Monday, February 24, 2020

Breakfast at Tom's

I was talking with Hayden about Libya at Tom's this morning. We were reminiscing about our time in Rome together, as young boys.

I was pointing to the painting of Portland decorating the north wall of this neighborhood diner, mentioning the Steel Bridge as an early icon in my consciousness. Although I was born in Chicago, my memories really start in Portland.

Dad moved us here from the University of Chicago when he joined the Portland planning bureau. However he'd always dreamed of working overseas in "developing countries" as we called them. He jumped at a chance to work with Libyans.

Hayden reminded me about Colonel Gaddafi's famous Amazonian bodyguards (all women). I remarked he was indeed a colorful character and recalled his setting up a tent for a meeting in the UN in New York, which made for entertaining theater.  I wasn't in the habit of demonizing the guy, as many around me would.

A story broke recently that a certain crypto company based in Switzerland had a compromised back door. We were told some of the things the CIA supposedly learned in this chapter.  Do we believe the news?  I'm sure most of us do.

Libyans took the blame for the downing of a commercial 747 over Scotland.  That wasn't discussed in the article I saw however.  The stories were more focused on the German nightclub massacre.  Libyans were overheard congratulating themselves, we're told.

Our family moved to Rome, where I first met Hayden, in the 1960s, so that my dad could practice the profession of planning, his client being the government of Libya.  When Gaddafi took over from King Idris, the work continued unabated.  Libya needed plans.

We saw the lives of most Libyans improving over the years.  I never actually never made it to Libya myself, nor did dad ever go back after the 1970s.  His career took him to the Philippines, Egypt, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Lesotho.

Hayden is visiting this part of the world because he's a cat lover and owns a special cat, worth a considerable sum, that he hopes to breed.  As of this writing, he's optimistic that kittens may already be on the way.  The special cat will stay here tonight.  I'll add a picture.  [Update: the cat is staying with the breeder up to the last minute, will go directly to the airport, so we won't get to meet].

Dad didn't live long enough to see Libya demolished and looted, its weapons shipped to Mesopotamia to fuel the wars in that region.