Tuesday, July 31, 2012

746. Lunatics At Large

Some of my seven faithful readers may recall this entry's name as that of a play written by James Reach in 1936 and performed at least once here along the Left Bank of the Ohio River near Milepost 606 by the thespian troupe in the Class of 1976 at my high school alma mater, Sallie Phillips Durrett High School, in its erstwhile location on Preston Highway.  It was a grand play complete with a butler who may (or may not) have been the murderer.  But this entry isn't about that.

This entry is about the word itself, lunatics, with an etymology related to the moon, from the old Latin word luna.  It is also related to other "l" words such as lumen, lux, and light.  Those who are followers or worshippers of the moon, or specifically moonlight, have been known to be called lunatics, although not in the best of light.  Ha!  Last night as I sat with friends enjoying a sarsaparilla at one of those Baxter Avenue shebeens (although this one was licensed), we discussed the upcoming phase of the moon, the full moon.  But, first, something else.

Tomorrow, August 1, is a holiday of sorts in the pagan world, and extended into the non-pagan world, especially in the British Isles.  It is Lammas Day, a feast of the first wheat harvest.  The word itself is a contraction of sorts, on Loaf and Mass, thus the wheat harvest yielded a loaf of bread, something for which to be thankful.  Another bit of trivia related to the day is that one of the Bard's most famous characters was born on Lammas Day Eve, which is today.  Do you know who she was?

Tomorrow also marks a full moon, the "full sturgeon moon" at least in America, so named for the fish which are abundantly caught during the month, especially in the Great Lakes of the great midwest.  Having a full moon on August 1 will also afford one of those moons we've all heard of but may not really know what they are.  "Once in a blue moon!"  You've heard the expression, no doubt, meaning "not very often."  The name has come to be applied to the third of four full moons within a quarter of the lunar year.  In lay terms, that is usually interpreted as a second full moon in any given month.  August 31 will bring us a second full moon for the month of August, a blue moon according to the legend.

To begin a month and end a month with full moons is certainly something to be celebrated, notwithstanding the pagan celebration of Lammas Day, also tomorrow.

Need something more to celebrate, at least on August 1?  My maternal grandmother, Vivian "Tommie" Hockensmith, was born on this date in 1916.  She died in 1976.  Another dear friend of most of my life, Mary-John Celletti, will also be celebrating the anniversary of her nativity tomorrow.  I know the year of her birth, but, alas, I'll keep it to myself for now. 

Happy Lammas Eve!  Celebrate. 

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The Archives at Milepost 606


Louisville, Kentucky, United States
Never married, liberal Democrat, born in 1960, opinionated but generally pleasant, member of the Episcopal Church. Graduate of Prestonia Elementary, Durrett High, and Spalding University; the first two now-closed Jefferson County Public Schools, the latter a very small liberal arts college in downtown Louisville affiliated with the Roman Catholic Sisters of Charity of Nazareth. My vocation and avocation is politics. My favorite pastime is driving the backroads of Kentucky and southern Indiana, visiting small towns, political hangouts, courthouses, churches, and cemeteries. You are welcome to ride with me sometime.