Sunday, August 30, 2009

Summer '09 Philosophy

Tomorrow will be a busy day here at the manse. I don't have to go to school, but I do have to do all those things I said I would do this summer and failed to find all that important until the last second. It will be a mad rush for about an hour and then I will give up and just sit back to enjoy those last few seconds of freedom. I also need to go register my car because that is one of those things I put off and it's kind of important. At least to those people who think I should be current on all the appropriate taxes...

As I reflect back on this year's summer break, I can't help but acknowledge the appalling number of losses we experienced. It felt as if every time I turned around there was another breaking news story about someone who passed away and whose life was somehow notable. Of course, I knew none of them what with my being a very busy individual with no time for hobnobbing amongst the stars. But I still sort of took it personally. I now feel an overwhelming urge to purchase any and all products every hawked by pitchman Billy Mays as if that will somehow make up for my not doing so when he told me to...

Last night, I found myself particularly moved while watching the interment of Senator Kennedy. I set aside that sock I so desperately want past the heel point so I'll have some mindless knitting for Tuesday's teacher workshops in order that I might watch without distraction. I'm not normally one for televised funerals. But, for some reason, I was transfixed.

I commented on this to the Absurdly Gi-normous Kitty. He was the only other one awake and since he was right there on my foot, he seemed like the obvious choice as a pondering partner. He had little to offer in the way of insight, but I found him to be a pretty good listener while I ran through the possible reasons for my rapt attention during the ceremony.

Maybe it was the soft Irish lilt of the priest. Or maybe it was the way the darkness gathered, making the Eternal Flame more prominent. It could have been the sight of the military pall bearers and the dignity with which such people always seem to carry themselves during these events. The speakers were certainly moving and they could have been the cause of my unusual attention level. Maybe it was the fact that, for once, we were seeing the life of a Kennedy played out to the end rather than cut brutally short.

It could also be the fact that I have reached an age where I actually recognize some of the players. When someone of a certain vintage passes, it is no longer "just some old dude." Instead it is someone whose life, while not ever intersecting mine, ran parallel to it and was a part of my view for as long as I can remember. I suppose that, if I were being totally honest, there was a great deal of that going on. For my entire life, there has always been a Ted Kennedy. I cannot picture the senate without him in it.

Maybe it was just a moving service, nothing more nothing less.

In the end, the cat and I didn't really come up with much more than that. The AGK isn't much of a philosopher and I can only deep-think for two for so long before I peter out. Finally, I hoisted the big guy up on my lap, dug deep for what I knew about the Kennedy family and said,

"Well...I imagine there is a hell of a football game going on in heaven right now."

SA




7 comments:

trek said...

Good luck with everything that needs doing tomorrow!

Karen said...

Stuff to do? Can't you just enjoy the end? Good luck getting it all done. Try to enjoy some of the time you have left though.

Donna Lee said...

For some reason, I found the tributes to Ted Kennedy very moving. I will admit I've never given the man much thought over the years but listening to people talk about him made me sorry I hadn't known him.

It does feel like we've lost a lot of people lately. People who have been part of my life however tangentially.

Good luck with the workshops. They can be deadly dull.

Kath said...

I think it's important to focus on all the wonderful additions to the world. Like baby pandas!

Betsy said...

I too landed on the funeral and somehow couldn't turn it off...there was something about the gathering darkness and the Kennedys...even the commentators on the channel I was watching were quiet for long periods of time.
There was a story in the Washington Post yesterday about the difficulty those of us of a certain age are having putting our finger on just what it was about that generation of Kennedys that made them in such sharp focus for us and how we have trouble explaining it to people not of that certain age.
I thought of you and several other exceptional teachers I know when Ted Jr. was relating the story of Ted helping him up the sledding hill after he lost his leg to cancer...good teachers know when to challenge and cajole and support...

Enjoy your last day without tight schedules...and I don't miss the workshops one iota...now the smell/promise of a freshly cleaned school building before the kids get there...well...my guess is they don't buff the floors with that wax that makes that smell anymore...

Knitting Linguist said...

That is probably the truest eulogy there is. You know, I, too, found myself surprised by how moved I've been by the tributes I've heard to Ted Kennedy, and I think you've hit the nail on the head -- he's always been there in the coverage I've heard of politics, and now he's not going to be. Weird...

Elaine said...

Growing up in MA in the 50's and 60's, and often summering on the Cape, I felt a familiarity with the Kennedys. They were as real to me as my own huge family. Many of the children are already in public service, and I'm sure that many more will follow; however, Ted's death truly is an end of an era.
I'm glad AGK understood.