–Tit. Tit. Tit?
–[thinks for a minute, then comprehension dawns] Yes, sweetie, look at all the tents.
–An orange one. That’s a single tent, so tiny. There’s a pop-up. Very nice. Ooh, there’s a huge one with double swing-out doors and velcro closure!
Our business done at the portajohns, my son and I traverse the wide avenue between rows of tents in the family camping area at Wild Goose Festival 2011. Thank goodness for the foot pump-operated hand washing station. Was that poison ivy? Ugh, dropped my flashlight. Better pick up the little guy; his legs are already generously scratched from falling down on this crunchy grass.
Like the grass, the air here in Shakori Hills, North Carolina, has a texture. Rather like pea soup. Whew, here’s our tit, I mean, tent. I reach up to unzip it, trying not to fall forward onto it, unzipping all the way down to ankle height and then left, so the door will open top to bottom and inward a little and make tripping over the threshold less likely. Flip-flops shed, child through door, turn around and re-zip quickly to keep out mosquitoes. All in one fluid motion.
–Yes, sweetie, you get a clean shirt.
We accompany our next-zipper-door neighbors to see Over the Rhine for the 9:30 show that doesn’t actually start until 10ish due to endless sound checks. Big Sis is worried about the lightning. She’s forgotten or maybe never learned about lightning here in the South. We now live in northern California and we hardly ever see rain in the summer, much less heat lightning.
Robin’s got hold of a glow wand, given out free by an outfit called Clay Fire whose mission is something about transforming worship. But how, I wonder, do their vendor booth neighbors World Vision, feel about Clay Fire’s cheap plastic crap that doesn’t work the next morning and has to be trashed and was produced at slave wages in China? One of the many contradictions of the Wild Goose. But let’s get back to my toddler cussing.
So Big Sis covers her head with her cuddle blanket, the only option left to her in case of rain or lightning strikes because dad and I are chanting. We’re at the music festival to hear music. Finally Over the Rhine gets going (introduced by the one indie artist I actually knew of before arriving here, David LaMotte). They’re a talented bunch except I can’t understand the lyrics. Are they singing about justice, spirituality, or art?
Little Guy is cheering, clapping, bouncing, ouch, his rubber soles on my bare thighs, no this will not do. I un-velcro his shoes and remove them. Apparently this is not the thing to do to a toddler at 10:30pm.
Shoes! Shoooooooes! he screams. F*&k! (That’s toddler for “sock.”) I football him and we’re outta there, he’s kicking and screaming, I’m loping fast as I can back to the tent, forget about teeth brushing and the fun of spitting water into the poison ivy patch instead of a sink, this baby’s gotta go to bed. An hour later he’s finally calmed down or heat-exhausted, one, and I’m in the camp chair looking for my bottle opener. Counting how many other parents are also dragging back from the concert children of various sizes and states of exhaustion.
The next morning we wake up one by one. Sister is still asleep so annoying li’l bro decides to poke. Head, ears, nose, he identifies. Ass. Ass? Eyes, of course.
Other highlights of Wild Goose other than my child learning to t@&k?
It’s hard to comment on the overall arc of the program, because we missed most of Saturday and all of Sunday, which was half of it. We had decided to arrive at the Herman family beach week in Oak Island on Saturday, rather than sweat it out for a third night at the festival. Factoring in two seriously nap-deprived children, a few hours’ migraine recovery in a cool dark room (for me), camp stove malfunctions…I’d say we did rather well to take in 4 speakers, 2 concerts, and a session of morning prayer.
We sampled some of the food for sale, including Mexican Chocolate gourmet popsicles and pizza with goat cheese, corn, pine nuts, and fresh basil. There were also food trucks serving up Indian and Caribbean fare.
You will always be with the poor with arms outstretched. Said Jim Wallis, re-interpreting Jesus’s saying “you will always have the poor with you.” In a house where Jesus is guest, a woman anoints his feet generously, embarrassingly, with oil and dries his feet with her hair, offending Jesus’s friends. How could you allow her to do this? they asked. She’s poor; she’s got untreated mental illness.
In the church we think “you always have the poor with you” means “poor people are expendable so let them do their crazy thing and just move on. When you’ve got some extra money you can always write a check to your charity of choice.”
But Jim Wallis was saying that a better reading might be, “you will always be with the poor with arms outstretched.” In other words, if you are not with the poor you are in the wrong place. By lavishing your attention on people who can repay you with wealth or an ego boost, you are misappropriating the gifts you’ve been given. This lady happened to have an alabaster jar of anointing oil and she chose to use all of it on Jesus. That seems wrong but if you were to allow yourself this kind of close contact with people like her you would see that you are meeting a basic need and therefore serving God.