The lovely Tamara had a recent post regarding personal vehicles, with political stickers there-a-fixed. The consensus among correct-thinking-folks is to maintain a low profile. No longer is a pro-gun, gun rights or even a libertarian rear plaque or bumper sticker deemed appropriate.
At the very least it’s considered non-tacticool. Don’t want to alert potential auto-burglars of the Glock possibly stuffed under the seat in our absence! (One of the Bob’s had one stolen outside a coffee shop in broad daylight!)
In my callow youth, I owned a number of nondescript cars, mostly with libertarian bumper stickers attached. Never had a problem. One did read ‘Question Authority‘. Never had a problem during traffic stops for not current registration.
But, as the 90s appeared, and political clouds foretold of personal liberties being trashed (the Clinton Assault Weapon Ban, for example), I opted to be less visible. Not concerned with the bad guys (criminals) as much as the bad guys (government). And I attached fewer stickers.
After the accident, I acquired my dream vehicle – a 1989 Isuzu Trooper. Molly and I had been looking at them, as the ‘gee, perhaps one day’ car to take us to the desert to shoot. She never got to see her, but she paid for her.
She was christened Molly’s Trolley with a dash placard. And once my time payment Life Membership to the NRA was paid off, I affixed an appropriate sticker on the driver’s wing window. Remember those – wing windows?
But no other defilement was allowed. Low profile, in a silver 4×4 with a cammie spare tire cover. Yeah right. And many trips were made to the desert, and to friends in New River. And other places.
My youthful dreams of joking magnetic door signs reading ‘ANFO Distributing‘ never happened. And I never even considered the ubiquitous gun show sale bumper sticker, ‘Vote From The Rooftops‘.
I did see (once, during the Nixon years) a sticker on another car reading, ‘Where is Lee Harvey Oswald When You Need Him?‘
I don’t think that would fly, today. No one remembers who he was.
h/t Siddhartha, Tam
(redacted specifics re: the crap in my life and the lives of everyone I know)
I decided rather than wallow, to take a page from my dear friend Rev. Paul and lighten up. All is not lost. I still have friends and family who love me. The Nation, while thought to be circling the drain in some circles, is still here. As is her Constitution.
I know and believe this as fact: All you can do is what you can do. Fretting about the past or the future is pointless - be in the now. And hold those you love close and tell them you love them, because you never know! Do it now!
How can you look into that face above and not smile?
(I’ve chosen to make commentary unavailable on this post – go and hold your loved ones, instead!)
Today, my daughter is 30. The same age I was when she was born.
By age 30, I was married, beginning my own PI business, and scared to death about the prospect of fatherhood. Then she arrived and made it easy
Here it is 30 years hence, and by all-that-is-holy she should have been married, and had children. She aspired to be a veterinarian. I never had the privilege of walking her down the aisle or holding a grandbaby. Or proudly watching her get her degree. Or even her diploma.
She was taken from us in 1985. In a stupid car accident.
So she’ll always be age 12 in my heart. Or just born.
Happy Birthday, Molly! I Love You.
First of all, my apologies in advance of you reading this post. I’ve a tendency to get a little maudlin this time of year. Missing friends; family…
My roommate (and place-to-live benefactor) and I are very close. We’re good friends – truth be told, we used to date. So we know much about each other including backstory, family history, skeletons. Stuff from our past(s).
And we were fortunate enough to visit the last gun show together. A couple of blog friends were kind enough to give me the financial means. (Thanks, again, we couldn’t have done it without you!)
But there are land mines in the psyche. Stuff I’ve forgotten about and don’t expect. Buried deep. You see, I used to take my daughter to the gun shows. We used to visit antique malls, as well, and sometimes little antique-y things are displayed at gun shows. There were a few at this one.
When my daughter was small, and she’d see a cameo, she’d remark, “There’s that lady, again.” Hearing that always brought a smile to my face.
And, of course, I shared her expression long ago with my roommate. Part of the tales from the past people getting to know one-another pass along. And I always hear Molly’s voice in my head when I see that kind of jewelry.
So, here we are at the gun show, taking it all in, and up comes an antique jewelry display. Not exactly why I visit guns shows. So, I’m getting ready to gloss over it, when my roommate says softly, reverently,
There’s that lady, again.
I recently had a conversation with a friend which sparked a bittersweet memory.
One of the things many of us miss as adults is the wonder, the surprise, the simple serendipity of joy. In childhood we experience it often, probably because most things and experiences are new to us, and we’ve yet to become jaded.
One of my favorite memories of my daughter Molly was when I gave her a gift. She was turning twelve, and I knew just as the Sun rose in the morning that soon she would be developing into a teenager, full of doubt and promise. One who no longer trusted her parents to be all-knowing and truthful. Because, of course, we weren’t and could never be.
But here we were, proud father giving his daughter a present. She opened it, her eyes widened, and there was that sudden exhalation of breath. Excitement, happiness, joy. Innocence and appreciation in one second, one breath. Followed by the big hug.
I don’t even remember what I had given her. But what she gave me was so much more. An everlasting memory of a happy young woman, unspoiled by the adolescent hormones of parental treachery. Not yet jump-started into that distrust generated simply by being parents and adults.
Zen masters tell us to be in the now. Live life as if each moment was your last. This is what Molly showed me that day.
I’ve had many difficult times of year. The holidays and my birthday comprise one such time. Not because of those specific events, but rather because of who’s not there.
But, I’ve already received my present this year. As I get every year – when I remember it.
Live in the now, with joy, and never be disappointed.
Thank you, Molly.
So, it’s time for another Molly story.
