In which Buzz, future father and sister cross
Charles Bridge from Small Quarter to Old Town


He thought of all those who'd worked this stone--a lifetime just to lay the foundation! Their only faith was that one day it would be finished. He lamented there were no projects larger than a lifetime which would lend his own some meaning.

The Soviets had their five-year plans--factories, nuclear plants, and ever-taller TV towers which did not transmit information but blocked signals from the West.

The American President Kennedy had vowed in 1961 to attain the moon before the decade was out. And after the moon?

My father had lived through the Nazi Occupation and remembered the brave new world promised by their engineers and propagandists, a global Reich united by technology. They didn't win, Hitler overreached, but the inventions they pioneered--rockets, atomic weapons, jet planes, television, eugenics--persisted and proliferated, used now by all sides to intimidate potential aggressors and condition their own populations. Even the noblest of intentions are warped by technologies which dictate their own terms of use.

He hoped he would stay well long enough to write some of this down. There were rumors that Dubcek would lift censorship; a free press would operate in Czechoslovakia for the first time in twenty years! He took his hope in small doses.

The mass had not yet begun but it was cold in the church and his daughter was asleep. He left St. Vitus and his father's disappointment behind. It was sharp and cold outside, just enough blowing snow to fill the joints of cobblestones so the streets were laid out in white lace honeycomb. He carried her down the long flight of steps from Prague Castle to Charles Bridge, even older than the cathedral and closer to the source--the black River Vltava around which the city had risen. He paused on the span to reach up and take the moon as his Eucharist, all the bells under Prague's one hundred spires ringing out at midnight in celebratory song.

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