Thursday, July 17, 2003

Feel homesick...just don't feel unappreciated. You most certainly are not.

Unfortunately it seems that there are aggressive actions perpetrated against our troops on a daily basis. The length of time the troops have been there, and the different type of action that they have had to endure has made it very difficult for them to stay motivated. Reporters are telling us about how their hearts aren't in it. People can point the finger at Bush I suppose, everyday I hear the growing discontentment with the lack of substantive proof of weapons of mass destruction. My, oh my. Who would have thought that we would ever be back in Iraq. Much less occupying it with troops. Troops that are facing a faceless enemy who employs guerilla tactics.

I can't imagine what the men must be going through. Having to worry so much everyday, and having to see their fellow soldiers killed and maimed. They do what they can to keep one another's spirits up, but that nagging feeling of not being able to come home must way on them every day. While each day that passes is literally a day closer to coming home, it is yet another chance for a fellow soldier to be killed or maimed. Times like this will make individual units pull together like family. There is no fear in the world like that of losing someone you are close to.

I just have a few words for the soldiers that are overseas serving. "Please don't think we have forgotten about you. We most certainly have not, though we have come to believe the fact that so long as you stand guard we will never be harmed; please don't think that we will ever take you for granted. Some of us hang up posters and ribbons and wave flags in the expectation that you will return unharmed. Some of us angrily yell at our leaders and demand that you be brought home. Some of us bask so heavily in the liberty that you preserve that we sometimes say, and do insensitive things that may seem to marginalize your exploits. But, believe us when we say we appreciate you. We are proud of you. We are Americans. Please come home soon."

Monday, July 14, 2003

Keri is so very.....dangerous

I woke up this morning and took a shower. Once I got out I looked around for my lotion. No Vaseline Intensive care to be found. I saw a bottle of Renee's Keri lotion and smelled it. Hmm.....not girly smelling at all. This will work. I applied a generous amount to the palm of my hands and began working it into the skin on my arms, back of my hands, and my face. Man. That stuff goes a long way, I had too much on, so I had to towel off again so I wouldn't be too greasy. I finished getting the kids stuff together and headed for work. As I sped along the interstate, I decided to roll the windows down and save the AC. Apparently there is something in the air that I am allergic to, so I sneezed a couple of times, but not too bad. After I sneezed I rubbed my eyes with the back of my hand. Suddenly my eyes began to burn and sting, then they began to water. I wiped the water from my eyes with my hand, and they began to burn twice as bad. Also, I was having a hard time keeping my eyes open. There was a lot of traffic on the road, and I couldn't see!!! Finally, I pulled over on the shoulder and began wiping my face with my shirt. I smelled the Keri lotion on my hands and made the connection. Jesus. The last time my eyes felt like that I was going through the gas chamber at Ft. Benning. Well, live and learn, Keri is not good for eyes or sensitive membranes.

Friday, July 11, 2003

Last monthly drill...

Believe it or not I am at my monthly drill for the National Guard. This is the last monthly drill that I will be involved in before I head to Phase III of OCS. We are here updating administrative information, so I have access to the internet. I am kind of worried about how things are going back at home. My wife is helping her family with a family reunion back in Lexington, and I am not sure how much work is going to fall on her shoulders. There are a lot of things that need to be done, and I wish I was there with her now to help out. This is one of the drawbacks to my reentry into military life. Before, when I was young and single, I hadn't a care in the world as to where I went, or how long I went. I do enjoy military training, however, I am always wondering what my family is doing. This year when I go to Phase III training, I will be feeling a lot better than last year. Last year my wife was 7 months pregnant, and I was terrified that she was going to go into labor before I had a chance to get back home.

This year, I can actually concentrate on the task at hand. At the end of this training I will be eligible to receive a commission as a Second Lieutenant. I have so many things that I need to do before the morning. I got to drill late, so I didn't have time to set up my display materials before we started doing admin stuff. Once we leave here it will be lights out because we have a PT test tomorrow. I guess I will have to stay up late and work by flashlight to get my stuff squared away. I am already tired, and 4:00 a.m. is going to come early. But, it is all worth it, for me, and my family. It is so easy to do the difficult things when the end benefits more than yourself. Oh well, more to follow later on.......

Thursday, July 10, 2003

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Alex...

The other night I borrowed a DVD copy of "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" from my brother-in-law Roger. I sat on the couch in the TV room upstairs and began to get lost in the action of the movie. One thing cool about DVD's is the fact that you can change the languages spoken in the movies. Nowadays the language change is almost seamless as compared to the voiceover material of the 1970's Kung Fu flicks. So I sat upstairs watching it, and Alex sat on my lap sucking her thumb and staring intently at the television screen. She lost interest and began to whine and clamor to get down on the floor. I set her on the carpet between my feet, and she began to play with a stuffed animal. Suddenly during a high-flying action scene Alex stood up and held onto the edge of a clothes basket and began to yell at the characters flying and fighting across the screen. She lashed out quickly with her foot and fell on her back. I scooped her up to make sure she was okay, but she barely cried at all. It seems that she got caught up in the moment. My baby girl is a Kung-Fu movie freak at the age of 11 months.

