Friday, March 23, 2007
To ease the fear that you might die of old age before this story concludes, let me just say "we're getting there." And if you had been paying attention to my calendar for March, you would already know the answer of when this story concludes!
Today's episode is about torture. I will be careful not to delve into the deep details about torture, because I find my mind and feelings are too easily injured whenever I read about violence. It literally sickens me. I will leave graphic description to writer's with a less tender heart.
"During the long journey Hannah was secretly planning to escape at the first opportunity, spurred by the tales with which the Indians had entertained the captives on the march, picturing how they would be treated after arriving in Canada, stripped and made to "run the gauntlet"; jeered at and beaten and made targets for the young Indians' tomahawks; how many of the English prisoners had fainted under these tortures; and how they were often sold as slaves to the French.
These stories added to her desire for revenging the death of her baby and the cruel treatment of their captors while on the march, made this desire stronger."
(from The Duston-Dustin Family: Thomas and Elizabeth (Wheeler) Duston and their descendants.)
Odd how little phases pop up in one's casual conversation.
Have you ever said, referring perhaps to Christmas shopping expedition or greeting people at an event, or facing a critical group of people:
"I had to run the gauntlet?"
The phrase now is almost comic, and college fraternities routinely haze new members via "running the gauntlet" past paddle wielding fraternity "brothers."
It's nice to think we as society have come so far as to be able to hear the term without wincing.
Or getting absolutely ill.
Now days, gauntlet running as faced by Hannah strikes us an unthinkable torture that would indicate a truly sick mind. But because we don't have to confront the true meaning via a real person beaten and hacked to a bloody pulp, we can toss the term lightly into any conversation to convey the idea that we had run into some opposition to whatever we had planned.
"Running the gauntlet" was a very real punishment among Roman soldiers, French and German military groups, and the Native American Indians of the Northeastern region.
It was routinely used on captives and others who came to be in the midst of Indians.
Daniel Boone was forced to run the gauntlet, as were most English people whose stories are told in Captive Narratives. A lot of stories we will never know; gauntlet running generally lead to death, either directly from the blows and gashes, or from the resulting infections that would fester and take a life in a horrible drawn out misery.
In my mind (or as some people have called "my over active imagination") I picture Hannah and Mary sitting around the campfire after a long day's trek through snow and muck, and the Indians turning to them and describing the last "fun" gauntlet run that they had attended.
If my imagination could be true, Hannah probably would have been pleased as punch just to be by the fire, and she would not care what the Indians were saying, because at least she would have been warm and had a shot at the food that was on the fire cooking.
Captives usually didn't get to be near the fire, and definitely not near the food that was cooking there.
More likely she was set aside outside the wigwam, and the Indians would be jeering her with more and more elaborate gruesome details of the gauntlet run that was scheduled to occur in her near future.
Reading the retelling of Hannah's story at various times in history is interesting.
Funny how society and cultural focus shifts.
The original telling in the late 1600's focused on the cruelty of the Indians, the means of striking and hitting, and how people died as a result of this treatment.
By the mid-1800s, the retelling focuses on Hannah recoiling from the idea that she would be stripped naked, and her fretting about her possible loss of modesty.
Oh please. Those Victorians...talk about majoring on the minors!
Excuse me while I laugh; I think that Victorian version is hilarious.
I suppose I should re-write Hannah's story for the early 2000's so she can lament her post partum abdominal sag, and stretch marks, and how she quickly began doing sit ups to tighten her buns and her abs, and rubbed a holistic herbal cream on the stretch marks to make them fade away.
I could write something like;
"Carrying each of her twelve precious babies had created those stretch marks, and while she knew as a woman the marks were "a badge of honor", she worried that Thomas would no longer think that she was pretty. She worried what the Indians would think. Reaching for the cream, she rubbed her stretch marks harder."
(Sorry if you are eating while you are reading this. All together now: "Barf!")
At work on Wednesday my co-worker shoved an article at me and suggested I read it, even though it began in a revolting manner.
She was right, it did begin in a horrifying manner describing how in past centuries people would gather for the opportunity to watch the sporting event known as burning cats alive. My co-worker is also a cat person, so I was shocked that she had offered this gut wrenching writing to me.
"Just keep reading" she said evenly.
The rest of the article (and really I did mean to get the citation) concerned the examination of violence in society through the ages. Using various sociological tools as measurements, the article announced that we have reason to rejoice; the times in which we now live are actually the most non-violent time ever in history.
The article went on to explore three historical philosopher's opinion on how a society becomes less and less violent. I think Payne and Locke were two philosophers whose thinking was suggested as explanation for the decrease.
