A scene from the Kirkpinar oil wrestling festival. Really, I can see why this intangible tradition needs to be preserved and cherished!
Recently, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) added 46 new "elements" to its list of the "Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity." These are customs and traditions, such as the gingerbread craft from Croatia or the Kırkpınar oil wrestling festival, that UNESCO considers as important to safeguard, in order to keep them alive and kicking.
Although quite a comprehensive list, I did happen to notice that, somehow, there were a few pretty tangible intangibles that seemed to have, for reasons that escape me, failed to have made the list so far. I'm sure it's simply an oversight. Maybe UNESCO just didn't receive the application in time? In any event, I'd like to suggest the following tradition:
The seasonal flagellation of Josie for throwing away my Summer Sausage Twenty-five years ago, back in the days before Josie was married to me and we were living in sin with Annie, she committed an unspeakable act. One night in April, when I was doing my finances, I had a hankering for a piece of the summer sausage my parents had given to me (as they do every Christmas) for some Hickory Farms summer sausage. However, when I checked in the fridge, THE SAUSAGE WAS GONE. Josie had thrown it away, since it was only a tiny stump, had been in the fridge for four months, and would probably have killed me. NO MATTER. Can you imagine how I felt? The pain, the sadness, the lack of summer sausage after a hard night of work? For this, every year for perpetuity, she shall be mocked and castigated, and her mortal sin shall be paraded out for all the world to see.
The annual reading of the Santa Ghost story on Christmas Eve On the night before Christmas, my kids don't ask me to read "The Night Before Christmas," but ask me to tell them the cherished story of a murderous psychopath who sneaks into Josie's house and tries to kill them at midnight. Each and every time, they defeat him, along with the help of the family pets. This is a critical part of this country's oral tradition that must be maintained.
My father singing "School Days" before the start of the new school year : My father's now an old man, so this is a really old part of this country's cultural heritage. His singing of the cherished song School Days on the first day of school continues to this day, whenever my sister Kerrie, a teacher, heads off for her first day of school in September.
Corbett's beloved "Walk the Dinosaur" dance When Corbett was only a small little Corby, he invented a dance to the one-hit wonder "Walk the Dinosaur" that involved moving his little blond head and using his hands like dinosaur paws. On occasion, if you're really quiet, hide in the brush, and play loud 80s music, you can see the native Corby come out and recreate these movements. It's a sight that only a privileged few can ever witness, because you really need to go deep into the native habitat of the Corby, but for those who have witnessed it, it is something they will cherish forever.
The Eldredge Players Singing of Paddy Murphy My theater group has a charming tradition that they trot out after each and every rehearsal. At some point in the night, around three beers into the evening at their favorite watering hole, someone will stand up and start belching out "The Night that Paddy Murphy Died," an old Irish ballad. Since I'm drunk by the time they start singing it, I have yet to learn all the words. PS: It sounds a lot better when drunk.
The annual family Thanksgiving fight I don't think this one is actually isolated to the town of Eldredge! But let's face it, after the turkey's eaten and the pumpkin pies have been consumed, who of us doesn't like to undo our belts, take off our shoes, and jump into a big ugly Thanksgiving fight? Things thrown, dark family secrets revealed, tears and wailing of teeth, drywall punched, slamming doors, screaming, someone leaving in a huff? By golly, it's a downright beloved American tradition! I know that we've had a few in our family (our last one involved me and Josie, and Ashes throwing her copy of The Outsiders out the front door). PS: It sounds a lot better when drunk.
Our summer sojourn to Canoby Lake Some people make pilgramages to the Holy Land. Others visit Rome. Me, I'm just happy visiting this amusement park in New Hampshire at least once during the summer with the kids. It reminds me of summer visits to a place called Rocky Point when I was a kid, except with a better view. Rides that make you nauseous, foods filled with grease and fat, and that exhausting, breathtaking ride on a wooden roller coaster right before the park closes...now that says summer to me.
The annual parade of women with inverted nipples Okay, I made this one up. But it sure sounds like a lot of fun!