4/5/19 0825 Morgan St. Albany, GA.


The days are turning slowly to the end of our ownership here. We put the property up for sale and had an offer in three days. We took it. Selling off everything here.

We have a home in Florida. This was a vacation home. Unfortunately there are problems. The primary is the medical services provided here in Albany by the VA. There is a Marine Corps base close by and it has medical for Vets, but it is only doctors. If you need medical for ANYTHING other than seeing a doctor you have to drive 90 miles S. to Dublin (and they are not fully equipped) or you drive 200+ to Atlanta. In Florida I have two medical units within 15 miles (the closest is under 10) and a hospital 45 miles away. There are two VA Vet readjustment centers, one in Sarasota and one in St. Pete (I go there after being tossed out of the Sarasota unit for “failure to accept services prescribed by the unit’s manager) and that translates to: he wanted me to undergo hypnosis to take me back into VN. He was NOT a licensed hypnotist. He was NOT a trained social worker. He had a degree in anthropology. I said “no.” He told me that because I was refusing his decision I had to leave the vet center. OK, I did, and I wasn’t the first to have that happen. Well, he is no longer in charge of that unit. I wrote a 3 page letter about him and sent it to the VA headquarters in DC.

Anyway, such is life.

More later!

 

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I often wonder…


It is true, you know, that I often wonder about who plays what part in each of our lives. Who are we to one another, really? What mystery do we all share? Do we really exist? I suppose that last question is an easy answer. Every time I miss the nail and smash a finger I am very well aware that I am alive. But what of the rest of life? There is the age old question about why are we here? What of our purpose? Do we have or share any purpose.

Atheists believe no God exists. Odd, actually, they have a belief and yet tell me I have no right to a belief that God does exist.

I am told there is no proof of God. I ask them for proof that there is no God. I feel sorry for them in their apostasy.

It is the same with Jehovah’s witnesses. Debate them and they will back out to the waiting car in the street as it slides up to rescue them from being converted to, say, being Catholic.

In the end I don’t think it matters much. I am not out to convert anyone.

Today I met a wretch of a man, a Vietnam Vet who was asking me for money. Oh, I am sure he was for real. I don’t like the phony ones and I don’t like being asked for money. There are plenty of resources for the homeless and ill, they don’t need to ask for handouts. The VA has plenty of resources to help with disabled vets who have fallen by the side of the road like the one I met today. I came close to buying his lunch, we were standing in the parking lot of a restaurant where I had just eaten, but then thought information was what he needed and not cash from me. So, I fed him with information, but I don’t think he ate it. The people who could really have helped him were within walking distance, but he never went that way. Instead he went into the bushes behind the restaurant and relieved himself. Another person came up, another vet, he gave him money. He didn’t see the guy come out of the bushes. Probably wouldn’t have mattered anyway.

It was an interesting conversation, my trying to break through and aim him in the right direction and my knowing he would never move in that direction. So, I didn’t buy his lunch. I wished him well and then went home.

Tomorrow I will return to the VA medical center for another appointment concerning the constant pain I have. Tomorrow I’ll drive over to the same restaurant. Tomorrow, if he is there, I’ll invite him to have lunch with me.

BATTLE FLAG


Battle Flag

 

The battle flag snapped and swung up to fly in the wind

Above the post on the hill that even God had forgotten about back then

Rifles swung up and pointed out and down across the clearing

Searing rounds were sent out for the human shearing

A burst returned ripped holes in the flag that flew in the wind

Blood and mud spattered, its fabric so worn and so thin

That flew above boys that day sudden turned into men

It snapped and swung up to fly in the wind

Above the post on the hill that no one, not even God knew about back then.                 6/10/13

***The above poem can be found in the book: Rabbit in a Box.

Dan … a sad phone call.


A friend of mine called me on my cell phone yesterday. She caught up to my wife and I while we were shopping. Wonderful things, cell phones. They can bring you sunshine with friendly voices, sometimes they carry sorrow, and, yes, sometimes annoyance with pest calls.

Sunshine comes from friends who want to chat. Sorrow comes from those calls no one wants to make and no one wants to get. Sometimes though….. ……sometimes  …. Sometimes they just have to be done and so we were shopping for light bulbs at a Home Depot and the phone rang. I almost dropped the phone trying to wrestle it free from its new belt clip and was afraid I wouldn’t get it off and open before the call ended. But I managed it and I immediately recognized the voice of the caller and she said she had bad news.

I always hate those words: I have bad news.

She paused, waiting, thinking of the right words to say and waiting for me to say it was okay and for her to go ahead and tell me what she found the need to call me about. But I dreaded that. I knew it had to do with one or more of my friends and so I took a deep breath and with a sigh told her to go ahead and tell me what she had called about.

She, being Gina, was in Florida at the VA Vet Center in St. Pete where she works as a counselor and Jan and I being in GA visiting friends and our alpacas on Ted and Pat Kraft’s farm in Albany.

“You weren’t in group today,” she began. Group is a collection of Vietnam Vets that meets at the Center. “I’m in Georgia,” I told her. “Oh, yes, I forgot. You told me you were going up to shear your alpacas.”

A long pause.

“Bad day for me,” she began again. “I lost one of my World War II vets. He died suddenly.” But I knew it was more than that and I said I was sorry and then waited for the next hit to come as she sighed again.

“Dan called and said he had gone and had some tests made because he didn’t feel right and well…..he has pancreatic cancer and they gave him 3 months to live.”

The Christmas Party at the St. Pete Vet Center


It was several weeks back when the VA Vet Center in St. Pete, FL had its annual Christmas Party. It is a good time for fellowship and free food, music, and just having a good time among people who understand. It is also a time to meet people of various ages who, like myself, are veterans. This time was no different from those in the past.

I have to admit that I don’t like being around a lot of people. I feel uncomfortable. I like being able to know I have a wall behind me, or, at least, someone who I trust being able to watch my 6 while I keep an eye on theirs. And, even though some would argue that they disagree with me (but I know me better than they do) I would rather slip off and just be me by myself sitting in the woods someplace.

This time, at this party, I had made the rounds and had unsuccessfully tried to avoid a few people who managed to get me into conversations when all I wanted to do was drink my soda pop and leave when I was introduced to a man who was, like me, a United States Marine. But, he was WW II. I am Vietnam.

Even so, we are brothers! We are family.

We sat and talked for at least a half an hour and then I had to go and besides they were removing the tables, had cut off the music, and had taken in most of the food.

We talked of things that you and I can never share because… well, because….

But, regardless that this man was old enough to be my father, we shared common ground, common memories (different and yet common) and different but common ghosts.

He respected me and I respected him. We sat and drank cold coffee and ate some cookies and just enjoyed each others company. He was a brother. He was family.

When I left, I left him eating a few more cookies and I secretly wished that I could have sat and talked a few more hours as I know that those like him are slipping away, just like the Korean Vets and my group. But we had shared the time together and came away both richer for it. I told him he was a hero to me and he told me that I was to him.

That all may seem strange to some, but not to him and me.

Perhaps I will get the chance to see him again, my older brother, my fellow United States Marine, my friend from another war who understands me as I understand him. I hope so.

A Tribute to World War II Sniper Ted Gundy


World War II sniper veteran, Ted Gundy, was a sniper during the Battle of the Bulge. Ted hadn’t seen his Army issued Springfield 1903A4 since 1944, but he’s in for a surprise and then he’ll try a shot he’s never fathomed…1,000 yards with a modern sniper rifle, AMU’s custom Remington 700

via A Tribute to World War II Sniper Ted Gundy.