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sexual reproduction in flowering plants notes

Source global Wall Street Journal     time 2022-01-14 21:17:45
Typefacelarge in Small
  Dad led me over to his cot. A neat pile of books was stacked next to it. He said his bout with TB had set him to pondering about mortality and the nature of the cosmos. He'd been stone-cold sober since entering the hospital, and reading a lot more about chaos theory, particularly about the work of Mitchell Feigenbaum, a physicist at Los Alamos who had made a study of the transition between order and turbulence. Dad said he was damned if Feigenbaum didn't make a persuasive case that turbulence was not in fact random but followed a sequential spectrum of varying frequencies. If every action in the universe that we thought was random actually conformed to a rational pattern, Dad said, that implied the existence of a divine creator, and he was beginning to rethink his atheistic creed. "I'm not saying there's a bearded old geezer named Yahweh up in the clouds deciding which football team is going to win the Super Bowl," Dad said. "But if the physics梩he quantum physics梥uggests that God exists, I'm more than willing to entertain the notion."Dad showed me some of the calculations he'd been working on. He saw me looking at his trembling fingers and held them up. "Lack of liquor or fear of God梔on't know which is causing it," he said. "Maybe both.""Promise you'll stay here until you get better," I said. "I don't want you doing the skedaddle."Dad burst into laughter that ended in another fit of coughing.

  "Home?""Phoenix.""This is home now."SEEING AS HOW WELCH was our new home, Brian and I figured we'd make the best of it. Dad had shown us the spot near the house where we were going to put the foundation and basement for the Glass Castle. He'd measured it off and marked it with stakes and string. Since Dad was hardly ever home梙e was out making contacts and investigating the UMW, he told us梐nd never got around to breaking ground, Brian and I decided to help. We found a shovel and pickax at an abandoned farm and spent just about every free minute digging a hole. We knew we had to dig it big and deep. "No point in building a good house unless you put down the right foundation," Dad always said.

  Dad was watching me carefully. He passed me the vodka bottle. Although I almost never drank, I took a sip and felt the burn as the liquor slid down my throat.

  "You no-good two-bit pud-sucking bastard!""You scaly castrating banshee bitch!"Dad had the more inventive vocabulary, but Grandma Smith could outshout him; plus, she had the home-court advantage. A time would come when Dad had had enough and he'd tell us kids to get in the car. Grandma would yell at Mom not to let that worthless horse's ass take her grandchildren. Mom would shrug and say there was nothing she could do about it, he was her husband. Off we'd go, heading out into the desert in search of another house for rent in another little mining town.

  "Just because I live here now," I said. "doesn't mean I couldn't move.""That would be a terrible mistake. You live here. Think of what you'd miss. Your family and friends. And senior year is the highlight of your entire high school experience. You'd miss Senior Day. You'd miss the senior prom."* * *I walked home slowly that evening, thinking over what Miss Katona had said. It was true that many grown-ups in Welch talked about how senior year in high school was the highlight of their lives. On Senior Day, something the school had set up to keep juniors from dropping out, the seniors wore funny clothes and got to skip classes. It was not exactly a compelling reason to stay on in Welch for one more year. As for the senior prom, I had about as much chance of getting a date as Dad did of ending corruption in the unions.

  "Your father is who he is," Mom said. "It's a little late in the game to try to reform him now. Humor the man."* * *That night I stopped in a liquor store and bought a half gallon of the cheapest rotgut on the shelf, just as Dad had requested, then took a taxi down to the Lower East Side. I climbed the dark staircase and pushed open the unlocked door. Mom and Dad were lying in their bed under a pile of thin blankets. I got the impression they'd been there all day. Mom squealed when she saw me, and Dad started apologizing for the mess, saying if Mom would let him clear out some of her crap, they might at least be able to swing a cat in here, which got Mom accusing Dad of being a bum.

  "Way different," Veronica said.

  The place was dark and as hazy as a battlefield from the cigarette smoke. Neon signs for Pabst Blue Ribbon and Old Milwaukee glowed on the walls. Gaunt men with creased cheeks and women with dark red lipstick sat along the bar. A couple of guys wearing steel-toed boots played pool.


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