Sisyphean is a strong adjective. Poor old Sisyphus was punished for his earthly antics, after all, with “an eternity of hopeless struggle.” So, I confess I use the word for affect, though I will recount a couple tasks of my summer characterized by thankless repetition.
The first is loading a rental truck with my worldly possessions, stored in four different locations in Columbia SC. Despite our valiant attempts to sequence the stops efficiently and organize the cargo, my helper and I unloaded and reloaded several times before the final latch of the back door and heading to my new home in Comer GA, exhausted–and delighted to have a crew of friends there to unload in short order!
My inventory of Sunday by Sunday was part of that cargo. I wonder how many times I have handled those books. A ridiculous number, shifting them from printer’s warehouse to post office to event to storage, turn around and do it again for over a decade. However, thanks to Albert Camus and Keelay Gipson, I apply the quotation “imagine Sisyphus happy” to say that every time I heft these boxes, my primary emotion is deep satisfaction at my publishing accomplishment.*
Now to the fabulous. Despite more packing-loading-unloading-unpacking, I gloried in assisting my daughter’s family in their transition from Columbia to Chicago. Hanging out with two kooky grandboys while their parents started new jobs had a special edge because we were in the same neighborhood where I lived 48 years ago! I loved Hyde Park then and delighted in it again (except for that $60 parking ticket…). The other daughter and her two guys came to enjoy the wonders of the city, and then on to the FFR/Fossum Family Reunion, another treat.
And then there was Norge—a visit to the land of my forebears, Norway. My sister wanted a traveling companion to go to the wedding of her foreign exchange student of a couple years ago. I was pleased to oblige. The wedding was fun, and a bigger adventure was tracking down ancestral information in Kragero, from whence our forebears, Halvor and Katherine Fossum, emigrated in 1865. Two magical moments: discovering the place where our great-great-grandparents lived and a rainy day in the cemetery where they were probably laid to rest.
In Kragero I purchased a T-shirt reading Make Kragero Greit Again. How would you react to that? My interpretation is that we ought to live in a way to make all countries, all places great/greit. I hope my T-shirt will encourage civil discourse here in Madison County, Georgia where 77% of us voted Republican in the 2016 presidential election. My passion for such dialogue only increases with age. But there are times when that goal seems mucho Sisyphean. . .
*Now giving away the trilogy in its handsome deluxe gift box. eMail me if you’re interested. (Sorry if you paid $50 for it back in the day—but thanks!)