When I stopped to think about it, it is true. There surely is violence still today, but most of our modern societies shun organized violence. Except for soccer, football, and ice hockey of course.
In Hannah's time, violence was all around her. She had watched her baby and her neighbors die in a manner of violence that seems unspeakable.
Hannah knew about violence. Violence was a reality, and that reality was about to encroach on her own flesh.
She made her plan. The gauntlet was not for her. Somehow, she decided, before they reached Canada, she would make her escape.
Thursday, March 22, 2007
The State Flower of Texas.
I must make my plan.
I must leave this place.
Winter is even more elusive. Cold, frost, freeze, perhaps a blink of a snowflake is placed to mark that season' s fast passage.
The heat, the cold, the hardships.
All is forgiven through the innocent bonnet's blue kiss, sweet blue upon the pupils of my eyes.
When I hit the back key, it took me to the Continental airlines on-line ticketing site.
I noticed the little sticky note that we keep our super secret frequent miles user ID numbers on was knocked on the floor.
That was weird. So I checked our frequent flyer milage account and discovered a lot of our miles were gone.
I woke Bernie up, and asked him if he had booked a flight to New York during the night.
He rubbed his eyes, and grunted "No" at me, clearly disappointed that once again I was clueless about his travel plans.
Then he looked down at the foot of the bed, and asked "Where's Tiggie?"
(Tiggie is ALWAY next to Bernie. We call him our FOC: Faithful Orange Cat.)
I thought maybe Tiggie had just gotten up early and was using the litter box. So I went to check.
Tiggie wasn't in his "office." But there was a note attached to the litter box base.
Tiggie usually doesn't go outside until after Bernie gets up. Why would Tiggie want to go hunt birds early in the morning, at dawn for crying out loud?
He gets Science Diet cat food and even the stinky canned cat food on Sundays, so he doesn't really need to go hunting birds at all.
I put together a cup of coffee, and went to check my favorite blogsites. That's when it hit me.
Oh my lord, Tiggie's heading to Dawn's place.
He's going to kill that bird thing she's giving away.
What can I say?
GO TIGGIE GO!
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
I can't even remember how many times I have wished that I could be one of those people who are content with showing up to work to the same parking slot and doing the same thing day after day after day for twenty or thirty years, and then retire, and go on the same trips and eat the same food, and sleep in the same colored room as I painted it 30 years ago, and be happy talking for thirty minutes at a time about what people did different with their hair and what I am doing with my hair, and what you ate last Sunday at your Mama's and how the macaroni recipe was a little different this time because I used them big macaroni things instead of the little macaroni thing, you know, the one Kenny likes so much?
And how my car used to get 26 and a half miles per gallon, but since I've been buying gas at the supermarket it just doesn't seem to be doing as good, last week we only got 24 and a half miles per gallon, and that just doesn't seem right.
And I could say things like "I'm fixin to go to the store to get me some milk and some of that really good bread, you know, the ones with the little seeds on top? " and that would be normal.
I just described life in Texas.
No wonder I don't fit in. The other 7% of women like me sure as heck don't live here either!
|Your Personality is Somewhat Rare (ISFP)|
Your personality type is caring, peaceful, artistic, and calm.
Only about 7% of all people have your personality, including 8% of all women and 6% of all men
You are Introverted, Sensing, Feeling, and Perceiving.
Bernie can't stand olives!
|You Are Olive Green|
You are the most real of all the green shades. You're always true to yourself.
For you, authenticity and honesty are very important... both in others and yourself.
You are grounded and secure. It takes a lot to shake you.
People see you as dependable, probably the most dependable person they know.
Get me outta here!
|You Are a Natural Flirt|
Believe it or not, you're a really effective flirt.
And you're so good, you hardly notice that you're flirting.
Your attitude and confidence make you a natural flirt.
And the fact that you don't know it is just that more attractive!
HOW do these tests do it?
Your Career Personality: Original, Devoted, and Service Oriented
Your Ideal Careers:
|You Belong in the USA|
People either love you or hate you
And you really don't care what anyone thinks
Big and bold, you do things your way
|Your Hidden Talent|
You are both very knowledgeable and creative.
You tend to be full of new ideas and potential - big potential.
Ideas like yours could change the world, if you build them.
As long as you don't stop working on your dreams, you'll get there.
(I dream of being home, with the cats and azalea and bluebonnets in bloom.)
You Should Go to Grad School
Grad school definitely isn't for everyone, but it looks like it's for you.
You have a pretty good idea of what you want to study - and how it will further your career.
So go ahead and go for it! You're ready to be a PhD.
What the heck....
