Monday, February 25, 2013
Orlando, Casey Anthony and David Wright
Photos by Christina Hyatt.
Driving through Orlando, we did not drive by the Anthony home that has become so infamous the last few years.
Always noting what one says in the negative is a good practice. It's always important. There is a reason someone tells you what they did not do, rather than what they did.
We did not drive by, but thought of Caylee, and how short her life was and how it was traded for the 'hot spots' of Orlando, and a chance to punish an equally narcissistic grandmother, who showed more concern over placing a cat for boarding on a weekend, than in checking to see who was actually watching Caylee.
We experienced the Orlando heat, and thought of that tiny face, drugged, and in the trunk of a car, struggling to breathe fresh air, but finding no relief.
We saw billboards that reminded us of the case, including Mark NeJame' larger than life picture. We talked about how he had kind words to say about the statement analysis of the Casey Anthony case Heather and I had worked on. It is what we choose, deliberately, to remember about him.
Everyone remembers Casey Anthony, and locals talk about where she might living...California, New York, and so on.
George Anthony, chronically underemployed, stopped working when Caylee died, and yet seemed to be able to make mortgage payments and feed himself. Cindy cashed in on Caylee's blood too. Lawyers built careers and people fought for 15 minutes of fame, even if it meant posing to 'accidentally' stumble upon a diner.
This is where Lee Anthony first introduced himself to America when he placed an ad for someone to be his 24 hour, 7 day a week, slave, of whom the applicant would have to have a college degree; something Lee thought important enough for his slave, but not for himself, a working car, a clean driver's license, and by the way, no wages whatsoever. Lee Anthony thought so highly of himself that he believed someone would take the job just to bask in his glorious presence.
You know, being a sibling to a murder might just mean a reality show.
Orlando remains, however, beautiful and driving past Orlando, we kept going until we reached the coast where the beach was breathtaking.
Perhaps I should consider a different word.
It was, in deed, beautiful to go from a foot of snow and temperatures well below zero, to almost 90 degrees. We talked about how it might be that we could get tickets to see the Mets in a Spring Training game, and, just perhaps, Sean might get David Wright's autograph. Port St. Lucie wasn't too far away when the conversation in the car is lively.
I don't know if you know what a baseball star's autograph means to an eleven year old, but it is something magical. I think some of you know exactly what I am trying to express: that wonder and amazement at that which seems bigger than life itself: major league baseball stars, from Willie Mays coming to the NY Mets in 1972 to join Tom Seaver, right up to RA Dickey's journey from victim to survivor. Would it be possible to get David Wright's autograph for Sean?
"Dad, we forgot to stop at a store and get a ball for David to sign!" Sean reminded me as we walked into Tradition Field, in Port St. Lucie.
"It'll work out. Things have a way of working out, Sean", I told him, hoping that it would. If I say it, does it make it so? I whispered a quiet prayer hoping it would, in deed, work out for him.
One of the Nationals players flipped Sean a baseball for being so polite, or so I like to think.
In a few minutes, Sean came back to his seat, his heart pounding. David Wright signed his hat and his glove, and spoke to Sean for a few minutes.
"What did you say to him, son?"
"Thank you", Sean said.
Caylee would be old enough now to enjoy Spring Training and know what it means to get an autograph in 2013.
She'll never know the joy.
She'll never perform in a dance recital, or go to a junior prom, or be a bride's maid, go to college, or be privileged to be a parent.
Casey made certain of these things.
Caylee will never know the boundless joy of being a child, amazed at the wonders of God's earth.
Yet it is that George, Cindy, Lee and Casey will never have to work a honest day in their lives, for Caylee will provide for them, though she, herself, will never be thrilled with having her breath taken away at an autograph, or an evening walk in the beach.
Casey made certain that only she, Casey, would take away Caylee's breath,
and never return it.
Thank you, David Wright, for doing something better than most everyone else on the planet, while taking the time to make an eleven year old boy smile, and give him something to tell his grandchildren about.
Orlando has moved on, and there are those who don't feel the same sting they felt when the bitterness of injustice shocked the senses in the manipulated verdict that had followed perjury under oath.
"So help me, God", said Cindy Anthony, adding to the oath the emphasis, setting her feet to slide in the appointed time by employing the Name in vanity.
Until then, however, the sun will shine upon the beautiful beaches and life will go on for most of us.
Caylee is not forgotten, even as we drove through her hometown. David Wright helped me, as a father, not think about the murder, for a few hours today, of which I am grateful.
I am grateful.