Cast aside anger, not your family

I've had many fights with my parents. Once I even ran away from home. I ran all the way down the hill, and my dolls and I moved in with our pet pheasant, Richard.

At about the time the television movie and book "Roots" came out I posted a sign on my bedroom door saying " Toby's Room." Because for some infraction or other on the part of my family, I was feeling like the slave.

In my family's defense, though, I was a neat freak. I probably dusted and vacuumed once a week, and my brothers were slobs. I've reformed since then. And I've managed to get over any other tiff with my parents since then in fine form. After all, they are the only parents I'll ever have, but more so because I love them and they love me.

What gets me is how people can be angry and carry grudges for long periods of time. Of course, I've never been used, abused or otherwise cast aside.

The same can't be said for Billy Guy.

I know not of anyone other than he himself who is said to have used or abused him, but his children have cast him aside.

What strikes me hardest is that he's dead.

He's been dead since Nov. 5 and the Las Vegas funeral home is waiting for someone to claim his body so he may be buried. Unfortunately, claiming the body comes not only with a toe tag, but with a $2,000 to $5,000 price tag, and even those who would seemingly want to claim him have their hands tied. According to an Associated Press story his girlfriend of 30 years can't claim his body because they weren't married.

This, if nothing else, is a sound reason for marriage. His sister came forward earlier this week, but couldn't foot the bill.

Guy's case made the Las Vegas news because among other things he was the original baritone voice of the Coasters. He lent his voice on tunes like "Yakety Yak" (don't talk back), "Searchin" and "Charlie Brown."

Guy's poor soul could very well be searchin' for a home of eternal rest and worrying if the punishment he dished out when his kids talked back was too harsh.

What remains of Guy, who died at 66 of heart disease, is waiting nonetheless for his estranged children, Lisa and Peter, to claim or at least give the OK for cremation, which costs just $2,000.

Vegas entertainers and his friends held a fund-raiser Wednesday to pay for burial costs. Let's hope there are enough people around who remember and can lend a hand. Without them, it may be that this Coaster lands in an unmarked pauper's grave. A fate which he may or may not have earned.

The news story said he didn't take the best care of himself and didn't save his money to pay for a funeral. This sad state of affairs may be what makes his situation a vivid illustration of failed personal responsibility.

Though I don't have all of my affairs in order, there would at least be enough to plant me in the ground if I got hit by a bus crossing Carson Street. No offense to bus drivers, just a clichZ.

And my family and friends would come to my rescue.

But what if they didn't? What if I wrote something so scathing that they just disowned me altogether? Would I languish on the slab like Mr. Guy?

Would I have in anger written them out of my will? What if I, in a fit of temper, tossed them aside like I did when I moved into the pheasant hutch? What if I didn't get over it until it was too late?

As Thanksgiving creeps up on us it is fitting for us to remember why we are thankful. To remember why it is we love the ones we do and to consider why we dislike the ones we don't.

Like the prayer for serenity, I think we should let go of those bad feelings in those situations where we are powerless to change. Quietly resign ourselves to the inevitable, and put aside the hate and hurt and for heaven's sake -- get over it!

Tell me what good it does anyone to be mad all the time? Tell me what good it does to be mad the last time?

Kelli Du Fresne is features editor for the Nevada Appeal.


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