Monday, June 16, 2008

Crying with the Chestertonians

I got this message from Dave Zach this am, and I cried when I read it. Because I was cursed and was not present except for my mind, heart and soul, which constantly flew to the conference, and wanted so badly to be there.

And now I raise my glass with you, and expecially to all you, who like me, longed to be there but couldn't:
The Toast to the American Chesterton Society

Dale asked me last night to give this toast, which sort of threw me into a slight panic because it takes me a lot of time to wrestle words to the ground so they'll do what I say. Probably the best proof of that is the fact that my favorite comments after my talk came from two of the Chesterteens (Katie and Sarah, actually) who quite excitedly came up after the talk, holding out their notebooks and said, "You can hear your semi-colons!" "You can hear your punctuation!"

And, I guess you can because I wrestle with the punctuation marks too. [The following bit did not happen, but after chatting with Eleanor Bourg Donlon, who has the same sort of love of language, I should have then and there toasted semi-colons and then toasted giggling teens who actually can spot a semi-colon from thirty paces. I regret this error.]

But I accepted the challenge, gave it a try and here it is:

First of all, I want to share with you one of my favorite drinking toasts:

We are all mortal until our first kiss and our second glass of wine. Eduardo Galeano said that.

And then I found this one this afternoon:

In Vino Veritas
In Cervesio Felicitas

(In Wine there is Wisdom
In Beer there is Joy.)

And this is my favorite romantic toast.

Won't you come into the garden?
I want my roses to see you.

Richard Brinsley Lord Sheridan said that one.

Of course, that's not really a romantic toast but it is a charming thing to say and and it is a romantic thing to say and one of the most important lessons we learned this weekend is that we must defend romance.

On Wednesday night we had a small dinner for the speakers and the Alhquist family. At the end of the dinner we all did toasts. As I was near the end of the line, I kept mine short. I've always loved the St. Cripins's Day speech from Shakespeare's Henry V, so I toasted, "We few, we happy few . . . "

And now, with apologies to Will Shakespeare, Joseph Pearce and, well, everyone one else in the room and, well, everyone else outside of the room,

We few, we happy few, we band of brothers & sisters & Sisters & Fathers,

For those today that have paid attention with Ross, committed suicide with Sean, went mad with Tom, did not go mad with James, were delighted by the romantic Father Dwight, were Shaken (and stirred) by Joseph, enchanted by our lovely Elfin Jen, hit the road with William, found sense & sensibility, but no pride or prejudice with Sara, united for the Trinity with Scott, laughed with Dale, laughed at Dale, and shed their tears with Geir,

They shall be our friends; be they Catholic or Protestant, or anyone else simply trying to find their way home,

These days here have gentled our condition;
And gentlefolk around the world now-sitting before a dull TV
Shall think themselves accurs'd they were not here, and will hold cheap
their cell phones & laptops & teenaged major appliances
while Any speaks to tell the tale that they fought for
the permanent things with us upon St. Gilbert’s Day.

Ladies and Gentlemen, please raise your glass and toast the American Chesterton Society.
Thank you, Dave, from the bottom of my heart.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Join our FaceBook fan page today!