Friday, September 02, 2005


Patrick, Gordon, Fred, and Dennis walked down to our tent with us to take possession. We’d left them with my air mattress, which Gordon thought he could fix, a quilt, a blanket, some food and drinks. We all posed together for pictures outside the tent, and the guys decided to move it down to the main camp, make everybody sign it before they left. As we drove away, Fred and Gordon were pulling the stakes, and Dennis was playing his guitar and singing a song he’d written about Camp Casey.

We took one more look at the memorial and headed into town.

We arrived at Peace House and went in to see about taking showers. Even though Tina and I had barely been there, even though we had helped out at the house only minimally, the hospitality provided us was ample and loving. I showered while Tina folded towels, and then she showered while I hung some damp things out on the clothesline. There was fresh homemade bread and coffee and tea out in the garden, and we stopped to talk to few people we knew from Camp. Gary was busy typing away on his laptop, but took a few moments to direct us on what we should be reading and doing. He’s a very earnest guy, and had started giving each of us advice within 30 seconds of meeting him on Friday. “Read this book, tell the Peace House to put such and such on the website, contact this group in So Cal for activism, paint this kind of painting, do this for work….” He had plenty of advice. We smiled and nodded a lot. He's very earnest.

Eric showed up, and we talked about the weekend and what to do next, and where to see each other again. Many people from camp- almost everyone, actually, have sworn to be in DC for the 9/24 march. I promised I’d be at Arlington West when it hits Huntington Beach; the VFP is planning on being there.

We ended up staying at Peace House for a couple of hours. I walked up the street and shot a couple more pics of “Bush Country”, I stopped into a gas station for cigarettes and the woman there refused to meet my eye. Still, it was really hard to think about leaving Crawford.

Some of the VFP pulled into town to have breakfast at the café- it’s famed for being where W eats but some of the older vets have made fast friends with the owner and the cook. Keith and Lee pulled up in the bus, dropping supplies and getting ready to head out. Some new people showed up and wanted directions, and I oriented them on shuttles and who was at which camp and what was happening today- which was packing up, mostly.

Finally we walked to the car, and I slapped 2 new bumper stickers on the rear window: “I ™ Crawford Cindy”, and “Support Our Troops/ Bring Them Home Now”. We out along rte 6, back toward Waco, and then south to Austin and home.

We drove almost straight through, stopping once for about 3 hours in New Mexico. The Texas night was dark out west, the Milky Way was fabulous, and every time we stopped, people were remarkably friendly and kind.

Around dawn we drove through Lordsburg, NM, and stopped for 1/2 a tank of gas, as it’s about 20 cents cheaper in NM than in AZ. The man behind the counter asked if we’d been driving all night. Yeah. Goin’ back to California? Yeah. From where? Crawford. Isn’t that where…. Yeah, that’s where we were. “Which side were you on?” he asked.

I took a deep breath and smiled what I hoped was a humble smile and said, “Well, we’re on Cindy’s side.” He said, “you know what gets me about all these people who’re sayin’ she don’t speak for them? She isn’t trying to speak for anybody but herself.” He told me he’s a Gulf I Navy vet, and opposed to the Iraq war. I mentioned VFP to him, and we wished each other well.

Sweet guy. You never know where you’ll find them.


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