She was funny. She was liberating. She taught us to be impolite in conversation not only about sexual matters, but about American history and famous heroes, about the distribution of wealth, about school, about everything. ~ Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. describing the character of Phoebe Hurty in his book, Breakfast of Champions
Sometimes there are these bonus weekends that come along to serve up all sorts of nutritional stuff for the mind and soul. This weekend was one to be sure! It began with a visit to one of my favorite people Mike. Mike is a car and guitar doctor who I’ve known for years who happens to be one of the best flat pickers around. He doesn’t write his own stuff, he’s more of a strumming musical encyclopedia of just about every obscure thread of Americana you can imagine. If you’re lucky enough to hear him play, you’ll be treated to great music AND a history lesson…
So there we are Mike, Mike Jr. and myself having lunch in the shop (they were nice enough to treat) when I had mentioned my small business networking group we call First Principles…which catches Mike Jr’s ear. Now you need to know that Mike Sr., as a small business owner in the Socialist Republic of New York and I aren’t just on the same page…we are on the same word when it comes to politics. I am about to learn that Mike Jr. isn’t on our page, in our book or library for that matter…He’s more of a student of Phoebe Hurty I’d say. “What the hell is First Principles?” he asked me. Our conversation ran out of gas after he made the following two comments:
1- “You do realize that Obama is right of Reagan.”
2- “We’d be better off with Anarchy.”
Now, to be fair, we had the most polite conversation which ended in the most proverbial agree to disagree way, but it made me wonder how in the world our country will ever find its way again, when our youth are so hopelessly lost…and worse…they don’t realize where we were to begin with! 😦
But please don’t despair, because remember I began by referring to this as a bonus weekend! My conversation with Mike Jr. was a setup for that which was yet to come! Saturday was our 8th wedding anniversary and, as my regular readers know, we renewed our vows at the Jersey Shore just 10 days earlier (love). After my visit with the Mike’s I stopped at my favorite “bling” shop in Warwick and found the perfect gifts and what appeared to be the perfect card. I returned home, made reservations at our favorite restaurant, the Depuy Canal House in High Falls, located an interesting live music act and booked ourselves a room in New Paltz…where we would officially travel back in time to the year 1969 (thank you Mr. Peabody!).
Saturday morning I awoke early to write out the card before my wife got out of bed. When I opened the card…the card which picked me by the way, I noticed that it was a card meant to be given TO the couple…not from husband to wife! What to do? There is no way I would have time to exchange it! So, in a flash of lemonade-brewing brilliance, I pondered “What Would God Say?”…and he did:
To Jodi & Chip:
The breadth of my love is the air that you breathe.
The soil ‘neath your feet are the minerals of me.
My joy is your sun; my tears are your rain,
My hope is your pleasure; your fear is my pain.
The ends of your days; the beginnings of mine,
“Till death do us part” is but one earthly rhyme.
The Truth well hidden as a test from the start…
The key to it all, is to trust in the heart.
The rest of the day and weekend was purely magical! When a husband and wife commit to one another, they can’t possibly imagine what their lives hold in store for them. They may think they can. They may know what they wish for and believe what they wish, but they can never know. This, like THE Truth, is well hidden from us all. This is why our greatest responsibility in this life is to be the care-taker, custodian and guardian of our hearts! Because, sadly, there is always a Phoebe Hurty, Gurty Man only too happy to lift it from you!
So Sunday morning, like every morning, I am up hours before my wife. I don’t have a newspaper…Wait! What’s this? I notice a copy of Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.’s Breakfast of Champions which I assume that she is re-reading. So, I curl up with it while I wait for her own awakening and in literally 2 seconds find myself wondering why he hadn’t named it Breakfast of Communists. I find myself admiring his stunning gift for painting with words, while loathing his utter and visceral contempt for America…in fact, I would say that Vonnegut did for America literally what Adele does for ex-lovers musically…ouch!
As I glanced over at the sleeping form of my most favorite person in the world, I realized hope and hopelessness together. I understood quite clearly how an entire generation…and their children had been seduced away from common sense towards anarchy. And I found the most glaring ironic twist in the quote above. The impoliteness they used to separate us from convention, they converted to the confining politeness of Political Correctness to ultimately imprison us. NOT ON MY WATCH PHOEBE HURTY!