The Mysterious Coalescence
“Rome.” Gentle reader must imagine this syllable pronounced in a sustained, Gaelic way, as if the vowel sound would go on forever. His eyes, too, could be rolling slightly.
To my more immediate ancestors (counting only those of the last 500 years), nothing could be more disreputable. “Rome” was, after all, the residence of the Antichrist, who styled himself “Pope” – a title that also merited a somewhat extended vowel.
My mother was a great influence on me – I daresay the same is true for others – and while she was an atheist, made clear that she was a Presbyterian atheist,