Back when I had hair
"A world of disorderly notions, picked out of his books, crowded into his imagination; and now his head was full of nothing but enchantments, quarrels, battles, challenges, wounds, complaints, amours, torments, and abundance of stuff and impossibilities." (Cervantes, Don Quixote)
:) For those of you not too familiar with me, I am Garry's younger sister and was able to spend some time with him and his family this past week. I'm very grateful for that opportunity! :) I got to go see how Garry's day works at the office and had a very enjoyable time! :) (Tell Deborah HI for me!) Too bad there wasn't any fireworks to see. ;) I'm glad that we were able to visit and I'm glad for all your insights, Garry - both those you share with all of us here on this blog and those on a more personal level. Thank you for that!
I found this article in today's Meridian Magazine, and post it here as proof positive that there are other people in the world who actually think the way I do. (With regard to some things, at least.) In support of his thesis that divine truth is taught and passed on primarily through symbolism and multiple shades and levels of meaning, the author of this article cites Don Quixote and Dante, which of course quickly caught and retained my attention. I agree with what he says, which perhaps helps to explain why a picture of a sunset that I posted a few weeks ago reminded me of a little-known passage in Isaiah, or why I saw a spark of the divine in a picture of a young woman talking on her cellphone -- and why one of my favorite passages in the Book of Mormon is 2 Nephi 11:4, which tells us that "all things which have been given of God from the beginning of the world, unto man, are the typifying of him."
Several years ago, in the Ensign, I saw a wonderful picture of Christ with the woman of Samaria, based on the story found in chapter 4 of John's Gospel. I have never been able to track down an online version of that painting, but this one comes close to being as good:
I was up until midnight last night, which is about three hours past my normal bedtime nowadays. Just before I went to bed, I asked my wife to go to our closet and pick out the best set of clothes for me that she could, and I told her why. (I'm a moron when it comes to personal attire, and I have absolutely no sense of things such as color coordination; but she is good at that, so on important occasions I always ask for her help.) I then went into the living room and spit-shined a pair of black shoes, the same ones I normally wear to work. When I finished, I looked them over and decided that, no, they simply wouldn't do -- not for this occasion, anyway. The leather was cracked. So I returned to the closet and got a pair of maroon-colored Italian leather shoes that I love but seldom wear, unless I know I will not have to do much walking in them. I then spent about 15 more minutes spit-shining this pair to a high gloss, then carefully laid out the entire ensemble so it would be ready for me first thing in the morning. This was, of course, a gesture of affection and profound respect. I was doing it for Ronald Reagan. I think it was the first time I have ever found genuine pleasure in the mundane act of shining a pair of shoes.
I did a couple of things this week that were a bit unusual for me. First, I called my boss Tuesday to ask if I could have this Friday off. I said it was for a "personal matter," without specifying what it was, but added that it did not involve any kind of crisis or emergency, and that if the calendar was heavy and I was really needed at the office, I would gladly come in. About half an hour later I got a text message on my pager, informing me that my request had been approved. My sole reason for requesting the day off was that I wanted to watch Reagan's funeral. Such was my regard for the man that I felt I simply could not be doing anything else that morning. Moreover, when I do stay home tomorrow morning and watch the proceeding on TV, I plan to wear my best shirt and tie, and a pair of spit-shined shoes. I was impressed to learn several years ago that throughout his Presidency, Reagan so revered the Oval Office that he never even set foot in it without wearing a coat and tie. (As we all know, one of his successors apparently didn't wear much of anything as he conducted a kinky affair with a twentysomething intern in a hallway adjacent to the same office.) This will simply be a token of high respect on my part, although I do not intend to wear a coat or jacket. After all, I do live in Arizona, and I think Mr. Reagan would understand that.
I went into the past weekend believing much of my free time would be taken up with reflections on the significance of D-Day, and watching as many TV specials on the great invasion as I could. The only other things I had planned during those two days were to work a few hours of overtime on Saturday, and attend church in my ward on Sunday. My plans changed somewhat at around 2:30 Saturday afternoon, as I was pulling out of the parking lot of the Southeast Juvenile Court in Mesa, and on my car radio heard Dan Rather and a few other newspeople talking about Ronald Reagan. I assumed he had passed away, and of course learned a few minutes later that I had surmised correctly.