All aboard. People I very much appreciate:

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Over-And-Under Enigma Retangled In Time

Having lately found myself in an awfully busy state --I'd ask for help if I knew what I was doing-- I decided to have fun, this New Year's Week, with some distracting matters that have no particular relation to worldly demands (or each other besides my affection for them) and am content to be guided by photos that have not yet figured in this blog. Let's start with one end of the top dining room shelf:

These are books I keep overhead. When I want one, I make a long arm and tease it out of its stack or however it leans into its neighbors. It is a friendly shelf because the books all like each other and arrange themselves accordingly, without troubling any alphabets or Dewey Decimals for order, so I like them right back.

Another overhead thing I like is doorway inscriptions. Here comes one now:
This is an entrance to the Fine Arts Building on S. Michigan Street in Chicago. Overhead is a line paraphrased from a poem (Ars Victrix) by Henry Dobson, "All passes. Art alone Enduring, stays with us.", which Henry Dobson in turn paraphrased from a poem (L'Art) byThéophile Gautier: "Tout passe. L’art robuste / Seul a l’éternite'."

Skywritten, overhead, on high shelves, stone, marmoreal clouds. Time emits an image in my mind: 1964--I watched Lyndon Johnson deliver his speech in a Valley Forge dingle. I was high above on a forward slope, but higher even than I, a Piper Cub pulled a banner around the sky. It read, "Goldwater, 64!"

My camera was back at the campsite, but the mind takes a good print --sometimes. Today, I found a print from 1977 in my email. It's from from Wendy, who has been a sister to Norma and me since the 1960s. I don't remember this photo being taken, but am pretty sure I'm holding my nephew who is enjoying eye-contact with Norma Over my left shoulder --still a very pleasant pastime-- while I seek out his owners with my infra-red-x-ray vision --or maybe that's just '70s-camera red eye.
Point is, it's not so much what happens over things --heads, presidential lectures, doorways, shelves and shoulders-- that owns all the thunder. Over gets a lot of credit it doesn't entirely deserve. What happens Under is a big show too. And sometimes what goes on behind our backs is quite lovely, even if it takes us 40 years to get the picture.

29 comments:

  1. Loved seeing Thurber and Susan so close to each other. I believe that they would have got on...
    And loved the photo of the younger you and friends...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, EC. That's a shelf of favorites, good minds in reach when I need them. Glad you liked photo --seems like I was always being tackled by babies back then.

      Delete
  2. When I consider overhead things, rainbows and soaring eagles come to mind. Then I suddenly realize that I'm OVER the hill, and my lofty thoughts come crashing down to earth.

    Anything UNDER tends to annoy me. I don't believe in Hell, but I do suspect that 'possums are living under my house.

    I don't know what's going on behind my back, but I would imagine it's lots of laughter...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Coincidentally, I encountered a 'possum yesterday by our back door, Jon. He hid under a bench and peered out at me. I spoke gently, greeting him, and he crept away. We could have far worse under-house tenants. In fact, I doubt there are any 'possums in Hell --they're just too polite.

      Delete
  3. Basically as long as I'm over the grass and not under it I'm not going to worry too much about what's behind me. As someone wiser than myself once said, "don't look behind you, something might be gaining on you."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Delores, I believe that quote comes from Satchel Paige --who was not only wiser than me, but also a way better ballplayer.

      Delete
  4. That is one fine and friendly book shelf. When Dave Barry, James Thurber, Jerry Seinfeld, William Shatner Robert Benchley get together, smiles cannot be far away. Even for one with infra red x-ray vision.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Tom. Let's not forget Susan Flett Swiderski and Robyn Alana Engel --also Arthur Jean Cox, whose book is dedicated to my sister-- and...well the whole shelf is full of magicians who can make the day's cares disappear.

      Delete
  5. Over, under, around, and through. All views carry priceless pictures of our lives.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Perceptive Emma, quite true, treasures encountered over, under, around, and through.

      Delete
  6. Benchly, eh? What was the scene/episode from the book that never make it to the movie? Involving the wife of the police chief......

    In the picture, your hair.....a semi afro, sort of. Nice, my buddy Hobbs had one twice the size and red. You sort of look like Donald Sutherland, in 'Animal House'....

