Category Archives: birth myth

Latest New Dance Craze: It's Called The Bunny Hop!

meaningoflife
The Meaning of Life? Ask a scientist?
It was a bright day until someone asked the meaning of life, not in the form of a question, but in the form of a meme. Seems my good friend Mike Twigger, as is his way, reposted a rather humorous image with its own text superimposed. In other words, that image to the left of this paragraph. What follows next is a matter of interpretation of what seemed a fairly straight forward riff on scientists, what they know, and how they play it. Then out came the bunny rabbits one by one, doing the bunny hop.

I say, "Good One!"

Laura Waldron then pipes in, "So it's right to force unwanted pregnancies on women?"

Never one to succumb to tired old fiddlesticks, I retort, "Is it right to force unwanted hangovers on young males? Stretching an argument into something else is easy..."

Laura then has the audacity to relieve me of my sensitivities, "Yeah, what does a guy's hangover have to do with a woman's body? Stay on subject."

Now this was just plain vulgarity to my ears. Stay on subject? After she'd jumped from that image to forcing unwanted pregnancies on women?

But Twigger takes her bait. I mean, how long can one argue Laura's point? Argue it into the ground? It's already in the ground. Dead and buried. I have my view. You have yours. Nuff said. But Twigger weighed in. "I agree as a Christian [that] life starts at conception... therefore the baby should have as much right as the mother... although if it affects the mothers health then yes abortion should be available and safe. I believe there should also be surrogate mothers who could carry the baby to term if the real mom didn't want the child."

Well, that last point was interesting. Taking fetus from one oven to another. But that argument about saving the mother's life in a crisis over the life of the fetus has always left me a bit cold and unconvinced. However, Laura responds to Mike before I have the chance to build anything on that small piece of well-treaded ground, "Surrogate mothers expect to get paid. Unwanted pregnancies leads to the birthing of unwanted children which leads to said children being neglected and abused. Speaking from experience here."

Damn interesting comeback. I suppose she now prefers that she'd had been aborted. Now, that's a revolutionary statement, if truly believed by its speaker, which I strongly doubt. But I leave that alone for now. Instead I stay on my original course and her first point once removed, that is staying on topic, or at least the topic she wanted to rehash, "Hahahaha. Laura. I knew you would say that. You took my bait. So to recap. What does determining a living cell found in the womb of a pregnant woman to be life have to do with forcing unwanted pregnancies on women? You, Ms. Waldron, jumped the shark, first."

Her reply was simple. She was catching up. "Because of what the meme implies. Duh. And its so obvious that its a pro lifer meme."

Well, it was time to wrap all this together in a neat package before I could return to her most recent jewel. Is life more important than a wretched childhood, or is it not? That is the pro-lfe meme, my dear, and perhaps one day you will realize it. Oops, I'm getting ahead of myself. Here is what I said next, "I call that a bunny hop. Memes can lead anywhere. Like, uh, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar can lead some of us to think well, duh, sometimes, life is just life. End of story. Nothing about abortions or a right to choose or baby names or rapists or regret or sex with your daddy. Besides Laura. If you drink too much, just expect a hangover. Complaining about it or slicing and dicing about how you got that drunk doesn't change anything. You're stuck with the hangover. How you deal with it is the almighty gift of initiative. But then, sometimes bunny hops just get a bit off the beaten path, don't you think? THAT was my point to you at the top of this thread. The question wasn't guess a meme, it was about the nature of life versus the hypocrisy of scientists and media who should know better. That's a meme that begins and ends with the information as it was given. We now see where taking unauthorized bunny hops can lead.

Then Miss Liberty and all her tired, her poor, her huddled masses came a knocking with a link that is supposed to prove something to me, again having nothing to do with the original laugh track at scientists and the media. "Oldest, largest, and only statewide Pro-Life organization in Texas. I don't think I came to any false conclusions or BUNNY HOPS. I think you—however—are trying to be contrarian with me and it won't work as I'm the biggest contrarian I know. You may want to make the meme about the nature of life versus the hypocrisy of scientists and media and make it this deep thing but it was intended to be an attack on Women's CHOICE, on the rights to our bodies, and if women don't fight this attack on us, then what's next? Making rape legal? See you can say its an orange all you want but the truth is, it's an apple."

And she really thinks she's clever, parroting these threadbare statements. After all, apples and oranges in her arguments would be the same because they are both fruits, or to her point, designed to keep women away from the authority over their own bodies. But I press on, "You want to know what's next? Simple. You framed it yourself, in so many words. The question stated: is your own wretched childhood more important than the non-existence from which you were spared, or is it not? That is the pro-lfe meme, dear contrarian," adding, "I refuse to fall for retread handbook. You stretch a simple question about the origins of life into a parade of boogie men without once mentioning the predominant track of using abortion on demand as a high dollar, high risk prophylactic."

"I also refuse to accept you binary proposition. Death is all around us. I can do little about any of it. I take no religious or political position on abortion except to dig further for the truth wherever I find it. But I do find its current practice vulgar and self-serving. If you, Laura Waldron, are so wise as to assign policy binaries on every swirling detail you are fortunate to be able to observe, I dare suggest that you are indeed better off having been born even though you may have experienced a shoddy childhood, rather than to have been neutralized as a thriving embryo. Frankly, this is a tiresome and well-documented argument you make. I found freshness in precisely the point that the image and caption Mike posted made clear, and nothing else, since as I say, if I want an abortion debate there are infinite other places to find one that an ironic Facebook post. The fact that you ran in to make it something else on the basis of a tired meme was your prerogative I suppose, but it certainly isn't the only meme attached to the meaning of life that makes stellar commentary useful and exhonerating. In other words, I write for my own reasons, and you and your transitional memes have nothing to do with it. Lastly, I trust my sarc has not exceeded but merely equaled yours towards me, tat for tit, apple for orange, squeezed or simple peeled, for I would never want to make you feel stupid."

To be continued, if Laura Waldron has more to add. With kind regards to its awesome powers of community, nevertheless King Facebook is not my home. There are reasons for that, also, but I'm sure the usual meme would not suffice, but for sake of shortness of breath, let's just agree that it does (whatever that might be).

To Learn The Science Of Naming In Today's World Is Vicious

art-science
Art and Science
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I saw the seven words, then it finally registered with all the synchronicity of a lighted odometer turning over from all nines to all zeroes. This was it! The riddle had been solved! In ill-considered black and white here before me, written three days earlier, on my mother’s 48th birthday was the culminating stroke of this freaky name-change operation thing I had charted for months with soft sell handshakes and strange grimaces to any new person who happened to meet me.

