Tuesday, December 28, 2004

I'm going home...

I'm heading out for a couple of days. I should have been gone some time ago, but I overslept.

Don't let anything exciting happen in KC while I'm gone!

Monday, December 27, 2004

A Visit with Scooter

Andra and I drove up to Brookfield on Thursday, December 23rd, to finally visit Scott's grave. The fact it's been almost ten years since I heard about his death and still this is the first time I've gone is still sorta weighing heavily on my conscience.

It was a nice trip up. Andra and I talked about many varied topics: people from college, how life as someone who is almost 40 is, horrible/wonderful things that happened in college, horrible/wonderful things that happened after college, how we came to be the people we are, lots of conversation about Scott (a.k.a. Scooter).

Brookfield kinda took us by surprise, so we didn't even realize we'd passed TT (which is the road the graveyard is just past). We drove all the way through Brookfield on 36 highway looking for TT, and had to turn around. We went to one graveyard we'd spotted, but it was "the other" graveyard in Brookfied, not the one we wanted.

We stopped at a gas station to get directions, and still managed to drive by the graveyard "exit" (it's really just a right turn that sneaks up on you).

I am still trying to decide if it was appropriate that it was so cold that day. I mean, if the world felt to Scooter the way I felt that day... well, I'll just stop at "it was too cold" and leave it at that.

Except to add that the ground was actually warm, which makes where I was going with that last bit even ickier. But the ground was warm. We'd both gotten down to brush away dirt and dead grass that had gotten on his grave and I noticed the ground felt warm, so I stayed there while we had our visit.

As you may notice from the picture above, his birthdate was not on the stone. This bothered me for some reason, and Andra (who has a background in the whole "history and research" area), said it would be easy to get his Death Certificate from City Hall. We'd just need a couple of bucks. So after playing Scott some music and just generally chatting about things, we went to City Hall.

Easier said than done, however. They have a lovely City Square/Park in Brookfield, and City Hall isn't on it. The two people we stopped to ask weren't able to help us. Andra finally had to go into a business and ask them. We got to City Hall, but it closed at noon that day, and wouldn't be open again until after Christmas.

Andra had the idea of going to the funeral home that handled his funeral (she had done a sort of pre-visit research in order to learn where Scott was buried... see, she's the queen of research). She said they would have a record there. I hummed and hawed and she said, "Well, we're here now..." so I went. But I told her she'd have to do all the talking because I didn't know what to ask for.

And that's the story of how I learned Scott's birthday again. I say "again" because I'm sure I knew it at one point, even if it was just whenever his birthday came around while we were in college.

Anyway, back to the site: Andra had heard from the guy at the funeral home that Scott's mom had died recently. We thought he meant his birth mother, but it was actually the woman who raised him. That was another sad thing, as Dawn had said (again, almost 10 years ago) that when I visited Scott's grave, I should go see his Grandmother, because she would love to hear from friends of Scott. I guess I got there too late.

Bask in the guilt.

And there is this feeling of guilt that comes with it. We walked into the funeral home and Andra said we were friends of Scott's, and I had to wonder if the people were thinking, "Some friends... where were you during the dark night of his soul?"

Where was I? I know where I was in my life. I'd just left L.A., and was wishing I could get back there, but wanted to go back with money and not live as month-to-month as I had before. I wanted to know what I wanted to do with my life. I keep trying to remember what it was I did for Thanksgiving in 1994. I know I had been in Butler earlier in the month, helping Jason. I assume I was at home. Jordan would have been just a few weeks old. But as Thanksgivings go (granted, I've had a few "stand-out" Thanksgivings), it doesn't stand out at all. I didn't even know it should have stood out until the following summer.

So I don't know where I was. Lost in my life, I guess. I think I'm still there sometimes, and that's no good. But what to do, what do to?

If you're driving east on highway 36 and almost to Brookfield, and you happen to see this UMB sign:

Do me a favor and wave "hi" to Scooter for me. Tell him I miss him and I wish he could write me a letter.

