Monday, November 14, 2011

DON'T KNOW WHY


This year, Veteran's day was harder than it has been for the last couple of years. I'm not sure why. I stayed pretty much at home. And Kathi was at work. I managed to get a little work done in the garage. But it was hard to not cry.

My nephew has been gone for a couple years now. My sister and brother in-law are still having a hard time of it. I know that it takes time, lots of time, to get over the loss of a loved one. And some never get over the loss.

And then there is their grandchild (he's a cute little bugger) and the widow of 21-years-old that he left behind. He joined the Army, and he was very proud. One of the reasons he joined was that he had lost a couple of friends in Afghanistan and he wanted to do his part. His Dad, a Vietnam- era vet, did his time in the Army. He was, and still is, proud of his lost son.

Me? I never served. I wish that I had. But back then I was a little too wild -- or as some said, " radical." When Vietnam was going on I wasn't against the war, I just did not understand it. My Dad told me that if I was "called to serve" he would have rather sent me to Canada. He had served in the Air Force during Korea.

Now, please don't jump in and say that my Dad is unpatriotic. His view was that the politicians were running the war, instead of the military, but that the military should have been running it instead of Johnson and the other politicians of that time.

I grew up saying the Pledge of Allegiance every morning in grade school. We hid under our desks for air raid drills. There were the civil defense guys in your neighborhood. All these years later, do they even say the Pledge of Allegiance in the schools anymore?

But, I digress.

I watched my nephew grow from a child to a man. We shared hunting trips, fishing, and camping. I enjoyed just being his uncle, joking, poking fun, pulling pranks. I enjoyed the holidays spent with that side of the family. We had some real good times.

We laughed at Grandpa with the cactus spines in his behind. At calling my nephew "bear bait" 'cause of all the candy wrappers he had in his tent, and we had a bear come into camp. (That scared the you know what out of him!)

When he turned 17, I took him out to get his ear pierced, 'cause that is what he wanted, though his dad didn't really want him to. His dad gave in, as long as that was ALL he had pierced. So, being the dutiful uncle, I took him for the piercing.

After he had his ear done, we saw some of those fake pierce rings, like for your belly button or your nose. Well, I popped for some extra ones. I got him two for his nipples, one for his belly button, and one for his nose.

Well, when I got him home, he couldn't keep a straight face. I gave him a hard time, and told him he had to keep it real for his parents. We walked in the door, and my sister about had a fit. The first thing she saw was the nose ring. His dad heard her holler and he about fainted. Then my nephew said, "Well, you might as well see the rest of them," and he lifted his shirt. I thought that we both kept it together pretty well. I told his parents that they had a special going on and it seemed like a good deal at the time.

His dad turned a darker shade of red. My nephew and I started to laugh. He than pulled the ring off his belly, plucked the two nipple rings off, and tossed them all to his dad. I thought that I was going to be asked to leave and never come back.

That's how Grant, my nephew, was: a fun-loving kid. And I can't get over how I miss him. And his little boy, my great nephew, is a lot like his Dad. You can see it in his eyes. And I really feel for my sister and brother in-law, and for the rest of my family.

It still hurts.

My son (Grant's cousin) goes to see his cousin at the cemetary. He always makes his mom bring flowers, and he still asks about his cousin Grant.

I don't know why this Veterans Day was so rough. But I'm proud, and glad that I have had the chance to meet the young men from his outfit. I have heard some of the stories about my nephew from those guys, and of the things he said and did. How he always had time to help "his" guys. How they loved him. And to hear the stories he told them of me (his uncle), and the fun and crazy things that we had done, as well as some of the times he spent with his parents and the rest of our family.

So, yes, this Veterans Day was tough, and I'm sure that there will be more. It makes me think of all the others who have gone before and after him. Of the ones who have served, and the ones who are serving now.

Bless every one of you. And thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

7 comments:

  1. I notice you don't mention getting kicked out of Target together! :>

    Grant was a lot like you. That's a good thing.

    xxoo

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  2. Jim--I always think of Grant on those days set aside specifically for our military and on other days as well. You have made him come alive for all of us who never had a chance to know him.

    Grant represents to me the reason why I question authority and government--to make sure that our young men & women and their families are taken care of while they are in the service and when they are done. They & their families deserve the best care, the best services, and the best education for literally putting their lives on the line for us. Whether or not we agree with the reasons for a conflict, the individuals serving in that conflict deserve our respect and service in return.

