Yesterday evening we attended the 25th annual brick-laying ceremony at the Victims Memorial Garden in Phelps Grove Park. New engraved bricks were added to the garden to honor victims of violent crimes, their families and those who serve them in the Springfield community.
I always experience a range of emotions while listening to the words of those dedicating bricks. There are stories of heroes and stories of heinous crimes; stories of people who counsel and support victims; stories of those who track down and prosecute the perpetrators. The folks in blue who keep us safe are out in full force….at least 40 in dress uniform.
This is the third time that I’ve attended this event with Shelly, who is the Development Director for The Victim Center: a small organization with a big heart. Some of the stories their therapists, volunteers and clients can share will tear you up.
After the event we made our traditional trek to the Mudlounge. It’s the place where we first made eye contact, after some online exchanges and a little time on the phone. We always go there after the brick ceremony. It’s a tradition.
In the 90 minutes from the time we started getting dressed until we headed from the park to the bar, I had probably uttered the 6 word title of the song at least a dozen times.
After hearing just “two daughters and a beautiful wife” repeatedly, Shelly asked me what the song was about. I told her the story as we drove downtown.
The story will tear you up. This piece tells it in detail. Read it.
Senseless violence. Four people killed for no reason. This one sentence pretty much says it all: “So pitiful and appalling was the state of the bodies that hardened cops and firemen reportedly cried at the scene.”
After seeing Patterson Hood of Drive-by Truckers sing this song at The Pageant in late January, this song has often rattled around in my head and it has been on repeat in the apartment. I know most of the lyrics, but two pieces stick with me more than any others: the 6 word title and “…Everybody cried, Everybody cried and cried…”“
At the relatively short ceremony, I kept hearing the song. Those 2 phrases totaling 12 words getting louder inside my head. Then I would look around at the attendees. All of them there for a reason: to honor heroes and recognize some who were gone.
Later, as Shelly enjoyed her Cosmo and me my Russian Coffee (seems fitting ever since 11/8/2016) it was like I had Tourette’s. “2 daughters & a beautiful wife….”
And then The Rant began.
There were probably 125 people or so at the brick dedication ceremony. One of the honorees was a therapist with 20 years experience at a non-profit agency. I asked Shelly how much she thought this lady would earn annually. I got an answer of about what I expected. A sad number based on the value she is to the planet. Lots of major league pitchers make significantly more for each start than this lady makes for a year. It’s criminal.
The median salary for a police patrol officer in Springfield, MO is $51,547…thanks to google. Last night I guessed 50K.
When I pushed the numbers in my head I guessed that the crowd earned between 5 and 8 million bucks a year.
Chump change to athletes, hedge fund gamblers, and trust fund babies. It’s criminal. It’s maddening.
I’m not gonna rant much here. And I really didn’t rant all that much at The Mudlounge.
But I was pissed off. I am pissed off.
Thinking about what gets valued and what doesn’t.
Thinking about how rewards get doled out. Or not.
Thinking about what is important. And what isn’t.
Wanting to scream “Fuck Me!!” Or “What the fuck!?!”
“…Everybody cried, Everybody cried and cried…”“
Listen to the song. (You can read the lyrics by clicking on “Show more.”)
Do something to be part of the solution. At least write a check or charge a card.
Love is the answer.
Fear and hate are not.