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February 28, 2008


To my readers -- sorry, I know this is really long, but I had to get it down. Thanks for reading this far, the second installment is shorter.

it's wonderful and sad and funny. looking forward to more, and stop worrying about length.

I love the thrusts and parries of a good discussion, especially when the personalities come out in the process. This was as much fun as Tuesday night's debate.

One of your best ever, Beth.

Oh my dear - this is why I come here - to read these beautiful thoughts/words - and love this gentleman from afar through them. Thank you again, and always, for allowing us to be right there with you, in that space of conversation and energy of life, to witness this strength. Namaste.
hugs from PA

Too long? Don't be ridiculous. It's just the right length.

Ah, Beth. I love this old man that I have never met. You've made him real to me.

There's a shadow of the Book of Job, here.

I keep expecting your father-in-law to suddenly cast off his shape and appear as an angel. Or a mara. Or something.



Ah, Beth, never too long. I disappeared into your words and could not tell you how long it took me to read this. And I came back to myself thinking: wow, Beth was willing to share his pain and let there be an awkward silence and try to tell him her truth, instead of rushing in with words, any words to make him, and herself feel better. I imagine you thus gave this clever, demanding person, your father-in-law, the only thing he values - even if he was in too bad a mood to realise it.

Never too long! We are doing elder care now for parents Swedish and Finnish and their stories give me insight into a different time and lives begun before WWII and above the Arctic Circle. I think about the future and wonder how hard it will be when their health fails and hope we will find a way to deal with things. So your stories of your father in law are especially appealing to me.

It occurs to me that maybe the reason human beings exist is to raise the temperature of the planet and bring it on to its next stage, which will have no humans. We're getting more and more connected over the globe like a huge hive, and our buzzing around and activities are warming everything up until it will be too warm for many of us.

You are lucky to have your husband's father in your life. He sounds like a curmudgeon, just like my husband. I cherish the bouncing and rebounding conversations we have because he is so very different from me. I think that is one of the reasons I love him.

I think your father-in-law appreciates having someone talk back to him with thoughtful responses, not just empty phrases. I know I would.

I found your blog through Chris Clarke's link. I'm glad I came.

Thank you for sharing your experiences.

"sorry, I know this is really long"

Are you kidding? When I scrolled down before diving in I thought "Ah, a satisfyingly long father-in-law piece -- good!" As Pica said, this is one of your best, and I hope the "to be collected eventually" means it's going to be a book. It will be one of the best books of whatever year it comes out.

Another beautiful one, Beth. So look forward to this collection. I love these pieces for their deep honesty, and the real love that represents: he is not made rosy or simple, his edges are not concealed or softened. What happens as a result is that both his beauty and the richness of the relationship between the two of you emerges whole and real.

Add me to those thinking the length was perfect. I didn't want to hurry through one line of it - it said as much as it needed to, and not more.

(Sorry I've been so bad about visiting and commenting; I'm in an internet slump of some kind... oh, yeah. It's called too much work.)

Anyway... I find your pieces on your father-in-law to be consistently fine writing - I agree that a collection of them would be a wonderful book.

Fine, elegant writing, Beth. And raw, in the way real life is, at the same time it is piercingly beautiful. This hit home.

Everyone here has already said it for me. I've always loved your stories about your father-in-law and your honest and loving relationship. They'd make a lovely book indeed. Looking forward to more, Beth.

"...we haven’t seen a winter like this for decades."

So much for the junk science of global warming, huh sugar?

Linda is right:

This was wonderful.

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Who was Cassandra?

  • In the Iliad, she is described as the loveliest of the daughters of Priam (King of Troy), and gifted with prophecy. The god Apollo loved her, but she spurned him. As a punishment, he decreed that no one would ever believe her. So when she told her fellow Trojans that the Greeks were hiding inside the wooden horse...well, you know what happened.