dual personalities

Month: November, 2012

This and that

Bloggers are fond of featuring gift ideas ‘n such at this time of year. I will desist from compiling a guide of that type, but I do want to point this out:

A literary map of the U.S.A.! (available here) Really, some people are just so clever!

I have yet to blog about any Christmas movies, and last night I had planned to watch (the original, of course) Miracle on 34th Street (1947), starring Maureen O’Hara, John Payne, Edmund Gwen, and little Natalie Wood.

I was inspired after daughters #1 and #2 blogged about this year’s Macy’s parade balloons which they saw up-close and personal this year.

But, lo and behold, the movie was missing from my stash of Christmas movies! Everything else was there on the shelf, but no 1947 Miracle on 34th Street! Really, this is just the worst, isn’t it? When you’re all set to watch something and someone has borrowed it and not returned it! Grrrrr. This put me in a very grumpy mood.

Well, back to the drawing board.

Did you know that there is a Richard Scarry tumblr? Well, there is. It’s called Busy, Busy World, what else?

I have been a Richard Scarry fan for a very long time. I was still getting Richard Scarry books for Christmas well into high school. Yes, indeed, I was. Instant cheer up.

Massacre at Sand Creek

Today is the 148th anniversary of the Sand Creek Massacre in Colorado.

You can read about it here. It is a sad episode in American history, in which our family played a small part. Our great-great grandmother’s brother, John Wesley Prowers, a southern Colorado cattleman credited with bringing the first Hereford breeds into the territory, was 26 at the time, a married man with two daughters, Susan and Mary.

He’s a lot older here, but you get the idea.

His wife, Amache Ochinee, was a full-blooded Cheyenne Indian, the daughter of one of Black Kettle’s sub-chiefs, One Eye. In 1864 Chief One Eye had negotiated a truce between the Cheyenne and Arapaho and the U.S. government. According to the truce the Cheyenne were guaranteed a safe camping area for the winter at their reservation along Sand Creek. But on the morning of November 28 soldiers from the Colorado First Volunteer Calvary rode onto the Prowers ranch and held the Prowers family and seven cow-hands hostage, under house arrest. Early the next morning at the camp along Sand Creek, Colonel John Chivington ordered his regiment to attack the Indians despite the fact that an American flag flew over their camp. The massacre claimed the lives of 150 Cheyenne and Arapaho. Among the dead was Chief One Eye, John Prowers father-in-law. John Prowers was later called by the government to testify at the investigation held at Fort Lyon.

Kit Carson, a close family friend of the Houghs and the Prowers, had this to say about the terrible events:

Jis to think of that dog Chivington and his dirty hounds, up thar at Sand Creek. His men shot down squaws, and blew the brains out of little innocent children. You call sich soldiers Christians, do ye? And Indians savages? What der yer ‘spose our Heavenly Father, who made both them and us, thinks of these things? I tell you what, I don’t like a hostile red skin any more than you do. And when they are hostile, I’ve fought ’em, hard as any man. But I never yet drew a bead on a squaw or papoose, and I despise the man who would.

Old Kit describes it pretty succinctly I’d say.

In an attempt to make reparations to the Indians, the U.S. government gave a 640-acre parcel of land to each of the survivors. Amache, her mother and the Prowers’ two oldest daughters were each given tracts along the Arkansas River, on which, along with other Cheyenne lands, John Prowers ran his cattle. The young Cheyenne dog soldiers who terrorized the countryside following the Massacre, left the Prowers alone.

I am happy to know that my ancestors were the “good guys” and not on the side of that dog, Chivington. Years later, Amache attended a meeting of the Eastern Star in Denver and someone brought Colonel Chivington over to meet her and asked, “Mrs. Prowers, do you know Colonel Chivington?” Ignoring his outstretched hand, she looked him straight in the eye, “Know Colonel Chivington? I should. He murdered my father.”

John and Amache Prowers had nine children. All those who lived to adulthood went to college. John died in 1884 at the age of 46 and a few years later when a new county was created by the Colorado General Assembly, they named it after the great cattleman.

Kick it off, Katie

Since we have been on the subject of hymns lately, I will perk up your Wednesday with this rendition of What a Friend We Have in Jesus by The Purple Hulls. It has been recorded by everyone from Aretha Franklin to Alan Jackson to John Tesh (!), but I like this version.

The Purple Hulls are a band of siblings and that’s one reason their harmony is so great. They also do a nice instrumental version of Be Thou My Vision, which was always a favorite hymn of mine and which we sang in our school chapel (sans banjo).

(A hat tip to the wonderful Hay Quaker blog where I am always discovering new things, such as The Purple Hulls.)

And a special birthday shout out to the boy who turns 26 today!

