Happy Thanksgiving everybody!
The church across the street from the Amherst Survival Center has the following banner up:
I have a lot to be grateful for this year. Last Thanksgiving I spent heavily sedated in front of a television in rehab. None of my family came to visit me because I told them not to. Why ruin their holiday too?
I'm a bit bummed out lately because a friend of mine who I was in rehab with died Thursday of a drug overdose. He had relapsed recently and went down to Holyoke with another friend of mine, who I also know from a drug rehab program, and they bought some heroin. In rehab there isn't a lot to do, so you spend a lot of time talking with the other patients whose lives have crash landed in the same joint. We tended to talk about what we had in common, which is to say we talked about drugs.
My buddy never mentioned heroin as part of his drug tales. That must've been something new that he took up this last time out, which probably explains why he died. The old junkies never overdose, they're so attuned to it they can feel the junk as it enters their veins and they know exactly when to stop pushing the syringe. It's the newbies that OD because they don't know their tolerance yet or the proper rate of injection.
In rehab they used to take us sometimes to the Holyoke resevoir to walk around. It was considered a form of therapy. Me and my recently departed friend often walked together and he told me once of the hopes he had for what his life would be like when he got back out in the world. That is the way I will always prefer to think of him, as he was that day in Holyoke, full of hope for the future. A future, it turns out, that was very short.
Because now my friend is dead. My other friend, the one that drove my friend down to Holyoke to buy the heroin, is crushed by guilt and is currently in a psychiatric detox in Pittsfield under a 24 hour suicide watch. I guess I know of two families who won't be having a very Happy Thanksgiving this year.
But I'm still standing, and still sober and still hoping for a better future that might yet unfold. My friend's death reminds me of how fragile it all is, how quickly one can lose everything on what seems like otherwise just another day, and I am grateful for the luck I've had and that God has given me more chances than I deserve.
How did I miss this? I was surprised recently to find out that the father of Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, a man named Pat Patricks, was a longtime member of the weirdo jazz combo Sun-Ra, whose leader used to claim with a straight face that he was from Saturn. Wikipedia.org has this to say about Sun-Ra:
Sun Ra (born Herman Poole Blount, legal name Le Sony'r Ra) was a jazz composer, bandleader, piano and synthesizer player, poet and philosopher known for his "cosmic philosophy", musical compositions and performances.
"Of all the jazz musicians, Sun Ra was probably the most controversial," according to critic Scott Yanow, due to Sun Ra's eclectic music and unorthodox lifestyle. Claiming that he was of the "Angel Race" and not from Earth, but from Saturn, Sun Ra developed a complex persona of "cosmic" philosophies and lyrical poetry that made him a pioneer of afrofuturism as he preached awareness and peace above all. He abandoned his birth name and took on the name and persona of Sun Ra (Ra being the ancient Egyptian god of the sun), and used several other names throughout his career, including Le Sonra and Sonny Lee. Blount denied any connection with his birth name, saying "That's an imaginary person, never existed … Any name that I use other than Ra is a pseudonym."
The future governor and his father did not have much of a relationship, with his parents marriage being shattered by infidelity when Deval was only small. Again the Wikipedia.org:
Pat Patrick's children are Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and Rhonda Sigh by his former wife Emily, and at least one child outside of his marriage. In 1959, an unknown woman called for Patrick, and his wife asked for a message. "The message was this: 'Tell him our baby needs shoes.'" News of this precipitated his marriage breakup that year. He refused to sign Deval's application to Milton Academy, arguing that Deval would lose his African-American identity. Deval, whose tuition was paid by scholarship, was accepted anyway.
Pat Patricks died in 1991. Here's a video of the father of the Governor of Massachusetts in performance with Sun Ra.
One of my neighbors has a peace sign on his tree.
Another of my neighbors has typical post-weekend recycling boxes.
One of the few (only?) advantages of all this cold weather is that the season's pumpkins have had an exceptionally long life, like these in Hamp.
This chapel by Northampton's Saint Mary's cemetery intends to have a manger display, if they ever get around to taking the plastic off Jesus.
Hampshire County hunters shouldn't have their deer checked by this guy. He's a real dummy.
I'm not a supporter of Peta (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) who despite their tame name strike me as extremists. But I am a fan of rocker Tommy Lee, and any excuse for him to get naked is fine with me.