Friday, May 27, 2011

Memorial Day

JOHN 15.13 says “Greater love hath no man than this that a man lay down his life for his friends”.

This Memorial Day for me is filled with the remembrance of fallen comrades. I for one can do a roll call in my mind of soldiers that never came home. I wonder what their families are planning this weekend. I’m guessing somewhere on the itinerary there will be a trip to the cemetery. Will they be celebrating a 3 day weekend or wishing their soldier was home with them even if for just a minute? Will there be an empty place setting at the table where their deceased soldier would have sat?

Being a soldier isn’t easy by any means but being a soldier’s wife, husband, parents, family or significant other is definitely the hardest job there is. Imagine watching the news and learning that another American soldiers lost their life today in the very land your soldier now calls “home”. Would your hands tremble as you answer the phone? Would your heart skip a beat when your door bell rings in the wee hours of the morning? Do you think a few gray hairs might be added to the inventory until finally hearing the words “I’m OK”.

Men and women serving our country say good bye and hope they will see their loved ones again. Some say good bye knowing that Grandma, Grandpa, Mom or Dad will not be alive when they return. Others have said good bye unaware that the next time they touch American soil they will be in a Flag covered coffin.

Inevitably birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, reunions, first dates, first steps, and father daughter dances will be missed but not forgotten. Some of the guys deploying such as my nephew are expecting. His hope is to be home on leave when their child is born. During my deployment more than one dad watched the birth of their child utilizing a web cam. Things have changed since the World Wars then again there is nothing that can replace the wishing you were there feeling when your spouse needs you the most.

Putting the above thoughts into words reveals from within me mixed emotions this Memorial Day. I would love to be like some and ponder trivialities such as what adult beverages to serve or choice of meat for the grill. Instead many of my kids (soldiers) are going back across the pond as part of their patriotic duty. For some it will be their first deployment, others are experiencing second, third and in some case fourth deployments. I would like to say it’s my time to sit back and wave as the kids climb aboard the transport planes, but I would be lying. A big part of me will be going with them.

I spent over 30 years taking care of my kids and anticipating their needs. Blood, sweat and tears are just a few of the words I have used to describe a soldier’s life. There are 7 Army values that are the key ingredients of a US soldier. Many of you know what the words below mean.

Selfless Service
Personal Courage

How often do you see someone actually live up to these sacred standards? Soldiers learn these values in detail during Basic Combat Training, and continue to live them in all aspects of daily life - whether on the job or off.

Men and women everywhere are serving their country whether it as a law enforcement, firefighters, or the military. So many are serving to say that they stepped up when the going got rough, that they served so others wouldn’t have to. For me I served in hopes my kids would never know the tragedy of war. I was wrong, my kids, nephews, and nieces are now following in my footsteps of me and my forefathers.

President Abraham Lincoln’s words below are pretty powerful. The words spoken so eloquently years ago remain true today.

The Gettysburg Address

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate -- we cannot consecrate -- we cannot hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

As you celebrate this Memorial Day weekend take a moment to remember those Soldiers that gave the ultimate sacrifice. Remember that a large number of Minnesota soldiers are serving in or are on their way to the sand box (while you sleep in your comfy bed tonight). I ask that when the flag goes by you this Memorial Day that you stand a little taller, take your hat off, place your hand on your heart and give thanks to those that selflessly serve so you have the freedom you enjoy today.

That is all,


P.S. Just remember to the world they may have only been one person. To the one person they may have been the world. May all my fallen brothers and sisters rest in peace in the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit Amen!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Mothers Day – 8 May 11

I wrote two letters to the special ladies in my life. One letter to my bride Susan, the other letter is to my favorite Mother-In-law Harriet. Both of these ladies have been my rock through the years. I can honestly say that I would not be the man I am today without their love and support.

What can I say that hasn’t been said before? Looking back at all the cards and letters that I have sent you over the years has left me without original words to thank you for being such a wonderful mother to our kids. You are my wife, confidant, best friend, partner and the mother of our kids. Our kids are like the proverbial snowflake and that is no two are alike. Being a mother to such a variety of kids can’t be easy by any means. No matter the amount of frustration you feel sometimes or the dream of a future that may suddenly change you are always their mom first and foremost. As if that wasn’t enough you have to be “Super Woman” and find room in your heart to help out other lost souls.

