Sunday, November 21, 2004

West With the Night

I used to clean house for a woman who had once been very poor. Then she married a man with a lot of money, and frugality went out the window. She spent lavishly and wastefully and frequently discarded expensive clothing and books (which I fished out of the trash -- I inherited a Dumpster diving gene from my father), among them Beryl Markham’s memoir West With the Night. As Ernest Hemingway is quoted on the jacket notes “it is really a bloody wonderful book.” But beyond admiring the writing is my admiration of her bravery. She became a pilot and had many adventures flying mail, passengers, and supplies all over Africa. She was the first person to fly across the Atlantic from East to West. I admire brave women. I admire JF, my cousin’s SO, who flew from Hawaii to New York to pick up the bright pink Corvette she purchased over the Internet, embarked from there on a road trip to visit relatives and friends and have some repairs made (cheaper here than in Hawaii), and then meandered West through the Rockies on her way to the West Coast. She drove 7,000 miles by herself before she finally arrived at San Diego to put the car on the barge for its trip across the water. Hats off to her and others who aren’t afraid to take chances.

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