Friday, April 06, 2007

Joseph, Most Chaste Spouse Of Mary

Where I grew up, almost all the kitchens had a poster or painting of the Last Supper by the dinner table. One of the more unusual renderings was in black velvet which I would run my fingers along when no one was looking, all those apostles glowing in the dark. My parents didn't have one so I thought this a tremendously exotic touch to any dining room decor. When we were little girls, my friend Angela Dawn and I used to walk around her parents' trailer park after playing a few rounds of croquet with the tiny plastic set her father had put up, talking about what our houses would look like when we got older. We both agreed that we'd have The Last Supper in our kitchen. We both agreed that we would not live in a trailer. And that we could eat jello and jello only for dinner if we liked because in our first grade lingo, it had, like, no calories or fat. Years later, we'd trade tips on how to throw away our dinner food while our parents weren't looking -- alas, our eating disordered tendencies started early! Then we'd have a contest on who could read faster -- Angela was athletic as a colt, eerily smart and stunningly beautiful, but I always won the reading contests. It was nice to have one talent.
Years passed, and I moved away to college. She had a nervous breakdown and had to come home. She married early, and my then-beloved and I visited her and her husband in their trailer, the trailer she swore she would never have. I looked around at the hideous orange shag carpet that she was swearing she'd replace and saw what she had done to make things nice. I smiled -- there was The Last Supper! I'd forgotten about our promise. Her husband chewed his tobacco and spit it into a cup while watching wrestling on television. His name was Joseph, and although he seemed like a Joe or Joey, nobody called him anything but the most chaste spouse of Mary's name. I felt as if I'd slipped into a bizarre funhouse mirror of our childhood dream. For dinner, she served baked chicken and instant mashed potatoes, but only played with her food as she'd done for as long as I'd known her. Then she produced dessert -- grape jello. It's all I eat, she told me. It keeps the weight down. It was the middle of summer, but she presented me the most perfect Halloween gift I had received up until then -- a hand-poured luminous jack-o-lantern candle that glowed from the inside. I knew you'd love it, she said. And I did. We lit it up and watched the shadows dance all over the small space, all over the faces of the men who were sharing one last meal with Jesus who would save them, the seeds of betrayal already in the picture.
Michelle's Spell of the Day
"Disease is one of our languages." Susanna Kaysen
Cocktail Hour
Drinking music suggestion: Under the Covers Dwight Yoakum
Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Good Friday!
Two more days until The Sopranos airs!


Herman Northrop Frye said...

I'd like to write a paper comparing Jesus with Antigone. For some strange reason the deaths of these two seem similar to me. They were both very holy people.

Charlton Heston said...

Let us remember the seriousness and earth-shattering impact of this day in history. Amen.

Jesus said...

Eli, Eli, lama sabachtahni?

Charles Gramlich said...

I remember those last supper paintings, although I never saw one in velvet. I remember two other pictures I saw often too, Jesus with his heart showing outside his robes, and a picture of Mary praying. I think I have a copy of the Jesus picture around here somewhere.

paul said...


JR's Thumbprints said...

Great visual, Michelle. I could feel the sorrow in that trailer, and I most certainly can relate to all those big dreams that never materialized.

the walking man said...

So have we decided if it was Mary Magdelin sitting next to her old man in those last supper paintings?

I never got why they called this good Friday when a man was murdered by the religious zealots of his time...shouldn't it be just for arguments sake bad Friday and Good Sunday?

The whole point was the return to an eternal life for a mortal man and it just seems that the Friday scenario,was rather the evil part of the contest between God and Satan and the day that Satan thought he had won by killing off the Jewish promised messiah so why is it good Friday?

Trailer park dreams are good when one is young or old, but at least Angela Dawn had her jello and Da Vinci copy in place, sometimes the reality of another's situation is their comfort too whether they admit it or realize it or not.

But if you want to see a very strange picture of the European model of Jesus drive out to the catholic church in Fowlerville and in the vestry before you enter the sanctuary check out the blue eyed weeping Jesus as he holds an aborted fetus in his white hands.

It is the shortest sentence in the christian text "Jesus wept." this was when he learned that the head of John the baptist, had been delivered for an incestuous lap dance to Herod, was also murdered.

Strange breed christians have become over the millenia, strange indeed.

Have peace though, on your holiday, meditate on the resurrection, lose your own personal fear of death because if God can raise one man from mortality He can do it for all men which was his final victory over the battle with Satan.

and be grateful that i didn't publish my Happy Fucking Easter piece in place of todays sermon.



Steve Malley said...

Wow, you're really a fine writer.

Cheri said...

My mother married a man that she swore she never would. "I'll never marry a bald guy," she used to tell herself.

Lo and behold, 26 years later, guess who is bald as an eagle, with a hairy back and farts a lot? My father. But they love each other, thank God.

Dan said...

Wow! I missed so many of your wonderful posts. So for now I'm just looking at the photos. I love this one. Great lighting and you look incredibly fetching. :)

Happy Easter Michelle!

Quinta said...

Good words.