August 2, 2010- Iceberg’s Tip

Kate Murr

This day we were tired. We toured Walla Walla after the lunch I describe below, but it was hot and kids were cranky. We rested after our tour and then the kids got a special treat: a babysitter! Molly, Bob and Sydney’s granddaughter, watched the kids and we went out with Molly’s mom and dad to hear their friend perform at an open mic night. We had a proper date with adults and I met a man with a William Blake quotation tattooed on his arm.

First though, we had lunch in Walla Walla at Icebergs per Peter’s recommendation. Peter is a Bob and Sydney’s grandson, a strong, polite young man who is working at the farm this summer. He said to get the fry sauce so we did, and we shared big milkshakes and enjoyed the lunch thoroughly.

We ate at a table near Iceberg’s walk-up window and spoke with Pierre, the veteran who sat next to us. He drives a restored model A, wears a Rasta necklace, and makes it a point to make eye contact with everyone. He volunteers at the VA and elsewhere, speaking the language of those who have been in combat, helping loved-ones and soldiers cope with PTSD. His friend (Mike?) with him had been an alcoholic for 22 years and was now sober and moving within the week to Arizona to take care of his ailing parents who had kicked him out of the house years ago for his violent behavior. When Mike met his mentor, Pierre wouldn’t even let him in the house because his rages violated the house rules. Eventually though, Mike said he started listening to what Pierre was saying, started noticing that combat taught him to become detached from his heart to survive, started noticing that to him fear and love were equally and paralyzingly injurious, started to become conscious that no amount of avoidance or alcohol would produce the oblivion he sought. Mike started slowly to engage with people, to make eye contact, to share stories. He started to mentor and feel a certain clarity. He started to entertain the idea that openness wasn’t necessarily vulnerability. He worked hard. Is working hard. And when we met him, Mike sat on the edge of a new adventure, enjoying a send-off lunch with a friend and mentor and a random family bicycling across America.

Best wishes, Mike.

(Photos to follow.)

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