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They had her kneeling on the shore facing the water. “I was waiting for the blow” recounted my grandmother of that mid-December day in 1978.
A few days before, grandma and several other women in the village were ordered to the river to make prohok, as it was prohok season. The morning of that fateful day, one of the women was granted permission to go home later in the day. Grandma stashed away three fish carcasses to send along with the woman to my mother and her siblings. Mom and her brothers could salt and grill them to eat in the morning, all in secret of course. The village official found out and the security force brought grandma to the shoreline. As recounted later by survivors, one method of single killing, if one lived near a river, was to bash the head or slash the throat of the victim and push him/her into the water (bullets were too valuable). Another method was to take the victim to the middle of the river and drown him/her (happened to the daughter of our family’s friends, her father watched quietly from the shore).
I had just closed my eyes and opened them when it registered that one of my two roommates had left the light on. I was just about to give them some serious what for and tell them to shut off the damn light. Then I noticed one of them was donning his PT clothes. I seemingly blinked and five hours were gone; it was time to get up. I was in the middle of the Combat Diver Qualification Course (CDQC) week three.
Monday through Friday 0500 was first call, followed by a 0530 formation for Physical Training. Every day, as we groggily went about getting our PT clothes on, our self-appointed morale team would slide their boombox (remember those?) into the hallway and hit play. Canned Heat “Going Up Country” would blare down the hall and within a few seconds we’d all be dancing (it wasn’t pretty) and singing along. Without fail in unison we’d all belt out the second stanza:
This week has been a turning point for me. And I’m using this day to mark an important transition.
I am declaring myself recovered. I feel free. What does that mean?
For one, I made my morning walk with John Yoo, Richard Epstein, and Troy Senik—well, at least listening to their podcast. I’ve decided that this walk is not part of a temporary routine that I began on my road to recovery, but a new stage of this time of my life. I don’t walk quite as far as I used to, nor as fast, but I do walk 30 minutes. And I still wear a hat to cover my nearly bald pate. But I feel fully myself and strong. And it’s a good time to be out, gliding through the silence, waving at other early walking souls.
Dear Aunt Harriet and Uncle Al,
I just wanted to thank you for the outstanding visit I had at your home. I loved playing with Ginger and Gigi, and the weather couldn’t have been better. Staying with you was like visiting a luxury hotel: quiet, relaxing days, peaceful and playful evenings (depending on who was up for adventure or just hanging out). I almost didn’t want to go home. Almost.
Group Writing themes help generate conversations that are not necessarily about politics or current events. For August, our theme is “A day in the life.” Movies that reflect this theme could be a straightforward telling of a tale in 24 hours, a slice of life. Here, however, are three movies in which a day is lived over and over: Groundhog Day, Run Lola Run, and Memento.
Groundhog Day. The 1993 movie with Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell became a part of American culture, shifting the meaning of “Groundhog Day” from a day predicting the weather to an experiential loop, living the same day over and over. Bill Murray is in a sort of purgatory, working off his cynical, selfish disposition. The plot moves along because Murray wakes up remembering each past day, so is able to treat each 24 hours as an experiment. Groundhog Day is hard to dislike and safe for almost any audience.
Last Saturday was a relaxing day for Mrs. Tim and me. There was nothing pressing on the schedule, so we slept in a bit. Our daughter (Offspring #3, Daughter #1, or her preferred title – The Favorite Child – TFC) had to be at the bakery at 0600, so she was gone before we got up.
After rising, we had a light breakfast, tea, and cereal for Mrs. Tim, coffee for me (prepared in advance by TFC), and perused the morning paper (an old habit that is hard to break). We discussed some of the news items and did the Word Jumble. But the main topic of conversation was a September trip to two different nieces’ weddings, which were a week apart, the first in Colorado, the second in Virginia. The exciting part is that we began firming up plans to stop and visit with our favorite Ricochet member (@she) along the way. That made us pretty happy.
Group Writing themes help generate conversations that are not necessarily about politics or current events. For August, our theme is “A day in the life.” All you need do is write a short post to start the conversation. Perhaps you could ask a question or two to get the conversation flowing. Here are a few tunes to accompany or stimulate […]
This August we explore ordinary or extraordinary days in the life of, well, you decide. Ricochet members, founding or first time subscribers, AND especially the reticent or keyboard shy, are heartily encouraged to join in our group writing project this month. Each month, Ricochet members like you share a few thoughts, a bit of knowledge […]