Syrian Memory #1
While I am on vacation in Cape Cod and Kill Devil Hills, I have pre-loaded some thematic sentences for your reading pleasure . . . some of you might remember the long winded e-mail updates I sent out each week while Catherine and I were teaching in Syria; I have decided to revisit these in order to find the best moments and condense them into single sentences . . . so here is Syrian Memory #1: just after we arrived, my wife and I took public transportation to the ancient Christian village of Maalula, where the houses are nestled in the high desert mountains and painted a pleasant blue and where the people still speak the language of Christ, Aramaic-- and though I helped unload the vegetables from the van we did not receive a discount on our fare; we hiked above the town to visit the main attraction: the Shrine of St. Tekla-- here, supposedly, a woman converted to Christianity just before she was to be wed to a pagan man and she was flogged for this heresy, and then she fled and, miraculously, a beautiful gorge opened in the rocks to facilitate her escape and there is now a monastery at the foot of this gorge and inside the monastery are the typical relics and pictures and also a fountain where water drips into a basin and this water is supposed to relieve flatulence, and oddly, Catherine (who is never flatulent) drank from this fountain, but I did not . . . and in retrospect, this was my greatest regret from all our overseas adventures, that I didn't drink from that fountain, because sometimes, especially when I mix beer and ice cream, I wish I drank from that fountain.