691. Two Men Meet Death

Image result for the grim reaper imagesHe comes to us all, mostly unbidden. A small number of humans rush toward Death for a variety of reasons, but most of us wait patiently though anxiously for his arrival. He’s not exactly bringing an Amazon Prime deal to your door. I recall the medieval morality play called Everyman, circa 1400 A.D. In this allegory Everyman is unexpectedly called upon by Death. He resists and tries to bargain with Death. He’s just not ready to die. Really, who is? Death plays along and agrees that Everyman may bring along a companion if anyone was so foolish to accompany him.  That’s when the dense Greek yogurt tragedy hits the high speed oscillating ceiling fan. Surprise, or not. No one wants to go there with Everyman— not family, not friends, not his wealth, beauty, knowledge, five senses, etc. In the end, after confessing his sins, repenting, and taking communion, only his Good Deeds go with him into the grave, leaving a powerful moral lesson for illiterate minds in the audience: do good while you are alive. It’s all you take with you into a blessed eternity. Into the cursed coal mine, not so much.

Now I don’t want to get into a debate about works/deeds versus grace for the basis of one’s salvation. Rather, I’d like to simply visit two dying men and observe how each deals with the same problem that every man and woman must one day face.

Boris Khazanov is the the local commissioner of the Bulgarian cooperative farm system. He is well known and respected. One of  the few former Communists who managed to still appeal to the current democratic atmosphere in Bulgaria after the end of Communism in 1991. He negotiated his way into the National Assembly where he served without scandal for 24 years. Along the way he amassed a lot of favors and a tidy fortune, as well as a strong sense of entitlement that he kept hidden from the public.Image result for russian aristocrat pictures

Boris eventually left the Assembly with a fine pension and favors to cash in. He was appointed to foundations and bank boards around Sofia. These positions paid him handsomely for little to no work. You see, he had already done the work in the National Assembly with sweetheart deals for his favored compatriots. He was free to attend to the secret business of the Bulgarian Knights Templar Association and play the cello in the Comrades of Sofia Symphony.  Life was delicious and quite lucrative for Boris. He was in demand at conferences and cocktail parties all over the country… for a price– cash, credit, debit, or quid pro quo barter.Image result for bulgarian aristocrats homes pictures

When Death sent him an invitation at age 79, he was shocked. How could he stop all of his life’s engagements and go wherever Death was going to take him? He was needed and expected to carry on his precious work on earth. Death, however, was not impressed with any of his arguments. He left his appointment card on Boris’s bedside table– July 20th at noon. Boris’s wife turned it over in a rash moment of denial, but the other side said the same thing, so she covered it with a gold-rimmed saucer. Surely their lawyer would advocate for him and work out an extension just as their accountant did with taxes each year. After all, they were the Khazanovs.Image result for interior of wealthy bulgarian home

Deputy Attorney Galilnovalov came the next day, the 19th. He assured the Khazanovs that Death was non-negotiable. No one had ever escaped Death’s greedy grasp. He counseled Boris to let go of his large life with dignity. Boris was perturbed. He was a man of power and prestige, used to getting his own way. He refused to sign letters of termination and resignation. He would not resign from his many associations. It was tantamount to agreeing with Death. The next day at two p.m. Attorney Deputy Galilnovalov received a call from a sobbing Mrs. Khazanov that Boris had died in a fevered seizure around noon, “it was as if Death himself were choking Boris into submission”, she reported hysterically. “There was a faint odor of sulfur. He would not let go!” Galilnovalov was not sure who would not let go.Related image

Galilnovalov could not help but compare Boris with his other long term client Gerislav Bukhalov, who was also bedridden. “Gerry” knew Boris from the farm cooperative days. Gerry, however, had always been a worker bee and never a commissioner. He farmed under Communism and under Capitalism. He knew and loved the land he stewarded. Unlike Boris Khazanov he had no pretensions about him. He rarely left his farm and practiced a simple faith as most farmers are wont to do. He was completely dependent upon the whims of nature for his livelihood. And more years than not he prospered, increasing his hectares and head of cattle carefully over the decades. Sadly, his wife of 47 years had died eight years previously, leaving Gerry alone but resolute in his simple faith of planting and hoping for a harvest. Now his end was near at 83 years of age.Image result for bulgarian farm house pictures

Galilnovalov enjoyed his time in Gerry’s presence. He looked forward to tea and hard bread at Gerry’s bare kitchen table. Unlike Khazanov’s ostentatious surroundings, Buhkalov’s farmhouse was austere, with just a smattering of icons on the otherwise barren walls. When Death sent his invitation, Gerry was not surprised or devastated. Instead he set it next to his shaving mirror. He was actually relieved to finally be off to see his beloved wife in eternity. He told Galilnovalov that he was ready, in fact, had been ready for the previous three years. Over this time he had signed off on his will and donated his considerable wealth to local charities and his church. His great nephew would take over the full time operation of the farm and move into the farmhouse after his passing. “I will not wrestle with Death when he comes for me. I am eager to go”, he told the amazed Gulilnovalov. “After all, I take nothing but my good deeds with me, my friend.”  Gulilnovalov served as his postmortem witness and swore to men who would listen that he detected a hint of frankincense after Gerry passed his last breath.Image result for smiling corpse pictures

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

690. Facetious

Image result for multifaceted gemstone picturesYes, a favorite word and activity of mine. One of only two English words with all the vowels in order– A, E, I, O, U. But that is just the cherry on top of all the ice cream and bananas that make up the awesome banana-splitting word  facetiousFake Banana Split - Great Gift for Ice Cream Lovers - Fake Sundae

