I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity.
Edgar Allen Poe
The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
- H. L. Mencken
Many people would sooner die than think; In fact, they do so
What I have been telling you, from alpha to omega, what is the one great thing the sigil taught me — that everything in life is miraculous. For the sigil taught me that it rests within the power of each of us to awaken at will from a dragging nightmare of life made up of unimportant tasks and tedious useless little habits, to see life as it really is, and to rejoice in its exquisite wonderfulness. If the sigil were proved to be the top of a tomato-can, it would not alter that big fact, nor my fixed faith. No Harrowby, the common names we call things by do not matter — except to show how very dull we are ...
-James Branch Cabell
November 25, 2016 - 1:02 a.m.
Dateline Van Merc Hill: Welcome to a now rare but once common late night edition of Wise Madness. The theory used to be I'd remember things better the same day. That's probably still true. You'll never know; you have to take my word for what happens. This is my Thanksgiving entry so bear with me. That will come.
I did not write this morning as I am at Van Merc Hill the home of Emily and Joe and their family so I'm busy being social all day. I get to play with friends and my friends' kids and my bacon wife. That's Sarah, Emily's sister. There are also two dogs and a cat. I have not played with the chickens or rabbit. During the day, I ate bacon, quiche, coffee, more bacon, more coffee, yet more bacon, yet more coffee with homemade chocolate Irish crème, and peanut butter on rice crackers, played games with the kids and Sarah, and sang songs. Did I mention the bacon? I think I missed on helping. I'm in a house with hot and cold running bacon, kids, dogs, and music. That is more effective than my meds for my mental health. Joe's brother Mike came over and that was our dinner party, the smallest that there's been since I've been coming here for Thanksgiving. Not that I'm complaining, I had a thanksgiving dinner that can't be beat. Then we played Apples to Apples again and made music and then came the apple pie ala mode. Sarah made it; it was the best apple pie ever, it played Fell in Love. Sometimes the jokes are not for you. Nobody but me knows enough to fully get that joke. Deal with it.
Know what we did after dessert? We made more music. Joe plays guitar, and Maggie, the oldest daughter played fiddle and uke. Cate played uke too. The family does songs and they have assigned parts. I try to not throw them too far off when I sing along. Sometime during the day, we also listened to recorded music, CDs I brought back from NERFA and songs from Apple Music. We listened to Bobtown and The Kennedys, both of whom have played The Steeple Coffeehouse which Joe and Emily run and that we all know well enough that I could message them and let them know we were thinking of them. Isn't that what Thanksgiving is for?
Unfortunately, Sarah has to work this weekend so she's flying out tomorrow morning. I'll probably not be awake when she leaves so I had to say goodbye tonight. I'm going home on Sunday and before then I hope to see Phil, Tricia, Kathy, Ethan, and Carolyn. I have a lot of friends in this neck of the woods. Did I mention that we are literally in the woods?
Here's the part where I should tell you what I'm thankful for. Read everything I've written so far, that includes almost everything I'm thanking for. Not just these friends and that music of course, but I have some of the most amazing friends and family in the world. It's a miracle that anyone puts up with me so perhaps it goes that anyone that does is amazing. The difference between me and homeless people in the street is friends. A special thank you to everyone who has put me up. Thank you, Bernie, and Jane.
Thank you all my incredibly talented musical friends. It's ridiculous how talented you are. There are more than a few that I can describe as genius without exaggeration. Thanks to all my friends, know what, so many of my friends show genius in one field or another. The most reliable intelligence test I know is the ability to amuse me. They all do that.
I see many of my friends saying they have trouble feeling thankful when one group of people or another are suffering now. There have been people suffering every Thanksgiving of your life, every day of your life. The reality is that there are fewer people suffering now than in the vast majority of the Thanksgivings of my life. The number of people living in extreme poverty is far fewer than when I was a kid even though the population has almost doubled. Life expectancy is risen tremendously. The lot of women has far to go but is far better than it was than I was a kid. I'm thankful for those things. I'm not Woody Allen in Annie Hall who can't enjoy himself if anyone somewhere in the world is suffering. Likely you aren't either. You're focusing on the latest news stories and the gradual improvement in people's lives doesn't make the news. That doesn't make it less real.
Look around you, if you have a roof over your head, food in your belly, and people or even pets to love, you have something to be thankful for. If you're reading this the odds are good that you have my friendship so I know you aren't friendless.
None of this says that everything is great. It's not saying everything is for the best. But despite setbacks, like the election, the general direction of change is for the better.
Now I should go to sleep. I don't know what I'm doing tomorrow, there might even be live music, but whatever it is I'll be spending it with people I love so it will be good. Very likely there'll be bacon too.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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