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Loved ones long gone November 7, 2008

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  Before I start this I want to promise for it being so long in content, I just have a lot to say….

   Last monday after coming back from Cozumel Maria and I drove to the most southeastern part of Plant City to a small farming community known as Springhead.

   This is a part of town that home to many of my loved ones and friends. My first stop was to visit with my Mom and youngest brother Bobby. They’re located right next to one another. Mom’s place was nicely decorated with all kinds of little piggy banks as well as a holstein cow . She also has a solar powered cross that I left there a couple of years ago. Mom was the kind of mom that was very straight laced in public or around my dad, yet when she was with just us kids, she’d play top 40 music and let her hair down so to speak.

   I remember the day she took up residence in Springhead, April of 1998, we all gathered there to say our goodbyes to her earthly body. It was a cool day and there was a wind blowing in from the south. Standing at a fenced barnyard some 50 yards away was an audience of a goat, a duck and a couple of turkeys. All of these beings took turns making their respective noise. I remember the pastor of Mom’s church saying how peaceful it was and how “Sister Glenda” would enjoy having such sounds to make her feel at home being a country girl.

  Bobby’s place is decorated with a nice marble stone with a deer drinking from a stream being he was an avid hunter. The day he came to live in Springhead was in february of 1989. I remember there wasn’t a dry eye in the place. The Chapel was at the full cpacity mark with ages ranging from youngsters to people in their twilight years. Bobby was the kind of boy that never met a stranger. Many a time the victim of one of my jokes (see “going west”) and the lover of just good times and laughter. He was a good boy and worked 2 jobs one being a cement worker and one being a set up guy for a guy that owned several interstate exit fruit stands. His build was unlike mine being around 6ft tall, blonde hair and those “Irish blue eyes” most of us inherited from Mom’s side of the family. He was very muscular and strong as a bull at times not knowing his own strength. Thinking of him as a child he was very thin and agile, but after hitting his mid teen years that all changed after working in the cement business.

   I next went around and visited Mema and Granddaddy. They have matching places themselves. Sort of have to really look for theirs as Grandaddy never liked the tradtional marble headstone setting high. No he wanted a flat one small enough to make you look for it, yet large enough for all the traditional information. Mema gladly agreed on that idea.

     Grandaddy was something. He was a lot like the song “lessons learned” by Tracy Lawrence. ” Granddaddy was the man I loved, bought me my first ball and glove, even taught me how to drive his truck, circling that old town square, spoke of life with a slow southern drawl, I never heard him cause I knew it all, but I sure listened when I got the call, that he was no longer there”.

    Yes that is so true, He was the kind of guy that seemed to attract the “down on their luck people” at our church. What some would call “white trash” but not me. I saw how he treated them good doing all kinds of things. Granddaddy was a self employed water well driller. He would encounter whole families down and out. I can remember sometimes him reaching into his wallet and handing over money without a request for repayment. I can remember us taking groceries to some families. Sometimes he’d even find them a place to live. Some would come and work with him for earned money. I guess it all mattered on what the person thought they’d want to do for the help he so gratiously offered them. He also had his Irish temper just as yours truly has as well.

    One sunday morning at our church I was walking around towards the back of the church grounds where the bathrroms were located. There I saw Granddaddy and another gentleman from our church there with some fellow that had recently came to church there and had been acosting my then single mom. Granddaddy’s friend had the fellow pinned up against the wall and it appeared Grandaddy was about to give him a “what for”. The helper motioned for Granddaddy to turn my way and he asked me what I was doing. I said “going to the bathroom. He told me to hurry on around and head back around the other way. I remember hearing him telling the pinned fellow if he as much as looked wrongly at his daughter again he’d stomp his lights out.

