Who Was He

The Million MAGA March last weekend in Washington

America remains in an uproar as the administration attempts to foil the theft of the election. The main thing to remember is it’s not over until the fat elector sings, and it may be a while. I had about ten articles lined up to write about various aspects, but I just don’t want to, most of you have read it anyway. The main thing is to keep the faith, as I told a friend, America is a tough old eagle, and we’ve faced this sort of crap before.

Instead, I’m going to give you another of our articles from the new fiction category, which is proving very popular, This one from our old friend Dave Smith. Neo

He didn’t know me very well although he was my father and I was in my 40’s. But then it was becoming clear that I knew nothing about him either; what was real or what was simply a figment of the old man’s imagination.

“So, remember when we were hanging out on East 7th Street? We used to get high a lot and nod off to jazz or blues records playing in the background.”
“No, pop, I wasn’t there. I don’t know what you’re talking about?”
“Sure you do. Remember when we were getting wasted before heading out to Slugs to hear Lee Morgan play? You remember that. He died that night. And I think he had no idea that his number had come up.”
“Dad, who is Lee Morgan?”
“You know, the trumpet player; remember Sidewinder?”
“No, I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
“You must have been higher than I was and I got real nice that night and only after doing half a trey bag. It was real nice. But it was good in a way. We missed the shooting and that would have been a real downer. There was Margo, Marty, Louie the Greek, and Frenchie with us that night. We all got too high to want to walk in the snow down to East 3rd Street. It was cold and we were comfortably warm in the apartment.”
“Pop, you have me mixed up with somebody else.”
“Oh, do I? Who are you again?”
“I’m your son, pop? Don’t you know me?”
“Oh yeah. What’s your name?”
“It’s John. Your son John.”
He didn’t respond but looked off into the distance and back through many decades of his life; a life I scarcely knew anything about. I had never heard the names he was uttering and where was Slugs or who was Lee Morgan? So while he drifted off in thought, I got out my iPhone and simply Googled ‘Lee Morgan’ and read the following:
Edward Lee Morgan (July 10, 1938 – February 19, 1972) was an American jazz trumpeter and composer.
One of the key hard bop musicians of the 1960s, Morgan came to prominence in his late teens, recording on John Coltrane’s Blue Train (1957) and with the band of drummer Art Blakey before launching a solo career. 
Morgan stayed with Blakey until 1961 and started to record as leader in the late ’50s. His song “The Sidewinder”, on the album of the same name, became a surprise crossover hit on the pop and R&B charts in 1964, while Morgan’s recordings found him touching on other styles of music as his artistry matured. Soon after The Sidewinder was released, Morgan rejoined Blakey for a short period. After leaving Blakey for the final time, Morgan continued to work prolifically as both a leader and a sideman with the likes of Hank Mobley and Wayne Shorter, becoming a cornerstone of the Blue Note label.
Morgan’s career was cut short at the age of 33 when his common-law wife Helen shot and killed him following a confrontation at Slug’s Saloon, in New York City.
So my dad was living in NYC in ’72 and was a jazz loving junkie? He almost witnessed the death of Lee Morgan? This just didn’t fit the image of my father. I knew he loved music and especially the blues. I know he still had LP’s of a lot of music mostly from the ’60s and a bunch of jazz albums . . . but I never listened to them.
Breaking the silence, dad started to speak of the angels that had saved his life. There was Helene, Kath, Gloria, Goldie, and Mary. Now the last name I knew because that was my mother’s name. He was a prayerful Catholic and so I didn’t know if in his dementia he was speaking of angels or people or both. He was thankful that there was always somebody around that loved him enough to keep him from slipping into another life; sinking into a pit of drugs and despair. Obviously, he had kicked any habit he might have had for he never did any drinking or taking of any drugs during my life, as far as I knew; except perhaps for the Xanax which he took for anxiety. And I didn’t even know, nor did I care to know, what might have been behind that either. It was becoming quite clear how distant we had always been.
My father knew his genealogy well. He could tell stories about his grandfather’s days in eastern Kentucky and how his grandfather’s brother, Phillip, rode with a posse to find Devil Anse Hatfield of the infamous Hatfield and McCoy feud. Though my understanding was that Devil Anse died of pneumonia in 1921 and fathered a number of children who still reside in the area; so they must not have caught him. Yet I didn’t know or listen to much of what the old man had to say and I knew less about them than I did the Hatfield’s and McCoys which was next to nothing.
Again, the silence was broken. “There was something that always stopped me from becoming a junkie,” he said. “Half my friends did. But not me. I was always afraid of being hooked on drugs. Whenever I began to get a ‘chippy’ and awoke with sniffles or an aching body I wouldn’t get high again for at least a week. That is how I was able to use drugs and keep it purely recreational.”
“You were shooting heroin? How come I didn’t know that?”
“Sure you did. Don’t you remember us getting high together? Remember how we used to go to Slugs and listen to jazz and nurse a beer for two hours so we could stay and listen to the music?”
“It wasn’t me dad.”
“Well, who was it then? I know it wasn’t . . . it must’ve been what’s his name. Never mind.” He stared off again but this time his eyelids got heavy and he slumped down in his hospital bed and never awoke. I suppose the morphine they administered him with reminiscent of an old state of mind he was not unfamiliar with. Maybe this conversation was a manifestation of those highs he once experienced for fun rather than for pain.
And just like Lee Morgan, he had no idea that his last thoughts were far from the thoughts that we think that we might entertain on our deathbeds. Death came suddenly for Lee and for my father and the sun set on a life that was mostly hidden like an iceberg. I only glimpsed the tip of that icy barque that rose above the surface.  Life is very short and I cannot regain the time needed to uncover what was my own father’s life.
I must live with that realization and the fact that I will forever have a question mark in my mind:
Who was he, and for that matter, who am I?

