Let me repeat that for those that aren't listening. Photos don't replace memories.|
To be clear, the next time you are at a wedding, or you are taking a class picture, or your company is taking a group picture at a company party, you've got a family reunion, etc, remember that photos don't replace memories.
So, here is the scenario, someone didn't show up. Say, the uncle that used to lovingly touch your private parts when you were a kid couldn't give you away at your wedding because he was serving time. Now, you see the photographer taking group shots of the family on one of those newfangled digital cameras. You walk up and say, "Since you are shooting digitally, can you add in my uncle to the group shot of kid touchers?"
Of course he can, but he won't tell you that.
Here is why. In order to make the picture of your uncle merge with the rest of the photo in a natural way, he has to get a shot of your uncle that happens to be the same perspective and lighting conditions that are currently present. The warm glow and twinkle in everyone's eyes reflected from the candles on the tables of the beachside banquet aren't in the booking photo that your uncle sent from prison. In fact, the skin tones will be off, because your romantic sunset wedding casts a softer light than the harsh green fluorescent bulbs in the interrogation room that reveal the pits and scars on your uncle's face.
So, IF the photographer decides to add your meth addict uncle into a group shot, he is going to have to do a lot of work to make it look natural. It can be done.
Now, consider another point. When your photographer takes those pictures, he will have metered the light, and done everything so that he captured the photo right the first time. In other words, he isn't going to do any post-processing. At least, he isn't if he is worth the money. Every image that can go directly from the camera to the printer will only cost the price of the media plus a percentage of the equipment costs and hourly wage that it took to capture the image. As soon as you have decided to add Uncle EarlJoeBobJim, you have added in labor for post-processing. So, if you figure out how much per hour it cost to have the photographer on site, you can now add an hour or two worth of labor for each image that you want your precious uncle in the picture.
So, say you get the photographer to agree, and you go through the pain of locating a suitable image of your uncle, and the photographer does the color-correction and photoshop work that makes it look like your uncle really was standing second row so that he could shove his hard cock into your niece’s back like usual. Say he does a fantastic job, and everyone he shows can't pick out the person in the picture that wasn't in the original shot.
You still won't like it.
Because he wasn't fucking there!
You know he wasn't there. You know it, and your memory will keep revealing the lie. You won't be happy with the picture, and you will be disappointed in the photographer. So, save yourself the trouble and remember, "Photos don't replace memories."
I have this problem. I've always, always wanted to be and tried to be an ethical person. I've spent a good deal of time and effort figuring out what I felt was the right thing to do in various circumstances, and then doing it. And yet I find myself doing things like this--making blog entries--at work, rather than doing what I'm paid to do.|
It's not that I don't like my work. It's interesting and stimulating, and I'm reasonably good at it. I just find that I far too readily slip into a state where I end up doing a lot more web surfing than actual work.
What bothers me about it is that I'm effectively stealing from my employer (UCLA, funded by public research grants, so in some way that would be all y'all who are US taxpayers). It's theft, plain and simple, and it is a gross ethical violation.
And I can't stop doing it. So far I've been lucky enough to have pretty tolerant employers (unless it's not so much that they're tolerant as that this is normal behavior, which is really even more troublesome), and the work does get done. Still, I know I could do it better and faster than this. In those times when I have been able to focus, I've been happier and more productive. So why can't I just stay focused?
My inability to control myself--to be what I want to be, should be, and could be--is extremely frustrating.
It's a matter of choices, I guess. We all make choices, all day, every day. I'm making one right now, and it's the wrong one. The nice thing is that I can do something different.
As to plastic--I just bought a couple of electronic boojamawhatsits, an SD card for my PDA and a USB flash drive, and they came in those immensely annoying heat sealed plastic cases which can oly be opened by hedge clippers. I suppose it's good, in that it prevents people from easily pocketing small, valuable items at Best Buy, but it's annoying when I can't get to my neat new toy until I can lay by hands on surgical instruments.
I have gone far in my life.|
Born in the Philippines,raised in the north bronx at 5 till 3rd grade in upstate Rockland county New York.
School I never cared about;never went to classes that much,smoked alot of dope,made just passing grades yet by some miracle I graduated.
I didn't go to my graduation.
In fact,I wanted to tear away from my loving family and my friends that were moving on or going nowhere so fast it fucking hurt.
So with my diploma I hauled off to Denver Colorado where I enrolled in Diesel school for diesel mechanics. It was work I enjoyed so I graduated fairly easily.
I met my wife one night while in school at a club on 6TH and Sheridan.
My life took a turn from there. She taught me that life isn't so predictable,that anything goes day to day.
When I couldn't find a diesel mechanic job after we married,we hauled off to New York and stayed with my folks. I landed an awesome job as a mechanic at Shortline Bus and doing good. But then the wife missed ol' mama and wanted to go back and back we did.
I struggled. Worked two jobs all the time just to make ends meet. Then my Mother in Law turned me on to the Developmentally Disabled population.
I found my calling. I was meant to do this.
But I still needed to moonlight. I worked two pizza places at night;closed whenever possible which turned to every night,and had to get up at 6:00 am so I could go to the same job I'm in today. I never had a day off.
One night,someone was looking out for me. I was delivering a fucking pizza in a blizzard at midnight. Peterbuilt comming my way lost control.......
I could have died that night. No front end left in my car. I looked like the elephant man.
But we sued and we got our house. It was almost karma that it happened like that. Five seconds either way and I wouldn't be living in this house today.
Today I'm in Northglenn,Colorado living in my house with my wife of 17 years and two wonderfully behaved kids.
I feel very blessed.
I don't moonlight anymore cause I care for one of my students that needs me. Were doing good thanks to him.
My next hurdle is paying my baloon payment in the next three years on my house. But I can do it.
I've tackled far worst.
I hadn't seen her in a few years, though she looked much the same, a few grey hairs, a bit tired around the eyes. After the exchange of obligatory compliments, we settled into our chairs, prepared to make small talk.|
"So, what are you doing these days?" she asked, the ritualistic first question among those seperated by time and apathy.
"The cliche answer is, 'working and living life,' the more detailed answer is, 'I am building houses,' and the truthful answer is that I am slowly but inexorably going insane."
She gave a startled little laugh, this isn't the polite ritual, I've gone and deviated from the script wthout so much as a by-your-leave. "I suppose this is where I ask just why you are going insane."
"It would be an opportune moment, if you were curious." A dead pause, hanging silence as she waits for me to elaborate. Again she laughs, more sharply this time as sh begins to realize the nature of this conversation.
"Fine, I'll bite. Why are you going insane?"
"Deliberate lead poisoning."
Again, the dead moment, this time ended by an incredulous out burst, "What?"
I smiled, a smirking grin that I really ought to patent.
"You really are an ass."
"Unlike the bit about lead poisoning, that is true, however, so is the fact that I am slowly losing, my mind. I enjoy my job, I lack in none of the neccesities of life and yet I despise my life and find it utterly stultifying."
"Am I supposed to have a response to that?"
"The only proper response to such bullshit, is to offer me a drink," I said, appending this with yet another smirking grin.
"I stand by my earlier assessment."
"And I continue to agree wholeheartedly, but let us not lose sight of the important matters, or rather the only important matter, namely, drinking."
"Somethings about you will never change, will they?"
