Monthly Archives: March 2016

18th Century Lesson Pertinent To Republican Nomination

Last night, shortly after writing to you of the delightful full evening I enjoyed watching the valuable and superior television programs like M.A.S.H. and Happy Days instead of the Super Tuesday political crap that causes serious injury to our minds, my full evening of enjoyment was extended even further:

Our electric power went out.

As you know, I depend primarily on my wood stove for heat, very much enjoying its radiant warmth, so much nicer than warm air provided by my electric furnace. When power is out, I depend on the wood fire exclusively, so have no concern about warmth in my house in the frequent instances of power outages.

Except yesterday afternoon I had intentionally let my fire go out!

With the help of a friend I had cleaned my very overly soot-clogged chimney yesterday morning. As even after the strenuous cleaning there remained a thin layer of rock-hard potentially-troublesome soot, I had burned the stove very hot for over an hour, hoping to evaporate that last layer, leaving clean stove pipe and chimney. Before re-starting the fire, after letting it cool down, the following morning I intended to pull the stovepipe apart to check that it was now fully clean. So here I was in the dark, with only the dim light of a kerosene lantern, the house cooling and needing the wood fire, but no fire in the wood stove.

In the dark, I didn’t want to pull the stove pipe apart to verify that it was clean. So thought to wait in the dark just the hour the PUD often takes to restore the power, to verify that I’d be warm in the morning. But how to spend the hour in the dark?

My IPad’s screen is self-illuminated, Kindle on it was standing on Washington Irving’s “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” at about three-fourths of the way through, where I’d put it down two weeks ago. So I picked it up and in the dark house continued reading super-skilled wordsmith Irving’s narrative of Ichabod Crane’s troubles in beautiful early 1800’s Upper Hudson River New York .

I finished the story in about an hour. The power was still out, the house was cooling, and I didn’t dare go to bed without starting the fire, in case the power should be out all night. So by the light of the lantern, I pulled the stovepipe apart to look into and check it. As I expected, it was nicely clean to the bare metal. So I rekindled a fire and went to bed.

This morning looking at single line abbreviated headlines of current news, it occurs to me that Irving’s Postcript to “Sleepy Hollow” is worthwhile to contemplate in regard to our political situation:
_______________ Quoting from “Sleepy Hollow” ___________


     The preceding tale is given almost in the precise words in which I heard it related at a Corporation meeting at the ancient city of Manhattoes, at which were present many of its sagest and most illustrious burghers. The narrator was a pleasant, shabby, gentlemanly old fellow, in pepperandsalt clothes, with a sadly humourous face, and one whom I strongly suspected of being poor– he made such efforts to be entertaining. When his story was concluded, there was much laughter and approbation, particularly from two or three deputy aldermen, who had been asleep the greater part of the time.
     There was, however, one tall, drylooking old gentleman, with beetling eyebrows, who maintained a grave and rather severe face throughout, now and then folding his arms, inclining his head, and looking down upon the floor, as if turning a doubt over in his mind. He was one of your wary men, who never laugh but upon good grounds– when they have reason and law on their side. When the mirth of the rest of the company had subsided, and silence was restored, he leaned one arm on the elbow of his chair, and sticking the other akimbo, demanded, with a slight, but exceedingly sage motion of the head, and contraction of the brow, what was the moral of the story, and what it went to prove.
     The storyteller, who was just putting a glass of wine to his lips, as a refreshment after his toils, paused for a moment, looked at his inquirer with an air of infinite deference, and, lowering the glass slowly to the table, observed that the story was intended most logically to prove:
    “That there is no situation in life but has its advantages and pleasures — provided we will but take a joke as we find it.
     “That, therefore, he that runs races with goblin troopers is likely to have rough riding of it.
     “Ergo, for a country schoolmaster to be refused the hand of a Dutch heiress is a certain step to high preferment in the state.”
     The cautious old gentleman knit his brows tenfold closer after this explanation, being sorely puzzled by the ratiocination of the syllogism, while, methought, the one in pepperandsalt eyed him with something of a triumphant leer. At length he observed that all this was very well, but still he thought the story a little on the extravagant– there were one or two points on which he had his doubts.
    “Faith, sir,” replied the storyteller, “as to that matter, I don’t believe onehalf of it myself.”
   D. K.
___________ End of Quote, End of “Sleepy Hollow”  __________

The Republican hope of nominating someone other than Trump is about as likely of fulfillment as Ichabod’s hope of winning the Dutch heiress. And a continuation of their pursuit is likely to reach a very similar end.


P.S As I was writing this, a Pileated Woodpecker (model for Woody Woodpecker) was machine-gun pounding, attempting to drill through my metal roof.​

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