Regular readers of this blog are familiar with my dislike of this holiday. NOT with the sentiment! :-)
Make certain you hold each other close, honor each other, show each other you care and respect each other at todays gatherings.
And tell them you love them.
It’s not such a bad idea other days of the year, as well.
Because you never know…
And, it’s a good idea to make a list, even if it’s just in your head, of those things and people for which you are grateful.
I’ve a roof over my head, food in my belly, and a car – albeit a beater car. But she runs (kinda)!
Many people don’t have such things.
And today’s feast is traditional with me:
Salad, garlic toast, and mostaccioli!
and Happy Thanksgiving to all my friends, family and blogfriends™!
Yesterday, November 16, would have been my Father’s 100th birthday. Instead, he passed at age 61.
There were so many life lessons he was unable to impart to me.
Calm reflection (he was an angry rage kind of guy); Moderation (he was an alcoholic and a compulsive overeater); Mechanical ability (I once saw him attempt to repair a leaky radiator hose with Scotch tape(!) I was a kid, and even I knew that wouldn’t work).
But I knew he loved me.
After all, when I was born prematurely (and my twin brother didn’t make it) he hurriedly ran to the nearest church to pray for my survival.
He tried to make me an athlete, as he had been. Alas, my developing a physical disability @ age 12 stopped those attempts in it’s tracks. And from that point forward, he was unclear how to relate to me.
I only saw him cry once. When he told me how proud he was of my graduating the Eighth Grade, and that I never asked him for money. To be fair, I didn’t know I was allowed to! When my Mother passed, he kept his grief private.
I’m certain his childhood was horrific. A stern father who had been a Marine and railroad policeman, and his having grown up poor during the Depression.
He had not been raised to be a hugger. I don’t remember him ever hugging me. A firm handshake was the order-of-the-day.
But, he did teach me a few important things. Loyalty (be true to your friends – he was to his); Honesty (your word IS your bond); and yes, Love.
He loved his wife (my mother) with all his heart. Watching her die @ age 41 of emphysema must have been horrible. (I was in the Second Grade, what did I know?) And in spite of the fact they were estranged, my (half)sister was his jewel. He was very protective of her, which probably in-part caused the estrangement. But she was another connection to his wife, which I don’t think she ever saw.
And he kept his heart disease hidden from me until it was too late.
He was flawed – he was human.
I love you and miss you, Dad. Happy Birthday!
Doppelganger (n.) a duplicate person, as in someone who looks exactly like __________.
I never used to believe in such a thing. I mean, each human being is an individual, there is no one else like them, right?
I have seen three in the past 20 years(!)
About two months ago, I was grocery shopping at the closest market to home. Not because it was my favorite, but because it was close. (Laziness? Heat?)
I’m standing in the checkout line, and five or six folk ahead of me was a familiar guy. Tall. Large. Built familiarly (if that’s even a word?) He turned to push out his cart of groceries, and I almost yelled out his name! He resembled strikingly BOB, my former PI and gun store boss! Except the previous week I was informed by the original Bob that he just has had the lower part of his left leg amputated. And I knew there was no way he would have been across the Valley, 30 miles from his home, and so ambulatory right away. And this guy had more hair, a goatee and a pony tail! Nope – not Bob!
But certainly closer looking to him than his brother!!
Another time, we were in a Mexican restaurant. Because it was cheap, not because it was good. And we were seated by the back door, and could see folks seated outside on the patio. And there was Marla, a former girlfriend. Same figure, same face, same laugh and mannerisms. Except Marla passed away in 2004 – I have a copy of the obituary!
And there was my first observance with a doppelganger. In 1995, about 4 months after the accident. You know where I’m going with this…
The ex and I were window shopping at a large mall, largely because it was late Summer and air conditioned. And a couple walks by with three children. And number-two child looked exactly like Molly, except with blond hair!!!
I’m not normally the kind of man who faints, but I leaned up against the wall and closed my eyes to keep from losing consciousness. And to keep from screaming and crying. And my ex (who obviously had not seen her) asked me what was wrong.
