Monday, January 02, 2006

Howard Delivers Nuns Through Desert

Howard didn't come home for Christmas. He's still playing the missionary and leading tours. He wrote me another long letter, but at least it gives me some more details. Sounds like he's still having character conflicts with those around him, although him and Amman seem to have been getting along. See for yourself.

Dear Sir Hawthorne Rufus Ignatius Spencer Barrett!

My Christmas wishes, that all is well at the humble abode. I hope all the trees were tingling, and the fires blazing, and the children singing, and all the rats dancing like the dickens!

I simply write, because I was sitting on Seamus (photograph enclosed) the other day, with all our pack: tins, blankets, our tent, and the blowing of the dessert sands, when a peculiar thought struck me, as if it were randomly picked out of the memory bin, like some lottery ball, or beamed to me from outer space.

Amman was looking off into the beyond beyonds. We had stopped for his meditations, and also mine. The changing and evasive landscape, along with other factors that I will delineate in the next few paragraphs, triggered a vision of some warfare way back when. A part of me, (I cannot be completely certain which part) re-experienced the perceived need for haste, as an onslaught of pounding artillery at my defenses shattered through my cranium. Images of Rommel trying to capture Tobruk in ‘41 and ’42 rattled through my skull. I could hear the screaming and smell the ashes rising up from vainglorious terror. People were shooting back and forth. Then my nerves calmed somewhat, and I re-experienced other features of so-called ‘camaraderie’: getting to know the Aussies, writing silly things on the backs of our helmets, and buying each other prostitutes when we overtook old towns. Time passed in little flashes.

Of course these are not my personal memories, but the memories that were passed down to me, through my blood. Perhaps it is natural that the tectonic plates were communicating with my charkas on that particular day in that particular astrological alignment with the stars, but I quite got away with myself. Waywords have a very paternal transmission of memory, as if the gamete from one He-Wayword passes directly into another, at the point of conception. My father and I have discussed this on several occasions, bringing in all kinds of speculations like my mother’s diet, the humidity of the air at certain points, and other items of concern. It just so happens, that every once in awhile, my father and I cross wires, as it were, and I get a taste of what he is thinking. If you go to Northern England and search places where you are told you aren’t to go, you’ll find the old town sign of Wayword Ville, abandoned a long time even before my father’s time, though he has since gone back. There are trees growing up where there used to be libraries, and a wishing well where nobody goes. There my father rests his ragged bones and collects the pieces of his past.

As it came about, some communication was made, and instead of being mounted on a living breathing camel, in some form or another, I suddenly felt I was actually sitting in a fort built of sandbags, fighting the panzers of the Afrika Korps. Rommel and his rotters were up to no good. His supply trucks drove by blazing with fire, and people lost their wits expecting rocket attacks. I saw the pitiful sight of grown men making pissing their pants, shouting orders and charging to certain death, trying to outsmart the enemy. At another instant of psychic time, I felt movement in my lips, and found myself to be singing the old tune my father had sung to me as a wee babe:

“Hitler only has one ball,
Goering has two but very small;
Himmler is very sim’lar,
And Goebbels has no balls at all.”

As the story goes, the Fuehrer had had a questionable experience during the First World War at the Somme, when he suffered a bullet wound to his crotchial region, and it is questionable whether his left testicle ever survived the incident. (Those who saw with their naked eye, and performed Hitler’s physical, or exhumed him for an autopsy, whatever reports they wrote, know the truth, which is now long buried in graves). Regardless of your historical preoccupations with the subject, musically, this song put me to sleep like magic. The Waywords know a trick or two!

Although it is not our usual business, much before I was struck with the inter-generational vision, Amman and I had become acquainted with some nuns in Algeria. They were a joyful bunch, although most interruptive and intolerant when it came to Amman’s Islamism and my very own personal faith. I wondered what they were doing in the dessert at all to be quite frank, for they didn’t seem accustomed to it. They would try to question my directions, and whenever I proposed an option for them out of the kindness of my heart, they would deflect the opportunity to make a simple decision and ask me: “What would Jesus do?” To this question, I could never be absolutely sure. It is one thing to speculate what the son of God thinks, but to try to tell a Christian who believes that Jesus is the Messiah what the Jew thought and have it sit well in their mind, is very complicated. There are a lot of built up expectations. I did not want to enter into a debate that would have taken hours to settle. They should know that only God knows these things, and while old Howard may be somewhat of a hero, he is no Zeus.

To make a lengthy story brief, we agreed to escort them over to Ajdubiya, but on the sole condition that we would not have any martyrdom, any gratuitous praise, dissonant hymn-signing, complaining or over-abstaining. I also demanded appropriate pay for my services. They agreed and said they were on their way to some Godly mission, so I didn’t trouble them overly, but oh how they liked to dilly-dally!