adjective

*  not meant to be taken seriously or literally: facetious remark.
*  amusing; humorous.
*lacking serious intent; concerned with something nonessential, amusing, or frivolous:  facetious person.
*  from facetiae, Latin, plural of facētia something witty.
Image result for comic winking gif
In the word you can see face and facet. So, being facetious has something to do with the face or a facet of intent. Maybe it’s a glint in the eye that conveys a code such as, “Hold my beer,partner”. Or it’s a facet, a shard of broken mirror that captures a slice of frivolity. In my case it’s deadpan jokes uttered as semi-sacred truths. Somehow, if you don’t laugh as you utter the milky joke, it hits the unsuspecting ear drum with an echo of confusion. The sacred cow moos off key. Something does not resonate rightly with the listener, and he/she wonders if they heard it correctly. Perhaps they wonder, “Why is he milking this situation?”
Example: new folks meeting at a picnic. One guy asks where two other old friends met. I offer, “On a gay dating site. Matcho’men.Com” as if I were mentioning a self evident fact like “The sky is very blue today, don’tcha think?”. Pause. Restrained chuckles that release male tensions.Related image
Now I know what you are thinking: ‘This sort of joke could get you beaten into a heavy duty garbage bag and tossed into the East River for urban piranhas to nibble on.’ And I would agree with the first part about the garbage bag but quickly point out that piranhas are not native to New York. However, they are served as a main course in Peru with the head on. Now that’s an ironic twist, eh?, a piranha being devoured by a human. Quite a bite. Facetious or fact? Check the fact box, fans.
So, one must have a fire escape ready when the facetious remark is met with angry revulsion coupled with a desire for immediate violent revenge. In a world of stand up comedy, one must expect hecklers buzzing from the tender nerve you just stepped on. It happens. All jobs have their occupational hazards, you know?, like sand traps and water hazards in golf. That’s what keeps the game challenging. Yes? Of course yes.Image result for golf course pictures with water and sand traps
An earlier post 412Unfriended Progenously is a perfect example of such reaching too far and not knowing one’s audience. It’s the one where I sent a goofily facetious message to my daughter’s very official professional website, thinking it was her personal Facebook page.  I think it’s a funny story now, but I can’t be absolutely sure since I was so wrong before. It was a case of mistaken context, like farting in church or belching at a funeral. She kept her job, but I was exiled. Oh so faux pas!
There are other incidents back in the memory vault, though they grow suspect over time. Pretending seriously to be something or someone I was not got me in a pickle jam a time or two. There was the time in college when my lumberjack friend Craver and his buddies came up from William and Mary to a concert around the corner from my apartment in Richmond, Virginia. I had a paper due and declined the invite, though I wished I could find a way to make both happen. (It was Bonnie Raitt and someone else.) As the evening dragged on and I sat in my academic isolation, I got bored with the paper and began to think of mischief. My roommate Sam had a very lifelike old man mask made of rubber.  I put it on and then added a trench coat and a hat. I thought for a laugh I’d go over to greet Mark and his friends as they exited The Mosque, an old fashioned concert hall built prior to the concept of political correctness. Right? Can you imagine a casino in Dubai called The Cathedral?Image result for pictures of the Mosque in Richmond Virginia
Anyhow, I was early or there were curtain calls, so I waited outside the main entrance, trying to be discreet. Three redneck dudes noticed me and wondered what the heck was going on. I just played along as an old man, which confused their already addled brains. I was getting a bit anxious and definitely second guessing my charade when they began to get hostile and pushy with me. Just about that time the crowd came out of the auditorium and I spotted Craver. I called his name and he lumbered over to my awkward situation. “Is there a problem here, fellas?” he inquired. The three suddenly polite rednecks quickly uttered that there was no problem and away they went. That’s when Crave started chuckling and said, “What the hell are you doing?” I thanked him for saving me from a beating and we all went back to my apartment. Looking back with fondness now, I guess I was being facetious, but I had the wrong context. Craver got a kick out of the get up and the set up. He was very tolerant of my facetiousness.Image result for big lumberjack pictures
I have found it’s a good thing to have big friends, even if they are teddy bears. Which brings my last memory to the surface. My buddy and roommate Sam and I were at Virginia Tech for a weekend, and after the game and pints of Southern Comfort he and I were wondering down the main drag in Blacksburg. We wound up in a bar on the second floor. [That in itself is a liability, which reminds me of the loony email to my lawyer daughter referenced above, but I’ll leave that for you to research.] We were both drunk, but I more than Sam when we entered this bar with a pool table in the center. I staggered up to the table and slapped a dollar on the side rail. “I want the winner!” I swaggered. That’s when a large dude with a cue stick took my money and set it at the end of the line of dollars that belonged to rough guys waiting to play the winner. A sober person would have noticed the cold tension in the room. I went to the bathroom.Image result for mummy wrapped in toilet paper
While I was singing to myself in the men’s room, probably a Little Feat song… “Drop me off on Peach Street, I can feel that Georgia sun…”, Sam was explaining that I was mentally ill and he was my personal aide, I think. Otherwise I cannot explain how we got out of there without a full body beating. In a flash of inspiration I thought it would be a great gag to wrap myself in toilet paper as I returned to the pool table crowd. So I did. As I walked out of the bathroom completely wrapped in toilet paper, I said, “Gentlemen, meet The Mummy.” Somebody yelled, “That’s enough” and I found myself outside the bar laughing with Sam at the absurdity of it all. We were lost and wandered along the avenue until we found our bearings to some friend of a friend’s apartment floor. And that’s a facetious fact.Related image
It’s not for everyone, this facetious thing. Some folks are too tightly wrapped up in their own too serious Saran Wrap for my taste. And I am way too out there for their sensibilities. So streams split and you just have to paddle your own canoe, one joke at a time.Image result for road signs-- sanity and otherwise

689. Away we go

Related imageGone like the night owls that hooted back and forth across the newly planted soybean fields, my grandkids flew back to Arizona on Sunday. Not without a bit of drama, however. The plan when we went to bed was to get up at 3:30 am; slouch out the door with food and coffee; and drive the two hours to Reagan National Airport for a flight to Dallas. It was the best pass ride deal my pilot son-in law-could figure out. He would fly with them from Dallas to Tucson. Ready, steady, go.Image result for busy airport pictures

Off we went in the cool night air at 3:45 a.m. Right turn and turn again. At the bottom of the first hill Grace fired up her cell phone and said, “What? Wait! Our flight was cancelled. We have to go to Philadelphia. Oh no! What? To Minneapolis? Oh, Dad. I’m so sorry.”

“What’s another couple of hundred miles, Honey? You’re now in the Nina club.”

We turned around and headed northeast instead of southeast. I had enough time to retell the Nina story. “Let’s see, it must have been 1999. Yes, Erin graduated that summer. Wow, twenty years ago.”

“Oh, that’s horrrreeeebull!” Nina’s favorite comment about American television or shoes or chocolate. “You drove her to Philadelphia, right?”

“Yes, after a trip to Dulles. Remember, she had a stand by ticket to Germany and the flight was full.”

“How did she get down there to begin with?”

“The Academy van service took her down. She had asked me to run her down. I declined. She wanted to save the $75.00 fee. But hours later that day, it was the last day of school for me, and Mom and I were sitting on the pool deck. I looked up to see a jet streaming across the sky. I said, ‘Hey, there goes Nina.’ Your mom said, ‘I don’t think so. You haven’t seen the last of her.’ ”

“I’m sure I said something witless like ‘Au contraire, mon ami.’ She is surely on her way back to Germany on a Lufthansa jet.”Image result for lufthansa airplane pics

“Well, I was wrong. When we got home from the pool, the phone rang. She was stuck at Dulles. Her standby ticket was worthless… sort of like your pass ride that just disappeared. She was in near panic with her nine suitcases and nowhere to go.”

“Didn’t you get her a place to stay?”

“Yeah, I tried to call in favors from my brothers and anyone I could think of to avoid another trip to D.C. In the end only Grandma T. offered refuge for the night.”

“Good old Grandma, bless her soul.”Image result for gray taurus station wagon picture

“So I drove to Dulles in the old Taurus station wagon. I mean, although she was a pain in the butt at times, she was still a scared 16 year old girl trying to get home. Why on earth her parents didn’t spring for a first class ticket makes you wonder though.”

“Yeah, they were wealthy enough to send her to a fancy boarding school in the states but not wealthy enough to buy a real ticket?”

“Anyway, I parked in the loading lane and ran in to find her and her gypsy caravan of luggage. All black, remember, she only wore black?”Image result for dulles airport terminal at night pictures

“Yep. Horrreeebull, dees American t.v. commercials. Oooooohhhh!!”

“And don’t forget the time she dried herself off with the towel that Charlie the iguana had crawled into.”Image result for iguana in a white towel photo

“Oh my, I can still hear her blood curdling scream… ‘CHAHHHLEEE, CHAHHHLEE!!’ ”

“What a scene that was.  Anyhow, when we got to the car, an airport parking cop was writing me a ticket, but he also had to lecture me about where to park and I’d had it. I cut off his lecture and tersely demanded ‘Just give me the damn ticket and save the sermon. You have no idea what’s going on here.’ Seventy five bucks. I never paid it. The Taurus has been scrap metal for a decade at least. The paper trail is gone.”

“So how did you end up in Philadelphia?”

“Yeah, the next plane with a real ticket was leaving from Philadelphia International the next evening.”

“So you spent the night with Grandma in McLean and drove all the way to Philly in the morning?”Image result for 95 north photos in Philadelphia

“Sure did. Let’s see, it was a solid two hours, and then we had to move those damn suitcases for the fifth time. Remember, we carried them out of her third floor dorm room, into our house, that’s two. Then out of the house and into the van. Then into the Taurus at Dulles, and finally out of the Taurus in Philly. Whew! Nine for Nina, and I swear one weighed ninety pounds. So there she sat in Philly in the middle of her gypsy caravan of luggage again. By the time I got home, I had to go to my night job at the counseling center. I drove 500 plus miles that day.”

“Dad, you’re a saint.”

“Saint Burrito of Stupito.”Image result for saint paintings

We were turning left onto Short Cut Road when an adult doe decided to jump out of the woods on Grace’s side of the Honda CRV. THUMP. Shriek. Corrective steering and adrenaline rush at 4:00 a.m.

“Well, that’s a fitting ending to the Nina saga. Just when you think it’s over, it aint.”

“Dad, I’m so sorry for this whole thing.”Related image

“Because you are magically responsible for the cancellation of your flight and especially for that deer bolting out of the dark? What super powers you possess, Grace.”

From the back seat two year old Max said, “Mommy, did the deer want to come to Tucson with us?” His absurdly innocent question helped Grace laugh about the meta absurdity of the entire situation.Image result for deer on a car photo

“Yes, Max, but wild animals aren’t allowed on airplanes, Buddy.”

“But Dad, this wouldn’t have happened if it weren’t for us. I should have taken an Uber.”

“No, the deer was simply the exclamation point on the Nina Club sequel, Gracie. It’s going to be a funny story one day. Just not today.”

“Okay, away we go.”Related image

 

688. Flat Brain

Image result for pictures of flat breadIt’s not an official diagnosis, but I believe flat brain should be recognized as a disorder as surely as flat bread is a recognized bread. Just as flat bread does not rise since it lacks yeast, flat brain does not rise because it lacks sleep or nourishment or serotonin or dopamine or all of the above. Unlike flat liners, who are dead according to an EKG monitor, flat brainers have a pulse but little more than their brain stem is operating. Yeah, it happens– fatigue sets in, lethargy, the 1,000 yard stare is evident, and then silence.

Related imageFlat brain occurs in most men over 60 after two hours of physical labor. At least in my case that’s when it sets in. Yesterday I had to assemble two office chairs that I bought from Amazon to replace my office love seat. That was the easy part. The hard part was deconstructing the fifteen year old love seat the chairs were replacing. It took two men and a carpenter to get that love seat into my current office 8 years ago. I knew some day it would have to go out in pieces, and that day had come. Its demise seemed ironically fitting since that couch had witnessed the patches and blow outs of many marriages over 15 years of counseling sessions. After all, love and love seats are in the eye of the beholder, or the butt cheeks of the sitters in this case. To lovers it’s a love seat; to others it’s a generic two-seater.Image result for couples arguing in therapy pictures

My original plan was to butcher the love seat into three or four pieces with my jig saw ripping away at key joints. I had no idea how I’d get those awkward pieces into my SUV and then home, where I could dispose of them. Cutting away the upholstery with a razor blade revealed the intricate hardwood structure beneath. Long, thin staple nails held each strut and brace to the frame. I was impressed at the amount of hollow space incarcerated by foam and heavy fabric. I began to adjust my plan: perhaps I could knock each piece of wood apart and wind up with manageable bundles of hardwood 1-x-1’s and 1-x-2’s,which I could duct tape into neat packages of future kindling. Image result for bundles of lumber  picture

So I began, alternately swinging a 16 ounce claw hammer and a rubber mallet. The long skinny nails reluctantly slid out of their old holes when I applied sufficient force. Ignorant brute force accompanied by sweaty man grunts won each challenge. I began to make bundles in the outside hallway. My new plan was working better than I had imagined. You see, I am used to doing mechanical tasks three and four times before I find success or an acceptable form of failure. But, hallelujah, this time things were working out efficiently. Related image

The chair assemblage went fairly well considering my lack of hand/eye coordination and three dimensional problem solving skills. I did that part first because I knew my brain would deflate with the couch wreckage. Flat brainers become Neanderthals once deflation is complete; they can break stuff but not create under the control of a mere brain stem. Fortunately, after an hour and a half of hammering and cutting, my two seater was reduced to five manageable bundles and four cushions that fit perfectly into my Honda CRV. I was amazed, but by then my mammalian brain had shut down as I joylessly drove across town to have lunch with my cheerful bride. Related image

She saw I was sweaty and a bit dusty. My silence was unusual. “Are you okay?”

