As the good Palin from "Monty Python's Flying Circus" might say: Now for something completely different. Utah Savage has tagged me with a simple meme that I am far more than just happy to participate in since it takes my feeble mind off the ever encroaching minions of fascism that have burrowed their way into the land of the free. If I get too wordy and long winded please forgive.
Where was I ten years ago?
Well give or take a week I was actually serving my country, unlike many politicians who revel in “public service” but never do without clean sheets or ironed shirts and silk ties, in the National Guard. If I remember correctly the maintenance battalion I was serving in at the time was on a weekend field training exercise. I was inside a GP (General Purpose) medium tent that more than likely was old during the Kennedy Administration with the rest of my commo section discussing things soldiers talked about I’m sure for decades while we trouble shot and repaired radios and other communication equipment from about the same era. Thinking back now that was a curious and odd time when many ran about worrying over the possible fall of the Republic over the moral turpitude of an egotistical president. While some may claim that he engaged the armed forces in military conflict to provide cover for oral activities while the Secret Service provided concealment he at least had the good graces to not bankrupt the country or get thousands killed. Maybe if the “Current Occupant “ had engaged in such activities he would have been more laid back and not took up torture and violation of civil liberties as hobbies.
The weekend field exercise had us leaving the armory before sunrise to setup the battalion headquarters in a pasture next to the Air National Guard base across town. After several hours of running around in a more chaotic fashion than an army might want to admit the unit got down to the business of practicing it’s various missions. The day progressed to the point that after evening chow everyone was winding down and settling in for the evening knowing the reverse of what we did that day would have to be done more quickly the next morning. The pasture the battalion had setup in was close enough to the main part of the Air National Guard base to have electrical hookups so we had no cantankerous and loud army generators disturbing the peaceful night. The night was cool with a steady breeze that didn’t allow the nasty mosquitoes and gnats from getting a blood sucking foothold on anyone. No moon was out and we sat under a huge veil of stars that didn’t have to compete with city and suburban lights. The stars seemed to be enforcing a silence on the entire battalion that no sergeant or officer could ever implement. Everyone spoke in whispers seemly fearful of breaking the stillness. That still didn’t stop small groups, in this case the commo section I was in, from gathering around outside and passing time by just sharing idle conversation.
My section was a curious collection of different types of people. The acting section sergeant, Pete, was a state accountant whose wife knew my wife and hated the Guard about the same as my wife. Pete’s dilemma was that he had married far later in life and had far more invested in the Guard in the form of retirement points than I did. Retirement points are earned for each drill weekend a soldier completes which are added to other points a soldier might earn for active service, rank, and several other factors leading to the amount of money they get once they hang up the uniform. His overall plan had him staying in the Guard for at least seven more years to reach the number of points that would allow him to retire comfortably. Given how he talked about his marriage struggles it was a serious question of whether he would be married at that time. Another fellow owned a business selling and servicing pagers in a time when cell phones were finally evolving into something less than clumsy bricks. The one woman in our section was a proto-Coulter type that seemed very bothered over Disney’s overt sexuality expressed in the animated version of "The Hunchback of Notre Dame." Another guy was an ambitious criminology major hoping to make his way to the FBI or DEA but at that moment was working as a rent-a-cop. The final guy was a Persian Gulf veteran who served with the 101st Airborne and until a few months before that drill was sure that I was an undercover agent for the Army’s Criminal Investigation Division since he thought I was far too quiet and “clean cut”. Out of all the people in my section with their own collection of troubles and issues he was the exception. “Sam” had left the service and promptly flunked out of college and had held a series of low paying jobs. That is until he met a young lady at some college party he crashed. As crazy luck would have it that girl fell head over heels in love with Sam along with her father who owned both a construction and real estate company down around Hilton Head, needless to say the guy was filthy rich. Sam was at that time learning the ropes of his future father-in-law’s business during the week down on the coast then on the weekends Sam and his fiancée were staying in her father’s yacht. That is when Uncle Sammy wasn’t making him drive back up to Columbia to do his weekend drills. (As a side note Sam had me over to the yacht for beers one weekend when Dragonwife and I were down at Hilton Head seeing her folks.)
We talked for hours over many subjects without discussing anything of lasting value. One by one my section mates peeled off and found their cot and fartsack leaving me outside alone. Me? I was so entranced by the stars, planets and other aspects of the cosmos seemly on display for me that night I grabbed my fartsack and slept on the back of some humvee. Give or take a week that was what I was doing ten years ago.
What was on my to do list today?
Miss Wiggles and I spent the morning making pancakes and watching Spongebob Squarepants. Later we went to the zoo as is usual for us and walked around checking out all the animals. Miss Wiggles who had brought a bag of peanut M&M’s almost gave some to one of the zoo’s meerkats that honestly seemed very eager to try them out. Once I stopped her by taking the candy away the three meerkats standing upright just on the other side of the barrier that separated us seemed rather upset. We then went back to the state museum and browsed various aspects of South Carolina history. No, I will not put anyone through any more pictures from those places right now.
What would I do if I was a billionaire?
After winning the lottery, which is the only way I could ever be a billionaire, I would more than likely give my wife half of it, whether I wanted to or not, just to keep her quiet. Yes, I would quit my job and then travel down to Pawleys Island and purchase a ramshackle beach house that sits on the mainland side right on the marsh. That particular house was constructed in the late 60’s and has a huge screened-in porch facing the marsh. It has survived all the hurricanes since then even though it has required extensive repairs at various times. My brother has rented the place several times and it holds for me a sense of honest style and originality that many of the newer houses built very nearby do not. Many of the newer houses have huge plate glass windows facing the marsh, or for those on the island facing the ocean, which I find outright bizarre. Once I was settled in I can imagine myself doing a 21st century imitation of the late and very great Mickey Spillane. There are several levels to what I just wrote that you will have to ask me what that means.
Five places I’ve lived.
Fort Smith, Arkansas: For some reason I can’t figure out my mother moved us there after one of my parent’s multiple breakups. We have no family there and she had no friends there when we arrived that could help her. One of the many mysteries of my late mother carried to the grave that will never be answered.
Fort Carson, Colorado: Great place in the summer but if I never see the place again in the winter it will be too soon.
Lawton, Oklahoma: Intense craziness and confusion being the norm in my parent's relationship they tried to reunite again for the fourth or fifth time after my dad took a job with a construction company in Wichita Falls, Texas. My mom loaded us up again in her tired Chevrolet Caprice and drove us out to Texas to meet dad. At some point just several months later, but I don't have a clue when, she had her boyfriend ride out west and met him in Lawton, Oklahoma which was about a hour drive from Wichita Falls. By the time the circuit breaker in mom's head tripped again and she loaded my siblings and me to go stay with him her boyfriend had already found a job and had an apartment. While my mom and her boyfriend were nuts I found the people in Lawton friendly and caring. So much that the sheriff literally rode him out of town on a rail after they had a drunken fit in the apartment one night. We, my mother, siblings and I, in turn made our way back to Georgetown, South Carolina and my grandparents.
Murrells Inlet, South Carolina: Back when we lived there it was a honest piece of heaven on earth. While if I don’t look too closely at the development that has come to the place I can almost still feel the spirit of that little hamlet that sheltered my young soul for a time.
Munster, Germany: While on a REFORGER in 1987 my air defense battery bivouacked in a field that some German farmer had just expelled the contents of a honey pot nearby making our lives a smelly hell. After about a week though we got use to it and didn’t think anymore of it even though he sprayed the nearby field several more times. As our month in that field drew to a close and the actually war games was about to begin the First Sergeant noticed a line of soldiers next a white BMW that was parked across the road. Noticing one of his young troops coming back after spending some time at the back door of the vehicle with a huge grin on his face alerted the senior NCO that something wasn’t right. The First Sergeant being a veteran of several tours of duty in good old Deutschland went running across the field to that car chasing away the troops lined up and the drop dead gorgeous blond that had setup her business in the backseat. If you can’t figure what I’m writing about email me and I’ll tell you. This is a semi-family friendly site.
Bad habits? Far too many to list.
Now who will I tag? Well, here goes: