Archive for the 'Stories of Home' Category

This story was first published by myself on March 3rd 2007 at Techography. I republished it here in 2010. – BloodSpite

On Easter Monday, shortly after noon, Patrick Pearse and a band of ill armed and ill prepared poets and romantic patriots rose in rebellion took control of the General Post Office in

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central Dublin and several other strategic sites around the city. The Irish Republic was proclaimed in Dublin, and the insurgent Tricolour suddenly broke upon startled eyes flying from the flagstaff above the General Post Office in the very heart of the Irish capital.

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I wrote this in March of 2012 once it had finally settled in to my brain on the passing of Neptunus Lex. Brother in Arms, Brothers in Ink, Milblogger, and a man I’d like to consider a friend. I think it needs to be reposted as its that time of the year again.

It is Ireland’s sacred duty to send over, every few years, a playwright to save the English theatre from inarticulate glumness.
Kenneth Tynan, Observer, 27 May 1956

We didn’t send him to England. But really, for an Irishman there really isn’t much difference between death and Ireland.

For me, it didn’t really click until this morning.I had an eval with my current employer, I sat in front of my laptop at 4 o clock this morning with my coffee, and on impulse clicked Lex’s blog link from my bookmarks. My nerves akimbo. I wanted some peace.

Over the years the people I have known via websites have waxed and waned. When I first started writing on line back in 1995, there was one other site I visited with regularity. In 2000, there was eight. In 2002 twenty two. In 2007 almost 52.

Now? 17…and of those fully half are inactive links. Its a testament to my love for Lex’s work that I kept him on my book mark list. The others I liked and I keep hoping that they will update. I have been reluctant to remove the inactive ones from my bookmarks for this reason.

As I clicked his link, and the page loaded the hot coffee turned cool against my lips as I was reminded by whisper…he’s gone. His words will not grace us any longer, save for works in days gone by. His thoughts of previous days left to haunt us in the present.

I set my cup down and wondered. This digital snap shots in to our lives. Where will they go? What will happen to them. For many, when the costs come due our families will shut them down, turn off the lights, and our words will vanish in to the ether at some point.

Our words left unread by those in the future whom may read them. It is one advantage our print and media brethren have over us. Our archives are only around as long as someone wishes to pay for it. There are no libraries whom receive our subscriptions, no history scribes whom will hallmark our work and words. It is up to us to find ways to back up these works, save them, and distribute them in some fashion for others to hold dear.

Our children may not come of age knowing our works, or what motivated us without these very lines I type. How we thought and the people we sought to be, in the end are portrayed here, in black and white and sent to you in hi definition on 1,024 x 768 pixels through a OC48 pipe from one coast to another.

Lex is gone. That much is final. His words may one day slip in to obscurity. Like my other blog friend triticale whom we lost in 2007, or Acidman whom we lost in 2006, their websites stand testament to their sentiments, themselves, and their values. Digital monuments.

But one day those digital monuments can and will fail. Companies get sold, servers crash, people move on, costs become exorbitant. For me a culmination of almost two decades of writing belong on two websites…the thought crosses my mind…what will happen if? I have no regular blog partner with keys. My wife has no interest in these things, and no interest in voicing her own ideals. It will simply become like my coffee, cold, and one day to vanish in to the electronic ether.

Maybe I am bleak because a little light has left this world. Because one who continued, with others fell to the way side, to provide us with measured, rational doses of words, wisdom and work. Who shared with us his day to day experiences, struggles and life.

Maybe I am bleak because how many of us, in that former profession, had those narrow misses? Those brief glances in to our future? that feeling that all we knew and had was about to change in a single instance….and once he was past that point he chose to go back to it, willingly, knowing the costs at stake? Only to be snatched at the last possible instance mere feet from safety?

It seems incomprehensible really. But the Banshee does not care about prose, wit, or talent and at some point when she calls to us to warn of us of An Bás, the time to prepare will be over.

