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Opinion: Bill Walton, Message from the Bottle

The message is coming this weekend. Maybe.

I know the arrival of the word is imminent. I know the message is coming and soon, very soon for my years, my time of being willing, being able to disseminate, to share the message, are dwindling, fleeing like fall leaves before the winter winds.

There have been warnings, whispers of the message, little hints, words scattered here and there, dropped into conversations by God. Words that my friends, as I know them, would never utter those deep thoughts expressed in the vernacular of our area. Old phrases, sayings of our grandfathers and grandmothers, word artifacts that I pretend to not understand.

Nonetheless, the message is coming this weekend; likely Saturday night just before God’s Day of Rest. I have always wondered, whether that rest day is actually a Saturday or a Monday, because of the way the Gregorian calendar adds a day every now and then, adjusting the Julian to the minor drift of the sun. Actually, our earth's orbit, but this is no time to be persnickety.

The message did not come last Saturday, but in my bones, it is this Saturday. And I am ready to receive the message, or I will be after maybe one more sip of highland nectar. You see, after the health warnings about imbibing alcohol, I cut back going from a two-ounce libation to one-ounce of Glenmorangie dew, potion, elixir. It now takes twice the number of drinks to fortify the inner man, but I am ready.

I have been practicing what to say in the preamble. I mean one must have an opening, a greeting, an ice-breaker; like what kind of a day are you having? Or do you think those Leopards will make a difference in Ukraine? Maybe, boy the weather sure is changing! before getting down to: are we writing this on paper or are you doing the stone tablet thing again? Better still you could just use my keyboard. I like Times New Roman in a twelve font, but whatever you prefer. I can always change the font afterward. The spellcheck is on now for the thee, ye, and thou you used in the previous message. Just saying.

Of course, in my mind, I have played His responses using the Sir John Gielgud voice, or maybe Winston’s gravely we shall fight and so on. I once tried a Marlon Brando voice but God will speak, enunciate, not mumble; or lisp like Sean the Russian captain in Red October. Then again, he may use his serious voice, like a message from the German High Command: Achtung Achtung!

When He did not show up last Saturday, at least I do not remember the conversation or message as I was nervous and maybe had a couple too many of the fortifier, I started thinking that maybe I was tuned into the wrong channel. Because God might be a She. And me, from a bad habit, may have ignored the female voices that run through my head on occasions like anniversary dates, or don’t forget the milk.

So, what voice will She use? Streep as Thatcher; or Dame Judi Dench as M; maybe softer like Zeta-Jones or persuasive like Sophia? Or like the server at the Fox and Fiddle saying time gentlemen, please. For surely it is time for the message.

Sometime after midnight and after too many half-drinks, I concluded this waiting for the message was as fruitless as waiting for Godot.  Maybe, just maybe, I had already received the message delivered not from Him or Her, but from my parents, teachers, family, friends, and books. Perhaps from Mom Nature and the whispering pines, the songs of birds, the antics of animals, even little critters, the beauty of sunsets, the flashes of lightning, rumbles, and grumbles of nearby thunder, the peaceful patter of rain drops, snowflakes on my face, music, dance, laughter: all there for my listening, for my enjoyment, for my living.

For what else would a message be than to enjoy this short time, taking a full measure, not sips? Amen says I, and paying the tab went happily homeward bound, through the snow, hailing a taxi.

Bill Walton

About the Author: Bill Walton

Retired from City of North Bay in 2000. Writer, poet, columnist
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