Rushing Home

Jimmy Mc

James J. McNamara was a really good friend.  We I met when I was running the Village Of Rosendale Police Force in 1974.  Years later he was a Sergeant on the NYPD when shot to death leaving a young wife and a young son, a brother, a sister and a legion of pals and admirers.

Jimmy He is buried in his boyhood home in Rosendale in the churchyard which was one of our nightly patrol checkpoints.  A place which if the radio was quiet we’d stop, pour ourselves a cup of coffee out of the thermos in the console and with the frosty autumn night air blowing through the open car doors , chat.  And chat and chat about the future.

So missing him I stop at the churchyard of an evening.  Not every week or every month but I stop, walk to his grave and continue one of those long ago  conversations.  Although a few weeks ago I went by in daylight in order to put an American Flag down on his grave, one of the thousands my American Legion Post places each May.  Jimmy wasn’t a veteran of the military but no man in a uniform could give more and I include him in on that.

This year however someone has been there before with a flag and also a card I left undisturbed; unread.  His wife or son I would guess or maybe his brother whose house is only a few hundred yards off.

I wept, “I can’t believe it’s been ten years Jimmy” I told him and then recoiled with shock when I re-read in daylight the dates carved deeply into the stone – “God help me in three months it will have been twenty.”

And that’s the way age and time is.  The older you get and the more friends and family who leave you behind, who rush on ahead of you home, the more years are quicksilver, slipping through your fingers and falling to the ground, disappear into the earth.

But then I remembered an old legend and took bittersweet satisfaction in that approaching anniversery.  Because if your Irish you believe that you repose for the first twenty years of your death in a timeless, quiet, very green and peaceful sleep just under the earth.  Waiting, waiting, waiting along with souls surrounding you in the ground for the last day and your resurrection.

But you also believe that your rest is interrupted by the singing of Irish fairies in the tinkle of tiny porcelain bells as exactly twenty years from the day of your death St Bridget appears not far off and walks over to your grave.  And if you were upright and brave in life she smiles and whispers the ancient summons of Saint Columba.

I Send You News, Stag Blowing, Winter Flooding, Summer Gone

And you vanish from where you had been resting .  Because dressed in bright green, in an iron helmet and sword, buckled and armored your spirit has risen to join other tall laughing Irish warriors streaming out from heaven’s postern gate in order to fight beneath the golden banners of the angels in their long war, long war against the Prince Of Darkness.  Join those special children of God he created to fight open and keep open the way for the day of Christ’s return.

Until he does and time itself ends.

They also say, although it may be fancy, that wherever Saint Bridget’s slipper has rested next to your grave, shamrocks grow.

And so I’m suddenly so very, very happy for you Jimmy.  Because you’ve now almost completed those twenty years and I’m looking forward to seeing those shamrocks and imagining you alongside those of your proud race in the clash of axe and shield, fighting for the return of your Lord and savior.  As your bright and proud spirit was bred to do.

As I hope mine is someday too – my sorely missed, and much loved friend.

 

 

 

More Coyotes

Great Britain, as it’s prone to every now and again, is convulsed by a dog story.  In this case it was a barking terrier who the neighbors after years of this torture, killed the thing.  The man’s trial garnered the attention of the O.J. Simpson affair except that the perpetrator was convicted and given a suspended jail sentence.  The Daily Mail On-Line recorded something like 2000 comments on the trial most demanding that the man be killed himself.

Here’s the lead:

DOG RAGE – the question dividing Britain: Can you feel any sympathy for the neighbour who killed a dog because it wouldn’t stop barking? Here, the dead pet’s owners tell their side

Dog killed by Stephen Woodhouse's owners tell their story after trial        

The tragic drowning of family dog Meg (pictured left, with George Boddington) is a story that has united the nation’s dog-lovers. Owners Alan and Alison Boddington (pictured, right) speak out about their neighbour Stephen Woodhouse’s (inset) ‘despicable’ actions and the horror of thinking how Meg suffered, in a reveal-all interview in the aftermath of the trial.

