Archive for June, 2007

Constitutional Rights? or…

June 22, 2007


Sir in WW 1

Originally uploaded by jayfherron

Any one that knows me knows I am not a political person. I do however see things that are wrong and I do become troubled by them-these things attach to politics and government…for example when ever land was given to the people whose land it was in the first place,and that land was discovered to have some rich ore,even oil…and then the land was taken away and the people whose land it was in the first place were moved once again. The American Indian.
In other words-they were lied to with broken promises.
Like my grandfather-shown in the photograph…and countless others like him who battled in World War One with only a promise he’d be paid…all of them-all of the veterans battled knee deep in mud and chest high in bullets for nothing.
My father tells the story of when he was a boy he would carry buckets of coffee down to the men and woman who lived in what was known as ‘Hooverville’ a settlement on the Anacostia River in Washington DC….named after the president who broke the promise. My father has held a life long hate in his heart for General MacArthur because his soldiers came -by order of the President and led the battle against our own soldiers-they came on calvery horses…the last use of the United States Calvery and it was against our own World War One veterans to clear away ‘Hooverville’. The residents of ‘Hooverville’ only wanted one thing-what was promised to them! Hardly any one knows that after that final battle for the calvery all of the horses were¬† shipped to Texas where they were intended to be slaughtered…several hundred were taken over into Mexico and led to a pit were machine guns put them down…not many people know that several heroic soldiers-all former calvery soldiers who lived their military lives with these horses-¬†‘stole’ the rest of the horses and led them to Canada and freedom and safety-all the time the United States Army led a chase to capture these thieves-by order of the President…they only managed to kill one of the soldiers just as the horses went across the river into Canada where they were mey with open arms of the Canadian authorities. Its all true-you can find it in history.
I even remember the Black Panther party when it began…as it should have-as young 18 year old black men were being drafted to go to Viet Nam and fight in the rice paddys laying next a white man who was drafted into the same war. These young men did their tour of duty and returned to try to find dignity in the same country they were told they were defending…the colored water fountain still existed for them-the colored toilet was around back as always.
I only just the other day learned that in 1992 Congress passed a law mandating that the Veterans Administration healthcare providers be given traing and education related to MILITARY SEXUAL TRAUMA; this law fails to reach a satisfactory point of conclusion for the tramatized veteran because it stops at the VA health center…but DOES NOT extend to the VETERANS ADVOCATES who are the very source for all veterans to file a claim in regards to injury sustained while serving the United States…even those veterans who have been criminally attacked and are expected to learn to live with it.
To me this is a violation of our civil rights-OUR CIVIL RIGHTS,those we were intended to defend while in our service too our country…those which are held back from us-how can I be expected to report to a man who wears a ball cap all of his waking hours and has only the training of a gunny sargent and tell that man how several men attacked me and raped me?
I did have to do that-he is the reason why I write this and try to bring attention to this…the stupid questions he posed such as why would homosexuals need to rape each other….or,the topper-they must have been black!! An assumption of an idiot who is supposedly going to be my advocate….OUR ADVOCATE??
Our CIVIL RIGHTS are being violated by the help of Congress because they mandated a law in effect that has NO EFFECT!

Fathers Day

June 17, 2007


my Father

Originally uploaded by jayfherron

I usually dont write at night. I am an early morning kind of person-before daylight,both by habit and fear that somebody will try to call me and the phone will boot me off the web…and I loose everything I write. That hurts.
I had to finally get up on my roof yesterday and try to patch it and keep it from raining in here anymore this season-and I found when I got up there I had to cut a bunch of branches from one tree. They did’nt look so bad up above-but on the ground they turned out to be almost the size of small trees…I know because I had to drag them away from the house to go back up and trim more. I trimmed and then rested and then went back up to patch it-having stacked pieces of tin and roof gunk and trowel and and everything I could think of except something to kneel on,so I patched the place and hope to the head of the storms that this holds this time…all this having to bend over-too hot for my bare knees to kneel.
This morning-when it was supposed to be about 0500 when I usually get up it was around 1030 when my two chiuauas were like going nuts on the bed and the little one was giving my face a bath trying to wake…my body somehow got out of bed and made it to the living room and onto a pad I laid and slept until this afternoon til four!!
I’m not sure which direction the truck that must have hit me went-but my reality was brought back by telephone call from son (the Navy Chief P/O) who is driving down from South Carolina and wanted to meet me in Jacksonville tomorrow to go to a museum…him and his wife and my grandson,a lad a tad over two.

