Archive for March, 2007

my home on the road…and how I miss it!

March 30, 2007

praxair load

Originally uploaded by jayfherron.

I found myself on a crew that hauled vessels-which required specialized handling because they were over 100 feet long and somehow seemed to be srtatigically set in the middle of a city somewhere like the one in the photo…it came from down in the depths of Chicago.
Now-its a gaurantee that if you went somewhere to deliver one there was going to be one waiting to be removed. Its an all day ordeal. A crew has to be sent to loosen everything up and then a crane crew has to be there to pick the thing up and move it and set it in a temporary cradle-that has to be brought by a seperate semi truck and taken off by the crane as well. Then you get the one you hauled removed which takes several hours because everything has to be repositioned to load to return vessel.
They hold nitrogen…I think,sounds good anyway-but whatever they hold it is used to be the refrigerant for a huge building which is a huge freezer where a variety of Americas frozen dinners are kept..
Hauling something like this is a piece of cake as long as you are going straight down the road-but turns are tricky,and being in a city makes this an extreme challenge because its like driving a hook and ladder fire truck with out the rear driver-or the sirens,and when a turn is required you have to take every lane by swinging way over into the left lanes to grab as much turning space as possible. Imagine that in a city.
All cities are different-policies I am talking about. To haul these things one has got to have a permit-the city hands that out and the frequency of the need to write a permit for this kind of thing comes once in about every two or three years so the guy in charge of that job also keeps the lawns mowed in the cemeteries or some odd job like that and it is always the one which is hardest to catch up with …always,almost as if it is planned.
A permit is like an act of God if you are trying to get one from a city.
So-often times one trys to over ride the system and tests fate by pulling on out with out the proper papers. Like sneaking across borders.
Now street cops-on foot…then patrol units in cars and much of the time they are’nt awre of the permit part and if things are good you can get some help stopping traffic…..but then,there are times things werent at all going smooth and a guy in an overlength semi truck can really piss off a lot of people fast.,yet Ive had a blast pushing them back with the big truck-always winning because the size over rules.
In New York City we were supposed to stop at the foot of any bridge and there was this telephone box that rang at some precienct station somewhere and IF somebody decided to answer after the ten thousanth ring you might be lucky. We were supposed to call and wait for a cop to come and lead us across the bridge with his lights flashing and for a fee of a hundred bucks. If you were ever able to get somebody on the other end of the phone line to answer the thing you’d still wait hours before the escort cop came.
The sign they placed to advise green horn truckers they needed to phone ahead was so small no one could ever see them…it was meant that way.
A seasoned driver drove on across-it was better this way because they stopped you at the toll booth on the other side and gave you an ass chewing for being so stupid and then they phoned the cop-who came right away with his ass chewing and his fist out for that hundred bucks plus the fee for him-an extra thirty,a fine. It was worth it and the way of life in the city-palms out.

the split second love…

March 28, 2007

backyard sunset

Originally uploaded by jayfherron.

