Saturday night was a curious mix of sound, celebration and intent. At the local tavern, St. Patrick's Day festivities were in full swing. A block over, in the community hall on the town common, the sounds of what may have been Tejano or mariachi music thumped loudly through my window. I had no desire to be at the tavern and I have no idea what they celebrating at the hall; perhaps a fundraiser or a wedding reception.
I'm pretty sure that the people at the tavern were not really celebrating the life and memory of St. Patrick. I didn't really expect that they would. But still, the thought of faux-Irish music and green beer...well, it gave me no reason to want to be there. As with many "holiday" celebrations in this country (Cinco de Mayo also comes to mind) the rapacious nature of consumer culture turns it into yet another overbearing push involving overindulgence in alcohol and food, stretched taut over a paper-thin surface of incomplete understanding. Green cardboard shamrock hat, anyone?
The other celebration or party, with the music, was more of a puzzle. While I wished they would turn down the volume (too much bass is not cool and only makes my head hurt) I was more interested in the reason for it. If I had not had my daughter with me for the weekend I would have sauntered over to the hall to peek in the windows, see what was going on. I could hear the shouts and squeals of children or young people, so my guess was a big party for family and friends. I don't know if any saints were involved.
Earlier in the evening I had put my daughter to bed after watching one of her favorite shows on the food channel. We had snuggled up on the couch with her collection of stuffed animals, she tucked in under a blanket. She declared that I "made a good footrest," some of the highest praise I've received in the months of my unemployment. We enjoyed our slice of time there, just us, no bother, no worry, no noise and clatter.
That which I truly want to celebrate has no need for the loud and the crass and the intoxicated. As I lay on my bed with the music vibrating through the walls, I wondered what Saint Patrick would really think of this day, and I wondered at my own desire to celebrate something meaningful. Then I had it. The gift I received today was the quiet time with the blood of my blood. Blessings abound in the silence between our words, and I prayed again in gratitude for the quiet.