Virgil Cain is my name and I drove on the Danville train
‘Till stonewall’s cavalry came and tore up the tracks again
T’was the summer of 65
We were hungry, just barely alive
I took the train to Richmond that fell
It was a time I remember, oh, so well
The night they drove old Dixie down
And all the bells were ringin’
The night they drove old Dixie down
And all the people were singin’
They went, “Naaaa, nana nan a Naaa.”
I looked at the picture of father with daughter. She’s so precious, and I can tell by the look in his eyes that he would want me to do it again if I had to, under the same circumstances, no matter what the cost, no matter what. Yes, he would definitely want me to do it again.
My daughter, Callie, and I spent a long time being alienated from each other, and when added up, it might even come to years. It was for all different reasons, of course, but when I stood back and looked at the bigger picture, it all went back to that. She could never figure it out, and I could never figure her out, and we can’t talk about it, so it remains in the air like an unseen ghost, and when it appears I just puff it away like I would a birthday balloon that comes too close to my nose and I don’t want to be bothered by it, so I take a deep breath -PFFT! There you go, all gone – no worries – that is, until the next time.
I think about it and wish that someday I can exorcise it. But that won’t happen, so meanwhile the ghost has his fun, and defies all the laws of God and nature by hiding in the dark recesses where I can’t muster the will, or the courage to venture. Then the next birthday comes around, and I wonder if that stupid balloon is going to float over and get right in my face again. How many times can I puff it away until I take a pin and prick it? Meanwhile, Stonewall’s cavalry comes and tears up the tracks again, and I am hungry, just barely alive.
The five-year-old girl in the picture has a daughter, Dani-Marie, who is much older now, but when she was five she had the same beautiful look of innocence in her eyes. She, too, was very much loved by her family, and we grandparents couldn’t help but spoil her in all manner of ways. The only weak link in the chain was her father who liked the bottle more than he liked his daughter, and provided neither support nor nurturing for little Dani-Mari. The marriage didn’t last long.
At a young age she was left with only Callie to care for her, a mother unskilled in the art and practice of raising her young daughter. The dating scene for Callie was spotty at best, and no relationship lasted more than a few weeks, so I was greatly encouraged when she found a man who stuck with her for several months and said he loved her. Morty had a good job and seemed to like Dani-Marie. Callie wholeheartedly invested herself into the relationship, and soon she, Dani-Marie, and Morty were a family living in his house.
Callie and Morty experienced all the ups and downs that come part and parcel with a committed relationship, and they stayed together, which was a relief to all of us grandparents. Morty seem to enjoy the “dad” role as well, and Dani-Marie responded in kind. After all, he was the only dad that Dani-Marie really ever knew.
She was five years old when it first became apparent to me that Dani-Marie was in a dangerous situation. I knew that I needed to use wisdom and discretion in this matter (especially when grandparents tend to over protect their young anyway), but in this case, I knew it was wrong the second I saw it, and could not dismiss it as anything other than what it was. I knew that if I didn’t take action, if Morty was left unattended with my granddaughter, that she would suffer profound harm at the hands of this man.
I decided to have a private talk with Morty, so I went to his house when only he was home. I spoke to him in a very caring fashion. I told him that I had seen him touch Dani-Marie inappropriately, and tried to explain to him that my granddaughter deserved better than to be fondled, that they were better places for his hands than on her bottom. I explained to him the difference between proper touching and improper touching, and that he should train Dani-Marie to expect proper touching from a man, as opposed to growing up thinking that it’s okay for a man’s hands to be all over her.
It didn’t work. Morty never denied groping Dani-Marie, but instead laughed, scoffed, and then joked about how many men my daughter had been with. Standard sociopathic behavior. I left that meeting more concerned than ever, but I still hoped that Morty would get the message and change his ways. Unfortunately, he didn’t. His groping, grabbing, and otherwise fondling continued unabated.
I decided to discuss my concerns with professionals.
My pastor said, “If you don’t act on this, the punishment for it will fall on you.”
When I spoke to my shrink, she also took it very seriously, and made a police report based on what I told her.
Now this is where this story gets interesting:
My daughter was furious at me for reporting Morty. I tried to explain myself and told her about the things I saw Morty do to Dani-Marie, but she countered with, “That’s okay.”
“That’s okay?” I asked. “Are you telling me that it’s okay for Morty to have his hands on her ass and pinching her breasts?” I got nowhere with my daughter.
The police didn’t even have the grace to come see me at my home. All I got was a phone call from a lunatic officer who had already decided that I was nothing but a troublemaker. “You’re not Callie’s father anyway.”
“I assure you I am.”
“That’s not what she says.” The conversation lasted only a minute or two, and ended with me screaming at the retarded cretin.
I’m not the only soul who’s accused of hit and run
Tire tracks all across your back
I can see you had your fun
But darlin’ can’t you see my signals turn from green to red
And with you I can see a traffic jam straight up ahead
You’re just like crosstown traffic
So hard to get through to you
I don’t need to run over you
Crosstown n traffic
All you do is slow me down
And I got better things on the other side of town
It turns out that my daughter recruited people to testify in behalf of Morty’s good character, one of whom is a man who has molested several children. And, of course, Dani-Marie helped her mother. Unbelievable. To this day, Dani-Marie claims that Morty did nothing wrong, and that he’s a great father.
Callie and I have made a concerted effort to move on as a family, but the ghost remains hidden in a stew of generational curses, fear, ignorance, resentment, and anger; and thankfully, tolerance, forgiveness, and hope. The ghost is very versatile.
These days I just smile to myself and give myself a big slap on the back for saving Dani-Marie, and then I give myself another one for saving Morty.
Today I looked at that picture of father with daughter and thought, yes, of course I would. I would do it again. Screw Stonewall, and screw the ghost too.