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March 2nd, 2007

weekend wanderung

Friday went by in a flutter, a zebra swallowtail which visited curious flowers, and flitted on. After a quick lunch, I found myself turning on a side street that said "ESTATE SALE" in hand-lettering on a red sign.

The woman who had lived in the small ranch house had grown up in Hungary. Her record collection of Hungarian folk and classical music, the books in Hungarian, and the copy of the book "English is My New Language" all attested to her origins. I bought a "Longines Symphonette World Traveler" shortwave radio, for the princely sum of 2 dollars and 50 cents. "15 Transistors", the radio says. I imagined its prior owner listening to Radio Budapest, which, I believe, may be a great jazz station, but why, in the back of my mind, I think I know that, I cannot remember. I do remember for sure that when I was a teen, Radio Copenhagen played the best pop music of any shortwave station.

I saw the menorrah on her kitchen table, and I wonder to myself if she had to flee Hungary to escape the 1930s/1940s era, or if she left later in light of the later gloom.

Four dollars bought a nice wooden mantle piece that contained a thermometer, a barometer, and a humidity gauge (the name for a humidity gauge escapes me, though I know how to make one with a long hair, a milk carton, and toothpicks--perhaps it is "hygrometer"). My plan is to auction the shortwave and the gauge to see if I can net more than the six dollars and fifty cents I paid for them. This is my personal equivalent of that UK show about the people who get to buy things and then sell them at auction.

I bought at the sale a copy of C.P. Snow's Last Things, which I have read many times and owned a time or two before. When I sat eating turkey at Boston Market for dinner, I noticed that the bookmark in the book was a card with a picture of the Magyar Tudomanyos Arkadia, the Hungarian Academy of Science.

I've often thought I'd like to visit Hungary, because it sounds to me as though it has beautiful countryside. I admire any country with beautiful countryside, great music, and fantastic chess players. I love the way a twenty minute diversion at lunch can take my on a trip to a place I may never visit.

Tomorrow my nephew and I head an hour over to the Denton North Public Library, to play in a chess tournament called, appropriately enough, the Denton Open. I must do some internet research as to Asian restaurants, as that is my nephew's preference. I am not in practice, but what is the point of any hobby if one must be good to enjoy it?

Meanwhile, the dogs and I spend a quiet evening at home, on a night quiet, pristine and temperate.