Wednesday, October 16, 2002

October 16, 2002: Around 1976, I met Katherine Anne Porter. Someone asked me about that today, and I guess I might as well set my memories down somewhere. The college where I was teaching (Howard Payne University) invited her to come for a symposium and her birthday. She was born in Indian Creek Texas, which no longer really exists but which was near Brownwood, where I was teaching. Porter was around 80 at the time. When I was introduced to her in a motel room as "Dr. Crider," she said, "Oh, Dr. Crider, the pains start right at my wrist and go all the way up my arm!" I explained I wasn't that kind of doctor. Later, my wife and I sat next to her at the big birthday banquet in her honor. She wore a white wedding dress that she'd bought in Mexico when she lived there back in the '20s or '30s, and she also wore a huge emerald brooch, which my wife noticed right away. When she asked about it, Porter said that she made a bundle from Ship of Fools and "Some people buy boats. I bought emeralds." That made perfect sense to my wife. Porter had been to Texas since WWII, so she went with several faculty members (not me, unfortunately) to the cemetery where her parents were buried and had a picnic. Later two of the faculty members visted her in Maryland. We'd heard a rumor that she'd bought a wooden casket in Mexico and that she kept it in her house. I told one of the women to find out. So when Porter was asleep, they snooped in the closest. Sure enough, they found the casket, covered with a sheet. They threw back the sheet and took a picture, which I kept in the lit. book I taught from. I guess it's still there, but the book's in storage. She was invited to appear on stage for the graduation exercises and assumed that she was to hand out the diplomas. She got tired about halfway through and had to sit down, but about half the graduates got their diplomas from her instead of the president. All in all, it was an interesting weekend.

Tuesday, October 15, 2002

October 15, 2002: You'd think I'd do better on this thing. I can't seem to get things down every day as I'd like to.

I'm interested in the sniper situation in the D.C. area. George Bush finally mentioned the sniper yesterday after only two weeks. I guess the NRA told him it would be OK. What he said was this: "Any time anybody is randomly shooting, randomly killing, randomly taking life, it's cold-blooded murder." You can't tell me this guy's not a genius!

You have to wonder a couple of things at least: why does the sniper take the weekends off? Is he a football fan? And will he shoot someone today? This is pretty damned scary.