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The Prayer
Cracked Pottery Proliferation Tale
[written 11/19/19]
Oliver needed to eat something unsalted after training and he was going to be headed to a restaurant with his 8-year-old daughter, Corrin and his six-year-old son, Ari. So, my darling sister, who wishes so much she might have had children of her own, was happy to field my request for a dinner for four.
Corrin composed a prayer of thanksgiving and hope and recited it just before we were all seated.
The family home, curated by Mother and Sister, impressed the children of the boxing bachelor as if it were a palace. As we shared food at the table and the children wondered at the wonders of the house, they were confused that it was not mine. They had heard big things about “James,” with Corrin, declaring after she met me, “Oh, you are My Daddy’s favorite!”
They asked me where my house was, assuming it seemed, that I must have an even greater house. I asked them if they wanted to see my house and they excitedly said, “Yes!” and seemed confused when I went into the other room, brought out my backpack, and said, “This is my house, everything I own.”
Everything in the backpack, pens, marmite, clothes, medicine, a drawing by another child, was examined like a shimmering artifact from some ark of adulthood. The items of greatest interest were my tire thumper, which they were quite certain was my pirate cutlass to go with my pirate eye patch. They both paraded with the hickory pirate sword, flourishing it overhead. Corrin decided it was a good height for a cane and pretended to be an old lady limping around on it. Wanting to know where my pirate ship was, I answered that I needed to find one and a crew to help steal it from its boring owners.
They then discovered the skinning knife and insisted that they be taught how to hold it, wield it in its sheath and also wanted to touch its edge. I advanced the exploration of field cutlery by having them pass the sharp blade back and forth, hilt forward while their father watched a few plays of a ball game.
Then they discovered the books, declared as talismans of knowledge, each examining the bookmark within and then holding their chosen book to their little breast as they walked about and declared themselves to be avid readers, Corrin declaring, “The golden book!” as she caressed the gold leaf edition of Voltaire’s Candide.
Then Ari stood proudly, using the black covered and white lettered book he had found as a breast plate, holding it to his little chest from shoulder to belt and saying, “Look, Daddy, I have the black book!”
Oliver then looked down at the lettering on the book, which declared it to be The White Nationalist Manifesto by Greg Johnson to which my prize boxer said, “James, I leave you with my children for five minutes and they’re playing with live blades and reading white nationalist literature?”
My domestic disciples declared, “Yes, Daddy—we’re pirates!”
I made sure my future crew was well supplied with candy on the way out the door.
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