"If you are referencing my appetite for spirits, then I sincerely pray they do not," I signaled for the bartender and ordered two Guiness and a matching pair of shots of Macallans.
She lifted an eyebrow, "Trying to get me drunk?"
"No my dear, I aim only to get myself drunk, but I do find that it is often more enjoyable to do so with a like minded soul, which is to say, another drunken sot. Have you changed your ways since I saw you last?"
By way of answer she grabbed one of the shot glasses in front of us and raised it in the air, "To?" She asked.
I claimed the remaining glass, hoisted it and twirled it between thumb and forefinger as I searched for an appropriate toast.
"To throwing rocks, pissing on te sidewalks an cursining in public!" A satisfying toast, well balanced, or so I felt.
"Ah, so, we drink to immature rebellion," she responded, and put the glass to her lips, tilting it back and draining it. I laughed, a sharp bark, reminiscen of one so recently issuing from her lips and followed suit.
Simultaneously we reached for our pints, and with them barely raised from the the bar, she cocked her head and looked at me.
"Touche!" I responded, touching my glass against hers and then drinking deeply.
I wrote this a couple of years ago. It still is an important part of my life story, I still want to share it.|
I’ve known a lot of girls and women in my life. I was never one of those little boys that go, “Oooh, gurlz, gross!” or some similar sentiment. My first girlfriend, Susie, was my inseparable companion from the moment she got on the school bus in the morning, until she got off it in the afternoon. We shared a double desk in 1st and 2nd grades, our desks were separated by a narrow aisle in 3rd and 4th, our daily time together ended when my family moved away at the end of the first quarter of 5th grade.
I have many strong, good memories of Susie, and it broke my heart when we moved. Even now, 37 years later, I smile as I think of her.
But Anabel, my Anabel, was far more special to me. We met the summer between 7th and 8th grade years at the state park near my home, at the best swimming hole for miles around. I have only to close my eyes to once again be in that magic moment when we met – it as clear today as if I were there again.
We met purely by chance – I was just learning a whole new way of managing my body, of swimming in the powerful current of the river as I always had, due to the loss of my left hand 5 months before. I had waded out through the shallows to the edge of the drop into the main channel, intent upon crossing over to the soapstone ledge on the other bank, to climb to the diving shelf as I had always so freely done.
Stepping out through the chest deep water into the 25 foot deep channel in the bedrock, the current caught me, and began sweeping me along. It was difficult to cross that current by sidestroke, and when I had I was far downstream of the diving shelf, at the foot of the main pool where the soapstone ledge merged into the shallows of the river. I clambered up on the ledge, and began slogging through the knee-deep water upstream. Moving closer to the high bank that the ledge projected from, into water only ankle deep.
As I sloshed up the ledge, I heard a soft voice call out, “What happened to you?”.
I turned toward the sunny niche in the bank I was passing, and there she was. I was stunned speechless for a moment (a most unusual thing, I assure you), and finally mumbled, “I had an accident.”
As I stood, glancing up at her through my lowered eyelids, she asked me to come talk to her. I looked up, and said I would be glad to. I moved up into the niche, and sat on the clay bank about 4 feet from her. I was shaking inside, and didn’t understand why, she was just another girl. Beautiful, to be sure, but just a girl, like so many others I knew.
How could I be so wrong?
Anabel introduced herself, I told her my name, and we sat quietly for what seemed the longest time. Finally, she started to speak, telling me that she was from another town near my home town, that she was entering the 8th grade in September, and all of the other trivia that identifies us for others. As we spoke, I gave her similar information regarding myself. Then we fell silent again.
Finally, I said, “I’m glad I met you, Anabel, but I’m gonna go up to the shelf and dive off now.” As I stood to go, she spoke.
“Why?”, she asked, “why dive? Won’t you hurt your arm?”
I told her, “I didn’t know if it will hurt, but I have to be able to dive, even if only from the lowest shelf, because I always have.”
“What if it hurts?”, she inquired, “Will it be worth it?’
I could not adequately explain myself to myself, let alone another, a relative stranger. Yet, for some reason, it was important to me to try. “If it hurts”, I said, “then it hurts. Just knowing I can still do it is something I gotta do. I have been swimming here a long time, and I’ve dove off every level hundreds of times.”
She looked at me for a moment, then said, “I understand. Come back when you are done, okay?”
Sure, I’ll be glad to.”, I replied. I turned away and walked up the ledge. As I went, I reviewed in my mind her appearance, and her voice. Slight, slender, petite, in a very conservative tank suit of white and gold, with faint green stripes. Deep auburn eyebrows, beautiful face with high cheekbones and green eyes. I thought she was a redhead from her complexion and eyebrows, but didn’t know because of the bathing cap she was wearing.
As I trudged through the shallow water coursing so coolly about my feet, I wondered at her approach, and her invitation to return. Since losing my hand, I’d been uncharacteristically shy around the girls I knew. That was probably due to the massive rejection by my “steady” girlfriend in the first hour of my return to school after 6 weeks absence in hospital and at home. The fact that I was having to re-learn every manual skill didn’t help – I was clumsy, awkward, and self-conscious.
I dove from the shelf about 5 feet above the water, and it felt good, if awkward. So I went to the next higher shelf, about 12 feet above the water, and dove. As I did, my balance was off and I hit the water at an odd angle. The impact of my stump with the waters surface was not broken by my right hand cleaving it first, and it hurt, quite badly.
I struggled back to the ledge, crawled up on it, and sat in the water, cradling my arm. Finally, I gathered my courage and looked at it. As I feared, I’d broken the new scar line over the ends of the bones in my forearm, and was bleeding.
My brother came up, saw that, and was insistent that I go to where my Mom and Dad sat on the shore across the river, making ice cream. I told him I wasn’t going to swim across with it bleeding, and I wasn’t going to tell them either. My Mom had been hesitant to allow me too swim at all, and I knew she’d put a stop to it if she saw my arm. He finally agreed not to tell, and I said I’d head down river to the shallows and walk across in a little while.
As my arm dried, the bleeding slowed and stopped over about a fifteen minute period. I finally stood and began the walk down the ledge to the shallows. As I walked along, my anticipation of seeing Anabel grew, and my pace picked up. Very quickly I was where I could see into the niche in the bank, and to my delight, she was still there.
We talked about more inconsequentialities, making get-acquainted conversation as people do, till I gestured too strongly, pulling the fresh scab on my arm loose until it bled. Anabel saw me wince, and cradle my arm against my chest in my right hand.
Her eyes grew big as she saw the blood leaking through my fingers, and she exclaimed, “You hurt yourself! Did that happen diving?”
“Yes.”, I answered, “I hit the water wrong and split the scar.”
She was dismayed, but accepted my statement that I’d manage it fine, and we returned to conversation for what seemed like both the longest, and the shortest, time of my life. Finally someone across the river called to her to come to the picnic table for supper, and we had to end our conversation.
We slogged through the shallows together, still talking, and as we climbed the bank to the park grounds she told me that her folks would be coming back the next afternoon, and asked if I’d be there. I told her I would, that we came to the park every summer evening unless it was raining.
“Good”, she replied, “I’ll see you tomorrow.”
With that she walked away to her family’s table. I stood and watched her go, stunned by what was happening, unable to believe that anyone so pretty and interesting could want to be with me. I floated back up river, barely aware of my surroundings and ignoring everyone around me.