    Granddaddy was always a strong willed man. In 1980 he started having issues with his kidneys and soon after retired and sold his business. Not long after that he was getting ready for church one sunday afternoon and putting his socks on. He rolled off the side of the bed and broke his hip. He never really recovered. One sunday I had called my Mema and in the middle of our conversation she said “little Glen, I sure wish you’d move in with us and help me with your granddaddy” I did just that. She explained he had some newly discovered sickness and showed me a brochure so I’d understand it. It was Alzheimer’s.

    Grandaddy slowly waisted away over the next few years. He went into the hospital for one of his many visits. I didn’t think it was that serious having been in and out of the hospital so may times. This time i was totally wrong. I took too long to get there only to meet my family coming out of the elevator telling me Grandaddy was gone. In the end he was calling out for “buddy and Sissy” his names for my twin sister and I when we were little ones. I still to this day am upset with myself for missing telling such a great person that I loved so much goodbye. I am also upset with myself that I wasn’t there at the time he was calling out for me to see him one last time.

    Mema, well what a saint she was… She could whip up a delicious meal in a matter of no time and talk bible with you over the dinner table. She was hell on wheels sometimes speeding along the highways enough I’d want to close my eyes so as not to see how fast we were going. She worked for Herman’s Sausage from the day the plant opened till the day it closed and went into the plant nursery business soon afterwards. She’d also help Grandaddy from time to time as well. I remember one time in particular she and Granddaddy were unloading a length of 4″ galvanized pipe off the side of the truck and it fell slicing the side of her leg open. we all jumped in the truck and drove quickly to the emergency room where they stitched her up and she was to wear a cast on that leg for several weeks to come. Mema was full blooded Seminole indian and at times seemed she could go out on a war path. Imagine how she and Grandaddy could be in an argument. She a full blooded indian and he a hot blooded irishman.

    Mema lived some 12 years after Grandaddy passed on she too getting Alzheimers.

    Next we visited Aunt Minnie, Uncle Paul, and their son Curtis. Aunt Minnie was something. I can’t say a lot about her as she left us when I was still young. I do remember going to visit them when they worked on a dairy not far from Springhead in another neighboring farming town named Medulla. There Uncle Paul was a dairy worker that milked cows. They also lived not far away from there living on a farm doing sharecropping.

  Curtis was their son and he was mentally retarded. Not that I’m saying that in a bad way as I don’t exactly know what his issues were. But he’d come visit and might even stay a day or two. He didn’t drive, he walked everywhere he went or hitchhiked if he could get a ride. I remember as a kid he came and stayed a day with us. My Dad had a pool table Mom had bought him from WT Grant’s department store. Curtis would take his shot and if the ball was moving in the right direction as the pocket but not going to make it, He’d put his head down and blow on the ball swearing it was totally legal. What happened to Curtis is beyond me as I was living in South Carolina when he moved into Springhead.

    Last in that spot but definately not least is my beloved Uncle Paul. Mema’s brother. We all have uncles that sometimes come for a visit and in some cases we may have to give up our bed for them to sleep in finding ourselves on the livingroom couch.

    UNcle Paul was the opposite. Having him visit was a treat to say the least. He’d come and if I were out woring in the garage on one of my many client’s cars, he’d come out and maybe we’d talk fishing or cars, before long the subject would turn to religion. He’d get all passionate speaking of the word and by golly I’d get right into a great conversation with him. He was definately a church going guy and loved to witness and before long you’d think you might of run up on Billy Graham or some other great evangelist.

   One sunday night Uncle Paul was in a small church service and was walking alter. Halfway there he just fell to the floor and passed on to be with the Lord. Talk about being at the right place at the right time.

   Next I went over across the yard to where Dennis, Timmy and Prelle Hooker reside.

    Dennis was my best friend in high school. We did all kinds of things together. Skip classes and work on our cars, go see “R” rated movies while his mom thought we were seeing Disney Movies. Whatever 2 young small town boys could do to have fun. Dennis was married to a floozie in my book. She was a tramp and a few other choice words I could think of.

