In Loving Memory of my father Albert T. Wilson, 1923-2004


This is a follow up from the November 7, 2004 daylog about my father.  Many of you requested that I follow up with any information on his condition.  At 9:50pm central time, November 12, 2004, my father took his last breath.  My mother never left his side while he was in the hospital and was there with him until the end.  He died in his sleep while he was in the ICU ward, at Missouri Southern Healthcare Hospital in Dexter, Missouri.

He died at the age of 81 and lived a full long life.  Some of the memorable events in his life include the following:

  • He fought with the United State Air Force in World War II and was also an airplane mechanic.  This led to one of the first major events in his life.  While waiting to fly to West Germany, a sergeant woke him up in the middle of the night to work on a transport plane that was having engine trouble.  They told him he would catch up with his unit a couple days later.  However, he was reassigned to a different unit.  The sergeant who had pulled him out didn't know this.  Several months later this sergeant saw him working on a plane and had a look of astonishment on his face.  He told Dad, "What are you doing here, man?" and Dad said "Working on a plane, why?".  The sergeant informed him that his entire unit that he was first assigned to died when the plane crashed in the ocean.
  • On April 3, 1948 he married the love of his life, my Mom.  They were married over 56 years and accomplished many great things in life together.
  • They had their son on March 31, 1949.  This is where the story gets complicated.  Their son is my biological father, who was not capable of raising a child so they adopted me in 1970.  I have never considered them to be anything but my parents.  They raised me as their own, never hiding the fact that I was adopted and were the best parents anybody could have asked for.
  • They were both saved together on July 2, 1960, in a little country church in rural Missouri.  Over the years, Dad held many different positions in the church.  Through the years, my father brought many people into the church and watched them get saved.  He has touched many lives, both in the church and in the secular world.
  • In 1976, they adopted yet another child my biological father had by another wife and raised her as they have raised me, like she was their own.

My father was the type of man that would do anything he could to help somebody.  This includes giving them the shirt off of his back if that is what they needed.  He worked for everything he owned, never accepting charity from anyone.  His philosophy was that a man should be able to work and pay his own way and support his family.

His funeral will be held Tuesday, November 16, 2004, at 11:00am.  It will be a full military style funeral with a 21 gun salute and a trumpeter playing taps.  The United States flag will be presented to my mother, which she has already decided to give to my sister's youngest son, who spent lots of time with Dad and was very close to him. 

We will all miss him very much, but we are glad he is not in the extreme pain any longer.  My Dad has gone to heaven.

My wife, Harmony and I would like to personally thank all of you for you kind words and prayers over the last couple of weeks.  It really helped keep our spirits up during this trying time.  This has proven to me that E2 is more like a family than just a bunch of random people thrown together.

Hi everybody! I hope you’re doing good. I’m sad because my cat Highway got ran over and killed yesterday. My dad buried him in the backyard. I wrote him a note and poem.

Dear Highway,

You were the best cat I ever owned. I miss you so much. The house is so lonely now. I know that you are not really dead, you were not that kind of cat I can’t imagine a world without you.

Love,

Anna

We put the note in a plastic bag in the ground with him and got a statue of a smiling sun to put on his grave.

Hopes for Highway

My Highway lays
beneath the ground.
I hope he likes
what he has found.

I hope he finds
that things are nice.
I hope he gets
a lot of mice.

I hope he sees
a lot of birds.
I hope he reads
these written words.

I hope he meets cats
that are not rude.
I hope he gets
a lot of food.

I hope he does not
get chased by dogs.
I hope he goes
and jumps on logs.

I hope he gets
to climb a tree.
I hope he will
remember me.

Because I will always
remember him.
And I know that I
will see him again.

In my sleep
or in my dreams.
Highway is
just what he seems.

He is my cat
I loved him so.
But now I have to
let him go.

Highway was the
name of my cat.
He was some of this
but all of that.

Bye!

/me says “Usual disclaimers apply.”

