Wednesday, November 29, 2006

November 20, 2006

Dear Sis~
I just finished devouring my December issue of Flying magazine, which I typically read cover-to-cover as soon as I receive them. My deep love for all things related to aviation emanates from something in my spirit, something I was born with. Although Dad was an executive with Eastern Air Lines and consequently, we were exposed to the fundamentals of flying at a relatively early age, (how I loved visiting the open-air rooftop viewing area on top of the old Miami International Airport terminal to watch those old propeller-driven airliners take off and land back in the early 1960's!) my inherent love of planes predated our introduction to flying by Dad.

Well, Thanksgiving Day is just 3 days away. Of course, it's a little less celebratory in prison than it is on the streets, but I really do have much to be thankful for, notwithstanding my being on death row...Still, while you're probably eating some juicy turkey and delicious sweet potato or pumpkin pie, with hot buttered rolls and spicy stuffing, my meal will be a little more mundane & generic. We'll get 2 slices of turkey loaf (i.e., lunchmeat), a couple of slices of white bread, some cold & lousy "stuffing", and a couple of tablespoons of cranberry sauce. Ironically, in the "old days" (the 1970's and early 1980's) we ate much better in prison during the holidays. Back then the prison kitchens made a real effort to make our three annual holiday meals special (Thanksgiving, Christmas and Fourth of July). Typ
ically we'd get a lot of real turkey meat, with hot mashed potatoes & gravy, rolls and butter, good stuffing, salad, hard-boiled eggs, corn on the cob, pumpkin or sweet potato pie, a big hunk of cranberry sauce and eggnog to drink. But, over the years, the prisons have outsourced their kitchens to private companies (like Aramark) who win the contracts based on the lowest bids. Not surprisingly, in such a profit-driven atmosphere, our meals have gone to Hell. We get very small portions of very bad food. This is a more or less universal thing, nationwide, in all jails and prisons (that's why we get a bag lunch - two stale sandwiches - every single day, year in and year out). So, when the holidays come, the meals are nearly indistinguishable from any other meal, which is to say they're equally bad. On the other hand, I'm alive, healthy and in good spirits, and that's certainly worth being thankful for!

Happy Turkey day, Sis! (Be sure to give some to the dogs!)

Peace & Love,

Monday, November 20, 2006

November 15, 2006

Dear Sis~

Well, as you know,Yancy was executed last week as scheduled. According to the media his final words were "Bring it on!", which, if you knew Yancy, you'd recognize was typical of him. Anyway, I was bummed out for the last week or so but I've pretty much returned to normal, to the extent you're ever in a "normal" state while on death row...

We finally came off of our quarterly lockdown yesterday, after 16 days cooped up in our cells, and I got out to the rec yard today. It was a glorious day, with a robin's-egg blue sky, a few fluffy clouds and the air pure and crisp. Considering it's mid-November the sun was beaming unseasonably; I estimate it was about 75 degrees. The birds were waiting for me, clearly upset at having to go two plus weeks without their regular handouts of bread and hotdogs. The sparrows were chirping like crazy, flitting through the cages, while the crows scolded me loudly as if I'd been intentionally neglecting them. I won't be able to feed the sparrows as much as I used to due to our new lunch menu. In the past we received a "bag lunch" each day, consisting of four pieces of bread, along with either lunch meat, or slices of cheese, or peanut butter, or occasionally tuna fish. From that, we'd make our own sandwiches (two sandwiches per bag). That gave me four pieces of bread each lunch for the birds (on those days I don't eat lunch myself). Now, however, we get 2 naked pieces of bread, and an already made peanut butter sandwich (with very little peanut butter on it, to boot). So, for now on, every day it's a stale peanut butter sandwich; that gets real old, real quick! I guess I can throw out pieces of the peanut butter sandwich instead of naked bread and the sparrows can eat around the peanut butter. (I guess that's sadly indicative of the lowly state of my existence when one of the more pressing issues in my daily life is whether I can hustle up enough bread to feed the birds! On the other hand, some stressed-out people might covet such a leisurely and simple life, other than that part about being executed).

Alright Sis, that's enough blathering on! Everything else here is good for now; I'm in excellent health and fair spirits, which is better than a lot of folks can honestly claim, and for that I'm sincerely thankful.

Love & Peace,