for my cousins
In the story I remember, it was an ax
my uncle carried, chasing his father with it,
and promising as he ran, “If you ever hit
my mother again, you’re dead.” Whatever else Max
was guilty of, I credit him with this.
Now getting to know my cousins and their kids,
after a generation of distance and lack,
I’m learning more what it means to be a Bullock.
It seems to involve self-medicating a lot.
It seems to involve holding in or acting out
the pain that runs like sap in our family tree.
If we’d been in the garden with Jesus, we would’ve fought back,
a crazy, screaming Scots-Irish kind of attack.
It isn’t in the Bible. It’s just a fact.
Some of the Easter eggs I bought for my son have camouflage on them–he’s heavy into all things Star Wars and soldiering. I told him the story tonight about Jesus in the garden, getting arrested, and Peter cutting off the soldier’s ear. That wasn’t how Jesus wanted to handle it, I told him. We talked a little about Aslan and the White Witch, and how she thought she’d won when she hadn’t. I’m often anti-war (because I think it should be a last resort, and I think we should treat our soldiers’ lives with respect and be CAREFUL about where we send them), but I’m nowhere close to being a pacifist. My folks say that they always told my brother not to hit girls, and there were girls who wailed on him. They say they never had a chance to tell me not to hit back, that if someone hit me, I’d come back with everything I had. (Part of this helped me survive as a little sister, of course.)
Long-term, I want to work on understanding, perhaps adapting, the whole realm of “turn the other cheek.” Medium-term, I want to teach my son to honor soldiers and think of war as a last resort. (That’s him in the picture above, holding his Maxwell Smart tulip gun.)
Short-term, don’t mess with me or my cousins.
Happy Easter, Bullocks everywhere!