Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Waiting For Julie

Julie was in another building, the door to her office was locked and she said "Wait for me on the bench". I walked to her building and took a seat on the bench beside the walk.

It was a beautiful day enhanced by the anticipation of the season. Finals week and the end of the semester always have some festive feeling. Next Monday we start summer hours and some employees will begin wearing shorts.

I sat on the bench enjoying the clouds that painted the sky. A pigeon streaked low overhead aided by a strong tail wind. His speed and quick maneuvering brought to mind the 1970's book Jonathan Livingston Seagull. I could never understand why the book was considered anti-christian. But it was a fleeting thought because a kite snagged my attention.

To the north beside a dorm (the current terminology is 'residence hall' but 'dorm' evokes more pleasant memories) someone was flying a kite. It was higher than any kite I've seen in recent years. The string stretched over the dorm, above the trees, across some roads and beyond a parking lot. This, too, tugged a memory from the past.

I was a kid flying a kite in the local park. There were several of us. One guy had a kite that kept going up and up. He ran out of string. Someone gave him another spool and he sent the kite higher until the spool emptied. It was off in the distance above huge cottonwood trees that lined the creek. I brought my kite down and gave him another ball of twine. Before long someone else did the same until it could go no higher. I don't remember names. I'm not certain I knew the guy. It was a spontaneous community challenge. Everyone was contributing and cheering the kite higher.

As I watched today's kite it suddenly took a dive, circled up a few feet, resumed its descent and shot below the tops of the trees. I wondered if it was destroyed, hung in a tree or impaled in the ground among a surprised group of students. After perhaps 20 seconds it suddenly appeared above the trees and climbed back into the sky. A miraculous resurrection.

Resurrection! That reminded me of a poem Julie heard on NPR recently. She enjoyed the reading, did a search for the poet, found the poem and sent a copy to me.

My Father's Corpse
by Andrew Hudgins

He lay stone still, pretended to be dead.
My brothers and I, tiny, swarmed over him
like puppies. He wouldn't move. We tickled him
tracing our fingers up and down his huge
misshapen feet - then armpits, belly, face.
He wouldn't move. We pushed small fingers up
inside his nostrils, wiggled them, and giggled.
He wouldn't move. We peeled his eyelids back,
stared into those motionless, blurred circles. Still,
he wouldn't, didn't move. Then we, alarmed,
poked, prodded his great body urgently.
Daddy, are you okay? Are you okay?
He didn't move. I reared back, gathered speed,
and slammed my forehead on his face. He rose,
he rose up roaring, scattered us from his body
and, as he raged, we sprawled at his feet - thrilled
to have the resurrected bastard back.

A couple walked by, a native American couple. I'm not being racist by commenting on their ethnicity which is pertinent in this case. I'm sure they have experienced some prejudice. I live in Arizona, the state that has legalized racial profiling. The young lady was wearing a shirt printed with large letters: "To all the haters, thanks for the love". I'm not certain how to interpret it but I like it. It's pointed but not aggressive.

Yes, this also reminded me of another memory. In this memory a young lady was wearing a shirt with an interesting saying: "Trust in God, she will provide". The young lady was a theology student in seminary. I liked and still like the message and the unsettled reactions that it elicited (and elicits) from some people.

As I watched the world around me and let memories come and go the phone rang. It was Julie. I was waiting on the wrong bench.


Blogger graceonline said...

What delightful, tender, moving stories. What peace. Thank you.

5/06/2010 11:43:00 AM  
Blogger Beardedoverland said...

"I live in Arizona, the state that has legalized racial profiling." Must be another State... The State of Arizona that I live in is just upholding the Federal laws that are already on the books... Please, please, if you are going to comment on such things, read the bill before regurgitating the talking points from other sources.

5/06/2010 06:25:00 PM  
Blogger Alex Pendragon said...

Yes, King, much the same way that the Southern states "upheld" the laws back in the sixties when they denied black people their civil rights. It's all in how you interpret things, and right now, I don't see much interpreting from the "drill baby drill" crowd as the gulf fills with crude oil. I despise illegal immigration as much as you apparently do, but I want those who make that perilous trek across our borders such a promise to pay for the misery they are causing us all, and I don't see very many white people worrying all that much about them. Oh, and I'm a pasty white WASP to, so just shut up about it.

5/06/2010 07:07:00 PM  
Blogger Alex Pendragon said...

Paul, it pains me to come and read such a wonderful story only to see it tainted by the simplistic taint in the comments section. Thank you for the wonderful picture you painted for us.

5/06/2010 07:09:00 PM  

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