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happy, happy, joy, joy....

Sunday, September 14, 2014
..is what I am when they we are all together in the same place at the same time. And we were for lunch today, at the restaurant they like to visit when they come to town. So we all had oriental food for at OK Suns. A fond remembrance from their high school years of being allowed to leave the campus on Fridays to go and eat away from cafeteria food.

Then one of the daughters and I went down to the Infantry Museum, adjacent to Ft. Benning. I did not realize she had never been, surprising to me, since I have been a number of times and her dad has been volunteering there for several years. He goes down there generally two afternoons a week, to meet-and-greet; sharing museum info. with young soldiers, old geezers reminiscing about their military years, families on post to attend graduation of their young newly minted soliders.

We enjoyed a tour of the museum, courtesy of her dad, who has been down there a couple of years, usually just on Friday and Saturday afternoons, but occasionally 'on demand'. Like being available on short notice when another volunteer does not show up.  The man has a lot of time on his hands. Or on Mondays, when the museum is not routinely open, unless it's a Federal holiday, when everything is closed, and they are open.
.
There is a walkway adjacent to the Museum, lined with the flags of the fifty states and territories. Designed to lead visitors around the building, to the parade ground, where newly trained recruits graduating from basic training arrive in formation for the ceremony that marks the beginning of their Infantry careers. There are hundreds of bricks lining the walkway dedicated to family members, custom made to the specifications of particular service men or donors to the building/facility/funding.

I bought a brick when the fundraising for the building was underway, dedicated to the memory of my dad. And had found it only once. Then could not  locate it again. But asked at the info. desk, where there is a book with an alpha. listing, for all the individuals, who have bricks dedicated in their memory/honor. And today we found my dad's brick again.


not really, exactly, precisely 'new'...

Saturday, September 13, 2014
...but new to Me, which is, as my spouse would say, 'Good Enough For Government Work'. I've got a slightly shop-worn, barely driven, neat-as-a-pin, hardly broken-in, remarkably clean Toyota. Close enough in most ways to the one I have been driving since 2009, that it could be a second cousin. Except for being a 2013. With about one-tenth of the miles that the gold one, bought in 2009, has accumulated in five years.

I was hoping, when I decided it was time to start looking, for a 2012 with fairly low mileage, and other most important factoid would be low mileage. Had a couple of people looking out for something I might want. One of whom is a guy I go to church with, but did not actually know (or even know I attend church with him) who has a dealership in Buena Vista, a small community about 45 minutes to the southeast. He found me a used one, that I went to pick up on Thursday afternoon. And immediately drove to Valdosta, leaving the first one there on his 'used' lot, optimistic that someone would desperately want to buy it while I was traveling for twenty-four hours.

We stopped back in Buena Vista and brought the older one back to the house. Where it is parked up on the corner of two very well-travelled streets, with For Sale signs taped to the windows, hoping for a good home I really don't have any idea how many people drive down this street, turning at the intersection to go to the golf course, or housing developments: but at minimum I'd have to say 10,000, including homeowners/residents, contractors/builders, school district employees and golfers. Or maybe double that number.

A guy who was driving along the road stopped me to say he had bought a 2006, and expected to drive his for many more hundreds of miles.  Like 400,000. I plan to get a photo and post it on Craig's List, though  I am well aware people who peruse adv. there are also yard sale attendees - expecting to get something for (nearly) nothing.  But just trying to get the word out that I would like to sell it, and hope there will be someone who needs a starter car for a teenager, or second family car who will enjoy getting excellent mileage, and staying on the go.

Dr. Ben Carson

Friday, September 12, 2014
A friend went with me to Valdosta on Thursday afternoon to hear Ben Carson give a talk at VSU. There will always be people who will disagree with whatever someone else is saying or suggesting. So there were protesters, mostly college age students with too much time on their hands, standing on the corner outside the building, holding posters declaiming Dr. Carson.

We walked by this group of fifteen or so 'objectors' several times, and were not pestered, or even spoken to.  The youths, probably barely old enough to vote, were wrapped up in their own little self-centric lives. Chatting with each other, enjoying media attention: you know the 'squeaky wheel' will most likely be the object of photo op. We went in the building, picked up our tickets and on to the student union for a bite to eat. Then walked around part of the campus, and back to the auditorium to cool off, find our seats, and wait for the event to begin.

