Friday, February 25, 2005

A Very Serious Subject and "The Bear of Wolf Creek, Installment 1"

By: Michael Akerman

I think I need to start out this post with a very serious subject, that's neither political nor religious. It's one we should all ponder carefully, though it may not directly affect us.

On February 15th, Chip Tomeo passed away (many of the our regular readers (and all of the IVIC bloggers) know his son). I don't know his story; I don't recall ever meeting him; indeed, I hardly know anything about him, his life, or his cause of death aside from what's revealed in this obituary and in his last name. I wager that his cause of death was cancer, for a reason I'll get to in a minute, but if anyone knows this information, and would like to send it to me, or would like to write a synopsis, or eulogy of sorts summarizing his story, please feel free. My e-mail address is drkashik(at)

Chip's sons friends (and possibly groups related to them. Again, I have limited information) have been collecting donations for the American Cancer Society in his name, which is why I assume cancer was the cause of death. If you knew Chip Tomeo, or are friends with his son, there's really nothing more I should need to say. At this point, you should be waiting for me to give you a donation link. Well, since I know Christie Cunningham's page already, I'll send you there . Or you could look around for others. And I have checked the veracity of the site. A WHOIS lookup reveals that it was registered by the American Cancer Society (link), so it is a reputable website.

As for those of you who weren't particularly affected by Mr. Tomeo (as I was not), you may have already discarded the option of donating out of hand. I urge you to reconsider, if you have. Charity is not a virtue that arises only when one feels grief; true, righteous charity comes unbidden. One gives not out of desire to remedy one's own grief, but out of sympathy for the grief of others, and the desire to aid a worthy cause.

There is, arguably, no cause greater than this. Cancer is a murderer we can thwart, unlike most major causes of death. But change and discovery can only be evinced through years of study. Research costs money. The grand thing is, you can help! Just make a small donation: $30, $15, $5, $1, or anything you can afford, to the ACS, or any other cancer foundation. We all have money that can be put to better uses: use it now! This is a chance to make the world a better place. Indeed, it would be wrong not to.

Following is the first installment of a fictional short story I'm writing. I'm aware that short stories are not generally in installments, but, being aware of the short attention span of web-surfers, and being conscious of the time restraints on my own writing abilities, I decided to break a short story into shorter parts.

The Bear of Wolf Creek (I)

It was one of those snowy, stormy nights you get up in the mountains time-to-time, and Pa had just stumbled in the door with an armful of firewood. Us children were sittin' round the fire, with Ol' Pete (that's my grandpa on my Pa's side) sittin' next to Likkle Pete (that's my biggest brother, his name bein' that of my Pa, Pete, who was named after his Pa, who's Ol' Pete. 'Cept that Ol' Pete was named after his Pa, so he was just Pete 'til Likkle Pete came along. Course, when Likkle Pete came, we figure it was the first time in history that a youngest Pete was alive with three older Petes alive above him. We called great-grandpa Oldest Pete 'til he died a few years ago. Now we call him dead). Ol' Pete had that gleam in his eye like he was just itchin' to spin a yarn (tha's what he called tellin' a story. I'm not sure why).

Anyway, Ol' Pete kinda leaned back from the fire and cleared his throat. Turn's out this was an unnecessary gesture, seein' as how we were already as quiet as the snow outside, just hearin' the fire crackle and watchin' the big log glow. We all turned a bit to look at Ol' Pete, who started right in:

"Have I ever told you kids the yarn 'bout the bear of Wolf Creek?" he says, then he paused for a bit, in thought. "Maybe it was the wolf of Bear Creek.... No," he says, "definitely the bear of Wolf Creek."

"You sure it weren't the cat of Dog Creek?" Likkle Pete said cheek'ly.

Ol' Pete glared at him. "Watch yer tongue, boy," he says. Ol' Pete said that a lot to Likkle Pete, just as an admonition. I don't think he ever really got mad 'bout it. Then Ol' Pete turned back to the fire to tell his yarn.

(To be continued...)

By my hand,
~Michael Akerman