Posts tagged “memories

times of our lives

“Long live the walls we crashed through! I had the time of my life with you.”

What with having graduated last May and all of my family’s <british accent> mental </british accent> activities this spring (read: baby sister born in February, slightly-less-baby sister getting married in two weeks), I found myself whizzing through the semester with a sorry lack of NCFCA. I had all these plans last year… plans to coach speech and debate, plans to go to as many tournaments as I could… plans. We plan, God laughs. But as it turned out, even though I didn’t get to plug into the league as early in the year as I would have liked, I was able to attend the two last Region 4 tournaments of the year, as an alumni judge. And oh, blimey, have I missed this. Walking around in the same facilities in which I competed just last year brought back so many memories. I have three years’ worth of those memories. When I was competing, I kept a document solely for the purpose of chronicling some of the small ones, the unimportant ones, the kind of memories that spin the world. Perhaps now is a good time to revisit them. But prepare yourself: there are quite a few.

Warm-Up, 2009-

First tournament ever! I did NOT like my clothes, especially one day when I wore a maroon-ish argyle blouse. =P

My first speech ever in this league occurred on the third floor in room #360.

Christina Hastings and I were constantly quoting Wall-E at each other… specifically, “You look GORGEOUS!”

With little practice, no feedback, and no club to call my own, I managed to break at this, my very first tournament.

National Open, 2009-

I got my first 1st place ballot at this tournament. In Apologetics. I remember being shocked.

Since I didn’t break, this was the only tournament ever when I timed a semi-finals speech round.

Alamo Qualifier, 2009-

Late one night, at our host house, I was getting ready for bed when the power suddenly blacked out. Completely and totally. I brushed my teeth in the light of my cell phone. And it was freezing cold, just as a plus. Turns out, someone turned on the microwave and for some reason it shorted the system. I believe that Mr. Hastings had to go outside in the freezing cold (and rainy) night to flip it back on.

This was the tournament when I tried to take lots of pictures of people who matched each other. (partners or otherwise)

Paul Putman and I walked through the halls singing songs from Mary Poppins one afternoon!

The four Pevensies were created. ❤

Regionals, 2009-

Sometime during prelims, I wrote my first ‘Timing TP’ poem while timing Maisano/Upham against another team I can’t remember! They’re probably in my records somewhere.

The gym was on the second floor, and it was often in use when we were competing. NOT a brilliant plan on the part of that church. =)

I was so tired on the last day that I literally tried to take a nap under the stairs. But people found me, and we ended up taking an awesome group ‘sleeping under the stairs’ picture.

Frisco practice tourney, 2009-

Here is where I learned the ‘Roll’ game, where you can get people to roll on the floor if they’re not doing the ‘block’ properly. The things we do sometimes… 😉

It was so frigidly cold during the tournament. And since we had two competition buildings, we students perfected this sort of mad dash from one to the other, holding our suit coats tightly closed.

DFW Qualifier, 2010-

One of my HI judges at this tournament wrote that I should consider wearing a more generic outfit to fit my performance. I had been wearing a grey pencil skirt, a white button-down blouse, and black heels at the time. How much more streamlined can you get? =)

During lunch one day, Paul Hastings came over to finish my leftover food, and he tried to force me to write cryptic notes to place in Owen Stroud and Nathan E.‘s instrument cases. I actually gave in… but I made the notes less cryptic than he had intended, i.e, “You did great in extemp (he wasn’t doing extemp). Love, Paul Hastings.” Paul ripped out his name, and put it in anyway. 😉

There was an incredibly tempting grand piano in the foyer that we were told not to touch. That was a trial. =)

It’s hard to believe something could be so convenient, but there was a room PERFECT for dancing and containing an upright piano :right: next to the fellowship hall. We taught the Virginia Reel and the Patty-cake Polka and the broom dance, and more! Plus, the vivacious timer lady sang with our live accompanists. What fun.

National Open, 2010-

During the accidental break between LD and TP finals, I ate dinner at the Pei Wei about 3 blocks and 4 parking lots down with a bunch of friends. When we got done, we walked back in the dark. And it was incredible.

Timing TP 2 was written at this tournament. Little did I know what would happen to it!

I learned the Highland Polka during TP finals. =)

Regionals, 2010-

Tim taught me how to two-step in the hallway, much to the amusement of the hall monitor.