And I nervously pointed. At air.
There was a couple with children. TWO children! And neither resembled our daughter.
To only be able to see her again…
Life doesn’t always go as we plan or desire. We certainly cannot control others in their personal plans or desires.
Especially, in matters of the heart.
Sometimes, we must let them go…
When love is good, it’s very, very good.
And when it goes away, it sucks.
(Truly, I cannot believe it’s been Twenty Years!)
There are things that are good to remember; things bad to remember; and things important to remember.
The crummy part of all this is sometimes my brain is not too good at discerning which is which, or what goes with what.
My character (being flawed and neurotic as it is) has a tendency to default to the bad.
A shrink, I’m certain, would say it’s all about low self esteem, negative messages from childhood, etc. The reasons don’t matter.
Twenty years ago, today was the accident in which our daughter Molly was killed.
I was driving – this makes me ultimately responsible, as I was The Dad. The Protector. The fact the other driver ran the red light while speeding is of no consequence.
I carry a sidearm. I’ve done so for 41 years. Long before I even met Molly’s mother, I chose to do whatever I could to protect myself and my family and friends. It’s a roll I haven’t taken lightly.
And I took my assignment as Protector even more seriously when I became a father. It’s what father’s are supposed to do!
We were making a left turn from 44th Street, East onto Thomas Road. A little after 1 PM. Going to Monkey Wards after an earlier visit to Famous Footwear @ 20th St. and Camelback. Saturday’s with 12 year old daughters meant shopping! The signal didn’t have a left turn arrow back then. It was just like in the movies – in the midst of completing the turn, I sensed something was wrong. Based on the estimated speed of the other car, we were pushed across the intersection in about one-tenth of a second.
And many lives changed forever.
I’ve no memory regarding what happened next. Nothing to recall on the witness stand months later. I was told I regained consciousness enough to give my estranged wife’s phone number to the ambulance guy, when I was asked if there was anyone he could call.
I had early drugged hospital memories of being on board a ship(!) Not enough consciousness to ask why I was on a ship. Turned out, with one (now re-inflated) collapsed lung and the other half filled with fluid, County Hospital had me on a pneumatic bed which kept hissing and rolling, to keep fluids from settling in my damaged lungs. Ribs pushed into a lung. Broken collar bone. Broken arm. Tube up the nose, and IV morphine/ativan drip.
My sister, wife and friends were there, being supportive and keeping loving watch as much as they could. Not wanting to answer the obvious question: Where was Molly?
In my few awake moments, I remember asking about the funeral, desperately wanting to be well enough to attend.
My wife was told Sunday morning there had not been any brain activity, and had the courage to disconnect life support. Had our roles been reversed, I don’t think I would have had the bravery. I am forever grateful to her for this. A number of folks benefited from her decision.
The funeral was that following Tuesday. I was largely unconscious in ICU at County for another two weeks.
Ultimately, after being moved to Good Sam, being given Tylenol in lieu of the morphine/ativan drip (!) and weeks in the regular hospital and rehab, I was able to walk and breathe again.
I was deeply depressed and pretty much just counting the days.
Until I could pay my respects.
That came weeks later.
I’ll say it again, as long as I take breath – Tell your family and friends you love them, right now!
Because you may never get another chance.
AND be an organ donor.
I try to remember the good times. The IMPORTANT ONES. It’s what has kept me alive for the past twenty years.
My thanks to all of you, family and friends, for holding me up, until I could stand on my own.
(Commentary has been turned off – I know how you all feel. Thanks, again.)
Most of you know, my Father was sports addict, and as a result (because of my inability to play after the onset of my disability at age 12), I was a sports orphan.
And the culmination of all this for me is I don’t have a passion for most sports. Watching, playing, appreciating. Because I can’t play, and because I was saturated with it as a child.
(If YOU love your sports, enjoy! It’s no problem for me. But, like religion, please leave it outside my door!)
I oft wondered about the American fetish for the love of team sports – especially baseball, football and basketball. It’s been explained to me that it has to do with civic pride. And, of course, friendly bets around the water cooler.