I walked into the VA Monday morning at 0600 and did my usual routine with my stroll across to the dental college through the tunnel and up the stairs to what ever floor I can manage.
Every week when I visit Charlotte I go through this.
The tunnel is rather long-about two blocks perhaps,and many of the people who work in Shands Hospital or the VA use this as a place to walk of the pounds so every morning there is a steady parade of fast walkers going hup hup hup in that funny pace they keep,and the sound of sqeeks from the sneakers grinding on the linolium tile floor.
There is one guy in particular. Ive passed him every week and every week we have some kind of hurried conversation which begins when we are in range enough to begin saying ‘good morning’-which this fellow does first and from that we say two or three quick words…most said from the hearing advantage of ones backside because we’ve passed each other that quick and theres just a need to pick one choice statement and keep on going. The longest conversation is what I call it because one week we say something-say for instance something about the universities football team,but like I said-its all quick because hes going in one direction and I am going the other way and ll of this is while he is power walking-so,the following week we pick up a fast point about what we said last week and so it goes.
I have no clue who he is or what he does there-he and I have never introduced each other…he sees me coming and says ‘there he is’ and I say ‘goodmorning’ and he makes a comment and poof…until next week.
Then…theres the woman on the fifth floor.
First-let me explain to you that I walk funny. I have had a guy tell me one time that I walked like a pimp…? However-I do know that I walk funny After I had the stroke something happened to my left arm and my hand and two of my fingers-so I walk with my left arm further out than the right and my hand does this nervous thing that makes my fingers twitch constantly which made some knuckle head come up to me and act like we were two cowboys fixing to draw on each other in a gun fight. And then theres the walk itself-I sort of lumber along in a strut and for some reason my left foot makes this sound that the right foot lightens up on…so its sort of a tromp poof tromp poff tromp poff,and you can hear me coming down the halls.
There these two black guys on the fifth floor who buff the floors and over the two years Ive been going through the routine that I do-I have passed these guys-same deal as the guy in the tunnel…a quick pass,usually these two guys are near elevator B and its the quick conversation while I wait for the elevator to get there.
These two fellows have come to call me ‘Cool Breeze’…they hear me coming tromp poof tromp poof and from way down the hall is this pair and they are already saying ‘here comes Cool Breeze-here he come’.
One morning one of them said-man,do you know who you are?
I was like this-what the heck do you mean?
And he says ‘yeah yeah man-you the dude on Water World’….
now that told me nothing but I learned from his partner that it was a movie. Yeah yeah the dude goes on-it your eye man you do your eye like that dude in Water World.
I’m light blind in my left eye,so it squints all the time and I usually wear sunglasses most of of the time….so this guy is telling me I’m the same guy thats in this movie. After seeing it-he meant Dennis Hoppers character,which was pretty cool to me.
Well-all of this begins from when I turn the corner at the south end of the building. My footsteps are loud and so when I reach the turn in the hall these guys have heard me and they start right away going with the Cool Breeze…..and midway down the hallway (its a reaserch area and its one door after another with small cube like offices,about ten or fifteen of them in a row)
midway is an office that the woman keeps the door cracked about 12 inches -its usually the only open door in the entire hall. I confess-I look for it to be open. I confess-I look forward to it being open.
It takes me a split second too walk by her.
I glance in the door-shes already been alerted by the pair down at the elevator calling me Cool Breeze,so when I pass….I know shes timing my steps (tromp poof tromp poof tromp) and as I pass she looks up and gives me this smile that just makes my day. It only lasts that fraction of a second….seeing her,Ive only just seen her face. I dont know her name-or anything about her….but I know that each week my walk through the two buildings comes to its end passing her office and seeing her look up and give me that smile.

A million trillion times Ive wanted to stop and say thank you-and a million trillion times my whole throat chokes up like someone is fixing to gag me and I couldnt hardly speak to her for a long period just to say good morning,we now do that….and theres these two dudes thinking I’m bad to the bone struting along like some bad assed dude-when the whole time I’m just wanting to get the hell out of there.
Its funny though,how sweet a private moment like that is. Lasts just what it takes to pass that door-but yet it means so much to see that smile.

The stampede in my body…

March 24, 2007

wierd crucifiction drawing

Originally uploaded by jayfherron.