It's a sweet irony that though I've been noding with considerably less frequency here, my connections to the place have only grown deeper and more valuable.

****

In September I convinced iceowl to apply with me to the Sundance Institute, specifically the Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship, which is awarded to a screenplay that explores science or technology themes and begins with participation in the 2005 January Screenwriters Lab. I have some connections with Sloan through some play commissions I've received from them, and I've always loved iceowl's stories of life on the ice in Antarctica, so I thought we should at least give it a shot. So we mocked up the first five pages of a screenplay and wrote a synopsis, and sent the application package down without much hopes that anything would come of it.

In October I got an email from the director of the program telling us we'd made it to the next round of selection and asking for the complete screenplay by the end of the week. Of course there was only one small problem: there was no complete screenplay. I called iceowl immediately and explained that our choices were either bagging the effort entirely or embarking on the rather insane attempt to write a screenplay, collaborating with a near total stranger long distance, in less than week. Without a moment's hesitation, iceowl cheerfully opted for the second choice. Typical iceowl, if you know him at all. Who was I to argue?

It was intense and harrowing, but we pulled it off, mostly thanks to the fact that iceowl has some sort of disorder where he can write reams and reams in a day, and is almost compelled to do so. Me, I'm much more lazy (as you can tell by my dearth of w/u's compared to his). So iceowl did the lion's share of the sheer production, and I did the hyena's share of paring and culling the product into a somewhat standard screenplay format, and adding some jokes, etc. We Fedexed 120 pages down to Beverly Hills just in time to meet the deadline.

We're waiting to hear back. I have my doubts we'll actually get the fellowship, but no matter what happens, I have a new found awe for another writer, and he and I have a damned good adventure/comedy feature property on our hands. I told him we're not selling it for less than Writer's Guild Minimum. So anyone got 45 grand for a screenplay?

Anyone?

****

On November 13, Palpz, a noder I've never communicated with, chinged my write up Kellie Waymire. I wrote him this note:

2004.11.13 at 15:26 (Palpz) AudieMcCall says "Thanks for the Ching on Kellie Waymire, but please tell me you knew today is the first anniversary of her death, otherwise I'm gonna get chills."

He wrote back:

2004.11.13 at 19:08 Palpz says "... ummm nope. Saw ya chatting in the catbox and randomly read a bunch of your noads, decided to ching one of them. that was it."

I'm no mystic, but I also think that one can foolishly err on the side of skepticism at moments like these. Could it be my dear friend was using an utter stranger as a conduit to say hello on the day she knew I'd be thinking about her most?

Probably not, right?

But think about her all day I did. And when my little boy was running towards me down the hill at the playground, eyes wide, grin wider, running for the sheer joy of it, I thought of her, and wondered if she wasn't letting me see this one moment for what it was, i.e. everything.

****

On November 14, I was noodling around here when I trotted past doyle's homenode. (Full disclosure: I'm a huge doyle fan, so I often check in to see what he last wrote.) I noticed that there was a picture of an attractive woman, holding a wine glass, obviously enjoying life a little. Now I know doyle is not a woman, attractive or not, so I wondered. . . and scrolled down. . . . to learn that this was Mary Beth Doyle, his sister, and that she had died that day in a car accident.

Horror.

I was reluctant to bother doyle in this rawest stage of grief, but I wrote him a short note, telling him I'd learned of the loss of a friend on this day last year, and that I was starting to think the day just plain sucked. He wrote me back almost immediately, thanking me for pointing him to the node. 'Thanks for sharing this - - it helps.' I can't imagine how it did, but I'm grateful it did, in any case. Then, a few minutes later, I see that he's chinged the writeup and written this note to me:

2004.11.15@1:58 doyle says re Kellie Waymire: tiny typo line 2 (or maybe it's my browser): 'wither'-->;with her'

Typical doyle. Not only is he, in what can only be one of the most awful hours he's ever known, helping me fix my w/u , he's doing it gently, politely. A guy who knows whole worlds more about writing and science, and well, everything than I could ever hope to understand, and yet he's saying "maybe it's my browser"?

