Dozer, the bulldog

Dozer, the bulldog
Dozer: Spring training is upon us!

Rockin' and rollin'

Rockin' and rollin'
The author of Mark's Work

Coleus flowers

Coleus flowers
Why I grow flowers

HappyDay Farms bees are happy bees.

HappyDay Farms bees are happy bees.
Air-borne bees

HeadSodBuster and BossLady at the coast

HeadSodBuster and BossLady at the coast
Love is the greatest power.

Beauty abounds!

Beauty abounds!
Heinz tomatoes, used for catsup

If you've seen one butterfly, you've seen 'em all, said no one ever.

If you've seen one butterfly,  you've seen 'em all, said no one ever.
Painted Lady

Fall Jewels

Fall Jewels
Praying mantis, attending services on a zinnia...

My souvenir from Reggae on the River, 2017

My souvenir from Reggae on the River, 2017
Something I have always wanted...

Mahlon Masling Blue

Mahlon Masling Blue
My friend and brother.

Mark's E-mail address

bellspringsmark@gmail.com

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Hippie Speedball

There is no way I can wrap this up in one go; there is far too much.  I will start with “Hippie Speedball," the first installment of my Post Office Protest.
Hippie Speedball
Oh my Buddha, I am back and happy.  Satisfied.  I slept for an hour and my fingers are ready to tap-dance their way through an accounting of my stewardship at the post office.  I found the experience to be exhilarating and highly successful.  Dozer thought it was pretty fun too.  I noticed that he seemed happy to share a little of himself, at vast unlimited stops, in that little field between the post office and the liquor store.  Now, I have an iced coffee and a couple oatmeal cookies in front of me, what Casey refers to as a hippie speedball.
I arrived in front of the post office within minutes of my projected target time, just after eight.  I can hear the general chuckle of disbelief.  Eight o’clock.  Eight PM?  No, it was decidedly eight this morning, when I stopped in at the “Ron,” and greeted the proprietress with my usual, “The tap a’ the mahnin’  to you!”  The icy breeze that wafted past me, was not the result of the ice-box being open.  Was it possible that I sensed some hostility annoyance in that face?  I realized that I would have stepped on some toes, with my assertion that the editor of the local paper had been fabricating.  I wonder if maybe the proprietress is so upset with me, that I should purchase my gas in Willits, where Mama lives, and the gas is cheaper, and I am greeted by the clerk with a bright, cheery smile.  I am a fan of the smile.  After all, if she’s angry at me, she probably doesn’t want me in there anyway, so what’s a poor guy supposed to do?  Just thinking aloud.
I parked directly across from the local paper, and set up my paraphernalia.  Like the dutiful middle schooler I remain, despite my attempts to the contrary, I had four pieces of-what else? foam board, each twenty inches by thirty inches.  On the first, I placed a simply-stated recounting of the sordid details.  On the same foam board, I placed a pristine copy of the frontage page of the Observer, as it appeared this morning at 1:15 in the A of M.  I placed a second copy below it, upon which I had edited the "assignment," in green ink.  All of the years I taught, I refused to use red ink.
I got so damn tired of seeing red ink, ALL over my school work.  NO RED INK!