For 37 years I have held a tradition..almost a journey to mecca for me. I go to the Jewish cemetery in Gainesville and sit around for a while and remember my first day in Florida…Fathers Day 1970.
My first reply to my son was that I wouldnt be able to make it-not drive up to Jacksonville….I wanted to go to the graveyard. But the more I sat and thought about it…how it all began and how I got there in the first place was when I went to a going away party for someone up in Washington DC. I think I knew the person-however it was just a ride away from that area that I wanted…I had to escape. I know Ive written in this journal about how I had gotten caught as a ‘participant’ in theft….I had been strong armed by another employee and got nothing of what I had to steal for him. The thought of going to jail for that did not appeal to me….my mind was so fresh of barracks D thats all I could think of when the police officer told me I better have a name for him the next day or he was going to me in jail. The next day I was in that cemetery.
So ,thirty seven years ago – I got into the front seat of 60’s model Ford station wagon and headed for the south….and away!
That was mostly back roads folks-the blue highways,there was hardly an interstate 95 once you got south of Richmond.
So we ended up in Jacksonville the following morning and met this fellows cousins at a bowling alley in the Arlington section of Jacksonville…and the cousins took a look at me and said “he aint going where we are”. They were heading onward to a beach camp their family had near Daytona (I wish Florida was the way it was then-whew we’ve lost that)
So it was decided they’d drop me in Gainesville. My memory has it that they thought I had better chance up here than in Jacksonville because of the University of Florida-I guess during the hippie days of 1970 one could eat real well at a Hari Krisna camp,I never found them until just a few years ago.
So-I was dropped off at the corner of University Avenue and Waldo Road and the only private spot was that cemetery. And there was my homeless home for all of that day.

It is like angels took me to that party 37 years ago-and opened the door to that car….I’m even glad they seprated me from my driver and his clan and led me that graveyard and away from what the future had for me back in DC.
When it got dark a reality got started when the mosquitoes started finding me. They sounded like small Cessna airplanes zooming in and so across the street I went to the pay phone and made a collect call to a man I knew from a church up in DC and if you dont believe the angels had anything to do with this you can go do something else…the man in DC had a brother who lived in a town right near here-Micanopy Florida (mick-can-no-pee) and at ten oclock that night my stint with homelessness ended and I found myself in the company of some the greatest influences ever in my life-the town was taken over by artists and leather craftsmen and glass blowers and the family I lived with was the home of a photographer.
When the sun came up that first Monday morning and I awoke to the smell of frying bacon from a log cabin cafe across the road and the sound of logging trucks idleing in front and the talking of Buster Mountain (the town mechanic) and the sounds of kids playing in the distant part of the building I was in-once an old hotel…and boarding house-a tourist home is the reference I seek.
It was definantly a contrast from where I was 48 hours earlier-Washington District of Columbia to this tiny little town which was then quite a ways from anywhere. The heart of Gainesville was 11 miles north-Ocala around 30. It was still a town living to provide provisions and lives to it townfolk…places to buy breads and meats and house goods and rakes and shovels and damned cold beer-all in one store…and there were three of them! And a garage right in the center of town with a mechanic that was funnier than any Red Skelton I ever saw…one of these days my body will be buried right behind his in the Micanopy cemetery.
The log cabin cafe was built under a huge packing shed-that shed became a movie star…as did the whole town,but the shed had a part-in the movie ‘Doc Hollywood’ (with Micheal J.Fox) and since that time has appeared in two other films-‘Cross Creek’ with Mary Stenbergen (sic-apology) and one of the old grocery stores played a part as a pool hall…did you know buildings could act?
I cant recall the name of the third film-however ,somehow the town went through a change and all the bread and meat and shovels and rakes are now bought in Gainesville-and theres no cold beer anywhere…except out on the highway 441 or out at the interstate. I remember we used to go in Mrs.Weavers store and there was a cooler-a big soda cooler and was filled with beer-ice cold beer. And around that cooler were stools-about a dozen,and on top of the coolers were ash trays and on the floor a can for spittin in. All you had to do was find a stool and sit there and drink your beers and when you got done you carried the emptys to Mr.Weaver and he’d charge you accordingly…no waitress to get drunk over,so every one got along!

Now all you can find there are gourmet sandwiches and antique stores-some one told me the whole town is just about owned by one person…and thees only a few from around there that remember what remember.
So it kind of interests me about meeting my son and his family up in Jacksonville for fathers day…I can still go by the cemetery-its right on the same road out of town towards the big city of J-ville,and I think I will leave early enough to be able to stop and yet make Jacksonville in time enough to cruise about and see if I can’t find that old bolwing alley…most likely its been torn down by now.
I don’t know why it means so much…

no ones life but theirs…

June 13, 2007



blur twinkles on pete

Originally uploaded by jayfherron

I think I once wrote about a family I lived near in West Virginia when I was a kid. They lived in an old log home-a very large place with dirt floors. I think I told about the coal mine-although small-but was accessed through a pantry off of the side of the kitchen and how we kids wouls love to wait for the ring of a bell and we’d run to a pully and pull the rope and up came a bucket of coal and we’d dump it in a small little cart that was on tracks…and the best part was to ride that cart down the hill behind the house to a pile where the big pile of coal waited for the truck to come each year and haul diggings away.
In our school-as kids…those kids were called ‘hicks’,because they were poor-to some peoples standards.
I always felt rich and warm there. They were a huge family-there was a grandpa and grandma-she cooked on a wood stove…and the parents-and an uncle,and loads of kids. Shirley and George were the two I was aquainted with and would stay the night there often in Georges bunk beds.
There was another kid-Jimmy…his dad was the trucker I know I’ve written about. Jimmy was the kid that stole the car and some money to come and rescue me from the things that were going on at junior high school in Tukahoe Virginia (Richmond) and I remember when we got caught I felt so bad for Jimmys dad for having to drive so far to get us. I always wanted to tell him that,but never saw him again.
I used to love the early mornings when we’d sleep over at Jimmys. His dad would get up and start a pot of coffee and you’d barely hear him in the kitchen in a slight slumber as he fixed the metal pot and put it on the stove…but slumber would be risen up out bed when Jimmys dad would crank that truck. In the old days the trucks had an air starter that raised a loud loud whoop when it turned the motor-the sound echoed through the hills north of Charleston and probrebly raised up everybody in a wide radius.
The part I really loved was when Jimmys dad would sit and drink his coffee at the string board of a steel guitar and sing hymns. My family were not church people-and this was my way of learning about heaven and faith.
When Jimmys dad would leave you could hear him shifting that truck all through those hills going to where ever.
I swear to you I about wish time could have stuck in that period…the wee years of the 1960’s. Until innocence was robbed by the murder of our president.
Some years later I went to work for a man who owned a bunch of dump trucks and drag-lines and bulldozers. Other than the trucks-I could not operate these machines-but the boss would take me to one and point out some specifics and leave me there….with a job to do-and serious basic training,more less none! And I would gradually figure the thing out.
Most of the places we worked at were way back in the boonies-no one was ever around-it was most of the time just me. One day this ragged jeep drove up with an old man-ragged as that jeep,driving.
The old man got out and I’m serious-he was fairly grubby looking and around his lips was loose runaway tobacco juice-some even seemed to spot his dirty shirt. He got out of that jeep and was ranting about how I needed to do this and do that and I had no idea who he was and so I told him so…and off he went in that old beat up jeep.
About an hour went by and my boss showed up-he was pissed. He wanted to know if any one had been there-I told him about the old man.
My boss stood there and glared at me for what seemed hours and then he began to teach me something really valueable…not to judge the book until you’ve read the whole thing.
The old mans name was Goethe. I was told he was one of the highest property owners in this section of Florida….the benefactor of over 42,000 acres of forest to the people of the state of Florida-the man who gave us Goethe State Forest.
In the Bible it says things aint always the way they appear-my words but the bible does say it generally that way.
Like David-the boy who threw the rock at the giant…the soldiers all said he was a boy-but he and not they killed the giant….him with a stone and sling-they with all their armour and arms.
