Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Marking The Occasion

My parents have been back home for exactly two weeks, and they have settled back into routine.

All the junk they bought in Portugal and arranged to have shipped home has arrived.

I can understand the purchase of Portuguese tile, and I can understand the purchase of ginginha, but I cannot understand or explain the purchase of Portuguese marzipan—and I think my parents have now arrived at the same conclusion, too.

The Portuguese marzipan certainly looks nice—it is bright and colorful, even artistic, and definitely resembles real fruit—but, since no one in my family likes marzipan, buying marzipan was sort of like buying wax fruit. What was the point?

Everyone at home tried a taste of the Portuguese marzipan, and apparently everyone’s curiosity was satisfied with a single swallow—except for my nephew, who spit his out. I hope Joshua and I will not be expected to come to the rescue when we go home, and assume responsibility for consuming the rest of the marzipan!

While my parents were away, the dog stayed with my older brother and his family. The dog was completely happy, and so was my nephew.

The dog is taking more of an interest in the baby now. He left her alone the first three months or so—he must have understood, instinctively, how fragile she was—but now he pays attention to her. He keeps his eyes on her. If she appears to need something, he will look at my sister-in-law and bark—but he will only bark once. In this situation, his bark becomes a short, quick bark, as if he is alerting my sister-in-law that the baby needs her attention without himself contributing any more noise than necessary to the alert.

He watches while the baby is being fed, but he does not attempt to interfere. This is pretty remarkable, because his normal practice is to insist upon food if he observes anyone else eating. Somehow he understands that the rules are different for the baby, and he has adjusted his behavior accordingly.

Several times a day, he goes to whomever is holding her, and sticks his nose against her leg. Sometimes he licks her leg. I think this signifies that he views her as part of his family.

While the dog was staying with my brother and his family, my brother had to stop the cuckoo clock. The cuckoo drove the dog crazy. He barked while it cuckooed, and for an additional two minutes after it stopped. Either there was something about the sound of the cuckoo that bothered him or he must have believed that some intruder had encroached upon his territory. Whatever the root of the problem, the cuckoo mechanism unquestionably disturbed him, and my brother stopped the clock. There was no point in getting the dog riled at thirty-minute intervals.

Everyone at home had a nice Easter Sunday. My mother prepared a major Easter dinner, as she always does, and I am sorry that Josh and I missed it.

For only the third time in my life, I was not home for Easter. In 2002, I was in Vienna at Easter. Last year, Josh and I were in Oklahoma at Easter.

Josh and I did nothing on Easter Sunday—well, we DID bake a ham—and I regret that.

We did not even attend Easter Sunday Service.

We have never been able to find a church in Boston that we like. The establishment Protestant churches here are all too weird—they are political organizations more than religious organizations—and months ago we stopped trying to find a church suitable for civilized worship.

Instead of attending Easter Sunday Service, Josh and I listened to a Mozart Mass and a Haydn Mass.

That was how we chose to mark the occasion.

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