Saturday, June 27, 2009

Desert Poetry

We're in Arizona, visiting Emily. It's been a long time, maybe 5 years, since I've been here. Intellectually, I remember that the temperature exceeds 115 regularly; biologically, my body is incapable of adjusting to that reality.
I want to apologize to all you family and friends for dragging you to Arizona in June for our wedding. Yesterday, we took our kids to see the Mesa temple, thinking they might have some passing interest in THE place that facilitated their existence. We couldn't even get a good picture, everyone was moaning and complaining that their lives were in peril.
It made me think of this poem that was taped up on the wall in my dad's office. I was 11 or 12 when I read it for the first time, and I thought it was the most pithy, witty poem I had ever read. I'll put it in brown in honor of the landscape.
The devil wanted a place on earth

Sort of a summer home

A place to spend his vacation Whenever he wanted to roam.

So he picked out Arizona A place both wretched and rough Where the climate was to his liking And the cowboys hardened and tough.

He dried up the streams in the canyons And ordered no rain to fall He dried up the lakes in the valleys Then baked and scorched it all.

Then over his barren country He transplanted shrubs from hell.

. . .

Then he made scorpions and lizards And the ugly old horned toad. He placed spiders of every description Under rocks by the side of the road.

Then he ordered the sun to shine hotter, Hotter and hotter still. Until even the cactus wilted And the old horned lizard took ill.

. . .

'Twas summer now and Satan lay By a prickly pear to rest. The sweat rolled off his swarthy brow So he took off his coat and vest.

"By Golly, " he finally panted, "I did my job too well, I'm going back to where I came from, Arizona is hotter than Hell."

Next Up: Overdosing on Nostalgia . . . OR . . . "You Can't Go Home Again Angel"

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Happy Anniversary, David, . . . [OR] "I cannot heave my heart into my mouth."

King Lear's daughter, Cordelia, speaks those words when her father tries to  cajole her into declaring her love for him. When I read that for the first time, it sunk deep into me with resonating familiarity.

That's me.

Add to that, I once had a religion teacher or bishop, or someone with some influence over me, give a lecture on testimony sharing:
"Your testimony should never be the cause of pain for someone listening, and if you do it right, it won't be. If you rave about how much you love your husband, how are those people supposed to feel who don't have a husband? Or children? Or what about people in a difficult marriage. A testimony should never do that. Share about things that are universal."
That also left an impression on me. So what's my point here?

Today is our 18th wedding anniversary. And, David has never heard me gush over himpublicly, that is, which personally I think is completely appropriate, but maybe not very fun when the rest of the world can at least count on an honorable mention once a year or so.

With that languishing introduction . . . Happy Anniversary, David.
When I married you, my orbit changed. You invited me into your gravity, and I'm still here. All of our experience togetherthe good and hard, bad and hardit all adds to the mass, increasing the gravity. Will you forgive me if I fall back on a better wordsmith? (I'm feeling inadequate in this public setting.)

To whom I owe the leaping delight 
That quickens my senses in our wakingtime 
And the rhythm that governs the repose of our sleepingtime, 
The breathing in unison 

Of lovers whose bodies smell of each other 
Who think the same thoughts without the need of speech
And babble the same speech without need of meaning.

No peevish winter wind shall chill
No sullen tropic sun shall wither
The roses in the rose-garden which is ours and ours only

But this dedication is for others to read:
These are private words addressed to you in public.                 T.S. Eliot

How do I thank you for the late nights and early mornings, long discussions, listening. . . always listening, carefully listening? And, the funalways, so much fun to be with you. Thank you.

I love you.

(How'd I do, Love?)

More Strange Conversations with Little Girls

We had violent thunderstorms this week--Arizona style, but with much more rainfall. Standing at the ironing board during one of these storms, I heard Marguerite muttering to herself:
"Tornados and stickers . . . swine flu."
(This is my girl who still won't sit through a fireworks show.)
"What are you talking about, Daisy?"
"I'm just sick of a world with tornados and thunder and thorns and stickers and swine flu. I want to live in a world without those."
Can you blame her?

Friday, June 12, 2009

Strange Conversations with Little Girls

Another conversation with Marguerite:
"Mom, I want to impress Lilly by being spoiled. . . .just for 1 day. Please, please, please. Spoil me for just one day?" What on earth is she talking about? Does she seriously understand the concept of 'spoiling' or 'impressing'? Who put these ideas into her head.
"Why will this impress Lilly?" I ask. "Cause it looks cute."
Cute to be spoiled??? I'm baffled. "What do you mean it looks cute?
"It's cool, it's fun, it's awesome." Hmm. This sounds like a script.
"What are you talking about?"
"I want to impress Lilly by getting a book that has a CD--a toy CD and CD player."
"Does Lilly have one of those?"
"No. Please . . . I'm serious. I want to impress Lilly. Say yes or no! Please.
Well, that's easy. "No."
"But you get what you want!"
"Actually, I only get what I want some of the time. Like right now, I'm tired, and I'd like to go to bed, but I can't really do that."
Eden walks in carrying my George Washington doll and hands it to me: "Mom, sleep with it. He can be your comfort doll."
Who are these people!
(NOTE TO SELF: next FHE discuss the futility of trying to impress.)

Friday, June 5, 2009

Jane Austen Night

My dearest family,
Most regrettably, our Draper parish neglected to make arrangements for the traditional Fathers & Sons encampment this year--an oversight most egregious and NOT to be borne. In consequence of which, the most excellent proceedings of our annual Jane Austen Night have been derailed, though, I hope, only temporarily.
Being the distinguished institution that it is and SO fondly anticipated by the Linford girls, I propose that we proceed with our own plans, without delay. I will offer several options for your consideration.
June 16th presents itself as the half-birthday of our beloved patron, Miss Austen herself. What do you say to celebrating on that day, or if you'd prefer we could delay festivities until the week end, which would be Friday the 19th or Saturday, the 20th.
Do reply without delay. I am so looking forward to being together again at last for J.A. Night.
Your most faithful and devoted sister,