Below is my contribution to the discussion:

I had a neighbor who let a Basset Hound out during the day while they were at work and the thing was constantly halloing in back of my house. I complained and complained and complained to no avail.  Finally after years of this I told the neighbors I was going to shoot the thing dead and they still ignored me.  But the brush he was wandering in day after day was too thick to get a shot. Finally one day I’m out in the garden and the nasty annoying thing got chased out into the meadow by a pack of Coyote who ran him down in front of me and ate him.  So that’s the answer to persistent dog barking – more Coyote.  I realize you don’t have Coyote in the U.K. but that’s easily remedied and they breed like rabbits.  And don’t ever bark – just howl at the moon when it’s full.  P.S. another benefit is that they eat Red Fox.

I await the death threats from Great Britain’s fanatical animal lovers.  If I get any really interesting ones I’ll blog about it.

My Worst Senior Moment

I was recently asked what my “worst senior moment” was.  I replied that I was embarrassingly rich in examples but if I had to choose one it would be the day a few years ago when three of my grandchildren were in the same school just down the road and I stopped in around noon.  One thing this school does right is that no matter what the weather it gets all the kids outside running around in the middle of the day.  So looking at my watch thinking I could maybe surprise them I parked in the big lot and meandered over the grassy acre between the buildings where the school’s hundred and fifty children were yelling and screaming, running in circles, chasing balls, playing tag and cartwheeling.

It was sunny but a bitterly cold late autumn day with a wind blowing windrows of fallen leaves through the air.  All the kids were bundled up and so try as I might I couldn’t pick any one of the three out.

Then a woman marched over.  Some member of the staff or a volunteer whom I’d never met.  A serious, powerful looking oak slab of woman in I guess her forties who under a very determined visage had a big brass whistle hanging on a chain around her neck.

“Can I help you?” she asked in a voice which sounded like gravel rolling around inside a cement mixer.

“I’m just looking for one of my three grandchildren.”

“Oh, is that so?  Then their names are?” she demanded.

And I froze and drew a blank.  A blank!  OH MY GOD!  WHAT HAPPENED TO ME?  DID I HAVE A STROKE?  I CAN’T REMEMBER THE NAMES OF MY GRANDCHILDREN!  And the longer I stood there with my mouth open the closer her hand crept to that whistle.  I didn’t know what would happen when she blew it but I knew it wouldn’t be anything good.

Them BAM a pink blur hit me and I went down on my back in the leaves.

Sitting on my chest was one of my granddaughters.  “Sorry grandpa” she was looking down into my face with real concern, “I thought you saw me coming.”

Out of the corner of my eye I saw the disappointed whistle woman stomp off in search of the next suspicious intruder and I smiled back, “don’t worry about it honey you were just in the nick of time.”

Then I tapped her with one finger, “by the way what’s your name?”

 

Holy Donkey Dust

Max Hastings’  Retribution  (a very good read) talks at some length about the Soviet campaign in 1945 against Japan and I was surprised to find out how much FDR had bribed them with in order to do what any idiot could see they were going to do anyway; 1,000 aircraft, thousands of Dodge trucks delivered in crates by the U.S, to Siberia and all in one pop 500 Sherman Tanks and so on.   Hastings then goes on to describe the amphibious invasion of the Kurile Islands by the Russians and I remember being doubly surprised that the Russians could mount such an effort – after all they didn’t have a Navy.

FDRBut just today that blank filled in when I finished Roosevelt’s Secret War by Joseph E. Persico (another good read) found out about   Project Hula  and realized most people don’t know the half of what FDR gave the Russians in the Far East well in advance of Japan surrendering.

Because he also gave them a navy.

