Spending the in Flint, Michigan where the cooler temperatures are extremely refreshing. It won’t be long until it is an ice box up here. But those Michiganders seem to be happy.
I have been thinking about doing some more story times for a few weeks. This week we will remember back to a period of time between rotations. When we last left off, it was early December 2003. We returned home and my wife and I tried to return to a normal routine. The only problem was that she was pregnant with our first child. There is nothing normal when a baby is on the way and the husband is spending extended periods of time away. It was tough on both of us for a number of reasons but it wasn’t anything more than facing the realization that we were bringing a new life into the world.
The first morning after returning, I was up early. Normally I am a sleep until noon kind of guy but flipping my body clock upside down and back again mixes everything up. So it was well before the sun came up and I went downstairs to make some breakfast for both of us. I do try to be a good husband from time to time. Turning on the television, I was surprised to read the headlines. Saddam Hussein had been captured hiding in his spider hole north of Tikrit. I was relieved and hopeful that things would be winding down but I also knew that Iraq was not the picture of a stable nation. Knowing that the attacks on us flying into and out of all the airports were increasing, I was not hopeful. Unfortunately Saddam’s seizure did not make things better. But it was nice to eat breakfast in bed with Donetta and watch the news reports that morning.
The unspoken rule when someone is an expectant dad is that everyone makes every attempt to get them some additional time at home. The sarcastic phrase that everyone who is deployed and expecting gets to know and love goes like this: “You can be at the conception or the birth. Only the mom is guaranteed both.” The schedulers were great about working with me. I was able to move up a rotation so that I would be home for the birth. Later we found out that there would be a drawl down of forces and I was able to be de-activated which guaranteed that I was able to be at both. During the fifty or so days at home, I was able to go to all of the doctor appointments with my wife and was there during the ultrasound that told us we were having a girl. It was a very emotional moment for us.
But it wasn’t all roses and sunshine. One night sitting on the couch watching television a Wendy’s commercial came on. Donetta was having one of those cravings and she said something like “I think I want a cheeseburger with extra pickles.” I just sat there waiting for a final answer when she became irritated.
“Are you going to get it!”
“Yes, when you make up your mind.” I replied.
A word of warning to all expectant fathers out there, the phrase “I think” means “go get it now!” We laugh about it now, but at that moment. She did not find the humor in my delay.
Another night, one of her friends called the house and I answered. “Is Donetta around?” the friend asked.
“Yes, but we don’t say it to her face.” I replied.
The friend and I started hysterically laughing. My wife knew we were laughing at something doing with her. Fortunately she saw the humor and we still joke about it today. Another word of warning to the expectant fathers who are want-to-be comedians, it is dangerous to make fun of a pregnant lady’s size.
Donetta said that she wanted a book of baby names so we could get a head start on names. I went out to the local book store and brought back the book that had only 10,000 names. Once again, she was less than pleased. She wanted the biggest book possible and she sent me back out to make a better decision. I came back with the book of every conceivable name combination possible. It had 192,000 names and was the size of an encyclopedia. She was happy. The lesson to be learned here is to never try to limit a expectant mother.
In the middle of winter, we took a few days off and went down to Key West, Florida in search of warmth. It was much warmer than the harsh winter of West Virginia but with highs in the mid-60s, it wasn’t the relief we both wanted. We had a great time walking up and down the city, driving up the Keys and relaxing practicing baby name combinations. One night she was tired and we went in early. She went right to sleep. You all know how I like to sleep in,on this particular morning she kept sleeping and sleeping. My wife is not a lazy person like me. She is an up at dawn person who has a plan for the day even before it begins but this morning, she slept and slept. This was the only time in our marriage that she has out slept me. She slept so much I checked to see if she was still breathing. Later at breakfast at three in the afternoon, I told her how worried I was that something was wrong with her. She said there was something wrong with her, she had a little monster growing inside her body. I envisioned the scene from the movie Alien where the monster popped out of the guys stomach.
