Let us thank God for having given us such ancestors; and let each successive generation thank him, not less fervently, for being one step further from them in the march of ages.
Main Street, Nathaniel Hawthorne
My ancestors–at least a good three quarters of them–were Puritans of the worst kind, the sort who banished Christmas as a too-pagan celebration and flogged Quakers for failing to conform to the Puritan program. They were made of stern stuff, those Puritans, weathering harsh New England winters and carving a civilization out of the wilderness by brute (and brutal) force. They were also the source of our obsession with work, if we take Max Weber at his word–dauntless and intrepid labor is its own reward.
I like to think I’ve travelled a long way from those ancestors some three and half centuries past, that I’m thoroughly post-modern and totally hip. But a big snow like we had last week gets my Puritan blood thumping; getting to work, normally a thankless task that I dread, becomes an adventure, a proof of my ability to stand up to adversity. And probably, in some deep Puritan corner of my heart, a guarantee that I am, despite all evidence to the contrary, among the Elect–for surely God guided my car through the snow drifts.
Jack and Peter are not yet driven to be intrepid. They were excited by the snow, and wanted a snowman, but thought that maybe it would be OK if they watched out the window while Dad made a snowman. Of course, I dragged them out into the blizzard so they could work on the snowman, and they had a good time, but I don’t think they saw the challenge in it. But then, their Puritan blood is diluted by sensible Irishness that knows that when it snows you stay inside.
The Million Writers Notable Stories have been announced by storySouth! My story Self Defense, published in Pindeldyboz, made the list, as did many fabulous stories from around the web. Set aside some time to sample the stories on the list; you won’t be disappointed.
The Top 10 will be posted on April 1.
This picture is available as a notecard at Zazzle.