THE DAFFODILS ARE ALIVE!

THE DAFFODILS ARE ALIVE!

The daffodils are alive, and so am I.

Life sure is busy. Since I’m alive, that makes me busy too.

Uschi had her second birthday on the tenth. Do you know how difficult it is to find a package of candles with only two in the package. I finally bought two packages of twenty four each, and took one out of each, and easily solved that problem.

I had to take a birthday picture. No photos pleased me, so just look at the gravatar.

I took her to the dog park, and she got so filthy that we had to make a trip to “The Pet Food Center”, before either of us was allowed in the house.

I’m working on a new blog about history, politics, religion, culture, and how social media affects all these things. I must leave my aw shucks country boy persona behind, in order to tick off everyone who disagrees with me. I actually enjoy that. It doesn’t fit in with the more easy going person I have invented on this blog. If you don’t like it, I don’t care.

See… I’m practicing already.

I’m trying to do both at the same time, and since I’m not doing one blog that well. I figure I’ll be twice as good at two.

At least I’m back, and so are the daffodils. I’m sure you’re as happy about that as I am.

Time to stop now. I need to find some fishing worms. It’s dark now, but no worries since I have my E. P. A. approved florescent worm finder.

I Saw The Light

Like the Beatles said, “It’s been a long cold lonely winter”

Actually I haven’t been lonely at all, thanks to my wonder dog, and most loyal friend Uschi. She takes me on walks, and she gets full credit for this picture.
We went for a walk after one of the many, “Ice Episodes”. That’s what the news and weather people on television call them. I don’t remember which one. I’ll have to ask Uschi when I get done writing. She’s smarter than me, and her memory is better too.

I don’t want to hear any comments on that.

I do remember trying to capture a good shot of the ice on the twigs and branches. It’s the same picture nearly all of us who live north of Tampa, have been trying to get for months.

I wasn’t satisfied with any pictures that day, especially with the ice, and snow on everything, and the sun so bright and the sky so blue. One stood out.

Where did this light come from? Were Aliens taking off from deep inside the earth, like a discarded chapter from a Jules Verne novel? Is this something like Paul saw on the road to Damascus that brought on his conversion? In the summer we have firecrackers. Do we have snow crackers in the winter, that I don’t know about? Did someone long ago see this same light, and it became the inspiration for a Gospel song?

If no one comes up with an explanation, then I’m going to take credit for some never before discovered photographic light trick. This could revolutionize Photography.

O.K., I’m getting delusional. I’ll leave the technical lighting effects to you shutterbugs who know what you’re talking about.

One thing I can say though is,…..

“I SAW THE LIGHT”.

A CROSS IS NOT A CRUCIFIX

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I was sitting in one of my favorite watering holes a few years ago. Next to me sat a young man in his twenties. We had known each other for a few years. We met in this pub, and had no relationship outside of it.

We often enjoyed talking about all kinds of things. The list included life in general, politics, sports, women, religion, history etc. We disagreed on most everything except sports and women.

That’s quite interesting, now that I think about.

One subject we are very far apart on is religion. He knows I am a Christian. How does he know this? In the midst of one of our discussions he asked me. I did not announce it, I simply confirmed what he thought. Actually, now that I recall it, his question was as much an accusation as a question.

I enjoy talking to people about politics, religion, love and marriage and such. Most people become emotional about these subjects, especially if you disagree with them. That’s no doubt why it is said, that you should not speak about them in bars.

Now I have called the same building a watering hole, a pub and a bar.

This goes along with why I disagree with the premise, that you should not talk about these things in bars.

There… I’ve decided on a name. It’s a bar.

Knowing a little bit about the history of our Country causes me to take this stance.

In the 18th and 19th centuries there were buildings that served as bars, hotels, restaurants, stagecoach stops, hardware stores, and more. They were even used as courtrooms, and people were married in them.

It was these types of buildings where community affairs took place. In the 18th century much discussion took place about how our new Country should be structured. The Military even used them to recruit.

Many people could not read or write, so these gathering places served as a communications center, where people learned what was going on in the world.

Sure there were misunderstandings and arguments. Andrew Jackson was supposedly often involved in such behavior.

Well, for some reason we’re not supposed to do that today. We do it anyway.

The young man and I were deep in discussion, enhanced by the big head start he had on me in the beer drinking contest. We weren’t having a contest, but he didn’t seem to know that. The subject was religion. Once again it wasn’t my idea.

I don’t even remember what year it was, but I do remember that he kept insisting, that he didn’t believe in God, and that he was an agnostic. I tried to explain to him that if he truly did not believe in the existence of God, then he was an atheist. I told him that an agnostic didn’t believe it was possible to prove the existence of God. He was having none of it, and like anyone who has no basis for his position, he changed the subject. In his mind he probably didn’t think he did, but he did.

He pointed at a Crucifix hanging just to the left of the bar mirror.

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Why does almost every bar have a mirror? Is it so you can see what you look like when you are drunk? Maybe it’s so you can see what other people look like when they are drunk. Actually, I think it’s so you can check people out, without having to interact unless you choose to. It’s kind of like electronic social media.

