AUTHOR’S NOTE: What follows are 2 posts-from-the-past, The first, was written by my Son, Anthony, just a couple of months after I entered prison in 2010. The second was written by me, 3 years later. Anthony spent a couple of days this past week fixing a hack into TOC that re-directed people to a porn site (like I really needed that particular page to pop up when people clicked on something of mine.)
I never would have found out had I not been looking for a poem I had posted here a long time ago, and I was reminded of how long it has been since I have posted here, or even visited. In the process, I was reminded how vital TOC was to me during the years I spent paying my price to society and – much more important – building my relationship with God.
Before you read on, if you pray (and I hope you do) join me in praying for all of the men separated from their children today due to incarceration. While the circumstances of their incarceration – like mine – are likely their own fault (although so many are wrongfully incarcerated) I know it hurts them, even if most will ‘tough it out’ and pretend it doesn’t matter.
“Father we thank you for all you have blessed us with, especially the gift of our children. We lift up the men who are incarcerated this Father’s Day and ask that you offer comfort to them as they struggle with the emptiness of this day and the inability for the vast majority of them to get a hug or a phone call today. May you bring each one closer to you that he might become a new creation and never return to spend another day away from those who, through Your gift, they helped give life. It is in Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.”
Semi-happy father’s day
By Anthony Casson
I’m keeping this one short–quiet roads with gorgeous hills and trees are calling my name for an afternoon of cycling.
Despite my unfortunate position, I still wish everyone a very HAPPY FATHER’S DAY. As my dad has said, there are hundreds of thousands of people in prison, so I’m certainly not the only one without a guy to hug today. Life moves forward.
Funny, I just read a Tweet that said, “Happy father’s day to all the men that take care of their children no matter what the situation may be.” My dad fits into this category.
While he cannot influence–or protect–me directly, my dad takes care of my by simply doing whatever he can to get out of Oakdale FCI. I recently received a personal letter from him; he sounds completely optimistic and very passionate about researching more about the prison system–it’s the first time I’ve heard him so determined to know more about something…that’s the truth. He’s constantly calculating his tenure at Oakdale, figuring out the best thing to do to cut his sentence (all legal, of course); he’s embracing the “friends” around him and isn’t sinking into depression or a state of hopeless thought.
That must be where I get it from. This Casson-duo, no matter the life difficulty, always maintains a forward progression. Believe it or not, when we talk on the phone, we’re usually laughing or joking about prison–if we don’t, we’ll face excruciating pain.
So, things could certainly be worse, and that’s why I give a hearty shout-out to all those padres who do a damn good job at being men, dads.
If it wasn’t 10 a.m., I’d have a glass of whiskey in celebration…maybe in 10 more hours.
“THE LAST FATHER’S DAY” by Tony Casson
Father’s Day should not be spent in prison, and this Father’s Day, June 16, 2013 will be the LAST one I will ever spend in one.
This Father’s Day marks the beginning of the end of my time spent paying the criminal portion of the price of my unacceptable behavior. There is a lifetime of societal punishment that will be meted out in small doses as people discover this part of my past once I leave here, but when I am gone from this place at least I can say with certainty that I shall not return. Not to Oakdale, or anyplace like it.
No Arnold Schwarzenegger exit line of, “I’ll be back!” for me, folks.
You see, no matter what fingers may be pointed at me, or whispering is done about me, no individual on earth has the power to make me something I am not, and I am NOT what I DID. What I did to spend four Father’s Days in a place where I could not get a hug or a phone call from my children is NOT who I am.
Not even close.
Even though I tried – unsuccessfully – to end a tormented life, God knew me, and it was God who has shown me the difference between DOING and BEING. God showed me that I could eliminate the one who did what I did by becoming the person He made me in the beginning.
I have a lot to be thankful for this Father’s Day. I am thankful that I have the opportunity to live the rest of my life in a manner that will please MY Father, and in doing so perhaps my own children will take pride in the fact that I am THEIRS.
I am thankful for the children God gave to me, for they are beautiful and special beyond words.
I am thankful that God has blessed me in all the ways He has and that my eyes are finally open to SEE just how greatly blessed I am.
I am thankful that God is always ready to listen, ready to help, and ready to show me the correct step to take and help me find the courage to take it, no matter the time of day, day of week, or situation at hand.
I am thankful for every breath I take that God would not let me steal from myself.
And while I may not be able to spend Father’s Day with my children, at least I can spend it with God, and I can look to Him and say, “Happy Father’s Day, Lord!”
May God’s peace be with you all.