Easter (The Holiday Trinity)

In the spirit of resurrection, I thought I’d resurrect this piece from Easter 2014.  It only took me five years.  – Ben Gannon

holyweek

I’m going Holy on my readers’ butts today.  Don’t change that website.  Not to worry, there will be no preaching.  That’s not my style.
As many of you know, this week is considered Holy Week for those believing in the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Looking back upon my Catholic upbringing, believe it or not, I enjoyed this week, concluding with Easter Sunday, more than Christmas. Palm Sunday is where it all begins.  Unlike Christmas when it is traditional for some to unwrap one gift on Christmas Eve, you receive a gift on Sunday, a full week before Easter proper.  The congregation meets outside for a prayer and all parishioners are given a palm representing the greeting Jews provided Jesus when he arrived in Jerusalem.  According to the bible, they waved them like banners at a ballgame, then respectfully laid them on the ground before him like a green carpet while he began his journey to crucification.  Don’t worry, I’ll try not to provide anymore misinformation regarding the bible and I’m certainly not becoming a Catholic Missionary.  These are just fond memories when I actually learned and appreciated the finer points of attending mass.

Faithfully, I showed up and participated for over thirty years without missing a Sunday, even while we were on vacation, and even more miraculous, when I attended college at Washington State University.  This was especially miraculous because my father and mother weren’t there to force me to go.  Prayer and tithing, even if tithing consisted of a two for one Burger King Whopper discount coupon, were the only two reasons I graduated from a University annually placed in the top ten list of the nation’s leading party schools. (Quite a dubious honor.)  One of my roommates was Catholic, so we would attend Saturday evening mass and then proceed to defile ourselves until two or three in the morning.  I digress.  Let’s get back to this Holy Week.

Once you receive your palm, you enter the church and proceed to follow along with the same readings you have heard the last ten years of your life.  However, it was simple to avoid the Sunday Snooze because you held this palm in your hand.  Traditionally, you and your brothers and sisters would spend the next hour in the pew fashioning a cross from the palm’s strips.  It was a fun competition to see who could create the finest cross someone could die upon.  Mine would commonly turn out looking like the letter X draped with seaweed.  Even Jesus would have taken exception to carrying this thing around.  “Uhh, yeah, I don’t mean to complain, that’s really not in my nature to do so, but is it possible I die on something a little more…..well, cross like instead of cross eyed?  Great.  Thanks.”  Those crosses, mangled or not would adorn our mantle for the year.  They would then be burned and used as ashes for Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, the same day one is asked to give up something significant, like beer, for forty days.  This made Easter Sunday, the day Lent ends, especially sacred for the adults who tackled this forty day sacrifice. After Palm Sunday Mass, you then began thinking about Easter Sunday and the hunt.

Before Easter Sunday, there is slight speed bump referred to as Good Friday.  This is the day Christians commemorate the passion, or suffering, of His death on the cross.  Didn’t seem so good to me.  As a youngster, I didn’t understand the Holy Day’s name, and I am still a bit confused.  After Good Friday has passed, you picture Easter Eggs so big they’d make ostrich eggs look like gall stones.  One more day of planning your strategic backyard hunting scheme.  This was basically how I could outwit my two older brothers.  Stay as far away from them as possible. That was my only hope.  They were bonafide egg thieves.

I loved the hunt almost as much as the deviled eggs mom would fabricate shortly after.  As for the Easter Bunny, I never believed in that crap.  I didn’t want to.  Since we were coloring the eggs, I figured it out pretty quickly.  Mom and Dad would never let some creepy rabbit in our house to gather our eggs and hide them in our backyard.  If a large bipedal rabbit did enter our house, one of my brothers, having a midnight snack, would grab a shotgun and go Elmer Fudd on that rabbit’s ass.  The only rabbits in our house were made out of chocolate.  For my brother, Tom, those chocolate rabbits had to be solid.  As our resident chocoholic, Tom refused to eat the ones which were hollowed out of bounds.  That was too chocolate ghetto for him. This is also followed by a feast which would include ham, turkey and all the necessary fixings.  We had mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, gravy, hot rolls, fruit salad, stuffing, and I need to stop, because I am now feeling Catholic guilt and shame remembering so many other families in our humble neighborhood who didn’t have the means for this.  Crap.  Thanks Catholicism.

