YOU HAVE NO RIGHTS - ONLY BLESSINGS

LIFE'S SHORT STORIES TAKEN FROM PERSONAL EXPERIENCES INCLUDING RECOVERY AND LAW ENFORCEMENT.

DEFRAGGING THE HARD DRIVE OF LIFE

Or

CAN LIVING UP TO A CODE OF HONOR BE DISHONORABLE


CENTER: "911, how can I help you?"  "My daughter has been raped" the woman on the other end of the line replied.


Ian and Carla were in lust.  Their married life was full of happy, glorious, wonderful sex. Oh yes, Ian was rather a strict disciplinarian for the kids but it was understandable because he was a veteran of the Marine Corps.  There were three children in the family one, a boy, from Carla’s first marriage and a girl and a boy from her marriage to Ian.  They were open and frank about their sexual compatibility and needs.  They loved to tell about when Ian had come home from a contract job in Louisiana.  Carla had met him at the airport and they couldn’t wait until they got home to make love.  They pulled over into a grove of trees off the road and had sex right there in the pickup truck she was driving.  They both loved to party but somehow; it was different with Ian than Carla.  She just enjoyed having enough alcohol to allow her to relax and have a better time while Ian seemed driven to drink.  Although he would never talk about his time in the Corps in Korea, she always felt his obsession with alcohol related to that time in some manner.


Ian joined the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and the Eagles.  His construction trade took him to various sites all over the country and meant that Carla was home alone with the children about half of the time with some periods longer and others short.  They bought a home out in the country with a small acreage and some out buildings.  Then they bought a female Pit Bull and had her spayed.  She was a very gentle and loving dog in spite of the reputation of the breed.  Soon they had a Great Dane male and then added a black longhaired German shepherd.  The Great Dane was well mannered but the Shepherd never could be allowed off the chain when anyone came to call.  He was very protective of his territory.


Ian had several too many drinks in his nightly round of the clubs to which he belonged.  On the way home he stopped for gas and to buy a six-pack of beer for getting well the next morning.  He pulled out of the gas station into the wrong lane of traffic and hit a car with two teenage couples nearly killing the front seat passenger and severely wounding the others.  The families of these victims sued and it became apparent that his insurance was not going to cover any judgment.  Ian decided that he had to quit drinking because it just wasn’t working for him any more.  The hangovers were horrible, his work performance was so bad that the union was suggesting that he go into treatment or they wouldn’t be able to keep him on the “A” list, and he had even lost interest in loving his wife.  Booze was the all- important part of his life.  He could not stand to drink it any more but he felt as if he were going to go insane if he didn’t have a drink.  Treatment would involve in-house treatment and opening up to counselors.  He would just do it on his own.  He didn’t make it quite 6 months when he decided to live up to the code of honor and take the only honorable way out.  One night he drove his car out to a parking lot where he knew the Sheriff’s cars had side-by-side contact at times during the graveyard shift.  He parked the car, put his 357- magnum to his chest and blew his heart out.  His wife didn’t have to find him a cop did, and cops were able to handle such things better than his wife.  To the end, he lived up to “the Code”. 


Carla managed to survive as a single mom for about 18 months.  She became acquainted with a man, Malcom Sweet, who had moved into the area.  She met him at her church and as time passed he seemed very devout and was so considerate a friend, lover and companion that she married him on June 21, 1991.   In December of that year she was diagnosed with MS.  It wasn’t too severe yet and she was still mobile.  In March of 1992 she received a phone call.  The woman introduced herself as Marion Sweet and asked if this was Carla Sweet.  Carla thought to herself, “Well, Malcom never told me he had a sister or sister-in-law.”  She answered that yes she was Carla.  Marion then asked if she could meet Carla and talk with her.  Carla agreed and they met a local coffee shop in the nearest town.  After introducing their selves Marion dropped the bomb; she announced that she had married Malcom Sweet in 1986 and that she had been looking for him to get some help with the costs of raising their two children. She also declared that Malcom had never bothered to divorce her and she had not been able to afford to divorce him.  He was still married to her.  Malcom immediately became the ex-new husband.  Carla went to the courthouse, got a no-contact order and had a sheriff’s deputy deliver it to Malcom at his work.  The stress of this event exacerbated Carla’s MS and left her needing a walker to get around.  During this time of trial Malcom’s stepbrother, Josh, appeared on the scene and sympathetically offered his help to Carla, in order he said, to make up for the shabby treatment Malcom had given Carla.  He moved in and offered no attempt to woo Carla in any way.  He was a great help in doing the chores involved with the animals, taking care of the kids, and general maintenance around the place.  He contributed to the finances and Carla’s MS improved with the reduced stress level in her life.


Her daughter Rose, now 9, suddenly started skipping school and the teachers were in contact with Carla to tell her that Rose’s grades had gone from nearly perfect to barely passing.  They felt that something was wrong.  Carla, thinking that Rose was upset because of the turmoil and stress in the family, sought counseling for her daughter through a local mental health service.  They had joint sessions with Carla and Rose and individual sessions with each once a week.  Carla was very surprised one day 3 weeks later when a female Sheriff’s detective called and asked to see her immediately.  She agreed, tells Rose to go chain up the shepherd, and brought the pit bull into the house.  When the detective, Sandra, arrived, it was to tell Carla that Josh had been arrested for sexually assaulting Rose.  He would not be bailed out until he was arraigned and the judge would be issuing a “no contact” order on the stepbrother prohibiting him from coming within 500 yards of the residence, Carla, or Rose.  There would be a Community Service Officer coming to the residence after school was out as they had made an appointment with the hospital to do a physical examination of Rose and document what they found.  Sandra told her she could go to the hospital with Rose.


Art had been a Community Service Officer for about 6 years.  He was older but still strong.  He could lift anything that he could get a grip on and was physically in excellent shape.  He arrived at Carla’s residence about thirty minutes after Rose had been dropped off by the school bus.  He checked out the dogs through the fence.  The black, longhaired shepherd was on its chain and the Pit Bull was in the house.  The Great Dane was dozing on the front porch so he opened the gate and went in.  The shepherd started raising a ruckus but the Great Dane just wandered out to Art, placed his side against Art’s leg and leaned so heavily against him that he was nearly knocked off his feet.  He went to the door, knocked, and Rose came to the door.  He identified himself and Rose invited him into the house. Art observed Rose carefully.  She appeared to be in good spirits and handling everything well.  Carla wheeled in from another room in her wheelchair.  Art asked her if she had enough mobility to get out of her chair and into the car.  She replied that she did but when they got to the car it became evident that the stress of the situation had weakened her to the point that she could not stand at all.  Art asked what she weighed and her answer was 113 pounds.  Hell, thought Art, I lift more than that all of the time so he opened the car door, picked her up out of the chair and started to put her into the car.  What he had misjudged was that in order to place her into the car seat he was going to have to bend over low enough to avoid hitting her head on the top of the door.  Just as he was setting her down his back went out virtually crippling him.   When they arrived at the hospital emergency room Art went to the desk and asked for someone to come and get Carla out of the car.  The attendant who came out to get her showed Art how to rotate Carla in the car seat, get her legs onto the ground, place his knees against hers, and lift her to her feet without having to pick her up.  Art needed to know this because with his aching back he was going to have to get Carla from the car into the house when they returned to her home.


As they entered the emergency room the male physician who would be performing the examination took Carla and Rose into a private cubicle and described what he was going to be doing to perform the exam.  As they came out of the room to go into the examining area Art noted that the bright little nine-year-old girl was gone and had been replaced by a zombie like figure with dead eyes.  Full of compassion he understood that she felt that she was about to undergo another rape performed by a strange man and this at the instigation of those who should be protecting her.  He immediately went to the physician and asked him to delay the examination until he could contact Sandra, the lead detective.  When he told her what had happened to Rose she put a hold on the procedure until she could get to the hospital.  When she arrived she went into consultation with the physician and a female doctor was summoned to perform the examination.  When the new doctor, the detective and Carla went into the examination room with Rose, she still appeared to be uncomfortable but there was new life in her eyes.


When the examination was over and the attendant had helped Carla into the car Art suggested that they go to Baskin and Robins for an ice cream treat.  Both Carla and Rose vetoed that idea saying that they just wanted to get home and into their house. When they arrived at the house the Pit Bull was still in the house and the shepherd was still chained up as they unlocked the gate and went into the yard.  Rose ran up to the house and got Carla’s wheelchair letting the Pit Bull out as she returned.  Carla reassured Art that the Pit Bull was safe, just a big loving baby.  The dog came right up to her and started licking her face.  Art went around the car, got the wheelchair and put it in place to help Carla into it.  He got her turned in the car seat, placed his knees against hers and had her grip his arms to assist her in standing.  Just as she cleared the seat his back went into spasms and they both ended up lying across the front seat with Art on top.  All he could think was, “that dog is going to think I am attacking her and I am in big trouble”.  The dog, however, just stood there and wagged her tail.  When everyone got done laughing, Art got out and up, re-seated Carla on the seat with her feet on the ground, and this time had her put her arms around his neck and hold on.  That way he could put his hands on the top of the automobile’s door frame and push to lift her to her feet.  It worked very well.  He spun her turning her back to the wheelchair and then by putting his hands on the arms of the chair gently deposited her into it.


After getting Carla settled in the house and as Art returned to the car he heard dispatch calling him.

          Dispatch: “734”

          Art: “734”

          Dispatch: “Nora Sam 3 needs your assistance at 23217 Shore View Lane.”

          Art: “In route”

He knew the address.  It was the home of Newton Moses.  Art and the sergeant, Quincy Stone, had been interviewing neighbors, friends, family and school counselors over reputed incestuous attacks on the 14-year-old daughter, Elizabeth.  Stone must have found sufficient cause to take her out of that environment.  As he cleared the gate and Rose closed it behind him he heard Dispatch calling Stone.

          Dispatch: “Nora Sam 3”

          Stone: “Nora Sam 3”

          Dispatch: “We have an infant locked in a running car at the Silver Lake

          Shopping Mall and all units are unavailable.”

          Stone: “Can you give that to Lincoln 2?”

          Dispatch: “Lincoln 2 is logged out at a conference with the Sheriff and the

          Council.”

          Stone: “The temperature is presently over 90 degrees we have to get that infant

          Out of that car soon.  Where is 734?”

          Dispatch: “734 your location”

          Art: “Mile post 63 on Highway 9”

          Stone: “Art, divert from coming here and get to that infant ASAP!”