As I walked up on my family’s table from behind I remembered my arm, and hastily snatched a towel to wrap around myself before my parents could see the blood. Throughout the rest of the evening I was uncharacteristically quiet, going over and over in my mind every word Anabel had said, the expressions of her face, the gestures she used.
On the ride home in the pickup my sister asked, “Who is that girl?”
I looked up in surprise, and she clarified by saying she had seen me across the river talking with a girl for the longest time. I told her that her name was Anabel, and I just met her.
It must have been said with a goofy, dreamy smile on my face, because my sister laughingly said, “Love at first sight, huh?”
I just looked at her, and made no reply.
Over the next several weeks I saw Anabel at the park 2-3 times a week, whenever her parents would allow themselves to be persuaded to come. She came to my family’s picnic table several times for ice cream, as did about 50 kids a night. We made 2.5 gallons of fresh ice cream every evening, sharing out the smallest size Dixie cups full to all comers.
My family of course noticed that I disappeared as soon as we got stopped every afternoon, and I took a good bit of ribbing about my “girlfriend”. Once they saw my face when they did, and heard my voice, they mostly left me alone.
Both my Mom and my Dad were highly approving of Anabel when they met her, and made that clear. I met Anabel’s parents as well, and I guess they thought I was tolerable, because they kept bringing her to the park, knowing we would spend the evening together.
Throughout that long, hot summer we grew closer, we looked forward more and more to seeing one another, we talked more and more about what we could do to see each other still after school started in Sept. Her home was 18 miles from mine, and too a 12 year old whose only means of transportation is either a bicycle or a horse, that is a nearly insurmountable barrier.
I did surmount it, finally, in August. I put my bike in the pickup at 5:45 am, and rode into town with my Dad as he went to work. Once there, I pedaled to city hall, and talked the bus driver into letting me carry it onto the bus with me since there were very few riders. 30 minutes later I was in Oregon City, about 13 blocks from Anabel’s house.
It was much too early to call, let alone show up at her door, so I hung out till 8am, then called her. When I told her where I was, and if she liked I could be there in about 20 minutes, she got fairly excited. I held the payphone and waited as she asked her mother if I could come over. I was sweating, not from heat, but from trepidation as I awaited the verdict.
It seemed to take forever, but finally she came back on the line and told me her Mom said that it was okay. I confirmed that the route I had to her home was correct, and jumped on my bike. Oregon City is very hilly, and from where I was to her home was almost totally down one of the steepest streets in town. I was there in a flash.
We spent that whole day together. Her Mom seemed kinda bemused and tentative about the whole thing, but she gave me a ride back up to the bus stop to catch the 4pm intercity bus.
I got back into Molalla in time to get to the mill and meet my Dad for a ride home. When he asked what I’d done all day I just said I bummed around and had fun with a friend.
When I got home, the shit hit the fan. My Mom was waiting with blood in her eye, demanding to know what the hell I was thinking, going off like that without a word. Anabel’s mother had called mine after dropping me at the bus stop. She ranted and raved for a while, my Dad did too once he realized what she was so upset about. Finally, she wound down, still demanding to know why I did such a stupid thing.
I asked, “Would you have let me if I asked?”
She practically screamed out her answer, “No!”
Then I asked, “Would you have taken me to Oregon City if I asked?”
She looked at me silently for a moment, and I answered myself, “No, of course you wouldn’t.” I walked to the stairs, to go to my room and change to do my chores. As I opened the door to the stairway, Mom snarled, “We aren’t done with this yet, young man!”
I just looked at her, then walked down the stairs. I knew the shit was just starting, but I didn’t regret what I had done one bit, and would do it again at the first opportunity. As I went about my chores before dinner I thought about the likely things to be said when the confrontation came, and how to respond to them.
Dinner was tense, very tense. Once the table was cleared my folks told the other kids to clear out, and me to stay at the table. I just sat there, waiting. Finally, my Dad asked if I had anything to say.
I told him I sure did, that I wanted to spend the day with Anabel, and I did. I was no more out of touch than if I’d spent the day in Molalla, and since both of them assumed without asking that I’d be at Doug’s (my best friends) house, I was not responsible for their assumptions.
Mom looked at me for a minute, and asked, “If I say never do that again, what will you say?”
I had thought that one through, and was prepared. I looked at her and said, “Don’t give me that order Mom, I won’t obey it.”
No explosion of rage. Mom and Dad just looked at me across the table, looked at each other, and told me to go to my room. I did, quite gladly.
The next day I got up after dad had left for work. When I went upstairs to the kitchen for some breakfast, Mom was at the table with a cup of coffee. She asked me what I planned to do that day.
I told her I was going to ride into town on my bicycle to Doug’s house, we were going to gather up the crew, and do the Thriftway parking lot and city park cleanup jobs. Before she asked, I volunteered that I’d be home by 5:00, sooner if we got done soon enough for me to catch Dad.
She looked me in the eyes, and asked, “Is that all?
I told her yes, and that I’d be home in time to get my chores done before we went to the park for picnic dinner. She told me that was fine, and left me to my own devices regarding breakfast.
Things were strange between me and my folks for quite a while after that. I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop. Finally, nearly 3 weeks later, it did, just 8 days before school started.
When I got up that morning, I was surprised to find my Dad in the kitchen. As we all ate breakfast together (a most unusual event), they explained that they were taking us school shopping, and Dad was going along because he had an appointment in Oregon City.
We all piled in the family station wagon, and went into Oregon City. We stopped at the Hilltop Diner, where I assumed Dad was to meet whomever his appointment was with. To my surprise, Mom got out, gave the keys to my oldest brother, told him to take the rest of the kids to JC Penney’s, then come back to the diner in an hour and a half. Then she told me to get out of the car.
As they drove away, we went into the diner. Anabel, and her parents, were sitting at a large table at the back. We walked back to their table, and after greeting we all sat down. Both Anabel and I sat mute.
Finally, Anabel’s mother looked at me, and inquired, “Do you know why we are here, Patrick?”
I replied that I did, it was because of my trip to their home 3 weeks before. She agreed, and told me that both she and her husband had discussed it with my parents, and wanted to know what I thought they should do about it.
I was caught completely off guard, as my thoughts had been racing down justifications, pleas, and how I could deal with it if they said we could no longer be friends. I stammered out something, I have never been sure just what, and after I fell silent the adults looked at one another, and told us how it would work.
Dad told me I’d be staying through the weekend at our family friends home in Oregon City, that Anabel and I could spend as much of the next 5 days together as we could stand, at her home. After that, they would discuss things again.
I was utterly dumbfounded. Anabel shrieked, “Really!?!” to her parents. When they confirmed it, she was beside herself with excitement. My Dad asked me if I had anything to say now – all I could do was shake my head.
The next five days are kaleidoscopic in my memory – both a blurring jumble and pictures of such crystalline clarity and stark beauty as to be nearly shattering in their impact. We were inseparable; I arrived at Anabel’s home about 8:00 am each morning, and went home to our friends’ house about 8:00 pm every evening.
We rode bikes, we went for walks, we sat in companionable silence in front of the TV, we shared jokes, we discussed books and authors we loved, we got to know one another better than I had ever known anyone outside my immediate family, in many ways better than that. We grew to truly love one another, far more than summers first love might suggest.
I got to know her parents, especially her father, better than I had known any other adults in my life. I learned to know them as people, as caring, responsible parents, as friends with their daughter in a way my parents had never had the time to be friends of any one of us in my crowded home.
