A Brief Interlude

I’m leaving this afternoon to visit family for a couple of days. It’s my first trip away from home since Dymphna died — in fact, I haven’t even eaten in a restaurant since then. So we’ll see how it goes.

There won’t be any news feed until after I get back. However, a couple of my colleagues have agreed to check in from time to time and moderate comments, and may possibly even put up some posts. So the blog won’t be completely idle.

See you later, alligator.

A Report to the Shareholders

That’s what I whimsically call donors to Gates of Vienna: shareholders.

They don’t get any financial return on their contributions, but I hope they acquire useful information and insights from all the things I post here.

I strive to provide material that is mostly not available elsewhere. There’s no point in posting essays on Jeffrey Epstein or the presidential candidates for the Democrat primaries — other sites have that stuff pretty well covered. Vlad and I like to dig into the nooks and crannies of international news and post as many translated videos and articles as we can.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

Well, I made it through the first fundraiser without Dymphna. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to do it, and I still have quite a few thank-you notes to write, but I’m far enough along now that I can tell it’s doable.

This report is somewhat late this quarter, partially because of having to work by myself, and partially because I didn’t retrieve the snail-mail items until Thursday. Here’s the final roster of places where donations came from:

Stateside: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming

Far Abroad: Brazil, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Kuwait, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden, Thailand, and the UK

Canada: Alberta, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Ontario, and Saskatchewan

Australia: Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, Queensland, and Victoria

I’ll be back to dun you again about the time the leaves start falling (in the Northern Hemisphere, anyway).

Internet Woes

I originally put up this post to supplement the “sticky” fundraiser post after I started having severe Internet problems, and couldn’t update any posts. My Internet connection seems to have returned to normal, more or less, without my even having to call the phone company yet again. Someone at the head office must have reattached the string to the tin can.

Since this post was also sticky, I used it to include some new material, once I could do updates again. Update: Also, Sunday night’s news feed has been posted; look below the fundraiser post.

I worked on six videos today with Vlad, but now something has gone wrong with DTube — there’s always something — and none of the videos will play. Two of those videos were about Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, so while we’re waiting for DTube to fix itself, I’ll present an overview of what’s happening in Italy.

Mr. Salvini is pushing for a snap election. He’s been getting a lot of resistance from his coalition partner, the 5-Star Movement, which is making governing that much more difficult. Yet the Lega — Mr. Salvini’s party — is much more popular than M5S, and Mr. Salvini is the most popular politician that Italy has had in decades. He has by far eclipsed Luigi di Maio, the leader of M5S who serves as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economic Development.

Matteo Salvini has evidently decided that his wave is currently cresting, and now would be the best time to put his case to the voters. If the latest polls are accurate, after the election he will most likely be able to form a government without recourse to the 5-Star movement, perhaps in coalition with Forza Italia (the party of the former prime minister and notorious satyriast Silvio Berlusconi) and Fratelli d’Italia (the party of Giorgia Meloni), and possibly other right-wing parties I’m not as familiar with.

Mr. Salvini is candid, refreshing, and entertaining, and I look forward to his tenure as prime minister. Since assuming the office of interior minister, he has done something very unusual for a politician: he has kept his campaign promises. Even hobbled by the ball and chain of M5S, he has done what he told the voters he would do, to the best of his ability.

Below is a selection of Italian news stories from the past week (hat tips to Reader from Chicago).

From Breitbart:

Salvini Victory: NGO Ship Gives Up on Landing Migrants in Italy, Heads to Malta

The German-based NGO Sea-Eye have announced they will not be challenging the closed port policy of Lega leader Matteo Salvini, opting instead to head for Malta to drop off migrants.

The Sea-Eye vessel Alan Kurdi announced on Friday that they would be changing course from the Italian island of Lampedusa and heading instead to the Maltese port capital of Valletta, Il Giornale reports.