And I took the name Gabriel Thy...

The Howell House was clean and active, even upscale I suppose one could say, secure and nearly two-thirds geriatric. My mother lived four floors above me up on the sixth floor of the 18-story building. She was on staff as the senior citizens coordinator and bookkeeper, and I occasionally helped her out with some of the more confined and colorful patrons doing odd chores for them. I was anxious to tell her of my discovery, although I could hardly expect her to understand the impact this fresh twig of myth and reality would have on me, Richard, the eldest of her seven children. It was her birthday and we were to have dinner together. I was bursting with excitement but I was understandably challenged by a mother's sense of her own naming rights—to bring the gift of reason to the dinner table that night.

How would my family, particularly my mother react to this news, a most suspicious tale ringing with tremendous religious overtones, or as others might prefer, smacking of superstitious or worse, some kind of dangerous demonic affiliations? Of course many people have changed their names with no other purposes other than enhancing one’s business, hiding an ethnicity, blending in, or sheer simplicity in mind.
As it was written on the page, the name—Gabriel Thy—was not given but was taken. This seemingly minor detail concerned me for a quite a while, not in a truly bothersome way, but as a nuisance, like a flapping scarecrow in a field of errors. Having taken this name was it no longer a gift? But when someone gives you a nickel, don’t you take it and perhaps slip it into your own pocket? Such were the subtleties of bible and literary scholarship, and so it was with my own problematic gestures.

I was thoroughly bewildered. The name was certainly an odd one, a very special one. I liked it, approved of it, but without a doubt it certainly had a very pretentious ring to it. I was not at all certain I in good faith could take it. And what would I do with it? The cornpone religiosity, the in-your-face God-component of the now prophetic name-change operation, self-fulfilling and otherwise, was obvious to me. But I was sure others would laugh me right off the sidewalk. What about those who already knew me as RSN—a right interesting vintage acronym already, particularly when pronounced Risen or risin as in...Christ is risen! How would my family, particularly my mother react to this news, a most suspicious tale ringing with tremendous religious overtones, or as others might prefer, smacking of superstitious or worse, some kind of dangerous demonic affiliations? Of course many people have changed their names with no other purposes other than enhancing one's business, hiding an ethnicity, blending in, or sheer simplicity in mind.

Having finished with ecclesiastical literature, about this time I had also finished reading, was presently reading, or would very soon be reading the herded vapors of Gide, Camus, Sartre, Kierkegaard, Miller, Darwin, Kerouac, Nietzsche, Castaneda, and Douglas R. Hofstadter, author of Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid, A Metaphorical Fugue on Minds and Machines in the Spirit of Lewis Carroll, the latter, a landmark ransom for me, among others. But I would not wholly give up the ghost. I clung to every shred of hope massaging my investigations that God would clear me for landing his understanding, that each and every one of the moderns were wrong in their denial of deity, dead wrong in their intemperance in disparaging the creative power from without, even as they worshipped the creative power within whether it be DNA or environmental advantages. Time and time again I found the writers complaining not against Christ but rather against the wretched incarnations of the church, its scavengerlike methods poisoning their minds against all of the burlier forms of theology and the God of Abraham, Issac, and Jesus of Nazareth. Still I persisted just as I persist today.

And by no stretch of time or imagination was this an easy task to discharge, seeing as I knew almost no women at the time and had little coin with which to persuade others that this was on the level, was no prank, no plot to appear artistic and sublime, nor merely a passing fancy. Yes neighbor, I was feeling tragically symbolic, alone but for the voice of God resounding in my head, just as intricately wrought analysis of my daily experiences had led me to belief.
I don’t remember my mother’s initial reactions to my telling the tale of the harbinger bringing forth her son a new name. Not then, not there. She in all likelihood, since I don’t specifically remember her response, sighed and said something along the lines of, “That’s interesting, son,” while thinking to herself that this was just a passing artistic phase or something or another and to follow form she’d share no words either of encouragement or of any personal horror. She’d always thought of herself as somewhat of a mystic, but was not easily persuaded that any such thing would rub off onto her children. So I use the words "not then, not there" simply because there was no mindjarring quarrel I recall from that Sunday night, and shortly thereafter, speaking both epistemologically and chronologically, things begin to shift into place with great importance.

The name was mine to take. That much was had been chanced upon, had been written, had arrived in a happy circumstance. There was no doubt in my mind that this was living theatre, that I had been given an emblazoned word of prophecy in Corpus Christi, and it was fulfilled here in Atlanta because I had stayed the course. But I also intuited that there were certain terms involved, certain measures and quotas to be filled, certain spiritual hoops to be jumped through in order to discern whether or not this was this real McCoy. Because it was my understanding that I’d come to this earth through the wondrous body of a woman, was named by that same woman, had bullishly married and was now irreparably separated from another woman once twice my age, it was preserved in my mind and reinforced by circular logic that if this name change was truly from God, my doubts could only be dispelled if endorsed by a woman. And by no stretch of time or imagination was this an easy task to discharge, seeing as I knew almost no women at the time and had little coin with which to persuade others that this was on the level, was no prank, no plot to appear artistic and sublime, nor merely a passing fancy. Yes neighbor, I was feeling tragically symbolic, alone but for the voice of God resounding in my head, just as intricately wrought analysis of my daily experiences had led me to belief.

I was working three hours a day downtown delivering pizzas and sandwiches on foot to the downtown Atlanta highrise luncheon crowd. I saw many faces and shared a quick grin or a few words of friendly chat, but my social importance was next to nothing. When I had a few dollars to spare I’d occasionally dip into a rather eclectic pub down Peachtree Street a few blocks from the Howell House for a pitcher of cheap suds, but knew only a few guys, the bar maid, and maybe one woman superficially at best. The happy hour crowd was always buzzing with a spattering of high profile cultural scooters including the nucleus I later grew to appreciate individually as an art curator, a couple of attorneys, an old hippie or two, a librarian, a couple of salesmen, a science fiction aficionado, a banker, a copywriter, an amateur actress, a faux cubist painter, a few struggling musicians, a chess champion, and a CDC technician.

