On Saturday 21 May 2011, I was in Brasilia, one of the most fascinating experiments in urban planning of the 20th or any other century. As a convicted Modernist, this was a pilgrimage that had to be. And there, amid and among some of the most exciting architecture of the Modern Movement—most of it designed by Brazilian architect Oscar Neimeyer, who is still living at the age of 102—decorated with art and furnishings of High Modernism, and placed in dramatic Modern landscapes by Brazilian landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx, I was reminded of so many of my fellow creatures who live in a different era: that evening—May 21st—was supposed to be the Rapture.
Our group had dinner together that night (eight students and two faculty who’ve clung to their student status); we shared the countdown and found ourselves still there, still toasting our good fortune at being in South America together; still looking forward to the remainder of the trip. I wondered how my friend Howard Tabor fared in Saturday’s event.
“A few figs from thistles…”
by Howard A. Tabor
[Editor’s Note: As The Plantagenet went to press Friday at 5:00 p.m., the following letter was found on Howard Tabor’s computer keyboard. We publish it as found.]
Regular readers of this column—those who draw information, enjoyment and irritation from what appears here with the regularity of a bowel movement—have little doubt about my ultimate reward. There’s a cabana near the Lake of Fire reserved for my long-term occupancy.
But The Rapture has been scheduled for this weekend, certainly not for the first time, yet possibly for the last. In the remote possibility that I’ll be taken up with The Elect, there are some last minute things to put in order.
First, several expressions of gratitude. I didn’t get to this point without help. Even feral children like myself have had a hand (or a swift kick) along the way.
I could not have asked for better parents. Ruth and Warren gave me shelter, sustenance and so much more. And my sibling sparring partner Catherine, a sounding board for ideas, kept my feet fairly close to the ground.
Teachers form the largest single group of support; without turning this into an embarrassingly long Tony or Oscar speech, I’ll cut the list short. Virginia Lawton, Veronica Piper, Rose Kavanagh are only three in a packed field from grade school, joined by inspiring high school faculty Jim Baker and Karl Wasserman. They laid a foundation I still rely upon.
Other mentors offered support from the sidelines, first among them my old and valued friend Hal Holt who left us in 2008. Without his gentle guidance my sense of perspective would be sadly deficient. If I have a voice, it is largely an echo of Hal’s on may matters.
If I should disappear on Saturday evening, the finest thing I can do is this: use my few earthly resources for those who stay behind. There is a Last Will & Testament in a sealed envelope clipped to this letter. Open it Sunday morning while you clean up the debris I left behind. There is provision in my Will for the homeless and the hungry. Use those financial resources to care for those with less then I had—the disadvantaged, the weak, the old, the frail, the shy; all those folks who will inherit the Earth in its period of Tribulation.
Who am I kidding? First, there’s no way I’ll be mistaken for The Elect. I’ve encountered a few people who see themselves in that group; presumptive, creepy people the World will do well without. And second, I’d much rather find myself in the company mentioned a paragraph above: the flawed and the fallible. My kind of folks.
So, have a nice time in Paradise, Hal Lindsey. I hope to see all the rest of you on Sunday morning for eggs at the Koffee Kup. My treat.
With warmest regards,