Thursday, August 28, 2008

Do you ever miss someone?

I miss the sound of his voice. It doesn't matter what he says, I like his voice.
I miss his laughter. Sometimes it booms, sometimes it whispers.
I miss his making fun of me and then calling me baby to take the sting out. I miss his self-deprecation--which is just a mask because he is smart, sexy and funny. I miss his soapbox, when the world just got too much and he had to let it out.

I miss his hands. I miss the rough, long fingers he used to brush my hair out of my face. They feel worked with, rugged not weak. They engulf mine. I miss sweeping my thumb over his just to let him know I'm thinking about him. I miss the strength that flowed from the lines on his palm.

I miss the idea of us--the bumps that would keep us together until we're 90. I miss talks that wrapped us around each other to keep out the world. I miss curled up when we're sick. Smiling across the room when we're not.

I miss his goodness and kindness; even when he was mouthing off. I miss how he made me laugh. I miss the crazy love I felt when he made me feel better after a crappy day. I hate that I took out so much on him. I miss that he let me.

Most of all, I just miss him.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Met a Korean War Vet Today

I served in Korea for a year back in 2003. There's a lot to know about the 3-year "forgotten" war that took the lives of over 50,000 Americans. Living there, I was inundated with history and background as I should have been considering I was the heir to help carry on that legacy. But no year in a relatively, quiet time could ever illustrate to me what it was like to fight in the freezing, cold snow in barren valleys and mountains with cold k-rations to eat.

I know the Korean cold but under the blanket of a heated dorm room or thick layers of clothing that I wore only to walk from one building to the next. I also know the rainy season when you wear rain gear from head to toe, again to slosh from one building to the next. I do not know what it's like to carve a hole in the ground and have to sleep in the pond it creates during that cold, wet season.

I have seen the World's Most Dangerous Golf Course -- a one-hole, par 1 where if you lose your golf ball, you do not go after it for fear of anti-personnel mines. But I do not know what it is like to build a human chain down a mountain, through c-wire and over mine fields to be able to drag a buddy missing half his skull safely to a helo landing pad.

Today, I met the man who's platoon formed that human chain--up the snow-covered side of a mountain and one of the men in his platoon. Both originally from Oklahoma, their guard unit was paired with another from California and headed to Korea in December 1951. This was a year and a half before the armistice was signed and a year and a half after the war started. Joe Mac, the wounded man, was pulled from that valley and flown to Japan the day after his 19th birthday.

Veterans of all ages, no matter if they serve three years, 13 years or 30 years deserve all the respect we can give them. America seems to be split on patriotism these days. Some support the soldier and are scolded for believing in America. Others scorn the military man and everything he stands for because they disagree with how he's being used. Funny, America stands for liberty, freedom and God-given rights. Isn't that what the soldier stands for too?

Monday, August 25, 2008

Golf in a Hurricane

First of all, I like to play golf. I have my own set of clubs with my super-cool Alabama covers on the woods. I even have special tees and a neat little white glove; although sometimes I feel like Michael Jackson when I wear it. But the deal is, I like to play 9 holes. That's it. Anything over and I'm bored, irritated and ready for a beer at the clubhouse.

So why I signed up to play in an 18-hole tournament on Saturday is beyond me. Could be that my regular partners were playing. Could be that the tournament was for something at work I was in charge of. Could be that I just had a momentary lapse of sanity - of which I am known to have. Either way I did it and resigned myself to the fact that at least I was playing with friends.

So Saturday came and so did Hurricane/Tropical Storm Fay -- flooding the entire southeast! But when you are in the Air Force, especially at Maxwell Air Force Base, unless it is lightening and thundering, you will do whatever the outdoor activity is. So in this case, the 60 folks who signed up for the golf tourney knew that because the skies were only drizzling at 7 am, we would be playing golf. By the 8 am start time, rain was between drizzling and pouring and going back and forth.

Resigned to my fate, I threw on my parka and jumped into the cart. For the next four hours, I hit the green a total of 3 times. I also managed to hit a tree, a sand trap, the water and not one single hole with my putter. By hole 15, the club was slipping out of my hand spraying water farther than the golf ball. And I was counting down how many strokes we had left.
Bryan hit one. Then Barzya. Then Kirchner. My meager contribution may well have been forgotten but ... one hole down. Can't see a thing through the water that is now streaming out of the gray sky at full force. Still no thunder. Clouds hovered and we hit another one.

It was time for the BBQ that awaited us at the clubhouse. It took everything I had not to be a whining little girl on the 17th hole. My sunflower seeds might have well sprouted with the amount of water in the bag. All the clubs were covered with half the fairway grass. The goodie bags that Kirchner and I put in the cart were soaked through and completely worthless. Where's the darn beer?!

18 holes down and I could have won Daytona with the speed I put on our little cart. As soon as we got back, 59 other people had war stories of golf clubs flying through the air, water soaking their socks, and just how miserable they were on the last 4 holes. I wasn't alone! And with all the giveways during lunch, it was almost worth it!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Baseball & Nachos

My 7-year-old and I walked into the Montgomery Biscuits stadium last night and one of the ushers pitched her a little ball on the way in. "Look Mommy! That man gave me a volleyball!" she sreamed at me. So I asked her if she meant a baseball and she said matter-of-factly, "No Mommy. It's a volleyball, look." I looked at the little, round white ball with the red seam and contemplated how to tell her it's a baseball. She continued to assure me that it feels like a volleyball but oooo look - there's Mo! I looked over at the Biscuits mascot as she waved wildly to him...the baseball momentarily forgotten.

Her happy little face looked up at me and let me know that Mo wanted her to have chips and cheese. He does, huh? So after watching the high-schooler load up a holder full of chips and squirt bright, yellow cheese all over them, we made our way to our seats on the 3rd baseline. "I go for the Biscuits Mommy. Who do you go for?" she asked me very intently to ensure that I know we together will go for the Biscuits. This is not our first game but it's important to establish our team up front.

It was the bottom of the 2nd when Rhyne Hughes hit a double that resulted in the first score of the game and Caiden screamed like a banshee, knocking her chips to the floor. The Montgomery skyline peered over into the stadium.

As the next Biscuits batter made it to first and the pitcher started trying to pick him off, she scrambled to pick up her chips and asked me why the guy throwing the ball kept throwing it the wrong way. "The guy on that little hill keeps throwing it over there instead of at the batter," she pointed to first base. So we had a chat about leading off and stealing bases. But she insisted he just kept throwing it the wrong way.

Later, when Erold Andrus sprinted in from deep right field and made a diving, slider catch of a short fly, my scream startled the chips right back on the ground. But Caiden threw her arms in the air and cheered along with the crowd anyway. And as Gabby Martinez's homerun went right near our heads, she looked up with cheese on her cheek and screamed with a mouth full of chips. The Biscuits pulled out front for good in the 6th and "La Bamba" blared on the overhead. She jumped up and danced along with the stadium staff who had doned sombreros, colorful blankets and shook maracas.

With all the chips, cheese and Sprite gone, Luiz Munoz finally hit the game winner and the Biscuits won 9-4. On the way out, Caiden told me she can't wait for the weekend game .... because it has fireworks.