05 July 2011

To Everything There Is a Season...
Now most all of you have heard that phrase, and many can probably quote where in the Good Book it can be found.
And today, after the 235th birthday of our nation, it hits home a little closer for me than I would have preferred.
All of us have some sort of "past lives" to speak of...times when we did things or had jobs in other places with other people; people we don't hear tell about any longer. Some of those times can contain friends, loved ones, co-workers, spouses...you name it.
And I've had my share thus far.
So imagine my disbelief when my nephew Erik (my favorite VA firefighter) called to inform me that my former wife, Valerie had suddenly passed away.
It's times like this that you hear an internal "THUD"...like that proverbial "other shoe" that dropped in your life.
She was 9 years my younger, and we did split on as good terms as could be after more than seven years.
Having no children made it easier, although she did take our cat and kept him until he passed at 13 years.
You don't really want to assess blame on yourself, either...but you do.
You can't help it.
There is always a "what if?" lurking in the closets of our lives, and many times, we might even take them out, dust them off, and take another look at 'em, just to see if we could have done things better...or sooner...or less costly.
Then there's times when good old denial works best, but thankfully not for long.
Who we were brought up to become surfaces and we face those cold, hard facts of our lives.
Time stops for some folks...and continues for others, and only the Lord God Himself knows WHY.
And again, I will find some way to move forward with the rest of life.
Originally, Val was my supervisor in the Treasury Department (What? marry the boss?) and I guess we were two rudderless ships at the time who managed to "bump" into each other along life's vast ocean.
We travelled to VA often (family) and usually spent this time of year in Gettysburg, PA for the re-enactments (where I bought my 1861 Colt percussion revolver, and YES, that is the two of us having a sepia photo sit down there...I told you it was a few lifetimes ago), and we spent time together at the pistol range in Philly. (she was often a better shot than I was, which scared my buddies Bob & Jim)
We laughed together and cried together as couples will sometimes do, yet through it all, we had a pretty decent time of it while it lasted.
I guess you could say I grew out of love...a static relationship wasn't cutting it.
My job was keeping me up & out to some weird hours, and I was on a short leash (we had pagers back then), so I never knew when I'd be called back out for some dumbass thing. My life wasn't my own anymore, and certainly wasn't making for happy bedfellows.
We parted ways in 1996, and she was the one who called me (here) when Mom passed in 1998.
My only hope was that she could find what our relationship had lost over time once again.
Now, while I wish we lived closer, I don't know if I would feel comfortable attending the services.
And while I do have a valid reason for being there, I wouldn't want to intrude or dredge up any ill feelings from anyone there.
When I get the details, I will send along flowers, and sign the online guestbook, if they provide one.
*** We never do know the road ahead in our lives, and that can be both intriguing as well as terrifying.
We would LIKE to know what's in store for us, but maybe it's best we DON'T know, because if we DID know, that might have farther-reaching ramifications not only to us, but to others as well.
And yes, I can debate the issues on such things ad nauseum...maybe it's just my way of coping. For everyone, it IS different.
I do know that losing people in one's life makes a person weary beyond their years.
This is not the FIRST time something like this has happened in my life.
A LONG time ago, I was working a job, and the buddies I made were finished for the week, We said our goodbyes for the 4th of July weekend and all said "...see you on Tuesday". Well, Tuesday never came for one of us.
One friend was attending a family function and a small nephew fell into the pool there. My friend dove in to save him, struck the bottom and broke his neck...that was it. Over in an instant.
