Something terrible happened in the States.  Lissa M mentioned it this morning.  Everything shut down.  No one went to work.  A chasm opened up and swallowed up Congress and the White House.  Everyone retreated into caves.  The sky grew black.  A volcano 50 times bigger than Pinatubo began to spew fire and smoke.  The freeways died.

In the meantime, self is watching “Castle” dubbed into Tagalog, and it makes no sense.  “Sandali, sandali,” Castle says (A moment, a moment).  “Bakit mo kinuha and kanyang damit?” (Why did you take her clothes?)  The characters are laughing, a joke has just been shared.  But the joke doesn’t work in Tagalog.

Self is more than halfway through Marilynne Robinson’s Home.  She took it with her to Pampanga and got so bored with it, but she couldn’t stop reading as she had not thought to bring any other books along.  But, something remarkable happened:  she found herself sinking into the story.  A very unusual story, about tenderness and love —  between long-estranged siblings.  There is something wonderfully Biblical about the dialogue.  To think this is all taking place in rural Iowa.  A place as strange to self as Bacolod must be to Americans.

This is what self thinks of when she thinks about Iowa:  corn.  Prairie.  Corn.  Prairie.  Maybe a sprinking of cows.  Corn.  Prairie.

The sister in Home is called Glory.  Her aging, truant brother is Jack.  After 20 years, he returns to his father’s farm.  And lo and behold, Glory is there, too, having fled the break-up of an awful relationship.  These characters are hurt in so many ways that their first baby steps toward mutual respect and trust are very tentative and fragile.  They’ve just hosted a dinner for one of their father’s oldest friends, John Ames:

He washed the cucumbers.  “Cucumbers smell like evening,” he said.  “Like chill.  Need any help?  When she said no he went to the piano and sat down and began to play “Softly and Tenderly,” a favorite hymn of his father’s.  He played it softly, and, she thought, very tenderly.  She went into the hallway to listen, and he glanced up at her sidelong, as if there were an understanding between them, but he played on pensively, without a hint of detachment or calculation.  “Come home, come home, ye who are weary, come home.”  The old men fell silent.  “Earnestly, tenderly, Jesus is calling, calling for you and for me.”  Her father sang, Ames with him.  Then “Rock of Ages,” then “The Old Rugged Cross,” and when that song was over, it was night.  It had begun to thunder and rain, one of those storms that come after dark and change the weather.  The old men sat there, silent for a long time.  She brought Ames an umbrella, and after a while she heard him take his leave.  She was afraid the damp might make her father uncomfortable, but he asked her, very kindly, to leave him alone for a little while.

In other news of note today, self:

  • Rode a jeepney.
  • Had a foot massage.
  • Polished off a tall can of Pringles — in one sitting.
  • Watched “The X Factor.”
  • Read The Visayan Daily Star.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

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