That Sunday afternoon, my parents came for me at Anabel’s home. We shared Sunday dinner with her family and my parents, we talked as civilly and politely as could be imagined……After dinner, it turned serious.
Our parents questioned both of us about our feelings for one another, about what we wanted, about what we expected from them. Both sets of parents were a bit taken aback by the backfiring of their expectations – we had not grown annoyed with each other, we had not grown tired of the others company, we were not ready to end our friendship but wanted it to grow and blossom.
We went back and forth about what we wanted to do, what we thought we could do, what we wanted our parents to do for us. Finally, after more than 2 hours, we reached an agreement. Every two weeks we could spend Sunday together, alternating between her parents bringing her to our home, and mine taking me to hers. We could each call the other on the phone (long distance back then) twice a week, after 8pm, for no more than 15 minutes; and we could exchange letters as much as we wanted. Any special school functions would be addressed as they came up.
It was hard to believe that my parents, and Anabel’s, had agreed to our spending time together, after the way things had usually gone in my life. But agree they had.
Since school was just starting, and we had just had 5 days together, the first Sunday we would share would be at my family home. Over the next 2 weeks we talked on the phone 8 times, and I must have written her 10 letters. I know I got a letter a day from her from Tuesday on.
Our final conversation on Friday before she was to come out was excited planning for what we would do together on Sunday – the fifteen minutes were gone all too soon.
Anabel arrived at our house about 9am on Sunday with her mother, who stayed to talk with my Mom for a while. Anabel and I went down to the barn, as it was a beautiful clear day, and we had planned to ride horses if it were. My Dad and brothers were working on my oldest brothers Nash; Dad called out that I should let Anabel ride Dixie (our old mare), and I should ride Smokey, our 3 year old gelding (he was a bit wild at first, always). I told him that was the plan, and we proceeded to the barn for the halters to catch the horses in the small pasture.
Catching Dixie was never a problem, as she was a fat old mare of calm disposition, so I caught and haltered her first. After haltering her, I clipped a lead rope to the halter, and introduced Anabel to the first horse she’d ever been close enough to to touch. She was enchanted, and apprehensive, and eager to learn. We talked for a minute about how to hold and guide Dixie, then I suggested she take her to the barn for saddling while I caught Smokey.
Surprisingly, he gave me little trouble, and I soon had him at the barn. I snubbed him to the hitching ring by the door of the barn, and went to get the saddle blankets and bridles.
Over the next few minutes I explained to Anabel how a bridle fitted and how it worked, as I put it on Dixie. Then I blanketed and saddled her, showing Anabel how with an older horse you frequently have to knee them in the belly hard to get them to let out the air they have sucked in, so you can cinch the saddle up tightly (Dixie was bad about that).
Then I boosted Anabel into the western saddle. Once she was there it was difficult to get her attention focused enough to listen as I explained the pommel, the horn, and how they functioned in riding and controlling the horse, together with the reins. She was so excited. As we talked I adjusted the stirrups to fit her.
I clipped a lead rope to the bit ring on Dixie, and told Anabel we would walk around the barnyard for a little while, that I wanted her too learn how to use the reins. I explained how they worked in a neck-rein trained horse, and we began. At first, Anabel was apprehensive and a little uncertain, but quite quickly she got the hang of handling Dixie. It wasn’t long before I unclipped the lead and had her ride around, cutting right or left as I called out to her.
Satisfied she was managing (I had been utterly confident she would, Anabel could do anything), I proceeded to put the tack on Smokey. We only had 2 saddles at that time, and the other saddle was much too large for him. He ran about 15 hands high, and was a rangy built animal. The other saddle we had was custom built for an 18 hand high stud horse my Dad had owned before I was born, and was simply enormous. So I threw on a saddle blanket, and the saddle pad we kept (a quilted 3 ply canvas and blanket affair with a simple gripping loop instead of a pommel and horn, and no real seat), and put the stirrup loop over it and cinched and chest strapped it in place.
After bridling Smokey with the chain curb bridle (he had an iron mouth and wouldn’t pay much attention without the chain curb), I swung up on him. As I had known he would, he crow-hopped and spun a little, but he knew he couldn’t unseat any of us, and didn’t try all that hard before settling down.
I rode over beside Anabel, and told her we were going out in the larger pasture and doing a little bit of riding around it, and pointed out the gate to head for. I stayed slightly behind her on the left, so if she had problems I could assist as quickly as possible. All our horses were gate trained, and my Dad always built gates with a high latch, so we could flip the latch and swing the gate open from horseback. I opened the gate, told her to take Dixie through, and followed.
We spent the next two hours riding around the pasture, first at a walk, next at a trot, then moved up into a canter, and finally, once Anabel was confident enough, a full gallop. I stayed with her through the first 2 rounds of the field at a gallop, then I pulled away into the center of the field to get a clearer view. The sight of her, face lit with joy, lithe body clad in levi’s and butter yellow blouse, tearing around that field with auburn hair flying, is with me still.
I have only to close my eyes, and that vision appears before them, Anabel’s face aglow, auburn hair flying; take a deep breath, and the smells of dust, and horse sweat, leather, crushed grass, wood smoke from the house, and the overripe plums from the thicket fill my head. If I try, I can even hear the sounds; the thud of Dixie’s hooves on the ground, the jingle of harness tackle, the gasps and whoops of excitement coming from Anabel’s lips as she cut a corner at speed.
If ever I forget the feeling that swelled my heart at that moment, then truly, it will be time to die. I have had other moments of joy in my life, and each in its own way is equally as important. That moment, frozen in time as the sun glowed upon my Anabel, brought home to me in a way I had never grasped the sweetness and the meaning of life.
Dixie dropped down into a slow trot, and refused to gallop any more. She had run harder in that few minutes than she had run in a very long time. I swung Smokey alongside her, and looked over at gasping, laughter filled Anabel. Finally, her eyes glittering with tears of laughter, joy, and the wind in her face, she gasped out, “I love this, it is the best gift anyone ever gave me!”
I didn’t say a word, just wrapped the reins around my hook, and reached over to her with my hand. We rode side by side, legs rubbing, holding hands as we slowed to a walk and made a few rounds of the field to let Dixie cool down. That quiet companionship, that joyful sharing, gives me goose-bumps even today as I remember.
The rest of that day was full; with eating lunch with the family, with playing with the dogs, with going for a long walk across the fields and through the woods on the neighbors place, with simple pleasures and little things.
The ride into Oregon City that evening to take her home was melancholy, but satisfied. We rode in the quiet evening twilight, cuddled together in the back seat of the station wagon, whispering softly to one another. It was hard to walk her to her door and say goodbye.
Two weeks later seemed like forever, but it passed. Finally, it was my turn to go to her home for Sunday. It was a nasty, blustery day, and we spent most of it indoors, in their living room, talking about everything that came to mind, assembling a jigsaw puzzle together at a card table in the watery sunlight flowing through the gauze curtains. It was in that gauzy gray gloom that we shared our first kiss.
I finally found the courage to ask her the one question that had been in the back of my mind since we met, unasked because I feared the answer: “Why did you ask me about my arm, at the river that day? You have never asked any more questions about it, since.”
“I watched the current sweep you past me,” she replied, “and you were so determined to make it across. Then as you came up the ledge toward me I saw your face, I saw the redness of the scars, and I knew you were unhappy. I just wanted to make you smile.”
