Bougainville on the Indians of the East

Louis Antoine de Bougainville

I see no difference in the dress, ornaments, dances, and songs of the various western nations. They go naked, excepting a strip of cloth passed through a belt, and paint themselves black, red, blue, and other colors. Their heads are shaved and adorned with bunches of feathers, and they wear rings of brass wire in their ears. They wear beaver-skin blankets, and carry lances, bows and arrows, and quivers made of the skins of beasts. For the rest they are straight, well made, and generally very tall. Their religion is brute paganism. I will say it once for all, one must be the slave of these savages, listen to them day and night, in council and in private, whenever the fancy takes them, or whenever a dream, a fit of the vapors, or their perpetual craving for brandy, gets possession of them; besides which they are always wanting something for their equipment, arms or toilet, and the general of the army must give written orders for the smallest trifle,—an eternal, wearisome detail, of which one has no idea in Europe.—Louis Antoine de Bougainville as quoted in Francis Parkman’s Montcalm and Wolfe


The Life of the Party

No, I was not the life of the party

Last night, Martine and I attended the wedding of my best friend’s second son, Eric. The ceremony and reception were held at the Heritage Museum of Orange County in Santa Ana, about 45 miles south of where we live.

Since Eric is more than a generation removed from us, it was interesting to see the differences between a social event for the young compared to old poops such as myself. To begin with, once the DJ cranked up the music, my communication skills were all but shut down. Although we were seated at a table full of people we knew and liked, I was unable to hear anything.

And insofar as dancing went, I have never had the skill the move in time with music—ever since I was banned from the folk dancing class at the First Hungarian Reformed Church in Cleveland back in 1950 for accidentally stomping on the feet of my dance partners. And, dear readers, I have not improved since then.

So, far from being the life of the party, I felt as if I were immured in a carbon prison like Han Solo in Star Wars III: Return of the Jedi. What made it worthwhile was being with old friends, not to mention honoring the wedding of someone I have liked since he was an infant. I find, after the wedding, that he is even more of an upstanding person than I had thought.

I wish him well as he treads the dangerous paths of this life.Fortunately, he has a killer sense of humor that I think will carry him and his young wife through in style.

Photo Credit: No, this was not taken at the wedding. It is an ad from a website called People Skills Decoded which offers to teach you how to be the life of the party. I suppose they could do that if they replaced my hearing and subtracted a few decades from my age.