I prefer not to think that those engines final whine were the cry of the Banshee for Lex, although fitting it may be.

When An Bás came calling, I choose to think that someone, up there….just wanted a good debriefing on how life is down here these days. And to keep it interesting he picked the best writer we had.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam
May he rest on peace

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(Editors Note: I first published this at the beginning of 2012. For March, I thought it was a good story to bring back up and republish. Enjoy!)

The Irish and the British will always have issues because the British never remember, and the Irish never forget.

It’s a hot button issue in Ireland.

At the time, and now to an extent, many feel that the over 5,000 Irishmen who left Ireland to fight against Nazi Germany in World War II were  and are criminals, or deserters.

They left the Irish Army, leaving Ireland who was neutral, to fight to stop the Nazi’s in World War II.

Today, there is a possibility they may be pardoned.

The Starvation Orders were the orders to blacklist those 5,000 troops upon their return. They could not get jobs, welfare, pensions or any assistance what so ever, some of them made a go at it. Others left the country yet again. Whats more the orders extended beyond just the individuals, but their families as well. It’s how my own family ended up in America.

Five thousand Irish soldiers who swapped uniforms to fight for the British against Hitler went on to suffer years of persecution. They were formally dismissed from the Irish army, stripped of all pay and pension rights, and prevented from finding work by being banned for seven years from any employment paid for by state or government funds.
One of them, 92-year-old Phil Farrington, took part in the D-Day landings and helped liberate the German death camp at Bergen-Belsen – but he wears his medals in secret. Even to this day, he has nightmares that he will be arrested by the authorities and imprisoned for his wartime service.

“They would come and get me, yes they would,” he said in a frail voice at his home in the docks area of Dublin.
And his 25-year-old grandson, Patrick, confirmed: “I see the fear in him even today, even after 65 years.”

Mr Farrington’s fears are not groundless.

 

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I’ve been going hunting again.

I have not been in years. Up until about 1999 I was an avid hunter. But traveling as much as I did after that point made hunting a logistical nightmare and practically a impossibility.

So I quit and just did fishing instead.

I do some walking, and and some deer stand work. Nothing fancy. I’m not in to outdoor channels nor do I drool when the next camo pattern shows up in stores. I usually wear jeans when I hunt. Its more about being quiet, good and the creature not smelling you. Everything else falls in to place after that.

However truly I don’t care about the hunting.  I prefer the peace.

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A long time ago my grandfather gave me a piece of advice regarding the world. I have kept it near and dear, and recited it often.  I have referred to it regularly and I find it on my mind a lot as of late.

There are folks out there who will take advantage of the kindness of others. To be clear this isn’t any group I am currently involved in, as I am involved in several, but rather an interpretation of our worlds state of affairs.

While a youngster in school I asked my grandfather about buying stuff for my school fundraiser. He refused and explained at the time”

“Offer sweat when required of you, blood when demanded, and money never.”

He later explained what each meant. You can volunteer your time, you can work hard and sweat to benefit society. Sweat is free. It’s easily generated. It’s your time.  Blood is for wars, and defense of the things you believe in. Money however is reserved for the safety and well being of your family, and your families future.  Money can be earned by those in need. Money should never be freely given. He explained it with wild life.

If you make it to easy for animals to get food, they come to expect it. Like bears raiding garbage cans.  One day when they don’t find it, they’ll come demanding it from it’s source.

We’ve been pushed pretty hard here at An Dun.  Critter under went surgery and that set us back on what little savings we had after doing a tremendous amount of work here at the house. In fact we don’t have any, now.  My truck required some repairs to have it meet the state inspection standards, and my wife’s vehicle has another 4k in repairs I have to do to it. But I simply don’t have it.

This isn’t a beg. Or asking for money.  Just me rambling some thoughts in my mind to clear my head.

I know no one currently who is not in hard times. I find myself focusing on seasons, concentrating on getting our house and land ready for winter, preparing to build a woodshed, and chop firewood. I see myself slipping back somewhat to my youth in watching the tree’s ,the skies and the land for changes of season. It’s not a unpleasant feeling. But it is a sobering one.

