Monday, April 30, 2012

Mom Said...

 Looking out the front window into the dimming light I watched a mother and her 3 boys walking down the street. The kids were messing around and I heard the tone of her voice but not the words she spoke through the open window. Not sure exactly what was said but the 3 young men fell into line as they moved out of sight. That little incident triggered a few memories; I was one of three boys with a mother who would raise her voice just a bit and the three of us would straighten up --- for a while.

My mother used a few choice phrases in her time, some I'm sure were very similar to mothers everywhere. I think they call them “momisms” now. I started a list of the ones I remembered her using the most, thinking that it would be a short list – not so… I stopped at fifty… I thought I’d share a few. I’m sure you’ve heard them or maybe used one or two at least once or a version of them. My list of “Mom said…”

Money doesn't grow on trees you know.
If I talked to my mother like you talk to me....
Always wear clean underwear; you never know what might happen.
Be careful or you'll put your eye out.
What if everyone jumped off a cliff? Would you do it, too?
You have enough dirt behind those ears to grow potatoes!
Close that door! Were you born in a barn?
If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all.
Don't put that in your mouth; you don't know where it's been!
Be careful what you wish for, it might come true.
Don't eat those; they will stunt your growth.
If you don't eat those, you will stunt your growth.
What's meant to be is meant to be.
I hope that when you grow up, you have kids "Just Like you"!
Because I'm your mother that's why.
This is why we can't have nice things.
If I've told you once, I've told you a thousand times.
Eat your vegetables; there are children in China who would be happy to have them to eat!
If you fall out of that tree & break you leg, don't come running to me.
"Cheer up, the worst is yet to come." Usually said in advance of being grounded.
Someday your face is going to stick like that.
Don't look a gift horse in the mouth.
Yes, I *AM* the boss of you.
Just wait till your father gets home.
No dessert till you clean your plate.
I brought you into this world and I can take you OUT !!
I've got eyes in the back of my head, that's how
Get that thing out of your nose!( or ear)
Just you wait until you have kids of your own - then you'll understand
Honestly,You'd lose your head if it wasn't screwed on!
Don't use that tone with me!
You better wipe that smile off you face before I do it for you.
"I don't know" is not an answer.
As long as you live under MY roof, you'll follow MY rules.
I would have never talked to my mother like that!
Don't make me come in there!
Don't roll your eyes at me.
Don't use that tone with me!
I'm not going to ask you again
Don't sit so close to the TV - you'll ruin your eyes.
Don't make me stop this car!
I didn't ask who put it there, I said pick it up!
You didn't learn that in THIS house!
LOOK at me when I'm talking to you.
I was not put on this earth to entertain you.
Why? Because I said so!

Mother's Day is just a few days away - don't forget her. Why? Because she's your Mother!

Monday, April 16, 2012

For All It was a Life Changing Experience

It’s been a while since I posted anything on the blog. Another one of my passions has been taking up my time. I was busy building a web site and no that’s not a passion of mine. I was truly surprised how relatively easy it was to put together. With a little trial and error and a lot of organization I think it turned out pretty well. Why shouldn’t I – I made it…LOL But that’s not what I want to write about. The site was for the 243rd ASHC – the Chinook helicopter company I served with during the first part of my tour in Vietnam – a bunch of guys I really grew up with and have the greatest amount of admiration for.

Once I made the commitment I began pulling stuff together to make them part of the site. I spent countless hours reviewing nearly 1000 pictures of guys I knew, guys I had heard about, aircraft I flew on or repaired, loads like the ones my ship carried, where we worked, where we partied, some LZs that I recognized and some I did not, the places where we lived and the places where a few of us died. I read names that I know, names that I think I know and many that I don’t know. I’ve read a number of magazine articles, government documents and personal histories. Viewed a few hours of video and listened to audio recordings.

