Thursday, December 29, 2005

Some memorable blog quotes of 2005

Just a few gems from my blog in terms of quotes from 2005:

Texas Gov. Rick Perry: “The idea that we’re not going to have any gambling in Texas, I think, is a fairy tale. You’ve got a substantial amount in this state. There’s probably a lot of gambling going on the golf course right now.”
– April 2005

U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas): “I wonder whether there may be some connection between the perception in some quarters on some occasions where judges are making political decisions yet are unaccountable to the public, that it builds up and builds up to the point where some engage in violence.” When public reaction proved to be negative, Cornyn forward this gem: “I guess the other lesson I learned was not to wonder aloud on the Senate floor.”
– April 2005

From May 2005 on Jennifer Wilbanks disappearance, courtesy of Fon News Channel programming:
Bill O’Reilly: “Woman goes out for a jog and boom, she’s gone. Do you think there’s an epidemic going on here?” And: “This young woman – it’s almost like Laci Peterson. She just disappears from a place that’s Mainstream, USA.”
Sean Hannity: “I agree with the father-in-law-to-be.”
Geraldo Rivera: “That there’s foul play.”
Hannity: “Yes.”
Rivera: “So do I.”
--May 2005

Rev. Rod Parsley of the World Harvest Church at a gathering of Patriot Pastors: “We’re not Democrats; we’re not Republicans’ we’re Christocrats.”
-- May 2005

Saddest quote of the year: Patrick Tillman Sr. after the reports disputed the original story of how his son, Pat, died in Afghanistan: “After it happened, all the people in positions of authority went out of their way to script this. They purposely interfered with the investigation, they covered it up. I think they thought they could control it, and they realized that their recruiting efforts were going to go to hell in a handbasket if the truth about his death got out. They blew up their poster boy.

“Maybe lying’s not a big deal anymore. Pat’s dead, and this isn’t going to bring him back. But these guys should have been held up to scrutiny, right up the chain of command, and no one has.”
--May 2005

Idiotic political quote of the year: Pat Robertson, host of the 700 Club: “I’d like to say to the good citizens of Dover (Pennsylvania): if there is a disaster in your area, don’t turn to God, you just rejected Him from your city. And don’t wonder why He hasn’t helped you when problems begin, if they begin. I’m not saying they will, but if they do, just remember, you just voted God out of your city. And if that’s the case, don’t ask for His help because he might not be there.”
--November 2005

Former FEMA director Michael Brown: "If you'll look at my lovely FEMA attire you'll really vomit. I am a fashion god… Anything specific I need to do or tweak? Do you know of anyone who dog-sits? … Can I quit now? Can I come home? … I'm trapped now, please rescue me."
--September 2005

U.S. Senator Bill Frist on Terri Schiavo's condition: "I question it based on a review of the video footage which I spent an hour or so looking at last night in my office. She certainly seems to respond to visual stimuli."
-- March 2005

And the winner from the all-time misquote champion, President Bush: "Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job." to FEMA director Michael Brown.
-- September 2005