    One night Dennis being all upset he supposedly took a 22 magnum pistol and stuck it in his mouth and pulled the trigger not once but twice. Seems hard to believe that story. I believe his wife had a lot to do with that one.

    Next to Dennis is Timmy. His younger brother Timmy was no where as even tempered as Dennis and had some issues with his woman in life. He did pull his own trigger over some problems with his temper and her.

    Prelle, their father was a good ol’ boy. He taught us self control meaning mind your “P’s and Q’s” around him. He was the kind of man that was a self employed mechanic and could crack open a Budweiser first thing in the morning and not let it phase him till the second or third 12 pack was gone.

    Both he and my parents shared something in common. He had full authority to take a board to my butt if I got out of line just as my parents had the authority to do so if Dennis got out of line as well.

   Needless to say we never pushed that envelope. Prelle left us in 2004 and I remember going to his viewing seeing him in a pair of new Levis and  black Dale Earnhardt Tshirt. He looked so natural.

   On each of their sites there was something different. Dennis’ had a headstone showing a person out on a boat fishing with several trinkets laying there. Under one of them is a quarter with a not saying ” if your ever lonely please call home. On Timmys it has a Semi truck and a couple of wrenches etched into the marble showing he was a diesel mechanic also one of his deteriating work boots is there with a bouquet of flowers in it. On Prelle’s it reads loving husband and father “at rest”

   Yes to some this could be a morbid visit, for me it was a walk down memory lane with loved ones I look so forward to joining someday soon and living a peaceful joy filled after life with.

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Today.. October 25, 2008

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    Today was the day Maria and I went to place our marks in history. Land on Plymouth Rock you ask? Hardly not.. We drove over to the polling place in town and cast our votes for the upcoming election. I told her before getting there I need not know whom her choices are just pick with your heart and mind.

   On the way downtown we went through the traffic circle downtown with a gaggle of abortion protestors doing there thing and I waved to them as they were doing a good job.

  I have said things some think harsh but anyone that knows me personally knows I have a way with words sometimes that may come out wrong. Sometimes a whole phrase will sound harsh and to those I apologize.

  The subject could be most anything at times but in this case we’ll talk about abortions. I for one am “anti”. Now before you people go down to the local hardware store searching for bags of feathers and cans of roofing tar let me side step a bit… I’m sure theres a reason for one some time or another like we’ll say rape, or maybe theres no chance of the baby ever functioning to any capacity. But on the other hand some people choose abortion as birth control. I also some “politicians” use this as a good reason for allowing it so some may achieve abortion and not have babies to collect welfare benefits. My answer to that is this, allow families that are on welfare only so much putting a cap on the amount of dependants they can claim. If Joe and Josephine Jackass continue to produce children one or both had better land a lucrative job to take care of all those young’ns. Thats my spin on it.

  I have tried to adopt a child in the past and jumped through every hoop (some of them being circles of fire) and went to countless hours of classes took the tests crossed my “t’s” dotted my “i’s” and in the aftermath was offered a child that had severe disablities. I was happy at the offer, but it sent my now ex wife running for the hills. I honestly believe its much easier to “exterminate” a child than to go to the trouble of giving one a loving home with loving parents.

  If that doesn’t explain my personal feelings on abortion rights the feathers are on aisle 6 and the tar aisle 9 just remember to get 2 large buckets as I’m a pretty big guy.

October 20,1967 October 20, 2008

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     On the table in the dining room was a punch bowl containing punch made from ginger ale and orange sherbert. The guests started arriving around 5pm and my twin sister and I showed up in a rented 66 Hertz Mustang with my Uncle Ronnie and Aunt Betty for the event.

  Walking inside the house I saw my mother with her hair all up in a nice hairdo wearing a light blue outfit and one of her good friends Patty (sort of an Ellie Mae Clampett type) there with her. She too was dressed nicely with a white dress on.

  A car pulls up with a family that was friend’s of our family in it. They were known to us as “The Callaways” and Brother Callaway came walking in with his Bible. I was young but knew something important was about to take place.

