The Clothes of my Youth

As a teen and young woman in her 20s, I used to absolutely live in Sarah Clothes. The latter was a store in Ottawa – in the Glebe, the ‘hood of my youth – where I used to shop when I first began to spend my meager babysitting earnings. I adored the styles on offer there – one part hippy, one part Victorian, one part British colonial India. I still remember a perfect quilted Sarah Clothes jacket I owned. It was in lovely shades of blue with a floral print and I wore it with jeans or dresses or skirts (Sarah’s made the most divinely perfect crinkly cotton skirts). The clothes were such excellent quality, as well – I shopped there in the ’80s, primarily, and I was still wearing a couple of their blouses in the mid-aughts. Seriously! I just loved that store. I applied for a job there once and they did not hire me. Sigh.  A disappointment to my 18-year-old self.

For some reason I’ve been thinking about Sarah Clothes and I did a search on the internets, which turned up this link, as well as a link to the website of Sarah’s talented daughter, Andree.

Ah, nostalgia.

Seven Stanzas at Easter

Really lovely – and yes, late for Easter – by John Updike.

Seven Stanzas at Easter

Make no mistake: if He rose at all
it was as His body;
if the cells’ dissolution did not reverse, the molecules
reknit, the amino acids rekindle,
the Church will fall.

It was not as the flowers,
each soft Spring recurrent;
it was not as His Spirit in the mouths and fuddled
eyes of the eleven apostles;
it was as His flesh: ours.

The same hinged thumbs and toes,
the same valved heart
that-pierced-died, withered, paused, and then
regathered out of enduring Might
new strength to enclose.

Let us not mock God with metaphor,
analogy, sidestepping, transcendence;
making of the event a parable, a sign painted in the
faded credulity of earlier ages:
let us walk through the door.

The stone is rolled back, not papier-mâché,
not a stone in a story,
but the vast rock of materiality that in the slow
grinding of time will eclipse for each of us
the wide light of day.

And if we will have an angel at the tomb,
make it a real angel,
weighty with Max Planck’s quanta, vivid with hair,
opaque in the dawn light, robed in real linen
spun on a definite loom.

Let us not seek to make it less monstrous,
for our own convenience, our own sense of beauty,
lest, awakened in one unthinkable hour, we are
embarrassed by the miracle,
and crushed by remonstrance.

George Washington’s Code of Civility

Washington copied out these 110 rules of civility as a schoolboy and while they are based — it would seem — on a 16th-century set of precepts, they are almost all (with some updating, naturally) applicable today. Don’t kill vermin, fleas or lice in front of people (I might even say “do not kill vermin”); do not express joy before a sick person (tacky!); be not tedious in discourse (yikes! Most of us should stop speaking then). And so on.

There is even one about eye-rolling (don’t do it), making one wonder if teenaged girls have always been as snarly and disrespectful. And what am I saying, “teenaged girls”? Heck, my parents used to roll their eyes at me, pretty much whenever I spoke.

The Suicide of the West

This week marks the 71st anniversary of Israeli independence and so, predictably, Hamas has to try to ruin the party. What was also predictable, sadly, was the reaction of so many in the West. Melanie Phillips has written a long blog post about it. Choice quote:

The Jews are often referred to as “the canaries in the mine.” With Western civilization in existential free-fall, the symbiotically linked contagions of Israel-bashing and antisemitism are both the cause and effect of this crisis.

Subscribing to the Arabs’ murderous falsehoods about Israel has destroyed the West’s moral compass – leaving it open to the murderous falsehoods about the people who gave it that moral compass in the first place and further blinding it to the forces threatening its own continued survival.

Read the whole thing here.