BIG GUNS

yellow wildflowers

It was quiet just before sunrise.  My body eclipsed street light reflections on road signs as I passed.  The street was a patchwork quilt of damp spots from overnight rain showers.

Post-vacation letdown was directly tied to vacation enjoyment.  That didn’t make normal routine any easier to take.  Storing luggage, scrubbing love bugs from the front of the family buggy, vacuuming beach sand, only made it worse.

After a week’s stay in a local kennel, Max and Maggie were eager to go for their morning walk.  They didn’t enjoy the beach experience– endless sand and crashing surf.

The good news–Max lost five pounds. I was tired of hearing, “Your dog is too fat.” Then came the inevitable follow-up lecture. I wasn’t stupid–that was the purpose of weight control.

In the coastal southeast, it’s only slightly less humid. Daylight hours are shortened. There’s still another month to go before cooler temperatures are noticeable. Wild sunflowers, goldenrod are ready to bloom.  Fall is not far away.

All things, good and bad, have a beginning and an end.  Memories of summer, good friends, good times, and big guns will soon fade away.

After living here for a decade, I can’t understand why anyone would refuse to visit the beautiful Alabama gulf coast.  For some, the reason could be–vacationing in Florida is more of a status symbol, than Alabama?

Gulf waters don’t stop at state lines.  Sugar white beach sand is the same along the entire gulf coast.  Maybe it’s just as well?  Narrow-minded people don’t belong here–anyway.

DSCN0480

BONDS OF BROTHERHOOD

U 2 spy plane

Four Air Force buddies and their families sat together at a popular local family style restaurant.  The wait staff milled about with drink and food orders.

The mood was light with lots of laughter.  We weren’t the same brash young men we once were.  The camaraderie was unmistakable.

“That’s a new one–I’ve never seen an opossum on a leash before,” Ken said about our trip to a local zoo.

“Could you imagine someone walking an opossum on a leash in a big city like Chicago?”  Joe asked.

“People are so jaded, they wouldn’t even notice,” I answered.

“That alligator weighed close to a thousand pounds,” George said. “Nobody’s going to walk it on a leash.”

“With all the beautiful beach babes–today, I saw a naked beach guy,”  Ken complained.  “Who wants to see that?”  Everybody laughed.

A thin, older man stood at the end of our table.  As I later learned–his name was Vernon.

“Are you folks on vacation?  Vernon asked.

“Yes, we get together every few years, I answered.  We served together overseas.”

Vernon wasn’t there to eavesdrop.  I sensed there weren’t many opportunities for him to talk about past military experiences.  He’d probably said good-bye many times–friends left, never came back.

“Where did you guys get those gray Air Force caps?”  Vernon asked.

“Joe visited the Air Force aviation museum recently and bought them for us,”  I answered.

“I’d like to have one.  Did you by chance see the U2 reconnaissance plane displayed at the museum?”  Vernon asked.

“No, I haven’t had the chance to visit.  I plan to some day,” I replied.

“I served during the Korean and Vietnam wars,” Vernon said.  “I wasn’t in combat–worked on photographic equipment in spy planes. The U2 was unlike any other aircraft.  It had quite a broad wing span.”

The gleam in Vernon’s eyes faded.  “He’d buried two wives since he moved to Pensacola.”  Gloom didn’t stay around long.

“That’s my 94-year-old girlfriend sitting over there,”  Vernon’s eyes twinkled.  “Ain’t she a looker?”

We all wanted to be like Vernon–gracious, tough, still making good memories.  If we were lucky enough to live that long?

“Would you like Joe to send you an Air Force cap?  Joe’s niece offered.  “What’s your name and address?”

Vernon gave his name and address.  “I really enjoyed talking to you guys,” He said.

“If you don’t mind a slightly used cap–you can have mine,” Joe offered.

“Let me pay you for it,” Vernon said.

“No, I want you to have it,”  Joe answered.  “I can always get another one.  You don’t owe me a thing.”

We traded military experiences and listened to Vernon.  Like any good friend would do–Vernon invited us to visit.

A chain of brotherhood stretched from the Korean War to the first Gulf War.  We’d served our country proudly in time of need.

MIRRORS SHOULDN’T MATTER

DAILY POST: THE MIRROR CRACK’D

You wake up one morning to a world without mirrors.  How does your life–from your everyday routine to your perception of yourself change?

Mirrors shouldn’t matter
It’s what you feel inside
That really matters–right?

So what if my “edgy”
Teenage rock anthems
Play overhead at the mall?

So what if when I frown
My wrinkled eyelids droop
Like a friendly basset hound?

So what if the only time
My double chins don’t show
Is when I stand upside down?

Mirrors don’t matter much to me
I don’t need to be reminded
I’m no longer seventeen

From here to the end
I’m doing the best
With what I have left
I don’t worry about the rest

DARK THOUGHTS

Dark thoughts followed
Close by my side all day
Control  was an illusion
Things were out of control
So much broken beyond repair
Theorists, social engineers
Weren’t enough to stop the flow
Like a coin–every issue had two sides
Presumption of innocence was still sacred
Name-calling just an excuse
For closed minds to not listen
It was the same scarlet letter
Hung around someone’s neck
Whether deserved, or not
Whatever the solution was
My nightmare–will imposed by force
On the unwilling, continued

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