    Soon several others showed up for this event. After a while Brother Callaway says “Lets get this going” Mom appears from one of the rooms and Tom appears from another. We’dmet him before and had gone a few outing with. Being 6 years old and just starting elementary school Lynn and I had a lot going on in our little worlds and had not paid much attention.

 Tom had his hair all slicked back and combed with a wave in it. He was wearing a pair of dress slacks and a white button down shirt. Mom was 25 and Tom was 21.

    What was taking place was 2 young people starting a new life together. YES THEY WERE GETTING MARRIED! Lynn and I were excited yet sad about things. Happy to be starting a new life, Happy Mom had found  someone to love her and care for her after all these years of us going out on dates with her. We’d have someone we could call “Dad” and had asked us to do so as well. The bad was we had all our life known Mema and Grandaddy as our main leaders of our household. Things were about to change in a big way.

    We went home with our aunt and uncle after the ceremony to spend the night and then stay the rest of a few days with our grandparents.

   Over the years we saw and undying love within our parents. Even when there were diagreements you could tell our parents were in love.

  In 1998 God called Mom home to be with him, To this day Dad still sleeps with Mom’s slippers next to his pillow and awaits the day he’s too called home. He’s had some try and lure him they’re way but he only had eyes for Mom.

 On this day I’m sure Mom is in heaven looking down and smiling on Daddy and wishing he were there with her.

 HAPPY ANNIVERSARY MOM AND DADDY!!!!

 I LOVE YALL

Days past….. September 23, 2008

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   Here I am listening to some music on Myspace and tapping away on my computer keyboard. These past days I have been visiting the myspace page of the band ” The Outlaws” a southern rock band from the area of Florida I once resided in. Tampa….

   Listening to their brand of music and thinking how as a young man driving around the streets of Tampa late at night sometimes with my cousin Dale, then again sometimes by myself with their sounds booming from the 6×9’s in my old cutlass. Damn I really miss back home at times.

   Yes I seriously miss Charlotte feeling I was adopted by that great town after moving to North Carolina, Yes given the chance I’d move back their in a split second. But at the same token Tampa’s tuggin at my heart strings.

   If only living in Charlotte for a short time why am I so in love with the town? Well looking at the skyline its a lot like Tampa’s but cooler weather to boot. Heck their stadium was designed and built by the same company so their acutally twins of each other.

   The differences are as follows, If in Tampa everyone knew me. A trip to the grocery store would sometimes turn into a serious “hey can you tell me the price of (fill in blank of any automotive part here) and in Charlotte I was completely unknown. I could actually walk around the food lions or walmart without anyone asking me anything. It was like I was a ghost haunting the area.

  In Tampa I could wait till the last second to leave anywhere as I completely knew my way around. In Charlotte I had to leave atleast 30 minutes early to make up for getting lost everywhere I went. But the fun of it all was discovering so many pretty scenes and seeing so much. The countryside was so beautiful to say the least.

   So…where do I stand? Well lets say this….Charlotte was beautiful… but Tampa had the Outlaws….. Rock on!!!!!!!!!!! Southern style that is….LOL

A conversation September 16, 2008

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      On sunday evening I recieved a call from my twin sister. Apparantly she was in Atlanta meeting up with her “friend” that was also in town for a trade show. Her “friend” is involved with someone else that is “somethng hard to get out of” none the less sis I suppose wanted to get my spin on what she was doing…was it right or wrong? In not so many words.

     I told her not to worry sometimes a man and a woman happen along in the oddest times and while they are a wonderful match their pairings are not just right for the time, ( this isn’t sis’s first time with this gent and the first time he was sort of well “married”) but none the less that isn’t always the best situation either. I firmly believe that some aren’t always married to their perfect soulmate as well.

