Saturday, April 22, 2006

Take Two Aspirin and One King Kong and Call Me in the Morning.

Grandkids are a hoot.

Sgt. York celebrated his first springbreak this week which meant Mom and Dad had to make arrangements for his care. He spent most of the week going to work with Dad where he spent his time on the phone calling me - looking for more exciting arrangements. He would have called all his suckerable great aunts if he knew their numbers, but since mine is the only number he knows, I became his secretary. If I couldn't entertain him, I was ordered to make arrangements for someone else to entertain him. This was a daunting task since we all work or otherwise have lives that don't involve babysitting six-year olds.

I was due to have minor out-patient surgery on Thursday so I really didn't want to miss any other days of work. Luckily, my surgery went fast as expected, I was put to sleep for about ten minutes and we were on our way home a little after 10:00. I felt fine, though groggy, and Stoicdad was going to be home with me for the rest of the day so we decided to call our son's office to see if Sgt. York had yet been sprung. He had not so we agreed to stop by and pick him up and take him home with us. When we got to the office, Sgt. York was outside climbing a tree and his dad looked rather glad that we had come. I don't think he was getting much work done. As Sgt. York jumped in the car, he handed me a DVD of the new King Kong movie. His plan was for us to watch it with him. My plan was to sleep for the rest of the day.

When we got home, we popped the DVD in and Sgt. York climbed into bed beside me and begin to tell me how scary the movie was. He had already seen it and he made me fast-forward through the boring beginning and go straight to the scenes of dinosaurs and King Kong. As he watched, I drifted off to sleep only to have him occasionally wake me up yelling "Don't look Grandma, don't look." Oh, this was gonna be lots of fun. By the time the movie was over, he was stomping across the bed, beating on his chest. Then he made me get up and take him out front where we have two Crepe Myrtle trees that are great for climbing. I took the paper and sat and read while Sgt. York played King Kong for most of the afternoon. He climbed and beat his chest and jumped and did it all. I'm sure if there had been a Barbie doll anywhere around, he would have dropped his "never play with dolls" rule and swung her from here to Kingdom Come just like Kong did in the movie.

Sgt. York tends to get sucked into movies. For a while he was the Incredible Hulk, passing out quite often wherever he happened to be ( store) and waking up angry... very angry. He really thought that he turned green. He would proceed to pretend to destroy everything in his path. Heck, I thought he was the Incredible Hulk. Now he is King Kong. If there is a nice hanging vine anywhere, he will be swinging from it. His sister's Barbies will all be missing heads and other limbs by the time he takes on a new persona.

Let's only hope they don't do a remake of The Swamp Thing. I can't afford the water bill.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

A Cat For A Fallen Marine

I never knew Bradley Faircloth. We both lived in the same town, he graduated from my high school and he was the same age as Sprout, but I never met him. He was a Marine who died on Thanksgiving day, 2004 while defending our freedom in the battle of Fallujah.

The year he graduated from school, his senior class attempted to raise enough money to have a statue of a panther, the school's mascot, erected on the campus. My senior class left the school a sundial sitting on a pedestal next to the flagpole...a far more obtainable goal. The last time I looked, the pedestal was still there, minus the sundial. Though the class of 2002 fell way short of raising enough money to buy a panther statue, Bradley didn't give up hope and before he left for Iraq, he told his mother that if he didn't make it back, he wished that she would see to it that the school got it's panther.

Yesterday the school got it's panther. (That's my sister introducing herself)

I wanted so bad to go to the unveiling of this statue, just to be a part of a sort of memorial for a fallen soldier, but the best excuse I could come up with for leaving work was that as a military mom, I sympathized and that just wasn't good enough. We all sympathized. After work yesterday afternoon, Sis and I went over and took pictures and declared it a worthy statue. The money that poured in after Bradley Faircloth's death was enough for a statue, a huge rock pedestal, a well laid brick flooring, landscaping, two engraved marble slabs and lights all around.

Bradley's mom did not want the statue to be a memorial to her son, she just wanted his wishes fulfilled. And that is as it should be. If this statue held an American flag or bore the name of a fallen soldier, it would always be sacred, untouchable...not the idea the soldier or his class had in mind I think. No, this panther should always be decorated on Homecoming Day with gaudy paper flowers and blue and gold streamers, and used as the back drop for yearbook pictures for years to come, and as a place for happy school memories to be made. It should not even be a sin if students from the school's arch-rival (Sprout's alma mater) should decide to sneak over after the "big game" and paint the score on the side of that panther in bright orange paint in years when they win, giving the City's cannon a much needed rest after 75 years of drive-by paintings. I think this young hero and football player would want it that way.

But they did find one small way to make this statue a monument to Bradley. A line from the school song engraved in marble says enough.

An honored soldier, a worthy monument. Thank you Bradley Faircloth.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Gotta See This

I just watched the trailer for United 93. This movie will be in theaters on April 28th. This one may be hard for New Yorkers to watch, but the rest of us need to see it, if only to remind ourselves why we are at war.

United 93

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Counting Down

Sprout is in a funk. I have begun to notice a pattern here. I'll call it the AOF (Almost Over Funk). He seems to get this way each time he gets official orders with specific dates and times. From different blogs I've read, it's a common phenomenon in the military. Guys in Iraq spend the last month on edge, testy, irked at any little thing and hating each other. The same is going on with Sprout. I guess when they know they are going home soon, to the place of comfort and ease, when they can almost taste that home-cooking, the sight of anything or anybody military becomes close to unbearable. And then of course, there is the knowing that coming home means leaving again. Military means always having to say "goodbye". But, I know he will come out of this funk once his feet touch American soil once again. He may even appreciate some of our crazy ways a little more.

It will be interesting to see the changes in him. I wonder what changes he will see in me. Older? Fatter? Grayer? Wiser? Nah! I imagine the biggest change he will see are his niece and nephew. They seem to have tripled in size this past year. And our town has changed a lot. New construction, old buildings now gone, lots of little things he will see that we don't. I think the saddest part of growing up is the realization that the rest of the world doesn't stop and take notice. Finding out that things still go on without you is rough. But Sprout is rougher and this, too, shall pass.

In the meantime, a little eye candy for my blog. The Little General and I played hooky the other day and spent our time playing "dress-up". All I can say is that I am glad I was the only one with a camera. Granddaughters are so much fun.