Monday, December 23, 2019

Three Beautiful Things 12/22/19: Marinating, Tales at the Prichard Tavern, The Queen's Constant Dilemma

1. First thing this morning I combined the hundreds of ingredients needed to make the marinade for the Pernil Assado (pork roast) I am contributing to our Christmas Eve dinner at Carol and Paul's. Even though nothing was cooking today, the house was filled with garlic-y, vinegar-y smells that I enjoyed very much, quickening my desire to get this meat in the Dutch oven and on the stove for its three and half hours or so of slow cooking on Monday.

2. Ed called and offered to drive up the river. It's common for eagles, many of whom are feasting on spawning salmon on the east end of Lake CdA right now, to also make their way up the river and feed about fifteen miles or so and beyond up from Kingston.

We didn't see any eagles. We'll probably try again in January. But, we did go to the Prichard Tavern for a superb hour or so. When we arrived, two other people were in the bar. A fire popped in the fireplace. We each ordered a bottle of beer and soaked in the ambiance of this legendary tavern. I admired how spiffy the owners keep it and loved how cold my bottle of Miller Genuine Draft was. Before long, the kind, hoarse-voiced woman, a little older than us, tending the bar got to talking with Ed about old-timers in the North Idaho logging world both of them have known. Some have died. Some are struggling with their health. Others are doing all right. But, however they are doing now, they left behind a ton of stories and Ed and our kindly bartender had an invigorating time swapping tales and touchingly remembering these loggers they both knew.

3. I finished the first season of The Crown tonight. The last two episodes continued to mine the very painful challenges Queen Elizabeth faces and feels as she experiences, more and more, that being England's Queen means living a life divided between being human, being a woman, being a loving sister, wife, mother, daughter, and friend and being a symbol, an impersonal embodiment of tradition and ritual as she upholds the dignity of her office and feels the constant weight, the burden of what her duties as Queen and Head of the Church of England demand of her. Those close to the Queen also feel the pain of this division, as well as the confusion, as they experience Queen Elizabeth II alternately, on the one hand, as a vulnerable human and, on the other, as what her office calls her to be, an (apparently) impervious Queen.

My favorite scene in Season 1 didn't involve the Queen. One of the subplots of Episode 9 involves PM Winston Churchill turning 80. An artist is commissioned to paint his portrait. And he does. After the painting's unveiling, the artist, Graham Sutherland, and Churchill have a heated exchange about the merits of the portrait. Sutherland and Churchill argue about the purpose of art and of portraiture and it was, for me, a gripping five or so minutes of profound discussion about the role of the artist and of arts in human life. 

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