Monday, April 30, 2007
Sunday, April 29, 2007
Friday, April 27, 2007
There are many accomplished writers that contribute to Sunday Scribblings. I am not a writer by anyone's standards. I ramble, as my handle indicates. To me, writing is just throwing a bunch of stuff against the wall and hoping something sticks. I am not very deep or profound, as you will soon realize. But I have always enjoyed writing and this gives me a venue and a deadline, both of which I need. These are the first thoughts that came to me when I saw the prompt "Wings".
People that served in the military often spend the rest of their lives reliving and reminiscing about their time in uniform. They love to tell war stories, some factual, some exaggerated, but based on a true story, and some totally fabricated. I have met individuals who speak of their service in 'Nam, when chronologically they would have been about ten years old when the war ended in 1975. My experience has been that the real Viet Nam vets prefer not to discuss their in-country involvement at all. Too much pain to relive. I have a different reason for not discussing my military service very often. I do not discuss my experiences with nonmilitary folks, as they really can't relate and I don't wish to bore them. I do not hang out at the VFW or American Legion, though I am grateful for the 46 service organizations available to veterans. As a result, my post-military life has not put me in contact with many vets. When I see a Disabled Vet license plate or bumper sticker, I generally give quiet respect in the form of positive thoughts directed at them. If we make eye contact, I will give a little salute or nod. I can often see in their eyes that they understand and appreciate that simple gesture.
I retired from a 20 year Air Force career nearly 15 years ago. I joined in 1972 and was in Southeast Asia at the end of Viet Nam and retired in 1992, shortly after Desert Storm. My Air Force job did not require me to serve a combat role. For that I am grateful. Though I was trained in several weapons and explosives, I only fired at targets. I was excellent shooting things that stood still and could not return fire. My closest brush with actual combat were some bar brawls in the Philippines. I do not miss the military. I seldom actually think about it. I do not miss putting on a uniform each morning. I do not miss relocating at least every three years, though I am grateful for the opportunity to see much of the world that these travels afforded me. If you have read this far, you are obviously thinking, "what the hell does this have to do with wings?" I am getting to that. Bear with me.
Having spent most of my career on fighter installations. For those that are aeronotically challenged, those are the small, really fast planes. They make a distict sound, much different than an airliner or transport plane. For those of you that have been to a NASCAR race, the feeling of awesome power that those 43 cars create equates to that of a single fighter jet on a low-level pass. George Lucas tried to capture that power in the early Star Wars films with the roar of the Tie-Fighters and X-Wings. Never mind that there is no sound in space, it made the film exciting. When I am at a sporting event that features a flyover, my heart soars as those jets buzz the stadium. I love the flag, but nothing equals the patriotic pride I experience when I see a fighter pilot lighting the afterburners. So what do I miss about the Air Force? Wings.
I would enjoy communicating with anyone. Rick
Monday, April 23, 2007
Sunday, April 22, 2007
I was born in Kellogg, Idaho to parents who had migrated to the northwest from the deep south for the opportunity presented by this booming and growing region. My dad, being uneducated, though hardworking, found job opportunities severely limited in southern Georgia in the late 1940's. The labor intensive jobs that he qualified for paid "nigger" wages. I do not use that word in disrespect. I use it to illustrate that blacks and poor white folks in the deep south were paid the same scant wages. My dad worked in the mines of the "Silver Valley" for 35 years and though never wealthy, he eked out a decent life for my mom and me. I lived in a very sterile environment. We were pretty much all white, though our ancestors immigrated from many regions of Europe. There were Scandinavians, Poles, Italians, Germans, and Irish. Except for a few people in town, we were all pretty much in the same economic class. There was little poverty and even less wealth. Unemployment, for those that chose to work, was nonexistent. I was lucky enough to escape Kellogg before all that came to a sudden end. Most of the mines closed due to economic and environmental reasons. The lumber industry, another of the primary employers of that region, also all but disappeared for similar reasons. The heartier of my classmates stayed and toughed it out, but the majority of us had to leave the area to advance our lives Many remained in the Pacific Northwest, moving to more prosperous places like Coeur d'Alene, Spokane Washington, or the Oregon coast.
I have traveled the world and as I approach retirement, I have relocated to the coast of South Carolina, very near my parents roots. I notice that things are not much different here than my dad found it in the late 1940's. The difference now is that in the working class, blacks and poor whites have been joined by another rapidly growing group, illegal Mexicans. Wages are still very low. There is a lot of poverty here. The Myrtle Beach area is very affluent, with the influx of northern wealth, but very much like much of America, everyone does not share that wealth.