Monday, June 23, 2008

Toward a Future Senate

Towards a Future Senate

My mom is in town. One of her compadres died recently, Cyd Charisse. Cyd danced her first dance recital when as Mom played the piano. She wasn’t Cyd Charisse then, she was Tula Finklea

She picked up “Cyd” because her younger brother couldn’t say “sis.” Mom was nine years old when she played “Dance of the Butterfly” for Cyd. That means that Mom was still living on the family farm rented from the Bush family (not the president's family, the family that gave its books to "Just us Girls" in 1900 to start a library for Amarillo). The Fryingpan ranch, where barbwire was first used,

It so happened that my childhood home was built just east of the border of the Frying Pan ranch and that the fence posts which had held the first barbed wire had been frugally reused in the making of the back fence. Amarillo is all about re-use – for example the first incarnation of the Bid Texan Restaurant, where you can get a FREE 72 Once steak dinner (if you eat the whole thing in an hour) was made from the lumber of the German interment camp. Now what did we use them krauts for? We had make bombs. In fact the site they made bombs later make them plutonium enriched “devices:” The Pantex plant – we all used to take great pride that Amarillo was city number two the Russians would wipe out. (New York being number 1).

Like most facilities associated with Weapons of Mass Destruction it hosts Earth day events. The down side of the plutonium storage site is that it leaks into the aquifer

That also may be seen as slow recycling of virtual deaths from the Cold War into real deaths now.

Which brings me back to my mom. She has long since retired, but her volunteer work is aimed at the Class of 1939 of Amarillo High. She reads the paper every morning and notes who has died of her classmates. They are all friends now. Maybe it was the boy that sat on other side of study hall, maybe it was somebody that you didn’t even like but half a centenary after High School, you survived, you Remember, you are friends. I’ve always been pleased that the Greek word for Truth, aletheia means “Against the River Lethe” “Against forgetting.’

The truism of our age is that we learn to look to the young for peace. I think the actual place of peace will come from people who take great joy in surviving. What would happen if we had drugs to make old folks as clear headed as my momma and let them rule on the basis of “I survived, I remember, if you made it you are my friend.”? After all “senate” used to mean a “gathering of old men.”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There is great wisdom in this. My youth was often not peaceful, as I was easily anxious about whatever worried me. Nearing fifty, I am ever so much more peaceful than I could have imagined possible then.

Yes, "people who take great joy in surviving"! I think of our friends whom we visited this past weekend, Horst who was joyfully celebrating his 88th birthday. And yes, he is a peaceful man. Yes, older people's bodies are in constant need of repair. His wife told of eye surgery which enabled her to see again, and now she has a new hearing aid which works marvelously. She rejoiced so much in this, for she could now hear the music on the stereo, and all sorts of subtle sounds
which she couldn't before the new device. Each birthday at that age is a triumph, and its day is a day for celebration.