The nihilistic era of the rude nickname had arrived in spades, the new epithet of the unsung, pacing the steamy streets and charlatanic nightclubs with the vengeance of a caged wolf, with little respect for anything, hardly sparing themselves. Visceral yearnings in youth were reshaping a new generation’s perspective on love and hatred, and the mad rush for mostly vulgar monikers had already begun in earnest.
This circle of soon to be regulars was still small at the time of the White Crow writing. All of them knew me as Richard, slightly weird and chalked up with an armload of library books. Keep in mind of course that when I introduced myself to someone, that was the last mention of a name-change operation, the line was dead until the next stranger was introduced. I didn’t go around like some enfilading riflemouth spraying people with some nonsense line in search of attention. In fact I was often quite self-conscious when introducing myself. Within a few days (three, four, five?) however I was to meet a young woman four or five years older than me named Kathleen Baker, a woman whose more delicate features were overshadowed by the liberal contours of her body. She weighed over 300 pounds, sang classical music with the voice of a monk, and immediately seemed to enjoy the nimble dispatches my wit invested among the afternoon mélange. Thinking again as I write this, perhaps I hadn’t told my mother of the Gabriel Thy transmogrification after all, not then that night of her birthday, for whatever reasons I now forget, because with each ascendant memory, in fact, as I am thinking about this concentratedly for the first time in many years, it seems that Kathleen Baker’s were the very first ears to hear the entire mess of fish from beginning to end, sans of course, the still confidential part about needing a woman to validate the transition (part of the test is to not publicly reveal all the details but to allow the truth to unfold according to God’s will and not mine), and that she energetically embraced the novelty of what she was hearing and resolved at that very first meeting to call me Gabriel, Gabriel Thy, enough said. And so in that unorchestrated off the cuff fashion this woman became the first person to know me only as Gabriel Thy, not Richard Nix.

Yes, that was it. She listened to my poem and she approved. Mother would learn only later, and now I recall another event which I shall get to shortly. That afternoon at the Stein tavern I did however note my apprehension at appearing far too pretentious for these cynical hobbyhorse times by dubbing myself Gabriel Thy. I was a nothing, a fledgling writer, a seeker after an illusive and much debated truth, caught within the mechanical web of all breeds and conjugation of fact and fantasy, and yet despite my busy faith and rote exhilaration, I could not call myself a christian because quite frankly I couldn't fathom exactly what the word meant anymore, if indeed I ever did. There were so many conflicting versions of the title that I just preferred to leave it alone, to let the scavengers pick the bones clean if need be.

Little did I know at the time that even as I in all seriousness was changing my name thousands of others were performing a similar operation. The nihilistic era of the rude nickname had arrived in spades, the new epithet of the unsung, pacing the steamy streets and charlatanic nightclubs with the vengeance of a caged wolf, with little respect for anything, hardly sparing themselves. Visceral yearnings in youth were reshaping a new generation’s perspective on love and hatred, and the mad rush for mostly vulgar monikers had already begun in earnest.

Names like Johnny Rotten and Sid Vicious became the norming curve for acceptance into this thriving cult of nothingness. My own name mutation, void of applause or record deals, shock value or normalcy, was a serious matter, referencing everything I earnestly believed about the nature and signature of the Creator, flagging for all to observe, his will for me and mankind. To understand this name would take time for me as I experienced what surely would be a new direction in destiny. The easy part was over. Onto the Directed Path of God’s dotted line I was willing to sign, but where, and how?

My anxiety with these problematic questions did not evaporate with the introduction to Kathleen. I still begged in my spirit for more validation.

Efforts Of Comportment In Linguistic Scholarship

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Palin Supporters
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The mainstream media keeps trying to make Sarah Palin irrelevant and within the NYC-Washington Corridor she is exactly that. But the highbrow mainstream media might want to put down their lattes and New York Times and embrace the concept that Palin is still relevant. Her words and endorsements will matter in the 2014 Midterms. And beyond? Who knows.

—David Brody | The Brody File

My friend with the Mexican mustache, savvy art collector and former Mike Gravel campaign strategist, José Rodriguez, could not contain his glee that he had gotten another whiff of the Sarah Palin meme, and so rushed right in to let me know how beneficial to the nation she would be should she stretch her wings to fly right at the old bastards who are in cahoots in destroying the economical sustainability of this nation in the long run, just one of their many political sins, "Cruz Palin 2016! Please help make the GOP irrelevant."

I had to capitalize and punctuate his words to meet the standards of this punk rock blog. You must understand, I have always been a grammar Nazi, having fought at least two underqualified English teachers in junior and senior highschool right straight to the revolt of the class when they tried unsuccessfully to assert their ignorance over what I knew to be true. I would walk away with a F in Comportment and a visit to the principal's office on my final day of Eighth Grade with an A in scholarship. That story I tell elsewhere, so I'll just flash my hall pass to get on with this one. So. Later, in the Tenth Grade, I refused to reread Huck Finn as I had read that book silly a dozen times as a grade schooler on summer break on my own, instead cutting up in class, clown and resident know it all, but was woefully prepared for the more sophisticated written essays of the highschool finals, so to my surprise I turned in an empty page. Still, Miss Harris, whose fiancée, was just starting out on the PGA tour, and who had only come to Glynn Academy as a sub after Christmas holidays to replace the beautiful young but tough Mrs. Mayhew who took a leave of absence to have the baby she'd been carrying long before the first September bell of the school year 1970-71. Mrs. Mayhew was also my first Negro teacher. I liked her. She was deliberate, adjudicated, serious, temporate, friendly, charming, but when analyzed as a complete package suggesting woman in charge who knew her place she was as tough as nails, as I said.

Did I mention I later ran for Senior Class President at another school from which I in two years would graduate, on the platform to bring a junk food canteen to campus? An idea that has become the contemporary norm but is now frowned upon just like it was back then at the front of the caloric revolution, an idea of freedom of choice, of brief respite, of the mouth-watering zest that sometimes is just a little bit more satisfying and attention-grabbing than the traditional wares of zealotry...
At the end of the first quarter of fifth period Mayhew English, we got our report cards. I was pleased I had received an A in Scholarship, but was stunned when I saw a B in Effort. I also received an A in Comportment, but it was the B in effort which startled me, as rumors soon circulated that I had received the only A in that fifth period class, and that she had only given out four A's across the five classes of sophomore English that she taught that semester at Glynn Academy, located in Brunswick GA, Glynn County along the famous "marshes of Glynn" made memorable by some romantic long-bearded mid-19th century minor poet named Sidney Lanier, for whom the nearby grade school where my youngest brother, John, now also a painter but always a woeful student, was attending.