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Top 10 news stories of 2005

Lists. People love them lists. Top 100 of this; top 50 of that. The top 100 list of top 100 lists.
I found 2005 to be a tragic year in the news. So much pain and grief caused by Mother Nature and Big Brother government.
I wrote my list of the top 10 news stories two weeks ago prior to see the AP’s version. We will differ but only in the lineup, probably not much in the content.
My top 10 news stories stars with number one and then everything else pales in comparison.
Obviously, Hurricane Katrina and the destruction of New Orleans are heads-and-shoulders above it all. Nothing comes close. It was an immense tragedy when it happened and it will continue to be a major story in 2006 as the recovery goes painfully slow and stumbling. The aftermath and the horrid federal government response could manufacture itself into a shift in public sentiment away from the incompetent GOP-controlled response and sentiments towards how government should operate. Such could be the major story of 2006 if the Democrats can get their act together enough to wrest control of either the House of Senate.
I follow Katrina at 1b with Hurricane Rita and its response because the public and government overcorrected Katrina mistakes and we saw that no one can evacuate a major American city, notably Houston and the Texas Gulf Coast without causing panic and gridlock.
At 1c, comes the economic effects of Katrina, most notably seen in skyrocketing oil prices that lapped over the shoreline of $3 per gallon for gasoline into the car tank. People wailed, people screamed and people hollered, but those people still paid for the privilege of driving. And the rich got a whole lot richer.
My 2-10 stories are:
2) The death of Pope John Paul II – The world just stopped for a week or so.
3) The ongoing war in Iraq and the Iraqis trying to vote on a constitution and parliament – Good for them. Just don’t use Florida as a guideline.
4) The slow, tragic death of Teri Schiavo – All that is wrong in America in terms of treating the terminally ill, government interference in private matters and conservatives willing to use the court to be judicial activists for THEIR causes (while smearing opponents for doing the same thing) was played out for a month in ... Florida.
5) Supreme Court changes – Out with Sandra Day O’Connor, goodbye to Chief Justice William Rehnquist, who ides and hello to his replacement, John Roberts. OConnor still sits as Samuel Alito awaits a contentious confirmation process. So what else is new?
6) Terrorist bombings in London – The foggy night in Londontown is smoke from the underground after bombs killed many and scared everyone … worse than Jack the Ripper.
7) Plamegate – When will those in power ever learn? Tell the stinking truth when before a grand jury. You are never THAT smart? Could this be the end of Karl Rove, Scooter Libby and others? And when will someone realize that Dick Cheney is at the center of most problems in Washington??
8) War protesting lives! - As embodied by a California mother named Cindy Sheehan, the anti-war sentiment in this country awoke like a phoenix and often burned hotter than Phoenix, Arizona.
9) Steroids in baseball – Under oath, it seemed as if everyone hedged all their statements before Congress, which got fed up with all the bluffing and issued a threat – do something substantial or else we will screw you up royally! As a result, the minimum penalty for first-time abuse is a 50-game suspension, and a much stronger anti-drug message is sent.
10) Michael Jackson acquitted – Like the O.J. Simpson trial, acquittal is not the same as “not guilty,” at least in the public’s mind. And like the O.J. trial, this proceeding fascinated all Americans and spoke volumes about our continued love of celebrity and how much we like to see those in high places fall like rocks.
For the record, here are 2005’s top 10 stories, as voted by Associated Press members:
) HURRICANES: Katrina killed more than 1,300 people in five states and set off flooding that submerged 80 percent of New Orleans. Hurricanes Wilma and Rita also inflicted severe damage.
2) PAPAL TRANSITION: John Paul II died, and Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger of Germany became the new pope.
3) IRAQ: News from Iraq ranged from devastating suicide bombings to the voting for new leaders.
4). SUPREME COURT: Justice Sandra Day O’Connor retired and Chief Justice William Rehnquist died, giving the court two vacancies. Judge John Roberts was confirmed to succeed Justice Rehnquist, and Harriet Miers withdrew after her nomination to replace Justice O’Connor faced resistance. The next choice, Judge Samuel Alito, faces confirmation hearings in January.
5) OIL PRICES: Crude oil prices hit an all-time peak of almost $71 a barrel in August.
6) LONDON BOMBINGS: Attacks killed 56 people on July 7.
7) ASIAN QUAKE: A massive earthquake near the Pakistan-India border killed more than 87,000 people.
8) TERRI SCHIAVO: The husband of brain-damaged Terri Schiavo struggled and finally succeeded in getting clearance to remove the feeding tube that had kept her alive for 15 years.
9) CIA LEAK: Vice President Cheney’s chief of staff, Lewis Libby, was indicted.
10) PRESIDENT BUSH’S STRUGGLES: Multiple factors, including public doubts about Iraq, a flawed response to Hurricane Katrina and a failed Supreme Court nomination.

