[lit-ideas] All Directions

  • From: David Ritchie <profdritchie@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 8 Oct 2013 11:06:46 -0700

I'm back and again, secure in the humble role of "he who has temporary charge 
of the chickens."  I drove south, attending a ceremony to honor San Diego's 
local heroes.  Two relatives were being honored.  Sponsored by the Red Cross, 
the ceremony involved breakfast in the U.S.S. Midway's hangar.  An upbeat blond 
t.v. newsperson hosted.  There was applause, granola, yoghurt, some sort of 
egg-like substance.  Russell Honore, the lieutenant general in charge of 
Katrina relief gave a speech advised us all to be prepared, which he said meant 
buying one of the Red Cross's kits.  He likened prepared people to sheep dogs 
who "protect flocks against wolves."  There was nothing about stiffening the 
sinew and disguising fair nature with hard-favored rage, but I did wonder if 
that was also on the agenda.  

I returned more recently from Walla Walla, which is according to Wikipedia a 
"diminutive" meaning "land of many waters," so called of course, because 
compared to the rest of the Pacific Northwest it's really pretty dry.  I found 
in my stack of mail a Pendleton catalog.  Among the items I could buy 
therefrom, should I so wish, is a "Chief Joseph Jacquard Bath Towel."  

Hin-mah-too-yah-lat-kekt, you'll recall, led an epic fighting retreat from his 
homelands near Walla Walla all the way to the Canadian border.  A thousand 
miles of hard fighting and you get to be on a towel.  I quote, "Arrowheads 
symbolizing his bravery point in all directions of Mother Earth."  You could 
also buy the design on a bathrobe.

Going in "all directions" I remember from camping tours of France and Italy.  
My Dad would follow signposts which promised that outcome.  We'd often get lost.

Out east I drove past the Herring Funeral Home.  According to the web it's one 
of several.  I was reminded of Hector Brocklebank phoning the "cremi."  Here's 
a recording of that: 

While away I read "The World According to Jeremy Clarkson."  He hosts "Top 
Gear," and wrote for the "Sunday Times."  He's conservative, or even possibly 
Conservative.  His writing reminds me of puppet shows, so predictable and 
familiar are the characters and stances he employs: the domestically-useless 
husband, the nanny-state bureaucrat, the unimaginative art museum curator.  
Nevertheless, I find him funny.  At age eighteen he wanted to go to University 
but instead went to work for the "Rotherham Advertiser."  At the time the book 
was published Brunel gave him an honorary doctorate which, he argues, is not 
bad for a "thicky."  We know he's not that, but in today's local dark and gloom 
I find myself wondering if, while achieving measurable objectives and core 
wotsits, in addition to opening him to more nuanced judgements, we'd now train 
the wit out of him.  I hope not.   

Carry on,

David Ritchie,
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