You can Google the list :

180 ships – 30 Tacoma-classpatrol frigates, 24 Admirable-class minesweepers (AM), 36 auxiliary motor minesweepers (YMS), 30 large infantry landing craft (LCI(L)), 56 submarine chasers (SC), and four floating workshops (YR) and the training at a secret base in Alaska of about 15,000 Soviet Navy personnel to operate them.

Holy Donkey Dust!

And why don’t they teach that in school?

 

 

 

FlameWarrior7 On Racism

flamewarrior7 American Thinker Comments 5/12/2015)

Finally someone understands the truth–racism is everywhere. Christianity is racist. Jesus was racist. Judaism is racist. Islam is racist. Shinto is racist. Hinduism is racist. You are racist. I am racist. God is racist.
The sun is racist. The moon is racist. Children are racist. Bunnies are racist. Kittens are racist. Puppies are racist. Everyone and everything are racist.
This needs to be understood–clearly understood. Blacks can not be held responsible for their actions. They can not be held responsible for how others perceive them. Blacks are victims.
Air is racist. The sky is racist. Water is racist. Planet Earth is racist. The Universe is racist.
Blacks are basically robots programmed by their racist environment. They can not be held to the same standards as EVERYONE ELSE on Planet Earth. Blacks are unique. They are special. They are innocent of every crime they commit. They are not responsible for their thoughts, emotions, actions, behaviors, wishes, wants, and dreams.
Blacks are angels. They are children. They are kind and loving “spirits” that we racist Earthlings corrupt.

The bunnies are especially racist.

 

Let Me Tell You About My Cat

I was a friend of a friend.  But apparently the old man remembered me from my days as Village Chief-Of-Police and one of my small town small time exploits caught his fancy, he talked about me a lot and his family asked me to talk to him about selling his house.

“None of my business” I waved the idea off.  “I’d be too embarrassed.” But they persisted, I caved and one bright crisp autumn day I very self-consciously knocked on the door of pretty Cape with a two car garage, old barn and beautiful landscaping and asked him to sit down with me.

He was frail and fading, closer to ninety than eighty and the house too much for him.  But he was tough and none of the kids had had any success in talking him into selling and moving into assisted living or living with one of them.

I made my pitch and he leaned far back in his chair in front of the fire until only his two bright glittering eyes could be seen   Then he seemed to reach some sort of a decision and leaned forward again, “Chief can I tell you about my cat?  I never told anyone about my cat Rogue before.”

I guess the old guy in senile I thought sadly.  “So sure why not?”

He nodded then smiled a little boy’s smile off somewhere else in his mind’s eye and I was shocked to see his chest jump as a slow tear ran down one cheek, “I’m not a cat person Chief.  Never was.  I like dogs, big floppy dogs” he nodded his chin at his long retriever mix Ruffian laying on the floor between them.  “It was my wife that liked cats and when she passed away we had an old black and white she loved named Budget.  I’d never fed him or took him to the vet or even I think ever petted him and he didn’t like me too much either.  But when me and Ruffian were left alone with him we took as good a care of him as we could.  Made sure he had the food he liked, and plenty of water and cleaned his litter box just like my wife had done.  But he never warmed up to us so to speak, he missed her too much and somehow I think blamed us for her not being there anymore.”

“I certain you did take good care of him.”

“And then he died too” Ed shook his head slowly back and forth, “still missing her right to the end.”

“Yes, cats can he like that” I nodded.

“So then it was just me and Ruffian when one day my youngest granddaughter comes to see me with something wrapped up in an old pink towel.  An orange and white kitten that had lost its Mom.  She figured I was even lonelier after Budget died and brought it to me.  And the fact was that I was even lonelier in the house, I mean I did have my friends and I had my daughter and my granddaughters but I was lonelier in the house because doing for Budget see, was kind of like I was still doing for my wife.”

“I understand.”