I fixed the typo. Then I closed my eyes to send my heart to fly with this strange wonderful gift of a man to Ann Arbor to claim his sister from the coroner.

Tell me we are not family. Tell me this place is no more than a glorified chat room. Tell me we don't occasionally better each other and ourselves here.

Anyone?

****

Last, but strangely not least, I was node surfing and I came across krenseby's addition to the green tea node. Basically the point was unless you're brewing properly, you're completely missing the point. Well, this raised my hackles a bit, since I've been drinking green tea for years, and for years I've been pouring boiling water over it just like all the other teas I drink. krenseby was basically calling me an idiot, "green tea needs to be made with hot but not boiling water.... If you choose to go with the boiling water, you're gonna come with a disgustingly bitter brew...."

What did this bozo know? But nevertheless I tried it his {her?} way to prove once and for all there is no difference . . . . and found what I'd been missing all these years. So sweet, such complex subtle flavors I'd never tasted before. I will always brew green tea this way from now on, and from now on my life will be just that little much better. I'm nearly certain my hurting friend doyle would agree: this is no small thing.

Frank unified the fields.
Well, almost. He stood behind his chair, drumming the back with his fingers as he stared at the computer screen. Three minutes left to solve one last equation.
People have been searching for the answer for as long as there have been people. Some found it. He glanced up at the smiling Buddha sitting on top of his monitor. People have been looking for this answer for one-hundred and fifty years.
and he found it first.
Two minutes. He knew the general form of the answer- it would be simple, painfully simple, smack-your-forehead simple. The best answers all are. Specifically, he had no idea what it would look like. That was the most frusturating part. How ironic that the most important scientific discovery perhaps in human history should just be another logic-riddle. Buddha smiled.
One minute. Most of the money for all the inventions and things made with this knowledge would go to the company, but Frank hoped for the credit. He had visions of going on the talk shows, doing the lecture circuit... People would throng to see him, stare at him-
Done. The screen popped up with a menu box, prompting Frank to 'Continue'. He licked his lips. "Continue", he said (mouses being a thing of the distant past).
And there it was.
Strange... not an equation or a sum or anything mathematical at all, it was a sentence. Or it appeared to be one- the letters were strange. It was hard to look at them; they seemed to move but did not. Yet he could understand what they said.
His eyes didn't have enough time to go wide.
A few minutes passed.
"Hey Frank, do you have... Frank?" Jeff, a coworker, came in with a folder. "Hm. where'd you go?" The hairs on the back of Jeff's neck were standing up. He looked around until his eyes rested on the monitor. "That's odd..."

Buddha smiled again.

There was light and dark. From ahead- no, everywhere... Nowhere? From somewhere could be heard a voice, no voices, infinite voices, five voices, booming until ears burst and barely audible. Yet at a comfortable volume. "Congratulations," it said, "Stage complete. You have gained a level. Loading next level. Please wait..."

Today was possibly the weirdest, or at very least, one of the worst days, I’ve had in a long while. The World Is a Comedy opens on Wednesday. This would be fine, except for the costumes aren’t done; the makeup kits aren’t in; the set isn’t painted, let alone finished; the sound cues are wrong; the props aren’t finished…Instead of a filing cabinet, which, I might add, is imperative to the plot, we have a ladder. The fishing line breaks, so it looks a little odd when you see a human arm reach out of the “sea” and throw a fish onto the stage. Kellan is the stage manager, but people aren’t apt to listen to him when he says “Move the fuck out of the way,” even if he IS the boss backstage.

