Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Charlie's lament

Homecoming weekend, the brass trombones blare
For the meek and the frail and the absent,
Remembrance in procession, unushered by care,
March proudly and loudly through a two-day event.
Lupine in blossom and loco weed, too,
Herald the august unheralded few
Who seeded a world that courted them too
And did all that they weren't too busy to do.

Listen now, children, for the sake of your sanity
And if you learn nothing else, learn this:
"In vain," the preacher cried, "all is but vanity!"
But at least at reunion, the vanity's earnest.

ALUMNUS, n. An itinerant merchant specializing in the exchange of admiration for a bad example.

(Photos: Old red truck for Jim, and an Inyo Black Toad, the mascot of Deep Springs College.)


tsduff said...

Good to see the truck in different surroundings.

Hope the toad didn't pee on you.

Anonymous said...

Alumnus...or as the way I referred to it at my last reunion: "Some people you never want to see again." Next year's my 20th. I'm in denial. Not going but still in denial.

Anonymous said...

ALUMNUS, n. - I'm bad I have never been to one of mine. My sanity has a lot to learn :)

actonbell said...

Aw, cute toad.

Any alumnae?

Karen said...

I suppose if Chazz were to lament anything it might be about the importance of being earnest.

This is the Charlie of The Abbott's Anni Mirabili fame, isn't it? Your friend who lives in Iowa City when not judicially napping in Kathmandu and West Branch.

Should readers of Waking Ambrose assume that Charlie is the former classmate for whom you stayed up (about five hours past your bedtime) on the last night proving experimentally that he is all mouth?

Karen said...

Oddly, A-bell and I commented at almost the same time and Ariel the Thief thinks every day is Monday.

pia said...

Ha, a frog just peed on Eldon!

But at least at reunion, the vanity's earnest.
Love this line having recently been to my reunion

quilly said...

I have never gone to one of my class reunions. I am much to vain to go and find out what they really think of me. I would rather be genuinely missed than genuinely ignored.

Nessa said...

How do the students fit in such a small costume?

Karen said...

Ah. Sean the Vampire has arrived.

The Great Wikipedia answers his question:

The black toad (Bufo exsul), also known as the Inyo toad or Deep Springs black toad, is a true toad that lives only in scattered oases in the Deep Springs Valley of Inyo County, California.

In fact, its scientific name, Bufo exsul means "exiled toad", which refers to its species' isolation in a tiny spot in the high desert wilderness of the Great Basin.

The toad's black skin is covered in white and tan speckles and it sports a white midline down its spine from head to rump.

**Adults are approximately 5 centimetres (2.0 in) in length**

TLP said...

The toad's one back leg looks odd. Wha'dyadotait?

Nice poem. At your age a reunion is fun. In five years or so, your classmates will look too old. Luckily, you will look exactly the same as you do today.

Anonymous said...

is it monday already


sauerkraut said...

Every time I go to a high school reunion, the guys have less hair, more girth but the same old stories. I'm skipping my next one. Have never been back to the old U.

I have this window well which attracts toads. One day a couple of years ago, I removed at least 2 dozen of the little critters - could easily fit 6-8 in my hand they were that small - which made me wonder if a big old mamma toad laid her eggs there. They are the best critter to have in the garden.

Cooper said...

You definition allows no competition.
That truck is ...interesting.

the amoeba said...

ALUMNUS, n. Contraction of ALUMINUS, which describes the self-image of graduates (especially at reunions): brilliant, if a little tinny.

The feminine form of this noun is now little used, in an attempt to conceal its origin as a contraction of ALUMINA, a grinding powder.


Doug said...

Terry, the truck isn't mine, nor were the hands.

Jenn, it's an easy thing to deny what you won't see. Good decisions all around.

Thom, the education of the sanity happens somewhere other than school.

Actonbell, Deep Springs has no official female alumnae (assuming that's what you meant) but the lovely daughter of a college President from the 80s did attend. Just a guess, but I expect she learnt a fair bit more there than the alumni. For example, I expect by 18 she knew that alpine intellectuals of the male defect require constant care and grooming if they're to be presentable or even tolerable.

Karen, the same Charlie from Anni Mirabili but no, while I was provoking by the fire at Deep Springs, he and a classmate of mine were peacefully stuck on the return from the Eureka Valley sand dunes. And Ariel recognized that I was quoting Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

Pia, where is "the frog just peed on Eldon!" from? I can't place it but it made me laugh.

Quilly, I've never gone to my high school reunions and can't imagine even considering one at Emory, but Deep Springs is different and among other differences, we were, and I'm pleased to report still are, universally swine.

Nessa, you mean in the toad? One per leg and two down the throat.

Close, Karen, but there's a population of Bufo Exsul in Saline Valley as well. Apparently introduced there so that if something disastrous happened in the south end of Deep Springs Valley (as opposed to the north end where catastrophes come daily,) the species will continue.

TLP, it was fun, although walkers ride roughly on dirt roads and I accidentally wrassled a rattlesnake because it looked like a calf.

Peace, Bear.

Aren't they, Sauerkraut? Anybody eats flies and mosquitos is alright for the garden.

Cooper, you've seen the one I keep behind the house, haven't you?

Amoeba, men of tin to the last.

Jim said...

Thank you Doug! That's a neat old truck you found over there at Deep Springs. Did you get to drive it? I read the students do most of the work to help keep the budget in line.
Sorry I was soooooo busy yesterday I didn't do bloggin.

Karen said...

Whew! I'm glad my comment was deleted. It was very unlady like.

Thank you, Douglas Wyoming.