But, also something else.
Last Saturday morning, while Jason was flying the friendly westbound skies over the Atlantic, I was standing in the freezing cold and, eventually, the pissing rain with hundreds of strangers and a couple of friends.
"What in the name of all that is holy", you are probably asking yourself, "would possess Heather to get out of her pajamas and willingly leave the cosy confines of her home and brave the elements on a weekend morning???".
In short, this.
When I heard that deranged cult who protests military funerals and spews hate in the name of God under the guise of religion was planning to show up to Elizabeth Edwards' funeral here in Raleigh, I was shocked. I came to find out that they were doing this for a couple of reasons.
One, because Ms. Edwards used her position in the world of politics to promote and support equal marriage rights for gays, among other so-called liberal viewpoints. (Don't even get me started on why allowing fellow citizens to marry whomever they happen to fall in love with is considered "liberal". In my opinion, it's called "common sense", "decency" and "basic human rights".)
Also because, in their opinion, she and her husband "did not humble themselves before His mighty hand" when their 16 year old son died in a car accident. Instead they "reared up in rage, decided they would show God who is boss, and meddled in matters of the womb, resulting in two more children, now motherless".
They said that God gave her breast cancer and a "whoring husband" as punishment for these things and that she deserved every bit of it.
People, this not regular run-of-the-mill crazy. This is an extra special brand of crazy.
This, at base, is a funeral. A funeral deserves a respectful environment. The family of the deceased deserves to mourn in peace, surrounded by love. Not hate. So when I heard about the peaceful counter-protest being organized, I felt like I needed to be a part of it. From my Facebook status:
Please come out tomorrow morning and join the peaceful movement to protect Elizabeth Edwards' family from spiteful, hateful protesters (who I, personally, will not name because I don't want to give them the recognition). No signs, no yelling. Just people joining together in the name of peace, love and tolerance.
And so, I went. Aren't I just the cutest little activist you ever did see?
Actually, no. I'm pretty sure that my protest buddy Mark, with his precious pink ribbon, is the cutest little activist.
In the end, it was hundreds against five. Three adults and two children. Children! That's almost the worst thing about these lunatics. They're raising children to think like this. I didn't make an effort to try and read all their signs but a few of the ones I caught were "Elizabeth is in hell", "God hates fags" and "Thank God for breast cancer". Yes, really.
My friends and I were there until some people from our side of the street started yelling back and engaging with the psychos. At that point, we sort of felt like that wasn't the type of thing we wanted to be involved in and left. I was hoping for a totally peaceful and respectful gathering and when it became something else, I was out.
(That last paragraph is a straight up c+p from a Facebook thread where I was telling somebody about the event, but there's really no other way to say it, so...)
But, in the spirit of ending this on a positive note, I would like to share with you all something that my friends and I laughed at many many times that morning. Despite the fact that the event organizer specifically requested 'no signs', of course there were some. And none amused and confused us more than this one:
First of all, this gentleman may want to consider a Protest Sign-Making 101 course at the local community college. Where I'm pretty sure the first and most important lesson will be "Focus on ONE clear and concise message". Isn't the whole idea of a sign, be it at a protest or sporting event or somewhere else entirely that a) it shouldn't take more than a few seconds to read it; b) people shouldn't need their glasses in order to make out the words and c) it should make some sense?
But, the real humor extends from some of the text. Have a look at the right-hand side, roughly one-third of the way down, just north of the four circles. Can you read it? It says, and I quote, "My kitty likes fish."
Marinate on that for a minute.
You may double over with laughter now.Because the three of us sure as hell did.