Book hunting…

Yesterday, I came upon a list of banned books. I decided to pursue some of these since some of my favorite authors had written them.

I left home and traveled to my local library to see if any of these books were available for purchase. Unfortunately, none of those on my list were available.

However, I was able to find several classic novels. Among them were: A Tale of Two Cities, 1984, My Own Story by Helen Keller and more. In my opinion, the hunt for these books is the most enjoyable part of the experience. Time will tell if I can complete my list, until then I will be book hunting!

Broken but unbowed….

November approaches, the fifteenth anniversary of the second battle of Fallujah looms closer. In fifteen years, there is no peace to be found. The horror is as fresh today as it was all those years ago. What has changed in Iraq since we invaded it? Nothing. I have aged, not well in my opinion, but I have grown older since my days as a Cav Trooper.

What a waste.

There are few things I don’t enjoy talking about, but Fallujah is one of the topics I actively try to avoid. Love is the other topic. We did what we had to do, on a subconscious level I even believe it, however, I was there. No amount of psychology can explain the things I witnessed, nor can it excuse it. Mankind can be downright evil when warfare is concerned. General Sherman said, “War is hell.” He wasn’t wrong.

Things done can’t be undone. Regardless of how much I want to forget Fallujah, the war happened, and it was ugly, Friends lost in the fires of war will never again walk among the living, however, they live on in my memories. My dreams will never be safe again, they will be littered with blood and death. My next war is fought within my mind.

Generally, my answer is to avoid people the entire month of November. I lock myself in the house and avoid conversation. There is no point in ruining everybody’s day by my sourpuss attitude. They haven’t done anything to warrant my shunning. It’s a defense mechanism. This year I am going to avoid locking myself away and suffering in silence.  After all, the whole point of life is to live.

We will see how it goes.

13 October 2019

Shrouds….

Darkness descends upon the earth like a flag shrouds the coffins of deceased valor,

The dying gasp of the sun highlights the western horizon, lighting my way home,

Creepily beautiful silhouettes of pine veils the secrets of a past best forgotten,

Green pastures are littered with darkened rolls of hay, a painting of haunting dreams lying dead in a cemetery.

Dreams of happiness, of love divine,

A role created in the heavens and forged in the fires of hell,

The flames of the dragon strips it all away, a lingering poem ne’er retelling,

A darkness falls upon this earth.

0400 musings….

In my dreams, I watch from my tower as a woman walks out in the pale moonlight and holds her broken marriage before God as if to ask one question tearfully, why? Every night I wonder to myself, who is she? Her silver hair sways in the wind, her tears fall silently to the ground. She wears her pain like a gladiator wears armor. She is untouchable, her chalice of sorrow a cup only she can taste. I can’t wait to see her rise from her ashes like a phoenix. Like a whisper on the wind, the new day dawns and she makes her way home to hide the pain she releases into the night.

Harms way….A Walk in Darkness…

“Gentlemen, we are going to put ourselves in harms way today, prepare yourselves for what is going to happen.”

After three months on ground, the briefing needs to change. Harms way or not, the mission beckons. Half-heartedly listening, my mind wanders to my pregnant wife and beautiful daughter. “Are they okay? Am I a daddy twice over? How will I find out when I am halfway around the world? What if….no, no, NO….I can’t think like that…” For a moment, my emotions want to run rampant, but I maintain control of them. The briefing continues, I come back into the small room where only a select handful of individuals sit in the chairs listening. I glance around the room, every face resigned to the fact we are walking into the deepest depths of hell for those we love.

“The survival rate of this mission is…” Silence falls on the room, the speaker suddenly loses his voice. I look at the floor. We all know where we are going, we’ve heard the stories, and now it is upon us to make sure the horrors we have heard never happen again. “um, guys….none of you may make it back. Your sacrifice will be remembered, songs will be sung in your honor, and remember Fiddlers Green.” My chair is uncomfortable, and I squirm in it trying to get in a position where I feel better. No one says anything, we knew walking in we would hear this in the briefing, it just confirms we are riding into hell.

