I Can Hardly Express...My Mixed Emotions


Okay, it's the wee hours of morning on August 21, 2010...

James Gibson has enjoyably completed the first "week" of his return to Cairo School District Number One. (Actually, he attended Cairo School District workshops on August 9, 10, and 11, and the first two official days (teacher institute days) - August 19 and 20 - of the 2010-2011 School Year. On Monday, August 23rd, James will welcome (and I mean WELCOME!) students into HIS classroom. James will (hopefully) be able to finally focus on the positive...and move on with his life.

(I used a disclaimer of "hopefully" in the previous sentence because this past week has not been without incident. District personnel harassed James to turn in documents - documents which already existed in his file or which he had provided anew during the past month when he responded to the District's offer of employment. The teachers' union responded quickly, sending a letter to the District Superintendent on James' behalf documenting the renewed assault, putting the Board of Education on notice - by making a personal appearance during closed session of this week's regularly scheduled BOE meeting - of its intent to monitor the situation...CLOSELY, emphasizing the point by providing copies of the "UPS Proof of Delivery" receipts signed by the very person who was making the demands of James for documents. Let the paper trail begin...)


Okay, following up on the "parenthetical disclaimer", how 'bout an official disclaimer: This post promises to be a wandering, mish-mash of disjointed thoughts, as I try to bring closure to this topic. (For one thing, I'm not going to spend my hours and hours of usual "honing", dotting every "i", crossing every "t". If I did, I would still be working on this next year at this time. It's time to move on...


I "promised" this post - this "second bite of the apple" in a couple of posts following Singin'...and Dancin' in the Rain", a CAT Tracks edition celebrating the re-hiring of James Gibson by Cairo School District Number One...4 years following his dismissal at the conclusion of the 2005-2006 School Year...a dismissal for standing up for his employment rights...a stand taken when Julie Newell said to James on August 17, 2005 (her birthday)..."Don't you quit!"

The promised post never came. I even went back and edited one of those previous posts in which I had avoided a promised "Birthday Edition" (already taken care of by Rachel) by implying an August 18th entry that would reflect a full report on a 24-hour period of "signs".

I just couldn't do it...

Oh, I had a title picked out and ready to go...the one used above. It's from a John Lennon song. (You surely didn't think this post would pass without a song?!)

The entire song doesn't work. (At least...I hope!) Hey, judge for yourself...


Song - "Woman"
By John Lennon


Woman, I can hardly express,
My mixed emotions at my thoughtlessness,
After all I'm forever in your debt,
And woman I will try to express,
My inner feelings and thankfulness,
For showing me the meaning of success,
Oooh well, well,
Oooh well, well,

Woman I know you understand
The little child inside the man,
Please remember my life is in your hands,
And woman hold me close to your heart,
However distant, don't keep us apart,
After all it is written in the stars,
Oooh well, well,
Oooh well, well,

Woman, please let me explain,
I never meant to cause you sorrow or pain,
So let me tell you again and again and again,
I love you (yeah, yeah) now and forever,
I love you (yeah, yeah) now and forever,
I love you (yeah, yeah) now and forever,
I love you (yeah, yeah)...


Oh...you know me! With very little effort, I could make the WHOLE song work! Have taken many a journey down the old "Guilt Road" during the past couple of years. In fact, if one were to check, "Guilt Road" is probably among the designated "favorite locations" listed on my GPS. (The GPS device that Julie bought me on our last Christmas together...that I showed my dismay over...a purchase that I saw as adding to our maxed out credit cards. Oh, hell...I could do this! Don't get me started...)

But, this post is suppose to be about a victory...not a loss.


Now I lay me down to sleep...

That was on the evening of August 18th, when the day passed without the promised post.

For some reason, I had a "flashback"...a new memory of happy times...courting times. I will expand upon it in the days to come...PROMISE! (And, I still ain't forgotten about "George". When I wrote the alleged final chapter to this book, I hinted at a return with a mysterious untold story. Well, now there's two!)

As for the "flashback", it was about "Combat!"...the 1970's TV show about World War II, starring the late Vic Morrow.

Thinking briefly about a few details surrounding "Combat!" and war in general, my mind shifted...to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder - PTSD. Sweet dreams...

Well, the next day, I looked up PTSD...and found a possible answer to my difficulties in writing about what should be - IS - a joyous occasion.

Just why is it that I don't really feel "happy"? Why won't the words "flow" as I try to describe the joy of achieving victory in a war that last longer than World War II???

Could it be...

James Gibson's journey...

Much the same as Julie's earlier journey...her suspension, firing, and two-year battle to return. The physical toll that emotional stress takes upon the human body...

Chronologically entwined with Julie's battle for life...

After reading about PTSD, I decided on a bit of shock therapy...decided to take a trip down "memory lane". (Ahhh, memories - good or bad - light the corners of the mind...)

Well, it was indeed a "trip"...

Julie and I kept an electronic calendar of our adventures and misadventures which allowed me to relive the history...blow-by-blow.

I'll spare you the details...

The general "lowlights"...Julie's trips to the doctor, her hospitalizations, her surgeries...mixed in with abusive actions taken by Cairo School District Number One against Julie and the two ministers who presided over her funeral service - Lorenzo Nelson and James Gibson.

