Wednesday, August 15, 2007

At the Shore

We arrived (Petra, Larry-O and I) at my dad's house at the shore yesterday afternoon. We came from New York City, where we had gone to see an amazing play, "Spring Awakening." (Another post will come on that).

When we arrived my sister-in-law "Lily" and her children "Smythe" and "'Rhett" where here as well. Smythe is three years younger than Petra, and together they travel in an indeterminate place, between their ages (Petra is nearly 15, Smythe 12). It was not long before the girls were having a diving contest off the dock. Rhett is a full 10 years younger than Larry-O, and adores and idolizes him... hangs on his every word, literally hangs on his body at times. Larry can take this for about a day-- which was all we had. I drove them to the airport at 4:45 this morning.

Before she left Lily filled me in on some of the more worrying things that have been going on with my dad, both physically and mentally. Mentally, he seems to be as he ever was or, perhaps moreso. He is irascible, paranoid and grumpy. Well, he lives alone, far from his closest family, and we are not close emotionally, either. It's hard to admit that, but Dad is a difficult one to love. Last night at dinner he took a few potshots at Larry-- for no earthly reason except to be mean... he seems to relate better to his granddaughters than his grandsons.

A disjointed post. I have just been reading the daily lectionary text from 2 Samuel, about the estrangement between David and Absalom. The following passage was painful to read:

25Now in all Israel there was no one to be praised so much for his beauty as Absalom; from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head there was no blemish in him. 26When he cut the hair of his head (for at the end of every year he used to cut it; when it was heavy on him, he cut it), he weighed the hair of his head, two hundred shekels by the king's weight. 27There were born to Absalom three sons, and one daughter whose name was Tamar; she was a beautiful woman.

28So Absalom lived two full years in Jerusalem, without coming into the king's presence.

Here is what strikes me. First, the descriptions of Absalom's physical beauty. It is hard to know exactly what function it serves in the text. His father's physical beauty is described in 1 Samuel, but it seems to be more about what draws people to him. Here the beauty feels as if it is an impediment... it has a life of its own.

And the last painful line: throughout this entire passage (which is about three times longer than I have quoted) David is never referred to by name. He is called only "the king." Of course, that is the great impediment... the royal struggles for position, the ancient irreparable wounds. The daughter named for the shamed sister.

How nice to be Roman Catholic today, and to celebrate the Assumption of Mary! Since it never says she died... let's think this! I mean this most affectionately... some very sweet memories of my childhood have to do with attending mass in the summer with my dear auntie, my fairy-godmother, in a convent chapel by the sea. It was always the feast of the Assumption.


LittleMary said...

there is a lot a rumblin...and it makes me so sad to have grandfathers taking potshots at grandsons, my grandmother did it to me and how hard that is. not supposed to be how those relationships work out

Magdalene6127 said...

yeah, that feels pretty awful.