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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Ahh, thoughts....

Sunday morning and I have been awake since 4am.  A typical beginning to a day for me lately. I do love the hours right before and just after dawn. It's peaceful, quiet, it represents a new start, a new day and at that time the day belongs solely to me. Mostly because i'm usually alone and not many folks around here are awake.

Any time in my opinion is a good time for serious or not so serious thought but this time of day is a particularly favorite time for me. The ole brain is yet uncluttered w/the matters of the day, a new canvas as it were. I have been rather self absorbed as of late. I had some fairly big things going on in my personal life and they dominated my thoughts. Not all of that stuff has been resolved but enough that I can put it away temporarily and think about other people and other things. 

Today is the last day of the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver. As I expected, I've enjoyed them and was able to catch quite a bit of the coverage, pretty much every night. I don't care so much for the drama of the side stories but head to head athletic competition whether it be in Alpine or X-Country Skiing, Snow Boarding, Ski Jumping, the Sliding events or the various skating sports I've found very compelling. Most of these are sports that I don't usually follow, just every 4 years at the Olympics. Watching people struggle to fulfill there dreams is inspiring and yes, it can be hard to watch when they fall short but such is life itself. I'll miss the games after tonight...

Speaking of sport, I follow Purdue Football and Basketball, I have all my life. Thanks dad! for that obsession!! Purdue's Basketball team has had a wonderful season losing only 3 games so far and currently being ranked 3rd nationally. They have or had a realistic chance of winning the National Championship this year...until a fluke injury took out their best player with a season ending knee injury.It truly seems unfair, not just to this young man but to his teammates, particularly the two seniors who had a chance to make history and now that chance is slim to none. It just reminds me once again how fleeting life can be...things are great one moment, the next they aren't so great. I still believe with all my heart that it is better to try and fall short then to not participate in life at all. And I've done that whole "hide from life/fail thing",,,,Ach.

More thoughts later today....

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Way off track....

Most of the blog posts here are merely my thoughts and/or observations of things I see going on around me. I have also included some original short works of fiction, a series of  memoir style segments from the point of view of a British Solider of the Great War.

I am not a professional historian but I have studied history my entire life. Military history, American, British, Ancient and more recent history plus a great deal of biography and memoirs. The ideas for the short segments come from those sources plus I happen to live a life of a common Great War soldier in my sleep. Yep, I dream a lot of this stuff...I have always, since my earliest memories fought wars in my dreams. I have my own idea of the origin of these dreams but I choose to keep them to myself. Needless to say it was rather troubling to wake from graphic shellfire and hand to hand combat in the middle of the night when you are 8 years old. It was also difficult to explain these "nightmares" to my parents. In the end, I found it easier to keep them to myself.

After years of being haunted in this way I made a couple of journey's to France/Belgium to the Somme, Verdun, reactions to those battlefields, particularly certain areas of the Somme was rather startling. I felt like I'd been there before...honestly, it was almost a comforting feeling. Very this day I've chosen to not try to define or label these experiences just embrace them when they occur. And they continue to occur frequently during these winter nights in Michigan...

Whoa, did I ever get off the track there! My intention was to just briefly explain the short stories I'm writing in my blog and instead I reveal secrets of mine that will convince most readers that I've lost my mine. I could erase the whole thing and no one would know....Ach, I would know, plus that would be any fun now would it??!!

Friday, February 26, 2010


I'm here still, I think. The sound, the noise is incredible...I can't hear myself think. I realize the funny taste in my mouth is...dirt. The last series of bombs from Fritz blew in part of the trench block and buried several fellows alive...including me. From the noise, the incredible fury of sound I realize that the fight is still on. The incessant hammering of rifle fire, bombs going off one after the other...a mixture of other sound, human made sounds..shouts, screams, the yelling, crying....