What I learned from that family in West Virginia was that they were richer than anyone because they had that family that stayed together and worked together and were happy together.
On that same mountain side was some very rich people-you see…real estate in West Virginia is kind of a tight perspective and so on some hillsides are grand homes and near by are shanty shacks and in between.
There was kid our age back then whose grandfather had invented something we all use every day-or to put it better,most homes have one. This family was very rich-they had a home that you could see most of Charleston from one terrace…well to be honest-there were several homes on the property. The parents lived a mansion-the grandparents in a very long ranch style house next to that and there was an old school…and a bit off through the woods was a second mansion that had been started years and years back-and never finished. I remember they were very nice people…but our friend was rather spoiled from this lifestyle-even then at our age (we would have been 8 to 10 years old)….I remember the boy got in trouble so badly one time his family sent him to Greenbriar Military school to punish him. I remember being envious because in those years the back pages of the National Geographic had ad’s for military schools and over and over I’d ask my dad if I could go to one…never thinking they were places of punishment-but places of high standing. I never went-the closest I got was boot camp. I came to learn later Greenbriar (I’m sure I’m spelling this wrong) was a very prestigious school,so was he being punished?
I began writing all of this stuff last fall-nearly nine months ago…mostly because I wanted to tell someone-but greatly because of comments that were made to me while going through the application process of making the Navy accountable for what happened to me…something that crossed my mind for all these years-
….and I was given the remarks by the veterans advocate that no one would ever think homosexuals would have a need to rape one another….
and I went away from that meeting and those comments-the others that indicated it MUST BE blacks that did it…?? but worse of all I felt so violated and filthy once again and it took me back to the first day at barracks D and the intelligence officer that saw me and told me to get used to it because my dance card was already punched!
I’m funny…really,I am way off wack! I know now there are some of you that are reading these things that have lived through the terror of being a victim…and you understand what I am talking about where fear is considered-because we live in fear all the time…it does not go away. We adjust-some of us-some better,some worse. But I will tell you that since that first day in barracks D I have lived my life with it ,on it,in it and around it. This morning when I used the toilet for the first time today my hand sunk into the damage and into the past as it did such a trivial task to wipe my ass..and to every day to have to start it EVERY DAY that way where the thought of those men attacking me and stretching me in the way they did…my reminder is right there….it doubles in the shower when it takes so long to get clean.
My life went went away then-news years eve 1970…heck,the day hadnt even began…it was still 1969-the partys were 10 hours away to ring in the new year…and I woke up in a urinal covered in piss and my nose blocked with dried blood.
I have a great misunderstanding as when people say to me-get over it!! It rings a bell inside of me…get over it! When? When will I get over it? You make it sound so easy…
I have hated every inch of this part of my life-every waking moment-and so many reminders…like when I do find a safe restroom to do a simple bodily thing my nose reminds my memory of the urinal I had my soul bent so badly in…every time-even the stupid sounds in the restroom brings it back! Think about it-how many times in our life we need to go to a rest room and for me each time it is a clear deja vu of that time. And the crowd of men-the breathing at night when things were supposed to peaceful and they were’nt.
I’ve had several critical comments made by my own family in these writings-some are still attached somewhere in here..others I got sick and sunk them into the trash.
I cannot believe they are interested in me..reading this-I think they are critical of the small things that I say in regards of my family…I remember once upon a time my ma got ‘curious’ and said she thought there was something that happened in the Navy..and I thought that this would be it-she was interested….and so I began to tell her-until the part came and she started making this loud shushing and told me to stop that she did’nt want to hear it.
Damned right Mother….I wish God had taken me too instead of Carl-I just did’nt know it then.
Its been no ones life but theirs…

about privacy….

