"I dream of a hard and brutal mysticism in which the naked self merges with the nonhuman world and somehow survives...Paradox and bedrock."-Edward Abbey

28 March 2014

Happy Birthday/yadhtribnU yppaH

It was a bit of small world the first time he volunteered for me. He spoke of being involved in the rule of law and somehow a particular jail was brought up. The one my grandmother and a few other county commissioners spent the night at before it opened. My favorite political cartoon of my grandmother comes from that event.

"What was her name?" The magistrate asked me, and I told him. He smiled broadly. "I knew your grandmother. I knew your grandfather."

Regularly, he'll mention how much he enjoys volunteering under me. That if my days of obligations ever changed, as would his days of volunteerism. He brings me issues of National Geographic because I no longer have a subscription. Because he knows I'll read them. One of the last times we interacted, we spoke of books from our childhood.

He popped by today, to remind me it was his birthday. The Matron was tossing a bit of gathering down at the local pizzeria to celebrate. He wanted to make sure I was coming by for at least a libation.

"Oh, and happy birthday," the magistrate said, handing me a book. "Even though it's not your birthday."

It was that book from my childhood I'd told him about; Everyone Knows What a Dragon looks Like. The book that made it possible for me to believe a friend of mine was possessed of dragon mojo. That dragons can frolic in the form of clouds. I was nearly rendered speechless. There was a lump in my throat, the same kind I had the day my daughter graduated high school.

"It's my unbirthday, Signore," I said finally, my voice just above a whisper. Then, I regained my composure-hou lian, hei tsin.  With a bit of smirk I said; "I'll be there. If anything, I owe you a drink. Or two."


  1. Haven't known of this book, when I'm next in Seattle I'll look for it for the g'kids.
    It's not the subject of your post, but another kids book I love is the one children's book that Ken Kesey wrote: "Little Tricker the Squirrel Meets Big Double the Bear".
    Are you a curator of a museum? Guess I'll have to read more of your older posts.

    1. I am not as cool as to be a museum curator. Although, I am on the museum board for my town, and that's a volunteer position. These days, for money, I work at a visitor center, which is run by one of the local preservation groups, so I am professional involved in history as well.

      I may look for the book you noted for my nephew and niece. Their birthdays are coming up, and books make some of the bestest presents.

    2. I recommend the book highly, the fact that it's Kesey's works is just a plus. My buddy, who can pull it off, read it to his kids when they were young. He used a redneck voice for Big Double, which cracked them up. The illustrations are great also. It's well out of print, but available on Amazon and the ilk.

  2. Oh! I love this book! I could go, right this minute, to my bookcase and pull it out to marvel--as always--at the illustrations.

    Happy Unbirthday! ;D

    1. Those illustrations are glorious. Even before I reacquired the book, I could vividly remember the pen and ink of the man turning into the dragon.

  3. That kind of unexpected kindness throws me off a little.
    But then, I suppose it should.

    1. Sometimes-a lot of times-when something like this happens, I find myself asking what the other person wants.