No Laugh Track

A pet’s death is devastating.  I continue to mark time by the anniversary of my German Shepherd’s passing in May 2011.

My sister’s beloved dog, Frank recently passed away, at the ripe old age of sixteen.

Frank was a rambunctious, black ball of puppy fur when I first met him–with sharp baby teeth that he frequently exercised on various parts of my body.

Toward the end of Frank’s life, my presence elicited only barks and distrusting growls.  Frank’s senses were faded–he was 112 in dog years.  He could discern changes in his environment, however.

No doubt Frank chewed up articles of clothing; barked at inappropriate times; dug a few unwanted holes in the backyard; had accidents before being housebroken–typical dog behavior.

There’s no laugh track here, but I’d venture to guess, after grief runs its course–memories of Frank, playful mutt that he was, will bring smiles and good memories to his pet parents.


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.

The Anonymity Collectors

The anonymity collectors

Always affable

Willing to share

Anecdotes, personal stories

Receptionists with frosted

Dispositions–made them

Wait for nothing

But it was all right

Cross the wrong persons

Villages would burn

Prayed to forget

What they agonized about

Every hour of every day

Blessed were the meek

Their cries unheard


Selling–Nobody’s Buying

Broken pretzels

The absolute worst

What was better

last or first?

Tried hard as I could

Hung on every word

Dark thoughts

Drifted overhead

Lead–or be led

Towns passed by

In the blink of an eye

Roadside crosses

Lives cut short

Tar-bubbled streets

In summer heat

Nothing there–I

Could ever repeat

Family Tragedies

Is it appropriate to write when your family suffered a tragedy on New Years Day?

My three year old, great-nephew, was killed in a tragic accident.  At first, it was difficult to even talk about it.

I have not felt like writing.  Dormant thoughts, surfaced, once again–back to December 1990, when our infant grandson passed away.

Why did family tragedies seem to visit over the Holidays?

At breakfast, a dark-haired, ten-year old boy at the next table, reminded me of what my great-nephew would have been.  It wasn’t right to think that way.

It wasn’t fair–it helped to pray.  There’s been a tremendous outpouring of love and support in the past few days.