I recall the class had mostly been rote memorization at that point, no essays, just spelling and a rehash of grammar studies we were forced to memorize year after since since we were first taken from group tables and put into individual desks like the big kids we would become.

Yo Rodriguez. Palin's not running for anything, but Cruz will take a bite out of that left-wing biscuit of you'rn...or put another way, I'm sure he'll step right up to announce without a drop of insincerity, "I'll be your Huckleberry. Seems I recall a chief strategist, a mutual friend of ours I'll just call Paul, declaring on the same night he announced he was considering a run on the Green ticket for Governor of New York state as we were all sweating over dinner at the 14th Street Busboy's & Poets in the summer of '08, that destroying the Democratic Party was at hand, and favorable. What a tangled web...and what strong, large memories some of us have. While yes, some just have large mammaries. And others, not that it matters on the golf course have neither."

Funny, as a ballplayer, I was often diagnosed as an over-achiever, capable of great moments, and of carrying a lackluster team far beyond its means only to crash at the last moment. Second place, not third, or last, or in the middle but second place was the recurring theme of my competitive life. Second most econonomic cab driver after just a few weeks on the job. Second most productive and accurate surveyor after being given my shot at party chief with my own crew. Race through dominating the regular season only to lose in the playoff finals to a team we'd slammed by large margins several times already. This was my luck, my meme, my path to the stars. Never quite the top dog, always stuck in the doghouse at number two, and I don't like the way that sounds.

Glynn Academy, 1970
Glynn Academy, 1970
However, after turning in a blank sheet of paper in response to twelve analytical questions, no multiple choice here, sitting in the same desk in the same classroom where I had achieved a rare A only to get a B in effort, you could have knocked me over with a feather when a few days after that school year had ended, and the final report cards were mailed, and I opened that envelope with great trepidation, I discovered to my amusement that Miss Harris had capitulated to my commanding spirit,and had given me straight A's across the board, including the course final. Deportment, Effort, Scholarship. All A's.

If Mrs. Mayhem's intuition had presaged the Miss Harris teacher-student debacle, the Miss Harris scourge would presage the coming generations, although let's face it, student punks were a dime a dozen at least since the times of the Greeks. Did I mention I later ran for Senior Class President at another school from which I in two years would graduate, on the platform to bring a junk food canteen to campus? An idea that has become the contemporary norm but is now frowned upon just like it was back then at the front of the caloric revolution, an idea of freedom of choice, of brief respite, of the mouth-watering zest that sometimes is just a little bit more satisfying and attention-grabbing than the traditional wares of zealotry, an idea I also picked up at Glynn Academy, an historical school founded in 1788, had sported the first "rest area" I had ever seen (although I'm sure large urban highschools in other warped regions of the country were even back then in the very first year of forced integration in the south), an entirely different breed of failure and excess freedom running rampart apart from my own small town observations, aptitude, and media-crunching misapplications. But as I learned somewhere in the finer thills of Huckleberry Finn via the aristocratic airs of the cinematic flair that a tuberculosis sickened Doc Holliday, who hailed from Valdosta GA we should not forget, one should first write about what one knows as long as you include lots of links because the following generations will know nothing about any history that preceded them until it affects them more than a poorly formed sentence from the gangrened mouth of their hanging judge.

The world is a very strange place. Not unlike the movie Tombstone.

Centrist Yarn, Threatening Wintry Mix With Three Sticks, And Two Carrots

You bellow peace. I whisper war. You spit war. I mumble
peace. Is there REALLY any difference between your interpretation
of the less staggering conjugations of life, and mine?

This transmission is/was/will be interrupted
by Augustine's phlegm-covered book hurling
across the fuzzy horizon from where we stood,
starving, naked, hysterical, corner to corner,
nose to nose, sexual chunks in our well-picked pockets,
and I'm sure we lost a freckle or two banking the surprise
sunrise coasting along the tallest of the Yankee isles,
no man's land to thee.

All good I believe, I believe I think
this is the perilous spot, the one drop
where I lost him, or he lost me. Getting tossed
in the pronouns especially during a bumper crop
is such a sad waste of preventative vocabulary. All
the world's taking medicine to the next level,
or back to the previous stage. I knew better
before I knew good and well

what was the very best for the rest of us...

Communism versus Capitalism: haven't my wife
and I risked the bounty all so many times before,
decreed to charity in the dankest of times, worked
as the most generous of slaves when required
where required to snap the chains off ourselves,
others, and still, after still waters rose,
they receded like tsunami, while we struggle
gently to manifest to spotlight a simple life
without fear of collapse, I swoon al dente,
my central nervous system freakishly frazzled
down to the toes, right through to the freckled skin,
my skin electric, dry, unsuitable for
pickin' cotton or wearin' it.

There should be enough cheese and chocolate to go around.

Whom am I to pick winners and losers? Why should there
even be losers if there are no winners? I have
known many losers. Most have forgotten the sweat of the brow,
but few have ever worn a suit and tie for more than a day or two
in succession. Am I racist, sexist, populist, taking a job
from someone less qualified, less able, more needy,
half as lily but not nearly as dark as I am,
and is there any crossover effect
when I simply walk away and refuse
to take some pitiful but hardworking
wage slave's slot, and keep to myself
my own vision of things created
but unreceived?

Who owns the already money and how do I win some,
just enough, not a stick more, a zero sum, a river I swum—
an unabashed shame between God, the chastiser and myself? How do I win
without making a loser out of someone else? How do I lose
and thus pace the grace to transcend myself, a winner,
in zen mode as the ubiquitous Nazarene put it,
thus finally attaining...

the most unquestionable of statures?

Submarine munitions officer sunk the philosopher's horn
long ago knee deep in red soil, a lava flow. Nobody died,
but eventually a spoiler, the next generation died,
hanging their profits on a baseline thorn
called the Hitchens' apprehension,
a low rider he supplied
for those of us
quiet, alone, violently, or
painfully pleased, as we learned
that static heroes are not always
the best guide.