    Before she and I ended our phone conversation I told her this plain and simple. Sometimes things aren’t always perfect in any matter when it comes to affairs of the heart. Being human though and none of us being “perfect” we need to grasp onto what makes us happy when the heart is involved. What may not be acceptable to those around us should not matter to those that are in each other’s vision. What does all this banter mean? Just this, when two people fall in love with each other love is just that you two may be dancing to a tune no one else can hear as long as you make beautiful music together keep on doing so. I firmly believe that times there are perfect couples, its just not their perfect timing yet they should keep focused so that when the perfect timing happens God himself will smile upon them and grant them their spot.

Okay Listen Up!! August 27, 2008

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      Title get your attention?

   Here’s where I either make friends with the 3 or so people that happen to read some of my bantering and piss off a great many of the ones that happen up on it by accident. None the less its my little piece of space and its high time I get this off my chest!

    What am I ranting about? The sad election approaching us. Lets face it lady and gentleman that reads my posts, we have bad news in one hand and yet more of it in the other. As in one of my favorite movies, “we have bad news and good news. Tonight’s dinner is horse shit, good news is we have plenty of it”

    What we have is an “okay” choice for a republican president. We have a terrible speciman on the stinking democratic side. Never guess I was a republican huh?

   The bad news in the democrat side is we have a 2 totally different groups setting up camp in camp le’democrat. We have the hard nosed honky’s that will vote only democrat even if ol’ satan himself crawled up out of hades and decided to run for the democrat ticket.

   Then we have the newcomers, the staunch Deocratic dark brothers and sisters saying “he’s our type” vote for ol’ Brother O’bama. What they’re missing is sure lets allow a nubian president but C”MON LETS FIND A GOOD ONE FIRST!!

 So as in my way of doing things I have come up with my own little way of defining what them good ol’ democrats are looking at. Here goes…

   for the white fellers imagine a cartoon showing a car lot with a far off setting 70 1/2 Z28 sitting on the back lot and they’re telling the lot feller yes I want that camaro sir and while the car lot guy is trying to explain that its really a 71 camaro with a blown up straight 6 in it and the previous owner made the split bumpers with a hack saw he bought down at the local Home Depot store, the old democrat doesn’t want to hear it. So here he ends up with just what he asked for something he thought was something that was absolutely NOTHING. POINT BLANK.

   Okay lets talk about the Darker side of the democratic camp the Brother’s and sister’s all wanting one of “their type” in the white house. Okay so lets put the same scenario into effect but lets make it of the ethinic variety.

   We’ll say “The Young Brother” goes to a car lot much like the other democrat did but this one caters to the customer wanting a larger sedan jacked up in the air with huge chrome wheels and little spinning fan blades on each rim. He immediately flys off the handle wanting this said masterpiece. As the salesman is trying to explain this duece and a quarter has been slammed from the rear and there is a family of racoons living inside it, the customer demands to make purchase as its just what he wants.

   Okay so each of these stories are a little far fetched to say the least, but I honestly believe thats how each of these examples of democrats are thinking. They see therefore they want is the attitude.

   Please let me point out I have no issues with a black man in the white house, but please lets don’t just pick the one at stake because he’s the only one on the ticket. Being a republican I’ll be the first to say that we ourselves do not have a good choice as well. In fact I feel Homer Simpson could win the office if he ran. This might of been Perot’s year I believe.

   So…. in closing I hope we definately look and make a wise choice (if there is one this time around) and lets hope if nothing else in 4 years the choices will be better.  Lets face it at this point were staring at a vending machine with all the sold out lights lit except the prune juice surprise flavor.

August 19, 1969 August 19, 2008

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         39 years ago I remember it well. My mema came and took care of my twin sister Lynn and I as well as our almost 1 year old little brother Tommy. To this day I didn’t know at the time what was going on. I knew my mom and dad were away and Mema needed to come look after us. 39 years ago Lynn and I woke up sleeping with Mema on a love seat we had in our middle room of our old cement block house in Dover.

    I remember breakfast consisted that morning of a bag of the still produced to this day “Sweet 16” chocolate doughnuts and some good old cold chocolate milk to wash it down.

