After reading this, if you are so inclined, please spread the word and donate to Holden’s Hero Fund. Thank you!
I always love my visits to Los Angeles. As I have been each morning I’ve been in Santa Monica, Taylor and I were out the door by 8a or so. So we go for a long walk from 11th to California all the way down to Ocean Blvd and then to the Santa Monica Pier where we camp. We are sitting on a bench now, at the very end of the pier. Taylor is catching his breath laying beside me. The sun shines bright, and like the scenes in Northern California, the Pacific melts into the horizon. It’s beautiful. It’s peaceful. Below us, fishermen and fisherwomen fish for fishes. They’ve been here since the crack of dawn, and have already caught a bunch of mussels and tilapia. Their playful enemy – the seals – however, don’t make it easy for them. Taylor and I, on the other hand, enjoy their company. Seals have an easy disposition; and they always want to play. Speaking of Taylor, he loses interest with his sea faring friend, as he has stuck is nose up a few mini-skirts. I apologize as the women smile and laugh. Some of them even say “lovely”; I didn’t realize it could be that easy. To our right, an older, sunburnt gentleman with a straw hat and denim shirt, slings an acoustic guitar and sings Cat Stevens, Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan. “Mama, take this badge from me. I can’t use it anymore.”
I catch up on my reading. I catch up on my writing. I catch up on my FaceBook. I come upon a blog written by an old high school friend of the passing of her son, to cancer. I am saddened beyond belief. And I write this on my wall.
I sit here on the edge of the Santa Monica Pier as I read this with both profound sadness and admiration… A testament to courage in the face of tragedy and adversity. No parent should ever go thru the loss of a child, but unfortunately and sadly, it happens. One amazing woman, a high school friend of mine, chose to use that experience to help other children thru raising money for the fight against cancer. Miriam Lawler Gilkinson – you are the definition of the word “courage” and your son Holden, the definition of the ideal “hero”.
FaceBook friends, please read Miriam’s blog and if you are so inclined, please feel free to donate to Holden’s Hero Fund.
My friend Miriam is another – in fact, a shining – example of the central theme to my blog. Bad things happen to good people all the time. Sadly so. And I cannot even fathom something as tragic as the loss of your child. Still, those bad things that happen to us do not make us special. Cos everyone goes thru tragedy. But how we deal with it, that indeed does makes us special. To be able to deal with it in a way that helps others is truly heroic. I haven’t seen my friend in twenty years, but she’s one of the people I know who has taken the worst tragedy possible to turn into something heroic, something that can help others. I am sure she must have tough days, moments I cannot even understand but only empathize with. I am in awe of her and others like her.
I get back to my surroundings, the inevitable tear fighting to stay in.
I interrupt my writing as a swarm of thirty people surround us wanting to pet Taylor. He gets his picture taken. A lot. He is as happy as a pig in shit. Rolling around, exposing his belly for a rub. Sticking his nose up women’s skirts. Licking women’s legs. Being a ham. He loves it. They love him.
An older couple comes by. They owned a champion American Bulldog named Tyson, when they lived in Sonoma. We reminisce and talk about the breed. How friendly they are with people, how much they love kids, how sometimes they fight with other dogs. They understand Taylor and all of his kind.
When they leave, he sits right next to me, pressing his massively dense body up against me. That’s my favourite. The boy has so much love in his heart. And he loves showing it. He loves being next to me. As I, him.
The old man sitting on the pier by the sea sings Simon & Garfunkel’s iconic song “The Sound of Silence” as we walk away.
Hello darkness, my old friend,
I’ve come to talk with you again,
Because a vision softly creeping,
Left its seeds while I was sleeping,
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Within the sound of silence.
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