I smiled at her, and knew it was true.
As the next three months flew by, we saw each other at every opportunity, we talked on the phone as often as possible, we exchanged letters nearly daily.
We went to the movies together in Oregon City, we walked all over that hilly little city, we rode the horses every time Anabel came out, until the fall rains put a stop to that.
Rain never stopped us from walking hand in hand, though. Rain never dampened the pleasure of Anabel’s company, or the joy of her smile. It never cooled the exquisite ardor of holding her in my embrace, of gently kissing her pale eyelashes. It hampered not at all the incredible joy of knowing that she was with me for no reason but that she wanted to be.
Halloween was special. Friends of mine attended a local Mennonite church, and the youth group had organized a hayride and barn dance for that evening. Anabel persuaded her mother to let her come to it, and we all met at the farmers home about 7 pm for a 2 hour ride in huge old wagon with stakes sides, loaded with about 6 feet of loose hay. Of course, there were parents along as chaperones, but as long as one was not to obviously deep into petting, necking and other “inappropriate” behavior, they pretty much stayed at the front of the wagon as we clopped along. Much giggling, whispering, furtive kisses and snuggling together in the hay ensued.
The dance was a merry fiasco, with jack o’lanterns carved from huge pumpkins lining the portion of the barn floor set aside for actual dancing. This ensured that the hay bales set up as seats and tables were in a dusky gloom, fading to black toward the barn walls. Anabel and I danced in a couple of line dances, and tried square dancing together as well. Square dancing with kids 12-16, most of whom have no knowledge of the form, rapidly turns into a comedic slam-dance. Bobbing for apples; 3 legged sack races down the dance floor; cider, pumpkin pie, caramel apples, and Anabel have combined in my memory to the fondest recollection of Halloween I have. The night ended much to soon.
Thanksgiving was a trial. For Anabel and her family it was a major holiday, an important time of gathering together at her grandparents home, her aunts, uncles, cousins, family friends – everyone gathered there at Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, for my family it was a big event that year as well, and the two family gatherings would take place over one hundred miles apart. We discussed it, we agonized over it, we talked to our parents about it. Neither her parents nor mine would budge. Finally, together, we decided to quit fighting it, and just try to look forward to being together the following weekend.
Anabel was good for my character. I was a stubborn, abrasive, obnoxious little shit with a chip on my shoulder bigger than my head, and I dared anyone to knock it off. With Anabel, the chip disappeared, and I could relax just a bit. For the first time in my life, I began to find a measure of peace, acceptance, even comfort.
The second Sunday in Dec was at Anabel’s home, then the fourth Sunday, the 22nd, was at mine. That Sunday, the 22nd, we exchanged Christmas gifts. Even then, I had a hard time with getting a gift that expressed my feelings, and still had some practical value.
Anabel had taken up the acoustic guitar about 6 months before I met her, and was practicing determinedly. I had taken up macramé, in order to improve my manual dexterity and learn to use my prosthesis for fine work. So I killed one bird with two stones. I made her a macramé guitar strap, with tooled leather ends.
She gave me something I treasured – a matching woolen watch cap and scarf that she knitted herself. She and her mother were into knitting, sewing, cooking and other things, and for a young girl, she could knit up a storm.
They were beautiful. Knitted from multicolored yarn, the cap was large enough that I could roll it twice and it fitted on my head smoothly, or I could pull it down and cover all of my ears and my neck when the weather was very cold. The body of the muffler was of the same yarn, with 3 bands in solid colors at each end.
We were on Christmas vacation, so our parents agreed that we could spend the 27th and the 28th together. On the 29th, her family was going to her uncle’s house on the coast for a long New Year’s get-together.
We got together at my house on Jan 19th for the day. Every time I got to spend the day with Anabel, it became more difficult to let her go, knowing it would be 2 weeks before I got to see her again. We spoke 4 times a week, we wrote each other constantly – looking back, it amazes me that we could find enough of interest in our daily lives to generate that many words.
Yet, it does not amaze me, even so. We wanted to spend those days together, and since we could not, the closest thing to substitute was our words. I kept every letter, every picture, every gift she gave to me in a lockable box beneath my bed. Except, of course, the cap and muffler – I wore those daily. I sometimes wish I still had them.
Everyone (at least I hope, everyone) has been in love. Words cannot explain it, it must be experienced to be understood. Even then, each experience is unique, each experience is different; colored, shaded, shaped by the loves one has experienced before. This was the first, for each of us, and I know it shaped us mightily.
We sped through January, meeting at every chance, talking on the phone, sending letters and small gifts to each other. Anabel liked the macramé guitar strap so well, I decided to make her something different. Using silk embroidery floss, I hand tied a watch band with a monkey’s fist and loop closure; 32 strands across a one inch width, in 6 colors; it took the longest time to make. While I was making it I didn’t notice the time passing, I was so focused upon my effort to make it perfectly.
That was my birthday gift to her, at the end of January. We got permission for me to go into Oregon City on the bus on that Saturday morning for her birthday. Anabel’s mother picked me up, and had promised my Mom that she would put me on the 3:00 pm bus back to Molalla (the last bus on Saturday). We had a great day; her mom took us to the Pittock mansion in the West Hills above Portland, then to the OMSI center at the zoo higher in the hills. We had lunch at the House of the Seven Gables in Milwaukee, then had to rush to Oregon City to catch my bus. It was a great day together.
In February, something changed. Anabel was sick, with a stomach virus, for a few days and we had to skip our Sunday together in mid-Feb. She missed several days of school, and when I talked to her on the phone she sounded really sick.
Finally, on the first Sunday of March, we were able to be together again. We talked about her illness – I was shocked when I saw her by how very pale she had become. She told me the Dr. had diagnosed a stomach virus and anemia, and they had her taking a truly awful concoction by the tablespoon twice a day. Mostly, she was tired, and quiet. We spent the day together indoors, just enjoying each others company, listening to records and talking.
It felt so good to be with her, close enough to reach out and stroke her hair, to hold her hand, to snuggle together on the couch and watch TV together. The day ended much too soon.
I went into the kitchen at one point in the early afternoon to get some soft drinks, and spoke briefly with her mother. I asked her how Anabel was really doing, and she told me that she had been very sick, but the medicine was helping and Anabel was regaining her energy. I left it at that.
The next two weeks went by slowly – every time I talked with Anabel I sensed something not being said, something concealed. She was cheerful, full of plans for our Sunday at my home on the 16th, but somehow she seemed at the same time to be trying too hard, as if the effort of cheerfulness was difficult to sustain.
When she came to my house she was, if anything, paler than she had been two weeks before. We had planned to ride the horses if the day was fair, which it was, but she told me she didn’t feel up to it. When she said no to my question of, “Are you ready to go riding?”, I knew something was seriously wrong.
To be concluded.
Anabel and I spent that morning together, at the picnic table under the willow tree in the back yard, in my room, or just walking slowly around. I asked her what was wrong, why she was so pale, why she had no energy.
Her reply was a simple, “I don’t know.”
She told me that her mother had taken her to the Dr. three times, they had drawn blood each time, and that apparently her anemia wasn’t improving with the medication she was taking. The Dr. had recommended a diet high in protein and iron, suggesting to her mother that Anabel should be eating liver as much as possible (she hated liver), and had prescribed two more medicines for her.
