[Kindly note that this entry is not about literal flower gardening.]
On Friday, the 18th day of May, I was pedaling around 20th East, below Keller Lane and up, and I came to old Craig Kaelin’s house. By chance, I found Craig himself doing yardwork outside. We had a very nice talk, during which I heard a little about his travels to Thailand and where-have-you. He told me his brother was the voice coach of that Archuletta kid. I encouraged him to write an autobiography, but he didn’t seem to share that idea yet.
Craig Kaelin was my piano teacher for a brief period of time, I believe in 2000, after I’d suddenly gotten re-interested in piano after a lapsed childhood. My mom subsidised my weekly lessons; it was only over a month or two, I think. Maybe I studied with him in 1999, when I’d been planning to join the, uh… army reserves of this country.
My relations and ancestors had been soldiers, and I, too, had gotten the urge. A recruiter shepherded me in, some Hispanic sister, helping me meet the weight requirement. I ASVABed into a “medic” classification, which was fine with me. My parents got in the way. Kelly, a rather different kind of patriot, questioned me hardly about it till I finally had to simply insist on my decision, after which he relented. Then my mom actually prayed me out of it… On the day of departure (headed to Fort Benning, GA), I woke up physically and psychically ill, and knew that particular career path was already over.
Of course, my dopey roommate (who’d already done basic training the year before) had gone out and gotten drunk with friends, some of whom he’d briefly brought back to our hotel room the night before, where we recruits had been put up that night. I ignored them till they left, but I knew it was a vision of things to come. The next morning, we shuttled in to the recruiting place… My condition had sufficiently deteriorated that, after vomitting, I called my mom, who came and retracted her parental consent (I was still 17).
Some time before that, at the same centre, I’d already sworn an oath regarding the U.S. Constitution, preferring the wording “so help me God” to the provided alternative, “so help me”. It has had some influence on my politics, since, like my father, I never found it difficult to perceive the villainy and perfidy of this great republic. For me, it was the 19th century that had most stained and scarred this country’s soul. I’m not one who thinks horrible governmental crimes simply evaporate with the passage of time and the indoctrination of generations.
But I made that pledge, anyway, and have come to confess the godliness within this nation, in spite of its devilry. At this point, I’m loyal to both its authorities and its principles. From principle I never strayed, only turning from America’s own forsaking of her principles.
So, I missed those infamous deployments. I’d joined a different army and was preaching in Hong Kong when those planes first crashed. I never felt it at all, nor the anti-Muslim wildfire that succeeded it, burning on still in some sections of the country.
I had a certain Foster cousin, Ben Jones, who went further than I did and joined the marines or army or something. He’ll be getting married in about two more days. He happens to have an ex-wife running around somewhere… up in Logan, actually. I have no idea what happened with them, but she has already re-married.
I know this because… last Sunday, I met her elder sister, Allison Shields. The girl was named April. She was a cutish young lady. All I remember is that she wore black around her eyes, which I’ve never taken as a symbol of sterling character. But youth is what it is. Curiously, Ben’s new wife, according to Facebook, also has some trappings of certain perspectives I wouldn’t favour… but I guess that’s why he’s marrying her instead of I. All the best to them.
Now, Allison, the sister, I have favoured. Allison I met in first grade, even before beautiful Claire…
I’ve been thinking of how strange it feels to retain affection for somebody across such a great temporal distance. I have to reach back 10 to 20 years… It could be that I’m grasping at my own youth and memory, knowing that this next trip won’t simply be another summer in Asia to come home from later.
I have the idea that she used to work at a bank down on Murray-Holladay Road. And before that, one day, my cousin Ryan reported visiting the Rosander dental office very near here and having seen Claire (as I remember, in his employ). I never found out why he had suddenly brought her up…
My mom also randomly mentioned one day that she had seen one of the Calverts; it must have been Claire, or her dad. Nothing provoked the comment, or resulted from it… but I suspected that she had discovered my journals, wherein I had pined over the girl.
