Baby Bison, don't tread on that pretty flower...

Baby Bison, don't tread on that pretty flower...
Custer State Park, SD; June, 2010

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Columbia, TN, United States
I am a Christian, married over 43 years to my gorgeous first wife; in 13th year as professor of education at Martin Methodist College in Pulaski, TN; 4 children and 9 grandchildren.

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Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Handsomest Man Ever

No, this is not autobiographical. I woke up this morning with some thoughts about Adam, the first man. Genesis tells us absolutely nothing about his physical appearance. The fact that he wasn’t very bright or assertive comes out in the Eden tale; remember that paradise-lost story? But just how handsome was this first man? I think I have an imaginative clue about that.

Adam was made by the same Creator who manufactured (without tools or machines – just His bare hands) sunsets and roses and puppies and waterfalls and the northern lights…need I go on? So this greatest-of-all imaginers and designers produced a highly functional, somewhat symmetrical being from dirt (of all things) and named him Adam or man. Adam had to be the perfect, most handsome man of all others to follow in the history of the universe. All subsequent efforts, though unique, were sequels…and we all know sequels are seldom equal to the original. Except perhaps in some isolated cases such as Star Trek II, III, and IVas they all far outdistanced The original Motion Picture in their attempt to go where no Adam (or James Tiberius Kirk) had gone before.

That would make Adam the penultimate Adonis, handsomest male ego ever. I was recently reminded of this mythological narrative during my perusal of an old Robert Wagner, Peter Graves, and Richard Boone flick, Beneath the 12-mile Reef. This was a Romeo and Juliet type film about there not being any love-loss between a Greek and a Conch in the sponge-fishing industry. Wagner gets beaten up by Graves but wins the heart of the girl anyway – she was a pushover for a pretty, yet somewhat bruised face. During an early get-to-know-me scene, Wagner struts around like a peacock with feathers spread proclaiming himself to be the irresistible Adonis – a fitting reference to Greek mythology, since his character was a direct descendant. Just in case you avid, knuckle-biting, on-the-edge-of-your-chair readers may have forgotten about Adonis, here are the “facts” as I rediscovered them on the Internet:

Adonis was the handsome god of desire and good looks. For reasons I won't go into, A turned his mother Myrrha into a pregnant myrrh tree. When it split and the baby was revealed, Aphrodite was enchanted. "Oh, he's gorgeous. I'm saving him for later," she decided. So she put him in a box and checked him in at the Underworld Bank Vault under the care of Persephone, who took a quick peek and had the same thought. When Adonis grew old enough to be the gods’ gift to women, Persephone refused to hand him over. The case went to arbitration and Calliope was asked to bring about a settlement. Her final judgment was this: For four months of the year, he would live with Aphrodite. Then she must hand him over for four months with Persephone. For the remaining four months the choice was up to him. As Aphrodite was the first to find him, she had the first go. Using her girdle of desire, she declared that Adonis loved only her and Persephone could take a running jump. So Persephone took a running jump to Ares (who was very struck on Aphrodite himself) and said: "Your fancy woman has got herself a mortal lover, and you don't stand a chance; he's absolutely gorgeous!" Ares was furious and being of a boorish disposition changed himself into a boar and killed Adonis in a hunting accident. This resulted in much hair-pulling and scratching and shrieking on Olympus. Eventually Zeus decided it was time for a bit of peace. He declared that Adonis was not totally dead, but could spend six months with each of them. So now Aphrodite has him in the spring and summer, and he goes down to the Underworld for autumn and winter.

Now let’s return to those thrilling days of real yesteryear from the Genesis account. If Adam were extremely good looking, then anything from him would have to be of that semblance as well. That would make Cain, Abel, and Seth very handsome young men. We don’t know that for a fact…but I left the world of facts a long keying ago in this blog. Made from a rib of Adam and by the same Creator, Eve must’ve been a most beautiful woman – that’s Woe! Man! or perhaps Wow! Man! But either way she was a sight upon whom to look. Oops! Call a woman a vision, but never a sight. Eve was obviously a vision of loveliness.

Sitting beside my wife last night at the Trans South Conference basketball men’s semifinal game at Martin Methodist College (beat Cumberland, by the way and so are in the finals against Freed-Hardeman Tuesday night), I noticed for the gazillianth time in our 40+ years of marriage (sure gazillianth is a word even though my spellchecker doesn’t recognize it – I needed a huge number for what I was feeling) just how absolutely gorgeous Delores is. After all, she is a direct descendant of Eve – without the mindset to yield to every tempting serpent that happens to sing out to her from a tree. In fact my wife is not only the most outwardly attractive woman on the planet, she has the inward beauty as being after God’s own heart. King David from 1 Samuel was the only other human said in print to be “a man after God’s own heart.” Of course, with the most beautiful wife, you would only expect and accept the fact that our four children and at present seven grandchildren (that number is destined to increase in November) are also the most wonderfully and fearfully made in the galaxy.

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