The philosopher

Chadwick thought baseball would get the nation outside,
Help those who play it develop manly pride,
Playing a game for boys that would challenge them to be men,
Learning to control that temper which rises again and again.

When you use your power and test your skill,
Things don’t always go your way.
You often want to kill.
Henry C was saying that along with passion their must be good will.
Whether you win or lose you must be king of your spiritual hill.

Copyright © 2021 by David Vaszko

Friday, June 29

Dear Jim,

It’s a hot morning in Sacto. I’m writing to you at my favorite coffee shop where I’ve written to you so many times in the last year.

I need the place. I’m lucky it’s here for me to regroup, or to smile on the world when I’m inspired.

That’s the way I feel about you. You were there when I was down. You were proud of me when I was up.

A guy just sat down at my table. He has an 8” x 5” x 11” bible. We looked at each other. I said hi. He didn’t. I’m sure he feels he is on a spiritual path.

I’m trying to be on one, to be the passionate truth seeker I was as a kid, to be born again, this time without arrogance.

So I’ve sought you with these letters. I needed you to help me make changes I ache to make, to feel great before I die.

It’s been an incredible year. I don’t know what I would have done if I hadn’t written to you.

I’m scared. Next year I have to make it on my own. If I become great, you won’t be here to laugh with as we sit on the lawn in the back of Sis I’s breathing the country air.

It will be sad for me. It will be sadder for you. You always admired me – your younger brother with unforgettable passion.

There’s lots of regrets. With all our pain, I wish I had prayed for you, for us, for me.

Dave

Copyright © 2021 by David Vaszko

Friday, May 4

Dear Jim,

It’s a sleepy afternoon in Sacto. I think it’s going to start being warm. It’s about time.

Elections are coming up. I was thinking of going to the debate for my City Council District, but I already told the incumbent I will not vote for him. At least he knocked on my door.

The woman I want to vote for hasn’t knocked on my door yet. If she doesn’t, I will vote for the guy who doesn’t have a chance.

I would like to go to the debates. But they aren’t raucous. The people who attend have to write questions for the candidates on a piece of paper, then hope the old ladies who host the debate are not offended by your question.

So if you write, ”There are an increasing number of the homeless population, what proposals do you have to improve the situation,” the question will probably be presented to the candidates. But if you write, ”Are you going to get the slobs out of the alleys,” your question won’t get asked. Too emotional. Too direct.

That doesn’t mean I don’t squirm or get uncomfortable when I’m at a City Council meeting or something. I do. My discomfort at a lively and angry meeting or march is good for me. I have to ask why I am afraid of the people I don’t like and their opinions.

But these wimpy ass genteel debates don’t challenge my fears. It’s not that the candidates don’t get mad at each other. It’s that there won’t be any passion between the listeners – no fuck yous, no potential fist fights – nothing that challenges me to keep my composure and be an adult. I want to scream, ”How come I don’t get to ask a surprising uncomfortable question? This is too easy on the women and too safe for the candidates!”

Now for the state. Governor Moonbeam is in the last year of his second term. What a great career! Two eight year stints as governor at least twenty years apart, plus mayor of a famous city, and attorney general of the state.

I don’t like him, but I respect him. What skill it takes to wear so many hats.

The leading candidate for governor is Mayor Slimeball from San Francisco. His hair looks like the hair of those guys in the Vitalis commercials when we were young – That greasy kid’s stuff. He makes me ill.

Well Jim, it’s a nice day. I’m going to put my pencil from the art supply store down and enjoy the peace.

Love,

Dave

Copyright © 2021 by David Vaszko

Sunday, March 18

Dear Jim,

It’s funny weather – overcast. It reminds me of The City.

I’ve been thinking a lot about The City. I want to go there so bad, but it scares me.

Yesterday I looked at a San Francisco travel guide. I wrote down the names of the major streets between Van Ness, Market, and the bay. I want to walk all the ones running north to south.

The other way, Sacramento Street, would be daunting even if I were young. So I won’t try to walk many of the east to west streets. It would be stupid to try to do it now. If I did, I probably would not be able to walk again.

We Vaszko’s are walkers. Mom and I are the weakest. You and I did the most walking, then dad when he retired. Walking was part of your identity and mine. I had a great walk, but now I don’t wobble or waddle or whatever I did as much as I used to.

I think the reason I want to walk in The City is to feel like I accomplished something and went somewhere. When I walk in Sacramento I keep track of how far I walk, but that is only to make sure I don’t get too far out of shape. I usually don’t feel like I accomplished anything, and I don’t feel like I have gone anywhere, unless I walk to the river after a big storm in a rainy winter to watch the logs float down and to gawk at how wide the river has gotten.

