18 December 2007

Momma away

Я тeбя люблю
I love you...

It was nearly two months ago when the call came,
ending her voyage,
eighty-nine tours around the Sun...

Ending an enduring wait,
an enormous weight

The call,
from the state where I last visited my darling mother...

Our shared journey ended, and with her parting breath
the following generation stood on hand.

Where doth she fly?

(December 23, 1917 --- October 29, 2007)

I am and always was her Youngest, last of a series of four boys; our generation really straddles two, the older pair an early-Sixties generation, the second pair found their majority in the 'disco-era', of the post-Nixonian economic 'malaise' that we called the Seventies.

Mom was counterpoint to 'the old man' (
ToM), and she was strong in her faith, strong in her beliefs, and especially strong in her inquisitive intellect and moral being: it came naturally, in stark contrast to 'ToM'... and when once I reminded her in Aspen, maybe in 1968 or 69, that the man that had held open the door of the restaurant for her and I, was none other than Stein Erikson, immortal skiing hero from Norway, her heart fluttered a bit, I'm sure...

When she took my other brother and I, to see 'Mr President Nixon' arriving at the local airstrip in New Jersey, I remember fondly how she corrected me, after I offered Dick Nixon my own well-aimed middle-finger salute...

She said “SON! Please! You must respect the Office, even if you cannot respect the man that holds it...”

I've often wonder why it appears that no other American's mother taught them that?

After learning how the media has shifted so far to the right, while Republican politicians still thrill, in berating the 'liberal media' that obviously died in the Clinton era, the crass discourse that has survived, grown stronger and poisoned
the new Millennium... Mom you won't be missing much, my dear.

We latter boys, grew up in a Jersey forest of delights, a forest that we never feared, between deer herds and horse stables, swamp lands of the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge. and hillside creeks... in the most beautiful part of New Jersey. Hundreds of deer fed off the verdant hillside flora... cycling cross-country to school on the same trails ridden (once or twice a season) by Jackie Kennedy and her crowd...

We grew up, steeped within Early US history, walking the wooded paths where, some 190 years prior, the Continental Army had camped for some 24 months of the Revolutionary War: the Wick House,
the lore which included how daughter Tempe had hidden her horse from ransacking British troops, later to ride away and warn the Generals in Morristown... and we as naïve children believed in the heroism of free-fighting colonialists.

Mom, it wasn't until many years later, that I began to find out more of the history of our region. "WAR IS HELL" is not the most recently-coined phrase:

In 1776, the people of Morristown wanted nothing more than to have the army stay in town in order to protect them. When the troops actually did come, however, the townsfolk found they got more than they had bargained for. The soldiers they had hoped would protect them from harm brought with them deadly disease, stole and damaged property, and caused severe overcrowding. Despite the uneasy relationship between Morristown and the military, however, the town’s role was vital to the American cause and part of New Jersey’s vast contribution to the revolution.

This may sound familiar, to any student of foreign occupancies...

Mom, you brought we two boys with you to see A CLOCKWORK ORANGE. back in its original X-rated version, when released in 1971, the manager wouldn't let us in, and you let him know that you thought a mother could and should have the capacity to offer her children a metaphorical journey into the future, as we are witnessing Burgess and Kubrick's prevoyant premonitions of rampant violent decadence in the youth of ... now!

My mother would remember, how she dropped me off to McGovern county headquarters, so I and my lovely friend (sigh...) could stuff some 12,000 envelopes with campaign information. I think we set a record, dear, although the cause was lost: to the man who created the Watergate cover-up... someone once called 1972 'The First Year of the New Millennium', in a clear reference to the political destruction of the American Dream...

Mom, you agreed (groovy....), when my friend and I proposed to travel by hitch-hiking, some 400 miles (700km) to Watkins Glen, in NY State, for the Summer Jam concert of 1973... and better, you convinced the ToM not to oppose this, and you provided us with our first ride, to rocket us up to the Interstate, where our prospects for a long haul were considerably stronger... and when E. and I arrived, to find peace and fun in the midst of 600 thousand hippies - and how we returned on Monday, one (first!) bag of weed and one sunburn later - three cents left in my pocket.

The Grateful Dead, who played twice! Their two hour sound check, the evening before their concert in the late morning... the Allman Brothers' Band, and the BAND...

This generational event, could only but add to my pacifist convictions, Mom, after siding with you against
ToM, our racist Republican father, who spewed on the greatness of Nixon, the obvious necessity of fighting Communism by killing babies in Vietnam, the atrocity when HIS university set up an inner-city campus in Newark...


It became the year of transition,
although we didn't even know it yet...