The tournament staff had warned us to look out for snakes on the campus (Concordia). And one day when Owen and Molly and I were meandering along the paths for some reason, we spotted one eating a lizard. It wasn’t very big at all, but Molly and I still kept our distance. I had my back to Owen while I was watching the snake, and he suddenly lowered his voice and said, “Grace, don’t move.” So I didn’t. =) But I barely had time to register his urgent admonition before he laughed and said ‘just kidding’. =D

Tim told Caroline and I the ‘awkward waiter’ story. Historical moment. =)

Caroline brought her pink bubble wand… and… we used it. “You two will be the death of me!” -Tim

Nationals, 2010-

At the hotel on the Navy base, we had a large bag of sour skittles. I ate many. And read someone’s book about dragons at the same time. 😐

Also at this tournament, I nearly forgot to give my speech during a round. I was sitting around talking blissfully, when Christina came up and announced happily that she was done for that round. I was all like, “oh, yay!” until I realized with an audible gasp that I WASN’T done, and the building in which I was to speak was all the way at the other end of the campus (Regent University). I ran all the way. (and I wasn’t late, after all)

Their library was directly adjacent to the fellowship hall. I had the best of times foraging through all the books.

I did not participate in the massive game of ‘Ninja’ which happened on the last day and filled the entire front courtyard area! I did, however, dance the polka and Posties Jig with members of various regions.

Warm-Up, 2011-

It was myself and about 5 young men, standing in the chapel on the second floor and exchanging stories of how we had almost died.

While executing a particularly difficult move in my HI, I stumbled and almost fell flat on my face. That’s never the best thing to do when you’re worrying about whether your judges will penalize you for it. None of mine mentioned it, though!

The first day ended so early (8:00pm, I think), that a lot of us stayed to dance the Virginia Reel for another hour or so. =)

National Open, 2011-

A little timer gal asked Ben Amason what she should draw. He suggested Grendel from Beowulf. But at her protests that she couldn’t draw a ‘monstrous spirit’, he told her to draw a bunny. A few minutes later she came back with a picture of a cat sitting in a tree. =P

“Breaking in Extemp…. Brandy Clayton.” -Mrs. Hudson

Right before the awards ceremony, Sarah Maddux had to leave to go back to A&M. She had a few guy friends with her, and I was teasing them about not letting them take Sarah back. Abruptly, this one guy says to me, “We will pay you some really wonderful compliments if you’ll just do us a big favour. Can you let us know who won TP finals?”
“Oh, sure! I’ll text Sarah.”
Then this guy whom I’ve never seen before in my life begins to shower me with the most extravagantly exaggerated compliments:
“Thank you so much! Your eyes are like twin amber sunsets over stretches of misty forests….” etc. and so on. He took my hand dramatically as he continued. How he was coming up with all this off-the-cuff, I had no clue. He must have used this tactic on others before me! I was laughing extremely hard, but I managed to get into the part a bit, fanning myself with my hand, and acting faint with happiness. It was some kind of hilarious.

I still can’t believe that I got 2nd place in OO and thus qualified to Nationals. So flooring. Also, I picket-fenced two rooms: OO and TI.

After the awards ceremony, ARC had planned a ballot party at our hotel, but Kathryn, Anna, and I wanted to go to IHOP with YSA and LOGOS and 19:14. So we convinced Mrs. Macdonald, and lovingly ditched ARC for the time. That night was amazing. We stayed until at least 1:20, laughing our heads off about everything.

Austin Qualifier (TX State), 2011-

What do Predestination, Catholicism, Science, and the 4th Dimension have in common? They were all exciting conversation topics when Avery and Nathan and I sat around a table for the better part of 2 hours. It’s unbelievably wonderful how we can be kindred spirits and true friends even when we disagree.

Jason Halvorson was happier than I was when my DI advanced to finals. The kid is adorable. I love him a ton. Also, he sent a bunch of us into spasms of laughter when he jumped into our conversation circle (sitting on the sidewalk outside before awards) and dealt out high fives, saying, “Hey, it’s all my homies!!”

I literally sobbed through the entire last half of my DI in semis. I love crying in dramatic productions.

Owen and I went into a back room with Molly to practice the Timing TP song before performing it for everyone, and we had the BEST time singing it in ridiculous operatic voices.

Having never received a 1st place award in speech before, I was thrilled to get 1st in OO and TI. (Because of this, I received an invitation to the THCS banquet in Austin, which was a formal affair with disgusting salad and hanging out on balconies.)

