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January 5, 2005
Q says the carpet in our bedroom, which belonged to his parents, is from Iran and dates from 1917 -- it has its Islamic date on its center medallion, most unusual in an oriental. At least, Q tells me that's the date. I've always suspected that it really says "Yankee Go Home," but who knows?

But whatever -- it's not a rug Noodle should be sharpening her claws on in the middle of the night. Noodle! we shout in unison from the bed, and the scracthing pauses for a moment and then resumes. Noodle! Q says, again, sharply. Nothing. I try a gentler soprano Noodle! She scratches the carpet in answer.

I get up and find the catnip, which we keep in Q's underwear drawer for just such emergencies. I sprinkle some on the pad of cheap carpet we keep especially for Noodle to scratch on, and she succumbs to its allure, lying down on the little rectangle, arching her back and rubbing the back of her head in the catnip. You can count on catnip to hypnotize a cat for a good half-hour, and then after that maybe she'll move on to something else.

Cats are good smellers. Gypsy comes down from the third floor to see what smells so nice, and heads for the little rectangle. That carpet isn't big enough for both of them, so I forestall a catfrontation by getting up again to put more catnip on the base of the little spring toy that they're supposed to bat back and forth and enjoy. Gypsy winds her considerable bulk around it and begins to writhe in delight. I don't recall any substance ever making me feel that good, and I came of age in the 1960s. I think it would distrust it instinctively if it did. We're just not supposed to be that ecstatic.

People in the BIble were, though, and frequently. When the spirit descended upon somebody in the Old Testament, you knew it: they fell down on the ground and didn't come back to themselves for ages. Some of them were accused of being drunk. The disciples, too, seemed drunk to at least one of their early audiences, before they figured out how to curb their enthusiasm just a little. The people of the early church spoke in tongues when the spirit fell on them; people in Pentecostal communities still do.

Many Episcopal worship services impress visitors as being awfully quiet affairs. A long period of silence after a reading makes a newcomer wonder if the officiant has gone home, or died, or lost his place in his prayer book. The prayer is quiet, and rush of names in the free intercessions are quiet, too, and in some places there are none. Nobody answers back the preacher or encourages her with a shouted "Amen!' or "Yes, it is!" To some visitors, all thise quite seems sad. Couldn't we be little more, well, joyful? one of them might ask.

I suppose each of has a brand of joy that suits us. Perhaps we have several: some loud and some quiet. Some joy laughs and some joy smiles almost imperceptibly. Some joy throws its arms around its neighbor in a big bear hug and other joy offers a warm handshake or even a wordless smile and wave from across a crowded church. We are who we are. we love who and what we love, and we do it in the way that come naturally.
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