Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Day After

How did we celebrate the election of Obama?

First I went and told the bees. For reasons that are buried in the mists of time as well as patently obvious, beekeepers are highly superstitious and believe it is essential to tell the bees any good or bad news. Frankly, elections usually count as neither, but this time we made an exception. I mentioned that under new leadership, the EPA might even see its way to banning the insecticides and pesticides that are killing their fellow bees.

Midday found me at an assisted living facility up north where an octogenarian former member of the Ladies Literature Club now resides, and where a dozen us went to help her celebrate an important birthday. By tomorrow she will have forgotten our presence, but it was lovely to see her at that moment. Lunch was served and it was devoid of any spices or sharp edges. Our conversation ranged from a recent crime wave of stolen tires to Obama, from offspring in the Peace Corps to Obama, from aggressive swans and geese to Obama, from the correct word for a headscarf to Obama. We were of many different ages, backgrounds, and religions (though not race) and we were universally amazed and delighted by this sea-change. One septuagenarian mentioned that her mother had three children before she ever voted. I first assumed her mother was a child-bride. But no, it became clear: her mother had married in 1910, 10 years before the 19th amendment.
Several women mentioned the death of Obama’s grandmother and questioned when he would get to the funeral, and when he would have time to mourn her, and lamented that his moment of victory was tinged with this sorrow. They were deeply worried about this, and moved.
There was zero conversational opportunity for me to mention Saints Galation and Episteme and their bizarre and unconsummated marriage, or Saint Bertila, who as abbess ruled over Queens Hereswitha and Bathildis. (This is quite normally the case, hence this blog.)
Had I been quicker, I might have mentioned Saint Martin de Porres whose feast it was. Born in Peru in 1579, he was the son of a Spanish knight and a black Panamanian woman, and was known for his gentleness and generosity to the poor, as well as his concern for the black African slaves transported into Peru. He is the patron saint of social justice.

For dinner I made French onion soup (key are caramelized onions and port wine) to honor the United States’ presumptive rehabilitation within the international community.

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