I have written a while back about my depression and how painful it is-I know there are many others that would agree as to how the body fails under the strength of depression. Its as if I can feel every one of those 200 bones in my body from my face down to the bottom of my feet. Its happening today-Ive felt it coming on for a few days-but see that today it has almost taken over. I dont take drugs for it-actually finding forceing myself to work and excercise helps. But at times I still loose and want to lay down and die…its what I feel like is happening anyway. My body becomes so stiff and those bones are feeling like they are trying to pop out of my body-and my entire being just wants to collapse from the pain-oneday¬†into peace.
I think certain things contribute to depression-I cant be certain,Ive tried the treatment….pills,they suck and make you feel like you are on a constant mesculine trip with this make shift grin on your face because you cant help it-yet there is that agitation like the strycnine thats in the mesculine and how it works you up.
I believe I set myself up for this drag ass event in my life-I allow so many things to confuse me and at some point they all collect and drop on me like a huge 16 ton weight.
Truth is-I’m in pain from something that is inside of body. I seem to be certain theres something wrong-its been throbbing for six years but now its not just a throb-its fucking agony and I cant hardly sit and I cant sleep all night with out it feeling like some one has just jumped on my gut-usually around two in the morning and then I toss and turn all night. I had been on Percocete for almost all that time but couldnt stand it any more-the feeling that Percocete gives you,so I quit it in June last year.
Are you getting depressed too? I just realized how dull and droll I am this morning-the jump on my gut was about 0145 and its a new day dawning…
I think also my endeavors for veterans rights is defeating me. I learned the other night I might be in violation of a bi-law in our committee-the Alachua County Rape and Sexual Assualt Advisory Board because I live just into Levy County…and the bi law says I need to be a resident of Alachua County and although I can go to the edge of my property and hop into Alachua County is’nt good enough. I had hoped this council would be a boost to help me to help us-the veteran who has been violated-Ive proposed a motion that the board send a delegate to the county commision to request change in how sexually victimized veterans are recieved-and who is recieving them for filing a claim. The motion failed-this was last months meeting,and so I re-wrote it but this months meeting I heard the bi law and of course my PTSD took charge-easily because I was already in a large building and in a group….and I didnt get to offer it up.
Theres a banquet-its been the formost topic in each meeting since I became a member-we all are new members as this is the first this board has come together. I cannot go to this banquet…I’d piss my pants Id be so nervous…funny how the laws on access for disabled people dont cover the effects of PTSD,I demand a plate of food get sent to me! That way I can eat alone and not have to hear the breathing of others-which really sets me off.
I wanted to try to change something for us veterans…and found this committee is not as intent as I am wanting from them as it seems more of a social planning board than a team of people who can make a large difference in righting the wrong the is a barrier to us.
I think our civil rights is being violated the way the system is now.
Sorry to start the weekend in a drab mod.

the load to the middle of no where!

March 21, 2007

Spruce Mt.,Nevada

Originally uploaded by jayfherron.

I n my last days of trucking I worked in the heavy haul part of the industry-I done that through much of my trucking life in one way or the other like in construction locally I hauled everything,steel to bulldozers…and the timber woods-same thing,except it was logs and always moving the equipment from one forest to another. So wide loads and heavy stuff fit in-besides,it was regular days on,nights off…it took a long time. The buildings like the one in the photograph took days to move. They weighed several tons-the truck grossed at 110k,the usual legal load is 80k. And all the loads fairly much cooperated,not like cattle-they were unpredicable.
In the heavy haul end of the industry one can pretty much expect to be alone more than other truckers-I liked that part. Alone? The loads were always in an isolated place-or going to an isolated place,sometimes both. A lot of the heavy equipment I hauled was at some location-sometimes at a mile marker on the interstate somewhere…and Id load it and haul it across country somewhere and unload it and never see a soul. It took a lot of imagination because often times I was sent to pull a piece of heavy equipment and had no clue how to operate the thing-and thered be nobody to help…hmm,a secret-any piece of heavy equipment is capable of starting with the same key-John Deere has a key-Catapiler has a key,Komatsu has a hey-one kind of key,so a heavy haul; driver usually has all the keys to crank a machine. But-no matter if you dont-there are other ways to crank a machine with out a key…but Im drifting.
I was always used to hearing the load was going to the middle of nowhere-we often joked and called them a Super WalMart construction site because WalMarts seemed to be every where regardless of population,so my dispatcher told me this building was going going to a true WalMart construction site she was telling the truth….this building went 30 some miles into the desert to the base of Spruce Mountain,about 20 miles south of Wells Nevada-perhaps,I dont remember all the details,I just remember following the lead vehicle driven by an old man who was an employee of the rail road-whose tracks we had to follow to get to where this building now sets.
I hauled this all the way from Bessemmer Alabama,I hope I spelled that right-I hated hauling them because they were so heavy and it always seemed we had to cross one or two good and steep mountain passes-and they were a real pain when it snowed because they made you get off the highway and wait-for days…sometimes good,sometimes a royal pain.
But the again,it was always interesting where these things ended up.
The best part about heavy haul loads is the work-my job was to see it loaded properly and chained-moved and removed,of course-the chains had to be moved around and binders put back on a rack-that was a job,but no hand loading anything like in general frieght at a crowded warehouse in New Jersey somewhere like in Bergen County surrounded by several hundred other trucks and drivers. No-my loads required me getting it there in one piece-and they did the rest. So like this load,I strolled up the base of the mountain a few hundred yards and watched the view.
It was typical-once I hauled a crane from a construction site near the Louisiana state line to Texas-and I hauled it across Texas to a gate in the middle of nowhere-I was instructed to call my dispatcher when I got close to that gates location…which was in the boondocks of all boondocks and still in the pay phone century,so I found a pay phone and the instructions included-be careful of the cattle??!! Of course-I was okay with cattle since I hauled them and worked around them,but I needed some clearer kind of warning….what do you mean-be careful of the cattle?
Some herds are okay-some kinds of cows are agressive in a herd…and there is no reckoning with them. The warning was…this was a rough bunch and further instructions were that I had to locate this gate somewhere near the tenth oak tree that was next to the chewing tobacco sign that had shotgun pellet holes in it-well,the gate was down near the left by the broken tree and it had a red ribbon on it-then the crane had to be hauled through three huge pastures to a construction site.
You probrebly dont know this about cattle…they are nosey and true busy bodies and this is magnified when a vehicle is concerned-they think its got feed in it so they dont hesitate to surround the vehicle. First gate-thats what happened. I had about a hundred head of of cows all grouped around the rig…all of them thinking this big huge truck must have lots of feed…and me having to become an acrobat to figure out how to climb around on my rig to get back inside again.
Each pasture-same deal….new gate,goodbye old group of cows-hello new field full…three times. And-I had to go back out again,same deal…cows are too stupid to remember.
But I loved it-the peace of it…being alone like that,no one to screw with your business and get you hooked into something ….who knows what,its just always that way with people.