From Voice of Europe:

Italy Vows to Expel Nigerian Migrant Who Sent a Woman to the Hospital After Attacking Her on a Tram

Italy’s national populist interior minister Matteo Salvini has vowed to expel a Nigerian migrant who on Friday sent a passenger riding a Florence tram to the hospital after attacking her.

The attacker, a 22-year-old Nigerian illegal migrant, has already been deported twice, once in 2017 and once in 2018. She punched a 36-year-old woman who sat in front of her, minding her own business, on the tram.

Following the unprovoked assault, passengers on the tram were forced to restrain the aggressive migrant woman until police could arrive to arrest and take her to jail.

From The Express:

Continue reading

A Return to Normalcy

This post was a “sticky” feature, first posted last Monday, and was on top throughout fundraising week. Scroll down for more recent items, including the killing of Osama bin Laden’s son Hamza, a Swedish municipal bus used as a mosque, an essay on Björn Höcke and the AfD, Onan driving a Swedish bus, two reports on the sword murder in Stuttgart, the latest on Matteo Salvini, and last night’s news feed.

Summer Fundraiser 2019, Day Six

Saturday’s update

OK, folks we’ve arrived at the weekend. The Summer fundraiser is almost over, and normal programming will soon resume.

Tip jarThe theme of this week’s bleg is the return to normalcy, that is, to routine. During any given fundraising week, donations from Texas, California, Michigan, Illinois, and Australia are routine. But three of yesterday’s locations definitely are not part of the routine: Israel, New Zealand, and Newfoundland. We get a few donors here and there from the first two — just a few — but as far as I know, we only get one from up there by the Grand Banks.

So here’s to the outliers! Thank you for making the donation statistics that much more variegated and entertaining.

For those of you who are just joining us: this is how I keep this blog alive. When Dymphna was still with us, she would share posting chores with me, regaling potential donors on alternate mornings with her wit and whimsy to persuade them to hit the tip cup on the sidebar (or this link) and contribute to the upkeep of the site — and to keep its proprietors from going hungry for another quarter.

Now there’s just one proprietor, but I still need your help to stay out of the bread line.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

Gates of Vienna has its own weekly rhythm, its own pattern of routine. Or, rather, it used to.

In the early years of this website I was working in Richmond. I would drive down there during the week and come home on weekends. During those few days I spent at home I had the luxury of writing posts and participating in the blog to an extent that I couldn’t match during the week.

Back in those days, I designated Saturday as either Ranting Day or Poetry Day, depending on my mood. If it was time to rant, I could include a graphic of the Ranting Man, as seen here on the left. I love the Ranting Man, and I reserve him for special occasions, not wanting to squander him gratuitously (as I have just now done).

But this Saturday is Poetry Day. And, in honor of the first fundraiser without Dymphna, I’ll feature one of her poems.

Dymphna was an accomplished poet. She only had a few published, in local newspapers and college magazines, but she left behind a rich legacy of unpublished work.

The poem below tells a true story. She wrote it almost a quarter-century ago, shortly after the events it describes. We had somehow acquired a rooster, as a favor to a friend. His harem of hens had been attritted to nothing, and we agreed to give the sorrowful fellow a home. For a while.

He turned out to be an annoyingly violent #$&#!?%! as a guest. Those spurs on his legs were vicious — one time he cut a long slash in my pants leg. So we only kept him for a while; we passed him on to an elderly country woman who had lengthy experience with roosters, and knew how to keep them in line.

I’ll let Dymphna tell the rest of the story:

Rooster Lessons

by Dymphna

He was quintessential pride:
Quick, iridescent and verbose.
His auburn head cocked to look
At me, his comb trembling,
The rumble of his song,
The macho tilt of his tail feathers—
I was enchanted.

Never trust a rooster
Who’s been deposed.
He has problems with attachment,
And the angry edginess
Gives way to bilious melancholy,
As befits a man bereft
Of his women and position.
There is no cure.

How much his chicken brain
Retained of his former life
Is hard to say.
To be unchosen is lonely enough;
To be deposed is a worse fate:
The shame of losing face, place,
With no one to crow for…
An autarch cannot live so.

