St. Lucia, our favorite dark-skinned Swede

Well, I'm home. I can finally sleep. I don't plan on doing much else.

But it's lovely to be home, of course. I travelled last night to see the St. Lucia Festival at my church, a charming traditional pagent our church puts on to celebrate our Swedish heritage - which I hadn't ever seen from the audience's perspective. The last time I'd been was as a senior in high school, fulfilling my duties in the choir, stumbling my way through "Now Shine a Thousand Candles Bright," and "In the Bleak Midwinter" in inaudible (though dulcet) bass tones. Before that, I'd worked my way through the roles as any child in a church-devoted family does - in the same way most go from young, rosy-cheeked angel to hyperactive shepherd to reluctant king, or if unlucky, to have to become Joseph and sit on the stage all night looking holy and supportive (this is all chronicled in The Best Christmas Pagent Ever, one of the finest short Christmas books around), I'd gone through the Lucia hierarchy. I went from young, rosy-cheeked Tomter (a sort of Swedish elf, that hangs around the farm and brings luck, much like a small Santa or Keebler elf) to hyperactive Starboy (imagine putting a bunch of fourth-grade boys into robes and funny hats and giving them extremely sturdy poles with wieldy and sharply pointed wooden stars about a foot in diameter on one end, then leaving said boys in a room together for an hour with nothing to do before the performance and... well, you can imagine) to reluctant shepherd/king/Joseph, as we jam the regular nativity into our somewhat haphazard traditonal play. In the meantime, the head of the ministry team arrives bearing the first and largest sheaf from the fields, which she raises above her head symbolically for the birds to eat and invites everyone to join in the feast. This information is relayed to a somewhat startled audience in both Swedish and English, not so much because there are members who only speak Swedish, but more because we always have, and we want to prove that we still can.

This is all a prelude to the main event, which features St. Lucia herself (who is actually Sicillian, ironically, and probably didn't look anything like any of our Lucias, who are always blong-haired, blue-eyed senior girls who can be trusted to look radiant on cue), walking down the aisle with a dozen lit candles perched in a crown on her head. It's a show-stopping moment, and there's not a Starboy in the world who wouldn't trade his hefty wooden WMD for a chance to wander around the church with lit candles on his head. The Swedish, fortunately, are wise enough not to bend tradition enough to allow any young male Sunday school student the opportunity to do more than maybe destroy a surprisingly fragile table in the Youth Room when the head of his star-headed battleaxe happened to make contact with one of the legs during the staging of a lively re-enactment of the Battle of Hastings.

In other news, 10-4GB has launched a separate page for film reviews! Film reviews will still appear both here and on the Xanga site, but will be corrected, archived, and updated on the new page. Anyone wishing to find an old review can find it there, relevant links to interesting reviews will be added as well, and most insider info will be posted there rather than here. You shouldn't need to check it particularly regularly, it'll just be an additional page in what will hopefully become a series of interconnected 10-4GB pages.

Updates should be fast and furious for the next few weeks, so keep checking in. I don't have much else to do, really, so this becomes my main hobby.