Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The great influences...

When I was a kid we'd visit my Grandma every year in Baltimore, Maryland. My Grandma was a real lady of class, but also a grade A spitfire. I'd like to think that I'd get along well with Twain if I ever met him, but I know he'd have a ball with my Grandma. She could easily be a character out of one of his stories.

My Grandma's home reflected her spirit with a grace I've never seen in any other abode. Antiques, works of art, and all arranged perfectly. The last time I ever visited her while she was alive I actually had the sense to photograph every room. Had I a better camera at the time I would have taken more.

Growing up one of my favorite rooms was the study, which had the most comfortable yellow couch, and a magnificent bookcase. I never paid much mind to any of the books except for one. Only seeing the spine, "The Complete Mark Twain" was my favorite tome, the only one with a picture.

One day I ceased enough gall to actually remove the book from the case, to which I was astonished to find the illustration even larger printed on the cover. I quickly put it back, it was too much of a good thing. In hindsight of everything, I've always had subtle introductions to Twain that warmed me to him even before I read anything of his. This book was one of them.

When I inherited the volume I sought to read the whole book. I opened it up and it snapped in half.

That's life.

It seems to me now too great a coincidence that Kurt Vonnegut wrote the introduction.

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