Tag Archives: HOLIDAYS

Placeholder Vet

Veteran’s Day was Saturday and there was the usual acknowledgement in Church  Sunday morning. I didn’t stand this year. I’ve made myself stand for the last few years, but not Sunday. I was glad to see several more women standing and I suppose out of solidarity I should have stood. I’m always conflicted about my service. It’s my own weird sort of Stolen Valor Syndrome.

The military services became all volunteer in 1973. With the draft eliminated, the military was less free to turn away candidates. I think the real thought was that if we didn’t maintain a huge standing Army, there would be less need for one. Too bad evil doesn’t think like that. Anyway, Viet Nam was winding down and the country was weary so the military wound down as well. I went to basic training in January of 1977. One day after Jimmy Carter was sworn in as president.

I spent nine weeks in Basic Training at Lackland Air Force Base outside of San Antonia, Texas. Then went, by school bus, to Sheppard AFB, Wichita Falls, Texas. Yes, I managed to hit all the garden spots of Texas in winter. My first experience with Class 100 tornadoes was at Sheppard. I hate tornadoes.  After a bout of German Measles that put me in the hospital and put me back five days in my training, I went to Mountain Home AFB, in Idaho. There I schlepped tools and training records for the rest of my “tour.” I left the service the day Ronald Reagan was sworn in.

There were no hot spots, emergencies, insurgencies, no “cies” at all during my four-year tour of duty. We practiced in what was called “mobility training.” We all had to have our bags ready to go if all hell broke loose somewhere outside the U. S. I did have dog tags to identify my body if the worst happened.  But, all I really did was maintain a place for the next person to come along and serve. And, ideally, that’s what you want. Just keep the lights on and wheels greased, just in case.

People did die in covert military actions during my four years but not  in in “battle.” Overtly, things were quiet. We know there are covert activities because there are always covert operations being planned, executed and mopped up, no matter how peaceful it may look on the news.

This is my struggle. Saying I was in the Air Force, served one four-year TOD, and that I worked in Wing Training is disappointing for the hearer. Wing Training doesn’t sound nearly as exciting as Forward Operating Forces, or munitions. And, it’s not.

“So, you pushed paper.” Yup, that’s what I did. I helped to keep the clattery operation clattering along by scheduling people in fire suppression, small arms, and various duty-specific classes. I stood guard over freedom by  entering it all key-by-key in a pre-internet computer system that ran on punch cards, daisy wheel printers, and miles of continuous-feed computer paper. I kept the bureaucracy humming along to keep you safe.  All the offers of, “Thank you for your service,” are rather sad. They read like compliments to someone at the DMV for not making a hash of your license renewal. So, I sat this year.

Oh, and if you read last week’s screed on Amazon taking it’s sweet time getting me my paint sprayer, it finally came LAST NIGHT. Fat lot of good it did my at midnight. Bill tinkered with it and even read the owner’s manual. I think they walked it over after my complaint. Amazon, Google, Face Book, and Twitter. GAFT the Overlord has a nice ring to it.


Regrets, I Have a Few

The 4th of July is a happy holiday. Picnics and fireworks. My life has been such that I haven’t noticed holidays much. It may change soon, it may not.

Anyway, the 4th is one of those days that has many meanings to many people. To me it’s about freedom and that always leads me to thinking of those who make it possible. I was in the Air Force from January 1977 to January 1981. Me and Jimmy Carter were serving together. My one regret in life is that I didn’t stay in for 20 or more years.

I’m not much on the big regrets. Hurting someone with my imprudent tongue is a biggie, but other than that, there aren’t many things to wish were different.

For those of you who served, thank you. For those serving now, my prayers for you and your families. For those who will serve in the future, you will be doing a great and noble thing.

Photo from the Gary Sinise Foundation. Support if you can.



Don’t be yourself for a change.

I know it isn’t quite correct of me, but I really like Hallowe’en. I do not at all believe in the occult, ghosts, or the glamorization of evil, but I do love dressing up, using my imagination, and being someone else for a while. Letting my creative side free is just fun, so joy-killers, back off. Let the children have fun.

I remember watching the debut of “Thriller” on television. I was amazed at the level of creativity, and I loved the dance. That video was the daddy of all music videos. No longer would the band just stand there and play. From that point on, there would be story lines. It was brilliance that is still appreciated, as is seen in this clip from the movie 13 Going on 30. Skip ahead to 1:06 for the dance.

Friday at school, my kids will present Grammar Rocks in our school amphitheater for all those students and parents who missed it the first time. After that, we’ll have our Fall Festival, and my activity will be a sort of karoke. I’ve revived some of the kids’ favorites, like “Spooky Night.” They all think they’re in the “Thriller” video when we sing and dance to it. We also like “Up the Creaky Stairs,” “Vampire Cowboy,” “Spooky Uke,” “The Ghost of John,” and “The Haunted Piano.”

