Mr. Karrde:

I should like to draw your attention to a couple of posts at Mr. Karrde's blog, especially this one on introducing a new shooter to firearms. But there is also this one, on the ancient gathering known as the Council Fire.

At the beginning of May, I found myself camping with my family in the backwoods of Western New York. One of my younger siblings was receiving a college degree. All of the immediate family came to celebrate. So did all of the living grand-parents.

Every night, the men of the family had discussions around the campfire. Three generations were present at the campfire, and the subjects we talked about ranged from trivial to serious. We discussed the future of the new graduate; we discussed good and bad decisions from the past; we mentioned pro and con points about each of our futures. We also discussed the fine art of living with other family members; we talked about personal boundaries, personal space, and the tensions in personal freedom, love, social duty and moral duty. We roasted marshmallows and talked about great marhmallow-roasts from the past; we enjoyed reminiscences of other camping trips; we talked about car-repair projects and house-repair projects. We talked about books read and events we'd seen. We talked about history, war, peace, depressions, and economic booms.
In the Gaelic, this is called a ceilidh, or "gathering." Today a ceilidh is usually a party of one sort or another, but of old it was a gathering of the clan to discuss matters of import, and to celebrate the joy of being together as a family. An old Scottish Clan, after all, was a family: not always of blood relations, but also including accepted friends and 'part takers in the clan's adventures.'

Nothing quite like one, is there?

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