   Later that day our dad came home and told us we now had another set of twins in the family. Laura and Bobby were born. I was amazed to say the least.

  The years went on past and poor Bobby and Laura dealt with sicknesses like strep throat and the likes. I played a good many of pranks on them and loved em all along.

    Laura liked playing with dolls and Bobby loved watching tv with shows like star trek and different western movies.

   Growing up Laura moved out and lived with Lynn and her family, Bobby became somewhat worldly working for a man setting up fruit stands and taking care of business for him.

   Well here it is todays their birthdays, This morning I sent Laura a goofy Myspace birthday comment telling her how I wished I could still find the birthday card I gave her so many years in a row. It featured a knarly looking man in a tank top with his arms behind his head and it read “Happy Freaking Birthday” then later in the morning I called her to wish her a happy one over the phone.

   After hanging up I realized how empty life seems wishing so badly I could do the same for my brother Bobby as he’s now serving active duty as an angel in heaven. I thought about that and luckily no one was around me at work as I sat and wept for a while wishing for a miracle that would turn back the hands of time and he’s not be gone on to the great beyond. How I’d love to just grab him atleast one more time and squeeze him telling him how much I love him and apologize for all the pranks I pulled off on him as we grew up.

   I do know this, if the good lord above would turn all those thoughts I’ve had over the past 19 years into steps in a stair case I could walk up and see my beautiful sibling and tell him so. God how I look forward to my last day knowing I’ll be up to see my loved ones afterwards.

  Happy Birthday Laura and Bobby!

Passing of a dear friend of a friend July 8, 2008

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        This morning I recieved a message from a dear friend saying their beloved cat “Katie” had passed on to a better life. She was very gloomy and that was very understandable. Che and her husband are a LOT like me in that retrospect, I don’t quite know what I’d do if something happened to my “lil man” I’d be beside myself.

       I offered her my condolences and we spoke about the rainbow bridge all pets go to and play and don’t suffer any longer while they wait till their loving parents come to get them and take them home for ever. The place I’m speaking of is heaven. I honestly believe all animals go there even though I’m more than sure the line of clergymen would be endless waiting to tell me how crazy I am. Well I’ll have to say that anyone that wears the “cloth” and doesn’t think its true that our beloved pets have souls and go to the same heaven as us needs to go back for retesting in their field of employment.

     How can God Almighty create such a loving being as our puppies and kitties and not give them a soul? PULEASE!!

     Just think of it, he creates a being that loves us no matter how smart or ignorant we may be, how pretty/handsome or homely/butt ugly we may be. They spend most of their lives awaiting our return when we leave them. Yes Chrissy there is a heaven waiting for you and Katie Girl. For now she’s nestled upon the bank under the rainbow bridge patiently cat napping and waiting on you and Howard to come scoop her up and take her home with you. God Bless you guys in your time of bereavment.

    Katie Girl Rest In Peace….

Funny little sayings June 19, 2008

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   From time to time I may say something at a certain situation that may surprise someone around me be it just plain bad sounding or outrageously funny.

   Truth be known most of them are a result of I overheard it over the years or in some cases it may be something I said from just thin air.

   What I’ll do is this as I remember them.. I’ll write the saying, what it means and whom may be responsible for saying it or otherwise warping my mind like it is today.

   So with that said i’ll start off with some right now….

 “Jam up and Jelly tight”  This little phrase normally will bring a wrinkled forehead as those around are wondering what it means. This saying is used when things are just right. Say your making a pot of soup and you take a taste of it and its just right, One would say thats “jam up and jelly tight” credit for this one goes to my Mema God rest her soul.

  “F_ck the chickens” this is a good saying if you were to try and take a lighter side of something going wrong. Lets say you just dropped a bunch of papers out of your arms. One would look at the mess and instead of getting all upset just say out loud “well F_ck the chickens” Believe me it always makes me feel a lot less agitated.

