Thoughts and assorted philosophical musing about: Family, Friends, Fun, Hobbies, & other everyday things.
My continuing efforts to serve as a First Sergeant (Top) in the Army of God.
My latest interest is in Letterboxing.

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Thursday, December 24, 2009

The King is Coming

Here it is Christmas eve and I haven't done any of my usual blogging about this wonderful time of year. I have shared plenty of delightful activities with my family as the season approached, but haven't blogged as I am just having a difficult time focusing on tasks at the present time.

Two activities I will particularly remember

The first was spending last weekend with my Daughter and her Family for the occasion of our Grandsons taking part in the children's activities at their church. The did a grand job.

Secondly all this week my eldest son has been in town celebrating his birthday (see story from last year) and preparing for the big Christmas event. Yesterday he, my wife, and I spent making much delayed Christmas cookies. I don't get to spend much time with him as he lives on the East Coast, so I really enjoyed his help and his company.

In order to accommodate everyone's schedules we will be having our Family Christmas gathering on Saturday, so tomorrow (Christmas day) we will have an extra day to finish everything up, then kick back. Our church is decorated with poinsettias during the advent season with each member given the opportunity to pay for one or more. Each year we purchase four of them. Two in memory of our parents and the others in memory of two of Donna's friends.

And so now here it is Christmas Eve. Rather than trying to throw something together at the last minute the following is part of a blog entry from last year which I have reworked. This is my all-time favorite Christmas song. If your browser is unable to properly display the scrolling text and/or play the audio clip here is a link to last years unadorned version. You might consider getting and using one of the free Mozilla based browsers such as Firefox which do a superior job of interpreting code correctly.

How Should a King Come

"How should a King come."

Even a child knows the answer of course,

In a coach of gold with a pure white horse.

In the beautiful city in the prime of the day,

And the trumpets should cry and the crowds make way.

And the flags fly high in the morning sun,

And the people all cheer for the sovereign one.

And everyone knows that's the way that it's done.

That's the way that a King should come.

How should a King come.

Even a commoner understands,

He should come for His treasures,

And His houses and lands.

He should dine upon summer strawberries and milk,

And sleep upon bedclothes of satin and silk.

And high on a hill His castle should glow,

With the lights of the city like jewels below.

And everyone knows that's the way that it's done,

That's the way that a King should come.

How should a King come.

On a star filled night into Bethlehem,

Rode a weary woman and a worried man.

And the only sound in the cobblestone street,

Was the shuffle and the ring of their donkey's feet.

And a King lay hid in a virgin's womb,

And there were no crowds to see Him come.

At last in a barn in a manger of hay,

He came,

and God incarnate lay.

And the angels cried "Glory,Glory to God".

Earth was silent so heaven rang,

"Glory, Glory to God."

Men were dumb so the angels sang,

"Glory, Glory to God",

Peace on earth good will to men,

"Glory, Glory to God".

"Christ is born in Bethlehem"

"Glory to God".

"Glory in the Highest"

"Glory to God".

"Glory in the Highest"


(Carol and Jimmy Owens)

Welcome to our Savior

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Spring What??

It’s been a very long time since I have created a new post. Many wonderful and exciting things have transpired, but I just could not get myself on task to write about them. So today I want to relive a Christmas Memory that is of particular meaning to me. I have many more memories that I will attempt to share in the coming months.

When I was just becoming of school age our home was located beside that of my Aunt Bessie and Uncle Hal. My father was the last of 14 children and Uncle Hal was the eldest. Due to the age difference, and our proximity to them, they were pressed into service in the role of the Grandparents that we never knew. I have fond memories of the Springerle Christmas cookies Aunt Bessie would make each year in her Germanic tradition.

One year I was reminiscing about this to my Mom who then mentioned it to Aunt Bessie. Soon afterward her cookie molds arrived in my mail. Aunt Bessie is now gone. In many recent years I have enjoyed attempting to use her molds with mixed success. I have added to the two molds which I received from her. Sadly the vast majority of the
very poor quality flat and rolling pin style molds now available either have been produced for the mass market with little or no craftsmanship, or they are cast replicas of authentic molds from the period when they were made by local craftsmen. A few years back I found this wonderful source of Springerle cookie information and high quality molds individually made in the old tradition but using modern tools. I am delighted to be able to use them and hope that someone in the family will carry on this tradition when I am no longer able to.

My Favorite stamps are the 12 days of Christmas which I have both as a set and as individual stamps.

In the traditional church “Christmas” refers to a 12-day period that starts with Christmas day. This is the story of the origin of the lyrics of The Twelve Days of Christmas

The world celebrates Christmas for twelve hours, but the Church celebrates it for twelve days because the gift of Christ is with us for twelve months of the year. When most people hear of “The 12 days of Christmas” they think of the song. The song had its origins as a teaching tool to instruct young people in the meaning and content of the Christian faith.

From 1558 to 1829, Roman Catholics in England were not able to practice their faith openly so they had to find other ways to pass on their beliefs. They were prohibited from any practice of their faith by law – private or public. It was a crime to be a Catholic. “The Twelve Days of Christmas” was written in England as one of the “catechism songs” to help young Catholics learn the tenets of their faith – a memory aid, when to be caught with anything in “writing” indicating adherence to the Catholic faith could get you imprisoned… or worse.

The song’s GIFTS are hidden meanings to the teachings of the faith: The “true love” doesn’t refer to an earthly suitor, but rather refers to God Himself. The “me” who receives the presents refers to a Christian.

1. The “partridge in a pear tree” is Jesus Christ, who died on a tree as a gift from God.

2. The “two turtle doves” - the Old and New Testaments, another gift from God.

3. The “three French hens” - faith, hope and love – the three gifts of the Spirit that abide
(I Corinthians 13).

4. The “four calling birds” - the four Gospels that sing the song of salvation through Jesus Christ.

5. The “five golden rings” - the first 5 books of the Bible, the “Books of Moses.”

6. The “six geese a-laying” - the six days of creation.

7. The “seven swans a-swimming” - “seven gifts of the Holy Spirit.”
(I Corinthians 12:8-11, Romans 12, Ephesians 4, I Peter 4:10-11)

8. The “eight maids a-milking” - the eight beatitudes.

9. The “nine ladies dancing” - nine fruits of the Holy Spirit. (Galatians 5:22-23)

10. The “ten lords a-leaping” - the Ten Commandments.

11. The “eleven pipers piping” - the eleven faithful disciples.

12. The “twelve drummers drumming” - the twelve points of the Apostles’ Creed

Saturday, September 26, 2009

August Shrugged

Upon learning my name people often make some quip about, or (even worse) mistakenly address me as, John Galt a principle character in the novel Atlas Shrugged by Ann Rand. Ann used this book as a platform to expound her philosophy of "Objectivism". Although I don't agree with her view on the purpose of life, a principle theme of her book - the battle between government control and individual freedom, seems even more imperative today than when published 50+ years ago. It is a good read.

But today I will try a little pun on John.

August Shrugged. Yes August shrugged. I don't know where it (along with most of September) went!! A quick summary

We were able to enjoy a week (stretched to 10 days) with our grandson Payton

We spent several days enjoying the hospitality of Donna's sister Carol while attending Donna's 50 year HS reunion.

With Payton and at a really great event at a fantastic park in downtown Youngstown
We had lots of fun boxing, the company was wonderful, and the food delicious.
Public Service:
I Volunteer to support the MS P2P each year as a ham radio operator. Damon rode in the event this year. I had some pics of him but I can't find them now.

Donna and I have been dealing with a large number of Medical issues both because of current needs and also trying to tie up any loose ends before the insurance from her former employer ran out. We have also been actively exploring what new insurance options to take.

Donna is becoming involved with the Rotary Club and I have been volunteering to help with several political groups.

Now Donna and I are off for a week and a half or so spending time with family and at a Church retreat for seniors. Jason has been recruited to conduct a yard sale cleaning out much of our basement and garage while we are gone.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Patriot Day - Remembering September 11, 2001

In the United States September 11 of each year has been designated as a discretionary day of remembrance for those who died in the 2001 attacks. The enacting legislation encourages all citizens to fly a flag at half-staff on that day.

