It's been ten years since my son Greg died. One hell of a long time. And it's like yesterday, damn right it is. The last thing he said to me before he spun out of the damn yard – gravel and sand flying all over the place - “dad I Iove you,” then – pzzt he was gone.
I had him cremated and now he was in this little box which was of course in the house. For a month already. It was like, I couldn't stand it anymore. I am not what you'd call the church kind, but I thought a few words needed to be said, and I couldn't say them.
You see, we lived in this little village, four hundred souls all told, and that's a generous estimate, but – the town did have some kind of a preacher. I sought this so called preacher out and asked him, if he'd wanted to, to say a few words, and he said he would.
I gathered my family together under the big trees in our backyard. I invited only one person beside my family, my former boss, the fire chief. He came in full uniform, which I appreciated.
The preacher spoke some very kind words, I guess he did well.
You have to know, my son Greg was a marine. He told me this once - “Dad, I'm not scared to go into action, we're trained well to take care of ourself, but you know dad, what scares me is the friendly fire, that scares me. Our officers are assholes, its them that scare me.”
he was killed by his room mate, now if that's not friendly fire, what is?
So, when the preacher was done, I said now its our time. I put Greg in his rucksack and put him on my back. So he was riding on my shoulders, just like he was little. I took three cans of beer with me and the American flag. And there we went, up onto the mountain. We climbed to the very top. To were the Indians were buried.
I found a good spot with a beautiful view of the valley. And there I put him.I opened the beer, one for my other son, one for me, and one for Greg, we said sköl and gulped it down.
And you know, old Thor must've approved, he grumbled in the far distance, not a thunderclap, just a rumble, as if to say – I'm here and see where you put him. I really liked that and said 'you take care of him now.'
Then I planted the the US flag, after all he was a marine. He's ok up there, with the Navajo braves. I've been there a few times, had a little talk, you understand, but now I can't do it anymore, I am too old and the mountain is too damned steep.
O, I almost forgot. Every evening when the local TV gives the news sports and all that crap, the weather man says – and how was the weather in the valley today, and the camera sweeps over the valley, maybe four or five seconds, and you know, at the end of the valley, as clear as can be, stands this mountain.
So every evening I say something like – how's things. It is a good feeling. Every evening.
George sent us a very nice letter in which he thanked us profusely for given them such a good time when we camped together and wrote that he read Carole the story in the kitchen and that she had replied – You, meaning me, her husband, could have written it if you, Lex, had used a few more damns in the writing.
A tiny note at the very end stated – the big man cried, we both did. C I was unable to locate that letter. I miss camping. Lex
Dear George and Carole
It was a nice surprise to receive a letter from you. We had reasonable good weather and some of Anne's hardiest flowers still show color. George, I had a flue shot, which was needed on account of my advancing age, according to the doctor. It made me sick already when he evaluated my years on this planet, but the grossly over sized needle scared the h out of me.
I really considered fainting if it weren't for the cute nurse in a too small uniform approaching me with that harpoon, really the emotions an advance aged man has to endure. What got me was after she torpedoed me saying that some patient have ill effects after the procedure. I was sick already before she proceeded, but so far no cold. Anne survived without shot, nice to be healthy, and young.
About the encounter you had with that dutch immigrant in Lauglin, you called Uf or Ef, who claimed to have worked for me, he did indeed work for me several years, however his name is neither Uf nor Ef, but Yp. Yp Feenstra in fact, who the last time I saw him was laying on his knees over an open sewer pipe. He always had a tobacco pipe in his mouth, lighted or not. Well, he was going to say something and forgot to talk through his clammed up teeth, as he usually does. The pipe fell out of his mouth, right into the sewer, and that pipe, which had become part of Yp, was on the way to the Pacific Ocean where most of our sewage winds up.
He stood up, took off his cap, scratched his head and said in a voice I had seldom heard him speak in before, now that he didn’t have to bite on his pipe anymore, “There you, bastard, that’s where you should’ve been twenty years ago.” He has never smoked since.
Any ways, I hope he didn’t give you a too bad account of me, but it shows that a person has to have his back covered all the time. And yes, the world is a small place indeed. Or, and that could be too, we are more famous than we think we are.
I am writing, on a computer, [with one finger which is sorta worn out and shorter that the others] my memoirs. It is hard work and the kids, for whom I do it, are so far not in the slightest impressed. Anne figures that will come when I'm rich and famous which will be some time after I kick the bucket or my literary output has to drastically improve, which on all three counts I doubt.
Anyways I really hope to see you and Carole soon. It is time to talk with a more normal and alive person, and can hardly wait for the time that we can have a nice uncensored discussion about the world and its inhabitants.
We hope to arrive at Lake Cahuilla at Feb. the 28th or Mar. the 1st, as we will start our journey Tue. Feb. 26, but I don’t know if we do the trip in two or three days. Your letter has given us an even greater sense of urgency to join you in the sunshine.
Love you, Lex and Anne