I shrug off the last of the dirt and push through the destroyed block to find myself alone...where are my Pals? Through the haze of smoke in the last light of day I begin to see snippets of images....a body here,German, unmoving...a man, one of ours on his knees, struggling to crawl away..with an arm missing, marking his path with blood. Now many corpses litter the remains of the trench floor, I move cautiously round a bend in the trench and I'm face to face with my enemy. I see him first, run him through the throat and he remains standing, frozen in time with a silent scream staring intently back at the man who just killed him. After a while of gazing back into the dead mans eyes, I remove the bayonet, he crumples to the ground. I stick him again, then again....dead. I pause, take a deep breath then begin to move again down the trench only to deflect a swinging trench shovel w/the butt of my rifle at the last second. Shouts from behind as lads from 3rd Welsh Fusiliers come up, over and through the broken and battered trench block. The Welsh lay down a sheet of rifle fire and a barrage of bombs on the next series of strong-points in the trench system. The German with the shovel dies in the onslaught. Systematically they bomb there way down the trench, eliminating dug outs and surviving Germans as they go. As quickly as the appeared, they were gone, lost in the smoke, lost in time like ghosts from Hell or Avenging Angels....

A cold shiver passes through me as I struggle to remain standing. I am confused by my weakness until stretcher bearers come through....In the chaotic confusion of the fight I failed to realize I'd been shot through the left thigh and am now missing parts of two fingers on my right hand. Seems it was my hand on the rifle butt that deflected the Hun shovel..

Suddenly I see a man from the Medical Corps, his face right in front of me and he is talking, his lips move but I don't understand what he is saying. It doesn't make any sense to me then I realize that I feel faint. With much help I am moved back through the trench we have just taken from Fritz. I can't begin to describe the horror of what I see: a private window into a small piece of the underworld. Bodies, parts of bodies, once human gobs of goo, chunks of stuff along with equipment strewn everywhere. In a large junction of several trench avenues I wait with other wounded to be moved back, behind the line to receive medical attention. I lay on the cold, hard packed dirt of the trench and slowly the intense noise of the previous hours begins to fade. I relax, I urinate where I lie but I feel OK yet I swear I hear a familiar voice...soft, comforting...Is it, no!? How can that be? is my Mother.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

After the storm

Now that is a relief...patience comes in to play as I wait 4 to 6 weeks for the final word but everything went really well today. Funny how effective honesty never goes out of style!
I know I've been somewhat vague here concerning these last few posts and i am still in a position where it wouldn't be appropriate to talk openly about these things at this point.Let's just say I have recently taken some big steps in beginning to start my life over again after many years of pain, struggle and heartache. It really is about beginning again and I had to start by changing ME in a lot of different ways.

As readers may have already gathered, I am a recovering alcoholic/addict, cleans and sober since June 6, 2006. Yea, I of all people have D-Day as my anniversary date...go figure!!But that is only a little part of the changes I have had to make in the last several years. Getting honest w/myself is one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. In the past it was never my fault or my was always something or someone else who was responsible, never me. Over the years I lost everything that had been important to me...some I miss, some I never really needed in the first place. When you start over at 47 yrs old w/basically nothing, you start to learn about what is really important in this life.

Relationships w/others...a spiritual life, a life in service of others, etc. These things have become important to me today. The money and possessions mean nothing w/out these things. I'm a happier, healthier person today then I have ever been. Life is simpler, not easy..not by a long shot but who ever said it was going to be.

Today I stood up for myself and took some major steps in living a full, well rounded life again. Sorry for the vagueness I just can't discuss certain things at this point. Thanks for listening....

It is time...

Well, well...the day that I have been waiting for (or dreading, depending on my mood) for over 4 years. 11a eastern, Lansing MI.

I have do hope today and honesty is the best friend I have. It's been a tough 4 yrs, no doubt for all the pain and difficulty but that's ain't easy. But as I sit here this is worth it.

Though there have been some dark days, I see nothing but light and I do not fear the future, whether it be the events later on this morning or what tomorrow may bring. Oddly, I'm at peace....

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace....

Excerpts from the Serenity Prayer

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A day away....

