After many, many years putting it off, I am finally reading Pride and Prejudice. Jane Austen’s wit, plot line, character development and use of the language is challenging my lazy brain. I have spent so many years skimming over internet junk, reading the highlights of blogs, watching movies while trolling Pinterest or Instagram, my brain is lazy. It wants the quick hits of dopamine, not the toil of paying attention and encounters with new words.
But there is a lady in my life whom I love most dearly. She adores this book and has read it more times than she can count. Because of her, I am working my way through the chapters. Our daughter with her quick wit and brilliant mind continues to challenge me to reach further and not be lazy. It is for her, I am toiling.
I plan to watch at least one movie version of the story when I am finished. I will try to see her recommended one. I am considering getting Cliff Notes or Spark(?) to go along with my reading. Perhaps it would help me appreciate the appeal of the book and the story turned into cinema more fully.
I think the thing I am struggling with is how rude nearly every character seems. I have my moments of speaking inappropriately, but they are usually accidental due to my not paying attention to the scene I am involved with. To be openly and deliberately rude continuously would have my mother out of her grave pinching the mess out of me.
I have said before I wished sometimes for Julia Sugarbaker’s ability to tell someone off, but in reality, I fear my mother more. She has been long gone, but her voice still comes to me letting me know when something is “tacky” or “ugly”. To act or speak in such a way would get “the look” or when I was smaller, “the pinch”. And to acknowledge I had been pinched would have been certain death. Or at least, I thought so.
My mother never mistreated us at all, but never allowed us to act out and embarrass her, either. We had a certain quality called respect for our mothers. Our children have it, too. Don’t say anything negative about the younger generations around me. There were as many smart mouths in my childhood as now and just as many fine, respectful young people now as then.
Good night, somebody kick this soap box out from under me! About this book I am reading, I will likely fall in love with it, too. Right now, it is as annoying as Mr. Darcy!!
New Year’s Day, we spent time on the Bolivar Peninsula. Looking toward the open sea, I saw a monster vessel coming in through the haze. Heading up the ship channel to one of the ports.
How many times did my father make that passage to Texas City? He worked in the engine room of an oil tanker. Sabine Towing and Transportation. S.S. Guadalupe. Diamond S. He sailed on the S.S. Brazos a time or two. The company was locally operated, though owned by Chromaloy. They took very good care of Daddy when he was sick. They flew him home one time when his bipolar depression got too bad while aboard ship. I remember he had lost his false teeth; and I remember going with Mother to the airport to pick him up.
I also remember the smell of his Old Spice cologne and King Edward cigars. The whiteness of his tee shirt. The tan of his khakis. How his head felt when Mother had freshly cut his hair. Just bare clippers run over his entire scalp. He liked pipes and Louis L’Amour. He preferred a flat bottom aluminum boat and running trot lines. He liked to squirrel hunt rather than deer hunt.
When he was younger and well, he always had a project going. Some scheme with fishing or planting or brewing usually. When he was older and sick, he would again try to work on projects.
He taught me how to fix bicycle tires and to tinker with lawn mowers. He let me paint the clothesline poles. He let me argue with him about current events. I would get so worked up and he would let me go on with my temper flaring. He never told me to be quiet or anything. Mother would finally intervene and hush us up. He didn’t get mad. He just seemed to want me to debate about things and to learn to see both sides of things. To look beyond my own scope of understanding and see something more. And to respect what generations before me had endured.
That ship in the haze certainly was real. And it definitely stirred up a ghost in my memories.