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Suns & Shields

By Rachelle Hamlin

Read more of Rachelle's editorials:  Suns & Shields Index page



By:  Rachelle Hamlin

Fort Fairfield Journal, September 17, 2014

   Recently a lot of cards gathered on a perfect July Sunday for a gathering of the Clubs family. The occasion was a picnic-style birthday party just for kin. The family drifted in slowly, so before the party little groups gathered for hugs and chats.

   One such group was comprised of the Queen Mother Club and her daughter, the Queen of Hearts who brought her mother-in- law, the Queen of Diamonds. It’s family! They are all relaxed, feeling safe and happy. The Queens of Clubs and Hearts are commenting on the King of Clubs cluster of annoying male ways and having a good time. The Queen of Diamonds is kind of shocked over the family secret but understands the issue; lots of men don’t get women and end up hurting them somehow.

   The party moves on. The scene becomes a calm almost heavenly one of happy groups mingling, talking, laughing and enjoying a tidal wave of joyful children of all ages running around playing together in an endless variety of games. The two of Spades scrapes his knee. Mother Ace cuddles his tears away. On the garden patio four cards are seated at a large comfortable table. On one side the King and Queen of Diamonds, on the other, the King and Queen of Hearts. The clan head, the King of Clubs drifts over and sits silently, well-fed, stretching comfortably at the head of the table. They are five cards used to ruling and getting their way. The deal’s been made and the hand is set. The cake’s been cut and the song’s been sung, the gifts have been opened. This is after-party euphoria.

   The Hearts and the Diamonds are busily catching up on news and telling their stories. When the Queen of Diamonds tells a story about a scary event with her husband’s driving, the King of Diamonds opens a razor tongue that slashes his wife’s story and presents her as a crazed or lying idiot. She cuts back in a nice way that exposes a history of intolerable hurts like this. The King and Queen of Hearts decide to change the subject and move the conversation in another direction. The King of Diamonds meanwhile apologizes for the slash, then declares his righteousness is the final word. As the Hearts take over the table, the Queen of Diamonds gratefully lets it go. Win some. Lose some. It’s the game.

    Now the Queen of Hearts explains an incident where she was ganged up on by three co-workers over something. It was hard for her to understand why that happened. Her husband and mother-in-law could see that the Queen of Hearts had been mobbed by an ignorant pack of three’s. She was trying to make sense of the senselessness of it. As they talked, the confused Queen declared that her husband just didn’t understand what she was trying to say. He insisted he did. In the nicest way she opened her razor and slashed. He ducked. She tried again and missed. He slashed and hit his target. The King of Hearts mother tried soothing her daughter-in-law’s cut.

   The King of Hearts left the table without a word. His Queen voiced another aimless slash as he went. The King of Diamonds nervously changed the subject yet again. The King of Clubs who had sat down to enjoy the fruits of 55 years of raising his large family, arose and walked out of sight without ever having said a word. Mama Diamond told the Queen of Hearts that her father was hurt, that none of it should ever have happened, that all four of them had attacked their spouses and that they were all wrong. Lots of women don’t get men and end up hurting them somehow.

   The party was over. The Queen of Hearts left the table and disappeared. It was a flawed Paradise.

   Sometimes I am accused of being a dreamer. I do dream, I dream. I dream of a beautiful Sunday in July when a family of cards can gather for a Birthday Party and no attackers crash and ruin the party. I dream of what it would be like to talk without fear of being gang raped like the Queen of Hearts was. How much we would look forward to each day! I dream of a time when Kings of Clubs can trust that their Queens will keep their sharp stilettos in their jewelry boxes so “the king’s heart can safely rest in her.” What love would be unleashed! I dream of what it would be like if Kings were humble; not infuriated over every imagined slight to their exalted dignity. What happiness that would bring to their queens! I dream of a Christian society.

   Every day I wake up yearning for it. Every day I try to find it. Wherever I go I take my dreams with me. At night I lie down to my dreams, have nightmares and wake up to walk in my dreams again. Sometimes the nightmares creep into my daydreams. So what? One quiet day I will wake up and it will be July. Everywhere the sun will shine. The flowers will peak. The packs of cards will gather. The songs will be sung and the dances will be danced. Love will flow like Niagara Falls and there won’t be any attackers left in this world.



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