Monday, May 18, 2009

New Orleans 12.7.92: New Saints and Mottled Buddhas

In some journal entry some time back, I recall writing that “things happen” to me. I don’t solicit them; they’re as gnomic as scribbles of cloud across a high blue sky. But happen they do.

To wit: several days ago, we were at River Road flea market, and I saw a china Buddha that I wanted. I wanted it with an urge of the bowels that made it painful not to buy it when I saw it cost $60. And it’s one of the few things I’ve wanted for a long time.

Why, I don’t know. I haven’t been thinking about Buddha much at all. In fact, as I think about it, I know next to nothing about Buddha. But it was as if the laughing china figurine simply called out to me.

I mentioned this to Steve, and he was occupied thinking re: something else and didn’t hear. Then I thought I’d simply not say anything again and wait. If I were meant to have a Buddha, then a Buddha would come to me.

Yesterday, after Steve finished his teaching, we went out to shop. As we drove towards the French Quarter, I said, “I really want something, but won’t say what.” Steve begged me to tell, and I finally said a Buddha. I said, “I think this is to be the Buddha phase of my life.” Steve said, “Well, we’ll ask Bruce to find one for you.” (In Bruce’s funeral Mass, Fr. Henry had encouraged his family and friends to pray to him as a new saint.) I said, joking—because I have shelved Bruce as a saint for my aches and pains—“What would Bruce have to do with a Buddha?” Steve replied, “You might be surprised.”

We then drove to the French Market flea market, and Steve stopped the car for me to run to a stall I thought would be there, to see if it had pralines to bring back to Tom G. in North Carolina. I did so, and en route saw a table of gewgaws that looked interesting. Well, I felt flatly nudged to go by it. There on the table was a small gold Buddha which I bought for $3. It’s blotched and seems to have been coated with several coats of different-colored paints, which have worn through here and there so that the figurine has a mottled appearance. It’s lovely. Last night, we had supper at Al A.’s, and his wife (who’s Filipina and collects Buddhas) told me it’s a good-luck Buddha. One rubs his stomach for luck.

A Bruce Buddha: the Bruce Buddha.

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