Abilene Qualifier, 2011-

I began to feel pretty sick on Wednesday night during script submission, and it worried me that I might have to pull out of multiple events. But God was so amazing and He pulled me through it.

Debating (only time ever) was such fun. Mostly. I went against some super fun and skilled people, like Kelton Brisack and Graham Wegsheid and Brady Clayton. How I ended up with 2nd place speaker, I have no idea?

Alison L. and Elizabeth C. appointed themselves to be my ladies-in-waiting. =) Alison: “Grace, you are going to have all the nations fighting over you. Can I get front row seats?”

The gym floor was a slightly rubbery surface, and I was quite excited when I discovered that marbles could bounce super high on it.

Brooks Clayton was my trash-emptying buddy. =) We made all the rounds during TP finals.

I got a 2nd, a 3rd, and a 5th&below in every impromptu room.

Regionals, 2011-

Saw on a white board: “Wear short sleeves; support your right to bare arms.”

Alison guarded me from men a lot. Whenever she saw me in a group of mostly guys, she got all defensive and hilarious. Apparently, I am very vulnerable according to her. 😉

Caroline came to see me, and we sang Broadway songs outside for roughly an hour. ❤

Got first in Thematic for the 3rd time in a row… ((what? cool.))

My last tournament in Region 4, and I was still meeting people! Worthless? Never.

Nationals, 2011-

You can read about my experiences at Nationals here. =)


Dear Daddy

I don’t have much to give you. A little manual labour, some cookies from time to time, a bit of music when the baby isn’t sleeping, and these words. Just a few clumsy words. You’re the man who has everything- you say that every day is like Christmas. You don’t need gift-wrapped, earthly treasures because, for you, happiness is just a book by Chesterton on the banks of the Frio River. I wish I could give you that today. I wish I could find a spectacular way to make your 50th birthday special. But I know you prefer simplicity to spectacle, and so instead of a gift wrapped in paper and tied with ribbons, I give you a letter wrapped in memories and tied with words that will never die. I’m not sure if, when I’m finished, I’ll be proud to set these words free upon eternity, but I hope they honour you despite their inadequacy.

I cannot hope to express what a blessing you have been in my life. In a world parched for courage; a world silently calling out for its men to stand up and be examples of Micah 6:8; a world full of children looking for someone worthy of admiration, I had to look no further than you. In a world packed with absentee fathers, you were always there. You were my lighthouse on the shore, guiding me to safe harbours. You were the rainstorm in a drought, the philosopher among the peasants, the work by Lewis on a shelf of works by lunatics. All these you were, and are, to me. When I wanted your advice, and especially when I didn’t, you pointed me along on the straight and narrow path. And whenever I sat down on the journey, you showed me the ugliness of the pools of apathy I poured for myself. You were, for me, a living picture of who I wanted to become. Perhaps that is because you were, and are, and are becoming a living picture of Christ. He was, and is, and is to come in you. I have followed you as you uncovered the truth He wanted you to find, seen you bind it to your heart, and prayed for such devotion to be found in me. I have watched you hold our family on your shoulders, lightening our burdens, and prayed for such faithfulness to be found in me. I have read the books you love, listened to the music you enjoy, laughed at the jokes you find funny, and cried when you were passionate, because if you think something is worthy of praise, it is. Over time, I’ve come to admire all those things for myself, and not just because you do. But I think that just makes me trust you even more.

You’ve been my guardian and my inspiration; my father and my friend. The Lord has done wondrous things for you, and thus, for me. Thank you for being the wind of love and clarity and nobility in my life. Thank you for the evenings hitting golf balls in the empty lot across the street and the harpsichord concerts in winter. Thank you for the times you took the frogs out of the pool, the games of “Squirrel” in the yard, the annual trips to the Dollar Tree in the mall at Christmas time, and the annual trips to RiverBend in the summer. Thank you for the times you apologized when you were wrong and the times you made me apologize when I was wrong. Thank you for forcing me to read those long, boring Carson history books, getting me all the way from long division to derivatives, and blasting Praetorius in the car. Thank you for reading The Lord of the Rings aloud, driving me to all those voice lessons, coming up with my Facebook password, and twirling me around to Joplin before we bought the coffee table. Thank you for brainstorming more syllables to add to the word, “antidisestablishmentarianism”, setting the alarm during tournaments, and all those Mars Hill audio tapes and discussions about God and culture and ideas. Thank you for showing me how to stretch barbed wire and spread peat moss and rip my clothes and get dirty knees working on the land. Thank you for teaching me to shine with a light and follow a star that isn’t mine. You have been all and everything a father is called to be, and I am blessed and honoured to be an arrow in your quiver. Wherever I go, your legacy will go with me. I am proud to carry it.

