Monday, December 10, 2012

A Letter to Our Military

"So Help Me God". 

The last four words of a oath that many of us have taken for our country.
A oath that says that we will defend what we are proud of and will fight
for, if need be.  For those who have raised their hand and made
the decision that, for at least a portion of their life, their defending our rights
and freedoms were or is their highest priority, By doing so, please know your actions
 holds our respect.

"Standing Duty" for one's country can be considered one of the most
honorable actions that a person can ever do. Know that your actions are
worthy and remembered and that we back here at home are keeping you in our prayers.

Just as the soldiers standing beside you " has your back", those of us who have "been there" stand behind you and support your actions.

It does not matter where, when or to what capacity you have or are giving to our country.  It is just the fact that you were willing to step forward and  say "I will go" that brings you our trust, respect and appreciation. Know this, that when your "Duty" is complete you can come home, stand proud, and know that there are many of us who feel your actions as a member of our military will always be held in our country's highest regards.

War, is not a pretty thing. War hurts, destroys, and cripples and I wish that
God would take the act of making of war away from us and out of our reach. But as long as there is the possibility that our rights and lifestyles here in the United States of America are jeopardized by wrongful acts of others, then I am happy, proud and comfortable in knowing that you are there to defend us.

To Each and Everyone One of  You.

God Bless You and Keep You Safe.

Petty Officer John C. Glass. Veteran, United States Navy







Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Man Cave

Man’s Fortress of Solitude
                                                                                                 

During the second half of the last millennium the man of the house, after a long day at work wanted a place for the evening to rest and relax.  Hence came the development and introduction of what at the time was called the Den.
 The principles for the space were simple, a room where he could invite other male friends to share in enjoying “man” activities such as, watching football, sharing in a stimulating game of chess, watching baseball, discussing environmental issues, watching basketball, sharing concerns regarding the present day social-economical situations, watching baseball, or enjoying a game of cards, otherwise known as “Poker Night”.
 The men always found it relaxing in the Den if nothing else but to sit in front of the TV, surfing the channels for whatever sport event was available or giving up and discussing the sports statistics of their favorite players. It was a place where dad and his friends could hide while their woman carried on their own stimulating discussions regarding neighborhood activities, unofficial PTA meeting, the ever changing clothing trends, ideas on new pot roast recipes, and of course, the always important opinions regarding their observations of the latest ongoing dramatic, life changing activities of the 10a.m. fictional theatrical television series or commonly known as the soaps.
  In most cases the Den was off limits unless father offered the rare privilege of sharing his room for an hour or so.  The basic understanding was that this room was accessible to the man of the house and other visiting men over the age of 21.  The only exceptions would be any younger Active Duty Soldier who was home on leave or the first time a young man made the mistake of ringing the front door bell to pick up fathers “little girl” for a first date. The poor soul was escorted by mom who knocked first then allowed the young man to enter the Den where for next 15 minutes the father interrogated the victim on their past, their future goals in life and their intentions regarding the first date with his daughter.  
Over the next two generations this purpose for this room somehow started through an evolutionary change.  With the new wave of electronics that burst forward in the 70’s and 80’s the den turned into where the family arcade could be found. There were Video games, Large Screen Projector Televisions, VCR’s, DVR’s and CD Players which the man gradually was pressured into sharing with the rest of the family. At first it was only on Friday nights for Family Night, then Saturday Nites for Mom and Dad time. Until finally the inevitable happened and the door was either taken off completely or the entrance was modified thus the coming of the “Family Room”.  Without knowing it, the man had lost his Fortress of Solitude. 
For those rebels who had to have a “room” for them they found a new way of saving their manhood by slowly transforming their garages into their hiding place.  It usually started with the excuse that the place “just needed cleaning up.”  Then came the re-arranging of the tools and building of the workbench which soon provided the need for a Television, Refrigerator and a second hand microwave.  It was obvious that the family vehicle no longer had a place within the confines of what use to be the garage. Then, down went a coat of concrete paint and some sports memorabilia hanging from the roof and neon beer signs on the walls. Again, Mr. Macho had his place.
The father had his own little castle and quickly the old Den rules were again put into in play.  When those garage doors went down the dropping of the Kings Drawbridge signaled the return of his privacy and all was well.  That is until, the third child arrived and now suddenly the 14 year old son needed a “place of his own” and with the garage doors replaced by solid walls and a wall air conditioning unit, the teenage boy had his Bachelor’s Pad and Dad again lost his home away from home. 
For the next few years the man of the house bided his time waiting for a chance to reclaim his hide away.  Somehow though, when the oldest child moved away with dad gladly helping him to move out, the next son slipped in and enjoys the “bachelor pad” all the way through his remaining years of high school and his 4 years of college.
Finally with the coming of the empty nest and the start of the new millennium the man has finally had the opportunity to reclaim his Man Cave.  But wait a minute, now things are different, now the items that seemed so important to him in the den of 30 years ago no longer carry as much importance.  Now, the new Man Cave is more a Museum of Past Adventures, Memorable Experiences, Unusual Collections and of course his “Own” Super Doper Maximums Home Computer.  The little box that is the world’s answer for enjoying the entire world and universe without ever having to leave your highly expensive, “don’t you even think of sitting in my” Real Corinthian leather chair.
The Man Cave, of the 2000’s, The Baby Boomer Males attempt to still have a place where he can step into and mentally spring forward into the future trying to figure out where and what he may be in the next 30 years or step back and be allowed to relive some of the many life experiences he has collected over his lifetime.  Or to be able to sit and just enjoy the present and enjoy what he has accomplished and attained regarding MAN things.
 Keep in mind that this luxury does not come cheap. Usually a compromise must be agreed upon. You don’t mess with me and my Man Cave and I will go to Bingo with you once a week,  or setting her up a Sewing/Scrap booking Room or participating in Garage Sale shopping on Saturday mornings. But that’s OK because you can return to your MAN CAVE each Saturday afternoon and know you have a place to hide when the now grown kids and grandkids show up unexpectedly.  Now after a few minutes of listening to what little Johnny or Mary did in school that week you can say “Hey Son, let show you something” and you both have an easy out to head to the MAN CAVE.  Once there, you watch proudly, sitting in your Corinthian Leather Chair as he walks around your room admiring your MAN treasures, knowing that in his mind he is saying “One of These Days, I’m going to have a MAN Cave just like this”.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Dear Santa... Stacking the Deck