Wednesday, July 09, 2003

Happy Birthday, Renee!

Today is my wife's birthday. I already gave her a gift last night, I bought her a copy of Hillary Rodham Clinton's "Living History". Unfortunately we couldn't wake up together this morning, she spent the night at her mother's house to give her a hand with the preparations for this weekend's family reunion. The one thing that her mother wanted us to do was to change the linen on the bed in the spare bedroom. I am betting that this bed is well over 120 years old. Renee's grandmother and all of her siblings were born on this bed, and it has been handed down from generation to generation. The actual matress sits much higher off the ground than most beds do, and it is an odd-size. It's size rests uncomfortably between a queen and a full size.

Renee and I went into the back bedroom which had been closed so as to save the amount of space that the window air conditioner had to cool. The moment we opened the door, a blast of hot humid air greeted us. Renee, said the feeling was reminiscent of 'Backdraft'. I had on khaki pants and a short sleeve shirt, but I was instantly uncomfortable. Renee had on a linen dress that I bought her last summer for her birthday. I am sure that she felt much better than me, because the dress hangs loosely on her for comfort.

We began the tedious process of removing the dust ruffle from the bed frame, and I had to haul the top mattress off of the bed to install the new one. (There is a box spring and two matresses on the bed) By the time I finished with this, I was perspiring heavily. Renee had just the hint of moisture on her forehead. I placed the mattress back on the bed while Renee held the dust ruffle in place, and soon that part was done. The bed rests up against the wall, so it is impossible to make the bed up without literally getting ON the bed. Renee stepped lightly out of her sandals and gathered up the mattress cover. She raised the bottom of her dress and put a knee up on the bed. Slow motion. As she raised her dress *I was looking at a long stretch of uninterrupted caramel flesh from her feet to mid thigh. Renee ran track in college, and some of the characteristics of the sprinter she used to be have stayed with her. She moved forward on her hands and knees and tucked the far corner of the mattress cover in. She sat back indian style and tucked the other corner in. Once again she raised the bottom of her dress slightly and slid off of the bed. I suppose there is something about seeing a woman's legs beneath a dress that brings out the schoolboy in every man.

She turned and started putting new covers on the pillows. I watched her form the back as she worked, her arms were toned and lithe, despite the fact that she never works out. 5'6", 120 pounds, a flat stomach and great legs. All of this after having 3 kids. By the time we finished putting everything together she had a light coat of perspiration on her that glistened as she moved back and forth in front of the window. She was wearing that perfume that I love, don't ask me to name it, and she had her hair pulled back into a long ponytail in the back. She finished smoothing out the comforter and looked around on the floor. She pointed her toe and found one sandal, then the other. As we left the bedroom she said, "Thanks baby." I told her she was most certainly welcome, and started gathering the baby's things so I could head back to Frankfort. I rounded the boys up and told them to head to the car. I told my mother-in-law goodbye and gave Renee a hug. It was still blazing hot in the house, and I could feel the body heat coming off of Renee. I really felt like I needed a shower. Renee was perspiring lightly, but looking oh-so-good. (Women seem to have the uncanny ability to sweat and still smell good.) She kissed me and rubbed the back of my neck and said she would call me later on. I held her tightly for a moment longer and headed out of the door wondering whether or not I was sexually depraved, or if a person could actually look sexy while sweating and making a bed. Oh well, time to go home and take that shower I needed. Preferably a cold one.

*The "Long stretch of uninterrupted flesh" line was copied from an email correspondence with my friend Mike who was describing a photo. I laughed and told him that he ought to leave Academia and start writing romance novels.

Wednesday, July 02, 2003

Strom Thurmond is dead...

Many people are observing the passing of Strom Thurmond with mixed feelings. A lot of my friends seem to be rejoicing as if an evil dictator has been deposed. If we look at his past words and actions, it is easy to see why some blacks may not think too fondly of Strom Thurmond. I am not sure what to think, actually. As a Christian, I know it is not good to harbor hate for anyone, no matter how reprehensible their behavior has been in the past. I was reading a Slate article about him, and they spoke about how no official apology for his past behavior was ever rendered. However, there seemed to be an "unspoken" apology that his fellow conservatives voiced for him over and over.

What was once an unspoken rumor of his biracial daughter has come to light in news services as well. It would seem that his past disdain, or need for seperation from the black race was not quite so urgent at one point in time. He fathered a child with a black housekeeper in 1925. I really don't know what to feel about this situation. It certainly isn't relief, because Strom Thurmond and people who espoused views like his in the past have ceased to be a factor in American life. Rather, they are somewhat of an oddity or a curio, a "blast from the past" if you will. We could actually look at this man, and his career and see the evolution of the politics of race in this country. Whether his heart had ever softened toward minorities we will never know. But we can see that there were changes that were made. At least on the outside because of the pressures of the American People. No matter what people say, and to what extent Strom Thurmond made changes in behavior and word. There is no species on earth that cannot survive without evolving and adapting to their environment. Whether it was sincere or not Strom certainly adapted. Who else could have been in office at the age of 100?

[Click here to hear Strom segregation rhetoric circa 1948]

[Do you hear the word "nigra", "negro", or "nigger"?]