There are 5 written responses to this assignment.
“Artemis Prescott Healey, b. 1805, d. 1865, was placed into a large family plot, one of the first purchased on the main hillside of Mount Auburn Cemetery years earlier.”
Funerals, so common in Boston in the year of 1865, required certain rituals. And for the Boston Brahmins, the elite, the crème de la crème of Boston society, there would be no standard funeral service in the home of the deceased. Instead, such an august and respected member of the community as Justice Healey required a graveside service, where everyone could gather and weep discretely, while taking note of who had attended and who had not.
“He would be aghast to know that such a purchase would be used so precipately. Very prudent of him to buy such a well situated plot though.” Oliver Wendell Holmes and his wife Amelia, like others of the Boston elite were gathered by Justice Healey’s graveside. Dr. Holmes, never at a loss for words, had the nervous habit of talking even more during times of stress. Amelia, tolerant of his never ending stream of chatter, pinched his arm and solemnly shushed the poet. With a small grimace of acknowledgement, Dr. Holmes acquisced. The first of the eulogies began.
The eulogy was long, the speaker’s voice a monotone. Restless and bored, Holmes glanced around. Were any of the members of the Dante Club present? His eyes lighted on Reverand Putnam, who had warned him yesterday of the consequences of flouting Dr. Manning’s request to cease the translation and publication of Dante’s Divine Comedy, a work the members of the Harvard Corporation viewed with disgust. Why was he here? Odious, impertinent, presumptuous fellows! Holmes’ mind, always focussed on ways to bring about a situation to his advantage, began to calculate the ways in which Reverand Putnam and Dr. Manning had thwarted the work of the Dante Club. They had threatened the work of the Club, threatened his, Oliver Wendall Holmes, livelyhood and threatened his friends. Offensive, vile, obnoxious parveneus! Holmes began to cry, tears of anger forming in his eyes, which he surreptitiously wiped away. Amelia patted his arm and he gave her a weak smile.
Holmes straightened his shoulders, determined to deal with the new threat the Dante Club faced. After all, he had dealt successfully with the last one. And he did so enjoy a good funeral.
“Anatole in Italy” only has 32 pages, so the following story uses the characters on that page (rather than page 42), as the basis for this little narrative.
On board the train back to France, the French cousins and their holidaying Italian cousins played board games and peered out of the windows at the moving countryside, while Anatole and his wife Doucette enjoyed some of the souvenir Italian cheeses and little glasses of wine.
“It certainly was an exciting holiday,” smiled Doucette. “Certainly much more exciting than our usual summers.”
Anatole smiled. As the bravest mouse in all of France (and now, there was no doubt, within all of Italy, as well), he knew that the recent adventure was just one of many in his history, but the novelty of the adventurous life was newer to Doucette, who usually stayed home with the children and was still coming to terms with Anatole’s fame and exploits.
“I am so glad you enjoyed yourself, Doucette,” Anatole smiled, “for it certainly has been nice to have you and all the children along for company on this little outing!”
Just as the two leaned forward for a little kiss, Paul and Paulette, Claude and Claudette, along with George and Georgette and all of the Italian cousins, jumped up at once and rushed over Anatole and Doucette to get to the window, where a huge Cheese Factory had appeared beside the tracks as the train flew past.
“Oh look, cheese!”
“I can smell it from here!”
“Papa. Mama. I’m hungry!!”
“Oh, me, too. I’m hungry!”
“Do we have any cheese?”
Suddenly, all the little French mice and the Italian cousins were clambering all over Anatole and Doucette, and within moments, the remaining Italian cheese was gone from the travel bag. George and Georgette scurried around, picking up the tiny crumbs that their siblings had dropped in their haste.
“Papa, will you be going to the factory tonight?” inquired Claude, who had been a bit slow off the mark and had only managed a single nibble of cheese.
“Yes, Papa, will you be bringing home samples again tonight?” followed Claudette, who had only been slightly quicker than her brother.
Anatole beamed. “Yes, yes, my lovely little ones. As soon as you are safe and sound back home in your beds this evening, I will be stopping by M. Duval’s Cheese Factory to do a little QA work for him and his marvellous cheese makers. Although we have only been on holiday for a week, M. Duval and his Master Cheesers will have been hard at work, and will have many wonderful wheels of cheese for me to test. And no doubt, I will be home before breakfast, with many free samples and pilfered slabs to fill your little mouse gullets.”