    It's bleak mid winter here, nearing 6:45 and already ten below. I think your environs, the CA coast (though I've never been clear on exactly where you are there) is a far cast from the predicted -30 tonight. I have fond memories of nights there, decades ago. Occidental, the two Italian joints there? What was their names....and the place between Sebastopol and Cotati, 'The Italian Affair'.....great veal.
    I hope my memories of these places, the great roadside bbq that did the oysters a few miles from Inverness, on Tomales Bay, serve me well.
    What will my/our kids have, in terms of things that serve them? Or should they be out what they are doing: resisting, trying to make the difference that the 2.8 million voters that Mrs. Clinton had more than Trump, have a voice?
    Seems we've left a hard task to the ones to follow, doesn't it Geo? A hard task that we could have made easier, or even unnecessary?
    But there I go, wishing on stars again.
    Cheers,
    Mike

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not convinced it could be made easier. Mike, from the curly '60s, back when I could grow my own cowboy hat, from the '70s when I joined a union, what I learned about liberty is that government by discussion can be pounded back down to square one from government by tantrum --practiced by one administration or another-- but no further. Our children, grandchildren, will always be able to rebuild civil rights and government by the people from the ground up. I hope they won't have to, but they must be taught it's been done before. Freedom isn't free, must be worked at and never forgotten, not ever.

      Delete
  7. It did occur to me, I have these weird moments at times, that underestimates of undisclosed but underslung undergarments can lead to underperforming undergirding.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tom, true. We undertake to understand the undisclosed and are overwhelmed by enigmas.

      Delete
  8. Ha...you have me looking for what lies overhead now too, Geo!
    I think I normally stumble around noticing only what lies immediately ahead of me...but, now I am becoming more observant! *smiles*
    I love your bookshelf...it strongly reminds me of my own - except that yours is much less chaotic!;)
    And the photo of you in the seventies...aah...really takes me back to some of the happiest memories of my life!!
    Thank you so much...visiting you here always brings a genuine sense of joy into my life...:)

    Happy New year! :))

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kind Ygraine, book photo is deceptive. Only one end is shown so people may imagine the rest of the shelf is orderly and that I am tidy.

      Delete
  9. Happy New Year, dude! I hope you, Norma, and the rest of your crew enjoy a year that's full of joy... over, under, around, and through.

    Wow. It's humbling to see my book in such good company. Thank you, dear sir. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Susan, your book seeks out good company on its own. You did a fine job on it.

      Delete
  10. Happy New Year to you and Norma, Geo.!
    I just lost my first half-completed comment because in between I enlarged your first photograph... yes, I rejoiced: you and I love the same author, Dave Barry - he is allowed to sit on my bookshelves too, and Swiderski is on my Kindle.
    The last picture with your nephew is worth to have waited for!
    And to "All passes - only art endures" - I hope so. Very, very much. And yes: even if there are barbarians: Art will survive. At least in our minds. (You know that normally I am an optimist - I was just thinking of Mossul and Ninive)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Brigitta, struggles (as those in the troubled region you mention) make writers of gentle humor very important artists and stabilizers. Art does endure (as written over the doorway of one of my daughter's many workplaces)and helps us endure as well.

      Delete
  11. I find you quite lovely-now, then, above, below etc.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Chicken --a lovely compliment. Sometimes, even I need to feel lovely!

      Delete
  12. This reminds me so much of the Sesame Street skit of "over, under, around, and through" that that's all I can think of - sorry, not really a relevant comment! I believe it was little Elmo doing that one but I could be mistaken. One of the Muppets, for sure :)

    Humour books are a delight.

    There, once the SS thought was put into words, along came the next thought, and it was marginally more suitable.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. O Jenny, now you've got me wondering if Little Elmo was named after the patron saint of sailors whose name was really Erasmus so your comment is quite relevant to the convolutions humor takes --over, under, etc. Perhaps he's a little saint of seafaring puppets?

      Delete
    2. Oops, apparently it was Grover in that skit. The internet is amazing. Sorry! Little Elmo was cute as a button and could well have been a saint :)

      Delete
    3. It's here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cz_QncqzveA
      And it covers "near" and "far" too!

      Delete
    4. Thanks! Will definitely copy, paste and watch.

      Delete
  13. I am a sucker for family photos, Geo! That's a darling photo of your nephew looking over your shoulder at Norma, especially the look on her face. I'm having fun imagining his. I got a kick out of your late 70s look which immediately reminded me of Jim Croce (although he looks like he lived a lot harder). How nice that you found this photo.

    Pretty much everything is overhead for me, because I top out at 61 inches. I'm always wanting to see what's around the next corner, but I can be distracted by fascinating things in all directions.

    "Marmoreal Clouds" got me going ~ because I hadn't heard of that type of cloud and didn't know the definition of "marmoreal. Now I will be searching for marble-like clouds; sounds like more fun than cumulous!

    Even in our temporary little trailer in Bullhead City, I have a bookshelf with a bunch of books. I feel uncomfortable if there isn't a stack somewhere close by. Yours is an inviting selection!

    Happy New Year to you and Norma!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Clouds with dark and light variegations in them --marble-like-- have been scudding overhead for several days. Sometimes they rain so hard it sounds like a jet plane got snagged in our attic. A welcome respite from years of drought here!

      Delete

I value your comments. Say hello. Reach out a bit. I do.