Archive for February, 2019

Closing Lines

It’s been said (meaning I can’t remember where I read it) that the opening lines of a book sell the book, and the closing lines sell the next book.

Here are a few memorable closing lines.

But the effect of her being on those around her was incalculably diffusive: for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs. — George Eliot, Middlemarch

• Yes, she thought, laying down her brush in extreme fatigue, I have had my vision. — Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse

Everything we need that is not food or love is here in the tabloid racks. The tales of the supernatural and the extraterrestrial. The miracle vitamins, the cures for cancer, the remedies for obesity. The cults of the famous and the dead. — Don DeLillo, White Noise

If I were a younger man, I would write a history of human stupidity; and I would climb to the top of Mount McCabe and lie down on my back with my history for a pillow; and I would take from the ground some of the blue-white poison that makes statues of men; and I would make a statue of myself, lying on my back, grinning horribly, and thumbing my nose at You Know Who. — Kurt Vonnegut, Cat’s Cradle

• Don’t ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody. — J.D. Salinger. The Catcher in the Rye

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Kumbaya

Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid. — Einstein

I’ve always liked that quote. Probably because I have spent a lot of my life believing I’m stupid. Now I realize that’s true, but only about half the time.

I had a mother in the era where many women didn’t want to be mothers, felt they had no choice, and took it out on their children. My mother’s favorite pastime was to point out all the ways I was stupid. One of them related to music. I didn’t have music lessons because I was too stupid to learn. (I now believe that the real reason was that the school didn’t offer lessons, and we couldn’t afford private lessons.) Also, she told me I couldn’t carry a tune—I’m not sure why it mattered that my mother persisted in reminding of this. Maybe she thought that, otherwise, I’d be walking around the house singing and disturbing her peace.

Yes, there I am in the centerfold.

Jumping forward to the days when I was a Roman Catholic Sister—I attended mass every lunch time in the college chapel. With me in the photo above are other students, the man on my right a seminarian, Bob C.

Guitar masses were all the rage, and Bob lead the singing every day. But one day he didn’t show up, and those of us in the pews started to look around for someone to take over. After all, we needed music to inspire us: This Little Light of MineKumbaya . . .

A woman I didn’t know well, in the pew behind me, tapped me on the shoulder. “Sister,” she whispered, “You’re going to have to lead the singing today.”

I turned back, panic rising in my body. “I can’t sing,” I told her.

She frowned. “What do you mean? Of course you can. You’re a nun.”

I don’t remember what I said out loud. Something like “Oh.”

And I lead the singing that day and for the rest of my time at that campus. I still wonder what became of Bob.

Have a seat

One for every occasion: a few of the cables that hang neatly in our garage.

February 9 marks a special day for the Cable Guy and me: it’s the anniversary of our retirement from a large laboratory. Besides the obvious benefits of managing our own time, there were presents!

Note the “napkin” and “key” on the seat. The scratches have been inadvertently added, but show loving use!

And among the presents was a chair from an artist friend who is expert at faux surfaces. The chair represents the fact that I was a regular at a wonderful coffee shop close to the lab. “Mrs. Coffee’s” is long gone but I remember the exceptional food, service, and ambience, and, of course, the many friends I shared them with.

The chair has a permanent place in our home—a fairly large reminder of good times. Check out the “plaque” on the back of the chair (also FAUX).

“C. MINICHINO ENDOWED CHAIR OF LUNCHOLOGY AT MRS. COFFEE’S”

Thanks B.G. for the generous sharing of your talent, and “Mrs. Coffee” for years of providing a second home!