She was mostly quiet that day, tired easily, and had lost a lot of her sparkle. She was still my Anabel; still, for me, the flame around which I fluttered like a light intoxicated moth, but she did not burn as bright.
In early afternoon the power went off to the whole neighborhood, just as my Mom was getting the ingredients together for Sunday dinner. This happened with a depressing irregularity back then, as we were near the end of a fairly long power line subject to accidents and mishaps, so we were somewhat prepared for it.
When such happened, one of my jobs was building a fire in the old wood-fired cast iron range in the corner of the kitchen, and supplying the necessary split dry wood to keep it going. Kitchen ranges eat dry wood at a horrendous rate, and they heat the kitchen to sweltering temperatures even on cold winter days. On a bright, sunny, early spring day they can turn it into a hellhole quite quickly.
We had a wood hoist from the basement into the wood box next to the range, which we always kept full of split wood for the heating stove in the living room, and for just such emergency cooking needs as had arisen. After getting the fire going in the range, I went to the woodshed to split more dry fir into the smaller pieces the firebox of the range required, and Anabel accompanied me. Splitting wood with a hatchet into small balks is a two handed operation, normally, and while I could do it with my hand and prosthetic to hold the section upright, it was a real chore.
We were out in the shed for a goodly while, and Anabel watched with interest as I struggled with the chunks of stove wood. Uncharacteristically, she made no offer to help, simply sat quietly on a chunk of log out of the way. It was this small act, more than any other single thing, that drove home to me that she really was ill, that she really did not have the energy to be herself. That realization frightened me badly.
Baking powder biscuits, fried chicken, mashed potatoes with chicken gravy, green beans, home canned creamed corn, all the smaller items that went into Sunday dinner in those days were the height of cuisine to me. Made all the better by the labor of keeping the stove fed with wood, by the tinge of wood smoke that flavored everything, I ate with gusto. Beside me, Anabel picked at her food (not at all her normal style), eating only one or two bites of each item on her plate. Everyone noticed, but only my doltish older brother was crass enough to comment.
As we cleared the table after the apple pie dessert, my Mom asked me quietly what was wrong with Anabel. I told her I didn’t know, but I wanted to talk to her mother and father as soon as I could.
Our family custom on Sundays, after dinner dishes were washed and evening chores were done, was to retire to the living room to watch “The Wonderful World of Disney” together, and then whatever came on next. The living room couches and floor would be covered by sprawled out bodies, all focused on the flickering box. Anabel and I would lie on the floor next to each other in the corner between the two couches, in front of the front door to the house, and giggle together at the antics of the Disney characters. That evening, shortly after lying down, she fell asleep against my side.
Immediately after the Disney show, my Mom had me wake Anabel to drive her home to Oregon City. Usually, on that evening drive, we sat in the back seat behind my Mom, cuddled and chatting quietly. That evening, Mom told us to get in the front seat beside her. We didn’t talk much on the drive in, Anabel was too tired.
Upon arrival at her home, Mom usually just stayed in the car while I walked her to her door. This time was different – she shut off the car and got out with us, telling us she wanted to talk to Anabel’s mother for a minute. We walked into their home, and Mom immediately went into the kitchen with Anabel’s mother. Anabel usually bounded up the stairs to her room to change immediately; that evening she walked over and sat next to her father on the couch, where he was reading.
I sat beside her, virtually silent after saying “Hi” to her father. It was very quiet for a while, with just an occasional murmur of our mothers’ voices coming through the swinging door into the kitchen. Finally, her father asked about the day – Anabel quietly told him what we had done, about the power going out, and ended by saying she was really tired.
His concern for her was evident, and he asked, “Do you want to go lie down?”
She softly answered, “Yes, I do.”
She turned to me, hugged me and told me she was sorry she hadn’t been much fun. Her father lifted her in his arms, and carried her upstairs to her room. I sat there for a moment, confused, scared, worried for Anabel, and then I went out to the kitchen. Mom and her mother were sitting at the kitchen table; as I entered they looked up and stopped talking for a moment.
Finally, Mom asked if I was ready to go, to which I replied yes. We made our goodbyes, and then walked to the car. On the drive home it was dark, and cold, and silent for the most part.
As we made the turn from the state highway onto the county road about five miles from home, I blurted out, “I’m scared, Mom, something is really wrong with Anabel!”
Mom looked over at me for a moment, “I know you are. I talked to her mother – she says the Dr told them last week if things didn’t improve by Monday that he wants to admit Anabel to the hospital and run some tests. They are going to the Dr. tomorrow, and probably they will put her in the hospital.”
I hate hospitals – by that early point in my life I had already spent far too much time in them, and even then I knew you had too be really sick to go there. We talked a little more, but there wasn’t a whole lot to say.
The next evening, when I called Anabel’s home, her father answered the phone. He told me Anabel was in the hospital, her mother was with her, and he was about to leave to go back down there. I got the address and room number from him, then asked if there was any way to talk to her.
He told me no, the only phone was at the nurse’s station, and Anabel was in a private room. He told me he would tell her I had called, and if she was home the next day that he would let her call for as long as she felt like talking.
I sat down on the stool below the phone (our phone was a wall phone, next to the doorway from the kitchen into the dining room, and placed high enough that to dial I needed the stool), feeling numb.
I wanted to talk to Anabel; I wanted desperately to be with her. I was frightened, and like all of my family, fear made me lash out in anger at my inability to do anything about it.
My Mom asked me what had happened, and I snapped at her, telling her where Anabel was, demanding to go see her. Mom talked quietly to me, calmly explaining why she could not take me in to the hospital, and telling me if Anabel could call the next day I could talk as long as I wished.
The next evening, there was no phone call from Anabel. About 10:00 pm I told my Mom I was going to bed, and trudged downstairs to my bedroom in the basement. About a half hour later, I heard the phone ring, followed by Mom’s footsteps. After a few moments, I decided it must be someone for her, and went back to trying to read my book. I have always been able to lose myself in a good story, and I was trying to do so. It wasn’t working, at all. I must have read and re-read the same page 6 times, before I heard Mom coming down the stairs.
As she reached the basement floor I called out, “I’m awake.” She came in my room, and sat facing me on the end of my bed. She told me the phone call had been from Anabel’s mother, calling to say that Anabel had been transferred to the university teaching hospital in Portland, for more tests.
I just lay there, silent, till finally she told me, “I know you are worried, and scared, and you want to see her. You have an appointment at vocational rehabilitation on Friday – if Anabel is still in the hospital we will go see her if we can. Her mother told me that the Drs don’t know yet what is wrong with her, but they hope to have an answer by the end of the week.”
I did not know what to say; finally I asked if there was any way to call her before Friday. Mom told me no, the hospital ward she was in didn’t have a phone for the patients.
I thanked her for letting me know, and she kissed me goodnight. As she left the room, I turned out the light, knowing that to continue my attempt to read was futile. I never did finish that book, till many months later; while I own a copy of it now, I still cannot read it without pain.
That was the longest week of my life. I couldn’t call Anabel, she couldn’t call me. Even writing her was difficult – I was so unsure what to say. I did receive two letters from her, but they were quite short and completely different from the letters I was accustomed too.
School was a trial – I was in 8th grade, and hated it. Without Anabel to talk too, without the constant exchange of letters, without the joy I had found in knowing and thinking of her, the days dragged by.
