23 April 2009

And the gods laugh...

Ever state a firm fact about what you do or don't do and the next thing you know...

The time I best remember is the Christmas card I sent to everyone I know that included this phrase: "No white Christmas for us, instead we'll plant tulips." Well, that year it snowed. In Houston. It snowed a lot in Galveston and on Christmas morning we played on a snowy beach at sunrise.

That's our Mandy, a sheltie, chasing snowballs.
And a dog to play with!
What fun!
And now I'm always dreaming of a White Christmas.

Well, it's happened again.
In a previous post "What I'm Reading" I said that nothing ever keeps me from reading. And the gods laugh at my presumption in making "ever" statements. Turns out that a border collie puppy can indeed keep me from reading. I cannot wait for Cathey to get back from Ireland and take LadyBird to her forever home so that Mandy, David and I can enjoy our quiet, peaceful, dull home and life.

18 April 2009

Added a link to a previous post

I've added a link to a YouTube video posted by niece BK of my mother singing to her great-granddaughter. The original post was dated 10 March.

16 April 2009

What I'm Reading...

A trip out of town and the IRS have kept me from posting in a timely manner but nothing ever keeps me from reading. This post is just the update to my reading list.

I'm reading a lot of material on how to raise and train a puppy since I'll be baby sitting a border collie puppy while Cathey goes to Ireland in search of Celtic spirituality.

I'm reading a bit about estates and probate and checklists for dealing with death.

Fiction Binge:

Hill, Grace Livingston: The Girl form Montana. New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1922 by J.B. Lippincott Company. Project Gutenberg. Kindle. A fleeing girl, a lady by instinct, a true gentleman, and a long journey on horseback to Philadelphia. What becomes of all the girls/ladies who are not heiresses? This book has a comprehensive listing of titles by Grace Livinston Hill and several titles by Ruth Livingston Hill. FICTION ROMANCE 20th Century

Hill Lutz, Grace Livingston: The Witness. New York: Grosset & Dunlap, copyright 1917 by Harper Brothers. Project Gutenberg. Kindle. Dedicated to her mother: Marcia Macdonald Livingston. A men's college story based on the bibilical account of the stoning of Stephen in Acts. The far-reaching influence of a faithful life, faithful parents, and the calling of a preacher. Two constrasting women, good and evil.. FICTION ROMANCE RELIGION 20th Century

Hill Lutz, Grace Livingston: The Mystery of Mary. New York: Grosset & Dunlap, copyright 1910 by J.B. Lippincott Company. Project Gutenberg. Kindle. A fleeing lady, a true gentleman, and a lot of bother about hats. FICTION ROMANCE 20th Century

Bedside Book:

Mariani, Paul L.: Gerard Manley Hopkins: A life. New York: Viking, the Penguin Group, 2008. 496 p. includes index BIOGRAPHY POETS CATHOLIC OXFORD 19th Century 21st Century Hopkins has been my favorite poet since I discovered him during my freshman year at Rice University. I like Marianni's writing very much; superb shaping of excerpts from poems, journals, letters into a very readable text. Not "one of the best," without doubt the best account of Hopkins life I have read. A gift from David on my 60th birthday.

Chairside Nibbles:

Yonge, Charolotte M. (ed.): Gold Dust: a collection of golden counsels for the sanctification of daily life. New York: Thomas Whittkaer n.d.. 165 p. DEVOTION 19th Century

Patten, Robert L.: George Cruikshank's Life, Times, and Art. Volume1: 1792-1835. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1992. Kindle. BIOGRAPHY ARTIST ILLUSTRATOR 18th Century 19th Century 20th Century This award winning biography by one of my English literature professors from Rice University is proving a most enjoyable re-read. One of Patten's strong points as a professor was rooting the literature in the history, the sociology, and the culture of the time, He offers rich details in a very readable frame. With my new interest in book illustration it is even more interesting to me now than it was on my first reading some years ago.


Linn, Dennis; Linn, Sheila Fabricant; Linn, Matthew: Good Goats: healing our image of God. Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 1994. vi, 101 p. FEMINITY OF GOD JUDGEMENT DAY HELL DOCTRINE 20th Century

03 April 2009

Poetry in life and death

Charles David Pipes, my dear father-in-law, died Saturday 28 March. The link below will take you to a tribute page at my domain where you may read the obituary that Steve Sandifer presented at his funeral and download a .pdf slide show, the tribute to his life that was on view at the visitation.

What I'm thinking about today is the comfort that poetry brings to our lives. At the service we were comforted by some biblical poetry--Psalm 42,Psalm 121, Psalm 127, Psalm--and by some hymns, which are really poetry set to music--Take Time to Be Holy, Whispering Hope, and Rock of Ages--and by two poems which had been a part of Charles' life.

The first, Thanatopsis, by William Cullen Bryant, Charles had learned as a school boy. {David and I remember learning it also. I wonder, do students still memorize poetry? Do they still memorize this poem?} David was surprised to find his father already knew the poem and could quote it by memory. The last nine verses were a sort of motto for Charles and he often quoted them. In fact he had quoted them at least once during that last week of his life. The words were a comfort to him as he faced death with the faith he had lived:
So live, that when thy summons comes to join
The innumerable caravan which moves
To that mysterious realm where each shall take
His chamber in the silent halls of death,
Thou go not, like the quarry-slave at night,
Scourged to his dungeon; but, sustain'd and soothed
By an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave,
Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch
About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams.

The second, High Flight by John Gillespie Magee, Jr., Charles had framed on his office wall and, after his retirement, in the guest bedroom where some of his other Air Force souvenirs were displayed.

Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds — and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there,
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long, delirious burning blue
I've topped the windswept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or ever eagle flew.
And, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.
I took an Alumni College course at Rice once that was titled How Poetry Saved My Life. I know it has certainly more than once saved mine.