Friday, May 03, 2013

I'm dreaming of a white .... May Day?

This was the view a few minutes ago down the South 12th Street hill --- shot while taking out the garbage. Don't ya love it? Snow continued to fall overnight --- and still is falling. Heavy wet suff that's bringing down branches, power lines and that sort of thing. At least now we'll be able to hold our heads up in solidarity with our North Iowa brothers and sisters, where this all started earlier.

I'm remembering a similar storm (with more wind) years ago when home was a nice colonial revival in Thompson with two towering spruce trees in the front yard --- both taller than the two-story house. I awoke in the morning, turned to the west windows in my bedroom and struggled for a while to figure out what was up with the tree-house effect. 

As it turned out, one of the big spruces had been uprooted by the wind and weight of snow on its branches overnight and had settled very gently against the house. The other was leaning. Both had to come down.


Trying to ignore what was going on outside yesterday afternoon, I watched streaming coverage as marriage equality legislation was discussed, then given final 56-15 approval in the Rhode Island House. Governor Lincoln Chafee signed the bill shortly thereafter on the Capitol steps. It will become effective Aug. 1.

The striking thing about the pre-vote presentations by both supporters and opponents was the civility. Of course overwhelming support for the measure encouraged that. In Iowa, I'm afraid, opponents even if substantially outnumbered would have called down a plague of locusts and consigned a number of folks to hell.

Rhode Island Roman Catholic bishop of Providence, Thomas Tobin, warned earlier in the day, of course, that endorsing or attending a same-sex marriage could harm communicants' relationships with God, but that was to be expected. Who, exactly, is listening to bishops these days? 

New England now is solidly in the marriage equality camp and Rhode Island brought to 10 the number of states where same-sex marriage is legally recognized: Conneciticut, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington --- as well as the District of Columbia. Civil Union legislation recently passed in Colorado as well.

Times, they are a changing.


Finally, at Arlington National Cemetery Thursday, partial remains of an Iowa sailor lost in Vietnam were buried, mingled with those of three crewmates.

Donald P. McGrane, 24, of Waverley, was aboard a Navy rescue helicopter on July 19, 1967, when it was shot down over North Vienam's Ha Nam Province while participating in a mission to rescue two Navy pilots, Larry Duthie and Richard Hartman, downed while trying to bomb a bridge. Only Duthie was saved.

The SH-3A Sea King McGrane was aboard had Hartman in sight and was going in for a pickup when it was hit, crashed and burned. Hartman died in captivity and his remains were repatriated during 1974. They, too, are buried at Arlington.

Some of McCrane's remains, as well as those of two other crew members --- Donald P. Frye, 23, and William Jackson, 32 --- were returned to the United States by Vietnam during 1982 and buried by their families, McCrane near Waverly.

Later searches in Vietnam during 1994 and 2000 resulted in partial remains identified as those of McCrane, Frye and Jackson as well as pilot Dennis Peterson, 28.

Those mingled remains were buried at Arlington in a single casket on Thursday. Some 1,600 U.S. personnel remain unaccounted for in Vietnam.

In other ways, times are not changing. Our current war in Afghanistan continues.

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