Thursday, June 27, 2013

Vinoy Redux

Just some Pics from Vinoy Park.  A-G-A-I-N.

Nice keeper from the Bay.  The funny thing about this action is that the girl was the one who took the fish off the hook and re-baited it.  

Best seat in the house.

A friendly wave from an eco freak.

Allegiant jet heading somewhere not quite as nice as the Park is on this day.  

A series of pics showing the crow using his beak to get at some peanuts.

Mom getting her kid's picture.  In a few moments they would trundle on down to where I was sitting and ask me to take their picture.   

I'm thinking about signing on as a crew member on one these ships heading somewhere.  Experience, no.  But I used to have a 14 foot boat at Lake Littlejohn, does that count? 

Close up of the wild parrot that have infested Florida.  Pretty little suckers, but their screech is like fingernails on a blackboard.  


Spotted this guy in the muck along the Bay.

A heron sunbathing.

That's it for today.  You are all free to go about your business.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Bay Pines National Cemetery

On Memorial Day a visit to our local Bay Pines National Cemetery seemed appropriate.  Bay Pines is on the grounds of the Veterans Hospital and has approximately 27,000 veteran and family internments.    

At the entrance is the memorial to all branches of the military.  Besides a plaque and flag for the branches there is also a sundial.

"Time will not dim the memory of a grateful nation for those who sacrificed so much to keep our country free."

Marine Corps

Air Force

Coast Guard



Unlike more traditional cemeteries, Bay Pines was redesigned a few years ago and the original marble markers have been imbedded flat into the ground.  I'll leave it up to others to determine which is best for the visitors or more convenient for the groundskeepers.

Casketed remains have ceased here, but ashes are still accepted. 

This one stopped me due to the laughing part.  I guess that's pretty damn important.

Even the long buried are remembered by someone.

Same with this one.  70 years gone by and still a family remembers.

I would have liked to have found out what was here for her.  But I left her in peace and with her memories.  

Monday, June 24, 2013

A Peek Inside My Vault

I stopped putting pictures in my wallet years ago because they would soon become worn and ruined.  And now you can keep thousands on your cell phone, why weigh yourself down or risk spinal troubles with a thick billfold?  I do, however, keep some stuff permanently in my wallet as these following artifacts attest.  

This was given to me by Rose Medina, Counselor and Probation Officer, Extraordinaire.  She hails from the Hollers of Tennessee but lived in Bushnell, IL and became a lifelong worker for the 9th Judicial Circuit in Knox County.  I was in Swanie's once with Rosita, but I believe Swanie's is no more.  See how little things are important,Rose?  I always liked this because it is a guy at the bottom but hanging around to see what will/could happen next  (the scanner didn't do a very good job, but you get the idea).  I've had it maybe twenty years?  Can't toss it now, can I?

There is a phrase now called "owning it", which pretty much means "if you did it, admit it".  I carry this in my billfold to remind me to own up to my mistakes.  It is scratched without much polish because I heard it on the radio from someone and wanted to get it down on paper before I forgot it.  This is what you tell someone when you screw up.  It disarms them and you are taking responsibility.  "It's dreadful.  I don't know what came over me.  It'll never happen again."  Had this as a reminder to "do right" and had it in my wallet maybe 10 - 15 years.

This little blacked out piece of scribble is something a bit more private and probably remain so for a while longer.  I won't type its contents here, suffice to say, I was really down this day and it was a plea, basically, for the pain to end.  'Nuff said.  I keep it now to remind me that things can always be worse.

And we'll end this little exercise with this from daughter Kenzie, who always brightens my day.  It was a Father's Day card she bought and wrote on, after I was probably a bit dismayed at the lack of something I perceived from whatever.  I keep it now to remind me how respected and loved I am from her.   There is no date so can only speculate but it has to be maybe 16-17 years old.

And then there are the wonderful pictures from the DMV people.  Bless their hearts.  Proving once again the aging process isn't a battle, it's a massacre.

What's In Your Wallet?

Friday, June 21, 2013

Friday Flashback

It was my honor to be a part of the Patriot Guard Riders when I was in G-Burg.  Born out of the wars in Iraq-Afghanistan and tempered by the insanity of the Whitesboro Baptist Church, the PGR was a big deal and rightly so.  

I was involved in about four escort rides, if memory serves, from the Sterling-Rock Falls area in a hand-off from Chicago riders.  We would assist escorting fallen soldiers back to the local funeral homes.  After that we would stand guard at the venue, followed by an escort to the cemetery.  They were very draining, emotionally difficult and by-and-large I hated those duties.  

But the PGR also welcomed troops and companies back which were very fun.  Celebratory homecomings and everyone would be happy and hugging and crying.  Those were nice.  We also did veterans who had passed away.  Again, appreciable families and nice warm feelings after those.    

Escorting from Sterling was grueling hard work as a biker: always after dark, organizers wanted closed ranks, and they drove fast.  Rovzinski, Miller, Tharp and Lufkin.  I hope I never forget those names.

Can you spot me?  Third head to the right in back row from the middle phone pole.

Welcoming back the Beardstown/Macomb National Guard unit after a tour in Iraq.

A fallen soldier's escort in Galesburg.  I'm sorry, I've forgotten who this was.

I think this was the one where Whitesboro Baptist Church members showed up and so many PGR bikers also showed to make sure the crazies wouldn't bother the family.

My bike was equipped with a flag-holder, so I had to ride up front.  

We always bivouacked at the old Wal-Mart.

This is the Tharp escort to Greenmound Cemetery in Keithsburg.  His wife requested a PGR Honor Guard at the house before the day of the funeral and I volunteered.  I drew the 4:00 am to 6:00 am duty, and glad I could have lent my small services to ease her pain.

I am proud of my contributions and ability to help out.  I am just as glad to be out of it.  It was tough, draining volunteerism and as we close up (hopefully) the War it will be nice to ride solely for old Vets who die of old age.