1945 was the longest. I will close out this Wrambling with the last mention of December births, with whom the many I share this distinction.
Taking poetic license, I will refer to anything spreading from late October until March as being the “winter season.” Sometimes it is felt to be that way, sometimes climatological phenomena dictate otherwise. So far this winter season we have had relatively mild weather. Here in Scio, NY we have had only one “measurable” snow accumulation as the weather reporters say. I refer to that amount as being “shovelable.” If we have to endure the colder weather, I would just as soon have occasional days with shovelable snow. If we must have it at all, it might as well afford us an opportunity to play in it or shovel it. My gut feeling is that the snow mobile owners are going to be disappointed this year.
Along with the winter season we are blessed with the “music season.” Starting with Thanksgiving when the song Jingle Bells originally was introduced. We most likely have the greatest accumulation of songs, hymns, and carols in December. I have been blessed not necessarily with the talent, but at least with the opportunity, to share that music via Barbershop sing-outs with the Maple City Barbershop Chorus, formal holiday season performances with the Genesee Valley Chorus and weekly choir and anthem renditions with Grace United Church. Holiday music singing starts typically in grade school and progresses up through the adult versions such as those I note. My earliest recollection of formal group singing goes back to about the 3rd or 4th grade at Friendship Central School (FCS), where we learned, and sang, the song I Believe. Next recollection is my 6th grade music learning at FCS where the music teacher Mr. Millen (sp) advised me that “you are not breathing.” That is also my first recollection of arguing with a teacher. I argued that I must be “breathing” as I was still alive. His counter was that I wasn’t “breathing” technically, just “sucking in air.” I wonder though, do they still sing about the Erie Canal? Later singing adventures introduced my problem with that in exercising “breath control” attempting to avoid taking a breath in the middle of a sung phrase. Loud exclamations of “sucking in air” apparently are not permissible at the higher level of singing either.
Scanner Notes: Multiple emergency service call-outs continue in perpetuity, at those places previously noted throughout the Allegany County “emergency dispatch” area. A couple of recent, and recurring instances involve callouts to schools or business establishments noting an “Automatic Alarm” going off at those establishments. False Alarms often result in nearly immediate call backs. One of the most frequent call back occurrences happens when they are merely “testing their alarm system.” Why, I wonder, isn’t the related emergency dispatch system advised of the test prior to its activation, eliminating, or at least reducing the need for a “call out.” Perhaps the response by emergency response personnel is a desired outcome of the test, so in that case I guess a full response is warranted. I’m just wondering.
I have noted previously that one of the motivations of my Wramblings is to ask those questions or discuss those items that many people share. That is often validated when I get a reader response to my invitation of same, that they also often wondered about that. I have recently changed my general contact email address to email@example.com .
When I see a posted or published picture of a group of people familiar to me, I often scan the names of those listed trying to identify who is where. The list of names is very helpful in allowing me to identify a person of interest by counting in so many places from the left or right in the 1st, 2nd or 3rd row to be able to place that person. I notice lately that, more often than not, there either are no names listed, or if there is, their individual positioning isn’t identified. In the case of school age children and not wanting (or allowed) to post the names this is the practice. But, if it’s the members of say, a community singing group, is it now becoming common practice to not identify people, so as to place them in the group?
We recently received one of our current “actual reading” service bills. For the past three billing cycles we were charged, and paid, bills in the three number dollar amount range. This recent bill was for less than $25. That was kind of bittersweet in that I was giving the utility company “my money to play with” through the 3 previous billing cycles. I guess they are doing what they tried to get us to do, by way of paying a “budgeted” monthly fixed rate.
My Grammar Groan segment today dwells on word prefixes again. The use of some is self-explanatory such as in the use of “non.” That obviously means “not.” When then do you, or the word inventors decide to use “in” vs “un” vs “en”? I take great pleasure in writing the word “inundated” as it uses two of them, as do some other words. It begs the question of who invented the word popularized many decades ago as a spelling bee word “antidisestablishmentarianism.” That one can be reduced to the meaning and adjustment of same with all of the prefixes and suffixes.
My editor popped my ego balloon the other day when he advised that “many people liked my Wramblings, but some didn’t.” I was crushed. Not really! I am, however, honored that you take the time to at least read far enough into my piece to be able to make that judgement. I think that if I were reading my comments published under a different pseudonym, I would shake my head and tear up the script, or tear up, to try and wash my eyes out to erase the thought. My closing will be the last “December Birth” poem of the year. I wish for all of you reading. Or not to “Have a Very, Merry Christmas ❣️ ”