At any rate he said,”You probably like that cross, don’t you”? He’s one of those people who think the word God should be erased from our money, and buildings, and I guess our entire culture. I’ve told him simply not to look, but that’s not good enough.

“Joe”, I told him. “That’s not a cross, it’s a Crucifix.

“Cross- Crucifix, what’s the difference?!”

“I told him a cross is a shape, and a Crucifix is a cross with the body of Christ on it”.

This banter went on for a while, and the people within earshot probably thought we were stupid for even getting into this discussion.

He never could get my point, and I left soon afterwards. I’m sure he won the beer drinking contest.

The odd thing is, the bar owner bought the bar from his family. He was raised Catholic. The Crucifix was left over from that era. He’s an atheist now, and I’m surprised he hasn’t taken it down, since he once told me that the word God and all religious symbols should be removed from money, and buildings, and all public places.

I have reminded him, that our ancestors etched that name, and those symbols in stone, and forged them in bronze, and other materials,  strongly implying that they were very important to them. It would also be a very difficult task to remove them all.

Did you ever hear of the Reformation?

I never did ask him if he knew the difference between a cross and a Crucifix. The question would make him angry.

Psychologists tell us, anger comes from fear.

Why is he so afraid?

Picture credits go to Wikopedia

IT MAY SEEM CORNY, BUT!!???

IT MAY SEEM CORNY, BUT!!???

It may seem corny but !!???

1. Why can’t the clerk at the check out counter count?

2. Why can’t average Americans speak grammatically correct English, while people I have met in other countries speak it fluently?

3. Why do we spend more money on helping people buy food than anyone in the world, and have the worst obesity problem in the world?

4.Why do people set their thermostats on 78 degrees, and wear short sleeve shirts and shorts and no socks or shoes.

5.. Why do these same people get uptight about too much carbon emissions damaging the Earth.

6. Why do we spend more money on daycare in high schools, than we do on teaching young men and women, that having babies before they are prepared to care for them is not a good idea.

7.Why do people drive through parking lots like they’re in the Indianapolis 500? Let’s see; there are blind spots, and old people, and children, and it’s against the law to not give pedestrians the right away in commercial parking lots. It also seems dangerous to me.

8. Why did I get passed by an officer of the law recently, who was speeding while tailgating, and changing lanes without signaling, and texting on his cell phone?

9. Why do I have to fill out papers, asking about my race and ethnicity with only a few options , none of which apply? Why am I forced to define my self as Caucasian , when my father had an Afro at thirteen and his mother was part American Indian.

10. Why do people insist there is no difference, between the way a woman’s mind works and the way a man’s mind works?

I’M JUST SAYING.

THE BATTLE FOR GUAM

THE BATTLE FOR GUAM

Guam is a territory of the United States of America.

It is the largest, and southernmost of the Mariana Islands.

Guam was first populated over 4,000 years ago. Ferdinand Magellan landed there on March 6th 1521. It was controlled by Spain until 1898, when it was surrendered during the Spanish – American War.

As the largest island in Micronesia and the only U.S. – held island in the region before World War Two, Guam was captured by the Japanese on December 8th just hours after the attack at Pearl harbor.

Guam is about 28 miles long and four to eight miles wide.

19,000 Japanese defended the island. They had an extra month to prepare the defenses, due to the prolonged time it took to secure Saipan. They created inland barriers that would be their trademark for the rest of the war, while at the same time preparing to take on the Americans on the beaches as the invasion began. This was the last time they would try to defend the beaches in any significant way for the rest of the war.

D -Day for Guam had been set for June 18th 1944. Since Saipan took longer to control than anticipated D – Day was moved to July 21 1944.

The island received air and naval bombardment, including a thirteen day continuous naval bombardment, the most prolonged of the war to date.

20,000 3rd division Marines landed on July 21st. Altogether over 30,000 Marines participated. 1,082 were killed, 125 missing, and 4,582 were wounded. More than 17,000 Japanese were killed.

The 1st Batallion 4th Marines,{Former Raiders}, repulsed a banzi attack by 5,000 “Japs” on July 22nd and, between the 25th and 27th of July the enemy took heavy losses, and the 38th infantry was destroyed.

The Fourth Marines were the first to reach both the north and south ends of the island during the campaign.

The 1st and 2nd War Dog Platoons as well as the Navajo Code talkers were integral in taking the island.

Guam had been in the hands of the Japanese for two years, seven month and ten days.

This was a great morale booster since it was the first American land taken back from the Japanese.

In spite of how difficult the fighting was, the American Flag was raised eight minutes after landing on July 21st. Guam was declared under control on August tenth 1944.

27 years later in 1972 sergeant Soichi Yokoi was found living in a cave. He finally surrendered when convinced the war was over.

Prior to this epic battle, the 1st Marine Raider Regiment was disbanded, with most Raiders being given the honor of reforming the historic 4th Marine Regiment that fallen in the early days of Corregidor in the Philipine Islands.