June 10, 2007



VA stairs drawing-jay herron 2006

Originally uploaded by jayfherron

I don’t even know if ‘privacy’ is the correct word-but I do know that if somebody touches me and I am not wanting them to,then my privacy has been taken advantage of.
I am going to have trouble explaining this-I think….but lets give it a start by saying about nine years ago I was sitting outside of the VA waiting for an appointment. Out in front of each main entrance is where all the guys in wheel chairs go to smoke…its just so strange to see all the fellows in purple pajamas and pushing one of those towers with all that liquid healing stuff attached to them-oxygen…and blood pressure moniter and even a trachie,and there they sit smoking.
I was sitting on one of those bences back then and struck up a conversation with a woman sitting next to me-there was something interesting about the way she looked…her hair was short and new looking-stiff kind of…and I just asumed she might have been a cancer patient who has been growing her new hair back and I could’nt help to figure that if I was sick with a terminal illness I’d probrebly go get some Winstons and resume smoking myself. Stupid thing to think.
Any how…some how we struck up a short conversation-she was a nurse at the VA and was on a break. Over the years we’d bump into each other in the hall some where and “how do you do” was always said and usually that was all the time needed to say hello-and so it went like that for about 8 years until one afternoon I bumped into her at the local library. This a very interesting looking lady-her manner of dress is noticable because she is always wearing a dress that gives her the appearence of being from Norway…and so its easy to spot her-short hair,Norwegian outfits….perhaps its the clogs that gives that impression.
So-in the uniqueness of it all we got together for a cup of coffee at her house-which was right there in town! And of course-we laughed at the coincidence of it .
After that coffee and chat we had several other coffee days…I dont want to say dates becuase this story is because of confused and baseless conclusions…and that word ‘date’ could set off another rash of problemed thinking.
I eventually confided in my nurse friend that I am being treated at the VA for PTSD because of my assaults-trust…why not,after all this is a nurse? Trust…hmmmm.
I suppose two months maybe had gone by since we first had a coffee and I began to notice certain things that made me sense that my nurse friend was saying things that had terms of inuendo that were suttle hints of….perhaps ‘love’. Not what my thoughts were…never once did I indicate that was what I was feeling because I was not-and am not now.
I pointed this out and my gawd did the tears flow-they actually shot straight out,something I had never seen before-it was bad…but it had to be explained that I was only capable of being her friend. I was told that was NOT enough. So-I did’nt see her for a while.
Then I got this message on my answering machine one day-weeks and weeks since my explaining friendship. She wanted to be friends again…
Then it came out-I was wrong and she was right and I was needing more but did not yet see that but she was going to be patient until I came around to her point of view-which it turns out was she felt she could break the reluctance to become sexually involved with anyone and she was going to show me ‘touches’ and ‘energy’ that was going to change my life…..I did not think so. And I told her I was not then nor ever wanting sexual contact with her….friends…friends!!
Another few weeks of that being silent and then my phone rings and my nurse friend has decided that being friends will okay.
Then the suttle touches-she’d touch me and would look at me to see if I was responding….then the hints-sex hints….questions-sex questions. And then one evening-the evening of the first art exhibit I was involved in…I had walked to the gallery from over the other side of campus to get up my nerve to be in the building-my phobia of buildings….and so my nurse friend was there at the reception. She offered me a lift to my car,so I accepted.
At my car I turned to thank her and zoom…before I knew it she had her mouth up against mine and stuck her tongue in my mouth….I thought I was going to vomit but I gave her this wierd look and got out of the car and walked to mine spitting all the taste of her spit that I could get out. The thing was-this kiss became her twisted thought that I had offered it and she made mention of that several times that I had kissed her….I had not.
I swear to you…I have never done anything to promote this-I never said anything that would suggest my love for this person other than my love for a friend.
A few months ago I had to go into the city and offered a ride and a meal at the ‘filafal shop’ and after that dropped her off and by the time I got home a message was going on so I picked up and it was her and she stated that she needs it all and that friendship was not enough and thus she did’nt want to see me or talk to me again because her love was so strong and I am not ready to accept it…..I would never get ready-it was friends…a friend! not a lover…that I wanted from her.
So that was that-until this art exhibit….she was there. This time I walked to my car.
So now its back at that again…the suttle touches and these stupid little giggle thing she does showing me she got away with it and I’m so damaged from it….however,she has yet to figure out that I hate it…and hate the suggestion I am not knowing how good she will be for me….that a moment of sex with her will erase my memories of being victimized-what an idiot.