Objective Reality and Useless Mouths

warningIf you’re younger than me by more than a couple of years, actually it might be more accurate to say unless you’re ten years older than me, you’re not like me. Why? Pretty simple really.

You see, my parents worked all the way through the depression, there aren’t any handcarts of apples in my history. That wasn’t much of a surprise, really, given that my dad held his dad in his arms while he died. He was a junior in high school, and now he was responsible for feeding his 6 younger brothers and sisters, and his mom. This would have been in the 20s and there was no government help, likely there was a bit of short-term help from the church. Grampa was a musician and a mechanic, he ran the light plant and the town band (of the 9-11 members, 7 were his sons by the way). Neither of those are going to make you a rich man, and he wasn’t. I have doubts he ever saw the inside of the bank, although he might have, he did try manufacturing bicycles, and failed.

But, anyway, Dad took over and kept them all fed and clothed, that was the end of schooling of course. Although I can remember the owner of a fabrication company that did our work telling me after he died, that dad was the best engineer he ever worked with. I believe it, I saw his work and I saw the respect from his sons-in-law, both professional engineers, one civil, and one mechanical.

But think about that, for a bit. from the time he was 17 about, in the 1920s; until he retired in the late 1960s he was never out of work, and was nearly always respected. But some of those days were spent loading 100 pound bags of potatoes into boxcars by hand for 18 or so hours.I met people at his funeral that he hadn’t seen since 1938, they remembered and cared enough to drive 200 miles to his funeral.

And that was how I was raised as well, although I haven’t had the challenges he did. But you know, the one thing I never heard dad do? He never complained about his life, or the curveballs it threw at him, and there were some. He worked his way through it, with  (a little, sometimes very little) humor. hard work and intelligence. And his last job started on 1 August 1939 with a shoebox of paper, and when he retired in 1969, it was a functioning power company with a physical plant worth something like $2 million dollars. Real dollars, worth close to a 20th of an ounce of gold each, not the devalued scrip we have now.

And here’s the lesson of the day, and dad’s life.

Personal responsibility is the key to it all. I watch the fools in Washington a goodly bit, as do many of you. It sickens me but it is important. What’s the most sickening about it? The constant striving to shift the blame around and the complete unwillingness to take the blame for anything. At some point it will fail, and badly.

Where does that start? With our kids. While I don’t happen to have any, I have had a bunch of young employees over the years. So I tend to see them as they’re entering the workforce. I am not impressed. In fact, I am appalled. These precious snowflakes that you have spent years worrying about and defending when they screwed up (and they did often) are absolutely worthless. It’s pretty much a lost generation, if America can even survive it.

What do I mean? Here read about the reprobates, and their delinquent parents, from Cassy Fiano at Victory Girls

In Plano, Texas, a girl named Shea Shawhan has become the victim of bullying. It’s not a new story — indeed, the rise of bullying over the past few years has been covered to death in the media — but Shea’s story is a little more despicable than usual. Shea is a special needs student. She was born with a brain injury that causes her to suffer seizures. She is 18-years-old, but possesses the mental capacity of an eight-year-old. Yet she has been targeted by vicious bullies urging her to kill herself and threatening her with rape.

One of the texts read: ‘Why are u still here. Clearly no one wants you. U only have special needs friends. And ur ugly and have a horrible fashion sense. Honestly ur clothes suck.’

… Some of the missives addressed to the student were even more explicit and menacing, including one that stated: ‘Shea is so annoying but cute I want to do more than just kiss her I want to rape her then kill her. That will finally make sure she goes away for good.’

… A message sent in late September even boasted that Shea and her mother would never be able to figure out who has been tormenting her.

‘I am many because we are a group and a union of people who dislike u,’ the missive stated.

The texts were sent from a web application that generates fake phone numbers, making the identities of the perpetrators difficult to trace. But what will happen when they are caught? Several recent similar cases can give us an idea.

Consider the case of Brian Holloway. The former NFL player found his house trashed after a party took place with over 300 teenagers present. Many of the teenagers took photos of the party, including the vandalism, and posted them online. Holloway shared those same photos online in a plea to help save the 300 teens. Rather than pressing charges against them for the $20,000 in damages the teens caused, he invited them to his house for a picnic for veterans, where they would also spend the day helping to clean up the mess they made. One teenager showed up.

Other parents of the 300 criminals? They found lawyers and threatened to sue Holloway. And so instead of spending a day righting their wrongs, these teens are finding out that arrests are going to be made — for felony charges, too.

 Continue reading How to End Teenage Bullying

Those kids in any objective society are dead. They are unemployable, good job parents.

The old rules will come back, and when they do, again it will hold that “If you would eat: work”.

And remember these guys as well

In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,
By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;
But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “If you don’t work you die.”

Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew
And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four —
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man —
There are only four things certain since Social Progress began: —
That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
And the burnt Fool’s bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;

And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!

Personally I think we would be wise to heed The Gods of the Copybook Headings. For as I’ve said before:

“If you break the laws of reality; Reality will break you.”

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