Before anything else, I should mention that Sister Tana dialed in with the news that a more professional video of the ceremonies for HH Penor Rinpoche’s mahaparinirvana and the attendant miraculous phenomena has just been posted in four parts on YouTube. There’s some astounding footage of more private devotions. Here’s Part I and you can find your way from there.
After a 12-hour car journey, I have arrived in Vermont for my mother’s birthday today – verboten to say which one, but I can safely report we’re still just in double digits. If you like, you can skim through my previous paeans here and here. My sister Laura’s arriving later and there are rumors of dinner out and cake.
The trip took so long first of all because I stopped by at my friends Chris and Crystal’s wooded home in North East, MD to check in on how Nita and The Mooj were faring at Mongolian Kitty Summer Camp. I’m happy to report that their conditions are marvelous – a spacious split-level home on a tidal inlet near where the North East River empties into the Chesapeake Bay; two adorable bright-blond children who think Mongolian kitties are just the koolest; a grizzled 16-year old salt of a tolerant tomcat to show them the ropes as far as tracking squirrels, skritching oak trunks, and teasing the neighbor’s dawg; and copious amounts of attention, love, and snax from the humans. In short, they’re in heaven.
The seemingly endless traffic afterward between the George Washington Bridge and Bridgeport, CT was made bearable only by the greatest radio station in the universe, WFMU, and its generous servings of American free jazz (Pharaoh Sanders, Marion Brown) and Euro free improvised music (classic FMP recording of Manfred Schoof and his all-star orchestra), all engaged in what the DJ eloquently described as “ecstatic skronk.”
I eventually rolled into Worcester, MA, on a mercy mission to deliver a comfy desk chair and homemade cookies to my nephew George, in between semesters there at Clark. I dug his new digs and met his roommates – apparently it was built into the lease that only those with full facial hair and standing 6’5” or taller were allowed residency. He regaled me over iced coffee with tales of his rockin’ summer internship with the wonderful Seven Hills Foundation (kid has the biggest heart – he’s truly happy when helping others) and later showed me how he was trying to make friends with the snarling, slavering, thankfully fenced-in Chow that lives across the street from him. Needless to say, scant friendliness was in evidence. Just before I left, the dog’s owner emerged from the house.
“That’s quite a dog you’ve got there,” I remarked.
“Who, Cracker?” he replied with a snort and a flat Mass accent. “That dog’s dumb as a pickle.”
Yes, well, that's why some of us have cats. I’m still laughing about that phrase this morning. Gonna steal it in the future at just the right moment.
Big announcement about Mongolia on Monday.