A few years back, I either read something in the New Yorker or some how stumbled across the story of Tobias Schneebaum. Maybe it was an NPR story. I don't know. I checked his "Keep the River on Your Right" out of the library. And while I was enjoying it, I don' t believe that I ever finished it.
I'd forgotten all about it when Tivo picked up a movie called, "Keep the River on Your Right." And sure enough, it was a documentary on Schneebaum going back to Peru, where he had basically left our society and joined up with a tribe of natives as an "anthropologist" 40 years ago. I put antropologist in quotes because he caught a lot of flack from the scientific communicty because he participated in life with the tribe. He had sexual relationships with members and partook in cannibalism in one instance.
The movie is really worth a rental. It's an amazing story. He's an amazing man. I'm sad to see that he died about a year and a half ago. He was in his mid-eighties.
Oh, and to top all of this off? He was a known painter and gay Jew who lived in Manhattan. It's a trip. Inspires me to engage more deeply in life.
So, I just went to Half.com and bought his book, "Keep the River on Your Right". And then I had to buy a bit more. Cause books are so damn cheap on Half.com. I broke down and bought Annie Leibovitz's new book for $45. I'm dying to see it. I also added another Rumer Godden book to my collection. And, my beloved Joan Didion, Play It As It Lays.
I snagged my mom's copy of The Jungle over Christmas. I'm 3/4 f the way through it. I believe I was in high school or even junior high when I read it last. Heartbreaking stuff. It made a big impression on me the first time I read it, even more so now that I live in Chicago and I am an adult. Should be required reading for all Americans.
I knitted my sister a tea cozy for Christmas. It turned out to be quite delightful. It had an eight ball motif. I finished it using a crochet stitch and wove in all my ends. With each stitch I knitted, I tried to feel my love for her despite all of the anger and resentment that I have held towards her over the past year.
You see, my sister, who is an odd duck, and oftentimes lives in her own little world ignoring the rest of us, skipped my sons bris when he was born last January. That after I explained the month before how important it was that we were all there. And she did not call to tell me that she was't coming. She just didn't show up. She didn't call after I had my emergency C-section. She didn't send flowers or a gift or an email. My mom brougt flowers and had signed my sister's name. Every gift that was supposed to be from my sister was signed in my mom's handwriting.
This is so hurtful to me. It breaks my heart. And I am so angry.
When C was two months old, she called out of nowhere to tell me that she had a new job possibility. And was all chipper and proud and acted as if nothing had happened. She still hadn't acknowledged my son's birth in any way. And I was cordial and wished her well. And then she had the nerve to ask what was wrong. And I unloaded.
How dare you not show up for your nephew's bris. How dare you not call to ask me how I was even once dring the entire pregnancy. And you have the nerve to call me and act like life is fine and you're just checking in?
Two words: Fuck You.
I tried to take the high road after I unloaded. I sent her flowers congratulating her on her opportunity. Nothing. Sent pictures of the baby. Nothing. She did not come to the shower my aunt threw for C and I last April. And skipped out on every family get together since. She had only met my son once when he went to stay w/ my mom and dad for a few days while B and I were off on business.
They were "sick" for Thanksgiving. But, did show up for Christmas. And it was awkward. And it was weird. But I tried to play it straight. To be kind. And give her a gift that I made with my own two hands, stitch by stitch. Each stitch containing my own prayer of love and forgiveness and struggle to accept her as she is.
Not much progress was made. But at least we were in the same room. And were civil. And she giggled at my silly, lovely baby.
Hanukkah was better than Christmas, thank god. I love the festival of lights. I love the Menorrah. I love the food. And the gathering of our friends. I love the blackberry pearl my hub bought me. I love the Hanukkah prayer and the story of cleaning the temple and only having enough oil for one day, however, it lasted for eigt.
Miracles come in all shapes and forms. If only I can conjure one in my heart to accept my sister as she is and to let go of what I think I need from her.