for my cousins
In the story I remember, it was an ax
my uncle carried, chasing his father with it,
and promising as he ran, “If you ever hit
my mother again, you’re dead.” Whatever else Max
was guilty of, I credit him with this.
Now getting to know my cousins and their kids,
after a generation of distance and lack,
I’m learning more what it means to be a Bullock.
It seems to involve self-medicating a lot.
It seems to involve holding in or acting out
the pain that runs like sap in our family tree.
If we’d been in the garden with Jesus, we would’ve fought back,
a crazy, screaming Scots-Irish kind of attack.
It isn’t in the Bible. It’s just a fact.
Some of the Easter eggs I bought for my son have camouflage on them–he’s heavy into all things Star Wars and soldiering. I told him the story tonight about Jesus in the garden, getting arrested, and Peter cutting off the soldier’s ear. That wasn’t how Jesus wanted to handle it, I told him. We talked a little about Aslan and the White Witch, and how she thought she’d won when she hadn’t. I’m often anti-war (because I think it should be a last resort, and I think we should treat our soldiers’ lives with respect and be CAREFUL about where we send them), but I’m nowhere close to being a pacifist. My folks say that they always told my brother not to hit girls, and there were girls who wailed on him. They say they never had a chance to tell me not to hit back, that if someone hit me, I’d come back with everything I had. (Part of this helped me survive as a little sister, of course.)
Long-term, I want to work on understanding, perhaps adapting, the whole realm of “turn the other cheek.” Medium-term, I want to teach my son to honor soldiers and think of war as a last resort. (That’s him in the picture above, holding his Maxwell Smart tulip gun.)
Short-term, don’t mess with me or my cousins.
Happy Easter, Bullocks everywhere!
WOW and thank you! Wonderful!
Thanks, Louise. Can’t wait ’til it’s warmer and we see you on the porch!
I think it was Linda Ellerbee who once said (this is a rough paraphrase) “The worst time to have a son is eighteen years before a war breaks out.” I saw her on television speaking about how she hoped her son would not have to fight in a war, but may have to if the draft was ever reinstated. This was more than a few years ago.
When my son had to sign up for the Selective Service at 18, I told him to memorize spelling the words “conscientious objector” and to write them on all of his forms, to specify that his religious beliefs forbid him from killing. Thank God, my son is currently too old to go into formal combat and will most likely never be drafted. But other people’s 18, 19, and 20 year old children would be prime candidates to go, if the draft is ever reinstated.
My great-grandfather was an officer in The Confederate Army and my grandmother used to talk about how people made such a fuss about him being a local decorated war hero. He lost his first family during The Civil War and also one of his arms in battle. My great-grandmother, his second wife, was much younger than him and was originally his housekeeper. Their marriage produced my Great Aunt Frances and my grandmother, eight years later. My grandmother was eight years old when he died. She used to talk about how he’d have nightmares about some of the horrors he’d seen and exhibited all of the classic signs of PTSD, so typical of vets returning from modern warfare.
I pray that our soldiers, who are stationed in other countries where we are not welcome or wanted, will come home soon. We need to take care of our own people before we worry about strangers who hate us. President Obama promised that our troops would come home. I just wonder exactly when that will be? Our military is in a no win situation much like Vietnam, and need to cut their losses and come home.
I thank God everyday for the soldiers who have given us the freedom to live here. Without them, we’d probably be speaking German or Japanese and living in a dictatorship. I still remember how a lot of The Vietnam Era Vets were treated when they came home. It was disgraceful, to say the least.
Praying that you and your family have a blessed and Happy Easter!