Friday, February 7, 2014

Another's Story

A few weeks ago I gathered up a batch of negatives that I had brought home when we cleaned out my father's house. I took them over to Southeastern Camera on Atlantic Avenue and had Angela scan them for me and put them on a disk.  I've spent hours looking at them.

Among the photos was this one of my brother and some neighborhood friends. First of all I was struck by the fact that all the boys had guns, pointing them at each other, wielding them so carelessly. So I asked my brother (who doesn't seem to have a gun) to write the story of this picture. It speaks volumes.

Here's his story:

Shoot 'Em Up

The word made him stop and turn; a dangerous look came across his face.
“What did you call me?”
“I shot you and you didn't fall.”
“What did you call me?”
“You’re supposed to fall when you get shot."
By now he was an arm’s length away.  His right hand drew back behind his right ear and paused for a much longer time than was expected, calculating the exact target that would inflict the maximum damage.
A normal response would have been to run.  The older, larger boy was a well-known bully who was quick to violence against weaker boys.  At least duck, or try to deflect the impending blow.
The collision of bone and flesh landed between the right eye and the temple causing the head and neck to jerk violently back and right, and the body to crumple to the ground.
“You missed me, you little shit."
The fallout was immediate and ruthless:  
“Why did you do that, Tommy?”
“You’re a bully."
“If you want to pick on someone, pick on someone your own size."
Then came the parents: parental outrage, parental comfort, parental shame.
The victim became hero and the victor solidified his reign as pariah.
A momentary, light affliction for an eternal weight of glory.

Thanks, Bro!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

A Post About the Holiday

For only the second time in sixty-one years, I spent the holidays away from North Carolina.The first time was when our kids were young and my dad took us all to Disney World for Christmas. It was strange being in the eighty degree weather in December, but we had a blast.

This year we spent the week of Christmas in New England. When we got there, there was a good bit of snow on the ground. By mid-week, the sun was shining and the temperatures reached the fifties. The day we left it was snowing once again.

I wanted things to have a holiday flavor, so we rented a house a few blocks away from where my daughter lives. I mailed our stockings and my favorite cranberry-scented candles, and bought a few things around town to decorate once we got there.

We had a wonderful time with my daughter's partner's family, and enjoyed the feeling of having young ones around once again. We ate heartily, opened presents, stuffed stockings with surprises.

But for the first time in sixty-one years I was not with my family. And I missed them terribly.

When my father died, we lost our center. His house was our holiday gathering place. The first year without him, we went there anyway. It snowed that year, unusual for Greensboro in December. The second and third year we came together at my house, our town being right in the middle for travelers from all directions. It felt like we might be finding our new way of being together.

In November, my husband and I became grandparents and the baby couldn't travel of course, so we and our other daughters chose to go to him. My sisters gathered at the coast and my brother and his family in Greensboro. My sister-in-law was home with one of her sons. We talked to everyone on the phone, but it didn't fill the void.

I loved our time in New England with the new baby and the snow, the beautiful countryside, and our new friends, but next year, just for a few days, I want us all back in NC. I want my whole family and my husband's family here at my house, opening presents, over-eating, laughing, catching up. 

I'm looking forward to this most amazing year--2014--and will share some of my excitement in my next post. I hope this year you'll talk to me about what I write. You can post anonymously if you don't want to 'sign up' or you can post a comment on Facebook. You can email me or heaven forbid send me a letter!  I like to hear from you.

It's a happy new year.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Can We Do It? Part 2

On the last day of 2012, I made a commitment in this post to do what I could about the violence in our country. I ended the blog with a wish list for the year.

Number one on the list was "a sense of safety for everyone."  

It's clear that we still don't have a sense of safety. But I did a few things to enlighten people, through the very well attended Town Meeting on Violence at Quail Ridge Books, and a blog post here and there.

Mostly, though, when I sat down to write at Can I Do It? I ended up writing about something else. I felt overwhelmed and under-equipped to address the issue. 

At the end of 2013: 

Our state has gone backward in addressing gun issues, women's issues, mental health issues, and education issues.  We in North Carolina have got a mountain to climb to get back to zero.

The news is still full of gun violence.  Children are still rescued from untenable situations (if they make it out alive). Health care is still expensive and the "non-profit" Blue Cross and Blue Shield is still hiding profit in the salaries of its executives. People are turned away as they desperately seek help for taking care of their mentally ill family members, some of whom kill themselves or commit crimes shortly thereafter. Video games and television and movies are more violent than ever.

Maybe there's a little something we can still do this year to make a difference.

Today, on Facebook, someone posted an article from the Huffington Post. It said that each of the twenty-six victims of the Newtown tragedy has left behind a legacy in the form of either a new non-profit or support for a favorite non-profit of the victim.  So I'm going to do the only thing I know to do right now: make a donation to one of them.  I'm choosing the Catherine Violet Hubbard Foundation because Catherine was the niece of someone I know.

I hope that each of you will choose one also. If you do, please post here or on Facebook which one. If you choose it for a special reason, tell us that too. I hope you will share this post on your Facebook page or in emails or by word of mouth and that your friends and family will donate too.

Click here to access the Huffington Post article with links to all the websites.

Thank you in advance.