Jan. 30, 2008
In the Lobby of the Hotel del Mayo
The girl in the lobby reading a leather-bound book.
The man in the lobby using a broom.
The boy in the lobby watering plants.
The desk clerk looking at his nails. The woman in the lobby writing a letter.
The old man in the lobby sleeping in his chair.
The fan in the lobby revolving slowly overhead.
Another hot Sunday afternoon.
Suddenly, the girl lays her finger between the pages of her book.
The man leans on his broom and looks.
The boy stops in his tracks.
The desk clerk raises his eyes and stares.
The woman quits writing.
The old man stirs and wakes up.
What is it?
Someone is running up from the harbor.
Someone who has the sun behind him.
Someone who is barechested.
Waving his arms.
It's clear something terrible has happened.
The man is running straight for the hotel.
His lips are working themselves into a scream.
Everyone in the lobby will recall their terror.
Everyone will remember this moment for the rest of their lives.
On this day in 1815, President James Madison approved an act of Congress appropriating $23,950 to purchase Thomas Jefferson's library of 6,487 volumes. In 1814, after capturing Washington, D.C., the British burned the U.S. Capitol, destroying the Library of Congress and its 3,000-volume collection.
It's the birthday of poet and novelist Richard Brautigan, (books by this author) born in Tacoma, Washington (1935). He wrote Trout Fishing in America (1967), his best-known work, on a portable typewriter while sitting alongside the many trout streams. He committed suicide in 1984, two years after the publication of his last novel, So The Wind Won't Blow It Away. He was famous for his whimsical, surrealist style. He wrote: "The sun was like a huge 50-cent piece that someone had poured kerosene on and then had lit with a match, and said, 'Here, hold this while I go get a newspaper,' and put the coin in my hand, but never came back."
It's the birthday of historian and author Barbara Tuchman, (books by this author) born in New York City (1912). She wrote The Guns of August (1962), a study of the events that led to the outbreak of World War I. She said, "War is the unfolding of miscalculations."
Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®