Momma, who watched as another brother took mySelf and a motorcycle off to Nova Scotia, to voyage by ferry, moto to Lunenburg, Halifax, and discuss whether the
ToM and I could survive, living in the same house, as violently opposed to one another as are the Shi'ites and Sunnis today... could I survive for the two remaining years of my high school?

A question without answer, but a solution nevertheless, was proposed: and good-bye to the Eastern Liberal upbringing...

Momma, you eventually resettled in Denver, joining the Eldest son for a year or more, in which you decompressed from the mighty weight of the eternal warfare we had waged together, against the
ToM, whose alcoholism and other nasty habits (A truer, right-wing Hunter Thompson "FEAR AND LOATHING" personality could hardly be invented) had vanquished much of our spirits... we survived that.

And Momma, I remember when you brought our dog
MacDuff to
the foothills
above Boulder, Colorado,

... so we could all three say good-bye, to a faithful animal that had cost the price of four tumour operations on your limited budget... his health betrayed his enthusiasm, even as he laboured to cross the rugged terrain, dry under a Colorado sky...

You entered the work force nearly the same year as I did, earning a living as best you could, after being one of the stoic housewives in the last generation that venerated this domain.

The ToM had retired to the mountains, and due to my collapsed program in film studies, while I had suffered to share his digs and earn some film-study money, I stayed, moving beyond the ToM to enjoy my own form of decompressing, as a skier and raft guide, for families and celebrities alike.

Momma, you were so happy when I married, so compassionate through my divorce, and your serious problems started to accrue, in the years after I had left Colorado for the East again, with wife, to create the new and intellectually-broadened son, aiming for a law degree, hoping to go off into the wilds of diplomacy, and write a treaty that helped the world advance in normative law formation... while learning divorce law as an extra-curricular activity, and suffering the same pains as you, to have stayed so long in a negative energy, unloving atmosphere.

Into Europe came I, as you travelled less and read more, an
Oprah fan, a liberal of stature, and a inquisitive light always... how much you suffered, watching as Bush the Lesser created his zombie world of terrorist ghouls that were certainly (FOXnews knows) only a mile or less away from KILLING EVERY AMERICAN (NB: HomeSec - this is a joke!) EVERY DAY FOR SEVEN YEARS NOW...

The only thing we have to fear TODAY, Momma, is hearing the word 'fear' itself, broadcasted from the US Government on a 24/7 basis; to win the votes of the fearful, to inhibit healthy campaign discourse on real tangible issues, to motivate the opinion of the media into supporting 'war president' policy chocies...

But as you quietly 'went to sleep' this year, suffering as so many do, the scourge of Alzheimer's, the long-term effects from diseases you'd long vanquished, or held at bay... and I so far away...

Momma, you once told me
in the mid-to-late 1990s, as I recall now, that I was the only son that said "I love you Mom" (or 'honey', 'sexy mama', 'darling') with every call; and you noted that I did this EVERY TIME...

But it was only natural to me, after being raised by you... maman, ma petite chèrie... meine Geliebte, I thought it right to break the chains that bound our relationship in the stoic ways of past generations.

Momma, we also saw the film Little Big Man, a
Dustin Hoffman classic...

... he who had the Chief as his grandfather... and who certainly gave me a facet of my beliefs, in his memorial line "It is a good day to die..."

Many know this quote... many more do not retain the powerful words that followed... these are words that tie ourSelves together, Momma...

Thank You for making me a Human Being!
Thank You for helpin' me to become a warrior!

Thank You for my victories, and for my defeats!
Thank You for my vision, and the blindness in which I saw further!

You make all things and direct them in their ways, O Grandfather.

And now You have decided the Human Beings will soon walk a road that leads nowhere.

I am gonna die now, unless death wants to fight.

And I ask You for the last time to grant me my old power to make things happen.

Remember, Mom, that to these Cheyenne Indians, the words 'Human Beings' only referred to themselves... Recall how this sequence ends, as Grandfather opens his eyes?

Am I still in this world?”

Jack Crabb (Hoffman): “Yes, Grandfather.”

“I was afraid of that... Well, sometimes the magic works, sometimes it does not.”

Momma, you helped make the magic work... and nearly three weeks ago, three weeks after your quiet sleep began, I met someone whose heart may beat as mine does... which is why I'll say one more time, in Russian...

Я тeбя люблю
I love you...


Rubber Side Down said...

sorry to hear about your mother.... a rather nice letter of memories to see her off to eternity.

I imagine the month of November was one of mixed blessings.... mourning a wonderful women and then having the excitement of the WADA conference in Madrid to wet your appetite for changes in drug enforcement in sports.

Thanks for the fine journalism.


ZENmud productions said...

Thanks Rubber Downside (smile)...

I'm appreciating more and more the community of which we share a good part, the best part, and thanks for thinking of someone you didn't (sniff) get a chance to meet...

Merry Solstice, Christmas,