In 1789 Thomas Jefferson returns to the United States with the first pasta maker in America after serving as the American Ambassador to France. Among his lesser accomplishments were drafting the Declaration of Independence, serving as the third President of the United States and sleeping with his slave Sarah Hemming. What a man!
In keeping with the Jeffersonian theme:
“Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny.”
I do not know when and if this email will get to you since the remote Thai village in the deep south of Thailand where I write this lacks , as far as I know, internet “hot spots” (today is Saturday August 14). I write this sitting where I can usually be found whenever I am residing here, on the front balcony of the house I had built here almost a decade ago. Today,s photograph shows the house as it appears now, taken from across the road. The balcony I mentioned sits prominently in the center of the photograph on the second floor of the house.
I have not visited the house and the village for about four of five years or more. The fruit trees I had planted, Durian, Jackfruit, Papaya, Mango and others are almost full grown now and their foliage obscures the ground from where I am sitting and the large “Sala” I had constructed at the end of the property has disappeared into the gloom of the shadows from the surrounding trees. The tall coconut palms that existed on the property when the house was built appear even taller than I remember and drop into the yard gigantic coconuts whose protective husks lying on the ground appear to be at least a foot to eighteen inches in diameter.
One of the most pleasant sights from my balcony eyrie always has been the butterflies that flutter from flower to flower in the front yard below me. I have not seen yet any of the large blue butterflies whose wingspan reaches almost four inches, but there are plenty of others. My favorite is the large one with deep black wings and yellow dots and stripes on them.
Looking across the road from where I sit, the traditional wooden houses on stilts have been replaced by modern cement walled bungalows. The “Sala” along side of the road in which the local basket maker used to sit constructing his wares by hand is gone. It has been replaced by another small “Sala” where the family across the street displays butchered meat for the vendor’s with their motor bike fitted carts to come by and pick up the day’s inventory for sale. Today’s second photograph shows the “Sala” and a vendor loading up his cart.
Just now a young man walked by driving a few of the humped back cattle along the road to feed on the stubble of the rice paddies surrounding the village.
This morning, while Hayden and about six or seven other children screamed and chased each other around in the yard below me, N scurried around from the Buddha shrine in the house to the Spirit house in the garden laying out the fruit, vegetable incense and candle offerings to the Buddha (He eats better than we do) and saying a brief prayer.
Suddenly with a flourish of parasols, plastic bags of food and flowers for the Buddha, the children and adults all scrambled, onto several motorbikes, two or three to each vehicle and roared off to the Temple for more praying and offering.