The Knock.

It was just an ordinary day,
Going along in an ordinary way.
But all of it fell apart,
Stopped the beat of my heart
With that single knock upon the door.

When a soldier goes off to war
He leaves behind many more.
Parents, siblings, especially a wife,
A hope for a long and loving life
Until that single knock upon the door.

Too stunned to speak, too sad to cry.
I couldn’t even wonder why
There was no one in olive drab,
Just a driver in a yellow cab
With a telegram and a knock upon the door.

How could this ever come to pass
That all the Army’s highest brass
Had planned the battle start to end
But hadn’t even thought to send
A chaplain to come and knock upon the door?

So now I sit with my son on my knee
A boy his father will never see.
Lost in a war far across the sea,
He will never come home to his boy and me.
And he will never again knock upon the door.

Posted in Military, Poetry | Tagged , | 1 Comment

The Last Clown.

In Aleppo
The Last Clown dies.
A child cries.
A city dies.

We hear leaders’ sighs
And their failed tries.
When will they realise
That a city isn’t a prize?
Are we all so unwise
That we watch a city’s demise
While listening to lies
Without shock or surprise?

And yet, in Aleppo,
Through azure skies,
A lone bomb flies.
And … the Last Clown dies.

Posted in Current Events, Poetry | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Happy Thanksgiving!

To all my readers in the US, here’s wishing you all a very Happy Thanksgiving. And even if you’re in another country, take a few minutes out on Thursday, and:

Be thankful for what you have.
Be hopeful for the future.
Cherish the past (I got quite the reminder that I’ll share in a week or so).
Hug a friend – even if he does support Donald Trump. (Hey, Tommy! C’mere! :D)

And may you all have a wonderful, love-filled, family-gathered day! (Or if you hate your in-laws, there’s some good marathons on SyFy Channel and BBC America!😉 )

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | 3 Comments

A Four-Year Miracle.

The wife was going through old posts on her cellphone this evening, and discovered an old post about our “old man” cat Stryper. He’s been with us for four years. Miracle? Well, at the time he showed up, this old cat was literally just skin and bones, and was suffering from a severe respiratory infection. We weren’t sure he’d make it through the night, but when he did, we hauled him off to the vet the next day. The vet discovered he also had FIV (feline AIDS, basically), and gave him a maximum – a MAXIMUM – of 72 hours to live. He was so certain the cat would die, when he saw my wife at Wal-Mart a week later, he tried to carefully ask how the cat was doing, fearful Stryper had died. He was absolutely stunned to hear the cat was still alive, and hoped he would at least survive through the holidays for us.

So here we are, four years later. Stryper is still rather skinny, but he can raise hell with the rest of the cats. He’s still half-blind and half-deaf (more so when it’s convenient for him to not hear a correction), still FIV-positive, and still going. He’s lived more years than the vet gave him days to survive, and shows no sign of slowing down. So, a miracle? Well, an old, starving, half-deaf half-blind half-DEAD cat, chucked from a car (quite literally), found his way onto the porch of one of only two bleeding-heart animal lovers in a 5-mile radius. Call it what you will – he’ll always be my Old Man, keeping this old man going.

Posted in Cat Stuff | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Welcome To Trump’s America.

I have tried to keep my blog apolitical. I have not attacked anyone for their beliefs, and have been equally kind (I hope) to right and left alike when I have brought up politics (as in my post about having to end this blog, which I am doing all I can NOT to end). But when this headline comes in from multiple, reliable sources, I’m sorry, but I need to vent.

Go Google “Gold Star family of slain Calif. soldier booed on flight for deplaning first”. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

You want to deride “Black Lives Matter”? Okay, I can deal with ignorance. You want to claim the illegal immigrants are taking all our jobs? Fine, wait ’til the wall is up, then watch all the office park lawns go to seed (not to mention most golf courses), and that’s just for starters. But to jeer the family of a slain soldier for deplaning first, when they are going to retrieve the body of their dead son?!?

Welcome to “Hooray For Me, Screw You” Land. The United States of Trump. And if you think this is just a one-off occurrence, or just some “bad apples”, you’ll be proven wrong many times over the next very, VERY long four years.

Sorry, my Republican friends, but I cannot stand by and let veterans’ families be treated like this. Leave me if you must, but please don’t try to write this off. This is a warning sign, and ESPECIALLY Republicans should be condemning this kind of action.

Sorry to ruin your Monday, everybody. I’ll try to come up with something lighter in a day or two to make up for it. Happy Monday of Thanksgiving week (for all my US readers, just a plain Happy Monday to the rest of y’all)!

Posted in Current Events, Military, Politics | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

Conundrums.

How, in the darkest of nights, can you find a shining light?