“Just brain dead. I feel like I’ve been beaten all over with a ball peen hammer.”

“Oh, okay. So take a shower when you get home and take a nap.”

“Excellent advice. I will comply.”

I did exactly that, but I sat down and stared at our fish pond as cloud shadows and sunlight bursts passed over my back yard. One continuous ache throbbed from the crown of my head to my big toe. I thought of the Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz, squeaking, “Oil can. Oil can.” My pain came not from rust but from overuse of underused muscles. A long time ago I could work for 10 hours doing physical labor; then it dropped to 8 hours, and 6, then four. Sadly, fatigue sets in and thinking stops around 120 minutes now, the length of the average Hollywood date movie.Related image

When my formerly sympathetic wife came home later, she proposed two options: walk the dog or finish setting up the fish pond pump and filter. I asked for option three. “Another beating with a ball peen hammer.” No, she said the menu was restricted to A or B. So, with a minimum of whining I returned to the heat and hurt. Bending over to level out the filter and pump mechanism was more awkward than painful. Attaching and reattaching the leaking hoses is what began to wear me down again. Unlike my earlier project this wet one did not go well. I stopped after I had resolved two out of the three leaks. By then my back felt like a set of rusted garage door springs. My flat brain was numb. No amount of further tinkering was going to stop that leak.Related image

So, there I stood again, so fully torqued and stiff that a butterfly landing on my shoulder could snap my piano wire musculature into a cacophony of exploding strings. My flat brain ticked like a broken clock whose second hand simply bumped on the same hash mark unrelentingly. Stuck, buzzing. I wondered to myself what was so bad about the pre-time Neanderthal days. They seemed perfectly wonderful to my flat brain.Image result for stuck clock gif

687. Rezuewreckshun

Image result for exploding star ship images

(I) can’t recall when the first episode began, but [I] blew out bipolar sparks and soot from my Mania I star ship all over the dark vastness as {I} crashed into a million zillion shiny pieces twenty years ago. Or was it twenty five? No matter. A school of silver sardines exploded like confetti out of a howitzer across the universe: particles of what had been the Big Bang me swam against the invisible electromagnetic currents of deep space. I am the Big BANG WALRUS. i AM Bangers and mash, mash up TO make up– only to mash up again.

Image result for john lennon headshotsJohn Lennon sang, Pools of sorrow, waves of joy are drifting through my open mind, possessing and caressing me, Jai Guru Deva, Ommmm. A chorus of oohs and aaahs followed. Nothing’s gonna change my world, nothing’s gonna change my  worldwhile  I vaporized off into deep space just inside the rim of a black hole and had to be extricated with inter stellar dental probes…COSMIC PLAQUE… then hospitalized for six empty weeks.  A parade of medications and therapies auditioned like sad clown acrobats Image result for three sad clowns pictures before an inscrutable psychiatrist, in search of balance, that fine lost recipe that I used to have in Grandma’s checkered cook book when she baked sugar cookies for me long ago. I was her good boy then. Then, in the thick lovely then, life made sense and favored me to lick the spoon and clean the mixing bowl with joyous fingers of SWEET batter. 

Image result for tarred and feathered man images[I lost my income and had to go on disability. FACTS.] Inside me, boiling tar guilt was followed by a dump truck load of shamefully shitten chicken feathers. Outside hung the humiliating shapeless yellow gown with no backside. The smallest breeze was a quiet violation, leaving me open to further humiliation. Screwed, I felt screwed in the butt by an invisible Bogomil. Later on I needed ECT to break suicidal depression’s iron grip on my shattered mind. Hundreds of disembodied hands kneaded my doughy brain with knuckles of pain and finger nails of hurt; humiliation slaps and fists of failure were all seared off with lightning bolts until I could complete just     one      four word     sentence, “Please help me, God.”Related image

I have to stop here because… the rest is just too awful. I don’t want to go back there, ever. I can’t do it!! The upside was indescribable as I smoked crack with whores and addicts, hoping for the fire breathing bell ringers when the crack exploded through my skull in a fire hydrant flood of dopamine release. My motel room party partners told me to slow down. I couldn’t brake. I had found the luscious passion fruit of external pleasure, and stoked the molecules of cocaine out of each delirious smoky hit. I was pure id, buzzing with alien energy.Image result for gif of sparking fire

I’m not going back“, I said to no one in particular. As if I had escaped from Death Row, I smoked on and on with no fear of arrest, bankruptcy, divorce, abandonment, injury or death and damnation. I felt bulletproof, which isn’t that hard to achieve when you are the only one shooting bullets. After living in the pits of Hell for months with only suicidal thoughts for company, this alchemical rush was my security salve.  White hot heresy answered my prayer. God would not take my call, but Satan did. OMMMMMMmmmmmmm. No words of praise, just my writhing body worshiped, and reveled in the flames of my own destruction.Image result for funeral pyre gif

After rehab and rehab blab, blab, and more rehab, I relapsed and relapsed and relaxed. Self loathing and shame only last so long, you know. I’d contrive a plan to slip away, to answer the inquiry, “Do you like to party and play?” Oh yeah. My fantasies swirled in familiar pathways, rubbing against my willpower like a black cat in heat. Of course I’d yield to the feelings of anticipatory pleasure; lick my lips in excited expectation; the match could not be unlit. Resistance was obliterated.

Related image

I tried and tried again to live out my perverse fantasies, gas lit by the flames of multiple crack pipes. To mount the scaly magic dragon and fly into ether… never happened. I slipped off every time it reared in recoil mode. Instead of achieving ecstasy, I was robbed and scammed. Stood up. Humiliated by a sadist. Crushed into ashes. Ashen, I had no other option but to fall down on the excrement of my own shame.Image result for faces of shame

I’m not going back“, I said to God. “Only nothingness is there. I have surveyed that desert and found white-boned Death.” Two words resonated in my memory… “only death”. Wasn’t that what I was pursuing? Indirectly I’d invited Death to dance with me on the razor’s edge each time I binged. And yet, I survived. Why? I openly defied every godly thing and smirked at my luck afterwards. Others went down in flames, death, and jail. Not me. No insurmountable consequences. I could still smile at the bank and get a signature loan on the spot. No teller ever guessed I was on my way to buy crack and binge in a sleazy motel with prostitutes of every nation, tongue and flavor.Related image

