Sunday, January 08, 2006

Timely Intersections

I wonder who decided to put the start of the year in the winter. It must have been a place with a warmer climate, maybe around Rome? Or maybe it was done on purpose, an entirely human insertion of a celebration when it is needed. Maybe it is a little late to be talking about New Year, but there are actually a few interesting intersections worth noting.

Today is the 8th day of the first month and also the 8th day of the last month of the same year, oddly enough! In the Islamic lunar calendar, this is the 12th month of the year, the month of Pilgrimage. The start and end of a year sound distant but they're actually the same point in the cycle, another intersection!

New year's Eve was a particularly good one for us this year, the whole weekend was. The kids didn't seem up to watching fireworks, so we canceled and just stayed home. It was a good thing we did because they ended up stuffing themselves at dinner and needing some rest, multiple times! Hanu made a (now traditional) rack of lamb and it was excellent. Moody would not touch it, however. He noticed the bones and the "wholeness" of it, I think, made him realize for the first time how meat comes from and relates to animals. He kept stressing that someone had cut it, and how his mom must be very sad that they cut it... He basically looked at the whole affair as a crime and would not touch the meat. Well, all the more for me and Hana to enjoy- lol lol. It was great! Moody and Tala just OD-ed on corn and baked potatoes, then again on cake.

Ahmed's reaction to the lamb is another interesting intersection. In a couple of days, it will be the 10th day of Dhul Hijja, the day of Big Eid, as we grew up calling it. Traditionally, the occasion is a commemoration of Ibrahim's sacrifice of a ram in lieu of his son. Practically, there is a lot of meat and bones and a whole lot of other parts! I haven't really had the full experience in many many years, the closest I've come is buying half a lamb over at Abu Someone's store--works for me! I think we're planning to go out for steak, a manufactured product as far as Ahmed and his culture are concerned. It's funny, but a few weeks ago I was talking with my brother Mohammed on the phone, and he was giving me all the reasons why we should go to Libya for a visit, among them was the chance for Ahmed to be treated to a 24-ct. reception, including the slaughtering of a lamb in his honor! lol lol lol. I told him, if he did that, Moody would call the cops! Sometimes I think culture is like an ecology that achieves balance by self-canceling influences, if you take away or introduce only certain parts you risk upsetting the balance. Ahmed will continue to consume his manufactured hot dogs as ferociously as TV commercials and picnics in the park encourage him to do. Incidentally, for decades, I thought hot dogs were totally and grossly raw, so I tried cooking them, only to discover they had two states of being: looking raw and looking charred. I guess, young kids from Libya will continue to long for the smell of salted fresh lamb liver, or even a little piece of fat from the back of the lamb's neck, sizzling on wood charcoal, at least once ayear.

After New Year's Eve dinner, while we were cleaning up, Hana and I crossed paths by the sink, intersected, and I gave her a big hug and a kiss, while Tala looked on from the table. Her eyes were wide open when I turned to see her, and she said, "Hey, I sawed you guys hugged eatsother!" I said, "Yeees..." and she just gave us two thumbs up! She was obviously happy and it was a nice way to sum up the evening for everyone.

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