Sunday, November 26, 2006

The Mouse

Its-a-pugs-life, Marni, has tagged me to tell about my some of my previous loves. This will take some time to think about it because I honestly do not remember most of their names. I remember the activities, but not the names. Maybe they were not “loves” but “something to do.” I liked/loved them at the time, but…

I am more excited about having the grandkids this weekend than I am about past loves. It has been almost a month since Sweet Tea and I have seen them. I have been under the weather. I came down with a case of bronchitis on November 6th. I had felt like I was coming down with a cold a couple of days before that. However, the cough set in on the sixth and I had to work the elections (13 hours) fighting the cough; drinking cough syrup like I thought it was good.

Anyway, the next Saturday we left on a Caribbean cruse with friends that I served with in the Navy. It was their 50 anniversary and they are in better shape than I am. The bronchitis moved from my chest to my ears and I went totally deaf in my left ear. There was a constant “white noise” and pain ever time I moved my head, especially if I bent over. I visited the doctor on board. You know what you call the person who graduates last in his medical school? Doctor! You know what you call a doctor who graduated last in his medical school? Ship’s Doctor. He didn’t know what to do. He though my eardrum was busted. He would do nothing because he thought my ear drum was busted. He wanted me to see an ENT when I got home. He gave me some pills and that was about it. So I didn’t visit any ports of call. I stopped by the emergency room on the way home and got some antibiotics. I still cannot hear well out of my left ear, so if you answer this blog, TYPE LOUD.

The reason I set down to write today is not because of the ramblings above, but to tell you about The Mouse. J Man and Bug are so funny. They say some the cutest things that could get them in trouble at home. They will sneak in the word “ass” or say “damn” and look kind of sheepishly out of the sides of their heads to see if me or Sweet Tea (Me Maw) heard them or are going to say something. Not happen. I love it. But they got it honest.

When Marni was crawling around the floor at my parents house, my dad would reach down and pick her up and say, “Is this the mouse of the house I just caught?” So from then on Marni has been know as “Mouse or Mousey” One day, when Mouse was six Paw Paw picked her up on his lap and asked, “What grade are you in in school?”

Mouse: “The first grade.”

Paw Paw: “Thats great! Are you teaching, yet?”

Mouse: “No, Paw Paw! I’m only six.”

Paw Paw: “Ah Pshaw!” (An old Southern saying meaning “no shit”)

Mouse: Looking at him as seriously as a six year old can said, “I ain’t shitting you, Paw Paw.”

My dad laughed about that for the rest of his life. He loved that girl.

Meanwhile, back in the day, cars did not have seat belts, where made of steel and hard plastic and could take like that would total today’s cars. So when Mouse rode with me she would stand next to me, just behind my right shoulder, her left arm propped on my shoulder. One day I was coming to a stop to make a left turn when another car cut across my front, making his left turn, and just missed my front finder. I didn’t say anything. Didn’t have time, because The Mouse looked over her left shoulder and said, “Bastard!” I had to park. She’s still that way, too. Full of surprises and humor. It’s just that her brood has had better rearing than she did.

I know! I am rambling again. But there are just soooo many stories. Mouse is one of my past/present loves.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Thanks Vets

Tomorrow is Veteran's Day. These are men and women who left their home, family and friends to serve their country. Some were drafted, some volunteered, and some were sent as a condition of not going to jail.

Each had his/her own reasons for joining and some paid with their life. But the bottom line is, they served. They may not have liked it - probably hated it - but they stayed to the end. Some stayed many years and retired. They were all changed. Some profoundly.

No matter what they did or became after their service, for a while they were heroes. I read the book and saw the TV series on A Band of Brothers, the stories of a company of 101st Air Bone Rangers who dropped behind the lines in France the day before D-Day. One of the men was the sergeant – and I apologize that I don’t remember his name – who received repeated praise for his heroism and sound judgment and leadership. After the war the demons got to him and he died alone in San Francisco as a cab driver. Now there is absolutely nothing wrong with being a cab driver. The point is, there was a time when he was strong, proud, and brave. Simply a hero.

That’s just one of millions of stories about our vets. After serving they went different ways and pursued different paths in life. They have their memories and their own stories. If you want to be fascinated and blessed just take the time to ask them what they did in the service. Some won’t, or can’t, answer. That’s okay, too. Just be aware that they have their demons because they were serving their country. Thank them anyway.

Thanks, guys and gals. OOH RAH!

Friday, November 03, 2006


Be it ever so humble. It’s good to be home, but it was a great week. I left before daylight last Wednesday and drove cross country to get from my house to I 85 North. I had to meet my daughters assistant at a restaurant along the way to pick up a dog and two cats to carry to NC and PA. My step-daughter, Dr. Amber, is a vet and is TOTALLY dedicated to dogs and cats (and animals in general.) She has been since she was old enough to get into the woods. Sweet tea’s house, both before we married and constantly since, has had dogs, cats, snakes, rats, ferrets, iguanas, birds and homeless boyfriends.

Someone ask on my last blog to tell stories about animal rescue. I don’t rescue animals. I eat animals. My daughter rescues animals. She is so dedicated to dogs and cats that she was Humanitarian of the Year and FSU in Tallassee during college. This is when she found her calling to work with shelters and rescue organizations in making sure animals have a better life. She feels the same way about having kids as I feel about animals. She thinks they would be good to eat, too. It’s not her fault – I blame her real dad (another story.)

But she is so dedicated that she started a non-profit mobile spay and neuter clinic and goes all over GA doing low cost surgery for people who usually will not go to their neighborhood vet. She works through rescue organizations, pet stores and other organizations providing community services. So I help her out sometime by delivering rescued animals to different parts of the country. Enough of this!

I left Charlotte going up I 77 to I 81 through VA, WV, and PA before turning off in Allentown heading toward NJ. It took about 14 hours because of the stops to drop off the animals. But the drive was beautiful. The NC and VA mountains and vistas were some of the prettiest scenery I have seen in years (next to Sweet Tea, of course.) When I travel by car I ALWAYS take a few audio tapes with me to while away the time. However, this time I missed the first hour of the first tape after I realized I had left my camera at home. So the first hours I was saying over the tape, “damn, damn, damn…” Then my throat became sore so I stopped for a cup of coffee (no kin) and I felt better.

New Jersey is one of my favorite States. The two this I hate about the place is that when you cross the boarder in to the State you need to put on a kidney belt because the roads are so rough (PA, too.) And the other is that it is a bastion of Godless heathens and Democrats (they are sometimes interchangeable.) But it is a beautiful State. Unlike GA, the place is full of hard wood trees. Even in the most densely populated areas there are deer feeding in neighborhoods and company grounds. This time of year there are reds, yellows and browns of the fall colors all over the place. Blowing on the roads as cars go by (oh yeah! I hate the semi’s there) and making the place look like Walt Disney threw up there.

While there Sweet Tea and I got a chance to go to Gettysburg, and, to a Southern Boy who loves history, I was in hog haven. We took the tour and one of the markers was of the Georgia Infantry. It wasn’t a great monument. It looks like a 20’ high Washington Monument with a flat top haircut. In a simple and stately fashion it bears the GA state seal. But the inscription is a poignant remembrance of the dead sons:
“We sleep here in obedience to law
When duty called, we came
When country called, we died.”

I brought me to teas. This is how I feel about our guys today. They are my new heroes and deserve all the respect, support and love we can give them. They are not serving because they were drafted. They volunteered to give up family, friends and a comfortable way of life to go into harms way, or just to serve at some outpost or raging sea somewhere in the world. God bless the all.

I am rambling. Sorry!