I’m not going back“, I told myself. Degradation crept up my throat like a python of stomach acid. What had turned me on excitedly now turned to nausea. This time I wanted to feel the disgust thoroughly and trace it across the hearts of my loved ones rather than running out to numb myself again. “You dirty old man” echoed in my memory. I was repulsed by this label. I was old and a man, but dirty? No, I was Grandma’s special boy still despite the ripsaw of grief that cut agonizing kerfs every time I uttered her name. Her death sealed me inside a loveless tomb with nothing left to lose. I’d been lost for decades without her. Flat and dead in spirit. Image result for snake in a man's mouth pictures

Surrect, i needed to be surrected, upright in body and spirit. No erection or injection. Just plain Resurrection with no chaser. For now a safe, waveless harbor surrounds me… pools of sorrow, waves of joy are drifting through my open mind, caressing and possessing me… Ommmmmm. Nothing’s gonna change my world. Image result for images of heaven

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

686. Swimming with Donald

Image result for trump in a swimming pool pictureWhen he called to say he was gonna test the waters, I thought ‘Good, get in there and blow things up a little. Make some waves.’ We soybean farmers need a man with cold blooded cojones who will make rapacious deals in our favor for a change. Ya know? Smack the Chinese and the EU. And be an Equalizer Deal Dog who’s not afraid to pull the damn trigger.  Everyone likes to claim they are with and for the farmers, but really, it’s all window dressing, you know. A Currier and Ives print you bring out in November for the holidays and elections, show to the relatives before they start fightin’. Not Donald. He can’t be bought off cuz he’s so blingy rich. So rich that he can afford to lose more than a billion dollars as a successful businessman in real estate  and casinos in the go-go 80’s when even blind idiots was making money.  Plus a hot wife. And I liked his bluntness and her butt. He spoke out loud what a lot of us only thought in the dark. He legitimized political pornography for us.  Took the shame away. We’re unapologetically conservative and white Victims with a capital V. America first. YUP.

Image result for MAGA soybean farmers pictures

Those lyin’ liberals don’t understand hard work and pressure. They live off the milk of a state welfare system and suck it dry. If they do work, it’s for the government or some slick lobbyist agency around the Beltway. I know this cuz Tucker Carlson tells me so. And Laura and Sean. They’re real people like Trump and me. I could drink a glass of milk or a beer with them comfortably. Yep, my kind of Middle Americans. They just live on the coast because that’s where the media centers are huddled. Given a choice, I’m sure they’d move to Iowa tomorrow and shuck those fancy suits. If the Don can stay in power for a full ten years, lots of Fox Newsers are gonna move here. I just betcha.

Image result for group photos of hannity, ingraham, carlson together

Yeah, I’d like to have Donald over for a barbecue and a swim in the pool. I hear he’s a heck of an athlete, best ever to play golf and baseball. Why that doctor said he could live for 200 years. Remember that? Like a redwood tree he’s got endurance for sure. How many folks in his administration couldn’t  take the heat and left or got fired? A whole pile of them. Some even got indicted for crimes and such. Loyal? He sure is loyal. He hated to fire all them leaking weasels, but what are you gonna do when the world is closing in and there’s a illegal coup d’etat goin’ down? Why Comey was workin’ for the Russians, I heard Rush say the other day.Image result for angry rush limbaugh photos

Now when the first tariffs went into effect, well, I got uncomfortable. I figure I’m gonna lose $40,000 this year even after the bail out money. I hate welfare when others get it, so you can imagine how upset I am when I cash my Department of Agriculture subsidy check. See, we figured it would only be a one time deal, ya know? Teach them China commies who’s boss. Now it looks like it could run on another year or more. So my television just got $150 more expensive while my soybeans are worth half what they were a year ago. Some nights me and the mrs. and the kids stare at our autographed red MAGA hat in the center of the dining table and wonder if the Donald will ever show up to swim with us. I’ve never seen him in anything but a suit and a red tie as long as a tie down strap on a tractor trailer. But aint no never mind anyway.

Image result for discarded MAGA hat photos

Now that Mueller has exonerated him, things will get back to great again. Seems like Hillary still pulls the strings of a deep state coup, according to Sean. I don’t know what he is meaning, but I do trust him. He’s Mr. Trump’s friend so he’s gotta be good people, right? Then there’s Kelly Anne’s husband bad mouthing the President, his wife’s boss!!  Who does that? I guess since he don’t work directly for the president that Don can’t fire him. I like Kelly Anne too. No one can talk like she does. If she came over to swim, I’m pretty sure she could give a full press  conference underwater on one breath. I don’t know how the woman does it. I believe she breathes through her eyes.

Image result for kelly anne conway photos

But…now that these new tariffs is goin’ up, and I stand to lose another pile of money, I might not be able to buy the chemicals for the pool. You know the chlorine and algaecide and electric and all adds up quicker than the summer heat. And I don’t blame Donald one bit. It’s that cheatin’ Xi dude, who wrote Donald a real nice letter. I guess they’re friends too. I don’t rightly understand how he can be friends with Putin and Kim and Xi and all them other dictators and still be friends with Rush and Tucker and Sean and Fox and Friends. It bewilders me some. I just wish he’d stop in for a dip in our pool some time. It don’t got to be long cuz I know he’s busy. I mean, he never sleeps. He’s on that Twitter like a addict with a sex toy. It would be enough, I guess, if he’d just Tweet us about dippin’ in the pool. At there, it’d be something fine.

Image result for sad farmer face photos

“Billy and Sue. Thank you for the invite. I’d love to swim with you. Busy saving the world. Thank you for your undying love and admiration for the greatest president this country has ever seen. MAGA. DJT”

Boy that would be something to carry us over the hard times after the farm gets auctioned off and we go to work at the Walmart in Davenport. When Sue and I’d greet the shoppers, we’d show’em the tweet and tell about the time Donald came to swim with us.