I Went To School With Bonnie Jones (Yellow)

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Bonnie's Dream
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From Bonnie Jones Davisson
September 27, 2009 at 10:58am

You are such an inspiration Gabriel! I will call you that because it suits you as you are. I am so sorry to hear about your mother's struggles. One thing my siblings and I did was to pamper my mother as she was - a true queen. In her latter months, we would go into the nursing home and just crawl inro bed with her, holding her close just to hear her heart beat. We are a very close family, and it was all because of her. She was our sun, and we were mearly planets made from her stardust.

Yes, David died in his sleep. His heart just stopped. He was a type A, head of the gyn. dept. in Thomasville GA. If I go, that's how I want to do it. I remember in one of my attempts at leaving ths Earth, I was guided by David for 3 days, as I spoke French the entire time. Strange what the mind will do. Mutt is simply that, a Mutt. I hear he also has heart troubles, but his boxing days were over a long time ago. He and I had an affair during his boxing days, but my true love was David. I sincerely think had Bobby not been around the two of us would have connected. Mutt has 2 boys—Hunter and Fisher—which speaks volumns as to Mutt's lack of sincerity and unimaginable ego. Were it not for his mousy wife, Robin, his sons would be wild and free, much like Luke's. Good grief! I have told you more buried secrets of my life than I have anyone else! Why do you have my trust so easily?

I have not been on Facebook much lately. I am preoccupied with my daughter's wedding. As a highly gifted child, she is rejecting all tradtitional ceremonies, and is insisting on wearing a pair of $400 knee boots under her dress - of which I thought looked cheap. Intervention meant going to Athens and visiting flower shops, which she finally conceded as beautiful, but is still stubbornly rejecting the cake, which I will do anyway. She will thank me when she's older.

I am also preoccupied with changing pain medication doctors and doing physical therapy. I am also studying with a Jehovah's Witness, of which I have 2 sisters who have practised the religion for over 40 years. Too much has come to pass that they have said would to ignore this religin as not being at least worthy of a second look. I also like the way they are always studying the Bible. Their worships on Sundays are not ranting and ravings, but actual talks by various elders who constantly refer to the Bible to support their subject of the day. I was amazed that in Genesis, it says that the Earth shangs in the heavens as if on a string. Why didn't the Pope KNOW that when the church banned Copernicus to house arrest?

Many exciting things happening right now. I will keep you posted.

Your friend and confidant,
Bonnie

Woman, oh, woman. Well, with every note, Bonnie, you come with both barrels loaded it seems. That's a good thing. Thanks for the update on the Daniel brothers. Tragic, in David's case. As stated earlier, I didn't actually know Mutt, and I had no idea that you bounced around with him at some point. I do appreciate your honesty. Very refreshing to find someone who finds redemption in detail, and craves loveliness despite the reckoning one's path in life often brings...

The story of your mother, of course, is a warming example of what family life can be. Cling to the memories, dear woman. Life is fleeting, and we make of it what we dare within the circumstances we may wrestle and the choices we can muster. Unfortunately, my family never quite measured up to those many ideals we sought, rugged individualists to the core, each of us, beginning with a hardcore alcoholic father and a mother of seven who never REALLY wanted to mother, but chafed an entire life craving to exude ideas of exceptionalism while denying her often troubled, even troublesome yet striving children the same. But after all is said and done, I guess she did her best, as did we.

But here we are, 24 fat and lean years later, still tied in knots, madly in love with each other, best friends forever, and rarely seen in public without the other except during the weekday when she counts the beans in her big office while I chip away at the art world. Her already elderly parents were scandalized by all the brute stylings of the wedding we planned ourselves (mostly me), and for that small over-indulgence I am regretful, but it WAS indeed a unique event.
I hazard to make any remarks about your daughter's choice of wedding apparel because you may be right. The boots may indeed look cheap. Cheap is a fashion choice with its place, its own context and subtext, it still must fit and flow.

I too, am strongly opinionated about fashion, although I am somewhat of a slob myself except when I reclaim the magic. Then I can't fail to strike an erstwhile artistic pose with compliments swirling. In another life, as the saying goes, I might very well have aspired to a life of fashion design. You may remember from high school some rather odd choices I wore to class. Checkered pants, golfer's attire. White shoes, perhaps. From junior high forward, my bold clothes tended to set me apart from the general population, a trait I still maintain to some degree.

That said, my tastes range from traditional upscale lines to street punk debonair. Without embarrassment I have all but dressed my wife for 26 years. Admittedly she resisted early on, but grew to appreciate the benefits. She of course now solicits my eye, and recognizes that I love quality with flair. She sometimes admits the truth that she exudes no taste whatsoever, if anything, maybe classic Tom Robbins cowgirl blues couture. So, if daughter's boots are shiny vinyl high kickers, I say, yuck to cheap, kitsch hooker glam. No way. But if they are matte black thigh high combat boots, with luxurious white quilt-stitched silk gripping her, she'd have my vote, as long as she matches it with a black silk headscarf appointed with red rose to regale her hair in something other than a stale 1950s-1960s bouffant that is so popular with the wedding planner set for decades. Of course, I'm presuming she has long hair, but even if she doesn't, a similar treatment would probably be agreeable. This is all fanciful speculation, of course. Can't quite kill the punk rocker aesthetic I wholeheartedly embraced I suppose.

OK. That was me in Project Runway mode. Please pardon me, if I've insulted you, Bonnie. Perhaps I should share. At the Sue & Gabriel wedding in 1985, no holds barred punk rock motif all the way, my wife and I boasted a square black cake with a pirate's skull & crossbones on top in mockery of all the scripted storybook marriages that then and now fail at a 50% rate. She called all over the city of WASHINGTON, DC for black roses. None could be found. Florists thought she was crazy. We ended up spraying silk red roses black. Nowadays, authentic black roses are found everywhere, roses actually bred to be black. Yup, we were part of a trendsetter generation, for better or worse. But here we are, 24 fat and lean years later, still tied in knots, madly in love with each other, best friends forever, and rarely seen in public without the other except during the weekday when she counts the beans in her big office while I chip away at the art world. Her already elderly parents were scandalized by all the brute stylings of the wedding we planned ourselves (mostly me), and for that small over-indulgence I am regretful, but it WAS indeed a unique event.

As for the Jehovah's Witnesses, I too, have extreme experience with them. But I will delay that deposition until the next letter.

Your friend in letters,

Gabriel

I Went To School With Bonnie Jones (Azure)

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Thought About You Today
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From:Bonnie Jones Davisson
Date: September 24, 2009 at 11:35am

Is that you, the clown? My husband worked at a Holiday Inn when we first moved to Orlando, and I voted at a Holiday Inn Express during that fateful '00 election, but I still don't see the connection. This one you will be forced to slap me directly in the face with the answer.

