Mar 13, 2011

The Last Word

It's been a very busy few weeks with little or no down time to blog or read blogs. I decided to reward my self with some light, frothy media entertainment last night.

Yeah, right. That's not happening here. I watched the 2008 documentary The Last Word instead.

The Last Word is the true story of a mentally challenged young man, Johnny Garrett, who was falsely accused, prosecuted and put to death for the rape and murder of a local elderly nun. The fact that Mr. Garrett was no where near the crime scene mattered not to the political lynch mob who wanted a scapegoat for this crime and could care less if the goat was innocent or guilty. The synopsis below from The Last Word film sight sums it up succinctly.

"During interviews with key players the case of Johnny Frank Garrett unfolds like a recipe for executing the innocent. A death penalty obsessed District Attorney and his lap-dog medical examiner, ladder climbing cops, bloodthirsty media, enraged and fearful jurors, incompetent defense lawyers, politicized judges, witch hunting religious zealots and an iron fisted Governor with national ambitions meld together as perfect ingredients for a plate of government sponsored murder."

The documentary points out that 98% of death row inmates admit their guilt when asked if they have any "last words" they wish to share prior to their execution. 2% maintain their innocence as did Johnny Garrett.

" In Garrett's final statement he professed his innocence one last time but did so in a voice driven by hate and vengeance. In his chilling conclusion Garrett promised those responsible for his murder that someday
he would have the last word and they would pay for what they had done."

And pay they did...

-One juror fell down a flight of stairs and died several days later. Another juror lost his daughter to an accidental gunshot wound to the head. The same jurors sister was killed by a drunk driver.

-Four people involved in the prosecution of Johnny Garrett, including 2 police officers and 2 attorneys died of leukemia. One attorney had healthy bone marrow set aside but ironically the marrow inexplicably disappeared from the hospital. Much like semen and blood samples did from the scene of the crime.

-The reporter who followed the condemned man’s grief stricken mother into the public restroom and filmed her over the stall while she was on the toilet was killed in a plane crash.

-The lap dog medical examiner was later convicted of numerous felonies for falsifying autopsy reports and was sent to prison. His wife along with Johnny Garrett's token trial lawyer both died of pancreatic cancer.

-The psychic’s husband (the police consulted the physic who gave them Johnny Garrett’s address labeling him the killer) was found dead in his truck. No cause of death has been determined.

-The jailhouse snitch who testified against Johnny so he could get a reduced sentence himself, the school teacher who testified against Johnny and the district attorney all committed suicide.

-The District Attorneys daughter hung herself a few years later as well.

Talk about your face slap example of reaping what you've sown. Predicted by Johnny Garrett himself.

The hairs found on the victim at the scene of the crime which were of Hispanic or African American origin were later matched by the FBI to a Cuban refuge who came to the US when Castro opened the port of Mariel to his "freedom flotilla." Some of you may remember that it was discovered that in addition to those Cubans seeking political asylum, Castro had also emptied out the mental institutions, prisons and rounded up the homosexuals to rid his country of its "undesirables."

The owner of the hairs at the crime scene had been in prison in Cuba for rape and murder.

He later confessed to the elderly nun's murder. The murder Johnny Garrett was put to death for.

As long as there are people who are more interested in saving their own $80.000 or $800,000 a year jobs rather than telling the long as there are people who are more interested in political gain than justice... as long as there are people who are more concerned about liability than doing the right thing even at the dreadful cost of victimizing and condemning the innocent and their families....

Yeah. I could go on and on. But I won't. In a perfect world the death penalty may have it's benefits. But no need to furrow our brows over that debate because currently there are no benefits. Why?

We are not living in a perfect world.

Mar 5, 2011

Dolly Give Away!

Go to this lovely blog for a chance to win this hand made doll!

Tell her Secret Pepper sent you!

Mar 4, 2011

Happy 30th Birthday!

Last night The Boy and I went to his schools 30th birthday party. Apparently there was a talent show a few months back which the boy failed to tell me that he was performing in. My partner in suffering, Mrs. M, and I commiserate about this subject almost weekly. The school is very good about written notification but that doesn't mean it actually survives the backpack experience on the way home.

"Is Tia going to the Valentine Dance?"

"What Valentine dance?"

Mrs. M was cracking me up just yesterday intimating her daughter who, like The Boy fails to share pertinent information on a routine basis. It's 9 pm on a Monday night.

"Mom! I need a costume and 500 cupcakes by Tuesday."

The talent show was during my work hours so I missed it. I had no idea The Boy sang a duet with his best buddy, The Angel, until last night when they did an encore for the birthday bash audience.

They brought the house down.

Both of the boys are so stinking cute you just want to squeeze them but together they are a force to be reckoned with. Neither one shy in front of an audience singing loud and clear. Enjoying the limelight and as you can see above and each other.

Unfortunately, the above grainy photo is the only one I have of the performance as The Boy took it upon himself to delete the rest while I was pumping gas on the way home.

i just wanted to cry.

