The Salute

Periodically an item makes the news regarding some human who on a very public stage refuses to stand for our National Anthem.

Recently it took light and life when a player in the National Felons League dba as the NFL, choose not to stand. A political statement.

Years ago we attended a POW/MIA service up at the NewLebanon legion.

On David’s arm at 2 and a half, was Catherine Rose. Post commander JVanHook had asked if would I sing the National Anthem.

An empty table is the focus of this ceremony. Salt on a plate for tears, lemon for the bitterness of loss and waiting. A rose to symbolize the heart.

The anthem sung. The colors presented, a salute of soldiers before the 21 gun.

While the soldiers raised their hand to brow and the civilians placed theirs over their hearts, a small touch from David caused me to turn my head.

Perfectly solemn my perfect little soldier had raised her right hand in mirrored imitation. What was already an emotional ceremony had the house brought down with NewLebanon’s own little John John. Not a dry eye in the place.

Now back to this no name ball player who won’t stand. If I were his coach, I’d bust his chops. But I am not.

I will say however democracy is very messy. And while I may not agree with this fool, I would defend to the death his right to do it.🇺🇸

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The Baby No One Wanted

I do not write this story for sympathy or pity. For long ago that time has passed. I only write to help cleanse my soul, make me laugh, tell silly dog stories, cat tales, or just simply to write. My therapist tells me to empty myself of that which torments me. As if by doing so will somehow make me free. Seven years with her and I still have my doubts.

Although he was able to show two personalities, my father was a raving bastard. A screaming demon, as we cowered in terror, at his uncontrollable rages. I am his daughter.

When he was feeling particularly evil, he would further terrorize my sister and I by threatening to give us to the maintenance man: “that nigger JD”, a sweet elderly black man who might have been the devil for all we knew.

He was basically a hillbilly from Northern Alabama, from where he spent his entire life running….running….running from his past. Did he think no one has shame? That no one has secrets?

My sister would get strawberry cream pie from Frisch’s. I never did. To this day, the site of it swirling in their cooler makes me want to vomit.

If you met him in person, you’d never know it. He was talented, brilliant in math, admired by many and as evil as Satan.

My mother, incapable of defending us against this madman spent her life running….running…..running from the Nazis…..We were a sad and broken household. She drank and ran the vacuum constantly. To pipe down the pleas of her children and the screams in her head.

I was the first, but only by mistake. In the 50’s abortions were clothes hangers, something she never failed to gleefully remind me of when the madness of the the two would combine to torment me, for I too, inherited the insanity.

Often I wished the witch just would gone ahead and done it it. But then I think of all I would have missed: my dogs, my cats, my yard, the friends I have, the things I’ve done.The Monarch that is peacefully resting on my screen. All has not been lost in my world. I have two personalities, just like he did. While he would see us starve or walk naked before wasting a dime on us, lest it be to impress his friends, he could be so charming. She could be so admired. And so it was.

When you grown up lonely, you learn to be alone. I guess that’s why the peace of the MileWoods, the smell of of my pets, the majesty of that which grows give me solace.

Pray ye, pity me not, for being unwanted has developed in me a compassion that may not have taken hold. My brother, the golden child, spoiled from day one, is now the father of at least three children by three different woman, worthless, yet still worshiped.

Twice in the rehab-liked it so much the first time, he sucked money mother again for a second ride. It would surprise me not at all if he were begging for a third trip.

No one ever said the world was fair. That we would be somehow given all we had hoped and asked for. The One who created us all gave me the gift of pen. It is a great gift. I don’t always know how to use it, but it is a gift. Language. Easy for me to learn. Culture of others, I respect. Notwithstanding my upbringing, I am neither bigot or a racist. Surely these things must count for something.

The One gave me my daughter, and the one who helps me raise her. I have not always been successful, many times I have failed, but the gift was given. And I have tried.

I was given Jackson. Hadji, Piggy, Brodie, Teddy, Carmen, Jessica, Truman, Walden, Macie, Beckett, Beloved Bodie, Naughty Sugar, Kenzie, all the travelers on the Underdog Railroad who found a good night’s rest and a hearty meal here.

Perhaps when the time comes, there is a God, and his proxy asks “and why should ye enter”? The yelps of joy from the Bridge will be my key. For I wait to smell that sweet fur again more than all things. I want to ask the man whose number I wear lest no one ever forgets: “Tell me about yourself. No one ever did”.

I was given children to teach. Laoshi! Laoshi! Teacher teacher ! They would squeal. To this day they remember. Bowing with honor, they were my biggest fans. From me may they have learned much. To be certain much I learned from them.

Nothing pleased me more than chasing the Great Satan, Michal Vick off the field. Where he went, we followed. To be banished from his website, Facebook Page. Even Nike’s page! To be known well as his enemy. I may be a crackpot and played not a whit of football, but I along with my sisters, were badder any line that guarded him. BOOYAH!!!!

Pity me not. I am stronger than you think. This day I read a story of a woman who lost her beloved. She takes dinner to her and dines at the grave site, tells her of her day. This is the love that somehow I missed. That the cold in me longed for. But I am glad to read of it. Glad to know it is there. Glad to know someone was loved. And loved so well.