Our rooster didn’t even try.
He crowed despairingly at odd hours.
He left the cat alone,
But the rest of us were targets
For his rage and loneliness.
Going outside, however stealthily,
Brought him running sideways,
Wings spread, spurs ready.
He gouged a neighbor’s dog.

Held hostage by a rooster.
We eyed each other:
Him on the porch,
Me behind the storm door.
He in rage,
Me in speculation.
How to douse this feathered fire?

Ah, modern medicine:
I waited for him to wander off
And mixed a batch of wheat germ —
His favorite grain —
With a healthy dose of Klonopin
And quickly spread it on the porch floor

Dumb bird ate it all,
Brown and pink fragments
Disappearing down his greedy beak.
Becalmed, he let himself be led
To start another life,
Penned in with guinea fowl.
I hope he finds some solace there.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

Friday’s gifts came in from:

Stateside: Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Nebraska, and New Hampshire

Far Abroad: Israel, New Zealand, and the UK

Canada: Newfoundland

Australia: New South Wales

Friday’s update

The action in the tip cup (or at this link) really livened up yesterday after Western Rifle Shooters posted a link to this week’s bleg.

Tip jarA WRSA link often causes a sudden, distinct surge of donations. I can sometimes deduce what’s happening even before I see the post over there — I can tell by the fact that most of the new gifts come in from Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, Texas, North Dakota, and other locations out there on the Wild Frontier.

So thank you, WRSA. And a special thank-you to WRSA readers who came over here.

The issue of the right to keep and bear arms is looming large in American culture and politics right now, due to the recent mass shootings. Such events always induce a mad rush towards gun control, even among Republicans. When that happens, devotees of the Second Amendment hurry out to buy more guns and ammo before the next anti-gun law is passed.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

The theme of this week’s fundraiser is the return to normalcy. I’ve talked about personal normalcy — that is, my finding a new routine in the midst of grieving — and I’ve talked about the lunacy that passes as the new “normal” in 21st-century politics.

This morning I’ll cover normalcy as it applies to Gates of Vienna. Long-time readers have already heard about the routine workflow at this website, so they can skip this overview if they wish. But newcomers may be interested.

Besides the news feed, there are three principal functions that I strive to perform here: (1) Posting original articles and essays on Counterjihad matters and other topics of interest; (2) Posting translated articles and essays that might otherwise not be available in English; and (3) Creating translated and subtitled videos.

Continue reading

The Lack of Repose

As of very early this morning, it has been one month since my wife died.

These have been by far the hardest thirty days of my life, much worse than the time after the death of my father (which was very hard). I don’t know what the experience of divorce is like, since I’ve only been married once. Maybe it’s as bad as this. And I don’t know what it’s like to lose a spouse about whom one had been ambivalent — I had never been ambivalent about Dymphna. All I know is the depth of how much I miss her.

My goal is to keep this site running in more or less its accustomed form. To some extent the American side of the news will be lacking — Dymphna and I divided our functions more than a decade ago: I specialized in European affairs, and she specialized in the USA. I’ll be looking at American issues in attempt to make up for the lack of my better half, but I won’t be able to watch the number of videos she watched. For the last few years of her life she absorbed her information mostly through videos, since she could watch those on her little tablet while sitting up in bed.

[To see a chilling video that Dymphna would almost certainly have posted if she were around, check out this excerpt from Tucker Carlson’s program (hat tip JLH), which features an interview with Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL).]

The main problem for me right now is that I don’t really want to do anything. I feel an obligation to keep Gates of Vienna going, obviously, and I know that going to work every day — which is effectively what this is — will eventually enable me to pass through the worst of my grief. The landscape around me looks bleak and uninviting, but I expect that to change gradually as I maintain my routine over the next few months.

Writing about my misery from time to time will probably also be helpful. Putting these things down in words makes me think about them carefully, and thus gain a better understanding of what’s happening.