We have offered our time and our blood to a number of affairs over the years. It’s been enjoyable. We feel we have made a difference. But it is harder and harder to recognize that difference as more and more people come from the wood work needing assistance through the various charities we have done work in.  I find myself growing disgusted with people in general.

I want to find them, shake them, and demand them: Find Work. McDonald’s pay sucks but it is work. A job is a job is a job. Take responsibility for yourself. Stop blaming the world. Handle your life. Raise yourself, and your family. At age 32 when I first moved to Arkansas versus being on unemployment, and after being a Project Manager for one of the largest telecom firms of the last decade I took a job cutting grass at a marina for barely more than minimum wage. Because it was a job, and I had a responsibility, and I had no time for the foolishness of saying a job was beneath me.

I’m currently examining taking a second job, possibly even teaching. Most likely online given my work schedule and load. But I can’t pursue it until I graduate. Thus time is not on my side at current.

Now Critter is experiencing adversity in her school. I have a very different interpretation of the intent by the staff. We offer our sweat, our time, and our efforts. But we don’t participate in sending money or fundraisers. We already spend  a large sum for tuition. We pay our school taxes on top of that.  Maybe it’s my families raising but asking for more just seems greedy. My interpretation of the adversity she is experiencing I feel is a direct result of our lack of spending.  I see no other basis. I confess to being a sarcastic cynic as well, however. My wife disagrees but has no other theory to offer. However, that is why she is at the parent teacher conference this morning and I am home playing Nurse Dad. I am known to be….abrasive…when riled…and make no mistake, when it comes to my daughter I will rile easily.

In short it has been hectic around An Dun these days, and my grandfathers words have been tested. In good news, we fixed the leaks, replaced all the doors but one, repaired the foundation and have made a lot of headway. Now I fear my daughters birthday and supplying a Christmas.

They are first world problems. I do not argue this.  I always keep in mind the places I have been. The things I have seen. There are others who are much worse off than us. Who would trade what little they had to be us in an instant.

But it does not make it an easy thing, just the same. In a little more than 6 months I will graduate with my Masters degree. I don’t know that I be fiscally able to continue with my current employer, and that bothers me as well. I have not shown loyalty to a single employer since my time with the Army, it could be said I have commitment issues. But I like my job, I like the company, I like the people. I just don’t know that I will be able to continue in such vein by the time my first student loan payment comes due.

As in all things, time will tell. And in that time the leaves will change, the snows will come, and the wind will blow. But in that I will be ready. The wood will be cut, the house will be warm, the roof solid. My grandfather taught me well.

The man who survived World War II, who survived the Great Depression, who lived off the land, who ate not from a store but from the woods, and drank from streams who did his best to pass on to us how to be the best people we could be, and showed us how to speak and act with intent, and integrity.  It often leaves me confused in my interactions often around others who speak from the side of their mouths as to why they feel the need to do such things.

In her adversity, I try to teach Critter what was passed to me, and how to watch the seasons, the land, the leaves, and prepare.  People who demand money will always be there. Vehicles always need fixing. Adversity at school is a constant. But one’s home is one sanctuary, and one’s family is a responsibility that can not be denied.

And in that, it can be said that no matter how technology driven our society becomes, how professional I may be seen to be, or business oriented,  I learned my lessons from my very Appalachian oriented family well: My grandfather taught me well.

We will persevere.

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Nestled within the Seven Valley region of Southwest Missouri, lies the home that was voted to be called An Dun.

It’s a work in progress. We’re still unpacking in fact, a slow and tedious process with our work and school schedules.

Since procuring the home place, we have painted the entire interior of the house. I have also discovered a lot of water damage that I have been working feverishly to repair. New doors. New carpet. New fridge.

New start.

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Current vote tallies are as follows.

