34.7º N 92.2º W. Little Rock, in Central Arkansas, in the United States
7/10/17 – 7/30/17
The Holiday That Should Be
Here is what full summer is like here: It’s been almost 100 degrees day after day. Every afternoon a would-be-refreshing rain shower develops twenty miles away and I watch while it exhausts itself before it gets here. Not a flower is blooming in the yard except for the blessed crape myrtles overhead. Everything that could break in the heat has broken, and the budget is in tatters.
Day after day, day after day,
We stuck, nor breath nor motion;
As idle as a painted ship
Upon a painted ocean.
The last holiday was The Fourth of July, many days ago, and the next is Labor Day, many days away. We need an infusion of festivity here.
Let’s have an additional holiday. Let’s have it August 4th. That’s the midpoint between July 4th and Labor Day, September 4th, and this year it’s a Friday and would give us another three-day weekend! That’s something to celebrate right there, but we can also spice it up with a theme.
By fiat hereby there shall be Do Over Day. Since there are no original ideas, I’m pleased to borrow part of one from the south of France, and change it somewhat. I would like it if our new holiday is about a town parade behind a big, really big, effigy named Mistakes Man. He looks like a mix between a wonky giant and a mess. He is made of water soluble materials. The parade ends in late afternoon in the middle of the Broadway Bridge. There are drums and tambourines and big dissonant alpine cowbells, and all the people, with a great communal shout, join in throwing Mistakes Man into the river. He dissolves completely.
As the last trace of him melts, a new and even bigger effigy is heaving happily into sight: Do Over.
She’s basically the shape of a tomato hornworm but her skin is made of swathy pastel blues, turquoises, golds, and red-golds. She hunches herself toward the crowd, two yards per hunch, and when she arrives all the people turn away from staring down at the water where Mistakes Man was. We gather behind Do Over and follow her toward our dwellings and our festival suppers. We are singing a cappella a sweet simple folk song as the sun goes down.
Back at home we feast, of course, trying not to gobble the main courses too fast in anticipation of our traditional Do Over Day dessert. The Mommyselves have made it ahead of time in skillets handed down through the generations. And finally here it is: Raspberry Swirl Cake!
The recipe is no secret. It has been on Facebook. We want the world to know it:
Copyright 2017 Ruth Byrn