Bonnie, Bonnie, Bonnie. Go back to my original post. I was making some kind of joke, and I parenthetically proposed that you read the line I had written metaphorically with the same spirit, voice, and cadence as the commercial. The rodeo clown is not me, and has nothing to do with me, nor does Holiday Inn have anything to do with me, but is only one of many commercials Holiday Inn Express has aired using this same "voice" that beams, "Yada yada yada, but I DID stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night" inferring that a good night's rest at Holiday Inn Express was of such magical power that a stay allowed you to perform extraordinary, almost magical feats in situations you are hardly trained to accomplish, the next day. If that explanation doesn't help, I mean really, let's drop it. It's no big deal, unless you suspect that magic is somehow in the making. I am quite the metaphysician's mystic myself, but have a strong objective side to me that discounts the hocus pocus of wordgames as just that, wordgames. Wittgenstein, Popper, and all those crazy but highly focussed philosophers who taught us that language is a conspiracy of two or three gathered. We simply create and agree upon understanding, thus realizing the etymological organism in its most basic organizational form. That stuff...

I am disturbed to hear of your health predicaments. You have a darling family and chances are they still want you and need you in their lives. And didn’t I read that you’re gifted with a loving husband soon to be restoring his Lady to the Theme Park sovereignty of her youth? Slow fun can be fun too.
Meanwhile, among other bombshells I expect to volley one at a time, you mentioned that David Daniel died. When and how, do you mind? I heard Mutt became a professional boxer, but don't know any more than that. Dr. Henry Rodeffer is still in Fernandina, I discovered. What about Suzy? What about Philip Daugherty? What's his story? Mark didn't reply. Not that I expected anything more.

As for you dear Lady, convivial Queen of Theme Parks everywhere, don't let the wretched Georgia school system claw at your soul. It's hardly a secret, but everyone with spark in the dark is hush hush and too politically correct to admit that America the Beautiful is crumbling from within and without. Unfortunately it's my perception that things are only headed for the worse. There appears to be no escape. If you must acquiesce, allow any enemy their folly, but never give into these bastards, whatever their stripe. Our only consolation—as unforgiving time renders its verdict—is even breakneck stupidity is fleeting.

I am disturbed to hear of your health predicaments. You have a darling family and chances are they still want you and need you in their lives. And didn't I read that you're gifted with a loving husband soon to be restoring his Lady to the Theme Park sovereignty of her youth? Slow fun can be fun too.

She had flown that night with less than five dollars in her pocket. So she had to leave the hostel and foot it to the Western Union Office however far away that was, and have somebody wire her the money. Her grant check as expected came in the mail at the hostel on Monday, less than 24 hours after she was found dead on Easter Sunday.
My mother also died, now about five years ago, struggling down that last stretch in seeking her doctorate at the Adler School of Psychology, starting school in her late-fifties at Oglethorpe U there in Atlanta, earning her BA in 1999, where she was a star, and main topic in the president's address at Graduation Day. All this after raising six kids, having triple bypass surgery, and beating cancerous melanoma and lymphoma. My mother, however was a psychological mess, very smart, but with a keen intelligence mismanaged with great care, as her entire life was spent seeking respect, when in reality it wasn't respect she wanted but a highly cultivated admiration. She suffered all manner of struggle just to be admired, but most of all she wanted to be recognized as an authority. But at 69, she crumpled to the bed in a Chicago youth hostel on Maudy Thursday of the '03 Easter weekend, after a long flight from Atlanta only to be told by the NEW night manager that she couldn't get into her room (of nearly three years) until she caught up with her rent. She had flown that night with less than five dollars in her pocket. So she had to leave the hostel and foot it to the Western Union Office however far away that was, and have somebody wire her the money. Her grant check as expected came in the mail at the hostel on Monday, less than 24 hours after she was found dead on Easter Sunday.

She was a true character, a product of her generation however, and while I am indeed MY MOTHER'S SON, the eldest of six, and closest in resemblence both physically and intellectually to her, we were fiercely at odds most of the time in a battle of wits I refused to concede simply because she was my mother.

There's more, lots more, Bonnie, but I'll end here for now. Forget the Holiday Inn Express bit. It's totally irrelevant to anything of consequence...

Stay strong, and seek internal beauty...

Gabriel

I Went To School With Bonnie Jones (White)

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Big Brother Is A Bully
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Always...but never, Bonnie.

Let's not be coy. I regret I have but one life to give for my country. As I now understand it, this statement, once attributed to patriot Nathan Hale who was hung by the British as a spy, has now been reclassified as apocryphal. Rubbish, I say, but ultimately it doesn't matter. Slogans are only wordsuck. Language itself is mere alphabet dirt, but from healthy soil we rise, and survey all that nature confers. But yes. These are perilous times. While I wish to remain strong, to steer my family through what I feel are dangerous and rough times ahead in a land of strangers, much like you described, I am not afraid to put it all on the line if the occasion calls, but until that hour I am just a writer, a poet, a painter, a husband, a farmer, and a friend to the friendless who seek just one.

Chin up Bonnie. I also hail from a family of shrimpers. I never knew that about you. I just observed you as a cute little blonde girl who was nice in class, and had all the right friends, some of the same ones I had. Seems I recall you hanging out with Colleen Kane a good bit, and the Anderson sisters. Your own daughters seem wonderful. Job well done. So indeed, let's continue to reach out. I am real. That much you can expect of me. Big Brother is a bully. I have faced many a bully blocking my path. Damn the stories upon which we as unique individuals are built...

Again, thanks for your kind words. My life gets very busy at times, but personal outreach is very important to my daily stamina, so have patience, be assured that I am never far away, but I will think of you often, and in turn, am always delighted to hear from you. If you have a solid email address, perhaps we can move our conversations off Facebook, for privacy and organizational concerns, if only a niche or two more secure.

Either way, I wish you the very best you can muster in your day to day. I have a few health concerns myself, so can empathize as a peer. Thank you for making me your friend. I still have to laugh that you thought I was homosexual, although I understand. I was quite flaming in high school, still am in many ways I suppose.

Also, have several siblings in the Stone Mountain area...