Let me tell you something that I have said before-death is not something I fear,and I think I’m going to die soon because I have health problems…and I am ready to die-very very ready. Now I might be wrong-I might be going to live for another 50 years…that is for sure a date I am not kept posted up on-I just know one day its going to be there. I need to point out-I only believe in suicide when the pain from health is at it peak-and not because you just dont feel like living! So-that is not going to happen and not what I am trying to say here!
For about six years I have been having the worse headaches and have gotten somewhat adjusted that thats what it is to be-headaches…until recently no one explained them-but now we know I have an ‘anyuerism’ in my brain….I know what that is. I know what it can do. I am alright with this….
My nurse friend won’t leave it alone. You see-there is her at the VA and my health care is at the VA so she has access to my records and I know that…and I know that she knows perhaps more than I do.Shes already pointed it out several times that the clinic I am going to be seen at for my ‘brain hurting’ is the slowest and worse in the VA system….wow-now I am overly thrilled to go there! And of course-she knows I have PTSD and waiting in a waiting room is not always easy for me…..zoom,she has repeated this over and over already that I’m not to stand for it! Whew…is this ever stressful…so I asked her to leave me alone about it and you know what? SHE WON’T and I came home yesterday evening and theres a message on my answering machine….saying all the wrong things,oh yeah-about her love too. And I was just fresh from coming from saying-leave this alone! I am good with this! I am at peace with death…no no-she insists I am wrong!
She left a message telling me she doesnt want this thing in my brain to burst-for her hope my love will eventually see the light and I will realize how it will be to live side by side with somebody because thats what they want….(if I cant have it all I dont want any of it!)
Does that sound like love?
Not going to happen…

Friday…

June 8, 2007



best panther

Originally uploaded by jayfherron

I am just going to muse at this time-just ramble along because I cant get my mind in order enough because Im waiting for a ride into Gainesville. In a short while I will get to relive old times-I’m going to ride to the VA and walk from there across town to where my car is and has been repaired.
The city has changed bunches from when I came here in 1970. The cute university town has become a city-and I think a slow walk across will give me a chance to short cut through some places that are still of the old Gainesville I remember.
I am so wanting to resume my efforts for veterans who are also survivors of more than just the war-but of sexual assault…but I will be honest-right now I am so worn out from ‘things’! Things like the roof-and no money. Things like my automobile-and no money. Things like wanting to drive to the ocean and hear it whisper to me-but no money….and the last time I did it it scared me,so little space to go and stand and hear the earth talk through her oceans-at least , the one we have here.
I look at Colin in this photo and I wonder what it must have been like when guys like him were able to run free. Colin was born in a mobile home and raised by hand-and he could very well chomp that hand if so took an interest,but he was as calm as he looks in this photo. But in my heart I can see him living back in a time where his world was much larger than ours is now and not like the cage he has to spend his life in. What was that old movie….’born free’ ??
I am so overwhelmed by the recent attention to my blog from another side of ‘WordPress’ ( withdissonence) who has added me as a link so others have come to see what I am writing-and the comments have been like a great medicine.
I’ve written everything-and there is still more to write…about my life. For odd reason I got on a path long long ago that made me walk through this valley ankle deep in shit….and yet through this valley there have been lessons that Ive gladly taken on to try and understand.
But also in these writings and in that valley…there have been times where things were pretty good…like meeting and getting to know this cat.

the purple warrior

June 4, 2007



purple warrior-jay herron 2007

Originally uploaded by jayfherron

I would like to tell you about the purple warrior. I hope the description comes out better than the photo
graph did-unfortunantly there are details that just dont show in this photo…but we’ll just make the best of it with what we have.

The painting is the story of a son who is grieving for his father. I suppose you can say it is a self portrait of sorts-the story in many ways is my story.
It is the story of the warrior who went off as a young man and desired to do things to please his father,to earn his approval-respect,and love.
Sadly you cannot see this at all in the photo-but in warriors chest,in his heart are boxes…one right after the other,and in the boxes are all the things the warrior…the son had done through out his life. All of the things the son had wanted his father to know about were stored in these boxes waiting for the time they could be shared.
In the painting the father has already died and as the purple warrior stands at the head of the coffin the spirit of himself as a little boy comes and puts his arm around the warriors leg and reaches up to touch his father,but his hand can only come so close and cannot reach.
The band that comes around the warriors arm is a pipe-like a bagpipe on which the purple warrior plays a mournful tune for his father.
The day I came near to realizing what this painting was about-as it grew through my brushes and colors and realized it was about me and my dad and my own heart became really heavy and I had to walk away from it and began weeping really heavy. I went the house to sit and try to relax and put it out of my mind. My father has not passed away-but he is sick…and will die,and in my chest-in my heart are boxes full of the many things I have done in my life that my father has never known about.
It is not just things in those boxes that the warrior has done…there are the answers and reasons and history of a son that is gone completely by unnoticed by the very one the warrior wanted the most notice from.
It was a really strange day when working the painting made me weep. I went as I said to the house and in my mind was a question not related to this story but it was in my head for a few days and it was something in the bible so after I calmed down a bit I went to look it up.
Somehow by accident…spiritual accident-I found something else. It was a story about two brothers meeting beneath a tree. A ‘terebinth’ tree. I never heard of them so I went to look it up and chills still go down my back when I think about the way the definition came to be known in the same hours my heart began feeling the pain about the meaning of my painting.
The terebinth is the meeting place between life and death.