Your Devoted Daughter


art history

There’s something you should know about me.

I like to draw whales. HOWEVER. When I draw whales, I always draw them…

with band-aids on their tails.

Yeah, I’m serious, and yeah, I know it’s peculiar. (and awesome)

And here’s why.

Burt Dow is a deep sea fisherman. One day he accidentally gets his hook stuck in a whale’s tail.

He pulls it out and puts a band-aid on the wound. But the other whales notice, and before long he’s surrounded.

Soon a surprised Burt discovers that they’re all eager to have band-aids stuck to their tales like the first whale! (Apparently that comrade of theirs was quite the war hero.) So Burt deals out band-aids to all the whales. I think I remember that some of the band-aids had stripes.

And they all lived happily ever after. Assuming the band-aids were waterproof.

So there you have it. A poignant history of art inspiration. Ask me to draw a whale for you sometime. 😉


Quotable 2011

It’s my favourite way to commemorate the year just past. I hope you enjoy the following collection of quotes from 2011.

Dad: Now, this is a narrow street, so watch how I make this U-turn. *makes turn while explaining* Okay, so see how tight that was? Sometimes U-turns are illegal, though, so you know not to make those.
Me: *looking back* Uhhhh… I’m just now realizing that there was an “illegal U-turn” sign back there…..
Dad: Oh, really? Oh. … Yeah, it’s hard to make U-turns on tight streets like that. They put those no U-turn signs up for people who don’t know how to make turns like that. Thankfully, I know how to do it safely. SO it doesn’t really apply to me.
Us: *laughing*

Anna: Come this way, Alan!
Alan: To Isengard, to Isengard!

Me, pop-quizzing the family on vocabulary: ‘Extraneous’. The root is “extra”, which means “out”….
Emily: OUT OF A TRAIN!!! ….um, out of CONTROL! Like, extra “reign” eous.
Mom: Oooh! Extra rainy!

Dad: You’ve been a good boy during devotion tonight so far, Alan!
Alan: I would be happy if you finished.

“Alan, don’t swing the sword around. Just point it at people.” -Dad

“You are being especially clever tonight.” -Emily, to me

Me: (looking at senior photos) I can’t pick one!
Christina: It’s because you’re just too lovely and photogenic.
Me: But you don’t mention those 300 pics you deleted.
Christina: Well… we just won’t talk about those!

“The topic I’ve chosen today is self-worth. Now, judges, *pointing* you’re ugly, you’re fat, and YOU’RE stupid. Now listen up, especially you, the stupid one.” -Luke (*spoofing impromptu*)

Nathan: Grace, are you a yankee?
Owen: Of COURSE she’s not!

“Yay, my cupcake is here! I will kill it!” -Emily (at a rehearsal for the battle scene from Beauty and the Beast)

“Death is only romantic when the SINGLE person dies.” -Alison

Anna: The reason there’s paint all over the floor is because Michael..
Michael: I did NOT make paint angels on the floor, Anna.
Anna: *laughing* No, no, it’s just, (*to me*) Michael kicked the bucket!
Michael: *he and I chuckle* I’m standing right here! Don’t tell lies.
Anna: I’m not! He kicked it! It was an accident!
Michael: Well at least I didn’t do it on purpose! *he and I laugh again*
Anna: *totally confused* …and it spilled everywhere.
Michael: Ugh! Gross!
Me: Hahahaha! Anna, do you know what the phrase, ‘kick the bucket’ means?
Anna: Ummmm…
Me: It means to die.
Anna: …*starts laughing*

“I have a photographic memory. In my mouth.” -Isaac

Nathan: Well, if you have to go, I don’t want to keep you.
Me: You just want to throw me away??
Nathan: How did I know you would say that?!
Me: Because you’re you and I’m me and we get along. =)

Alan: Awww, look at yourself!
Me: Why?
Alan: Because yourself is pretty!


defined by love

“I felt it first when I was younger… a strange connection to the light. I tried to satisfy the hunger; I never got it right. So I climbed a mountain and built an altar… looked out as far as I could see. And everyday I’m getting older. I’m running out of dreams. (I’m running out of dreams.) But Your love, Your love…. The only thing that matters is Your love. Your love is all I have to give. Your love is enough to light up the darkness! It’s your love, Your love. All I ever needed is Your love.” 

