Monday, June 20, 2011

Borne back ceaselessly into the past

There is this wonderful smoky smell in the air tonight. It makes me remember when I was a kid and used to go to this medieval war down in rural Pennsylvania where there would be campfires going all night long. It looked like the picture up above.

And in the morning you would wake up to the sound of chain mail.

Ah, youth!!

I feel kind of sorry for people who do not have those memories and yet they are very much in the majority and I am in the minority, remembering something like that. Here is something funny from that war, which was called the Pennsic War, and it was part of the Society for Creative Anachronism. A few priests belonged and that meant that on Sunday you got your choice of Masses. The priests got into the spirit of things and so one year you could go to a medieval Latin Tridentine Mass or a Byzantine Rite, the rite of Saint John Chrysostom. I seem to remember there was a third Mass too but it was just a normal modern Mass and only squares went to that.

I went to the Byzantine Rite. I always remember the priest's vestments. They were a beautiful powder blue, trimmed with gold. He explained them all to us beforehand. That was a nice priest, you know? I was a lame-brained teenager and I was just sitting there like this...

(you knew that was coming...)

... but it was nice of him, to take our interest in medieval history into all these matters deep and religious. He also explained about the liturgy of St. John Chrysostom who, attention music scholars, was one of the saints Mozart was named after. Mozart was born on January 27 which is the feast of St. John Chrysostom and that is why his name was Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgang Gottlieb. Not Amadeus! He was baptized Gottlieb. Sorry everyone. Well, the good news is, it means the same thing.

All I remember of the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom was there was one line that impressed me: "Oh, God, forgive me for I have sinned without number." I still think of that.

That line sure applied to me. I sure had sinned without number!

Here is a Polaroid I have held onto of me attending the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom.

Ah, Society for Creative Anachronism! One of the many things I did before I met Leonard Pennario and had to put aside childish things.

Ah, memories brought about by a night with a smoky smell in the air!

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