An Leargaidh The Slopes    3 Votes
An Dun Hill Fort   3 Votes
Monadh Liath Grey Mountains  2 vote
Cair Ceann Tulaich  Fort of the hillock 1 Vote

And lets not forget an honorary mention for Caisleán Critter 

Don’t forget to check here for the full list.

I was going to finalize this on the 10th, but frankly I have not been able too.  As May 4th we should actually be able to start officially relocating in to the house I will probably make the naming ceremony then.

We have gotten a lot done.

All of the rooms are painted, about 90% of the trim and touch up work is complete as well. The old carpet has been ripped out.

The chimney sweep will be out Tuesday. The carpet is being installed on Wednesday, the new water heater, fridge and exterior doors are coming on Thursday. So I’ll start transporting stuff over Thursday night most likely as long as the weather holds.

I am so ready for all this moving and construction to be over.

Still will have a busy summer. Entire outside of the house needs to be stained, and there are a lot of repairs still to make.

But at least now we can see light at the end of the tunnel!

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Current vote tallies are as follows.

An Leargaidh The Slopes    2 Votes
An Dun Hill Fort   2 Votes
Monadh Liath Grey Mountains  1 vote
Cair Ceann Tulaich  Fort of the hillock 1 Vote

And lets not forget an honorary mention for Caisleán Critter 

Don’t forget to check here for the full list.

Vote tallies will end the morning of Saturday April 20th.

As for me? I’m trying to maintain decorum. Of course inside I’m screaming.  5 and a half hours and it will be all over.

So here’s something to set the mood. Caoineadh Cu Chlainn, probably one of the prettiest songs I know of, as performed by Bill Whelan and played on a Uilleann Pipe.

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Hopefully by this time tomorrow the signing of the papers for my new home place will be completed.

It’s odd for me really. I have spent most of my life moving in one form another. By age 14 I had already lived in almost every state on the Eastern Seaboard thanks to the US Navy. Since then I’ve moved well over two dozen times again. Packing, and moving, is something I can almost do in my sleep.

My daughter however, is not used to this. My wife either really. Before she met me and fell victim to my southern charms she had never lived anywhere but New York. Since then she’s moved to Arkansas and then Missouri. This next move will make her practically a veteran mover.

But my daughter is stressed. She doesn’t like putting her toys in boxes or her animals in bags. She doesn’t understand that she will see them again in just a few weeks. I find myself regularly having to take a deep breath before reacting, namely because I moved so many times that I can’t comprehend this problem. Yet while I experienced it myself, I find myself forgetting that experience, and responding not with understanding but rather exasperation. It’s troubling to me.

With any luck she will never have to grow up a nomad as I did. I try to not allow myself to become frustrated with her, but I digress.

The point of this, dear readers, is the Naming.

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So its finally March. Usually my favorite time of the year.

As you can see I managed to ensure that the website changed to its typical green hue for the occasion, forests of Ireland a backdrop for something I have done on this website for several years: that of sharing some Irish history, Mythology, lore and my own families history with you.

This year has been crazy, and the last several weeks hectic. Last year our March celebration was marred by the loss of longtime friend and fellow MilBlogger Lex.

I can’t promise you this month will be better. There are things moving in m own life that have me as worried as a long tail cat in a room full of rocking chairs, but I digress.

It’s March. There is still snow on the ground. Spring is coming soon as the last vestiges of winter make their way from our lives for this year.

Smile.

Be Happy.

Be Green!

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When we first moved to southwest Missouri, I was exploring the backside of our property and came across huge boulders, the size of vehicles. At least one set that runs along the ridge that we live on, is almost the length if not surpassing the weight of, my home. Combined with the inability of grass to grow (but weeds can, hey they’re green!) in the amazingly rocky soil we named our home An Creagan, a Gaelic word that means “Rocky Place” or “Stony Place”.

