Gary....

.... I found this from years and years ago today........ and I thought it quite funny......

..... he is gone now, and will be missed..... but hey, what an asshole, non?........ it makes me smile to think of how he'd gloat when he won at billiards.....

..... still, I wish that I had done more for him......... and I wish that he had come over more......

... he customized everything from my Mother's .38 (inlaying a piece of elepant ivory into the front sight post.) to my Fender guitar and my kitchen's drink set.........

.... hell, in the end, he customized me and how I have come to view life.......... he is missed very, very much.......

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USMC....

..... tomorrow is a very special day.... and this fellow sums it up just about perfectly.......

.... tomorrow the ritual will begin here at The Compound..... and it will end with an upturned glass, and empty plate, and the sound of grilling lamb chops.....

... happy 236, Marines...... Semper Fi......

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M.B.

.... yesterday I attended the Last Viewing of one of my Great Uncles..... he had lived a long life, I suppose - in the great scheme of things...... he was the husband of my maternal Grandmother's sister, Sue...... my Grandmother was her older sister, and her name was Geneva........

.... I always secretly found myself fascinated that a young, Tennessee lady born in the early 1930s would somehow end up being named "Geneva"...... Geneva, my Grandmother.... isn't that the most beautiful name?....... well, I think that it is......

.... anyway, her sister - Sue? ....well, her husband died a few days ago from a fall whilst walking in his back garden...... can you imagine?.... 85 years old, taking a stroll with your wife in the back yard, accidentally tripping, knocking your noggin, and then just never regaining consciousness......... he hit his early in the week, they unplugged him on a Wednesday, and he was dead on the following Friday...... and I attended his viewing late that Saturday evening......

.... I swear, it boggles the mind..... life truly is a fragile, delicate, immaculate little thing.... so precious, so fleeting, so absolutely enjoyable, amazing, and lovable........ but really, I'd rather go the way of my Great Uncle at 85 than waste away for ten years in some damnable nursing home......... but still, I feel for his family....... I know what it is like to lose the linchpin of a generation, and it is never easy to watch that link slip away....... even if they are 85 years old.....

... my memories of my Great Uncle are fractured and piecemeal..... he was a quiet, shy man, and I was never really that close to him...... but he was also a pious man, and I respected that very much.... hell, when compared to the rest of my Great Uncles, he was practically a Saint..... he never drank.... he never smoked..... he was a church every single Sunday........ and my other Great Uncles?...... good god, every one of them was a combat veteran of WWII..... and every bar and cop in a three county radius knew not to mess with them when they'd had a slash or two........ and if the DID have to, then they'd better bring backup.... because someone was going to lose a tooth......

... then again, I suppose that is one the things that combat gives you, is it not?..... a desire to forget where you've been, what you have done, what you have seen...... a desire to have a beer, and a beer, and a beer, until you cease to be in pain anymore?........ but THIS Great Uncle, well, he was the only one out of 9 who never served in World War II...... so, perhaps that explains why he lived a much more even-keeled life throughout..... it is just a thought......

..... one thing, though, that I do find remarkable about my memories of him is that he raised three children - two early, and one much later in life, and they are ALL the most gentle creatures that I have ever witnessed in all my born days........ his boy became a minister.... his eldest daughter became an accountant... and his youngest is a registered nurse...... and when I hugged each of them yesterday evening, all I could think of was how he was reflected - in different ways - in each of their lives....... it almost reminded me of one of those lines from a Robert Service poem..... "It is the slow, steady, plodding ones who win the life-long race."...... he was truly one of the steadiest ones that I have ever known..... and when you look at the current lives of his children, you realize that he really DID win the life-long race...... they are well, adjusted, and happy..... and he was proud of them...... and what else could a man ask for, really?......

... but good grief.... can you imagine that poor man marrying into my family like he did?......marrying into MY family of genes?.... of everyone else his age - all of his brother's in law - having been hardcore combat veterans?.... my Grandpa, Great Uncle George, Great Uncle Robert, Great Uncle J.R., Great Uncle M.C..... and each of them with PTSD after the fact like you could not believe..... hell, he was the only normal one in the bunch!....... and he must have been intimidated as hell...... but still, he held keel and made a go of it with my Great Aunt Sue..... and they were married for over 50 years......

..... I will not write more about what happened yesterday because it is special only to me, and I want to keep that for me........ but really, he was a steady man, and I respect him for that........ and it was good to see all of my many, many relatives again - even if it were under other than favorable circumstances..... he was well loved.... and his funeral was well attended....... he was the most curious of my Great Uncles, and I suspect that I understood him the least...... but he was always cheerful, and he made me feel loved......

.... and as I sit here tonight, I wish that I had spent more time trying to get to know him......

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Boudin......

..... and I wasn't off by that much, really.....

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Motivational.....

.... well, I just watched a bunch of guys in a desert kiss the corpse of Gene Hackman..... "March or Die" just finished, and it was - as usual, awesome...... and it does happen to have the best final line of any movie I have ever watched....... the quote?....

.... I'm adlibbing, but here it is......

"Some of you will try to quit.... Some of you will try to run..... I warn you, none of them has succeeded.... If The Legion doesn't get you, then the desert will..... When the desert doesn't get you, the Arabs will...... and when the Arabs don't catch you...... I will....... and I don't know which is worse....."

..... if you haven't seen the movie, I highly recommend it.....

.... in other news, I'd like to thank the collective crew of Crazies who attended this weekend's blogmeet...... I swear, I had THE BEST time...... and I am already counting down the days until next year's Gathering.......

.... so to Elisson & his Bride, K-Nine, Big Stupid Tommy, Jimbo, Erica, Teresa, Boudicca, Jerry, John Cox, Richard, Eric, Anna, Rick, Georgia, and Denny?..... you guys are the Salt of The Earth, and I had the most amazing time...... thank you for making the trip!....

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