Before I left on the next rotation she was well into the nesting phase. The room was painted, he crib was put together, and baby clothes were rolling in. The last thing to go was a new car for Mom and the baby. My wife had a cool, two door, red convertible that was perfect for a hot, sexy Nurse who loves to drive fast with her hair blowing in the wind. It had a back seat that was hardly big enough for our now ten year old daughter. We traded it in for a brand new, four door, mid-sized SUV. We still have it by the way, it is known as the “Silver Car” and I drive it. It has 155,000 miles on the engine and twice that amount of abuse to the back seat from my daughter and her brother. It is a pig pen, it stinks to high heaven but it is paid for. My goal is for my daughter to drive it to school in six years. I am hopeful but not optimistic.
I hope everyone is having a great week. Keep smiling and until next time, keep on rockin.
I had the good pleasure of being invited to a friend’s promotion party over the weekend. Jody Jack R. has been a full Bird Colonel for almost a year and between life, work and schedules he has been unable to host a party until now. Colonel Jody is a first class man who is the rare modern Officer who truly puts his flyers before himself. Of course I don’t work for him so I may have the wrong impression and if I do, I will not say anything about it. Jody stands about 6-5, almost an entire foot above me and has the reach of an oak tree. He is a back wood, mountain man who makes his own whisky, drives a big truck and has a house full of gun safes. Every weekend in the summer you can find him at the farm chopping fire wood and in the winter he is in the woods. I am a want-to-be writer whose only sense of adventure is watching a survivor show from the comfort of my couch. I am outclassed in every way.
You may have noticed that I am withholding last names. That is intentional since all of these men still serve in the military and I don’t have their permission to give more information about them. Back to the party, he held it at EZ Street run by Tim and Val S. Tim is a Navigator in the C-130. He finished training about a year before I left the Guard in 2007. Several folks quipped that Tim has a great life. He gets to fly when he wants, he gets free drinks and he gets to “hang out” with the bar maid. Not a bad deal. When I got the invitation for the promotion party the intent was that as a family we would attend for about an hour and then go off for family time. I have been working so much that we didn’t want to take a night away from the kids.
My wife and I showed up with the kids in tow and went back in time. EZ Street is an old school bar, complete with the sights, smells and sounds of a bar. My son was holding his nose because the smell of burnt cigarettes and stale beer was overwhelming. EZ Street is not like Outback’s bar, they really mean that underage kids are not allowed. No one had to say anything to us because it was obvious that the rules did apply. My wife is so cool, she took the kids and left me behind for almost two hours while they went out and played. When anyone asked where they went, I blamed Tim because of the restraining order he put on her a couple years earlier, I said that she couldn’t be within 100 yards of EZ Street. It was a good night of laughs and catching up.
I saw some old friends. Of course Jody and his wife Angela were there, Paul and Susan G., Richard and Courtney S., Russ P with his daughter Mariah, Harry and Kelly H., Bubbles and his wife Bubbles (Don’t ask), Bobby M., Chuck “The Nav” S., Mikey O., Kevin “Meager, Mager, Marr” M., Erika K., George “Flat Foot” S., Jeremy R., Justin E., Jamie A., Bonnie, Mike M., Chris B., and ten times as many people that I didn’t know who are new to the Squadron. It was a great party and I am really proud of Jody for trying to bring back the old school hard charging attitude of the Squadron.
But the highlight of the night was seeing my best buddy Scotty L., Scotty has had a tough eighteen months following a rather nasty divorce from wife number one. Without going into details, I have been concerned about my “little buddy” as he has tried to get the wheels put back onto his life. For the first time in many months he actually looked good. Full disclosure, it might have had something to do with a lady friend that he brought to the party. He introduced her to me as Cindy, a tall, beautiful blond with a wicked sense of humor. She brought out his little giggle when she told me that she was his “Thursday, Friday, Saturday night girlfriend.” I don’t know the extent of their relationship but that sarcastic, less than revenant attitude is exactly what my “little buddy” needs to help bring him back from the dark side.
