A cannonball in Vienna
Me: You know what I realized about that musical we saw, Merrily We Roll Along?
Me: It annoyed me that they told the story backwards but I just realized that’s how I…well, people…look at life as adults. Backwards. I’m at an age where everything in my life I look at in reverse.
A decade ago – man, time flies – I told you the story of Tyre, Alexander the Great, and the Elvis Barbershop.
In a nutshell, I’m always interested in how things from the distant past still affect us to this day.
When I was in Vienna, one thing I really wanted to see was St. Stephen’s Cathedral, which broke ground 887 years ago on 1137.
The Firecracker and I visited it early in our trip to Vienna.
If you’ve never thought of Vienna, or know anything about it, you should know that the city changed the course of history in 1663.
See, that year, the Ottoman Turks laid seige to the city in the Battle of Vienna and came pretty close to conquering the city.
If they did, Europe as we know it would probably have been Muslim instead of Christian, meaning the US would have been Muslim as well.
But the Ottman Turks failed in their conquest so Europe remained, for better or worse, Christian.
The crazy thing is that 341 years after that battle, there are still remnants of the siege lodged in the very wall of the cathedral: A Turkish cannonball remains fixed in time and space on the south wall of the building.
I’m always interested in things from our – distant – past that affect our current lives.
As I try to raise this boy, I think back on my own life and childhood and how I felt and thought about things.
I see life so much more through the eyes of my parents, particularly my dad, and I understand him more.
Don’t fully agree with alla the things he did but I get why he did so much of what he did.
This lady named Mignon McLaughlin once said, The past is strapped to our backs. We do not have to see it; we can always feel it.
That’s true. I always feel my parents and my past around in the things I say and do.
The kid doesn’t really understand how much of me was made by them and how much of what he thinks I’m giving him, actually come from them.
Ms. McLaughlin was right about our pasts always being there, but – sometimes, though – we can see it as well as feel it.
Back in 2008, told you that someone said that our kids are our receipts. The proof that we existed.
So, the kid is our receipt.
He’s the cancelled check that says that Alison and I were here, and that we did something good at least once.
Him: What are you thinking about, papa?
Him: (laughing) But I’m right here.
Me: (nodding) So you are…and I’m so happy you are.
Location: all day today, shooting Scenic Fights with the fellas on 18th Street
Music: I’m just gonna keep on dreaming’ of the way it used to be (Spotify)
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