If you don't know anything about Dr. Carson, you need to do some googling. He spoke for about forty-five minutes, then a fifteen minute Q and A. Often quoting or referring to the founding fathers, and their thoughts on the Constitution. And just as frequently quoting verses of Scripture. Which is probably why the protesters were so outraged by his appearance on campus. I noticed most of the crowd who paid for tickets to hear him talk were middle aged or older. People who have been productive taxpaying members of society for years. The ones who are paying the tuition for the one who were standing on the sidewalk waving posters at passers-by.

absoluely heart-wrenching...

Thursday, September 11, 2014
... even after all this time. I know there are certain dates in history that will be forever embedded in memory. For older folks, of my parents' era, they will reminisce of where they were when they heard the news about the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. For the generation of my adult daughters, it will be where they were when they heard about the death of the Princess of Wales.

 And for all of us, forever in our thoughts, will be where we were when we heard about the airliners full of innocents crashing into the World Trade Center on September 11. It happened in 2001. Hard to believe it's been fourteen years... but I am sure it seems like the pain is still sharp and raw to those who lost family members in the crashing and resulting destruction, aftermath as the Towers fell.

I read a book recently by a man who is a professional sports writer. Well known in the world of athletes, and a prolific writer, as well as media consultant and commentator. The following is by Rick Riley, and an excerpt from his most recent book. "Tiger, Meet My Sister... and other things I probably shouldn't have said". The book consists of  a compilation of columns and articles, on a wide range of individuals, all of whom are somehow connected to the sports world - from long forgotten baseball players to individuals of Olympic competition levels.

Let's Keep Rolling
September 6, 2011
"The first battle in the renewed war against terrorism wasn't waged in Fallujah or Kandahar or Tikrit. It was held 32,000 feet above Pittsburgh, on September 11, 2001.
And it wasn't soldiers who led the battle.
It was four athletes, pushing a food cart.
United Flight 93 was supposed to go from Newark to San Francisco that Tuesday morning, but 31 year-old Jeremy Glick wasn't supposed to be on it.
He was supposed to go the day before, but a fire at Newark Airport forced him to re-book for the next day, one of the bloodiest in American history.
About forty-five  minutes into the flight, four radical Islamic terrorists stormed the cockpit, sliced the throats of the pilots and took charge. They told the thirty-three passengers and seven crew members they were hijacking the plane and returning to Newark.
Glick, a muscular 1993 national collegiate judo champion, scampered back to the second-to-last row and called his wife, Lyz.
Lyz couldn't hold the line. What she was hearing was sending her body into convulsions. She handed the phone to her dad and walked into a different room."
[....the other three were as physically fit and joined with Glick to attempt to divert the plan of the radicals. Collegiate competitors and serious about the physical and mental training they would constantly subject themselves to to maintain top conditioning...]
"All of them jocks. All of them with the physical and mental training to rise up when all seems lost. This is the best guess of what they did.
'We're going to attack', Glick told Lyz. 'I'm going to put the phone down. I love you. I'll be right back'.
[Todd] Beamer revealed the same plan to the operator, Lisa Jefferson, who was sitting in a call center in Oakbrook Illinois. When it was time, he let the phone dangle so he cold keep the line open in case he made it back alive. She heard Beamer say to the others,' Let's roll'. It's a phrase that would later be stenciled on jet fighters, NASCAR rides and above locker room doors.
Using a food service cart as a battering ram, the attackers raced up the aisle and smashed through the cockpit door. It was almost 10 a.m.
'My dad said first he heard a series of screams', Lyz recalls. Then he heard another set of screams. Then it all sounded like a roller coaster, up an down. And then it just.... ended."
"United Flight 93 dove into a remote field in southwestern Pennsylvania, near Shanksville, killing all aboard. People ten miles away said they felt the ground shake. It's believed the plane was headed for the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C."
"And yet, ten years later, the memorial that was promised these forty people hasn't been delivered. The Flight 93 National Memorial is still $10 million short of completion. There is no visitor's center to teach, no Tower of Voices to listen to, and no forty groves of trees to honor.
'I'm 69 years old', says David Beamer (David's dad). 'I'd like to see the thing get done in my lifetime. If you and everybody you know can make one little sacrifice - one hour of your income - we could get this done tomorrow.'
I sent in an hour's pay not just to honor the passengers of Flight 93 but also to thank them. My niece was working in the Capitol that day. This spring, she had her second baby.
The passengers aboard Flight 93 saved hundreds of lives - if not thousands - in thirty five minutes. We've had ten years.
It's a hole we need to fill.
postscript: ...you'll be happy to know the goal was reached. The Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville is now open. It's free."

about that Lantern Parade...

