Monday, May 25, 2009

It Really Isn't Free

I must confess I did something last night that I don't normally do. I turned on the PBS station to watch a program. Now...nothing against PBS, I remember watching me some Lawrence Welk whenever my grandparents came into town and stayed with us. ( the time, I hated that we had to watch Lawrence Welk when we could've been watching our usual lineup-The Muppets followed by Sha-Na-Na, but I digress...)
They were showing the annual Memorial Day Concert live near the steps of the Capitol building down in Washington. There's just something about patriotic music especially around either Memorial Day, Veteran's Day, or the 4th of July that just stirs something inside. A focus this year was not only soldiers who have died but those that have come back injured. Some injured a whole lot.
I don't know...maybe because we spent last year in Australia where the last Monday in May and July 4th were just other days on a calendar and where I saw a flag with the Southern Cross on it much more regularly than the Stars and Stripes, it's just made me more aware, I guess, of how much I love this country. Now I know we weren't anywhere near a third world or war-torn country. Life is pretty darn good down in Australia. But being away did make me appreciate so much more what I have here. I admit to getting teary-eyed the first time coming back to the U.S., flying into San Francisco, seeing an American flag at the airport, and hearing the guy in customs saying, "Welcome Home."
Because yes, it is home. Why would anyone want to leave it? And that's what struck me last night as I listened to the symphony playing a medley of Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard anthems. (And by the way...any other former Collegians out there who can still sing along to each one courtesy of our patriotic rallys on WOL Island every week during the summer? Good times!)
It struck me that there have been many, many men and women over the years who have done just that. Left the good ol' USA (many voluntarily!) to live and fight somewhere else so I can go out on my deck with a glass of ice cold Diet Coke without thinking in the least that it might not be safe to do that. I don't have to listen for strange sounds, peer closely for any snipers on nearby roof tops, worry that an rpg is going to come whizzing into my backyard. I have an unending supply of Diet Coke, my fridge is filled with food, and I have a very soft bed to sleep in every night.
Perhaps you have to eat MRE's that don't taste like home cooking. Maybe your bottled water is just luke warm. Instead of a bed you sleep on a creaky cot or worse yet...just dig a little hole in the ground to stretch out in. So for that...thank you. freedom, really isn't free. Many have paid for it, and some have paid very dearly for it. Thank you. Thank you so much.
May we never, ever forget.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

And the Trips Begin...

Over to London? Not quite yet. This one was back to Tipp City, Ohio to visit the folks for Mother's Day. Ah...good ol' Tipp. Every time I go back, it feels like stepping into a bit of a time warp. Not that it looks like a time warp (although some may beg to differ) but it's just weird to drive around the town I grew up in and see the changes (or in the case of it hasn't changed). Always a good time. Since there aren't really very many "sights to see" in Tipp, (no, really) I thought I'd describe to you the "sights to see" in the Philly airport as I waited for my flight. Can you see them?
There's the I'm Way Too Cool to Take Off My Sunglasses guy. But just walked off of a plane. You.Were.Never.Outside.To.Begin.With. Why the sunglasses? Is your future really that bright?
There's the woman I named Bitsy. She's wearing a white polo, white sandals and sky blue bermudas with a lime green sweater, guessed it...slung and tied over her shoulders. She looks like she's heading to the courts for her tennis lesson with Lars, her buff tennis coach. (couldn't resist, Karen! hee hee)
The How Are Those Shoes Even Remotely Comfortable lady. Not only were they at least 4 inches high. They were purple, orange, yellow, and red. Yes, all four colors on one shoe in a sort of cheetah pattern. As she hobbled (truly) over to the special services counter I was tempted to ask her if the obvious pain that she was in was worth the look. A look that not many of us could pull off, I might add.
How about the Yep...I'm Headed Back to Dayton guy. Low-hanging jeans with the outline of a can of snuff imprinted on the back left pocket, a red short-sleeve plaid shirt, trucker's cap, and mustache that looks like Earl Hickey...enough said.
The I Love Hot Moms tee shirt guy. Uh...eewww.
The Scared of Swine Flu woman. Literally had a full scarf wrapped around her mouth. Looked a little ninja-ish, actually.
The Feels a Bit Breezy Back Here lady. Note to all...if your jeans are low-rides, your shirt better be long enough to cover all that should be covered. If you are not crouched under my sink fixing a leak, I should not see plumber's crack. Hmm...never mind. Even if you are crouched under my sink, I shouldn't have to see that.
And finally...I saw the tallest pilot that I've ever seen in my life. And he happened to be one of the guys who flew me to Dayton. I swear I would've only come up to a little higher than his elbow. He unfolded himself from the cockpit and stood up. (After we parked at the gate, of course.) least as high as he could. Literally, the tops of his shoulders reached the top of the inside of the plane. He had to totally bend his head all the way down so that his chin hit his chest in order to stand up.
There you have it. The sights to see at the Philly airport. Now that I'm back home, the sights to see here are good, too. Phil finished up in Sydney, came home Tuesday morning (whoo hoo), and has been spending the last few days trying to figure out where he is and what time zone it actually is compared to what time zone his body thinks it is. A feeling I don't miss having!