Ach...still alive and snifflin', kickin' I mean. Tomorrow is another day....ah, but it's not grasshopper, it's not. Do I dare hope this time? I'm afraid to be hopeful...

I only hope & pray that good decisions are made tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

My thing

I know, a lot of people have fantasies about what they would do if they ever came into big $$ suddenly like hit the lotto, for example.  Big houses, boats, travel, taking care  of family and friends...all sorts of ways to spend that ching.

Me? Ummm, ahhhh, I would travel to W Hollywood CA, hit High Voltage Tattoo and get another tat or 3 from Kat Von D. Yea I know, but I think she is an incredible artist and it's my thing and my freaking $$ fantasy so bugger off, OK!?

Feeling lousy, thank you....

Hey, I fought the good fight. All winter long I had remained healthy: no sniffles, coughs, colds, fevers...not even a sinking spell as my Grandmother would say. The last five days have been fairly miserable, if I do say so myself. I still managed to function for the most part but did miss a day of work, today as a matter of fact. I couldn't avoid it and I wasn't going to go out in this lousy, cold and wet, windy winter day and set back all the progress I had made up to this point. Hunker down, drink lots of fluids, sleep, eat (no problem there, it was stomach flu thank god!!) and rest. None of this is easy...I don't sit still very easily...even when reading a good book. I am constantly up, then down then will move over there then over here, etc., etc.....staying in one place, staying calm, relaxing for me is very hard. It almost hurts to be so nuts, I know but how true it is.

I have recently lived in fear of getting ill because I have no health insurance. What a terrible feeling it was to realize this sore throat , fever and cough weren't going away any time soon. I just hoped it wouldn't need a doctors treatment and that the remedy for this ailment was time and rest. So far, so good. I self-purchased it for 17 months but at $388 month that was much more then I could afford. It was lousy, bottom of the barrel BCBS to boot. When I needed it like for knee surgery it would only pay a small %, what a rip off. 

I am in the unique position to view this whole debate about health insurance and I have to admit...even though I would love to have it right now, government sponsored, whatever...this just doesn't seem like a good answer to our countries health care issues. It has nothing to do with my pride....if it was a reasonable and fair program I'd do it but I don't believe it is. So I'll continue to go on waiting for the other shoe to drop, day after freaking day.....

Friday, February 19, 2010

So sick....

I don't care. I really don't..I never did. The man is a golfer and a very good golfer at that. Probably the best professional golfer there has ever been. Sure,I admire that fact...achievement in one's field of endeavor, even if that happens to be golf is something that impresses me. Hard work, perseverance, dedication, all that matters to me and should be appreciated. What he did and does in his personal life means absolutely nothing to me, it really doesn't even register. I admire him as an athlete not as a person so why would it be important to me? It astounds me how affected some people seem to be by the travails of Tiger Woods. Well sort of...

Just because someone hired him to advertise and sell their products this torrid affair shit is important to every human being on the planet? Every TV Station in America gave him 15 minutes of live air time to him because we should be interested in what he does in his personal life? I couldn't disagree more. If anyone other then his wife and family should be concerned it's those businesses who decided to tie their business fortunes to the image of a human being, that was just plain dumb. Last I humans are a flawed entity. We fuck up...constantly, it's part of our nature and we are really good at it. We are not perfect...will never, ever, ever be perfect. Anyone who believed differently is an idiot or seriously outta touch with reality.

Tiger Woods is human....he screwed everyone over who bought his gig that he led a perfect life. It was a joke from the start....anyone could see his image was completely manufactured...hell he even looked like a robot...except when he played golf. That is his gift...his thing. He attempted to control the itself and human nature! Life tends to have a mind (and sense of humor)all it's own. Nothing works the way it is supposed to or we want it to.

I hope we've seen the end of the media sharks snapping at all the tawdry chum in the water but we shouldn't count on it. The way Journalists justify their profession as some sort of sacred truth seeking is enough to make me vomit. They want to generate $$, that is all it's about, that is all it's ever about in our society today, "revenue making news". They have no true "right" to ask for answers to these most personal types of questions between a man and his wife. In my opinion, He owes us nothing....