He has always been a fine young man. This picture reminds us, to paraphrase the great Pete Townshend, that all the best cowboys have Chinese eyes.

A settled rest: Isaac Watts remembered

Yesterday the Episcopal Church remembered Isaac Watts (July 17, 1674 – November 25, 1748), preacher, pastor and a prolific and popular hymn writer, often recognized as the “Father of English Hymnody” and credited with some 750 hymns. It is also worth noting that he was the first hymn-writer to give expression to the Reformation emphasis on a personal appropriation of the faith by using first person pronouns in hymnody.

Watts, unable to go to either Oxford or Cambridge on account of his non-conformity, went to the Dissenting Academy at Stoke Newington in 1690, and much of his life centered around that village, which is now part of Inner London.

London’s only public statue to Isaac Watts is in Abney Park, Stoke Newington.

He is honored with a memorial in Westminster Abbey.

Among his more enduring hymns are Jesus Shall Reign, Joy to the World, Oh God, Our Help in Ages Past, and I Sing the Mighty Power of God. One of my favorites has always been My Shepherd Will Supply My Need especially the last verse:

The sure provisions of my God
Attend me all my days;
O may Thy house be my abode,
And all my work be praise.
There would I find a settled rest,
While others go and come;
No more a stranger, nor a guest,
But like a child at home.

Marilynne Robinson (see yesterday’s post) quotes Watts in Gilead:

Time, like an ever-rolling stream,
Bears all its sons away;
They fly forgotten, as a dream
Dies at the opening day.

“Good old Watts,” she writes. “I’ve thought about that verse often. I have always wondered what relationship this present reality bears to an ultimate reality.”

A thousand ages in Thy sight
Are like an evening gone…

Truly they don’t write hymns like that anymore, do they?

Enjoy! (the choir of the Washington National Cathedral)

God of truth and grace, who didst give Isaac Watts singular gifts to present thy praise in verse, that he might write psalms, hymns and spiritual songs for thy Church: Give us grace joyfully to sing thy praises now and in the life to come; through Jesus Christ our Savior, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Happy birthday, Marilynne Robinson

“…I’ve developed a great reputation for wisdom by ordering more books than I ever had time to read, and reading more books, by far, than I learned anything useful from, except, of course, that some very tedious gentlemen have written books. This is not a new insight, but the truth of it is something you have to experience to fully grasp.

Thank God for them all, of course, and for that strange interval, which was most of my life, when I read out of loneliness, and when bad company was much better than no company. You can love a bad book for its haplessness or pomposity or gall, if you have that starveling appetite for things human, which I devoutly hope you never will have. ‘The full soul loatheth an honeycomb; but to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.’ There are pleasures to be found where you would never look for them. That’s a bit of fatherly wisdom, but it’s also the Lord’s truth, and a thing I know from my own long experience.”

from Gilead by Marilynne Robinson

Have you read any Marilynne Robinson? She is so great! She has written three highly-acclaimed novels plus several books of essays. She has been writer-in-residence or visiting professor at many universities and currently teaches at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and lives in Iowa City. If you are not acquainted with Marilynne, you are in for a treat. She is wonderful.

Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend with lots of good food:


maybe a little Christmas decorating:

The boy puts up the Christmas lights

and even a little estate saling:

Estate-rescued angel choir

And, of course, some Marilynne Robinson!

“I have a story that will make you believe in God” —

except, of course, that you already do.

Run, don’t walk, to see Ang Lee’s “Life of Pi”. I saw it this afternoon and I loved it. It is both breathtakingly beautiful and true to the book.

And it reminds us that a well-told story can capture the meaning of an event where mere facts can only record what happened. In this day and age of “science first” and obsessive “fact-checking” it’s worth remembering that “to choose doubt as a philosophy of life is akin to choosing immobility as a means of transportation.” (p. 28)

Fat baby (black) Friday

What better way to observe Black Friday and usher in the Yuletide season than with a picture of the elder dual personality visiting Santa for the first time with her older brother Chris. Ah yes, the first of many awkward photos to come.

Advent is still over a week away, but even the local R.C. university in our flyover town has “decorated” their campus for the season (yes, before Thanksgiving). Shocking, I know. What is the world coming to? we ask ourselves, yet again.

Well, today I am packing away the Pilgrims and the turkeys and unwrapping my Christmas gear. It won’t all go up this weekend, but slowly over the next few weeks. It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, as they say…

We gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing

Have a wonderful day with family and friends! Here’s hoping you have lots of delicious food, including lovely cheesy potato casserole.

My dogs are barking today

One more day! Travel safely.

You know I can’t cook

Just a few days until it’s time to watch one of our favorites:

I so cannot wait!