The Illustrations speak for themselves, there is nothing more that I can add.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Romance at the Castle

Blueberry Hill

I found my thrill
On Blueberry Hill
On Blueberry Hill
When I found you

The moon stood still
On Blueberry Hill
And lingered until
My dream came true

The wind in the willow played
Love's sweet melody
But all of those vows you made
Were never to be

Though we're apart
You're part of me still
For you were my thrill
On Blueberry Hill

The wind in the willow played
Love's sweet melody
But all of those vows you made
Were never to be

Though we're apart
You're part of me still
For you were my thrill
On Blueberry Hill

Early last week Donna and I were invited to lunch at the home of one of her colleagues. In discussions over lunch the subject of picking fresh blueberries came up. Later while driving home we shared a memory from when we were living in Massachusetts. While there I was involved as a Webelos leader in a week long overnight adventure at "Split Rock" the local cub scout camp. One morning during camp we were off early on a hike over the top of several nearby knolls. Cresting one of these we discovered a field strewn with boulders which were covered with low bush blueberries. We gorged ourselves as we made our trek through this hidden paradise. Caps and then tee shirts were filled with natures fruit supply. Upon our return to camp we turned over what remained of our plunder to the cooks who prepared blueberry pancakes for us the next mornings. Those were the best blueberries that I have ever had.

Later last week I decided to see if I could locate a local spot to pick wild blueberries. The search engines turned up frequent references to picking at Blueberry Hill. After further research I found it to be located about an hour and a half away in the Mohican valley. I also discovered the there is a fanciful hotel on the property which was built to give the impression of a castle. Then it hit me. I enjoy commemorating special occasions by finding new, creative, and fun things to do with Donna. Thursday was to be our 43rd anniversary. However I have been running behind all summer and I had done absolutely nothing to prepare for it. This realization put me into quick recovery mode. Luckily I was able to get a very suitable room for Thursday night.

We enjoyed a leisurely drive down on Thursday stopping at an Amish restaurant for lunch. We then continued to the hotel and checked in. I had arranged for Donna to have a therapeutic massage during the early afternoon. Afterwords we enjoyed dinner at the castle restaurant (just reopened after a devastating fire) and then we drove around touring the area.

The "Castle"was built by it's owner to share with the public his dream of owning a castle. He was very affluent and spared no expense in building and furnishing the facility. However with the declining economy, the remote location, and business lost from having no restaurant for a year, it is apparent that finances are now an issue. I don't think the original level of opulence can be maintained, but for now it is a wonderful experience.

Friday morning we slept in, then after a complimentary continental breakfast, we were off to blueberry hill where we picked both blueberries and blackberries. The berries are really yummy - so much better than "Supermarket" varieties.

Our experience caused us to recollect the romantic old song which has been popular for ages. The most remembered rendition is that recorded by "Fats Domino" when we were in our teens. We had a great anniversary even if it was thrown together at the last minute.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Seasonal Friends.

This summer season (as well the seasons of my life),seems to be moving by much more quickly than I would like. Recently I have had several reminders that God has given us only a short time to spend here on this earth. I now really regret and even dread it each time that I am separated from my loved ones and find myself wondering if I will see them again.

Last week we were blessed to be able to spend several days with friends from long, long ago. Forty plus years back we developed a close relationship with another Army family at Ft. Carson Colorado. Then Captain Bill Akins was the commanding officer of an ASA company there and I was his First Sergeant.

His wife Ruth worked alongside my wife Donna at the base education center where they developed citizenship studies and an English as a second language (ESL) program primarily for the benefit of Foreign born spouses of military personnel. At that time this was entirely wives as there were few military women marring men overseas.

Despite military anti-fraternization policies which dictated no off duty social contact between officers and enlisted members we soon spent many evenings together enjoying dinner, games, and just having fun. We were at their home the evening that Donna announced that it was time for us to travel two block to the base hospital for the birth of our first child.

Friendships in the military are strong and sincere. You are committed to working together and being part of the team at all costs. To use a cliche, you must be prepared to give your lives for each other. New arrivals and their families are quickly assimilated and assisted in getting settled. Your home support network of family and friends is not available so everyone helps everyone, there are no strangers. People are frequently reassigned, you move on and very quickly develop new relationships. Unless you make an extraordinary effort, you soon loose track of old friends as events and circumstances change. If you are luck you will find yourself assigned to the same location with some of the same individuals in the future. Military friendships are very real, deep, and committed, yet they also tend to be enjoyed briefly and then, like the seasons of the year, only remembered. Friendships are usually not permanent, but you know that going in and must be satisfied to enjoy them while they last.