Dear Santa Claus..

Now that Thanksgiving is over I feel comfortable in sending my letter to you and NOW can start making plans for CHRISTMAS.

Just felt the need to keep you updated on my behavior over the past few months. I am striving to ensure that my actions continue to meet your expectations and that by doing so you feel assured that I do deserve any (Canon  30D lenses) to Christmas present that may possibly find it's way under our Christmas tree this year.

Please take note that I have cleaned, cleared and personally made sure that our chimney is void of anything that may hinder your arrival to our Christmas tree which will soon be in placed just to the right of the fireplace in the den. I also got to thinking that your probably getting tired of milk and cookies so, I will have you a nice Ribeye with a Baked potato there for you, Also and finally for the Rudolf and the others each will find a large "toasted" bag of oats sitting just to the side of the chimney with a pail of fresh spring water. 

I was also able to talked one of my daughter's latest boyfriends into climbing up on the roof and clear a few tree branches allowing a safer landing area for you and the raindeer.

As you can see Santa, I am always thinking of those around me and not myself. I Hope your flight will go without any problems.

P.S. Attached you will find the GPS coordinates for our house because we have moved since the last time you honored us with your presence.
P.S.S.   Also,  you will find as a added thank you an pair of those neat battery powered RUNCO Warmer socks, But wait.....also a pair for Mrs. Clause!!!!

             

God Speed and hoping to see you soon.
John

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Hello! I know your out there!

To all the people who read my blogs.  I would love to hear your opinion on my writings.  It doesn't matter, positive or negative.  One can only grow by learning from their mistakes, so please feel free to be upfront on how you feel after reading my work.  I promise I will not hunt you down. 

Thanks for taking the time to read my work. 

Onward Thru The Fog...

John

Sunday, October 14, 2012

My Duty

The other day, my wife brought me a sheet of paper she had found somewhere in my old files. It was a folded, water stained prose I had written many years ago. Immediately I recognized it as what I think is the first piece of writing I ever did.  After reading it for the first time in almost 30 years I thought about how that time and place had affected me as a person, but more as a citizen of this country and what it meant to be part of such a great land.
 It was written when I was aboard the U.S.S. Albert David (FF-1050) in 1982 while we were in the Persian Gulf.  The people in that region had been in some sort of conflict with each other since the time of Christ.  But in 1979, Iran slapped our country in the face by the taking of the American Hostages and my patriotism had overwhelmed me and I had enlisted to “Do my Duty, For My Country”. 
Your mind plays with you at times like that. You think of people, places and things that you didn’t even realize meant so much to you.  You think about things in your past that you hadn’t thought about for years.  The little things, things like your first day in school, your first night away from home, of times playing with your brothers or maybe the first time you tried to impress that certain little girl.  Things that made you smile or inwardly laugh. You tried to find ways to mentally escape from the pressures of the moment. Oh yea, we laughed, we joked, and we poked fun at each other to relieve the tensions. But at the same time each of us individually sat wondering, waiting, and praying that we would not have to have to prove our loyalty by giving our life for our country.  
Then it was over, we left that danger behind us when another U.S. warship took our place “along the line”. “Our turn” was over, we were allowed to go back to the normal duties that most sailors do. We went back to doing the “games” of practices, drills and “sowing our oats” in ports around the world which most people picture when the word sailor is mentioned.  But with each practice, each drill, and port visit the men on our ship smiled a different smile then most, because we had knew that we had already proven we were ready.
But now, thirty years later I find I am still on duty.  Because even now, when I least expect it,  I still roll over in my sleep and wake to the sound of the ship’s warning alarms going off in my head followed by the scariest words a sailor can hear. “Battle Stations, Battle Stations, This is not a Drill. Now Set Condition Zebra, Battle Stations”.
Yes, I did my duty, I gave to my country, but I guess even now I’m not done yet. Like so many others who have seen “the real thing” in any armed services of our country we live with them, but we don’t talk about them.  The way I see it, those nightmares we have every once in a while, are just another part of doing our duty. But at the same time they are also a way for us to not forget why we did it.  For the Love of Our Country.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Those Glass Boys

