Beware, or I'll eat you alive.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Thank you~~~

Dear Sweet Things,

Thank you all for your positive comments and support.

Dear Fram thank you for your post in memory of the 4 fallen officers, you I know understand being a Marine, I believe one of the fallen officers was a Marine as well.

Chic Geek Thank you for your positive comments, love and prayers, it’s good to know even over long distances no one is ever alone.

Mean Kitty, Livinlavida, and others thank you as well for your support and prayers.

It means a lot to my friends and to me.

I am still trying to process this grief; I knew one of the officers through my friend Joe and I thank Lillian for being supportive and very wise for me and our friends. I knew she had a vested interest in this situation; her late husband was a retired Oakland Cop. He worked in the homicide division for 15 years before he retired after 35 years of duty.

Lillian knew exactly what to do, although I couldn’t understand the 3 Bozo bopping clowns, but later I did.

The memorial service had nearly 30,000 people attending, traffic stopped, I made sure that my television was set to record the services that were broadcasted on KTVU for replay later. Officers from all over California, the 50 states and police officers from foreign countries attended, there was fly overs of 20 helicopters from various police departments, Coast Guard and Fire Rescue. The motorcycles of the two slain police officers were on display in the Arena, I understood that the cycles were going to be retired and placed on permanent display somewhere. Bagpipes, speeches, flowers, Flags, tears, too much to describe.

After the major service at Oracle arena, each officer’s funeral went to 4 different locations, Tracy, Danville, Hayward and Oakland. It became a question of whom did each of us know best, so Lillian went with several officers to one and I went with Joe and Frank and several others to another, it was a good thing I was driving. Afterwards, some of them had to go back on duty, but I told them that it was open house at my place for them to process anything and everything. As I drove back to my place Joe put in a CD that I had burned ages ago and kept in my car. With Steppenwolf’s “Born to be Wild” blaring out of the car, Joe and Frank with Tom started singing it at the top of their lungs.

I had a strange feeling what the evening was going to be like.

It was a good thing and thanks to Lillian, several of our neighbors and strangely warm beautiful weather we could hold the open house outside, with a fire pit burning, food, beer, wine (no mix drinks), coffee, tea, soda, chips, buffalo wings, pizza, chicken chow mien, ribs, chili, sensible things like salads and Jell-O things like jigglers, I even loaded up on Peeps and Bunnies, those strange marshmallow concoctions that some men like. Since one of our grocery stores is open 24/7 it wasn’t hard to get more food.

They’d come by men and women, talk, eat, drink, cry, hit the Bozo clowns, watch the Dirty Harry/Lethal Weapon movie marathon on one T.V., the service on another, talk to a grief counselor that came by at Joe’s request, and they’d stare into the fire pit. I fielded calls, told them they were welcomed, the gathering would swelled and ebb as people came and left, Lillian listening to them she dispensed her wisdom, I made sure that there was plenty of food and plenty of chairs, our local gendarmes came by because some people complained about the noise, but once they knew who and what it was they even joined for at least coffee or soda and informed the complainers what it was all about. No complaints after that.

In the end early in the A.M. there were about 5 men including Frank and Joe who were ‘afraid’ to go home and face the loneliness, they didn’t have anyone waiting for them but they were loath to break up, it seemed as if the beer had no effect on them as we sat around the still burning portable fire pit. They were angry; angry because of Dellums- an ineffectual anti-police Mayor; Diane Feinstein- who has a CCW permit and carries one but would deny anyone else from obtaining one; Schwarzenegger -who is a fool; Barbara Boxer- who talks out of both sides of her mouth and is also anti police and protection, and Kurta who refuses to prosecute any felon who attacks and kills police officers. Every one of them was there, using the officers’ deaths as a political platform.

I would quickly remove any empty bottles, and put the beer into plastic cups, I could understand the anger.

