Sunday, June 20, 2010


So, according to my calendar & all of the dad-related hoohah in the paper, on the radio, greeting card racks, & elsewhere, this warm and steamy Sunday is not set aside for Errol Flynn's 101st birthday or noting that Louis & Antoinette of France tried to escape their pissed off subjects on this day in 1791,( to no avail). A quick scan tells me that the Brits, still in high imperial clover, got themselves a new monarch on this day in 1837: 18-year-old Victoria. Some years earlier, in 1756, furious Bengalis consigned 146 British prisoners to a "black hole" in Calcutta, India. Some say that 123 of the crammed-together captives died most dreadfully, crushed, too hot, no air... Some say, too, that the horrid deal was made up propaganda. Nasty. And Pancho Villa of Mexico was killed today, in 1923. My dad Raymond Harness, would've been 10 days past his 1st birthday, the first of some eighty birthdays. 'What do you want for your birthday?' we'd ask him. "Peace & quiet." I reckon he's got it now. Or not. Getting what he wanted wasn't his custom.
His father, Clarence Lee Harness, might have been home. Or not. He was a restless sort and full of sadness for his lot in life, abandoned by his own dad, Alden Harness. It's said that Clarence (Granpap, to us, a sly old fellow with peppermints in his pockets) would rather have pity than a new hat. Where did his old man get off to? California, maybe.... Alden Senior and his wife Sarah pretty much stayed put in Missouri until their deaths in the summer of 1884. What's left of them rests under a limestone obelisk in a Baptist churchyard outside of Chilhowee, Mo. And the bones of the fathers and the fathers? Beats me. I don't reckon it matters, really, any more than the long-gone queen of England.

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