June 1, 2010

Max’s Musings

maxBy Max Molleston

The summer blooms in floral and other excitement as we celebrate local events and the national holiday, Independence Day.

Names. We name everything. We give nicknames when our recollections fail on names. Our grandaughters are Jamie and Sydney. They are twins, and those were the only names agreed upon by their mother and dad. This is the month of June, and I suggested, apparently to the wind, these twins could be named May and June. One grandma was tied into the name May, her grandmother’s first name. These girls were born on the 9th of October, and none of those months would be appropriate. It was none of my business anyhow.

After I was six days old, the doctor said “You’d better name this kid.” Dad’s name was Max, and our doctor’s name was Joe, so that is how my name came to be. No searching archives or recalling a favorite uncle (it could have been Parker). It turns out Uncle Parker and Aunt Pauline taught me about farming and what goes on in farming life. That information leveled out what was new against what was traditional in farming operations. I spent thirty years talking about farming and markets which helped shape my life as a broadcaster, a farm broadcaster.

I think of Evangeline, by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, a long, long epic type poem. “Close at her father’s side was the gentle Evangeline seated, Spinning flax for the loom, that stood in the corner behind her.” The above is from Part II of the wonderfully involved epic about the early expansion into new western reaches of the United States.

The poem that remains in my collection that hangs in and out of my mind is Annabel Lee, from the pen of Edgar Allan Poe. I dealt with this poem in an earlier column, writing about rhyming poets. there are many in the past centuries of crafting poetry. It was the style. The verses of Annabel Lee are full with emotion of a passing of a loved one. I want to review part of that poem.

Annabel Lee (final stanzas)

The Angels, not half so happy in Heaven,
Went envying her and me;
Yes! That was the reason (as all men know,
In this kingdom by the sea)
That the wind came out of the cloud, chilling
And killing my Annabel Lee.

But our love it was stronger by far than the love
Of those who were older than we –
Of many far wiser than we
And neither the angels in Heaven above
Nor the demons down under the sea
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee: –

For the moon never beams without bringing me
Dreams of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise but I see the
bright Eyes of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling, my darling, my life and my bride
In her sepulchre there by the sea –
In her tomb by the side of the sea.

June is the most traditional of the months to wed, or at least used to be. For Rhoada and me it is June 28th, 46 years in the past. Another strong tradition, just past, is Memorial Day, a key time to kindle memories of loved ones departed. I have faith that many, many cemeteries were visited during Memorial Day weekend, and our times were spent coming, and at the gravesites, and leaving those places recalling our lives and loves as we lived them together. Names. That is what we recall, and memories about the lives lived by those and by us together. Some memories are richer and some, deprived of special memories in time-worn brains, feel the comfort of the living, gathered round them. The summer blooms in floral and other excitement as we celebrate local events and the national holiday, Independence Day. July is also the birth month for our grandson who will be six on the third. I hope you are ready for some fun and recognition of the United States as the oldest Democracy. Join me here for the awareness these events, local and national, bring to us.