He was my stepfather, a friend really. What can you say about a friend who can no longer listen with wise ears, can no longer edit my writing with expert care, can no longer comfort and love my mother, his dedication most dear?
I saw their last dance together. I’m so glad I did.
He wanted no fuss. Just a quiet goodbye. Let those who survive remember and carry on in goodness. He trusted that would happen. He spread his goodness a long time:
There were those saved by his service translating Chinese for the OSS in WWII. Who knows exactly how many, or what he did. He would never say. Secrets until the end. The only thing I knew was he hated war. Imagine that.
Many legal clients were helped by him, both in Albuquerque before he retired some thirty years ago, and in Manzanillo, Mexico, where he lived and offered his services, usually for free.
His palpable legacy is a beautiful house in Manz, wonderful children, whom I have come to know and respect, and the lovely Luce, my mom, a woman without equal. That should be enough for any man.
There is the legacy, though, you can’t see, or touch, or hear. It is there, in the minds and hearts of those he knew. That legacy is more than the stars.
(No one came up with an answer to my last blog. So I will keep trying.)
In my life, War and Oil are intertwined like a crown of thorns and thistles around Family. They make my love bleed. The biggest thorns are war, causing untold injuries the results of which I see and weep over, every damn day: Agent Orange causes diabetes, coronary heart disease, all of which blossom into strokes, heart attacks, stents, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, etc., etc., etc. Every war breeds mental disabilities, PTSD, Traumatic Brain Injury, leading to alcoholism, other addictions, cigarettes, depression, suicide . . . etc., etc., etc. There is no end.
The last decade of wars aches for more oil. Please, we must have it. Oh, and keep the oil companies in profit (Billions a quarter? No prob.). Who cares if us lowly peons have to pay more and more for gas? Grow that crown of thorns, war, by ensuring the thistles, oil companies, are as healthy as possible. Those two weeds are choking our priorities of life right off the planet. Soon, flowers, trees, wilderness will be merely another challenge to overcome in order to feed the weeds. Well, actually, they already are. Don’t look now but a fracking well may be moving in next door.
Then there is family, our loved ones, those who support us when we fight for our country, defend freedom. They support us and cry blood for years after we come back. If we come back. Are we defending freedom, or ensuring the continued survival of an overwhelming machine of war and support for oil. Can we tolerate $10 a gallon, or will civil war result in son fighting father? Sister killing brother? What is the price we are willing to pay for driving our cars to work? Mowing the golf course twice a week? Four-wheeling for fun over wilderness terrain?
We are the most powerful nation the world has ever seen and we act like adolescents in conservation, peaceful negotiations, and putting love before violence. Can we survive? That is why I wroteDan’s War, to ask some of these questions, and get people to think. Every word, action, and evolution in Dan’s Waris not only possible but becoming more probable every day. It can happen. Tomorrow. And the only thing left will be our humanity—if we haven’t destroyed that, too, with war. In Dan’s War humanity may save the hero. May. We must find a way to make humanity work, to rid beauty and peace and all those creations that make us laugh and cry, from the most destructive and ugly force in history: War.
As long as we are at war, ugly things happen, like killing children, massacring villages, virginity checks. Who knows, we might even drop a nuclear bomb or five that kills millions, “To Save More.” How can war not cause bad things, when war sucks out love and preaches kill thy enemy, and do it now, and move on; kill more. Can you find a way to stop it? Please.
I know you have hope. We have a whole generation of new fodder for war that we can save with that hope. Do it. Find a way to prevent another war.