          Art: “Copy”

Art accelerated to 80 mph on the two-lane highway with a speed limit of 55.  The adrenalin was already narrowing his field of vision and making him impatient with traffic that seemed to be manned by complete idiots.  He knew from his training that he had to be extra careful.  As he rolled along he realized that at best he was eight minutes out from the site and there was no telling how long the child had been in the car already.  He called Dispatch.

          Art: “734”

          Dispatch: “734”

          Art: “Do you still have the reporting party on the line?”

          Dispatch: “No, they hung up and left.”

          Art: “Can you call the phone they were reporting from and see if           someone will answer?”

          Dispatch: “It was from the America First Bank.  I will attempt to call them.”

          Art: “If you get someone have them tell the car owner to go into the hardware

          Store, get a hammer, and break out the car window farthest from the child.

          Then get the door open and get that child out.”


Art continued to speed through the afternoon traffic cussing out the block heads who couldn’t seem to understand what to do when confronted with a car running code.  Then came the good news, as he was about to arrive.  Dispatch called him and told him the car was opened and the child was safe.  He pulled the car over and spent about three minutes calming down, then reported to Stone that he was again in route to that location. 


As he drove he was thinking about Rose and what she still had to go through and that with Sandra now in control of the case it was most likely he would never know the outcome for Rose.  He would be informed what happened to her molester but Rose would finally disappear from his life.  He knew they would lose everything when the judgment was ordered following the civil lawsuit brought by the families of those young people injured in Ian’s vehicle accident.  He would never be aware of how the loss of her home, her pets, and her country style life would affect her.  He would be unaware of how moving to a low-income housing development would re-shape her life once more.  And all because of her father’s misinterpretation of the word honor as it had been warped into his soul by a senseless conflict that accomplished nothing with such a great sacrifice of life and idealism.  And in this case the result of living up to such a code of honor made the honorable act dishonorable. 


Art remembered some of the others. The little 20 month old boy whose mother drop kicked him three times across the living room and Art had to take him through the tests at the hospital to ascertain the damage while the deputy booked Mom for domestic assault.  On that one he had taken the little boy to the DSHS caseworker.  The next week the deputy had told him that DSHS now felt that they had sufficient case history, 15 times in his 20-month life the Sheriff’s Office had taken him out after Mom abused him, and now they could seek an adoptive home for him.  A month later the same deputy had to tell him that Grandpa had gotten a sharp lawyer and the courts were ordering the child placed back with his mother.  Art knew that in all likelihood he might have to be present on the day they took that little boy’s body out of her apartment.  That was going to be an inevitable result of the screwed up justice system.  As he pulled up in front of the Moses residence he had to clear his mind of that thinking and go about the next task with new enthusiasm.  For once in a while, the street level employees of the Sheriff’s office did make a difference.


Stone took Art aside and briefed him on the situation.  They finally had concrete evidence that her 17-year-old stepbrother, Cliff, had been raping Elizabeth.  Stone and Art went in the house and consulted with Newton, her father, Janice, her stepmother, and Elizabeth.  She needed to be removed from that environment until all of the legal action necessary could be taken against Cliff.  Stone suggested foster care with DSHS.  Newton did not want that as they were Indians and he feared for Elizabeth’s welfare in a white foster care home.  Art had personally become acquainted with Newton’s mother, Sarah, and felt she would be a safe house for Elizabeth over a short period of time.  Both Newton and Elizabeth agreed with this plan and Elizabeth went upstairs to pack some clothes and belongings.  When she came down she an Art proceeded to Sarah’s residence in town, about 7 miles away.  Art helped Elizabeth into Sarah’s house, got back into his car, cleared the scene with Dispatch and pulled away from the curb.  As he pulled out he saw Cliff entering the side door of Sarah’s residence.  He pulled right back in and called for Stone. 


When Stone arrived they both went to the house and Sarah let them in.  Shortly Newton showed up and there was a family conference with Art, Stone, Newton, Sarah, Elizabeth, and Cliff.  Cliff had been arrested and taken to the Juvenile Detention Center, as he was under 18.  The Center had filled up with juveniles charged with more serious crimes and Cliff had been kicked loose to make room.  Stone said that Cliff had to leave and that he was going to go to the judge and get a restraining order to enforce that.  Newton, Sarah, and Elizabeth said that if Stone tried to take Elizabeth to DSHS without their consent she would simply run away from DSHS and find somewhere in the tribe to live.  Stone decided that under the circumstances the best he could do was to get the restraining order and hope that the family would comply with it.  He had Art take Cliff out to Newton’s residence and went to the judge’s chambers to get the restraining order.  As Art dropped Cliff off at Newton’s he knew from past experience that all of the casework was in vain and that all of the witnesses would suddenly realize that they were mistaken and there would be nothing left for the prosecutor to use in trying the case.


Art’s 10-hour shift was over.  He had about 2 hours of report writing that had to be done before he could go home.  As he entered the precinct he heard a deputy talking to Stone saying, “Can you have 734 respond to this location?  I need him to take care of two juvenile boys.” 

Stone replied with, “734”

Art replied “734”.

Stone, “ 734, respond to 13245 Riverside Dr. to assist 357 with two juvenile boys.  Overtime is authorized.”

Art, “Copy”.


When Art arrived at the location, Deputy Conrad briefed him.  The father and mother had been drinking and fighting all evening.  She had left to go to her parents home.  He had called her there to continue the argument.  She had told him that she was going to hang up and he had replied, “Oh Yeah!  Well listen to this!” and with that he stuck a 45 caliber semi-automatic firearm to his temple and pulled the trigger.  He did this in front of his 9 year old and 11 year old sons.  They had to pull him off the phone and convince their mother to hang up in order to call 911 for help.  The deputy needed Art to help by taking the boys out of the house and finding suitable shelter for them.  He took the two boys to his car, fished out two of the better teddy bears from his supply and talked with them until he had managed to calm them some.  Then as the mother sounded drunk and hysterical when he talked to her on the phone and as she was at her parents he called the father’s parents home after ascertaining that they had been informed of the situation.  He found them sad but sober and calm.  They were happy to take their grandchildren into their home and so Art delivered the boys to their grandma and grandpa’s home.  All he could think of on the way back to the precinct to do his reports was that all he had been able to do was give those two boys a teddy bear apiece when the nightmares of what they had experienced would probably haunt them the rest of their lives.


He knew that after the reports he would go home, his wife would be putting the children into bed and his supper would be turning to crispy critters in the oven where it was being kept warm for him.  And he knew that it was going to be the visions of all of the eyes and the quivering lips that would plague him until he could exorcize them out with intense physical exercise and a situation comedy on TV.  Only then would he sleep at all.

THE END




 

FRANK

Judith came bursting into the Saturday night AA meeting fluffed up and agitated.  She said, "Some street drunk has been plaguing me for a cigarette all the way from my car here".  About that time I heard someone stumbling up the stairs to the meeting room.  The door eased open and in came the dirtiest street drunk I have ever seen.  His stocking cap had at one time been blue and white as you could tell from one or two little patches of color showing through the filth.  His hands were black as ink with thick nails under which was crammed a black tar-like substance and some sort of fungus.  His clothes had dirt and weeds hanging on tattered filthy trousers.  He was so drunk he could hardly remain upright, staggering about violently, but with blue eyes that were as clear and beautiful as if he had never had a drink.


There was a vacant chair between Ben and myself which we invited this man, whom I soon learned was named Frank, to sit in.  I explained that  he was in an AA meeting and that he needed to be quiet and not interrupt.  With that I started feeding him cigarettes to keep him calm.  Only once during the meeting did he interrupt.  One of the group members was complaining that he had no place to stay so an AA member had been letting him sleep on the couch in his home.  His complaint was that the couch was too short so he was kind of curled up and jammed into an uncomfortable position.  Frank took exception to that complaint saying, "That sounds good to me, I'm sleeping in the weeds by the overpass at 41st St."  At the end of the meeting Nancy and I ended up on each side of him holding on to his hands and trying to keep him on his feet during the prayer.


After the meeting I helped him down the stairs fearing that he would tumble to the bottom without someone supporting him.  Standing talking to him on the sidewalk at the foot of the stairs I was startled when he pulled a buck knife on me and started waving it around.  Now I am not fond of knives, in fact if you want to scare me to death just wave one at me.  But in this case it was of no significance to me for some reason and I ignored it and kept on explaining AA to him.  Finally we separated and Nancy and I went to my car while Frank headed down the alley.  In a moment we drove by the alley and Frank was no where in sight.


The next day Frank showed up at the noon meeting at the Alano Club and sat by me.  After the meeting he asked me to give him a ride to the Jackpot service station and mini-mart so he could panhandle enough money to get a pint of wine.  I dropped him off there and just after I pulled away I noticed that he had dropped a small bundle of papers held together with a rubber band on the seat of my car.  I went around the block and came back to give them to him but he was not there.  He had disappeared once more.  I drove all around the neighborhood but could not find Frank.  I looked through the bundle and it contained an ID card, a food stamp card, and a piece of paper stating that if his body was found they should notify his brother and gave the brother's address.  The next day Frank again showed up at the noon meeting and I gave him his bundle of papers.  He was elated.  He had been worried about losing them as it was the first ID he had ever had.


I started itching all over and went to my family doctor.  He looked me over and told me it was obviously stress and offered me tranquilizers.  I once more reminded him that I was an alcoholic and could not tolerate those types of drugs.  With that I left and told Nancy what he had said.  About a week later Nancy told me to go to the doctor again because my stress must have crawled off me and onto her as she was now itching.  I went to a skin specialist and he diagnosed me as having scabies and explained that to get it you had to hold hands with someone like a street drunk.  Both Nancy and I had to poison our whole bodies and then do it about a week later to get those bugs who had hatched since the last poisoning.  I told Nancy, "Just wait, once we are bug free Frank will show up and reinfect us in the prayer circle".  Sure enough a week after our second poisoning Frank was again between us and holding hands with us in the prayer circle.  We went straight home and used the left over poison on our hands and lower arms.  No more bugs attacked us.


The last time I saw Frank he was walking down the street totally clean.  His clothes were clean, he was clean even under his nails, his hair and beard were clean and trimmed and he looked really good.  I greeted him and noted the changes in him.  He told me he had turned himself into detox to clean up as he had a court appearance to get off probation. He had just left the courthouse with total success.  Then he informed me he was on his way to the Jackpot service station and mini-mart to panhandle enough for a pint of wine.  I wished him the best and sent him on his way.

