Thursday, February 12, 2009
Whenever I think of Abraham Lincoln, I think of this quote from Sarah Vowell's book The Partly Cloudy Patriot:
"How many of us drew [Lincoln's] beard in crayon? We built models of his boyhood cabin with Elmer's glue and toothpicks. We memorized the Gettysburg Address, reciting its ten sentences in stovepipe hats stapled out of black construction paper. The teachers taught us to like Washington and to respect Jefferson. But Lincoln - him they taught us to love."
The weekend that the WW II memorial opened, we went to see it and then strolled down the Mall to see Abe. I had been to D.C. several times, but hadn't visited the Lincoln Memorial since my first visit in 1984. It is so, so powerful to walk up those steps and crane your neck up at him sitting there. If our country has a secular saint, surely it's Abe Lincoln. What a gift he gave us, with his work and his words.
I get the impression that kids don't memorize poems, scriptures or famous speeches any more, which is a real shame, because some of Lincoln's beautiful phrases float around in my mind and give me as much pleasure as the bits of Shakespeare and Bible verses that float around in there, too.
"With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right..."--that's a favorite. Also "the better angels of our nature" from his first inaugural speech.
There have been some really great books about Lincoln in the past few years, and one I recommend is Lincoln's Melancholy by Joshua Wolf Shenk. I haven't very often been as low in my life as he was in his, but I was inspired to read about the coping skills he developed and the way he was able to work through the sorrow and depression that plagued him. What a tremendous man he was.
Everything went fine at the dentist; I had an awesome hygienist who really took her time with me. And the Valium was a BIG help.
Good news: the crown I thought was cracked is perfectly fine. Bad news: I have two other teeth that are cracked and that will need crowns. No root canals, just crowns. But that doesn't have to happen for another three months, so I'm not worrying about that right now. Much.
My teeth are cracking because I clench and grind my teeth, esp. at night, so getting a nightguard is in the future, too. I think I may pick up a cheap one at the drugstore and see how I do with it before I have to shell out big bucks for a fitted one.
Thanks for the good thoughts (and Cheryl, thanks for driving me there and back so I didn't kill anybody under the influence!) It sucks to be afraid, but I think this good visit will help me not feel quite so anxious the next time. I hope so!
Once the Valium wears off, it's time to get some stuff done around this place! Oh, and that paint I bought yesterday? Yeah, that was totally the wrong color. *forehead slap*