Uh-oh. What is that over-riding suspicion that I am forgetting to do something today? I know there is a STACK of the never-ending in this life-time of honey-dos to get honey-done. Let’s review the basics… got upright – that’s a start by itself… waited for Tika-Bell to yell at me about getting her breakfast. This begins my first-thing-out-of-bed-are-you-fahreakin’-kidding-me aerobics. I don’t know who made bets with who, but Tika-Bell’s warped sense of “I’ll get him going” by slinking between my feet while going down stairs is not the smartest thing to do when I am not even close to 100% on-line and past the point of knees and ankles cracking and popping into alignment to begin another day. Those daily reminders from AARP in the mail to succumb to the fact that being in my 50s does not mean that I have the same dexterity and flexibility that I had 25 years ago, go through my mind as I successfully navigate said stairs while avoiding stepping on said cat. Thank God for small favors, like a life-time of somewhat nimble balance from pursuing my favorite sports of surfing, baseball and football. Large men that can side-step and cross-navigate through narrow confines is a sight that is best left unexplained. Having survived the first injury-defying exercise of the day by successfully making it to the kitchen without impacting the wall or the floor, it’s time to fire up the coffee pot, turn off the alarm system, lest that little beast barks at me too… then pacify a grumpy kitty who merely wants you at her personal beck-whim-and-call 24/7. Canned cat food has a distinctive early morning aroma that I’m personally thankful that no coffee maker, including my good friends at Starbucks® has ever tried to recreate into one of their bazillion forms of early morning (whenever that begins in your particular household) get yerself up and start moving, mister/miss type stuff. I don’t think Purina® and 9-Lives® will ever have to worry about anyone replicating their gourmet aroma for our feline family members into an early morning beverage aroma.
Okay, back upstairs, with coffee (I have a BIG coffee mug with various scenes of Taz® (of Warner Brothers fame as a computer technician – with predictable Taz®-like responses, none of them good for the continued existence of whatever annoyed him at the moment). Woe unto anyone who touches this mug – the potential exposure from on-going unofficial grunge experiments is not to be taken lightly. This began when I was stationed in Italy, when another equally gruff ‘old salt’ First Class and myself were known in that area of the base as to having the grungiest manly-man coffee mugs that made even Master Chiefs back down in respect. It maintained that quiet reminder of do-not-mess-with this person persona that both Mitch (the other Crusty Sailor) and I have long established. Nowadays, my Taz® mug gets an occasional introduction to being cleaned – usually by one of our daughters who believe they are safe from the wrath of Dad.
Now begins Monday – and of course, coming up with something interesting and hopefully amusing to write about for you, the tolerant reader. Unlike other Mondays, this particular Monday has a very significant meaning to most of us. No, it isn’t the mega-sales at Wally World or stocking up on all of the accoutrements needed to have that carbon-based sacrificial pyre in the backyard later on today. Yes, these are very much a part of what we do – this is the celebration to the semi-official start of Summer. So amidst all of the happy-time stuff that we see on television and hear on radio (unless you are on Sirius®) why is it that even in towns where there isn’t a significant military presence, more and more people are actually pausing for a few moments to reflect on the true meaning and reason of today? Perhaps folks are waking up to the fact that despite all of the inundations of being cocooned within an all-terrain DVD/MP3 THX-certified SUV and the apparent safety it espouses, thankfully there is enough public awareness to remember that freedom isn’t free. It comes at a very costly price. There is no amount of money on earth that can replace a life – especially one that has been sacrificed to protect others. How many families will look at an empty spot at the table that was previously occupied by someone who also ran, laughed, and had a great time doing nothing, but is now a sad memory? Please take a moment to keep these people in mind as you go about doing whatever it is you do today and every day. Our freedom is guaranteed in writing on two pieces of paper called The Declaration of Independence, and The Constitution of the United States of America. Their collective guarantee is made possible only by being maintained by many of our neighbors, friends and family who have stepped up and answered the call to duty. When you see someone who has served, please remember that he or she has done things that you will never ever understand or possibly begin to appreciate unless you are one of us. We’re called Veterans. Today, we salute and remember our fallen brethren by keeping them alive in our hearts and minds forever. If you feel like it, please join us as we remember them.