The Birthday Bash food was great. I ate mine and The Boy's since he eats nothing. I was thinking about joining Weight Watchers yesterday but instead I think I'll just get fatter.

I actually won a raffle prize. Free food at a local restaurant. They have great breakfasts. Bisquits and gravy and butter oh my! Anyway, I'm pretty sure I should have 4 rolls and I only have 3 now. Stomach rolls, that is.

I spent time talking to the art teacher who, in my hippie days, I would have worshiped as a goddess. What she accomplishes with these children is beyond comprehension.

I adore children's art. More than any form of art...with the exception of Waterhouse.

Last night I sat with the Raving Rabbit artist. He was a great dinner companion. Click on the photos to see bigger images.
( Just a little FYI for those of you who don't know to do this already and you know who you are, Alabama)

Raving Rabbits



WILD Animals

Shockingly beautiful tapestries

The teacher explained the tapestry process to me. First they do the block print....

Wha? You mean they carve and stamp and paint...

"Yes, and then I just stitch it together. The secret is allowing them to create in segments."

Uh huh.

And to think I can hardly get him to brush his teeth? Perhaps I should have him do it in segments. You know, one tooth a day?

The Boy's Teacher, Mrs Needs-To-Be-Canonized, informed me last night that she has a video of the duet and will try to get it to me soon. I'll be sure to share it with you all!

I know it will make you smile and we all need a good smile.

Mar 2, 2011

Goodbye, Nancy

I lost a dear friend last week. We met in 1980. We talked on the phone to each other every day for the past 10 years. When I began working and gave up my foster care license we talked a little less but that was ok. When I spoke with her two weeks ago it was as if no time had elapsed.

A heavy smoker, every year she got bronchitis and every year we had the same conversation

"This damn pollen is killing me.'

Nancy are you smoking while you're telling me this?

I could hear the click of the lighter. I love how you have friends who are closet smokers and you're talking to them on the phone and they think you can't hear the click of the lighter. Generally, i never say a word to them except Nancy was no closet smoker.

You shouldn't be smoking with that cough!

"Yes but I've cut way back. I've only had 2 cigarettes today. It's the damn pollen that's killing me."

Last week she didn't feel well and made a doctors appointment on Friday but canceled it and rescheduled it for Monday.

She died in bed Friday morning. For the first time in over 10 years I will no longer have my annual pollen conversation with Nancy. I'm at a loss.

Saying good bye has been an exhausting yet interesting process since I was raised in a family that did not believe in funerals, or viewings. I've carried on that tradition for 58 years. Until Nancy. I knew I needed to see her.

The last viewing I went to was 51 years ago when our crossing guard at school, Joe The Cop, died . I was 7 years old.

The last funeral I attended was years back when my friend Curly T's son died. I sat with Nancy at that funeral because Nancy knew Curly T as well

You see, Nancy knew and loved just about everyone.

A social worker from the hospital called me after last nights viewing to tell me about it. She was surprised when I told her I was there and we were both surprised to discover we were there at the same time. The funeral home was packed with Nancy's friends. So packed I never did find her husband. I was glad I had stopped by the house earlier in the day to visit with him.

Nancy would have been tickled pink with the large turnout. She always did love a good funeral. Wedding. Banquet. Christmas Party. Moms night out. She loved people and a good party irregardless of the occasion.

I had no intentions of bringing The Boy to the viewing. Partly because of how I was raised and partly because my children have suffered enough trauma in their lives. When he asked to go I was undecided until I asked him exactly why he wanted to go.

"I'm afraid I'm going to forget her." he answered. He remembers swimming in her pool. He remembers her visiting him in the hospital. He remembers climbing the steep steps to her front door.

"I'm afraid I'm going to forget what she looks like."

I coached him on funeral home etiquette and reminded him that we are comprised of body, soul and spirit which was something he already knew to be true. I told him her body would be in a casket but it was like a seashell on the beach. It was beautiful but empty because what once lived within the shell was gone.

"I know." he said matter of factly. "Her spirit is in heaven."

He held it together better than I did as we said our goodbyes at the viewing. I held it together better afterwords while The Boy melted down at home.

I hate that life is so complicated and busy that we don't act on our inklings. On Tuesday I realized I hadn't talked to Nancy in a while and thought, I need to call her. Life happened and I never did get to it.

And now I'll never be able to again.

I'll miss telling her my stories and listening to hers.

Between clients today I zipped into my Publix potty stop in the midst of a pee pee emergency and practically knocked over a blind man who was slowly tap, tap, tapping his cane down the hall way. As I'm bolting to the restroom door I'm wondering why this man is in my way. Dang! I'm about to pee my pants!

And then I realized I was running into the Men's bathroom.


I spun around almost knocking the man down again and took off running to the Ladies bathroom in the opposite direction.

"Even I could see that was the Men's Room." yells the blind man over his shoulder.

I would have shared that story with Nancy who would have laughed and laughed until she coughed.

She always loved a good story.