Echo / Oil on black canvas / 5x7 / $68 including shipping
(please email me at carrieBjacobson@gmail.com, if the button doesn't seem to work)
PETER AND I watched "Jeopardy!" pretty much every night for pretty much all of the 31 years we were married. Peter had a fantastic memory, and an incredibly wide range of knowledge. History, geography, science, Vikings, religion, politics, dogs, cars, photography, inventors, he knew it. I sometimes thought that if he had realized how little I actually know - like, where IS Paraguay? Is Trinidad and Tobago one country or two? And on and on - he'd never have married me.
My knowledge, scant though it is, filled in some of his deficits. I am very good with vocabulary, spelling and grammar. I'm fairly good with knowing writers and artists and their work. And that's about it.
When it came to popular culture ("popular" being a relative term, in our house), we were total losers. I still am.
We played "Jeopardy!" every night, always taping it so we could skip over the commercials. Some time in the past 10 years or so, we devised a fun way to play the final question. The show always gives you the category, then goes to a commercial. So we would stop the tape and, before we found out the clue, we would guess the answer. Then we'd start the tape and watch the outcome.
For instance, Friday's category was Fairy Tales. So I'd have guessed Cinderella, and he'd have guessed Thumbelina.
We'd have stopped the tape and made our guesses before we heard the clue, which was this: "In French, this fairy tale character is La Petite Poucette, in Spanish, Paulgarcity and in English, this."
Turns out the answer was "Who is Thumbelina?" So I would have been wrong with Cinderella, but he would have been right.
Usually, of course, we were wrong. But we would get the right answer once or twice a month, and it was always thrilling. It always made us laugh. One time, we got three in a row!
Of course, there's a knack for getting the right answer. You have to be able to make a question about it, for starters. It has to be difficult but not impossible to get the answer. Those two concepts really narrow the field. But still, it's hard. And ridiculously fun - or at least it was for us.
I always thought, and still do, that the show should make this way of playing Final Jeopardy! an option. If you chose it and you won, you could triple your wager. If you chose it and missed, you'd lose everything.
Well. I have not been able to watch "Jeopardy!" since Peter died. And now that Alex Trebec has died, I probably will never watch it again. It makes me sad to know that cancer finally, inevitably, got him. But it is helps me to think of Peter and Alex being together in Heaven, trading answers and questions. And Final Jeopardy guesses.
Nothing Is Far
Though I have never caught the word
of God from any calling bird,
I hear all that the ancients heard.
Though I have seen no deity
Enter or leave a twilit tree,
I see all that the seers see.
A common stone can still reveal
Something not stone, not seen, yet real.
What may a common stone conceal?
Nothing is far that once was near.
Nothing is hid that once was clear.
Nothing was God that is not here.
Here is the bird, the tree, the stone.
Here in the sun I sit alone
Between the known and the unknown.
- Robert Francis