“But I didn’t want another cat.  Besides there’s two things Ruffian won’t abide, one is deer in the flower garden, my wife’s old flower garden, and two is a strange cat and I was certain the dog would snap it’s neck the moment I turned my back.  And of course if something like that happened it would hurt my granddaughter’s feelings no end.”

Then Ed sat back in his chair silent again and I got a sense of how difficult it was for him to talk about this.  But after a few minutes went by and it didn’t look like the old man was going to say anything more about it I had to know.  “So did he?” I stole a glance at the dog, “hurt the kitten.”

“Oh no, he loved that new cat” Ed had a frog in his throat, “I’d left the little thing locked in the spare bedroom when I went out erranding that first day, trying to figure out someone else to give it to but somehow it got out and I found it sleeping on the floor curled up next to that old dog and the dog giving me a mournful look like he was being put upon.  But I could see he liked it and as day followed day I could see why because the kitten liked him.  In fact that kitten had the personality of liking everything, the dog, his new home, the food he got, the couch he slept on half the day, the window ledge in the parlor he found, his pink baby towel he kept sleeping on every night in front of the fire, he even liked me.  And he liked being fussed over too like when my granddaughter came over to visit and would wrap him up in that towel like a baby and coo to him and kiss him, scratch him under the chin.  He just liked life that kitten did. He was terrified of moving cars and would run and hide and shake for a while when somebody drove up to the house, but otherwise he liked everything and everything liked him back”

I smiled despite myself.

“But in one way he was a lot of trouble because he also liked to get out and even when he got all growed up me or Ruffian had to watch him like a hawk what with Horribilis maybe lurking nearby.”

“Har-rib-bill-ous?” I asked, “what was that?”

“The worst raccoon in the world” Ed shrugged and banged his pipe out against the inside wall of the fireplace “more than twice as big as any other raccoon.  Thirty, forty pounds I guess with long, long, dirty gray fur like you never saw on any other raccoon and he terrorized everything in the yard.  Our neighbor’s yards too.  And fast.  I’ve seen him catch squirrels way up in a tree winding around the truck so quick your eyes couldn’t follow the movement.  Then he’d kill ‘em and like as not, not even eat them but maybe just tear the head off or take a single bite and throw the rest down on the ground.  Birds, lots of birds and chipmunks, once even a turkey all the same way.  Left dead and torn up on the ground.”

“Right in your back yard?”

“Well the yard is pretty big, five acres, with different type trees here and there, a silver maple, shagbark hickory, an old elm, big old black walnuts, even a sassafras and a black cherry.  Mostly grass but with those trees here and there if you know what I mean.  A pretty yard.  And Horribilis wasn’t always there by a long shot.  He just passed through from time through terrorizing the wild life first in one yard and then another all up and down the road.

Then he sighed a big sigh and looked down into his empty hands, “my wife was always after me to shoot Horribilis.  She didn’t believe in killing anything but she was always worried about Budget and sometimes she’d find a dove’s head or a ripped open rabbit left there  for us to find and she’d just break down and cry.  So she came to the conclusion that the thing was just too evil a beast to let live and she told me to kill it when she wasn’t there, like off shopping or over at my daughter’s or something.  But I couldn’t.  First of all because like I said you never knew when it would appear and secondly because the thing was so tricky.  It knew what a gun was and I think it watched the yard for a long while before it came in.  So it would always know you were laying for it and where you were laying for it and since you never knew when he was watching, I or Ruffian had to watch the cat.”

“Follow him around?”

