Thursday, April 30, 2009

No School...

Well, the Swine Flu has hit North Texas and our school district has closed *all* schools until at least Monday, May 11.

Needless to say, my son is ecstatic. The next week of no nagging about homework, and all X-Box all day and unplugged. Oy. I imagine his two friends will be hanging out with him and annoying the crap out of his older sisters--one of them in particular.

My younger daughter, on the other hand, is completely upset about the whole thing. She's a senior and does not want the school year to drag on any longer than absolutely necessary, nor does she want her graduation ceremony to be postponed. Her silver lining is that she had a hellacious calculus exam that she now has another week+ to study for.

All I can think about are all these children in my house using electricity and eating food...

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


My daughter and I went to Bass Hall (Fort Worth's cultural center) and saw the opera Carmen this past Saturday. (We gave her a pair of tickets for her birthday.)

It was interesting. I enjoyed it for the most part--other than that I inadvertently purchased tickets for the 8PM show rather than the matinee, so I was tired. And the seats I purchased stunk. I've been trying different seating sections. So this time 'round, I chose balcony seats. Seats 1 & 2 on the highest level. The height part wasn't the problem, but being so far forward was--we had to lean out to see anything that was happening on the right side of the stage.

Last year, we went to see the ballet Dracula at Bass Hall. Our seats were in the center of the mezzanine level. Not bad, but kinda far back. I have an inkling now of where I'd like to try next.

So I've seen opera, ballet, and two musicals (South Pacific and Chicago). Last thing for me to try is the symphony. I think I'll enjoy that immensely. We'll see if my daughter's game for that next time round.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


Just checking in. Yes, it's been awhile. I've been funky and haven't had much gumption to much of anything besides the absolutely necessary...laundry, work (bare minimums...nice to be the boss ;), children...but actually doing better than before, so I'm on my out of the funk. Mostly...

The weather is beautiful here in North Texas--I should be camping, but then I couldn't indulge my new obsession which requires electricity (which I do camp with), a TV, and a DVD player. I could use my iPod, but the two-inch screen just doesn't do Bradley Whitford justice.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

A Time for Thanks...

Thank a soldier next time you meet one--whether active duty, retired, or just not in the military any more, they always deserve our thanks.


The Sack Lunches

I put my carry-on in the luggage compartment and sat down in my assigned seat. It was going to be a long flight. I had a good book to read and the opportunity for a nap.

Just before take-off, a line of soldiers came down the aisle and filled all the vacant seats, totally surrounding me. I decided to start a conversation.

"Where are you headed?" I asked the soldier seated nearest to me.

"Petawawa. We"ll be there for two weeks for special training, and then we"re being deployed to Afghanistan," he told me.

After flying for about an hour, an announcement was made that sack lunches were available for five dollars. It would be several hours before we reached the east, and I quickly decided a lunch would help pass the time.

As I reached for my wallet, I overheard a soldier ask his buddy if he planned to buy lunch.

"No, that seems like a lot of money for just a sack lunch. Probably wouldn't be worth five bucks. I'll wait till we get to base."

His friend agreed.

I looked around at the other soldiers. None were buying lunch. I walked to the back of the plane and handed the flight attendant a fifty dollar bill. "Take a lunch to all those soldiers."

She grabbed my arms and squeezed tightly. Her eyes wet with tears, she thanked me. "My son was a soldier in Iraq; it's almost like you are doing it for him."

Picking up ten sacks, she headed up the aisle to where the soldiers were seated. Then she stopped at my seat and asked, "Which do you like best - beef or chicken?"

"Chicken," I replied, wondering why she asked.

She turned and went to the front of the plane, returning a minute later with a dinner plate from first class. "This is your thanks."

After we finished eating, I went again to the back of the plane, heading for the rest room. A man stopped me.

"I saw what you did. I want to be part of it. Here, take this." He handed me twenty-five dollars.

Soon after I returned to my seat, I saw the Flight Captain coming down the aisle, looking at the aisle numbers as he walked. I hoped he was not looking for me, but noticed he was looking at the numbers only on my side of the plane.

When he got to my row he stopped, smiled, held out his hand, an said, "I want to shake your hand."

Quickly unfastening my seatbelt, I stood and took the captain's hand.

With a booming voice he said, "I was a soldier and I was a military pilot. Once, someone bought me a lunch. It was an act of kindness I never forgot." I was embarrassed at the applause from the surrounding passengers.

Later, I walked to the front of the plane so I could stretch my legs. A man who was seated about six rows in front of me reached out his hand, wanting to shake mine. He left another twenty-five dollars in my palm.

When we landed, I gathered my belongings and started to deplane. Waiting just inside the airplane door was a man who stopped me, put something in my shirt pocket, turned, and walked away without saying a word. Another twenty-five dollars!

Upon entering the terminal, I saw the soldiers gathering for their trip to the base. I walked over to them and handed them seventy-five dollars. "It will take you some time to reach the base. It will be about time for a sandwich. God bless you."

Ten young men left that flight feeling the love and respect of their fellow travelers. As I walked briskly to my car, I whispered a prayer for their safe return. These soldiers were giving their all for our country. I could only give them a couple of meals. It seemed so little...

A veteran is someone who, at one point in his life, wrote a blank check made payable to the United States of America for an amount of up to and including his life.

That is honor, and there are way too many people in this country who no longer understand it.