something about snakes…or,how to trust?




snake in tree

Originally uploaded by jayfherron

I can honestly tell you that I have no interest in herptology. I do find it interesting that this reptile has ‘cousins’ that go through a life crawling on the ground and appearing almost surreal as they move along…looking alike-yet some are docile,and others can kill you with their bite-or squeeze you to death by their strength
The day after I was raped-putting it more clearly…that morning after my interviewer,a Navy intelligence officer,told me to get used to it-meaning , get used to the environment and que sara sara. His exact words were “get used to it,where you are going to go you’re dance card will have already been punched” (a reference that they were considering putting me away for five years). This was an officer…at that time he was representing authority,the law. Something you are supposed to trust,someone you are supposed to trust.
I walked back to barracks D in a state of shock and fear and had only -if at all…a minute too think of what was going to be and how to live through it. The fear in my body at that time was the fear one would feel if they were put through the door of a room filled with snakes…I liken the men in there as snakes and each one of them have a hand for a head and they were all reaching out to grab me.
I was asked an interesting question the other night-why did’nt I just leave?…it was a detention barracks,one didnt ‘just leave’.
I have felt that fear for the rest of my life since-although it has gotten more easier to negotiate the feeling over the years-never the less…the feeling of mistrust of another individual,or the feeling fear when in a room full of others calculates to the same feeling as being locked in to a place with snakes from wall to wall.

I found the operation of a computer reluctantly a few years back-like the television,I didnt want anything to do with it-it was almost like someone was going to hand me a snake…my seperation from the electronic world. But then a friend insisted-being tired of me asking him to ask it for an answer my friend sat me down and said “this on and this is off and you can’t break it unless you hit it with a hammer…and please don’t”. So-the same way I learned to drive a clutch I learned about this thing,the computer…now a tool.
If you ever read a book by Viktor Frankl entitled ‘The Ultimate Meaning of Life’ you would learn that guys like me (and female victims too…I must assume) are afraid to speak. Frankl’s book comes from the experience of a man locked into a concentration camp-a prisoner…and I was locked in this barracks-and deeper than that,I was locked in as the possesion of a man-the leader of the three,so my jail was twice as deep….so,I have this fear of speaking.
And yet a strong desire to get it out.

Two weeks ago I returned from the trip that I described as disturbing-the trip to Pennsylvania with my aged parents to observe a gruesome plan beginning,and to see the results of age taking over both my mother and father….and all of this is so hard to explain,the trip was eventful. My mother fell and my poor father caught her and went down with her and popped his head on the pavement-we were at a car rental return at the Philidelpia airport and other patrons were returning thier cars and regarding my parents with inpatience as they lay there on the ground in every ones way. Moments later in the mens room with a meager first aid kit I wiped away the blood from my fathers wound and never in my life thought I’d ever be this close to him and now it happens in a restroom.
The trip was a distaster after returning back to Florida-my car had dead battery,my dad had a head wound that needed attention…we flew four hours before he could have that. So I grab a cab…a car rental would have been cheaper-but then my mind was not in order,so an 80 dollar cab ride got us home.
My brother got him off to the ER and I visited with his wife.
We had a chat-a good long chat…the first I’d had with her since our last long chat some 20 years ago. She confided she has been reading what I write and has learned so much about me…a very touching conversation-I know I had to wipe tears from my eyes regarding my feelings about my parents-the journey-thier age-my dads failing health…my past,she even made comments about my past-the barracks…not knowing,but now understanding.
Those years ago-our last conversation…actually,it was our first ever conversation-I had only then met her that night. She confided that as my brother-then a sailor-was out at sea for six months. The conversation turned candid,her remarks were candid…and I gave her some advice on those comments. I should have left it alone there…but for a fools trust I wrote the woman a letter adding to the advice.
What happened from there I have no idea-I only know my mother telephoned me and I was in the shit tank…a place not unfamilier to me,but this time it was over the letter and the directive was that my brother wanted nothing to do with me and I was to have nothing to do with them. That lasted many years…in some ways I think it has never gone away for her because she learned how to use it and manipulate with it. She was a snake.
This voice I have found-here in the computer…has given me freedom to explain myself to who may be interested and for what ever reasons they might be interested. I’m getting to tell someone-anyone…finally-about what my life has been like,good or bad. I’m getting to the things my own family never opened an ear to.