the 1960’s were different days…

March 19, 2007

lsd drawing in bible

Originally uploaded by jayfherron.

There are so many things about the era of the ’60s’. We came out of what seemed gentle years into the wide mouth of the time ahead devouring the president to begin the decade out and to chew through the years of marches for civil rights and the horror of the Viet Nam war filtering in to the homes that had television in those days. Hard to think computer friends-there was a day when one television served several families and always somebodys dad had to sit on the roof and work the aentena so we could get a clear picture of JFK getting shot or of ‘niggers’ getting beaten on the street by police officers-or,it seemed to us little kids…beaten by any one that felt like it. And after they showed Kennedy getting shot over and over-the first of slow motion images on TV…the news programs continueally showed Lee Harvey Oswald getting shot by Jack Ruby,all through thanksgiving that year watching the pain on the mans face as we saw that -so many people saw that man killed live on television when it happened and over and over.I can still see the look on Oswalds face. And then Johnson got urged to do something about Viet Nam-by that time my family had moved from the hills up past Virginia and into the suburbs of Washington and television was all the time there-no sitting on roofs trying to get a signal…Viet Nam was at our dinner table every night and I can still see the body of the Buddist monk that poured gasoline on himself and lit a match-in protest of the war,his body as it rocked back and forth in what had to be miserable pain.
Being in the Washington DC area during the 60s was quite interesting and I sometimes wish we never moved there because I learnt too much and always wonder if there would have been a simpler life elsewhere but only lived to find out that everyone was going through the loss of sons in a war that was as stupid as the one we have now.
In West Virginia-haircuts were more of a sign the school year was going to begin-so my hair got rather long by the end of summers. I remember when our family had moved dad drove us down through Georgetown to show us the hippies and from that point on a haircut was on a regular tab. I thought they were pretty funny looking too and I was a kid and had no clue what was coming for my family-and myself personally.
I dont know what to think about it all. My grand mother so casually used the word nigger about the same people we were seeing on the television getting mauled by german shepard dogs and any body who felt like inflicting pain on these people-it was so hard to understand to be around such hate and yet as a boy watching this I knew it had to be wrong. And it was more confusing to sit at the television at dinner and see the pictures of the young men that were killed in the war and among them were faces that were black just like the faces of those we saw from Selma and places in Mississipi and no body explained the unfairness of it to me-it was easy to figure out,although-I confess,it took me a while.
Emmit Till. Thats the kind of people were around in the 60’s-people that felt nothing about doing what they did to that young man…and looked the other way from so many things,unspeakable things.
I wonder what kind of impact television is having on a young ones mind today-as a boy in West Virginia we only could get a channel-one channel that only came on for a part of the day. We had guys like Clara Bell the Clown and Roy Rogers and simple ha ha things-until Kennedy. And then shows like Combat and other things like the rebel with the broken sword-all of that to induce the honor of war in our young heads-not the horror. And now today things are so far advanced-guys get killed on one show and end up as a new guy on another show…we make fun of foriegn people and think nothing of it and yet we see still the problems from foriegn places,and little kids mix this into thier heads-softens the blow.
How easily we can make fun of tragic tragic things when they happen in places are clueless about-and then be so angry when they happen here.

YOU have a VOICE…

March 17, 2007


Originally uploaded by jayfherron.

Just to begin…go find and look for the link that gives you access to tell your story,if you feel that is what you want to do-but please,try it-no body can see you!
One voice.
Did you know that a woman with autism changed the way cattle are prepared for slaughter? Well-I know this isnt a good way to make a comparison especially when there really cant be many improvements for the cow when its getting ready to be set up for its end…but this woman defeated a handicap to become a voice for the way cattle are treated before they are slaughtered-its mandated all across the country.
Ive been to these places-I cannot tell you how it is to go to a major feed lot and see thousands of bovine all waiting to be trucked over to a place where they get lined up and thier head is lobbed off with a machine that looks like a huge chain saw with jaws.
This one woman -a person with a handicap so severe,yet she used her voice towards an entire industry to change how these cows are treated up to thier end.
I have to use this as an example,Im sorry if it is gruesome and it is…but theres a point here thats needing to me met-
Ive been writing for seven months about one part of giant system that has a flaw-a huge flaw…a flaw that effects many many people,and I’ll be honest with you-I am sometimes so scared to go into a situation where I have to speak to a stranger that my voice begins to quake and shake and it becomes diffucly to speak,but one day I figured it out that many many people have some time to spend on the computer and I can express many challenges to many people at one time-and not neccesarily be seen,and my voice doesnt shake and get choked up…..and your voice can be the same way.
It is something that we live in a society that needs to eat so much beef that the industry of raising cattle is so vast-it is huge. If you doubt me-go to Brawley California-or Mericopa Arizona,or Greely Colorado and ask yourself…”what’re they doing with all them cows”??
So gruesome as my example is-you would see how great a feat it was for one woman-and I express the challenges her voice has because of the degrees of disability the voice of an autistic person has…and they heard her voice!
My ‘beef’…(no pun intended ,well….it couldnt been helped)-has been this all along:
Sexual assault takes place every day in the US Military-and most cases do not get the proper attention,many times the victims do not go forward-much of the time for fear…
And it does’nt end there and as Ive said before the stigma of being raped isnt put away easily-the continues all along your life no matter how hard you try to put it behind you. And as much as rape and related assaults take place-there are far more better resources for help and sensitivity on the civilian side then there is on the military side,and even furthur than that-in the veterans adminstration also.
And I’m counting on this…. like that one womans voice I’m going to keep on and on and on until someones says Im right and begin to feel like I do and they start to speak,and then someone says-yup,I believe its time for me to speak.
The more we remain silent the more our attackers gain control over us….it does not matter where you are,what life you have-to have somebody take such control over your being does’nt stop at the one initial time-does it?
If you want power over that-raise your voice.
Go into-

caught in a cage?

March 16, 2007

young lynx

Originally uploaded by jayfherron.

I worked as a volunteer in a place where they accept and maintain exotic animals that for some reason or another need assistance-like wildlife that becomes injured and yet can be nursed to health-this place took them and did as much as possible,and many animals and birds are re-habed and released to be free again.
Some are like this Lynx. Some rich cat (I mean dude) finds some underground source to buy a Lynx kitten (??) thinking his girl friend or wife is just going to love this unusual gift …oh,how they’ll show it of at parties and be envy of others.
But the thing grew up.
First it started to mark its space-boy did that stink.
Then it owned the house in north Miami on A1A…it just took over.
The Florida Fish and Game officers took charge of things and shot a dart the cat and it ended up with us along with dozens of other wild born cats that folks think will make a great and unusual pet.
This cat didnt do anything wrong-it just got born and looked so cute and fun as a kit and because some guy can afford to have the thing for a strange novelty to entertain his friends-this cat ends up living in a cage.
It cant be returned to the wild-it has no idea how to live (unless its in a plush home on A1A in north beach).
Its almost like the life of those of us who have been sexually assaulted. We were born free but somewhere along our life we were taken and from that point on we too have lived a life locked away in a cage.
Interesting-this Lynx is in a cage that is meant to protect him,it wouldnt be able to live otherwise…it is wild ,and dangerous-we certainly can not pet it and make it feel welcome because its born instinct says it is in danger all of the time,and yet we couldnt send it back to its natureal home and relese it-because it had no instinct of how to hunt to eat and survive.
Its something like the control our attackers had on us-after our freedom was taken from us
and we were put into this unnaturael environment-once freed from that we end up living in a cage of our own mental security-our instinct always saying we are in danger-and being out in the freedom of the world we have no more instinct to live like others,the compulsion of our fears limit the way we move about-the compulsion of our fears controling how we do move about.
That the damnest thing about this crime-rape and assault against our bodies. When somebody is murdered-its rough,but the victim is dead…and over time greif works out many things-but still,yes-the horror of the memory lingers. But the victim has no more pain about it. I know this sounds crass-but yet even when your home is burgled and your prizes are stolen you feel violated-but soon the check comes and you can buy the things to appease the loss and fix the broken window.
When our body has been violated-no check can come in the mail to replace that. The only thing that will erase my memory will be death-the murdered victim looks more better off,and many mornings I have thought that would have been best.
I cannot begin any day in my life with out there being something there that renews what happened 37 years ago-everyday,every morning…just doing something what so many take for granted,going to the bathroom,I can never forget and thats how my day begins-realizeing one more day the damage that was done just by wiping my ass.
Every morning,it never misses-the memories of barracks D are so vivid,the damages not only to my body-but my mind and my life.
Its got to be that way for every victim of rape and assault-Im sick of refering to it as sexual assault….that lingering memory of the moment you were violated,and it surely was not a sexual moment.
What a miserable secret it is-how you have to hide your lifes truth from others because of how others respond ,and many dont know how to respond. So the thing-the attacks and the secrets build inside of you and trail you all through your life.
Its very hard to explain-it is easier for me to be in a cage.

what it is is what it is…

March 14, 2007

barracks D drawing

Originally uploaded by jayfherron.

The reason why I trust in God as much as I do is because the way my truth is known and God being the the only One who knows my truth-what it is exactly that is in me….it gives me that much hope to finally come to somewhere that my truth is known completely.
I lived with all of this past with out the benifit of having some one know-never finding some one I could ever trust to let it and let it go-and perhaps fall into arms and be able to cry,and to be able to trust that person whose arms I fell into.
Until Charlotte-my therapist-no one has ever known as much,and she still doesnt know it all…like I said the other day-all of this sounds too much to me,ands theres just things I can never ever say or talk about it.But yet the knowing somehow-spiritually-that God is in tune with every moment of what your life is like ( and please dont expect me to explain why all the world has multitudes of problems…just hang with me on this)…in tune with what all my life has been about-and knows the truth,and same with yours.
I realized yesterday how fine a line I’m walking in this trip where I have exposed my truth to everyone and stepped out to make a claim-after 30 some plus years of never a thought of such…against the veterans administration,or who ever its actually against…? and sometime yesterday evening it just all sank in how alone this still is…how alone I was that night in barracks D and how alone I was the next morning in that chairs looking at that officer who told me to get used to it. I’m going up against a mechanism of such power that has these things and people at its control-and I cant even afford a decent plate of food.
Ive been trying to find someone to tell the story of how it is to live alone with the fears of the memories of what happened and then to have those memories revitalized in a way that it looks like help has finally come…but its always just sort of at its reaches,kind of tempting-but yet theres this reserve in the offerer…and theres reservation inside of yourself-because youve been shut down so many times…mainly because you are afraid to try to fight,just like all those years ago.
So in my searching I find someone and believe this person is going to speak up for us…the survivors-and learned yesterday that I was standing alone once again…because the only one that will ever really be able to validate what I have been saying all along is God,the only one on earth that can validate me has been told that it is against policy.
When I got barracks D I saw a lone bunk way back in the back where I was going to be safe-I havent felt safe since.

death…and suicide

March 12, 2007

death picture

Originally uploaded by jayfherron.

I believe when I wrote about courage the other day that I might have presented a wrong impression about death.
I really dont know how to put this together so that it makes sense-except that because I have understood some things does not mean that it makes sense to others.
Ever since I was a little boy I saw a great deal of death. Interestingly-in our neighborhood in West Virginia I can remember three men that commited suicide,one of those my friend and I saw from beginning to end…we were about eight or nine. Even with Bennie ( a man Ive written about previously) who died on my brother Joes birthday.Bennie adored my little brother and my mother had sent me to Bennies with a chunk of cake wrapped in wax paper. Bennie usually was sitting in his Buick-its where he was every day,but on Joes birthday the funeral home guys were there and Bennie was dead. As they rolled him out on the porch the undertaker pulled the blanket back and there I stood holding Joes birthday cake looking down down at Bennies blue face-his eyes and mouth wide open.
And it was like that too-when the ‘flower man’ gassed himself -me and my pal happened along and the undertakers and the cops were there and layed on stretcher was the ‘flower man’ and the undertaker motioned for us to come over and there he pulls the blanket back and all blue in the face was the ‘flower man’….his eyes wide open and his mouth gapeing,deader than dead can get you. And the old guy that lived next to the ‘flower man’…same deal-but we were walking past his house on our way to school and there were the undertakers and cops and the old man layed out on a stretcher-as dead as any other dead guy can get,bullet hole in the head and we kids getting to see him just before going into the elementry school.
(We called him the ‘flower man’ because he planted all kinds of flowers along the roadside by his house and would show us kids things about growing flowers-he would do little characters with the snap dragons and was really a neat guy)
And so on it went-or began…I remember as a wee boy my mothers dad-PopPop …he took me to a huge house and made me sit on a rocking chair on the porch,I think I might have been five,and just about the instant PopPop went in the house I walked around the big porch and came to one of the windows and saw PopPop and some other people and they were looking at some old man laying on a couch all dressed up in a suit,laying there just still. I didnt realize until years later when I went to work in a funeral home that what I had seen as a little tyke was a man in repose in what they call a ‘full couch’,or a casket that happens to open fully to give the appearance of a couch.
And there is somewhere the key to why I went to work in a mortuary-the death of my baby brother sealed that deal-I had to know about this strange thing that does not care if its a man woman or child,and has no concern as to how it overtakes.
Looking at dead folks dont answer that question-it just rises more.

You cant help working in a funeral home to be hearing all kinds of religions-more less thats where my true introduction to the different faiths came and the different traditions that go with them…no matter what,they all go into a hole.
Theres no question-because of my past-I had found drugs and drinking as an easy way to put it all aside. It never stayed there-it was back the next sobriety. At one point I thought I had them licked-drugs…but when I got into cattle hauling the flow of crystle meth was as clear as the windshield to be a way of the life hauling livestock-and I fell into it.
I spent one full week wide awake. One load to the west coast to Brawley and from there to Mericopa and from there to Garden City Kansas-and back to Florida and back out again to Colorado…all wide awake.
And then-boom…it happened. My heart had enough and my body felt like somebody was inside of it fighting like mad to get out,the force so bad it knocked me to my knees and the other drivers helped me get into my truck-that God we were all standing around when it happened and not driving.
I lay there in my sleeper and I knew I was going to death…but yet it was really life.
And I layed there and as I said the other day-I felt it so pure and so real and so beautiful and I felt it relieveing me. Someone got in my truck to see how I was doing and I came out of it slightly but my eyes rolled back and away I went again. And to thinking about my mother and some other things and this all sounds crazy-I know….but it so,and for some stupid reason I turned my thoughts to this world and started feeling up to getting up and out on the ground again. What a fool.
A few years later I had a simular incident happen when I had a stroke-I was 46. And after that several events took place that reeled my mind around-the deal with Americas Most Wanted and the deal with my wife-the rattlesnake bride and all those things accumulated with all of the things in my life…and I claimed sobriety in order to see these things clearer-and one night I looked up into the sky and looked out at all those stars and I saw all of these things going by-things about me….
and I realized that this isnt life.
What I think is that we are all scared of death because of the sight of it and the conditions of it and the unknown about it…but its certain its the only equal thing we all get,one way or the other.
But Ive found out how sacred the whole matter is-the transition from here to there and how it really does not belong to us-even though,one day it will be ours.
Suicide is like stealing-and I dont think its as gentle a transition as just getting the unexpected or perhaps long awaited poof into the other side…and where I believe everything will be a new and always life-the life,and as it is evident around here with real life and ersatz televised life-as if we dont recieve enough…there must be something better,I feel it as I look out into the sky at dawn and at noon and at night and see the only real beauty we cannot bulldoze-although we are trying…because with suicide you are argueing with yourself and leaving in an unpeaceful and unsettled way-where as the other comes along in its own untimed way.
We all are going to get it-dang sure,no doubt about…its a fact. And I’ll be honest-its a good thing coming-but gladly Ive seen the peace about it and am satisfied to wait its call for me and allow ‘this’ to run its course.
Sunset and Evening Star,
and One Clear call for Me-
may ther be no moaning at the bar-
When I am put to sea…


March 10, 2007


Originally uploaded by jayfherron.

I had a sweet remark yesterday about courage. It made me feel like I was going to cry-it definantly brought tears to my eyes.
I never considered it-getting this far being an act of courage and yet I can relate to the comment that was made…it was Mike E from the open container speedway-because Im always amazed that I got to this point,and I know where he has come from.
Yeah,I have collided with things along the way-gladly I was able to keep some sense about me to want to survive,I actually believe somehow barracks D was responsable for that will of survival as much as it was for my being flung into a life of no control.
I dont know what all the miracles are that guided me along the way-my sons certainly were one of the best…we raised each other and gladly we were better friends than we were parent and young ones and young ones and parent.
I remember all of those mornings when I had to walk into Archer-7 miles into the dawn heading towards a long day at a hard days work how I used the time to think of God and think of my kids and think of my life and how I used to pray that my sons did not have the things happen to them that happened to me and that thier lives would have a better foundation and that they would become someone better than me.
It was a good prayer-they all were good prayers….my sons have built great foundations and I am so proud of the way they have been blessed by those prayers.
My sons lived through a lot with me-seeing me a drunk and seeing me as a looser on drugs….and they told me how they felt-I recall once my then a 12 year old son holding the freezer door open to expose my beer to the heat,and he said-I dont want this shit in our house any more.
Sadly then-not much changed-but it had an impact on me as much as it did them-and I know I would weep and lament about my life….how sad that I almost dragged them into the hole with me-forunantly they stood at the ledge and kept thier hands out to pull me up. They were the ones with courage.
I hate my life-I hate what I cant shake…I hate that things that are long gone still kill me deep inside and wont let me die completely but fester from the shit of its memory and knowledge of what its done to me.
My courage these longer years of my life comes from knowing as I walk towards a sunrise such as the one as glorious as this that there is something far greater and far better than all the riches of this world-and that one day I will be walking towards the sunrise and I will walk right into its great beauty-it’ll be that smooth,and that gentle. I know this-I once was so close to it some years ago…I saw it and I heard it and could smell its freshness and pureity and I knew I was nearing heaven…and like a damned fool-I thought about this place and then I opened my eyes and learned I had to wait a little bit longer.