Of the many friendships which we developed on active duty this is the only one that has been maintained, and that is probably more from their effort than ours. I now very much regret that this is true. We have lost track of many fine friends and their families.

While Ruth and Bill were here we went to a baseball game. We picked one of the few games that the Indians have won recently. As we were walking back to our car and chatting about the game my Implanted Automatic Defibrillator (IAD) suddenly discharged. That was an entirely new experience. I am reminded of how transatory the things here are. I believe the only thing that will outlast us here is our relationships with God, family and friends.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Just a company town

Last week we enjoyed a family vacation in Ohio's hocking hills area. This is an area that Donna and I have visited a number of times in prior years, but not recently. On three occasions we enjoyed an anniversary romance get away at Glen Laurel, and had also attended the Nazarene Central Ohio Camp meeting at what is now known as the Logan Conference Center several times. I have also used the Church camp grounds as a base for hunting in the area.

I could recall that Donna and I had once found a nearby town with a church made of tiles but could not find any reference to it while reading literature about area sights. We were without Internet access during our five days at a cabin near Nelsonville so I was unable to do online research. Yes I really did spend most of Monday until late Friday with no web, no email, no google, no facebook, etc. I swear its true.

As we were starting home on Friday Donna could no longer resist her shopping compulsion so we stopped at the Rocky outlet to look for shoes. Of course she then had to explore the rest of the store. While sitting I found that there was an area information booth inside where I asked some not to intelligent questions about what I could recall of the town we had seen. Finally someone came up with Haydenville, a brick and tile company town located only a few miles away and along our pathway home.

We stopped and took pictures. I was amazed! It was even more unusual than I had remembered it. Haydenville, was the last of Ohio's "Company Towns". In the days prior to labor reform the mining, lumbering, and similar industries maintained these towns where they employed workers at minimum wage, housing them in company owned homes, and provided for their needs at company owned stores. The system was designed to keep the workers and their families in debt to the company trying to pay for food and housing.

In Haydenville the homes, offices, store, post office, church, train station, and etc. were made from company produced tile and brick, even plumbing tiles and pipes. These structures, especially the church (both inside and out), were in fact a display of the company's wares. Many of these buildings still stand giving the town a strange, surrealistic, nature.

I am glad we rediscovered Haydenville, but do not understand why it is not being promoted as a tourist attraction.

The Church An inside wall of the Church

An outside wall of the church.

Front corner of the church - Notice the drain tile corner

An inside wall of the church - four different tiles plus a pipe

Building which is now used as a museum

And I had to take one shot of the round building

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Fireworks, Caves, and Family

The summer is flying by. In recent years we have gone to N Carolina for a family vacation during the first week of July. This year the owner of the place that we had reserved took it off of the market. That combined with the current economic pinch caused us to opt for a shorter time nearer to home this year. Donna's sister Carol has a family gathering at her home on Buckeye Lake each year on the Friday before the 4th of July. We had missed it for several years but with the new plans we were able to attend. Friday, as usual, she threw a wonderful party which culminated with viewing of Buckeye lake's "BLASST" fireworks display from a pontoon boat. This was a truly outstanding display. I have seldom had kind words about the events coordinator, Tory Wolfe, due to many ideological differences. However, the consensus is that this was the best "BLASST" show ever and I must give her credit for a fantastic job of putting it together. The following morning we watched the Parade of Boats from Carol's porch, then we just hung out for the rest of the weekend. It was a grand time visiting with family.
Late Monday morning we drove 30 miles further south, picked up groceries, and joined up with my daughter and her family (think Grandsons) at a cabin near Nelsonville where we stayed until Friday. While there we visited, played miniature golf at a great place in Logan, ate good food, checked out the local sights, and just generally hung out. Carol, her husband Jim, and 2 grand-nieces spent one day with us at Ash Cave, Cedar Falls, and Lake Logan. While the rest of the crew walked down to Cedar Falls I jumped on my little scooter and collected one of the many letterboxes in the area. The cabins hot tub was appreciated each night. Most of the time I forget to grab my camera or to take pictures. However, Ellisa is a much better photographer than I so I can depend on her to get some good shots. Check out her vacation photos.

I had printed clues and downloaded the locations to my GPS for about 35 letterboxes within a 10 mile radius of the cabin. In addition when I checked my email on Monday morning I found that 3 more had been planted in the area. One of these was less than two miles from the cabin. On Thursday Ellisa and her family hiked back to Rock Bridge while Donna and I found two letterboxes. Later in the day Ellisa's gang (The Kobystars) along with Donna and I located, "Who is hidin' in the woods", the new box near our cabin. Elllisa's husband Matt was a great help in getting things done. He loaded and unloaded my scooter, did most of the cooking on a wood fire (Eagle Scout skills) built in the grill, and loaded and unloaded the cars. I would have had great difficulty without his unending assistance. So all and all we had a fantastic week. We capped the week off with a steak dinner (T-bones and bacon wrapped filet mignons) that Matt had brought from home and prepared on the grill Thursday night.

I can't get too much family time.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Cat got your tongue?

When I would sit a spell with nothing to say my Uncle Hal could always be expected to quip "What's a matta? - Cat got your tongue?" Well it has been nearly two weeks since I have done any whining here. Wow - so much has gone on! Fathers Day was great as nearby family members came by and fixed up a nice meal on Sunday. Plus my eldest son arranged for the delivery of two huge prime beef porterhouse steaks from a local gourmet butchers shop which we had on Saturday. A few nice shirts were thrown in as well. My youngest son gave me a certificate for a meal at a downtown steakhouse. I made out pretty well.

Last week was spent going several directions at once. We are trying to finish up remodeling our family room which has turned into a real project. My wife and kids planted my vegetable garden and her flowers. But the big project was Donna's retirement party.

The vast majority of the planning and preparation was done by our daughter Ellisa. After a date which was satisfactory for the whole family was selected and agreed upon, I was tasked with finding a place. It was difficult with such short notice this time of year. But I got luck as our neighboring town just finished renovating their old town hall to use as a party center. It was available, inexpensive, and nice. Then Ellisa took over like a professional event planner. She designed the invitations, worked up the mailing list, did the mailings, took RSVPs, planned the activities, and assembled everything needed. She coordinated with her brother Loren, who is a Chef and Dining Service Consultant, to select the menu items and to have them prepared.

The food trays (vegees, fruit, sandwichs, and cheeses) were catered by Kendal of Oberlin and the cake was a fantastic Casada creation by Fragapane Bakeries. I set up a Chocolate fountain, Ellisa made a tortilla dip, and we prepared cocktail weenies in a spicy hot sauce using an old recipe Donna's sister gave us years ago. The perfect organizer Ellisa put her three brothers, as well as anyone arriving early, to work getting all things ready. All of our four children and their families were able to get here. It was a great party.

We have been so busy that many normal tasks have gone undone recently. This week we are trying to catch up on things like doctors appointments and long postponed household tasks before we leave Friday on a seven day vacation.

I have had a letterbox reported as missing. That is really very disappointing to me. I do have two more in various stages of production which I will hopefully be able to put out soon. Also there are several new boxes nearby which I need to collect. While on vacation I hope to locate some of the 30 plus boxes that are listed within 10 mile of the Hocking Hills area that we will be visiting.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Letterbox A-comin'

I was reflecting on our season here on Ohio's North coast. School is already out for the summer, but the uncertain and often cool weather keeps us from getting launched into the full summer mode? This 'tween period, past spring but not yet summer, is pleasant and hopeful. Our summers revolve around warm weather activities, and it is not yet reliable warm. Back yard pools are still too cool for more than a quick dip. So what did we do when the kids were growing up. Things that come to mind are bike rides, trips to the zoo, ball games, planting flowers and a vegetable garden, playing in the sandbox, and a good standby was always going to the library. I am sure that I have missed something that my offspring will remind me of.