In a different context Wallace Stevens wrote (in “The Lack of Repose”):

And not yet to have written a book in which
One is already a grandfather and to have put there
A few sounds of meaning, a momentary end
To the complication, is good, is a good.

There’ll be no book from all of this, just a series of occasional jottings.

They say you can get used to anything. Over the past six years I’ve gotten used to the occasional injections that I have to receive in my left eye to prevent a recurrence of wet macular degeneration. It’s a horrible experience, but I got used to it.

I had one of those injections this afternoon, the first one since Dymphna died. That’s why I’m not doing much this evening.

But I don’t know if I can get used to the absence of my wife. I’ll just have to wait and see.

A Set of Wheels

Well, I got a new set of wheels. New to me, that is — this car is almost old enough to vote (the one that died yesterday was already old enough to vote, but not quite old enough to drink).

It’s not as much of a luxury boat as the old one was. I can’t steer it with one finger — it requires at least two. But ’tis enough, ’twill serve.

It had been eleven years since we last bought a car. The prices have evidently increased faster than the general rate of inflation. But at least I’m mobile again, and life here at Schloss Bodissey can return to normal. Or whatever passes for normal these days…

Every Time That Wheel Turn Round…

…Bound to cover just a little more ground.

As you all know, my life has been rather stressful for the past few weeks. This afternoon it got even more aggravating: the transmission on my car gave out.

I was on the way home from town, and was going up the last little hill on the county road when the engine started roaring and the RPM needle jumped up to between 3,000 and 4,000. Somehow it managed to find the gear and get back into it, and I was able to drive all the way to the driveway. I stopped to get the mail, and when I put the car in gear afterwards it just baaaarely made it. I drove the last half mile in first gear, but I made it home.

I went out a little later and warmed it up again to check the transmission fluid, just to make sure it hadn’t all suddenly leaked out. Nope. It still had transmission fluid.

Just for the heck of it I put it into gear to see if it would move at all. Drive, 2, 1, reverse — nothing. No engagement at all. It’s going to stay there until a tow truck comes to get it.

The car is almost twenty years old and has well over 200,000 miles on it. I did a rough actuarial calculation, and decided it’s not worth putting a new transmission in it. Time to get a new (old) car.

I called around and lined up a possible replacement that I might be able to afford. A friend is coming by tomorrow afternoon to take me down to look at it. Depending on how things go, I might be caught up in car-related hassles (as well as all the death-related hassles) for the next couple of days. Or it may get resolved fairly quickly; who can tell? So posting may be light, or not-so-light.

The car was Dymphna’s. She found it on Craig’s List more than eleven years ago. She said she wanted a big boat that she could steer with one finger, and that’s what she got. It made her very happy.

I liked it better than my car, even though it didn’t get good gas mileage, so when Dymphna became unable to drive, I gave my car away and we made do with just the one. It lasted eight years longer, which is not bad at all. All those trips to the doctor were much less grueling for her because of that car.

I keep telling myself how fortunate I was that the old boat didn’t give out on the incline of the driveway leading out of the grocery store. Or on the big dual highway. Or on the winding, hilly back roads. It actually got me all the way home.

It was Dymphna’s car. It’s as if it knew it was done — it had lasted through its owner’s funeral, and then a couple of weeks longer.

“I’ll get you home this one last time, and then I’m going to take a nice, long rest.”

Update: I told the future Baron about what happened to the car, and he said: “It’s Mom’s version of ‘My Grandfather’s Clock’.”

He’s right, you know.

Gladioli in July

Two old friends of mine, a married couple, brought a vase of gladioli to church today and went out with me after the service to put them on Dymphna’s grave.

It’s been brutally hot the past week, and today was no exception. I had put fresh flowers — all of them chosen from among those that Dymphna planted and tended in our flowerbeds — on the grave a few days ago, and I expected that they would all have wilted away by today. But strangely enough, two varieties — bee balm and lilac-colored hostas — had retained their color and were still standing upright.

