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Festive Board

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November 2007
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Last night was my first meeting with a group of brothers who are working to found a new research lodge.  In masonic parlay, that means a lodge that will not have to own its own building, collect dues and so forth, but will operate on a more limited basis directed at specific goals, in this case the study and practice of the British ritual forms and etiquette for festive boards.  So, last night 14 of us met to practice a festive board based on the research of our esteemed Secretary and others.  Music, toasts, prayers, wine-takings and splendid food served family style.  All very reminiscent of the captain’s table on board a British Navy ship of the early 1900’s.  I was put in mind of the Aubrey-Maturin novels of Patrick O’Brien.

The chef obligingly prepared special gluten and dairy-free dishes for yours truly, but even so today I am feeling weak again.  I was feeling quite bad all day yesterday, however, so I cannot attribute it to the dinner.  I’m walking around like an octegenarian and feel like people are staring at me.  Of course, that might be the bowler hat.

The Research Lodge has been dubbed the Sir Winston Churchill Research Lodge and aims at British emulation degrees.  The name, and the lively Churchillian jokes and stories made me wish that I had a biography of Churchill and some of his own writings.  Another diversion.

Oh, well.

Today I took the bus to the bank to straighten out the problem with my credit card, then to the post office for stamps.  It was closed for veteran’s day but I could get stamps out of the machine.  Then I took the bus back but rode downtown to look for Churchill at the main library.  However, due to the appalling lack of support for our public libraries in Minnesota, which I can only contribute to the growing number of right-wing citizens who do not want to pay their taxes and use ideology as a cover for their own selfishness and greed (and ignorance), the library was closed.  Monday.  No learning on mondays, say the Rebubblicans and the other anti-socialists who would rather not spend money on books and learning, and certainly not on enabling others without sufficient funds to have a first rate public library system.

We just spend millions building this new and improved main library in Minneapolis, and the taxpayers can’t manage to keep it open on Mondays.  Well, of course, I should have remembered that this was the case, and my complaint rings rather hollow when I’ve just spent a lavish sum on a festive board with brother masons.  But I am trying not to spend more money on books.  Use the library!  Use the Scottish Rite Temple’s library for more obscure things. I have more than enough books on my shelves to keep me reading for the remainder of this life and I would feel better about myself and help my family more if I did read the books I already own, rather than acquiring more.

But I also must work to publish something of my own.  Not because I want there to be more books on the store shelves and not because I think my own thoughts are so marvelous that others must hear them.  No, it is because I need the money.  Or my household does.  Not me so much.  I will feel better if I know I am contributing something substantial to our household income and contributing to my daughter’s future education.

I’ve been reading the poems of Emily Brontë today.  They are so lovely and often so sad.  Everyone she loved died, it seems.  That period when tuberculosis was sweeping the world.  What a passionate heart and mind comes across to me.  How I long to know her better, to sit with her and make up fantasy worlds as her brother and sisters did, to write poetry and listen under the trees to her reading hers.


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