That was around the same year my family went to Navarre Beach, Fla. and stayed at the Holiday Inn during me and my sister’s four day vacation. And let me tell you that hotel was like a paradise for a video game lover like me during Florida’s tourism offseason. They had a game room with an Asteroids machine and nobody was staying in the hotel in February. So I basically had an Asteroids machine all to myself. I must have pumped 100 quarters into that thing and played until all of the ten top scores were mine.
Then, of course, my sister Barbara saw me having fun. At that time during her life, Barbara’s favorite hobby wasn’t playing Asteroids, it was annoying me and getting me into trouble - and she was good at it. She really didn’t care too much for Asteroids until she saw how much I enjoyed it and suddenly she wanted her turn. Now I do admit to being selfish but basically I told her to find another game to play. However, Barbara didn’t want to play any of the other 30 or so video games. She only wanted to play Asteroids because she knew it would annoy me.
Again, I told her ‘no’ and this time Barbara didn’t take my answer too well. She grabbed my forearm, which at the time was busy flying my spaceship around dodging those huge rocks, and dug her fingernails so deep into my skin that I still have two scars to this day. Angered, I turned and punched her in the arm and she cried uncontrollably and ran up to our hotel room to, of course, tell my Dad.
Figuring I had a pretty good case (I was actually bleeding down my arm and she had no visible injury), I walked in right behind her to tell my side of the story.
“Howie hit me,” she cried dramatically.
“Yeah, Dad but Barbara clawed me in the arm and....”
Never got to finish my sentence.
Have any of you guys out there had one of those fathers who, when he whipped you, gave you a smack for every word that came out of his mouth.
“Don’t (smack) you (smack) ever (smack) hit (smack) your (smack) sister (smack) again (smack) she (smack) is (smack) a (smack) girl (smack),” he said as he put one of his all time top five whoopins on me.
My sister and I laugh about it to this day at family gatherings, when I reach across the table to pass the potatoes with two fingernail scars on my forearm.
Well if the last week has told us anything it’s that there are men who have no problem hitting, abusing (both mentally and physically) and even killing women.
Usually it’s their significant other. However, as anyone who has watched the 6 o’clock news this week can tell you some jerk named Glenn Stewart punched a woman with a closed fist and knocked her unconscious prior to a Mardi Gras parade. Not only that, he then stood over her and took pictures of his handiwork that he was obviously quite proud of with his cell phone. Seems Stewart had a personal vendetta against the woman’s mother who is a publisher of a Lafayette periodical.
Now I don’t care who’s right and who’s wrong in this business-related feud and I’m not going to rehash the situation for the third time this week. I’ve even read blogs this week that said the woman had it coming.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
A man Mr. Stewart’s age should simply know better. First of all you don’t strike a woman. Period. My father taught me that at a young age. And even though I’ve known women who have made me want to drive my car into a brick wall, I have never once raised my hand to a female - except for that one who put scars on my forearm.
In a much more serious case of female abuse, Chyna Young, the girl I did a story about who seemed to be making a remarkable recovery after her ex-boyfriend shot her four times took a turn for the worse and died suddenly on Wednesday. When told about it, I felt heartbroken. She had been shot in the back while she was three-months-pregnant by a coward named Patrick Guillory who had been dumped by Chyna. I guess his pride was stung so he thought shooting her would be the only way to restore it.
I got to know Chyna a bit during our interview and I wrote a column calling her ‘The toughest person I had ever interviewed.’ She was a wonderful young lady who’s life was snuffed out way too early.
Now when I wrote the column I had a lot of anger in me and I thought I would express more of it today. But then I went to Chyna’s house to express my condolences to her mother. On my way out Chyna’s brother, a young man named Nicholas, followed me to my car and told me “you seem OK, I like you” and shook my hand. He even sent me a friend request on Facebook that night which I quickly accepted.
That’s when it hit me that it was hatred that killed Chyna, and there’s too much of that in the world already. It was hope that kept her alive for eight months.
So Nicholas I want you to remember this. It’s a line from my all-time favorite movie ‘The Shawshank Redemption.’
“Hope is a good thing. It may be the best of things. And no good thing ever dies.”
Howell Dennis is a native of Lafayette, La. He attended the University of Texas at Arlington where he graduated in journalism and public relations.