Thursday, January 20, 2011

Story worth sharing

I received the following story in a E Mail. I have always liked this story and I wanted to share this with other...

My dad was a career Marine and this really chokes me up but it is a story that, to me, is not just about how Marine's act but rather how we should all act. We are not alone in this life unless we choose to be alone. Be kind, be a friend and you will find that kindness and friendships come to you in time too! Read this story and have a wonderful day!!!!

The Old Man...

As I came out of the supermarket that sunny day, pushing my cart of groceries towards my car, I saw an old man with the hood of his car up and a lady sitting inside the car, with the door open.

The old man was looking at the engine. I put my groceries away in my car and continued to watch the old gentleman from about twenty five feet away.
I saw a young man in his early twenties with a grocery bag in his arm, walking towards the old man. The old gentleman saw him coming too, and took a few steps towards him. I saw the old gentleman point to his open hood and say something.

The young man put his grocery bag into what looked like a brand new Cadillac Escalade and then turn back to the old man and I heard him yell at the old gentleman saying, 'You shouldn't even be allowed to drive a car at your age.' And then with a wave of his hand, he got in his car and peeled rubber out of the parking lot.

I saw the old gentleman pull out his handkerchief and mop his brow as he went back to his car and again looked at the engine. He then went to his wife and spoke with her and appeared to tell her it would be okay. I had seen enough and I approached the old man. He saw me coming and stood straight and as I got near him I said, 'Looks like you're having a problem.'

He smiled sheepishly and quietly nodded his head. I looked under the hood myself and knew that whatever the problem was, it was beyond me. Looking around I saw a gas station up the road and told the old man that I would be right back. I drove to the station and went inside and saw three attendants working on cars. I approached one of them and related the problem the old man had with his car and offered to pay them if they could follow me back down and help him.

The old man had pushed the heavy car under the shade of a tree and appeared to be comforting his wife. When he saw us, he straightened up and thanked me for my help. As the mechanics diagnosed the problem (overheated engine) I spoke with the old gentleman.

When I shook hands with him earlier, he had noticed my Marine Corps ring and had commented about it, telling me that he had been a Marine too. I nodded and asked the usual question, 'What outfit did you serve with'

He had mentioned that he served with the first Marine Division at Tarawa, Saipan, Iwo Jima and Guadalcanal . He had hit all the big ones and retired from the Corps after the war was over. As we talked we heard the car engine come on and saw the mechanics lower the hood. They came over to us as the old man reached for his wallet, but was stopped by me and I told him I would just put the bill on my AAA card.

He still reached for the wallet and handed me a card that I assumed had his name and address on it and I stuck it in my pocket. We all shook hands all around again and I said my goodbye's to his wife. I then told the two mechanics that I would follow them back up to the station. Once at the station I told them that they had interrupted their own jobs to come along with me and help the old man. I said I wanted to pay for the help, but they refused to charge me.

One of them pulled out a card from his pocket looking exactly like the card the old man had given to me. Both of the men told me then, that they were Marine Corps Reserves. Once again we shook hands all around and as I was leaving, one of them told me I should look at the card the old man had given to me. I said I would and drove off.

For some reason I had gone about two blocks when I pulled over and took the card out of my pocket and looked at it for a long, long time. The name of the old gentleman was on the card in golden leaf and under his name...... 'Congressional Medal of Honor Society.'

I sat there motionless looking at the card and reading it over and over. I looked up from the card and smiled to no one but myself and marveled that on this day, four Marines had all come together, because one of us needed help. He was an old man all right, but it felt good to have stood next to greatness and courage and an honor to have been in his presence.

Remember, OLD men like him gave you FREEDOM for America . Thanks to those
who served... & those who supported them.

America is not at war. The U.S. Military is at war. America is at the
Mall. If you don't stand behind our troops, PLEASE feel free to stand in
front of them!

Remember, Freedom isn't "Free" -- thousands have paid the price so you can
enjoy what you have today.







Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Ole Christmas tree - 18 Jan 11

For the record we are all OK after the accident. Let me set up the scene for you. We were driving back to the cabin after a great meal of stir fry at my son’s house. We were listening to the Justin Beaver CD for the second time. The night was dark no moon and the star light hadn’t reached us yet. Needless to say the snow was blowing across the dark icy roads so we were proceeding with caution. I was at the wheel and Susan was by my side looking out the window at the darkness. We were traveling under the speed limit along the winding road when suddenly out of the darkness there it was (Insert your favorite horror music) a Christmas tree. The tree came out of nowhere, my guess was it had just left a party although the lights were off and the tinsel that was remaining was non reflective. There was no Angel there that night looking out for us either.

In slow motion I thought to myself “Self what should I do”? Susan screamed and I did the only thing I could do giving the circumstances. I didn’t veer left or right, nor did I head for the ditch; there was no time. Instead I ran over the tree and I should add Susan’s RAV4 handled the Christmas tree just like hitting a speed bump in a parking lot. Then Aubrey asked out of the back seat “what happened” in a frightened voice? We assured her after turning down Justin that it was OK and that we had hit a Christmas tree. Big deal your thinking and I have to admit that I thought the same thing as well. I pulled over to check for possible damage and was amazed to find that the plastic covering over the front bumper was damaged, the fog light housing was gone and the fog light itself was hanging by two wires.

We turned around to take a picture of the tree and to remove it off the road before someone else hit it. The tree was a spruce approximately 8 foot tall, painted or dyed green with a lot of needles left on it. The reason I mentioned a lot of needles left on was because of the time of the month (Three weeks past Christmas), the impact speed, and the fact that the front of the RAV 4 with the pine needles sticking out of it looked like a rabid Chia pet.

Susan called the insurance company to file a claim and I could hear the insurance representative laughing after she found out we were OK. I’m sure it was a first for them; we probably hit the insurance version of the Guinness book of world records.

Later when we stopped at the Food and Fuel in Osakis to drop off a rented movie I coached Aubrey to ask Grandma a certain question when she got back into the vehicle. Grandma got in and closed the door then Aubrey said “Grandma” to which Susan replied “yes Aubrey”. In her sweet and innocent voice she said “Grandma why does your car smell like a pine tree air freshener"? I love my Granddaughter!

In closing the score now is Christmas tree 1 Toyota RAV 4 nothing!

Have a great day!


P.S. Irving says hi!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Me and Irving – 14 January 2011

With my new job being at Camp Ripley I spend my weekday evenings at our cabin instead of the 90 mile commute one way back to our house in the cities. I knew up front that I would miss the hustle and bustle of family and friends and most certainly waking up next to my wife every morning. There were a few perks of course I felt fairly certain that I wouldn’t miss Bella (Susan’s Labor-doodle) trying to wake me by slamming her front paws down on my unprotected chest in the early morning hours.

What I didn’t count on was sometimes I look in the mirror in the morning and think to myself “Self, who is that moron singing country songs”? The reflection looking back at me is a much older version of the man in the mirror that I remembered from yesterday. Why country songs you ask why I’ll tell you where else can you get depressed and still get the hog market report? It seems that one of the few radio stations I get clear up there is county. But it’s not all bad; if I ever farm I will know where to get my farm crop insurance and what kind of seed to use. Another drawback is there are a few TV channels to watch but only two have a clear picture. The other ones are all statically and show snow no matter the time of year.
I was wrong on so many levels as the walls of the cabin close in on me I start to have weird thoughts such as:

Why is it that there are advertisements for a “White Sale” on Martin Luther King Day? Is it just me or am I reading into this?

Why are there brail numbers on the drive up ATM machine? Could that explain the multiple colors of car paint on the post protecting the machine?

Why is it McDonalds had to mark their coffee cups with a warning that contents are hot, but not mark a shake container that the contents are cold? You may think it’s silly but dump an ice cold milk shake in your lap once and see how you react.

Though the fall I was busy clearing brush, burning the piles of trees and brush. Every night I was out till the news came on reclaiming our land from the forest. Now it’s dark when I leave and even darker when I get back to the cabin at night. Not to mention the pretty white snow that waits for me on the metal roof above the door. Its times like that that I ask myself “Self why is your metal roof so steep and when is it going to slide off and seal my fate”?

