A Burning Tradition

1017629_213471375478723_2011213679_nThe procession was somber as the rag-tag group carried the ship through the tent-lined paths to a clearing. There, a woman dressed in a dark linen tunic started a fire with flint and steel.  She used her hand to protect the tenuous flame from the wind until it caught the tender, then her bobbing torchlight led the way through the dusky stillness to the water’s edge.

Though a crowd had gathered, few spoke, as the designated individuals lit their torches from the main flame and set their part of the boat on fire. From time to time, pained sounds escaped, as if someone were trying not to cry and failing. Fragile tendrils of smoke curled into the still air, then a man stepped forward to propel the vessel out into open water. It rode the lake’s small currents, heading for the center.viking-boat-on-fire

This ritual has been going on since Pennsic War 30. (I just came back from 45) So for the last fifteen years, Baron Garwig of the Kingdom of Ealdormere, has been creating a Viking ship to burn in the memory of loved ones lost.viking-ship

I can’t really explain to you how moving it is to have this tangible way to express your grief.  Those who have lost a friend, family member, or beloved pet, come and place mementos such as a favorite collar or piece of jewelry on the craft. The year I lost my grandmother, I put a shield on the lovingly constructed ship, and I was honored to be one of those chosen to carry it to the water’s edge.

viking-ship-lake-picThese special moments are important in our lives. I wanted to share this Pennsic tradition because I think it embodies much that is noble in the human spirit: compassion, a willingness to help, and a desire to remember.

If you want to learn more, Pennsic has its own newspaper, and one of the articles dealt with this subject. http://pennsicindependent.com/node/322  The Pennsic Independent is a great way to discover more about what goes on at ‘war.’

Do any of you have traditions that bring family and friends together? I’d love to hear about them. Until next time… www.Dawn-Ireland.com

There’s No Place Like Home

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My little family (not so little really) decided to take en extended weekend to Fort Worth over the 4th of July holiday. My daughter had been asking for over a month to go to Dallas and visit family, so we conceded. Seeing as how we weren’t going to take a vacation this year, we decided our extended weekend would be our vacation.

We filled the kids days with play time, park time, and the zoo. We took a small train around Fort Worth for the kids to enjoy. Nap times were interrupted and often much shorter than normal. Going to bed times were pushed back much later from their normal 7:30 to a time around 10. A few days of this and three children, and you can only imagine the temper tantrums that ensued. And by the time my daughter split her head open on my parent’s coffee table the day before we were set to leave and was rushed to the emergency room, I decided I’d had enough of “vacation”.

There really is no place like home.

Vacations, trips in general are great and fun, but often times I feel I need a vacation from the vacation. A day or two to decompress before my world starts up again. Am I the only one? Probably not.

So, I have come up with a few ideas for those of you who would rather “stay-cation” with your family. If you have little ones, this may be the way you want to go.

  1. Museums- Often many larger cities have children’s museums. If not a children’s museum, visit an art museum or a science museum. I understand not everyone lives in a town with a large museum. Check around, maybe your town has a small museum that tells about the town history. Kids love anything different.
  2. Water Parks- Not into water parks, that’s okay. I’m not either. See if your town has a splash pad. Most are free to the public. No splash pad? Turn on the sprinkler. Kids love those too.
  3. Zoo-What kid doesn’t love the zoo? One location that houses animals from all over the world. You’ve traveled the world in one afternoon, and didn’t have to pay the expensive airfare or endure jet lag to do it. You can’t beat that.
  4. Parks- My sons always want to go to the park. They can spend hours sliding the same slide over and over. It’s great exercise, a great way for them to get their Vitamin D, and best of all free for me. Just don’t forget the sunblock.
  5. None of these things in your area? That’s okay. Grab some cardboard boxes, some pool noodles, and some tape and make an obstacle course. This is where Pinterest becomes your best friend! There are endless ideas for outdoor activities, and all it takes is a little planning. Your kids will love helping you plan the fun.
  6. And last but not least, while you may still be at home and not on a “real” vacation, mix yourself up something fruity and spirited (or not, but that would just be silly!), and sit back and relax. Drink some coffee or tea. Read a book. Take a few days off, even a week, and enjoy saving your money from such an overpriced time of year and just be.

 

Erin6Erin Bevan was born and raised in Southwest Arkansas. She spent her teenage years working for her aunt at the local gas station flipping burgers and making milkshakes dreaming of the day when something better would come her way.

Fast forward ten years later, she found herself stuck inside an apartment in South Korea while her daughter went to preschool and her husband went to work. Alone and unable to speak the local language she turned to books for a friend. After reading a few hundred in such a short time, she decided to try her hand at writing one.

That first one sucked, but by the fifth and sixth book, Erin started to get the hang of this writing thing. Getting the first contract in her inbox was a dream come true. Now, with three babies at home, she squeezes in stories one word at a time, one sentence at a time, one day at a time. She’s a full time mom, a full time wife, with a little writer sprinkled in whenever she can get the chance.

Call for Sign-Ups! Call for Sign-Ups!

Calling all bloggers! Calling all bloggers!

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