Pearl Harbor's Child
By Linda Brown
I was born a week after Pearl Harbor
into a crib with an air raid siren.
It wailed nightly from the elm outside
until I went rigid as a hypnotist's steel board,
too scared--even in my mother's arms--to cry.
We moved cross-country when I was two
so my father could build the air strip
at Whidbey Island. There I was jumped on
by Zombie Doggy, a big red Irish setter
who loved me so much he knocked me down.
When they practiced firing on the artillery range,
Mother had to drive me to the other side of the island
because I screamed & cried and cried.
There are two things infants are afraid of:
falling and loud noises. This was my baptism
into touch and sound--being knocked flat
on my back by a dog licking my face,
the rage of artillery shells and sirens.
So much fear. What to do for it
but become a poet? Still afraid
of being knocked on my ass by love,
still living in a world at war.
Winter has finally arrived -- Tuesday was even colder than Monday and all I wanted to do was hibernate. Instead in the morning I folded laundry and watched Slumdog Millionaire, which I'd stalled on seeing because people had warned me that it was shocking violent in parts, particularly against women. I thought it was excellent -- superbly acted, brilliantly scripted -- but it was hard to watch, and I didn't really buy the happy ending as more than momentary. It was kind of chilly for a walk and apparently the deer agreed, but I got some air before taking Adam to tennis, at which I dropped him off before running to the mall to visit Old Navy's sale ($5 fleece blanket for the cats, $2.50 fuzzy socks for me). I feel terrible for Elizabeth Edwards and her children; I don't feel anything but disgust when I think about her husband.
I adored Sue on "When the Grinch Stole Glee" but I really didn't like much else about the episode -- why do they bother to have two token Jewish kids in glee club if they're not even going to throw in a token Chanukah song at a public school that obviously allows Christmas imagery everywhere? Oh that's right, because "diversity" on this show means having the black and Asian girls sing in the background while Rachel -- who's apparently a Jew for Jesus, or at least for Santa -- gets all the solos. But if they can do that stupid "Most Wonderful Day of the Year" song and other fluff instead of some of the really beautiful religious songs ("O Come All Ye Faithful," "Hark the Herald Angels," What Child Is This," "Silent Night" -- there's plenty of Christmas music I can appreciate musically without being Christian), they could have done "I Have a Little Dreidel" if not "Ma'oz Tzur."
Thank goodness for Warehouse 13, which did a completely delightful holiday episode (and which is coming back for a third season, yay)! Between Pete's playing at being Captain Kirk and Cookie Monster, a take on A Christmas Carol that actually has a modicum of originality, Artie's crotchety Jewish dad played by Judd Hirsch, and Claudia beginning grace at Christmas dinner with "Baruch atah Adonai...," I felt much more of the holiday spirit and much less of the commercial nonsense which tries to tell us that we don't really need packages, boxes, or bags even as we're being told to buy the soundtrack. Here are some of Longwood Gardens' indoor holiday displays, which are also light on Chanukah or Kwanzaa decorations but have plenty that reflect the pagan roots incorporated into American Christmastime: