Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Christmas Time is Here

Well the Christmas season has started, for me at least, as I just got done watching Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer from 1964. I love the simplicity of the characters the stop motion and mostly the memories they bring back to me. Memories of my grandmother making cookies (the BEST) and popcorn balls, my grandfather shopping and telling of bluppuses his word for presents, which we still use today. The tree decorated with a combination of homemade and store bought decorations. One of my favorite decorations was made by a good friend and it is nothing more than 2 pipe cleaners with a egg carton cup glued to the top to make a simple sleigh. It will sit in a place of honor on the tree as it has for almost 40 years.

What I don't remember, or perhaps choose not to, is the shoving and bickering I hear in the stores now, I don't remember Christmas starting as soon as the back to schools items had been cleared away to the school supply isle in September.

I remember the Thanksgiving Holiday as the "official" start of the Christmas season, and the 1st carol of the year. One of my favorite memories is Santa riding a Norelco razor over the snow covered hills as Charlie Brown and Linus got a pathetic tree year after year. How the Grinch never remembers how the Who's effect him or how Rudolph learns that to be different is ok and sometimes a good thing.

I think back then Christmas break was months long, at least in my mind, and my friends and I played in the snow and went sledding down Marigold street. My memories of Christmas are good and clean and great to look back on, I miss those uncomplicated days.

Christmas 2010 will be a good one, Jordan and Cassie with be with the family on Christmas morning. One home from boot camp and the other from collage, Tamara will be here, as will my mom, aunt, cousins, grandmother and of course Christina.

They say with passing years things are supposed to get easier, my grandfather passed away in Dec. 2002 right before Christmas and I still feel the loss every bit as much as the night he passed away. I see things and want to tell him about them or think that would be a great Grandpa Ed present.

Christmas is a time for family, friends, parties and giving, but for me it is also a bit melancholy. A time of introspection and some sadness, I hope this year to find the joy earlier by watching the old TV specials and remembering all I have to be thankful for.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

We use words like honor, code, loyalty...

" A Veteran is someone, who at one point in their life, wrote a blank check payable to the United States of America for an amount up to, and including, their life. That is beyond honor and there are way too many people in this country who no longer remember that fact." Author Unknown
My beloved Marine Corps will be 235 years old tomorrow the 10th, Veterans Day is the 11th, we need to remember the sacrifice and price of freedom . Freedom is not free, freedom is earned by the blood, sweat and tears of our servicemen and women.

Every generation pays that price. Are you one of those that paid the price, answered the call and took the oath? Or are you the one that complains about the cost of a standing army and berates the service but yet swears 'I support the troops'.

I answered the call, my brother is today serving in the U.S. navy, my best friend was in the Air Force, my aunt, my father and grandfather and great grandfather are Army veterans, my mother served 25 years in the Army and now my son Jordan has picked up the torch of freedom and is currently in Army boot camp. Where will you be on veterans day, working or kicking back grateful for a day off?

When you see a veteran or a service man in uniform; do you say thank you for your service and shake their hand or keep walking, taking that sacrifice made and your freedom for granted.

On e of my favorite movie quotes is:

"Son, we live in a world that has walls. And those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. Who's gonna do it? You? You, Lt. Weinberg? I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You weep for Santiago and you curse the Marines. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know: that Santiago's death, while tragic, probably saved lives. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives...You don't want the truth. Because deep down, in places you don't talk about at parties, you want me on that wall. You need me on that wall.
We use words like honor, code, loyalty...we use these words as the backbone to a life spent defending something. You use 'em as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom I provide, then questions the manner in which I provide it! I'd rather you just said thank you and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a weapon and stand a post."
Jack Nicholson - A Few Good Men

Not everyone sees combat and most will never pay the ultimate price, but if you served and wore the uniform you have paid for that freedom with missed family dinners and holidays spent far from home, and perhaps in blood. So enjoy Veterans Day, hoist a cold one to fallen, missing or forgotten comrades and remember with out your service there would be no USA.

I, for one, salute you and thank you for your service.

Monday, November 1, 2010

How many more goodbyes are left before my own?

There comes a time in life when your heroes have fallen , your idols are fading and you see friends parents and even your friends passing away.

I realized that as I getting older time is passing faster and faster like a car coasting down a hill with no driver to apply the brakes. Your children have grow before your very eyes and graduated or are soon to, and are moving into adult hood with out you, then you look in the mirror and see gray hair, wrinkles and sags and wonder who is that old person looking back at me .

Yesterday one of basketball's greats died, Maurice Lucas, former Portland Trail Blazer and coach. I had the privilege many years ago to meet him, he never said no to an fan asking for an autograph, and a picture or just a chance to say hello. He was always the gentle giant, with a smile for all.

These things combined got me to thinking my heroes are gone; my grandfather, Chesty Puller, John Wayne and Audie Murphy. I am rapidly approaching age 50, cant bend, walk, stand or sit comfortably any longer due to health issues and wonder how long till my name is "Called up Yonder" as the song says.

On face book I have over a hundred friends, many from high school, but are they friends or just names from the past, would I know them or they me, if we met in the store?

My mom, aunt and grandmother are still with me, my dad and grandfather gone to lead the way and I want to know was this the last Halloween or will this be the last Thanksgiving or Christmas.

Tomorrow morning as I go to proudly watch my son, Jordan swearing into the U.S. army and leave for boot camp I wonder how many more goodbyes are left before my own?