Southern Nights

Was it possible for a person to be in an insipid mood? Well, that’s where I am today.

The battle of the household budget is not going to interest anyone. Even though, I’d like to discuss the ever-increasing price of dog treats with you.

Today, everything is overshadowed by the passing of Glen Campbell. It’s fitting that “Southern Nights” plays on in my head–after hearing it on the radio.

I was a Glen Campbell fan.  Being a Vietnam-era vet, the song “Galveston,” with its lyrics about homesickness, spoke to me at the time.

Thanks to the man from Delight, Arkansas who gave us memories of warm Southern nights.

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Words & Music By C. Berry

Growing up, like most teens, I took for granted local music legends–Chuck Berry, Ike and Tina Turner, Miles Davis.  Didn’t every city have their own musical treasures?

Miles Davis trumpeted jazz and was kind of blue

The area wasn’t always kind to him in return

Ike and Tina Turner Revue–somewhere every weekend

The mountain was high and the valley so low

On vinyl records by The Beach Boys, Beatles, Rolling Stones

Many other artists borr0wed fame freely

Chuck Berry gave back tenfold

Early in the morning, he gave warning

Don’t step on my blue suede shoes

Words and music by C. Berry

After all these years

We’re still Reelin’ and a Rockin’

Farewell 2016

New Years Eve traditions–Chinese cuisine, with egg rolls mandatory.  Also, black-eyed peas with cornbread.

The past year was one of extremes–emotional highs and lows, gains and losses.  Two family members and a close friend passed away last year.  Dangling conversations fade.  Good times, now happy memories.

And you read your Emily Dickinson

And I my Robert Frost

And we note our place with book markers

That measure what we’ve lost…

–Paul Simon–

Several relationships ended and those involved moved on.  Because of these events, there were a record number of trips out-of-town.

My wish for everyone, is that we treat each other with more civility in 2017.  I still believe everyone has a story to tell–if we can get past the posturing.

I shot a bullet into the air, it fell to earth I know not where.

For revelers in my neighborhood, I wish an extra heaping, helping of common sense this New Years Eve.  Bullets do, indeed, come down somewhere.

Salute to a Friend

My heart hurts today.  Good friend, best man at my wedding, “Uncle Joe” Cikan, passed away last evening after a long illness.  I will be gone for a few days to attend the funeral.

We met in late 1970, at Sheppard AFB, Med Services tech school.  From there, to Rhein-Main AB, Germany, where we were barracks roommates.

Both of us were Illinois born and raised–a long way from home.  I understood Joe’s absurd, wacky sense of humor.  There was nothing I enjoyed more than playing off his amusing anecdotes.

Joe had a lot of nervous energy–couldn’t sit still.  I can still hear him walking in stocking feet–heels pounding the floor.

That pent-up energy made Joe a wonderful house guest.  As hosts, we were delighted, to find the place tidied, and the laundry done up.

I saw a little of both parents in Joe: a coarse, gruff sense of humor, from dad, Stan; kindness, patience, from mom, Mary.

How could Joe have had an Sicilian mother, a great cook, and not like pasta.  I more than made up for Joe’s share on visits.

Joe Cikan flew under the radar; gave freely of himself to others.  He earned a Master’s degree while stationed in Germany.  Unlike myself, he saved money while away from home.  Above all else, Joe was a good listener.

There remain, just the three of us:  George Burbage, Ken Terry, and myself to carry on the story of our fallen brother-in-arms.

So many good memories, the likes of which, will never be repeated.  We never forgot the “gravy all over my face incident at the German gasthaus.”  Joe’s reaction to seeing me in that predicament, was priceless.

Ms. B. Rogers, the misguided, somewhat scary, AF dependent wife, frequent ER visitor; moonlighted as a stripper; made the “Desperate Housewives” look tame by comparison.  Even kindly, Dr. Kreutzmann, WWII vet who’d served on the Russian front, was leery of her.

The latest, perhaps the best, was Joe’s account of George’s pet cat, Clyde, embezzling 100 dollar bills from his wallet.

A salute to you, Joe!  Proud to call you my friend.  You were my hero.  In your honor, I aspire to be kinder, and promise to be a better listener.