I am progressing. The book is taking on a life of it’s own.
I was about nine when I first realized that my family life was one of uncertainties and fear. My father was in and out of work as much as he was in and out of a bottle of gin—or whatever he could afford at the time. My mother was a stereotypical Native American (half-breed) whose self-induced poisoning came by way of a tall rum and coke every hour on the hour, and a menthol cigarette. Today, she is unpolluted. I grew up knowing hunger and pain; knowing that my feet were going to hurt and smell the next day because I had hand-me-down shoes with holes in the bottoms; knowing that my Dad would put newspaper inside my shoes and tell me they were fine; knowing that I would be embarrassed at the lunch counter because my friends had money and I had food stamps; not knowing if I would ever feel normal.
To be fettered by poverty should be endured by no one, especially an innocent child.
I recently received an e-mail that was forwarded to me by my sister-in-law. The original e-mail was sent by a LAPD officer involved in a program called PALS (police activity league supporters). Officer Kelly, above her regular duties, is also in charge of the police explorers in her division. She felt the need to reach out to others to help a young man in need and prevent him from slipping through the cracks. His name is Chance. He comes from a broken home and is having trouble fitting in. He lives in a one bedroom apartment with his Mom and brother, and one other family. He has no real father figure and his unemployed mother is trying her best to keep food in the house, which usually doesn’t include school money or clothes. The kids at high school constantly ridicule him for wearing the same hand-me-down clothes every day. And, as if that weren’t enough, he is constantly picked on for being the only blond-haired, blue-eyed teenager on a gang-infested street. At 16 years of age one can only imagine the turmoil his mind and body are experiencing.
Chance is not the only boy with these problems, but I felt similarities between us that compelled me to act. Money is tight for us right now but my wife and I wanted to help, so we went shopping. With a large assortment of clothing in hand, and an even bigger care package from my Momma, I breezed into the police station to meet with Chance. I had a strange reaction—I was nervous. Is it possible that I didn’t really want to see myself in him or revisit my past? We sat down across from each other as he opened his gifts. He put me at ease as his smile grew at each item he got. Suddenly he had to excuse himself…he went to the other room to wipe his eyes. When he came back I shared my childhood history with him. My simple message to him was direct, you are not alone. He began to open up to me. In a show of respect his eyes never averted from mine. He told me his home life consists of a mother who is completely absorbed by her gay relationship of a few years and a lesbian roommate that is constantly yelling at him. If it wasn’t for the explorer program and sports he doesn’t know where he would be today. He tells me he aspires to be a canine police officer—the teaching officers agree that he would make a good officer provided he stays on this path. More people start to arrive. At first I thought it was an outpouring of concerned people coming to support a struggling young man but Chance told me that there is a hand full of explorers graduating tonight and he invites me to stay. How could I refuse? Like a proud parent I waited with eagerness and when they finally called his name I was the only one standing…I didn’t care—it felt right. He shied away from his photo being taken, shook his instructors’ hands and walked straight down the aisle to the back of the room to shake mine. In the brief time with Chance I noticed when he is in a social climate he’s very distant at first, possibly in attempt to keep himself in check. I surmise that there is a lack of understanding on the part of his family, however, in his mind; I think he has already replaced them. We said good-bye to each other…I haven’t heard from him since, perhaps I never will.
If one little gesture from a stranger can make a difference in a person’s life, even if it only has a small impact, it’s worth the effort— it makes us a humane people. Happy holidays!
We were invited to the annual fondue party next door in which most of the neighbors are invited: Jack and Dianne, Bobby and Jackie, our new neighbors Melanie and Craig, quiet Kaye and Sandy and Maria. We all brought our kids—it was a full house. I can’t say that I’m much of a fondue person after my traumatic experience with a bread bowl-spinach dip a few years back(Superbowl 38 party; preparer of the bread bowl with dip just played with her 80 pound drooling boxer, smoked a cigarette then proceeded with hand shaping the bowl while tasting the mix—her husband came in behind her and commenced with a double dip of his fingers…I vomited.) and I definitely have a problem with community sharing when it comes to dipping items, but the fondue was freakishly first-rate and I found myself dipping beef cubes! Surely it was due to the fact that we were all plunging into a vat of boiling oil…easing my germaphobic tendencies. The children all played together; some nicely, the others, not so nice…the edit button in some kids isn’t a fully developed feature. It was at Heath’s and April’s dinner party that I discovered we live on murderers’ row. First it was Jake and Natalie with their landlords the slip the party girl a Mickey and push her off the balcony duo, and now Jackie’s family tree has come into question. Apparently Jackie’s grandma, after years of abuse from her alcoholic husband, sewed him to the bed while he was sleeping and beat him with a baseball bat. She took a break to have a glass of crown royal then blew his face off with his own shotgun. The incident was deemed a justifiable homicide. Hey Bobby! I hear that your wife is a better shot than you and she can sew.