 THE END





 

 KEEPIN' YOUR HEAD ABOVE WATER


The worst form of violence is poverty.  -  Ghandi


Beverly!  It wasn't bad enough that he had been born but they had to name him Beverly.  At least he hadn't named either of his kids some hideous name that would make them the butt of everyone's jokes for their whole childhood.


The alarm had just gone off and it was 4:30 in the morning.  He had to get up and get moving because the grill at the restaurant had to be lit by 5:30.  Lord, if he never saw another egg or hamburger it would be too soon; but how else would he hold things together.  He was paid at the going rate for fry cooks in small restaurants.  $7.10 for every hour he worked.  No health benefits, no retirement, 1 weeks vacation after a year and 2 weeks after 2 years.  Man, he had better be careful driving to work as he hadn't had the money for car insurance for a couple of months and if he got stopped it would be a fine from $400 to $700.  The last time the cops had stopped him they had told him that and let him go if he would take proof that he had bought insurance to the precinct within three days.  He had borrowed enough from his brother, Harry, to get six months of the minimum but had not had enough to keep it in effect so it had been canceled.  He still owed Harry  $180 but they had arranged for him to work off the rest working around Harry's place.


His mouth tasted like the whole Russian army had bivouacked in it.   Matt had only bought a half-rack of beer and Bev had only smoked about 12 cigarettes the night before so he could not understand why he felt so beat up this morning.  He went out to the car opened the door and got in.  It smelled of mold from the leaky windshield.  He put it in neutral and turned the key to start it.  There was about 15 seconds of diminishing moan and groan from the starter, then silence.  Oh hell!  It was coming up on 5:15 and the battery was dead.  He got out of the car and looked down towards Matt's.  Just then a light came on in Matt's house so Bev ran down to the house and knocked on the door.  Matt's wife, Peg, opened the door, smiled, and said, "Good morning Bev.  What's going on with you at this time of the morning?"  "Damn, I hate to bother Matt when he is getting ready for work", replied Bev, "But I need you to bring your car down to my place so that I can jump start my rig 'cause the battery is dead."  Peg shouted back into the house and told Matt that she was taking the car down to Bev's to get his car started.  Bev walked back to his car, got out the jumper cables, and waited for Peg to get the keys and bring their car over for the start.  It seemed that it took her forever to get things together.  Then when she got down to his place, the driver's window of her car had been smashed out.  The tape deck had been ripped out of her car and it had glass all over the interior.  The park hoodlum gang members had been at it again.


They finally got Bev's car started and Peg went home to call the Sheriff and make a report .  That kind of event was an every week occurrence at several locations in the park.  It was so regular an event that the deputies didn't even come out anymore to take the report.  They took a report over the phone and gave you a case number for the report because the insurance companies needed a case number to settle up the case.  Only about a third of the residents in the park could afford property damage insurance so it did most of the victims no good.  In fact, about a third could not even afford the liability insurance the law required.  With the gangs, and the violence they committed in the park, Bev hated leaving his wife alone at any time.  He had managed to keep out enough money to buy a little 25 caliber semi-automatic hand gun which he had showed her how to use.  She still needed to get more comfortable with it but there had not been a time when they were both not working so that he could take her out to actually shoot the thing.


That day the park manager and his wife were to receive information that would send them to the Sheriff's office begging for help that they had not yet been given.  It was October and they were planning a kid's Halloween party for the resident children of the Manchester Meads Mobile Home Park.  It was to reward those kids who had not yet been coerced into joining the neighborhood gang and maybe to entice some of the non-committed juveniles to stay out of the gang.  The gang members did car prowls, vandalism (both random and vengeance), burglaries, and assaults in the park and out.  They were also the supply for drugs and underage alcohol.  Everyone was afraid of them and tried to stay out of their way.  No matter who saw a crime being committed there were never any witnesses willing to come forward and testify.  Even the deputies came into the park in pairs, two cars, never solo.


There was one adult resident of the park, Willard Amish, that was attempting to make a difference by giving the young people who tried to stay away from gang membership better things to do.  He had to maintain an amiable yet forceful presence with the gang members including them in the good activities but keeping them willing to let those young men and women who didn't want to be a part of the gang remain unattached.  Of course this meant sometimes looking the other way and always it meant the unassociated kids had to hear no evil, see no evil, and speak about nothing concerning the gang.  Willard walked a tight rope between the neighborhood and the gang and the cops.


Willard was helping Wendel and Janice plan the halloween party for the park young people.  He had involved 4 of the younger children to help.  These kids parents both had to work in order for the family to meet it's money needs.  They did not have enough money for day care or baby sitters so they spent their free time hanging out with Willard and sometimes the gang.  One of the kids, Jamie son of Beverly, mentioned to Willard in front of Wendel and Janice that the gang was planning on taking over the park on Halloween.  They were going to assault anyone on the streets, vandalize all of the park's buildings, burglarize any house where no one was home and destroy all of the cars they could.  They would show the neighbors who ran the park and who was to be respected.


So Janice went to the North Precinct of the Police Department and asked to see the man in charge.  The receptionist brought out a sergeant Miller.  Miller asked how he could help her.  She described what Jamie had told them and asked Miller, "Could you please give us a patrol in our community on Halloween night?"  Miller patiently explained how large the territory was and that it was covered by one man; that territory had as only a small part of it the Meads and concluded with, "We just don't have the manpower to assign someone there for the whole evening."  Her reply was, "Who is your boss?  I want to talk to him."  Miller went and got the precinct Lieutenant, John Wyatt.  Once again Janice told what Jamie had said to them and asked, "Please Lieutenant, we have to have some help or the park will be destroyed and people will be badly hurt."  Wyatt, in more detail, and somewhat more severely, than Miller told her that he just did not have the staff to place a man on site for that evening but that they would put the deputies on alert that there was something brewing and if they got a call to Meads they should respond at once and in force.


The words were just out of his mouth when the door to Captain Blount's office opened and Wade Blount emerged.  He invited Janice into his office and had her sit in a chair.  He pulled up another chair right in front of her, without his desk in between them and said, "O.K. now, what is this all about?"  Janice burst into tears and said, "I am just at my wits end.  My husband and I are the managers at Manchester Meads Mobile Home Court.   It is known as the Meads to everyone and has a bad reputation.  We are trying to make it into a decent low income mobile home park but we are being destroyed by the gang and now they are threatening to destroy the park property and hurt the residents.  We have tried and tried to get someone from your department to help us and we can't even get anyone to listen.  I just don't know what to do."


Blount was an eight year veteran of the Marine Corps who only knew that there was never an excuse for not accomplishing a mission.  He had another 12 years with the department and was either loved or hated by the other members of the department.  He would not accept failure and he would not accept untidiness and he absolutely would not tolerate malfeasance or neglect of duty.  He called in Jesse Crowe and Phillip Henny, two officers whom had demonstrated that they were willing to tackle anything.  When dispatch had contacted them and while they cleared to the precinct Blount told Janice, "We will not permit this to continue.  I am getting two officers in here and we will use whatever means we must to make your park into a safe place."  Just then Crowe and Henny arrived.  Blount invited them in, introduced them to Janice, had her tell them her story and then told them, "Halloween is in 24 days.' he said to them, 'I want you to make a significant difference in that park by that time so that we have a minimum of trouble there on Halloween night.  Do what you have to."  Then he told Janice, "You deal with officers Crowe, Henny, and me directly.  They will give you the number of their cellphones and pagers and will respond anytime they are needed."  After Janice had left he told Crowe and Henny, "Just do it.  You are authorized to use all of the overtime you need and if you need anything else come to me directly.  You now report directly to me, not to your shift sergeant nor to the lieutenant.  Any questions?"  Of course there were not - and there better not be.


Sitting in a booth at the Come Again restaurant Crowe asked Henny, " What is our basic schedule and procedure going to be?  Should we go on a basic four tens and run from sixteen hundred to two with me on Wednesday through Saturday and you on

Saturday through Tuesday?"  "That's O.K. with me Jesse, replied Henny, "and we can use the regularly assigned officers for back up.  I think you and I had better begin by foot patrol through the park and identify every juvenile and break up their patterns by not allowing any colors to be shown at any time in the park.  We'll tell them to take them off and if they don't we will remove the colors and not give them back."  "Golly, Gee Phil, they might complain to the Captain then what will be done to us," quipped Crowe, "let's go put the screws to the Meads' Monsters gang."


Unless you've been there you don't know how much fun it is to hassle the bad guys and every bully is a bad guy.  The first day was the end of the day that they had been called into the Captains office.  They had 3 hours left on that shift and so why not spend it cleaning up the dog crap out of their new yard.  They worked together, one working the camera and the other working the juvenile.  They would approach every juvenile flying the colors and stop him.  He would be asked if he was a gang member.  They love to brag about being a gang member.  Then they would be asked what their street name was.  It would be duly noted and then they would be asked what their real name was and where they lived.  This answer would be included and then they would take a picture of the suspect with the Polaroid camera.  Sure, they often had been coached by jailhouse lawyers and would say, "Hey, I am a juvenile you can't take a picture of me."  This of course was ignored as it was in public and they had no right to expect privacy.  Pictures are always legal taken in public.  But let them rant.  They would then be told to remove the colors they were flying and if they didn't the one handling the offender would remove the colors and hand them to him.  He would be told that if they had to remove them again he would not get them back.  He was also told that this park was a "no tolerance" area and no gang colors, no drugs, and no alcohol in public would be tolerated.  Later they would take the pictures and the information to Willard and verify who the gangbanger was and where he lived.  It was even more fun then to do the follow up work contacting the parents and the kid at the home.  Particularly when the kid had lied about who he was and where he lived.  Crowe and Henny would then explain to the parents how they were going to be liable for actions that the kids did and how some of the things done could affect their ability to live in the park.  Any violation of the law or of the park rules could lead to the expulsion of the family from the park.


They went to Wendel and Janice and reviewed their rights in removing tenants who broke the law or their rules and had them contact their attorney to establish the procedures to accomplish this.  Phil had a lot of experience in organizing Neighborhood Watches and organizing citizen participation to assist law enforcement in cleaning up bad neighborhoods.  They had Wendel and Janice hold a neighborhood meeting where they elicited help from the residents to clean up the neighborhood.  It was held on a Friday night with the managers and both deputies in attendance.


