It is friend and foe, rule and exception. It is Water Festival


By Cherimie Crane Weatherford
The storm fades destruction paramount and all that remains is the necessary clean up, recovery and humble attempts to salvage the remains of dignity, pride, and often, reputation.
Debris clutters the hallways as you try in earnest to put together the pieces of the clouded hours. Evidence of climatic chaos and confusion are found at every turn. Just days ago, home was a place of solace. Now it is a place of surrender and shame. Reaching for hydration and squinting through the medicine cabinet, the realization settles in — it is Monday after Water Festival.
This day was a thing of certainty, although the aftershock seems worse than expected. The solemn vow made just one year ago was shattered after the tornado of temptation twirled through our peaceful little town and took absolutely no prisoners.
It was but opening night, the first weekend, and already the apologies, the frenzy of phone calls, the “oh my what have I done’s?” and the unmistakable physical fatigue plagues even the most reserved of residents.
Battered and bruised from the ballet of boats, and disoriented from the dinner party turned dance party, you can only hope it is your home in which you awake. Flashes of humiliation, moments of madness, and surmountable suspicion of mild to moderate misconduct haunt a heavy head.
As if the devastation of reality isn’t brutal enough, there are still many more days are left to endure. How can an event so anxiously anticipated cause such turmoil? Almost 365 days of training, conditioning and rebuilding of reputation is simply no match for the phantom of Water Festival folly. One drink turns into seven, a simple foot-tap turns into dancing with scars, and seemingly coherent conversation morphs into sunburned babble. This beast of burden shows no mercy and never discriminates. Neither background nor bank account matters, no one is safe and no one is spared. Dignity damned as the days turn into nights and the nights turn into front page news.
All that is left is to find the phone, sort through the tale of the text messages, account for survivors, commence the apologizing and prepare for the next seven days of detailed debauchery.
Acceptance is imperative, hiding is pointless. Water Festival is a rite of passage, an unforgiving obligation, an event that separates the novice from the noble and then lands them both on the coveted pages of Mug Faces. It is the rule and the exception, it is friend and foe. Suit up, dear friends, hold fast to your heritage and your attorney. It is Water Festival, and it is upon us.

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