The ancient Egyptians hardly knew how influential they would be when they put up obelisks. Pyramids are, of course, more impressive, but if you build a pyramid, it is going to stay where you put it no matter what. Obelisks may weigh hundreds of tons, but they are still to some extent portable, and they have been exported, to various world capitals for various reasons.
Elephants are among the first exotic animals of which kids have some knowledge. Every Noah’s Ark set has a pair, and children are able to draw elephants almost as soon as they can draw any recognizable animal. We love Babar and we love Horton. But most westerners see real elephants only in zoos and circuses, where they are among the favorite attractions.
I began taking an interest in hot cars when my bicycle lost its appeal with the girls in my class, somewhere around the age of 12.
Summer has arrived with a vengeance. The air hangs heavily. Chris goes into the backyard to gather beans and cucumbers, and returns exhausted, breathless. A voluminous humidity clings to our skin like a fog, seeping deeply into each pore. And, like a cranky house guest, she stays much too long. We know it will be many months before this visitor packs her bags and moves on.
These early summer evenings are punctuated with the small, bright flashes of fireflies. From my porch we exclaim at every sighting. “There’s one! I just saw one!” You’d think there was a reward for the most observed in a single night.
Will miracles never cease? We boiled our first garden-grown potato recently! Only one, and I undercooked it, so we could only nibble it to be sure it was edible. How exciting. Well, it is for us, anyway.
A fad for deregulation hit our country in the mid-1980s, and whether you think this was a good thing or a bad thing, it inarguably brought us late-night advertisements for the miracle Food Dehydrator, the Ronco Automatic Pasta Maker, spray-on-hair for balding persons, the Snuggie and colon cleanse based on Biblical principles.
Columbus seems encircled by celebration these days. Weddings, graduations, major events of all sorts call for an acknowledgement and a toast before moving on to the next chapter, the next goal. It’s always fun to help friends honor a joyful moment. Too often we meet at funerals or in times of tragedy.
Sports and nationalism often clash, and did so memorably when Adolf Hitler was in power. The story of how the four gold medals won by non-Aryan Jesse Owens at the 1936 Olympics embarrassed the Fuhrer has often been told. Of somewhat lesser renown is the 1936 heavyweight fight between Max Schmeling and Joe Louis, of which a German radio announcer said, “It is every German’s obligation to stay up tonight. Max will fight overseas with a Negro for the hegemony of the white race!”
The lyrics from a classic Linda Ronstadt song keep rolling through my head. “Heart like a wheel, when you bend it you can’t mend it.”
It’s that time of year again. People are returning to their roots, gathering for class reunions. May seems to be the busiest month for that, with autumn homecomings and Christmas holidays trailing slightly.
It wasn’t so long ago that we were all fascinated with the change of millennium, jumping into the two thousands of years. There were worries: Everyone with a computer remembers that shortcuts by 20th-century programmers were supposed to mean computers would crash when they unexpectedly came across years with a first digit of two rather than of one. It’s interesting that our worries with the big date change were technological. They didn’t come to pass.
What do you get when you cross 750 hard-boiled eggs with five Episcopalian women? (Drum roll, please.) You get 1,300 deviled eggs!
I’ve thought a lot about pain this week. Monday started with a trip to the dentist. A tooth extraction left one more hole in my head and a deep gouge in my finances. Thank goodness for Harriet Gilliam at Medical Arts Pharmacy, who kindly led me to the affordable, generic versions of my prescriptions and to a steady seat.
You know the name Spartacus, probably from the many fictional descriptions of his life, especially Kirk Douglas playing the title role in the 1960 film by Stanley Kubrick. There are novels about him, too, and a ballet by Khachaturian. Ronald Reagan was no scholar of Roman history, but in an address in Britain, he referred to the rebellious slave Spartacus as a symbol of the fight against totalitarianism. Spartacus’s name seems as if it will resound forever, and so a case could be made that we ought to know more about him than the “facts” presented in a Hollywood biopic.
I have hesitated to write about the Mississippi University for Women name change because I have mixed feelings. Something surfaced, however, that I feel compelled to comment on.
Today we honor mothers of all sorts, and not a moment too soon. I’m not sure I could stomach another sticky-sweet ad featuring pink, cubic zirconia, hearts and corny text. Does anyone’s mother ever look like those models wearing inexpensive jewelry, and in rapture over a bottle of drug-store fragrance?
Recently I wrote that I had heard of the closing of Sir Antony’s near Pontotoc. I was distressed to be told that the major reason for this was due to “no-shows,” customers who make reservations and simply don’t show up.
Our perfect spring is quickly melting into the sauna that is summer. It won’t be long before Chris and I will be forced to abandon our late-afternoon alfresco chats with the neighbors, cultivating friendships.
“If I had your hand, I’d throw mine in.” Those are the words of encouragement I gave one of my best pals a few days ago during what turned out to be a pretty somber visit. His job is going away. I had to remind him that he is super intelligent and has a laundry list of accomplishments he couldn’t fit on a four-page resumé.
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