Today is the second of three Ember Days for this season of the year. Today is the Optional Memorial of Saint Ephrem, Deacon and Doctor (died 373). And today begins the annual two-day Coushatta Pow Wow, and it is also the birthday of Richard’s nephew Stephen, the elder of the two sons of his sister Susan in Iowa.
Today is the second of three Ember Days for this season of the year. Ember days (a corruption from the Latin Quatuor Tempora, four times) are the days at the beginning of the seasons ordered by the Church as days of fast and abstinence. They were definitely arranged and prescribed for the entire Church by Pope Gregory VII (1073 – 1085) for the consecutive Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday after December 13th (the feast of Saint Lucy), after Ash Wednesday, after Whitsunday (Pentecost), and after September 14th (Exaltation of the Cross). The purpose of their introduction, besides the general one intended by all prayer and fasting, was to thank God for the gifts of nature, to teach men to make use of them in moderation, and to assist the needy. Today’s Saint was born c. 306 at Nisibis, Mesopotamia (in modern Syria) and may have been the son of a pagan priest. Ephrem was brought to the faith by Saint James of Nisibis and baptized at age 18. He then helped to evangelize Nisibis, Mesopotamia, and may have attended the Council of Nicaea in 325. Becoming a deacon and preacher, he had a great devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. In 363 Nisibis was ceded to Persia; a great persecution of Christians began, and Ephrem led an exodus of the faithful to Edessa, where he founded a theological school in Edessa. He wrote homilies, hymns and poetry, helped introduce the use of hymns in public worship, and fought Gnosticism and Arianism by his writings, including his poems and hymns. So popular were his works, that, for centuries after his death, Christian authors wrote hundreds of pseudepigraphal works in his name. Proclaimed a Doctor of the Church (the first and only Doctor of the Church from Syria) in 1920, he is the Patron Saint of spiritual directors and spiritual leaders. In the secular world, as today and tomorrow are the second consecutive Friday and Saturday in June, today begins the two-day annual Coushatta Pow-Wow. The Casino is owned and operated by the Sovereign Tribe of the Coushatta; this year is the 22nd Annual Pow-Wow, featuring Native American dancing, organized into age and gender based contests. Everything takes place at the Pavilion, which is our large venue on the Casino (and reservation) grounds. Today is also the birthday of Richard’s nephew Stephen, the elder of the two sons of his sister Susan in Iowa.
Upon waking up to get ready for work today I posted that today was the first day of the Coushatta Pow-Wow. I did my Book Devotional Reading, and on our way to work I did my Internet Devotional Reading and said the First Day of my Corpus Christi Novena. I tried calling in a prescription to the pharmacy, but the automated system told me that I would have to talk to a live person during the hours the pharmacy is open. When we clocked in, Richard was on Three Card Poker; I was the Relief Dealer for Mini Baccarat, Pai Gow, and the $5.00 Minimum Bet Blackjack table.The Full Moon arrived at 9:11 am. After discussion with Richard, he and I went to see our Shift Manager, and we changed our vacation to see the kids to Friday, September 29th through Tuesday, October 3rd . This leaves me with a cushion of accrued PTO before those dates. (We won’t see the solar eclipse, but I’ve seen eclipses before, starting in 1973.)
On our way home we stopped at Valero and got gas for the truck. Once home, I ate my lunch salad and read the morning paper. I then got on the computer, voided out our August vacation request on the Scheduling Software, and worked on Advance Daily Update Drafts until about 2:30 pm, when Richard told me that the kids were here. It turned out to be just Matthew and Michelle, as the baby was fussy; so we had a good visit and watched Jeopardy! at 4:30 pm. They left at 6:00 pm; Matthew, Callie, Michelle, and the baby will be going to Baton Rouge to take the baby to the zoo, then to see Butch; Matthew will get a motel room (he flies out back to South Carolina in the early am), and the girls will head back home. I told Michelle that we would stop by Lisa’s on our way home from work on Sunday. And now I am doing today’s Daily Update, and when I finish this Update I will go to bed, if I don’t do some reading first. (Matthew recommended The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan to me, but I don’t know if I’m ready for a major novel project right now.)
Tomorrow is the third of three Ember Days for this season of the year. Tomorrow is the Optional Memorial of Saint Landry, Bishop (died about 661), and the Remembrance of Servant of God Antoni Gaudí (died 1926). It is also the date of the annual Belmont Stakes, the third and penultimate race in thoroughbred racing’s Triple Crown (no Triple Crown winner this year, alas), and the second day of the annual two-day Coushatta Pow Wow. The oldest call-in will drop off of the calendar for me; my next one will drop off of the calendar on September 25th. Richard and I will work our eight hours at the casino. In the early afternoon I will go to the Adoration Chapel and do my Weekly Hour of Eucharistic Adoration. And tomorrow evening at the NCAA College Baseball Super Regional in Baton Rouge our #3 LSU Tigers (46-17) will play their first game with the #18 Mississippi State Bulldogs (36-24). (The second game will be Sunday night, and, if necessary, a third game will be on Monday night.)
Our Friday Afternoon Parting Quote comes to us from Algis Budrys, Lithuanian-American science; fiction author, editor, and critic. He was born Algirdas Budrys in Königsberg in East Prussia, and was the son of the consul general of the Lithuanian government (the pre-World War II government still recognized after the war by the United States, even though the Soviet-sponsored government was in power throughout most of Budrys’s life). His family was sent to the United States by the Lithuanian government in 1936 when Budrys was five years old. During most of his adult life he held a captain’s commission in the Free Lithuanian Army. He was educated at the University of Miami and later at Columbia University in New York. His first published science fiction story was “The High Purpose”, which appeared in Astounding Science Fiction in 1952. Beginning in 1952 Budrys worked as editor and manager for such science fiction publishers as Gnome Press and Galaxy Science Fiction. Some of his science fiction in the 1950s was published under the pen name “John A. Sentry”, a reconfigured Anglification of his Lithuanian name. Among his other pseudonyms in the SF magazines of the 1950s and elsewhere, several revived as bylines for vignettes in his magazine Tomorrow Speculative Fiction, was “William Scarff”. He also wrote several stories under the names “Ivan Janvier” or “Paul Janvier.” He also used the pen name “Alger Rome” in his collaborations with Jerome Bixby. His 1960 novella Rogue Moon was nominated for a Hugo Award, and was later anthologized in The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Volume Two (1973). His Cold War science fiction novel Who? (1958) was adapted for the screen in 1973. In addition to numerous Hugo Award and Nebula Award nominations, Budrys won the Science Fiction Research Association’s 2007 Pilgrim Award for lifetime contributions to speculative fiction scholarship. In 2009 he was the (posthumous) recipient of one of the first three Solstice Awards presented by the SFWA in recognition of his contributions to the field of science fiction (died 2008): “I have to have time to think. Why does time run on while a man thinks?”