The announcer on the local jazz radio station said, “It’s a new year. If you can’t see good ahead, you have to make it. Make it good, that’s what you gotta do.”
A woman at least twenty years younger than I hugged me and kissed me on the cheek, leaving a lipstick mark. “Now you are the birthday boy,” she said. “Watch out!”said the new bride, laughing, when I told her.
At a dinner party, I sat next to a young x-ray technician, who, when I told him I was a retired English teacher, said, “A couple of years ago, a retired English teacher was a patient. I said she could lay down. ‘LIE down,’ she said. I will LIE down.’ I’ve never forgotten that. Now I tell people to lie down.”
Good for the technician. Good for the teacher.
At a Coastal Southern Plantation. Late December.
Tales of heat, humidity, mosquitoes, of the lives of wealthy plantation owners, of the horrors of slavery.
Live oak trees covered in Spanish moss.
Gardens with blooming roses and camellias, small plots of blooming wildflowers.
A sweet gum tree still holding autumn-colored leaves.
A tidal river rapidly flowing by.
Remains of a past attempt to make a meaningful life through extravagance and affluence.
People find places and pose for photographs.
I take no photos, make no videos. I am glad just to be there, to experience fully, perhaps to remember.
Notes on Reading. James Michener, Tales of the South Pacific (1946). Bantam Books, 1967.
These stories of men and women in World War II are entertaining and memorable. I particularly liked the character presentations: sometimes satirical, often humorous, always compassionate. The joys and horrors of life during war and the beauty and challenges of the South Pacific Islands are the backdrop of interesting and poignant stories.