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.

Christmas Memories

Christmas is my favorite time of year. It always has been. I have been everywhere on Christmas. I have been in Australia, the Persian Gulf, and parts unknown. I now have a wife and child. It is the ultimate blessing to share Christmas with them. Because I could be literally anywhere on Christmas Day, I cherish the ones I get to share with my family.

I once participated in a search and rescue on Christmas Day. On shore duty, it is not quite as hectic. We went shopping today for the last minute presents. We will enjoy Christmas dinner with the same folks from the Thanksgiving post.

The gifts are wrapped, plans are made, and fun is ready to be had. I am not in the Gulf, or in some other God-forsaken locale.

We read the Christmas story from the Book of Luke to Pocket Monkey tonight. Jesus is the reason for the season. We are training Pocket Monkey in the finer arts of Christianity.

On this Christmas, please pay homage to those who are the watchmen on the walls. They are missing all the festivities in order that we may live free. They are the sheepdogs. They dress like the wolf in order to protect the sheep. I have been there, and I have no doubt that I will be there again.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night. Fall out, and carry out the plan of the day.

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,

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.

The Pursuit of Happiness

Call me old fashioned, but I believe that to pursue happiness one must get off their two-pack and actually, you know, pursue it.

Mrs. Snipe asked me about American politics one day. In true Snipe fashion, I summarized using my unique word view.

“You have two parties of thieves. One believes you should be allowed to pursue happiness, based on the Declaration of Independence, with little or no government interference. The other believes that happiness should be captured by the government, wrapped up, and delivered to their doorstep with taxpayer funds. A third party that is in the offing, believes both sides are nuts with power, and want a smaller government.”

Mrs. Snipe proceeded to ask me about the pursuit of happiness. I see the pursuit of happiness as being able to do things that make you smile. I like fishing, camping, shooting, and hunting. She likes cooking for us. Both constitute the pursuit of happiness in my world.

I see the pursuit of happiness much like I see a person’s religious preference. Yours might not work for me, but if it fits you and meets your needs, good on you. Follow it and do your utmost. I may try to sway you to my way, but I will think no less of you if you stay your own course.

As an afterthought, if one more Democrat says, “What difference does it make?” I will flood their office with so many letters that they won’t need to buy toilet paper for a long time.

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.