Looking at the Hallowe’en costumes in WalMart gave me a great idea for my granddaughter’s Christmas presents.  My daughters always loved to dress up. Mandy was She-Ra (always saving the world with her sword – no wonder she joined the military), and Melly was Ariel, Jasmine, or the Pink Power Ranger (saving the world in a cool, pink outfit). I bought several costumes for Charlie, and I can’t wait to see her all dressed up! Since her dad’s squadron is the Bat Squadron, she had to be Batgirl. But there’s also that independent streak, so Anna for those “Let me do it!” moments. Then, we all have a little Snow White inside. She already has “Frozen.” If I include the old “Snow White” movie, she can sing and dance along.

costumes 2

I Had to Laugh … an explosive edition

It’s the Fourth of July, do you expect that I would miss an opportunity to hint at bombs bursting?

Anyway, I found a book cover that proves some things never change. Book covers in the 80s were drenched with moist men battling a girl on one arm and a ship’s wheel in the other. If I remember correctly, the trends then went to covers drenched in colorful jewels and colorful titles. Glittering jewels … sexy men. Toss-up. All fans of romance can rejoice because the boys are back!!

Here it is:

Frederick and Anne battle stormy seas and their growing passion.

Frederick and Anne battling stormy seas and about to say the heck with it and make whoopee on the deck of a sinking ship!

And do you like the title? This is the latest title of Joanna Lindsey, Stormy Persuasion. I think I sense a trend.

It’s obviously based on the 2007 adaptaion of Jane Austen’s Persuasion with the dashing Rupert Penry-Jones with his gleaming blond hair. The blond in his arms is more of a mystery. Let’s all pretend this is Frederick and Anne battling a hellacious storm, somewhere exotic, fighting for their lives. Better yet, Frederick and Anne, somewhere exotic, being chased by pirates through a hellacious storm, fighting for their lives, AND fighting their own mounting passions.

I think I made myself a little sick there.

Anyway, the bigger news is that IT IS  the Fourth of July. If you are an American, this is the day to eat burgers, hot dogs, potato salad, and drink a beer or soda. I read somewhere that the White House website is suggesting instead eat veggie burgers and fruit salad. Potato salad is a vegetable salad so there. And, instead of summery drinks like soda or lemonade, drink fruit-flavored water. Isn’t that what lemonade IS?

Be careful of the fireworks. Put your pets in the house and pull the blinds. Also be mindful of veterans who may be sensitive to loud noises.

Raise your glass to freedom.

Wait. Now that I look at the cover, I think she’s asking, “What are you thinking about?” And he’s wondering if she even notices the raging waves. Next there will be a question about her dress making her look fat.


An engagement ring for Christmas? Hmm . . .

christmas-engagementAccording to WOKV, a state court in Georgia recently ruled that Christopher Ned Kelley owes his former fiancee Melissa Cooper, with whom he lived for more than a decade, $50,000 for cheating on her. He had fathered her child and given her a $10,000 ring, promising to marry her. Cooper had resigned from her job to raise their child, depending on Kelley to provide for his family, but when she found out Kelley had cheated on her for a second time, she sued him for fraud and for “breach of promise to marry.” She also broke off the engagement and kicked him out of their home.

His defense was that he never intended to marry her. Here’s his statement: “I never initiated the concept of marriage with her, outside of giving her that ring,” he said. “I never said the words ‘will you marry me’ to her.” I guess the ring and the baby were a ploy. He said that she was actually his prostitute. He paid for things, and she provided sexual services for him.

Georgia abolished common law marriages in 1997, so she had no grounds there, and I don’t understand why she didn’t break it off the first time he cheated on her. Besides, he is clearly not husband material. He doesn’t even know the difference between a statement and a question.

I think the case is interesting. Gentlemen, be warned. If you give her an engagement ring and a baby, you have promised to marry her, even if you have cleverly avoided asking the question.

In Regency times, engagements were legally binding. Before a formal engagement, young ladies were expected to be chaste, but once the engagement was announced, the rules were substantially relaxed. Therefore, a broken engagement ruined both the reputation of the lady and the pocketbook of the gentleman. Because the woman was unlikely to find another suitor with such a blot on her character, her male relative could sue the jilter, most often resulting in his payment of a fine (250 pounds). Occasionally, the man would choose instead to marry the lady, though I would not have been amenable to that arrangement for a daughter of mine. That’s too similar to the redneck “shot gun weddings” of them thar hills.