Truly,

Gabriel

A Taste Of Trench Madness

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Gabriel Thy's Sleepy Eye
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Thanks for keeping up the resistance, Morales. Just know that the busy silence of we who are marked to fall always proceeds the clashing of the cymbals, while those of us who warned the others (now laughing and mocking, hissing and despising our herald) will have witnessed the fullness of truth, not they—and by inertia or grace will be prepared to shield others from the amplified atrocities as they arrive. That's the extent of whatever hope I have remaining because I have learned that minds are not changed by the politeness of social stability but by the harsh tongues of upheaval and crisis. This country will probably awaken when Europe implodes, but I believe that America is also marked for crisis, a result of having become sadly corrupted and from our national potential far have we strayed.

Don't fear the Marxist-Islamofascism creep, however. Resist it wherever we can, but don't expect any sudden miracles quite yet. People still treasure their fool's gold, reflecting among the dueling mirrors of social consciousness that they've done the math, not quite realizing they've only been using imaginary numbers while letting the real digits slip away...

And allow me this opportunity to insist that I am not naive, no matter what I choose to paint or wrestle into inconsequential line. It's rather obvious by now that I frittered away that excuse six senses and a million miles ago in a taste of trench madness. I may be a fool, but I'm nobody's fool.

Bob Amerson and I become close friends that summer, but this was a small town, and this was what happened in small towns back in the 60s where few homes ever locked their doors, even when folks left town for a few days. Boyhood allegiances shifted quickly without warning, without rationale, without lasting impression in those days. Childhood innocence should be so easy for kids today without ending up in a grave.
I've been aware of this sleepy right eye since junior high when it first started popping up into school photos. I didn't start short career in sandlot boxing, until a bit later, but I did suffer a couple of black ones put there by Bob Amerson immediately after school while we were in the sixth grade. But I picked myself up and met the usual in-town lads—Davey Ryals, his brother Terry, Terry Simmons, Reggie Sawyer, Jimbo Caldwell, Louie "Mooches" Davis, Ronnie Wright, Jimmie Pitts, Tommy Hall, a fews others I'm sure, and Terry Kennedy, the one girl who lived just behind the field, while the rest of us just walked or rode our bicycles—at the ballfield for a pickup game just as was expected nearly every day. Bob did not. I was also surprised to see Donnie Findley there that afternoon, but none of my own brothers were there. If they were I don't recall. But I apparently had earned the applause of the whole squad of twelve to fifteen boys already slinging hash on the field. Sure, I suffered the usual bouts of self-consciousness at school over the next few days, but nobody ever ragged me. From the best I could tell—rolling around the ground (near the tree roundabout where kids who rode parked our bicycles) swinging punches, landing a few, ducking others, before getting pinched by the ears and led to Principal Huff's office by Mrs. Middleton who had taught us both two years earlier—the crowd of twenty-five to thirty, best I could reckon, was split fifty-fifty. But nobody ever ragged me. Bob showed at school the next day. He didn't seem any worse for wear, no shiners, no nothing. But nobody ever ragged me. Bob Amerson and I become close friends that summer, but this was a small town, and this was what happened in small towns back in the 60s where few homes ever locked their doors, even when folks left town for a few days. Boyhood allegiances shifted quickly without warning, without rationale, without lasting impression in those days. Childhood innocence should be so easy for kids today without ending up in a grave.

Twenty-Five Random Things About Me

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Punk Ain't Dead in 1985
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Rules: Once you've been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about yourself. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it's because I want to know more about you.

(To do this, go to "notes" under tabs on your profile page, paste these instructions in the body of the note, type your 25 random things, tag 25 people (in the right hand corner of the app) then click publish.)

1. I used to hang with Ru Paul in Atlanta back when HE played in a band called Wee Wee Pole, mostly at the 688 Club and the Bistro, both now defunct.

2. I was a brilliant child (one of the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked, dragging myself through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix…), then I bumped into the lads of 9353, and learned something else about myself.

3. Bob Dylan, Thomas Paine, and Henry Miller, in that order fascinate me to the ends of the intellectual spool, are my heroes, and oddly enough, both the Right and the Left claim them (well, Miller might not make the cut on the Right), and yet all are despised by both the Right and the Left when it suits them.

4. I hitchhiked from Atlanta to NYC to meet Allen Ginsberg with seven cents in my pocket because I had lost my whole $250 paycheck earned working a roofing tar kettle the night before dancing and boozing with a hole in my pocket I had sworn to avoid, all in celebration of my departure. I also met my future wife on that trip. It's a long story.

5. I was a literary poet when I came to DC. I then became a drunk, quit writing poetry in deference to my rocker friends and enemies like Bruce, Boyd, Vance, Gene, Jamie, Rene, Lloyd, Frank, Henry, Andy, Jack and so many more of that squiggle of spit-possessed renegades.

6. I grew up poor among the poor. My five siblings and I often slept in sleeping bags curled up around the only kerosene heater in the house built in 1865, later burned to the ground by an arsonist in 1972, along with many of my childhood treasures. My father collected junk Cadillac & Pontiac hearses and DUIs as if nothing else existed for him.

7. I once told Jesse Jackson I don't stomp the pavement for any cause. And yes, I shook Ronald Reagan's hand as he was leaving the Jacksonville Convention Center in 1972, as a Nixon delegate in the first highschool mock convention of its kind. My particular Florida highschool represented the state of Tennessee. Shirley Chisolm was also there.

8. I recall the Kennedy assassination in full black and white. I was in the third grade. I watched the aftermath at Darwin Gale's house while he was outside playing in the dirt with toy soldiers, our usual connivance.

9. I was married to a Jehovah's Witness twice my age, mother of three, when I was eighteen, four weeks after she smothered my virginity. What a dweeb I was! It lasted three horrific years.

10. With a nod to Yeats, I slouched in the dirty and dangerous coke ovens at Bethlehem Steel on Lake Michigan back when America was strong, though the steel industry was just then beginning to feel the coming shrinkage.

11. My grandfather regularly played chess with King Faisal Ibn Abdul of Saudi Arabia when he was a construction superintendent there in 1966. This king was later assassinated by his own nephew. Spud Woodward, my grandfather, left after six months of his two year tour seriously needing an adult beverage, of course banned over there.

