In the move, we’ve — somehow — managed to lose our forks (and the one flash drive that contained the almost ready to go Darkship Revenge, leaving me about half. The copy on the computer is corrupted, the directory has disappeared AND — for what must be the first time in my life — I didn’t send the work in progress to friends. WTH? Anyone cursing me lately? It gets better: I’ve narrowed “where the flash drive went” to the pocket of the jeans I wore while moving. Which have disappeared. Not in the wash, not washed, not hanging. Seriously, this is ridiculous. It’s starting to feel uncanny. I am going to rewrite the d*mn book from middle on (it’s not a raw rewrite, as I wrote two books conjoined) and maybe I’ll find where it went wrong, yes? Because clearly someone is trying to tell me something.)
I was telling mom that all we have are dessert forks, and she freaked out “You lost your wedding cutlery.” I had to explain, in small words, that no, I didn’t. I lost the every day forks, not the good forks. And then I got all brave and announced that when we move to the “final” (well, probably not really, as ten to fifteen years from now the boys will probably be settled elsewhere in the country and we’ll either move near one of them or get small places near each of them, and divide our time. BUT “Final” for a while.) house, we’re going to get rid of the every day silverwear set (bought at big lots 17 years ago and such high quality the forks bend if you look at them wrong) and start using the good one every day. “I’ve been married 30 years mom. What am I saving the good set for?”
She thought about it, or at least there was a silence, and I prepared for an explosion, and then she said, “You have a point there. I have “good” sets and “good” dishes, and yet if I die, no one wants them. Everyone wants their own stuff.”
Which brings me to when mom’s grandmother died. We got her good wool blanked. I remember, because I used it to nap on the sofa (usually with the cat) all through my adolescence. The wool blanket was of some artisan manufacturing and no longer made when Great-grand died, which meant it was probably valuable (I wonder if it still exists or moths ate it.) At any rate great grandma’s possessions, when I was 6, were all subject to much dispute among children and grandchildren. And you may say well, they were antiques. Sort of, except no one treated them like that. They treated them as everyday use stuff, and still they fought over them.
There was also the fact that my grandparents on mom’s side had an uneven number of chairs. I.e. they had five children, but seven chairs. Grandad used to joke (I think it was a joke) there would be a fight over the remaining two chairs. In the same way, my parents had an extra kitchen stool, and my brother and I would stage mock fights for the extra stool. (Five stools, two kids.)
It was a joke in our case, and in fact when my paternal grandmother died 24 (really, that long? I still miss her everyday) years ago, there was no fight, not even over the land she owned, or the antiques in the house. (I got some everyday use things: her religious books and guest towels. It’s all I wanted, and it’s not the value.)
BUT at some point, possibly when I was very little, this stuff wasn’t a joke. Which is why mom is keeping all her “good” stuff (in her case acquired late in her marriage, when they had the money.) Because at one time high quality silverware and dishes were left to children and grandchildren.
And it’s why I’ve kept my “good” wedding silverware immaculate and used cheap-ass cr*p for 30 years. Which is ridiculous. If my boys get married, their brides will want their own stuff, not a handmedown from me, no matter how good a quality it is. (Though I hope one of them marries a woman who REALLY likes tea, possibly British. I have in my possession, come down both sides of the family — well, Dan is from new England — tea sets dating back to the 19th century. “Wedding” tea sets, though on my side, more often than not acquired later in the marriage, when they had money. And my own wedding teaset is added to it. I think I used it twice in our marriage. Anyone up for Writer’s Tea Parties after we move? Perhaps A Writer’s Holiday Tea?)
So. Our politicians are crappy, our social structures are decaying, our education sucks, but can we forget all the Rousseau crap already?
We are prosperous beyond measure. Yes, a lot of what is made is crap, but we’re prosperous enough that the parable of the man who gave half his cloak to the beggar seems weird. Why not give him a new, cheap cloak?
In the developed worlds no one goes naked for lack of clothes (which still happened in my day, often with children.) They might wear crappy-ass clothes, but they don’t go naked. No one goes hungry for lack of food (they might eat awful stuff for lack of the skills to cook better or lack of give a damn, but they don’t outright not eat. Those children with distended bellies from honest-to-Bob famines? We don’t have them.)
This is the day (relative) freedom has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.
And then we can get back to fixing our culture, our education and our politicians. (What, I think they should be neutered. You?)
Go and make/build something today that can give fruits for generations to come.
We make, we build, we elevate. It’s what we do. If we work hard enough, we’ll do it faster than they can tear it down.
Meanwhile: It’s ALIVE! Sword and Blood has gone live.