Sometimes I’m jealous of the relationship that you have with our kids. I guess I should have known better when I became the third wheel so long ago. Even back then you were a mom that put her kid’s needs first and foremost above her own. I’m not complaining I knew that about you when I signed on. In fact the love that you had for your kids was one of the things that I loved about you. I have to say I do feel an extreme amount of pride when one of our children writes on face book telling their friends that my mom is more than a mother she is my best friend. To be called a best friend by one of your kids is truly priceless.

I have often wondered what our life would be like after the nest was vacated. We’re very close now but I’m smart enough to realize that the zip code and area code may change but not the amount of phone calls from our kids just checking in. How many times after answering a call have I seen you grab your cigarettes, a fresh bottle of diet Pepsi and head out to talk on the phone to one of the kids in need. I always breathe a sigh of relief when you come back in and say all is well.

My years in the military provided for our family but you were then, as you are now the go to person for our children. In my day I’ve spent hours on planes, airport lounges or sitting on the tarmac waiting to get home. Hours have been spent day dreaming of our life together and what the future might hold for us. The United States Army was an unforgiving mistress that dictated the time that I could spend home with my loved ones. Today the Army is a distant memory and the future is ours to enjoy. It’s me and you now; for better or worse, in good times and the bad until death do we part! We have done our time in purgatory it is our turn now to live, laugh and love as though no one is watching us.

Just remember I have loved you before I ever met you. You are the woman that I dreamed of when I was young. You are my soul mate for ever and always. Thank you for being such an inspiration to our kids. Thank you for being there for me and the family when we needed you most. Most importantly thank you for being the best mother possible to our kids.

I Love you Susan and Happy Mother’s Day!


I just wanted to say Happy Mother’s day to a lady I am honored to call Mom! I know you will never replace my Mom, but you have filled the void that was left when she passed over 20 years ago. I watch you watching my kids and wonder to myself if she would be as proud of my kids as you are. With you by my side I have faced the world head on and have so enjoyed my time with you. Without your continued support and the love of your daughter I may not have become the man that I am today.

Sometimes though there is a side of you that others seldom see. Remember the day that you asked me to put tires around your tomato plants. You look so surprised when I came in and asked for more tires. I would love to say that you suppressed your laughter rather well when you discovered that I placed the tires around the potato plants instead. Notice I said “I would love to say”, you see your laughter that day more than likely led to your issue with changing your pants now years later.

I remember the first time I met you I was pretty nervous to say the least. Having asked Susan to marry me after such a brief courtship must have made you both a little nervous as well? I’m sure Sheldon’s fear of me beating your daughter in the years ahead quickly vanished once he got to know me (right?). Let me just say my first interaction with Sheldon left something to be desired as I tried to engage him in conversation. Try as I might he seemed to answer questions with all yes and no answers that left little to discussion. Soon after wards he drifted off to sleep, after which he headed back outside. I wish someone would have thought to tell me beforehand that Sheldon was hard at hearing.

Have you ever noticed that words or phrases bring you back to a time when life was simple? Talks of roller skating, root beer floats, drive in movies or county fairs are like time machines to the past. Around our house the word Harriet or more affectionately “Harry” makes all those that know you smile. We all have our stories that are told so lovingly to others. You have to know that you’re such an intricate part of my life, my family and close friends that words cannot describe the love that I have for you.

After the death of my father in law and friend Sheldon I wondered what the future would be like for you. All my fears were quickly cast aside and I knew that you were going to be Ok. You started off at a crawl and then took off running as you became more confident. It wasn’t long before you became even more independent and started living the life that you deserved. Then last winter you went down to Texas and came back the owner of a winter get away. I am so proud of you and I’m glad that you’re such a great role model for my kids.

Just the other day you told me “I had to take a nap after making all those goodies for the grandchildren”. I laughed and said all you have to do is change the first part because the last part remains the same. You gave me one of those “What are you talking about Willis looks”. I clarified and said that you could say “I went to golf today and had to take a nap afterwards” or “I went to the Gym today and had to take a nap afterwards”. Where you find the time in your busy schedule to watch the hours of television you T Bo I will never know.

I just want to go on record and say that because your family I have never charged you my normal fee while teaching you Cribbage 101. In fact the other night at Buck Burgers (Actually $1.50) I was not surprised when you admitted that you took $3.00 off someone while playing cribbage waiting for poker to begin. I’m going to say this once and will never repeat it again but I look forward to playing cribbage with you. I watch you play whether as my opponent or partner and have to admit that you’re pretty good if I do say so myself. It seems like just yesterday I was teaching you to play at the kitchen table and now you’re flying solo on the club circuit.

