My father William

This is a blog about my father, William Foster Gillian and the legends he created during his life. We, the children have such great memories of an amazing life, because of him and my mother, Virginia Rose Gruszka Gillian. I want to tell of the stories and folktales of my family, for we have no next generation. I hope I can do justice to my father, for he was an amazing story teller. Thank you for your precious time spent reading this blog!

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Location: United States

Thursday, April 21, 2005

"Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam"

History 101: "Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam" translates to "The life of Umar Khayyam".
He lived from 1048-1122 and was known as a Persian mathematician, astronomer, and philosopher during his life. In 1859, quatrains of his poetry were translated for the first time by Edward Fitzgerald from Farsi to English. Khayyam was essentially a hedonist and a skeptic, who spoke with both an earthy and spiritual freedom that stirred universal response. This made the "Rubaiyat" one of the best known and often quoted English classics.

"Where in the hell am I?!" thought William, as he awoke saturday morning, feeling groggy and well hung over. As he sat up, he rubbed his eyes, and looked around. His lodgings were a ditch, next to the Whiting Standard Oil Refinery. As he surveyed his environ, his next thought was : "Where in the hell is my car?!?!" To say the least, he was not having a good start to his day.

Through the daze of the booze, and throbbing of his headache, he tried to remember the events of the prior night. Drinking and dancing, then more drinking and celebrating. But what was the ocassion? Through his foggy mind, he recalled, Checking out his blind date, then driving home to get ready-ready for what?!

Ready for the wedding of his best firend Jerry Jefjac, both were friends and sport jocks in high school. William football, and Jeff track and field. William was best man, and the photograph of the wedding group showed him to be ever so handsome! The reception was an all night affair, and when he heard Jeff had no plans for a honeymoon, due to lack of money--William immediately offered his new car to the newlyweds for a weekend in Chicago. My father was infamous for his generosity, and unproked acts of kindness.

My father told me his last memory of the night into morning, before awakening in the ditch, was that he was standing on a bar in Whiting, surrounded by off-duty East Chicago cops, reciting the "Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam". The stuff that legends and great stories are made up of. I have read the poetry throughout my life, the last time, was at my father's wake. I have picked a few verses to leave you with, which I believe he would have recited upon that night. A start of a weekend that changed his life--amazing what power moments possess.

I should mention that awakening in the ditch, made my father quit drinking for the rest of his life. I can remember him having only 2 beers. It would be one very old beer on the hottest day of summer-"that's when it tastes the best kid", he would say.

"Come fill the Cup, and in the Fire of Spring
The Winter Garment of Repentance fling:
The Bird of Time has but a little way
To Fly--and Lo! the Bird on the Wing."

"And if the Wind you drink, the Lip you press,
End in the Nothing all Things end in--Yes-
Then fancy while Thou art, Thou art but what
Thou shalt be--Nothing--Thou shalt not be less."

"Ah! Beloved, fill the Cup that clears
To-day of past Regrets and future Fears
To-morrow?--Why, To-morrow I may be
Myself with Yesterday's Sev'n Thousand Years"

"Dreaming when Dawn's Left Hand was in the Sky
I heard a Voice within the Tavern cry,
'Awake, my Little ones, and fill the Cup
Before Life's Liquior in its Cup be dry'".

Above translation by Edward Fitzgerald

links used as references, I thank them greatly for their help:

http://www.okonlife.com/
http://www.arabiannights.org/rubaiyat/index2.html
http://classics.mit.edu/Khayyam/rubaiyat.html
http://www.therubaiyat.com/
http://www.iranchamber.com/literature/khayyam/rubaiyat_khayyam1.php

5 Comments:

Blogger Dostoy said...

Thanks for the wonderful update. I'll be checking back again and again to see how the story progresses... (By the way, did your father or mother ever have a teddy bear? HEHEHE....)

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