17 January 2008
They met when Dad was a park ranger in Santa Maria, California. Mom lived with her family in a house on the park property because her father worked there. One day she was out stealing waterlilies from the pond (don't try this at home - waterlilies have extra-strong stems and are not easily stolen) when Dad caught her. She didn't like him but that didn't dissuade him. She was supposed to be dating another guy, but when he failed to show one evening, Dad snuck in and one kiss was all it took. Way to go, Dad.
They wrote back and forth when he went off to Europe as an Army Master Sergeant, fighting the Germans in France and Belgium, including the Battle of the Bulge. After V-E (Victory in Europe) Day, he was returned to the U.S. and was on his way to fight in the Pacific when the atom bomb was dropped and the war was suddenly over.
She still has the telegraph he sent when he returned; "You can call me mister now," a reference to not being called by his Army rank anymore.
They decided almost immediately to marry. Short courtships were the rule rather than the exception back then. It was to be a small ceremony in her parents' home, attended by family, including Mom's only brother, who had received special leave from the Navy to be there.
Several days in advance of the wedding, Mom and Dad went to get their marriage license. They were under the impression that they had to wait a few days after they got it to get married. When the clerk told them that they could be married immediately, they weighed their options: a small family wedding in 3 days' time, or that very evening in each others' arms as man and wife? Romance won out over practicality.
They eloped and their disappearance caused a bit of consternation that the wedding plans were ruined, but married was married. My eldest sister was born 10 months later, in November, and five other children followed.
62 years later they are still very much a team. Mom washes and Dad dries. He tells stories and she fact-checks them. She drives and he still navigates, despite being legally blind.
That I can see them every day is something I count among my greatest blessings. That they found each other and stuck by each other so long is another. I am so glad they are my folks. Happy anniversary, you nutty kids.
Ad on the front page of USA Today print edition: “Get celebrities’ birthdays on your cell phone. Text 12345 with message ‘bday.’”
What earthly good is this? So you can spend the day musing on how lovely it is that Justin Timberlake is celebrating his birth on THIS VERY DAY?
Honestly, people. If I ever start gushing about some celebrity’s birthday, take me out back like Ol’ Yeller, put a bullet in my delusional noggin and leave me for vulture food. Because at that point, that’s all I would be good for.
16 January 2008
And then how John had mortgaged his house to a fare-thee-well, probably to pay for his Cabernet and steak habit?
When the house was auctioned last week, the amount of debt on the books was close to $400k on a house that is worth maybe $350k - gotta love that superhot mortgage market of a few years ago.
Tonight when I got home, there was somebody inside John's house with a flashlight. I figured, given the timing, it must be the new owner. I was going to go over and say hi after I got all my stuff out of the car.
Meanwhile Neighbor Tina across the street (the school lunch lady) had seen the flashlight and figured it was robbers. She called the police, who arrived by the time I had unloaded the dog food into the house.
Can you imagine taking possession of your new house and, five minutes later, finding the police at your door? Nice!
Neighbor Jay and I stood around in the driveway talking about it and decided that at least he will know that the neighbors keep an eye out. That's gotta be good for something, right?
15 January 2008
I didn't plan on it. I was merely looking for a place to sit. Fortunately, the bench was right across from a sculpture of a Chinese Guanyin Bodhissatva:
The picture doesn't do her justice. (The museum describes the sculpture as a he, but Kwan Yin/Guanyin is the Goddess of Mercy and this statue is a she. Believe me.)
Sitting with her, the most marvelous feeling peace and acceptance melted into my bones like warm honey. Her gaze is at once aloof and entirely present. She is not beautiful, but she IS beauty.
I wanted to meet the sculptor and bow down before them. To me, they created a perfect work of art. The statue is of the Goddess of Mercy and Compassion, and in its presence, one feels mercy and compassion.
The statue is useful, too. Gazing into another person's eyes and truly accepting their love is difficult for most of us. Having a statue to cast that kind of loving gaze is easier to take.
I sat there and sat there. I left for a bit and came back. I returned again "just for a moment." I left my friends and went back to take a picture.
I thought about her all day. I am still thinking about her.
Now THAT is good art.
14 January 2008
All of the wonderful foods that we consumed led CC, Ish and I to compose last menus. Mine included grilled artichokes, plain raspberries and a fennel-chestnut confit from Joël Robuchon.
What would be on your last meal menu?