In the social pleasantries and elongated greetings that decorated the premature phase of our interaction, I forgot to send a communiqué to abruptly cut the lines of the Waywordian connection for a temporary sabbatical. You must remember that I was supposedly responsible for these agents of heaven as a Howardianist, so were they truly a compliant unit, we would have been fine, but they were not. As a victim of their expostulation, I tried yet to be professional, and devote the greater part of my attention to the camels, and indirectly, them. Though, it was difficult with so many incoming messages to answer their every plea. I figured that they should be regarded as clients/tourists as part of my professional function, that being the president of Waywordian Travel. Therefore, it went against business ethics and my very own Howardian sense to treat them any different than any other clients, merely because they were nuns. Of course I did not want to bring any disfavor about myself in His divine mind, but it did not seem inappropriate to be performing astral projections in their presence, and so I cannot confess to committing a sin that would warrant their obnoxious behavior! Everything was “Howard you must” this and “Howard you must” that. I couldn’t have a moment of peace! The only way to do so, was to go out of my proper body, and into the body of my father, who fought in the war. It was like God and the devil fighting over my very soul! Once I had managed to escape, and was in the altered state, apparently the nuns were quite upset at not being able to reach me. (Serves them right!)

To give things a bit more of an explanation, and to put in a good word for my defense, before the aforementioned transportation, my robe was muddied from a small oasis that Amman and I had happened to come across, so the provocation was quite physiological, and therefore not completely avoidable nor under my direct mental control. I admit I became distracted. My muddiness sparked a dreadful sensation of the way your feet would feel, were they to be slapped with a bout of infections that make your toes rotty. I thought about gangrene and the smell of bodies. Nasty stuff!

While I was reviewing this military history in my mind, Amman and the nuns became engaged in some discussion about cleanliness vs. uncleanliness, and they both had quite different opinions on the subject. I suppose I was not the enthusiast they were expecting in their discussion because I wanted nothing to do with it. To tell you about the song, it came from my father who was an English man, employed in the service of his country, fighting in the desert with the Australians. He picked up the song from soldiers in Italy. I wanted to be away from the presence of women, marching to my own pace, in sync with the soldiers steps of the past, as they went on to fight the Nazi’s, so I started to sing the tune again, blocking out the sound of their voices.

I cannot go into too much detail about the entire trip from Benghazi to Dahrna, but because they disapproved of the so called “vulgar” nature of my singing, they wouldn’t obey my instructions, or help with the tins when we stopped for dinner. I explained that the conditions that we agreed on for the trip were to limit their singing, not mine. They complained of unfairness and of having to give my camels a rest from their fat arses, and having to share the load of their travel with “heathens” such as Amman and I. This came as a shock to me, to think of the irony of their logic: that a Howardian wasn’t already saved! What started as a simple contract had quickly turned into a ‘situation’ and they gave Amman a rough time about his grooming habits. I made it known that Amman was THE man of this land. He seemed a little surprised of my endorsement, yet I continued: “Do you know what city lays to your East you hags? It is the holy land of Jordan! A name may mean very little to you, but that capital city’s name would be meaningless without it being the same as his! Amman knows every crevice of this desert, every grain! If you make one more disreputable murmur from your mouths, that will be it!” By ‘it,’ I think they understood my meaning, for at this statement, their eyes all became very bulgy. They became very unpleasant, and upset by my Howardian constitution. They made protests of disbelief against me, saying I was tarnishing relations and other such ridiculous accusations. I was merely setting down some ground rules! The holy ladies rebelliously sat themselves in the sand and refused to continue on their mission, which I thought was only to shoot themselves in the foot, and disappoint God. However, and this is sincerely lucky for them, because I am kind, and innovative, and compromising, I made a special proposal to them, that if they would like to entreat the Lord for a 150mile conveyor belt, or a Volkswagen with sand tires, or perhaps a jet to save us all the curse of having to endure each others company, then I would promptly resign, and hand them over to Him immediately. However, I also informed them that unless they would like to start their mission early, finding their own rock to turn into water, and parting seas with their bare hands, they should obediently shut up and come along.

We went along for awhile and it was glorious how they didn’t speak, but they seemed downtrodden and sad, so I told them I would allow one hymn to be sung. I felt a moment of compassion for them as the eyes of one of the younger nuns lit up with excitement and she said “God bless you Howard! Your soul is not completely lost!” And so they all sang together:

“Pilgrim, burdened with thy sin,

Come the way to Zion’s gate:
There, till mercy lets thee in,
Knock, and weep, and watch, and wait.
Knock—He knows the sinner’s cry;
Weep—He loves the mourner’s tears;
Watch, for saving grace is nigh;
Wait, till heavenly light appears.”

Their voices were terrible, but their effort was immense. I asked them who wrote the words to the song, and they showed me in their hymnals, that it was a certain George Crabbe. He sounded like a crab to me. Like a crab, burdened with a heavy shell, but I hoped he was right about the grace being nigh. I wanted to impart a sense of goodwill to the ladies, and so I proved to them that I wasn’t entirely unversed in their manifesto, and that I did identify proper values when I saw them. So that they should see the error of their ways, and repent for themselves (all of them except for the pretty one that blessed me already), I reinforced part of their gospel to them and told them:

“Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else” Ephesians 4:32

In this way, I lead by example, showing that I repaid their wretchedness with goodness. I also gave them a reward for their coming about -a little bit of honey that I had stashed away. Each nun got one lick.

