Sunday, April 23, 2006


In the middle of a dream, I heard “Yo Vince, you OK?” Oops, I had fallen asleep at the table. I looked at my watch, it had only been about fifteen minutes. “Yea, Ed” I replied as I closed my eyes, trying to catch the wisp of my dream.

My son was there, only much older, in uniform. Looking at him, then over his shoulder, I could see a sniper, aiming. I tried to stand, to scream, to warn him. Then, I was awakened. The overt meaning seemed obvious, my inability to help him scary. Present circumstances held me to that vision, I`d lost any other detail. So be it; move on!

Ed seemed ready to leave so I said my goodbye to Breeze and went to the Camaro, checked on Mike. In a few minutes we were on the road, northward to home. Breeze had given Ed a large coffee which I sipped gratefully as I saw both my passengers fast asleep.

I turned the radio off, opened my window further to stay alert. I thought about the day, what it meant to America. Maybe not much immediately; it would be easy for Middle America to look with derision at the pot-smoking draft dodgers, self-centered long hairs, afraid to serve their country. I had no doubt of how the TV networks would portray the demonstration. Ten seconds of Jerry Rubin, some closeups of guys burning their draft cards, lots of pics of pot smokers, then a pan of the White House, featuring the mounted police. Finally a fade to the Lincoln Memorial, being desecrated by the presence of these crazies.

Yet, for me, there was an inkling, a specter of change. There would be little in the news about the thousands of families, people of all ages, that had joined the demonstration. And, most importantly, the media could not for long disregard the protests of soldiers who had been there. People like Ed and his friends in the Vietnam Veterans Against The War. Men and women who had served their country and had found their leaders wanting. This was not a political problem. Both Democrats and Republicans were equally guilty in their faltering attempts to win this quagmire of a war. And yet, our young men and women continue to die. The future of our country I felt strongly, was in the hands of these brave men and women.

Thinking of them brought me back to Ed and his return to the United States. I laughed as I remembered his tale. Each vet was allowed to bring home his/her footlocker containing their personal items. Ed had found out that these footlockers were inspected by native Vietnamese for contraband, there being not enough Americans around for this task. Knowing this, Ed came up with a plan to get thirty pounds of grade A marijuana past their noses and onto the plane home. There was no further inspection on the West Coast, as far as he knew.

Ed wrapped the grass in blankets, with incense, and put his clothing over it. Then, the master stroke! He bought various religious statues; Buddha, Cao Dai, and put them on top of his clothing. Ed was willing to bet that the inspectors wouldn`t disturb the statues and he was right! A nice windfall for his return to civilian life.