Friday, January 22, 2010
Having extracted all that I could from my mother of local news, I turned this week to the old homestead newspaper.
I have been urging Mater, since shortly after I learned to read, to refrain from buying its dreadfulness. I happen to know she still procures it from time to time, but the transactions take place only when Mater is safely garbed in dark glasses and discreet, mute-coloured clothing, and that she makes her purchase at sunset when there are less likely to be witnesses.
Given the limited resources for local stories, however, I still could not stop myself from having a rummage on the internet for odds and ends from that particular institution.
"Did you know," I said to Mater, "that there were recent plans to sell the Stone?"
The Stone is a monument to my home city- historical and vital and immensely valuable, the latter of which becomes noteworthy at a time when cities are running out of funds.
"It's true. The local government supposedly considered selling it to a casino in an American city. Atlantic City, they say here."
Mater expressed surprise, much as I had done. Mater wanted to know where Atlantic City was, and I replied that it was on the East Coast. Atlantic City got several mentions throughout the article.
"Read on, MacDuff," said Mater.
Then I hit an obstacle, as I knew I would. I stumbled over the segment where one of the local politicians assured the people of the city that the sale was not going to happen, was nothing more than a nonsensical rumour- and the newspaper reiterated the point by stating firmly and for the general relief of all its dear, patient readers, that the Stone would not be sent off to Las Vegas.
"Wait a minute," said Mater. Mater has strolled, wide-eyed and beaming, around Las Vegas; has had merry times with loose change at slot machines in Las Vegas; has posed for photographs in Las Vegas, grinning, with an arm around wax replicas of her favourite celebrities: as a consequence, Mater knows where Las Vegas is.
"I know," I said. "I know."
There was a bit of a rustle and commotion from Mater's end just then- that was probably the moment she locked the headscarf, sunglasses and trench coat into a deep drawer, and melted the key in the roaring coal fire.
Stone Mad! runs the title of the article. I do believe it is the first thing those fellows ever printed that I am inclined to agree with.
Posted by Phyllis Hunt McGowan at 5:38 PM