The word on the street was that the Monsters were going to break up this meeting and that anyone that attended was going to be the target of revenge.  Crowe and Henny made contact with every household in the park, 315 total, and assured them that the department would be out in force.  They all participated and with the help of their attorney Wendel and Janice evicted the Monsters without incidence.   

 THE END






TO BLESS OR TO BLAME?

 

Slowly Mary became aware of the surging pounding headache that with each throb brought her one step nearer to vomiting.  Her mouth was dry and tasted like Custer's army had bivouacked in it for a month.  She eased herself out of bed hoping beyond hope that by moving cautiously she could get to a beer and get it down before she started throwing up and got into the dry heaves.  Very delicately she moved into the kitchen, opened the refrigerator door, took out a beer, opened it, and took a tentative sip.  The first sip stayed down so she took another swallow.  Good!  It was working.  She went to the cupboard, opened up a drawer, found the box of miscellaneous drugs, dug out a couple of Percodan and washed them down with the rest of the beer. 

          She moved over to the table, picked up a pack of Camel filters, took one out and lit it up.  The first drag almost sent her to the bathroom to vomit but she fought it back and took another pull on the cigarette.  This time it felt OK so she went to the refrigerator and took out another beer.  After having a couple of slugs of her second beer she went to the counter, got out the coffee and started a pot brewing.    She went to the bathroom, relieved herself and went into her bedroom to get dressed.

      "Oh good lord, Mary, what have you done?" she said to herself when she saw Calvin still passed out in her bed.  The last thing she remembered was playing pool with Jack and Willow at the Third Man Saloon.  Calvin hadn't even been there.  Where had she run into him and why in hell had she brought him back to her home and into her bed?  It always ended up this way.  She didn't feel any bruises or broken bones so she looked in the mirror.  No injuries showing.  Well, at least he hadn't beat her up.  Maybe he was reforming and they could make it work this time.

      Dolores Moses had worked hard to become a Nurse Practitioner.  She had walked the railroad three miles over the trestle to the junior college for two years to obtain her Associate Degree in nursing.  There had been a partial scholarship but it had been necessary for her to economize, buying her clothing at the Goodwill store and walking rather than taking the bus.  Then while working shift work at the hospital she had proceeded with a Baccalaureate Nursing program equal to a total of five years of schooling.  Now she had come back to her people as a Nurse-Practitioner with an office in the Shwuakeenee Tribal Community Center where she provided medical services free of charge to indigent tribal members under a Federal Grant.  The Federal grant provided for funding to help the indigent while self-sufficient tribal members paid for her services.  Many of the tribal members came to her for advice and services because they did not trust the white medical community.

      Dolores was seeing Mary for the first time since Calvin had reentered her life.  "Mary, you are pregnant, probably about two months along," she said, "Has this been since you and Calvin got back together?"  Mary replied that two months would indicate that conception occurred on one of the first times she and Calvin had sex after they had renewed their relationship.  Mary felt that it was the first time when she was too drunk to take precautions but she was not going to tell Dolores.  Dolores's relations with the white establishment were too close so Mary had to be cautious about what she told her.  Dolores asked her about various contusions on her arms and legs and the swelling by her right ear.  Mary laughed and said, "Calvin and I have been cutting wood and I bang myself up pretty good throwing the pieces and falling down on the hillside."  She didn't dare tell Dolores about the beatings that Calvin was giving her when they were drinking because Dolores would tell Jim, the Community Service Officer from the Sheriff's office, and he would try to get her to bring charges against Calvin.  No one from the Sheriff's office could or would even try to save her from the retribution that would take place from Calvin, his brothers, and his cousins.  Jim would try to help but the deputies appeared to be mostly uncaring about the people in the Shwuakeenee community.  Besides they were both drunk and those things happen when you drink.

      Mary's hangovers were worse when she was pregnant.  In the morning it might take a half hour of drinking beer and throwing it up before she could get her stomach to settle down enough for the drugs required to make her feel better.  This had been going on for five months and she was going to be so glad when that baby came out.  Mary had quit going to see Dolores because she was always after Mary about her drinking and about the signs of Calvin's abuse.  Mary could do nothing to stop the abuse and she needed the alcohol and drugs just to survive.   She could not trust Dolores or Jim or the Sheriff's Deputies to protect her from Calvin.  The only time the pain seemed to diminish was when she was drinking and playing pool with Calvin, Jack, and Willow at the Third Man Saloon.

      When Mary had carried the baby for about seven and one-half months she and Calvin got into one of the worst fights that they had ever had.  Calvin kicked Mary several times, sometimes in the abdomen, and Mary stabbed Calvin twice.  Mary went into labor.  Her cousin called 911 and she was taken to the hospital at one thirty six on a Sunday morning.  At six forty two a five pound three and one-half ounce boy was born to Mary.  She named him Jake.

      The Sheriff's Deputies arrested Calvin and took him to the hospital.  The wounds were not serious so the emergency room treated him and the Sheriff's Deputies took him to jail.  On Monday morning he was arraigned and released on four hundred dollars bail provided by one of his cousins.  On the courthouse floor above where Calvin was being arraigned Children's Protective Service was going before Judge Warner to obtain temporary custody of one Jake Moses.  The Court placed him under protective foster care for a period of ninety days after which it would review the case for further action.  A guardian ad litem was appointed for Jake to insure that his best interests were served.

      At the hospital Jake, under foster care, was kept in the nursery until it was assured that he would survive.  Mary was released, went to the Third Man Saloon and started playing pool and drinking with Willow and Jack.  Calvin showed up at four thirty in the afternoon and joined them.

      Three years later Jim pulled into the driveway of the Once Again restaurant and parked on the other side of the parking lot from the two marked police cars.  Although his car was unmarked it did have county plates and when the general populace saw more than two Sheriff's cars at the same restaurant they started complaining.  He had managed to get to have coffee with two of the deputies who worked in his area.  Two of the seven deputies it took to cover the area with one on duty twenty four hours a day, seven days a week with court time, days off, vacation, sick time and training days.  These two understood what he was trying to accomplish in the Shwuakeenee Tribal neighborhood and were willing to give extra effort to help.  He entered the restaurant and spotted Ben and Marty sitting in a booth across from each other, the location carefully selected so that each had full view of the entrances to the restaurant and through the windows into the parking lot. 

      He slid into the booth next to Marty and ordered a double tall mocha.  "Hey, guys", he said, "what's new in the world of real police work?"  "Different day same bull", replied Ben.  "I spent an hour and a half in the Shwuakeenee neighborhood investigating three burglaries that happened yesterday.  Two people saw the burglars and identified them as John McEndry and Amos George but refused to give me statements because they were cousins of one type or another."  "Yeah", agreed Marty, "On Sunday morning at two forty six in the morning I got a domestic call at Mary's again from a neighbor who said that Calvin was killing Mary.  I went in backed up by Shane and arrested Calvin.  We hooked and booked him but Mary had him bailed out before we got the paper work done.  And you know the judge will fine him fifty dollars and tell him to stay away from Mary.  That'll work for about a week and then they will all be getting drunk together again.  They all hang together.  It's all a waste of our time." 

      The area in which the Shwuakeenee Tribal neighborhood was located consisted of sixty seven square miles with nearly three hundred miles of road in which over seven thousand people live to be covered with one deputy.  If any other area needed back-up the deputy covering this area had to leave it to provide cover for the other deputy as those areas were also single man units. 

      "We really need to know that the residents of the tribal lands will give us statements and appear in court if we are going to have prosecutions", Marty continued. "The property crimes detectives will not even start a case in this neighborhood without signed statements and a commitment to appear at court.  They have been stung too many times.  And the prosecutor . . . . . the prosecutor . . . . hell!  He won't even consider assigning a deputy prosecutor because of the history of the lack of participation by these people. Sometimes we can't even get to some neighborhoods because of more urgent calls elsewhere." 

      "But we have not always responded as we should either." said Jim.  "Look, Mary's kid Jake was given to her cousin Margaret because of Mary's drinking.  Calvin showed up at Margaret's and decided that Jake, who is three years old, was acting like a woman and in order to teach him to be a man burned Jake repeatedly with a cigarette.  Jake was taken to Dolores for treatment.  Dolores called our office and Bradley responded.  He never investigated the crime at all.  He talked to Calvin in front of Dolores and said to him, 'Hey Calvin, you Indians are always playing around with fireworks. Your son got burned while you guys were doing that, right?'  Of course Calvin agreed as he had been given a logical excuse that he knew Bradley would accept.  Dolores knew from the size and shape of the wounds that the cause was not fireworks and witnesses told her of Calvin's actions.  After Bradley left Calvin told Dolores, 'You white loving bitch, you stay out of our lives or I'll kill you.  I will discipline my son in any manner I choose.  It will be Indian punishment delivered from one dark Indian father to his dark Indian son.'  He then threatened all of the other witnesses into silence.  The people of the Shwuakeenee neighborhood watch things like this happen and they decide it is futile to call on us for help and dangerous to help us."   "That is unacceptable I don't care who does it. But what can we do," asked Ben, "we are just too short handed to cover incidents that will not be prosecuted as this would have probably turned out." 

      Jim knew that Ben was sincere about such incidents being unacceptable and that he was right about the lack of manpower.  He also knew that Ben could not do anything about Bradley's approach to the people of the neighborhood.  When you are often faced with being maimed or killed while on a call and the only help you are going to have is a fellow officer you don't alienate your fellow officer.  You need each other.  Besides, Jim had approached Bradley's sergeant about his actions.  The sergeant had been very concerned but had never taken any action.  After all he and Bradley had served together as partners and worked the same precinct for over 20 years.  In the end all Jim had been able to do about Bradley was to tell Dolores to call the precinct commander and complain every time Bradley showed up and acted inappropriately.  She of course would do nothing of the kind because she didn't trust the Sheriff's office to take appropriate action.  If action was taken the Deputy on the beat might respond by not even coming or be even less effective when he did arrive.

      "How about if I work the neighborhood on non-emergency incidents," Jim finally said. "I believe that I can convince witnesses to come forward on some types of cases and can get statements from them.  The good people of this neighborhood love and value their children.  Let me work with them to choose our incident, get the preliminary paper work done and then review it with you.  If it can be prosecuted we will submit it and if not drop it before the witnesses are endangered.  It would take real courage to finger John McEndry after McDonald nailed him for skinning a dog alive just for the fun of it.  If he is endangered by witnesses I'm sure he will react violently."  Both Ben and Marty agreed that the three of them could try this method and see if they could provide better service for this neighborhood.