“No” Ed chuckled, “that was the funny thing because all he wanted to do when he got out was climb one tree.  It’s that hybrid Japanese Red Maple right off the back deck.  It looked okay when we planted it forty years before but it grew a lot since and turned into a big drab thing and I didn’t like it, thought about cutting it down too.  But the cat liked it straight off and wouldn’t climb anything else.  I’d open the door in the late afternoon, he’d run for it and I or Ruffian would sit down under it on the ground under it and watch.  You couldn’t ever see him up there but you’d hear him all right, claws clicking against the branches as he jumped back and forth trying follow those rascally squirrels.  Not that I think he wanted to kill and eat them, I think he just liked them too like he liked everything else.  You’d hear the scrape of him landing or maybe a soft thump and a little twig would fall down on you and he’d stay up there in that tree, which I’m sure he was convinced was the nicest tree in the whole world, his tree, until almost dark when he went silent and if you looked up you could see his little face peering down from the fork of a branch while he made little starting movements trying to get up the courage to drop right down straight into your lap.  Only he never did.  He really, really wanted to but I think he’d sort of say to himself,  ‘well that’s a long way down, maybe tomorrow when I’m bigger or braver’ and instead he’d skitter down the trunk and rub against your leg saying ‘thanks for giving me the time in my tree.’  Then I’d pick him up, walk inside and feed him his dinner.  Every day.”

“That’s nice Ed.”

“Yes it was.  I really loved that cat.”

“What happened to him?” .

The old man’s eyes brimmed with tears in a deep raggedly sigh, “well it was my fault.  Somehow he must have gotten between my legs and followed me outside with the trash at night. He liked to follow me and then I must have come inside and unknowingly locked him out.  Or at least I think that’s what happened.  All I know is I got up in the morning and my granddaughter’s old pink towel that he slept on in front of the fire was empty.”

“And you never saw him again?”

“I looked and looked day after day Chief.  I made up posters and put them in every mail box in town, twice.  I walked the woods calling him and had Ruffian out there sniffing, I set Have-A-Heart traps with the cat food I always fed him and I caught other cats but never my cat.  Whenever I drove around I’d always be looking and I’d go out night after night for months with a flashlight.  Sometimes in the middle of the night when I woke up thinking about him.  ‘Come on Rogue’ I’ll call, I called him The Rogue, but he was gone.  No that I didn’t keep hoping because I knew Horribilis didn’t kill him because I didn’t find his little body laying anywhere on the grounds and Horribilis would have left most of him that monster would have, just to hurt me.”

“And so you never saw the cat again?”

“Oh I did all right.  He disappeared in December” Ed made another one of those long ragged sighs, ”just with the first snow on the ground.  And by mid-April when I had finally given up looking Horribilis did kill him and left him out for me to find.”

The old man cleared his throat for  long time before he could speak again, “my neighbor found him on the grass between our two drives.  I could see that he’d been starving for a long time too and I knew what happened and where he’d been right off.  Figured out what happened that night.  And it was all my fault.  Horribilis was there when The Rogue got locked out and the cat ran as fast as he could in the only direction he could towards the fence two hundred feet away by the road.  Then along the fence, out the drive and even though he was terrified of cars across the road and into the patch of woods on the far side.  But knowing how afraid of the traffic I’d never looked for him out front.  He was in the back somewhere, he had to be and I walked for miles and miles, day after day, week after back there looking for sign.  That’s where I’d set the traps too.  But the whole while he was in sight of home, starving, maybe catching something once in a while, maybe eating something thrown out of cars but mostly just starving, hoping I’d come get him, feed him and put him down on his pink towel in front of the fire, too terrified to cross the road again, maybe seeing Horribilis over there from time to time too.  But then one night he knew he was so weak he knew going to die the next day if he didn’t try and he made it over.  But half way up the drive Horribilis spotted him and since The Rogue was too weak to run or fight so all he could do was die a few feet from that pink towel, right there on the drive, almost home.”

Now I was crying a little bit too, “Ed that’s a very sad story.”

“Oh it’s not the end of the story” he whispered, “the neighbor saw how upset I was and went and put him in a box intending to bury him but I couldn’t allow that.  No, as soon as I had my wits, and I have to admit I was sobbing like a baby, I took him out of that box, brought him in and washed him wall over with warm water and soap, dried him off,  wrapped him as in gently as I could in his pink towel and buried him under his tree.”