Now, if you think about it, to solidify my point, I felt like this was the trinity of holidays.  It wasn’t just the Father, Son, and The Holy Spirit, Amen.  It was Easter, Christmas and Thanksgiving all rolled into one.  There were gifts, there was a phony character called the Easter Bunny, there was an enormous feast, there was family, and there was Sunday Mass where Deviled Eggs were dancing in your skull.  Can you want or wish for anything more?  Yes, you can. Once you grow old enough to be the one hiding the eggs, rather than hunting for them (always a proud moment for the youngest in the family), you realize how fun and satisfying it is to hold the hand of the youngest niece or nephew helping them find enough eggs to rival their elders.  We always tried to keep the competition fairly equal to avoid any tears.  There will be NO crying on Easter!  You know why?  BECAUSE THERE’S NO CRYING ON EASTER!  (Thanks, Tom Hanks.) All these children were so wildly happy…..and all just to find a few eggs.

Ultimately, when you grow to investigate the true meaning, or story if you wish, it is as inspirational of a story one can read and disbelieve, read and question, or read and believe.  I choose to believe.  It gives you hope when you are down.  It gives you faith when you have fallen.  It gives you the genuine will necessary when your life seems to have spiraled out of control and you feel lost and thus beaten.  But, then, you ponder this story and think, “For crying out loud, this dude rose from the dead!  I think I can get off this dirty floor before the count of ten and keep fighting for a better life for myself and others.”  Or, you may just find that your head is up your ass for an unusually large amount of time.  If that occurs, think about the Resurrection of Jesus, grab a great big wad of your hair, if you still have some, and pull your head out.  Maybe, just maybe, that’s what Easter is all about.

Happy Easter

Want alerts for the latest Wildman posts?  Follow Swing Like A Wildman (@bengannon13) on Twitter via https://twitter.com/BenGannon13.
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Easter (The Holiday Trinity)

In the spirit of resurrection, I thought I’d resurrect this piece from Easter 2014.  It only took me five years.  – Ben Gannon

holyweek

I’m going Holy on my readers’ butts today.  Don’t change that website.  Not to worry, there will be no preaching.  That’s not my style.
As many of you know, this week is considered Holy Week for those believing in the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Looking back upon my Catholic upbringing, believe it or not, I enjoyed this week, concluding with Easter Sunday, more than Christmas. Palm Sunday is where it all begins.  Unlike Christmas when it is traditional for some to unwrap one gift on Christmas Eve, you receive a gift on Sunday, a full week before Easter proper.  The congregation meets outside for a prayer and all parishioners are given a palm representing the greeting Jews provided Jesus when he arrived in Jerusalem.  According to the bible, they waved them like banners at a ballgame, then respectfully laid them on the ground before him like a green carpet while he began his journey to crucification.  Don’t worry, I’ll try not to provide anymore misinformation regarding the bible and I’m certainly not becoming a Catholic Missionary.  These are just fond memories when I actually learned and appreciated the finer points of attending mass.

Faithfully, I showed up and participated for over thirty years without missing a Sunday, even while we were on vacation, and even more miraculous, when I attended college at Washington State University.  This was especially miraculous because my father and mother weren’t there to force me to go.  Prayer and tithing, even if tithing consisted of a two for one Burger King Whopper discount coupon, were the only two reasons I graduated from a University annually placed in the top ten list of the nation’s leading party schools. (Quite a dubious honor.)  One of my roommates was Catholic, so we would attend Saturday evening mass and then proceed to defile ourselves until two or three in the morning.  I digress.  Let’s get back to this Holy Week.

