When I was younger and meeting new people, if I went to their home I would sneak peeks at their bookshelves in order to ascertain who they were on a deep level. Every lover of literature does this, right?
I am staying with my mom while dad is away at his 65th High School reunion. I share the bed with her so I may help her up for middle of the night bathroom runs. ( bad choice of words ). While waiting on her the other night, my eyes fell upon a small section of the built in bookshelves in their bedroom. No surpises here: George Bush (father and son), Maggie Thatcher, Don Rumsfeld, Ronald Regan, and Goddess Forbid, Bill O'Reilly. Dad is a student of history, for sure. Some would say fictionalized history.
If you took a look at my bookshelves, you would find Barack Obama, Sonia Sotomayor, Joan Baez, Malcolm X, and numerous volumes by and about Buddhist teachers.
What dad and I have in common is books on visual arts and artists. I like that we share a love of the arts -- both visual and musical. His love of both were strong influences in my young life. Scarlatti, Beethoven, and Broadway were the musical backdrop of life. Shakespeare was not new to me in High School. I had read War and Peace before sophomore English. One car washing session in our driveway had me reciting "the Walrus and the Carpenter" because I was trying to memorize long poems. For the fun of it.
So, I'll cut him some slack now on the personally objectionable books on his shelves. This is pretty emblematic of our current adult relationship. We choose to focus on the passions that bring us together. Life is just better that way.
Mom has her 80th birthday this week. Sixty years married. Her skin is as smooth and wrinkle free as mine. She still loves to read. She holds her political cards close to her vest. She kept our family together and moving forward. She was careful with money which allowed them to amass a comfortable retirement -- impressive for self employed people.
One more week of staying with her while Dad is gone. We have a very capable helper who comes in during the day. This is a new development - since I went to Cuba. It makes my workload so much lighter and I am grateful. It's also had a positive affect on Dad -- he seems more cheery, lighter, less burdened. Rachel keeps things humming along and I get to come back to my own home and see my husband for a few hours. Make sure he hasn't burned the place down. Hehe.
I told mom if she does her exercise today, she'll get a martini before dinner. Of course I'll never stick to my guns, but maybe she thinks I will and she'll put in the effort.