Sunday, August 11, 2013

Thoughts Reflected

I have been short of late at posting anything but a few occasional words on my blog for the year 2013.  It seems as if an entire year has come full circle yet I have sat dormant and the urge to write simply has not possessed my soul to reflect or share anything of my past with anyone remotely interested in what I could share.  It is Sunday afternoon and I am sitting on my patio listening to the world pass me by.  Absent again is the sound of my Mockingbirds as they usually entertain me with their late afternoon serenades.  It was a year ago on my Facebook Quotes of 2012 that I mentioned not hearing a sound from my normally vocal friends and was told they were resting.  The "dog days of summer" have encouraged rest as another group of fledglings have taken their place in the evolution of my immediate macro climate...  The pesty mosquito is back this year still giving thanks to what ever god he serves for the meal he "thinks" he is about to receive.  Heck, why not.  I let them get half gorged before I smush them where ever they are on my ample body and console myself that that mosquito probably sucked from my body the one cancer cell that could have killed me somewhere down the road.

I pointed out two things that were of significant importance to me in the preface of my 2013 blog.  The fact that my son was going back into harms way and that my oldest sister was not doing that well.  So as a fat Turtle Dove sits on a 7200 volt line and mourns her soft coo in the fading light of this day, let me see if I can touch on where I am at this particular "time" in my life.  I shared with those that read one of my first stories, The Mockingbird, and Why It Is So Real in my Life, that for me, I have broken the average lifespan down into four seasons.  Those seasons, starting with our birth through age 19, I called the Spring of our life.  The next 20 years, age 20 through 39 years I refer to as the Summer of our life.   Quickly following is the Fall of our life which is 'by definition,' age 40 through age 59!  Now I know that many of us will live into our 80's and some of us even our 90's, I must ask you to understand that as I speak to you,  I am in the Winter of my life at age 62.  I still feel good and work like I am still in the Fall of my life.  Thus, enter Phase I of the Winter of my life, and if you can identify, yours as well.  Just the other day I was sharing with a friend of mine that has become somewhat interested in my short stories, that I thought it important to define the four stages that I visualize in my mind that the Winter of our life presents us with.  As we were talking, she interjected a few thoughts of her own that she thought would be prevalent for our current conversation.  Didn't take long for me to realize my idea of a short story was her idea of a Non-fiction novel of which I simply cannot comprehend in my mind.  It is like the word infinite!  We know exactly what it means and how it is defined, but I simply cannot comprehend its depth.  So as I speak to you in Phase I of the Winter of my life, let me tell you where I am August 11, 2013.

My son Stewart, as most of you know, has returned from Afghanistan one more time, safely.  For those of you that may be stumbling across this story for the first time, let me just tell you in a nutshell what he is and what he has done his entire adult life.  He joined the Air Force before he ever graduated High School and was gone from me before he ever turned 20.  The early summer of his life found him a Graduate of the Air Force's battlefield airman, called TACP (Tactical Air Control Party).  From there he went to Ft. Benning, Ga where he picked up his Airborne Wings.  Somewhere right after the airborne wings he was stationed at Pope AFB/Ft. Bragg, NC,  and we found ourselves sitting on the end of my bed watching airplanes fly into the world trade center.  He slaps me on the back and says, "Well Dad, looks like my generation has found its war!"  At least he took his profession seriously.  He added Army Sniper School, a Ranger Tab and HALO School to his two Associate of Arts Degrees from the Air Force Community College, so folks that is all he knows.  How to prepare for and apply the art of war, complete with the horrors that imprint the mind forever. 

As we speak, he is back in Afghanistan.  He left just this past week to return for what he says is a transitional period to train his Air Force replacement in the U.S Army's 1st Ranger Battalion.  Said he should be there two maybe three weeks and then he is coming back home where the Air Force takes warriors just like him and puts them to pasture.  "It was like a kick in the stomach," he told me when he heard that the Air Force was going to move him and his family to Fairbanks, Alaska.  He fought it at first.  Who wants to lose the starting quarterback position to some young, upcoming airman he probably trained in the first place?  But isn't this what he asked for?  Or better yet what his father prayed for?  The only thing I truly know my son enjoys more that the "art of war" (God forbid), is the outdoors.   Hunting and fishing runs in his blood, and it is like God has preserved for him one of the most beautiful places in the world, Alaska.  I am hoping there are no Volkswagen's left up there because that boy shoots much better than I do, and I'm no slouch...  Anyway, if all goes well and he is not called back into JSOC (Joint Special Operations Center) he will learn how to adjust into the father he is and the husband he should be.  How I wish I could go back to Alaska and live the remainder of my life.  I would even be happy with Jasper, Arkansas...  Oh well, I'm still in Phase I.  I still have hopes and dreams until Phase II slaps me across the mouth.  In the meantime, I would like for those of you that have rambled this far into my reading, to pray for my son and his family.  Two Bronze Stars are enough.  Don't you think?  I will let you know when he returns home from his 9th and final trip (I hope) into harms way.  Those trips alone have taken its toll on this old man and how can I thank my friends enough for their prayers over the years?

