Monday, 29 December 2014

Mary Magdalene and Other Postcards

Suicide Oak, New Orleans.
I received this old postcard today and was struck by the caption, Suicide Oak, City Park, New Orleans. I wondered if the city of New Orleans had since cleaned up its act and renamed the tree; in California, where nobody ever dies, and you only transition, they would call it the Transition Tree.

Or maybe they would be more explicit and suggest that you had transitioned for a reason, for example that you had issues going forward.  So in California it would be the Issues Going Forward Transition Tree.

I checked out New Orleans and to my surprise and pleasure this is still the Suicide Oak.  It looks like the sort of tree made for suspending yourself from, but apparently not; the tree was a popular place for taking poison or blowing your brains out.  But the tradition seems to have died out, as you can see for yourself.

Zippy on the art of sending postcards.
Zippy the Pinhead has something to say about sending postcards as he explains on this postcard that I received from a friend of Zippy's not long ago.  This friend of Zippy's and I have been sending postcards to one another for a very long time now, always when we go to some new place but any excuse will do.

The Suicide Oak postcard today inspired me to look over the postcards I have received during 2014.  Some are beautiful, most are interesting, and some like this postcard from Rockville, Connecticut are sublime. 

Postcard of Rockville High School, Rockville, Connecticut.
Then there was a friend's great adventure to Holland which rewarded me with postcards from Amsterdam, Delft and Den Haag.  At a flea market in Delft he found this postcard of three fashionable people in the precincts of what looks like the Mauritshuis in Den Haag, the musuem of the Dutch Golden Age.  It has ten paintings by Rembrandt and three by Vermeer (out of a known thirty-four), including Girl with the Pearl Earring.

Alongside the Mauritshuis, Den Haag: vintage postcard.
Another thoughtful friend, knowing that I have been writing a book about Mary Magdalene, sent me a postcard showing Jesus and La Magdalene herself in Christus Gardens, Gatlinburg, Tennessee

There used to be another site in Gatlinburg called Tour Thru Hell featuring villains such as Pontius Pilate, and also a place with performing chickens that walked a tightrope, played basketball and played the piano. 

Postcard of Mary Magdalene and Jesus in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.
Alas they have all gone out of business, but Christus Gardens has in a sense been Born Again at Christ in the Smokies

If you cannot make it to Gatlinburg you can always go to V├ęzelay in Burgundy which has some of Mary Magdalene's ribs or to Saint Maximin in Provence which has her skull. As for the chickens, they come and they go.