Tuesday, May 31, 2011
I am inveighing bitterly against that highly-touted piece of inaccurate, sensationalist crap, "Gettysburg," that I tolerated for 20 minutes last night before turning off the television in disgust.
He: This is why I don’t watch stuff with you (At least since I ruined “Gladiator” for him).
Me: Don’t you ever get upset when you see people get something wrong that you feel strongly about?
He: Yeah…but it doesn’t do any good to yell at the TV.
Me: (pregnant pause).
He: Football’s different.
(photo from 1stSgt Mike)
Many, many years ago, when I was still a lithe and active company-grade, my sacroiliac would occasionally go south on me. Usually when least expected.
I was walking into our building one day at Camp Lejeune when I spied a Marine trying to get a heavy piece of AV equipment off the back of a truck by himself. Without thinking I went over and gave him a hand loading it onto his rolling cart. He trundled it away, and I took two steps towards the stairs. And immediately fell flat on my back in excruciating pain.
There I was, lying in the grass trying not to scream when two young Marines came up the sidewalk. They looked at me. They looked at each other.
They looked back at me.
Clearly this was a situation not covered in the Guidebook for Marines and some leadership and initiative were called for. As they marched past both said “Good morning, ma’am!” and saluted smartly.
(I happened to glance up at that moment and catch our section master sergeant laughing so hard he had to cling to the doorjamb to stay upright).
Monday, May 30, 2011
A curious boy asks an old soldier
Sitting in front of the grocery store,
"How did you lose your leg?"
And the old soldier is struck with silence,
Or his mind flies away,
Because he cannot concentrate it on Gettysburg.
It comes back jocosely
And he says, "A bear bit it off."
And the boy wonders, while the old soldier
Dumbly, feebly lives over
The flashes of guns, the thunder of cannon,
The shrieks of the slain,
And himself lying on the ground,
And the hospital surgeons, the knives,
And the long days in bed.
But if he could describe it all
He would be an artist.
But if he were an artist there would be deeper wounds
Which he could not describe.
Edgar Lee Masters
Saturday, May 28, 2011
Friday, May 27, 2011
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
(Our PIO is just about old enough to be my daughter but I like her anyway. She's trying to take my picture for an interview with the local fishwrap).
She: Could you please try not to look like you're about to hit someone?
Saturday, May 21, 2011
May 21st, 1881: "In Washington, D.C., humanitarians Clara Barton and Adolphus Solomons found the American National Red Cross, an organization established to provide humanitarian aid to victims of wars and natural disasters in congruence with the International Red Cross.
Barton, born in Massachusetts in 1821, worked with the sick and wounded during the American Civil War and became known as the "Angel of the Battlefield" for her tireless dedication. In 1865, President Abraham Lincoln commissioned her to search for lost prisoners of war, and with the extensive records she had compiled during the war she succeeded in identifying thousands of the Union dead at the Andersonville prisoner-of-war camp.
She was in Europe in 1870 when the Franco-Prussian War broke out, and she went behind the German lines to work for the International Red Cross. In 1873, she returned to the United States, and four years later she organized an American branch of the International Red Cross. The American Red Cross received its first U.S. federal charter in 1900. Barton headed the organization into her 80s and died in 1912."
During the Spanish-American War she was nursing the grandsons of the boys she'd tended during the Civil War. Conventional wisdom says mid-19th century women were oppressed, tightly-corseted playthings who couldn't say boo to a goose, but from everything I've read about Barton, she was a pistol.
Friday, May 20, 2011
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
There are some unlikely moments in military life that are hard to explain. Every so often a memory pops up, something I’d forgotten about long ago, that makes me wish I could roll back the years.
Sitting in a GP tent near Yuma, sometime around 1985, killing time before going to sleep. I’d like to say it was lovely and quiet out there in the desert but of course the only sound you could hear were the generators. The stars were spectacular, though. No ambient light except the radar sweep.
Someone had a musical instrument and for the life of me I can’t remember if it was a pennywhistle or a guitar. Pennywhistle, probably, they fit in a pack better. Anyway he started playing an old tune, The Ash Grove. I began singing and a guy from another unit who had wandered over started singing with me.
Funny how that came back to me, tonight.
Monday, May 16, 2011
Sunday, May 15, 2011
My older sister sent me a collection of vintage cookbooks she found at a local used book sale. There is one from 1932 that is worth revisiting but for right now I have been trying to decipher some of the recipes the original owner has written inside the front and back covers. Her handwriting is almost as bad as mine and she had a habit of labeling her recipes with (I assume) the name of the person she got it from.
This one is a potato bread recipe under the name of “Gordon.” I give it as she wrote it.
2/3 c. fat
1 tsp salt
2/3 c. sugar
1 c. potatoes (mash measure 2-3 medium save water cool wire sieve)
2 eggs beat
1 ½ c. lukewarm water in which dissolve T. yeast.
7 ½ cups Gold Medal. More. Hard Wheat.
Alternate flour and lukewarm mixture. Let come up once – punch down. Put in ice box. Will be better second day.
Her pie crust recipe (with only the initials “M.T.” tacked onto it) is a little clearer.
Sift 2 ½ c flour, 1 t. BP (baking powder), ½ t. salt, 7/8 cup lard. Pour ½ cup boiling water and stir thoroughly. 2 pies.
This icing recipe (Sayer is the name given) has one ingredient I don’t think you’re going to find sitting around on a supermarket shelf today.
½ teaspoon gliscerine (sp.)
½ teaspoon cream of tartar
2 cup sugar
1 cup water
Boil til hard soft ball (?) – white 2 egg stiff – pour beat – vanilla stiff.
Friday, May 13, 2011
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Thing One volunteered to be the bad guy for one of the local hospitals’ infant abduction drill. It is a no-notice drill. I wonder if he bruises easily – I personally would not want to face down a ward full of angry RN’s who thought I was trying to walk off with a baby.
Monday, May 9, 2011
Monday, May 2, 2011
In the airport Sunday morning I ran into a colleague from our local Red Cross chapter.
I was on my way to a resort hotel in Texas where I would be sitting in air-conditioned rooms and enjoying catered meals and maid service.
She had flown home from Mississippi Friday night, slept in her own bed, done her laundry, and now she was on her way to Alabama to do client casework for displaced families.
She's eighty-three years old. She doesn't get paid a dime for this.