Saturday, October 12, 2013

Ever wonder what you might have caused

In August of 2012 I took my mother to Colonial Williamsburg for vacation.  I had taken my family there in 2004 and 2007 and knew she would love it.  My mother is a costumer and specializes in renascence and colonial attire.  This was a special trip with the family that dad had no interest in but mom was really excited about.

We didn’t do “vacations” when I was a kid.  We weren’t poor but we weren’t rich either.  Dad was a civil servant working on an Air Force base and mom worked from time to time at various part time jobs.  Our annual “vacation” was a trip to the Santa Cruz / Monterrey area for dad to play some very ritzy golf courses (at an extremely discounted price) with his golf club from McClellan Air Force Base in Sacramento.  Make no mistake, those courses are absolutely beautiful parks and forests, but caddying for dad isn’t exactly a vacation…

Dad didn’t do “vacation”.  It wasn’t in him.  He was an incredibly driven man.  He had a purpose and a plan for everything, including even a night out with “the boys”.  He spent every moment of every day doing “something”, whether that was working, reading, doing work on the house, golfing, flying, or whatever.  He was the guy that watched golf on TV, and he was watching it intently to “learn from the pros”, so just to put a point on it, he actually learned things from it!

Mom loves the old costumes.  She loves the flowing robes, the frilly lace, the hoop skirts, the tunics and pumpkin pants, tights and codpieces, bodices and whale bone, she loves it all.  She loves learning about the times of old and how they dressed, how they lived.  She had volunteered with several organizations that re-created various eras and currently volunteers at Ft. Vancouver, Washington doing costuming for them.

I wanted to take my mother on a vacation that dad could never take her on.  It wasn’t in him, it wasn’t who he was.  I have no animosity toward him because I understand who he was and respect him for who he was.  I just wanted to do this something special for mom, something she would love.

I drove down to Vancouver to pick up mom and decided to take dad out on a little excursion.  We hadn’t shot guns together for over 30 years, so I found a range in the Vancouver area called the “English Pit” and brought all of the supplies needed.  We found the place and shot for a couple of hours having a good old time.  It was not a “father/son” outing, it was just a couple of guys out having fun.  We went back to the house and sat at the kitchen table cleaning guns and talking like just a couple of good ’ole boys.  It was a unique experience and something I will never forget.

The following morning I headed out with mom to my house so we could fly out of Sea-Tac the following morning.  On retrospect, dad’s goodbyes seemed particularly … complete.

We stayed at the Williamsburg Woodlands hotel which is right next to the Colonial Williamsburg visitor’s center which meant we just got up and walked into Colonial Williamsburg.  For those that have never been there, Colonial Williamsburg is a living museum.  It is staffed with some of the most well studied historians on the colonial times and the revolutionary period there are.  The entire crew is dedicated to bringing to life the history of this great nation.  This is true immersion into the founding of our country and the culture that brought it about.  Chris Matthews may have got a “thrill up his leg” when he saw a speech from “Stalin with a great tan”, but Colonial Williamsburg gives me the tingles all over!

One of the really wonderful things that Williamsburg has is some historical taverns that operate as restaurants.  The three that were operating on this trip had lunch and dinner services.  One of them had a special dinner theater that we had to register in advance for but the other two were just a show up and sign up, first come first served plan.

The first night we went to Christiana Campbell’s Tavern which is a nice tavern at the end of the revolutionary city.  The service is full immersion with the staff dressed and behaving as the staff would have at the time, complete with entertainment.  In this case the entertainment was a particular Scottish Bard who wore about his person several fiddles and flutes, playing tunes of the time.  My mother was thrilled and insisted on tipping him.  We have Scottish heritage on my mother’s side that we are quite proud of.  He stayed close to the table for the rest of the service and educated us on a variety of instruments and how they related to the times.

Two nights later we attended the special dinner theater at another tavern.  They had a melodrama play as would be the custom of the time during the dinner service that was really quite good.  During the intermission, in wandered the same Scottish Bard we had seen before.  He recognized us and gave us some special attention while playing his tunes he so obviously enjoyed.

Two nights later we went to the third tavern for dinner and, while we were signing up for dinner at the outside stand, I saw the Scottish Bard through the window in the door just a split second before he spotted us.  He stopped and put his face with a big smile in the window and waved to us.  We waved back and we could see he was quite happy to see us.  He hovered around our table giving playful banter not just to us but to other tables around us.  He was having a great time being a playful soul.  He is a person that enriches the lives of everyone he encounters.  We need more like him.

The following morning was Sunday.  I took my mother to Sunday morning services at Bruton Parish Church.  It was the first time in over 20 years we had attended church together and it was truly magical.  I hadn’t been to church at all in over 15 years but I knew the hymns and stories.  The sermon was meaningful for both present day and for the period.  For the first time in three decades I shared communion with my mother.  It was a magnificent morning.

That was the morning dad died.

He laid back in his lazy chair, and ceased.

Dad’s life was done.  He couldn’t do anything that really gave him meaning to his life.  He was a pilot and loved to fly, but he developed diabetes and could no longer fly.  He was athletic and an avid golfer, but his knees deteriorated to the point that he could barely walk let alone play golf.  He was always a voracious reader but could not transition in to the new information age of computers and e-books.  He got a trailer on the vague hope of touring the country, but he hated it.  He had nothing left, but mom.

