Tuesday, April 17, 2007

visiting another era

Yesterday was my birthday. I turned 50, which seemed a surreal event. (How did that happen?) My husband decided, for one of my presents, to take me antiquing in the small towns around Minneapolis. We visited "Keepers" in Faibault, and someplace called "Tom's Mini-mall" in Owatanna. I particularly like to look at old Hall pottery and Hazel Atlas glassware, and old children's books. On this particular day (approaching 70 degrees, sunny in the Twin Cities) I looked at a lot of old children's religious books. I bought a particularly cute one, called Prayers for Little Children, from the 1930s. It also has ideas for mothers and fathers, who are teaching their children how to pray.

We ate hash browns for breakfast. We had milk shakes at Culvers. We didn't listen to the car radio all day.

Then we returned home, and I got online. 32 people dead at Virginia Tech. That seemed surreal. I read an online Newsweek account about a student who text-messaged her brother and her mother, while hiding under her desk. I tried to hold together the images in my mind -- the cherub-faced child in "Prayers for little children", and the stalking gunman in Blacksburg. Both images seem surreal. Reality is more complicated. Moments of enormous evil and strong goodness co-exist.

Maybe what I like about "antique world" is that it can't be changed. But the present and the future: in these times I have the opportunity, I have the responsibility to try to work for change, for the kind of world I want.

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