Posts Tagged ‘justice’

My youngest daughter and I headed down to Florida two months ago. It was her Spring Break and she was looking forward to a respite from the Vermont weather. I was happy to be visiting with one of my brothers.

I like a day at the beach just as much as the next guy. But I also like to do a bit of exploring. So, on one of the days, I suggested visiting an orange grove. Because Florida has miles and miles of citrus farms. Plus I like orange juice.

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There were no tours on this particular day so we scoped out the place and sampled some of the different fruit slices that were being offered. Bought some freshly squeezed juice to bring home.

Leaving the grove we began a version of what my daughter calls, “Moose Hunting.”

You might ask, “What on earth is that?”

Here’s the short version. Said Mary never.

There are many signs posted all over New England highways.

Bear Crossing-Stay Alert

Moose Crossing-Stay Alert

Deer Crossing-Stay Alert

Or the one I observed this past weekend in Vermont.

Wildlife Crossing-Stay Alert

It’s like they (the sign makers) just sighed, gave up and lumped all the animals together. Lazy scuts.

Back to my point. For all of these roadside warnings it is very rare to see a moose.

Deer? Yes.

Bear? Maybe.

Moose? Nah.

They exist, for sure, but no one actually ever sees one.

Enough with the warnings already.

So when my daughter and her college friends go exploring it’s called, “Moose Hunting.”

Sort of like rambling.

Whoever is in the passenger seat will give directions. Knowing they won’t see a moose but keeping hope alive.

“Go left.”

“Go Straight.”

“Go right.”

In the end they will arrive at some random town/destination. It’s just a fun way to get out and explore.

On this day in Florida, my daughter was in the passenger seat as we we left the citrus farm.

She said, “Take a right.”

And then another right.

My brother follows her directions. Drives a bit.

There is a cemetery on the left hand side. He slows the car.

He says to me, “Because I know how you like cemeteries and history.”

What he actually thought was probably more along these lines, “As good a place as any to stop for a smoke.” ­čÖé

Looked like a nicely maintained cemetery. We drive in and pull to the side. Lots of trees dripping with Spanish Moss.

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We get out and stretch our legs. Have a look around the area.

There is a big tree with things on it. Signs that say “Truth” and “Respect.” Another one says something like, “Thief or SOB. Think before you steal from the dead.”

I’m not sure what all is going on with that tree.

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To the right of this tree is another one. This also has something posted. Looks like a “Reward” sign is nailed to it. We get a little closer to see what exactly it is.

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Oh my goodness. It is the unsolved murder of a young boy. His grave is behind the tree where the “Reward” notice hangs. His name was John Welles and he was killed in July of 2003.

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This town appears to be very small. Seemed like a few surnames dominated the cemetery. Probably the founding families of the town. Welles was one of the names.

It is always sad when a young person is taken too soon. But horrific when it is an act of violence. This poor family never having the opportunity for any type of closure. No one ever being held accountable for taking the life of their child. Someone getting away with murder. Sixteen long years for his loved ones.

We looked around the rest of the cemetery on our way out of there. Confederate flags provided a pop of color on some of the older graves.

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Took a last look and we were back on the road.

Now we were very curious to know more about what happened to poor John. Surely, there would be tons and tons of information on such a case. The killing of a young white boy from a small Southern town, descended from settlers, would most definitely be plastered all over the news. I imagined reading about on-going campaigns to reopen the case, reward offerings, articles, etc.

So, after dinner, we put Google to work. What we found was next to nothing. His obituary and one article from a “Most Wanted” type of site. Quoting his mom. That’s about it. Very, very strange.

His mother, after the murder, posted more than 350 notices on billboards in three counties asking people if they had tips to contact police. Apparently, it didn’t help at all.

John’s obituary here.

His mother’s plea here.

Seemed that John arrived home from Walmart that Sunday morning at 11:30am. Within five hours he was found dead in a creek near his house. It was originally thought to be a drowning but an autopsy showed that he was shot in the eye first and then put in the water.

How does something like this happen in a small town on a Sunday afternoon in the middle of summer? No one sees anything? No one knows anything? Why does there not appear to be any interest in solving the case?

So bizarre.

I did come across another article about a young man who was also found dead in the creek. About the same age as John. Found that to be a bit curious.

It is my sincere hope that one day John’s family will finally receive the answers and justice they truly deserve. That one day they can finally take down the sign.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Happy Thanksgiving to all those who celebrate! And for those that don’t I hope that you still find a way to incorporate some form of thankfulness into your day.

I woke up this morning, prepared my cup of coffee, opened the fridge and found that there was NO MILK! How does that happen????

First feeling?

Utter annoyance. And I’ll be honest. Sort of bordering on anger. I was looking to blame the last milk drinker. Or the one who should have put it on the shopping list.

This is my routine! How I start my day! Get my engines running!

Then I said, “Oh Mary, you’ll just have to take it black.”

Umm, because that was my only choice? It was that or no coffee at all. I decided to have the coffee. In its oh-so imperfect state.

Many people feel that they don’t have a choice when they wake up in the morning. Their routine is disrupted. Life has turned their world upside down. It could be that a loved one is battling an illness. Or war has caused them to flee their home. Or they’re starving. Or they have lost a family member. Or suffered indignities and maybe even death fueled by racism, sexism and any other ism.

So I actually thought, “Mary, it’s just a cup of coffee.” I then shrugged off any residual annoyance I might have been feeling. And was thankful for a cup of coffee.

Sometimes we have to take it black. Because if we don’t then that means no coffee at all.

It’s not our usual. And we might not even like it at all. Might even hate it. But there just might be some healing power in our adjustments to life’s disruptions. Big and small. We cannot escape life’s curve balls but we can choose hope over despair. And choose how we deal with the blows.

I’m now going to get my second black coffee. Because the lure of what could be is still somewhere in that cup. And I do want some of that. Even if it’s different from yesterday.

My thoughts and prayers today are for those who are struggling with life’s challenges. ┬áMay miracles abound, your worries cease and your cup runneth over.

I wish you and your families many days of Thanksgiving.

 

 

Note: I am fully aware of what is going on in my home country at the moment. That’s another posting. So my unintentional phrasing might seem a bit ironic. But I see that the parallels are there. There are a lot of folks who have had to “take it black” their entire lives. Just because they are black. I hope for peaceful solutions that will someday ensure justice and equality for all. ┬áThere’s no shame in being angry. Hopefully, that anger can be channeled into a positive and peaceful force for a marginalized people.┬á

M.

 

 

 

 

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