Anything is Possible!

With Hope, Faith, and Perseverance


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A Well Armed Veteran

Today’s Stream of Consciousness prompt is “arm,” brought to you by Linda Hill. You can read all about SoCS at: https://lindaghill.com/2017/11/10/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-nov-11-17/ 

In dress blues (2)

Early 1950’s ?

My dad was well armed. But he wasn’t in the army. He was a marine. For 20 years. He served in Korea and Vietnam and was wounded in both wars. But I’m sure it wasn’t because he was disarmed. My dad was a gunny in Vietnam. They gave him his own platoon to lead, a duty usually assigned to officers.

It’s ironic now that I have two of his guns in my house. Me, who is all into peace and even worked for peace in my younger years. When Dad died in January, his awesomely helpful neighbor secured four guns he found in my dad’s house until I could take them. There was a shotgun, a 22, a 30 caliber rifle like the one Dad used in Vietnam, and a pistol. That’s more than I ever knew about guns before I became the owner of these four.

With help from a friend who knows guns, we sold the shotgun and gave away the good rifle, and still have the 22 and the pistol. I can hardly believe we are planning to keep the pistol and take a class about how to use it. It’s only because it belonged to my father.

When I was in my early 20s, a boyfriend bought a pistol and took me to the target practice place of some kind with him. I thought I might practice shooting it. But when he fired the gun at the target, the noise was so loud, something clicked in me – fear that I had not expected. I couldn’t even bring myself to hold the gun.

But back to my dad. In my later years, I came to respect and admire him. I miss him, but know he is where he wants to be, with Mom, Jesus and the rest, singing and praising and probably doing some kind of volunteer work, cause that’s what my parents did.

Dad in raincoat at rehab (3)

Dad was well armed, but not just with guns and rifles. He was armed with courage, integrity, ingenuity, and perseverance. I could go on and on about him. But I’ll never forget the time when I was in 5th grade and got into a “fight” with a girl on the way home from school. It was right before Dad went to Vietnam. When I got home, he must have seen the tear trails on my face. I wasn’t hurt physically. It wasn’t much of a fight, but it had been scary. Dad pulled me into his lap, and held me in his recliner. I have never felt so safe and loved as that afternoon in my father’s arms.

Dad with Baby mk and me (2)

That’s me on the right and my sister on the left. 7 years before the “fight” in fifth grade.

(You can read more about my dad in my book.)

SOC winner 2017

Here are the rules of Stream of Consciousness Saturday:

1. Your post must be stream of consciousness writing, meaning no editing, (typos can be fixed) and minimal planning on what you’re going to write.

2. Your post can be as long or as short as you want it to be. One sentence – one thousand words. Fact, fiction, poetry – it doesn’t matter. Just let the words carry you along until you’re ready to stop.

3. There will be a prompt every week. I will post the prompt here on my blog on Friday, along with a reminder for you to join in. The prompt will be one random thing, but it will not be a subject. For instance, I will not say “Write about dogs”; the prompt will be more like, “Make your first sentence a question,” “Begin with the word ‘The’,” or simply a single word to get your started.

4. Ping back! It’s important, so that I and other people can come and read your post! For example, in your post you can write “This post is part of SoCS:” and then copy and paste the URL found in your address bar at the top of this post into yours. Your link will show up in my comments for everyone to see. The most recent pingbacks will be found at the top. NOTE: Pingbacks only work from WordPress sites. If you’re self-hosted or are participating from another host, such as Blogger, please leave a link to your post in the comments below.

5. Read at least one other person’s blog who has linked back their post. Even better, read everyone’s! If you’re the first person to link back, you can check back later, or go to the previous week, by following my category, “Stream of Consciousness Saturday,” which you’ll find right below the “Like” button on my post.

6. Copy and paste the rules (if you’d like to) in your post. The more people who join in, the more new bloggers you’ll meet and the bigger your community will get!

7. As a suggestion, tag your post “SoCS” and/or “#SoCS” for more exposure and more views.

8. Have fun!


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A Gift You Can’t Buy in the Store, Part 2

buttons-and-needles

My 85 year old dad is a stubborn X retired Marine. He won’t move closer to me because he doesn’t want to leave the house he shared with the love of his life. He lives with pain every day – the pain of missing his soulmate and the pain in his legs from being wounded in Korea. The plastic artery they put in his leg all those years ago now prevents him from getting a knee replacement. His knee can give out on him without warning, so he has to keep his cane handy. (He won’t use a walker.)