Yesterday, I was accosted by my 19th birthday. Amid all the activities, I managed to allow myself some time for reflection, because one shouldn’t simply blow through life without remembering what made life what it is. So, in no particular order, I recalled to memory my preschool years (with bangs and Lamb Chop and playing grocery store in the kitchen and Bambi), my elementary influences (with Jungle Jam and suddenly green eyes and my drama queen t-shirt and patient parents and playing ‘house’ with my cousins at Christmas), middle school turmoil (with choir obsession and fashion realization and The Chronicles of Narnia and questions about Christianity and international student ministries and changing churches), and the combined confusion and clarity of high school (with state-wide singing competitions and The Lord of the Rings and NCFCA and the beauty of sound doctrine and the passions of wonder and love and voracious reading and poetry and discovering what friendship means).

“You know the effort I have given, and You know exactly what it cost. And though my innocence was taken, not everything is lost. (Not everything is lost, no.) You’re the hope in the morning. You’re the light when the night is falling. You’re the song when my heart is singing. It’s Your love! You’re the eyes to the blind man. You’re the feet to the lame man walking. You’re the sound to the people singing. It’s Your love!

Your love is all that I needed. All I ever needed is Your love.” [Brandon Heath]


{away}

I took a week off from real life. I wandered up and down the bank of the Frio River like a wanderer come home, stepping on the same ground I visit every year. I remembered a game I made up when I was very young: trying to walk as far as possible without touching anything except cypress tree roots. I spent my childhood here, and somehow I managed never to take it for granted. It’s the simplest place in the world, a combination of peaceful and exciting that I needed so much. When did I turn into a grown-up with a life to escape from?

You would love those sprawling cliffs and the deep water below them. When you swim ten feet above the lazy catfish parties, it’s like you’re alone in an aquamarine mystery, and the mystery is more beautiful than the answer. I don’t think there is an answer, and that’s why it’s beautiful. The breeze turns the stillness into contented energy, and little ripples kiss your upper lip again and again like there’s no tomorrow and all we have is now. The past is gone and the future will never come and no one cares. You just swim into the 4 o’clock sun. You see poetry in everything. And for once, you exult in being alone… but then you’re not alone. Because your little sister and your fabulous cousin come and play seals right next to you, and then you exult in being not-alone. And you swim through the ripples to the diving log and pretend it’s a ship. Sometimes you can feel a fresh-water spring under you and it’s so COLD you scream and everyone thinks you saw a snake and then you laugh at them.

Then it’s eleven in the morning on another day and you’re alone again, down by the rope swing without much sunscreen, building a waterfall and channels for three hours. When you’re finished, it’s a quality establishment, and that sunburn on your back? It hardly matters. And your chipped fingernail polish? It doesn’t matter at all.


There’s a big hill from the upper campground to the lower campground, and it’s perfect for riding your bike with no brakes. People talk about throwing precaution to the wind, but I don’t think that’s what happens. I think the wind whooshes around you so fast that it snatches your precaution away from you, whether you’re holding it tightly or not. And I never hold mine tightly on that hill anymore. I’ve been hurtling down it at top speed ever since I was nine years old.

You would love the annual catfish-fry… sitting on rocks with fishing poles all day long, baiting with hot-dogs, naming the fish you catch, and throwing away the “stanleys”. And then at the end of the day, you haul your stringer back up to the cabin and your dad tries to show you how to clean the fish and it’s disgusting but now you’ll be able to survive in the wild. If you had a knife. And matches or flint. And cornmeal and Lowry’s salt and oil to coat the fish with. I fried them this year, and it took forever.

Oh, and then when you feel like it, you can walk up to the office and charge any number of ice-creams to your family’s account.

It was a week of enchantment and detachment. When being alone didn’t ever feel lonely. A week of painted rocks and curious fish and family and hardly any other campers to bring my mind back to the present. I don’t think I took a week off from real life, really. I think I took a week of visiting it. Maybe paradise is what’s really real, and everything else is simply the contrast material.

Scratch the maybe.