It’s not that I’m alone I’ve had visitors come to see me during the day. Why just yesterday I had fresh Turkey prints in the snow that came from the bird feeder to the cabin door. I’m sure Tom the Turkey wanted to tell me the feeder was empty. Then there’s Fat Boy, Chunky Momma and Little Buddy (squirrels) that I have been feeding. I’ve started to like them around even though at first I tried to keep them out of the bird feeder. I recently bought a salt block to encourage more of Mother Nature’s kids to come out of the woods.

What gets me though most nights is that this is temporary and that everything will work out in the end. One weekend I go home the next weekend Susan comes to the cabin. It’s not necessarily the best case scenario but the time we have together is quality over quantity. Not long after winter hit I was in the cabin making supper when I felt that I wasn’t alone and that something was watching me. I did a few fast head turns in hopes of catching whatever or whoever was watching me. I mean the shades were drawn and the weather outside was in the single digits who could it be?

Then I noticed him sitting there on the ledge looking so happy and yet out of place, His colors were a vibrant green that were in contrast to the winter white outside the kitchen window, Who was he and where did he come from? His long hair and mug look had me worried at first. I wondered where he came from for a moment I visualized the scene in the movie cast away where it was just Tom Hanks and “Wilson”. Here I was far from home and suddenly I wasn’t alone anymore. You see my mother-in-law Harriet had received the plant as a gift and left it at the cabin. It was up to me to initiate the conversation being tongue tied I said “Hi there are you thirsty”? You might think it was an odd thing to say but the words never left my lips instead we were doing that mental telepathy thing. I sensed he was thirsty and I was right.

No matter what I do he is there for me and being a cast away I befriended him and called him Irving. Since then Irving and me do most things together. Although he won’t eat the food I prepare, drink a beer, or swallow the pop corn spread out on his soil I think he’s cool. Being my roommate can’t be easy for him as well but I do draw the line at the dirt he leaves on the couch or the dried leaf that he recently left on Susan’s pillow. I haven’t witnessed him going to the bathroom yet, although someone has been putting the lid down on the toilet? Between you and me I’m thinking that he might have his intestines knotted up from sitting in the coffee cup planter.

Irving likes to watch TV but he looks on in horror when horses are grazing or a lawn mower is in use or when a mangy bush gets clipped. He never seems to want to watch anything other than what I watch. To be fair I would love to let him watch gardening shows or landscaping but the two channels I have are neither. It’s probably just as well that we don’t have cable. With him being upset by horses grazing, sharp shears and lawn mowers can you imagine how he would respond to a cooking show? Picture Julia Childs making a fresh garden salad using fresh greens?
All in all life is good! Not the ideal circumstances by far but being unemployed isn’t a viable option either. One day our ship will come in and everything will work out. I’ve always said the big guy takes care of us and if it was meant to be it will happen.

In closing I want to add some New Year’s resolutions that I know I can keep.

# 1 I will utilize every minute of the car drying time the next time I’m in a car wash.

# 2 No matter the line at the self serve soda fountain I’m going to make sure my cup is full but not running over.

# 3 I’m going to transplant Irving to a bigger pot and watch him grow!

# 4 I’m going to enjoy being a husband, dad and grandpa and live each moment as if it was my last.

That is all,

P.S. You have to ask yourself if Dave can write something like this now imagine what he will be like after 3 more months of winter?

P.S.S. I don’t get the Far side but then again I don’t get the local paper either.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A trip down Memory Lane (2010)

Sorry I didn't post this earlier. I lost my password and log in!

To all our family and friends reading this we wish you and yours a wonderful Christmas and a very prosperous New Year! Here is a long overdue update on the Crotteau family:

Josh (our baby) graduated from high school and left in early September for a 6 month Army school. His interest in mechanics is ever increasing as evident by the vehicles that are parked in the shop and the back yard. Besides his 2000 Pontiac Bonneville he has two project vehicles a 1991 Ford bronco and an old 1978 Ford pickup truck (3/4 Camper special). For the record we have a difference in opinion as he thinks their old, where I on the other hand remember both vehicles when they were relatively new.