We are looking to buy a home, and we have made an offer on it. We feel comfortable in saying it will be accepted. For us a home needs a good name, something that its residents can be proud of, to lay claim to it.  It helps to instill a since of pride and ownership. It doesn’t have to be plastered on the outside or raised over the drive, but can be just something to reference between us and friends. It gives a home a personality. Many folks I have met through the years call their places The Ponderossa, or simply The Home Place. One being from a old west television show and the other just country simplicity. But we all identify to the word “Home”, we just give Home a less common name, if that makes sense.

The new one differs only in a few ways from our current place. For one its not a mobile home but a real house. It’s also not as high up. It is on a hill top, but you have to go down in to the valley interior, and  it’s actually on a knoll in the center of the valley that An Creagan over look’s. So it has elevation, but the ridges come up around it blocking the view that my current home has.  It’s on a grassy and tree lined knoll between the ridges.

Also it has no great stone boulders on the property. And while the dirt is certainly as rocky, the previous owners of the house spent a good deal of money on topsoil so that it has good rich earth surrounding the place.

I am considering naming this place something else, should all go well and we manage to obtain it. We will be retaining An Creagan and moving my mother in to it (supplying her a home as every good son should) so it feels wrong to strip a name from a place that has so gallantly held it for so long.

For the new place, as it is centered in the valley I am considering a few names but none have leaped out at me.Then i figured I’d let ya’ll do some picking for me.

In Gaelic there literally dozens of words for Hills, and grove and those words are combined to form descriptions of specific places. So a bhuidhe or yellow and neach or that place becomes buidheanach or yellow place. But typically names don’t stop there. They usually designate further quantifiers like shape, size, and other descriptors giving it three words or more. A hill might also get named after a famous soldier – saighdear

Here’s a few examples and let me know of any you like or come up with your own:

  • Daire or Oak grove, as the new house has several live oaks surrounding it.
  • Cnoc da Darach or Hill of Oak
  • Cnoc sa Poll or Mountain in the hole (Since the house is on a hill top, thats in the Valley’s lower regions)
  • Saighdear caillte or Lost Soldier
  • Saighdiúirí An chuid eile or Soldiers Rest

If you don’t like these dig around. There a few resources on the internet and Google translate isn’t bad. Or hell just drop a comment and I’ll translate it for you. My Gaelic isn’t phenomenal but its passable.

 

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As a veteran I have had a lot of friends go on to Fiddlers green before. It never gets easier. As a civilian its a bit different.

You don’t have the bond that you get from the military. Sure you have drinks at folks houses, you talk about the kids but the struggles and traumas aren’t the same.

Storm chasing is different. You are pushed right up against the envelope in some of the most dangerous scenarios that mother nature has to offer. Me? I rarely if ever go out running them down. I readily admit I sit my happy ass in my comfortable office running radar scans and pulling information from multiple chasers over several states.

Andy made it fun. He made it interesting. He showed that chasers are professionals not only to each other but others as well and willing to give the shirt off his back to folks no matter the situation.

We lost Andy at the beginning of 2012. Killed less than 2 hours from my home by a drunk driver. In life as in war sometimes its the stupid things that get you killed. In this case it was a stupid person. Its often the things that seem most inconceivable, most unlikely that also do you in. Its not an artillery round, or a bomb vest, its a moron who doesn’t know how to say “Someone drive me home.” because at heart they are a mindless, simpleton coward.

It’s New Years Eve. I beg you be safe, be smart and be humble.

And remember those who have went before us, save a empty chair for them aye?

Bliain úr faoi shéan is faoi mhaise duit

 

 

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Merle Haggard had it right.

It has been tough going as dad, a student, a Volunteer fan, as a citizen.

The personal budget is screaming under the weight of schools, and Christmas. The countries budget might as well be on fire for all the good screaming has done it.

I am hopefully for a strong cold Winter. We haven’t had one in several years now, and frankly I think we need it.

Oh and lets not forget the Mayans. I’m attending a “We made it out alive or we got left behind!” December 22nd party.