Finally one of them said “How many were there at the Arena?” and I replied nearly 30,000 people. Frank staring into the fire pit asked “Who are we?” there was silence. Then I felt moved to speak, it had been running through my mind all day and finally I said “We few, we happy few, we band of brothers.”

They looked at me, and given how my mind remembers things in a strange way I started reciting but instead I some how re-arranged and substituted other words and the names of the officers and to the best of my memory I recited my version of the “Henry V” speech:

“This day is called the feast of Crispian:
He that outlives this day, and comes home safe,
Will stand up high when this day is named,
And rouse himself at the name of Crispian.

He that shall see this day and live to old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbors,
And say 'To-morrow is Saint Crispin's Day:'
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars.
And say 'These wounds I had on Crispin's day.'

Old men forget: yet all shall be forgot,
But we’ll remember with advantages
What feats were done that day.

Then shall those names,
Familiar in our mouths as household words,

Hedge and Dunakin,
Sakai and Romans

Be in our flowing cups freshly remember'd.

This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But they in it shall be remember'd.

We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he that sheds his blood with me today
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so base!

And gentlemen in America now a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here!

And hold their manhoods cheap! whiles any speaks!
That fought {and died} with us upon Saint Crispin's day!”

They looked at me with mouths agape, and then after a bit one of them said “Yeah, ‘we band of brothers’”

Lillian and I didn’t want them to drive in their inebriated condition, so between our two homes we had them crash out on the living rooms rugs and sleep it off. Getting up early, and with my two coffee pots perking, they all gathered again, headachy and a bit hung over but better, I could see the dark circles under Lillian’s eyes, but she was smiling.

We fed them and saw them off each to go on duty in the late afternoon, after they helped me and Lillian clean things up, dishwasher going overtime, dumpster full (thank goodness pick up is Monday). Cans crushed and ready to go to the re-cyclers, bottles sorted and bagged. So using Lillian’s’ SUV we took the re-cycables in and got cash, the money going to go to the officers memorial fund for their children.

But I confessed I was feeling very down, Lillian understood and was my counselor in how I was feeling. She had gone through this time and time again with her late husband and knew the feelings and knew what to do. She gave me advice as well, and I will call Frank and Joe and make sure they continue any grief counseling they may still need.

For me the best thing that I need is my work and then seeing family when I go down to see them during the Easter Period, it might do me some good, a change of scene and perspective.

Neither of us wanted to be alone so I slept overnight at Lillian’s on an extra camp cot in her bedroom, comforted by her snoring, and she can snore.

Today, Sunday, shone brightly with a breeze, and we did not want to be home, so we went out for breakfast, my treat, and went to the opening of the new Kohl’s store, mundane and banal, we came out and saw black smoke drifting from the west end to the east. Lillian ever the “fire horse” encouraged me to try and find out what it was, so, like news hounds we did, and found the old abandoned military hospital annex burned, two of the three stories partially collapsed, with gawkers looking on. Lillian didn’t waste any time and cornered some official people to get information about what had happened.

I found myself smiling at her insistence in getting into the middle of things, at her age she refuses to slow down.

I took her home, but she insisted that I eat dinner with her and watch television and she talked further to me, telling me to get myself back together and even if I need to go into my cave to heal a bit I should, but to maintain contact with people around me; she is right.

She said something else that made me think. She said “God forces us to move forward, God puts things and events in our path so we have to think, we have to move forward. That fire today had our interest and it was God’s way of waking us up.” And again she is right.

So Sweet things if I do not post for a while, I know you all will understand. For it is the Feast of Crispian

1 comment:

Fram said...

Been there, done that.

I, for one, really appreciated your detailed account of things as they affected you and those around you, Diva.

Good troopers will put this away before too long, and only allow it to come out once or twice a year when something reminds them of the bad days.

Harry's speech. Good analogy. I still remember the first time I heard it recited, from the stage of the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis. It is true, today as it was in Shakespeare's day. Good work, girl.