I don’t know how many craters the Moon has, but, thanks to Jules Verne, I do know that the best place to fly to the Moon from is Florida.
I was 12 when I read title? It was such an incredible novel, especially for a kid whose primary interests were game consoles and the girl who lived next door.
I always enjoyed reading, but some books affected me more than others. I never searched for a ring to destroy after I read Lord of the Rings, but I did get my first tattoo after I read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I had to save money for 2 weeks to afford it.
But my favorite book and the one that had the greatest affect on me, also gave me the chance to discover my family motto. It was The Sands of Sakkara, by Glenn Meade. It was about how the German S.S. planned to kill President Roosevelt during WWII.
Without going into all the details about the blood, the bombings, and the death, it was a story about two friends, one German and the other American, who had been friends before the war. At the end of the book, the boyhood friends had to fight one another- something each had always feared. But the German said he had to do this because “Duty” was his family’s motto and duty was more meaningful than anything else. I don’t know why, but this chapter made a huge impression on me.
This sort of thing – a family motto, legacy or royal lineage- is probably important for everyone.
The night I finished this book, we had a lovely dinner in the larger room of our little home. In front of the old soccer highlights program on television, my father ate his favorite meal – lentil soup.
There was also white kidney bean stew, which is a traditional dinner in my family. Of course it was served with rice. And red onions. Beans, white rice, and red onions: a feast for poor people.
At the end of dinner, I talked about the book as a way of adding some limited intellectual experience to our lives, because I knew my father liked stories about war and honor. I wondered if maybe we had a family motto as well. After my brother talked about some of his marital problems, I asked my father:
“Dad, do we have a family motto?” He finished his soup and cleaned his mouth gently with a napkin. Then he moved closer to me, as if he wanted to emphasize what he was about to say. “Yes, of course we do. It’s ‘get fucked’” he answered.
This was 2 years ago. I haven’t seen him for almost as long. When I was a child, my father took me on to his lap for the last time. Neither of us knew then that it would be the last time and neither of us remembers exactly when it was. Unfortunately, one day we will see each other once more, and it will be for the last time. And it’s likely we won’t know then that it will be the last the last time either. Until then, I am going to hold on to my hope that I will be able to change my family motto. At least from “Get Fucked” to “Make Love” and maybe find some balance.
2018 New York
Author: Ahmet Bhattacharji Avsar