But as I sit here in my office, sipping my coffee, my daughter playing on her computer beside me, even with all these troubles I can find a sense of peace.

Everything is falling apart around us, but at home, in the quiet of our home, we find peace.

Your life is what your thoughts make it.
– Marcus Aurelius

There’s a lot to be said for that I think.

At work its all 100 miles an hour, get it done lickety split quick. At home I try to slow it down. Relax. Breathe. Enjoy.

Kick back, scotch or wine, cigar and watch the leaves fall.

Peace.

If we can make it through December……but until that time, keep the peace, aye?

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It’s a hard thing to admit failure.

It’s not something one enjoys, or that one likes to revel in it. It’s a lot different than Great Victory which is what we all strive for in the end, yes?

But occasionally, despite our abilities, skills, confidence, and sheer luck the Fates come around and stick a steel toe number 9 in your kiester to remind you that you aren’t infallible.

Me? I managed to get my project online, on time and under budget. I have some clean up work that will require some more travel soon but the larger goal I got completed.

I’ve also managed to hang on by the skin of my teeth to my Law Class. I’m passing, but only just. The multitude of work hours has made it damn near impossible for me to dedicate the time that I needed to dedicate to it.

I even managed to come off my Leave of Absence to help track and coordinate on Hurricane Sandy. An epic storm, and I got to work right through it going almost days without sleep between it, my job and my school.

Yeah, its kinda like that lately

In all of this I got a couple things done around the house and in my yard that needed doing.

No, where I failed was two fold. Firstly was here. I need to write here….I want to write here. The need to write is something I constantly have however when I sit down my mind goes blank, and the world comes crushing in and frankly the only thing I want to do is lie down somewhere with a glass of Irish whiskey and pass out. Like the whole world is leaning in and suffocating me.

The second, was my Engineering Economics class. Those who know me well know math has always been my Achilles heel, my kryptonite. I have managed on numerous occasions to study my way past the brick wall that my head freeze locks on when it comes to numbers. I’ve become pretty good with balance books and can iterate cash flows. But despite hours of study, practice exams, reading, even sleeping with my stupid book under my pillow, I crashed and burned hard on my midterm.

So hard that looking at the points I just don’t see that I can dig my way out of the hole and still pass. I have to score a 3.25 in my class or higher in order for it to count towards my graduate program. My score is light years from that currently.

Looking back I realize I literally have too much going. Some of it is unavoidable like my work projects. Other parts are my choice: I could resign from the storm center. I could have put off the yard work but the of the matter is it has to be done. I’m not a 23 year old college kid who lives in the dorm. I’m a pushing 40 year old male with a wife, kid, career and acres of home that have to be supported and taken care of.

In short school is killing me.

I’m not quitting, not yet. But the knowledge that I will have to retake this class is…in a word….deflating…..demoralizing and thats eye opening. I’ve had the Midas touch now for almost 5 years juggling career and education I saw this coming…but then I didn’t. I went in cocky and over confident.

And paid the price. My own fault.

I’d get really drunk, but I have to study for my mid term for my law class.

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So every time I show up to make a post I end up spending about an hour cleaning up SPAM, and SPAM links and other assorted crap.

My big project is finally winding down and everything went well. I have some clean up to do but I won’t spend as many days playing airport bingo which is good.

Unfortunately my grades have tumbled with all of this madness, and I have midterms next week, so I’m crossing my fingers that I don’t crash and burn.

One hurdle down, one to go

Between work and school I’m questioning my sanity. My vacation a few days ago helped unplug and recharge a bit but now that I am back in the trench I’m asking myself how the hell I have swung both schedules for so long.

It doesn’t help that I’m not doing very well in one of my classes at all. To the point that I’m sweating over it frankly.

Meanwhile my frequent flyer miles with Delta are getting a work out. Go figure. I’m letting pretty much everything fall to the way side, as I didn’t know this would be so challenging: my stormchasing, my friends, this website, everything is going to pot while I struggle through my classes.

