Sunday, March 10, 2019

The Start of a Story. The Setting is the Skagit Valley in 1971.

By Fred Owens

The Start of a Story. The Setting is the Skagit Valley in 1971.

By Fred Owens

The house caught fire and burned to the ground. When I got there it was heaps of glowing embers and the only thing standing was the white metal shower stall. Sage drove back from her trip Down Below and didn’t know the house burned until she got there. I was just standing in the driveway looking at the heaps of embers. The volunteer fireman had gone home. It was just me and her looking at what was left.
Nothing was left. Not even the blanket. We both thought of the same thing – the purple –woven wool blanket we had bought in Oaxaca. We missed that more than anything.
I don’t remember where we slept that night, some neighbor must have taken us in.
The next day we drove back to the ruins and thought about trying to find something. A good cast iron kettle was in there somewhere and could be salvaged, but it was too sad and we just let it be. Sage and I looked at each other and saw what we had was slipping away.
“We could move down to Day Creek and put the kids in school there. They might let us live in one of the cabins,” I said.
Sage didn’t say anything.
“It was my fault it burned,” I said.
“Don’t say that,“ she almost shouted. “It happened. Our stuff is all gone. We can get new stuff.”
“I feel guilty.”
“Let’s go down to Day Creek,” she said. “I’ll drive.”

That's how the story starts and I know where it goes from here. I do have the time to write this. It can be absorbing, to tell a story..... but should I plan it or let the story tell itself? I already know about Sage. She'll do whatever she wants, I'll just write it down. 

Not Nearly a Bucket List, just things I would like to do in the near future
Visit brother Tom, son Eugene and sister Carolyn in Los Angeles. Visit daughter Eva and her family in Seattle.
Acquire a writing desk, lamp and book-case. Acquire books to fill book-case, about fifty or more.
Acquire a new laptop and a new iPad -- current units are old and slow
Acquire a newer car -- current car runs fine, but it's time for an automotive makeover
Travel to Toronto, to visit my old School at the University in Toronto, possibly in October when classes are in session.
Travel to London, meet Glenda Jackson at a pub and have beers with her.
Travel to Japan or China.  I cannot decided which one.
Find a third weekly exercise class. Currently going Tuesdays and Thursdays to a dynamic, muscle stretching, mildly aerobic exercise class, but I need a third weekly class to keep that buzz going.
Eliminate professional gardening as a source of income. Find some other source of income to make up for that.
Write. I already write, but I want to keep that going.
Be grateful day and night for the company of my beloved partner Laurie Moon.

The Rise of Anti-Semitism on the Progressive Left. Being Jewish used to be cool among people my age. Klezmer music, where to find a good bagel, Yiddish wise cracks and Lenny Bruce obscenities. Israel was not questioned as an important and good country. Today AOC and Ilhan Omar are cool and they are not Jewish, completely un-Jewish. I admit I am being subjective and that I am offering no evidence, but I can just  kind of feel it. AOC and Ilhan Omar are not the originators of this unhealthy un-Jewish vibration, but it passes through them. Maybe they don't even know it. Anyway I don't blame them, except they have taken positions as leaders and they ought to be aware of this --- that Israel is a good place and the Israeli people are good people. I want to hear both of them say that, because it's true. First recognition, then criticism.

We can recite the following sentence from memory. It is wrong to conflate anti-Israel sentiment with anti-Semitism. Is that right? It seems you have to make a careful distinction there, because the one looks a lot like the other. I'm old school, I like Jews. Not every Jew, but most of them are good people. Okay, they are complicated people. My attitude is not to try and figure them out, but just go with the flow. And they are famously stubborn people, stiff-necked as the old book says. So you gotta love them they way they are. And that goes for Israel. Israel exists. You know, people don't ask for permission to exist. They just exist, and endure, and thrive at times. So I think being anti-Israel is a waste of energy, because Israel is not going away. Israel is a small but intense irritation in the midst of an Arab sea. And a prosperous country too. That doesn't seem fair, does it? They must be cheating.

Omar should make a tour of Israel some day. She could wear her hijab in Israel if she wanted to, or not, just like here in America.



Fred Owens
cell: 360-739-0214

My gardening blog is  Fred Owens
My writing blog is Frog Hospital

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