Always a Marine . . .
Is something my Dad used to say . . a lot . . . and tonight I was reminded of that fact . . .
I went to Penn Station for dinner . . . because I’m a creature of habit . . . and I wanted to see if The College Football Game was on . . .
I got there early so the game wasn’t on yet. I listened to the pre-game stuff. Blah, blah, blah . . .
Then, just as I was done with my dinner and ready to leave, the color guard came out and some yahoo I’ve never heard of started singing the National Anthem . . .
I was standing to leave anyway so I thought I’d watch the yahoo sing the song and look at the lovely fireworks and the other on-field excitement . . . and that’s when I saw him . . .
The wonderful USMC Vietnam Vet that had been eating dinner a couple of tables away from me a little earlier . . . he stopped to talk to a couple of his friends on the way out the door . . . and stood up . . . and saluted . . . when he heard the National Anthem . . . and stood at attention . . . one hand in a wonderful USMC perfection salute . . . and the other hand holding on to his walker . . .
I stood with him . . . because no Marine should stand alone during the Anthem . . . and then watched him bring down his salute and then resume his conversation with his friend.
I stopped on my way out of the restaurant and thanked him for his service with a choked up voice and a couple of tears in my eyes. He saw the Marine Corps pin on my coat and probably thought I was a fellow Marine . . . and I would have told him about the proud Marine that is the reason for the pin on my coat . . . but I was too choked up to say anything to him . . .
So I left the restaurant and sat in Hal for about 5 minutes and cried . . .
Semper Fi Mac . . .
Having the entire world watch your every move and emotion during the funeral for your father.
I was fortunate to be able watch the funeral services for President Bush today. It was a wonderful service and I was reminded again at how much I love listening to W speak. What a beautiful send off for his dad.
God bless W and his family as they say a final goodbye to 41.
Tomorrow is the USMC birthday. Makes me miss Dad more than normal – if that’s possible
Wal-Mart after dark is always interesting.
Blue Bloods is my new binge watching show.
I wonder if it’s appropriate to have an Elf on the Shelf in a Catholic school. I’m thinking of putting one in my office.
I’ve been thinking Rocky hasn’t started showing his age – and today I noticed he’s limping a little when he walks. Then I remembered his 9th birthday is next week.
Today is Father’s Day . . .
My first Father’s Day without my Dad . . .
My third Father’s Day without Prince Charming . . .
For the first time in my life, I have no reason to celebrate today. No one to buy a card for. No one to buy presents for. I sent a donation to Hospice in Dad’s name but it’s not the same as shopping for a present for him.
I stopped by the Big City Cemetery yesterday and left a USMC challenge coin for Dad. I went to the Little Town Cemetery and had a beer with Prince Charming . . . and a Coke with Prince Charming’s Dad.
I went to dinner today with Older Sister, Her Hubby, and Mom to Dad’s favorite restaurant. Older Sister and I had Meatloaf . . . and we all had Bread Pudding . . . in honor of Dad.
It wasn’t the same. For the first time in many years I wasn’t making a meatloaf or bread pudding for Dad . . .
Fifteen years ago, I watched as then-Hubby struggled with what to do on the first Father’s Day after his Dad passed away. I told him how sorry I was that he didn’t get to share that day with his Dad anymore and he could do whatever he wanted on that day to honor his Dad. He decided to go fishing because that’s what they always did. I had no idea how to help him with his pain.
Four years ago, I watched as Prince Charming struggled with his feelings on the First Father’s Day after his Dad passed away. Again, I told him how sorry I was that he didn’t get to share that day with his Dad and told him he could do whatever he wanted that day to honor his Dad. He decided to go with me to visit my Dad because his Dad taught him that family was the most important thing. I was deeply touched by the gesture but still had no idea how to help him with his pain.
Here I am today, a little more than two years after we got the news that the “end was near” for Dad and his fight with kidney disease . . . and after having two “extra” Father’s Day’s with Dad . . . and I have no idea what I’m supposed to do today. I did some yard work. I took down a couple of things in the garage that I’ve always hated and wanted to get rid of. I went to dinner with the family. It was an okay day with some tears and some laughter . . . but there’s a big hole in the day . . . something is missing . . .
I have no idea to help myself with the pain.
Deja Freaking Vu all over again . . .
Today is the 240th birthday of the United States Marine Corps.
It was always a big deal at our house as we were growing up. Dad was a Marine. He served in Korea. He was at the Battle of the Chosin Reservoir and got frostbite so bad that he got sent home. He was very proud of his service in the Marine Corps. We heard the stories about how he served with Audie Murphy and Chesty Puller and Archie Van Winkle. All names I had heard several times as I was growing up but I didn’t realize the importance of those names until many years later. Google the names and see what I mean. We heard the story about how he got frostbite because he didn’t change his socks like he was supposed to because he only had one pair of socks and it was too cold to go without socks. Again, something that I had no idea how bad it really was until years later and I saw a documentary called “Chosin”
Holy mackerel is a total understatement. Imagine being a 20 year old kid, being thousands miles from home, practically freezing to death and fighting a “gazillion” Chinese soldiers.
Then imagine coming home and living the American Dream . . . marrying the love of your life, raising six children, and living happily ever after in the little house that you were able to buy with a GI loan.
This is the first time in years that I didn’t send a card to Dad for the Marine Corps birthday. I had a panic attack the other day when I realized I hadn’t bought a card yet and it wouldn’t get to him in time. Then I remembered that I didn’t have to buy a card this year. Instead I sent a donation to Hospice in his memory.
It’s been a rough day for me . . .
I found a penny this morning on my walk with Rocky and Millie.
The poor dogs had no idea why Mommy had to stop suddenly and pick up the shiny thing on the ground. They had no idea why the shiny thing made Mommy cry. The past few days have been kind of hard for me . . . and I know that there are some really hard days ahead of me next week. Finding this penny today was like getting a message from Dad that it was all going to be okay.
I told you that story to tell you this story . . .
My dad always ALWAYS stopped to pick up any kind of change that he found on the street. It started with him finding a penny and a dime on the street the day that he married Mom and continued every single day of his life. He was even known to embarrass the crap out of Mom by checking payphones and vending machines when they were out to see if there was any change left behind. While going through his things, Mom has found several jars and containers of spare change. Considering that Mom and Dad were married for almost 62 years, that’s quite a bit of spare change. Mom is torn between cashing in the coins for the face value or sorting through all the coins to see if any of them have any special value. For now, they are still where Dad left them.
Since Dad’s death, several people have sent me the story about how finding a penny on the ground is a sign from a loved one that they are watching over you and that you are loved. I thought it was nice . . . kind of like all the cardinals I’ve seen since Prince Charming’s death . . . but really hadn’t thought much about it. Until today. When I’ve been struggling with things and needed a sign . . . and in true Dad fashion . . . he very quietly and very sweetly let me know everything would be okay.
You go through life thinking you have a grip on things.
You make plans. You have a “road map” for your future and you know where you want to go and how to get there.
You plan your work and work your plan.
What we always forget is that God sometimes has other plans for us. And God rarely shares those plans with us.
We thought that Prince Charming’s Dad was going to beat the cancer and be in remission in a few weeks. The chemo and radiation treatments were working. Even though the treatments were rough on him physically . . . they were working and we had hope that it would end up being okay.
But God had other plans for Prince Charming’s Dad and called him Home on Tuesday.
It was quick. It was completely unexpected. It was unrelated to the cancer. It was a massive heart attack that took Prince Charming’s Dad away.
To say we are in shock would be an understatement.