Side note: the Culdesac covenant, you know who you are, likes menthol.
The evening came to a close when Sandy won the aluminum foil toss—I’m not sure how Jack missed every shot, it must have been the cleavage. The house across the street has had no activity for several months now. I wonder if we will be adding another to the M list.
Dr. Kami (a prominent pediatric dentist in the San Diego area) was charged with involuntary manslaughter. Dr. Kami was alleged to have supplied Sandra Rodriquez (a 21 year old party girl) with Ecstasy that led to an ill reaction, causing her to fall to her death 12 floors beneath the doctor’s Long Beach Hyatt Regency room.
After being exonerated, Dr. Kami made this statement: “The death of Ms. Rodriguez was tragic, and my heart goes out to her family, but bringing up past charges isn’t going to bring her back, especially charges on which I was acquitted.”
Why was the wife of Dr. Kami present (Dr. Nazli, who works with her husband) while he picked up these party girls? Rumor has it she was the one that picked the girls.
In an e-mail response to the doctor’s statement from an unknown sender:
“I know what you did, Kami. You’re not innocent. You simply beat the rap. I’m glad that not a day goes by that you don’t think of her death and your temporary acquittal.
You only prolong the twisted agony of your guilt and judgment by hiding behind your storefront facade. Every dog has his day.”
Yeah, I want my kids to be treated by Dr. Christian Szell (The Nazi dentist in the “Marathon Man”- “Is it safe”?)
Good question huh?
Hey Jake—better pay on time, or start running!
The company Jake works for supplied the jet for President Clinton.
He said, “The aircraft remained on the ground in Pyongyang for 20 hours during the President’s diplomatic mission—boring! Once the President’s team was safely aboard with Lee and Ling, the jet was escorted by North Korean fighters during the entire time it operated in North Korean airspace.” I overheard Clinton’s advisors talking, “Kim Jung- Il felt the former president has qualifications that North Korea wanted to see before releasing the two Americans: a serious attitude and connection to the Obama administration. Clinton’s mission provided the isolated North Korean regime with the respect and legitimacy it wanted.”
I asked, “what about the fact that what the two reporters did was illegal, moreover, Al Gore is their employer?”
“From what I understand, there was not a lot of talking on the way back.”
I stated, “I guess we owe N. Korea a solid!”
One 18 seat corporate jet round trip to Pyongyang N.Korea…$200k
Government fuel costs for the trip … $20,000.
Satellite phone use… $15,000. (Conference call with Obama, Hillary and Al, reminding Bill that even though 15 yr. old girls are legal in N. Korea; you should abstain).
Secret service and non-restricted air space…$? (No transparency). There are some things that money can buy—for everything else there’s… Steve Bing, a long-time friend of Clinton’s and a huge democratic supporter.
Jake said, “This is nothing; I just found out that the owners of my house are murderers.”
It was one of those mornings. The previous day’s coffee is cold in the pot—as I look through my kitchen window I watch my dog traipse through what I hope is mud. Damn, we just cleaned the carpets, but another sleepless night keeps me from an immediate intervention. I placed my oversized mug (40 ounces of porcelain that doubles as a bicep workout) into the microwave— my body anticipates the boost and responds with a bottomless growl. Seconds later and my mug was empty. Don’t judge me…we’re all junkies in some form or another. Like clockwork my evacuation orders were received, but I forgot my newspaper. Without hesitation I walked out to my driveway wearing only my black boxer-briefs and a t-shirt and start the newspaper hunt. In my humble opinion it takes far more effort to drive by the front of my house and throw the paper under one of our cars then it would to just drop one out of his window on my front walk, maybe the paper guy thinks that he’s saving on plastic by utilizing the shelter of my car. I dropped into a modified push up position and grabbed the paper which was wrapped in plastic…go figure. I go to stand up and there is Jake, finishing his run for the day.
Damn, too late to scamper back inside, “hey Jake—out for a run?”
“Yep, trying to stay in shape.”
“Yeah, you don’t want to fall asleep on your laptop and over-shoot your runway!” I said in jest. Being a pilot, I thought he would at least crack a smile, instead he comments on my shorts.
“Nice running tights…I didn’t know jockey underwear made running clothes.” He turns away and jogs into his garage.
Later that day, I had a fortuitous encounter with Jake out front. “Guess who flew over to Korea with a Clinton!”
To be continued…