Israel's gift was a small slab of silver with a rendering of the city of Ashdod etched into it. Because of its placement on the shelf and the mirrored surface thereof, it was easy to see MADE IN ITALY at the base. That seemed ... sad? funny? Well, odd at best. Oh. I suppose it could have seemed cooperative, couldn't it?
Nearby, in that short hallway leading to the smokers' exit, was a replica of the cathedral at Oviedo, a gift from Spain too big for the display case -- too big for the hallway, too. It was six or seven feet tall, its spire cramped against the ceiling. The whole thing was crowded in that spot. The plaque describing it was mounted on a stubby post, which I had to bend over to read, yet which came up to the third floor of the cathedral.
Well, maybe Ovideo had a dozen of these impressive buildings cast in bronze and keeps them in a (big) back closet until they sister up with another city. I just googled it because I really couldn't remember if it was a cathedral or a castle, and I was taking notes with my Swiss Army Pen (a photo of which is displayed here, not for the first time, but I'm sick of not having photos on my blog), on the back of a business card that was already full of notes. It turns out that one of the relics at the cathedral (not castle) is the sudarium, the cloth used to cover and clean the face of Jesus after the crucifixion, not to be confused with the Shroud of Turin.
I wonder how many people even look at that Sister Cities display. Thousands of people walk, rush, struggle through that airport every day, but checking out the miniature paintings from France in the display case probably isn't on their itinerary.
Harmony Pharmacy had a kiosk at the airport. For $35 you could get a flu shot. I can't imagine a less medical setting than an airport, unless it's a Walgreens drug store, where you can also get a flu shot. Yes: You can get one. I'm not going to.
In other news, it's Columbus Day, and for a change, Monday falls on the twelfth. Remember when Columbus Day was a nice day? Years ago, I bought A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn. I just didn't have the heart to read it, though. Look at this, an online excerpt taken from the book at http://www.historyisaweapon.com/:
Then, on October 12, a sailor called Rodrigo saw the early morning moon shining on white sands, and cried out. It was an island in the Bahamas, the Caribbean sea. The first man to sight land was supposed to get a yearly pension of 10,000 maravedis for life, but Rodrigo never got it. Columbus claimed he had seen a light the evening before. He got the reward.
And that little injustice didn't even involve blood.
It pleases me, in a gloomy sort of way, to think that things were good -- or at least better -- in The Olden Days, whether I mean cave days or Mom's time, and that things are just getting worse. I watched Impromptu again Saturday night, the movie about Frederic Chopin and George Sand. There was a little dope-smokin' goin' on, and a fellow viewer exclaimed, "They had that back then?"
Maybe each generation thinks it invented all the vices. Maybe it takes a perverse pleasure in Being Bad, like rival high schools bragging about how awful the food is in the cafeteria. Or maybe things -- that is, people -- have stayed pretty much the same.
After the movie, my friend said she wished she'd lived in times like the movie, with the balls and the gowns and the tea in the garden. Yes. Except that she'd have been the servant sewing those gowns, working sixteen hours a day, six days a week. And she sure wouldn't have gotten Columbus Day off!