Cloister Commentary, Day 197: Respite

Yesterday was so nice it temporarily made me think nothing’s wrong.

Festivities opened at my mom’s breakfast table with cinnamon roll and coffee. Fortified, Nicole and I hiked around Monett, Missouri’s gorgeous park. I knew the city pool where I’d worked for a few years while I was in college had been closed, but I was shocked that it’d been “disappeared”–the space where it was would be perfect for a sandlot football game now. We saw several woodchucks, Nicole practiced identifying trees, and we sat with our ancestors and our dematerialized friends and pets for some meditation by the pond.

When we returned, we made a honey crisp apple run to Marionville, Mom gave Nicole a lesson in homemade chicken and noodle preparation (a family legacy) and I hauled the recycling to the city processing center–that doesn’t seem too exciting, but my brother Brian had ingeniously organized the receptacles in the garage and they hadn’t been emptied since he did so in August.

As afternoon unfolded, we had cocktails and played three hands of Canasta, I got some reading in, and Mom and Nicole talked about some family history. We wolfed down the chicken and noodles (two helpings for me!), then watched a drive-in(side) double-feature: Kingpin and Pride and Prejudice (the Joe Wright and Keira Knightly version). You can see how those go together, right?

That was enough to convince me all was right with the world until I started thumbing this out a few minutes ago. I’ll take any respite at this point.

Streaming for Survivors:

Speaking of the dematerialized, we might have invited this one.

Cloister Commentary, Day 138: Takin’ a Ride

Took a ride with Nicole out to get some fresh peaches in the Chevy. Shabazz Palaces and Roky Erickson sounded great on the stereo. We fantasized about making an actual getaway.

Dropped off the recycling–one must get the timing right these days–and finally filled the tank all the way up. I am not used to having a 30-gallon tank.

Realized I needed to say here that I’ve been pushing Mrs. America relentlessly, but Gloria Steinem reminds us of the role of insurance companies in persuading politicians to oppose the ERA, which the show ignores, very unfortunately. It’s still a worthwhile series–just keep that in mind.

S’posed to be weaned off sports but I’m weak where the Oklahoma City Thunder are concerned, and they beat the supposedly mighty Lakers soundly. Chris Paul often gets on my nerves, but he’s a great leader and is still playing at an elite level. And he’s a quality citizen.

Still no word on how either of our schools are actually opening. It’s August 5th. We have PPE on the way and a house strategy, at least.

Streaming for Strivers:

Look for the Bo Diddley beat in all music and you will eventually find it.

Cloister Commentary, Day 112: Good Fortune and Bright Light

Good fortune and bright light shone on me yesterday. As far as fortune went, Missourians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty found inmates for both Nicole and me to correspond with through their program. Neither of us believe in capital punishment, both of us recognize mass incarceration as one of our country’s biggest issues, and we applied to MADP to try to assist in a personal way. The response to the program had been so robust that they initially had no one to pair us with.

Bright light came in two forms. We successfully released “Scrappy,” a stray cat who found his way to Columbia’s Cat Capitol and got trapped and SNPed. To our surprise, he stayed put on the deck for a tuna treat. But…why were we even surprised? Also, our great friends Kenny and Gwen Wright chose us for their first Zoom double-date and we laughed into the night. Their youngun Ethan will soon be driving the most conspicuous and be-bumper-stickered teacher vehicle in town, only he’ll be doing so in Birmingham. We’ll meet in Memphis for the transaction, so that will be bright light for the future. I wish they were our next-door neighbors.

Oh yeah: I finished grading those papers. Beer. And dropped off a mega-load of recycling. Beer. And finished Jennings & Duffy’s mind-blowing graphic adaptation of Octavia Butler’s Kindred. Beer. Apologies, but I had been needing some release, and was stubborn in coming.

Streaming for Strivers:

Comin’ round the mountain…