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A Quiet Life

Quiet. Yes, it is really quiet around here today. The house is quiet, outside with light snow falling, there is almost a silence, my heart, the Heart remains still, quiet not serene yet poised, haunted in a peaceful kind of way....

Saturday, February 13, 2010


Nice to hear that they made some major changes to the Men's luge run, moving the start line up to where the women start, re-shaping the ice on the dangerous turn that caused yesterday's accident and constructed safety barriers to keep the athletes from flying out of the track area. Bobsledding, Luge and Skeleton are dangerous sports and they always will be but we have to remember these are human beings...with lives. We cannot let the need to sell the trill of sport over shadow that fact...ever.

What was I thinking?

After a cheesy, over produced opening of the Winter Olympics that pretty much pandered to NBC, I was already feeling uncomfortable. In my opinion, it was embarrassingly patronizing of the native peoples of Canada/N. America. On that point alone, I would have been having second thoughts about my previous blog going on and on about how wonderful the games are. That would have been enough all by itself, probably for me to reconsider my glowing me idealism. But even before that pathetic performance, a man lost his life during Luge PRACTICE on a course that a majority of the competitors who use it (Luge, Skeleton, Luge) said was dangerously fast and bordering on unsafe. Turns out the debate on the course's safety has been going on for awhile yet I hadn't really heard it mentioned before yesterday. And I do read the Olympic related coverage in the sports pages, on the net and see it on ESPN. Not a word about it...until someone dies.

Even then the Olympic Committee tried to poo poo it.The president of the IOC Jacques Rogge responded to a question about what they are going to do to make it safer for the competition by saying "I would be ready to debate or deliberate with you at the proper time but I'm sorry, this is the time for sorrow. It is not the time to look for reasons that it happened". Uh, when is the time then, considering  full blown competition on that track begins this morning and athletes from all over the world will be running down it at speeds approaching 90 MPH!? So is the time to look for the reason it happened and ....I know this is a stretch, actually FIX it after someone else dies?! Or do 2 more people have to die or is it one dies, two are critically injured. Or 2 are killed, 1 almost dies but is paralyzed and 2 spectators are hit by flying athletes (that is what happened, the man flew out of the track and hit a metal pole) and are injured?! What does it take for gods sake?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

A magical thing...

I am getting excited about the upcoming Winter Olympics that start in Vancouver tomorrow night. Not really sure why but I have always really felt the Olympics were something really special and have always had a powerful effect on me. Not sure if I like the Summer or the Winter best...I guess I like 'em both for different reasons. In some ways, the Winter Games have a unique charm for me. This may because Of the 1980 games in Lake Placid NY when the US Hockey Team shock the USSR and the world by first beating the Russians then winning the Gold Medal. Folks that weren't alive at that time or were too young can't really began to understand the effect that victory had on Americans during those closing years of the Cold War.

Americans were still reeling a bit after the all the early hope that turned to turmoil and heartache of the late 60's and the apathy of the 1970's. This was a bigger deal then we even realized at that time and really gave most Americans a reason to feel proud about their country again. At that time, it wasn't popular to have any kind of nationalistic feelings regardless of shape or form. It's like we had to still act shameful for our countries mistakes in Vietnam and our continuing lack of progress with Civil Rights and rights for woman. Though we had made some strides in those areas and had began to put Vietnam behind still didn't look good to openly praise our country at that time.

The Lake Placid games began to change that...followed of course by the presidency of Ronald Reagan in which he continued to focus on building our countries collective self-esteem after that jump-start in the 1980 Olympics. But Reagan and his policies are not the subject of my attention tonight. It's the magical feeling I get when I know that athletes from all over the world, even a violent, dangerous world such as we live in now, can come together in peace to compete against each other in sport. It is not a perfect situation and I know that the Olympic Games have their share of critics. But for me it has always given me cause for Hope...hope that we can co-exist in this world. Compete as separate countries w/out anger yet show the best side of what each country and culture have to offer. Even as a young boy I had a sense that this was about more then skiing or track events or hockey or swimming, etc., etc.