Here’s hoping 2006 brings peace and better times. But, as usual, the news will be topped with strife and trouble. Should be interesting. Blog you later.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

More reasons to “love” Wal-Mart … let’s do lunch

Ahhhh, my Christmas present came early! More reasons to dislike, loathe and hate Wal-Mart.
The gift came wrapped by a California jury today (Thursday, Dec. 22) when it awarded $172 million to thousands of employees at Wal-Mart Stores Inc. who claimed they were illegally denied lunch breaks.
According to the Associated Press, the world’s largest retailer (and biggest pariah) was ordered to pay $57 million in general damages and $115 million in punitive damages to some 116,000 current, and former, California-based Wal-Mart employees for violating a 2001 state law that requires employers to give 30-minute, unpaid lunch breaks to employees who work at least six hours.
The class-action lawsuit in Alameda County (Oakland) Superior Court is one of about 40 nationwide alleging workplace violations by Wal-Mart, and the first to go to trial. Forty! Think about that for a moment! Let’s that rattle in your mind. Forty!
Wal-Mart, which earned $10 billion (with a big “B”) last year, settled a similar lawsuit in Colorado for $50 million (with a little “M”).
In the California lawsuit, Wal-Mart claimed that workers did not “demand” penalty wages on a “timely basis.” The law says a company must pay its workers a full hour’s wages for every missed lunch.
Wal-Mart said it did pay some employees their penalty pay and, in 2003, most workers agreed to waive their meal periods … as permitted by the law.
The lawsuit covers former and current employees in California from 2001 to 2005. The workers claimed they were owed more than $66 million (plus interest) and wanted damages to punish the company for its wrongdoing.
Wal-Mart attorney Neal Manne said the jury’s verdict, reached after nearly three days of deliberations and four months of testimony according to the AP, would likely be appealed.
“We absolutely disagree with their findings,” Manne stating the obvious after the jury’s verdict. He “conceded” that Wal-Mart made “mistakes” by not always allowing for lunch breaks when the 2001 law took affect. But he added that Wal-Mart is “100 percent” in compliance now … after the horse has left the barn. Wal-Mart is one of those corporations that thinks it should be rewarded for admitting to gross violations of labor laws, which are just so many flies to be shooed away from the summer picnic.
He claimed the state law in question could only be enforced by California regulators in a courtroom, not by workers. He added that Wal-Mart did not believe the lunch law allowed for punitive damages.
Great! The workers had no rights under a law trying to protect them … such elitism legal mumbo-jumbo should be tossed out with the other garbage. Yet people who want cheap will overlook this kind of behavior solely to get cheap crap – regardless of adverse labor policies, including massive hiring of illegal aliens to work in Wal-Mart outlets.
The lawsuit was filed by several former Wal-Mart employees in the San Francisco Bay area in 2001, but it took four long years before going to trial.
Amidst it all, Wal-Mart is waging a high-powered public-relations campaign to counter the torrent of criticism aimed to stop the rampant expansion and force the company to increase workers’ salaries and benefits to merely being sub-standard from non-existent.
Wal-Mart was forced to add lower-cost health insurance this year after an internal memo showed 46 percent (46 PERCENT!!!) of Wal-Mart employees’ children were on Medicaid … or totally uninsured. Shameful!
Another federal lawsuit, pending in San Francisco, accuses the company of paying men more than women. Sweet! What else is going to happen?
Not enough if you ask me.
Merry Christmas, Bentonville! Santa should dump all the lumps of coal he can find on your heads … until you change!!!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Spy vs. Spy: A real cartoon affair