Peace be unto all of you my beloveds. Peace.

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My Soldier

It was odd.  Seven a.m.  Where was everyone?  The light came through my window just like molasses.

My soldier had come to say good bye.  He didn’t want me there.  Tied to tubes, IV;s the smell of death.  This is how he wanted me to know him.  33 years ago when my husband David and I got married..  Not only did I gain a husband, but a father.  And a family.  People who patiently taught me to grow up.  Patiently taught me to pray.

Later, as friends, he talked about the war.  He was a gunner on the S. S. Notoma Bay, now just scrap.  He told me how he knew he would kill a man by the look in the eye,  He could outshoot any man on that ship, that country boy.  He also ran the rolling crap game.  He told me a story of how a ship pulled up with mutton for supplies.  He said it smelled so bad, they lifted it on one side and over the other it went.

Three times he swore he would die.  A three day typhoon, a sky full of Japanese bombers and a wolfpack of German subs.  “aint no non believers in a hurricane” he would say.

One of of my favorite stories was the controversy about gays in the  military.  You have to understand that Dad was an OLD German country Catholic  As conservative as they came.  When he found out that some of us had voted for Obama, he nearly had a fit.  By then, though,  acceptance was a gift he’d learned.  Not so in years past when I caught holy hell as a newly minted Kirsch who believed in a women’s right to choose.  Be assured it was the last time I opened my mouth on that.

He didn’t much think of Bill Clinton.  Frankly, thought him an asshole.  But the final straw was “Gays in the Military”? “Don’t ask don’t tell?, he snorted.  “Hell there were always gays in the military.  Back then we called them fruits  As long as the man could hand me bullets. I didn’t give a shit what he did in his spare time”.

 Then he would stomp off to his bar, and wait for me to mix him a tang and tonic.  Other’s would try and he would wave them off “don’t bother”, he’d say, “Kelly knows how I like them”.

Five kids, with an 8th grade education he put through college, farmer and building grain bins,  This is a nasty story, but funny.

Bobby Budrow wasn’t the sharpest tool in the shed.  One day, he needed to relieve himself.  As there were no outhouses in cornfields, he did so next to the driver’s side of the truck.   Bad idea.

Unfortunately for him, Clarence managed to step in it.  Hollering the only way he could ” GOD DAMMIT BOBBY I JUST STEPPED IN SHIT AND IT AINT DOG!!!!!!”  Bobby didn’t last too long after that, you can imagine

I can tell more, but my heart is aching.  The tears won’t stop.  The blessing is that the Holy See was in America when he passed.  And he did so in between my sister Annette and brother Greg’s birthday.

Wait for me Clarence at the Bridge.  Me and my dogs.  My husband.  Our family.  We shall walk into paradise together……No matter what you may have feared on earth, I know our Savior will welcome you with open arms.  You were a good man.



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The sky was pregnant with heat and when the storms finally came, the horizon exploded. First came the winds, blowing from the west, ripping early volunteers from the branches of trees.

In short order, came the branches. Rotten from the inside, out, they had clung to their dead limbs until the storm forced them; some swirling, some aimed like spears, to the ground.

Without warning the sky became dark at mid afternoon. The ground shook as the storm burst through the front that preceded it.

Precautions had been taken and the dogs at least had a couple of benedryl to calm them. It was impossible to force the same on the two cats, they hid anyway.

The pool, cleaned earlier in the day, ended up the recipient of buckets of leaves, some still attached to branches. Like torpedoes they spun towards the filter, into the drain. Those that could not fit, bounced against it, disappointed.

“Did you save the card”? “That was ten years ago, what the hell do you mean, did I save the card? It was a GIFT, to me. It didn’t say Merry Christmas to the atmosphere. Did I save the card…..” the response had a way now of dropping its voice, muttering at the end.

Finally, “nobody saved all of her correspondence but your mother, did I save the card”.

For the moment, the storm stopped. Silent, until the crickets began to sing again, the locusts in harmony. But for now, there were no words.

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The Black Snake Manifesto

It was only a matter of time.

David just came up to announce “Scampi has a snake”.

“A snake….where?”, I asked. “How big?”

“Downstairs, in the breakfast room”, replied my husband. “Big snake”.

Marching downstairs to the breakfast room. Under the towel rack, barely visible was a head and eyes. Edging ever closer to his prey was Scampi, and , yeah, it weren’t no mouses this time, but a snake.

Lifting up the towel rack, we saw it. Cornered, eyes shining, mouth half open, the snake was clearly not amused. And it was, as David said, a big snake.

With back up, Scampi backed off, but a part of me has no doubt that my brave kitten would have defended his house and home by attempting to dispatch the snake.

Here, forthwith is the snake prior to David throwing a towel over him, carrying him out the door through the birdcage to toss into the yard.

Scampi pranced and danced, accepting his praise. He’s also beat a path back downstairs, I guess to make sure the snake didn’t have a partner.

If I know my cat he’ll spend half the night down there.

I am disturbed to know that my Catherine Rose will cruise my page and find out. Of all times, the night before her first day of college.

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