Anyone who knew the word slattern was worth cultivating as a friend.
I grew up in a very British family who had been transplanted to Canada, and my grandmother's house was filled with English books. I was a very early reader, so I was really brought up being surrounded with piles of British books and British newspapers, British magazines. I developed a really great love of England.
My grandmother flew only once in her life, and that was the day she and her new husband ascended into the skies of Victorian London in the wicker basket of a hot-air balloon. They were soon to emigrate to Canada, and the aerial ride was meant to be a last view of their beloved England.
What intrigued me more than anything else was finding out the way in which everything, all of creation - all of it! - was held together by invisible chemical bonds, and I found a strange, inexplicable comfort in knowing that somewhere, even though we couldn't see it in our own world, there was a real stability.
Some children are born seeking God outside themselves, and it is a lifelong quest, but one that can never be fulfilled, so that they are often left, in the end, sitting among the remnants of the things they have accumulated, and love is not one of them. Yet other children - born in awe of the roaring torrents of their own arteries, the wide deserts of their skins, the uncharted forests of their silken hair, and the craggy mountains of their own knees, knuckles, and toes - sense instinctively from birth that the Creator is within, that in the hidden depths of movement lies the secret of existence.
Vaporized by the sun! Wasn't that what the universe had in store for all of us? There would come a day when the sun exploded like a red balloon, and everyone on earth would be reduced in less than a camera flash to carbon. Didn't Genesis say as much? For dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. This was far more than dull old theology: It was precise scientific observation! Carbon was the Great Leveler--the Grim Reaper. Diamonds were nothing more than carbon, but carbon in a crystal lattice that made it the hardest known mineral in nature. That was the way we all were headed. I was sure of it. We were destined to be diamonds!