I nodded, if the old man wanted to say anything else I wasn’t going to interrupt.

“Then figured out how I could kill Horribilis .”

“How?”

Ed smiled grimly, “the deck in back of my house wasn’t part of the original structure and under it is a basement window.  So I took my Iver Johnson twenty-two and crawled through that window and under the deck.  It was the one way Horribilis couldn’t see me come outside with a gun.  And I did that night after night, day after day until one night he showed up  bobbing up an down across the yard in the moonlight and I shot him.”

“I didn’t enjoy killing Horribilis, I didn’t enjoy giving him pain but I did want him to know who was killing him.  Realize if he could, that the little cat he’d tortured and killed had a friend.  But what I did enjoy was putting things right, the fact that by killing that monster I put the world or at least my yard, back into balance.  Back into the sort of place it should have been all along.”

Ed slumped back and the little boy smiled popped up again, “and then I found out that the most wonderful things happen when you put things right.”

“Like what?” I smiled.

“Like that tree it got good looking.  A big hemlock further back on the property fell and the late sun was reaching it.  In fact the tree glowed at dusk and remembering how I sat under guarding The Rogue while he played up there and wanting to be as close to him as I could I guess, I moved a little table and Adirondack chair out under it and then sat there drinking my coffee most evenings.  Which was nice, kind of comforting somehow.  Then something really wonderful happened.”

“What?”

“Well one evening I was enjoying the last of the sun and breeze, just basking in the glow of that tree not thinking of anything in particular and I heard him again.  Claws clicking against the branches, the scrape of a landing and soft thumps and just as the last of the light was going a little twig fell down onto me and I knew he was up there trying to gather the courage to jump.  And I couldn’t look, I hadn’t the courage to look.  And the same thing happens, not every night, but quite a few, especially when that tree really lights up.”

Ed grinned sheepishly, “now I know what you’re thinking.  This foolish old man misses that cat so much that he imagines he hears him up there in that tree.”

I shrugged awkwardly afraid to look him in the eye.

“Well I admit I missed him something terrible and I admit I thought my mind was playing tricks.  But you know I didn’t care.  I might be crazy but I was back out there in the sunset with The Rogue and nothing else mattered.  Only…”

“Only what?” I looked at him curiously.

“Only one night my granddaughter sat out there with me.  Sitting on my lap not making a sound playing one of those little hand held electronic games set on mute because she knows I can’t stand the beep, beep, beep, beep while I had my eyes closed listening to the sounds of him playing up there.”

“That sounds nice Ed.”

“Oh it was” he nodded, “but then she poked me in the ribs.  ‘Grandpa’ she whispered, ‘something’s up there in the tree, I can hear it.  What is it?”

Ed shook his head remembering, “so what I think is that there is such a thing as justice.  If not in this world then in the next.  Because something rewarded that little brave, little, loyal cat for suffering all that he suffered.  Gave him back his tree to play in, the best tree in the whole world.  At least for a little while.  Long enough maybe to make up for all he went through.  And that someday, maybe if I’m good enough or brave enough or loyal enough when I’m ready to move on myself I’ll be back at that tree too, sitting under it at dusk, finally have the courage to look up and then he will jump down into my lap and with me holding him in my arms again the two of us can go on our way together.”

Then he pointed a finger, “and so no matter how much sense it makes or how old and crippled I get I ain’t gonna sell this house and leave that tree.”

Maybe Pamela Was The Inspiration?

According to UP (5/7/2015) today China has launched a campaign called “Strike Hard” against Islam.  Among other things it forces Moslem stores to cell cigarettes and alcohol and bans women from covering their face.

No word yet about having school children in Moslem areas draw cartoons of the prophet.  But unconfirmed reports have thousand of Chinese surging through public squares chanting Pa-Me-La  Pa-Me-La Pa-Me-La. so the jury is still out on that one.

But I do hope they remember to tell those Moslem stores to card those cigarette sales.