I wrote her a verse once… but never had a good opportunity to deliver it…
I seem to remember her family going to some stake excursion to Lagoon, our local amusement park. Were they there? The 15th ward was there. It’s not very clear… but I have a sad feeling about it, as if I’d seen her but couldn’t talk or do anything about it. Maybe they weren’t even there…
And I wonder, then, if I also saw her at that Upland Terrace fair. There was a fair there, at least once. These ones are hazy to me…
Mostly, I just have a tremendous curiosity now about where she is in the world, and in her life; how her family is doing. I walk around not knowing if I will see her anywhere by chance, and it’s a little disquieting.
I’ve wondered how I was able to forget this attachment for so long. However it was, surely enough, she had totally passed from my mind, leaving me to scramble around liking one person after the next, like some bee in a garden, his hive forgotten. I think, in part, I had been helped by a bishop… Randy Romrell… who told me (back before she belonged to anybody) that I should set it aside for the mission, and if I came back and she was still around, I should see what might happen.
In a way, I felt… betrayed, that she married before I was even released. I’d never gotten a chance to approach her as an equal. I’d never been able to, until it was too late. Anyway, after that (and even the mission time before that), she somehow faded from my thoughts…
Yesterday, coming from the library, I saw a stray dog running up 23rd, north-bound. I followed him till 33rd but he lost me. Today I saw a ‘missing’ sign by the library for a similar-coloured dog but with a somewhat different snout from the one I’d seen. I again went to 33rd and up, keeping an eye out for him, but saw nothing. I used the detour as an excuse to come down through the S-curve and 27th, to pass by the old Calvert abode… It felt like I was walking home from school again, like when I was little. I forced myself to look over at the place. It seemed like a ghost house, dark and shuttered up, but with a car parked there. “Weird,” I thought.
The emotional pull is still sharp enough, but it’s not a controlling… hope… like it once was. I wouldn’t say there’s any ‘hope’ at all, now. Sometimes life surprises people, it’s true; but even if the unfortunate ever struck, I can’t see any reason that we two would ever connect later, or that we’d even get along. Perfect as she always was, I’m much, much pickier now than ever before, and worse by the year.
It’s really just a shadow of an extremely powerful but long-expired feeling that has now returned to bother me… or keep me company…
It’s an odd feeling. I’m trying to enjoy it, though, while it lasts. I don’t want to turn cold.
So, yes… it brought me to the 9th ward again, twice now. Actually, for some time I’ve been preferring sleep over our ward that seems to start at about 3:15 a.m.. And I think my records are still over in the singles’ ward. But now I’ve discovered the 9th ward anew, and it’s at a perfect time for me…
So, I met Allison there, unexpectedly.
Allison was one of the three smart first-graders in Mrs. McDowell’s class. There was me, uh… Laura Chamberlain… Allison… and Jesse Something (there was a fourth fairly smart kid too). These aren’t necessarily in order, either. I also think Rachel Cummings might have been in that class, and possibly even Lauren Buckman (?), who turned out smartish. What could we do so well at that age? Nothing. Make art, spell words right, and add numbers, I guess.
Allison took after her absolutely beautiful mother, with her tall and queenly face. I always had a sort of sympathy for her… She was never too good to talk to people.
It turns out she has recently bought a house down by the new library, by Evergreen Junior High School. But still single, anyway. And she chased Spanish throughout her later academics. Now she’s unsure of whether to go to her new home ward, a singles’ ward over there, or a Spanish ward. She told me that her little brother (who shares my name) is also married now.
In a way, I’m flabbergasted that she’s not married, this girl. I’d like to hear her story…
I talked until she had to leave to catch her mother’s church lesson. I felt special for the opportunity, but now, I doubt I will ever see her again. She has some job and house, anyway, while I’m on my way out, with scrip and purse basically depleted.
Later on, after church, I happened to go past Vivian Smith, who was walking her tiny sister, Lydia, to the southwest exit. Like a true gentleman, I graciously greeted her: “Hi, uh, Monica.” “Vivian,” she said with her killingly pleasant smile, bringing her old ‘Mollies’ band videos flashing back through my mind. I’d blown it… Afterward, I tried asking her dad, Marshall, to apologise to her for me, but he was dismissive, reassuring me that he does that all the time.