As I adjust into Phase I of the winter of my life, I sit back in deliberate silence and listen to the stories of family members as my oldest sister struggles with what I would call Phase IV of the Winter of her life.  I wrote about this sweet woman in 2011 in my story, Who Are Hero's?  Actually that story was written before 2011, it is just that I posted it that particular year on my newly developed blog or collection of short stories.  I will have to refrain from speaking the feelings of my heart as I may have to go to Monroe and address some long needed business. I have two wonderful sisters and a more than capable niece that looks after my sister the best they know how within their personal constraints of sanity vs. rage.  I have been there to visit my oldest sister Diane on three different occasions to find her house locked up tighter than a medieval castle.  The only thing missing was a mote.  I sat in my car knowing I could call and make contact or maybe go to the front door and knock like many others have, only to be ignored.  This of course, I am told, is instigated by her husband who seems to resist any input from immediate family as to what constitutes her best interest.  He manages her medicines, as information unfolds and more than one have noticed that her am meds are given to her at 2 or 3 pm if given at all. We just don't know.  He allows no outside help in the form of  Home Health Care to come in and really check on both of them.  Has taken it upon himself to decide when she is to go out and really who she is to see unless "family" just barges in of which I refuse to do.  It is not my legal business to pry into my sisters personal life so I best remain outside of the loop.  I have had issues since my father passed in 1996 with this man and it is in my best interest, balanced with my current level of sanity, to leave well enough alone.  For me to become unleashed would not be conducive to family longevity.   However, if ever I even hear she is touched in other than loving ways, or verbally abused beyond what is tolerated by normal circumstances, let me remind you here, reader, that God does say that vengeance is His.  I just prefer God uses me for His vessel of vengeance if this thought develops into a concrete truth.  So usually my voice of reason reaches me occasionally from  Sandra, my second sister mostly, as she is the only one that calls to keep me up to speed.

My youngest sister Nona, told me a few weeks back that she worries about my mental health at times so I will try not to bother her with trivial things going on in Diane's life.  She thinks Diane is half crazy for the way she thinks most of the time, so if anyone would know of sibling mental stability it would be her as she watches the three oldest fumble around in different stages of the winter of our lives.  Linda? Well, so far she hasn't approached me about any kinds of assisted living as we speak.  She does know to take me to some VA center, hang my DD form 214 around my neck and drive away without looking in the rear view mirror.  So far I'm allowed in our shared bedroom if I stay on my side of the bed!

My niece?  Well.  She has two sisters.  My oldest sister is really their responsibility, so any decisions to be made about their mother's well being will be theirs and certainly not mine.  But my heart still aches to know.  The last time I saw Diane was at Sandra's 50th anniversary on February 2nd of this year.  She looked really weak but still had that sweet smile I love so much.  In between the smiles and her soft touching of my hand as we sat at the table we shared, I had to bite my lip as I listened to her husband's stories of "drowning puppies" when he didn't want to fool with them.  I know not how long she has to remain on this earth and further understand that she is very cognizant of what is going on???  Her memory is not that good as Nona  has told me that she is capable of understanding and carrying a conversation but may very well not remember it the following day.  Am I justified in staying away from her for nefarious reasons?  I mean, I simply do not understand why in the world this man will not allow any and everyone who cares for her to interact with his wife in making the last of her days go peaceful?  I can't help but wonder what in the hell is going on behind closed doors?    The immediate family has tried all that is possible to open these doors to interact with her as to give her company as she navigates the last days, weeks or months of her existence.  But make me a eat my words, I shall not underestimate this woman.  She could very well outlive all of her siblings.

So as I close the pages of a very short tribute to my readers that are concerned with my concerns, let me tell you I still ride a Goldwing and drive that same ole Grey '86 Corvette I bought in California and drove back to Pineville in 2000.  Really found that perfect car for me, or so I thought in a Black Mercedes C300.  Had my name all over it...  Linda just said I needed to sell my three corvettes and my motorcycle to pay for it.  So here I sit.  I still dream of living in Newton County Arkansas down at the end of some dirt road where the only car coming down the road is coming to visit me or possibly looking for trouble.  And wouldn't it be nice to have an outside shower?   How wonderful it would be to experience four distinct seasons of a given year.  And why have I always had a passion for honey bee's?  Nature's nectar.

I am too far to the right in my political beliefs to even engage in a pleasant conversation with a republican much less a democrat.  I am inclined to the right and the left can go to hell as far as I'm concerned.  I've just got to stand face to face with my Creator someday and try to explain to him why I thought the way I did in the late spring and summer of my life.  Yes, like Reagan once said, he too, was once a democrat.  So I will continue to post tidbits of information on my blog and live each day hopefully, to the fullness of its intended purpose.  Why wish away even one day.  Fridays and Saturdays are hard for me for some reason and I actually find peace in Sundays.  I embrace Monday with enthusiasm as I do the rest the week.  And yes, I am paranoid of this country's future.  I am actually afraid of the Government that boldly tells us the Constitution of the United States, which I believe was divinely inspired, has serious flaws and needs to be replaced??  And my God in Heaven, why does not the Congress of the United States of America  challenge such recklessness of this administration's path?  So far to the right that I have fought with myself for an entire year, what would I really do if this Government does take a stand against the people?  Where are the men and women we send to represent us?  Why have they sold their very soul to gain the world?  Its obvious they have done this.  So where do I really stand.  Struggled with this a long time.  My rights as an American Citizen was given to me by God Almighty, not by a government elected by unions, fraud and minorities that think the purpose of government is to sustain their personal greed.  I read once that any pain inflicted upon you last for a while but pride last forever.  As a personal reminder of who I am and my conviction, I permanently reminded myself that the pain of death would be my choice because my rights "Shall Not Be Infringed!"  Molon Labe.  My prayer is that it will never come to this...  I have been wrong before.  Haven't we all?

Rod Ferguson
August 13, 2013