I’ve tried to get back in-I’ve tried to get my fathers attention. Some years ago I worked in a hug with awkward response in return. Last week I offered to fly with them (my mother too) to Pennsylvania and rent a car and drive them when ever they need and where ever they wanted to ease the burdon on them-its a trip my father wants to make to the family cemetery plot up there.
My father said no-they had everything under control. My heart full of boxes felt like a giant booted foot had come down and crushed the boxes as if the contents were fragile glass balls one hangs on a tree.
It feels that way often.
I have learned to deal with pain like that from all the times that pain has become a calous on my heart-from all the times that pain has been inticed by hope and let down each time I try to live up to what he might want me to live up to,but he never looked up since my failure in the Navy.
You see-it is an interesting thing about those few months in 1970….about the rape and sexual assaults! About the magnitude as to what they are to me personally…what all that has been stolen from me by that experience and what all else I had to hide in those boxes in my heart to be forever kept and never known and what all my father never knew about the truth.
After the Navy-after the day I got discharged and walked away from the base and barracks D none of that stayed behind. It followed me. I began to walk down the highway and right there with me was barracks D.
In a few more weeks it will be fathers day. I mark that day as my anniversery-my first day in Florida. It will be 37 years this year-I go each year to the Jewish Cemetery in Gainesville…its where I spent my first day-homeless!
I had come from DC from a going away party-I had to get away-the fellow who the party was for was coming to Florida and so I caught a ride. My weakness allowed me to be strong armed to help another guy steal from where we were working and we had gotten caught and I think we were going to go to jail. It isnt hard to strong arm me-even today I believe Id fall to the pressure…but I’ll tell you,I will never get myself into a situation where I go to jail.
It still seems like just the other day.
You have had people say “get over it…that was a long time ago,get on with your life”!! I’ve had people say that to me so many times and not understand that it never goes away…it is there every morning of every day (and through out the day) it has times when it comes back so strong it is unbearable-the memory of those days in barracks D will never go away.
Thats what this is all about-wanting to open up all those boxes….and tell any body who is interested about these things,and though it I have come to learn I’m not the only one-there are others who have boxes of their own.
I know I might have said this before. Rape is such a horrid crime-it devastates the victim over and over through their lives. Its not like theft-when you are robbed you can to a WalMart and fairly well replace everything and fix the broken glass. It is almost like a murder except there is no tombstone to go to to see that it has been buried.
So much was taken from my life that short few months-so much has been taken from our lives,those of us who have survived.

there is a place called home

June 2, 2007



little window Pete

Originally uploaded by jayfherron

It’s really early-too early…well,now it is 4 AM-the rush to catch the rain from flooding everything is not as hurried as it was although it is still ‘worried’ because it is still pouring rain out side-and my roof is leaking like an old tug boat with a rusted hull.
I sit down and slump-I’m tired as can be and about 3 AM I wake slightly to this sound-rain….Praise God because Florida has needed this rain. The fires and the forests.

