Socrates is Suzanne’s Uncle

Good morning, this is Your Morning Briefing, February, 1, 2012.

January left us yesterday with a good feeling. High of 50 degrees in Bismarck, with the same forecast for today. People’s attitudes reflect the totally out of the ordinary winter we’ve had so far this year. Usually at this point, people are sullen, discontented, angry and in the death grip of the phenomenon known as “cabin fever.” Now, anywhere you go, smiles abound. Only traces of snow in places that the sun doesn’t invade are left to give us a clue as to what season it is. Okay with me.

Back to the dreams I’m supposed to be learning to dance with.

Suzanne began our conversation with, “When you get into them, you will encounter scenes that make you uncomfortable, not unlike the first time you faced your demons, but by embracing them, making them your own, you can use them without fear.

“This whole process will hurt, and there will be times when it hurts really bad,” Suzanne said, “When you begin dancing in earnest, you will come face to face with some unpleasant truths about yourself. I know you will, but I’m not worried about that. I have seen you in the dark times in your life over the years, and know that you dealt with those times then, and you will again… and use them to help you do what you need to do.”

I’m sitting here like a dolt, and wondering what the hell she’s talking about, when she says, ” My uncle said something once, you may be familiar with it, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” You knew that a long time ago, and never knew you knew that without really knowing it.” Why do muses talk like that?

“Wait a minute.” I said, “Do you mean to tell me your uncle was Socrates?”

“He was, and he was one of my favorite uncles,” she said. “He was one of my father’s eight brothers, and was sort of the black sheep of the family, at least until he achieved some notice for his speeches and for poking his finger in the eye of the Athens establishment. He was a philosopher and, as such, never held a regular job.”

I couldn’t help but think, things haven’t changed that much since then.

She went on, “My father offered him a piece of Musings, but he wasn’t interested, so he sort of lived hand to mouth over the years with an occasional fee for speaking to a Rotary Club or Toastmasters. It used to drive his wife crazy with worry. When we were older, he was always saying something we couldn’t understand, and I always wondered when, as he used to say, ‘the only thing he knew was that he knew nothing,’ why it took him so long to explain it. We also wondered how he knew that.” I told her it sounded like somebody I know.

Ignoring me, she continued, “Us kids loved him and used to call him ‘Socky’ when we were real young, and had a lot of fun with him. He had such an imagination and he would entertain us on Sunday afternoons with his jokes and the imaginary journeys he would take us on. We used to look forward to those days. As you know, he met a bad end when he was charged with being a heretic and corrupting the youth with his speech. We all thought the charges were bogus.  It was a sad day for the family, especially when he chose to not escape and drank that rather distasteful hemlock cocktail. He even refused to take any ice with it.”

I just sat back, amazed at what she was telling me and asked her if she was pulling my leg, or  rewriting history.

She just smiled and said, “Bobby, would I pull you leg? And besides, there are things that Wikipedia doesn’t know, and even Google can’t find out.”

She apologized for getting away from the subject, but I hushed her and said, “Sweetheart, you can get away from the subject anytime you want. We have nothing but time, and I have no appointments.”

Take care, be well and keep in touch.



About Bob Kallberg

Retired reporter. Concentrating now on recounting Joanie's 12 year battle with cancer, a battle she waged with extreme courage, determination and an indomitable spirit, that, for me, serves as an example.
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