How can you kill in wrath and vengeance, only to find love?

How can two great being’s end be the start of a wondrous future?

I saw it, many years ago, and I still remember. Two great warriors, representing the last of their families, a pair of lifelong enemies, united on a cold black night. They stood on the castle wall, lone figures in a sea of flames and blood. They argued, one refusing their mutual end, the other pleading for it. And finally, when hope was all but gone, one of them struck the other dead. A silence fell, thick as the blanket of night around them.

But then, what I can only describe as magic stunned all wordless. In that darkest of nights, a brilliant light shone in the heavens. At that horrible ending, both found new life and new purpose. He who survived, who had not lived but merely existed for decades, found his life  again. He who died did not vanish, but became a beacon for all eternity, a fixture in the heavens and the peoples’ hearts, to guide them when needed, for all eternity.

I think now, of those two great beings. Though lost in the annals of time, both stand out as beacons, proof that even on the darkest nights you can find a glorious beacon, and that even the most lost soul can once again find both his path and himself. Most importantly, they stand as proof that the most dire enemies can come together, and forge a friendship that outshines time itself.

Dedicated to the Knight of The Old Code, who found a place, once again, for chivalry; and to Draco, who found his place, not just among, but in the lead of his fellows’ souls.

Posted in Poetry, Romance | Tagged | 3 Comments

Screw It, Let’s Have Some Chuckles.

I’ll be damned (literally) if I’m gonna go off all morose and stuff. I’ve had this post knocking around the old brainpan for a few days, so here goes.

I’ve been watching a marathon of M*A*S*H from the weekend, and it has served to remind me of the humour and oddball happenings the military experience can bring. Yes, we were playing soldier, nobody shot at us with live ammo (except for a nearby shelling from 6″ guns at Fort McCoy in Wisconsin), and we were never at risk of any true harm – except being run over by the drunks of 2nd Panzer haring around in their halftrack and tank destroyer. But we did have that same sense of camaraderie and of the absurd found in M*A*S*H. Here’s a couple from one event. Call it “Magnetic Maladies and Vexed Veterans”.

It was a cold, wet, drizzly weekend in Valparaiso, Indiana fairgrounds. I was there as part of the German unit I re-enacted with, along with some American WW2 units and a smattering of various US military vehicles from other time periods. One was an M113, a Vietnam-era armoured personnel carrier. We, on the other hand – well, our particular unit was made up of  not poor people, but guys who didn’t have a lot of spare cash. This was truest for our second-in-command, a kid in his early twenties. But Dave tried to make up for it in creative engineering. We couldn’t afford motor vehicles, so he researched for months, discovered the unit we represented used bicycles extensively, then started buying old bikes and parts and piecing them together until they looked virtually identical to the bikes used. He also fabricated various weapons, including a hand-held anti-tank mine which held onto tanks using magnets. (This is also important.) Dave was very proud of his new creation (justifiably so), and wanted to test it out on one of the vehicles present. He decided to “attack” the M113. Now, most of us knew that the M113 is made of aluminum. Dave didn’t, and though we tried to stop him, he charged off across the field toward his target. He “sneaked” up on it (everyone saw him, but humoured him), yanks the protective cover off the magnets on his “mine”, and sticks it up against the M113’s hull. The thing promptly falls off. Dave frowns, picks the mine up off the ground, and tries again. Thud. He tries one more time, then walks back to us, griping that his magnets aren’t strong enough to hold the mine to the M113. I finally manage to get through to him that the M113 is all aluminum – you know, NON-MAGNETIC. Dave did the perfect cartoon double-take, leaving us all doubled over in laughter. It finally sinks in, and thankfully, Dave saw the humour and laughed with us. Moral of the story? If you have something held on by magnets, make sure your target is STEEL.

The bathrooms at the fairground were in one big concrete blockhouse, one door for the men (both going in and out) and one for the ladies. I got done using the facilities (in full uniform), grabbed the door handle, and gently pulled the door open. Standing there was a WW2 veteran (as  declared on his hat), rather startled by the appearance of a fully kitted-out German soldier. He scanned me from my hat to my boots and back up again, shook us head, and muttered “Boy, you look good enough to shoot!”. Since we strove for authenticity in our uniforms, I took this as a wonderful compliment, so I grinned broadly and said “Thank you, sir!” as he walked past me. He looked back over his shoulder, shook his head, and proceeded into the bathroom, while I headed back with a grin on my face. The poor guy never considered that declaring someone looking realistic enough to be shot would be taken as a compliment!

Maybe for my next post, I’ll tell y’all about the German vet who came to visit our camp, and his views on our bicycles – or maybe the time we froze to death in southern Indiana….

Posted in Humor, Military History | Tagged , , | 4 Comments