Originally uploaded by jayfherron


Life is conflict. My dictionary says-prolong fighting;warfare!

I woke this morning and it seemed I was walking and climbing in my sleep. The dreams during my sleep made me fight to keep alive…I was in a prison-and it was as if any of us there were desperate for survival. I woke tired,the dream was that physical.

This shack on the St.Johns River is so far out of the reaches of access-the only way here is by boat. For miles this is the only structure. Could I find peace from myself there? Alone?

My life feels alone. I’ve had to keep so much in. Others have not known the truth about me. Others have known something but not everything. They began to know  only what they concluded might be-but what this was had nothing to do with me.

I found a solitude that was so comforting on the St.Johns back in the early 1990’s when I was first introduced to traveling by motorboat to camp. Along the river are various countless camps-some more up-scale such as the cabin in the photo…there are hundreds such scattered all along the lengths of the river-all so secluded,and unreachable unless by boat.

My first trip up the river sent me into a deja vu with strong Spiritual sensations. In the southern part of the St.Johns the river is wide and tiny grass islands are spread for miles. Something about passing along those islands at slow float takes me back in time. All the time there feels like it is a heavens much as it is a haven.

Conflict? I am very torn about things this time of year. It seems my dreams become more wildly vivid about being locked away. My memories of my time in the Navy become more depressing-the crixmix helps provoke that. Yesterday I visited my son and his family…the crixmix tree that sat in their living room impacted me more. I want to stop going anywhere-the bell ringers at the grocery spout out the cheer shit of the season-everywhere it seems the crixmix  salutation is given. Even my therapist wished me a happy holiday-without thinking.

It is all broken. I have no idea why it happened. I only know it stole almost all what was supposed to be me. I remember the times our family would drive around the hills of our neighborhood and look at the crixmix lights and decorations. It seemed like a special time – I’ve forgotten that it is supposed to be.

I remember always hoping for a white wonderful snow-this for the day of the gifts,that is sort of what made it more special.

I remember a snow did come. I will never forget it.

At age 18-my first holiday away from my family was spent on board ship. I had only been on the ship since that October-we spent Thanksgiving eating the traditional meal…then sat back to watch (of all things) Alice’s Restaurant (I guess because of the Thanksgiving storyline of the film).

I had never been away from home during this time-the holiday of the feast.

We went through Thanksgiving and crixmix on board ship. By we-I mean 2/3’s of the ship. Since we were in home port the ship was divided into 3rd’s for the holidays. Our section was given the New Year weekend,except that year New Years was on a week day,so I had that weekend to spend at home.

It was a crazy idea-it always has been…but there was a bus that made round trips from the base to Washington DC-we called it the ‘liberty bus’ because we were urged to go in uniform to DC,and many did even when there was risk of being late returning to ship. Most time those who showed up late were restricted to remain on ship for two or three days,nothing severe.

I had every night off because I worked in the galley. The Friday night of the New Years weekend was a free night for me too.

I had it in my head that I could extend the weekend….somehow make my holiday a little longer-to make up for missing crixmix (what I have since called Christmas) so I took the liberty bus to DC. My 18 year old mindset was to make a wild dash home and holler “”Happy New Year” and a wild dash back to the return bus and be on time for roll call the next morning. After roll call-I had a three day pass which I had with me as I traveled that night.

It snowed.

The snow began an hour into the trip-and quickly got worse. We crept into Washington and it seemed the bus station was the only place with life-the snow had covered everything and everyone was stranded.

In the bus station-as in the airports and train stations,there was a military travel liason office. I reported there that I was in trouble-showed them my liberty pass and they called the ship. The situation was explained and I was told if I could make it home I was free to go and enjoy my holiday.

I don’t know what happened between time. I know I got a ride home in a VW Beetle driven by a Dutch newspaper writer…Eddie Lachman. He plowed that little car right through the snow and dropped me at my parents door.

I cannot remember exact minutes. I do remember my older brother showing up a day later. We were stationed together-he was not to happy with that arrangement,an idea I got while in boot camp a few months earlier. He was sent to arrest me and take me back to the ship. I learned there some charges were made about drug use. I found myself in a detention barracks that night. The next day was New Years Eve.

I had not peed the entire day. We drove away from our parents house early in the morning-and by the time I entered barracks D it was close to 8:30 in the night. I had to pee.

I had never been incarcerated before then. I found myself holding my bedding-standing in a group of men that appeared to all be rough and undesirable. I had to walk past the crowd thinking what I was just told by the man who gave me my bedding …”welcome to barracks D-Drugs,Drunks,and Degenerates”. He spoke the words as if he was a woman.

In my haste I found a bunk separated away from the other men. I walked past the crowd and kept my self distanced-but instead I drew attention to three who came and surrounded my solitary bunk.

The one spoke to me. Through his nose it sounded-he called me ‘mister’. It was in a very nasal twang with sarcasm and meanness. There were words of threats but quickly ended because they sounded lights out.

“We’ll see you soon,mister” which made me lay there longer than I could ever stand it. I had to pee so badly.

I waited until I thought everyone was sleeping-something like 80 to 100 men.

I made my way to the head (toilet) as quietly as I could.

I got there and as I readied to pee I heard the twang come out of his nose…”hello mister”, and then I was socked in the head. As I went down I could see the man with the womans voice and some others looking at this through a hole in the concrete wall. I don’t know how many times I was hit. I pissed myself and my clothes as my pants and skivvy’s were yanked off.

I was raped.

merry crixmix?

happy new year….?

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