Sunday, July 11, 2004


On Saturday, in between packing boxes, Steve, the kids, and I walked about the neighborhood doing chores and entertaining the kids. As we went about our business of getting a change of address form from the post office, taking old boxes from behind other apartments, and having coffee in the cafe, each event was in sharp focus. We knew that this was the last time we would be there.

Some places, like the post office, we won't miss. Good riddance to the post office with its long lines and surly workers. Good riddance to the parking lot so far away. Good riddance to the crackhead who lives in the garbage tunnel, because our super outsources work to him. $5 to shovel the snow. Other people and places will never be replaced.

After an hour walk to the post office, we stopped by Kappy's for a video. Kappy is an eccentric fellow. He rents videos, ships packages, and is also a notary public. His video collect is mammoth and obsessively organized not by genre, but by actor and director. Kurosawa has his own shelf. Tom Cruise does too, and it is still located above a Nicole Kidman shelf. We rented Cold Mountain and Finding Nemo. In the suburbs, there will be no Kappy, just a Blockbuster with 10 copies of Kindergarten Cop.

Cold Mountain was good, though it pales to the book. The movie at least stayed true to the major theme of the book -- a man destroyed by war striving to come home. Of course, this theme wasn't dreamed up by Fraiser, but by Homer 2,500 years ago. And Homer probably got it from someone else. It's an eternal theme that the glory of war is illusionary and the only thing that matters is love and home. All war is Abu Ghraib. What matters most is family and tilling the fields. Beating those shields into plows.

A friend recently sent me this quote from Orwell, "The fact to which we have got to cling, as to a life-belt, is that it is possible to be a normal decent person and yet to be fully alive."

Today, we packed a bit. Jonah made a fort out of empty boxes. Then we stopped into the Cloisters, so that I could take pictures of their gardens. We'll be tilling our own fields soon.

Five years old is such a great age. Two years is good, too, but not for going to museums. Five years old is great for that. I showed Jonah the Unicorn tapestries and told him the story of how the mean hunters tricked and trapped it. I showed him the unicorn using his magic horn to purify the water. I left out the Jesus analogies, and its thing for virgins. Jonah, always the softy, was very upset about the hunters. Why are they hurting the unicorn? But why? Why? Then he said that he and his friends would protect the unicorn with big sticks. We let Ian run around the garden paths for a while, and then left to get a pizza.

We're leaving one Ithaka for another this week. (Is that possible?) I'm sure that the remaining three posts this week will be filled with more corn like this.

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