I have been upset over the conduct of the Bush Administration with regards to its determination to use American lives in implement a forced form of government in a Middle Eastern country that doesn’t necessarily want such a system.
All the corruption and lying has been exasperating and the blatant display of greed has been humiliating. The overt disregard for victims of Hurricane Katrina by totally incompetent government lackeys has been tragic.
But the revelation by the New York Times of domestic spying by the Bush White House, using the National Security Administration (NSA), has really got my blood boiling because it is a complete rape of the U.S. Constitution and everything this nation stands for.
The question becomes, “Who is the enemy?” Is it as Pogo/cartoonist Walt Kelley once penned, “I have met the enemy and he is us.”
If we crack on one of our basic freedoms, we damage them all and we cease being the United States of America. This President should not brag about what he’s done and swear to continue to do it. Bush should stop reading the Iraqi Constitution that he bought (in blood and billions) and look at our own, which no one can duplicate because it is unique. It fits just us!
We don’t need the bleeding Patriot Act to secure our freedoms. We just need to act like Americans and defend what is set forth in the Constitution.
Traditionally, Americans HATE being spied upon by their government and President Bush shows no contrition in his action by not only confirming the report, but in fact, seeming to be quite proud.
The 1978 FISA law states clearly that you cannot wiretap a domestic call involving a United States citizen without a court order. It doesn’t say that the order has to be made public. But you need to give a reason to a judge. It’s all about the freaking Constitution.
If it starts here, when will it end? Frankly, I don’t trust this administration one iota (by the way … how big is an IOTA?) to harness itself and to tell the truth about the limits of what it is doing?
Our answer to others is this: WE, the USA, are different from other countries. Our freedoms are far more extensive and ultimately, precious beyond anyone’s comprehension. We don’t give them up for nuthin’ - even when the President of the United States wants us to give them up.
I ask ‘Who would be next?” You? Me? When, by God, would it, and will it, end?
Hollywood made a not-so-great Denzel Washington-Bruce Willis movie, “The Siege,” in the late 1990s, which did open an interesting debate about putting Arab-Americans into forced detention merely because of their ethnicity (following the first World Trade Center bombing). It brought forth all the arguments about citizen safety, profiling and imminent threat. The Hollywood answer was obvious, but it doesn’t make it wrong.
This nation treated American citizens as enemies in World War II only because of their heritage. Oddly, because no one could automatically tell who was a German and who wasn’t, no one of Teutonic descent was ever deterred. Only if you were Japanese. It was wrong then; it is wrong to behave like that now. Circumstances don’t wash the stink off it.
Bush has also taken direct aim at the press for doing its job (his statements are laughable considering just how hard his administration has tried to manipulate and falsify commentary and reporting). It’s gotten to the point where we are seemingly afraid of everyone - xenophobic to the nth degree ... and we blame everything on 9/11 - from Katrina response to immigration to the Cowboys loss against the Redskins last Sunday.
But I guess you’re NOT paranoid if someone is REALLY after you.
I want to quote a posting from Jim Mitchell on the Dallas Morning News' editorial blog.
“Let me take a quick crack at the “if you aren’t doing anything wrong, why do you care?” argument. Two quick reasons:
The American understanding of privacy is that it is protected unless there is a compelling reason to tinker with the protections. Even then there are clear rules of behavior. And even if you aren’t doing anything wrong, the idea of your conversations becoming something that the government can listen in on runs counter to this principle.
Probable cause
I want to know that the executive branch has to show probable cause to an independent third party. That’s a reason for requiring the executive branch to go into a court, open or closed, to provide a reason for a wire tap. I also suppose a lawyer could make an argument that unauthorized wiretaps amount to an illegal search especially if notes or other information is kept in a government database. On another level, the protection from having to show a motivation that vaguely approaches probable cause is the reason police officers aren’t allowed to pull over people at random.
I know that in times of war, the executive branch gets more leeway than if the nation weren’t at war. That is what the Patriot Act debate is all about - it’s essentially an expansion of war/police powers without having to use those politically charged words.
The president has made it clear that he wants to change the rules with the Patriot Act. But civil libertarians and others have made it clear that they want some limits to expanding executive powers. What is troubling to me is that the president seems to be taking a position that he doesn’t have to abide by the warrant rules.”
When Bush and his minions do these things, I (and others) begin to care less and less about Iraq and ITS future.
And doesn’t AG Alberto Gonzales look like some mousy version of Renfield. All he has become is a “yes” man; not the nation’s lawyer. At least … not THIS nation.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

We attacked the wrong country starting with the letters 'I-R-A' ...

