Viet Nam

MASKING PAIN WITH PINK GLASSES

Pink Glasses#2dup

Mental illness affects many of us in one way or another. I have a cousin who has suffered from bipolar disorder since he as a teenager, and a good friend whose son has been tortured with various mental afflictions for many years. Like so many challenges in life, the sufferer is usually not alone but  affects those around him/her. Since Veteran’s Day is coming up, I can’t help but remember those I know who endure Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The excerpt below comes from a book I wrote, which is on sale on Amazon. It’s a true story and revolves around Porsches.

Pink Glasses

Betty excused herself from the table of her divorced girlfriends in the chic Los Angeles bar/restaurant and slowly pushed her way toward the bathrooms, about ten excuse-me’s away. When she hadn’t returned twenty minutes later, the others began to look around.

“I see her,” Joyce said. “She’s deep in conversation with some fellow in pink sunglasses. Don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like it, except for Halloween!”

Celia and Liz strained to see where Joyce was staring.

“He’s very attractive, and looks interesting,” Liz offered.

“She’s bringing him over, girls,” Celia said excitedly, looking forward to some male interaction.

They watched as Betty and the tall lean man in the pink-frames with darkened pink lenses pushed their way through the tightly meshed crowd toward the table of women. Wavy dark hair was cut close around the man’s small head; it resembled a military cut and was much shorter than the current style. As he got closer they could see his dark brown, somewhat unruly eyebrows sat over kind brown eyes. At ease with himself, he was smiling as if he’d known all of them as friends for a long time. They noted he was handsome and dressed casually in a navy blue-plaid shirt and tan pants. He wore loafers without socks.

A chair at the next table was empty, and Celia pulled it over. “We’ve got a chair for you,” she said as she looked up at him hopefully, waiting for an introduction.

“This is Will,” Betty said and then introduced each of the friends.

The empty chair was between Celia and Joyce, and Will sat there leaning into the table as if eagerly waiting to hear whatever the women had to share with him. The friends looked at each other with surprise, they were taken aback by his open friendly manner. Nearly all of the men they had encountered here hid their feelings and kept their thoughts to themselves.

Most men would be a bit put off and act mysterious confronted by four intelligent women, Joyce thought to herself as she scrutinized their guest. She wasn’t currently involved with a man; maybe she’d explore this one.

“You girls come here often?” Will asked.

“Once in a while,” Joyce offered and added, “I haven’t seen you here before.”

“How do you know if you don’t come often?” Will answered, smiling. The others laughed, a bit self-consciously, caught in their attempt to be cool.

“Will told me he was a Navy pilot, girls. Remember Top Gun?” Betty asked.

“A Navy guy who favors pink sunglasses!” Celia remarked, a bit too pointedly. She looked slightly embarrassed after her remark and made a note to herself to stop treating all men as if they were Malcolm, her live-in for so many years.

Liz, the tender-hearted, interjected, “Men need a little softness in their lives. What’s wrong with pink? It used to be the rage in the ‘50s, with charcoal gray.”

“And, of course, we all remember the 50s!” Betty couldn’t resist and laughed at her willingness to reveal her true age.

Joyce, who had recovered from her earlier faux pas, asked, “So what do you do?”

“You women,” Will answered, laughing lightly, “you don’t waste any time. Or is it just this place? Everyone wants to know how much money you make. Or what sign you are.”

“I didn’t mean it that way,” Joyce said petulantly as she ran her hand through her shoulder-length blond hair.

“Girls, girls,” Betty interrupted. “Give him some breathing room. Will, are you sure you can handle all of us?”

“I’m between jobs,” Will said quickly. He leaned back in his chair looking softly from behind the pink lenses; a small smile played upon his attractive, yet childlike and vulnerable face.

To find out what happens, check out: http://amazon.com/author/victoriagiraud

THE MYSTICAL WORLD

Vision of Space from the Hubble Telescope. God’s Eye, perhaps?

The photos from the Hubble Telescope are better than anything Hollywood can create, but I must admit I was impressed by the recent film with Sandra Bullock, “Gravity.” What kind of reality is outer space and is there no end? The Bible says, “World without End, Amen.”

I’ve had some spiritual experiences and they’re both “enlightening” and spooky. Mine have so far involved lights turning on mostly in the middle of the night. Once it was the new computer, which had been sleeping.  For the first and only time so far, it “woke up” and stayed on for a couple of hours! Another time, in a hotel room, I had a light turn on and then off three different times during the wee hours. I can only guess who my visitors have been, but I hope to experience it again.

Since it was just Veteran’s Day, I’ve been thinking about my cousin’s husband, Ray. One of the most heartening spiritual stories I’ve heard concerns  him, a Vietnam vet with PTSD, whom I’ve mentioned in a previous blog. Besides post-traumatic stress disorder, in the 1980s Ray was struggling with kidney stones. The pain was so bad he had been drinking Seagram’s VO and popping Demerol. When he went into a medical facility to have the stones removed, he had to stop the drugs, and it didn’t take long for his body to suffer withdrawal symptoms. His condition was so serious, he was rushed to the best hospital in the area at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.

“Practically every organ had failed, and I had to have whole blood transfusions,” Ray recalled. “Jackie (his wife and my cousin) was told that I wouldn’t live through the night.”

During the night, he sensed a presence in his room and looked over to the right of the hospital bed where there was a hardback chair. Sitting in it was his friend Bobby, who had served in the same Army company and platoon in Vietnam. Bobby and Ray had lived within 40 miles of each other and after the service remained friends. “We hunted, fished and partied hard together,” Ray remembered. “I would ask him now and then if he was OK because he would get quiet and his eyes looked blank. When he came out of this state, he always said, ‘All right, now’ with great feeling, but he never answered my question.”

Right before Christmas a few years before Ray’s hospital crisis, Bobby had put an end to his troubled life and to the deep depression resulting from PTSD. He had locked himself in a dog pen at his home, put a shotgun in his mouth and pulled the trigger. “If he’d made it a few more years, he could have gotten help for PTSD,” Ray said.

In the chair next to Ray that night, Bobby was dressed in jeans and a plaid shirt and looked peaceful. He was there in spirit to give his old friend encouragement. “You messed up bad, buddy,” he told Ray, “but you’re going to be all right.”

“And I did get all right,” Ray declared.

Ray Scott, Sr. in a photo taken in Vietnam, 1963.

 

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