Wednesday, October 08, 2008

May Day, or Whatchamacallit




Calling from Brooklyn, a dear old friend of mine said to me last night, "This [referring to the financial mess] could make the Depression look like the Feast of San Gennaro." I laughed robustly because it was such a great line -- which we both hope turns out not to be prophetic. Speaking of feasts, it's more like May Day! May Day! Well, October 4 was (and still is) the Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi. He's an apt model: a spoiled rich kid who gave it all away and devoted his life to God and others. And found joy in poverty. Picture a hot shot on Wall Street or Hollywood celeb who discovers the emptiness of it all. Something like that. He may be remembered most as a kind of Dr. Dolittle, but the statue of him in your garden stands for so much more. In my teens I thoroughly enjoyed the novelization of his life by Nikos Kazantzakis. Don't you just love that name? I do. Incidentally, the epitaph on his tombstone reads: "I hope for nothing. I fear nothing. I am free."

2 comments:

heartinsanfrancisco said...

One of my all-time favorite books is "Zorba the Greek" by Kazantzakis in which the main character describes his life as "Marriage. Children. The full catastrophe." The movie with Anthony Quinn was wonderful, too.

And St. Francis of Assisi was like the Buddha, both pretty excellent dudes.

Your friend's remark about the Depression and the San Gennaro Festival is brilliant.

Pawlie Kokonuts said...

Hearts,
Yes, that quote is on the superb soundtrack of the superb movie rendition. In Report to Greco or Zorba, Kazantzakis also said, "Life's a squall; it blows over" or words to that effect.
PK