      Jim left the Once Again and drove out to the Shwuakeenee neighborhood.  He stopped to talk to Mary who was the receptionist at the offices in the Tribal Community Center now.  It was part of a rehabilitation program that Mary was participating in.  She was really an appealing soft spoken woman of above average intelligence and Jim often wondered at her loyalty to Calvin and their extended family.  Mary called into Dolores's office to tell her that Jim was there and shortly afterward Jim went in. Jim respected Dolores.  He defined her as an alligator.  Much tougher than a lion and more aggressive than a pit bull but she got things done that needed to be done.  "Hi Dolores," he greeted her.  "I just got out of a meeting with Ben and Marty and I think we have a way to begin here at the neighborhood.  We think that you and I can work with some of the victims and get statements with witnesses to testify.  Dolores, it is really difficult to get things done for this neighborhood."  She knew Jim had been studying the history of the northwest Indian tribes. He had talked to the elders, and the friends he had made in the neighborhood and seemed to be learning about their culture.  He continued with, "I can not understand the extreme loyalty by tribal members to the extended family within the tribe.  I can understand how if the white people of this area were outnumbered by Indians as this tribe is by whites I would be reluctant to turn over any of my people to the Indian justice system; but I would never accept the actions that I see accepted by the people of this neighborhood even if I had to send a white man to an Indian prison." 

      "Jim," replied Dolores in her quiet manner, "I appreciate your efforts to understand and accept the traditions of my people.  I know that you respect and care for us, and are willing to help us.  But Jim, you are not an Indian, you cannot be an Indian, and you must never try to be an Indian.  Nor are you a woman and you cannot be a woman.  We, you and I, must take respect and joy in each other's life while always allowing the other to maintain the integrity of his or her being.  Like me, my brother worked for his education.  At times he had to take money from his low paying part time job to help me.  He chose to become an urban Indian fitting his life into that of white society.  The last thing he said to me before he broke off all relations with me was, 'Dolores, I have sacrificed for you to obtain your education and now you are going back to the reservation.  You are nothing but a Reservation Indian.'  I no longer even know where he lives.  He could not take respect and joy in my life” she paused and then continued, “Mary has sought and received custody of Jake with the assistance of the Tribal attorney.  She and Calvin will be re-establishing their family. You and I, we will work on other matters."

      Jim often saw Jake on the streets at any time between dark and three o'clock in the morning when he was still of pre-school age.  When he would talk to Dolores or Mary about this they would say he was safe in their neighborhood.  Jim would point out that many residents drank and drove.  Their reply would be that if they interfered Child Protective Officers would probably take him away and put him in a white home in a white neighborhood where there was every chance that he would be mistreated because of prejudice and lack of the knowledge of Indian heritage. 

      Calvin beat him at least once a week and often more; sometimes for exhibiting fear, sometimes for acting in a manner not suitable to a warrior, often just because Calvin was drunk.  When Jake was five years old Calvin, Mary, and Jake went to a park area for a picnic with Jack and Willow.  Calvin started a fire in the firepit opened the cooler and took out a beer.  He took several swallows out of the can and noted that Jake had just taken a white girl's scooter.  The girl was about seven and larger than Jake.  She grabbed Jake and threw him to the ground to retrieve her bicycle.  Jake came running in tears to Mary.  Calvin yanked him around, picked him up, and threw him on his back into the fire screaming as he did so, "You do not run away crying from a girl!  You beat them up and take what you want!  Anything you want you take it!"  Mary rescued Jake from the fire with first and second degree burns on his legs and back and with his hair burned off the back of his head.  They told the emergency room doctors that Jake had fallen into the campfire. Again the extended family felt there was more danger to Jake in the white system than in their neighborhood so no one told Dolores or any outsider what had really happened. 

      When Jake was smaller Mary would often beat him because she blamed him for all of the misery in her life.  By the time he was nine Mary no longer dared to beat him.  He would simply attack her if she even criticized him. 

      Calvin taught him that the darker skinned the Indian the better person he was.  Jake, when he was twelve, threatened to kill the Director of the tribe because he had insulted Jake by questioning his actions; and after all he was much lighter complexioned than Jake.  From twelve on Jake presumed that any thing he saw that he wanted was his to take.  He openly burglarized neighboring homes, vandalized tribal equipment, and stole tribal property. 

      At fourteen Jake was seen by Jesse, an eighteen year old Indian neighbor, coming out of Jesse's cousin's home carrying a pile of CD's.  Jesse told Jim and agreed to sign a witness statement to the effect that he had seen Jake doing this burglary.  Jake found out through the tribal youth grapevine that Jesse had informed Jim, but Jake took no action against Jesse except to tell Calvin that Jesse had talked to Jim.  Jesse stood four inches taller than Jake and outweighed him by twenty pounds. When Jake told Calvin of the whole incident he took Jake into the back yard, picked up a three foot length of two by four lumber and beat Jake with it while yelling, "You don't let people get by with ratting you out to white cops.  You must stand up for yourself."  He put a soft spot in Jake's skull, fractured two ribs and broke off one tooth in the beating.  Jake responded by beating up Jesse using his fists and feet leaving Jesse bruised and battered.  Jesse did not sign the witness statement and would not testify.

      After the beating Calvin had given Jake, Mary's family went to the District Court for a restraining order against Calvin to protect both Mary and Jake.  The District Court judge refused to give them a restraining order saying, "If you are unwilling to bring charges against Calvin I will not issue a restraining order against him." 

      Mary's family then went to Dolores and Jim for help.  They decided to go around the District Court and request a restraining order from the Superior Court with Jim acting as a special advocate.  The Superior Court issued a restraining order to keep Calvin away from Jake and Mary until Jake was eighteen. Calvin moved to another city, thirty-three miles away.   Though she had custody of Jake, Mary would no longer allow him to live with her.  With nowhere else to go he went to live with John McEndry, who was one of his extended family.  Calvin would sneak into the neighborhood to smoke marijuana with John and Jake and maybe do a burglary or two.  Other times Jake would skip school and hitchhike to Calvin's to spend a couple of days with him.  Since the town where Calvin lived was in another county the officials of that county did not feel obligated to enforce the court order banning him from having contact with Jake.

      At fifteen Jake decided that he hated all white people and that he would kill a white cop by the time he was eighteen.  He had no conscience, no empathy, and never felt any remorse about anything he did.  He and his friends started looking for a house to burglarize that would have suitable guns, which could be stolen and used in killing a cop. 

      Jim pulled into his usual parking space at the Once Again and ran through the rain to get inside.  He walked over to where Ben and Marty were sitting.  "A heads-up guys," said Jim.  "Jake has put out the word that he is going to kill a white cop by the time he is eighteen.  That gives him about two years.  I hear that he is prospecting for a suitable gun and some ammunition that can pierce body armor.  I thought you and all of the guys should be aware so that you can use extra caution when you are called to any incident involving him."  "No problem," replied Marty, "Once a scum-bag always a scum-bag.  That whole family is nothing but trouble."

      At Dolores's office Jim collapsed tiredly into the chair reserved for her clients.  "Damn it Dolores, it's just not fair.  Jake is going to get himself into real trouble.   The guys all think that he is just bad to the bone.  I see him to be a victim of fetal alcohol syndrome, abuse, and neglect.  His heritage has stripped him of any empathy or remorse for what he has done or a conscience to help him avoid wrongdoing.  There must be something we can do to prevent what is inevitably going to happen." 

      "Well, Jim", replied Dolores, "you will have to understand that what was, was, what is, is and what will be will be. It's out of your hands”, once more she paused and then continued, “Indian ways will prevail."

      Jake was wildly celebrating with his friends.  They had been drinking in the park for hours and Jake's energy was gone.  He was being tormented by evil spirits that showed him his father screaming his shame and disgust with him and his mother crying out, "It is you who are my trouble!" over and over.  He needed to have powerful medicine to overcome these evil spirits and celebrate his eighteenth birthday so he went over to John and asked if he had any speed.  John said, "No, but I can get some."  In a bit John came back and said, "Hey cousin, this is on me," and gave a half a dozen speed caps to Jake.  He took a couple and washed them down with some beer. 

      Then came the rush.  He was a warrior ten feet tall and could leap mountains.  A train was coming down the track moving at a high rate of speed.  Jake took off racing towards the tracks as fast as he could run yelling at the top of his lungs.  Faster and faster he ran. In his mind he was running with the wind, he was "Shawonda'see" (the South Wind), he was overcoming the evil spirit ghosts.  Nothing could stop him now or ever.  There was no sound when the train struck Jake.  The engineer never saw him run in front of the train.  He made no sound as he flew through the air.  The silence was total as the rumble of the train disappeared into the night.


 

The End

 

 

 

 

 

 

  IN THE GLASS DARKLY

 

When I arrange the mirrors just so

I can see the I's extending into infinity;

lined up behind me,

all waiting for their chance to take my spot;

and turning . . . . .

I see the I's lined up before me extending to eternity.

There is no end;

but life is only where I am now.

It is in the middle of the line . . . . .

and always will be.

 

If you are standing in an endless line you can all

walk together if you turn ninety degrees.

 

The life that was is only here . . . . .

the life that will be is only here.

Is there any less reality through the mirror?

When I leave where do they go?

You say this is only a reflection.

I am only visible because I reflect light.

Am I not, too, only a reflection?

 

God is light . . . . .

light is time . . . . .

time is God . . . . .

 

Am I not there when there is no light to reflect from me?

Do I change or become another creation

because I am not seen?

What then of the reflection in the mirrors?

Are they in truth less real than I?

Do they appear to be less real

than other people appear to be?

Does the reflection in the mirrors see me . . . . .

or does it see reflections of itself?

 

Do I see God or do I see reflections of myself?

Does God see me or does He see reflections of Himself?

 

I see a reflection of me but is this true?

Am I perhaps seeing

the reflection of a reflection

of something I cannot see?

Can I see an image of me without the mirrors?

Can I see a true image of me in the mirrors?

Can I find any way to see an undistorted me?

 

Or do I see me as God reflected in other people?

 

We see colors as they are supposed to be;

running the vision through a mental enhancer;

and are often shocked by a color print

which shows the colors as they truly be exhibited.

Even with a perfect reflection

of whatever is being reflected

cannot my own vision

distort the true reflection?

 

All truth is constant.

Reflections vary.

Perception depends upon reflection.

What can replace perception?

 

As I moved from the reflections behind me

what did I bring along?

Nothing!

As I move into the reflections ahead of me

what can I take along?

Nothing!

 

Then for what purpose am I here?

Nothing that matters to the reflections of those behind me;

and nothing that can affect those ahead.

 THE END

 

  

 

 

AND THE  ­ANGEL­ OF HIS PRESENCE SAVED THEM

 

Alcohol had quit working for me!    I no longer had the capacity for drinking the amounts that I had in the past and it no longer changed my perception of the world to make the world acceptable. The good times were gone and it was time to stop drinking.  So I did!  I stopped with varying degrees of success over the next three years.  Some times it lasted a week, sometimes a month, once it lasted eight months just before I came to Alcoholics Anonymous.


I had lost my business due to inattention and some bad investments. Then I went to work for Wesly A. Bull and Associates in Seattle.  It was a small firm employing approximately eleven people.  Eight of them were working in the Seattle office at that time.


My routine was to take my lunch to work with me because I wanted to not drink.  I did not dare go out for lunch because I knew if I did I would end up drinking once more.  I came to work early to avoid the traffic and to avoid the open bars in the city.  I usually left work with someone else so I could walk to the car with them and not be tempted to stop for a drink.


One day a man whom I had never seen before came into my office and said, "There is a brown bag AA meeting on Queen Anne why don't you go to it with me?"  I declined, saying that I was not drinking anymore and did not need AA.  Inside myself I knew that AA would laugh me out of any meeting, as I was not a bad enough drinker to qualify for AA membership.


The next day the same man came into my office and said, "There is a brown bag AA meeting over at the Seafirst Bank building why don't you go with me?"  I again declined stating that I had stopped drinking and so had no need for AA.


 It never occurred to me to question why a stranger would come into my office and ask me to go to AA meetings.  I had worked for Wes before, when I was drinking and they all knew that I had quit.  I felt, therefore, that the whole world probably knew I was quitting drinking --- and was probably ready to applaud me for it.


The third day the same stranger came into my office and said, "If you aren't going to go to AA you better have this to help you stay alive."  With that he presented me with a hand printed copy of the Desiderata and left.


This fellow was starting to get on my nerves.  I went to Wes that afternoon and asked him if we had hired anyone new.  He said, "Yes, a fellow came in three days ago asking if we needed any outside plant engineers.  With the new REA projects we have starting I hired him as he had good credentials." 


The stranger never did come back to work at Wes Bull's after that last noon.   He didn't even make arrangements to pick up the pay he was entitled to.  When Wes tried to send his W2 form to the stranger's home address it was returned with the notation, "NO SUCH ADDRESS".


The concepts expressed in the Desiderata have literally saved my life many times since he gave them to me;  Both before and after my coming to AA.




 

 

THE VISION




I was sober with occasional lapses.  I had been given the Desiderata and with as much self discipline as I could muster I was living without booze most of the time.  I was restless, irritable, and discontented all of the time between my drinking bouts.  I was bragging to everyone about my not drinking anymore and reassuring myself that I had never felt better  . . . . and  I was doing it on my own without help.


On one of my trips out of town I did some business in Philometh, Oregon and then checked into a motel in Corvallis.  I went to the motel restaurant and had supper after which I went back to my motel room and was immediately overcome by a desperate loneliness.  I knew that I was going to go to the bar for some drinks and company.  I looked up AA in the telephone directory and called to see if someone could have coffee with me.  Though never having made contact with AA before,  I had read in some books on alcoholism about how they helped.  The person who answered the phone said no one was available for coffee but there was a meeting in the basement of a nearby church.  I went to that meeting.  It was my first AA meeting.  I really didn't need AA, I was just lonely.  They asked if any new people were present and I did not identify myself.    After all this was a one time occurrence and I wasn't new  . . . . I had read some library books about alcoholism and AA.  They called on me during the meeting and I told them how I had discovered my drinking problem while installing an alarm system in a halfway house (true) and how I was at the meeting because I was out of town and lonely (also true).  I even    identified myself as an alcoholic.  I didn't have to drink that night.


There is very little long term job security working for a consulting   engineering firm so I was looking for employment with an operating    telephone company.  The Citizen's Telephone Co. in Redding California was advertising for an equipment engineer so I applied.  In my application I gave as a reference my former boss and good friend Stacy who worked for GTE in Everett.  Stacy and I had spent many a convivial evening drinking together and hashing over our workday.  Citizen's checked out my references and offered me a job with their company.  In a very few days I got a telephone call from Stacy offering me a job opportunity at GTE.


After negotiating with both parties I chose to go to work for GTE under my old friend and drinking companion.    We arranged for me to start work immediately following the holidays,  on  January 2, 1978.  On New Year's Day I received a call from a mutual friend informing me that the previous night Stacy had dropped dead with a heart attack.  The next day I walked into a new job where I had been anticipating working for an old friend but was now to be subjected to an unknown boss with unknown standards.  The man holding the next level of supervision indoctrinated me into the company and sat me amid several strangers,  next to a woman engineer named Barbara.


Six months before I had lost my own business, the day before I had lost one of the best friends I had ever known, today I was starting a new job amid new people.  I was overcome with that helpless devastating loneliness that is symptomatic of  the alcoholic.

                              

Barbara turned out to be one of those compassionate people who borders on being a busybody.  She had only recently lost her husband to alcoholism.  He had returned from the streets of Seattle to die at home.    She has since told me that when they introduced me to her and sat me down next to her she said to her God as she understands him, "Oh God, not another one . . . .  why me?"


I continued my valiant, but futile battle for sobriety, for the next year and two months.  Barbara has told me, and I know it to be true from the way I felt on the inside, that I was difficult, bordering on impossible to get along with during that time.  I personally believe I  was impossible to get along with over a greater period of time than  that.


 In February of 1979 I took a trip with my wife, my cousin Arley, and her husband.  We went to Arizona to meet another cousin, Duane, at whose home we were on my natal birthday.   He poured me a glass of wine.    I drank it.  After all one glass of wine wouldn't hurt me.  Well it ended with me having 2 glasses of wine that night, a bottle of wine the next night with a before dinner drink and an after dinner drink, and I found myself with a huge marguerita in front of me the night after that. I knew where I was going and I didn't want to go, so I quit  . . . . . . again.


Eight months later I still hadn't had a drink; restless, irritable and   discontented doesn't even approach my state of mind.   I was either going to kill myself, someone else, or go mad if I didn't have a drink.  I was at work.  I slammed my desk chair back from the desk,   jumped to my feet, turned on Barbara and said, "This world is a big pile of cow shit and we are all flies crawling around on it!" and left for the bar to get drunk.


Well, Barbara has told me since that time that she knew that I was    headed for my next drunk.  She did what I consider to be the dirtiest trick you can pull on a drinker headed for his next drunk.  She prayed for me!  I had left the building and was on the way to my car when I was given the vision.


I saw, not as a dream, but as a reality which crowded out all other sights, sounds and smells, where that next drink was going to take me.  It was laid out before my eyes all at once as a panorama rather than sequentially as a book; from the next drink to my lying in a doorway on west Hewitt puking up blood and dying.  And it was not like the two events were close together.  There was an endless time of waking up every day worse than the day before; of each day hurting more and being sicker and unable to quit drinking; of an endless procession of days knowing what was torturing me and of being unable to stop using it.  Then the final loneliness of my bleeding and dying while watching the feet of people passing by staying out by the curb so they could avoid being near me.


This vision has left me with the belief that there is in the life of every alcoholic a drink with a RED X on it.  When that drink is taken there will be no recovery, only a slow death.  And I also believe that I have been given the Grace of knowing that, for me, the next drink is that drink.

 

 

 

 

 

THE UNDERSTANDING OF BROTHERHOOD


IT WAS ABOUT 2:00 IN THE AFTERNOON WHEN I SAW HIM.    The sidewalk on the north side of the courthouse is about 12 feet wide and he was using every inch of it as he staggered up the hill.  My heart reached out to him and I couldn't take my eyes off him.  He was not an unusual sight for that time of day, in that neighborhood, but someway he summoned my undivided attention.


About three fourths of the way to the top he couldn't go any further and stopped to rest his buttocks on the left fender of a car parked nose in to the sidewalk.  In a spas am of pain he wrapped his arms around his stomach and folded the top half of his long body over them.


I had never before done anything like I did in the following moments. I leapt from my chair, went to the elevator, went down to the street, and hurried up the hill to this man to make sure he was alright.  I knew in my guts that all of the rest of the world would look at this man and pass him by on the other side of the sidewalk  . . . . he could die and no one would notice his passing; or care.


As I approached him he remained hanging over his own arms and looked up at me from under his heavy eyebrows.  I said, "Are you all right man?"    He said, "I'm O.K.".  I said to him, "There's a better way you know".  His reply was, "Don't preach at me man!"  I answered back, "If you don't want me here I'll go away".  In a voice of quiet desperation he cried,   "Don't leave me man".  I told him I would stay until he sent me away. At that he again looked up at me from under his heavy eye brows with eyes that were as clear and unshrouded as if he had  never had  a  drink and said, “We take care of each other don’t we brother?”


At that time the fire Marshall, whose car he was leaning on came out to the car.  He made some degrading remarks to the drunk and the drunk staggered away from the car with his fists up back pedaling away totally out of balance and about to fall.  The fire Marshall and I knew he was calling the police.  I told the drunk that we had better leave or he was going to be jailed.  We walked back don the hill where he finally managed to fall.  He lit right on his face with a horrible hollow bonk as his head hit the pavement.  He got right up and told me to go the way that I had to then he started south on Wetmore.  When I got back up to my desk and looked down Wetmore, this man who could hardly stagger along was had disappeared. 

THE END


 

 

 

 

THE PROSECUTOR

 

 

      The word out at the county jail was that you were "innocent until proven broke".  Dave Dawson, the newly elected Mayor of Mukilteo, Washington was about to learn the truth behind that statement.

