Tuesday, August 20, 2013

"A Horse, A Horse, my Kingdom for a Horse!"

"You'll love it," the man and woman across the table from us exclaimed. "The actor is absolutely amazing. The play begins with him huddled in a heap on the stage floor. He stirs and then begins rising from the floor in a slow, serpent-like movement. He peers out at the audience then begins talking like he's speaking directly to you. His voice is subtle, he acts like he is taking you into his evil confidences so that you will understand and agree with him. He's convincing. You find yourself being drawn in. Very well-done!" The husband and wife and their grade-school daughter smiled at us, savoring the memory. It was their second day of taking it all in, the Shakespearean festival plays. We smiled and grinned at each other. Enjoying getting a preview before the real deal. 

My four friends, two from Oregon and two from California, and I were relishing the pancakes, eggs, fruit cup, and delicious fresh-squeezed orange juice, a Victorian culinary delight presented on creamy white china settings placed on a linen tablecloth. Sprays of flowers in vases made the picture complete. The homemade breakfast at an elegant turn-of-the century bed and breakfast inn in Ashland, Oregon, was wonderful. My friends and I were much anticipating the day ahead. We would be attending the play, Richard III, that same afternoon. After breakfast, in mid-morning we went to see "Romeo and Juliet," held in the outside theatre. Next, we enjoyed some sightseeing and tourist shops, eating at an outdoor eatery, laughing when ran into the same family from breakfast. Finally, it was time.  We lined up for much-anticipated "Richard III." Every seat of the inside theatre was taken. Our seats were in the top-middle, a perfect spot for viewing.

"Richard III" is a historical play of William Shakespeare's, in which he tells the story of the crippled, hunchback Richard of England, who, through his own unsavory devices, manages to become the Richard III, King of England. His successes as king are short-lived, however. In an infamous battle, he is unable to keep his command over those he leads. His followers desert him while the battle is raging. During the climax of the battle, King Richard III is unhorsed, a for-sure death knell. In agony of voice he cries out the now-famous lines, "A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse!" Unable to defend himself, he is soon killed in a duel with Richmond who later becomes Henry VII. The loss of a horse is the undoing of King Richard III's  kingdom and ultimately, the end of his life.

We sat through the play, enthralled with the acting, choreography and storyline. It delivered everything we had been told it would and then some. A riveting story, really, Richard III's strange end not lost on us. Poetic justice or just deserts? Or are they one and the same?


"I'm so thirsty I could die!" my daughter exclaimed. It was a week ago. We had been in the car for twelve hours with two to go.  The drive from Colorado, through Wyoming, into Utah, north to Idaho, had been slow and long. Somehow, the day before the empty water bottles I had intended to refill for the trip had been discarded, my mistake. I thoght we'd be okay because it was cool and storming when we left Colorado. The twelve ounces of water in my canister didn't last long on the journey, that, and one other water bottle. I refilled my canister at a rest area but the water fountains weren't working and I couldn't manage to refill the water bottle-- and I was impatient, anxious to continue on. But, that hadn't lasted long either. The trip is some-what arduous, mainly high desert with towns few and far between. I had expected us to be there sooner, my map information was slightly off. "I'll tell you what, you can buy a water bottle when we get gas."  We were so close but it was getting pretty knarly.  Near Twin Falls, Idaho, we got some gas and an over-priced water bottle. It was a name-brand with a hard plastic exterior. My daughter eagerly started twisting its cap while I got the car rolling down the road again.

"I can't get it open. Can you try?" she asked me. I pulled over. Cap wouldn't budge. For the next thirty minutes my daughter (mainly her since I was the driver) and I wrestled with that cap.  She used her fingernails to break the plastic sides. Wouldn't budge. She got out my nail clippers to cut into the plastic. Wouldn't cut, not even close.  She pierced the top with the nail file point. Wouldn't go through, strong plastic. "I'm so thirsty, MOM!!!!" She wailed, getting desperate. I wasn't as much, deciding to put mind over matter, and tough it out. I thought back to the old days of my childhood (!!!) when we ALWAYS had a gallon thermos jug full of cool water when my family took trips, how my mother still likes to travel that way.  Sounded like a better idea all the time! It was hot, dry, and smoke from a forest fire was in the air. Did I mention that our air conditioning was of the natural sort--windows down and air vents?

 "A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse!"  The thought entered my mind, another desperate time when someone was bereft of something they needed, really needed. There was a certain uncanny similarity. I voiced the words to my daughter and soon was sharing the story of Richard III with her. The cap never did budge. I decided to let her wrestle with it. I knew if she was determined enough it could be done. But, I kept myself quiet. "Mom! I think it's going to work! I think I've got a hole started." This time she was using her teeth to bite at the plastic. I hadn't wanted her to do it that way because of her braces, but she was going for it. "Bsshp" I heard a popping sound as the air pressure released. "Hear that?" she giggled. A welcome bead of water was forming. "Ahhhhh..."  She licked its cool refreshment. Tiny drops of water were coming out of the bottle in a bead-by-bead drip. I suggested she use the point of the file and twist it side-ways until the hole became larger.  In no time she was successful. Soon, she partially filled my canister and then slowly savored the rest of the water by sipping it out of the bottle's small puncture.

While we were driving and thirsty as all get out, I couldn't help but think about the correlation with life.  If there was no wheat, guess what we would pay tons to get? A shortage of a commodity or natural supply like water can change the whole meaning of money. There are some things we MUST have in order to live. You can't eat gold, or coins, or dollar bills! Desperate people do desperate things.

God tells us to hunger and thirst after righteousness.  Can you imagine that? Real hunger for God that makes it a priority so precious that one would be desperate for it. If He says it, that means it's possible. And, I know it is.

Tags: #horse #Shakespeare #water #kingdom for a horse #Richard III

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