He introduced me as the writer he had told her about and he asked if I could link up some of my stories for her to read about what we did in 2003. That is why you are seeing the links at the bottom of the page. I asked her if I could write about her, she said yes before she asked what I would write about. I told her that I had no idea but not to worry because I am a writer of fiction and only a small part of anything that I might write would be the truth. I think she was apprehensive. The truth is that she should be frightened because I am not been very good when given a blank check. Ms. Thursday, Friday, Saturday lady are now officially on notice that sometime you will be the focus of a post.
Cindy, you asked for this so no goofing off until you finish the required reading. Yes, I do expect a book report. The rest of you can do what you want with these links.
Until next time, keep on rockin.
Originally posted on Padre Steve's World...Musings of a Passionately Progressive Moderate:
I am a realist when it comes to human nature and the reality of the evil that human beings can do. I have been to war, and personally I can think of nothing worse than more war. For me war is part of the reality that I live with, and which I am reminded of every time I try to sleep. That being said, a new war is gaining in intensity and threatening to blow away what is left of the old world order.
For most modern Americans and others living in the West, war is an often abstract concept regulated to small bodies of professionals fighting actions far away, of which we only catch occasional glimpses of on television or the internet. For most Americans and others in the West, modern war has become a spectator sport, and one far less interesting to most than either American or European…
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I don’t normally re-post anything because my goal is to provide original articles on all topics. But on some matters I chose to defer to an expert. The link below is from a good friend, a veteran of Iraq, former Army and current Naval Officer who teaches history at the Naval War College in Norfolk, Va. He is also a Priest and a Chaplin for the Navy. He served a year on the front lines with Special Ops Teams in Iraq in probably the most difficult time of the war in 2007-2008. He suffers from PTSD and he speaks the truth on all topics.
His is a voice that speaks volumes because he knows history, he knows war and he knows people. I highly encourage all of you to read his thoughts on ISIS and where we are heading. This is not a happy, warm, fuzzy read and you will not ever hear any of this from our Political Leadership (in both parties) nor will you hear it on the evening news. But it is the truth, unfiltered and stated as plainly as anyone could ever state it. In this article, Padre Steve explains the motivations of ISIS, the problem with the Middle East and where the West fits into the equation.
I appreciate his honesty and openness in all things. I hope you appreciate him as well. Until next time, keep on rockin.
Our good friend, Abby at the Gentle and Quite Spirit has been participating in a blog hop that includes a list of questions to help connect with readers and provide the opportunity to get to know us better. When I read her challenge, I said that I would prefer to dump a bucket of cold water on her head rather than do this. But here we are and those of you know me also know it is dangerous to give me a blank slate to say anything I like. Here we go.
Name: Robert Emerson Akers. I prefer Rob because it is less formal. The funny part is that before my wife met me (or so she says), she dated several guys. Most of them were named Rob. Her nurse friends couldn’t keep all the Robs separated so they adopted nicknames for them based on the menu from Kentucky Fried Chicken like Original, Extra Crispy, ect. I think I was chicken fingers.
Age: 45, half way to 90.
Gender: I still have the factory installed male plumbing.
Food: I love sushi and I mix the wasabi and soy strong. Otherwise, steak, pork, and chicken. I usually shy away from fruits and vegetables. The General Tso from a Charleston resturant called Main Kwan is the best I have ever eaten.
Drink: Regular Coke and sweet tea.
Book: Tom Clancy’s books are my favorites. I don’t read very much. Maybe I should. There are a lot of things I should do.
Song: I don’t know that I have a favorite song. There are several that I like. I always love when Metallica plays Creeping Death in concert. Nothing like 100,000 people chanting die…die….die…over riding the jet engine loud amplifiers.
Movie: Heat. Robert De Niro and Al Pacino in the same movie was great but all the character actors just made it amazing. Action/Adventure movies like the Bourne series, and the new James Bond. I do like the mobster movies, Godfather, Goodfellows and things like that. Also the comedies like Dumb and Dumber, Airplane, Animal House, Fletch, Caddie Shack. I like movies that are complex and make you think. I don’t prefer a movie that is all about explosions, the end of the world or are just thrown together to make money.
Band: Metallica, 80s Hair bands, Van Halen, Five Finger Death Punch, Avenge Sevenfold, Stone Sour and Machine Head are all on my Pandora radio.
