On Call & Mark Twain

Monday, January 13, 2002
Suburbia, California 


To my relief, I was not called to serve jury duty today. 

My body is still busily stamping out the remnants of that pesky cold.  Mild, but pesky, nonetheless.  I love my independence so much, that I do not suffer illness well.

Tonight, instead of writing here, I watched a beautiful film production on PBS with DH.

>> PBS: Mark Twain: A Film directed by Ken Burns

He came into the world in 1835.  He had something in common with Hawai`i's King Kamehameha I who was born in 1758.  Both came in with Halley's comet. 

“I came in with Halley’s comet in 1835. It is coming again next year, and I expect to go out with it. It will be the greatest disappointment of my life if I don’t go out with Halley’s comet. The Almighty said, no doubt: ‘Now here are these two unaccountable freaks; they came in together, they must go out together.’”
~ Mark Twain, quoted in Mark Twain: A Biography by Albert Bigelow Paine, 1910   

In 1910, just as the comet made its pass within sight of Earth, Mark Twain died. That was 92 years ago.  Yet he lives so vibrantly through his legacies, his words, so often a luscious contrast of richness and wit.  

>> Mark Twain and Halley's Comet

The gentleman could write.  His writing is brilliant. Sublime. He was a literary dynamo.  A powerhouse.

It was a singular pleasure indeed to listen to his well-crafted words read cracklingly aloud by Kevin David, and read so masterfully, I might add.  We chuckled a lot. My ears were enthralled, but not completely sated and I will be sure to tune in for Part 2 tomorrow tonight.  

I am motivated to reread Huckleberry Finn.  I last read it as a child in the 1950s, who had never met an Afro-American and was totally oblivious to the civil rights movement; of course, I did not have the slightest clue that Mark Twain was a social critic whose thoughts -- to this day -- greatly impact human consciousness, as  well as a sage with a rueful wit who lived with gusto -- with a whole heart.  Back then, I just thought he told a very good story. What did I know?  

It's never too late to know more:

>> Mark Twain Website

>> Biography

11-15-01 follow-up:

At the end of his life, Samuel Clemens -- Mark Twain (his pen name) --  had fame. Immense fame.  But no family.  He'd lost two brothers, a young son, two daughters and the love of his life, his wife.  

His loneliness was tragically vast.  As I watched the sad conclusion to his life, I looked down at our two dogkids.  They'd snuggled under each of my arms and were fast asleep, resting their sweet heads on my bosom.  I looked over at DH, lounging on the sofa. I will not take these wonder years with them and DH for granted. 

I savored deeply. 



"Life is a Gift."

Author Unknown

 "The only gift is a portion of thyself..."
Ralph Waldo Emerson


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September 29, 2001
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