I am certain my words this trip will not make a great deal of sense…I just need to write and hope I am protecting this computer from the rain-I just got it hooked up and got myself into debt that I couldnt afford to get it because this computer has turned out to become a way for me to speak….I hate to say it,but some ways it seems a sort of freedom has come through it (I come from a land where a camp fire has more to offer than electronic gear).
I am pauseing now-let me catch up…I am so thankful for this rain as I know everyone north of me is-and those all around,but the fires are more north…and the area needs the relief and so do the fire fighters.
This is a tropical storm-so I’m seeing on the radar…and then I begin to think of Katrina and those folks in the Gulf citys from New Orleans on and the noises they must of woken to-much more destructive than the dripping that woke me up a while ago. Now my room is spread with buckets and towels are all over and my mind is racing to ask if Im going to dismantle all of this computer (that I just set up) and move it to the front of the house….and then I just get pissed off because that was the first thing I thought about….and not homeless kids,and kids in Africa with aids-or the kids in Iraq that are getting blown up-or the people in New Orleans who lost far far more than what I’m losing right now.
whew…whew whew whew! What I sometimes forget!
Back in those days some years ago when I used to get up the same time every morning as the rain woke me today-the leaks…they couldnt help it because they dripped across my face and bed. I would get and get a shower from water stored in a drum and walk nearly seven miles-out of these woods and into town. The walk was so quiet that I could hear the electric going through the wires over head.
It was so dark and I admit at times I would be a bit afraid and spent much of the walk muttering prayers and most of those prayers would be that I would never loose touch with where I was right then-the fact that I was so poor I didnt have a car and was walking to a town to hitch a ride to the city to reach my job. A round trip made every day of the week.
It is a part of that which hasgotten me a little upset at myself this morning-because my first reaction was about these things,electronic media which divided up in cash could do something for some poor child in Kosovo and perhaps help him or her off to a better life.
I asked God over and over in those prayers those many mornings that I would never forget what it was like right then for me and my wife and small kiddies-they were just toddlers. We had found our life out here -homeless in the woods- in a pup tent to start-it eventually grew to a tarp covered green house,which sustained us for nearly two years ( you can read about this in ‘the walked home home’) and I remember a night like this one where it was pouring down rain and the tarp was not even trying to hold the water and me and my sons and thier Mom were huddled under a blanket with another tarp to keep dry and my littles boys hair-I could smell their hair and I’ll forget that scent of little boy dirty sweaty hair and thinking how blessed I was to have these two kids and to be a father and to be to be so rich to appreciate the smell of their hair. And I never want to forget that time in my life-in our lives….because it humbled me during those mornings,every day going to a job over 35 miles a way on foot and thumb.
I told you I was going to ramble….
I am like everybody-I have wishes. I wish sometimes it was done and I could go home! Sometimes the strength I talk about is gone and I want to walk out into the forest and find a nice tree and lean back on it and go to sleep…a long and forever sleep.
I had a conversation yesterday that told that aint going to happen-the person I was speaking with said I had more that I needed to do “you are not finished yet”,she said. I had that same conversation way back when I hauling cattle and the spirit struck my chest-my heart was giving out from too many drives across the states to California with no sleep for a week – all assisted by a filthy drug called meth…I was given a chance that day. I was helped into the cab of the truck where the spirit struck my heart again and knocked me flat on my back into the sleeper bunk and I passed out and my body sensed that it was going to death…or can I say LIFE? because it was beautiful…and it was peaceful,and I heard these voices speaking to me softly and the language was something I had never heard before-but for reason I understood it….and they were saying this was all good-but my mind was still coming to this world.
So the voices said if I woke it would be okay-they would be ready for me again…so I had nothing to fear,and nothing would be lost-what I was seeing was a place I would be returning to.
At that time I had no idea what was happening anywhere else but there at that moment-I felt myself becoming a horizon-a long flat beautiful light that went for infinity in each direction for as far as I could see….
I dont know what it was. I think some ‘bull hauler’ jumped in the cab to see if I was alright or if I was dead…something brought me back to this but with me came this perfect memory of what just took place.

Yesterday during the conversation I had the woman said I still had things I needed to do.
When I came home and got my computer up and got my messages there were two comments on this blog from two who understand survival from sexual assault….and those two comments tell me that the lady was right-there is more I have to do because the way of what I am telling any one who wants to know…about these things that happened in my life-the intent is to reach others,to touch them in some way to reach out and grab LIFE….and yet I just told you I want to go out and lean a tree and grab that long nap!
I was giving up this morning and the memory of those two comments-those two who reached down and pulled me up….and backed up by the conversation I had earlier in the day….and telling me that I need keep on doing what I’m doing and quit worrying about the roof leaking!