My mother called this morning while we were on the way to church and said Keith and she would be visiting on the weekend of the 19th of this month. I took that Thursday and Friday off to make a four-day weekend. My brother is also planning to visit since he is off from work at the same time, through Thanksgiving. I’m not sure my sister will be able to come with her family, though, since she is pregnant and will be due to deliver somewhere around that time.
My brother and sister both live in New Bern, NC, with their families. It’s roughly two and half hours north of where we live. My mother moved to the New Bern area many years ago with her second husband, a man named John Arliss. Mr Arliss was a boat-builder and had built the very craft he lived on; my mother lived with him on the boat. Mr Arliss was an ignorant, independent man — the kind of man who should never get married, or maybe just the kind of man all men are when they are young (which he wasn’t). Some people never really grow up. Anyway he was abusive to my mother and little brother.
After their divorce, my mother moved to Elmira, NY, where my aunt lives. We all visited my mother once in Elmira. I don’t remember much about the experience except that we visited Mark Twain’s grave and Niagara Falls while we were there. (Niagara was a bad idea. I think it was January. Ice particles froze to our faces instantly from the mist in the air.)
From Elmira, my mother moved back to NC — this time to Kernersville where her present husband Keith lived. They attended a bible school in Jacksonville, FL, for a couple of years but just recently moved back to Kernersville. So for the first time since the early 90s my close family members all live within the borders of the same state. And still we rarely see each other.
After church today I made a short video and posted it to YouTube. I felt like taking a nap, but the clocks fell back an hour last night and I want to get my body adjusted to the new schedule so I forced myself to stay up. I read some in the Word and the Confessions of St Augustine. I declared I wanted to go for a walk on the beach around 5 or so, and everyone ended up going. It was low tide and near sunset and really gorgeous. I walked up to my knees in the water. It was cold but not intolerable, and it was so clear I could see every little hermit crab and fish. We came home and Jess cooked dinner and now I am feeling tired.
Augustine, in his Confessions perhaps first discovering his doctrine of Original Sin:
There was a pear tree in the orchard next to ours, laden with pears, but not ones especially appealing either to the eye or the tongue. At dead of night, after messing around on some empty plots in our usual insalubrious manner, a group of us young delinquents set out, our plan being to shake the tree and make off with the pears. We carried off a vast haul of them – but not in order to feast on them ourselves; instead, we meant to throw them to the pigs. And though we did eat some of them, we did so only for the pleasure we had in tasting forbidden fruit. Such was my heart, O God; such was my heart, on which you showed your pity in the depths of the abyss. Let my heart now tell you what its purpose was; why I was gratuitously evil, and why there was no reason for my evil save evil itself. My evil was loathsome, and I loved it; I was in love with my own ruin and rebellion. I did not love what I hoped to gain by rebellion; it was rebellion itself that I loved. Depraved in soul, I had leapt away from my firm foothold in you and cast myself to my destruction, seeking to gain nothing through my disgrace by disgrace alone.