OK, so I admit I am harping on this correct language business.  It's my nature.  But check it out.  I don't give a care how you write on FB; I am just thrilled to see you all.  What annoys me, is that this example of ineptness, is a reflection on my community.  Laytonville strives to achieve academic prowess, as our Mock Trial Team, among other examples, continues to prove.  Why is it that the first thing a person might see, while investigating Laytonville's resources online, is this example of backwoods mentality?  I am embarrassed.  Is it too much for the editor to hire a professional or at least a competent middle schooler, to edit this one document, not to mention her newspaper?
Out of the 120 words, there are eleven separate/distinct errors in grammar, punctuation and usage.  It's pretty impressive in its ineptness, actually.  On the bottom I drew a large sad face, and wrote, “Is this your best effort?”  The good news?  100% in spelling.  We must secure those victories, as they become available.
Upon the second placard, I placed copies of “Not Enough Words,” “Howie,” and the “Queen of Tarts.”  I also placed several pieces of writing that centered on Jamal.  After all, Jamal is the reason I was here.  I was thinking once again, of how I had found out about the atrocity.  I was in Ray’s on the morning after, standing line, with one individual behind me.  I was glancing at a picture of Timmy, on the cover of a magazine at the register, idly pondering the anticipation of the spring training camp opening within a scant three weeks.
Another individual approached, a scruffy-looking dude, who looked stunned.  In a barely-audible voice, he rasped out, “Did you hear about Jamal?”  His face was pinched and tight, and his breathing was ragged. He was visibly shaken.  
“F**k me!  Some ass***e blew him away last night, right outside his front door!”  said the second individual, far less concerned that his voice was audible.   Jamal?  Jamal Who?  Was he talking about our Jamal?  Wouldn’t there be more than one Jamal in Mendo?  There had to be, and suddenly I was transacting business, and the conversation faded.  It faded and disappeared completely from the screen, forced into the swampy recesses of my murky brain.  It vanished until I walked in the front door, hours later and saw Annie’s tear-streaked face.  And then I knew, simultaneously, as she asked, “Did you hear about Jamal?”  And that was that.
There are four previous events in my life that acutely staggered me, but none like Jamal.  JFK being blown away?  Unprecedented, shocking us into submission, but assassinations of Presidents is part of our history, and history does seem doomed to repeat itself.  Then there was the initial shocking headline in the Chron, in 1978, that 400 people had committed suicide, when the Jim Jones saga unfolded.
In 1996, there was the phone call at school, just as the bell rang for lunch.  It was Mama, and she said, simply, “Robert had a heart attack this morning just before dawn.  He didn’t make it.”
“Papa died?”  I asked, unable to reel that concept in at first try.  And that was that.  The Renaissance Faire, that Paul and I had been planning for weeks, slipped meekly into the background, while I went to round up the boys.  Ironically, the husband of the proprietress of the “Ron” was on the volunteer fire department crew, who met Mama, at the bottom of Bell Springs Road. 
Finally, the granddaddy of them all, 9/11.  There did not seem much that could top that. I saw Adam Brown, walking across the blacktop, looking as dejected as I had ever seen him.  “Didja hear what happened, Mr. O?  Some guy flew an airplane into the New York Trade Center.  Wouldn’t you know it, it would happen on my birthday?”  Oh shoot.  Poor Adam.  And that was that.
But as indescribably hideous as 9/11 was, it was a continuation of a conflict, with which we were already familiar, so it was the same, only worse.  I cannot find a convenient category, in which to place Jamal.  The act itself was so ghastly as to defy explanation, let alone to think it encompassed Jamal.  No one should ever face this scene, but especially not Jamal.  I can’t even conjure up an image of him angry.  Sure, I know he got mad; he was human.  But when you think of Jamali, you do not equate him with anger.  No, you equate him with laughter and vibrancy.  I envision him passionate about his music, his woman and his son.  I have never even been formally introduced to Miranda, but I know something about her already.  She is a special person;  Jamal would never have settled for anything else.

More in a minute.
I was asked to reproduce the the article that was twice omitted from the Observer.  That is easy to do. 

"Annie and I are frequently asked about Pauline, my mom, who recently moved off of the mountain, down to Willits.  She now resides at Redwood Meadows, the senior housing complex, and is settling in very nicely, thank you for asking.  She would be delighted to hear from friends, if you should feel inclined to drop her a line.  Her address is 1475 Baechtel Road, Apt. i-5, Willits, Ca  95490.
*           *           *
I attended Jamal Andrews’ memorial with Annie, and our three sons.  We had the foresight to convene at the Fat Quail, and walk over from there to Harwood Hall.  I am flummoxed by the number of people who set aside their normal Saturday agendas, to share in the celebration of Jamal’s life.  Listening to the music, watching the slide show (that was me as Santa, in one of those early Wellspring pictures) and hearing the anecdotes that people shared, was very powerful.
I cannot adequately describe the range of emotions, that predominated the occasion.  However, there is one view that was expressed that I do want to address.  It was suggested that anger not be included in those range of emotions, upon which we should focus; instead, we should be zeroing in on the joy that Jamal exuded.  I was unclear as to whether or not that referred to the memorial itself, in which case, I absolutely agree, or if that dispensation of anger should extend beyond, in which case, I must respectfully disagree.
My anger is valid; I will not desist.  Anger is a normal human reaction to life’s injustices.  How I choose to channel my anger is the key.  Attending every court appearance of Jamal’s assailant, is one civilized method of expressing my anger.  I will not set my anger aside; I will not forget."    
Check it out at         http://markyswrite.blogspot.com

2 comments:

  1. I'm glad you went to the post office and made your points. The community needs to hear what you have to say. Jamal's death has empowered you to move into the role of community spokesperson and one who takes care of others. Your town is lucky.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yes, I agree. I have never been so profoundly shaken by this event. I kept saying, I could have done more. Now I am doing more.

    ReplyDelete