Beloved Father

Beloved Father

Beloved husband
Of one wife
Beloved father
Grand and great grand
Beloved friend
To all in his orbit
Stillness now covers
The frenetic pace
Time is run out here
And begun elsewhere
Rounded third base
And now safe at home
Beyond the hurley burley
Beyond our view
Under restful skies
By the side of the Eternal
Father and Husband
And Friend.

RWOz2

We buried my father yesterday. I wrote these thoughts as a tribute to him.

Love you, Dad.

Day One Thousand Five #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Tomas and Jezer passed through on their last trip from the well. The last until the drought ends or a miracle intervenes – it would take one in Tomas’s estimation.

Jezer thinks it may recover before then.

But now it is apparent we shall need to move on as soon as possible.

Mawuli and I met with his father to calculate how long our water will last. We concluded that we must begin to ration.

The matter had me thinking back to that snowfall in the desert. It had not been what I prayed for, but it was what we needed.

I was kept so busy over these issues that I forgot to discuss my suspicions with Elijah about the drone.

Tales from my Father Pt 1

Tales from My Father Pt 1

When my Father enlisted in the US Air Force in 1951, he reported to basic training at Lackland AFB in San Antonio TX. It was a rough time. The Korean conflict had just broken on the scene and over 100,000 men were crammed into a camp meant for 20,000.

Their uniforms were all WW2 issue – Army Air Corps khaki. The new blue uniforms for the recently separated service arm were not yet available.

In addition food was scarce and the men were always hungry. So after basic Dad was not unhappy to be assigned to the cooking school. All those similarly appointed made their way to Fort Devens in Massachusetts. There all the hungry enlisted men who had suffered through basic in San Antone were pleasantly surprised to see a mess hall flowing with “milk and honey.” Six weeks of training in their specialty ensued.

His first orders were for Larson AFB in Moses Lake WA which he reached via Payne Field, north of Seattle.  Dad in his capacity as cook was assigned to an AC&W squadron (Aircraft Control & Warning). These were special radar units were a part of the Air Defense Command (ADC), set up to give early warning about the approach of enemy airplanes. These Washington State sites were tasked to be on the lookout for Bearcat Bombers expected to be coming over the pole from Russia (the USSR). A squadron each was placed at a series of a half dozen bases that ringed the atomic facilities at the Hanford nuclear reserve in the tri-cities area of the state.

Other ACW squadrons were mobilized for service in Korea to do the same function at the air bases there.

From Larson he was seconded to another base, but only spent one day there. He was told that someone had read his orders wrong and that he should have been sent to Colville WA instead. They turned him around, however, and sent him back to Larson, as the new base outside of Colville was still under construction.

Having time on his hands and being curious, my Dad got a hold of some maps and checked out where the town of Colville was located.

When the orders came through for the squadron to proceed to Colville. The Master Sargeant asked the men assembled if anyone knew where Colville was. Dad spoke right up and said he knew the way, the fruit of satisfying his curiosity earlier.  So the Master Sergeant had the PFC join him in the lead car of the convoy as they headed for their new duty station.

They arrived in Colville hungry and pulled up in a line on Main Street. Having scoped out a place to eat, Dad again volunteered, this time to guard the cars and trucks. A lot of locals and looky loos stared in wonder as they passed the parked convoy, pondering what had come to their fair community. (There was very little in the local press about what the military was doing up on the mountain. Their equipment and mission was top secret).

They took the Tiger Road out of town, and over Squaw Creek up to the mountain where the base, at least as far as personnel goes, was ready. The radar installation had not yet been completed, but it would be soon.

Knowing that Colville would be the only place nearby to meet girls, my Dad came up with the following stratagem his first furlough there. Walking down the street he ran into some children, he opened his ploy by asking one of the boys if he had any big sisters at home. When the answer came back in the negative, he switched gears. Did he have a babysitter. Yes, he indeed did have one, and he led my father straight to the house where she lived.

My Mom answered his knock at the door. This being a small town out west in the early 50’s, if a man in uniform appeared on your doorstep, hospitality required that you invite him in. So she did.

She was home from school that day, looking after her younger siblings. Their mother had just passed away the week before. She entertained the young airman by playing the latest 45s on her record player. So the music of Eddy Arnold, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Patti Page and Bing Crosby’s version of Harbor Lights formed the sound track for their courtship.

They were joined in wedlock six months later. And for the shivaree (a quaint custom that takes various forms along the frontier in the US) he was made to push his new bride down Main Street in a wheel barrow.

Day Two Hundred Eighty Four #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Elam brought back a message from Sy for his parents. It was a heartfelt plea. It has decided the father to send his wife with the next group. She would prefer to make the journey some time later before the twenty five days elapse, but she has agreed to go tomorrow.

I wonder if Sy’s father will ever leave.

When we arrived at the administration building, there was not a soul anywhere. But this time the doors were unlocked. So we entered.

It was an expansive area, designed to intimidate.

We approached the only occupant, a man of formidable size. Elijah asked to speak to the city ruler. He blanched on seeing us, and begged us to leave.

We did.

Day Two Hundred Seventy Six #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Sy’s parents had been wary before admitting us, explaining that people who spend nights in the square are unsavory characters – molesters, drunkards, robbers – all around reprobates (their description). They keep locked up tight nights.

They offered us a place to stay as long as we want.

We thanked them, but Elijah countered by telling them that we are here to get them out and back to their son.

Our offer was met with frigid silence.

When the father spoke it was with adamant absoluteness. He will never leave. I saw the same resolve in the mother’s eyes.

We turned our talk to other things – of the denizens, their rulers, and the seaport beyond.

We hope they will change their minds.

Day Two Hundred Evening #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Enough writes:

We were unimpeded all the way back to the camp. The gates of the second district and that of the city to the fields stood wide open, their guards in position, but slumped to the ground in sleep.

Great was the surprise of our friend Lyle when we burst in upon his evening quiet time. We exchanged accounts of our doings. And I heard at last from Grazie about her encounter with her father Moglen.

He is a broken, confused and remorseful man. She offered him her forgiveness. It is why she sought him out.

Then she told us it was time.

Day One Hundred Ninety Nine Evening #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Enough writes:

We kept to the house last night and throughout the following daylight hours.

I asked Grazie if she had any plan for our next move. She replied that it was nothing other than what I had taught her – just wait for direction.

Evening was coming on, when she announced that she was going out to find her father. Shocked, I wanted to accompany her, but she declined and assured me she would be back.

Before midnight she was.

Within minutes we slipped out into the darkness of the night.

Day One Hundred Ninety Four Morning #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Lyle writes:

There has been a strange turn of events.

They held Grazie at the vineyard, but we had them surrounded and cut off from the way back to the city. At this impasse, Moglen slunk away, probably to confer with Stan as to his next move.

Then, word came from Grazie that she had to speak to me.

And this her guards allowed. She wants to go with them back the city, even if it means, to her father. In a whisper she added it’s her true path, for the time is at hand.

So I let them pass.

Day One Hundred Ninety Three Morning #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Lyle writes:

Grazie is being held at her post in the vineyard. And we can’t do anything about it.

She had left for it at the normal hour this morning. One of the patrolling drones pealed off and followed her. That seemed normal too, until Moglen came into the camp to claim his daughter Terresta.

Regret seized me. I should have insisted a change in Grazie’s duties to keep her in the camp. But then again she always made herself scarce if ever there were even a hint of her father anywhere near.

I told Moglen we will oppose him however we may.