1659. Christmas is banned in Boston by the pilgrims who believed it was a decadent celebration.
(There’s a solution for the so-called commercialization of the holiday. It would save everyone a lot of money and reduce the incidence of divorce.)
“Yes, for they too are slaves, and harsh enough are their taskmasters; slaves are they to luxury and lechery, intemperance and the wine-cup along with many a fond and ruinous ambition.”
Socrates in The Economist by Xenophon.
Pookie’s continuing adventures in Thailand:
There may have been movement or sounds somewhere in the world but none that penetrated my awareness as I sat there and stared into the blackness that she disappeared into. After what was probably only a minute or two, but seemed hours long to me, Gun Girl (as I renamed her) emerged from the building without the 45. She was smiling and was accompanied by a slab bodied young Thai man. They walked about half way across the parking lot, turned towards one another and weied.
A wei is the Thai version of the western hand shake except it also does duty as a sign of respect. One places one’s palms together like beginning a prayer and bows to the other person.The height of the placement of the hands before the face and the depth of the bow signifying the degree or respect being awarded.
The weis’ completed Gun Girl continued alone across the remainder of the parking lot, opened the driver’s side door, got in and without saying a word, started the engine.
At almost the same moment, the rear doors opened and the back seat boys piled in, each taking the exact same position they were to maintain for the entire trip. I could never determine if this was habit or had some complex significance. I would have assumed, if it had been mere habit Mata Hari who sat in the middle would eventually object.
In absolute silence Gun Girl immediately drove out of the parking lot and back onto the road.
After we had gone a short way and bursting with curiosity, I turned to her and asked, “Is the restaurant owned by your family?”
“Yes, that was my sister’s son. You met him once. He owns the place and works there during the day. At night he works as a policeman.”
“Oh, then that must have been his gun?”
“No, its mine. I just thought it was best that I leave it with him for the time being. Sometimes when you drive through the city the police may stop you and confiscate it or…”
I could not make out what else she was saying as she lowered her voice below that these old ears could discern. At least I now knew that we would be going into or through a city of some sort.
We continued through the forest and the roads got a little better. The subdivisions disappeared and instead were replaced by a few isolated hamlets with Thai style wooden buildings on stilts. In my current state, I could only be reminded of Pan Tae, that village of murder and mayhem that Natalie’s family lived in.
Eventually we came to a main highway heading in the general direction of Bangkok.
“You might as well rest. It is going to take about four hours before we get where we are going.”
“Oh where is that.”
She mentioned the name of a place that I could not understand and added, “I really cannot describe in English where it is located.”
About one hour later we stopped for lunch at a small town adjacent to the highway. Having eaten a large breakfast, I was not hungry and ordered an espresso. And yes, they had a small espresso machine. Unfortunately what they brought me tasted like they used instant coffee in the contraption.
The others ordered the ubiquitous Thai soup. The soup is a broth of some kind in which one requests various separate ingredients added, usually noodles, vegetables and meat, chicken or fish. Sometimes fairly tasteless small meat balls are included. The diner then adds to taste sugar and several options of sauces that are located on the table. The specialty of the house appeared to be a yellowish sauce that looked a lot like marmalade. I did not try it.
When we all had finished, I was expecting to be presented with the bill. To my surprise, Gun Girl paid for the meal. A little further on we stopped to gas up the car. I assumed that this time I would be asked for gas money. But no, Gun Girl paid again.
I was becoming more and more happy.
Again I apologize. Because of the general unavailability of access to the internet during the trip, I could not prepare anything to send.