I’m not the only one who adores you, my friends and colleagues all ask about you often. Not to mention what the kids tell their friends after an adventure with Harry. Just so you know Doug, both Bobs and I have made a pact that nobody but us will ever take your money and make fun of you as long as we are around. Your money tin may be lighter now but it’s not empty. Instead it is filled with the laughter and tears that have been shed gambling at the cabin.

You have taught me so much about unconditional love and have stood by my side for almost 25 years. That truly in itself is something that not many can claim and should win you the title of “Mother of the Year” hands down from this day forward!

Admit it Mom there have been some great moments that will never be forgotten. Remember the guess your age booth at Valley Fair or the Doctor talking to me and you about our daughter’s surgery being performed later today. The times we have spent laughing, learning and living will be the treasures that I will carry with me always. One thing that all those that were present that day not long ago will agree on is that Harriet, tent camping and grilled cabbage does not mix. They are a lethal combination just like ammonia and bleach.

To my adopted Mother and best friend I love you! I hope that this Mother’s Day that all your wishes come true.

Your favorite son-in-law (named Dave)

P.S. You’re not the only one that likes the new picture that they put up at church!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

I CAN’T HELP IT! - 4 May 11

I know I promised to be better since my much discussed posting on 8 Apr 11 (Warning – Contents may be harmful to your health). Today I made it back to work after hurting my back last Saturday moving the grandkids 2 story playhouse. I’m still walking similar to the hunch back of Notre dame and someone in the warehouse wanted to know if I was smuggling a corn broom out of there. Why just today my little buddy Phil Moran came by and I actually thought he was standing a little taller. Found out later he had two pairs of boot inserts inside his combat boots.

The Medicine that I took sure made my morning commute more tolerable I even let an older couple pass me for the heck of it (JK). Actually the medicine that they had me on Saturday had me not so regular. Even though I urinated quite frequently I hadn’t gone to number 2 since Saturday. Keeping it short and sweet I have now officially joined the ranks of the pain peelers club. I don’t want to get into the details let’s just say I was so glad that number one stall was open although I may have bent the handicapped rails just a bit. I would be surprised if the cleaning lady stays on here though after her brush with hazardous fumes. Note to self “self maybe it wasn’t the brightest idea that you’ve ever had making your secret recipe chili last night”?

In all my years of back problems I have never felt so miserable and helpless. In less than two weeks my brother Doug and associates are helping me build a pole barn at our cabin up north. I am trying to be good and know that if I was at home I would be overdoing it. I promise that tonight at the cabin I will sit on my hands, take some medicine, and watch one of the two channels all while kicked back in my recliner hoping to get better soon. I just hope that tonight when I get to the cabin that Irving will recognize me. Speaking of Irving I may not recognize him if I forgot to water him last week when I left. I hope I find his leaves pressed against the window eagerly anticipating my arrival. Maybe, just maybe we will both need to recover together.

I hope that this posting finds you all healthy and that you protect your back at all costs. I was young and dumb at one time and thought I was invincible. Years later I find that there is no cure for stupid and wish that I had taken better care of my back. To those of you that asked me what I’m looking for today as I walked in hunched over let me just say it wasn’t the future. To those that made fun of my duck like walk just know that with a rifle I’m pretty good at shooting targets both in and outside of a arcade.

I pledge to you that I may be down right now but I will rise again. Today I’m the fire hydrant but tomorrow if I play my cards right I may be the big dog again.

That is all,


Monday, May 2, 2011

BR 549 – 2 May 2011

Let me be the first to say that I’m Ok and back on my feet again (kind of). Last Saturday while helping Jacki and Zach move the kids play house from their old place to their new place I might have over done it just a bit. (Insert Susan’s voice saying “You’re not as young as you use to be”) It’s not my fault; I have always been a guy that likes getting his hands dirty. As a senior leader in the Army I was never the guy who sat behind his desk and directed others to do the work. I have always believed in “lead by example” instead of the much preferred “do as I say, not as I do method” that others at my rank have so easily adopted. With that being said I was right there with the young pups trying to lift the oversized plywood playhouse off my trailer. The playhouse stands about 12-13 feet built out of 4x4s, 2x4s, 2x6s, and half inch plywood complete with a newly shingled roof. The three of us were trying to lift it from lying on its side to standing back upright. After a fumbled attempt I said enough was enough and went to get the 4 wheeler with winch. I didn’t want to get anyone hurt and knew it would be somewhat safer with the 4 wheeler.

