|Jinny has been very ill and is currently undergoing rehabilitation in a Bangor facility so she will not be writing her article for awhile. She is making excellent progress and hopes to be able to return to writing her column in the near future... Adele.
Have you ever thought about what you would do if you could travel through time? What things would you want to try and change or make happen? My son, Chuck, and I had this very discussion the other night and we mutually agreed that before we could indulge our time travel fantasies, we had to establish some simple rules. We decided that we would have a prime directive, like Star Trek, and stay away from speculating on all really huge, world-altering events. So, no trying to stop that guy whose name no one actually remembers who assassinated the Archduke Ferdinand and started WWI. And no trying to mess with natural disasters, like Mt. Vesuvius, or Krakatoa, or the San Francisco earthquake. We did decide that it was OK to either move the lantern or haul Mrs. Murphy’s cow out of the barn before it could knock the lantern over, thereby preventing the city of Chicago from burning to the ground. On the whole, we decided to limit ourselves to things we thought we could actually change.
Chuck opened his suggestions with a crowd-pleaser. “I would prevent the Titanic from sinking.”
“Oh, really,” I asked. “What are you going to do, stand in the wheelhouse and yell at the guy steering to turn left? No one would listen to you or believe you if you warned them about icebergs. The Titanic was unsinkable, remember? They would just blow you off or send you to the brig” Chuck agreed that this was probably true, since there would be no logical reason why anyone would care what some 14 year old from out of nowhere had to say about icebergs or anything else.
“So much for saving the big boat.” He said with a shrug.
“How about this,” I suggested, “we convince Caesar to stay at home and not go to the Senate on the Ides of March and he doesn’t get poked full of holes by a bunch of slime ball politicians. Of course, we might want to wait until you’ve had at least two years of high school Latin first.” Chuck reminded me that not only did Caesar’s friends and advisors try to keep him at home that day but a blind profit, (one of those guys who is generally ridiculously vague), was unusually clear about suggesting that Caesar “Beware the Ides of March”, none of which stopped him from going anyway. Given that, Chuck was not confident that we could stop him from traipsing off to his death, and couldn’t the death of Caesar kind of be categorized under world-altering events anyway since it was, after all, Rome? I was forced to agree.
“Bad news for old Julius,” I sighed. “Maybe we’re shooting too high. Maybe we should try for something really simple, like introducing tooth floss to ancient Phoenician sailors. Of course, they might use it to sew and repair their sails.”
“Or strangle their enemies,” said Chuck cheerfully. “How about this, we show up in Egypt and convince Napoleon’s artillery not to use the nose of the Great Sphinx for target practice?”
“Right,” I sneered. “We’ll just waltz up to a bunch of battle-hardened veterans of Bonaparte’s rampaging and tell them, in our lousy French, that it is just not right to blow the nose off of a priceless ancient monument in a country they just conquered. They’d decide we were spies, tie us to the Sphinx’s left ear, and use us for target practice too. Let’s face it, we probably couldn’t go back in time and change much of anything. I know what I’d like to do; I’d like to go get Mozart when he was sick, bring him back to John’s Hopkins, pump him full of antibiotics or get him a new kidney or do whatever it would take to cure him, and then take him back so he could compose many more years of glorious music. The fact that he was arguably the world’s greatest musical genius, died at 36, and was thrown into a common grave with no headstone really bothers me.”
“Maybe that’s OK,” Chuck suggested. “Maybe, because he is sort of immortal because of his music he doesn’t need to have a grave or a headstone. It’s kind of like he never really died. And if there is a heaven and any justice, he’s up there making beautiful music anyway.”
“He is undoubtedly God’s personal composer,” I agreed.
“Whatever God’s doing,” said Chuck. “He’s got a great soundtrack.”