Once you receive your palm, you enter the church and proceed to follow along with the same readings you have heard the last ten years of your life.  However, it was simple to avoid the Sunday Snooze because you held this palm in your hand.  Traditionally, you and your brothers and sisters would spend the next hour in the pew fashioning a cross from the palm’s strips.  It was a fun competition to see who could create the finest cross someone could die upon.  Mine would commonly turn out looking like the letter X draped with seaweed.  Even Jesus would have taken exception to carrying this thing around.  “Uhh, yeah, I don’t mean to complain, that’s really not in my nature to do so, but is it possible I die on something a little more…..well, cross like instead of cross eyed?  Great.  Thanks.”  Those crosses, mangled or not would adorn our mantle for the year.  They would then be burned and used as ashes for Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, the same day one is asked to give up something significant, like beer, for forty days.  This made Easter Sunday, the day Lent ends, especially sacred for the adults who tackled this forty day sacrifice. After Palm Sunday Mass, you then began thinking about Easter Sunday and the hunt.

Before Easter Sunday, there is slight speed bump referred to as Good Friday.  This is the day Christians commemorate the passion, or suffering, of His death on the cross.  Didn’t seem so good to me.  As a youngster, I didn’t understand the Holy Day’s name, and I am still a bit confused.  After Good Friday has passed, you picture Easter Eggs so big they’d make ostrich eggs look like gall stones.  One more day of planning your strategic backyard hunting scheme.  This was basically how I could outwit my two older brothers.  Stay as far away from them as possible. That was my only hope.  They were bonafide egg thieves.

I loved the hunt almost as much as the deviled eggs mom would fabricate shortly after.  As for the Easter Bunny, I never believed in that crap.  I didn’t want to.  Since we were coloring the eggs, I figured it out pretty quickly.  Mom and Dad would never let some creepy rabbit in our house to gather our eggs and hide them in our backyard.  If a large bipedal rabbit did enter our house, one of my brothers, having a midnight snack, would grab a shotgun and go Elmer Fudd on that rabbit’s ass.  The only rabbits in our house were made out of chocolate.  For my brother, Tom, those chocolate rabbits had to be solid.  As our resident chocoholic, Tom refused to eat the ones which were hollowed out of bounds.  That was too chocolate ghetto for him. This is also followed by a feast which would include ham, turkey and all the necessary fixings.  We had mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, gravy, hot rolls, fruit salad, stuffing, and I need to stop, because I am now feeling Catholic guilt and shame remembering so many other families in our humble neighborhood who didn’t have the means for this.  Crap.  Thanks Catholicism.

Now, if you think about it, to solidify my point, I felt like this was the trinity of holidays.  It wasn’t just the Father, Son, and The Holy Spirit, Amen.  It was Easter, Christmas and Thanksgiving all rolled into one.  There were gifts, there was a phony character called the Easter Bunny, there was an enormous feast, there was family, and there was Sunday Mass where Deviled Eggs were dancing in your skull.  Can you want or wish for anything more?  Yes, you can. Once you grow old enough to be the one hiding the eggs, rather than hunting for them (always a proud moment for the youngest in the family), you realize how fun and satisfying it is to hold the hand of the youngest niece or nephew helping them find enough eggs to rival their elders.  We always tried to keep the competition fairly equal to avoid any tears.  There will be NO crying on Easter!  You know why?  BECAUSE THERE’S NO CRYING ON EASTER!  (Thanks, Tom Hanks.) All these children were so wildly happy…..and all just to find a few eggs.

Ultimately, when you grow to investigate the true meaning, or story if you wish, it is as inspirational of a story one can read and disbelieve, read and question, or read and believe.  I choose to believe.  It gives you hope when you are down.  It gives you faith when you have fallen.  It gives you the genuine will necessary when your life seems to have spiraled out of control and you feel lost and thus beaten.  But, then, you ponder this story and think, “For crying out loud, this dude rose from the dead!  I think I can get off this dirty floor before the count of ten and keep fighting for a better life for myself and others.”  Or, you may just find that your head is up your ass for an unusually large amount of time.  If that occurs, think about the Resurrection of Jesus, grab a great big wad of your hair, if you still have some, and pull your head out.  Maybe, just maybe, that’s what Easter is all about.

