Mothers Day is usually a painful day for me. Some years I get off easy and the memories are held in check. Other years the memories flood into my consciousness and thoroughly depress me. Yesterday I read a few Paeans to Mom and thought of those who wrote them “How lucky they are.” And was inundated by those memories I wish would simply go away. But they don’t, and they never will.
My mother has been dead for over forty years. I buried her at the tender age of 18, about three weeks before my 19th birthday. My mother and father were separated, Mom having left my father about six weeks after I left home to go into the Air Force. My father didn’t attend the funeral. He was in
, and he wired the money necessary to bury Mom and pay for my flight from Keesler AFB in California to Mississippi , where Mom had died. By her own hand. Suicide. She finally made good on what was probably her fourth or fifth attempt over a ten year period of time. It’s a long and sad, sad story, one that I won’t go into in any great detail. Suffice to say my mother was an alcoholic; an alcoholic of the worst sort. And by “worst sort,” I mean the alcohol controlled her life completely. Death, for her, was truly a release. Atlanta
I’m not alone; there are far too many people in this world that share this story, be it their mother or their father. A lot of those people never overcome this sort of adversity. I was fortunate. Two other mothers I know and love were primarily responsible for my good fortune: the mothers of my children. Both these women are strong, intelligent, caring, and wonderful people. They are also wonderful moms. But, aside from being wonderful moms, each of these women taught me a lot about life. It’s not a stretch to say they actually saved my life, especially The Second Mrs. Pennington. I didn’t call either one yesterday. I probably should have.
And, in other news…
We are in the middle of an undeclared civil war. We have been in such a thing before, and we've found the capacity to make comedy out of it. When Archie Bunker fought over petty, meaningless nonsense with "Meathead" on All in the Family, as a society we were supposed to be torn down the middle over some pretty heady stuff: What to do about Vietnam/Korea/Red China, and the spread of communism. Watergate. Feminism. Abortion. But it really came down to lifestyles. People didn't bring the lifestyles up in arguments, but the lifestyles started the arguments. Archie Bunker wore stiff white shirts, drank beer, and ordered his wife around. Meathead wore patched blue jeans with flared legs, had long hair, and probably smoked opium. Archie had short hair, Meathead had long hair. Archie hung out in a bar, Meathead hung out, well, God-knows-where.
Mr. Freeberg goes on to write about where we are today, and it’s fascinating stuff. Worth a read, or three. Or six.
Have you ever wondered what the guy driving your Airbus makes? Here, also via Gerard, are airline pilots’ salaries. I was surprised to find that US pilots are not actually salaried employees… they’re paid on an hourly basis, with guaranteed minimum hours.
Aside from that two-hour Discovery Channel documentary that runs every now and then, this is one of the best descriptions of SEAL training I’ve seen. “Where do we get such men?”, indeed. (h/t: Lex)