And If You Did Know?

In Memory of Sharon Michele McAvoy Nichols .:. December 24, 1949 – October 10, 2005

October 31, 2004

Goodbye Dad

Filed under: her words — mark @ 8:46 am

This is one of the hardest entries I have ever made. Yesterday my father died. He had been driving his truck when he just pulled over to the side of the road. A witness told the police that he sat there for a minute or so then pulled back onto the road in a U-Turn. When he pulled out another truck was coming and hit him directly in the side. My father was tossed around and sustained some broken ribs, a collapsed lung, a broken scapula, and head injuries. The head injuries were the problem. He hung on for two days, then yesterday, October 30 at 12:30 p.m. he died. He was 83 years old and not in good health.

Those are the facts, but somehow just seeing them there means so little. My dad was a difficult man in so many ways. He was very angry about his own childhood. His father had beaten him almost every day. My grandfather was severe and very strict. He thougth the way to shape a child into a good citizen was to beat him into submission. What it did to my father was to make him angry and afraid.

My father was very afraid most of the time. He served in World War II and Korea. He was a medic in the Navy and was attached to the Marines so he hit the beaches in a number of battles in the Pacific. He saw a tremendous amount of death and destruction. He rarely talked about his experiences while in the service. But after Korea he came home and never quite fit into society. He struggled with what to do. He had been discharged from the military on a Section 8. This means that he had mental problems associated with emotional problems. When put together with the trauma of having been beaten as a child, I think it was more than he could bear. He never quite figured out what his place in the world was. He tried job after job. He would get frustrated and quit or get fired. He tried his best to be a good father, but having had such a bad role model he had big problems with that as well. The two things I remember him saying often were: “Grow up” and “This hurts me more than it hurts you.” He could be very cruel and punishing. He would be upset at something and suddenly get very violent. He tried to kill my mother a few times, at times where my brother and myself could see it. He was also funny. He had a good sense of humor, at times caustic, but still funny.

I remember once when I was jumping on a trampoline and came down on the back of my neck. He cleared a fence in one jump to come and see if I was okay. I also remember once when I cut my toe with the lawn mower. He came out from under the car he was working on very quickly and came running over.

He once told me that the Soviet Union and the U.S. were heading in the same direction only that they were doing it with a gun butt, and we were doing it with the ballot box. I can see now that he was right. He had some true wisdom.

He never got over his prejudices. He had difficulties with anyone who was not white. He referred to other races in prejorative terms. But to his credit I did not hear this from him until I was about age 17. At that time he used a very prejorative term about an African American. I was taken aback and said I had never heard him say anything like that. He said that he had always felt that way but realized that it was a terrible thing and that he did not want to pass that on to me. I have always admired him for doing that. Another thing I will always admire and be grateful for is his willingness to sit and discuss the past. At one point about 12 years ago I went to Tennessee to visit him. We talked about what it was like when I was a child. He admitted to the abuse and said he was sorry. I have always admired him for that as well. I see this as being very brave and strong.

My dad never came to any of my events. He stayed away from my concerts with the band. He did not come to any of recitals in dance. He just did not do that sort of thing.

The point of this is that my dad was human. He had his strengths and his weaknesses. He could be very difficult, and he could be heroic. He could be strong and brave, and he could be cowardly. He did the best he could under some very difficult circumstances. I will always love and admire him, not because he was perfect, but because he was human.

Thank you dad, something I said to him often especially in recent years. I love you dad, somthing I always said to him. I forgive you dad, something I did get to say. I will miss you dad.

With love, respect, gratitude, and forgiveness. You will always be in my heart.

October 17, 2004

A New Reality

Filed under: her words,politics — mark @ 4:56 pm

Here is an article that took me quite by surprise. I wanted to share it with everyone so here is the link.