Walking is as much a part of my identity as a car is to the identity of people who drive. If and when they lose their car or their license, they feel like they are not free, that they are not a man anymore.

When my legs go out, I will not be free. I will feel very small, like life isn’t worth living anymore, that God has destroyed the legs that carried my incredible passion for him.

God I love to walk. Being confined here in Sacramento, I need the vistas and rhythm of San Francisco. Up one hill, stop, a great view. Up another hill, a different view. Go down a hill, a different rhythm. I need to do something great like this while I still can, to be inspired not just by a great view in a great city, but because I struggled up a hill and feel proud.

I can see where San Francisco gets it’s air of superiority. If you can walk up all those cold windy hills, you are tough and you can toot your horn. But just because you walk up all the hills with great views doesn’t mean you can act as if you are the one who created them. But that’s human nature.

One of the attractions of walking in downtown San Francisco is that north of Market, the streets have names not numbers. You see the early heroes – Washington, Jackson, Clay and the later heroes – Polk, Taylor, Grant. Plus Geary and Green – the local heroes.

San Francisco had the imagination and patriotism to name it’s streets after great men. It had a sense of destiny about itself and the nation. Sacramento wasn’t a city of dreamers and did not feel a sense of destiny about itself. It was very patriotic, but naming all it’s downtown streets by letters and numbers didn’t give magic to the city.

The guy who was a dreamer was Sutter. He was in Sacto before it was a city but he failed in his dream. Even so, there’s a hospital, middle school, and gentlemens club named after him.

He was a great dreamer and a great failure. He helped others get started on their dream, so he was a great inspirer. He got old young, like a lot of us have.

A very human man. Sacramento should have named one of it’s major streets after him, honoring him as the original dreamer who got thousands of other dreamers to come to California. Only rather than get old young like Sutter did, thousands died young from chasing their foolish dream.

Sutter was a man of great selfishness, vision, foolishness, and generosity. So he is great for young people to study. How could he refuse to support his family but help hundreds of strangers? Do you lie to get what you want? Will you abuse your power? Will your dream make for a better world like Sutter thought his would?

Sutter took advantage of Indians. Will you invest in 3rd World sweatshops? How do you think Sutter felt having his land stolen and swindled from him? If you fail in your dream, what will you do? If you succeed, will you be happy?

Remember when we went to Sutter’s Fort in the eighties and we were full of wonder? I remember you saying it must have smelled terrible when all the dirty travelers slept in the same room passing gas.

I don’t think Sutter fills too many people with wonder. The focus is on destroying Sutter by calling him a racist. So if there is ever a time when people want to rename the hospital or middle school, I will fight it. He helped a lot of people and was such an extraordinary man, he should be remembered not forgotten.

I’m glad San Francisco named a street after him. It appreciated his daring-do. He was by nature more of a San Franciscan than a Sacramentan.

One of the reasons I haven’t gone to visit The City since dad has been in a rest home is because it would not be fair to him. I hardly ever visit him so I shouldn’t be going to San Francisco unless I visit him all the time. You would probably go every week, even without a car.

Another reason I haven’t gone to walk in The City is I’m not sure my legs will hold up. It would shame me knowing I can’t do it anymore – all this beauty but I can’t glory in it. I want to make peace with the city I never felt part of, even though it is beautiful. But if I can’t walk in it, I will have to make peace with myself in a different way.

You know how when we talked about religion you often talked about forgiveness? Well, I was thinking about forgiving San Francisco for it’s pretension, for it’s refusal to make an eccentric like me feel welcome in a city that used to be known for great characters, but since the fifties is known for people making a spectacle of themselves.

I will stand at Powell and California, then walk up to the hotels. I’ll look over the city Tony Bennett loved. I’ll try to forgive The City, then I’ll beg it, ”Let me feel like you are mine.”

I have always wondered why there was so much drinking in San Francisco. Why do you need to get loaded in a city that should make you naturally high?

I think most of our lives are bitter disappointments. You walk up a hill and see a great view of the bay, then shiver thinking how unbeautiful your life is, how the grand dreams never came true. You failed in all this beauty. You’re in the city of dreamers but you let yourself down, or life let you down. So you drink.

Well Jim. You are nine years older than I am. You might not be able to walk now. That’s a scary thought.

I hope my legs hold up until after dad dies.