After her mother and I separated, I was fortunate to have Molly every other week. This meant planning the day around her, including taking her to a before grade-school ‘day care’, which then ferried her to school. (I had to be to work @ 0600.) They then retrieved her after work.
Much of the time she’s fall back to sleep in the car, but, sometimes, especially in the warmer, Spring months she’d remain awake, checking out the neighborhood as we drove past. Kids don’t want to miss anything.
One morning she was looking out the passenger window down the block from our house, and there was some guy working on the shrubbery in front of his house. Squatting. Giving all-the-World the plumber’s eye view of, as Hawkeye Pierce put it, “The permanent vertical smile, lauded in song and story!”
Molly saw this, and was trying not to smile, as was I.
So I said, “Just say no to crack!” And we both busted up.
You just know she couldn’t wait to get to school to tell her friends.
Gun Nuts Media reminded me of today’s event.
Many boys get to go to the range, as part of family tradition or Scouts, but, sometimes girls are excluded, just because it’s assumed they have no interest.
And, we ALL know what happens when we assume.
So, take hold of your Saturday and get out there with your girl(s) and pop some caps!
It teaches patience, personal responsibility, skill and it’s FUN!
I was fortunate enough to take my daughter to ranges many years ago, and those experiences are many of my fondest memories. Go make some of your own. – Guffaw
h/t Caleb Giddings
MA-rooned tells the story of missing his daughter’s Girl Scout “Daddy Daughter Dance” because he was attending the NRA Convention in St. Louis.
And how he was able to get best-friend and daughter’s Godfather SCI-FI to stand in for him, and what a success that was for them all.
His story brought up some long-buried memories for me
I took the parent-mandated after-school dance lessons in the 8th Grade. I remember initially being fearful, but then getting into it, especially because weekly I got to have Tara Fuchs as my dance partner. I was in the 8th Grade, geeky, not too coordinated or talented, but I got to put my arms around a girl. At arm’s distance, at least!
Then, that next Summer, my hip disability developed. I missed my first semester of high school, and spent a year in a leg brace and on crutches. My right leg was now shorter than my left. Dancing was the farthest thing from my mind.
And my dance career was minimal after that. Occasionally, dancing with was appropriate, and I did so, best I was able. But hobbling around the dance floor wasn’t something I sought out.
Years passed, and I married, and we had a daughter. You’ve read of her in these pages. Ultimately, she was asked to a school dance, and the parents were invited to watch and chaperone. She was in the 6th Grade.
It was your basic guys on one wall, girls on another, trying not to look at each other. While the music played.
And my wife says, “Why don’t you go ask your daughter to dance?”, with a nice, unassuming smile.
So I did.
And she was new enough at dancing that we didn’t look too unmatched – save I was taller than she.
And she had a big smile on her face.
So, when Jay G wrote his story, it brought back memories and I could only smile. Okay, I cried a little.
I was in a physical rehabilitation center adjacent to Phoenix’s Good Samaritan Hospital. This was after one week of a ‘regular’ hospital stay, following three weeks in intensive care.
Following the accident.
‘They’ we hoping I might be released at the end of the week. Turned out, not until the end of April.
I was learning to walk again. And to function again in the real world. Daily physical therapy, followed by an exhaustion nap. And, some days I got to take a wheelchair out of my room to the laundry room. And do my own laundry. Daily routines reestablished. All part of the rehab.
After my daughter was killed.
So, here I am leaving the laundry room, making a button-hook pattern back to my own room in the halls in my wheelchair, when I pass the elevator. It opens and Cletus Botrell walks out.
Cletus was a friend and co-worker from TMCCC. An older gentleman. One with quite a past. Military, law enforcement, farming, who knows how many other skills? Now a credit card fraud investigator, like me. No, that’s not true, he was much better than I. With all the demeanor of a country gentleman. Fooled lots of folks into thinking he was a country bumpkin. Hardly.
And here he was stopping by to see me. On Easter Sunday.
So, I asked him, “What the Hell are you doing here? It’s Easter Sunday, you should be with your family!?” And he responded, “Well, I figured as much, but with everyone busy with the holiday, you’d be alone. I thought you could use some company.”
We had a nice visit, if you can call crying a nice visit.
Cletus had saved me once before. My very first day at TMCCC. I’d just received the company welcome from the general manager, and the security briefing from Lonnie Cook (written about before in these pages in the Unknown Soldier post, another friend of Cletus’) when I arrived at the Investigations Section of TMCCC.
Forty investigators whose task it was to investigate all the credit card fraud for the company essentially West of the Mississippi. And I was a newly minted fraud investigator, arriving for training.
I walked up to Steven ********, the Investigations Manager at the time, expecting a handshake, a ‘welcome aboard’, directions to my desk, where to get supplies, what my telephone number was, that sort of thing. And where, when and how my training was to begin. He looked me up-and-down, muttered “We don’t have time to train you.” spun on his heels and marched away.
So, here I stood, with my pants figuratively around my ankles, and a voice says, “Here, pull up a chair, come sit with me, I’ll show you how to get started. Then, we’ll find you a desk.” It was Cletus.
Always there. And here again in my rehabilitation.
He became ill a few years later, and we lost him.
I think of him often, especially on Easter.
…is the 17th anniversary of the motor vehicle accident that took our twelve-year-old daughter from us.
Rather than dwell on that, I’m linking to some of the posts I’ve written about her, that she may continue to live in our memory, and hopefully, in some of yours.
I’m especially proud I can share these thoughts with you, and that you’ve shown the kindness and friendship which enables a man to carry on. – Thank You – Guffaw