Let's blog about the despot in the Middle East we should have considered taking out far more than Saddam Hussein. That would be the new Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a thug who we last saw as one of the 1979-80 captors of US embassy personnel in Tehran (how quickly we forget).
In his infinite "wisdom," he has proclaimed the Holocaust as "a myth" and suggess that Israel be moved to Europe, the United States, Canada or Alaska (which, last I looked, WAS part of the United States).
This schmuck has kept this drumbeat up for months (since October when he called for Israel to be wiped off the map) and clearly enjoys poking the stick at Israel and the U.S. And we let him do it without penalty. Sadly, our stern words mean absolutely nothing in that region, and less than zero to the Iranians, who are about to gain a giant foothold with its neighbor, Iraq, once George W. Bush's precious elections are completed.
According to the AP, last week our schtunk Ahmadinejad "also expressed doubt about the killing by the Nazis of six million Jews during World War II, but Wednesday was the first occasion when he said in public that the Holocaust was a myth."
"They have invented a myth that Jews were massacred and place this above God, religions and the prophets," Ahmadinejad said in a speech to thousands of people in the Iranian city of Zahedan, according to a report on Wednesday from Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB).
"The West has given more significance to the myth of the genocide of the Jews, even more significant than God, religion, and the prophets," he said. "(It) deals very severely with those who deny this myth but does not do anything to those who deny God, religion, and the prophet."
"If you have burned the Jews, why don't you give a piece of Europe, the United States, Canada or Alaska to Israel," Ahmadinejad said, needing more lessons in geography.
"Our question is, if you have committed this huge crime, why should the innocent nation of Palestine pay for this crime?"
OUR question is how long are we going to permit this nation to upgrade its nuclear capacity, clearly a threat to Israel and other nations, without taking some sort of action? Iran HAS WMDs; Iraq only had rumours of such weapons.
Iran has done harm to U.S. citizens; no one ever proved Iraq had a damn thing to do with anything.
Truth be told, we attacked the wrong country starting with the letters "I-R-A" ...

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Prison is really about revenge and vengeance