We put the gladioli next to them, paid our respects, and then walked through the scorching churchyard to our cars.

An Epitaph

by Walter De la Mare

Here lies a most beautiful lady,
Light of step and heart was she;
I think she was the most beautiful lady
That ever was in the West Country.
But beauty vanishes; beauty passes;
However rare — rare it be;
And when I crumble, who will remember
This lady of the West Country?

Two Laments

Years ago I used to assign Saturday as either Ranting Day or Poetry Day, depending on my mood. Yesterday I was busy with other things, so this week Sunday will have to serve as Poetry Day.

The first of the two poems below was written by Dymphna. It is possibly her greatest poem. She wrote it in the mid-1990s, a few months after her mother died.

Some context is in order: Dymphna’s mother married a man from a wealthy Irish family when she was young. For reasons I won’t go into here, he abandoned his wife and their two children when the latter were still infants. Dymphna’s mother became destitute, and there was no welfare in Florida at that time, so she had to go off to work. For several years the children were placed with various foster families, where conditions ranged from awful to severely abusive.

The priest at Dymphna’s mother’s church eventually helped her place her son and daughter at separate orphanages, one for boys and one for girls, where they were to remain until they were ten or eleven — i.e. old enough to be latchkey kids.

Her poem describes the moment she and her brother were separated from their mother and from each other to be taken to the orphanages. At the time she wrote these verses, her brother had been estranged from his mother and sister for many years, and no one knew where he was. She assumed he was dead, probably of heart disease, since all her mother’s brothers had died that way when they were relatively young. But he wasn’t dead: her cousin was able to locate him, and Dymphna and her brother began an intermittent correspondence that continued until his death last year.

This, then, was her lament:

Lament for My Brother

It was so long ago
Those who stopped my tears
Then, who could not countenance
My guttural sorrow,
Are no doubt dead
Or disarmed by age and distance.

It was so long ago.
Yet my tears are the solvent
Melting the time between here
And then. I am five again.
The little brother being forced
From my arms is four.
We are crying, in the moment before
We learn it is not allowed.

It was so long ago.
Yet the wrench of grief
Tightens my throat now
Brings me to my knees here.
The void where my little brother
Was is hollowed out still;
I cannot fill it.

It was so long ago.
Yet the loss is as current
As the moment here before us.
The gods to whom all moments are one
Who do not understand
My linear “long ago”
Cannot hear my plea
To protect him.

It was so long ago.
He’s no doubt dead by now.
The men in my family die young
Whether they stay or flee.
The women in my family don’t teach
Them how to use their hearts.
The men succumb when
Flight is no longer possible
And they are overtaken
By feeling.

It was so long ago.

The second poem was written in the early 17th century by the great metaphysical poet John Donne. Fifty years ago I had to study the metaphysical poets intensively for A-level English Literature. I don’t know how they do it nowadays, but in those days a student was expected to quote at length from the assigned poetry at the exam, working entirely from memory. Thus, in preparation for the exam I memorized reams of Donne, Herbert, Marvell, Vaughn, Crashaw, etc.

I memorized three of the five stanzas of the following poem, and they’re still here in my head, intact after half a century. However, we were also required to present them in the original 17th-century spelling, and unfortunately that aspect of the task has largely evaporated (although I do remember that “festival” was spelled “festivall”).

In this poem Donne is mourning the death of his wife, for whom he grieved deeply. The conceit is that he is writing it at midnight on St. Lucy’s Day, the shortest day of the year. Dymphna’s case is the opposite: she, too, died at about midnight, but her death was almost exactly at Midsummer’s.

A technical note: the “Goat” to which the lesser (i.e. weaker) sun has run is the constellation Capricorn, in which the winter solstice falls.

Continue reading

The Goal Has Been Reached

Taken together, the PayPal donations, snail-mail gifts, and donations to the GoFundMe page have now reached and exceeded the costs of Dymphna’s funeral expenses. You needn’t donate to the GoFundMe any longer; everything has been taken care of. As I mentioned earlier, any additional amounts that are specifically earmarked for the funeral will be donated to a reputable local charity that helps victims of sexual assault, including children.