Oh my gosh! I feel a letterbox a-comin'. I still have "Dixie", a Mother's Day letterbox, out in my seasonal cache, but I think that reflecting on this has given me inspiration to get a new mid-season box out. I also have another Berea box to complete and plant. I guess I better stop playing here and get to work.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Trees, Water, and Bugs

We have had some unusually cold nights recently. Upon awaking on one cold morning the view out the window looked something like this. My first thought was that it had snowed overnight. Then I realized the it was not snow, rather that the cottonwood trees were releasing there seed into the world. It is remarkable how these tall and stately water loving trees grow from such tiny delicate powdery seeds. There has not been as much of this "snow" floating around this year as we are accustom to seeing. Perhaps the late frost we had reduced the production. It seems that this offering of fluff tends to occur at about the time that the water in backyard pools is warming up to the point that folks are trying to get them ready to use. I recall that during the many years we maintained one it was a routine nuisance cleaning it out of the filters and skimmers.

That pool was the center of our summertime activities as our four children were growing up. We took great pleasure in the time we had with them each summer and playing in that pool as a family was one of our favorite activities. They would often invite there friends over for a swim at the drop of a hat. We seldom had to wonder where they were or who there friends were. Much of our summer fun was centered around water. Of course there was playing in the sprinkler or in the rain, going to the beach, fishing, squirt guns, and yes even watching the rain run down the windows or even just laying on the grass and looking up at the clouds.

I have also noticed that the fireflies are out now, a sure sign that summer is beginning in the Midwest. Your children are missing an integral part of life unless they have gone to bed at night with a firefly lantern shining in the corner of their room. We always used a jar, and a lid with some holes poked into it, threw in a few small sticks for them to climb on, then went out a caught them and put them in the jar. If you plan to use these lanterns often you can now buy them or they can be made from screen wire. The June bugs are also out, and I expect to be seeing ladybugs soon.

I am making an extra effort to really enjoy this summer more than any other in the recent past.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Humpty Dumpty fell in the Hall

Wow yesterday was NOT a good day. Around 4 Sunday Morning I woke up feeling chilled, then decided to get up and close the window. That done a quick visit to the WC seemed in order. I was about ten steps into the trip when suddenly my legs collapsed from underneath me, leaving me to fall face first, kissing the floor, and feeling like Humpty Dumpty. That is not a good way to start the day. I had a similar episode a few months ago. Fortunately It could have been worse, the thud when I hit the floor shook the whole house. Soon family gathered around to show concern and no serious damage was done either time.

Now of course I wonder when it will happen again. The scariest part for me is that I do not remember any dizziness or any other warning signs. I talked to the doctor, but we really do not have enough information to come to any conclusion. When I go out I have tried to preserve what is left of my ability to get around on me own by not using a mobility scooter for shorter trips. However, I do not want to find myself falling on my face while doing something like walking in the woods letterboxing. I am afraid that I have now become even more reliant on my little scooter. I am not yet ready to use a walker every place that I go.

Every cloud has a silver lining. I guess that I will have to become more skilled at popping wheelies on my little scooter. There is a certain perverse pleasure which can be derived from terrorizing pedestrians at the market that way.

Another plus is that while riding one you always have a place to sit. I guess that I will be planting more letterboxes along multipurpose trails in the local parks. Do you think that all of those letterboxing mom's pushing their strollers will find an old man on a scooter hot?

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Fleeting Thoughts

Memorial Day, the traditional beginning of the outdoor leisure season, has come and gone. This period in late spring and early summer is one most of us look forward to each year. Yesterday I was meditating and dwelling on the sights, sounds, and activities that I enjoy during this period of awaking and new beginnings.

Some of the things considered im my fleeting thoughts on this subject included:

Flowers, flowers, and more flowersNew lifeGrassy Lanes and shady grovesSpring plants and berry'sWeddings and new beginnings
Rain storms and showersBeaches and parksTime visiting family and friendsCookoutsAnd of course snuggling close with my wife
(You can only wish for a picture)

It is time to hit the letterboxing trail again. I need to produce a couple to plant and several new boxes have recently been planted in nearby locations. I have a couple that I want to do for my Berea series, but need to work out the details. I have seen several discussions on Atlas Quest as to what makes a good letterbox. Thinking about it I guess that from the beginning my goal has been to produce letterboxes that are integrated, i.e. those in which the stamp, location, subject, and logbook are all designed to be in harmony. It can take more work, but I consider such boxes to be the "Best Boxes".

