Wednesday, October 29, 2008

An Open Letter to Mr. Particular

Dear Mr. Particular,
Thank you so much for allowing us to crash your lovely home for our family Halloween party. The kids had a great time, and it was kind of fun to watch you follow behind them with your broom and dustpan. I really do apologize if they had any accidents with their punch. You really do have a lovely home, and I do hope it stays that way after your child is born. But…
Despite your claim that once your first child is born, your home will stay as immaculate as it is now, I just don’t think that you’re thinking straight. You say that you and your wife are “very particular people” and I do believe this to be the case… but I knew you as a small child, and Spaghettios against the wall, or on your head, was not a rare occurrence with you. You have become a clean freak… you were not born one. And while your child will start out very clean, they will become mobile, and then the term disaster will begin to take on an entirely new meaning.
Please don’t be dismayed or surprised when you come home from a hard day’s work to find an oddly pink stain in the middle of your light tan carpet, from a sippy cup that didn’t, quite do it’s job. At first you’ll fume, and rage, you’ll probably get the spot remover from under the sink and work to remove the stain… only to find out that red juice doesn’t always come out of carpet completely. After a year of this, you won’t even bother with the stain remover because you won’t want to make a clean spot in an otherwise dirty carpet.
There will come a day when you flop, exhausted into your leather sofa to watch golf on ESPN only to find that you just sat in a big blob of syrup from a half eaten French toast stick. And after pealing yourself from that sticky situation, you’ll find that the surround sound speakers you love rattle due to the Matchbox cars that have been shoved into the sound holes.
Don’t get me wrong, I would never wish these things upon you; I am simply relaying the knowledge I have gained from 14 years of being a Dad. For I would never wish jelly covered disks in a brand new DVD player on anyone… but they do happen. If I had a nickel for every Matchbox car I’ve fished out of a piece of electronics… I’d be a very rich man.
Children have a way of turning new things into old things, putting dings in walls they rarely pass by, and despite all of your plans… they are just generally messy. Now, you may have the exception to the rule… there is always the chance that your child may fold all of their cloths before putting them in their drawers. They may play with a toy, and then put it away before getting another out. They might even sit at the table and wipe their mouth with a napkin before asking to be excused… and then again… they may be normal. And you have to ask yourself… do you want to spend the rest of your life following behind them with a broom… or do you want to enjoy them?
I know you don’t take advice from me… But please don’t take offence when I do a little dance and sing a few courses of “I told you so” when the day comes that I can do so.

Best wishes,

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Call of the Mother Country

Lately I’ve had an aching in my chest to go to England, Wales, and Ireland. In order to explain why this is the case I have to tell you where it all started.
A few years ago, I started organizing my genealogy. I started with everything I had at home in various books, and then moved on to what I could find in Along the way I came into contact with a distant cousin I have living in London. Knowing that I have family there started the spark of longing I have for the small islands, that were, and as it turns out, still are the homes for generations of Porters, Hicks, Cottams, Leeks, Packs and any other names that I have found, or will find within myself.

I’m reading a book called: The Red-Haired Girl from the Bog By, Patricia Monaghan. In it she writes something that summed up my longing.

“How could I ever know myself if I did not know where I was from – not just the scenes of my personal memories, but the places where my ancestors had walked, where my body understood the way time unfolded its seasons on the land, where people still spoke a language whose rhythms echoed in my own? Where history had been made by people with my family names? Where the unrecorded history of ordinary loves and losses had been lived by people with features like mine?”

I long to walk the streets of Malmesbury. See the countryside of county Fermanagh and the streets of Dublin. To visit the Parish church in Cardiff where generations of Porters are now buried. Find the graves in Manchester where my Great Great Grandfather laid several of his infant children before boarding a steamer bound for New York. I want to experience these places and hundreds more like them. I want to shake the hands of my cousins, look into their eyes and reunite our two branches of the family.
For some reason the mother country is calling to me, and I so want to heed that call.

Do I sound crazy?

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Bring on the Hate Mail

There has been something on my mind for the last few months and it has to do with my cousin, (who… incidentally… lives in California) and her marriage to a lovely young lady, a marriage for which I am very happy for them both. Yes, gentle reader; I did say HER marriage to a young LADY, and that I am HAPPY.
Now most of you who have read my blog before know that I am LDS (a Mormon) and …somewhat… of a conservative Christian. But, my cousin’s marriage hasn’t bothered me at all… going against all stereotypes of what the Christian right is supposed to think about the topic of gay marriage. Guess you can’t trust stereotypes of any kind… hu.
This bothered me for some reason, it shouldn’t have, but it did. And I thought that… well, maybe I wasn’t living my religion. Or maybe… I needed to go confess something to my bishop, I’m not sure what, but something. I mean, as a (somewhat) conservative Christian, I should be condemning the marriage… right?
Well, I found out why I’m not bugged about her marriage, and why I shouldn’t be bugged… and of all places, I found it in a graphic novel called “V for Vendetta.”
(Are we no commanded to seek out truth in all things? Got ya!)
There’s a scene, toward the front of the book, that has V standing on a roof, just under a statue of Lady Justice, and he’s talking with her. He’s telling her how much he loves her, but then accuses her of infidelity to him. How she’s given her love to another (the new fascist government) and that because of her infidelity, she has turned her back on justice. The last thing he tells her, before blowing her up, is that there can only be true justice where there is also freedom. If you’ve never read the comic, do, because it’s brilliant.
Now what does that have to do with the topic of gay marriage? Well, I don’t really know, except that it got my brain going in the right direction. And here’s what I realized.
Long ago, marriage was a purely religious affair. The church (who ever the church was) was able to say who were able to get married, and who could break the bonds of same. At some point, marriage was taken over by the civil authority. It was no longer purely controlled by the church, but by the state. Marriage was no longer just a holy bond but a legal contract. At the moment that happened it should have become available to all consenting adults, regardless of orientation. It states, very clearly, in out founding documents that all people are created equal and that we are all equally able to partake in all the rights afforded to us as citizens of the state (and when I say state, I mean all government to which we are subject). When the state took over the institution of marriage, it was then no longer a purely religious ceremony afforded to only certain people in certain circumstances, but it became a civil right that should have been extended to all.
The Christian right argues that allowing gay’s to marry will weaken the marriage bonds between men and women, will weaken the family… so on and so forth. I say that they are ridicules and wrong… dead wrong. The fact that gay people can now legally marry in California, in no way changes the way I feel about my wife. We are not any less married than we were before. In fact I believe that the opposite is true.
I believe, that when we deny basic human rights to people we deem undeserving, ineligible or weird, we weaken that right, thus weakening the right of marriage. When we deny a right to some, we deny it to all. If we deny the right of marriage to the gay community, we weaken the institution and should just get rid of the right and say that there should be no more marriage. This country was founded on the concept of equality (some would argue that fact with me… but that’s an argument for another time.)
I say that we should celebrate our differences and praise California for the courage that they had to extend the right of marriage to all consenting adults and in doing so strengthened the right and bonds of marriage.
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