Or the bookie.
Marx says religion is the opiate of the masses. In this country, the opiate is also sports! I guess it stops folks from discussing religion and politics(?)
MY passion is the ability to live free. To make my own choices. To not be compelled to give to others through the power and force of government. If I choose to do so, that’s one thing. At the point of a gun, that’s another.
And, of course, my passion for the love a good woman.
Currently absent. :-(
But that’s for another post…
…and it’s only TUESDAY!
Personal stuff aside (higher humidity making havoc of my arthritis, for example) there’s Robin Williams gone.
And tonight, the news about Lauren Bacall…
She was the one woman who could tame Humphrey Bogart, and did so, giving him two children and a number of films together. She was sultry, and had a sexy voice that sizzled off the 40’s movie screen.
And didn’t take any s*** from anyone, all while showing class today’s young actresses could only dream about.
Betty, if you need anything, please follow your own instructions!
A few years back Superman (2011 in DC Comics) announced he was renouncing his U.S. citizenship! Now, I’ve not been a comic book reader/consumer since I was 10-11 years old, but I was always a big Superman fan.
I found this action repulsive. One – that the beloved character would do such a thing, and Two – that in so doing such a children’s fictional comic would make the national news. After all, they ARE just comic books.
Fast-forward to NOW. It was announced a couple of months ago (and made the national news again recently) that beloved perennially-in-high-school everyteen comic book character Archie Andrews would die in the comic book. This was NOT due to his having been in high school 78 years.
It was because he would dive in front of an assailant attacking his friend with a gun, and his taking a bullet for him! Archie’s GAY friend!
What do I make of this?
Political correctness aside, I like to believe I would have done the same thing for any good childhood friend. My best friend from third grade through college was a legitimately brilliant. IQ off the charts. Socially, less skilled. But, except for his studies and church, my constant companion. He was the geek I aspired to be, even though I didn’t have the mental acuity.
After his own father disowned him when he came out of the closet as a college freshman, and my own father lampooned his gayness, I had to stand up for Carl. Fortunately, no one shot him. And I, myself, had to overcome childhood indoctrination regarding gayness, and what that means. After all, sexual preference aside, he remained my friend!
I’m not yet certain how I feel about comic books being tools for political correctness. Of course, even Peanuts eventually had a Black character. I suppose comic books must change with the times, as well. I don’t know how the Archie friend’s character’s gayness is shown to the comic book audience. Obviously kids are more aware of such things than I was 50-60 years ago.
But, I know one thing.
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. – John 15:13 (ASV)
If we can teach this to the self-absorbed-faces-glued-to-their-cell-phone adolescents, then all is not lost. If only adults read comic books.
My Father taught me that not only was Memorial Day to honor those who gave their life in service to this Nation, but also to take a moment to remember those who have gone before who were dear to us. He and I visited the grave of my Mother Charlotte on Memorial Day 1977. She passed when I was in the Second Grade.
He knew he wouldn’t survive past August that year. I didn’t know.
Being disabled, when my conditions allow, I spend time doing research on the Internet. It’s amazing what information is ‘out there’ if we only bother to look.
And, sometimes information is absent, even if we do.
Below. a photo of my friend Everett, who served in the Army in Europe in the 70’s.. He was a big man, both tall and wide, had a deep booming voice and a great sense of humor. He paid his way through college hustling pool. Another blogger whom I don’t know was his friend in his last years, and said he was the most ethical man he ever knew. I believe him.
Marla was a woman I dated after my marriage broke up. She was funny, quirky, sexy and loved her children. Sadly, not only do I not have any personal photos, but neither does the Internet. I’d lost contact with her after she moved on with her life, and was attempting to reestablish a friendship when I found out she had passed. I’ve no information as to how. She was in her 50’s.
PLEASE take the time to remember those who served and those you love, because you never know…
I STILL look askance at those people/businesses who say ‘Happy’ Memorial Day. I choose to reflect and remember these folks, and not to be morose.
My life was better for having known these people.