The conclusion to this story is not a lesson to disprove the effectiveness of God, or to say anything about nuns in general, or necessarily to be a lesson in hymnology, but rather to show that my loyalty to myself and confidence in Amman and our shared leadership, eventually helped these God-seeking women to find their way. It also taught them something, which is that Christians, good or bad, will not get their way by acting like a pack of whining beasts. I suppose I learned something too in that my experience was a verification of another good verse which states “you shall attract more by honey than by vinegar.” My honey proved effective, especially in keeping them quiet until they could be ditched. My father taught me persistence, and it must have been forwarded to my main processing unit at precisely the right time. So neither Rommel nor these nuns would overtake or rule Howard! Whether it was the divine manifestation of Islamic, Howardistic or Christian powers, or a combination thereof, I believe that God’s work was achieved by us surviving, and putting aside our differences, until we arrived safely in Tobruk.

The reward in the afterlife, as it were, was getting rid of those wretched nuns!

So sir, remember to be persistent when you are forced into a situation you’d rather not be in. Do not give up, and if it is possible, transport your soul to another time or space to save yourself from the present. The present can be dreary but some of us have the ability to live outside of it. Use that ability! Gravity will always pull you back, but in the meantime there is bliss waiting at the window in your mind.

Take care my friends, and may you be well in 2006!

In good faith,
Howard Wayword

Filed under Howard Wayword


Blogger transience said...

i really wish i got more letters like these. i could paint a canvas with those sentences, speckled with words that tumblejumble among themselves.

1:19 a.m.  
Blogger Cocaine Jesus said...

Wayward Ville indeed!!
Blimey these 'letters' are bloody good. You should create another site just for them. Kind of like my Fekenham thing.

Also reminds me (christ knows why) of a Vivian Stanshall story. The way he write in an almost mid30's to 40's English Raj kinda way.

Very good mate. Very good indeed.

9:31 a.m.  
Blogger BarbaraFromCalifornia said...

What powerful, intense letters.

Thank you for posting them.

Hope you have a very healthy and happy new year.

3:08 p.m.  
Blogger finnegan said...

Man I'm getting a dose of terrific verification words of late, but this vw here takes the grande prize to date. You can save the screen shot to your desk top and enlarge it there.

The letters are reminders of long ago love letters slaved over in a cursive hand. I am glad those days are over, but thankful that I've still got the responses on paper.

6:57 a.m.  
Blogger ~Lil Nance ;> said...

Thanx for stopping by my blog!! Hope 2006 is good to ya!!

2:06 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

howie has really turned out to be quite the inspiration and quite entertaining as well.

glad you are in he real?????? hmmmmm...i ponder.

now then....happy new year Barrett! sorry I haven't been around, I had a bug to kill. peace to you and your family, and can't wait to MEET YOU IN PERSON's the new year afterall! :)

9:17 p.m.  
Blogger sirbarrett said...

transience -It's good you still get letters at all with email these days. Howard is ONLY person I know who still write them. It's funny the way he writes because he gets so caught up in details sometimes that it'll take awhile for him to spit it out, but then if you pressure him, it takes even longer. He actually speaks like that too!

cocaine jesus -You make a good suggestion. When I look back at my blogs, Howard and I had written some together, then there are those things that he's done that I report about, and now I'm just copying his letters. I tried scanning one but it was too hard to read, so I'm stuck doing it this way. You're right though, maybe I should transfer them over to another site because I'm not the author, but yet I have some sort of attachment to them. Maybe I'm afraid to start a new site at the moment. For now, you can access all of Howard's things in my side-bar under 'Howard.' I'll have to check out Stanshall. I hadn't heard of her. Thanks mate.

barbarafromcalifornia -Thank you. That means a lot coming from you. I hope this year is good to you too. We could all use more health and happiness.

finnegan -word verification likes you. I hope you keep those letters forever. When I read old letters of people I'll never see again, it makes me so sad, but then I'm happy to have them at the same time because without them I might not believe any of it was real. I suppose paper is a substitute for physical presence.

nancy -I'll either make 2006 good or die trying. You haven't seen the last of me!

mitzee -yeah, I think Howard is really self-actualizing out there in the desert in his own way. When I told him to go to Timbuktu, I didn't mean it literally, but he's the type of guy to enjoy being far away where no one can confirm whether he's real or not. He likes being a mysterious character. It makes me wonder what it's like for him when he's meditating. I bet he disappears within himself. Happy New Year!

11:39 p.m.  
Blogger Javier said...

Thanks for sharing your letter!

5:35 a.m.  
Blogger shyloh said...

WOW that was very interesting. I so enjoyed that.

Hope you are doing well dear.

8:23 a.m.  
Blogger salis said...

i have a camel for sale- just had it's knees replaced.

9:13 a.m.  

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