When I was a little boy, it was a given that you would go to church on Sunday with your Granny.
My mom wouldn’t go because she was on dope.
My Dad wouldn’t go because he was greater than God and knew that all the other people that attended church were delusional and culls. They were all stupider than him and he couldn’t tolerate their presence.
I look back at it now and pity them.
I have a lot of issues with my parents; or “used to” I guess I should say, now.
The thing about them was that they were products of their own upbringing…and the products of the products of their parent’s upbringing, so on and so on.
They turned out the way they had because of how THEY were raised.
A lot of tree-hugging/psycho-babble people out there believe that you can overcome your upbringing and endeavor to persevere.
I say…yes. That is possible. But let me dissect…construct something into, maybe a simile of sorts:
Let’s say a person is like a building, or a house, or a castle…that’s even better.
There are the cornerstones = Parents/Grandparents
There is the foundation = say your prayers, yes sir/no sir, thank you, please, excuse me, don’t play with niggers…are you following me?
There are bricks for battlements = Every day of my life corresponds with a brick. The problem is that some of the bricks are mixed with good ingredients; some are mixed with hay, and some with too many impurities to last too long under pressure.
1. Good ingredients- Happy birthdays, Merry Christmases’ (2 that I can remember), football practice, playing in the woods, being away from home, staying with other people.
2. Hay mixture – Yelling, hitting me in my head, always calling me stupid, kicking me, pulling my hair, slapping me in my face, never good enough, why do I lie so much?
3. Impurities- Being raped by Ricky Moore for 4 years and parents never knowing. Being shown things that little girl’s like to play with by both Grandpa’s. Being beaten until I bled. I still remember the Epsom salt that my dad threw in the tub with me burning into the cuts from my lower back to my ankles. My dad whipping me from the barn to our back porch (approximately 50 yards) for not feeding the pigs right. You see, he said I was too stupid to understand simple instructions. At least that’s what he said between grunts while he beat me.
You see…? Even if you have many “bricks” in your castle walls, if too many are brittle, if there are too many in key places that require strength, they will not hold up under the pressure of future bricks, and they will not protect the inner castle (my soul) from intrusions or attacks, both past and present.
The walls will be high. Some parts will be higher than others.
They’re only for show.
I found that there are way too many secret tunnels beneath my walls.
They go only one way it seems.
I’ve never been able to escape myself.
There are the towers = These are 4 pivotal times or occurrences that form who you are.
A) Region I was born in (Mississippi)
B) Era in which my formative years were spent (1964-1976)
C) Region I was raised in (South Georgia)
D) Influences of elders (Had their own demons to dance with)
So….my “castle” looks like many others.
I know that I am not the only person on this earth that has “defective” bricks in their walls and battlements.
I know that I am not the only one with dark tunnels.
But as I have gotten older and better looking, I built a moat around my castle. It is deep and wide. It has alligators and brain-sucking leeches in it. If an intruder enters it without my leave, it becomes rolling lava. I built this moat to slow invaders. It did not stop them all, since I tend to be too trusting and lower the damn draw-bridge and watch as they passed thru the gates into my soul…into the “Keep”, so to say.
Then, a new battle would begin.
That doesn’t happen much now due to the fact that over time, even brittle bricks will cure and become stronger. Not all mind you….but most.
And now, in my castles keep, I’m a much wiser man now. I am not fooled that easily. I’m a much better sentinel of my draw-bridge and gate than my younger self. Without as much concern or fear of siege or intrusions, I have more time for my scrolls and reflections. It has taken years to reach this point in my life.
You know what I’m finally figuring out?
I’ve figured out that I forgive them all for the bad bricks.
I can’t blame my parents, grand-parents, Ricky Moore, or Donut. I can’t blame people for being the only way they know how to be. I know that they change over time like the rest of us do.
The last 5 years of my dad’s life were the best I ever had with him. He was mellower, more calm…he could still get pissed at me real quick, but I could see the change in his eyes and the tension leave his body when he calmed himself and spoke to me like a son.
