Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Memorial Day Reverie

I‘ve been reclining in the presence of my three girls. Elizabeth came in on Sunday from Chicago and, like a good ballerina, compelled me to make pizza that very night. She had a Beck’s along with it, claiming it was my fault, that I had ruined her for ordinary beer when she took her first sip of the good stuff while still in grade school. That seems to me a good time to start training them for the better things in life. She’ll be here a week, offering a ballet workshop at the studio run by her former, and forever favorite, teacher – the guy who made her what she is.

I also had to rub her feet that first night. (I do the same for Bern, even though a golfer’s feet don’t take as bad a beating). I asked Elizabeth if her boyfriend (who sees her only on occasion, as he lives in a different city) ever did this for her. She said yes. But she could be just trying to protect him from me. See, ladies, I’ve got this theory. If the man who says he loves you doesn’t rub your feet and sometimes even kiss them without being asked, he doesn’t really love you.

Bern came in Monday night from down south and brought the dog with her. I was afraid Cedar wouldn’t remember me (it’s been a month since last we saw each other), but as soon as he saw me standing in the driveway he started whimpering and trying to claw through the window to get out. (Me and the dog have a connection). I sat down on the grass and Bern let him out of the car and he ran and bounced off my chest. I pretended to have been knocked over so he jumped on me and licked and love-bit me (he knows exactly how hard), then ran off to sniff in the grass before returning to jump on me again. This went on a while. I’ve missed him a lot.

Bern gave up an LPGA tournament just to be able to see her sister and, rather than playing golf with me, spent all day Tuesday watching her teach ballet. That evening I cooked steak on the grill. Me and the dog had several beers. Okay, I exaggerate. What happens is I tilt the bottle so that he can lap the beer, which he does eagerly. Then he backs off and makes a funny face, maybe snorts a little. Then he comes back for more. Like Ebe, he only likes the good stuff. (I told you we had a connection). After dinner we had a belated birthday celebration for the Ebe. I baked her the cherry dessert and her mother bought her a chocolate cookie birthday cake. We gave her a bunch of gift certificates to help her survive in the big city, and Bern gave her the sterling silver Tiffany’s bracelet from the Sybase tournament. The ballerina was more or less blown away by that latter.

Elizabeth had a beer with dinner, but not Bern, because she had to drive back that night. She couldn’t get two consecutive days off work. It was awful. As we stood by Bern’s car (Cedar in my arms) the two girls hugged. And hugged. About five minutes later I wonder when it’s going to end. I hear sniffling. Both girls and their mother. It went on a while longer. Longest hug in history. I told them when they were kids they’d better always remain close or I’d find some way to punish them, but there was some kind of sisterly bond going on here to the origin of which I am not entirely privy. That’s why I like having females around.

On Memorial Day I was watching, purely by accident, a wonderful documentary on A&E about the Marines of Lima Company (in Iraq), and it was free of cant. The narrator simply told us the facts about a particular operation. Most of the talking was done by the marines. I was impressed (considering their youth) by their sense of purpose. They seemed motivated by something more than the desire to prosper. They wanted their lives to matter. Maybe they’re fighting for me (for us) and maybe they’re not. They seemed to think they were. But they were in no doubt that they were fighting for the Iraqi people, and for the the Iraqi soldiers who were at their side. A bond of brotherhood had clearly formed, which I haven’t heard much of in the MSM.

Watching them, I couldn’t help but recall the service of my own father and grandfather in different wars. They came back safely. And I remembered one of my two best friends from high school, Raymond Castro, who served two tours in Nam as a Navy frogman. He volunteered for the second one, returning from both unscathed. I’ve lost touch with him. And I remembered my other best friend from high school, John Morrissey, who also went to Nam and also returned, but not alive. He lies beneath a stone in a military cemetery up in Maryland.

Anyway, in that documentary, every now and then the company would lose a man and the others would remember him and we’d cut back to the States to visit the fellow’s young widow. Sometimes she had a child. One had a little girl and was pregnant with another. After about the third young widow I had to stop watching. (But you can catch it again on June 3rd). All I know is that their husbands would fight for me if asked, and so I felt compelled to inwardly thank them for doing what they do while I took a few days of rest with my girls.


TS said...

She is a tad young for Beck's. I drank cheap beers when I was young and needed money.

William Luse said...

So did I, though when I needed money, I probably shouldn't have been drinking beer. But like she said, I ruined her for the bad stuff, which is usually what her friends drink. She drinks it sometimes, but says she has to gag it down.