 “Well I’ll be Dad Blamed” A good friend of mine brought to my attention that when I use that saying it appears I’m just throwing in some words to make it look like I’m really listening and interested in what one’s saying, but in truth I’m nowhere in sight as I have that look in my eyes I’m somewhere else. You know after thinking about it, She’s right. I’ll give myself credit for that one. Not the words themselves, but what they really mean.

     “Tighter than Dick’s hat band” Even though he’s not the originator of this clever little saying, I give my late Uncle Paul credit for this one. I use it all the time and normally get a strange little amused look when saying it. I need not really get into the meaning but I’ll use it in a sentence anyway. “That ring was tighter than Dick’s hat band on my finger” . Heck I made myself smile by just typing it. I miss you Uncle Paul!

   Shot at and missed, Shit at and hit! this comes as  saying that defines how one feels after working his ass off all day and is tired. One will be asked how they are doing and they will respond with ” I feel like I’ve been shot at and missed Shit at and hit” I’ll credit this to all working blue collar workers in the deep south.

  F_ck me running… I have heard it before, but I have a friend I’ll call CC that has a cute little accent, and when she has said it in the past it was so cute.

  It is what it is.. My current favorite saying. When I say that it really sums up that theres no room for discussion.

  Whats that got to do with the price of tea in china… One of my other favorites meaning what the hell does that have to do with what were discussing now.

   IF? If that Dog had’nt beat me over the fence to your mom, I’d be your dad right now… I love saying that when someone hinges a statement on the word “If” case in example… “If I was there right now things would be different”.

   I know there are plenty more, but I felt I wanted to get this one off my “saved drafts” and in print. I also wanted to take the time to say Thank You to some of my friends that have read and commented to me either by comments on here or email or an old fashioned phone call. It makes me feel good I actually have a few people that care enough to read my banter.

Some Gave All and All Gave Some June 11, 2008

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       I parked my F150 pickup amongst all the other 4×4’s in the parking lot on a dark night in Plant City Florida. I walked past the crowd gathered outside the building. There were a lot of young unfamiliar faces yet a lot of faces I recognized from many a day gone by. Some greeted me with a hello or a handshake while others just looked sorrowfull and bowed their heads.

  I walked through the doors and made my way to the main room where everything was happening. It was mostly quiet in here, a little background noise but nothing to measure much by. I walked to the front of the room and there standing in front of me were 2 of the largest looking young men imaginable one on each side of the “guest of honor” These young men had no real expression on their faces almost like they were wearing stone masks.

    The “guest of honor” himself had a peaceful look on his face. He was in a much more happier place. Ladies and Gentlemen I was attending the funeral wake for a young soldier killed with 2 other marines on December 23, 2004. His name…Lance Corporal James R Phillips.

   The two guards with the bills of their dress hats pulled low and shadowing their eyes had a very soboring effect on me. In these larger than life looking young men had a look they needed not a weapon to carry out their assigned tasks in combat and also made me very proud to be an american. They had no smiles on their faces in fact they had no expression whatsoever.

    Jamie layed their in his dress uniform, a handsome 21 year old man that had paid the ultimate price for something some of us take so much for granted, FREEDOM…

    The sad thing is these three young men killed on that morning were not even on a seek and destroy mission, they were on a fact finding mission. They were doing their duties protecting the inhabitants of this far away country from the evil that lived there.

   I approach Mike Phillips, Jamie’s father and see him with tears in his eyes.  I stand in front of him and tell him Mike you have every right to be upset but I will say this in front of GOD and everyone in this room “Your Son Is A Hero” He died for yours, mine, and everyone in this country’s freedom!

    To this day I don’t know if Mike heard my words as he was way off in another part of the world. I’m sure wishing he could meet up face to face with the no good bastards that took his only son’s life. This I can be sure of, How let me fill you in some.

