Saturday, April 09, 2005

Forsan at haec olim meminisse juvabit

Saul Bellow died last Tuesday. Reading through the customary obituaries and reminiscings of the literati who knew him it occurred to me that I, too, have a story about the Nobel laureate, as back in the summer of 1997 I had dinner with him and his wife while working as an au pair for my advisor in Classics up in Southern Vermont. I even baked the man a pie - strawberry, no less! I remember how casual the whole affair was. One night I heard my professor's wife mention that "the Bellows were coming up next weekend", and next thing you know I'm sitting across the table from Saul Bellow. I remember making some joke about climbing the Statue of Liberty in midsummer that elicited a guffaw from the old man and receiving a thumbs-up on my dessert. What's more, the Bellows actually wanted me to come work for them the next summer as their majordomo, a job which I had seriously entertained taking before Aphrodite intervened in my earthly affairs (in addition to introducing me to the love of my life, the Greek goddess of love probably also did me a huge favor, as the bragging rights of running the summer household of a literary legend were probably greatly overshadowed by the headaches!).

The funny thing is that I still haven't read any of Bellow's works, although that summer I had bought myself a dogeared copy of The Adventures of Augie March and resolved to put it on the top of my reading list. Perhaps now it's time to dig it out and try again. After all, the guy did eat my strawberry pie...

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