Vivan is slightly older than I am, so, ever since such things still mattered, I’ve been afraid of her. I always thought I would have to like her younger sister, Monica, who married a good while ago. I went to their house; I don’t remember how, but I’d gotten to be friends with their mom, who had been close to my aunts and uncles when they had lived here. She got sick, and I stopped visiting so as not to intrude. I felt awful when she passed away…
But, yes… Vivian was always several social classes above me, in my mind… not unlike beautiful old Claire. So, as with my peer, Allison, I’m left a-stutter to explain how she would still not be dragging some husband with her to church.
A member of the ninth ward, I may possibly see her again. But, as usual, I’m not planning to be aggressive or to do anything about it. It would be very nice to be friends, but…
…Well, it’s just much nicer as a day-dream. Since Claire, and by the necessity of her disinterest, I have only ever really day-dreamed about these things that required any more initiative than a casually interested glance.
Something will come up, I’m sure. Fall right onto my lap, like old Erica Sit knocking on my door. I’ve talked a little to her again, on Yahoo. We floated the idea of meeting again, but… who really has the time or energy…?
With any luck, it will be Myeong-Seon. Her heart and spirit and personality are nearly perfect for me. She has no social pretensions. She’s the humblest girl I’ve met. Added to that, she’s one of… hm… maybe… five or six girls that has ever liked or even feigned liking me.
Heidi did, I’m sure. Alex pretended to. Tugsuu did for a while, I like to think. Eunhee tried to for a short time… And, uh… what’s her name… Sheena McGowan pretended to. And then, uh… Christina Vigil once flirted with the idea, when we were kids. And I expect Pearl, Jang1 Cheun1 Lyun4, had a bit of interest. And that one girl also faked interest before going cold… Esther. And perhaps Okhee did, momentarily. And those other Hong Kong sisters tried to flatter me for the shortest interlude. And Hedy, as far as that went. And several others have been polite, at least. Oh, yeah… and Bomie once acted that role so convincingly.
But, excepting Heidi (now married), none of them compare with Myeong-Seon for bluntness and directness.
Maybe I’ve alienated her already, or finally given her eyes to see me fairly, without that loneliness-induced delusion of before… that instantaneous acceptance, and recalibration of her romantic ideals… It was shocking to see, really…
I’ve prayed that I could be able to love her fully… We would be good for each other…
But as yet, I’m still blind to her…
Anyway, I’ll go there and meet nobody new, except for the recently reformed Kim Hyunjoo, who’s started talking more. Her mom apparently has favoured me, and parental opinion has a lot of sway with these Koreans. But anyway, we’ll meet, and I’ll see up close how worldly the poor, pretty little dear is, and how she’s not really interested anyway, but still just wants me as an English advisor.
Then, I’ll probably default to my dear sister, Myeong-Seon. Maybe by then I’ll have matured enough to sufficiently value her for her goodness… like my mom does.
Sorry, future Claire. When you’re finally single again at 70, with another 20 left in you… you know… believe me, I would have wanted to be there. We could have finally gotten to know each other…
It seems there’s softball on Thursday. Jeremy Clegg and I worked out a plan to cover our (9th) ward’s umpire shift, but Rob Truax, the scheduler, didn’t return my call… I may just have to show up.
What else. Work is going well. I type insurance interviews for about an hour a day during this training. It’s pretty entertaining.
Ah, I had another religious discussion with Dennis Thompson, a rabid ‘Christian’ on Facebook who strangely also ended up as a stalwart Mitt supporter. We considered the Trinity…
Today, I read the same thing in Alma 11. Zeezrom kind of snagged Amulek for saying there was one God, but actually two Gods. Amulek crisply repeated the Trinity: “One God, three Persons!”
Why is it so hard to say “three Gods”? Why the scriptural anathema? It’s not just from idols… Is God so afraid of idols that he defines himself against them?
Only, I suppose, because ‘God’ isn’t understood or used right, all these years. The term is no more than ‘presidency’ or ‘administration’. It’s clearly no name, and not a personal identifier; neither exactly an ‘essence’; it’s an office, a capacity, an authority, a mantle of power. So, it can rightly be said that there has only ever been one ‘God’, despite that even in our tiny iteration of eternity we know three ‘Gods’; that is, three Persons of various seniority, three divine office-holders presently constituting ‘the Godhead’ or ‘God’.
Heaven’s ancestors? Nevertheless, never any but one unchanging Executive Office, however many Persons have filled it; and an uninterrupted Government…
Ah, fell alseep…