Monday, September 8, 2014
Ha!

I just had a report from a facebook lurker that my own personal self had turned up on someone's page with a photo as a participant in the Parade along the Beltway on Saturday night. It was such a neat, cool, amazingly harmless form of entertainment for so many folk: all those who walked with lighted objects (everything from a camping headlight on an old geezer to baby strollers with blinking Christmas lights on and tinsel garlands on dowels) and thousands of on-lookers.

I've been a participant in several parades, as a kid/teen, in that small town in south GA where I got my start, and have seen a lot more. Especially when I had kids, and wanted them to be observers when 'Santa Arrives' on a fire truck at the end of a long stream of convertibles full of beauty queens, floats, marching bands, shiny pick-up trucks with people throwing out hard candy.

But I have decided, come to a startling conclusion, after walking a couple of miles in the semi-dark (lots of street lights along the way, as the sun was sinking in the west) with several thousand other Lanternees. I am suddenly, surprisingly convinced that I don't want to see any more parades. If I can't be right there in the middle of it all, as a participant, I'd rather stay at home and miss out...  I don't want to see the parade: I want to BE the parade! (or at least a small but very vital part) So I am wondering how one would go about starting such an amusing event in right here?

114.....

Sunday, September 7, 2014
... is really a conservative number for me to be reporting. But that was what I did before breakfast. As distance traveled in a certain amount of time. When I do get in the road, I am actually a pretty conservative person: setting the cruise control for 71 or 72, and tooling along, with most of the other vehicles on the interstate whizzing by me as I listen to my talking books on Cds.

I spent the night in Decatur, having had such amusement when we went to walk the walk at the Lantern Fest, it was too late for me to get back home.  I got up about 6:30, and drove back to Columbus. The 114 is the distance from Eleanor Street to Lynch Rd.  I had time to come home and start unloading my car before I turned around and left for church at 9, and then to work by 11, to work till 6.  But when I got to church I was reminded of a quarterly meeting that I should attend at 5:00, so had to shave an hour off my leaving work tme to get back to church for Leadership gathering.

It's nearly 8:30, and I am just now getting home. Thankful I do not have to go to work tomorrow, but have a long list of things that need to be accomplished, so I'm going to bed ASAP.

good clean fun...



... if I had known it would be so cool, I'd have had it on my bucket list. The Lantern Parade on the Beltway in Atlanta. I had been informed several months ago, so put it on  my calendar to be ready to participate/attend. I knew about it in a word-of-mouth sort of way, but had no personal knowledge.



We went, and had a great time. There were several brass bands, and hundreds and hundreds of people trooping along the Beltway with a great assortment of lighted objects. Bicycles outlined in multi-colored strings of lights. People dressing in crazy costumes covered with strings of Christmas lights. Dozens and dozens of people with lanterns tied onto baby strollers, tree limbs, dowels (and in our case: lighted balloons tied onto ten foot long wooden tomato stakes).



People with lighted hats made of tissue paper with LED lights inside, a person in a portable, wearable tent with a Muppet fortune teller, a huge lighted white horse made from tissue paper on a bamboo frame. Ten foot tall wearable puppets made of parachute cloth, with legs strapped to humans who were dancing along, holding dowels to move the puppet arms. Hundreds and hundreds of people with families, grandparents and children holding paper lanterns standing along the edge of walkway, taking photos of the participants in the parade.


I recently listened to a TED talk about the excessive, overuse, degraded value of the word 'awesome'. And I totally agree, generally trying to completely avoid any usage of that particular word. But going to see/witness/participate in the Lantern Parade really was. I am still smiling, delighted to have been a part of such good clean fun. Though I am pretty sure all those people who were standing along the edge of the walkway were not drinking lemonade out of their solo cups...

*photo credit to Alyssa Lasseter