Thursday, October 27, 2011

Beer and the Afterlife

My friend, Bob Erskine, is a cartoonist and painter.  A creative genius really.  I asked him to inspire me with a blog topic.

He suggested I. P. A.

That would be India Pale Ale.

     "You mentioned it last year in your yoga blog.  Also, I see all of these empty IPA boxes in your livingroom."

Oh, those boxes?  The ones holding firewood.  Surely Bob doesn't think I drank all that beer.  Hasn't he heard of going to the liquor store just to ask for the empty boxes?

Ok.  I like beer.  My current favorite is Triple Hop Belgian Style India Pale Ale.  Sierra Nevada's Torpedo is very good, as is Flying Dog's Raging Bitch .  (this refers to a dog of course)  Both of these beers are To Die For on tap, but so far I've managed to hold the line against installing one in the refrigerator.  

Which brings me to the topic of Beer and the Afterlife.

Many of us grew up singing, 

     In heaven there is no beer.
     That's why we drink it here.
     And when we're gone from here.
     Well our friends will be drinking all the beer.

I realize now that is children's superstition, and put my faith in the likes of the early Irish Saint Brigid, who espouses a mature spirituality in her poem, The Heavenly Banquet.

     I would like to have the men of Heaven in my own house;
     with vats of good cheer laid out for them.
     I would like to have the three Marys, their fame is so great,
     I would like people from every corner of Heaven.
     I would like them to be cheerful in their drinking;
     I would like to have Jesus sitting here among them.
     I would like a great lake of beer for the King of Kings.
     I would like to be watching Heaven's family
     Drinking it through all eternity.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Woo-Woo Shopping

We went to Berkeley Springs, West Virginia partly to "take the waters", but mostly as an excuse to get out of town.  

Before our hydrotherapy appointment we browse the shops - buy earrings for Andrea and smell the soaps and incense.  A Tibetan shop-owner welcomes us when we walk into Himalayan Handcrafts where a table of singing bowls are on display.  I ask him to play one for us.  I've tried before with poor results.  He plays and then teaches me to hold the mallet firmly with a pencil grip.  To trace the rim lightly, and when the sound arrives, to circle slower. 

Melvin has his credit card.  I have mine as well, but am not good with extravagances.  Besides, this woo-woo stuff embarrasses me. 

We play many bowls.   I do not allow myself to look at prices.  I only listen to the tones.  Like a devil on my shoulder, my husband keeps asking, "Which one do you like?"  Because I want them all, it becomes easy to justify buying just one.  It's beginning to feel sinful not to buy three or seven.  The tone from a small bowl penetrates my forehead.  A different bowl vibrates my sternum. 

I justify spending the money as an investment in my health.  A spiritual prophylactic.  In the mornings I will meditate and the pure tone will help carry my prayer.  

My only effort will be to trace the empty bowl.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Careful of the Quiet Ones

I go into a co-worker's office.  A quiet co-worker.  The kind who only speaks when spoken to.  A person who only opens his lips the minimum required to produce speech. 

Taking the lead, I initiate small talk, inquiring about the co-worker's recent vacation.  He and his family had taken a train trip to the World Series of Barbecue in Kansas City, Missouri. 

     "How was it?"

Storm clouds pass the co-worker's brow.  He shakes his head.  It turns out national barbecue competitions are serious business.  It's all about Watching Barbeque.  And Watching Barbeque had not been the plan.  All of that talent.  All of that roasting meat.  All of his family eating Subway sandwiches for lunch.  The co-worker also confided that the the 30-hour train trip en famille has cured him of his love of train travel. 

The story is painful and absurd.  I say, "That would make a great blog post."

The quiet co-worker replies, "You're right.  I've been a little dry lately.  Maybe I'll use it." 


This silent man has a blog.  At first he didn't want to give me the URL.

     "It must be naughty!"

     "Well.  It's not that naughty..... I let my parents read it."

Josh has been blogging since 2006.  He wants to be a writer!  He is a writer!  (except for those otherwise occupied hours from 9 - 5.)

So quiet. 

All of those unspoken thoughts, shared only on the World Wide Web.