Saturday, November 12, 2011

Memories of Edinburgh

My ghoulish ride on Halloween
Its November 12th - the day after Veterans Day.  Quiet fills my house as Mary is off to a funeral for a friend.  The girls are doing, well, whatever it is girls do at 17 and 24.  Having the day off yesterday was a welcome respite from the dregs of the office.  Lately my motivation is, well, on other things.  Call it bad attitude, lack of drive, maybe just dog assed tired.  Between hospitals, daughters, the occasional tooth ache, work stress, and all the other nightmarish ghouls that invade my dreams, lately I just haven't been myself.  We all go through times like this.  Don't tell me we don't.  Even the most savvy of personalities has a down week or two, but eventually things turn up, and you pull out of the doldrums.  Maybe its the season, too, as colder weather is coming, and what a cranky S.O.B. I can be when I am not on the Harley motorbike!  Whatever it is, its nothing I can just take some happy pill for, and its sure nothing that a little wind in my hair won't cure, but those days are coming to a grinding halt.  Whatever it is, I just wish it would take a flying leap out of my life and hit the road.

Mary as we left Mercy Hospital
after her back surgery
Mary's surgery has done well.  Doctors implanted the nerve stimulator in her back last week, and it has done wonders for her pain.  Her back is more stiff from the surgery itself, but the central portion of the pain she had is almost gone, masked by a small device that is not much bigger than a flash drive.  She is still recovering, but has been able to get out of the house on her own a couple times for short trips.  It will take some time for her incisions to fully heal, but it sure is great to see her able to move around better and be in a little better frame of mind.  Next up will be the total knee replacement of her left knee.  That will most likely take place after the holidays.  Doctors expect her recovery from back surgery to take about 8 weeks, which puts knee replacement right around Christmas, so we'll wait on that till after the holidays to give her more time to recover fully.  In the mean time, we're all just thankful to see her moving around a bit better!

From Left: Jim Franklin, Walter Illes,
and John Maldonado of the QM
Division aboard the USS Sam Rayburn
Veterans Day is a day we all give thanks to the veterans of our nations military, and even the local law enforcement and firefighters are to be thanked for their service as well.  Since Mary was feeling a bit better I decided to take her to a local eatery that offered free lunch to any veteran who walked in.  As you can imagine, it was a little crowded.  I was struck by two things, however, that seemed to stick with me.  The first was a class of elementary students who offered a little handwritten card to each vet as he walked in.  The second, more importantly, was that most of the people in this place were not my age, but mostly Vietnam vets.  You can tell a lot of them any more, the long hair, the handlebar mustaches, the look in their eyes when handed a Thank You card.  I make no boasts about my naval "career" as it were.  I served in peacetime.  I served when the USSR was our enemy. I never saw what most could construe as real combat, although the things I did do are still highly classified to this day. After all, it was submarine duty.  Nobody is supposed to know.  No one died on my watch.  No one was blown to pieces by a mortar round, and no one was executed.  I never saw a soldier lose an arm, a leg, or have the back of his head taken off by a grenade.  Those who have deserve my gratitude, my respect, and should always be held in high esteem by our fellow countrymen.  It shames me to no end, however, when people in my community still flip their noses at veterans such as these men.  If you see a veteran, ANY veteran, just say "Thank you!".  Thank you for your service, thank you for your devotion to country, thank you for your dedication, and thank you for my freedoms.  Many of these men were never thanked. Many never were even greeted warmly when they came home.  Some were protested, belittled, embarrassed, humiliated for doing their jobs. The next time you see a veteran, just say "Thank You" and it will make a huge difference in their lives.

From Right: LCDR Wayne Gambin,
Chief Dave Harper, and me in the
foreground on the USS Sam Rayburn
The holidays are fast approaching.  The pagan winter festivals, as some refer to them, are always painful at times.  The traffic, the hoarding masses, the endless lines, the constant chiming of cash registers, all the noise noise noise! I, for one, have chosen to hide in my house and not come out until January 10th! Yes I know - I sound like an old Scrooge, but I give my thanks to my friends and family each day.  I also give thanks for the doctors who are working to give Mary a new lease on life.  The New Year will bring hope and promise, but to be sure, its to those I love most that have brought some measure of understanding.  It has been a difficult year in my house, but thank you to each of my friends and family for sticking with me and having some understanding!  Patience is being rewarded, although at this point I am not sure if its patience or just dogged determination but we have high hopes for the coming year.  I want to wish each of you a great Thanksgiving Holiday!  Make sure you give thanks to each other, and let us all pray for peace and prosperity!

Peace & Love!

A nice little fire to warm the coggles and toes!

Edinburgh Castle

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