10 September 2009

Penultimate

Floating to Ellis Island, March 1999


My mom and I have our share of differences.  Por ejemplo: My mom could eat brussel sprouts morning, noon, and night, and the very smell of them makes me want to dry heave.  I fidget almost constantly and clomp around from place to place.  She sits in statue mode and when it's necessary to move she sort of glides.  I worry about certain things I can't control, and worry so much I work myself into a dither.  I don't think she's done things like that since the 80s.  

We do have some similarities, though.  We have the same hands, the same initials, the same hair color, and lift our pinkies off glasses that carry cold liquid.  "Pinkies aren't big enough to hold up against such a temperature," said she.  My boyfriend in high school pointed out to me once that I'd picked up the habit.  We're most happy with a movie at home on Saturday night, laugh at our own jokes, get punchy when it's past bedtime, do funny voices when it's just us girls, and exhibit particularly uptight behavior when threatened or made vulnerable in any way. 

One thing, one very cool thing we have in common, is our love of Penultimate Moments.  OOoooh they are thrilling and sweet.  When she was an English major in college she was given the assignment of reciting one of Shakespeare's sonnets.  She chose his 73rd.  When I had the same assignment in the same major about a quarter of a century later, I unwittingly chose the same sonnet, and for the same reasons she'd had!  Which means when she's dead and gone I'll have to keep this sonnet 30 miles away from me at all times, lest the sentimental value and situation in life cause me to cry myself into oblivion.

Read it:

That time of year thou mayst in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruin'd choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.
In me thou seest the twilight of such day
As after sunset fadeth in the west,
Which by and by black night doth take away,
Death's second self, that seals up all in rest.
In me thou see'st the glowing of such fire
That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,
As the death-bed whereon it must expire
Consumed with that which it was nourish'd by.
This thou perceivest, which makes thy love more strong,
To love that well which thou must leave ere long.


2 comments:

Dave Donaldson said...

Cute post. I think i might have taken that photo.

Margaret said...

Glad to know the pinkie thing runs in the family. I also do that. All the time; while drinking, playing the piano, cooking-you name it and my pinkie is stretched out reaching for better things.
I see you in like a month. Yesssss!