Like, I was a man.
Even when I use to pray he would die, God never killed him.
I was devastated when he died.
We lived 2000 miles away from each other.
Children should never live far from their parents. They need each other…even if they don’t think so at the time.
Time….that’s what we lose when we’re apart.
When I went to his house the day after he died, I cried when I saw that he had left his coffee pot on.
I cried when I saw he had been watching the Braves on TBS. I cried when I saw his empty tea glass next to his chair. I cried when they told me he had died of a heart attack while checking his mail.
My Dad had died in a ditch, next to a mailbox, sitting in the first new truck he had bought since 1985. He was only 59 years old.
It took me 2 days to work up the courage to see him in a box.
I sat there in the cold lobby of the funeral home, ignoring pleas from my mother and siblings and numerous relatives to go look at my dad’s body.
AT MY DAD’S DEAD BODY!!!
I told them all to burn in hell! There was no way I was gonna go look at my heroes body in a box!
That’s when it happened. That’s the moment it all came together for me.
My dad…the man that had beaten me, mentally crushed me, belittled me, chastised me…
He was my hero? How could that be? Why didn’t I just walk in there and spit on his corpse and tell HIM to burn in hell?
I’ll tell you why.
When my dad left this world…when he left me here without him…he made sure to take his bad bricks with him.
(I have to stop for a second…my eyes are burning a little, I must have got something in them….)
I heard my dad’s voice come to me as I sat there, hunched in a corner…on that folding chair. I sat up and listened, startled. His voice was as clear as if though he were standing right next to me. He said “Don’t be dumb all your life son, come see me before they close this damn thing. You flew all the way from Utah to come here. Don’t waste that money”
(Eyes are burning again)
**REAL TIME: I’m grinning thru my tears. That’s exactly what he would have said.
I thought…yeah, would have said.
My dad was dead. They were going to close the damn thing.
(Damn my eyes are burning…must be the wind)
I walked up to my dad’s box. He was laying there in his western shirt…his blue jeans…his work boots.
He still had his goddamned watch on! LOL!!
The way he would’ve wanted to look to meet his idea of God. Not fake.
Mom didn’t even let them shave him. Dad would’ve looked dead clean shaven. He looked as if though, at any second, that he would open one eye squint up at me and ask me if my mother had had any children that lived…then he would laugh!
“What an asshole!” I said out loud, laughing “you are such an asshole!” still laughing.
But, he didn’t say anything. People were looking at me funny. I didn’t care. I saw him say it to my heart.
I laid my hand on my father’s chest. They had taken his heart out. Not the one I had, the one that had killed him…Good I thought, you can burn that treacherous piece of shit!
I pulled out my wallet and removed the pictures I had of my children. I hadn’t planned this beforehand, I just did it. I put all the pictures I had of them in my dad’s shirt pocket. He still had his reading glasses there. Good…he’ll be able to see them better when him and Jesus are looking at them later.
**REAL TIME: (Stopping for a while….I need to walk around some)
I kissed my father goodbye. For maybe the first time since I was 4 years old.
They closed the damn thing. I left before they did it.
I never looked back.
I’ll never darken the doors of a funeral home again. Ever.
My dad and I?
We worked it out.
He lives in my castle now. I keep him close. I know he can’t get out thru the dark tunnels. He sees as much sunshine as I do, and we watch the moon rise sometimes…and just talk.
But the part that I want to express to you that is the most important…?
He is in the castle with me…advising me…explaining the best he can (thru my own experiences) on how to forgive others for their brittle bricks.
My dad says…”You know what the man said…Judge not? Walk in another man’s shoes?” I’ll nod at him. Then he’ll look at me out of the corner of his eyes, his reading glasses low on his nose, and say “You look like the mailman”
And we’ll both laugh.
Let him go you might say? Why? He never left.
That….is true forgiveness.
**REAL TIME: It looks like it’s going to be a pretty day…