When we sentence people to prison in this country, it is ALL about revenge, vengeance and punishment. Nothing else matters and nothing else enters into the equation – certainly not the concept of rehabilitation. In America, we just want these “people” to be segregated from us at all times and their future be damned.
If, by some miracle, that person actually changes and becomes the kind of person that society wishes they would be in the first place (or even a better person than most of us live our lives), it still doesn’t matter. Crime is crime and we treat it all like so much dogshit on the bottom of our boots.
Stanley Tookie Williams was executed in San Quentin State Prison in California by lethal injection Tuesday morning for the 1979 robbery murders of four people in Los Angeles. He was once the co-founder and leader of the infamous Crips street gang, the most notorious street gang in American history outside of anything written and sung in “West Side Story.” It was real life, real violence and real death.
It took longer than usual for the officials to get the needle in place (Williams reportedly helped them find a vein while growing impatient for it all to end).
In the end, it took 34 minutes – seemingly an eternity – for officials to pronounce death.
On the surface, it would appear to have been just another thug getting his just rewards. But Tookie Williams, 51, appeared to have been different. In prison, while on death row for more than two decades, he became an anti-gang crusader while on death row. He was nominated nine times for the Nobel Peace Prize and the Nobel Prize in Literature (as the author of children’s books preaching an anti-gang message) by an array of college professors, a Swiss lawmaker and others.
He readily admitted to his violent past, but maintained his innocence of the killings since his arrest and conviction in 1979.
He denounced gang violence and wrote children’s books with an anti-gang message, donating the proceeds to anti-gang community groups. Most people, outside of the victims and prosecutors, believe that Tookie Williams had sincerely changed his life and was working toward all the things considered to be admirable.
Others can question the weight of the evidence and whatever circumstances led to doing whatever Tookie Williams was convicted of doing.
That’s not the question I pose.
It is this: “Who do we allow to be forgiven of past crimes and placed on a pedestal of righteousness and who do we want to leave earth as fast as possible via the executioner’s needle?”
And the truth is this ... if you are white and make such a “born again” exclamation; you have a better chance of public forgiveness than if you are black. Of course, if you are an African-American male, the chances of spending time in prison are SO much higher than if you are white, it is a national tragedy.
White America simply wants to shuttle all those who instill fear into their urbanite suburbanite hearts and minds to places that are out of sight and out of mind. Lock the door, throw away the key and keep them out of my world.
Sorry, that IS the truth. All the decisions about Tookie Williams were made by white males, not one of whom ever stepped into Williams’ shoes. There is never an excuse for murder, but if a person TRULY redeems himself, shouldn’t THAT life be spared (no one ever mentioned parole) to help others avoid the same fate?
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, an admitted steroid user and philanderer, had to audacity to question the sincerity of Williams’ conversion to nonviolence.
“Is Williams’ redemption complete and sincere, or is it just a hollow promise?” Schwarzenegger wrote in his rejection for clemency. “Without an apology and atonement for these senseless and brutal killings, there can be no redemption.
“In this case, the one thing that would be the clearest indication of complete remorse and full redemption is the one thing Williams will not do.”
Coming from Schwarzenegger, such a pronouncement is almost laughable.
Anyone remember Charles “Chuck” Colson? He was the Nixon White House lawyer who helped engineer the Watergate coverup and, folks, that was about usurping the U.S. Constitution. In prison, he found God and his Bible and has be¬come one of the conservative Christians’ darlings as a speaker and counselor. There are other examples, such as Michael Milken, who bilked thousands out of billions of dollars. He lost his hairpiece and found God. Now he lectures on his misdeeds and all is forgiven.
The most famous case in Texas centers around Karla Faye Tucker, who was involved in a murder while drug induced and totally reformed herself in prison, providing ministry to other women on death row. Some of the most conservative, pro-death penalty people (not us lily-livered liberals, mind you) I know flipped on that position after getting to know her. Yet she was allowed to continue to live a changed life and was executed in February of 1998.
The governor was refused clemency was an admitted party boy, possible cocaine user and definite alcohol abuser named … George W. Bush. He said the punishment aspect trumped the forgiveness aspect, which totally runs counter to the teachings of Jesus Christ, allegedly his Savior. Sorry, you cannot preach one thing and practice another at the critical times when politics interrupts morals.
No one denies the heinous aspects of Williams’ conviction. It was horrible; but prison today is all, and only, about revenge, vengeance and, in some cases, the dramatic retribution achieved through death.
Society tried the Devil’s Island approach once; it didn’t work. We speak about rehabilitation when parole is involved but it’s a joke. No one wants to rehab anyone in prison; we just want them to rot there.
Sadly, it is a massive growth industry in America who locks up more of its citizens than any other “civilized” nation on earth. And we executed more people than any other civilized country … even the ones who get rehabilitated.
How God-awfully sad for us all.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

They're dreaming of a "white" Christmas

True story.
I am returning from Houston to Dallas, through the back roads of Montgomery County, just north of Houston, between New Caney and Conroe. I was on State Highway 242, which runs east to west between U.S. 59 and Interstate-45.
Long having a sour reputation as a backwoods, redneck haven, the sight seen at the intersection of Hwy. 242 and FM 1344 did nothing to damper that status.
On the corner, across from a Shell station, stood about a dozen members of the White Camilia Order of the Ku Klux Klan, based in Cleveland, Texas (just north of New Caney). Most of them were decked out in their hunting fatigues and oil-stained gimme caps, waving large Confederate flags and just watching most of the cars drive by.
One brave soul was decked in his Sunday finest white robe, complete with pointy-headed hood.
They stood in front of a delapidated old school bus that appeared to have been "rescued" from an area pick-n-pull.
I could not help but laugh and as I slowed down approaching the stop light, I flashed them a message, stating who was .... Number 1.
Sorry for the symbolism that it all looked silly - standing in the mist, trying to be all formidable. Hell, there were more people down the road selling roadside shrimp and cords of firewood.
I'm sure the people of Montgomery County were SO proud. Have a nice "WHITE" Christmas ... or how 'bout a crappy HOLIDAY!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

How do you say goodbye to someone when you’ve barely had a chance to say hello?

