Reprise: Oh!! Christmas Tree!!

A reprise post for the season, from my original milblog, 2004.
It really takes a gift to find yourself on a soggy-wet mountainside on a Sunday afternoon in December, 1981, with a fine drizzle coagulating out of the fog in the higher altitudes, slipping and sliding on a muddy deer track with a tree saw in one hand, and leading a sniffling and wet (inside and out) toddler with the other.

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Reprise Post: Sunday Morning at the End of the World

(A repeat post from 2007, from my original milblog, on the anniversary of the Japanese Attack on Pearl Harbor)

“Life in the wide world goes on much as it has these past age, full of its own comings and goings, scarcely aware of the existence of hobbits… for which I am very thankful.” – Gandalf, from “The Fellowship of the Ring”

There are some things that are so obvious that 20-20 hind-sight is not required, and Sunday, December 7th 1941 is one of them. The events of a couple of hours in the skies over a tiny Pacific Island previously known more as a tourist destination and a source for sugar and pineapples created a rift across the American consciousness, an abrupt demarcation between “then” and “now”. Very much like the effect of 9-11, a snap of a cosmically huge cracker into two pieces; you could look across to the other half of the cracker, and see that on either side of the chasm everything appeared to look just the same… but in your heart, you knew that things were not the same, and would never be quite the same again.

It was a smaller world, that America of seven decades ago, a very local, insular and insulated world, and one which moved comparatively slowly. Only the wealthiest or most adventurous traveled widely. Those who did travel did so by train, or passenger steamship in varying degrees of luxury. Passenger air travel was in its infancy, an exotic and expensive curiosity, as was television – a fancy futuristic gadget displayed at the 1939 World’s Fair. People got their news from newspapers and movie news reels, from weekly magazines like “Life” and “The Saturday Evening Post”, and from the radio. Telephones were large clumsy black objects, nine out of ten on a party line, if you had one at all in your home. Urgent news came by telegram, a little slip of paper delivered by a bicycle messenger.

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A Stop On a Journey – The Lesson To Be Learned

(A reprise post from the early days of the original mil-blog, Sgt. Stryker’s Daily Brief, which was posted so long ago that the only place I had it preserved was in a collection of posts about matters historical.)

In the month of September, 1985, my daughter and I spent a couple of weeks in Italy, before I took the Autostrada north, over the Brenner Pass. I had decided to drive across Europe, when I got orders transferring me from Greece, to Spain. The Air Force generously provided passage on the car ferry from Patras to Brindisi, and Blondie and I were off on a six-week long ramble.

In the space of a day, we went from flat northern Italian landscapes of cypress trees and square campanile towers to green terraced fields clinging to a steep mountainside, and chalets and the onion-domed church towers of Bavaria. Just north of the Austrian border, I got tired of driving. In a little town just off the highway somewhat short of Munich (now, since we were in Germany, it was an autobahn) I spotted a sign for a “Zimmer frei”, and for a night rented a guest bedroom from a nice elderly German woman whose guest bathroom provided hot water only in the sink tap. Complaint in rusty college German only roused mutual incomprehension. The bedroom seemed to be that of her long-grown and departed children, with twin beds and a wardrobe upon which someone had painted a view of the nearby village, as seen from the bedroom windows.

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ChicagoBoyz Miami Meetup – Tentative Agenda

Selected from various alternatives provided by, and after discussion with, Jonathan. I mention South Beach as a starting point because I expect to lodge in that area. I do not, however, plan to rent a car, so I will be either ridesharing or riding along with fellow attendees and contributing for fuel expenses.

Your next step, if interested, is to indicate in comments that you expect to attend, and provide an e-mail address in, shall we say, non-scrapable format, like “jane/john dot doe at provider dot com.”

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