Solo Artist: Ozzy, David Lee Roth or Ronnie James Dio.
Place: I have been fortunate to travel all over the world. I love Alaska in the summer and Italy. Europe is fantastic and Japan is amazing. If I could live in any country other than the USA, I would probably move to Canada. I like how they approach life, but don’t like the winters. But, my favorite place is at home with the family.
Subject: In school, I loved lunch and PE. Now, I like history and space science.
Sport: I loved playing baseball but it can be hard to watch on TV. Football is the best TV sport. I still pull for Dallas, even though it is so hard to be a Cowboy fan. For college football, I live and die for the Arkansas State Red Wolves. I love basketball, pro is the Memphis Grizzlies and college is Memphis Tigers.
Male actor: I like movies, not so much an actor. But De Niro and Pacino are probably my favorites.
Female actor: Again, I like might a movie but I don’t see anything because a certain person is in it. But the lady in the TV show Will and Grace made me laugh. Not grace, but the dark haired lady. I don’t know her name.
Schooling: When I wasn’t skipping class, I went to public school.
BF: I don’t think BF means boyfriend, but I love my little buddy Scotty. I think BF means best friend. That would be my wife, Donetta.
Political Ideology: I am firmly left of center on just about all political issues except spending where I advocate a reduction of spending across the board. I think the national debt is the greatest crisis we face as a nation. Followed closely by the porous border and the addiction on oil, somehow they all go together.
Religion: I dislike labels because they tend to mean different things to different people. To say I am one thing means many different things to someone who reads it. I will simply say that I try to live by the philosophy of doing my best to love my God and to love my neighbor. I fail often at both but I am still a work in progress.
Tattoos: I have never found a symbol that I wanted on my body forever, but I am still looking.
Piercings: Why would anyone pay money to have a needle pressed through your skin just to hang a chunk or metal on your body?
Languages: Si, my pilot license states that I am English Proficient.
Reason behind your blog’s name: I wanted to call it “A Gentle and Quiet Spirit” but that one was already taken. I couldn’t think of anything better than my name.
Why you blog: Lots of reasons. The initial reason was because I needed to have an author platform for when the book is complete. I didn’t know that it would take so long to finish the book. I also like to tell stories about my time in the military so that when I am driving a wheel chair and drinking from a tube, my kids will know who Dad was before they were born. Third, I have learned so much from reading the work of others. I have my own personal list of favorite authors, writers and bloggers. Each of them teach me so much.
To that end, I am not going to formally nominate anyone to repeat this list of questions. But there are some that I would love to know more about. Sandra, WS, Padre Steve and his wife Abby, Karlene, Jason, Dr. Lynn, RJ, Pastor Jack, Becca, Julie, Big Joe, Swifty, Erica, Allen, Don, and JB. Heather and Abby have already participated so I am not including them. I don’t know if any of them follow my site, but if so here is your opportunity. I know there are others, but they haven’t posted anything in the last few days and I am too lazy to continue to scroll through the list of articles.
The rest of you can either dump a bucket of cold water on yourself or you can answer anything you like in the comments section. You’re a chicken finger if you don’t. Ha ha.
Here are the links to some things that I have been writing. Hope you enjoy and I really appreciate all the support. Until next time, keep on rockin.
Over the weekend, I had a life experience that I thought would make for a nice article for the week. But the reality is no matter how I might drone on and on about how hard work, effort and determination can get something done. You guys already know that. I could have followed my wife’s advice and presented a life lesson about what to do when you find that you have a bigger effort than planned and maybe the smartest decision is to withdraw and refocus your efforts in a more productive way. None of us need more blah, blah, blah about digging up the roots of a dead crape myrtle that serves no purpose.