    I am proud to know Grant through you and the stories you tell. You keep him alive for us, his family, and most importantly, his son. You are a wonderful man and Grant is lucky to have you holding his memory.

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  3. Like you, I never served, but had a tough time as well. After contemplating it all week, I guess it's because I see all the sacrifices our soldiers have made being washed away.

    In all the countries we've invaded and lost soldiers the last decade, it seems that we're just walking away and pulling out of. I can't say that I'd have invaded them in the first place, but now that we're there, it a shame that we're going to pull out of. We're telling those soldiers, "Those arms and legs you lost, your lives that you sacrificed (for countries that don't give a crap), well it was all for nothing."

    All the lives that were lost for our homeland, same thing. We fought world wars to defeat Commies and Nazis and look where we are now. The Commies are taking over, and antisemitism is on the rise in this country in a really big scary way.

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  4. Flier389 - i don't know how i missed this post on my rounds - i am so sorry!

    i feel terribly for your nephew and his family - especially his son! to not grow up without a father who sounds so lovely is very sad.

    but you tell some great stories that i am sure his son will love to hear, over and over. that will be your job in keeping the memory alive.

    i am sorry it has been hard on you and that you had a hard day. a big hug goes out to you from me!

    thank you for sharing this with all of us - i really appreciate it!

    your friend,
    kymber

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  5. Hi, Jim. I loved what you wrote about Grant. I know you miss him terribly, but I also know that he will always be with you and Lenora and Robert. I'm sorry you had a tough time this year, and I really hope that it gets better as time goes on. You're a terrific man...and, since I knew you in your crazier days, I can say that I am glad I've known both sides of you. You're sensitive and caring, and you are loved by very many. My sister and I are two of the really lucky friends who love you right back! You and Kathi are definitely some of the very best people in my life, and I am honored to call you friends. Take care, Jim. Love ya! Candi

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  6. Kathi, the target store story will be at a later date. so it will be soon.

    Melissa,thank you. Grant and I had so much fun together. His brother Keith, and Robert, and I spent A LOT of time, hunting, fishing, camping. And just hanging out. The boys would always ask me to tell them stories, about hunting trips, or what ever their Dad and I would do. Lots of stories, and, all pretty much true. I even tell stories about my self. We all had a lot of fun those years ago. And I hope that I can spend time with Grants little boy. And tell him some stories about his Dad, and Grandpa. Some times, you can learn a lot about a person, from stories told of them.

    Matt, I think that our men and women, that fight our wars, do it, not just for our country, but for their comrades as well. And maybe, just maybe, the people over there will at some point, see, and catch a spark. And maybe that spark will ignite. And they will step up and be able to take care of them selves as a nation. Maybe start a resistance group to fight on. like in WWII. Maybe that is just a dream. But things can change pretty fast some times. Our whole world is scary in this day and age. And our parents and grand parents, have known that this would happen one day. A lot of us just didn't listen. There will be a lot more sacrifices, before this is through.

    Kymber, thanks for the hug. looking at Grants son. is like looking at Grant all over again as a child. The same smile, and eyes, and that same little smirk when getting ready to pull some mischief of some kind or another. I look forward to spending some time with him and his grandpa. It will be like we get to do it all over again. And I will be able to talk to his wife. And maybe tell her a few story's also.

    Candi, thank you. And SSSSHHH! Lets not talk to much about my crazy side. The doctors might still be looking for me. I let the silly side out, now and then. And when we are all able to get together. I just like to put a smile on you and your sisters face. Your whole family, has been like a extended family for me. And as I have always said. It's God, family, friends, and country. In that order. And as for knowing both sides of me, sorry, I'm a onion, I have layers. You know, because I'm kinda onion shaped. And tell your brother to not be a stranger. I don't bite, I've had my shots.

    And to you others out there, that have stopped by. I thank ALL of you. Whether you leave comments or not. It's nice to know that you came by.

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  7. Flier - i got a bucket full of hugs for you. if you need one, and if Kathi ain't around - you just holler!

    i love what you wrote to Matt. love it. and i believe that you are right. just a spark is all that is needed. and that's what our soldiers provide.

    thank you for this, dear friend! another hug for you - and a big girly hug for Kathi!

    your friend,
    kymber

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