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Sabbath Day – From Batman to Big Band

January 18, 2014

A Weekly Post to Keep Me Accountable for my Sabbath Practice

A typical sabbath day, full of stuff I can only do when not working.

First, my wife Noelle was traveling this day to be present at the signing of a new agreement in which Walmart joined the Fair Food Program of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers. This agreement sets new standards of supply chain accountability and spreads the hard-won gains of the CIW into other produce fields. Amazing. August and I began our day with a joyous prayer, knowing this was going to take place and that “mom,” who worked so hard on this campaign, would be present.

Over breakfast, August and I watched an episode of Batman: The Brave and the Bold. We danced to the opening theme music before sitting down at the table (it’s a big band number with lots of horns, fitting for the day we have planned). Today Batman confronted the “Seven Enemies of Man [sic].” They are basically a recasting of the traditional seven deadly sins (Pride, Envy, Lust, Wrath, Greed, Sloth, and Gluttony) except that Gluttony appears as Injustice. Awesome.

Immediately after dropping August off for school I had a graveside service to perform for a lovely local family. This took place at Kensico Cemetery, worth a tour for anyone visiting White Plains. Wikipedia has a long list of those buried here, including comedian Danny Kaye, composer Sergei Rachmaninoff, actress Anne Bancroft, and the great Lou Gehrig. On my way out of the cemetery I stopped to meditate on “the mystery of death” with this mourning woman who I saw for the first time.

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The cemetery is located across the street from The Cliffs where I climb, so after the service I went over to change clothes and work out for a while. It has been months since I was in the gym, and this was a nice return. Wore me out, though.

Back home I made a pot of coffee and read for a couple of hours. I have just begun Wallace Stegner’s Beyond the Hundredth Meridian: John Wesley Powell and the Second Opening of the West. I picked this up during our Christmas visit to the National Parks of the American Southwest in Arizona. Powell led the expedition to explore the Colorado River that runs through the Grand Canyon, but more importantly spent his life developing and advocating for a vision of ecological care (and warning of environmental destruction) that was ahead of his time.

After school, August and I worked quickly through his homework so that we could get on with the evening we had planned. Our first  stop was the Tappan Hill Mansion in Tarrytown (built by Mark Twain) where our current County Executive was holding a $5000 a plate fundraising dinner to explore a run for governor. The guest list included significant fracking and nuclear energy interests, so we stood outside advocating clean energy. We were small, but clearly irritated the guests. Most blew right through the stop sign in this residential neighborhood rather than stop in front of us. One donor raised his fist and shouted “Frack, baby!” while another shouted “there is no fracking in Westchester.” The later baffled a colleague of mine. That we should not care about something simply because it wasn’t happening in our backyard simply wasn’t conceivable. I suppose we could have pointed out that the entire water supply for New York City is collected above Kensico Dam just a few miles away, water that comes down to us from all over the state.

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Slightly frozen after an hour outside, August and I had a quick dinner at Horsefeathers in Tarrytown, home of the Headless Horseman, before heading over to the Tarrytown Music Hall to hear Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. If you don’t know them, link through and have a listen. This was Augusts first concert hall experience, and the big band / swing sounds of The Daddy were a good start. He could watch the contributions of each instrument and distinguish the sounds of each horn as the band constantly shuffled around the stage. He knew several of the songs from hearing them at home, and even skyped with Noelle for a moment to share the music with her.

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As this was still a school night, staying out late was a big deal. Energy lagging, he spent the later part of the show on my lap. His energy rallied after the show, however, as we had a chance to meet the band. August collected seven autographs, which are now proudly displayed at home.

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Late as it was when we got home, we still had the energy and inclination to read a bit of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire before falling into a well deserved sleep. May your own sabbath practice be as restorative and joyful.

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