Sunday, October 12, 2003


First of all, I just want to say that sometimes there are news stories that just make you glow inside with the most delicious schadenfreude, eventually making you sense, despite nagging problems here and there, that all's right with the world.

A busy two days with my siblings up at my brother's house in upstate New York. I am normally very soft-spoken at such family gatherings, and I was quieter than ever on the trip for a few reasons.

1. it was so damn beautiful up there that I was kind of in awe. Here in Pennsylvania, the leaves have hardly changed a bit. But up in the area where New York, Massachusetts, and Vermont meet, where we were driving around, the colors were the best I'd ever seen. I will shut up now.

2. My brother has so many obscure family stories and I prefer to let him tell them. I think he is saving them up or something. Anyway, he had a great one about an epiphany my grandfather had eighty-two years ago:

Joseph was visiting Germany in 1921, the first time since the war. He was around 40, and had emigrated to the USA at the turn of the century. He was crossing the street in one of the Rhenish towns he was traveling in, and a German policeman began to hassle him for jaywalking as he would any German who disobeyed the rules. My grandfather turned to the guy and said, in English, "Go to hell." The cop backed off and apologized to the uppity tourist. It was then that my grandfather realized for the first time that he felt like an American, and that he was American.

3. I was sore as hell. I am used to running on these flat athletic tracks around here, and the nasty grades surrounding the lake killed my shins.

4. When the topic of conversation turned to our late sister, I went over and rinsed the dishes. I just don't feel like talking about her anymore. For me it's like rubbing open a sore that's scabbed over more times than I can count.

5. I am not in a chatty mood in general.

The other good thing about the weekend was that I got to miss the Eagles-Dallas game. But it was worth having Donovan McNabb play as if his entire game was choreographed by Rush Limbaugh just to see the highlights of that amazing Chiefs win today. I want to see Dick Vermeil take his third different team to the Super Bowl and I want to see him blubbering after every playoff game. When Dick is crying on a Sunday, you just know, in spite of everything, that all's right with the world.

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