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FROZEN MARGARITA IRISH COFFEE 9 AM UNTIL MIDNIGHT HOT DOGS HAMBURGERS STEAKS CHICKEN RESTAURANT 511 RIVERWALK ACROSS FROM KANGAROO COURT SAN ANTONIO. TEXAS 225-4098 Life Insurance and Annuities Martin, Elfant, CLU 4223 Richmond, Suite 213, Houston, TX 77027 Stith OFCANADA small battle has turned into a struggle betNow, added to this, are plans of escape for all of us. Southwestern Bell telephone books last year contained directions for our escape. The middle pages of the Austin phone book for 1982 contained a map which indicated that those in our area of town should \(after grabbing our east side of town in case of nuclear war. Even the postal service has announced nationwide we should not worry about our mail that it will somehow be delivered. It would hurt more, it seems to me, to receive a letter from a parent or friend who has died elsewhere in some infernal heat and still imagine that that person may be alive somewhere, scribbling out notes to beloved sons and daughters, wanting at least one last time to communicate and hoping all the while that someone lives to receive it. Like looking at stars from a distance, we shall forever wonder whether what is at the other end is alive, or has been dead for a long time. It is perhaps because I am a father now that all of this has come to haunt me in the middle of the night. In an issue of Newsweek lying around the house there are photographs of stacks of children massacred in India. Before that, the photographs of massacres associated with Israel filled the pages. Before that, the children of El Salvador with their tearfilled eyes, one with a U.S. automatic by his side. My daughter cries, and in the middle of the night I have to awaken only because I have begun to hear all of them. I realize now that during the final moments their fathers and mothers must have clutched them and tried to save them from oncoming bullets and war. They must have yelled one final piercing yell to try to stop the actions that even then they refused to believe would actually occur. And then it happened, their children lay bleeding in their arms. There is a woman I know who lives in an otherwise empty house devoid of family life other than visitors who come and go. When she awakens early in the mornings, she walks outside for a second just to look at the rising sun. She has done that for years that I remember. And then she always goes inside, turns on the radio, and then makes breakfast for herself and anyone who happens to be visiting. The thought of war has never bothered her except one time, when the news came from Viet Nam her son was dead, and now, occasionally, under the right or wrong conditions, she clutches the flag he died for. And one time if I remember correctly, memory fails me so much when I get like this she slept irregularly for days on end and walked dragging her feet around her house, mumbling her prayers and resting her head on the triangle of a flag asking forgiveness for not ever having wanted her son to have obeyed the call to kill others. In a more public sense, comedian. Robin Williams once joked that when Alexander Haig was Secretary of State he’s sure Haig must have sneaked into Reagan’s office now and then in the middle of the night and asked, ever so much like an innocent child, if he could just play with one of the buttons. The audience laughs. The woman in the small South Texas town again looks at the sunrise, turns on the radio to a Spanish language station and listens as she sits on an old chair, holding and touching a triangled, folded flag. And my baby cries at midnight. I hold her, and I kiss her, and I rock her, but my baby cries at midnight. ON THE FIRST DAY of the first grade of school in Austin, Texas, while two children are shown clutching their bags and talking about scissors and crayons in a photograph on the front page of the Austin AmericanStatesman, on the other corner of the same page two American Marines are shown being carried away on stretchers in Beirut, Lebanon. Vicky Perez and Bertha Rodriguez look out the bus window “in wide-eyed wonder,” according to Statesman reporter Peggy Vlerebome, who seems to have a gentle eye for these things. “I got a Kleenex in case I get a cold already,” says one. “I got scissors you got scissors,” replies the other. Across the world, the Marines killed are the first combat deaths of U.S. troops in the region, according to AP wire reports. “The Marine contingent,” according to the report, “responded by blasting Shiite Moslem militia batteries with artillery, mortars, and helicopter gunships.” AP correspondent Schejerezade Faramarze reported from the Marine base in Lebanon that “shelling escalated shortly before midday with an average of in and around the airport” where the men were killed. Marine vehicles “took the casualties to Marine headquarters at the airport.” Alfred Martinez, with his feet dangling as he sat on the front row of seats, “waved good-bye to his father and then looked out the window uncertainly. The other bus passengers were very quiet as their driver drove the yellow vehicle through East Austin, working her way toward Allen [Elementary School]. Some children talked to their classmates, but most of them just looked out the window.” President Ronald Reagan, vacationing at his mountaintop ranch in Santa Barbara, “was awakened with news of the Marine deaths by William Clark, his national security adviser. The president expressed ‘profound sorrow.’ ” Parents back home, who had packed their children’s lunches and bought their first boxes of crayons for their first days of school, patiently waited for them to return. U 16 SEPTEMBER 30, 1983