Adam Dzialo

Adam Dzialo
Our son, Adam Dzialo, age 30

Sunday, February 13, 2011


        Lupercalia was a very ancient, possibly pre-Roman pastoral festival, observed from February 13th through February 15th in order to avert evil spirits and purify the city, releasing health and fertility.  Lupercalia subsumed Februa, a possibly earlier spring cleaning ritual held on the same date which gives February its name. (Wikipedia)
        In the latter part of the fifth century, Lupercalia evolved into a possibly sordid trend which perhaps focused more on fertility than on health.  At the end of the post is a bit more graphic expose of the feast.  Anyway, Pope Gelinus  felt the need for a more chaste and platonic celebration of this feast, so he declared that a saint by the name of Valentine should be appointed as patron of "true lovers".  Of course, Valentine probably was just another imaginary playmate in the Roman Catholic dynasty. Olde Gelinus choose the 14th of February to celebrate (why three days of raucous activity when you could confine the feast to one).  We, of course, re-paganized the 14th of February to be declared, at least in a few places on earth as simply Valentine's Day...a day to profess love with simplistic cards and imported flowers.  I could not let the 14th lie still, without a celebration in this blog, so..

My trinity, Aimee, Adam, Sharon

         Since my childhood, I admit that I have  never developed a facility for emotional expressiveness, you know that touchy-feely stuff borne in the 70's.  However, given the solemnity of this day, here is my humble attempt.  Sharon, Aimee and Adam are the life I always wanted.  They embody all that I care for and all that I love.  There are a constant, they are here, they feel deeply and together we have learned so very much about life...we have learned from each other on this disability wagon train.  It's a privileged journey and a sacred bonding.  Adam confided to his clairvoyant buddy some very ancient wisdom:  "Love is being present...even when you don't have to be."  The simple act of presence, selflessly given, is the ultimate expression of love.  "Being present" seeks no reciprocation, is not pompous, is a pure act of is life affirming life.  And so I profess my love for my "trinity" publicly.  Today is their day...a celebration and expression of being present for each  other.  Happy Valentine's Day, Happy Luprecalia....There are a few others who have also "been there" and today I express my gratitude to those unnamed.  I won't name people because you always leave some out.   You do know who you are!
Painting of Lupercalia

       The real Luprecalia:  Each year on February 15, which occurred closer to Spring in the Roman calendar, there was a festival of purification and fertility.  The Luperci priests gathered on Palentine Hill at the cave of Lupercal.  Vestal virgins brought sacred cakes made from the first grains of the previous year's harvest to the fig tree.  Two naked young men, assisted by the vestal virgins, sacrificed a goat and a dog at the site.  The blood was smeared on the foreheads of the two men and wiped off with wool, drenched with milk.
        The men donned loin clothes made from the skin of the goats (who were probably dead by now).  These same men ran around the boundaries of Rome and struck women with the blood and milk soaked clothes of goat hide.  This February purification brought about good luck, purification and fertility. (Wendy Brinker, 2007)
         Well, the old version of Valentine's Day sure was more exciting...but I guess we'll just settle for protestations of love, cards and flowers.  Ah, for the good olde days!


  1. Someone once suggested to me and a group of friends struggling with relationship issues that the secret was to learn to “love in a way that makes sense” (to you and the other person (s) of course). We all figured that he was talking about people who were selfish, demanding, intrusive, the “all about me types”, and there was no way he could be talking about us. Well Phil, I just reviewed your Dec. 20, 2010, blog about the unconditional love of dogs, especially Adam’s dog Ollie for Adam (and reinforced by our two dogs in this household), and it was very humbling to me, how inadequate we humans can be when it comes to just being there for the other person when you don’t have to be as you put it in your current Valentine’s blog. With regard to your trinity, supporting cast e.g. Ollie and your resident Chihuahua, and the few who have really been there, I looked to your Christmas blog for inspiration from your pal Greg House, MD, your “real life hero”, and I dug up this gem: "There's an evolutionary imperative why we give a crap about our family and friends. And there's an evolutionary imperative why we don't give a crap about anybody else. If we loved all people indiscriminately, we couldn't function." And this final wish to you and your family, again inspired by your Christmas blog. And this may be unplanned but the best things are sometimes spontaneous. As you did on Christmas Day, perhaps you all deserve another dose of just lettings yourselves be for one day,and leave the heavy lifting to Ollie. Dogs have enough sense to know when they're tired and take a break without being told. Dogs win again. Happy Valentine’s Day from your friends in Weymouth.

  2. know Phil, I always feel particularly "fertile" after a guy whacks me over the head with a goat hide drenched in milk and blood. Let's face it, guys today just don't get what woman really wants....**snort**.

  3. Dear Phil,

    What a beautiful post (well I mean the bit about your family) ( I wasn't meaning the whole goat hide, milk and blood bit). Well, you said that you were having a go at "emotional expressiveness" and well from a very huggy person as you know I am, (I hope your ribs have recovered), that I thought your post was perfect, I'm giving you an A+!

    I really love the photo, your family is truly beautiful.

    Happy St. Valentines day to you all too. Sending some huge hugs to you all.



  4. Beautiful post, Phil. And the photo! How great to see the pillars of your life looking so happy together.

    And I'm with Claire on the Luprecalia ritual: Being struck with blood- and milk-soaked goathide gets me everytime. Clearly, I was born in the wrong millenium. :-)


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