My father died three years ago today.

Oddly enough, Elli is the one who reminded me of the date’s significance earlier this week, with a loving email from the other side of the world. But, of course, it was creeping in around the corners of my consciousness even before I read her email.

While the sunny-side of my brain was busy writing about John Donne and researching colonial foodways, renewing library books and organizing bills, thinking up dinners and planning Christmas lists, it was also fielding quiet messages from my mind’s shadowy side… messages that seemed to be obscure and insignificant memories… but when I look closer, I see that they all point to one day.

I miss you, Dad. I always will. I’m still finding jokes I want to tell you, goofy Christmas presents to make you laugh, people I want you to meet, stories I hope would make you proud.

I wish you’d met The Fella. He and I had planned to visit on that day, this day three years ago, bringing a Christmas tree for Mom… because he’d asked if he could do something, anything, to help her, to help you. I wish you could have known him, his fierce quiet intelligence, his wit, his impossibly good heart. I wish you could have seen how happy he makes me.

I wish… I wish a lot of things. But really, there’s not so much to wish for as there might be. You had a good life, even at the end of it. And you’re remembered with love and (never underestimate this) with laughter. I haven’t had a BLT since this one, but I think it’s time.

Fill our hearts with thankfulness;
Fill our hearts with grace,
Smile on our celebrations
And then bless us on our way.
HDS, November 24th, 2005

Beautiful morning

At 6:30 this morning, the scent of ocean struck me even before I opened the door; gleaming pale fog clung to the houses and trees, obscuring the runnel of traffic already building. As I bobbled along, I found myself singing, off-tune and wavering, under my breath.

“There’s a bright golden haze on the meeeeadow
There’s a bright golden haze on the meadow
The corn is as high as —-

I am gonna swat that girl.”

From “Elli” e-mail@whatsis.huh
Subject: Bright golden haze on the meadow
Date: Wed, 21 Sep 2005 14:16:42 +0200
To: “Elsa” e-mail@whosis.huh

Darn you straight to heck, Elli.

Warning: I am a sap.

Support from dear and long-time friends is no surprise; indeed, knowing it is always there under the jokes and the kvetching is the very essence of friendship. Elli, K., T & J: there are no words to thank you for your good, generous hearts. We’ve been through so much together that your love leaves me grateful but unsurprised.
But the sweet, stalwart persistence of a few new friends utterly sideswiped me.

You took me out for breakfast. You put down your textbook and suggested coffee. You bought me vodka & tonics in that dim, swanky bar. You burbled beautifully about your wedding plans or your internship or Shakespeare. You listened. Oh, sweet fancy Moses, did you listen. You cracked stupid, smutty jokes. You hugged me ’til my knees buckled, and held on ’til I could stand straight. You revealed yourselves as true friends, and you make me quite weak with fondness and gratitude.

I take it back: you make me strong.


As I sit here watching the tail end of the DNC coverage, I am feeling a special thrill. This is the year Elli and I have been waiting for. In mere weeks, we will both be old enough to run for President of the United States. My birthday is first, giving me a two week lead on her. That could make all the difference at the polls. Eat my electoral dust, Elli!

Paper Street

I’m supposed to be working on a paper right now. I would dearly love to blame my procrastination on the blog (and therefore on you, gentle reader), but that dog won’t hunt. I have only myself to blame.

I’m finding evidence to support the argument that the Renaissance shift in representation of the Christ Child was an indirect result of the establishment of foundling homes. With alternatives to infanticide and a concentration of infant morbidity and mortality in institutional, not domestic, settings, mainstream society could have experienced a dramatic increase in transfer of affect to the infants remaining at home, increasing adult identification of infants as human and encouraging Renaissance artists to adopt the Greco-Roman image of God-as-baby, complete with chubby cheeks and gentle demeanor.

This being my field of study, it is really impossible to claim that watching “Fight Club” this morning (instead of getting to the library by 8 a.m. as planned) was research.
Now you know I’m me and not Elli; she couldn’t make up this nonsense.