My father is ill. I can in a mysterious way feel his body dying inside of me. I’m in tune with it because my soul and heart has wanted moments like those we had in the rest room two weeks ago-over and over and over again. No,not to have him hurt and bleeding…but to touch him and care for him-hopefully extract love from him.
A few years ago I realized my father was not a good driver anymore and I telephoned my brother and said ‘we three’ ( our oldest brother was still alive then) ‘we three should go to Dad and stop his driving’.
What happened after that is unknown-except my youngest brother went and moved my folks right there next to them. They still drove…
Where they are is almost two hours drive from me.
Now my father is sick and I can tell the toll it is taking on them…but that was what they must of known that when they moved them to be so close and with out consulting the others in the family-so,theres not much one can say…is there?
When were in the north and my father was refering to this and that with the various business’s we traveled to to negotiate the gruesome duty my father feels is neccesary…I was there the whole time and everytime it came to somebody being in charge,or any reference to other family it was always ‘my son…’ and the folks we were doing business with would look at me in confusion and one even followed me outside and remarked I looked too young to be my fathers brother-I sorted that out,and then the confusion deepened where as I had to explain that I am the ‘black sheep’ of the family…my brother is the prince he is refering too,sir!
My father traveled all the way to France with my sibling and his bride…they’ve been to Williamsburg together as a family. They went to my favorite Grandmothers funeral together…a funeral I waited two weeks to learn where and when-only to be lied to and being it was only my father and mother,very private…? I was told they went to visit Williamsburg after that.
My father was cordial to me on this trip-the gruesome task trip…thanked me when I brought them coffee in the morning and it was like getting a gift when my brother relayed the message to me that my father said I was very compitent on this trip….he could’nt call me-his son?
I learned this past weekend my father was in the hospital…ICU so I was told. My son was here for the weekend-bringing me a replacement phone for the one I lost in the north when my parents fell. He came down from South Carolina…thats my son! On his return he stopped to visit his grandparents and learned my dad was in the ER. So he drove over there and sitting in the waiting area was the woman that just two weeks ago hit me with sorrows and praises and regrets because she’d been reading about my life and was understanding and even told me about some personal things that made it easy for her to understand me…some things about how much I was loved.
The snake jumped out of the chair and expressed a venomous statement to my son as what loozer…loozer with a ‘Z’ I really am!

3 Responses to “something about snakes…or,how to trust?”

  1. B.J. Says:

    Okay – I’m not exactly sure what your topic is here, so I’ll just address a few things I saw here. You mentioned Grandad traveling to France with your brother and family as well as to Williamsburg, then being together for Wickie’s funeral and moving next door to them (your brother, my uncle). As to the funeral–you weren’t the only one put out by that event. My dad was put out by it as well. Dad had gotten the word it was a private funeral–only Grandad and Granny would be there. I’m not so sure it was your brother’s idea to move them next to him. I think the idea may have been Grandad and Granny’s. I can honestly count on ONE hand the number of times Grandad and Granny Jo came to visit me after the divorce. Are you ready for this? They came a only 1 time to visit. All the visits we had were when we came to them. Grandad did, though, pay for us to come down in 1980. During the years Granny Jo and I were writing and talking on the phone as well as our visits to them, I’d ask Granny Jo when they’d come visit me. She always used the excuse about ‘traveler’s diarrhea’ for not coming to visit. I don’t know why she had that problem in coming to visit me as it seemed she miraculously ‘cured’ of her traveler’s diarrhea during her trips to Europe and to see other relations. Their actions would cause jealousy and resentment, normally, but it isn’t Uncle Joey’s fault nor his family’s that they have been so eager to visit and be close to them. I know it hurts when you feel your father isn’t showing love to you, and your parents appear to have ‘favourites’. Some people aren’t good at expressing feelings. You can be sure of one thing: if your dad hated you, you wouldn’t have been taken on the trip to PA. Unfortunately, sometimes you just have to come to grips with how family members treat you and try not to let it eat at you. I probably have more reason to kibitz about the lack of attention from Granny and Grandad than you do, but it wouldn’t do a bit of good. I’m just glad they’re cordial when I make the move but have learned to accept the fact they don’t see me in the same caliber as some of their other grandkids–even though I’ve done nothing wrong. Oh, Granny Jo did say “I love you” a few times when we visited them, and Grandad hugged me. I don’t know if it’s a matter of ‘accepting’ them as they are or not. You just have to take the high road and just love them regardless. I did learn of Grandad and Granny Jo falling. I can’t believe how rude people can be when others are hurt. Someone should’ve called 911, but I guess that’s too much to ask for in a big city like Philedelphia (the city of “Brotherly Love” ha).

