Paris, France--Summer 2007

Autumn in Paris
  God's Promise
I will lend you, for a little time,
   A child of mine, He said.
For you to love the while she lives,
   And mourn for when she's dead.
It may be six or seven years,
   Or twenty-two or three.
But will you, till I call her back,
   Take care of her for Me?
She'll bring her charms to gladden you,
   And should her stay be brief.
You'll have her lovely memories,
   As solace for your grief.
I cannot promise she will stay,
   Since all from earth return.
But there are lessons taught down there,
   I want this child to learn.
I've looked the wide world over,
   In search for teachers true.
And from the throngs that crowd life's lanes,
   I have selected you.
Now will you give her all your love,
   Nor think the labour vain.
Nor hate me when I come
   To take her home again?
I fancied that I heard them say,
   'Dear Lord, Thy will be done!'
For all the joys Thy child shall bring,
   The risk of grief we'll run.
We'll shelter her with tenderness,
   We'll love her while we may,
And for the happiness we've known,
   Forever grateful stay.
But should the angels call for her,
   Much sooner than we've planned.
We'll brave the bitter grief that comes,
   And try to understand!
     - Henry David Thoreau
  Interestingly, the book my cousin got this poem out of attributes it to Henry David Thoreau. (You can see a scan of it.) But a little internet research says it was written by Edgar Albert Guest.

Autumn Remembrance. January 7,2008
There are many present here who came from long distances to pay respect to Autumn and her family. One person who could not attend is our daughter in Switzerland. Rose wanted to be able to participate in this family remembrance and service.
At different eras in their lives, they spent some time together. Rose remembers Autumn as smart, creative, caring. Who enjoyed engaging in controversy and would take an opposite opinion to stir things up.
Autumn was interested in a wide variety of experiences and cultures. She studied farm practices in Hawaii, then later in Latin America. She studied Spanish and lived in Spain for a time.
When Rose was recovering from her broken ankle, she remembers Autumn coming over to cheer her up, even though Autumn was also in a difficult period of her life.
They shared a weekly TV showing of the West Wing and others.
At an earlier time, both Autumn and Rose went to work on Uncle Billy’s farm in Virginia. Grampa Dean and Gramma Eileen drove them around and into Washington DC. Autumn played a sound track of the Rocky Horror Picture show, almost incessantly. The music drove all of them to distraction, but now, when ever any of those tunes come on the radio, that summer with Autumn comes back into memory.
Both of them learned to drive the stick shift on a pickup on Billy’s farm. One time they bumped into a cow and freaked the cow to run off. The more they tried to bring the cow back, the more it freaked out and ran off further into the woods. They couldn’t get the cow to come back. They were sure they were in deep trouble. But, when they got back into the farm, Billy told them that the cow would come back on its own anyway. And it did. They decided that they were not very good farm girls.
One of the rivalries they shared was about their “girliness”. Each one accused the other of being the girliest. This was an attribute that was not appealing to either one of them. In fact, both of them came back from the farm with a set of farmer overalls. This is a rivalry that, now is over, without any winner.
I would like to read a poem by Henry David Thoreau, that I first heard in a similar circumstance, when a young person left us far too young.

     - John Wayson

Here is a letter to the editor Autumn wrote in December, 2006, to the San Diego Union-Tribune.
December 17, 2006
'Law and order' as practiced in Oaxaca
Unnoticed by most Americans, Oaxaca is fast approaching civil war. Gov. Ulises Ruiz recently sent 1,000 troops to the city's central square, where they beat and tear-gassed teachers asking for books and lunch programs for malnourished students.
To protest this violence, citizens formed a broad coalition, the APPO, which has tracked the dead, wounded and disappeared, and has launched seven peaceful mega-marches. Each was attended by over 1 million Oaxacans demanding live return of the missing, removal of the murderous governor and of the occupying police.
For this, President Filipe Calderón calls them “lawbreakers.” Everyone favors “law and order.” But San Diegans know what kind of law and order Tijuana cops practice.
It's the same kind of law and order happening in Oaxaca where 212 people were snatched from the streets by unmarked vans Thanksgiving weekend alone. Escapees from this illegal detention tell of electric shocks, gang rape, needles shoved under fingernails. Dozens have been murdered, including an American journalist. Police have called for acid to be dumped on protesters. Only a mafia-type government would lure APPO spokesman Flavio Sosa with promises of peaceful dialogue only to ambush and imprison him on trumped-up charges.
Americans are accustomed to free expression. Strange that just next door, ordinary folks demanding justice get killed.
San Diego


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