1978 A 55 foot long, two ton squid was caught in Thimble Tickle Bay, Newfoundland, the largest ever caught. (What was the name of that bay again?)
“What luck for the rulers that men do not think.”
Adolf Hitler quotes (German Chancellor, leader of the Nazi party, 1889-1945)
It has been pointed our to me that Jefferson’s below the stairs amatory interest’s first name was Sally not Sarah. Pity, I always liked the name Sarah
It is my second full day (August 15) in Thailand’s south (Southern Paradise?).
Some of you may wonder how I got here since my the last email before the loss of internet service in the wilds of Southern Thailand intervened did not indicate and plans for an immediate journey. Others may be concerned for my safety during my sojourn in the land of muslim uprisings and warring clans. I address both of these below.
In my last report in the Hayden and Joey (or Pookie as I am now referred to) saga (melodrama), we were anxiously awaiting the Mother’s Day celebration at Hayden’s school when it was assumed that SWAC would sweep in, gather up the boy and depart for places unknown. Of course, I should have known that the immutable rules of life that make living for at least one more day so interesting and exciting,( “Tomorrow is another day” and “it’s always something” first enunciated by those great American sages Scarlett O’Hara and Rosanna Rosanna Dana), would come into play.
Mother’s Day arrived at the happiest place on earth (yes, even more so than Disneyland) Sunshine kindergarten and the children began their performances for their mothers and other doting family and friends. SWAC with some friends from Italy arrived late but in time for Hayden’s class’ successful performance of Ce Cera Cera (?) and another song whose name I do not recall.
Following the performance the Italian guests left and Hayden came up to me and announced that SWAC would like to talk to me again and asked if I would like to accompany them on their trip to the South to spend a few days with SWAC’s father before his angioplasty. With the O’Hara-Rossanna Dana proscriptions ringing in my head , I agreed. So, after saying my good-bye’s to Choti, Gerry, Leo and Grandma, I followed them to Bangkok on a later plane. During the flight I tried to figure out what this change of heart was all about. Was my contract as babysitter/nanny being extended or was I being lured to the South to my imprisonment or death?
Anyway, we spent two days in BKK during which Hayden and I saw “Toy Story 3” in IMAX 3d. The next day we departed for the Airport and flew to Trang, a city on the lovely Andaman Sea. There we were met by a brother-in-law named “Cookie” and we all piled into his pick-up truck for the ride over the mountains to Phattalung the provincial capital of the province of the same name. We skirted the city and drove into the jungle, passing through a little market town servicing the villages and hamlets surrounding it (Kuan Kukanon I think it is called). Ultimately we arrived safe and sound at this remote jungle hamlet whose name I always forget. I still do not know why I am here but in any event this morning I have been told that tomorrow morning we will depart again for BKK a full three days prior to Kuhn Pa (Phonetic spelling) entering the hospital for what turns out to be an angioplasty and triple by-pass surgery.
As for my safety, although I am quite familiar with the Sicilian way of Vendetta, I have no understanding of the Thai rules of clan warfare.
For those with some interest in the matter, in Sicily death by Mafia was limited to ones direct relationship to the Honorable Society. The rule was simple, cross them and you die. Vendetta on the other hand applied to all of Sicilian society.
Here is how it worked. If someone kills or otherwise seriously injures a member of a family, then the oldest male of the injured family was obligated to kill the miscreant and revenge the family’s honor even if he only remotely was acquainted with the deceased or injured family member or even did not know him at all. Then of course the oldest male of the now deceased miscreant was obliged to repay that favor in kind. And, so it went until all the male members of one of the families were dead. Woe to the family with few sons.
As a result of this mayhem, in the early part of the twentieth century the Sicilian population had been reduced 10% or more as a result of the ravages of the Vendetta. In fact, much of the emigration from Sicily during the first half of the twentieth century was not the result of economic deprivation but Sicilian males attempting to flee the Vendetta.
As for here in Phattalung, we are too far north to be affected by the current muslim separatist movement. However during the late unlamented Vietnam War the violence did reach this far north. At that time the fathers of the current rebels were called Communists and not Muslim Terrorists as they are referred to today.
At the time Kuhn Pa was the Mayor and Police Chief of the Hamlet, a member of a local prominent military family and reputed head of a death squad. SWAC has told me about the time when she was a little girl leaving the house to go to school only to see a severed head on a pole in her front yard leering at her. She tells of another time when during the night their compound was attacked by a band of rebels and while her father hid in the bedroom in terror, her mother grabbed a broom and ran out into the yard and sent the attackers fleeing. Then there was the time a younger female member of the family was sexually attacked by four of five young men. The wrongdoers were tracked down and dispatched one by one.
One evening six or seven years ago, while I was sitting where I sit now writing this, about fifty yards from here, Kuhn Pa’s successor as Mayor and Police chief was called out of his house to meet someone and was shot by an assassin hiding in the trees across the road.
During most of my visits here in the past, Suvit, SWAC’s brother would, with his gun ready, periodically patrol the perimeter of this house. Eventually he became the chief of police and was in turn killed by his brother-in-law while taking a pee in the bushes outside his house. The Brother-in-law, who was a one time mayor, had already killed five other people and was reputed to be a distant relation of the family competing for political dominance in this place. The killer remains free and living in his house about 100 yards from here. He has threatened to kill the rest of the family (his wife SWAC’s sister died under mysterious circumstances that was nonetheless ruled a suicide). Kuhn Pa’s heart problems are blamed by the family to be caused by his anxiety over these more recent events.
Other than that I feel perfectly safe. Anyway we are leaving tomorrow.