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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A nod to the past..

A picture. Family gathering. The afternoon of my Father's funeral. I can finally breathe.

A Band had played-made up of his friends-instead of a Eulogy. Stardust. Jesus.

I wept, and crushed my girls.

No mercy expected.

Candid photo. Slipped to me by my cousin/sister over the holidays.

My oldest and coolest brother, three piece suit, cigarette and beer at elbow; my oldest, and only real sister, (although I am closer to my cousins) her weight-spiraling dangerously out of control, and diagnosed by many in the family,to be simply-crazy.

She had been a debutante, the result of Dad marrying for money. California dreaming baby.
I remember a picture of her at two-adorable; her mom, legs folded demurely under her and
Dad posed above the mantle with a pipe-cock of his particular walk.

But he couldn't hold it together. Just another story that begins "...and then I met a woman."

She was connected . Laguna Beach.

Oceanfront dinner jackets. The sound of the surf.

Sammy. Peter Lawford. Phil and Mimi Hines.

Their French Bulldog, Mimi, posed as wiggling centerpiece.

My sister lost her mind early, and behind some truly terrifying men.

I had two nephews serving in Korea, from her union with an Army Officer.

My Brother was the result of urgent war-time sex in the back of a Packard. The hot, Houston night, cloying in the backseat. She has always been a Bayou town. Just big and smelling a bit-much like the last dance at 2 a.m..

Dad, on leave, due to return to England, reeked of gin and eventually an onion field in Belgium, a hunk of his eyebrow blown out by a German .88. shell, burying him. Dug out as if dead. This fucked with him badly.

He wound up at the VA hospital in Waco. My mom and I making the long assed drive. Nobody else.

I remember visiting, in the shadow of huge floor fans. Dad-medicated and vacant. Hum. Hum. Cards were played.

No one cared who won-and the games could go on for days. WWII and Korea, and the starting of a steady stream from Vietnam. Nobody knew from PTSD. They knew from fucked up...cried a lot, too much drink, a bit-of jail, some slapping-given and taken, and say goodbye to sleep.

I arrived in the same dorms in the mid-nineties. His death the catalyst.

I tasted gun oil...he died-three months after my Mom. My ex-wife drove me to the hospital. I was reminded of my first visit, on the government's dime.

I was selling shoes at a Kinney's shoe store in the local south Texas Mall. The military a year behind me.

Married. Wife pregnant. Hopelessly trapped.

Dear Jesus. I lost it. Wound up in a vacant field around nine-one night, dressed in cammo, scoping a deer rifle along the highway, a bottle of Tequila at the ready.

My brother-in -law agreed to drive me to the VA hospital in San Antonio.

Providing they stop for beer. My brother -in -law, his wife (my wife's sister) my wife, and me.

They stopped for beer. I chewed my way through the seat-belt in the backseat. Not easy. Frustration, shaken gently with rage. I was capable.

(Love to have seen the report on the insurance claim.) Just saying thanks.

On the intake form they asked me what my occupation was.

I told them 'Mercenary'...

The black intake nurse looked at me with raised eyebrow. But I think she knew-I could burn it down, if I had to.

They gave me drugs I didn't know how to pronounce. Indian Doctors, in this country to fulfill an obligation, asked me about 'relationships'.

I was kept calm by prescriptions.

My psychologist, cute little white girl; humping that masters degree, turned me on to an Early Christopher Walken piece, and subsequent play, that shed so much light on the 'why' of me.

It was titled, "Who am I this time..." the story of an actor in a community theater that only knew who he was, a sense of identity, with each production.

I started to run... gave me time to think.

A mile, then two...and she was right. I was an actor after all.

I still thought my brother was the shit. Voice like Sam Elliot.

The last time I was eight and he was newly married. Fresh out of the navy, and jail... too cool. My big brother. We were supposed to go to Six Flags. He was in Dallas from Houston. Newly married.

He had a drawl. Looked at our Father with disdain like viewing pecker tracks on a wedding gown.

It wasn't him. She had a lot to do with it, and Dad had been a douche. I didn't blame him, hard when you're eight.

His wife was an Adventist of some kind. Turned him spookily right-(at his funeral she never shed a tear.)

Our Dad- told him to ditch his new bride and go out with the old man and a couple of "Broadies" (Dad's term) to celebrate my brother's wedding..

We never made it to Six Flags. I believe my Father was told to go fuck himself.

My brother turned his back on us until I tracked him down again, a year before Dad died.

I had skills.

I at least did that much. He might have even been proud.

My Aunt, though, anchored the center of the picture.

She embodies my childhood. And my humility.

My brother; dead-a year later-parking lot-outside his pickup truck.

Work. Heart attack.

He had been a printer and worked until the minute he died on a muggy, summer night. Thought he could crawl to the E.R.

My sister, who knows... Arizona?

The high desert? Bagging groceries or reading palms?

My Aunt?...still kicking. Someone God truly loves...just look at her children.

My brother had two blue birds tattooed above his pecs. After his death, I have been known to see bluebirds, checking me out, from time to time.

I choose him..

No comments:

My new disclaimer...yeah I know.

Okay, the old disclaimer was tired. The ideas were outdated and keeping me stuck in a place I don't want to be now for something more refreshing.

I have recently changed my views regarding women. Seems I had some issues with the fairer sex due to past pain and self- centered fear. (Yes...duh applies.)

I'm done with that.

Being in recovery has helped me change my entire life, perceptions and attitudes. I cannot change my history but I can change my today and my future.

I recently realized that the women I know in recovery are some of the strongest, bravest, most gentle and kind teachers I have ever had. You exemplify integrity and spiritual growth, and I hope you know who you are.

Some may know of my past marital and relationship history and been a participant in them as well. It's past and that's where it the past.

I own my part in those failures but claim no more responsibility in any misery you may be experiencing. I am sorry, but it's time to get off the cross. We need the wood.

Thank you all...