Any words I might choose to express my gratitude are inadequate. The response over the past ten days has been staggering. I now have an idea of how many people truly appreciated Dymphna’s work.

My current situation: I’m trying to forestall the depression and isolation that so frequently afflict a man after the sudden death of his wife. My tendency at the moment is to wander aimlessly around this empty house, bouncing back and forth like a ping-pong ball in a shoebox. I’m fighting that by the time-honored method of going back to work.

Sitting down in this chair and starting to post again is the rough equivalent of the widower showing up at the office on the Monday morning following the funeral. Work is what he needs to keep himself on an even keel. He has a glazed look in his eyes, and his productivity is not up to his usual standards, but his boss (if he has a good one) is patient and understanding.

I don’t have any boss except for you, our readers, and I know you’re being patient. I suppose Vlad comes close to being my boss, although we’re actually more like unpaid business partners. In any case, he’s being patient with me, too.

I see that another subtitle file (translated from the French) has just come in. It needs editing and formatting, so I’d best stop my meandering and buckle down to work.

Thank you all once again. I’m sending out responses to everyone, both by email and snail-mail, but it will take a while, because there are so many of them.

Thank You, Gates of Vienna Readers

When I put up the post about Dymphna’s death early last week, I obviously wasn’t begging for money. It wasn’t fundraiser time or anything. I was just notifying readers that there weren’t going to be any posts for a while, and explained why.

When I saw the response over the next couple of days, I was astonished. Almost 400 people commented before I closed the comments on that post, many of them people who never commented before, or did so only rarely. Without my knowledge — and without any urging by me — a regular reader and commenter set up a GoFundMe initiative to cover funeral expenses. Now that he has handed over access to the fund, I can see the list of donors, and I thank you for your generosity.

For those who would like to contribute, the page is here. Between the GoFundMe and individual PayPal donations, a not insignificant portion of the funeral expenses has been covered. If the total amount ever matches my outlays, I’ll tell our readers: “Hey, you can stop now!” Any excess over that amount will be donated to a reputable local charity that assists victims of sexual assault, including children. It’s the same one the family asked people to donate to in lieu of sending flowers.

I always told Dymphna that she had lots of fans, and I think this proves I was right.

Everyone who donated (if I have an email address for them) will get a thank you note, and I’ll eventually reply to all the emailed messages of condolence. But it will take me a while; there were a LOT of them.

In the meantime, I’ll tell all of you here: THANK YOU!

The Ground Has Been Closed

I buried my wife late yesterday afternoon in the graveyard of our little rural church in Central Virginia. The Episcopalian service was everything that one could have hoped for, and I know that Dymphna was pleased with the liturgy, the music, and the fellowship in the parish hall after the Committal.

A year or two ago, after a discussion about this eventuality, Dymphna gave her assent to the publication of the photo below. It was the only photo of her that she would allow to be posted. It was taken a number of years ago, in happier times.

Discussions about her eventual demise became more and more frequent in recent years, as her condition gradually worsened. She would tell me what she did and didn’t want for her funeral and so on, and I promised to honor her wishes. The most recent such conversation occurred last Thursday, when we were talking about Protestant hymns. Since she was raised a Catholic, she didn’t really know any Protestant hymns until she became an Episcopalian. I asked her which ones she liked. She named a few, and then said, “I really love ‘There’s a Wideness in God’s Mercy’. I want that at my funeral.”

I honored her wish.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

Dymphna and I first met forty years ago last month. We had a small celebration for the occasion. Unfortunately, she didn’t make it to our fortieth wedding anniversary.