Image result for walmart greeters photos

685. Wish Again

Image result for photos of a spring dayThe sun and temperature match the faint breeze today, finally, after months of cold drizzle or shingle ripping winds. The wood pellet stove has been quietly shut off for about a month now. My lawn is a thick green mohair sweater that resists any attempts at grooming, choking out my rotary mower every few feet. Birds wake me up at dawn without complaint. In deep sleep lately my dreams take me back 45 years to college streets and vaguely familiar apartments I’m sure I never stepped into. Yet that reality is as real as the sunlight on my pale arms today. Just as I am turning to an old college roommate in dreamscape, the door closes and another scene drops in. Many special feelings linger back there, traversing time in the middle of a fragrant spring night.Image result for paintings of dreams

Those sentimental journeys bring an excited joy, an old brotherhood that dried up once we all coupled with our life partners or lost our way in bitter woods… or both. I’m no sentimentalist, but it’s cool to visit with my old, young friends at age twenty. There’s Sam in a room just off the side of a busy bar. And I wonder aloud how he gets any sleep with the noisy bar outside, and does he use the communal bathroom. Then there is Richard in an enormous apartment that makes no sense on a side street in Richmond. He never lived there, but how do you argue with a detail rich dream. And then the attic apartment I shared with three or four other guys way down on Franklin Street that never existed… when I woke up. The joy of being joined with my old friends does exist in etchings on the wall of some cerebral cavern immune to time. Most of the time this cavern is filled with busy waters that seal off such cryptic treasures.Image result for cave paintings in wet caves

Something from that era calls me back to finish or relish what was. I’m never sure which it is. Perhaps it’s a lost camaraderie that can’t be replicated, just remembered fondly. Or maybe it’s a late appreciation for what was merely common wine at the time, that over decades became a rare lost vintage.  Mark, Bob, Bruce, Chris, Darvon, Mark 2, John, Bill, Jeff, Paul, Jack, Sam and the various visitors who floated in and out of our unlocked apartments linger like old songs pulsing through smoky air from the late 70’s. Our spreading oak tree of friendship grew wide and separated over time. I can see where this branch had been closely connected to that one, till one drooped and the other turned skyward. Some branches are cut off or dead rotted. Each black ink line has a mirror image in my brain that tells a tale.Image result for old oak tree images

I was often included in my friends’ memories during events I did not attend. Now they were under the influence of alcohol and/or substances at the time, so naturally their testimony was sketchy at best. The famous streaking party that got out of control at the Floyd Avenue apartment was one such event. That’s when the ultimate one-up act of the evening’s debauchery was for Darvon to sprint down Franklin Street and into the Governor’s mansion while Bruce and the the knucklehead gang rode in the Green Snake Buick Skylark pace car. Obviously no one predicted the consequences of a naked man with a wild Afro wearing only high top Chuck Taylor sneakers meeting the capitol police. Related image

They were all justifiably detained, but only Darvon was incarcerated. (He was released about a week later due to overcrowding in the city jail. He learned many lessons in jail; humble remorse was not one of them.) Meanwhile the knucklehead gang assumed that I was in the pace car, even challenging my recollection as a truth or dare scheme. The truth was I stayed home and went to sleep. Bruce brought home a blank arrest sheet from the police station and filled it in with the beginnings of his fantasy story about Gurmoil Tushkin’s Private Army, a sort of Confederate Army Don Quixote tale revived for the 1970’s. I may still have that paper in my old files along with letters and drawings and poems that demonstrate a delicious naivete and ignorance that I occasionally miss.Image result for confederate army photos

Another adventure that I was reported to have attended with most of this same gang was a trip out to the famed train trestle that spanned the James River toward the west end of Richmond. Again, it was a pile into the Green Snake while inebriated and do dangerous things outing. In this case the gang walked out onto the trestle in hopes of a train’s appearance so they could see their lives flash before them as each hopped into the shelters on either side of the tracks. The idea of tempting fate did not appeal to me or else I was already asleep. In any event, the next day and maybe till this day, some would swear not only that I was there but could quote me and testify to my actions that never happened. I’m pretty sure I would remember a near death experience like that. Image result for train on a trestle pictures

So, just as I insert my old friends in dream realities 45 years later, back in the day they inserted me into their false realities… perhaps for the same reasons–that it was a bonding experience not to be forgotten, a fraternal intimacy of some value. Factual truth did not matter so much as emotional truth, which is really not truth at all. The cast of characters has faded like old ticket stubs to see Clapton or the Eagles. Kindling a friend fire is much easier than tending to the coals that last as long as you will them to last. Mere desire is not enough to keep the blood flowing through a living, lasting relationship. Wishing it into existence again is just that– a wish.Related image

684. Miasmas and Mimosas in Miami

Miasma was considered to be a poisonous vapor or mist filled with particles from decomposed matter (miasmata) that caused illnesses. The miasmatic position was that diseases were the product of environmental factors such as contaminated water, foul air, and poor hygienic conditions. Such infection was not passed between individuals but would affect individuals within the locale that gave rise to such vapors. It was identifiable by its foul smell. It was also initially believed that miasmas were propagated through worms from ulcers within those affected by a plague.Related image

No, Blogatos, Miami held no miasmas for me or my bride while we were away. Whatever miasmic pollution (cow manure vapors and tree pollen) we brought south from our mid Atlantic home was instantly blown away by an ocean breeze heated to seventy five degrees at 35% humidity. Delightful! I just like the word miasma; it rolls out of my mouth like mimosa. Three lovely syllables rolling along in a frothy wave on Miami Beach.Image result for waves gif

I made promises to others not to write up any adventures involving my new found family who reside there. Seems like a simple and proper request except I can’t comply. The person I play in real life surrendered to the blog poster boy that I am. But wait! I can explain. You see I was promised about a year ago that my brother in law Joey and his long time fiancee Karen were going to tie the marital knot this year, during our visit no less. We sort of made plans. I offered to get a one day minister’s license in Florida to do the honors. I thought about the vows and words of marital wisdom that I could impart. I even bought a captain’s hat in the event that we needed to do the wedding on a boat. Well, the closer we got to the “wedding date” the less energy the prospective bride and groom demonstrated. Mostly the bride to be got ice cold feet and sent the marital souffle back to the kitchen. It just didn’t smell right.Image result for pouty faced blonde picture

Meanwhile, I pictured a morning service on the beach with the waves breaking on my bare Achilles heels as Joey and Karen stood in front of me, staring out to the rising sun above the teal blue ocean horizon. No shoes– just shorts, Hawaiian shirts with bow ties for men, and flowing silk tops with flowers in the ladies’ braided hair. A Slovenian cellist at my side playing “At Last” with the fifty guests singing along while the bride and groom processed,Related image

At laaaaaaast……. my love has come along
My lonely days are over and life is like a song, oh yeah
At laaaaaaast……. the skies above are blue
My heart was wrapped up in clover the night I looked at you
I found a dream that I could speak to
A dream that I can call my own
I found a thrill to press my cheek to
A thrill I’ve never known, oh yeah
You smiled, you smiled oh and then the spell was cast
And here we are in Heaven
For you are mine at laaaaaaaaaaaaaaaastImage result for etta james photos

