Wednesday, November 30, 2005


Sorry it's been so long since my last post. I just haven't felt like writing. But coming back here, I could just swear I had posted something since "Got Spurs". Oh well, maybe I'm getting senile.

For the first time in my life, I am suffering from the Holiday Blues. I was sad and sulky all Thanksgiving thinking about Sprout so far away. I don't know why it's bothering me. He was in boot camp last year at Thanksgiving and that didn't bother me at all. Maybe that's because I knew he would be coming home for Christmas. He's not coming home this Christmas, so I am blue. I am not used to this feeling of melancholy. I can count on both hands the number of times I have been depressed in my life. With me, it's more like the flu than a mental thing. I feel depression in my body, not my mind. Anyway, it's nothing the grandkids or a day of making cookies for soldiers can't cure, but it has kept me from writing and that's no fun. I have been reading a lot though and some of you out there are not helping my situation very much...thanks a lot Soldier's Mom.

.......So...Sucking it up and moving right along.............

I've been thinking lately, with all the talk among the politicians about the reasons for going to war and whether or not we should pull out now, I'm wondering if it's possible to win a war again considering all the restrictions we have put on ourselves. If I ran the war, I would not allow the media any access to information about the war AT ALL, except for a rare few. That sounds pretty drastic I know, but think about it like this: family members are not allowed in hospital operating rooms for a reason. Ugly things happen in operating rooms that appear to do more damage than good to the untrained eye, but the results almost always serve to make the patient's life better. It's best that the family not see those things that go on in an operating room. I daresay that few of us could stand to watch our loved one be mutilated even if we know what the end result will be. It is the same with war. Those of us not fighting should just stand back and let the warriors take over. We need to pace the floor and worry, but it is best that we wait outside the "operating" area. There are too many ugly things that we might see. It's best for us to leave the war to our trained fighting soldiers. Spending so much time wondering if the war is being fought correctly and fairly is the same as wondering if the surgeon is capable. Once the operating door is shut, there is nothing else to do but pray. In the movie "To Kill A Mockingbird" there is a line that I like that says "some men are put on this earth to do our dirty work for us...your father is one of them." Those of us not capable of doing dirty work need to step back and get out of the way and stop second guessing every little move our military makes. Let these people do what they are sent to do and for God's sake don't rush them. You wouldn't rush a surgeon would you?

That's my soapbox. I'll step down now.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Got Spurs?

Okay. This Milmom has got to gloat. I've held off as long as I can.

Sprout is now a bonafide member of the Cavalry. He has earned his spurs. Boy, did he earn them. He IM'd with news that he had gone on a Spur Ride that lasted 15 hours and involved a lot of what you see on the military reality shows. Lots of pushups and situps (an hour or more at a time), pulling Humvees, more pushups, climbing mountains wearing full battle-gear, carrying a comrade and his full battle-gear on a stretcher for six miles or more, more pushups, constant mind games along the way, and more pushups. He said it was the hardest thing he has ever done and he didn't know he had that much drive in him. I am so absolutely proud of him. The military is the best at making men want to achieve and showing them that they can do it. I think Sprout even surprised himself.

I think I'll get him that pony he's always wanted for Christmas.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

What Is A Veteran?

(I first posted this in 2005 when Sprout was lowly private. Has it been that long? Thanks Sgt. Sprout)

What Is A Veteran?
by Father Denis Edward O'Brien, USMC

(Thanks, Papa)

Some veterans bear visible signs of their service:
a missing limb, a jagged scar, a certain look in the eye.

Others may carry the evidence inside them: a pin holding
a bone together, a piece of shrapnel in the leg --
or perhaps another sort of inner steel: the soul's
ally forged in the refinery of adversity.

Except in parades, however, the men and women who
have kept America safe wear no badge or emblem.

You can't tell a vet just by looking. What is a vet?

He is the cop on the beat who spent six months in Saudi
Arabia sweating two gallons a day making sure the armored
personnel carriers didn't run out of fuel.

He is the barroom loudmouth, dumber than five wooden planks,
whose overgrown frat-boy behavior is outweighed a
hundred times in the cosmic scales by four hours of
exquisite bravery near the 38th parallel.

She -- or he -- is the nurse who fought against futility
and went to sleep sobbing every night for
two solid years in Da Nang.

He is the POW who went away one person and came back another --
or didn't come back AT ALL.

He is the parade-riding Legionnaire who pins on his ribbons
and medals with a prosthetic hand.

He is the career quartermaster who watches the
ribbons and medals pass him by.

He is the three anonymous heroes in the Tomb Of The Unknowns,
whose presence at Arlington National Cemetery must forever
preserve the memory of all the anonymous heroes whose valor
dies unrecognized with them on the battlefield
or in the ocean's sunless deep.

(Thanks, Dad)

He is the old guy bagging groceries at the supermarket -
palsied now and aggravatingly slow - who helped liberate a
Nazi death camp and who wishes all day long that his wife were
still alive to hold him when the nightmares come.

He is an ordinary and yet an extraordinary human being --
a person who offered some of his life's most vital years in
the service of his country, and who sacrificed his ambitions
so others would not have to sacrifice theirs.

He is a soldier and a savior and a sword against the darkness,
and he is nothing more than the finest, greatest testimony on
behalf of the finest, the greatest nation ever known.