12. I became a painter after reading a book.

13. I believe America is in deep shit, and I also believe we haven't a pooper scooper to our name as a nation.

14. If it weren't for money, I'd be a rich man.

15. I lost a 900 page novel manuscript among other fine washables when I accidentally erased it off my computer.

16. As a former Episcopalean acolyte and Eagle scout, well not quite, my family moved to a remote barrier island owned by the Carnegie and Rockefeller families when I was fourteen, effectively ending my scouting career at Life, anyhow, what was my point?

17. My family were among the original band of Scottish Highlanders to found the State of Georgia. Names like Mackintosh, Spalding, Kenan, Woodward, Atwood lead straight to me. Big effing deal some might say; I say it's all in how you present the information. Did I mention one of my ancestors traced my heritage straight to William the Conqueror, the bastard lord of feudalism? Thirty-one generations. I did the math. Lots of people are my cousins.

18. I have never been to college. But I am still a tool of my enemy, and I cannot visualize an escape.

19. Guns. Now that's something William S. Burroughs knew something about.

20. I either secretly or outright despise Marxists because I am right of center and am more generous with my time and my treasure than any "ever so concerned" Marxist I have ever met.

21. I realize that the line is being drawn in the sand even as I write these words and parse these syllables. There is no time left to write poems or paint pretty pictures. Now is the time for all good men and women to rise to the challenges our spineless leaders have injected into our collective bloodstream.

22. Twenty-five years with the same woman. Haplessly married, but unbreachably united. A story for the ages. Check out Abelard and Heloise.

23. I am either supra-confident in public (usually a byproduct of alcohol, of which I rarely partake these days), or timid and tragically neurotic and full of self-doubt. Ask around.

24. In the spirit of jolly old Saint Nix (one of my former namesakes), I am always making a list and checking it twice, determined as hell to discover who is naughty and who is nice.

25. My greatest shame is that few people who call themselves my friends have ever bothered to listen to my Internet radio station, Radio Scenewash, or read, much less respond to any of my blogs in the several years I have operated them. Such is MY life in the fast lane among the self-satisfied and the splendid.

Memory Is A Scream

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Granddaddy Came Through
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MY FIRST MEMORY IS OF BEING on my back in a hospital bed. Never one to rely on the shoddy recall powers of certain family members who seemed to lack the same zing I had for remembering where I put my yesterdays, very early in life I displayed a precocious curiosity for the push and pull of life's levers and diligently stocked my own memory bank with notes and exercises geared to maximize my potential—so I am rather sure, as sure as a consistent list checker can be that my very first memories from the time I first started thing about first memories were burned into this organ when I am a mere two years and months old during this first of eight surgeries I have undergone to date.

Actually, there are two strong memories that have chided me over the years from that two-week summer stint at Brunswick General Hospital where I had my left testes surgically dropped from inside my groin to the exterior scrotum sack, a process most boys experience within the first month or so after birth, naturally, without surgery, but my two danglers were apparently somewhat reluctant to show themselves. The condition, which also affects male fertility, is called cryptochidism.

Granddaddy was alone with me and he had a brand new toy boat, blue in color, just like he had promised, and I recall quite vividly us walking the few steps hand in hand to the private bath inside my room, filling the tub with water, and floating the boat and me on the wave of magnificent play time antics only Spud Woodward was capable of generating.
This is 1957. I am basking in my own private room. Brunswick General is not a military facility, so I remain at a loss to explain both the private room and my seclusion in a civilian medical institution. Perhaps my grandparents are footing the bill. My own daddy is hardly a thrifty man. In fact, he is well on his way, even taxing gregarious United States Navy standards to their vanishing point a few years down the road, in putting the word "drunk" into the phrase—drunken sailor. But that's of no concern here. I wouldn't be expected to sort out all these details at my age. Responsibility beyond my years did roar in upon me rather early as childhood dynamics tend to go, but not this early, at least not that I recollect. That would come later—with the siblings.

My problem, a traumatic hit so startling as to abruptly sear its passage into my memory, so that I can reflect upon it in my mind's eye just like it was yesterday, is being left alone for the first time in my suddenly quite conscious life. I am an only child at the time. My mother would birth seven children in seven and a half years, and must have been pregnant with my first brother even then, as I was secretly being prepared to undergo the scalpel in anticipation of growing a pair. But for this strategic moment in the life of a child, I am still the oscillating focus of attention for a small army of adoring adults and doting teenage girls, including my mother's own three much younger sisters who would spoil me with "favorite nephew" affection for the rest of their lives.

The toddler is lying in a hospital bed staring up at young mommy and daddy, 22 and 21 years of age, respectively...

They are telling me they have to leave, but that they will be back the next morning. Yes, as a precocious two-year old, nearing three probably, I understand their English but I feel only the compulsion to reject it. I do not wish to be left alone, and I'm not about to let them slip out of that large beige-walled room without a fuss. It was not totally dark outside yet, but within the room, the light was disappearing. Commencing to scream, I continue to wail without conscience until I am told that my granddaddy would be there to visit me in a couple of days and was bringing me the toy boat he had promised. But, as mem'ry serves, nothing would stop my bellicose screeching, stretching no doubt the tissue of my young pink lungs to the bursting point until after they had left my line of vision.

hospital-boat
My Hospital Boat
I had done my job. I had let them know how much I cared about them. Or else I had let them know how little I appreciated being abandoned to a strange place all alone and terrified. There wasn't even a smiling winsome nurse around to help guide me towards the light of an inexplicable future. I seemed to sense that I was simply too young to be left alone. Didn't they know that at least one of them could have slept in the room, in that chair over there in the corner, keeping me company, until the fear and trepidation of being abandoned by Nyx, the primordial goddess of night, had passed? Apparently not. Or else this young couple perhaps still in love with each other, or perhaps the party life, had better things to do. Free night off without the snotty-nosed kid. I could only imagine.

But sure enough, an undetermined number of days later, Granddaddy popped in by himself, and I basked in his bombastic personality. Granddaddy was alone with me and he had a brand new toy boat, blue in color, just like he had promised, and I recall quite vividly us walking the few steps hand in hand to the private bath inside my room, filling the tub with water, and floating the boat and me on the wave of magnificent play time antics only Spud Woodward was capable of generating.

It seems odd that this second memory—as keen as the first one days earlier, which was probably a fragment from the evening before the surgery— is not associated with pain of any sort except abandonment, a problem I still suffer in many ways some fifty years later.

My fourth and fifth years were ripe for pneumonic pickings, most of a more pedestrian nature, but we'll leave those for another day.