“Yay, Papa, you Rock! You da mouse!” all the little mouse children and their Italian cousins chimed in simultaneously. “Lei è fantastica! You Rock! È da mouse.”
Anatole settled back into his seat, smiling at Doucette (who smiled back), and shifted his gaze from the faces of the happy little mice back to the country view out his window, and to the approaching skyline of Paris in the distance.
“Ah,” he said quietly to himself, “it certainly is most wonderful to be the bravest mouse and the finest cheese taster in all of France (and Italy).
He burped generously, and then settled deeper into his seat for a little afternoon nap.
Dr. Seuss to “you” . . . (p. 42)
And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.)
KID, YOU”LL MOVE MOUNTAINS!
Or mole hills.
Because time your life fills.
And before you know it.
You’ve sleep-walked through a bit.
And does it matter if those mountains/hills are still there?
As long as you’ve done good things for which you really care?
Because at the end of the day or life as such
Studies show the #1 regret is working too much.
So kick up your heels and dance a jig
Find someone to love that you really dig
And count your successes in a soulful way
KID, YOU’LL LIVE WELL! WHADDA YOU SAY?
inspired by Oh, the Places You’ll Go by Theodore Seuss
[a book I always keep by my desk]
I have a real fondness for reading a few pages in a good comic book before going to sleep. My favorites are Calvin & Hobbes and Pearls Before Swine at the moment. But today it just so happens that by my bedside is a copy of a classic 1986 Bloom County anthology “Babylon – Five Years of Basic Naughtiness” by Berke Breathed. My daughter, Amber, and I share the same love of comic books and she picked this one up at Goodwill last week and shared it with me.
Let’s see what we find on page 42… Well, there are 4 daily strips to a page. The last three are part of an on-going story arch with a main character Milo Bloom helping out a little wimpy kid named Binkley. Milo is coaching him to become a boxer so he can impress his macho football coach father who is in denial that his son really wants to be a ballet dancer. I think this one panel of Binkley staring at himself in the mirror sums it up. “Is he a boxer? Or a dip in his underwear? Only his mother knows for sure.”
One of the things I like about reading old comic books is the humor based on cultural & political references of the time. Amber has a harder time in that department since things happened before she was born, or when she was too young to remember. The first strip is one such case. Prince Charles and Princess Diana have just married and Diana wants to celebrate their three-month anniversary by inviting a few of her friends over for a cocktail party. Charles reminds her that she is a ‘Royal’ they have to associate with people of their own. The punch line…
Diana: “Doesn’t he eat people?”
Charles: “Well not at a bleedin’ cocktail party!”
If you haven’t tried it, I’d highly recommend having a good giggle with a comic book to release those endorphins that will help you fall asleep and dream nice fun things. Did you notice I was the only one whose recurring dream wasn’t a night mare? That should tell you something.
Page 42 of the Reformation Study Bible that I received in the mail a couple of days ago from someone on PaperBackSwap.com has most of Genesis chapter 20. Rather than creating a brand new story from the characters, I am paraphrasing the story as presented.
Abimelech the King had a dream. Like most dreams, its foundation was laid earlier in the day. He had met this woman, Sarah, and being the king thought he could have her for his own. He was even obsessed with her, though he took no action that day. He was making plans…
His dream, however, was not about the pleasures he wanted to experience, but a warning. In his dream, God showed up and told him, “You better not! That woman is already married. In fact, her husband is one of my favorite guys on earth, Abraham. How could you think of taking his wife?” Even in the dream, Abimelech needed to defend himself. “Hey,” he said, “Abraham told me she was his sister. I mean, how was I to know?”. So God (in the dream) told Abimelech, “OK, make sure she stays with her husband and leave her alone.”
As you can imagine, Abimelech had a few things to say to Abraham! First thing in the morning, he challenged Abraham on the lie. Abraham put a new twist on the story, by telling Abimelech, “But she is my sister, the daughter of my father by a different mother. And she is my wife. I just wanted to protect myself because of your reputation.”
Note: names are meaningful here: Abimelech means “father of a king” whereas Abraham means “father of nations”. Sarah means “princess.” So, this is a political story of monarchy vs empire, of marriage alliances, of half-truths spoken, of lies disguised as truth.