Friday, May 25, 2012

Precious Ramotswe

Precious Ramotswe, the creation of Alexander McCall Smith, is one of my favorite fictional characters. She's right up there with Patrick O'Brian's Jack Aubrey, E.F. Benson's Lucia and Dostoyevsky's Myshkin.

The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection is the latest in McCall Smith's series which began with The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency. In Mma Ramotswe's Botswana, nobody dies; they instead may become late. An orphan farm figures prominently in the stories, but the thing which has created so many African orphans is never named. Instead, we hear how house mothers try to take care of all these children of late parents and how Precious steps in to solve the mystery of a board member who wants to replace the households with a dormitory to save money...and get a kickback from the contractor.

The books are full of quiet courtesies, kindness, good versus evil, sanity and wisdom.

Preparing to go out into the bush in search of the orphan farm matron who, despairing, has gone back to her lands after being fired by the crooked board member, Precious tries to reassure her husband, Mr. J. L. B. Matekoni, that she will be fine despite the dangers of driving her ancient little van to the edge of the Kalahari desert.

"I have known many cars that have died out in the bush," Mr. J. L. B. Matekoni says. "And that has meant a very long walk for their drivers."

"That is a risk we shall take," Precious replies. "It is the same with people. People can become late at any time--just like that. But that does not mean that we should not do anything and not go anywhere just because there is a possibility that we may suddenly become late."

Thursday, May 10, 2012

What I Did for Love

 May 10, 2012: Got up at 4:45 A.M. after cat reached Stage Four annoyance level (walking on glasses). Groggy, lost balance but caught self on ikon, of all things. Ikon did not pull off the wall. Good. Fed cat. Went back to bed.
            Got up for real. Straightened ikon. Made bed. Went to computer to check on baby falcons atop the PGE building in San Francisco. (The two males, Perry and Sutro, have fledged, but the girls, Amelia and Electra, are still in the nest on the 33rd floor.)
            Began looking for “What I Did for Love” for the Chorale.
            After searching in the studio, opened heavy oak library ladder and climbed up to put sleeping bags and pillows back in the eaves (Our last house guest left a month ago.) Put away ladder, replaced music stand, stand light, boxes, etc.
            Sneezing from studio dust. Took antihistamine.
            Watered the yard with hand-held hose. (The yard is a quarter-acre.) Tried to think of other places that sheet music might be.
            Answered e-mail.
            Moved couch to get at music books behind couch. Lifted couch to replace wheel which came off. Moved more furniture and searched old files and four more bookshelves for “What I Did for Love.” I guess I lent my Broadway Music book to somebody and never got it back. Looked in car trunk. Found AP Music Theory book which had been there five years, but no “What I Did for Love.”
            Ordered “What I Did for Love” on line.
            Checked falcons. Girls still afraid to fly.
            Answered e-mail.
            Washed dishes (by hand).
            Ate breakfast.
            Watered house plants.

            Resolutions:  Make donation to the falcon rescue people. Throw out five thousand pages of photocopied music which I never play and can’t find anyway.