Monday, November 14, 2011
The larks, still bravely singing, fly.
Our nephew Jay married the lovely Jamie, and so we have come to be friends and kin with dozens more people, which is always good. She comes from a huge family. I don't, and so I appreciate the difference.
Sixty-three years is how long her maternal grandparents were married, until her grandmother passed last week. If they were married in 1948, according to my calculations, that would have meant that when they tied the knot, television was maybe one or two channels seen on a fuzzy white screen about the size of an iPad. The poem "In Flanders Fields" was thirty years old that year, then as now recited by fourth graders on Veterans' Day. Jamie was a fourth grade teacher for a few years, and I, well, I was a desultory fourth grade student one year. Almost two years.
And back to 1948, Harry Truman was president, and cokes and newspapers were a nickel, and Scrabble and Velcro both came into being.
Velcro, that hook-and-loop fastening system, was developed by a fellow from Switzerland, when he came from walking in the brush one day and noticed that the burrs stuck to the wool on his clothing. He figured that if he made artificial burrs, and something to put them next to, he could replace buttons and zippers and shoelaces in lots of ways.
Magnets and velcro are two of the most fascinating objects that I know of. I like the feeling that things are fastened together tightly and will stay that way. And magnetic attractions tend to stay in place forever too, as long as the laws of physics remain in force. People in love tend to stay together, too.
Jamie's grandparents fell in love as teenagers and that never went away. They never lost that attraction. I loved the way at family functions they were always together, sitting nearby, sharing food, enjoying themselves and the party too. I really admired that. Both of them always found a crowd of people talking to them, because of being so nice, and at parties as in life, they stuck together all the time.
Peggy and I are like that; if I'm away from her for more than a couple of minutes, I miss her like crazy. Jamie's grandfather is so sad now; it was so tough to see him so bereft, so disconsolate the other day at the funeral home. To have been with someone, and have stayed together like that for sixty-three years is an accomplishment worthy of the highest admiration. I see people all around me building skyscrapers, starting marketing ventures, building fortunes, inventing computers, and I say, yes, that's all good, for as far as skyscrapers and marketing ventures and fortunes and computers go. You will notice that the minute someone creates something, someone else is ready to step up make it obsolete. The original iPad is a good example: a year later, version 2 made the first one a souvenir. The original versions of Velcro and love are still as good as they ever were at holding things together.
But how about, instead of all those other big deals, how about building a skyscraper of love, being in the business of love, building love over sixty-three years? I think that's what matters.
When the end comes, I think we'll all want to be able to say we loved and were loved, before we all lie in that Flanders Field that awaits us all somewhere.
He is a very nice man, Andy is, loved and respected by all, and I grieve for his sadness. Please join me in a prayer that this fine man will know in his heart that the greatest thing he could have done is what he did: he loves someone well, and she loves him too, and the time they will be parted temporarily will be nothing compared to the eternity of love they will share.
This is what we believe. It's really all we have.