Mom told me Thursday evening that she had spoken with Anabel’s mother in late afternoon, and it was okay for us to visit her the next morning before my appointment. I was overjoyed at the chance to see her, and at the same time very apprehensive that I would not know what to say.
The next morning as everyone got ready for school, Mom and I prepared to go visit Anabel. The drive was a little more than an hour, and visiting hours in the morning were from 10:00 am till noon. We planned to be at the ward at 10:00.
The drive into Portland, up onto hospital hill, seemed to take forever. It did not help that we were caught in the tail-end of rush hour, nor did it help that we were going to one of the most heavily used parking areas in the city. We ended up having to park about a half mile up the ridge from the hospital, and walk down to it. Once there, it took at least 15 minutes more to find the right building, and get directions to the Pediatrics ward she was in.
Finally, about 5 minutes till 10:00 am we arrived at her ward. Her mother was in the waiting area; when she saw us come off the elevator she escorted us to Anabel’s room. When we entered the room, I was shocked by what I saw. Anabel was very fair, with a redhead’s classic pale complexion to begin with, but in that harsh hospital lighting, against that white cotton pillow cover, she was ghostly pale.
I said, “Hi, Anabel, how are you feeling?”
Her face lit up, “Oh, I’m so glad you could come see me! I have been wishing I could talk to you.”
I walked over and sat in the chair beside her bed, reaching out for her hand. It was virtually translucent, with slightly blue nails, and had no strength of grip. I just looked at her hand for a moment, then looked up at her and smiled. “I’m here. How is this place treating you?” I asked.
“It’s okay, I guess. Really boring, and I’m really sick of them coming in here and sticking me with needles”, she replied.
Her mother told us she and Mom were going out to the waiting room to talk, and they left the room. It was really hard to know what to say to Anabel; I was scared for her, and virtually tongue-tied. We sat in silence for a little while, then she began talking about maybe going back to her school on Monday, and getting to see her friends, and being at home.
I didn’t say anything to contradict her, just went along with her enthusiasm, but I really didn’t think that was likely, she was so pale and thin looking. I told her about the antics of my sister’s dog; he had begun playing a game with the gelding – chasing him down the length of the pasture, then racing back up it to the back fence with the horse on his heels, stamping and snapping at him.
Pooh-bear (the dog) was a really short legged mongrel of very mixed breed, and he couldn’t keep up with the horse at all unless Smokey allowed him too; on their return runs Smokey could have caught and trampled his chunky body at any time, so it obviously was a game for both of them.
Anabel laughed, and we talked for a while about the various critters on our farm – she loved Orange George (my big orange tabby tomcat), who was a clumsy bumbling idiot. She had been horrified when Orange George docked his own tail on the sump pump belt in January, and had spent lots of time with his fluffy form draped across her lap, buzzing away contentedly.
We talked, and found things to laugh at, and just generally enjoyed each others company. Finally, my Mom came in and said the nurses were telling her visiting hours were over for the morning, and we had to go get some lunch before going to my appointment at 1:30 pm.
I really didn’t want to go, but knew that arguing would be fruitless. I stood, still holding Anabel’s hand, and then she sat up and wrapped her arms around me in a big hug. I kissed her goodbye, and we left.
On the way to the car my Mom asked what we had talked about, and I told her the gist of our conversation. I asked Mom if she had spoken with Anabel’s mother; she said she had, that her father was leaving work early that afternoon to meet her mother and go speak with the Dr. in charge of Anabel’s treatment.
I asked what they had been told so far, and Mom said it was really too early to be sure what was going on, but the Dr.’s were concerned about Anabel’s anemia and general lack of strength. How to treat that was part of what they would be discussing with her parents that afternoon.
Lunch was at my great-aunt’s apartment; a mean old battle-axe I tolerated because my Mom wanted me too. Her apartment was always dark because she kept the blinds pulled down all the time, it was always kind of funky smelling, and there was always lots of groaning and complaining to Mom every time we visited. I hated it, and usually stayed on the couch in her small living room with my book.
After lunch we drove up on the hill again to the rehabilitation center. I was at that time going in monthly for checks on the fit of my prosthetic arm, and for dexterity training exercises, and counseling. Of the three, the only one I thought useful at the time was the checks on my prosthetic, as I had a lot of trouble with sores and skin problems under the harness necessary to its operation.
The dexterity exercises were mostly futile – I had taught myself through macramé`, chores, and determination how to do more with my hook than the so-called rehabilitation specialist knew how to teach me herself. Mostly, that part of it was me showing her any new things I’d figured out.
The counseling sessions were always the last half hour of the appointments, and mostly I hated it. A woman I didn’t really know, didn’t like, and damned sure didn’t trust, asking me nosy-parker questions about my “interactions” with my school mates. She had the gall to describe me as “non-cooperative and unresponsive” in one written evaluation she submitted, which my Mom let me see.
Damned straight I was non-cooperative and unresponsive. I was 13 years old, I hated school because it was so stiflingly boring, I was having to teach myself a lifetimes worth of manual skills all over again, and this nosy broad was asking me personal questions in a sickeningly sweet sympathetic voice. I didn’t want or need her sympathy, I just wanted her too butt the hell out.
After the appointment, Mom said we were going to go to Aunt Jeanne’s house on the other side of the city for a little while. This was damned unusual, as Mom and her sister were not on the best of terms in those years, so I asked her why. She just said she wanted to see her and talk to her. It was okay by me, as I had a running war ongoing with her teacup poodle, and enjoyed any opportunity to mess with the little monster.
As usual, at my aunt’s home, Mom and Jeanne sat down over coffee in their rec room, and I went out into their postage stamp sized back yard to mess with the dog. It got boring pretty fast, so I put him in the basement and settled down to read in a chaise lounge. We had been there about an hour when the phone rang. I ignored that, as it certainly wasn’t for me.
A short while later, Mom came out and said it was time to head home. On the drive home we didn’t talk much – mostly I read my book while Mom concentrated on her driving in the heavy afternoon traffic.
That evening, after chores, dinner, and the evening news, Mom and Dad told me to come out to the kitchen. I frantically wracked my brain for whatever I had done or said to get me into trouble this time, cause that was about the only time such conferences ever happened. I came up blank.
Once in the kitchen, we all sat at one end of the table, and Mom told me that the reason she had taken me to Aunt Jeanne’s was because she had arranged with Anabel’s mother to call her there after she and her husband’s conference with the Dr.
I could tell by the tone of her voice, the expression on her face, and my Dad’s total silent observation of me, that something was badly wrong. I was too frightened to ask what Anabel’s mother had said; I just looked at Mom in silent appeal.
Finally, she told me that they were transferring Anabel to the children’s oncology center at the base of hospital hill. I knew what that word meant; while I was in hospital following the amputation of my hand one of my friends from the pediatrics ward was transferred there.
Mom sat looking at me; I couldn’t look back through eyes full of tears, and couldn’t talk with the lump in my throat.
All these many years later I still recall vividly the devastation of that moment, and the pain I was in. It comes back anew as I type.
Finally I asked what was wrong with Anabel; Mom told me, with a catch in her own voice, that she had been diagnosed with cancer of the liver, and that on Monday she would be staring chemotherapy and radiation treatments.