You're rich, pretty, and living a charmed life. (Or you seriously wish you were.)
From Disneyland to Laguna Beach, you're all about living the California dream life.
Just make sure to marry rich - so you don't have to work for it!
|You Are Most Like Ronald Reagan|
People tend to think you're a god - or that you almost ruined the country.
But even if people do disagree with you, they still fall victim to your charms!
In 1646, the General Court of Massachusetts passed an "Act for the Propagation of the Gospel amongst the Indians". This act and the success of Reverend John Eliot and other missionaries in preaching the Christianity to the New England tribes raised interest in England.
On October 28, 1646, in Nonantum (in Newton), Rev. Eliot gave his first sermon to Native Americans in their own language. This happened in the wigwam of Waban, the first convert of his tribe.
These towns were situated so as to serve as an outlying wall of defense for the colony, but came to an end in 1675 during King Philip's War when residents were first confined to their villages (thus restricted from their farms and unable to feed themselves), and many were confined on Deer Island in Boston Harbor.
According to S. A. Drake, "... at this time if any Indian appeared friendly, all Indians were so declaimed against, that scarcely any one among the English could be found that would allow that an Indian could be faithful or honest in any affair."
(Isn't that a heart breaking statement? -Jill)
Although the colonials did raise a Praying Indian company, composed of 52 Native Americans, on July 2, 1675, and these warriors comported themselves well in the July Mount Hope campaign, a certain segment of the English population distrusted all Native Americans and felt that the Praying Indians would always be more loyal to the hostile tribes than to the English."
(Stupid, stupid stupid....)
"By August 30, 1675, the Governor and Council of the Massachusetts Colony, in response to public demand, disbanded all Praying Indian companies, confined these Christian Indians to the Old Praying Indian towns, and restricted their travel to within one mile of the center of those towns and only then when in the company of an Englishman."
(OH MY GOSH!)
"Most Englishmen were unwilling to reside in these towns because of the prejudice directed toward any Englishman supporting the Praying Indian cause.
Christian Indians were caught between two warring factions: the English and the hostile tribes fighting with King Philip.
(I can't stand it....this is horrible.)
"There they stayed until released in 1677, but the world to which they returned was totally changed. The English had defeated the warring tribes,leaving the Native Americans strangers in their own homeland."
I'm giving you the background on the Praying Indians because as you will soon see, Hannah Dustin is about to come into the hands of one Bampico, a former Praying Indian.
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
As you can tell by the menu, it's not your run of the mill Mexican hole in the wall.
"Though many times they would eat that, that a hog or a dog would hardly touch; yet by that God strengthened them to be a scourge to His people.
The chief and commonest food was ground nuts. They eat also nuts and acorns, artichokes, lilly roots, ground beans, and several other weeds and roots, that I know not.
They would pick up old bones, and cut them to pieces at the joints, and if they were full of worms and maggots, they would scald them over the fire to make the vermin come out, and then boil them, and drink up the liquor, and then beat the great ends of them in a mortar, and so eat them.
Like I said, Mary was quite a gal. After recounting all this revolting food, this is what she had to say next:
Anyway, back to Hannah:
It was challenging to feed the four of us even with those modern conveniences!
I will leave you now to ponder this "manna in the wilderness" scene.
And hope you feel extra blessed by what you have had to eat today in comfort and in peace of your home.
Monday, March 19, 2007
Especially if the day falls on a Saturday.
But I had really not considered our cat's needs in this.
Luckily, good old Uncle Scott came to our furry friend's rescue while we were gone!
You remember Uncle Scott don't you?
The guy who watched our cats while we were gone near Valentine's Day?
The guy who gave the cats a Valentine Day gift basket?
Well, he watched Tiggie and Hart for us again this trip.
Just look what those two ridiculous boy cats got this time:
Ah, it's good for them to have Uncle Scott thinking about all their St. Patrick's Day holiday needs.
(Because I sure as heck didn't.)
The saying goes:
"Every Dog Has It's Day."
(Except for Canadian dogs named Otis, to hear him tell it.)
Around here we have a different saying:
"Every Cat Has It's Holiday. With Appropriate Gift Basket Included."
He didn't seem too shook up by us leaving.
Oh well, better than a long drawn out goodbye. bushy-tailed though.
And blind immediately after my camera flashed in his eyes.
(What is it about boys and goofy faces when you're trying to get a good picture?)
It is always hard to say good bye to family.
Inside the airport it was a madhouse. We had gotten there more than an hour early. It was a good thing too, the line snaked the entire length of the airport.
The terrorist in many ways is still winning every time we have to go through all the security measures at the airport.
SLC airport is pretty drab.
