Our First Thanksgiving With Eric

judge2banna  Anna von Reitz

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I am making a mess in the kitchen today, like a good Great-Grandma should. I am also as usually thinking about my children near and far, about other Thanksgivings there have been for me, and all those who are now gone.

It’s sad when you have lost as many friends as I have, but there is also an underlying current of abiding joy because you have had them in your life.

And I am noticing again that wonderful truth, that it is absolutely impossible to feel sorry for yourself or bad about much of anything at all, so long as you keep focused on your blessings and all the things and people for which you are truly and deeply thankful.

I can tell you that I and the members of the Living Law Firm are all thankful for those of you who sent us donations this year and made the work and progress possible, and those like T.S. who have kept our wide-ranging family of researchers and conference attendees well-fed!

Tomorrow we plan on a small, quiet, traditional dinner. Our youngest son will be with us. I can’t help but think about our first Thanksgiving together, which was more like a car wreck than anything else.

Eric was born at 26 weeks gestation— more than two months early— on the 15th of November.

Ten days later, Jim and I were camped out all day in the Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit at Providence Hospital. We came early and stayed late, just watching and cuddling our son for brief moments while he stayed in his little incubator box like a baby chick. We stayed until they kicked us out at 10 p.m. and left the hospital in silence.

We couldn’t even talk to each other about what we were feeling, much less share any thoughts, so were drove home to his old art studio building, the only structure left standing since our house burned down in the Miller’s Reach Wildfire that June, and we fed the dog and cat and re-built the fire in the woodstove—still in silence.  I didn’t even notice that I had started to cry.

It seemed so impossible! Eric was so tiny, so weak, so bruised by his rough entry into this world. How could he possibly survive? And if he did, what kind of life could he look forward to? Brain-damage? Being permanently crippled? Wasted limbs? Blindness? Any number of specters offered themselves as possibilities that would take months or years to resolve.

Jim absent-mindedly daubed at my tears with his handkerchief, shook his head and pulled me into his familiar bear-like embrace. I knew he was staring up at the ceiling.

Most men who became fathers again at age 55 would be tempted to run screaming into the bushes anyway. And now this? Not just a baby, but a pre-mature baby with an uncertain future?

He never wavered.

We had canned green beans cooked in Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup, some soda crackers, split half of one beer left in the refrigerator, and went to bed — still wrapped in that strange silence where there is nothing you can say.

That was our first Thanksgiving with Eric in our lives. I am thinking about that tonight.

The Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit at Providence Hospital was largely paid for by bankers, Ed and Catherine Rasmuson, who suffered miscarriages in their own family and who fought back by making state of the art neo-natal facilities available in their hometown. That’s how there happened to be a state of the art Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit in a place like Anchorage, Alaska.

Their loss and suffering paid for my son’s chance.

Now, we all know my general opinion of some bankers, indeed, my opinion of most bankers— ruthless cheats who never gave anything back, scumbags who made fortunes for themselves by defrauding others and paying off the politicians and the regulatory agencies that were supposed to be maintaining oversight on their activities.

I will stand here and testify all day long that both bankers and lawyers have been a plague on this country for 150 years, and yet…..

Twenty-one years later, Eric is a tall, strong, blond, blue-eyed man in his own right. I draw a deep breath when I look at him. He’s a living, breathing miracle to be here at all. All the terrible things that could have happened, didn’t. He’s fine.

And Bob Erwin, a lawyer, is his godfather. Bob gave him his first Bible.

Somewhere in the back of my head I can visualize my Mother wagging her head at me and saying in a sing-song voice that always irritated me when she would adopt it: “There’s so much good in the worst of us, and so much bad in the best of us, that it’s hard to tell the difference.”

Those who think I hate bankers and lawyers—- no.  I may hate what so many of them have done to get their wealth and the system that has allowed it.  I may be offended by what they have failed to do and be, the simple faith they have broken with the people and with Justice and with basic honesty.  Yes, I feel all that and more.

But do I hate them as people—lock them all up and throw away the key? Not hardly, and the reason is simple. I’d be a hypocrite and an ingrate and lacking a sense of Justice myself. I know and I have proof in my own life that there are good men and women who are bankers, who are lawyers, who are policemen. Even good FBI agents.

While you are mulling over what I’ve said and are counting your own blessings, too, I hope you include the brave souls who have torn up their Bar Cards, jeopardized their own comfortable lives, and joined The Living Law Firm. There are now 22 formerly active Bar Members and 58 retired judges and prosecutors in the fray—that I know of, plus many former Federal Marshals and law enforcement officers who are all pulling together and doing their best to help end the criminality that has infested our government and our legal system.

Pray for them and be thankful for them, and send a donation if you can to help keep them in the field doing the work that needs to be done. I hate having to say that, because I know how hard so many of you are struggling, and yet I also know that these men and women need to be supported and that they are fighting not only for themselves and the future their children will have in this country— but for all the rest of us, too. They are at the forefront of a mighty struggle, taking the brunt of abuse and “payback” from former colleagues and those who are afraid to let go of the Fraud Machine teat.

So if you can, and if the Spirit calls you, send what you can. I am the Paymaster at: Anna Maria Riezinger, Box 520994, Big Lake, Alaska 99652 or by PayPal at: avannavon@gmail.com.

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