I asked if I could go see her again, and Mom said we would go in to the oncology center the next afternoon, but once she started treatment she would not be allowed visitors other than her mother and father, as she would be too ill and susceptible to infection.
I shared that next afternoon with Anabel; she was so frightened, so unsure, so unable to express her feelings; as was I. It was not a good day. We talked, we tried too find things to laugh about, we sat side by side in the big visitors chair with our arms around one another and cried. Mostly, we were just together in our misery.
The next 10 weeks were a nightmare. I wrote Anabel constantly; mostly, she was too weak to reply more than a few words. Her mother kept me advised of what was going on, and Mom kept up with the gruesome details. Anabel told me in letters that all her hair had fallen out from the radiation and the chemotherapy, and how hard it sometimes was just too sit up in her bed.
I really don’t remember what I said in my letters very well, mostly telling her about school, about graduation, about the animals and how much I looked forward to being able to ride with her again once she was well.
That day never came. Anabel died on June 3rd, 1969.
It took decades to really learn the lesson that Anabel taught; I am still learning even now what she seemed to know from the heart as a child. For many years I could not think of her without tears, without an acid attack of the “what ifs’ and “why her” running through my heart and mind.
I kept her letters, and every gift she ever gave me. They were lost in a house fire my senior year of college, along with every other physical treasure I had stored up.
The lesson is simple: Love IS worth the cost.
Copyright Patrick Early
Ahhhh yes... it seems like it was only 84 years ago that the first official car bomb went off. |
Wait, it was 84 years ago. 40 dead and close to 300 injured right in good ole NYC.
It seems like that city has been blown up a lot.
So what do I suggest we all do about it?
Blow up Iran? no
Invade Belize? well yes but for other reasons
Elect a Democrat? NO!!
What I suggest is to leave the City. If you live there, move. If you don't live there, don't move there. This is the best way to defeat the terrorists.
Please don't move to Arizona though, move to Kansas.
Are you bummed that March Madness has come and gone? Lacking in sports betting opportunities now that the Kentucky Derby has been run? Upset that the football season is so far away? Don’t give a shit about professional basketball like the rest of America? Are you a Red Sox fan?|
If so, and you’re in dire need of a useless but bracketed sports event to bet on, then you’re in luck, as right now, the first Annual Asylum Dumb Fuck Tournament is well underway.
We have a points system through which we can reward each other for individual comments that are classy, humorous, nonsensical, perverted, and whatnot. But we don’t have any for sheer stupidity, and even if we did, many of our forum members don’t just excel at single stupid comments, but have long and well-established careers in the sport of dumb fuckery. So while points may work for some instances, when it comes to being moronic, it only seemed apt that we had a full blown 4-bracket 64 person tournament.
So mmmtravis, the Jim Brown of Dumb Fucks, has organized and is now in the process of running this grand event in The Lost Forum. The pace is fast, the excitement exciting, the competition fierce, and already, we’re nearly down to the Stupid 16.
What does it take to be the #1 Asylum Dumb Fuck? Well, our contestants have many different methods. You can stick your stupid nose in everybody’s personal business and offer page after page of unsolicited advice. You can get arrested under hilarious and humilating circumstances and then post about it. You can accuse the administration of this site of things that are obviously and verifiably false, time and time again. You can have sex with one of us (always a favorite). You can have a terrible sense of humor mostly predicated on pictures of fat naked old people. You can be English. The possibilities are seemingly endless.
But, I warn you now, this is not a competition for rookies. We count among our members some of the most moronic, some of the most slow-witted, and some of the most blazingly stupid forum posters you’re likely to meet on the entire internet unless you frequent trollkingdom.com. If you follow the current tournament, you’ll note that the competition is not to be taken lightly.
So check on in, register, and start posting away, exposing yourself in all your stupid, stupid glory, and maybe YOU can earn yourself a place in next year’s tournament. You don’t HAVE to be stupid to post here, but it sure helps.
Well, with the Wisconsin primary upon us and Super Tuesday rapidly approaching, it looks like we might have to say goodbye to Howard Dean, the evanescent "Madman of Montpelier" who spent his entire run for the nomination tearing off hands and eating babies. |
He was an entertaining candidate, to say the least, and the race will be less unnerving without him. But fear not, puny mortals, for you haven’t yet seen the last of Howard Dean! And, if you’re in the mood for a bit of reminiscing for the days when the process of finding a Democrat nominee looked to tear off America’s head and shit down it’s neck, here is a remix of the Howard Dean campaign. So ride off into the sunset, Howard Dean, with your head held high. You made America proud. And pretty weirded out.
But we must soldier on! This is, after all, an election year, and while John Kerry looks to ride away with the Democratic nomination, with a Kennedy driving him over the final bridge to the convention, and George Bush is already busy siphoning social security into his massive ad campaign to get Americans to let him spend more money on his ad campaign to get Americans to let him spend more money, there is plenty more political punditry to be propagated. This is just the beginning! The pregnancy for the general election is only in its first trimester, and we can’t abort now, America!
Why, we have yet to get the full story on a young George Walker Bush, drunk out of his ever-lovin’ mind, sneaking onto Maxwell Air Force Base, stealing a T-38 Talon, and flying it to Canada, snorting coke through shredded bits of the Bill of Rights all the way. Or his impending political strategy, "Contract With the Devil For America".
Nor have we heard the last about John Kerry’s youthful exploits, such as the story, not yet picked up by the wires but all over internet rumor sites, of Kerry at a rally with Hanoi Jane Fonda, his intern at the time, in which, with a hail of pyrotechnics behind them, he tears off her brassiere as a protest to the Vietnam War, or feminism, or some damn thing.
And there’s international news to be had as well. Kim "Me So Horny" Jong-il still plans to join forces with Iran and invade Israel. Osama Bin Laden has yet to be found running his Cum N Blow in Queens. We haven’t yet carpet bombed Djibouti. The prime minister of Italy, Silvio Berlusconi, has yet to liquidate his government in favor of the Berlusconi Dance Squad. Russia has an upcoming, ahem, election. And, in the coming months, look for Greg Dyke to pilot a tank through the walls of Parliament in England, while Lord Hutton shouts "Mr. Blair, tear down this network!"
So join us, for this season of domestic derangement, foreign fatuousness, election escapades, security shenanigans, and general govern-mental gobbledygook. We’ve got a happening little political forum right over yonder. Or, you can throw your thoughts on politics or anything else to the wolves in The Lost Forum. And, if politics isn’t your game at all, we’ve got plenty more cozy nooks in the internet crannies for you to check out.
Pull up a chair and stay awhile, stranger.
It’s the end of the world as we know it, and we feel fine.
Sit back, grab a toddy, adjust your heating pad, and enjoy this holiday tale of enchantment.
To be politically correct, we will omit any possibly offensive words from the news. |
A very special bit of news for this ********* season is that our favorite fucking freak, Jacko, has become a Muslim (it's politically correct to say Muslim) and has joined his almost as freaky brother, Germaine, as a member of the Nation of Islam (it's politically correct to say Islam) or whatever Farrakam's boy's club is called.
I had no idea that white guys could join that group.
Did you know that the average human supposedly shits about 2 feet worth every day?
Can you save that up?
Like, every Saturday blow out 14 feet?
Usama Bin Ladin is still missing. Why has no one put his face on a milk carton?
Tony Blair has become rather 9-10 so the British are digging Diana up.
Did Dodi know that she liked bacon?