Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Wreath On A Grave

As I was writing a Veteran's Day post, all the lights in my house went out, a sign from my dad who hated discussing death but said that if he died (and he never really believed he would because well, who the hell does?), he'd make the lights go on and off at random times. Or maybe a fuse blew. But I really don't favor boring and/or logical explanations -- who wants to live in a world where everything can be explained? No danger here for me. And the post I was writing was one that I always cautioned my students against -- full of cliches about the shortness of life and its attendant horrors, how we always have to look for the beauty of things because there are some who no longer can, namely those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.

As a child, I sometimes spent days in my grandparents' trailer. Two trailers over, a Vietnam Vet woke the park with an Agent Orange cough every morning and spent a few afternoons a week teaching kids what he referred to as "the ancient oriental arts." I called it "Trailerpark Dojo" and watched as he taught a mishmash of karate and tae kwon do, along with some moves that would not be out of place on the show "Bum Fights." It was my first introduction to war, such as it was, the aftermath. Everyone loves the soldiers, so long as it's in a parade setting and they're wearing snappy uniforms and acting the way we feel they should, undamaged and proud, tough. I meant all that I wrote that got erased when the power left, all that shit about life being ever so short and that we need to be kind to each other as we all have wounds, scars, we're all battling it out with forces that nobody can understand except those in it. That's the nature of any war, and we must not forget the legacy and work to heal it, if not with the ancient oriental arts, well, then love for all involved, the living and the dead, not just a wreath on a grave, but understanding that we all carry around the graveyard.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"Love never dies a natural death. It dies because we don't know how to replenish its source. It dies of blindness and errors and betrayals. It dies of illness and wounds; it dies of weariness, of witherings, of tarnishings." Herman Hesse

Cocktail Hour
Drinking veteran website: www.woundedwarriorproject.org

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Tuesday! Thanks for your comments on "Spanish Trace." I'll return tomorrow with more installments.


Anonymous said...

My son wanted to go into the army and over to Iraq but I talked him out of it. By the way The Sopranos are now available in the boxed set version for four hundred bucks. Cheap for afficanadoes. All the best to you Michelle on this day of remembrance.--Tony Soprano

Bobby said...

Sometimes I wonder if one of my late parents or my late brother are messing around with the power source...like the time a lightning bolt hit the telephone pole right outside the house...after I wrote an essay about my brother...yeah. I'll read a lot into any little weird thing that happens with lighting and really any electrical phenomenon. That would be the easiest way to screw with the material world and get away with it if you were a ghost, don't you think?

# # #

I was in a bar in Virginia Beach (bigtime military area) a couple of years ago. The people that were in there were way younger than I was. Some of the guys had buzz cuts and all, and I started thinking, wow, some of these people in here, guys and girls, have probably been at war in Iraq or Afghanistan. And they're way younger than I am.

the walking man said...

Any remembrance is a worthy effort in that it keeps them who have died alive in the thoughts of the living.

Charles Gramlich said...

My son also considered the military for a while and talk about a father panicking. I was so scared for him, and I try to keep that in mind that other folks's sons ARE there.

Heff said...

Nice post.

robthefob said...

what do you do when you want to die?

Laura Benedict said...

Sometimes I worry that the dead are watching all the time and feel a little embarrassed.

I hope your dad always watches over you, sweetie.

I've always thought that the wounded warrior people were up to very good things.