Tuesday, April 26, 2005

The Game of War

Gentle visitors, from where your humble Contributor now sits, he can see, in the distance, the lapping waters of the Ebb and Flow Stream, less than a league from where she empties herself into the Great Shellfish Waters, herself being the drowned valley of the River of Long Reach, which, in turn, finds her source at the Glimmer Glass Lake (in the Land of the Last Mohican) -- where the Diamond Spirits gave the pale-face prophet Abner, the Man of Double Day, the gift of the bat, the base, and the ball -- and her deposit at the Harbor of Mercy.

In the foreground, he sees the battlefield marked with a fearsome perpendicularity and rectangularity -- at its heart, the awful stake. We speak not of the Little Brother of War -- that cross and combative match of the braves. No -- this is an engagement seemingly more gentile but, in truth, more noble and more savage. One finds himself, at once, marvelling at the elegant ettiquette and attire, and shuddering at the blows that would be struck there -- the soundless swing of the mallet before that sickening crack as it meets its mortal mark.

To be sure, it was long favored by the vicious Algonquins, but it quickly spread from the natives to the settlers -- especially upon their tiny, fescue fields beneath the cities -- though certain parsons of that time thought it "a pafftime moft wicket". Therefrom, it grew such that no great one among us has arrived unless he has endured the alternating states of deadness and aliveness and the cruel test of the lawn.

Indeed, to this fine day, were one to board the admirable bark anchored here at dock's end, and sail northward on the Great Shellfish Waters, beyond the Place Where Things Are Brought, all the way to the City of Ann, one might witness the Disciples of St. John and the Men of the Midship at this terrible sport.

We speak, of course, of croquet.


Blogger Gone Away said...

Croquet brings out the worst in anyone, being a game of devious scheming, pitiless manoeuver and sudden strike. It may seem genteel, but the most savage passions lurk just beneath the surface.

A very interesting post. I'll let Ned explain all the place references to me...

4/27/2005 07:37:00 AM  
Anonymous Ned said...

As I remember it, the best thing about croquet is that like a few other sports/games, it supplies you with a weapon. And I like the sounds - striking sounds, good solid sounds.

All those places are in the United States.

4/28/2005 05:44:00 AM  
Blogger Gone Away said...

Now that helps a great deal...

4/28/2005 07:13:00 AM  
Anonymous Ned said...

Hey, no problem.

Did I mention I have a new blog site?
(a little shameless self-promotion)

4/28/2005 08:24:00 AM  
Blogger Remainderman said...


Gone Away is right -- you're slipping on the place-name-identification front. We made these rather easy.

Give us your blog address & maybe we'll come visit.

4/28/2005 11:44:00 AM  
Anonymous Ned said...

Okay, quickly - as I have been the caregiver of a small and ill child all evening -

The Great Shellfish Waters is Chesapeake Bay, the drowned valley of the Susquehanna River (the same one Billy Collins never went fishing in) which finds her source at Otsego Lake (called Glimmer Glass by James Fenimore Cooper) where lies Cooperstown with the baseball diamonds and Abner Doubleday, the alleged but unproven inventor of baseball and we all end up at the Harve de Grace. Basically, New York to Maryland.

Now, the site is easily found by clicking on my name. What I won't do for traffic...

4/28/2005 11:18:00 PM  
Blogger Remainderman said...

The lass gets an "A" -- again. (Though, it may aid certain foreign agents in tracking down this humble person.) Hope your bambino/a recovers soon.

4/29/2005 08:02:00 AM  
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