Each deliberate step is such a challenge it sometimes pains me to watch him walk. But he’s fiercely independent. His back had been bothering him a lot over the past couple weeks to the point that he could not go to church and stopped going to his cardio rehab. (The “rehab was completed years ago, but he pays to go three times a week for the challenge and the camaraderie.)

“Don’t you think he deserves a break?” I ask God.”  I don’t hear a lot back from that. Just some stuff about how Paul had chronic pain and not to worry about it because God’s Grace has it covered. Stuff I don’t want to hear but should probably listen to.

Last weekend, I was praying extra for my dad and lit a candle for him at church. When I called him Sunday evening, he whispered he couldn’t talk because he was at his church’s Christmas. I was happy to hear that he’d made it.

The next day, I called Dad, and he was so excited! He told me that Sunday morning he woke up with “no pain anywhere!” It was the the first time in years he’d started the day with no pain. It generally takes him a long time to get ready for church with the leg pain and arthritis in his hands. He said it takes him several tries to button his top button so he can put on a tie. Well, last Sunday, he said he talked to God about it:

“God, I’m going to try this one time, and if it doesn’t work, I’m not going to button it,” he said. “I just wont wear a tie.” Dad said he buttoned that button on the first try. He was so excited telling me about that button, like a kid at Christmas. He said everything went great on Sunday. People at church told him they’d missed him, and the Christmas Cantata that night was “absolutely beautiful.” He went on to describe the music and how good it was.

He said that Monday morning he had some twinges of pain, but not as much as usual.

I guess God decided to give my dad a break.No matter what happens, even if the pain comes back, I’m thankful Dad had the gift of a joy filled day without pain. You never know when God is going to give you a miracle day.

dad-and-aunt-ruth

My dad and his “big sister” Ruth a couple years ago on her 92nd birthday.

(The buttons and needles picture is from Pixabay.)


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Tough Old Marines

Jerry's medalsThey knew each other in Vietnam. Jerry was one of four tunnel rats in a battalion of about 2000 marines. Dad’s unit didn’t have a tunnel rat, so when they needed one, they’d call up battalion to get one. Sometimes it was Jerry. He’d crawl through tunnels with a pistol in one hand and a flashlight in the other, and a rope tied to his ankles so his buddies could pull him back out. Jerry got away with cutting up on the radio, cracking jokes, and harassing everyone, even officers, because he was so valuable.

My dad was a Gunnery Sargent, but did the job of an officer, leading his own platoon through the jungle. He retired after 20 years in the corps and still has nightmares about Vietnam. Jerry stayed in a little longer and retired as a Master Sargent.

My dad and Jerry each earned three purple hearts during their military careers. Dad got his in Korea, being wounded in the legs and back.  Jerry was seriously wounded in the abdomen in Vietnam.

They weren’t close in Vietnam, but as civilians, they serendipitously ended up being neighbors. Jerry moved in across the street from us when I was in high school. The bond of having served together in hell ignited an instant friendship. Jerry and Dad (and Jerry’s wife and my mom) became  best friends.

As I grew older and listened to their stories, I came to respect my father and Jerry more. In spite of my pacifist leanings, my peace songs, and peace rallies, I grew to admire the strength and courage of these two men who I knew to be caring fathers and loving husbands. They’d both been close to death multiple times. They both had to do horrible things to stay alive. Dad didn’t talk much about Vietnam, but with Jerry around, the stories flowed easier. Jerry’s sense of humor was good therapy. I wonder if it kept him from going crazy.

When dad was in the hospital with is heart surgeries, and when mom was in the nursing home, Jerry and his wife, Joyce, always visited, even after they moved an hour away to the same city I live in. After mom died, they tried to help me convince Dad to move closer to us. But dad has been stubborn, staying in the house where he feels my mom’s presence. Because of his age and health problems, we all assumed my dad would die before Jerry. My dad is 84, but Jerry at 75, went on ahead. Jerry died unexpectedly this past Thursday, on Nov. 5.

November is a hard month. Dad’s sister, my older sister, and my mom, all died in the month of November, and now Jerry, too.

carrying the casket in

For me, Jerry’s death is hard evidence that, contrary to what I’d like to believe, even tough old marines don’t live forever. But I will always remember what my dad told me when I was twelve:

“Nothing is Impossible.”

It’s even possible for a tree-hugging pacifist to love, respect and deeply admire a couple of  tough old marines.

I am forever grateful to my father, to Jerry, and to others like them, for their years of dedicated service as soldiers and as civilians. I am increasingly amazed at my father’s character, his integrity, and his strength in adversity. His body may wear out, but his spirit will live forever. And so will Jerry’s.

 

always faithful even in the pouring rain

Always faithful – even in the pouring rain, as we said goodbye to one tough old marine.