I was going to go to the Christmas program this evening at texastornado_91's church, but when I went to the website for the program, it had already sold out. The church in question is one of those huge Baptist churches, so I was really impressed that it sold out. I contented myself instead by going to McKinney Towne Lake Park for a quick walk. On the way there, NPR's selected shorts featured a short story about a Baptist preacher's daughter in a Texas church camp who earned summer money by ghost-writing testimonials of conversion for other campers. It was amusing, and sad, and so Texan. I have known many of those "Baylor-alums-in-the-making" over the years, and this subculture of Texas protestantism is often parodied but rarely appreciated. I liked the story, which both parodied and appreciated these earnest Baptist folks.
I began my walk just after the sun set, when the horizon was an orange rim of afterglow, and the light was still present but was fading. I noticed that they have added "pedal swans" and "pedal ducklings" to the conventional park pedal boats. I have never experienced the park pedal boats, but the corny thrill of a pedal duckling may be too much to resist. I love pedal boats. In my ideal world, I would have a second home in the country which was tiny, but had a little pond in back with sunfish and a pedal boat, to which one gained access by pedaling a Rhoades pedal car. Talk about your childhood wishes--you can even eat the dishes.
My wife went to one of those parties where talented people show one how to do things, but my party equation had slipped to near zero this weekend (a personal failing, as the people at the party are fun), so I was much more content watching the man and his toddler feed the "real" swans and geese bread from a huge loaf of white bread. The fountain in the middle of the lake threw up its water spigot thirty feet or so into the air, and I felt so at one with my surroudings as I slowly circuited the walkway around the lake.
When I returned to my car, a winter music special was on the radio. A Swedish folk instrumental came first, a haunting piece which had a twinge of romany-sounding melody. As my wife's family is but a few generations removed from the old country, and still keeps some Swedish holiday traditions, I resolved to see about getting her family members CDs of Swedish holiday instrumentals for next Christmas. Kate Pierson of the B-52s played a rousing version of "California Dreaming", which was simply charming, and I was even taken in by the highly ornate newgrass instrumental.
Then I came back home and resumed making holiday cards. I have really enjoyed applying my meager skills to this process, as it makes the holidays seem special to me. If anyone wishes one who has not sent me an address, I'd love to send any friends or lurkers a card. This week I also tackle my non-immediate relatives, as my brother promises he has kept a detailed list of cousin-type addresses. I have tons of cousins all over the south, with a few having strayed to one coast or the other. I am not sure how family will feel about my throwaway camera shots on construction paper and corruplast, but I have reached the point in life in which I live my life largely in my own eccentric way, and don't worry too much about the rest of things.
Tomorrow night I go bowling with the DFW nanowrimo novelist contingent. I even arranged the lanes. At this rate, I will be a joiner--by the year 2465, about the time Star Trek 1240 is released.
I found a 3 dollar copy of "Making Simple Musical Instruments" this weekend at the remaindered store. Soon, no doubt, I'll be turning paper plates into dobros, or some such.
The Trent Lott matter continues to evolve. Senator Lott made an incautious remark at a going away party for Senator Strom Thurmond that the country would be better off if Senator Thurmond had won the presidential election in 1948, when Senator Thurmond was running on a platform of segregation. Even with people with whom I disagree, I tend not to assign too much weight to stupid things said at parties. But the emerging evidence that this has been a standard Lott modus operandi for decades disturbs me. In 1981, Mr. Lott went out of his way to file an amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief in favor of Bob Jones University, which sought to enforce as "Biblical" a ban on inter-racial dating. Mr. Lott's brief argued that racial discrimination should be permissible. This was absurd.
The result that is dictated is clear--Mr. Lott should step down from the Republican leadership and move to the back bench. But the radio is reporting that Mr. Lott has threatened that if he resigns, he will resign his entire Senate seat. I'd love to see Mr. Lott resign his Senate seat, as a Democrat would be appointed in all likelihood to replace him, by Mississippi's Democratic governor. But I'm amazed, quite frankly, that a man who has been an "enforcer" for party loyalty himself tries to play "take my marbles and go home" games with the White House. I am all for disarray in the Republican ranks, but what an unchivalrous approach Mr. Lott has taken. At least nowadays even Mr. Lott sees he must apologize profusely, often, and always for this gaffe. Mr. Thurmond, of course, never apologized for his views.
I grew up among that virulent racism that infected the south. It was awful, and it has not all passed away yet. The south is now a much different place, but these reminders of the Jim Crow days sadly remain. Perhaps it is time for the Trent Lotts of the world to go to the elephant graveyard, write memoirs, and catch up on their fishing.