By Marie Howe
The rules, once again applied
One loaf = one loaf. One fish = one fish.
The so-called three kings were dead.
And the woman who had been healed grew tired of telling
and sometimes asked her daughter to tell it.
People generally worshiped where their parents had
The men who'd hijacked the airplane prayed where the dead
pilots had been sitting,
and the passengers prayed from their seats
—so many songs went up and out into the thinning air...
People, listening and watching, nodded and wept, and,
leaving the theater,
one turned to the other and said, What do you want to
And the other one said, I don't know. What do you want
It was the Coming of Ordinary Time. First Sunday,
And then (for who knows how long) it was here.
From Poet's Choice by Mary Karr in The Washington Post Book World. "In Marie Howe's new collection, The Kingdom of Ordinary Time, we delve into the connection between regular life and the intensified life inspired by revelation," writes Karr, who once wrote an essay describing her own journey from agnostic alcoholic to fervent Catholic. "'Prologue' starts in the dreary quotidian but then catapults to the least ordinary event in America's recent history: Sept. 11, 2001."
We made one more attempt on Saturday to go on the National Treasure tour at Mount Vernon, since the tours are apparently really truly ending this month, but when we arrived at 10:30, they told us they had sold out an hour earlier. Even so, we had a lovely afternoon there -- the house and grounds are decorated for the holidays as they would have been when the Washingtons lived there, with greenery hanging in the front parlor and a Christmas camel in honor of the one George Washington had brought to the estate for Christmas 1787. There were also decorated trees and a Mount Vernon gingerbread house in the visitor center. And since it's now winter and the upstairs is much cooler, the third floor was open, where there are lovely views of the grounds, a china storage closet, and several bedrooms including the one where Martha Washington slept after George's death.
This 250-pound gingerbread Mount Vernon was made by former White House executive pastry chef Roland Mesnier, who spent 300 hours working on it.
George Washington paid 18 shillings to have a camel at Mount Vernon over the 1787 winter holidays. This is the first time in 221 years that a Christmas camel has visited the estate.
The camel, Aladdin, is a very friendly one-year-old who was eager to have guests pet him and tried to suck their fingers.
In an outdoor tent, costumed cooks made chocolate using a Colonial recipe. (Chocolate was not given to children then based on a belief that it would make them excitable, though they were regularly served alcohol.)
In the visitor center, a dozen trees were decorated with ornaments celebrating different aspects of George Washington's life, such as his library, his family, and his farm.
However, the trees around the mansion were looking very bare compared with their color during our visit a few weeks ago.
No photos were allowed in the decorated mansion, where the dining table was set with Martha Washington's butter-rich cream cake and a "hedgehog cake" for luck, but photos were permitted in the outer buildings such as this kitchen which also featured seasonal produce.
Even the estate's entrance sign had been changed for the winter holidays.
After touring the mansion, we walked down to the river and through part of the farm to see the sheep, cattle, pigs, and chickens, plus the slave cabin and the sixteen-sided barn. We ate lunch in the food court near the gift shops (not to be confused with the excellent inn on the grounds, but still, pretty good sandwiches, cheese and peanuts). Then we came home and started watching the Terps play Boston College, but when things did not go terribly well, we put on National Treasure 2 to get our tour vicariously. Those movies remain very silly but enjoyable -- is there any other fluff film franchise with so many Oscar winners? And then we watched the Oklahoma/Oklahoma State game, in which we rooted for the latter largely out of dislike for the former.
Belated Fannish5: Name the 5 fannish things for which you are most grateful.
1. My husband and I started dating because we were both fans.
2. I met three of my best friends because of fandom, and a fourth and I have always had it in common.
3. I got the best job of my life because of fandom.
4. I started using the internet because of fandom.
5. My one academic publication is on a subject that was of interest to me initially because of fandom.
Belated TheFridayFive: Ear worms are those annoying little songs that get stuck in your head. Sometimes they are the last song you hear on the radio before you go into the office, sometimes they just randomly pop in.
1. What is a common ear worm that you get? "Born in the USA," "Amanda," "Owls" from weebls-stuff.com, and the absolute worst, "El Shaddai" by Amy Grant
2. How long do they last? Way too long OMG sometimes hours
3. What do you do to get rid of them? Listen to disco
4. What is the worst ear worm you've ever had? "Barbara Manatee" from Veggie Tales
5. Do you get some guilty pleasure in passing the ear worm along? Only to my kids because they usually give them to me in the first place.