Cloister Commentary, Day 105: Checking

One of my favorite stories about my Uncle Roger Volker is that, every morning, he stopped by my grandparents’ farmhouse to check on ’em and have a cup of coffee–all the way up to when, in their nineties, they each passed (Grandpa Cotton while napping, Grandma Velma while reading the paper in her recliner). My cousin Sharon may have to correct me on the fine details about that. However, Nicole and I are going to try to follow that tradition by checking on Mom, albeit via phone, every morning. All three of us are excited about the possibility of watching Hamilton tonight.

I briefly got to see my besties Janet Marsh and her love-captive David Truesdell for the first time in ages. They are looking good. David forced a John Cage treated piano CD on me but I honestly gave little resistance.

After I destroyed Nicole’s reading environment with Abbey Lincoln’s screaming, she was nice enough to build an impregnable wall of T-Bone Walker, Earl Bostic, and The 5 Royales around us so we could turn pages uninterrupted. I have a five-layer lasagna of fatigue in my brain that is challenging my bibliophilic focus.

Yes, we are watching Gavin & Stacey all over again and it seems like we just finished it.

Streaming for Strivers:

Here is a serious Album of the Year candidate. The thumbnail’s confusing, but the group is Sault, and their new album is UNTITLED (BLACK IS).

Cloister Commentary, Day 97: Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, and Mafia Members

My students gave presentations yesterday, the first I’d assigned on Zoom. Actually, with everyone but the speaker fully muted, they weren’t wholly unenjoyable. One gave hers accompanied by her dog and standing outside a stable (she had to work but didn’t want to miss class), and neither augmentation was a distraction. Also, I’d assigned an excerpt from Lars Eighner’s Travels with Lizbeth that I’ve always loved as an expository writing model but students have always hated, and all of these humans chose it as their favorite from among three. I wish I could teach them this fall, too.

Though it was released Friday, I had not been able to get to Bob Dylan’s new album My Rough and Rowdy Ways until yesterday. My expectations were a little low, though he has long been a very important voice in my life. Hot take: his most nuanced singing in a long time (yes, he can squeeze nuance out of those destroyed cords), sly, funny, allusive, and wise writing–and some tuff blues ‘n’ roll. Like my friend Whitney, I’d like to think the finale might really be the finale: “Murder Most Foul.” It’s hard to know when exactly to wave bye-bye, but Bowie’s showed us. Not that Bob’s dying.

Nicole drove to Roaring River State Park to take a meditative hike and commune with nature. I’d liked to have accompanied her, but we plan to return together with our friend Candace.

Speaking of, my father’s service is today, and my aunts and uncles and members of their families arrived at Mom’s yesterday. Jane is one of nine; five of her siblings still walk the earth. My uncle Larry, a skilled craftsman, made two wooden urns for us to choose from for Dad’s cremains; the funeral director was rendered almost speechless examining them. We had fried chicken and mashed potatoes provided by Monett’s Cox Hospital Auxiliary volunteers and got caught up. A couple founding members of my brother Brian’s Monett Mafia dropped by to pay their respects. We closed the day by showing Mom an episode of Gavin & Stacey with English subtitles.

We are doing our best to keep everyone safe as possible at the service, which is coinciding with other news that is definitely not great. Everyone must mask.

Streaming for Survivors:

A voice out of Texas crying holy unto its lord.

Cloister Commentary, Day 8: “In Vanessa Shanessa Style” (March 28, 2020)

As Vanessa Shanessa Jenkins would say, what was occurrin’?

An early morning nap.

Phone calls to cancel things.

A grilled cheese sandwich made with Blue Plate Mayo instead of butter.

Dead Moon, the Minutemen, Dramarama, and original garage rock blasting from the speakers.

Cats boxing 19th century style.

60% approval?

A board game.

More rain.

Mr. Show re-runs (oh, Senator Tankerbell…)

Thunder and lightning.

A late night power outage…

Power outages aren’t just power outages anymore.

Streaming for Shut-Ins: In their prime –>