“This concludes the mission briefing, thanks for coming.” We stand to our feet and silently exit the room. It is as quiet as the grave, soon it will be too loud to hear ourselves think. As I make my way down the dusty hallway, I feel a hand on my shoulder. Turing, I realize it is my First Sergeant. I snap to parade rest; he waves it off. “Freeman, you have a wife, right?” I nod in affirmation. “Yes Top, is everything okay?” He smiles and slips his arm around my shoulder and we continue down the hallway. “Yeah. She gave birth to your daughter; it is your daughter, right? Anyway, mom and child are healthy and doing well at Evans Hospital. I know what you heard in the briefing; now you have a reason not to die. You understand me, Corporal?”

“Ride or die, First Sergeant.”

I walk out into the sun, Fallujah beckons.

10-4-19

Musings about men and women…a random post.

“All men are dogs! They only want one thing!”

“Woof?”

I have heard this generalization more than I care to remember. It seems a few of the women I know have had bad experiences, and most of them (save a couple of them) have placed all men into the same category of lustful beasts. We men are guilty of making a similar assumption of lady folk. As Rodney King stated, “can’t we all just get along?”  Perhaps, it is too much to ask we all find a way to calm the tension between our sexes. After all, the media and other individuals/corporations have invested so much into creating said tension.

God created both male and female and when He was done, He proclaimed His creation was good. Now, I am a backwoods redneck who doesn’t understand big words often, but if it is good enough for the Almighty God, why wouldn’t it be good enough for me? There is enough trouble in the world, why would we take it upon ourselves to fight over the “goodness” of the other gender? It could have something to do with those individuals who constantly berate men/women folk for imagined slights. Or not.

Of all my talents and gifts, I still can’t speak as a woman (because of my gender.) I can speak about issues we men face because I am a male. Us men, for all our troubles, are mostly a good lot. There are a few bad apples, but this fact alone doesn’t mean all men are evil. We don’t sit in our towers and plot our evil scheme hatchery. Nor do we kick puppies for thrills and giggles. Mostly, we get up and go to work, on the odd occasion when we have down time, we like to play hard.  Then it is right back to work. We do our best to be good fathers (again, not all men are peers, some are deadbeat dads) and try to provide a stable environment for our children to grow up in. Even when our marriages fail, we still try to be a good dad. For the most part, men have been taught to treat women with respect and dignity, and to protect them if need be. Many men serve in the military and some even do the full twenty to secure their retirement. Some would even say they are securing the future of their family. Men are usually simple to please. Talk to us, feed us, and tell us we are loved. That about sums it up. 

So, why are all men dogs?

Men who mistreat women are not men, they are insecure little boys who can’t or won’t be satisfied with what they have. They choose to play games with their significant other’s feelings or choose to cheat on their spouse. In no way do they represent all men. If I were to paint a broad generalization like this, I would simply say female porn stars are representative of all females, do you see why your generalization is wrong? We get nowhere casting stones at each other. Instead of us correcting our deficiency, we label each other and go on the attack. This behavior needs to end. We are stronger together than we are apart.

Let’s take care of each other.

3 October 2019

Hot socks and t-shirts…A Walk in Darkness…

The clean smell of Irish Spring body wash lingers in the air, as I stand on the mat drying off. “Another day, another headache.” As I dry my back, the early morning silence is broken by the quiet hum of the dryer going through its cycle. I have an affinity for hot socks and t-shirts. As a soldier going through basic training, my Senior Drill Sergeant informed me that somedays nothing beats a clean pair of socks and t-shirt. “I have been clinging to clean socks and t-shirts for three years, when is it going to get better?”  It’s not Colorado I hate; I love it here. Rather, it is myself that I can’t stand.  “You can’t do anything right!”

“Can’t you do laundry during the evening like a normal human being?’

As if on cue, my spouse appears behind me. “I didn’t mean to wake you, I wanted to heat up my socks and t-shirt.”

“Whatever.”

I sigh deeply.  It doesn’t matter what tone I use, nor does it matter if I differ my approach, the result is always the same. We are completely detached from each other. Instead of becoming one as it is states in the marriage vows, we are now two individuals. Angrily, I wipe the unexpected tears from my eyes. The laundry cycle is complete, so I open the door and remove my hot socks.

“I’m sorry.”

“For what? Being a broken man, you can’t do anything right. You are a drunk, and not even a man.”

“Ok.”

I shake my head in disappointment at another failure. “I can’t help what you understand.” She turns and makes her way back upstairs. I slip on my hot socks and a smile crosses my lips. Thanks, Drill Sergeant.

“Somedays you can’t beat a hot pair of socks and t-shirt!”