Countless times a name or picture would appear that would trigger memories that are 40+ years old. Maybe a little gray, maybe a little out of focus but real enough. To be honest more than their share brought tears to my eyes and sadness to my heart, but then the next a laugh and a smile. Most however still bring a certain curiosity – where is he now? Has he survived coming home as well as he did being there? I know I am one of the lucky ones, no disabilities, no health problems from orange, no debilitating emotional issues. On the first page of the site I wrote, “Some “gave all” and did not return, for some it was their only military experience, for some it was part of their chosen career – for all it was a life changing experience.” More seem to have suffered more dearly from their tours than others.

Listening to the sounds and watching the pictures stream across the screen had a dramatic effect. Seeing helicopters like mine do the work we did, the expertise of the pilots and crews and knowing all of the support it took to get them there. And oddly enough the sounds, the sounds of a CH47 at startup, at flight rpms, SAS check, of lifting a load… they seem to have had the most affect. I would replay a video, close my eyes, just listen and be transported back 40 years. I could smell the exhaust of the APU and then the turbine engines while standing out behind the ship at startup. I can still remember my ship’s sounds, the forward and aft transmission whines and grinds, the slap of the blades through the heavy air. I memorized them and if they changed while we were in the air I knew there might be problems. I knew which gear was soft, how fast the hook would engage or disengage, how much swing and sway she would take from a load, what snapped and popped and whined and wheezed – just like my first car.

I tried desperately to banish the emotionalism, the personal involvement by making it like a stroll through my high school annual. But there is no connection, no link, no comparison. There is something about being with a bunch of guys whose lives depend on you and whom you depend upon. It’s not like we all sat down, held hands and recited passages from the Bible or the maintenance manual or whatever. There seems to be an inherent realization of what’s expected from you and what you must offer. Nobody asks can you? Will you? You do your damndest to get it done, you don’t think first, no hesitation, it just gets done. Everyone, in my case, is in the same helicopter – damn right “I” want to survive so I will do everything I can to make that happen – everyday! And if I do, everyone else will and that works every time, right? Not always… I lost a good friend who stayed too long doing his “job” to try and save his aircraft. All of the crew survived but him. That same feeling exists today for each of them, whatever it takes I'm willing to help - call me, I'm there.

There is something about the vulnerability that you have in life, to trust it to someone you just met a week ago, in a situation where your possibility of survival is severely limited - that establishes an enduring bond. That bond is shared across the board – makes no difference if you were in a foxhole at the Bulge or a hot LZ in II Corp or taking fire in Afghanistan. Not everyone has been there, not everyone has faced the initial fear, not everyone has had the resolve to do what needed to be done. Those that have, have earned their place, deserve their place in my heart and the hearts of other “veterans”. Beyond that, those who gave their lives in places like Lexington, Saratoga, Bull Run, Belleau Wood, the Argonne, Midway, Anzio, Normandy, Iwo Jima, Pusan, Inchon, Dak To, Khe San, Grenada, Kuwait, Bosnia, Somalia, Kandahar, Fallujah, Basra and countless other battlefields of the past and those yet to be named all have and will have a special place.

There are few people in my life that I could honor by describing them as my hero. I have named every man I served with in Vietnam to that list as well as every man and woman who has served this country in the armed forces in an effort to protect our freedom and sovereignty. Not everyone will understand what I’ve written or feel, not everyone has experienced what I have, not everyone will care, not everyone….

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


Looking out the front window into the fullness of the night, cold air creeps in the small opening bringing with it a familiar aroma. Looking closer as I wipe the sleep from my eyes a gentle rain has begun covering the surfaces with reflections from the street lamp. The sweet clean fragrance of the gentle shower seems to hint of the new beginning of nature's cycle. Darkness hides the earth as it draws the moisture inside in hopes of fulfilling the seasons promise of vibrant greens and pastels, once its warmed again by the sun's radiance. A spring rain in the middle of the night... time for more sleep.... morning is soon upon me... maybe to dream...