I keep telling myself I have just one more year. If I can pull this class out of the fire I have one more year and I will be golden. It’s challenging because my classmates are all full time students so it seems, I don’t think there is a career driven one in the bunch, and this is a Masters program!

I just have to keep it together for one more year. The goal line is in site and as long as I don’t fornicate the canine I will be done this time next year.

Who needs sleep, right?

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I’ve been packing and working on some work relatted paper work since last night. I took a brief respite and turned on the news while putting the finishing touches on my check in luggage. The programming put me to thinking.

I’ve been flying so much the last two months that it feels like I live in an airport.

Thats not usually a big deal for me but it has made keeping up with Graduate school, to put it very mildly, a challenge.

When I get home my daughter craves, no, demands my undivided attention. Work is a huge demand on my time right now and school is just as bad, if not worse. It’s further complicated by the fact I sometimes jump three to four time zones in a single day.

/sigh

But its good work, and I am doing my best too do a good job, even if the political enviornment is one I am not fond of. Anyone who knows me knows that I am about as politically correct as a an Irish bordello. So I usually just keep my mouth shut, keep my head down, to my job and move out smartly.

Truth be told in this area the travel is a relief. I grow weary of the huddeled whispers in corners sometimes, and it makes my head hurt when folks talk about the latest TV programming. While the latter is entirely me, and I admit that the former is just eye ball rolling and navel gazing. But I digress.

It has been nice seeing old Ft Carson again, sadly no one that I know is stationed here any longer. That much is somewhat telling, as well as vaguely disturbing. In our minds we often picture a place as frozen in time, in a single pane the way it was we last saw it. So it is often shocking when we return to a location and see the changes that have been wrought in our absence.

Cartersville and Ellijay, GA are both this way for me. Often I hear folks say “Oh its only grown a little.” While I stare at them flabberghasted. However my Ft Carson experience is more unsetteling than normal, whereas Cartersville and Ellijay have people I know who can help me identify changes or find places I used to haunt, with Ft Carson  I have none of that. Too many years have passed, to many duty stations have changed and too many personell have left for Fiddlers Green from the wars and “peace actions” since my time here.

In High School, one of our yearbook themes was “We are only just passing through”. My good friend, lets call him Gas-man due his MOS and to protect the guilty, and I noted how many folks just passed through our active duty units. Compared to a dinner we had recently with a group of National Guard veterans who I think may have a more solid bonding experience as their personell usually stay until retirement, with minimal change due to personell rotation, or MOS branch orders like in Active Duty.

I think I envy them that. A steady parade of faces over the years, folks I knew only breifly or not at all move past my minds eye as I board another plane and then another. Watching folks in uniform shuffle from one Gate to another to catch flights from here to yon. The last time I flew on Active Duty we were told we could not wear our uniforms for security concerns. We wore civillian clothes. I consider the fact that those instructions were pre 9/11 and now after the fact we openly have folks wearing. Its a juxtaposition to be sure for me, but one that  I can not take a position on as I see points in both aspects. But the faces move on and fade out.

In the end we all do, we make only a few marks in the worls, on the people we meet. There are no more Alexanders, no more Hannibals. There will be no more grand parade of soliders from Antietam, The grand movements are done, the band has ceased. It is not what we mark anymore it is who.

Do I sound tired? I am. Very tired.

I turn off the TV and finish packing my bag. If our network programming is of any indicator, I think I’d rather  read the works of Tacitus and remember than see what we have become.

 

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I have written before about strings. We see them yet we don’t. They intersect each of us to others, crisscrossing the land.

I am sitting at MSP. Minneapolis Airport in Minnesota. Another day, another state and another city for the op log book.

But my heart is heavy. In Georgia my first cousin lies in ICU. Fighting the odds and the numbers. The doctors tell us its only a matter of time. More hours than days I’m told.

If it happens as they say this will be four people close to me that have gone to Fiddlers Green in a single month. The ties that bind are heartwrenching, and my soul is weary of this.

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