Wednesday, December 19, 2007

First Few Days of Vacation

So I am grabbing a slow time in my college library; it stays open during most of the break, even though only a handful of international students are still on campus. This still my favorite library in the world, the one against which all others are measured... and today I got the 'visitors' computer with the good keyboard... After all the worry about getting out of my apartment, let alone to Newark, the trip from door to door was as painless as any I've experienced. It's always nice flying out, because the complicated part of the trip (take a subway, take a train or bus, carry all the luggage) happens at the beginning of the trip. At the other end someone is waiting to pick me up in the car, and I get to start the visit with 40 minutes of private time with one member of my family. This time it was Mom, and we drove back by way of National Rd (US 40), so as to avoid all the enormous trucks on 70. It meant we also had to deal with drifting snow and a two lane highway, but it worked 0ut well, and I got to see stars almost immediately, and the open farmland studded with copses of trees. It's this austere beauty I look forward to when I'm here. Lots of my friends have trouble understanding why I love it so. I wonder if one has to be born here to appreciate it fully.

My brother James was picking up Dad at the Cincinnati airport at the same time. Dad was on his way home from Rome, the show-off. After he retired from teaching, Dad became the clerk of the American Friends Service Committee, a peace and social action organization. In the 50's the AFSC won a Nobel Peace Prize, which means it is now allowed to send a representative to a conference of Nobel Peace Prize winners that meets this time every year. Gorbachov is the founder. This trip, highlights for Dad was getting a bear hug from Gorby, and helping Christy Brinkley find the ladies room. Gives you an idea of how much ground this conference tries to cover, no? He said George Clooney spoke, and was actually pretty impressive, no grand-standing or melodrama, just clear, sensible talk about Africa. Nice to hear, I like Clooney. At another session, one of the panelists was the Dalai Llama; in response to one question he said "nothing to say," then proceeded to speak for a long time. It was fun though, Dad said, he was funny and charming, but at one point he said "look, we all know we only have one life to live," and Dad thought, wait a minute; the Dalai Llama thinks he only has one life to live? Doesn't that present him with some problems? Dad never got to clarify this, but that's probably for the best.

I could feel pressure due to the fact that my increasingly frail 73 year old father does more globe trotting and activism than I do, but I guess I should appreciate having him set the bar high. I'm proud of him, as you can tell from my bragging no doubt, and feel lucky that everyone in the family is on the same page when it comes to politics. That helps cut down on holiday drama, I'm sure.

The family insists Fang never makes as much of a fuss over others as she does over me; they're convinced she counts me as part of the pack. Maybe I have the right scent. They claim she always spends a few days after I leave wandering around the house looking for me. Whether any of it is true or not, she definitely makes me feel very welcomed. Dogs are good for the soul. She cracks me up. When we let her off the leash she run joyfully, when it's time to get back on she races up to us joyfully, then she chews her treat with such gusto one just feels all is right with the world, as long as one is lucky enough to have a dog biscuit. I think she is often the best leaven for my mom's sometime somber moods.

The quiet, nurturing pace of life here is wonderful, but doesn't make for good stories just yet, and I'm supposed to be getting off the computer now anyway. I think I may have a blogging addiction... going this long without writing, and even less time without catching up on all of you (which I did yesterday) makes me wonder if I have a bit of an addiction.... but I DON'T CARE. I miss more regular (and unpressured) time checking in with everyone... hope you're all easing into a festive, fun time.


somewhere joe said...

How delicious to be welcomed home by a winter country landscape and a canopy of stars. And fang.

Maybe your dad should co-author your blog for a few days... Gorby, the Dalai Llama, and Christie Brinkley! How cool is that? They'd make a fabulous elf line. The Dalai Llama is halfway there already.

You've discovered another reason to love the 'net, Patrick. Your favorite college library is wired. It's the 21st century, baby. It's delightful, it's deboner, its delovely.

Cooper said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cooper said...

Actually, Patrick ...this is a good story ... a lovely story. I'd much rather read about your starry drive home with your mother, and Fang's exuberant love of you and biscuits, and your wonderful father's travels, than most anything else. These are the stories of the heart which bring us home with you ... in spirit, anyway. So too, are they the kinds of tales I love to catch in my 'net.


Java said...

LOL @ joe for the suggestion for an elf line! Although I kinda like his idea about your dad being a guest co-blogger. I can certainly understand you being proud of your dad.

Cooper is so romantically poetic. Don't you just love him?

I've been in a grumpy mood all day, and have not been fit to be in the presence of humans. But all day long I've been thinking about my blog friends and eagerly anticipating getting back to the blogosphere. I think yeah, I'm addicted to this place. And it makes me happy!

somewhere joe said...

You have your scent. And that, to Fang, is the right scent. Your story is your story. And that's the story we're here to hear.

Patrick said...

Guapo, I've often thought my dad and sister should each write a blog, or guest on mine. At the very least I will post (with their permission) emails they send me from time to time that will have me gasping for air. That would be a hell of an elf line up. I'm enjoying that picture. And yes, this library, up-to-date as all get-out, deboner indeed, delovely and delicious too, not unlike yourself.

Dear Cooper, thanks for the reassurance; I often do worry about self-indulgence with this blog, more so recently when I feel like I'm bragging so much about my family, but I just think they're cool. They drive me apeshit as well, as I do them, but they're some of the most wonderful people I know. Glad to know the stories have some appeal to others.

Dear Java, Cooper is a poem himself, don't you think. Finding him led me to finding all of you as well, and that alone earns him my gratitude. Glad to know I'm not the only one who wonders if he's living a bit too much in the blogosphere... but it is so fun, isn't it?