After I had said the formal vows and fired a .38 caliber pistol in the air to signify that the vows were done, sealed in lead, the cellist would glide into the recessional song, “Eight Miles High” by the Byrds, or the Eagles as Joey would falsely claim. Really, Joey? You were a professional musician!!Image result for the byrds photos pictures

The assembled guests would then be served mimosas and ceviche by two barefoot waiters in tuxedos before boarding a 362 foot yacht bound for a week long Caribbean cruise. Are you feeling my disappointment yet? This may have been the greatest bait and switch operation ever. Like Taylor Swift said, “We are never, ever, never, ever, ever, ever getting back together.”Related image

So, that was the bait. Now the switch. We flew down to Fort Lauderdale and the engaged couple picked us up. Not a word about lace or tulle, cake or party. I kept my captain’s hat on alert status in my red suitcase. I wasn’t going to bring it up if they didn’t. If they did not want my blessing, that was their terribly perilous, self defeating, awful choice. Silent mental warfare began. I tried to will them into matrimonialness with my Trumplike super brain power. I achieved similar results to Donny’s========= nothing.High Quality Trump pointing to his head Blank Meme Template

This impotent tug of war went on for several days and nights. The rope of contention held no tension. Instead, it was limply wound like a dead snake on the sandy ground. We wound up on the Quarterdeck Pier restaurant on Saturday night. We had drinks and drinks and a late dinner. The place was packed. It was nice, too nice to waste the opportunity, to order champagne and pop the cork after popping the question. Alas, nothing.

We drove back to our air bnb hotel room on the beach. We sat at a round table and drank a bottle of wine on the deck out front. While the wind blew in on us, we huddled beneath a shared blanket, Karen to my left, Joey to my far right on the other side of his sister/my wife. I had my captain’s hat on just in case the moment turned to a Cialis interlude and bathtubs appeared on the deck. It was too precious as a full moon shone down on us. I reached over to take Karen’s coolish hand as I stretched to grab Joey’s warm, willing hand, and began, “Do you, Karen, take this man to be your lawful, loyal, satisfactory, will do in a pinch, only horse in the race husband?” As she stuttered to come up with a Congressional hearing type non-answer, Joey blurted out an emphatic yes.Related image

Continuing in my ministerial duties… “And do you Joey take Karen–”

“Yes! yes! I’ve been asking for twenty years.”

Karen weakly retorted, “But there was the hurricane, and then it was hot…”

Related image

“I’ll take that as a yes, Karen. Now, by the power invested in me by no man or state, in the witness of your sister and sister in law, the Good Lord above, beneath a tropical full moon, I pronounce you man and wife. Please kiss the bride.”Image result for brides walking away from weddings

I played a terrific mouth trumpet recessional “Here Comes The Bride”, but no one moved. We just all held hands under the blanket and laughed in three syllable guffaws.

“My asthma.”

“Yo assaH?”

“My assah.”

“My ami!”

By brunch the next day an annulment was in place. We sipped mimosas in Miami. I put my magic hat away till next time, the next miasma.Image result for plasma miasma gif

 

 

683. Stephen Miller Goes to Hell

Satan:  Welcome to Hell, Stevie. We’ve been expecting you, Dude. If anyone deserves a parade in Hell, it’s you. On behalf of all your former Trump advisers and cabinet members, welcome back. You know Jeff, Kirstjen, John, Kelly Anne, the Mooch, Spicey, Reince, Mad Dog, Rex, Steve B…

Stephen: But, but, wait a second! I was walking across Pennsylvania Avenue. It was a bright warm day in April. The cherry blossoms were just finishing their bloom. A bus full of illegals was going by on their way to deportation.  White nationalism was gaining steam. It was a great day. What happened? Why am I here? I was doing YOUR work at the White House with Donny the Messianic Puppet.

Satan: We wanted to reward you, Steve. You hit your hate quota long ago. I don’t know if any other political animal will achieve your kill records. You are the Michael Jordan of xenophobia. Clutch, Steve, clutch!! There is nothing more to prove, my assassin. We wanted someone else to have a chance, you know?  Greed needs to be shared or it will go extinct.

Stephen: But I was just hitting my groove, Satan! There was 2020 and my Islamaphobia Palooza campaign. Did the Clintons get to you? Was it Soros? Or Bloomberg? No, Ivana? Jared? Silk pants sycophants.

Satan: Steve, relax. You are among fiends here. No need to be so defensive. You did a great job for me with zero tolerance and separating families at the border. Brilliant stuff, Steve. Cages and intimidation. And asylum seekers? You picked apart the Statue of Liberty’s fake news compassion poem, proving that America has always been for privileged white people. I admit that I get to have favorites here in Hell, okay? and I just love your work.

Stephen: Thanks? I mean, I guess I appreciate your appreciation, Satan. I just can’t help feeling I’ve been demoted. An hour ago I was one of the most powerful men on earth, and now, well, it’s better than a Motel 6. However, I was getting jazzed about Maralago over Easter break, and then drone strikes in Tijuana in May. I could almost taste the singed illegal flesh…

Satan: That’s my boy!! You really had a good time up there, didn’t you, son?

Stephen: Absolutely!! I was an ugly conservative Jewish dork in high school and college, but when I figured out how to hate hard, man, my life came into a beautiful focus. I stopped playing defense and started pressing forward like a drunk Russian commissar on a wild racial purification pogrom across the vermin-filled hinterlands.

Satan: Steve, you’re Jewish. Your mom’s people were refugees from Russian pogroms. Your great grandmother only spoke Yiddish. I mean, I am the devil and prince of darkness and all, but even I wouldn’t do that to my great grammy.

Stephen: You’re too soft, Satan. That’s your problem down here, I noticed on the way in. You lack border security. Anyone can sneak in here and open a taco stand without an identity card. Pretty soon they’ll mate with the Asian guy making shrimp rolls and you will find yourself in the minority in your own kingdom. I’ve seen it in New Hampshire, busloads of illegals are gonna be bussed in from Massachusetts to vote for Hillary, and pretty soon Hell will be a Blue state run by libtards like freakin California where I grew up.

Satan: Steve, I never thought of it like that. I always felt that the more souls I persuaded to forgo salvation and party hard, you know, the better for me. My numbers will be up by the 2020 census and I’ll get more representation in the House and Senate.

Stephen: That’s why you need a citizenship question, Satan. All these border jumpers are gonna vote Democrat and then Hell will belong to them. We can’t lose Hell. It’s like Ohio. If Puerto Ricans can vote, then so can Hellians. Okay, you need a hurricane to get on the gravy train.

Satan: Okay, okay. I get it. We need to take names and kick ass. I have been too soft, I guess. So, ya think we need to build a wall too?