On our first date we went out to dinner to the Double T Diner in the southern suburbs of Baltimore. I was attracted to her for all the normal reasons, of course; but what really made us fall in love with each other was our intellectual compatibility. Her fields were theology, philosophy, psychology, literature, history, and poetry. Mine were mathematics, art, science, linguistics, literature, history, and poetry. So we had some overlap, but the territory where we had the greatest meeting of minds was in poetry. Both of us loved to read poetry, and both of us wrote it. Sitting there in that diner over dinner, I found out that she knew about Wallace Stevens — amazing! I had never met a woman who had read Wallace Stevens, never mind understood him. In the next few weeks she introduced me to poets I hadn’t read, and I did the same for her.

We were both head-over-heels. In due course she moved down here and we got married. Now that she is gone, I’m allowed to tell you that she was ten years older than I. We agreed that we were fortunate the difference was only ten years. Still, it was anxiety-inducing to contemplate the age gap. I remember thinking about it back in those early days, when I was so happy. I did the actuarial estimate in my head and said to myself, “Well, I think I can expect to get forty years.”

That’s what I got. And I’m so grateful for every one of them.

In the summer of 1979 I suddenly acquired three teenage stepchildren. That was a learning experience like no other, but I won’t go into any details here. Suffice it to say that the two surviving stepchildren were down here in the house all week, along with the future Baron. I can’t tell you how gratified it made me to have them all here.

The extent to which I will miss her is hard to describe. Any time I had some insight or question about current events, politics, history, religion, sociology, or any other general intellectual topic, I knew I could always count on her being interested and engaged in a discussion about it. The future Baron can tell you how interesting (and sometimes heated) our dinner-table conversations were.

That is what I will miss the most. During the past five days, when something important occurred, I found myself thinking, “I must tell her about this.” And then it hit me — the person to whom I could tell all the stories is no longer here.

It’s going to be a hard time for a while.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

Although her condition had been slowly deteriorating for fifteen years, Dymphna’s death was sudden. On Friday she was outside working on the flowerbeds. On Saturday the fever and cough came back. Early Sunday evening I had to take her to the emergency room, and she died just after midnight, before she was even admitted to the hospital. I was with her during her last moments.

Dymphna wrote the following poem in the mid-1990s, a few months after her mother died under similar circumstances. The month and time of day are slightly different, but in other respects the poem is exactly descriptive of last Monday’s events. Two of her sons read it out to the congregation during the eulogy portion of yesterday’s funeral:

Continue reading

Sad News, and a Blogging Hiatus

Dymphna died suddenly last night, or more accurately, early this morning. I took her to the emergency room early in the evening; she had a high fever and a terrible cough. But it didn’t seem like anything that could ever be fatal.

I will be pretty much out of action until at least after the funeral, so this blog is officially on hiatus for a while. I’ll be back, though, when I’m ready to handle things again.

Tipsters are advised not to send any more news feed tips until you see another post appear here besides this one.

I’ve been up all night, so that’s all for now.

More Mailbox Woes, and Other News

I got my bimonthly eye injection this afternoon (to treat my macular degeneration), which put me out of action for most of the evening — that’s why you didn’t see any further posts after the one about Steen that I put up this morning.

I’ll take this opportunity to catch up on a couple of fundraising matters I’ve been dilatory about. The first concerns thank-you emails that bounced. We had some sort of mail server problem for a few days after the spring fundraiser last month, and an unusual number of thank-you notes were returned. I re-sent them all, and some of those got through, but three came back again with permanent failures, from donors in North Carolina, Florida, and Alberta. So if you’re a donor who lives in one of those three places, and didn’t get a note from us, that’s probably why.

Finally, here’s something I should have done almost a month ago, but kept procrastinating about: listing the final roster of places for the people who donated. In a way this is better, because I get to include any places for donations that came in later in April, after fundraising week was over.

Donations for our spring fundraiser came in from:

Stateside: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming, and the U.S. Military (APO)

Far Abroad: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Kuwait, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Thailand, and the UK

Canada: Alberta, British Columbia, Newfoundland, Ontario, and Saskatchewan

Australia: Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, Tasmania, and Victoria

Many thanks to everyone who chipped in!