Sunday, June 20, 2010

Unknown Father Unknown Soldier

June 18th, Friday. A day I always celebrate in a dismal sort of way. It falls five days before my birthday - it is the day my father died. This year, it also happened that the day before I finally met my sister, from his side, for the first time. We went to Rose Hills Cemetery and we tended our father's, grandfather's and grandmother's graves by cleaning them up and putting flowers. We sat there and talked, took photos and offered a libation of beer to them (well the bottle kept tipping over dad's grave so he got what was left). Because of this new found and incredibly powerful relationship I have found, I want to share the little of what I have. I gave my sister copies of the pictures I had of my father along with copies of his birth and death certificate.
I look forward to obtaining copies of the investigation that was done years after his death for both us. Copies of my grandfather's WWII military record.

This time of year I keep my ancestors, and my father particularly, close in my thoughts and heart. I don't carry any memories of him even though I carry pictures and I always wondered of his character. Of that which others say. I wonder what influence he had in me, indirectly. I wonder of the influence my ancestors have within my family, and what of it still lingers on in the blood, in the daily interactions with each other and what sort of luck or fortune has been passed through the lineage. The Norse called this Hamingja.

I've never been one to directly experience the dead. My mom is, however. Now it seems, she sees them on constant basis in her new home. She even saw my father on the day he died while she was overseas, in her house - and she knew. No, I have never felt my father, or my grandfathers, or great-great grandfather nearby even though I honor and think of them. Makes me feel lonely during these times.

On Wednesday - a day before I would meet my sister - I was walking home listening to my podcasts, when I came upon a section of this one episode. It's an an old episode of This American Life, to which I have filled my iPod with. It is moving, heartbreaking and in such a peculiar moment of my life that it hurt - What was the last thing he saw?

Unknown Solider

So give my eyes to the eye bank,
give my blood to the blood bank.
Make my hair into switches,
put my teeth into rattles,
sell my heart to the junkman.
Give my spleen to the mayor.
Hook my lungs to an engine.
Stretch my guts down the avenue.
Stick my head on a pike,
plug my spine to the third rail,
throw my liver and lights to the winner.
Grind my nails up with sage and camphor
and sell it under the counter.
Set my hands in the window as a reminder.
Take my name from me and make it a verb.
Think of me when you run out of money.
Remember me when you fall on the sidewalk.
Mention me when they ask you what happened.
I am everywhere under your feet.

-Luc Santé

Happy Father's day, Dad.



Hermes, draw near, and to my pray'r incline, angel of Jove, and Maia's son divine; Studious of contests, ruler of mankind, with heart almighty, and a prudent mind. Celestial messenger, of various skill, whose pow'rful arts could watchful Argus kill: With winged feet, 'tis thine thro' air to course, O friend of man, and prophet of discourse: Great life-supporter, to rejoice is thine, in arts gymnastic, and in fraud divine: With pow'r endu'd all language to explain, of

care the loos'ner, and the source of gain. Whose hand contains of blameless peace the rod, Kerukeion, blessed, profitable God; Of various speech, whose aid in works we find, and in necessities to mortals kind: Dire weapon of the tongue, which men revere, be present, Hermes, and thy suppliant hear; Assist my works, conclude my life with peace, give graceful speech, and me memory's increase.

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