Monday, November 04, 2019

A Memory

And just so everyone doesn't think this is one of those all-politics-all-the-time blogs, we have something a little different today.

I'm not sure if it's because of Jon Katz recently losing his companion Red, or just early-onset senility, but I keep finding myself thinking about my two former four-legged friends.

The first one was a bit of a fluke. We could never have a dog in the house when I was young because of my allergies. As I got older, I seemed to "outgrow" them and didn't have a problem being around dogs, but my mother was adamant that there was not going to be any dogs in her house. Then my sister came dragging home a puppy and out of a sense of fairness, I got one out of the same litter. And so I finally had a dog like most of my friends.

Heidi and some scrawny dork. Taken at my mom's family homestead.

Heidi was with me all through school, my early college years and was still around to see me marry Debbie. People didn't really keep track of dog birthdays back then; near as we can figure she made it through 13 or 14 years before her little body gave out. Not bad for the runt of the litter.

We didn't have a dog for quite some time after that because we were both working, going to college and not real sure where we were going to end up living; not ideal conditions for getting a pet. Then we got a dog by another fluke. A friend of ours had two dogs that decided one day, after living together for several years, that they needed to kill each other. So we came home from vacation with a dog squeezed in the back seat with all our luggage.

Shilo in her "Is it time to wrestle?" pose.
Shilo was with us during the crazy early years of marriage when we were still trying to figure out who we were and what we were going to do and where we were going to do it. She was always there to remind us what was really important; a good romp in the back yard, 9pm milk bones, and Dairy Queen Blizzards! She wasn't with us for very long, done in by a weak heart and her eternal nemesis, Squirrel.

I've never been real clear on what happens to a dog's spirit when they die, but I know they will live forever in our hearts. God speed to both of my beautiful girls.

Back in the USSR

When I was in the second grade (back in the Dark Ages when cars still had tail fins instead of seat belts), my parents decided that the public schools in Flint had gone completely off the rails to the extent that they managed on my dad's working-class pay, to scrape up the cash to send me to a Christian school. One of the regular features of that school was Friday Morning Chapel, a break from the drudgery that passes for education in America for the drudgery that passes for religion in America.

But on occasion, we would get a Special Speaker who would hold us rapt with the harrowing tale of their daring escape from the clutches of those Evil Pinko Commie Bastards over in Russia. ("Bastards" was implied, not spoken aloud; these were good, God-fearin' Christian folk, after all.) The basic outline of the story was always the same: Christian person gets "the call" to serve God in a way that involves knowingly violating the laws of the Soviet Union (for example, entering the country under false pretenses). Christian person persists in his or her chosen illegal activity, often after being caught and politely asked to go away and don't come back, until one day, the gloves come off and they find themselves in a Soviet prison, with no access to legal council, frequently deprived of food and medical care, and subject to various forms of physical and mental mistreatment. Then, because of the prayers of Christians back home and not a little pressure from the US State Department, the person would be freed, placed on a jet bound for JFK, and warned never to return to the USSR.

Anyone who thinks I'm making this up, meet God's Smuggler.

This, we were repeatedly assured, could never happen in the land of the free and the home of the brave! We should remember to thank God every day that we were so lucky to be born in the USA and not the USSR.

Fast forward to 2019.

So now the story is a Russian, here legally in the United States as a student, working the NRA lecture circuit talking about her efforts to bring 2nd-Amendment-type rights to Russia. She is picked up by the Stasi, er, the FBI on some made-up charges that even if true would involve a simple fine, held incommunicado with no access to legal council, deprived of food and medical care, and subject to various forms of mistreatment. After being tortured for 18 months, she is released, put on a plane bound for Moscow, and warned never to return to the USA.

Anyone who thinks I'm making this up, meet Maria Butina.

At least we can all celebrate the fact that two faggots can run a Christian-owned bakery out of business for refusing to make them a wedding cake....