Especially at six in the morning.
Bernie had to stand in line the longest time.
You'd think Salt Lake City Starbucks would have few customers.
You'd be so wrong.
As soon as he brought me a nice vanilla latte, I needed to use the girls room.
As I was washing my hands, I heard our names being paged.
Final call for us to report to gate A5 for our flight.
We had lost track of time in all that waiting in line.
I RAN back to the table, where Bernie was going "Did they just call our names?"
I grabbed my coffee and started to run.
It was Bernie's plain black coffee with four shots of espresso, not mine, as I discovered as I took a quick sip on the escalator.
I put it down and we RAN as hard as we could, carrying bags and a backpack on my back that weighted a ton.
My heart was going crazy...
As we came up on the gate the agent said:
"You're Bernie and Jill? Just get on the plane?"
He didn't even check our tickets. How embarrassing.
Hmmm...I might start listening to last call pages.
Last call for some place fabulous?
"Yeah, we're Bob and Betty, whew, we JUST made it, close the doors, let's go!"
OK, that would be WRONG.
But fun to think about.
I think so!
The white globe is a pearlized glass, that looks kind of like lacy spots.
Doesn't it goes PERFECTLY with the polka dotted bedspread next to it in the guest room!?
Of course it does!
And the best part?
It was free!
It had been sitting in Jeff's garage without a shade.
I thought it came with the house, a left over from the former owners.
Turns out there had been a company party at work, and for some reason, the party was decorated using junk from the local thrift shop.
They spent a total of something like $100 on JUNK, as kind of a joke for some reason.
(I wasn't there...just reporting what Jeff said.)
After the party, they were just going to throw all the junk away.
Anyway, there was this lamp. The shade was all junky and broken, but Jeff figured someone could use a lamp. So it sat in his garage without a shade for a year waiting for "someone" to need it.
I'm not surprised. Most of Jeff's friends are in the 20something age group, and this lamp just doesn't quite fit 20something taste.
But then Jeff had some guys come and stay with him for a long ski weekend.
The guest room only had an overhead lamp.
He figured the guest room should have a nightstand lamp, but didn't want to spend money or take the time to go get one.
After all, there was the lamp in the garage...it would work.
So he screwed in a light bulb, and plugged it in.
(Didn't even bother to dust it off. After a year in the garage, it needed dusting, bad.)
When we arrived, there was the lamp.
Jeff said he figured I would know what kind of lampshade it would need.
I said we should take it to Target (a department store.)
"No, we're not taking it anywhere" he said firmly. "We'll just get a bunch of lampshades and return the ones that don't work."
(I imagine the idea of walking into a store holding this big old lamp didn't appeal to him. Definitely not a guy looking lamp, I have to admit.)
The three of us stopped by Lowe's, a home improvement/hardware story to get a ceiling fan, and there we looked at lampshade.
The ones with the cute beads dangling on the edge were swiftly dismissed.
The scalloped edged ones were dismissed.
We brought home two relatively plain ones.
An oyster/beige one, and a white one with a little bit of a curvy edge.
The white one got an immediate thumbs down.
The beige one, I pointed out, was too short.
Neither lampshade worked.
I went downstairs.
The men looked at each other, unwrapped the lampshade, and pronounced the lampshade to be perfect.
Take another look at what it looked like:
"It is too short" I protested. "It needs to be bigger, the next size up!"
(This current shade, Bernie noted, cost $40. For a free lamp. That meant the lamp was no longer free, and a bigger shade would cost more. And take up too much space. Therefore, this shade is just fine.)
A little more discussion with my non-HGTV watching family members, and they allowed that the lampshade probably should be at the same level as the cherub. (I think they winced at that. Like most manly men, both the word and thought of cherubs make them wince.)
They also pointed out that the lamp works just fine just the way it is.
I relented, provided Jeff goes to Target and buys a new lamp harp there that will be three inches shorter than the one currently on the lamp.
He is to take the old harp with him to Target to be sure he gets the right size.
He agreed to do this.
There was no time frame negotiated for this task.
The other lamp shade (another $40 item) needs to be returned to Lowes.
Now let's do the math:
Need to return lamp shade to Lowes to get money back.
Likelihood of task being completed this week: 100%
Need to go and buy a lamp shade harp to lower a lampshade to the correct level with the cherub on the lamp.
Likelihood of this task being completed anytime before my next visit: Um...what is less than zero?
Awww...lamps with pearlized finishes and cherubs.
Can you say "Middle Age Women Love This"?
And to think we got it for FREE!
Sunday, March 18, 2007
All for now...just wanted to share some of the beauty, and of course, brag on my grandcat.