  2. Megan Says:

    Jay,
    I know that you have been having a very difficult time dealing with the plan your parents have come up with. I can honestly say, I am not mad at them, I just feel as though it is wrong. I believe it is their prerogative to move their children, but I undoubtedly hate the fact that my sister is in between the 2 of your siblings. I have been wanting to write to you about this for days but I guess today just seemed like the right time. Did you know that it is the 18th anniversary of Somer’s passing? On July 6th was her 30th birthday!
    Last night I read the letter that you sent to the family. I respect that you sent it to your entire family and not just a select few. Thank you very much for that. You have every reason to feel the way that you do about it and our family supports you, but I am sure you knew that. I only got to read it last night because I had to take Lisa to the ER. In the afternoon she wanted to change Kendall’s diaper but he wasn’t in agreement with her. He took a plastic handle to a bug catcher and poked her square in the eye. It cut her eyelid and underneath her eye. She had to get stitches. Thank God it was only 2 stitches, though. I felt like I was going to pass out while she was getting them because I saw her bleeding, and nothing bothers me like seeing her blood. You would think I would be okay with it by now after watching her have a C-section to deliver Kendall… But of course a little bit of blood made me want to pass out. I am strange I guess, but that makes me my Father’s child!
    Dad is very excited to come see you! We will miss him but we trust that you will take care of him during his visit. I will be taking care of his Mustang =) My car has to go in for repairs and I will be using his car to get me back and forth to work. You might have to reassure him that I will take good care of his car, though. Haha.
    Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that I have been reading your entries on a daily basis. I think I have read most of them, but I am positive that there are a few I missed. You and Dad lead parallel lives. It amazes me. We were speaking about this on Saturday night when we were at a local diner. He said he has endured more tragedies than 5 people should in a life-time and that your experiences equated to about 10. You both may be the strongest men in my life. I respect you for the simple reason that you haven’t given up. You still put up a fight, over and over and again. You have contemplated throwing in the towel but you are still here. Congratulations on being brave…

    Much love PA to FL! I hope your weather is better than it is here!

  3. B.J. Says:

    Hey, Megan mentioned getting that letter you said you sent to all the family. I still haven’t gotten one. Grandad & Granny Jo and Uncle Joe got theirs. Did you lose my address or is it because you know I’m sympathetic to you that I haven’t gotten a letter saying we’d lose you if Aunt Jo Eileen and Uncle Carl were moved? Should I be put out by not getting a letter or should I be happy about it? I thought it was ironic reading Megan’s post and finding Lisa has a son named Kendall. As you know, Kim’s daughter is Kendall. Dianne said David was coming to visit. I haven’t seen him, Dale, or Aunt Jane and Uncle Ken since I was 2. We had gone to visit and see Uncle Carl and Aunt Jo Eileen’s gravesites. There are photos of me standing beside the graves in my baby albums. As you know, I’m Jo Eileen’s namesake. As upsetting as this may be, I can see both sides here. On one hand, why disturb those who’ve been laid to rest all those years ago? It sounds morbid and unnecessary. Whatever plans were to be made regarding who gets buried where should’ve been settled years ago. Aunt Jo Eileen and Uncle Carl should’ve been side by side (my opinion). I had heard their caskets were such that Granny and Grandad could be buried on top of them. If this had been settled years ago, maybe all this wouldn’t be happening now. On the flip side, I can understand Grandad wanting to be buried with his deceased children, and if the only way to do so is to move their graves, I can empathize with that, also. Still, as I said, it sounds like something that should’ve been taken care of years ago (perhaps even before Somer passed away as this is hard on her family as well). It’s always hard losing children, and moving gravesites that have been fine where they are after so many years seems a waste of time and money. I know Granny Jo isn’t in favour of the idea. Here’s another way to look at it: do you believe Aunt Jo Eileen, Uncle Carl, and Somer are in Heaven? Well, in the Resurrection/Rapture, all three of them will be resurrected and caught up in the same Heaven, so it really doesn’t matter in the long run who’s buried where and with whom.

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