Jacki and her fiancĂ© Zack and are raising three wonderful boys (Austin, William, Wyatt) together and now call Mankato their home. Zack asked us for her hand in marriage, we couldn’t say no. He is a good man and places Jacki’s and his family’s needs above his own. Not to mention that his kids are absolutely amazing and call us Grandma and Grandpa.

Matt relocated to the Alexandria area where he met a wonderful girl named Trista. Just recently he asked his father in law to be for her hand in marriage. Our belief is that with a good woman by his side his options in life are endless! His daughter Aubrey is growing like a weed and makes my heart skip a beat when she flashes me her smile or calls me poppa bear.

Doug is buying a house and soon he will be leaving home to start the next chapter of his life. He has someone special in his life by the name of Dusti that we are quite fond of. Sad to say he will be going back to Iraq early next year.

Darcie is still traveling through life with her sights set high and is determined to change the world. She still dabbles in photography taking awesome pictures and is working hard to land a management position with her current company. Whenever possible she and Roxie travel to the farm as she calls her childhood home.

We are truly blessed by our ever growing family and welcome both Zack and Trista into our family. We love them both and can’t wait until the 2011 Weddings.
Let’s not forget to add to the excitement that after thirty years of wearing the uniform I finally retired. I’m now a civilian contractor working for the Government doing the same job but on a much smaller scale. The biggest difference besides the pay cut and living apart is that I wear comfortable jeans and short sleeve dress shirts. To be honest it’s quite refreshing to be a little different than the guys in my office who are all wearing ACU’s (Army Combat Uniform). I know a few of you are smirking right now thinking that it’s not the civilian clothes that make Dave different.

Susan is doing well and has now worked for Wal-Mart for over 20 years. She is contemplating going back to school, or now that the kids are older getting a new job. For so many years Susan has put her family’s needs above her own. With the kids all of age now, her future is for her to decide. No matter her decision, I support her and will stand by her side like she has stood by my side throughout the last 23 years.

We spent some time this year downsizing with happy thoughts of moving to our Cabin in Osakis and making it our permanent home. We had a massive garage sale getting rid of a lifetime of accumulation and said good bye to Mary, Joseph, Baby Jesus and the three wise men. I really wanted to hand the outdoor decorations off to the next generation for them to make their own holiday traditions. Nobody had the storage space required. A man with 5 kids under the age of 8 made me a deal I couldn’t refuse. Truth be told I made him a deal that he couldn’t refuse and he became a hero to his kids. You see his kid’s eyes were already sparkling in anticipation of the next Christmas wonderland in their front yard. Call me a softie but I would rather have our treasures go to a good home than to wind up at Goodwill lined up next to the walkers, and seldom used exercise equipment.

Lately we have been going through the precious treasures that our kids have given us through the years. Everything from homemade cards (all occasions), to some fine works of art that our children had labored over for us. There are cards to mom that say “There have been some bad times in the past, but this isn’t one of them” to “You might be the Queen but I’m the joker”. So many memories as we went through the boxes from the past. We wanted our kids to know how much we love them while were here and want them to share their treasures of their youth with their kids someday. Some of the stuff we held onto is hard to explain but hopefully they will see that we held onto it because it meant something to us. I know to some it may seem gloomy but the laughter we shared going through the treasures past or a tear that may have been shed together is priceless.

In closing we want to say enjoy your time with your family now while you can. Hold them close, tell them you love them even if it embarrasses them. Never forget that life is so precious and you may never again get the chance to tell them that you’re proud of them. Or that you never said you were sorry while they were here and find yourself wishing that you could after they are gone. I’m not sure who said it but the quote goes something like this. When I die I don’t want to go peacefully living life cautiously. Instead I want to slide over the line at the pearly gates saying “wow what a life and what a great ride!

One last request from us to you is to say a prayer tonight for the soldiers serving in harm’s way. For the spouse that is alone for the first time this holiday season. Lest we forget our public servants and our government in hopes that they will do the right thing by us and for us no matter the cost.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all!