The Band – It’s already been over a week since I saw (again) that classic Scorsese movie – The Last Waltz. This was the final performance of The Band, filmed by Martin Scorsese as much as a documentary as a concert. Shown on the 40th anniversary since that San Francisco concert, it’s still the best concert film ever made.

Aside from a wonderful lineup of artists, just listening to Levon Helm sing Robby Robertson’s classic The Weight (take a load off Annie) was worth the time.

My only regret was that our sound system wasn’t better than what this film deserved.

So, drinking my morning coffee, here I sit trying to gain insight into this week’s Ramblings, and I am still thinking about that anniversary film.

“Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing worth knowing can be taught.”~ Oscar Wilde

Our Grad – Two years of reading, writing, and many, many hours doing so at her ‘private’ table at Starbucks finally paid off; Graduation. Friday, December 9 Cathy took part in the Master’s Recognition Ceremony as she received her Masters in Health Administration degree from the University of Cincinnati.

Then, all the parents, Jason, along with Marin and Dinah shot into Kentucky to spend a more than pleasant evening at Mitchell’s Fish Market (Jason, Dinah, and Marin were invited in appreciation of their sacrifice as Cathy slogged along with hers). It’s times like these that add perfection to family and life. Congratulations Cathy – could not be more proud!

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Boar’s Head – yesterday morning, just as light began to break I found myself standing outside the city center’s Christ Church Cathedral at Fourth and Sycamore. Shortly, it was the welcoming sight of lights coming on and doors being unlocked; warmth. I was number 80 in line. 45-minutes later the waiting throng, now seated in the sanctuary, had swollen to over 500 and people were still streaming in. To make the wait easier the organist fired up the massive pipe organ, complete with horns and bells. So, we waited while being thrilled by a marvelous concert of traditional carols. It was still not yet 8:00 am.

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What was going on? It’s simple, Christ Church, for the past 77 years has put on – as a gift to the city – their annual Boar’s Head and Yule Log Festival.

Now celebrated continuously for 600 years, this festival dates its origins back to Queen’s College, Oxford, England in 1340. In medieval times the Boar was the king of the forest and even as far back as Roman times was hunted and the first course served at their feast table (think Turkey in our time).

Over the next 300-years a festival pageant had grown and begun to take shape, the one here features a cast of over 150 and 70+ behind the scenes. Quoting a document on the subject; “the traditional Boar’s Head Festival had grown to include lords, ladies, knights, historical characters, cooks, hunters, and pages. Eventually, shepherds and wise men were added to tell the story of the Nativity. The whole was embellished with additional carols, customs and accoutrements. Mince pie and plum pudding good King Wenceslas and his pages, a yule log lighted from the last year’s ember…all found a place and a symbolic meaning in the procession. This was the ceremony brought to colonial America by the Bouton family, persecuted French Huguenots who had learned of the custom during a period of exile in England.”

And so, here in the ‘Nati’ I found myself waiting for tickets – 2 maximum , along with an eager, cold but happy throng. Let it be said, I got 8th row seats for the final performance – 5:00PM New Year’s Day. Happy Birthday Marcia – your early (by one day) gift.

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We lost a favourite son – Here in a simple part of the nation, Ohio, we generated people who absolutely changed the course of our nation’s history. Eight Presidents – more than any other state, other than Virginia.

William Henry Harrison (died following a 2-hour inaugural speech – it was a chilling presentation)
Ulysses S. Grant
Rutherford B. Hayes
James A. Garfield
Benjamin Harrison
William McKinley
William Howard Taft
Warren G. Harding

But, like the Kinzu knife sales pitch, that’s not all folks. Our state was also home to Neil Armstrong who was the first human to set foot on the Moon. He came from a previously unknown little burg called, Wapakoneta and taught at the University of Cincinnati for years.

Then there was John Glenn from Cambridge, Ohio; fighter pilot during WWII and the Korean conflict, Test Pilot, in the first group of 7 ‘Mercury’ astronauts – and the first American to circle the earth in space.

His entry into space was at a time where the ‘experts’ gave his rocket a 20% chance of not clearing the launch pad and similar chances of his refrigerator sized capsule not surviving re-entry. He served 24-years as one of our two US Senators, and the oldest American to be in space at age 77. He passed away this week at age 95, truly a national treasure and a national hero.

Jason discussed maybe later this week taking Marin out of school and heading for Columbus where Glenn will lie in state – I think Glenn’s contributions need to be passed on to the next generation. Godpeed John Glenn R.I.P..

Finis – This evening it’ll be dinner of “the group of four”; four families, friends who for years lived within a block from one another. Times have changed. Three of the four have moved. Three have compartmentalized themselves into condos – or should that be ‘downsized’?

Make it a great week everyone.

Cheers.

Dirk

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