(Thanks, Son)

So remember, each time you see someone who has served our country,
just lean over and say thank you. That's all most people need,
and in most cases it will mean more than any medals they could
have been awarded or were awarded. Two little words that mean a lot,


Sunday, November 06, 2005

Thar's Trouble in the Ranks

I've posted a bit about my grandkids lately, mostly about my granddaughter. That's because she is one of those children with such an overwhelming personality you just can't help but notice her. Her older brother is a more conservative type, quiet and kind, who tends to entertain himself more easily than most children. It's because of his sweet nature that I fail to mention him often...he just doesn't stir up the dust as much as his wily little sister. I've been trying to find a good moniker for her on this site. Until now I have referred to her as Little Gidget, but starting today she is the Little General. That title suits her much better. Just picture General Honore (of Don't Get Stuck on Stupid fame) as a 4-year-old girl with long blond ringlets and you get the picture. She has a very demanding presence. But, occasionally even the strongest get reprimanded and this weekend it was the Little General's turn. Her egregious error had her sent to the far distant netherlands of Grandma's house for a night, sent there by charges brought forth from her mild-mannered brother. It was a just punishment only inches away from demanding a full court-martial. Here is the offense as reported to me:

On Thursday night last, the older brother (hereinafter referred to as Sgt. York until a more suitable title arrives) was in his room playing quietly with his pile of little green army men. He was having a war. He had spent quite a while building camps and setting up battlegrounds, using shoes for hideouts and pillows for mountains and all was going well when the Little General arrived at his door. Seeing what he was playing, she asked if she could play also (it is quite possible that she demanded to play). Sgt. York is not fond of playing with the Little General as she tends to be over-bearing but he does occasionally try to get along with her when the situation merits extra playmates and this was one such situation. The Little General saw that Sgt. York had his men set up in a Lincoln Log headquarters and decided that she would need a headquarters for her men also. She went to her room and returned with what Sgt. York considered a firing squad offense. For her headquarters, she had brought to the battleground her pretty pink dollhouse.

Well as I heard it, my sweet, mild, ever-loving grandson went ballistic on his sister. On the verge of tears when his parents arrived to check out all the commotion, he was heard to say "You are so stupid. You don't have pink dollhouses in a WAR." Quiet little Sgt. York had turned into Drill Sgt. Death. He had had enough. And so the Little General was banished. Sgt. York needed time to regroup and play by himself. He had kept quiet long enough. He had pacified his bossy sister to the point of exploding. The Don't-Hit-Girls rule had taken it's toll and he finally told her how it was. She was not to play army with him ever again. And could she pleeeeease go stay at Grandma's house before she drove him to suicide?

And so it was that the Little General was sent to my house, standing staight and tall, successfully hiding her shame to the point of making me wonder if she had any shame at all. We spent the night polishing nails and reading stories and the Little General returned to her barracks the next day to find Sgt. York back to his old self, renewed with a much needed R & R and a feeling of accomplishment. He had ousted the pink tyrant and he was a better man for it.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Who Knew?

This past Halloween, somebody in our city had the bright idea that all of our local child sex offenders should keep their house lights turned off during trick-or-treating so as not to attract any young children. It occurred to me that this would be the perfect time to take a drive around town to find out just where these sex offenders live. can imagine how shocked I was to find out that several of my neighbors are CHILD SEX OFFENDERS. The sweet little old lady who goes to our church, who's yard my boys have cut many a time...her house was dark. Who knew? And the nice couple with the the invalid wife...yep, them too. I am shocked. And the stingy old rich lady who lives at the corner in that great big Tudor-style home and has more money than Exxon and not a living soul to leave it all to...she's one too. I always wondered what she was doing in that big old house with all the lights turned off. Now I know. And the one sleazy neighbor with the greasy hair and the crude bumper stickers of nekkid ladies on his car, the one who leers at the young girls on their way home from school...he's clean. His house was lit up like a jack-o-lantern with kids running around everywhere. It just goes to show you can't judge a book by it's cover.

And just so you know...we left every light in the house on all night long, just in case anybody was checking.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

For My Little Buddy

Here's another poem I stole from my sister. My little buddy over at Pass the Brass is preparing to leave for his first tour (Tour? Does that make him a tourist?) of Iraq and has a somber post about his feelings on saying good-bye. It made me think of this poem my sister wrote when her son left for Iraq. It's hokey and I know guys hate poetry, but it's a mothers view of those dreaded good-byes. Anyway...this is for you, SureFire.


In the airport we finally said good-bye
after avoiding the word all week,
watching camo flatbeds load and leave,
the PX packed with soldiers buying supplies.

After avoiding the word all week,
I heard a stranger in a crowd and turned to see
you waving other soldiers on their way
as we stood in the crowded airport.

I heard a stranger in a crowd and turned to see
the child inside the man you'd grown to be,
as we stood in a crowded airport
and tried to think of something else to say.

The child inside the man you'd grown to be
fumbled for something to do with his hands
as we tried to think of something else to say
before we bore the weight of this good-bye.

Fumbling for something to do with your hands,
drumming a rhythm on the escalator handrail
before we bore the weight of this good-bye,
I noticed your nails chewed down to the quick.

Drumming a rhythm on the escalator handrail,
I recognized the tune that you were humming,
noticed your nails chewed down to the quick
and the lullaby I sang so many years ago.

I recognized the tune that you were humming
and softly sang the words we knew by heart,
of the lullaby I sang so many years ago,
in the airport when we finally said good-bye.