“How do you say goodbye to someone when you’ve barely had a chance to say hello?”At first, my wife, Jodie, and I bolted from our Plano house, packed the Escape as best we could, and began to count the number of things we forgot as we passed through the steel canyons of downtown Dallas and toward Houston. We were anticipating the imminent birth of our first grandchild - a girl – with my son, Robert and his wife, Amanda.
Chugging down diet Cokes and cracking the window open for a stream of fresh, cool air, we fixed our sights on Interstate-45 and being the lone four-wheeler among a sea of Freightliners and big Mac trucks.
But … the phone rang an hour later into our journey, and I sensed something was wrong. When my wife said I might want to pull the vehicle over the shoulder – in the middle of nowhere - in the darkness of the night – I knew the news was bad. Very bad.
You see, nothing good ever happens in the middle of the night – in the middle of nowhere – when the phone rings.
There were complications; the baby had no heartbeat but she wasn’t yet born. Things went from bad to worse to worst. When we arrived, the tears had begun to flow but the tragedy had not been completed.
I saw scenes of extreme pain that are usually only viewed in movies or on “ER;” except it was real life and it was involving my family members. You could see that the weight of the world, as if someone chopped off the top of Mount Shasta, had been plopped on their shoulders. And it was crushing them as they struggled to maintain composure and dignity. That was the worst thing of it all for me.
When I heard the news about what had happened, one question immediately lodged into my mind: “How do you say goodbye to someone when you’ve barely had a chance to say hello?” The words sat there, rolling around like one of those BB balls in a child’s game that kids get at the church bazaar fish pond. Like that little ball, trying to find the right hole to land, we’ve all been trying to find the right answer.
Sometimes the phrase, “I don’t know why” is an honest response. We might never fully know why things – good OR bad – happen the way they do. They just do … and people might just have to accept that. Of course, questions like mine still need more clarification.
Grief, for us, is still an individual thing. Mourning is a group activity (nations mourn, communities mourn; people grieve). Your thoughts are your own; you process them on your own.
In contrast, you celebrate as a group. When the Cowboys win a Super Bowl, for example, people probably cheer and celebrate in homes, at parties or in other places … together. Hoot and holler and jump up and down on your own and people say “you’re freaking out.” But … you grieve on your own.
To overcome the grief, you need an internal Kitchen-Aid blender of sorts and here’s what you put into it:
• inspirational words from books of faith, such as the Bible, the Torah, the Talmud, or whatever text you read which is your connection to God;
• phrases uttered by poets or singers connected to the magic of music;
• those metaphorical scenes from a movie or a player that perfectly encapsulates what you want to say or feel;
• and the faces and memories of loved ones that have gone before us.
You place the lid and press “mix,” and produce this … smoothie for the soul. That concoction, like medicine, bitter or sweet, will help the body and heart of all of us … to heal.
So how do you say goodbye to someone when you barely had to time say hello?
Somehow, we got through the arduous ordeal as best we could. The outpouring of emotion and love for my son, his wife and their child, for each moment of her existence and life, was beyond description. Several hundred people came to the graveside services and I was more than touched; I was overwhelmed. The extended circle of friends that enveloped them comforted them and me. I know that they will love - and remember - Payton Elisabeth for each waking moment as long as all walk this mortal earth … and beyond.
So HOW do you say goodbye when you haven’t had enough time to say hello?
Well, you do and you don’t.
You will and you won’t.
You use hope, life and love.
And somewhere … among all that, that little ball will find the right hole. There will be an answer; that I know.