Love,

Dave

Copyright © 2021 by David Vaszko

Friday, July 14

Dear Jim,

It’s a nice morning. I’m sitting outside at that coffee shop I was telling you about. Today there is no paper. The staff is courteous, but they don’t have the razzle dazzle the staff six months ago did.

I’m exhausted. Last night I finished a book by an English agriculturalist who traveled to France in 1787, 8, and 9. He wanted to study French farming.

I wasn’t interested in the farming, but in his comments about the French and mainly the revolution. It has always interested me.

I loved Tocqueville’s book explaining how the revolution came about. I’ve read articles about the revolution and some speeches from it. There’s a weekly freebie that ran three essays describing how the revolution set the foundation for communism.

I read letters an English woman wrote from Paris in 1790. On the day celebrating the first anniversary of the fall of the Bastille, there was a parade. Priests were forced into it to take on the role of women.

At noon on that day, a national oath was taken throughout the kingdom. Wow! That scares me. Did the Church ever require that?

In one city Catholics and Protestants took the oath together at one altar. How’s that for progressivism and reconciliation?

Here’s the killer. A few letters later she said at a cathedral there was a banner at the altar: Let us live free or die.

You know they were not talking metaphorically – live your truth or the Lord’s truth or else your soul will die. They were talking literally – kill the priests and nobles before they kill you.

One of the things she and the agriculturalist said was that the revolution was loud, filled with hate, and rude. Violent too.

The gentleman told about the time he was stopped by peasants because he wasn’t wearing a peasant’s hat that symbolized the revolution. He was afraid. He told them he wasn’t a noble, just an Englishman. They let him go after a priest came over and broke their rhythm by giving them an update from Paris. But they made him buy a peasants hat, then put it on his head.

Not securely. As he was crossing the river the hat fell off and he lost it. Then he was stopped again. They were meaner than before.

There was no one to save him except himself. He knew they would love to kill him like they did the aristocrats. He tried to tell them he was just an Englishman passing through and that he wasn’t a noble, but they didn’t buy it. So he thought, “Oh shit!”, then told them – Fellas. Let’s be realistic. Taxes are part of life. But in England we do it right. Only the rich pay taxes. They pay taxes on each window they have in their mansion. They are taxed on all their expensive stuff they pamper themselves with. In England rich people even have to pay a tax to help poor people. Isn’t that the way it should be? “Long live the people without taxation!” They all shouted YEAH!! then let him go. This time he made sure his hat stayed on.

It’s funny the peasants allowed the priest to interrupt them when they were interrogating the Englishman. We’re told that the people of the revolution hated the Church. I think it was mainly educated non-nobles who hated it.

At least five years ago I read that in France in small towns, people had designated seats at Mass. If you didn’t show up, “Where’s Vaszko?” People even had a place next to them for their dog.

One of the things I learned last night was that the Jacobin’s received their name because they met at the church of St. Jacques. The bastards used the facility of an organization they hated to make plans to destroy it and to kill and terrorize priests.

A lot of priests think the same thing can happen here. You know what Jim, it is artists and people on the left who want it to happen and would love to participate in its’ destruction. I am surprised that nobody in America cares that Muslims are killing Christians in the Middle East. I think that if ISIS blew up the Vatican, America’s left would rejoice.

I’ve heard about punks who steal statues from a Catholic church, then smash them to smithereens outside the church. The Church doesn’t like it, but tries to be forgiving and diplomatic.

The Church should tell its’ members that “This is something worth killing and dying for. If you see thugs destroying a statue of Jesus, Mary, or a saint, do something. They are trying to destroy everything you believe in – physically, politically, and spiritually.”

Oh boy. I don’t know what I would do. We freeze. “How can anybody do that?” But they do and they love it.

When a church is vandalized or destroyed, the media says the act is wrong. But the media never says we are a godless society and we need God more than prosperity or equality.

I don’t know if you would like our pope. He doesn’t seem to care that Western culture has been destroyed. The guy before him did. The artists and educated people hated him. I loved him. What an intellect!

One of the things the agriculturalist said about the French Revolution reminds me of two things I should have done. He said that the king and nobles did not stand up for themselves when the people and their hate-filled inciters called for a one chamber government and death to the clergy and nobles. He said that there were at least 40,000 nobles. They should have joined the army to help try to put down the revolution.

I wish I had spoken against the gays and the feminists in the 80’s. I should have said fuck you I have a great dad. I should have said you guys don’t understand that having sex with every asshole in town is the utmost in perversion.

You agreed with me. We should have fought.

Now I’m a potential rapist.

That’s all bro.

Love,

Dave

Copyright © 2021 by David Vaszko