After it was standing upright again I was loading the 4 wheeler back on the trailer when it happened. I was bent over moving the ramps when my back went out. I felt like my upper torso was a spinning top pivoting on my stationary lower torso. I might have looked like Gumby or SpongeBob Square pants under the influence as I moved around trying to stop the hurt. I know if I was watching some guy going through the motions that I was probably going through I too might have laughed. So I do forgive you Josh and Zach for laughing, but Zach the pooping comment that you made to Jacki really wasn’t that funny.

The trip back from Mankato that day was by far worse than riding my motorcycle back from the west coast back in 1982 after my motorcycle accident. I was still driving because of the car trailer behind and the fact that we still had to pick up a set of doors from my brother Doug on our way home. I didn’t want to relinquish the driving to anyone else and felt as comfortable as I could be given the circumstances. Propped behind the wheel supporting myself by my elbows and knees took my mind off the pain. I wanted to take the pain medicine after I backed up the trailer at Doug’s and after we loaded the doors just in case I became under the influence. The old song from “Heehaw” came to mind as I hummed a few bars of “If it weren’t for bad luck I wouldn’t have no luck at all gloom to spare and agony on me” under my breath as we headed north.

The next few weeks were/are going to be busy to say the least. I have so much to do to get ready for building my garage in less than two weeks. I was supposed to be in Montana on a business trip this week. Susan and I were going to drive out and spend some much needed time together going through North Dakota on our way out and South Dakota on our way home. I envisioned stops at Crazy Horse, Mount Rushmore, Old Faithful and the badlands. I know so much to do, and so much to see in just five days. But if nothing else was accomplished being alone for five days with my bride would have been awesome. With me living at the cabin and her at the house our time together is precious. After the events of the past week I believe a trip out to Montana was just what the doctor would have ordered.

After we got home from Mankato I went to bed to try and get better. I had already taken the muscle relaxant that Doctor Zach gave me and was hoping to sleep it off. Josh left for work and Susan ran to town and I unfortunately had to go to the bathroom. I grabbed the pizza plate off of the night stand beside me and headed off. I wasn’t quite done yet going to pee when Gumby and SpongeBob came back to teach me to dance. I didn’t want to crash into the toilet or land in tub so I moved somewhat faster than a caterpillar tying his 16 pairs of sneakers as I headed back to the sanctuary of our bedroom. I made it as far as the hallway when it was either drop down to my knees now or tumble into the drywall in front of me. I opted to drop to my knees than face the embarrassment of the crash and burn method I was faced with. I made it as far as the bedroom floor when I was stopped dead in my tracks. I couldn’t go forward, back ward, or climb Mt Rushmore to my bed that beckoned me. I was in a position right out of some KungFoo movie as I laid there crouched on the floor in agony. The only thing that kept me sane was Bella and Mikey as they waited for me to let go of the pizza plate. Rather than help me their only thought was you distract him and I will get the plate out of his hand. Two or three different times they attempted to get the plate from me. I’m not sure how much longer I could keep them from the plate but I was determined.

I was still on the floor 25-35 minutes when I heard the garage door opener engage. When Susan walked in minutes later I was so relieved I told her I needed some help and know she was surprised to find me lying there on the floor. I admit this would have been a great time for one of those I’ve fallen and can’t get up commercials to be produced. I know water may have escaped my eyes as Susan gave me the support I needed to get up again. The embarrassment of her calling 911 seemed to be all I needed to get up on my feet again. After careful maneuvering I was able to stand somewhat upright, get some sleep pants and slippers on and then navigate to the top of the stairs. Standing at the top of the steps it looked to me like it was at least a mile to the landing below. Instead it was only seven steps that saved me from an ambulance ride.

I’m not sure how I got to the emergency room once I got in the car. The bumps lining Seventh Avenue were rough to say the least but the end definitely justified the means. Susan left my side for a little while at the entrance to the ER propping me up on the wall while she parked her car. After a few shots of morphine and some muscle relaxant in the emergency room I’m on the road to recovery. I have never been in that much pain before nor do I want to be ever again. As I type this blog I am sitting like an old man in my living room reclined in my non brand named Lazy boy recliner with a blanket covering my lap writing. Hopefully tomorrow after I see my chiropractor I will be better and head off to work.

All I can say is protect your back while you can otherwise you could end up in the recliner next to me cursing those seven stairs to the outside. To my wife Susan I know the past week was a tough one for you. I just thank you for being my rock through the recovery process. I will get better soon and someday God willing we will dance either a Waltz or a Fox trot at our 25th Wedding anniversary.

So if anyone should ask you if you got the license number of the truck that hit me it was BR 549 and Lady Destiny was not driving it!

That’s all for now,