      Dawson had been elected as Mayor in the small city of Mukilteo (population 1,472 situated on the shores of Puget Sound) on a "save the police force" platform.  It seems that the Public Safety City Commissioner had been driving home one night after an extended business conference at the Yacht Club stag bar in the neighboring city of Everett.  It was one of those "there is an imaginary line down this creek that divides Mukilteo from Everett" situations.  As he was driving erratically the rookie cop of the three-man force followed him for a distance as he headed home.  At an intersection where you could turn left into a dead end neighborhood or go right out to the city limits the Commissioner went left and the cop went right.  The officer turned around at the city limits (the city covered one square-mile) and returned to the intersection where the Commissioner was waiting for him and flagged him down.  The Commissioner said, "Do you know who I am?" The cop replied, "No, but I am about to find out.  Give me your driver's license."  When asked to perform a series of sobriety tests the Commissioner explained how important he was to the cop.  As the police department fell under his jurisdiction their portion of the budget and the department welfare were at his mercy.  The rookie had the audacity to complete the testing and ticket the Commissioner for driving while intoxicated.  Then the Commissioner began working to have the Chief and the rookie fired.  As the Mayor appointed the Chief and was a friend of the Commissioner both the Chief and the rookies jobs were in jeopardy. With elections fast approaching Dawson was convinced to run to save the Chief's job and to rid the city government of special considerations given to some of the city's old and elite families. With three candidates for Mayor, including a member of one of the old and elite families, Dawson won with a plurality of over 40%.

      A city the size of Mukilteo could not afford a full time prosecutor so it contracted with the County Prosecutor's office to prosecute it's criminal cases.  It also hired a City Attorney to provide legal guidance on non-criminal cases.  The City Attorney was a part time position hired from a legal firm in Everett.  The city paid a basic retainer for usual services and paid for special cases at an hourly rate.  Dawson had appointed a new City Attorney when he took office because of improper connections between the former City Attorney and the old and elite families.  The new City Attorney,

Lawrence Knight, was from the same firm as the previous one but young and idealistic.

      About 9 months into Dawson's 4 year term he was standing at the counter in the City Hall when a scruffy individual came in and asked for the Police Chief.  Dawson called the Chief, Bill Bryden, out and the individual asked for his knife back.  Bill's response was, "You can't have it back."  The man then questioned as to why and the chief told him, "Because if I hadn't been armed with a shotgun you would have used it on me when I arrested you in that house you were burglarizing!!  It's evidence!!  Now get out of here!!"  Then Bill turned to Dawson and said, "I don't even have the report done and that piece of junk has been PR'd (released on his personal recognizance) already.  I risk my life to go into a burglary in progress and the jail lets them out in a half hour with no bail."  He then stormed back into his office.  30 days later Bill informed Dawson that the burglary had been plea bargained by the County Prosecutor down to illegal trespass and the burglar given 30 days in the county jail suspended.

      As luck would have it that very night Dawson and the Chief Deputy Prosecutor, Andy Forsgren, were co-speakers at the Mukilteo Lions Club meeting.  Forsgren spent his whole speaking time detailing how short handed their office was and how each attorney was overloaded to an unbelievable extent.  How they had to have more attorneys to do their job properly.  Dawson then spoke and reported how they covered the city for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with 3 full time officers and a reserve force.  He also recounted the story of the burglary and the actions of the prosecutor’s office pointing out that they received extra funds from small cities to prosecute and that the small cities deserved to have good cases prosecuted, not plea bargained down to nothing.

      After the meeting Forsgren approached Dawson and said, "You know I can drive through your city over the speed limit and you cannot arrest me because I am a county prosecutor.  I am held blameless in any prosecution that I perform.  In other words I could destroy a man with the powers of this office.  For instance, I could bring charges of sodomizing a minor against someone and make sure the papers got the story.  I could continue to leak information to the press throughout the case.  Just prior to trial I could then drop the prosecution due to the disappearance of the key witness.  And so the man's reputation is destroyed by proper use of the news media.  He can do nothing to me because I am held blameless by state law."

      Dawson left the meeting and went home.  There he took out his typewriter and started writing.  He detailed, with the date and estimated times, the exact conversation with Forsgren.  The next morning he went to his office and made copies of the document he had prepared the night before.  He delivered the first copy to Bill, the police chief and told him of the event.  Next he delivered a copy to Knight and described the events of the evening before.  Knight said that he believed that Forsgren was wrong and that legal action could be taken against him if he attempted to fulfill his threat but that the reality of it was that he would have the funding available to him through the county while the only funding available to Dawson would be from his personal resources.  Resources available to Dawson were a small business that he owned and operated, $50 a month salary as Mayor, and little savings.

      Dawson had been working with an investigative reporter, Jim Hyde, from the Everett Tribune newspaper attempting to have an open hiring process for the Emergency Services Department of the county. Jim had blown open a story on that department reporting gross mismanagement of the funds and misuse by various officials.  The County Commissioners then moved in rapidly to vacate the offices and fill them with political hacks that had supported them in their elections.  Dawson as a member of the Emergency Services Council and Jim were working with other Emergency Services Council members to establish a job description and proper recruitment procedures for the new manager.  Dawson took the third copy of his documentation about the conversation with Forsgren to Jim Hyde.  Jim read it and said to Dawson, "If he tries it we will crucify him."

      2 days later as he walked through the county courthouse to attend an Emergency Services Council meeting Forsgren stopped him and said, "There's other methods.  You can't always be watching your back."  Dawson continued to press the prosecutor's office for stiffer penalties for offenders and at the same time started to explore other avenues of prosecuting cases.

      Complaints from citizens about the police coverage on the graveyard shift led Dawson to spend several nights exploring the city at different times.  He discovered the sergeant, Duane Fischer who covered graveyards, was spending the greatest portion of his time at the junior high school cafeteria drinking coffee and talking with the janitors.  Dawson contacted the Chief and told him to get Fischer out and about and spending more time on the road.  Fischer continued to dog it and Dawson continued to pressure the Chief and Bill continued to pressure Fischer until he took a dive.  Under the Law Enforcement and Firefighter's pension plan, as originally written, Fischer was able to take a disability for heart problems.  To this he later added Social Security disability payments and then got a position as a part time dispatcher for the Everett fire department.  Bill later said to Dawson, "I guess that will show him, huh?"

      During the weeks that Dawson and Bill were trying to get Fischer to work Dawson opened his briefcase one day to put in some sales information and make a call to a customer.  He noticed 2 Bayer aspirin cases in his brief case.  He did not use Bayer aspirin and so opened them up to see what was in them.  There were a variety of pills in both cases.  There were pink pills, blue pills, and white pills both large and small.  Dawson called Bill in and showed the cases and pills to him explaining how he had found them in his brief case.  Bill took the pills to the drug task force and found out that they were all non-prescription illegal drugs.  Dawson went to contacts he had in the Everett police department drug unit and told them what had happened showing them the drugs.  The captain in charge of the unit laughed and said, “This is such an obvious set up that I would never buy it.  Someone has loaded you up with one of every kind of common street drug.  If I get any tips about you having drugs I will trace it back if I can to find it's origin.  I would almost finger a cop for doing it.  Have you been having problems with any of your officers?"  Of course Dawson immediately thought of Fischer who when questioned denied any knowledge of the drugs or Dawson's brief case.  Two days later Forsgren stepped in front of Dawson as he walked through the courthouse hallways and said nothing, he just grinned.  Dawson shivered and noticed how Forsgren's eyes had no feeling in them.  Almost like the eyes of a rattlesnake.

      A year later Dawson's business was in trouble.  He had been paying more attention to the city's business than to his own and he had to cut back on his employees.  He decided that the building he owned was larger than he needed for his business as its focus had changed.  He let it be known that he would like to sell the building.

      A man named Amos Skinner came to look at the building.  He talked at great length with Dawson.  They looked at it from all aspects to determine if it would be suitable for a restaurant and cocktail lounge.  The building's location was ideal with a great view over the town, sound and islands.  Its construction was heavy duty with a large warehouse area that could easily be divided into restaurant and lounge areas.  There were several meetings with Amos.  In the last meeting at Dawson's home he told Dawson how he had built another restaurant in Edmonds just 13 miles down the shore line.  He also told how the mayor of Edmonds had been such a great help getting the necessary permits and variances needed to put in his restaurant.  And coincidentally the mayor of Edmonds had even owned the building that Amos bought to remodel for his restaurant.  He wondered if Dawson might not be able to do some of the footwork for him by getting some of the permits and variances for him.  Dawson replied that he could not as that would be a conflict of interest with him being the mayor of Mukilteo.  He pointed out to Amos that the law required any premises selling alcoholic beverages to be over 300 yards from any adjacent church and that this building fell within that distance from the Presbyterian church.  If this were to be a restaurant that served alcohol he would have to request the church to sign off on a variance.  Then Amos dropped the bombs!  Maybe Dawson could help if Amos were to donate to Dawson's campaign fund.  Dawson replied that it had only cost him less than $20 to campaign so he didn't need any donations.  At that point Amos said, "Well then, maybe you and the wife would like a trip to Hawaii."  This attempt at bribery infuriated Dawson to the point that he ordered Amos out of his home telling him to have no more contact.  The next time he was in the courthouse Forsgren stopped him in the hallway and stated, "You lucked out that time but we're still looking at your history, maybe another time you weren't so ethical.  There is plenty of room in our budget for money to investigate suspicious activities."

      Fortunately that fall the electorate of Snohomish County saw fit to give Dawson a cherished gift.  They elected a new Prosecuting Attorney who brought with him his own Chief Deputy Prosecutor to the office.  Forsgren resigned rather than return to the working ranks of prosecutors and left the area for greener pastures.  Through the next years Dawson was aware of one or two other counties in the state that had hired him for a prosecuting attorney and then he lost track of him.  The memory of fighting a public budget and a prosecuting attorney who was out for revenge dimmed in his memory and was soon only rarely brought to mind.

      15 years later Dawson opened his morning paper and read, "A Special Prosecutor has been appointed to investigate the President's campaign fund sources and management.  Attorney Andrew J. Forsgren has had 24 years experience as the prosecuting attorney for various governmental agencies across the nation beginning in Washington State.  He stated that he would spare no effort nor expense in determining if the President has broken any campaign laws and will investigate all major donors for conflict of interest."

 

THE END 

 

 

The only state execution at which members of the Idaho news media weren't present was a hurry-up double hanging in the middle of the night in 1951, when a frightened prison warden who feared inmate riots refused all requests from outside witnesses, had the gallows erected starting at 5 p.m. for the midnight execution, and had all traces of them removed by morning. The hanging of the two men, ages 20 and 21, was highly controversial due to their age; they had murdered a local grocer.

