Sunday, September 21, 2008

Books and Planes

Everyone must be so busy reading facebook that they aren't posting here . . . Elizabeth may be allowed the excuse that since she has gestational diabetes now, she has to spend more time in food preparation: salads take a long time to make. But where is everyone else?

Last night I finished Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie, and it left me feeling terribly sad. What misleading jacket blurbs. It did have some funny episodes, but the ending is full of irony. Maybe I'm reading it wrongly, but it seems the Little Seamstress is duped and misses the point of the books she hears. The author ends up agreeing with the Communists in a way that great literature is subversive; enlightening,but not in a liberating way. It's possible I'm idealizing the life of the mountain that the Little Seamstress leaves behind after she is introduced to western concepts and becomes disenchanted. Meanwhile the two city boys want nothing more than to get back to their home in the city, even though they, and, perhaps worse, their parents, are persecuted there. Has anyone read any Balzac? I read Pere Goriot and found it dull; do I need to try again?

Today I had to make a choice. I could have taken the kids to the Chesapeake Heritage Arts Fest, a small gathering with sheep shearing demos, bluegrass music, and a tent filled with mostly church bazaar tschotke, but also a few really beautiful handcrafts: quilts, weaving, handmade soaps, knitted goods, etc. We went last year and the highlights for the kids were the jumping mule, the guinea pig rescue lady, and rolling down the hill. My other option (aside from staying home and doing laundry) was going to the Oceana Air Show, which Joe wanted to attend. In the spirit of adventure, and with a sense that we aren't going to be in a major military area next year (unless we're sent to DC), and because we're studying modern history this year, and because the neighbors were going, and because Mom gives me a hard time about making sure the boys aren't over-mothered, we headed for the planes. A long drive, then a long bus ride (always exciting for home schooled children), then a long walk, and we were finally there. The display was pretty impressive: Lots of old planes, new planes, fancy planes, cargo planes you could tour. I can't seem to keep straight the different kinds of planes, but don't really try to. There were also lots of sponsor tents with free stuff. And lots of overpriced food tents. And lots of people and lots of noise. John nearly melted down completely from noise of the jets' flybys, but he finally settled down when he found a plane with a rhino knight on it. We watched from sky divers from afar, a little old fashioned one man plane that performed stunts about as breath taking as any, a rigged up cargo plane and the Blue Angels. Truly a testimony to the audacity of the human spirit. And to the age-old desire for thrills and chills and other adrenalin boosts. But after a really LOOOONNNG walk (we missed the bus), and a long wait to exit the base, I wondered if maybe I shouldn't have opted for farm animals. Or laundry. Well, I'm thankful it was a beautiful day, and we were outside for most of it. And I'm thankful that the kids will have a story to tell Dad when he gets home and a story to add to their saga of bonding myths about how much their mother made them walk without buying them any sugary foods or sodas or souvenirs. And I'm thankful that when I walked the dog after dinner while the kids watched Andy Griffith, I found a couple of shrubs, yaupon hollies, I think, that someone had dug up and thrown out at the curb. I plan to replace the third bush (this time a rhododendron) that Bosco has killed by peeing on it. Here's to hoping they recover from the stress of the move and survive being tinkled on!

1 comment:

Brian and Mikko said...

I'm hoping that that last sentence was in reference to the bushes and not the children. :)