Happy Easter

Want alerts for the latest Wildman posts?  Follow Swing Like A Wildman (@bengannon13) on Twitter via https://twitter.com/BenGannon13.
Posted in Food/Cooking, friends, Holidays, Inspired by Real Events | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Twix

January 20th, 1980. This is when I lost my first official bet to an adult.  He was our neighbor and friend.  He also knew how to take advantage of a 7 year old.

Bill was a friendly man.  He was also voraciously serious about gambling, fishing and chocolate. We’ll get back to that.

Walking over to his house at the age of seven, I offered him a wager.  I placed money I didn’t have on a Super Bowl game:   The Los Angelas Rams vs. the Pittsburg Steelers. I took the Rams and lost.  Our bet was a candy bar.

Convinced he was past posting,  thinking he’d seen the game before it was televised, I tried to call him on that.  Ultimately, I was wrong, and further, even worse, I was forced to ask my father for a loan.  Their were two options for me.  He could take me behind the chicken coop and give me a whooping or I could clean his room.  My old man wasn’t in favor of butt whooping so he convinced me to clean his room.  I did, and he gave me a dollar.  My old man and I were square, but I still had to travel almost three blocks to purchase the candy bar, which was happily refused but respected by our neighbor.

Fast forward to 2019, February, 3rd. I lost a bet to my brother,Tom.  I bet on the Los Angelas Rams against the Patriots.  Instead of a candy bar, I owe him twenty dollars.  Times are heavy and so is inflation.  The money I owe him will pay his dues for March Madness.

If I didn’t pay him, he’d be going all around Chicago and telling people I was a welch.  I wouldn’t able to get a game of jacks.  (of course, that’s from The Sting)

Suckered at the age of seven and forty seven.  Guilty as charged.  O and two barbecue, I will never bet on the Rams again.

It’s funny a Twix bar comes in a package of two.

 

 

Posted in Family, gambling, Inspired by Real Events, money/finance, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Viruses

Years ago, I used to get the 24 hour flu.  After my first year of teaching middle school, I developed an immunity.  In fact, the only two sick days I remember taking after fifteen years of teaching was when my brother broke my ribs.

Yesterday, after watching part to the Academy Awards, I quickly caught the Oscar Virus, commonly provided  by wives who convince their husbands to suffer through this wonderful display of narcissism.  After a half hour, I seriously was sweating, had the chills, and felt nauseous.  After three and a half hours, the 3 and a half hour virus passed through my system like ex lax chased with Cheetos.

Don’t get me wrong, I love movies.  However, I only watched one of the movies involved in the ceremony.  That disqualifies me from sending in a ballot.  Oh well, I probably deserve it after making my wife suffer through countless athletic events.  I don’t think she felt sorry for me.  Actually, she did which made it worse.

I’d like to thank the Academy for playing the music before I write any more of this drivel.

Posted in Inspired by Real Events, movies | Leave a comment

Of Hot Wheels and Wrestling

It’s that time of year for anticipation and participation,  Most adults anticipate while others participate.  I give thanks and grace to those participating, especially because most of those participating are children.  Unfortunately, one of the dimmest of those children golfs in a White House.  Since I can’t digress from that, I will elevate to a different level: youth wrestling.

Twenty years ago, I witnessed one of the most spectacular feats in sports.  It wasn’t the thrill of victory or the agony of defeat, it was the apathy of entertainment.  While attending a youth wrestling event, one of which my nephew was participating in, we were forced to watch others wrestle in between the six hundred gallons of Gatorade provided between matches.  After a urine intermission, we were awaiting my nephew’s match.  The eight year  old entering the mat was carrying his hot wheels and placed them strategically on the mat as though they were a symbol of comfort.  The official allowed them to be present and within the first four seconds of the match, the boy owning the hot wheels was on his back prepared to be pinned.  Not no fast.  Before you are pinned, both shoulder blades  must remain on the mat before the match is concluded.  He kept one shoulder off the mat while he played with his hot wheels simultaneously.  Rolling them back and forth, it looked like he didn’t have a care in the the world.  For me, it would look like I had just been been bitten by a rattle snake.  It was beautiful. If only we could hear him whistling while displaying such a courageous act of relaxation.

