Monday, November 13, 2006

Remember, remember, the 13th of November

On this day in 1002, the King of England decreed that all Danes in his lands should be exterminated. I don't know if this included Great Danes.

On this day in 1838, Joseph Smith -- founder of the Church of Mormon -- was born.

On this day in 1887, a massive riot between demonstrators and London police occurred, a clash later to be named "Bloody Sunday."

On this day in 1903, Camille Pissaro died.

On this day in 1947, Joe Mantegna was born.

On this day in 1956, the Montgomery Bus Boycott ended.

On this day in 1970, the Bhola Cyclone ran into Bangladesh, killing half a million people in one night.

On this day in 1971, the Mariner 9 probe achieved orbit over Mars, becoming the first spacecraft to orbit another planet.

On this day in 1990, the World Wide Web began.

On this day in 1991, the Disney masterpiece Beauty and the Beast, still the only animated film to ever receive a nomination for Best Picture, opened in theaters. It would later lose that honor to The Silence of the Lambs, still the only film featuring a cannibal and a tranvestite to win Best Picture.

On this day in 2001, President George W. Bush issued an executive order that allowed for military tribunals against any foreigner suspected of being connected to terrorist acts or of planning terrorist attacks against the United States (or, pretty much, whoever they wanted).

On this day in 2002, Cheryl Ann Walker began complaining of a headache in her office. She began behaving irrationally, so her coworkers called her sister to come take her home. (They would have simply sent her home by herself, but her son had her car.) Shortly after her sister's arrival, however, Cheryl collapsed, and had to be rushed to the emergency room. There she was diagnosed with a brain aneurysm. The aneurysm would later rupture, leading to vasospasm and stroke.

I remember the doctor telling me she'd be in recovery for about a month. As of today, it's been four years. Since the stroke, she can't talk. She can't walk. Her right side is paralyzed. She's confined to a nursing home in League City, which is hardly a Grand Palace for the Infirm.

And I remember the last thing she said to me, the last real thing she ever said, before they wheeled her away for surgery, before the vasospasm and the stroke took away her speech. The last thing she said:

"I told you I was sick."


Ha ha ha.


My mother: master of gallows humor. See, she always had a headache. And now, after all these years, she was finally proven right.

"I told you I was sick." I'm beside myself with fear and misery, they're gonna take her off for like eighty hours of surgery, and she cracks a joke.

God, I love her.

But I'm in a foul mood today, boys and girls.

If you can think of anything to cheer me up, now's the time.

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