Letter from Sayward

Dear Bob,

Back at the Table:

This morning I woke at 4:00 am when the motion lights went off. That’s today’s excuse. As I grow older I am finding the days shifting into an early to bed because it’s always early to rise. Always. Today, the elk strayed too close to the barrier fence and triggered the light. Will the fences hold? Will they come in the yard and eat the fruit trees? This time of year they peel the bark from around the trees. Whatever, I’m up.

The fire is going, music is on, and reflection time starts up. For years I have been contributing to a few different blogs. I also have a trapline of reading to do every morning, and a set pattern of hitting the bookmarks and logging on. When the days are longer I just start earlier in order to be out and about in the light. No excuses in December, for no matter how sunny the looming day might be, sunrise doesn’t change and there is no chance of a walk or chores before 8:00am. What to do? Make soup or write? Logon and read? Pick up the banjo? Or, continue to stare at the fire?

I have to confess that every morning I also check the news and see if someone has shot Trump? (Does he now have a mystery illness?) I also check the Futures and see if something has triggered a rout? Then, I sift through the stories and wade through opinions and bias. What is true? What is really happening? Is there such a thing as the ‘Deep State’. Is there some vast conspiracy holding it all together, pulling strings for a new war in order to sell more weapons? Will Alabamians really vote in a Roy Moore? Is the President of the US really a pussy grabbing lout? Can this be true, and what the hell is happening? Has it always been this way? And the Clintons are not very ‘nice people’, for sure. On CNN last weekend they had a special about Militias and why people join them? My God, I actually understood their motivation. I think this rural redneck has more in common with a militia member than with those movie stars playing politics; (I’m tired of the Shawn Penns telling me what is right and wrong and what needs to be done).

I do know I am offended every time I see Trump boarding his Marine helicopter. See the ramrod-stiff young marine standing at attention at the bottom of the ramp? He is most likely the cream of the crop for that honour. He has been steeped in military traditions, is beyond well-trained, and exudes honour and correct behaviour. He is forced to salute an overweight lout who mustered up 5 false deferments to avoid military service. But what really offends me is that the civilian lout salutes him back. This is not right. It is wrong. I say this as a civilian who has never served in any military, but I know when I see something wrong.

I say this as the son of two WW2 veterans and know very well what my long-passed Father would say. He would be horrified. Horrified.

In 1968 my Dad sold his insurance business in California and packed up his family in a move to Vancouver Island. It actually took a few years. I remember the discussions at night with my Mom, the tears, the loud voices. My mother insisted. I was 10 when the process began, and 12 the day we arrived at the border. My Dad had been a Major in WW2, a survivor. He was a supply officer in the 7th army. My Mother was a Canadian army nurse. She was stationed in field hospitals just behind the ‘lines’. They met at a dance and were married in Ghent, Belgium. My Dad never talked about the war, unless he and I ‘had a few’ on the back porch. Then he would tell me a few things. It wasn’t like the movies. There were no Tom Hanks. He had friends who died and he would sleep at night under a half-track in order to stay alive. My mom worked the field hospitals. You didn’t want to get her ‘going’ because she would talk about the ‘wounds’. I do know this, for the rest of her life she would only have a bath at night. She never showered, ever again. She used to say that she had a lifetime of cold showers standing on pallets; in the mud. That was enough.

My Dad used to also say, that the US would become a Police State, and that he hoped he would not be alive to see it happen.

Yesterday I went to town. I popped in to see my Mom at the Care Home. She is in a Broda chair and at the end of her life. She breathes and opens her eyes; or tries to. She no longer has the strength to drink, but can reflexively swallow so the care aids mix extra liquid with her pureed food. I don’t think she has known who I am for many years, but awhile ago I think she recognized my voice and tried to smile. When she could still open her eyes my Brother and I noticed they would change colour. They used to be hazel-brown; her whole life. Last year they turned blue, and then for awhile they changed back to brown. Sometimes they are more grey. I don’t know what colour they are anymore?

I’m not sure of too much these days.

I do know this. In these days of Collapse and Decline it is important to find a centre, and hope that it is right. It is important to recognize when ‘something is wrong’, and not be part of it. It is also important to ‘do the right thing’. It may be as simple as listening or holding the door for someone; good manners, meaningful traditions, and waking my wife on ‘swimming days’ with a cup of coffee.

After I check the news, I’ll let the chickens out, and take my dog Molly for a walk. It’s all good.

regards to all from Sayward,

Paul Stahnke

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