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Weekend or weakend? and Tom Davis Letterbox

We took a long weekend break to be with our daughter Ellisa and her family for memorial day. I am pretty worn down from all the activity and travel. The way I feel today perhaps I should say it was a WEAKend.

It all started when I applied for a NEXUS card thinking it would be a quick and easy way to cross back and forth into Canada with all of the new restrictions going into effect. Then when my money was already paid out and it was approved, I learned that I would have to go to a government processing center to complete the application procedure. The nearest point was in Detroit. So I called my Daughter and told her that I would be in the area and would spend a day with her. She picked last Friday night and Saturday. Then my wife wanted a card too, the process was repeated and the two of us planned on going. When we realized that it was the Memorial Day weekend, and that Grandson Payton would march with his school, Reach Charter Academy, in two parades, it became a Friday through Tuesday excursion. Elllisa took all of the pictures, she does a great job and is enjoying her new camera.

Friday we took care of business, checked into our Motel, then joined Ellisa and crew for dinner and fun. Saturday Ellisa's hubby Matt had to work, the rest of us went to the farm market for flowers which then had to be planted that day by the ladies while I enjoyed a nap. Afterward it was off to get a grill (an early Fathers Day present) for Matt. We kicked in on the grill as our birthday gift for him. Subs for dinner then called it a night.

Sunday it was church followed by Matt going to work again while the rest of us went for our First Parade of the weekend, a four mile hike, which took the rest of the day and wore us all out. Of course I rode my little scooter. Next Pizza for dinner, followed by rest for our tired, tender, and sunburned bodies.

Monday Matt was off and we had another parade to do. This one was shorter and near to their home. It ended with a very nice ceremony. The weekend was then capped off by Matt and I assembling the Grill, which of course he then had to cook on. Great steaks, chicken, and roasted corn with all of the fixings then somemores. Can you have Memorial Day without a cookout? It was a very nice family weekend even if I am totally worn out. Oh! Did I mention that there was the required playing with the hose and that everyone came over to the motel for a splash to end the day.

I know that my health is very fragile and that each such visit may well be my last. As we were leaving yesterday I found myself apprehensively thinking - will I be back here again? That is a bit scary, but I believe it makes me appreciate these times even more.

I did get a new letterbox completed and out for "Plant a Letterbox Day". It was a bit rushed but came out fairly good. I chose a memorial box dedicated to James "Tom" Davis, one of those that I served with in the Vietnam War and the first American to give his life in ground combat during that conflict.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memories - Revision II and Final?

I have wanted to make a special post for today but just ran out of time and energy, mostly energy! Donna and I are currently with my daughter and her family enjoying an extended weekend. We have been doing all of the usual things plus we were in two parades. Tonight Ellisa's husband Matt cooked out on his new grill and we really had some fine grub.

So to honor the spirit of the day I have extracted most of the following from a posting which I made last year on another blog. It expresses my feelings as truly today as it did then.

"I have been struggling for a week or so regarding Memorial Day and my feelings regarding it. It seems to get harder each year for me to reflect upon it. Several times I have driven to DC and visited the Wall on Memorial Day early in the morning before all of the hullabaloo starts. During my 20 plus years in the Army I belonged to the Army Security Agency which was staffed by a small group of individuals that were assigned to a very limited group of units throughout their entire careers. As a result I often worked with the same folks over and over at different locations. Friendships developed that were sort of like a family.

During the Vietnam era I lost several of these friends. I have intended to put up a memorial page for some time now. Although there are other memorial sites for these hero's somehow I think it will be cathartic if I create one also. If I do I want it to be just right, so I just haven't gotten it done, and this leaves me feeling a bit guilty.

While I enjoy the opportunity to spend extra time with members of my biologically family I mourn for those from this extended family, so it's a weekend of mixed feelings. But The Lord knows my needs and helps me to deal with these issues."

This is the official list, but I think that others should be added.

SP4 James T. Davis
3rd Radio Research Unit
22 Dec 1961
"Tom" Davis was the first American killed in ground combat in RVN

PFC Donald R. Taylor
3rd Radio Research Unit
9 Feb 1964

SP4 Arthur Glover
3rd Radio Research Unit
9 Feb1964

SSG Robert F. Townsend
10th Radio Research Unit
4 Nov 1965

SSG Donald D. Daugherty
3d Radio Research Unit
13 Apr 1966

Lt William E. Leatherwood Jr.
8th Radio Research FS
17 Feb 1966

CPT James D. Stallings
337th Radio Research Co
25 Sep 1966

1LT John F. Cochrane
409th Radio Research Det
24 Oct 1966

SFC John F. Stirling
335th Radio Research Co
8 Mar 1967

SP5 William L. Stewart Jr.
8th Radio Research FS
8 Oct 1967

SP4 Richard G. Feruggia
8th Radio Research FS
8 Oct 1967

SP4 Terrance H. Larson
8th Radio Research FS
8 Oct 1967

SP4 Robert D. Nelson
8th Radio Research FS
8 Oct 1967

SP4 Joseph P. Rowly
8th Radio Research FS
8 Oct 1967

SP4 John D. Saville Jr.
8th Radio Research FS
8 Oct 1967

SP4 Ronald A. Villardo
8th Radio Research FS
8 Oct 1967

SFC Robert D. Taylor
335th Radio Research Co
26 Nov 1967

SGT Diego Ramirez Jr.
335th Radio Research Co
26 Nov 1967

SP5 Michael P. Brown
335th Radio Research Co
26 Nov 1967

WO1 Milton Warren Smith
138TH Avn Co (RR)
29 Dec 1967

WO1 Jonathan P. Shaffer
138TH Avn Co (RR)
29 Dec 1967

CPT John M. Casey
371st Radio Research Co
25 Mar 1968

SP4 Christopher Schramm
371st Radio Research Co
13 May 1968

SP4 Jeffrey W. Haerle
372d Radio Research Co
13 May 1968

SP5 Samuel C. Martin
101st Radio Research Co
17 May 1968

SGT Thomas J. Tomczak
403d Special Opns Det
23 Jul 1968

SP5 Harold Biller
175th Radio Research Co
25 Feb 1969

SP5 Harold J. Colon
409th Radio Research Det
21 Jun 1969

CW2 Jack K. Knepp
371st Radio Research Co
29 Nov 1969

WO1 Dennis D. Bogle
371st Radio Research Co
29 Nov 1969

SP4 James R. Smith
371st Radio Research Co
29 Nov 1969

PFC Henry N. Heide II
371st Radio Research Co
29 Nov 1969

SP4 Robert E. Dew
330th Radio Research Co
30 Aug 1970

SP5 Carl H. Caccia
404th Radio Research Det
21 Feb 1971

SP5 Robert J. Thelen
404th Radio Research Det
21 Feb 1971

SP5 Robert J. Potts
404th Radio Research Det
21 Feb 1971

SP5 Mitchell B. Smith
404th Radio Research Det
21 Feb 1971

WO1 Paul V. Black
371st Radio Research Co
1 Mar 1971

WO1 Robert D. Uhl
371st Radio Research Co
1 Mar 1971

SP5 Gary C. David
371st Radio Research Co
1 Mar 1971

SP4 Frank A. Sablan
371st Radio Research Co
1 Mar 1971

CPT Michael W. Marker
138th Avn Co (RR)
4 Mar 1971

WO1 Harold L. Algaard
138th Avn Co (RR)
4 Mar 1971

SP6 John T. Strawn
138th Avn Co (RR)
4 Mar 1971

SP5 Richard J. Hentz
138th Avn Co (RR)
4 Mar 1971

SP5 Rodney D. Osborne
138th Avn Co (RR)
4 Mar 1971

SP5 Larry P. Westcott
8th Radio Research FS
30 Mar 1972

SP5 Bruce A. Crosby Jr.
8th Radio Research FS
30 May 1972

A colleague from my days working as an electronics instructor sent me this link to a "Battle Hymn of the Republic" presentation by public school children. I found it inspiring, perhaps all hope for our country is not yet gone!