In all my stories about my travels around the world, there was one constant that needs to be written about. My trusty sidekick, my good luck charm and the one object that I would not fly without. My baseball cap, I got the hat in the spring of 1998 during initial training to become a co-pilot in the C-130. I was wondering the mall one afternoon with a couple of buddies when I saw him on a shelf in a store. It was love at first sight and when I threw him on my head, the fit was perfect. He only had one job from that day forward, to be on my head anytime I strapped an airplane to my back. We wore these heavy headsets that had a tendency to let the hair find a crevice. When you took the headset off, it pulled your hair out. The hat took care of this annoying issue, plus the visor helped to block the sun. The more important reason I needed the hat was that it advertised my college; Arkansas State University. I needed my swag before the word was invented.
My hat and I went all over the world. We stood on five continents and in so many countries that I have lost count. My hat has more flight time than many airline pilots and has seen all kinds of things. He has seen the sun rise, set and rise all in the same flight. He celebrated Cinco de Mayo twice in the same day. He boarded an airplane in a raging snow storm and walked off the airplane in the tropical heat. He ate a meal of steak and lobster under the wing in Bosnia and warmed up an MRE during an exercise in Gulf Port Mississippi. Of course, he was there for the thousands of boring hours droning at 25,000 feet and the seconds of sheer terror at 100 feet as a missile fired in anger streaked past the airplane. When I quit flying in the military, he quit too. We took our hosing down in style and we just walked away.
He doesn’t fly with me anymore. In the airline world, we don’t wear baseball hats. Some guys have the bus driver hat and they wear it because they think it makes people respect them. More times than not, they are the punchline of a bad joke because of their uniform hat. My hat has too much dignity to be a negative comment from a crusty, old, bitter airline captain. My hat has a special place in my house, a drawer with all the other junk of my life. I have a new hat now, a clean, bright white mesh hat that advertises nothing. Actually there is a subdued Nike symbol on it, but from a distance of more than three feet it cannot be seen. More actually, it isn’t new. It is four years old and I wear it all the time but it is newer than the old hat. My son is celebrating his seventh birthday today, loves my new hat. Over the weekend, I couldn’t find my new hat so I pulled out my faithful friend and wore him. The stains of years of dirt, sweat, blood and tears have soiled him and he will never be clean despite the gallons of bleach my wife has put on him.
Sunday night when I was packing for this week’s trips, I still couldn’t find my new hat. I tossed my buddy in the bag and off we went with a plan. When I got into the car early Monday morning, my new hat was in the driver’s seat. My wife found it and put it in the car for me because she is always looking out for me. Today, after everything we had been through we got to do something new. We walked on the campus of the University of Tennessee. Camera in hand, we took pictures of all the buildings, the statues, and all the other things that decorate a college campus. What made today special was that he was out in the sun again and we were making a point. Not that anyone noticed, but we knew the secret. My hat can see the future. He told me he would take care of me all those times overseas, and he did.
Today he told me something else. In just ten short days, the Arkansas State Red Wolves will be playing the University of Tennessee Volunteers in tackle football. In just ten short days, ASU will walk out of the 110,000 seat Neyland Stadium with a victory over one of the most historical football programs in college football. In ten short days, everyone in Knoxville Tennessee will know all about the Red Wolves. Today, my hat and I enjoyed a nice walk on a beautiful college campus. Life is good, football is starting and my hat still rocks.
Until next time, keep on rockin.
I am playing catch up today. For the first time since school ended for the summer, I have been able to concentrate on writing. I am getting things done thanks to a sore throat and a headache. I wanted to get out and conduct a veteran interview and get my haircut but I just don’t feel like it. I haven’t even put on any music today or turned on the television. My dogs are wondering what is wrong with me. I am wondering the same thing, no kids and I am still trapped at home.
Anyway, the silence has been nice and I have gotten a lot of writing done. Here is your promised update. I am still troubled by everything going on in the world and I really think we need more love in the world. What would it hurt it all two billion of us were happy? I will hold my breath on that to hapen, until then I am giving you two links to the past articles on Mr. Ed Covert.
I have known Ed for several years. I met him at a former church the family attended. I knew he was a Vietnam Veteran but I never heard his story in one setting. He served in the Army and was assigned to repair sheet metal on the helicopters. His is a great story of how even a man who didn’t carry a gun or go into the jungle but was still in danger. I hope you enjoy and let me know if the links don’t work.
Until next time, keep on rockin.