Fête accomplished

Jun 6th, 2009 | By | Category: Ministry

One definition of the 1950s term ‘beat’ was that of ‘exhausted exaltation.’  Reading Jack Kerouac’s On the Road conveys a sense of exhausting, frenetic activity, but at the end there is a sense of encompassing contentment;

“So in America when the sun goes down and I sit on the old broken-down river pier watching the long, long skies over New Jersey and sense all that raw land that rolls in one unbelievable huge bulge over to the West Coast, and all that road going, and all the people dreaming in the immensity of it, and in Iowa I know by now the children must be crying in the land where they let the children cry, and tonight the stars’ll be out, and don’t you know that God is Pooh Bear? the evening star must be drooping and shedding her sparkler dims on the prairie, which is just before the coming of complete night that blesses the earth, darkens all the rivers, cups the peaks and folds the final shore in, and nobody, nobody knows what’s going to happen to anybody besides the forlorn rags of growing old, I think of Dean Moriarty, I even think of Old Dean Moriarty the father we never found, I think of Dean Moriarty.”

The closing lines seemed apt for a day when the wind blew from the North and the rain lashed down, and when an Irish summer’s day draws to a close; the Dublin mountains are obscured by thick, uniformly grey cloud and squalls batter the windows of the house.

New Jersey, it’s not; the West Coast, it’s not; Iowa, it’s not; but Kerouac could never have felt more beat than those who worked at our fête today.  Soaked by the rain, chilled to the skin, persisting with the stalls when the whole enterprise seemed a work of madness.  The feeling of exhaustion was such, and the weather was so severe, that the annual celebratory barbecue was postponed by 24 hours.

The ‘exaltation’? That despite the most inclement weather imaginable, despite gale force winds that blew down the tents; despite the rainfall that formed flash floods; despite temperatures that were no more than single figures; we still took €15,000.

It is €5,000 short of the total for each of the past two years, but, looking back on the day, is an extraordinary achievement.  To have had approaching a thousand people through the gates on a day when a wise person would have stoked the fire and pulled their chair closer to the hearth, seems almost baffling.

Tomorrow we will gather to celebrate another fête accomplished, no longer exhausted, but with a certain exaltation.

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  1. We are just over another Parish Fête too – your words of weariness ring true!

    Or as some wisecrack put it “This is a fête worse than death!”

  2. That was a great result. Congratulations. We had a year like that in Magherally and were amazed at the money raised! Proves something…not sure what! Hope your infection hasn’t become worse as a result…

  3. How many ‘wo/man hours’ went into making €15,000? Is that the most important reason to hold a fête or is it secondary to drawing people together for fellowship and fun.

    Mind you ‘fellowship’ is a word I have great trouble with. What exactly is it? I have heard it bandied about on many an occasion, but in experience it has been perhaps five minutes conversation with people who have no interest in sharing information or getting to know those they are talking to.

  4. ‘Fellowship’ is one of those Northern words that doesn’t have much currency here – it’s fashionable in ‘Christian’ circles.

    A huge amount of rubbish and not much fun in our fete. There are lots of ways of building up a sense of community, if that is what is wanted.

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