So if all this clusterfuck wasn’t disheartening enough, the lead actor and one of the costume crew girls, (who happen to be fuckbuddies), got their hands on some Absinthe last night and, after half the bottle, sent a hate e-mail to the men of Beta Theta Pi, who, while being the most ‘questionable’ frat on Hanover College's campus, is still not completed populated with “rapists.” Or at least, that’s who Marina and Steven thought they were sending the e-mail to…in their drunken ‘wisdom,’ they just replied to a forwarded e-mail…one that was a mass forward to the entire student body. So, this morning when we all woke up, we had a lovely little display of attitude to read in our Inboxes: [Note: Spelling and grammatical errors have been preserved…]

To the men of Beta Theata Pi, Each and every last one of you steaming pieces of shit. I hope you all contract syphyillus and die a long and painful death so you parents} those morons without the common sense have smuthered you at birth) can weep for the waste of flesh that they should have aborted. Do not send me anymore emails. I am a girl, who does not wish to be raped.

THE END

This is really an accusatory e-mail, but the part that really makes me wanna say “Ouch” is the fact that Steven is none other than the guy who stood up in front of Student Senate last month and spoke out against the people that had been hate-mailing and harassing Love Out Loud, the group that’s a sort of support group and club for the GLBTs here at Hanover. So yes, the guy that heartily condemned the “closed-minded” and “hateful” people that hate-mailed the gays at Hanover sent a mass e-mail to the entire student body hate mailing a frat on campus. Ouch. I mean, if not for the blatant hypocrisy there, there’s still the offensive stuff to the Betas. I mean, no, I don’t particularly like some of the guys in that frat, but I don’t like some of the guys from other frats. I mean, it may come as a shock to people, but even unaffiliated guys can be assholes.

Now that I think about it, other than the disaster that the play’s becoming, and the little campus gossip fodder for the day, I suppose it wasn’t a half-bad Monday

Well, shit. It feels petty and small to add the following little lamentation to the logs of a day full of more serious losses, but... The LocoMotive Restaurant is closing its doors at the end of this year! I know it doesn't compare to the loss of a father or a sister or a cat, but The LocoMotive is my favorite restaurant in the world, and I'm not ashamed to admit that I had to blink back tears when I first saw the news on their website, www.thelocomotive.com, an hour ago (I check it almost every Monday or Tuesday, to keep up with their weekly menu changes).

It's hard to express what I'm losing here, but I think what I'll miss most of all about the LocoMotive is the inspiration. Their food is truly great, their staff friendly and knowledgeable, the ambience classy without being stuffy, but best of all is the palpable sense that the restaurant is a labor of love. After my first dinner there, I wrote a short review of the LocoMotive for a local restaurant listings website and a longer one for E2, which earned a C! from our formidable sneff. Later I wrote the same formidable sneff for advice on petitioning the LocoMotive for a chance to work in their kitchen, but before I could apply the wisdoms I received in reply, and muster the courage to write the Loco crew a letter, I saw a "help wanted" ad for another local restaurant I liked, and applied there instead. sneff's good advice served me well in the subsequent interviews; I got the job, and have been working as a line cook for the Glenwood Restaurant ever since, and for the most part, loving it. Of course, everything sneff told me about the life of what he calls a "professional pan-rattler" is true --- it's hard work, for not much pay, at often terrible hours --- I can't say I wasn't warned! I also can't say I would've ever thought to pursue this avenue of employment without his advice, and the LocoMotive for inspiration.

So now I'm trying to write a letter to the owners of the LocoMotive that expresses some of these feelings and experiences. It's hard going. What I've got so far goes a little like so:

Dear Lee and Eitan,

Please put me on your mailing list, if I'm not there already. Eating at your restaurant inspired me to try working with food for a living, expensive college education be damned, and in turn find the best job I've ever had. If there's anything I can do, as a writer or a cook, to help bring a LocoMotive cookbook into existence, please, let me know.

Best wishes for your retirement,

---fuzzy and blue

It isn't enough. Eating dinner there every week from now until they close on New Year's Eve at the end of the year won't be enough. Damn. I don't know what else to say.

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