 

By 1951, executions had been moved to the 2 Yard inside the Old Idaho Penitentiary. This site would only be used once, but would be the site of a double execution on April 13, 1951. On that day, Troy Powell #7986 and Ernest Walrath #7987 were hung for the murder of a grocer in Boise by the name of Newton Wilson. What made this case unusual were the young ages of the convicted. Walrath was 20 at the time of his death, while Powell was 21, making them the youngest inmates to ever be executed in the state and the only double execution in the prison's history.


Here is the story of Reverend Ray of the First Baptist Church and his association with Troy Powell and Ernest Walrath.

 

I lived in the 1400 block of East Jefferson in 1948.  Mr. Newton Wilson owned and operated a small neighborhood store at the SE corner of  the Haines and State Streets.   As I remember him he was older, graying, and smoked cigars.  The store was dark and smelled of stale cigar smoke.  Ernest Walrath and Troy Powell lived behind my home in the 1400 block of State Street.  They were short on funds, in I believe 1948, so they robbed and murdered Mr. Wilson by hitting him with a sock filled with rocks and stabbing him seven times with a butcher knife. They were executed April 13, 1951, the state's only double hanging.  Walrath was 20 and Powell was 21 the youngest ever executed in Idaho.  They were both buried at Morris Hill Cemetery.   Nobody bothered Powell's grave but Walrath’s headstone had to be removed; people kept putting hangman's nooses on it."

 
After they were convicted, and were awaiting execution at the penitentiary, they were allowed to request a minister to serve their spiritual needs.  They requested  Reverend Ray of the First Baptist Church.  Rev. Ray had been the key motivator for building the new church and was a wonderful pastor to his flock.  In his first meeting with Walrath and Powell Rev. Ray asked them why they had chosen him to serve them as they had never been to his church and he had no knowledge of them.  They told him how they had been riding the school bus to Boise High School one morning and sat behind a young lady named Elizabeth and me.  Being young Elizabeth was voicing the opinions of some influential elder in her life and stating how she did not like Rev. Ray’s approach to his ministry.  I, in turn, had expressed my feelings stating how I believed him to be a very wonderful and spiritual man who lived his Christian beliefs.  Based on what they had heard me say they requested Rev. Ray to be their spiritual advisor.  I understand that he felt that they had both accepted salvation and were saved prior to their deaths. 

I decided to tell this story after having seen their pictures at the gallows in the old prison tour.  They were executed before the new gallows building was built and were executed on a temporary gallows built in the #2 yard behind the hospital.  I do not tell this story to address the contributions of myself, Elizabeth, or Rev. Ray but to show how one can see the finger of God in all things if one just is an observer of their own and other’s lives.

 
 
THE END

Stubborn is a White Mule Named Jack


My mother often told the story of a white mule called Jack? She had great memories of her Grandpa Robert A. Brown, his Irish jig and his pet mule, Jack.  Her father had a love for horses in general and old Jack in particular.   My great-great grandfather and my great grandfather owned a ferry (1888 to 1891) used to cross the Missouri River into Nebraska. At that time the town of Vermillion, South Dakota was located on what was known as 'the bottom'. The 1888 flood moved the town to the bluff above the original town’s site, where it is today.  My great grandfather owned and operated the ferry until the floods changed the course of the river, and sent him to live in town. In 1919 the river's raging forced the family to move. The terror of standing with my grandma Grace facing the river was etched forever in my mother’s mind. They stood together, holding hands tightly watching and waiting. The ice-blocked river cut huge chunks of the river bank that fell into the water with a roaring protest as the water began creeping toward their house, Great grandpa came to them with his horses and wagon to move them out. Their house was eaten up. I wonder: if it went quietly. Great Grandpa kept his horses but he had no place for old Jack. My grandfather had rented the Lockwood farm so he took that Old white mule that was great grandpa's pet.  "He‘s a good mule to ride, if Jack so chooses," were great grandpa’s words, ‘I learned very quickly what "stub-born as a mule" meant’ my mother always said about that mule. Any time they brought Jack from the barn with a bridle or harness in hand, she watched him. He listened to their conversations, ears twitching, determining what plans involved him. Then he would decide about carrying out the plan. If he approved, they could mount and ride, or her Dad could work him alongside another horse and he‘d do his share. Woe unto the man woman or child who tried to use force to move Jack.  She recalled vividly' the day her Dad hitched up old jack, along with a horse whose name she didn‘t remember. That day Jack planted his four feet firmly, sort of splayed, and his ears were twitching one forward, one back, sort of slow perpetual motion. The expression on that mu1e‘s face said, "I‘m onto you". "Giddap."  Jack‘s ears continued to move. His feet didn't. "Giddap, Jack," the reins slapped his back. She watched from her vantage point at the barnyard gate.  No movement. Her dad slapped the reins and yelled, “GIDDAP Dammit, Jack, Giddap." Nothing. yelled, "GIDDAP1Dammit, Jack, Giddap.“ Nothing.  This was one time when her dad needed to be boss. He wanted to get into the field with the wagon. He jumped to the ground, went to the teams head. "Come on, now Jack, this is no time for you to get stubborn. Move." He tugged on the bridle. He yanked. No action. Her dad stood back. He lifted his old cap off his head and set it back, muttering something. Probably words not suitable for a small girl‘s ears. “I watched in awe”, she said, as Jack stood like a stone mountain. Her dad gathered a little pile of kindling and put it under Jack. He added some straw to the pile under that stubborn old mule. He took a match from his overall pocket and with a quick brush along the leg of his overall the match flamed. He laid the burning match on the little pile of wood.  "I guess you'll change your mind this time, Jack," he said. Jack did.  He pulled ahead just enough that the wagon was right over the little bonfire and he stopped, planted his feet. His ears were twitching, one forward» one back and he looked as though he were smirking. He made his point. Muttering under his breath her dad put out the fire, and unhitched the mule.  In spite of his stubbornness, we loved old Jack. When he was twenty years old Dad decided he'd earned his pasture for the rest of his days.  Apparently Old Jack felt the same. He was free to roam over the hills and enjoy endless green grass and water from the Vermillion river that ran through the pasture. However, one day, after Jack had roamed in freedom for some time, he was needed to make a team. He saw my Dad coming with a bridle in his hand. You believe what you will. Dad always claimed Old Jack saw him coming, lay down and died. He'd rather die than do another days work. The family shed tears for that stubborn old white mule. "He was a great friend. l'll dig him a final resting plane," Dad vowed," and  the old boy‘ll have a pillow of straw for his head." And he buried that lovable, stubborn old white mule with some straw under his head. Stubborn, as Jack presented stubborn leaves me smiling. In my mind, "stubborn as a mule" can‘t be all bad.



 

The following is a story written by my mother Vera Hazel Brown Huetson of a very special family Christmas.

 

 
YES JIMMY, there is a Santa.

 

 

I believe the year was, 1938. Larry, Jimmy and I were in Spokane. We were here through the generosity of a Stranger who learned that we were without work or funds and needed a ride to Spokane. The employer for whom Larry worked in  had absconded with any money that might have been paid to his employees. We found an apartment for $7.00 a month. We managed to survive until Larry found employment. We had food to meet each day's needs and enough for rent but Christmas was here with all the glitter and tinsel. Jimmy and I stood outside the Crescent store‘s Christmas Toy window. Jimmy was entranced with the trains traveling along endless tracks and tricycles that called for a little boy to ride. "Mom, do you think Santa knows where I live?" His eyes were anxious. "Of Course he does.

He keeps track of all children." I tried to prepare him for the inevitable. (Adult lack of faith?) "Sometimes," I Said, "Santa‘s list of children is very long. He might run out of trains before he gets to you. Maybe he won‘t have a trike this year, but he will get to your house. You hang up your sock. You may be sure you won't be forgotten. On Christmas morning when Jim inspected his sock there was only a momentary disappointment reflected in his eyes. He accepted the toy car and the top. He ran his car around the living-room, listening happily To the hum of the colorful top as it spun and sang.  We decided  to have breakfast so we could munch our way through Christmas cookies, nuts and candy. A knock at the door interrupted our breakfast. Jimmy ran to the door. He was expecting his Aunt Ruth. I heard a man's voice saying, “Hi, Jimmy, are you busy?" It was Mr. Rogers, a neighbor, the Spokane Fire Chief with whom Jimmy had become friends. "I’m eating breakfast.” "Ask your Mom and Dad if you can come to my house with me" he said,

" You know, Santa got mixed up! I found him leaving toys by my fire place." I don’t 'need those, Santa" I told him. "These toys aren't for you Santa said, "Doesn’t Jimmy live here?“ "No. Jimmy lives down the block." "I just left there." Santa laid his finger beside his nose. "I‘m running late. ]’ can’t go hack," he said "will you see that Jimmy gets these?" “I sure will, I told Santa and here I am." He had followed Jimmy in as he talked. "May I go, Mom?" Excitement danced in Jimmy's eyes. "Of course you may go." Hand in hand Mr. Rogers and Jimmy hurried down the stairs and out the door. Mr. Rogers was almost as excited as Jimmy. Our table was by the window over-looking the street. We watched for Jimmy. We thought the Rogers probably had a toy for Jimmy. He was s favorite of theirs, a recipient of cookies from Mrs. Rogers cookie jar and wonderful stories From his friend, Mrs. Rogers. However, we were not prepared for what Santa had left for Jim at the wrong address. We saw an ecstatic little boy  too excited to ride a newly painted tricycle. He was carrying a large box, too large for one little boy. Larry hurried out across the street to help him. I was right behind him. Jimmy was laughing but he was crying. I joined in his happy tears. The box that Larry carried held a beautiful old fashioned, wind-up train, complete with engine, Caboose, all kinds of cars and miles and miles of tracks. At least to Jimmy it seemed like miles and miles. His train track ran endlessly around his room, out into the hall and back. Mr. Rogers had watched for the toys Jimmy had talked about as the toys came into the fire department's Christmas toys Each year, at Christmas time I take out this memory of the gift of joy given to us that long ago Christmas morning. A little boy's faith in love and Christmas giving was completed. Along with the memory we try always to help the gift  department of any fire department, of Any-town, U.S.A.

 

 
This is my Aunt Ruth with me on the left and my little playmate, Punky.  This is how old I was when the train and tricycle were given to me by Mr. Rogers and this house had the upstairs apartment that we lived in at this time.  Dad had no steady employment and would leave about five in the morning to go to the day labor site.  In the afternoon he would go about the neighborhood finding appliances to fix for a dime here or a nickle there.  He paid twenty five cents a week for an insurance policy to pay for my college.