by the Lycian prince Glaucus
in one of Homer's
"Why ask my lineage? Like the generations of leaves, the lives of mortal men. Now the wind scatters the old leaves across the earth, now the living timber bursts with the new buds and spring comes round again. And so with men: as one generation comes to life, another dies away."
A couple of lines
spoken by Thomas Hudson
sort of forgotten novels:
"Islands in the Stream"
In sort of a morbid mood, I guess
It occurred to me that I probably would have read three or four times as many books as I have if I did not re-read so many. It is a pleasant dilemma to debate within .... would it have been wiser, more beneficial, to have read more books than to have re-read so many? Well, it is an easy problem to resolve because, obviously, there is no right answer, no definitive way to resolve the question.
The latest "spell" for me began during a conversation with a neighbor about my mother's death in September 2012. Two months after her death, a man who lived kitty-corner across the street died. Two months after that, a man kitty-corner across the street in the opposite direction died. The neighbor told me he believed in the adage that death comes in threes, and he insisted these incidents proved him right. Hmmmm .... well, maybe ....
From there, my mind began to drift. My father, who I never really knew, died a few decades ago and my step-father, who was among the reasons I left home three days after I finished high school and went off to my first war, has been gone a while, too. I am an only child. I am it, in a generational sense, a fact which lurks in my id and even emerges in dreams.
I want to make certain that when "my time comes," all my children have to do is to call my buddy, Morrie, at the funeral home and say, launch "Plan A: Double Check My Pulse First, Please." If I happen to be out of the country when the big moment takes place, "Plan B: One-Way Economy Flight," is neatly typed, ready and waiting in the contingency drawer of Morrie's desk.
I am not kidding, although the instructions have titles considerably less colorful. All I have left undone is to pick a spot in one of five likely cemeteries, four of which have family plots. The other is sort of a military "hangout."
But, I enjoy being unpredictable. Depending upon circumstances at the time and my mood, I might emulate one of my favorite writers, Ambrose Bierce, and simply disappear .... although, unlike him, I would not vanish into Mexico. The thought has crossed my mind that it would be fascinating to end up in a place like a crevasse on the Greenland Ice Cap. That way, some day Ötzi The Iceman might be joined by Fram The Iceman and we could compare notes and exchange stories of our days and our times.
I do not wish to "depart" without a stuffed rabbit from my early childhood "who" my mother kept and "who" now has his own room in this house. His name is Blackie, by the way, earned from spending many afternoons in a sandbox.
I know what clothing I want to be wearing and what I want in the way of survival gear stuffed into the bottom of the casket. My favorite canoe paddle is on the list. I want my silver Thor's Hammer around my neck (I am still looking for a gold one, if you know where one might be purchased.), and my 1876 dime on its silver chain.
Of course, I want a bottle a brandy, a bottle of cognac and a bottle of Benedictine, as well as a box or two of cigars with plenty of old-fashioned stick matches.
I am thinking it simply makes me feel good to do these things, and it might cause an archaeologist to let out a scream of joy and happiness a few thousand years from now when "she" rips into my tomb and hits paydirt.
I know I will be wearing a smile .... like Scaramouche .... Morrie will see to that in case I am unable ....