Thanksgiving With Kith and Kin

Many people from my family use the phrase kith and kin. As explained to a young me, kin is the family God saw fit to bless you with. Kith is the family you would have picked if given a choice in the matter.

This year was a lot more kith than kin. It was still fun. We choose ham instead of turkey due to some picky eaters in the thundering herd of young ‘uns. All the sides were the standard bit. We had stuffing, taters, veggies, candied sweet potatoes, and pies.

We were at a friend’s house. We provided a couple of sweet potato pies courtesy of great grandma’s recipe. I helped them get the their papa down here from an old folk’s home near The Major Metropolis. That made me fell warm and fuzzy inside.

We all laughed because despite our collective efforts to not make too much food, it seemed we had enough left over to feed a small battalion. We split everything down the middle and each of the two families got sufficient leftovers for a couple of weeks.

After supper, we played with the kids and watched a movie. Our friends don’t get cable, so we didn’t watch football. Most of the kids are small, so playing football in the backyard seemed rather ambitious. After being in some real remote locations in the world for Thanksgiving over the years, having no football was not an issue. Being with family and friends was far more fulfilling.

I shall go to bed tonight with the echoes of children’s laughter in my head and an overstuffed belly. We reflected as a family on what we are thankful for. Pocket Monkey stated that he is thankful for sleepovers with friends and a cozy house. I was proud. Keeping him warm and safe is one of my major goals and priorities.

That is all. Think before you drink. Fall out and carry out the plan of the day,


Veteran’s Day 2013

I am enjoying this Veteran’s Day by spending my time with my wife, son, and friends. Those who I fight for. We don’t fight because we hate what’s in front of us. We fight because we love what’s behind us. Please support us and stand by us. If that’s not your thing, by all means, try to stand in front of us. Woe betide the wolf when I stand guard at the door.

I am not yet a veteran. As I am still active duty, I am more like a veteran in training. I chose to forego any of the free stuff, so that a vet in need might be able to take my spot.

Mrs. Snipe can testify that I usually get very emotional on Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day. Many of the vets that shaped my life have passed on. Some relatives, some teachers, all men of honor. Just last week, my Naval Science Instructor from high school passed away. Yet another name to add to my personal honor roll. A Vietnam vet and true renaissance man. He was one of the many reasons I chose to join the Navy.

Today, we chose to enjoy the freedoms that previous generations of vets have earned for us. We went to the park. We passed a football. We hiked. We had a discussion about veterans with Pocket Monkey’s favorite accomplice, whose parents are both vets.

Always remember. Someone’s son or daughter earned the freedoms that you enjoy today. As previously stated, a large chunk of my family tree and blog roll are veterans. Some left parts and pieces behind. Some still have night terrors. Some came out OK. We owe them all an immeasurable debt.

I encourage you to find a vet and buy them a sandwich or a coffee. It is a small gesture, but still appreciated. I never know what to say when someone thanks me for my service when I am wearing a military hat. I imagine most vets find themselves in a similar boat.

Please don’t let their sacrifice be for naught. Use and cherish your freedoms. Never be too busy to remember.

That is all. Fall out and carry out the plan of the day.

Strong Men and Strong Legacies

A couple years back, two veterans that are very near to my heart passed on. One was my paternal grandfather. The other was one of his good friends. These are men that would give you the shirt off their back if you needed it. They would be at your house in a hot minute if you suddenly needed a friend. During the course of a Facebook conversation bemoaning their loss, my brother made an excellent point. It is our job to be those men for the next generation. My Dad is now Grandpa Snipe. I am now Uncle Snipe. It is our job to give the same care to the next generation that our forbearers gave to us. Take the lessons we learned, and pass them down. Such is life. If ever you look back and think about the good old days, bring those days forward. Teach the young ones how to ride well, shoot straight, and speak the truth.

I realized one day that I am a rare creature. I have been in the US Navy since before 9/11. There are very few of us left in today’s US Navy. One day, God willing, I will be the old guy that kids look up to with awe. I want to be worthy of the legacy of Grandpa and his buddy. I want to eventually be the worn out old man at the parade doing his level best to stand up in the presence of the National Ensign. I want to be known for helping others and supporting other vets. I want my legacy to be such that my future grandson and his friends view me with the same awe and respect that I viewed my Grandpa and his friends with.

Every man has a season on this earth. I want my season to be worthy of comment. If no one is mourning when I pass, then I have failed. I want to touch lives, even if it is in the smallest way. I want to live my life in such a way that even my exes show up at my funeral. My Dad’s ex wife showed up at Grandpa’s funeral. That must be the surest testament to a man’s character ever. In short, I want to be like my Grandpa. I want the whole town to know when I pass.

That is all. Fall out, and carry out the plan of the day.

Pocket Monkey Weighs In

Pocket Monkey will be my ghost writer for a part of this post. Today was an awesome day. My class had a concert for the veteran’s. Dad wore his Navy Service Uniform because Mom said so. He has a lot of ribbons. He had wanted to wear his dress blues but Mom said no. My concert had four classes of second/third graders. First, we paraded the colors, using a few Cub Scouts from a different pack than mine. Then, we started singing various patriotic songs. During the Armed Forces Medley, all vets and active service members were encouraged to stand during their respective song. The Navy Commander sitting next to Dad didn’t stand up until Dad did during “Anchors Aweigh”. When I was practicing, I got the Army Song stuck in Dad’s head, ha-ha. He was not amused. Snipe comments: My retired Coastie buddy admitted to me after the concert that he didn’t recognize his service’s song. Seeing a bunch of elementary school kids singing patriotic songs was beautiful. The songs included such hits as: 50 Nifty United States, Lights of Freedom, Grand Old Flag, and the Armed Forces Medley. PM is right, the CDR sitting next to me didn’t seem like he wanted to stand up at first. There were a ton of sailors, a couple of Air Force Vets, and a couple of Marine vets. I didn’t personally notice any Army vets. It seems like I was the only active duty E-6 and junior there. I counted several officers and a couple of Chief Petty Officers. A couple of guys wore their cammies. Call me old fashioned, but I believe that for an event like that, the Navy Service Uniform should be the bare minimum. Cammies are for work and brief stops.

That is all. Fall out and carry out the plan of the day.

Tooting My Own Horn.

I was recently chasing links on a few different blogs. I posted the content from to their writer analysis. The result is:

I write like
William Shakespeare

I Write Like. Analyze your writing!

This is really cool. Shakespeare has long been one of my favorite playwrights. His St. Crispin’s speech has inspired me many times over. Follow the link and see who you write like.
That is all. Fall out and carry out the plan of the day.