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Tuesday, October 3, 2017

End Of An Era

Folks that have served in the military know that they make friends with others that have bonds that are very deep.  I have met and become friends with men and women that are more like brothers and sisters than just friends.  This past weekend, Marti and I had the privilege of attending the retirement ceremony of one of my close friends, Scott, who was retiring after thirty years of service in the U.S. Coast Guard.


He is the last of my Coastie friends that I served with to retire from the service after an amazing career.  Not only is he an amazing guy, but his career took him to many places and trouble spots all around the world.  We should be very thankful there are many men and women serving today just like him to protect and keep us safe.

One of the best things about this ceremony was it brought together several other Coast Guard Special Agent friends of mine that joined the retired ranks some years ago,  I hadn't seen some of them in years and it was great to meet and catch up.  Of course a picture was required.


There were many touching parts in the ceremony, including passing the flag, an American flag that was flown over each of Scott's duty stations where he had severed during his career.  A solemn and moving sight.


The flag was passed through nine Coast Guardsmen until it was finally handed to Scott, a real way to honor both the flag and his service.




There were many moving moments, some hard to hold back the tears.  Scott's wife spoke about the times of worry and fear she experienced as well as the good times.  Tears and laughter.


When it came time for Scott to read his final orders sending him into retirement, we all lost it.  Tears flowed through the crowd, myself included.  A lifetime of service, a way of life, is hard to handle when it comes to an end.   Thankfully it opens new doors and opportunities.

After the ceremony, there was a great celebration party that lasted well into the evening.  It was a wonderful time and I'm so happy I was able to go, even though I had back surgery two weeks ago.  I'm glad that Scott and I live pretty close together so we'll be able to visit often. 

As to my back, all is going well.  I feel better every day and in another week I'll be able to return to a more normal schedule, volunteering at the USO and even being able to cut my own grass.  You can be sure I'll be very careful not to overdo it, I don't want to go through a painful experience like I've been through ever again!  :c)

Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave a comment.


Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Getting My Back Back

It has been a long and very painful road, but thankfully the end is in sight.  Monday I had a long awaited operation on my back to correct the condition that had kept me down and out.  I'm home now with a six week recovery ahead to get back to full strength.  I have some serious restrictions on what I can do (not very much) and what I can't do (lots!).  But it is worth it all to be rid of the unbelievable debilitating pain I experienced.  I'm very grateful for modern medicine and an outstanding neurosurgeon that fixed me up.

So the Journey will have to wait a little bit longer to get its long overdue wash job, but when I can get to it, it'll be the best one it ever got.

Thanks to all my friends and readers for the encouraging comments and emails.  It sure helped me in a very dark time to know you were out there and concerned for me.  :c)

Friday, August 4, 2017

Slow Going On The Back



Rome wasn't built in a day.   It seems my quest to get my back...back is going to take just as long as the Rome build.

After trying to get help through the VA Hospital and not getting any satisfaction on the glacial pace that they work, I went on the outside to our family doctor.  That, at least, sped things up a little bit.

I'm now waiting for my appointment with a neurosurgeon my doctor recommended, and the earliest I could get is for September 13th.  My doctor put me on this track right away recognizing that my back issue is quite serious.  As for the VA, they wanted me to go to a pain clinic and a physical therapy route, never mentioning a neurosurgeon's review of my MRI.

The funny thing (NOT!) with the VA is the earliest appointments I could get if I took that route was for the last week in October.  That's a long time to be hurting.

So I'm taking it easy, I have some meds to help me along.  I still get around okay and am able to drive short distances and even continue to volunteer at the nearby USO a couple of hours a week to have something to look forward to and get out of the house.

It's very rewarding to help some of these young kids who have stepped up to begin their military career at basic training at the local Army base as well as a chance to exchange "War Stories" with some of the more senior military folks that stop in for a rest, a snack or two and a hot cup of coffee.  My fellow volunteers are a great bunch to work with and the three full time ladies that run this USO are nothing short of amazing, they put their heart and souls into it.

Sadly, the Journey still resides in the storage lot with the bugs and road grime from our California trip.  I'm hoping that once the old back is straightened out I can show it some love, it surly needs it!

I'd be remiss if I didn't remember that today is the birthday of the U.S. Coast Guard.  It sure provided me with a wonderful career and a "boatload"  of memories.

                                        Semper Paratus!  

 Image result for Coast Guard shield