For the good times.
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
For the good times.
Saturday, November 13, 2010
The remains of this precious baby have indeed been identified as Riley Ann Sawyers, and both her mother and stepfather have been convicted of murder and are serving life sentences. The island where her tiny body washed ashore has been renamed "Riley's Island".
Remains in North Carolina have been identified as Zahra Baker, a precious ten-year old murdered, after having battled loss of a leg to cancer and hearing loss.
Beautiful, innocent four-year old Emma Thompson died a horrible death, having been sexually assaulted, infected with genital Herpes by her mother's boyfriend, being beaten and abused, suffering a lacerated pancreas and a fractured skull. Her killer got life in prison, while her mother was sentenced to twenty years for failure to protect her child.
Teketria Buggs, or "Teeky Bug", as she was affectionately known, was only twelve when she was stabbed to death and dumped in the Brazos river by her stepfather.
I will not give the names of the perpetrators of these unimaginable crimes here; they DO NOT MATTER. The victims matter. The murderers do not deserve any more press. These beautiful, precious innocent children are only a fraction of those who are killed every day by the people they trusted with their lives. Baby Grace is just one of them, and I chose to tell her story long ago because she touched my and so many other's heart. She still does. There are too many victims to even begin to list, but I hope they know they are never forgotten. I still believe they must be in Heaven, if there is one. There must be for these children. The alternative is unthinkable, for they have already experienced hell here on Earth.
Baby Grace now has a name - Riley Ann Sawyers. The beaten body of a precious 2-year old girl found just off a desolate island in Galveston Bay has been tentatively identified, pending final DNA results, as Riley Ann Sawyers from Spring, Texas. Her mother and boyfriend have confessed to her torture and murder, according to the latest news release. If you can stomach it, go here for the rest of the latest news update.
This baby will not see another Christmas, another birthday, nor another nightmare perpetrated upon her by those she most trusted and likely loved with all her young heart. As a late Thanksgiving prayer, I give thanks to the dedicated law enforcement personnel and talented forensic sketch artist that made possible the tip that apparently came from Riley's grandmother in Ohio who identified these sketches as her granddaughter.
God be with the family members who will no longer have Riley in their lives, to hold, to cherish, to protect as she deserved to be. While little Riley is surely in a better place now, I cannot imagine a Hell that is, well, Hellish enough for the mother and her boyfriend, if this is truly of their doing (although it doesn't get much more watertight than a confession).
The Texas-based search team, Equusearch, vowed to help in the identification and swift justice needed in this case, as they have in so many others. A member of Equusearch crafted a cross by hand, and placed it in the spot where Baby Grace was found. He said that he looked forward to engraving the cross with her real name, once known, and was optimistic that would soon be forthcoming. He was right. Now her real name can be put on that cross that marked the end of her journey in a watery grave.
This story has touched so many people, on such a large scale, that I hope some good comes out of it. If just one mother gives an extra hug to her child tonight, if one life is saved by someone who recognizes themselves or someone they love in similar circumstances and acts to stop the violence and suffering, then Riley's undeserved and untimely end will not have been in vain.
If you choose to view this video of "Amazing Grace" by the incomparable Mahalia Jackson, as I hope you will, I hope you will also say a little prayer for Riley. This is the song that says it all, and I will forevermore think of Baby Grace when I hear it now. I know that she is in Heaven singing with the angels now, and how sweet the sound. God rest her soul.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
I have been so busy of late with work-related matters that I almost let my dad's birthday slip by yesterday. He is now 62 years young, and still going strong. Here, I repeat one of my early blogs from November of 2007, about 2 months before we found out he had cancer and he began the biggest battle of his life against a formidible foe. But he ultimately won, and is still cancer-free today. I know this much: not all superheroes wear capes. I love you, my daddy-O!
Today is a most special day - my father's birthday. In the lingo of his greaser days, he's a real gone Hep-Cat, a rockin' Daddy-O. How in the world to explain the coolness of a man who, like so many others of his generation, started work while he was in high school, supported a wife and daughter soon after high school, worked his way up through the ranks at an oil tool company by taking whatever shift was offered him, and taking classes at UH downtown whenever he could to allow him better opportunities so he could better support his family? And, contrary to so many others of his generation, remained true to himself and his family (though "the times, they were a'changin'"), became even more cool as the decades flew by, and never embarrassed his only child, even when she was a teenager, by being anything less than hip? The only way to explain to people who are not fortunate enough to know him is to simply say, "He's my daddy Douglas".
Who could have known that the rebel greaser with a treasured black 1958 Chevy (which saw many races down Jackrabbit Road, later known as FM 1960) who didn't do so well in English and Spanish in high school (promting his mother to tell him since he obviously couldn't understand either language, he should just hush up!) would so soon become a responsible family man who shouldered much more than many men ever do, and did it with determination and grace, teaching his child the most important lessons a father could pass on. His thirst for knowledge became mine; his determination to succeed against formidable odds became mine; his love of sports - well, I guess two out of three ain't bad! And his love of music - OH! His love of music.
Imagine growing up in a home filled with music, wonderful music. From The Doors to The Rolling Stones; from Creedence Clearwater Revival to the Beatles.....the soundtrack of my parents' lives became the soundtrack of my life. My favorite memories involve them and their music. Not many gals are lucky enough to have a father who is patient enough to pop in a four-track (yes, you read that right, there is...er, was such a thing) of the 1910 Fruitgum Company just so his daughter can hear "Simon Says" for the umpteenth time while rolling down the highway in his 1966 Ford truck (souped up with mag wheels and loud exhaust, of course). It takes a special man to let his daughter attend her first concert at age 11, even though he worries she is far too young and naive (and of course, she was), and breathes a sigh of relief when she arrives back home safely from this and so many future outings. It is an incredible thing to be raised by a father with a sense of humor (actually putting a BIKINI on a snowwoman in our front yard during a rare Houston snowfall in 1973), and a keen wit. You have never seen a more patient man teach his daughter chess, poker, the necessity to trust and to be trustworthy, and other important facts of life. The love of education was instilled in me at an early age thanks to dad, and that is something that will remain with me the rest of my days.
Because it's your birthday, dad, here are a couple of musical treats for you. I want you to know that I listen to you, even when you think I don't, and remember our talk a few days ago about Dion and the Belmonts' "I Wonder Why". I hope you enjoy the video, and also your favorite song, "Satisfaction" by your favorite band, The Rolling Stones. For all you have meant to me, and all you will always be to me, I love you.
P.S. Thanks for bailing me out when my car died on the highway last night. Just goes to prove, a girl is never too old to need her daddy, Daddy-O.