Aug 26, 2003

Warm Ginger Beer for the Cold Soul

Bizarre title today, I know. Hopefully it'll fit the topic. "Ginger beer," for those of you who don't know, is British for Ginger Ale, kind of like Foster's is Australian for beer. The phrase ginger beer has long held a special place in my heart (and now, after emptying a bottle of Canada Dry, takes up pretty much all my stomach), because of a children's book my mom read to me, I don't know the title, but it was written by a lady named E. Nesbit.
I will try to recreate it for you: there are several English school children on a hot sunny day, arriving in town to meet their parnets after a morning of running around the countryside. They're waiting at a bench, sweltering in the heat, in one of those hazy states where one can only think of the temperature and how to to cool down. After a period of silence, one of them comes up with a brilliant hypothesis: when dogs are hot, they stick their tongues out and pant, and that dogs always seem to be contented by doing this on a hot day. Therefore it must work the same way for humans. So they stick their tongues out and pant. This only produces bad results: they offend all the passersby, who do not understand that they are merely trying to cool off, and the sun dries their tongues and parches their throats.
The writer wrote this involvingly, as is evidenced by my remembering it out of all the books my mom read to me, and I was feeling about the same as those school children. So when one of them suggest buying some ginger beer, it sounded absolutely perfect, not only to them but to me. Now, as I drink my Canada Dry, I'm really drinking ginger beer with those English kids, getting refreshed in preparation for some more adventures.
But I didn't start a blog to talk about soda, I will move on to Today:
I'm about to go watch Clue, so I don't have much time. My thought, and it's a pleasant one today, is about relationship with God. It's triggered by watching the Liz Taylor-Richard Burton version of Taming of the Shrew, specifically the speech at the end about the role of husband and wife. You probably know the story: a man, Petruchio, sets out to marry and, once he's accomplished that, to tame Katerina, a bitter, angry and fiercely independent woman. To make a long story short, Petruchio succeeds. Towards the end of the play, Petruchio's returning to Katerina's hometown, where she is still famed for being a shrew. Petruchio's sitting at the table with a bunch of other guys who have been mocking him and cracking jokes about his wife. Confident in Katerina's obedience, he sets a wager of 100 crowns for whoever's wife comes the quickest. Two of the guys accept: Hortensio, husband of a rich older lady and Lucentio, a man who married for passionate love. Hortensio calls, and his wife sends back word that if he wants to talk to her, he better come to her. Lucentio calls, confident in his love's devotion, but receives word from her that she is busy talking to the other ladies and will come later. Then, Petruchio summons, and Katerina comes immediately, pulling the rebellious wives with her. She then launches into a speech, rejoicing in service to her husband. Here's my favorite excerpt:
Thy husband is thy lord, thy life, thy keeper,
Thy head, thy sovereign; one that cares for thee,
And for thy maintenance commits his body
To painful labour both by sea and land,
To watch the night in storms, the day in cold,
Whilst thou liest warm at home, secure and safe;
And craves no other tribute at thy hands
But love, fair looks and true obedience;
Too little payment for so great a debt.
Such duty as the subject owes the prince
Even such a woman oweth to her husband;

I bet that makes the NOW ladies happy. I'm guessing they would have two major objections: men are unreliable, and women should be able to be completely indepedent and do all the things that men unjustly have a copyright on. I'll talk to you NOW ladies later, but for now (har har) I'm thinking about how perfect a picture of service this is. In the movie, you see Katerina, who's been raging the whole movie, turn that energy into heartfelt devotion to Petruchio. Then you see the pleasure this brings to Petruchio. I don't know when exactly it hit me, but I got to thinking about that in the context of God and man (or humanity for all you NOW ladies), and it felt right. Think of God as Petruchio, Katerina as man-and-womankind. That speech coming out of my mouth directed at God. The love that was in Katerina's eyes when she gives this speech is just the kind of love God asks of us I think. Loving service.
I'll let you and me stew on that until the next post, should be in at most a few days, when I'll go into more detail. The whole play is really good for that kind of analogy. Also next post will include some of my venting about Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, which, you might say, irritated me a mite. Just a snapshot of my feelings: arrrrrrrgggghhhhhhh, a preachy movie with no real morality to preach about, ggrrrrrr arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.
Also in the future is the God: He Brews A Better Cup.

He is good, God bless you,
Sam L.

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