I took my mother on a trip that dad never could.  He didn’t have it in him.  He said his goodbye and was done.  Did he know?  Did he know it would be best for mom if he went when mom was on the other side of the country? (it was)  Or did he just think he had nothing left to offer?  If so, what role did I play in that?

That is what will always haunt me.  What part of this did I play?  Is it worse if I made him feel he had nothing left to offer, or if I had no role in it at all?


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

A Dozen Years Ago, A Lifetime Ago

Twelve years ago today, much like today, I woke up, ate breakfast, and rode in to work.  I sat down at my desk, logged in to my computer, and started to read my email.  A few minutes later my manager came rushing down the hallway, sticking his head into each office and just said "Go Home" with a forceful urgency I hadn't heard from him before.  Puzzled, I opened up a browser and saw the horrible sight of the smoking north tower of the World Trade Center.  I didn't even read the headline.  I grabbed my gear, jumped on the bike and rode home as quickly as the Harley would get me there.  I turned on the news just in time to see the first footage released of the South Tower being hit.  The newscasters didn't yet call it an attack, but the footage said it all.  I heard the distinctive sound of those engines spooling up as the plane approached the tower and I knew it was a deliberate attack.  I didn't know who did it, but I knew it was an attack.  My gut wrenched and I had to run into the bathroom to throw up.

This morning, I woke up, ate breakfast, and rode in to work.  I sat down at my computer, opened up a browser, and right there on my home page was a picture of the smoking towers and I remembered that fateful morning like it had just happened.  Once again my gut wrenched and I had to run into the bathroom to throw up.  I was right there again.  I excused myself from work and rode home.
In previous years I had vowed to plow on and not let it stop me.  In previous years I defiantly went to work and did my job, vowing the monsters wouldn't win.  In 2010 when I attended the 9/11 rally followed by the 9/12 Tea Party on the National Mall in DC.  That was a special event.  Not only did I march with many thousands of my best friends, I also walked from the Pit of Vipers (The Capitol) to the Pillars of Virtue (Lincoln Memorial) with several of them.  I did so with purpose and vigor, meaning and intent, and I vowed the monsters would not win.

Today is a sad day for me.  The monsters are winning.  Our president is incoherent, insincere, and being played like a fiddle by the Russian president.  Our foreign policy is the laughing stock of the world, and the forces of evil no longer fear us.  The voices of reason and strength in this country are few and far between and it looks like the vast majority of my fellow citizens are ready to just give up, roll over, and welcome the chains of slavery.  And there is not a damned thing I can do about it.

It is written that no man shall know the time when the end happens, but that time is rapidly approaching.  The signs are all showing up and lining up.  Whether it is a deliberate act by the president and his friends or simple incompetence is irrelevant, they are hell bent to start another war.  After years of complaining that the previous wars were misguided and dishonestly sold to the people, the president isn't even trying to convince anyone that this one is a good idea.  In fact it looks like he is taking great pleasure in defiantly pressing on with one of the worst ideas in history, and the press is singing his praises for it.  Most of them are at least.  There are a few voices of reason out there, but they are few and far between, and have no real power or influence.

This is a sad day for me.  It is a sad day for my country.  It is a sad day for the world.  And all I can do about it is pray for guidance and wisdom to weather the coming storm.  But then, that is really like no other day when it comes right down to it, isn't it.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The forces of evil are at it again still

I’ve been away a while since I was feeling uninspired to write, but I can no longer be silent. The race baiters / liberals / progressives are going crazy over the George Zimmerman trial verdict. They got exactly what they wanted and will be able to use it to fire up race riots, incalculable property damage and endless violence. The (in)Justice Department will use this to strip (white) people of the ability to defend themselves, promote violence among black people and push gun control. The Democrats will use it to fire up minorities to vote for them and give up even more rights and more quality of life. The anti-American media is screaming about how horrible a country we are in and demanding that all freedom and quality of life be eliminated. The New Black Panthers are demanding that all white people be killed, but then they always are so nothing has changed here.

The facts don’t matter to the forces of evil. They will distort, contort, misrepresent and pervert anything they can in order to push their agenda to destroy the greatest nation on earth and burn it to the ground. They will forever be dividing people and stirring up hatred between different groups in order to promote violence and destruction. The entire point is to cause the government to lock the country down in an absolute totalitarian police state with no freedom, no quality of life, no possibility of anything other than misery, pain and suffering, with no hope at all. They will not rest until this country is a prison, and they will continue to stir up hatred and violence even after that. The forces of evil hate freedom. They hate the idea that a single peasant would have a single choice in their own life. They passed a law that proclaims that the federal government has dominion over all of the peasants bodies. The peasants are property of the government for bureaucrats to toy with as pleases them. The bureaucrats will decide what is done to the peasant’s body and the peasant has no choice.

The forces of evil will viciously attack anyone that stands for the United States Constitution, the rule of law, the concept of hard work and personal responsibility, real education and prosperity. Anyone that acknowledges that people are different, have different abilities and different interests, therefore will have different outcomes, is pilloried and demonized as being greedy and selfish. (Nevermind that the ones claiming they have rights to someone else’s life and labor are the true greedy ones.) Anyone that says that culture matters and that some cultures are better than others, and some cultures are outright evil, will receive endless streams of hate and derision and occasionally violent reactions.

And it will never end. Evil is as evil does, and it will always be with us. Even when Jesus returns it will still exist, it will just be separated from the forgiven. You have a choice. The text is available. Which side are you on? Free will or tyranny? Good or evil?