Stephen: Duh! Of course. That River Styx is a medieval idea. It doesn’t stop anyone. You can’t think that death scares off the walking dead. Nope, they’re coming here for socialism, AC/ DC live, Obamacare, Food Stamps, welfare, free housing with wi-fi. They are parasites, Satan, enemies of the people, thugs, gang members, rapists, vermin, fleas on the buttocks of civilization… mutants from–

Satan: Okay, okay, Steve, breathe… But they’re dead, Steve, just like you. I mean, I hate to use the word down here, but isn’t this a bit of overkill?

Stephen: Seriously?  What happens when tyrants stop killing, Satan? When the hangman’s noose is empty and clean of blood stains, and the guillotine is idle? Huh? Right, the people lose their fear and tyrants get murdered upside down in a piazza. Is that what you want? Open borders and free champagne for the bloodthirsty savages?

Satan: Steve, did you ever study hyperbole in school?

Stephen: Absolutely, Stan, mind if I call you Stan? You know, just drop the first a and there you go.

Stan: No, sure, go ahead.

Stephen: I LOVED hyperbole, Stan. When the other kids went to prom and homecoming dances and sporting events, I studied hyperbole and played Magic the Gathering by myself. Waiting stoically for my revenge on the libtards, the Democrats, the brown and yellow man, the Muslims, and my own self loathing self.

Stan: Wow! Steve. You are one sick puppy. I’m a pretty tolerant guy without any prosocial values, but I mean, I love my great grammy…

Stephen: What are you saying, Stan?

Stan: Kirstjen, will you tell him?Related image

Kiersten Nielsen: Sure, Stan. Steve, we have to deport you.

John Kelly: You’ll never assimilate, Steve. You are too sick.

Stephen: But, where are you gonna send me? I have to hate someone. It’s in my marrow.

Stan: Russia is nice this time of  year.Image result for putin head shots

 

682. Traveling

Image result for emma gatewood photosMiddle English travailen, travelen to torment, labor, strive, journey, from Anglo-French travailler. Whether you travail or travelI suppose it depends on where you are and the company you keep. I just finished reading Grandma Gatewood’s Walk, all about an Ohio grandmother who fearlessly hiked the Appalachian Trail three times when she was in her sixties and seventies. That’s 2,050 miles each trip– up and down mountains in tennis shoes. She also walked two thousand miles from Independence, Missouri to Portland, Oregon one way… all by herself, alone, unaccompanied. You get the picture. She traveled, yes, but her travels were intimately connected to the travails of her abusive marriage. Though she gave her husband 11 kids, he never gave her respect. No, he beat her and beat her and beat her. So, by comparison, hiking alone on an isolated mountain ridge was not nearly as scary for Emma Gatewood. Feeling one’s feet pound the rocky trail would naturally feel more comforting than an angry man’s fist pounding on one’s already bruised face. Nature may be cruel at times but not malicious like humans can be.

Image result for old white farmer in 1930Unfortunately, men like her husband, P.C., are not rare. They fit a pattern of obsessing rather than loving. They must possess the objectified target of their passion. Impatience and impulsivity mark their courtship, as they bull rush the woman in their cross hairs.  Possession is the end game not co-equal love, because these men confuse control with love. The two could not be more different. And that’s how it went for Emma. She wanted to be away from P.C. for decades. Then, at 67 years of age, she began walking out a legend, claiming to be a widow rather than a divorced woman. The powerful social difference in the two words is lost on us today.

There are other women, I’m sure, who bide their time and fight the urge to flee for years. But once these victims go, brother, they are never coming back. Emma Gatewood was proof of that truth. Rattlesnakes and porcupines were better company than a misogynist.

Image result for single woman hiking beside a stream pictures

Her story calls to mind an old favorite poem of mine by Irving Layton, There Were No Signs.

By walking I found out
Where I was going.

By intensely hating, how to love.
By loving, whom and what to love.

By grieving, how to laugh from the belly.
Out of infirmity, I have built strength.Related image

Out of untruth, truth.
From hypocrisy, I wove directness.

Almost now I know who I am.
Almost I have the boldness to be that man.

Another step

And I shall be where I started from.

Image result for a figure walking into sunset photos

Sometimes that’s how we find out where we are going, by walking forward, away from trouble and misery until we come full circle. But divorce in the 1940’s and 50’s was not an easy thing to come by. Nostalgic folks like to pine for the good old days when couples stayed together through thick and thin, but that is a sentimental narrative told by a severed ostrich head in the sand. Men beat their wives then… because they could… and they got away with it.February 26, 1996 P. 170

I remember a neighbor lady who, in the 1960’s, was in an abusive marriage with her awful husband, a drunk plumber. Several times late at night she came to our back door crying for my mother to let her in… “Lee is drunk and after me again!”, she cried hysterically. My mother would let her sleep on the couch until dawn, and back she’d go to a hungover louse, who would thrash out at her at another time. No one thought to call the police. It may not have done a bit of good anyway. Being divorced was a worse fate than being in an abusive marriage. You say no? Well, there was another divorced woman who lived down the street, Wayne Kent’s mother. I don’t believe I ever saw the woman. It was as if she had stage 4 cancer or ebola. Divorced! Inconceivable for a single or un-widowed woman to have custody of her own child. Something taboo was associated with that leper woman, but the leprosy was in her fearful neighbors’ eyes and hearts. Image result for pictures of lepers

As the laws changed regarding divorce and abuse and drunk driving, more abusers went to jail and more battered wives got divorces. Which is not the same thing as getting justice or child support. I’m not sure it’s an even playing field yet. So many men claim that their child support keeps the ex wife living in luxury. Well, it’s not about the ex-wife, is it? The bottom line is what does it cost to raise a child, not what is the cost of upholding your entitled male ego.Related image

So Emma walked and walked and walked into notoriety. She inspired countless others to get up and walk through nature at a time when American cars were enormous rolling pleasure carriages on the new interstate superhighway system. ‘If she could do it’, many couch potatoes reasoned, ‘then I can too.’ Funny how the overt story parallels the covert one beneath. Much more important than her walking records, I believe, is her legacy as a survivor who ultimately thrives. Her dying ex-husband asked for her on his death bed. She declined to visit the perpetrator of horror. Some might see this as a refusal to forgive. I can’t tell you what to think; however, I believe Emma rightly saw it as the unrepentant P.C. trying one last time to control her with pity and guilt as the the only weapons at his disposal. The way I see it, she left a house on fire with violent rage and only a fool would travail back there.

Image result for bed ridden old man photos