Ah, but the contrast material always seems so very contrasting when I come home. When I was a kid, I used to be sad to come home because home wasn’t as fun. But now I’m sad to come home because home is so much less home. It’s so much more complicated. Here is where I have to think about the future and figure out how to deal with the past. Here is where alone always feels lonely. But I tell myself to get a grip and wear a smile, because even while I miss that carefree river, a River of Life is flowing inside of me and I only have to look to the Source to realize that I will never despair and I will never let go. Even when all I want is to fade, there’s colour holding onto me that won’t let me give up. I can’t stay in paradise, but I can carry it with me always. And I will.


Defessus [writing is release]

When my spurts of breath fog up the window of the airplane and I lean as close as I can to the sky, I think that mankind’s sense of direction is slightly boggled. We fly, and think we’re going up and out, but aren’t we really going up and in, closer to the centre of Reality?

I bounced on that trampoline until I could almost kiss the stars. And maybe I’m more like Icarus than I had previously supposed. That broken spring couldn’t have held up forever… but no one said it would hurt so much to fall. Lying in a hospital bed, I wonder why I half-expected flowers. My mind will go too someday, and there’s no brace that can hold it up to the light long enough for it to heal. What’s beyond the wallpaper of my soul? If I could only get out of myself and walk along that poplar-lined street…. But the door is too small, and there’s no potion to make me shrink like Alice. Anyway, the key’s lost at the bottom of the swimming pool where it slipped from my fingers when we were playing mermaids in the the twilight. I remember we turned all the lights on, and everything was orange and blue and almost perfect. I could float on my back and watch the rumours of the sunset steal across the walls, until my body decided to rebel against Archimedes and descend into the twinkling depths…….

I open my eyes and there’s a butterfly above them– a memento of a life I almost lived. I was interrupted by a curly-haired boy who had a question for me that he never could bring himself to utter. His feet sifted through the grass, but he never could smell the hidden meanings in motion. Sometimes I think about him and wonder if someone ever taught him how to breath deeply enough to feel truly brave… and I regret that I didn’t teach him when I had the chance. I can’t calculate the opportunity cost of rushing away to a swan-speckled river and the row-boat that waited for me on the shore. But such is the path I sprinted along. We were required to wear life-jackets while boating, and I felt like a fat bird unable to fly. I laughed off the feeling of despair, and learned to veil my eyes, because it just didn’t make sense for it to be raining inside my heart while the sun was glistening on the water outside.

Understanding and perception are priceless and dangerous gifts, but even they have their limits. Somehow, only the squirrels outside my window ever looked into my eyes long enough to notice the rust on my trampoline springs, and see that it was always only a matter of time. Maybe I just imagined it, but my bedroom walls seemed to understand my personality better than I did, and they changed color ever-so-subtly to help me adapt. No one else saw behind the mischief in my eyes and my tendency to bounce with excitement. No one saw the shadows… in all shades of grey. No one ever expected me to fall, and when I did, no one ever knew. It might seem impossible, but I was always an actress, you know. So we’ll go on to talk about bed-knobs and broomsticks, of cabbages and kings, and forget this ever happened. Forget that there’s bitterness behind the brilliance or sadness behind the smile… the world is made of truth denied.

But how can I make you understand that my feelings are as real as yours? Who would suspect me, with my bright pink jacket and playful retorts, of writing poetry dripping with tears that come from encounters with faithlessness and betrayal and uncertainty? Surely I should be happy forever. How could it be possible that I could go to bed and cry myself to sleep?

Arbitrary memories whish across the parchment of my mind. Science fair projects with shells and frogs and meat tenderizers remind me of that night I wore a very unattractive plaid shirt, and I wonder what my evaluating judge thought of my sense of style. Stylistically speaking, I’m not sure how to employ the word “arcane” as often as I’d like to do so. Judging by my knack for changing the subject, we could be here all day. Please fasten your seat-belts, and if there is a sudden change in cabin pressure, fasten the oxygen mask to your face and breathe normally. If you should experience hallucinations of 13 Tolkein-esque dwarves, join them so their number is no longer unlucky. We may all be needed in the future, for sacrifice is a service which cannot be bought and a dish which is always served warm. I opened the refrigerator and realized I was looking in the wrong place. What would Sydney Carton do in my situation? Never mind, he’d never find himself here anyway. If he did, I’d be the first to say hello and offer him my gloved hand. But if anyone was to come and ask for my gloved heart, I’d tell him it was still under repair.