It made me feel good then and it makes me feel good now. Let the Games begin.....

Winter Olympics Water Polo

Just heard that there is real danger of Vancouver Canada hosting a Winter Olympics and doing it entirely with out any snow. How adventurous is that!? Better yet, they might take it one step further and actually replace the normally expected snow with, get this: Rain! God those Canucks have some big ass balls.....

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Irony and snowfall......

Well, Southern Michigan finally got a major snowfall after a moderate winter so far this season. 8 to 10 inches out here on Coldwater Lake, to my best estimate. I've made it pretty clear that I love snow...Lot's of snow is fine with me. What I mean by that is that I don't mind it as long as there a few absolutes: One, that my plow truck is functional, two that the snow isn't too wet and most of the time around here it's not bad. The main reason for this is I can't really shovel with my back so far gone. And three that it doesn't go on forever...a few weeks is fun but a whole winter of heavy snow would get sickening even to me. 

Yesterday as the storm hit...those conditions were met. Plow was working, it was a nice, crystallized, fluffy type snow...very light weight. So I was having a ball, plowing...just being outside, snow was great.  Then evening time came around, time to plow again and of course....the truck won't start. For Pete's sake the damn thing works fine all winter when we get little to no snowfall...we get one heavy snow and the damn truck dies after 3 hours. After a while it does begin to seem like it's me, that I attract bad vibes, that I bring it on myself. On the other hand, I can't accept that premise. 

Any how, it is ironic that this happens to me, fairly consistently. But then...fixed the truck after an hour and poof: truck works, plowed last night and just finished plowing this morning. Whoa, was it beautiful out there. Everything is covered with a think, white definitely moves me as Mother Nature tends to do. And it is another perfect example of why I love experiencing all four seasons of the year to their fullest extent.

With all that being said, I think I'm going to head back out and make some snow angels....

Monday, February 8, 2010

Old geezers rock!

Who?....The Who, That's who. Rock N Roll band from the UK 'ya know, came to America right after the Beatles. Well, they are still around, albeit a short handed version having lost two members over the last 3 decades.

Well, they were one of my favorite bands growing up and their music is still quite meaningful to me to this very day. So I happened to really be looking forward to the Super Bowl Halftime show featuring them last night in Miami. Honestly, I've wanted to mock those over-done, over-hyped affairs but lately they have had an incredible list of performers: Bruce Springsteen last year, Mick Jagger, U2, Tom Petty just to name a few the last few years. And they have been pretty good I have to admit. So I was pumped to see The Who.

Oh my God was it awful. They just can't perform their own music any more live. I give them a lot of credit for getting up there and giving it their best but time has taken it's toll. What makes it so bad is that those songs they played are wonderful examples of some of the best, classic rock n roll of all time. Thoughtful, semi-complex, melodic and frankly were never easy to re-produce outside of a studio. I know that not having their original drummer and bass player  has to hurt them but frankly the other musicians playing with them were not the issue last night.

Singer Roger Daltrey is 66 yrs old and time has ravaged his voice. And that once amazingly powerful voice was a critical part of those songs. Guitarist Pete Townsend showed that he can still play just as well if not better then he always has...But, his tendency to try and sing back up on just about every song was distracting to say the least. His timing was off and he was frequently out of tune. 

It was still good to see and a lot of critics are raving about their performance this morning on TV but I didn't see that myself last night. And the halftime show isn't supposed to be the focal point anyway....And for me it wasn't. The game was fantastic and the whole show was great.

So Football season is over for another year...always kind of a weird time for this particular FB guy. Sure I have basketball but it's not the same. I guess I'll have to just listen to some music to pass the time. Some Who perhaps? 

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Who Dat?!

