Like so many other things that used to be central to our lives, it's vanishing.
When was the last time you made frozen orange juice? You know, that you'd have to kind of thaw, before would goosh out into the pitcher? I thought about that the other day. Things we simply
don't do anymore, and happy to see that one go.
I hardly ever watch TV shows when they're actually on. It used to be a ritual--Ed Sullivan on Sunday! LA Law! Dallas. Now its The Good Wife and Game of Thrones--but they're available whenever we want to watch them. The TV ritual is history.
But some rituals, although on the verge of being outmoded, are still valuable to me. How about reading the paper? The actual paper? Is still am so happy, especially Sunday mornings, when we can spread out with three newspapers and bagels and coffee and luxuriate for an hour or so. I would miss that, if it were all on a tablet. It's not the same. Reading the paper is a good ritual.
And getting the mail. I LOVE to get the mail. I look forward to it, almost as if there was going to be something other than bills (now mostly on line) and ads and weird coupon fliers and fifteen catalogs from Levenger. The "real mail" ritual is still a good one.
I still take notes on a legal pad instead of in a Word doc. Why? My producer teases me about being old-fashioned. But it works for me.
What vanishing rituals do you have? Which are you holding on to?
LUCY BURDETTE: Me too on the paper, Hank. We get the New York Times and the Key West Citizen every day. Online is just not the same...And the mail too, although it's less exciting than it used to be. (I mean, not so much good stuff comes in:). Too funny about Levenger! I bought one thing from them and it's been a deluge ever since.
Things that have gone by the wayside: Easter dinner. After the eggs were hunted and the Easter baskets were found, we'd put on our new dresses and hats and go off to church. Then my mother would cook a big dinner--often lamb roast, which I don't like anyway. These days I might make Easter brunch, but never dinner in the middle of the day.
HALLIE EPHRON: I go to my bank all the time, and you're right it's pretty empty. So how come does it seem like every time there's a new business being built on a corner somewhere, it's a bank?
Vanishing rituals, some I miss, some not so much...
- Going to the dry cleaner. I don't buy it if I can't wash it. Not something I miss.
- Going to the movies
- Going to the video store
- Going to the dump (it is no more)
- Making my own pie crust - I confess the ready made Pillsbury is pretty darned good
- Picking up the poop my neighbors' dogs deposit on the sidewalk
RHYS BOWEN: I still go to the bank. I think it's a good idea to have a relationship with a bank manager, just in case...
But how about getting shoes heeled? haven't done that in years. Dry cleaners occasionally, but I no longer buy things like slacks that need cleaning almost every time.
And dinner parties--who gives dinner parties these days. We do occasionally but we're sort of the only ones. Other couples invite us to meet them in restaurants. I still enjoy having friends and family around the table at home.
Writing thank you notes, on real cards? I try to for the big events. My grandkids phone to thank me, but don't write real letters the way I made my children.
And one thing I really regret--letting kids run wild all summer, out all day just playing, exploring,
making up their own games. Now it's play dates and camps and scheduled activities. I still treasure my free running summers.
DEBORAH CROMBIE: Oh, Rhys, that is so true about the kids' freedom. Summer was one long ritual when I was a child. You got up in the morning, you went outside and you played all day. You just had to be in for supper. Where is there room for imagination in all those scheduled activities? But I suspect that's a subject for another day...
My vanishing rituals... Easter, certainly, as there are no little ones to do eggs and baskets for. And even when my daughter was growing up we'd pretty much abandoned the "new Easter dress and patent leather shoes" that were so essential in my childhood. This year my daughter and I decided we'd all go to Mi Cocina for our favorite Mexican food and sit on the patio. Suits me.
I have mixed feeling about the newspapers. I gave up print all together for about a year, and I really missed it. Lucy's right, it's just not the same online. So now I take the Dallas Morning News on Wednesday (the food section) and Sunday, and the New York Times Friday through Sunday. The problem is, I hardly ever have time to read a fraction of the things I want to read, so the unread piles of newspaper accumulate and make me feel both cluttered and nagged.
We've never been a family for Sunday dinners, but for years I've made Sunday brunch. Something we don't have during the week, like French toast or whole grain pancakes. But the last year or so even that seems to have fallen by the wayside. I always seem to have too much to catch up on to cook. We have kept up with our Sunday night homemade pizza ritual, however, something we've done for years.
Which brings me to TV. I know it's great to be able to time-shift everything, but I do sort of miss the ritual TV nights. For us, it was The X-Files on Sunday (that was what started the Sunday-night pizza) and for me, ER on Thursday, without fail.
Now the DVRd TV shows are a bit like the piled up newspapers... more than I can manage.
JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: I've pretty much well and truly given up watching TV shows when they air.Why stay up and sit through ten minutes of commercials when I can watch when I want for the price of four 30-second ads? Also given up - not due to technology, but to age - dancing in clubs. I cannot remember the past time I went somewhere just to dance. Which is why I love weddings. I think more Bouchercons should have dances, like the one in Alaska did!
Almost gone but not quite yet: my children's bedtime rituals. Overseeing tooth-brushing, saying prayers and singing a lullaby, coming back for one more drink of water... I still comb and braid Youngest's long hair before bedtime, and tuck her in and give her a blessing, but she'll be fourteen this August, and I know those moments will be over soon. Sigh.
HANK: Dear Julia, you always make me cry. Should we all dance at Bouchercon?
So Reds, when was the last time you...used rollers in your hair? Sat under a hair dryer? Made frozen OJ? Watched a show when it was actually on? What rituals and activities are vanishing from your life?
And one ritual we LOVE and face with crossed fingers--the arrival of a new book! I'll send an arc of TRUTH BE TOLD to one lucky commenter.
REDS THIS WEEK!
Debs: is back from three weeks in London, recovering from jetlag, putting the finishing edits on To Dwell in Darkness, and plotting her next book.
Rhys: is vacationing on the continent
Hank: is celebrating, in week six on the Globe bestseller list for THE WRONG GIRL! and just won two Emmys for investigative reporting
Hallie: will be at the Milton Library tonight talking about summer reads for lovers of crime fiction
Julia: is splitting her time between working on the next Clare and Russ book, HID FROM OUR EYES, and hacking back several years of overgrowth in the forsythia border
Lucy: is sitting tight, writing 1000 word a day challenge with good pals S.W. Hubbard and Mike Cooper aka Mike Wiecek. More on what's coming next soon
Susan: is coughing and watching Orange Is the New Black. (She's under the weather..send good wishes!)
TOMORROW ON JUNGLE RED: Linda Fairstein!