Forgive me if I did not describe this properly while providing an adequate picture in your brain.  I have been to the Sistine Chapel.  The Chapel was mere child’s play compared to the art I witnessed that day.  Chin pinched to the front of his scapula, a  boy desperately struggling to keep his shoulder off the mat to save his hot wheels wasn’t worth the trip to
Rome.  He built that Valley mat in less than a day.,

 

Posted in Inspired by Real Events, wrestling | Leave a comment

My Hometown

I won’d disclose his name or the city, but my friend, Vic, described it, and the city of Spokane, as delightfully as thus.  Come to Spokane!  Drinking, gambling and shoveling snow. That’s how we roll.  He’s trying to keep the tourists out.  He could also have added Chinese food and karaoke on the brochure.

His statement also reminded me of the great Mark Twain, or Samuel Clemens.  His observations were limitless, yet wildly shrewd.

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Gifts We Shall not Forget

Annually, my wife asks me what I want for Christmas.  I respond annually with this.  1:nothing. 2: A Mad Magazine, and 3: an orange.  I receive the magazine and an orange every year.  That’s what our mother would place in our stockings each year.  I miss her dearly and daily.

Happy Hollidays

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Mother Hood

My wife and I are proud parents.  She is proud as can be of our animals, (me, not so much) and I am a Spokane Washington raised hood. She believes our animals should be in the Feline and Canine Hall of Fame.  I believe they should be in prison or Spokane.  I don’t know which is worse.

 

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Puppies are Us

My wife is a chew toy.

Since we can’t have children, many people say we are lucky.  My wife and I aren’t feeling so lucky with our new puppy.  Just the other day, my wife was heading to the Hanford Nuclear Power Plant for a job interview, and before she went, she told our puppy to not go to heaven…quite the opposite.  Our puppy was tearing at my wife’s coveralls before she left the house. It was a spur of the moment reaction where I had to put my wife, fully clothed, in a cold shower.  She needed to cool off.

After my wife finally cooled off and put on some overalls, I secured our dog so my wife wouldn’t be further threatened, and later arrive at the interview with only scars on her hands.  She landed the job, because she is fairly sharp, and quite simply, they felt sorry for her.

I spent a portion of the evening pulling one of my razor blades out our dog’s mouth that I had placed in a garbage can with no lid.  She’s so smart.

Who is dumber?

Posted in Dogs, Family, Inspired by Real Events, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

L.O.T.S.

Just the other day, I was asked if today was the lack of talent show at the local middle school. I had to say, I’m a bit sad to miss both teaching and whatever that show was for… talent or embarrassment.  This person inquiring didn’t know I hadn’t been teaching for several hundred years…..or so it seems.

Let me digress.  I’ve been thrown out of bars, one of which my brother owned,  stadiums, restaurants, haunted houses, and even my own 20 year class reunion.  But, I’ve never been tossed out of a talent show.  Perhaps, that’s because I never entered one.  After watching the Gong Show, I just knew better.

Teaching English for roughly 15 years, I was forced to suffer through one hundred and eighty deplorable displays of children attempting to perform in front of their peers, parents, neighbors, and local enemies.  It always ended in a blood bath of boos, followed by the teachers waving goodbye, heading to the nearest bar which ultimately ended in a blood bath of booze.

Some of the teachers would remove themselves from the auditorium before the students were five seconds into their display. I found that somewhat rude.  Once, I tackled a fellow teacher, bound and gaged him, and forced him to watch a dance and song routine which would make a billy goat vomit.  It was basically a pole dance making everyone uncomfortable.  It was essentially similar to a car crash. You didn’t want to watch it, but you did have to gawk.

I hope those brave students received a degree in anything other than talent.  Otherwise, they are screwed.

On a positive note, I did enjoy the piano players actually playing the piano.  Following their performance, I would make it a point to provide appreciation to someone with talent.  Thank God was the only praise I’d deliver.

I would also clap for those brave souls without talent on stage.

 

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