Five - Letter from Amy to James
It was great to hear from you even though your letter wasn't
addressed to me. Pedro has taken his little nieces and my sister and
gone traveling for a few weeks. Since they will be down in the area
of your tour, I thought I'd open your letter in case it contained
specifics that he might need if he were to come see one of your
shows. I will read your letter to him over the phone the next time
So I am here alone and working. An informed person such as
yourself should be aware that the church did recently change its
position on masturbation, (previously a catholic girl would be
directed to exercise or pray, or maybe talk with her priest - if her
husband was off somewhere with her sister). Its ok now, but that most
explicitly does not mean that if one did it before the change in the
rules that it was ok. Your letter also reminded me that I have
friends that I went to church with in college who are now (openly,
aware?) gay, and they have a little problem with knowing what to do with
the church too.
As you are no doubt aware, organized religion is mostly about
power and has been for some time. (that's why I think they didn't get
"Last Temptation") The catholic church is probably in the
worst position because it has the most centralized power system,
with a system that allows 70 year old Italian men who entered the
priesthood when they were 18 to make all the rules. It helps to
remember that they say hate the sin, love the sinner. The churches
have all sinned, and most people I know that are able to attend a
church, practice a little private civil disobedience - for example
the Jews that eat their pork hot dogs on matzo during fasts.
I'm now of the opinion that the real reasons behind most
religious laws were civil - will a man provide for a child that
isn't his and how is that enforced? Eating pigs made people sick -
don't do it. And as I'm sure you are aware, the Jews have incredibly complex rules about sex and
ritual cleaning after bleeding or birth as far as returning to your
husbands bed as well as how often a husband should sleep with his wife
depending on his job. (Luckily we're not Jewish and Pedro has no
job). Not to mention the orthodox women shaving their heads back in
the feudal times in Europe. None of this affects me particularly but it
is the kind of thing I've been thinking about. And my friend Percy
from work used to be Jewish so we talk about it some.
I'm reminded that one native American
chief was given the choice of being forced to
either convert to Christianity so he could go to heaven or die being
burned at the stake. He chose to die explaining that he didn't want to go
to heaven because it would be full of Christians and why would he want to
spend eternity with them. I really respect him for that and hope he
got the last laugh.
The resettling of native Americans,
as you are probably aware was
purely economic - why waste all this great land on them?? (because
cities were so much more pleasant and healthier??!!) It occurs to me
that powerful people
have always claimed god's will as an excuse, and less powerful
people (like Pedro) have always nodded their heads and gone ahead
and done what ever they wanted anyway.
Most royal families have said that their right to rule comes
from God, this is true in Japan and China and South American
countries before they were found by the Europeans. And the masses have gone along when they felt like it, have
rebelled completely, or have done their own thing quietly. I don't
see many catholic families with 6 kids anymore. And then there are
those who don't go to church ever and still turn their backs on
family members who are gay, who hate people because of their skin
color, and think women should shut up and get back in the kitchen.
So I don't think what religion you are has anything to do with how
good a person you can be so some of them do seem to limit your
I think Jesus was a good guy who really only had 2 rules, and was
killed for them. He is probably appalled at the things that are
being done and said in his name.
And don't give me the argument that
the whole religion is a bust because some of their writings and
teachings over the years have been publically debunked. Most cultures have their own adam and eve or creation myth,
created their own gods and rituals. They had pictures and names for
the constellations and the faces in the moon, and turned to their
leaders to give them a story that gave the world meaning. (Most of
them were probably bed time stories, or songs made up to get women
to sleep with them). Religions started as a way to enforce and
explain the rules - to protect the weak - women, children, the old.
But now (and always) the people in charge of the rules have been
hearing them and repeating them for so long they're afraid that if
that admit that some of them are wrong no one will accept any of
them - if its ok to be gay is it ok to kill thy neighbor's wife's coveter? Ridiculous, yes. But
the audience that wants to believe it and follow these rules is huge.
And they will pay cold hard cash to hear that message. The groups that broke off from
big churches and looked for tolerance became intolerant themselves.
That reminds me. Here is Pedro's latest letter from Puerto Rico.
To set the cast of characters the little A's are my nieces Audrey
(A1) and Amber (A2) and Cecilia is my sister (although not the A's
We finally made it although it was not
smooth sailing from the get go. The little As thought that trying to
get to the airport by 7:30 would be awful, so we all spent the night
before the trip in an airport hotel which was a bit complicated
since the A's suddenly wanted their mom right around lights out and we all sort of had to huddle in
one large bed until they finally knocked off. We got up in the
morning somehow and got to the airport and were able to check in without
incident. All items made it through security except for a small replica
Bowie knife that Cecilia forgot she had in her purse and A2, who
skipped through the metal detector on her first pass and set it off
but, finally, after re-screening and a stern lecture, we were
allowed to move on. The As proceeded to their gate and promptly made
friends with two little boys also on their way to San Juan.
Take off was delayed twice - first due
to ice preventing the plane from leaving the gate, and again when
the captain needed to request additional information from the tower.
These delays made A2 rather crabby and a great deal of whining
occurred until takeoff. Everyone’s patience was rewarded with her
2 hour nap. A1 and A2 then read, colored, and neatly ate their airplane
food for the remainder of the flight.
The duo of As arrived safely at their
hotel where they enjoyed both pool and beach. Cecilia and I could
mostly see them from our seats at Z Bar and Cecelia hired a local
boy to shadow them around the grounds and keep them safe.
The little As loved Old San Juan, so
much so that they went twice. They caught the Cantalina Ferry to the
old city. On the first day in the old city they hiked up to Fuerte
San Felipe del Morro and climbed up and down and all around the old
fort. After not eating lunch and a brief stop at Catedral de San
Juan they went to Museo del Nino. The museo had fun hands-on
exhibits and the staff was very friendly and helpful, which was
important because all the signs were in Spanish. The big hit was
Parque de las Palomas. Las palomas would eat out of your hand if you
stayed still, and had no fear of los ninos. A2 tasted paloma food
but did not care for it. On day two they took a ride on the trolley
around the city, wandered through San Cristobal, and went back to
las Palomas. El Yunque was too far a drive for this trip.
During their stay in Puerto Rico the As
sampled and rejected fried plantains, sweet plantains, stuffed plantains, and
plantain chips, and were not very adventurous in tasting other local
fare. Their favorite local delicacy was coconut ice purchased from
street vendors and the various colored sodas you can get on nearly
We will be heading up to the Florida
Keys next and will let you know when we get there. Cecilia says hi
and to let you know that she has no prospects for a husband yet so
she's still playing make believe family to see if she likes it.
So now you know as much as I do. Hopefully he will call here and
I can tell him how to get in touch with you so they can make it to
one of your shows. After all these years we've still never seen you
perform (unless you count that streaking incident in college).
Take it easy