Never forgot that...and for the life of me, I can't remember his damn name.
The weird part is that the rest of carried on...don't ask me how, we just did.
Maybe my generation had much of the former one, and we kept on "keeping on", as it were.
So, if I suffer some DEJA VU for a while, I hope you'll all understand that I'm a firm believer that lightning can strike twice in the same place.
(the human heart)
It never gets easier to totally mend such a delicate item of our humanity, but we keep repairing the cracks.
*** Elsewhere, around out "Fortress"...
Sounded like a busy night in Fallujah...or Saigon during 1968's Tet...or the Ardennes in the winter of 1944.
And we didn't even have to leave our bastions to "enjoy" it all.
I will say ONE THING about the fireworks laws in Fort Wayne, Indiana...CHANGE THEM...change them NOW.
In residential areas with LESS than 50 feet BETWEEN properties, it's just NOT RIGHT to set off AERIAL fireworks that rival the size (and often the sound) of a damn 81mm MORTAR!
Shards of debris rain down on property, and I even heard a radio call from a citizen who had their vehicle DAMAGED by fireworks.
There was another call for a trash bin in someone's YARD that caught fire from them also.
And in our little part of the ghettohood, we had minority morons (white people are at a premium, and SMART ones who are RESPONSIBLE are even fewer in number, trust me on THAT one) setting off fireworks in the MIDDLE OF THE DAMN INTERSECTION.
We're talking huge-ass mortars with lots of display such that even TRAFFIC couldn't get through, and even when you call the police for the violation (which it certainly is, if you read the ordinances)
they only roll through and say something...even when an aerial goes off RIGHT NEXT to their cruiser as they drive away...amazing!
Here's a local article that says WHERE (as well as when) you can set such things off...not that any of the local flotsam have a freaking CLUE (because they're all dumber than a bag of rocks):
I found the FWPD response to be marvelously INeffective in that regard (yet prompt), but I'm SURE they didn't have ANY trouble with compliance in those nice, GOOD neighborhoods, where people actually LISTEN when a law-enforcement officer says to REFRAIN from such activities, and follow the LAW.
What truly amazes me, is HOW people that DO NOT WORK manage to BUY so damn MANY of these things...and like I said before, they ain't cheap, kids!
And there's NO damn way a person could STEAL that much sh*t from the local stores.
We're talking HUNDREDS OF DOLLARS SPENT...(per idiot)...and used up during the FOUR HOUR "event" last evening.
And that's not including the days both leading UP TO and FOLLOWING the 4th of July.
I suppose that the WIC program now INCLUDES fireworks?
Or maybe instead of FOOD STAMPS, they get VOUCHERS redeemable at Phantom Fireworks stores for the month of July?
Perhaps DRUG MONEY does but a SH*TLOAD of aerial annoyances...I can't say, but something is DEFINITELY WRONG with this picture.
And that is one thing that NEEDS to change.
Then again, it does make sense that the kids can't be clothed properly...or fed...or even have a toy bought for them (instead of those primitive rocks and sticks) when all the cash is going for FIREWORKS...or CAR STEREOS...or RIMS & TIRES, right?
Sure glad we have the TAXPAYING PUBLIC to thank for all the assistance, right? YOU paid for it in some way.
How's about we require people to GET A LICENSE to set such fireworks off...like getting a FIREARM?
(and no straw-purchasing)
Let's hold these morons to SOME level of accountability...and responsibility for once.
Hey, I love a good fireworks display, but NOT when I feel as if I'm living at ground zero of an M 109 ARTILLERY BATTERY sending greetings downrange.
Again, our city needs to extricate it's cranium from it's alimentary canal (get their head out of their damn ass) and make some laws that have some TEETH, and manage to achieve that QUALITY-OF-LIFE our mayor shoves down our throats at every photo-op.
Life is too short to waste on annoying others...or being annoyed by the idiots in our midst.
And that you can take to the bank.
Be well, make a difference to someone, and...
Stay safe out there, America.


