This is a repost of last year’s Memorial Day post. I don’t think I could say it any better.
While it’s never wrong to thank a veteran for his or her service, that is not what today is for. Save that for Veteran’s Day. Today we remember the ones who never got to take off the uniform, those that never came home, the ones that paid that ultimate sacrifice. So we do not “celebrate” Memorial Day, we respect what it stands for. Now granted I will have my cookout and drink several adult beverages, after all, it is an extra day off of work. But in the back of my mind, and hopefully yours too, we will remember our brothers and sisters of all branches of the military and hope that their sacrifice wasn’t in vain. As an Army retiree and the proud father of a soldier, today weighs heavily on me and my family, I am so very grateful for those that served before me and after me. So lift a glass of whatever beverage you choose, and thank those we can only remember, those who fell on the battlefields the world over. And pray that the wars will end, and peace will reign. Amen.
Well, here I am, two weeks into my semi-retirement. Just so you know, I have not been sitting on my ass the entire time. Mainly because I can’t sit for all that long, nor stand, nor lay down for that matter. The herniated discs in my back have not improved as I had expected.
And, since this is Veteran’s Day weekend, we have our annual “smoke out”. We used to do this twice a year, at Memorial Day as well, but we had to cut one out. Just too much work, and too expensive. As usual, we’ll have about 25 folks show up. Some driving an hour or so just to hang out with us. I consider this an honor and privilege to host these folks. Son-the-elder will not be joining us this year as he is still overseas with his Army unit. It’s also granddaughter-the-younger’s birthday celebration.
I have also been doing physical therapy three times a week in an effort to get my back and legs stronger, so that I can handle smoking all that meat overnight Saturday and most of the day Sunday. It’s been mixed results, as this week has been a very difficult week with a high level of pain. But between the doctor, my wonderful tech lady, Wifey and doing my exercises and stretches, I feel much better today. The jury is waiting to hear the complaints after this weekend..
I’ve also been trying to do some more of the home repairs/upgrades we started a couple of weeks ago. That is slow going for me, but I do what I can and take a break to rest my back and legs. Much to Wifey’s surprise and delight, I do the basic housecleaning (sweep/mop/etc..) during the day as I can. I am still looking for a part time job to both supplement my income and keep me from going stir crazy. I can only sit and do nothing for so long. I’ve already read three books down my down time.
For now, my beer costs have not gone up. I am doing my best not to start drinking at lunch every day. And so far, that has held true. But “watch this space”. One thing that has gone up is coffee. When I was working I would normally have just one cup at home in the mornings and then drink the job’s coffee. Now it’s my usual four cups every morning. And we won’t get into weekend consumption when both of us are hitting the brew hard.
The year, we’re not all that sure. It would have to be between 1990 – 1992. I remember that it was my second tour at Ft. Bragg, but that’s as close as any of us can remember.
The cast would be me, Wifey, and our friend Lloyd Brown, and an unknown guitar player. Let me give you some history on Lloyd.
I first met Lloyd around 1987. We were both stationed at Ft. Greely Alaska. Let me clarify that statement. Lloyd and I were both stationed at Ft. Greely, but not in the same unit. So, until that fateful day we met, we had never even seen each other. Why do I say that? Because we met when he was hugging Wifey!
We were coming out of the PX (for you non-military folks, a PX is the department store on the base. Much like a Wal-Mart now, but then much smaller), with my hands full and our very young son-the-younger in a back back when I notice that Wifey and son-the-elder are not with me. I turn around and there she is hugging the neck of some guy who I had no idea who he was! I was not happy at all.
But rest assured, it was not an issue. Turns out that Lloyd and Wifey grew up together. Lloyd was a good friend of one of Wifey’s brothers. The phrase “it’s a small world” really rings true in the military. I have been stationed with folks that went to the same high school I did (and Wifey too), or that grew up just blocks from either of us.
Now you have the backstory, lets get on with the “rest of the story” (RIP Paul Harvey).
Lloyd and I both enjoy Jimmy Buffett‘s music. We both play guitar and both sing. Over the years since our chance meeting Alaska, Lloyd has rented spare bedrooms in our house several times. We were caretakers of his dog and cat during deployments, and he helped with maintenance and such when I was deployed.
One evening we all went out to dinner together. At that time there weren’t too many places we enjoyed going to eat. Lloyd is, shall we say, a picky eater. Burgers with bacon and lettuce, and fries were his go to meal outside of the house. And a PB&J when home!
Sadly, we can’t remember the name of the restaurant in which this story takes place. I assure you there is story in here. Just keep reading. I recall it was Phat Daddy’s, which was up near the mall. Lloyd thinks we we’re down closer to Raeford Road, which is no where near the mall.
Well, wherever it was were were eating that night, there was a guy with a guitar playing and singing. I don’t remember much about this guy other than he sucked. Lloyd and I just sat back and laughed at the guy and talked about what mistakes he was making. Wrong lyrics, missed chord changes, you name it, this guy screwed it up.
We didn’t care too much, it was more fun laughing at him, until he (tried to) played “Margaritaville“. We all cringed when this happened, even wifey and son-the-elder. Luckily the “musician” went on and butchered some other songs. And we went back to drinking and laughing at him. But only for a short while, then he completely destroyed “A Pirate Looks At 40″. We couldn’t handle this. Something had to be done. Think of the children! So we came up with a plan.
Together Lloyd and I walked up to that stage and offer the guy $20.. to never play any Jimmy Buffett song again! The guys face took on a bit of a shocked look (understandably). “You guy must not like Buffett” he tells us. “No,” we reply, “we love Buffett, that’s why we don’t want you to play anymore of his songs”.
He didn’t play any more Buffett songs that night. But I guess he continued to ruin songs after that. Hopefully someone either gave him some good music lessons, or good advice – to not quit his day job!
Lloyd now runs the Wildlife Rescue of Dade County. They do amazing work helping injured wildlife get healthy and released back into the wild when they can. Check them out.
Here’s ” A Pirate Looks At 40″ from Jimmy’s live album “You Had To Be There“, and I was there. Part of the album was recorded at the Gusman Center, Miami, FL in August 1978, and I was there and Jimmy had his leg in a cast! Enjoy!