I have spent the better part of this evening answering emails from loved ones in The Lone Star Republic. Not the best part of the evening--that comes later. I think I've managed to irritate one or two of them with my rather left-wing takes on various subjects pertaining to political agendas of administrations past and present. People WILL insist on bestowing their unsolicited political opinions upon me and invoking their constitutional right to free speech--irregardless of historical fact, geographic accuracy, diplomatic considerations or whether I want to hear them or not. I completely support the First Amendment--everyone should be allowed to speak his piece without fear of being silenced. I also believe people shouldn't go around stirring other people's pots and then getting miffed when they get scalded. What's a snowbound Down Easter to do when the temperature is at the lower end of the 'What the Hell?' Comfort Equivalency Scale? Why, turn to whimsy of course!
This is where the 'best part of the evening' bit comes in. Imagine if you would that someone calls to ask if you'd be interested in going through the house of a distant, unknown relative who has passed away. The deceased relative was something of a recluse and had lived in this house since birth and the house has been occupied by the same family for generations. Because of your background in the antiques business the caller believes you are the perfect person to evaluate the contents for liquidation since they have no interest in them or in the house. Barbaric attitude to be sure, but very common unfortunately.
Well, of course you would jump at the chance!! At least, I sincerely hope that you would. So there you are--standing before the front door delicately festooned with cobwebs. The doorway that is--not you. Your heart is beating fast. You have the feeling Indiana Jones has just before entering a Pre-Columbian temple or Egyptian tomb. The key finally turns in the lock and the door opens creakily. The accumulation of generations awaits your discovery and admiration. Isn't this exciting?
You go through the house without any concept of time because time stopped existing in this place long ago. It feels like only moments have passed when in fact you've been there for several hours. In an upstairs room, on a table littered with atlases and histories, there stands an inconsequential looking hourglass. Very dusty but still replete with its' sand drifted in the bottom section. You are drawn to it. You feel the need to wipe away the years of grime. You yield to the temptation. POOF!! A little Bedouin appears on the sand dune and tells you that, in return for your kindness, you are granted three chances to visit anywhere in the past for the length of an hour. You simply put your hand upon the hourglass, speak your chosen destination and time period and turn the hourglass upside down and away you go.
But where? The atlases and histories scattered about make sense now. Where? When? Who?
I have often pondered, if such an opportunity were to present itself, those very questions and I will share with you what my three choices would be and why.
Firstly, I'd choose to be present for the Sermon on the Mount. I would like to see what Jesus looked like, sounded like. I'd like to witness for myself if he really was 'all that' or if he just had an excellent publicity department. I would like to experience the presence of the man/prophet/God in whose name and for whose sake so much was endeavoured. Was he for real or the product of spin-doctors?
Secondly, I'd like to visit the court of Elizabeth I right after the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588. I would love to see Gloriana, the victorious Virgin Queen, at the height of her glory. I want to see her resplendent in bejeweled gowns, hear the voice that encouraged a vastly insufficient force to triumph, and witness her remarkable intellectual tenacity and wit.
Thirdly, I would want to go back to late August, 1976 to relive the moment when I fell in love for the first time. To recapture the instant when I KNEW I was loved equally in return to the same depth and degree. That feeling of empowerment--everything was possible and I was omnipotent. Tragedy separated us but I would still want to have that hour even knowing what was to come. Love is like that sometimes--masochistic and irrational.
So, Gentle Reader, where would you go? What and who would you see? You don't have to share but go through the exercise anyway. You might learn something new about yourself or even rediscover a self you didn't know was waiting to be reacquainted.