singedwingangel said...

I am so sorry for the loss of your first wife. One of my oldest son's friends lost her papaw this weekend, at her house while they were having a picnic. Yes there is a time and place and sometimes we are left to wonder the logic in that time and place.
I hear you loud and clear on the fireworks. My sister is a manager of a low income housing section here in our town. She gets so frustrated with those she has to admit. Knowing that they are nothing but trouble...

Bob G. said...

First of all, welcome aboard...
And thank you for your kind words.
They are appreciated.

At least pawpaw and Val are in good company with those who passed on the 4th.
Both Thomas Jefferson AND John Adams died that day, fifty years after our first Independence Day in 1776...hours apart.

Fireworks are for RESPONSIBLE people...not for the unwashed masses...ask any emergency ward in any hospital in ANY city on the morning of the FIFTH of July.

Maybe Sis can "hold" the fireworks for thenm until they leave?
Just a thought...lol

Again, thanks so much for taking time to stop by and comment.

Do stay safe out there.

CWMartin said...

My sympathies to you. I'm glad you at least weren't at a "and good riddance" point in things. Always better to go out on good terms.

On fireworks, can't say the bombardment throughout our neighborhood bothered me, but it wasn't quite as "on top of me" as yours were. Actually was a pretty good occasion to share greetings with the neighbors ( a good thing out here) and the IPFW show was a short walk away. I can't say I'm a regular at fireworks events, but I thought it was one of the best I ever seen. We were in the Plex's north lot and about 100 neighbors (including at least 2 dogs and- shortly before we passed through the path through the hedge- one big joint) enjoyed a great show.

Bob G. said...

Yeah, those were the days...I was church treasurer & usher, and she helped in Bible School.
Had the best pastor in my life...great man with a lovely wife.
Beautiful souls...both of them.

Have to tell you about how I was called out to a job BEFORE I even made it to church someday...that was interesting.

I would think apartment complexes don't suffer the issues that happen in single house neighborhoods.
And I would expect that YOU had a spectacular "viewing arena" for the D/T displays.
We can usually hear them way down here sometimes.

Tell 'ya...if these mooks living around us COULD, they'd fuind a way to shoot off REAL artillery rounds...guess we're fortunate we DON'T havea an armory nearby, eh?

Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting.

Stay safe up there.

CWMartin said...

I'm always one of those that answers "no" when the question is "do you think change is good".

We always seem to work so hard to get to that good place, where the water is calm, the sun is out, and the food is fairly tasty. And change is all about how life moves us away from where we think we belong to where we are a cold, shivvering stranger in a strange land.

But in time we find another calm port, and friendly faces. We build up a world we can live with. And of course, time moves us on. Hootie and the Blowfish sang, "Time- you ain't no friend of mine." But- and if it sounds like I'm talking myself into this tonight, well, yeah, - When you get to that calm port, you gotta take the time to say, "All my roads led to where I am."

Sorry, I'm in between worry about work hours, melancholy about the state of the world, and in between one blogging friend describing her "calm place" (that sound a lot like our last one and your reminiscing about one of yours. And kicking myself to appreciate the one I'm now in- the one that you are all a part of.

Tqalk to you tomorrow, my friend.

Wrexie said...

The what if's lurkning in the closet are very scary when they jump out at us..

I'm so sorry for your loss. I often wonder who, my X or me, will have to endure that day... my heartfelt sympathy to you, Bob.

"I do know that losing people in one's life makes a person weary beyond their years."
..I agree. I feel ancient this week. Whether it's a death or a broken relationship... it's draining and painful.

Yet life somehow goes on...doesn't it?

Slamdunk said...

Thanks for sharing Bob and I am sorry for your loss.

That Colt must be somthing. This weekend my older son picked out a book on 19th and 20th century firearms and has been drawing rifles, handguns, and shotguns for hours since. I am not so sure the Mrs. is enamored with his interests (military and so forth), but she is happy that he is being creative.

Bob G. said...

Now you sound like ME...
because I often find myself asking similar questions and wondering.

Change for "change sake" is never really good, but change WITH PURPOSE always works, no matter how difficult the reason behind it, or the journey that needs to be taken.

Thanks for the words of encouragement.

Stay safe up there.

Bob G. said...

Yes...we do move forward, but never forget to look over our shoulders from time to time...as that reminder.

If we're real fortunate, something (or someone) might come along and allow us to feel the youth of our past once again, and however brief THAT time might be, we don't have to suffer that weariness for a spell...and that's not too bad at all.

And if anything jumps, bounds, or slithers from out of MY closet, it better have a sack full of Franklins...for me...LOL!

Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting.
Your words are much appreciated.

Stay safe out there.

Bob G. said...

Thanks for your kind sympathies.

Valerie and I spent time in the summer heat for the 130th re-enactment of Pickett's charge in Gettysburg, and I videotaped the whole thing from "behind the lines" as it were...I'll have to tell that tale...someday soon.

I did make one mistake with that pistol...I bought a BRASS FRAME version instead of the steel frame, so no "hot loads" in THAT puppy...everything BY THE BOOK.
Love to go shoot that sometime.

I already have the "caps", so all I need (now) are wads, powder, and some.44 cal lead balls.
(Some have said I already have BRASS ones...LOL)
Got a period leather holster for it as well.

The places we go and the souls we encounter in life are beyond remarkable.
It's a strange mixture of happiness ,despair, victory, defeat, pleasure, pain, and so much more.
And every day of our life can be ripe with such things.

We just need to hold those precious moments dear to us, and learn from those bad ones.
That's the key.

Thanks much for spending some time here and commenting.

Stay safe out there.