Live from WV

My maternal grandmother is turning 80 this month. We scraped and saved and have found ourselves in the small town in WV where I grew up. Mrs. Snipe and Pocket Monkey are quite possibly the only 2 Chamorros in this town at the moment. One of my cousins in college told me he learned that this is the second least diverse city in the US.

It is good to see all the family but everyone has aged a lot. It is the first time I have darkened my mother’s door in seven years. Some people have passed away and many businesses have shut down. All the manufacturing that we were famous for in my youth has dried up. Consequently, a lot of restaurants have shut down.

More to follow. Fall out, and carry out the plan of the day.

60 Minutes of Play

Pocket Monkey likes playing with his friend outside. I fall into the “60 minutes of play” camp. In my world, 60 minutes of playing outside is invaluable. Mrs. Snipe mentioned that it felt like neglect. My response, “He is playing outside. With friends. I love it!” In my world, if you use the buddy system, and play outside, you are ahead of the curve! I strictly enforce the buddy system. If your friends go in, you come in. PM is learning about football from his friend. I love it! I come from an era where parents only got involved if you did something stupid. We check on the kids randomly, because that is what responsible parents do.

In our apartment block, all the parents know each other. “Don’t make me tell your Mom” still carries weight. PM and friends play football and manufacture adventures.

Speaking of adventures, we had a decent snowfall Saturday night. We went outside and commenced snow related shenanigans. A fellow parent teamed up with me to chase kids with snowballs. I was hesitant to throw a snow ball at someone else’s kids until I was given the “A-OK”.

“Just throw it They need to learn!”

I love parents that are as mischievous as me. We teamed up in a proper pincer and got the kids with snowballs from both sides.

That is all. Fall out, and carry out the Plan of the Day!

In Memoriam

Another of my mentors died today at lunch. He was not a movie star. Most major news outlets won’t carry this news. The talking heads on TV will probably never mention it. He was an Assistant Scout Master. He was a vice principal at my junior high and later got promoted to principal at my high school. He was active in his church. He reinforced lessons my Dad was teaching me. Sometimes a simple turn of phrase made something clearer. He choked to death while eating a sandwich.

It seems like every time I turn around, another of my mentors passes. Dad was quick to remind me that at 50, 75 doesn’t seem that far away. 75 is the average lifespan of most of our friends and family. If I go before that, I hope and pray that I die in a pile of spent brass.

Today is also the three year anniversary of my paternal grandfather’s passing. He taught me more by example than any man I know.

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.

Emergency Preparedness

Every state I have ever lived in has had weather disasters that the general populace was prepared for. In WV, it was blizzards. In Cali, it was mudslides, wildfires, and earthquakes. In Guam it was tropical storms and typhoons. Up here in the Pacific Northwest, it is a little bit of all of the above(except typhoons, of course.)

Everyone knows that you need clean water and food. A radio doesn’t hurt. Nor does a firearm and any edged tool. I have been treating the impending government doom and gloom as a natural disaster. We have prepared appropriately.

I was speaking to Dad on my birthday. I mentioned that we almost bought a decently priced chunk of pork loin at the grocery store we had been at for popcorn sales. He expressed amazement bordering on disappointment that we didn’t buy it. When I told him that we had made like hurricane season and full stocked the pantry and fridge prior to the looming government shutdown, he understood. There was no room for food because we had prepared properly for having little money to by food with.

Having grown up in climes and places where extreme weather was expected, any hiccup in buying food will be met with the same spirit and preparedness that I have learned since a young age. Mrs. Snipe calls it a typhoon kit. I call it a bug out kit. The idea and contents are practically identical. A little forethought and effort goes a long way. I don’t need a grocery store or restaurant when worst comes to worst. That’s where the firearm and sharp and pointy come into play. I also have an Army Survival Field Manual.

Bring it sister! Fall out and carry out the plan of the day.

OMG. He’s Got a Gun!

We have recently been doing site sales for Boy Scout popcorn. Washington is an open carry state. When one of my neighbors happened to our sale, openly carrying his pistol, one of the Cub moms almost pooped. I had to explain to her the way things work. The following is a rough approximation of our conversation.

“OMG!. He had a gun!” said Cub Mom.
“He was open carrying. There was a good chance he meant no harm. Besides, he’s my neighbor, and I have spoken to him before,” said I.
“Can he do that? Is that legal?.”
“Yes. And if someone is open carrying, it is highly unlikely that he is up to no good. Matter of fact, I am willing to wager that if someone tried to rob us, he would be the first person to draw down and defend us.”

Cub Mom went on to ramble for a few more moments, while I tried to explain that if people are open carrying, it is a good thing. I don’t personally open carry because I don’t want the hassle. Some A-Hole might call 911. However, if a fellow citizen wants to open carry, go for it. I know who can back me up when the fertilizer hits the ventilator.

At least half of our adult leaders have concealed carry permits. They have a weapon at almost every meeting. It is irresponsible not to. My paperwork is in progress to renew my CCW. You may bet your last pair of shoes that I will carry when my permit is renewed. I want 10 chances to tell a bad guy no.

I knew that man was my neighbor because I have spoken to him. On of the reasons was because he was open carrying. I asked him if any A-Hole had called 911 on him recently and he chuckled. As a country, we need to get back to loving and trusting our neighbors. They are the ones who defend us. They are the ones who watch out for our loved ones when we are away. I might seem old fashioned, but some things just work.

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