Friday, December 22, 2006

I wrote a country song

Every Time I Come To Florida It Rains.

Yes, a country song! But it's true. I step foot in the state and hurricanes come, the first snow in 30 years happens, and then today there's a lightning storm so severe they had to land the shuttle someplace else. I will never get a Florida Suntan. Ever. My white legs will be even whiter when I get home than when I left, because I left my Neutrogena Build-a-Tan at home thinking I wouldn't need it.

Man, did I ever have a good time on the road yesterday listening to my audio book. It's the one on the Brooklyn Bridge - corruption, power, Boss Tweed, brilliance, engineering, kickbacks, caisson disease, you name it. I love the spirit that comes across in history books about the turn of the century - that America was a place where Anything Was Possible. We have done such a job of replacing inspiration with cynicism, patriotism with contempt, and the pioneer spirit with greed, haven't we? Like CS Lewis says in The Abolition of Men, it's not that all values are wrong, it's just that we are taught that some, like honor or valor or courage or patriotic devotion to your country ought to be scorned as the purveyance of lesser, stupider folk. Intellectuals fancy themselves smarter than the people who feel those cliched emotions. There is an approved list of values that those of Intellect hold, and if you depart from them it's the same as going to a Starbucks and wondering out loud why the coffee is so damn expensive. Things screech to a halt among certain listeners. It's always been this way, with certain values being considered more virtuous by the chattering classes than any others (and here is a secret - the Church does it too, what with making some sins out to be worse than others, when in point of fact what matters is that someone IS a sinner, not what particular sin he did).

But Plato taught patriotism, didn't he? (That is not a question.) Battles are fought and won in the public arena through the use of language. (Think about it.) Anyway, books like these make me feel inspired and patriotic. Yes, there's corruption, but there is a measure of corruption in anything touched by humans. I don't believe that John A Roebling was a corrupt man who built the Great Bridge out of that spirit. I think he was a visionary, and his son Washington, who carried on the project after the elder Roebling's death - after having faught at Antietam, Colliersville and Gettysburg - finished the job well for his father.

There, now you know something of why I read these books and what they mean to me. I love stories of men and women struggling with things they know are too big for them and doing it anyway. I think a certain recklessness is essential to happiness as a human. And I love the way McCullough writes.

This morning Zeke, the Great Pyrenees who forcefully and mightily in a hoping-for-cheese-way inhabits my parents' house, got into my suitcase and very carefully, without hurting anything else, took out a ziploc baggie of tea bags. He left one at the foot of my bed, one in the bedroom doorway, and one in the hall outside the bedroom. The bag was in the middle of the floor a few feet away. (Clearly he had some project going on.) I woke up and scolded him a bit. Poor Zeke, he was crushed. I am not sure what he was trying to accomplish, but I am trying to be extra nice to him and find out. He didn't even slobber on the bag. I think he really, really likes green tea and was Sending a Message.

And I can't very well admire the Pioneer Spirit in the Roeblings and then crush it in the family dog. Right?

PS - to do the nifty strike tag, just use your brackets and put the word "strike" as your opening tag and "/strike" as your close tag. That's it! Hahaha!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know what you mean about Florida. When I moved to Florida this summer, as soon as my Dad and I crossed the state border, it began to pour. I wish I had a picture of the "Welcome to the Sunshine State" billboard while it was raining!

1:16 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

The winter I lived in Orlando was one of the coldest on record - people were freezing to death in their unheated homes...

9:30 PM  
Blogger Peevish said...

Awwww... I have this image of a Great Pyrenees carefully strewing teabags around the house!

3:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the info about the strike. I even got a chance to use it!
When I moved to FL for 4 months in '99, they had the coldest January on record...these people were turning on their heaters for the first times ever...wal-mart sold out of winter coats. Insanity abounded.
Merry Christmas.

10:50 PM  
Blogger turtlegirl76 said...

Just catching up - sounds like you had an interesting holiday! Love the Christmas with the Kitties. (I'm such a bad kitty mommy I forgot to cram Ripple's stocking full of treats for while I was gone like I normally do.)

So sorry about Hedera. There's no logical reason (as you state) why it should be so tight as it's such a stretchy pattern. If you're still thinking of offloading it, I have a sister that I believe they'd fit. I can finish them for her. I can swap some yarn in trade if'n ya like =)

10:30 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home