The story of “The Battle of Guam” was taken from the book, REAL BLOOD REAL GUTS By James Gleason. He gets all credit. I have edited for the sake of brevity.

I met him in Sandiego years ago, and he signed the book with a generous dedication to my father. I dwell on the 4th Marines, and the Raiders because that’s where my father was.

Doc Gleason, {as they called}, him was a humble and amazing man. He gave me a lot of his time, and didn’t care that I carried a note book, and wrote down so many thing he told me.

We spoke in the hospitality room, where he did his book signings, and had a couple meals together, and drank beer with other Raider who were ready to open up at this point in their lives.

My plan is to from time to time tell the story of these brave men and women, and yes… the Dogs.

Never forget the Dogs!

THE LAST MAN STANDING

THE LAST MAN STANDING

This picture was taken on the island of Guam.

The men you see make up two machine gun squads. Every man in this picture was either killed or wounded before World Two ended, except for the small muscular man on the left. He was the squad leader. He was my father.

Each squad was made up of seven men. There are thirteen men in the picture. The fourteenth man was taking the picture. He was also the squad leader of six of these men. These two squads worked closely together on Guam. That is evident in their body posture.

The night before they set an ambush at an advantageous spot on Harmon Road. The Japanese that had not yet been killed, captured, or surrendered, were completely surrounded and out numbered. The Marines knew some of them would try to break through during the upcoming night. That’s what they would have done.

At one thirty a.m. the squads were in place on ridges over looking Harmon road. One squad on one side and one squad on the other side. Harmon Road made a big turn just below them and then began up hill. The Japanese faced a blind spot at the bend and the Marines waited until they were close enough, and the bazooka knocked the tank off it’s tracks.

The Americans didn’t really have a hand held weapon that would destroy a tank. That’s why they had to wait until they were perilously close to begin the attack.

Once the bazooka was fired, the two machine guns opened up. My father fired one, and the other squad leader fired the other. Since the bazooka didn’t kill everyone in the tanks, soldiers began to climb out and flee. The machines guns killed everyone of them and the dozen or two foot soldiers who accompanied them.

If you read my last post you can at least try, to begin to imagine and understand, how young men from all walks of life morphed from boys to Warrior Men. They saved our Country.

These guys ran, from water craft under fire, and took this Island from the Japanese. This was no small feat, since the Japanese were formidable adversaries and well prepared. It was one of the last times they would try to defend against the American forces and their Allies head on. After this they would move inland to defend their territory, and build tunnels and bunkers and even remodel tombs to force their enemy pay a terrible price for victory.

You thought the Vietnamese invented that, didn’t you.

I don’t know for sure, but I believe this picture was taken the day after they took total control of Guam.

This story is not fiction. My father never talked about it, but I interviewed survivors, and the story is mentioned in at least two books I have. I even met the bazooka man at a Marine Raider reunion in Nashville Tennessee.

I was looking at a table of Raider souvenirs, when this great big Sioux Indian from Kentucky pulled out a picture of a heavily damaged Tank that he shot on Guam. He was telling everyone, about how once he shot the tank, the Japs, [ that’s how they talked, and I’m not going to try to be politically correct. I’d rather be factual}, began to jump out of the tank and run for their lives and the machine guns began to mow them down.

I interrupted him at that point and confirmed that he did this on Harmon Road. I then told him that my father was one of the machine gunners doing the shooting. He remembered my father well, as did a lot of the men at those reunions. He filled in a lot of gaps for me, and since dad was gone by then, it was moving to talk to men who knew him and fought beside him.

I learned a lot that day.

A GRANDMOTHER AND HER SOLDIER

A GRANDMOTHER AND HER SOLDIER

This a picture of my father and his grandmother. It was taken in the spring of nineteen forty three.

He had just completed boot camp, and somehow made his way from Sandiego California to Arthur Indiana for a brief visit.

They had no way of knowing, that they would not see each other again for over three years.

He was about to be sent to Guadacanal, Guam, Saipan, Peileiu, Iwo Jima, Okinawa, and eventually Japan.

He would be chosen for the First Marine Raider Battalion. They were Special Forces trained to do things, I will write about another time. I bring this up, because this week is his birthday. He was born at midnight February nineteenth. Because of this he always said his birthday was February nineteenth and twentieth. Even his obits couldn’t get it straight, so he pulled it off all his life and even afterwards.

My daughter’s birthday is tomorrow the seventeenth. She almost held out long enough. They never got to meet. She was conceived within days of his death. In our family we always say they passed each other on the way up and down.

That would be just like my dad. ” Once a Marine always a Marine”. He would have made sure someone took his place on the Battlefield of life to fill that void.

Where did he learn to be that way?

A lot of the credit goes to that little woman standing next to him. She raised him for much of his early childhood.

She was born in 1868, but I knew her. I was thirteen when she died. I miss her.

Happy Birthday Dad! I miss you.

Happy Birthday Daughter. I miss you too.