Drink to the Dead….And Send Me Empty Bottles, An Appeal


08/14/2013 by syrbal-labrys

Counting beadsEarly in the day, before the heat begins to smother, I walk the Walk of the Fallen Labyrinth with a slip of paper full of names and a goblet of water in my hands. I sing as I go. Like most walks, whether in the early morning hours or evening, there is little sound aside from my voice and the soft crunch of vegetation underfoot where violets are growing over the stones. And standing at the central stone, reciting the names of those most recently killed in Afghanistan, it suddenly occurred to me that this November will be the 10th anniversary of my opening of this war memorial.

I walked back off those sandstone and mica-flected field stone pavers somewhat more swiftly than I walked inward. I feel I should do something to note a decade of walks and songs for the dead, but my imagination somewhat fails me. In the early years, as on the opening night in the photograph to the right, I used to light the labyrinth with luminarias or electric lights….one for each dead troop, US or Coalition. But there almost EIGHT THOUSAND, TWO HUNDRED now, and I can’t light that many lights…the luminarias in that photo are just over 400, not even 5% of the total now. And that number surely does not include the suicides of veterans that I cannot trace. I cannot even affort to post little paper flags; and then, the difficulty of finding flags appropriate for each nation’s losses would be problematical even if I was flush with cash.

So, here is the thing. Empty booze bottles are called “dead soldiers”, are they not? Of course, even on that Labyrinth that fills one side of my back yard, I could not make 8200 big bottles fit…nor even beer bottles. But, the tiny aircraft size? photo I think I could do that, so here is my appeal and I ask that you pass the word EVERYwhere: PLEASE DRINK A COUPLE OR SIX OF THOSE SMALL BOTTLES OF THE TIPPLE OF YOUR CHOICE TO THE FALLEN AND MAIL THE EMPTIES TO ME. On the anniversary, November 8th, I will display and photograph the bottles on the Walk and afterwards recycle all the bottles. And also, since it is the 10th Anniversary, I will read all the names aloud.(I last read the complete list in the fall of 2009.)

And yes, I know I am opening myself to likely a host of crazy. But the need to make REAL and visible what these wars have cost in human lives makes my knees shake. Send the empty bottles (please small only) to:

Walk of the Fallen Labyrinth
c/o C. L. Moore
P.O. Box 4386
Spanaway, WA 98387

Edit: Of course, if I don’t get enough bottles, I will read the names w/o further hoopla. And we all will know why I don’t work in retail….AND every Wednesday between now and November, I will post the current bottles received!


16 thoughts on “Drink to the Dead….And Send Me Empty Bottles, An Appeal

  1. Claire Alwin says:

    https://www.facebook.com/christian.britain.3 is an ex British soldier walking the coast of Britain and sleeping rough every night, whilst raising money for Help for Heroes. I have sent him a link to your site as he was given a miniature whisky bottle as a gift, he’s in Scotland at the moment, and I hope he sends it on to you as I suggested. Hope you receive enough, and I love your ideas.

    • syrbal says:

      That is so kind of you, Clair…..I fear the mailing costs from the UK to here would be prohibitive! I wouldn’t want to take a cent from his Help for Heroes effort, but yes, I hope I get enough bottles as well! Thank you!

  2. Rita says:

    Do you have a date that you’d like these by? I’m thinking this could spark a theme party and then we can deliver to you (we’re up in Vancouver)…

  3. Karen says:

    Send your blog request to the newspapers in Utah. Utah’s liquor laws are interesting and when I was there, all the bars served the hard liquor in the little bottles (you had to mix your drinks yourself at your table.) You should get lots of little bottles!

  4. Batocchio says:

    Looks like I picked the wrong week to give up airplane booze! Or bottles the size of (tiny) aircraft! (I’ll see what I can do, but thanks — this is a very worthy project.)

    • syrbal says:

      Thank you very much! I should have titled it “Dead Soldiers for Dead Soldiers” maybe?

      Maybe the wine bottle on my counter counts as the size of a tiny aircraft? Do models count? Alas, for drinking, mayhap….but not for crowding 8000+ onto the stones out there!

  5. pjvj says:

    Shared on my blogs and Facebook.

      • pjvj says:

        No problem. Two people have shared it to their lists and one asked “what are tiny aircraft sized?” I laughed. She wants to contribute bottles for you. The dead and she are like the dead and you and the dead and I = close companions. Though you’ve got the soldiers.

      • syrbal says:

        LOL…I just figured saying it that way would let folks know I meant the wee sampler bottles. And yes, it has been made quite clear to me that it is the military dead that are my work…not others. My son finds some amusement in the curious coincidence that Freyja…who gets 1/3 to 1/2 of the dead had a “gatekeeper” named Syn….not so far off my name, Cyn. And since I speculate that it is Freyja’s Hall at the other side my my “gate”…that seems appropriate.

      • pjvj says:

        I think the association is not as well known as it used to be. The tiny things showed up in movies and tv shows. Now I guess they are reserved mainly to hotel mini fridges.

        The Freya/Syn connection does seem appropriate.

      • syrbal says:

        That shows how long I’ve been doing the hermit thing, lol….I’ve never seen them in a hotel! But last time I flew, they were still on airplanes!

      • javadavis says:

        The last place I saw these in the wild was on the train. Amtrak might still have them, although it has been a while.
        I don’t drink, but we are in Nevada now and those things turn up tossed out in parking lots all the time. I’ll pick up what I can for you.

      • syrbal says:

        Thank you! Our liquor stores sell them, I do buy a few to try new things; but I drink so seldom I have little chance of accruing enough!

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The name of this blog, and my Dreamwidth blog, Herlander Refugee, is taken from a 1915 feminist novel "Herland". It makes my heart sing that modern women are experimenting with creation of a new "Herland"! Yes, comments are closed. Anyone who just MUST reach me can do so at syrbal6 at gmail dot com.

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