A Luminous Halo

"Life is not a series of gig lamps symmetrically arranged; life is a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end." --Virginia Woolf

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Location: Springfield, Massachusetts, United States

Smith ’69, Purdue ’75. Anarchist; agnostic. Writer. Steward of the Pascal Emory house, an 1871 Second-Empire Victorian; of Sylvie, a 1974 Mercedes-Benz 450SL; and of Taz, a purebred Cockador who sets the standard for her breed. Happy enough for the present in Massachusetts, but always looking East.

Saturday, November 25, 2006


She can knit; she can crochet. She can embroider and cross-stitch and quilt. She can sew--not just dresses and suits, but bridal gowns with ten-foot trains, encrusted all over with beads and seed pearls. Plus all the gowns for the bridesmaids, maid of honor, and flower girls. Bathing suits for the kids and tailored suits for her husband.

She can make stained glass--not just suncatchers and little objets d'art like the kaleidescope that sits in my library, but the rose window in her church. She can bead: not just bracelets and necklaces and earrings, but ornate collars of 24-carat-gold seed beads.

She can cook. Not just a mean dinner, but all the food for a wedding party. All the lunches for the kids at the school she helped to found. The daily quota of cinnamon rolls for the coffeehouse/restaurant she owns. She's the woman who says, "If you're going to light the oven to make a pie, you might as well make six."

And this is what she does in her spare time. She has a job, after all.

If she were my older sister, she might get obnoxious about it. But she's my baby sister, so in fact she's real sweet about her accomplishments.

She showed up two days ago, and she's already whipping my house into shape. It looks like the portière might get crossed off the list of resolutions after all. And the sit-down dinner for 30 is not going to be anything to panic about. Leslie is in the house.

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