I remember taking my son Tommy to drum lessons when he was a struggling lad. At the time I was hoping against hope he might actually amount to something.
Thomas Charles Bell at So-Hi Estates
outside Kingman, Arizona, circa 1995
Yesterday this same son sent two used books to our post office box. The first book, a ragged paperback— formerly the property of the Scarsdale Public Library—is "The Power And The Glory," by Graham Greene.
Full disclosure: my son had warned me that the books were coming and he asked me if I might bring them to Seattle in July when we are meeting at Deena and Mike's house.
I don't know if the little bastard planned it, or not, but I had to take a gander. And, oh my, the subject is Mexico (Muy, muy Mexico!) and the prose is damn near poetry. Here's just a few random tastes of the first chapter which I read last night:
"he gave the impression of unstable hilarity. . ."
"the vulture moved a little, like the black hand of a clock."
"Of course. . .that was how one lived, putting off everything."
". . .they moved across the little burnt plaza where the dead general [a statue mentioned earlier] grew green in the damp and the gaseosa stalls stood under the palms."
But the one line that hooked me and nailed me in one fell swoop is this one:
"There is always one moment in childhood when the door opens and lets the future in."
Hot Damn and Sweet Jesus! My son just took me to school! And by the way, my father and I were the black sheep of the Bell family. Both his siblings and his mother were teachers. Not my dad and not me. But my son got the right genes (probably from the Radinas) and now he is both a teacher AND a coach. I guess those drum lessons paid off after all.
Tommy straddling a 1,000 foot drop
at Canyon de Chelly
"Any new venture goes through the following stages: enthusiasm, complication, disillusionment, search for the guilty, punishment of the innocent, and decoration of those who did nothing."
—Old Vaquero Saying
—Old Vaquero Saying