Daddy? Did You Fix The Hole In The Ocean Yet?


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Five years ago today. The BP oil spill. And if you had even the most remote connection to the rhythm and rock water soul of the earth, you wept. Because it was as if we, all of us, had taken our promise to take care of the earth during our time, sprinkled that promise with gasoline and then lit the match that sprang forth this oily gooey mess that would smother any kind of hope or joy to come

I remember one of the Obama kids being quoted, “Daddy, did you fix the hole in the ocean yet?”

Then I remembered Teresa,

And as the oil kept killing the birds and the oysters and the shrimp and the souls of the fisherman, as it kept spurting and roaring and the fires kept burning, I wondered if Teresa, a love from so long ago,  had somehow gone back to Gulfport.

Perhaps she has set up shop to be a teacher. Spending her time with the children of fishermen who now spent their days glued to the TV cause there were no more fish. Maybe she went down to the gulf and somehow did something to get the oily sludge off the wings of the sea birds that no longer could fly.
Course that would likely be impossible. Even on the TV from far away, when you looked at the eyes of those birds, you knew, something larger than life itself had died.

Had she gone back to help? Perhaps there was a clue in where we started. Decades ago, she walks through the kitchen door of Paul and Betsy’s house in snow swept Champaign Illinois. Then later we all go ice skating. She starts to talk about James Joyce in that Gulfport drawl. Then the night lit up in Paul and Betsy’s living room. Lit in that way that only happens when the dancing is at home, and is music come alive in every color and tone imaginable. A fake argument about who would sleep on the floor and who would take the couch when the hour got late. Then the lights went out and I said to her let’s try. And when Paul and Betsy tip toed through their lving room in the sunny bright morning of the next prairie day, both she and I were snuggled up on the floor.

Back to now. Knowing only those so long ago memories, I wondered if 5 years ago, went home home to Gulfport to help with the hole in the ocean. And if she did, was there a trace of memory of that forgotten Judy Collins song we both liked. It was called “Hard Times For Lovers.”

If we had a song, that was it. Which tells you something. Cause it really wasn’t all that good a song. But it had it’s moments. Had its lines.

And it bought to mind another song. Ian Tyson was the song writer. And if you listen to this, if you listen between the lines, if you listen really hard, you will hear what its like to be young. You will hear hope.
You will hear her singing “he loved his damned old rodeo, as much as he loved me.”

And as that steel guitar soars and then comforts and holds firm, you will see what I see. You will see her go back to Gulfport and simply do the best she can.

Doing what she can to help those bewildered gulf coast birds.

5 Responses to “Daddy? Did You Fix The Hole In The Ocean Yet?”

  1. toritto Says:

    I was sick at heart during that entire period wondering if and when the “hole would be fixed”. I can sit on the gulf shore anytime I feel like it and watch the sun set in the west.

    Damage is still being assessed. Money being paid out. Drilling goes on. Until the next disaster. Sad indeed.

    Thanks for this Roger. Regards

  2. pastorcarol22 Says:

    The hole is still there because it’s a hole in human hearts that seem to care less and less what we do to creation…as long as someone is making a buck…I can’t even look at the picture…I suppose the Good News is that there are human hearts that still break when they see the harm and they drop everything to go help and ‘do they best they can.’ Has it really been five years? It’s still so vivid!

  3. Naomi de Plume Says:

    The triggers we have that conjure up those in our past, some unfortunately always bittersweet. It is nice, however, that even if a tragedy brings Theresa back to you, your first thought is how she would help. I think I would like someone to remember me like that.

  4. chicagoguy12 Says:

    Naomi–I guess she could be running a shell game on the boardwalk but yeah, my first thought is that she’d be helping.

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