Field vs. Pasture

Tricia read my blog, and has this to add (and opted not to put it as a comment, I guess...):

This is the farm girl talking....... A field is a piece of ground that has been or will be, with the intent, tilled for the purpose of growing a busheled or measurable crop.
A pasture is a piece of ground that is grassy, and may or may not have been sowed withsome type of specific seed, with the intent to graze animals (put out to pasture), or propagate the seed sowed.
The piece of ground you refer to is most likely an overgrown lot, unless it
is the Stewart's land you refer too, and that is a pasture, or at least was when we were kids.
So there you have it, folks. However, it was always referred to as "Opal Palmer's Pasture" (I've since remembered it was referred to as a "pasture"), which makes me wonder if at some point she didn't keep some sort of animals there. I know there was a fence at one end of it, so maybe she did at one point.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Road Trip

Tomorrow--or later this morning, really--Andra and I are making a road trip up to Brookfield. 9 years and 4 months (or so) after learning of the death of Scott David McKinney (who died a little over 10 years ago), I'm finally going to see his grave.

I have mixed feelings about it. I was over at Bee's tonight. Andra was there with letters Scott and I both wrote to her in the early 90s. Lots of things Scott had written were very... sad, I guess... in retrospect.

I wish he could be alive today, and that Andra and I could be going to visit him in person instead of visting his grave.

I wish whatever made him so sad and willing to leave this world would have been something we could have helped him through... or even known about.

Wish in one hand, spit in the other... see which one gets full faster.

Oh Christmas Tree

And as long as we're on the topic of things my brain are having a hard time dealing with...

What is it about a Christmas tree lit with the individually-blinking lights that makes me so content? I can't explain it. Maybe it's the fact it's my own tree, and when I was a kid I always wanted to have a tree that contained individually-blinking lights only. Now I do. I can sit in front of the tree with all the rest of the lights in the house off and not get bored for hours. I just feel so happy.

Conversely, why is it the saddest thing I've ever seen when I turn off the lights and am heading upstairs and I glance back and see the tree silhouetted in the window, dark and grim?

I'm just wondering. I'm glad to have the relaxing therapy every evening in December... but I feel like Lot's wife every time I glance back at my darkened tree before heading upstairs... only without that whole "oops, I'm a pillar of salt" feeling.

Going home...

I've been meaning to write about this since Ruth and I first went back to work on Dane's NEW AND IMPROVED room, but haven't had a spare moment.

I don't know how much I'll get into it now, but there was something about seeing the town I grew up in so changed, and mostly it didn't seem to be for the better.

I had to wonder if kids still rode their bikes around town in the summer, and if families still knew each other as well as they did when I was a kid. We weren't 8th generation Centerites or anything close, so it's not like my family was known for generations... but still, I had older brothers and an older sister, and it wasn't like we'd arrived a day or two before I was born.

There was this big field or pasture (I'll have to look both words up for clarification on the difference between the two) behind our house. We would go there to fly kites. It was really nothing more than a big grassy area in the middle of the large block we lived on. It's till there. The tree we had a tire swing on is still there.

Lots of things are still there. But there just seems to be so much missing that I have this huge urge to write all about it. It feels like I have to explain to people, like Costello trying to explain to Abbot that what Abbot sees when he looks out the window isn't what Costello saw when he was just looking out that same window a short time ago. Only on a much larger scale.

Anyway, I just wanted to get that out there. The passing of time is an awful thing at times. I think I might have to come out against it.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Okay, where did those 3 months go?

Wow... time has slipped by me. Again.

Well, I wanted to post this deep, introspective piece about going home again when I went back home back in... September or October or so... but that didn't happen. Maybe I'll try to piece it together another time.

I do, however, have a deep, introspective piece to throw in about my Christmas tree. I'll try to do that after I update my home page for December... and I hope to do that on Saturday.

Keep reading my not-a-blog, all two of you!