Yeah, "just for fun" I went back to January, 2002, when Julie got suspended (and later fired) for "abandoning her job" by being so inconsiderate as to get sick and spend Christmas vacation in the hospital. (Julie had won an earlier American Disabilities Act battle with the District, taking a 12-month position that required her to work for part of the Christmas holiday.)

On so many occasions...entries for a particular day clearly showed how we were trying to juggle doctors, surgeons, lawyers, and abusive school district officials. Talk about traumatic stress...

Just a couple of prime examples:

As I said, there are many, many more, but I think you get the point.

And with that, I think I'll quit.

Now, you know the rest of the story...

...due to circumstances beyond my control, there are simply no words to express how I feel.


Oh, one more thing... (Bet you knew that was coming!)

When August 18th passed without a post, I told myself on August 19th - as James Gibson walked back into Cairo Junior/Senior High School with his head held high - Julie's "final mission", accomplished (5 years and 2 days from the birthday it all began)...

I didn't argue with "Self", simply hung my humble head. (I don't think I answered, although I may have nodded my head. Does that count toward the "mentally disturbed" classification?)

Anyway...

On August 20th, the pressure was off. I "celebrated" by going out to school and joining the applause as the Cairo Superintendent of Schools introduced the new teachers, including James Gibson, "returning to the District after an absence." A master of understatement...

I'm sure Julie chuckled when Ronnie later "left the building" and drove up to Carbondale and bought a new phone (a Droid 2)...spending a bunch of money, adding to the credit card debt. ("I'm sorry, Julie! 'I never meant to cause you sorrow or pain'.")

Yes, yes...I digress!

I said one more thing...

But, if you go back to the beginning of the post...I did warn you about the distinct possibility of "wandering" and "mish-mash"...as if you needed such notice based upon "past practice"!

So, I'm sure you will forgive me when I relate TWO "coincidences" observed yesterday...


HA, reminds me...

Butterflies!

Yes, another digression...not one of the "advertised" TWO coincidences. (I'm sorry, but I'm saving MY sign for last!)

These butterflies happened on August 18th...

Well, on second thought, let's wander back to the night of August 17th first...

Tried to use "distraction therapy" on the night of Julie's birthday. Decided that I would resume my journey through the "ER".

I've told you about me taking up watching DVDs of old TV series. Well, I had watched the first 8 seasons of "ER".

(Contrary to my purchase of today), Julie would certainly testify to my maddening frugalness. I had been able to buy the previous seasons of "ER" for like $20 each...maybe going as high as $24.95. In fact, while I was watching Season 3 or Season 4, I noticed that Best Buy had a display section in their store for TV shows at reduced prices. They only wanted $14.95 for "ER" Seasons 9-12. I started to buy them, but the cheap-azzed devil sitting on my left shoulder said..."NO! You are only on Season 3-4. You don't need them now. They'll probably be even cheaper later!")

Well, when I got to Season 7, I decided to hell with it (him?) that it was time. Went to Best Buy to purchase Seasons 9 and beyond. OMG...$39.95 each!!! THAT's why they call that sucker "The Devil". Made me cuss!)

El Cheapo (and stubborn-as-a-nule) Ronnie refuses to be denied...

I held out, finishing Season 7...and then Season 8. In my cheap vigil, I even watched a couple of other TV series. Finally, a couple of weeks ago, I relented...bought Season 9 AND Season 10 at the grossly, inflated price.

So, it was with great expectations that I popped that sucker into the DVD player on the night of August 17th...distract my a.., uh, butt!

They roll the opening, and up pops the title to Episode 1 of Season 9..."Chaos Theory". Well, send me a sign!

For those of you who may have forgotten, "Chaos Theory" is also known as "The Butterfly Effect"...which (very simply put) hypothesizes that the fluttering of the wings of a butterfly on one side of the world may well be the cause of a hurricane on the other side of the world. Butterflies...

And...

Then, the next day, I return a call to James Gibson.

I have a bad habit of leaving the house without my cell phone and missing calls. Even if I am in the house, I have a bad habit of having the ringer set on vibrate in another room and missing calls. Of course, now that I have my new "smart phone", I'm sure it will call out to me if I attempt to leave home without it. (Yes, they speak!) Or, if the phone is in the other room on vibrate, it will probably transfer the call to my home phone..."Hey, it's me...Droid! Go answer your cell phone, Dummy!)

Anyway...

I don't really remember what our initial conversation was, but at some point in time James and I started talking about signs. (You remember..."As for me and James, we believe.")

As James was telling me of a butterfly experience that he had had recently at his house - two butterflies that flew from real flowers to a plastic wreath on his door as he approached to enter - I had stepped out the back door onto my deck. As he was relating his story, a big ol' butterfly flew by and landed on a pear in my tree, right over my head. I told James about the butterfly and he boasted..."Well, I had two!" In the next instant, a second butterfly swooped in and landed on the same pear." You know I had to tell James and add a "Nah, nah, nah, nah, nah!"

Hey, Julie ain't gonna let anybody - not even James Gibson - get the better of her Ronnie!


And, finally...

Who Knew?