   First of all I have known Mike Phillips since 1977. Mike sat in front of me in consumer math at Plant City High School. Neither of us had a grip on the class and definately both disliked the teacher. So most days we’d resort to chit chatting about our old Chevy Pickups we had and all the stuff high school boys talk about. Funny we talked about chevy’s as for the past 20 years weve been hard core ford fanatics.

   I had pretty much lost touch of most if not all of my old high school buddies in the years that passed and in 2002 I moved back to my home town. Moving on to Roebuck Road. To get to my place I had to drive right in front of Mike and his wife Lisa’s house. Most days Mike would hop in his pickup and come down to my house a few minutes after my arrival. We’d sit outside and talk over things or he’d have a list of things he needed for an automotive project.

   The last project Mike and I worked on was items he needed for Jamie’s 1965 Mustang they had bought almost sight unseen. Jamie had called home and told his dad that he’d be coming home on leave for a short while and he wanted a nice car he could fix up and drive to the Plant City car shows and one he could be exceptionally proud of. Mike was seen around asking about nice cars not just any beaters but something nice his son could start off with and be proud of. Money was not a big object just as long as it was nice.

  After a short time he had settled on a poppy red one just south of where we lived. Mike had sent Jamie pictures of the car and Jamie was very excited at the opportunity of owning such a nice car. Mike wanted to go one step further and put together a good running engine for it something that would get out of its on way. Something he felt could blow the doors off my old falcon that I then cherished as my personal hot rod.

    After landing the deal and getting the monies in hand Mike started going all out, he searched for an enclosed trailer to transport their beauty home so as to make sure no rock chips from the interstate found their way to the beautiful finish on their pride and joy.

   Soon Jamie made it home. To fill you in a little bit on this youngster I have to admit what I’m about to write is 100% hearsay up until the time I first met him.

  I was told Mike had no longer had the joy of eating anything in the Phillip’s household if it had onions in it as Jamie didn’t care for them and since childhood onions had been pretty much removed from the menu when Jamie was present. I was told Jamie pretty much got his way on everything as he was the only son and Mother made sure he was the number 1 on anything and everything.

   Like I said all that was strictly hearsay and I have no proof or documentation as to the authenticity of any of the affore mentioned. The main reason I even brought it up was to set up whT I actually witnessed upon meeting young Jamie for the first time.

   I have to warn you I was completely amazed at how kids are these days by my first meeting of Jamie.

  Before I go on and say this please understand that I have to tell the truth and cannot in anyway sway away from the truth and will not do so even though this poor lad is now in the great beyond.

  Jamie totally shocked me with himself! What I witnessed was a total gentleman that I feel any father would proudly introduce his daughter to. The first time I stopped by with my stepdaughter Courtney, he was very polite, he shook my hand as a true southern gentleman would and acknowledged Courtney with total respect. He did all the things a man would be proud his son would do. He answered our question politely and referred to us around him as “sir” as in Jamie its very nice outside today and his response would be like “Yes sir, it is nice”

  One of the few times he had to come down to my place for something it was also sir once again. I assured him he need not be so formal but he “had it in him” he was just as we had all been growing up in our small farm town.

   Did he run around with his boxers showing over the belt line of his jeans? No Sir he did not. He was dressed as any normal 21 year old boy should of been. He had a very close shaven haircut, ala Marine, and he had the discipline to match as well.

    Need I say more? Lord why you took such a great little man from us, let alone his poor momma and daddy is beyond me. But we should all rest assure someday soon we’ll all be present with him and be able to feel the respect he dished out freely.

   Yes I was all choked up seeing this young lad lying there at peace in his flag draped coffin, but proud I was as well. I felt a great loss for such a young “GOOD” boy being taken away so soon, yet I know no way no how was his respect and dignity stripped from him as well.

   Lord I plead that the cowards that took the lives of these young men be dealt with severly and hope that maybe somehow you already have done so.

  Lance Corporal James R Phillips go rest in the lord and by all means REST IN PEACE……