Talking Points

October 16, 2004

The Enigma

Filed under: her words,politics — mark @ 4:31 am

I am sitting here thinking about the remarks made by Senator Kerry during the last debate that has drawn so much heat about the Vice President’s daughter. It seems that one of the questions asked of the candidates by the moderator, Bob Sheifer, was about whether homosexuality was a choice. The president, in his usual shape shifting way, side stepped the question. However, Kerry talked it not being a choice and brought up Mary Cheney as an example. Afterward Lynn Cheney, the vice president’s wife chastised Kerry saying that he had done it for political reasons. Well of course he did, but it seemed to me that it was the in the vein of showing that there are few absolutes. It seemed to me that he was saying that there are many people who have faced the truth of their sexuality and have realized that they are who they are. It further seemed to me that he was pointing out that the vice president has dealt with his issues around his daughter’s way of life and is more accepting than perhaps his wife.

I have some difficulty with the vice president and his business choices and his political choices. I think he has developed the capability to put his business or political interests ahead of being a citizen of the world, and for this I do not think he belongs in a powerful position over which he has so much control over people’s lives. However, I do think he is a brave man to have accepted his daughter and her life style. It takes a great deal of courage to face your own feelings and deal with them in order to accept other’s choices. To have accepted his daughter and not tried to hide from her shows integrity and courage. I admire this about Vice President Cheney. It does however require that I look at him in a different way. Perhaps he has become adept at separating his private life from his professional life. It seems that in his personal life he shows great compassion and courage, while it seems that in his professional life he is ruthless and driven. This is a conundrum. I think it takes tremendous personal introspection to accept other’s as they truly are. I think it takes time, effort, and a willingness to look beyond our own perspective and see that others have every right to be who they are. So I see that Vice President Cheney has done a great deal of personal work to get where he is with this. I admire him for it. It does make me wonder why he does not seem to use this same type of introspection around his role as vice president. I do acknowledge that I only know him through the media, and that this type of information is usually skewed one way or the other, so I need to give consideration that it is not always unbiased or fair. I do however think that he has done enough to harm our environment and our international reputation to warrant my distrust of him politically. Having decided our energy policy behind closed doors, with energy insiders who have monetary interests at stake, and seemingly without acknowledging that it was not ethical shows a lack of ethics. To have constantly insisted that Saddam and Al Quida had ties when all of the evidence directly contradicts it. To have helped Halliburton win no-bid contracts in Iraq, especially when he is still getting money from them. To have consistently spewed the party line when it is obvious that it is based on lies and half-truths. All of these make me question him as a vice president. But I do have to admire his loyalty to his daughter.

In conclusion it says to me that like all of us the vice president is an enigma. While I respect him as a father and a person, I do not appreciate him as a vice president.

October 15, 2004

No Real Choices

Filed under: her words,politics — mark @ 2:17 pm

I have watched the three presidential debates and I must admit that I feel disappointed and somewhat cheated. I do feel as though Senator Kerry won but having seen him speak about the war in Vietnam, I wish he could have brought the same passion to the problems we now face.

I do see that there seem to be many people who do not want to face our problems and as a result do not want them talked about. But knowing that the candidates, and their staff, were the ones who set the agenda. The debates were predictable and flat. The two were doing their stump speeches and that is boring. Of course I admit that watching Bush act like a spoiled and petulant child is amusing. He is quite the brat.

I admit that I would prefer a campaign that included others such as the Green candidate, the Libertarian candidate, and Ralph Nader. I think having them included would broaden the debate and keep it from becoming just a contest for rich white men. I remember growing up that one of the myths I was told was that anyone could become president. Not so much now. If you are not willing to kiss the ring of Corporate America, then you do not stand a chance. They have marginalized all of the other candidates. I have listened to Ralph Nader and I know he is telling the truth. I know that he is our conscious. He is not in the pocket of “big business” and as a result does not stand a chance. How sad. We could use someone of his intellect and knowledge, but we will have to pick one of the Corporate Choices instead. Of course I will vote for Kerry because at least he is not a big baby who does not want to have to think or read.

Yech!!!! What a world, what a world.