Drew Brees, Quarterback of the New Orleans Saints was amazing tonight. What a game...I'm so happy for that city. I realize, it's a game...nothing more, really. But it can mean so much to a city like NO that was so devastated just a few short years ago. It's hard to explain how that city has bonded together around their team. The players and ownership deserve so much credit as well for all they have given back in time, money, charities, fund raisers and just the attention. They kept the focus on rebuilding and on my opinion they really have succeeded.

I have watched Drew since he was a freshmen at Purdue and I have so much respect for that guy.

Way to go Drew! Way to go Saints! Super Bowl Champs!!

Bluntly put, it's a heart breaker

I can be a real jerk sometimes. I'll admit it...I'm not the nicest guy in the world, I can be impatient, suffer a lack of tolerance for people (politicians in particular) I don't happen to agree with, opinionated, outspoken and blunt. No doubt about that. But deep down I am a softy and I'm certainly not mean spirited, just have issues at times keeping my thoughts to myself when I probably should.

All that being said, this blog is a forum for all sides of me to show...particularly the cutting humor/sarcastic/full of satire side of me. Nothing is sacred and nothing is really real at times either. I guess what I am saying here is that while I am serious about some things, other times I'm not. I'm scamming....It's sarcasm, humor and plain ole goofing around. I realize it's hard to tell at times which is which but I suppose that is the challenge of any reader...figure it out. Love it or hate is what it is.

With that out of the way, I need to refer back to a blog I wrote some time ago. It was about a local newspaper putting letters to the editor that in my humble opinion have no right being published. It almost seems like this editor has it in for certain people so they post the letters as is, they are not edited for grammar, while others clearly are. They aren't shortened for publication and frankly they serve no purpose but to humiliate (if this person where mentally competent to realize they were being humiliated) the write. They are full of ranting, hateful speculation about specific people and frankly don't make any sense at all most of the time.

In this one particular case, the writer is a woman I happen to have met quite some time ago. She is a Meth addict and in my opinion is not in recovery and is very, very sick. Her letters (I thought about posting this last one but it is so sick, so sad, confused, angry, hateful and accusatory that it would break every one's heart who reads it like it did mine), I'll admit they are a pitiful cry for help but putting them in a public, petty, small town newspaper with her full name and address included is not ethical and it is downright hateful in it's own right.

I will ad, that this individual has had multiple opportunities to get help for her addiction...hospitals, treatment centers, 12 step programs, in some cases many times over. She has to WANT it and she clearly doesn't. I do not believe in any way that her case is hopeless. No freaking way...I have seen many people literally come back from the throes of death to find a new life. She can too. But this does not help her.

I just hate to see how this is being played out in the newspaper...I think it's really wrong and for the life of me can't understand what they are trying to do by printing these half a dozen letters from her over the last 7 months or so. I'm not seeing it and it truly breaks my heart....


Saturday, February 6, 2010

Cold wind...

It is a shock no doubt but I still love the feel of a winter wind, blowing in from the North. I'm sure that's another factor preventing me to chuck winter for good and go warm. 

I won't lie and say that I haven't considered it lately, especially with close friends and family out west or down south. Of course they never let you forget that it is SOOO WARMMM where they are. Except my mom who still tends to sound envious when I give her the snowy and cold weather details. Like mother like son I suppose.

Anyway, I just can't help it...I like snow and I like the cold and yea I even like the cold wind 'a blowin' like it is this morning on Coldwater Lake. Now then, I do believe I need to go for a wee bit of a walk so off I go...

Friday, February 5, 2010

I'd probably rot....

I really had a frightening experience last night. I was at work, had just gotten off the phone and as I was trying to explain something to a co-worker I went completely numb. It sort of felt like I was about to faint, I was nauseous but also I could barely move and struggled to talk. It was one of the freakiest moments I've ever had. My lips moved but nothing would come out. I thought I was having a stroke but at the same time I was so....calm, it was frighteningly weird.

It turned out that I was reacting to taking a new medication on an empty stomach but for a while there I thought I was seeing the end. It was one of the most helpless feelings I have ever4 had. In hindsight it all seems a bit silly but it didn't at the time. Weird too was the reaction of my co-workers....I could have died right there on the floor and they were just going about their business. Only one guy seemed concerned..Jeez, my boss was like. "dude, is something wrong", "Huh, eyes are just rolling back in my head, I can't talk, I'm shaking all over, I'm going to puke right there on the floor and then pass out. Other then that, I'm doing great!!".

In all fairness, it wasn't that dramatic and I'm sure it was hard for them to tell what was going on but to a certain degree they can be a bit oblivious around there about things that don't directly concern them. Perhaps it's  youth, who knows. All I know is I definitely don't want to have a real medical emergency there cause you definitely would die before anyone would notice. Hell my corpse would probably rot before someone realized something was wrong..."Hey dude, Thom's been awful quiet the last few weeks....".

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The rain came...

Suffice it to say that it is no longer hot and is now just wet, very wet. The dry weather gave way to torrential rains two days after the Big Push began. Some one in the Heavens must have a sickened sense of humor because just as we were gaining some headway in breaking the German lines...the rains came and everything slogged to a standstill. Now both sides are digging deep again.

Not that things were going really well before the rain......every single yard we gained was paid for in blood...our blood. Fritz did not want to give up that series of trench-lines and out posts. There would be a short, vicious bombardment of their line and then we'd rush the trench...hurling Mills Bombs as we jumped into the front line. Any survivors we shot or ran them through with our bayonets. No mercy...a nightmarish fury of shooting, stabbing, punching, kicking, screaming horror...then, it was quiet. After a short while, the Germans would shell us, counter-attack and the furious hand to hand combat would begin all over again. We would go back and forth like this, hour after into night. I thought it would never end. 

And then we began to hold...and the counter-attacks weakened, then stopped. We started to advance a few hundred yards at a time. Word was that the Front Line had been broken a couple miles to the south and the Hun were in retreat. We almost began to have hope again...hope that maybe, just maybe, this time, this nightmare, this war might end. We could push the enemy, pursue them, destroy them and maybe, just maybe end the war. For the first time in years we were in open country and on the move. Then the Germans turned back to fight, to hold their ground. And the advances started to a crawl.

We continued to attack, hour after hour with minor, insignificant little gains, an advance of a hundred yards here....200 yards there. But the casualties were incredibly high...then the rains came. And every movement and everything just stopped, bogged down in deep mud, mired in a land torn and shredded by incessant shellfire. Moving forward was out of the question though for awhile, orders to continue the attack were given until the slaughter...our slaughter became so great that there were not enough men left in the Division to continue. We had become a Ghost Division. So we waited for our relief and dug in as best we could in the heavy rain and prayed for someone, anyone to have mercy on us..... 

Monday, February 1, 2010

Walk on....

I'm beginning to wonder if I'll ever just get numb to the suffering of others....

At this particular time in my life, I have a few good friends that are really going through a hard time. Some with personal issues to work through another couple with serious health issues or loved ones w/very serious health issues. I realize that is the way life goes sometimes but honestly it just seems like so many are hurting all at once. Sort of out of proportion w/the norm, 'ya know?

As a person who cares about their friends, it's really getting hard because there isn't a lot you can do at times but offer support. Frankly that just doesn't seem like enough. It leaves me feeling pretty powerless to  actually do anything. One thing I have known about myself for a long time is that I don't like NOT having control! Sounds arrogant but it's honest....

Perhaps I'm just getting more realistic and caring more intensely about how other people suffer as opposed to looking inward all the time. I think I was just selfish and oblivious when I was a younger man, since I've gotten older I feel more connected to the human race instead of this troubled, rogue individualist who cares only about getting's quite a transition and one that I sense isn't complete. Not by a long shot.

I don't know if I was any more self absorbed and selfish then anyone else but I realize today that my selfishness toward others created an imbalance in my life. It knocked me off my spiritual square, so to speak. It took some freakin' hard knocks in life to get me to realize how great it is to help others. I sense another door is you?