I grew up on a farm/ranch just outside of Austin, Texas.  That alone should be enough to brag about, but what made my childhood so great was that I was blessed with sharing my “growing” experiences with five brothers.  
My Dad had brought his war bride to Texas from her home in the Steel Mill Hills of Pennsylvania.  Mom had grown up within a family of five girls, no boys.  Upon arrival in Texas, she promptly set about making Dad proud by giving him what in the upcoming years was commonly known as “The Glass Boys”.
Now growing up on a never-ending roller coaster environment, you would think that surly we would have lost one or two along the way. Even though we got close a couple of times, we all lived and I feel, made our parents proud. At the same time I bet that a couple of times they probably though under their breathe “There’s no doubt we can make another one like you,  just look around”.  
One may ask what was it like growing up with five brothers, and no sister?  I'm not sure, I try to think what it would have been like for a sister to be among us.  She would, with no doubt, have had to endure a life of being picked on, messed with, teased and probably would have asked more then once “Mom, why did you do this to me?” But at the same time, I  know for sure that she would have also been the most protected little girl ever to be graced with five brothers. My Dad kiddingly stated one time that he didn’t have time nor the need for girls on a ranch even though I know that he yearned for one.  That was proven years later when the Granddaughters started showing up.
Growing up among my brothers in the cotton fields and along the Colorado River was a life that was alway challenging.  Of course, there were many times when having five brothers came in handy.  I wouldn’t say we got into a whole lot of trouble, or at least if we did, we were able to figure out a way to fix whatever it was before Dad and Mom found out.  Life was not boring on the ranch that was for sure.  There was always something going on, or if there wasn’t, we changed that real quick.  Some of the things that I think we proved over the years together was that it took six boys to get some things done maybe not effectively but at least completed.  Such as;
Picking mustang grapes for jelly from a height of 20 feet in the air among the grapevines entangled in an oak tree while trying to ward off yellow jackets and red wasps.
Moving irrigation pipe from one location to another in the grazing pastures, interrupted by swimming parties in the river under the limbs of the old pecan, sycamore and cottonwood trees.
Frog and Toad hunting along the back roads in the lights of the family pickup after a good “toad choker” of a rain, with mom driving the truck slowly behind us.
Hauling hay out of the fields in the same old pickup, stacking it so high that we were sure it was going to topple.  Then stacking the hay in our barn, which initiated the brain gears of my older brother’s on ideas for new and better elaborate tunnels of adventure. (see Country Boy Games)
There was the setting of “traps” to scare away the frequent uninvited visitors to the abandoned old “big house” which was well known for its “ghosts”. The old southern mansion style house stood in a field behind our house. With its own small graveyard and the darkness that surrounded it at night, the lure was too much, and the local teenagers and college students would arrive throwing “dares” and taunts to each other almost on a weekly basis, especially around Halloween.   

Our job, we decided, was to make their trespassing, something they would never forget.  From placing bells, and tin cans along the front porch stairs and a few hidden surprizes inside along it’s hallways to our final act of banging on the tin sheets that covered its windows on the outside.  What fun it was to watch them as they screamed and hollered and scattered sometimes watching as “Mr. Macho” left his girlfriend behind while scrambling to get to their cars alongside the roadway a hundred yards away.
Last but of course not least, “cowboying” the ranch’s herd of cattle and sheep.  Herding them into the working lots to brand,  give shots, spray, and make what us boys thought had to be a bull calf’s worse nightmare, making it a steer.  We all knew the ranches “mark” on the calf’s ear and exactly where it had to be placed.  We each learned quickly the proper way to rope, take down and hold a calf. Sometimes, you learned the easy way, sometimes, you learned the hard way and were reminded of the experience way into the next couple of days when you tried to stand up.
The bumps and the bruises were expected. That was part of growing up and living the “Glass" way.  But with each bump, each bruise, each laugh and each cry over the years, we grew.  We all survived, we all learned many very important lessons. Now, years later, I feel that it is obvious to each of us that it wouldn’t have been the same if each of us would not have been there, we each added our own characteristics that made and still make up our family. 

We were and still are a family, very proud of our heritage and of each other.  And to this day if seen somewhere all together,  I have no doubt that the question is asked and answered with “Oh them? That’s the Glass Boys”.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Sorry, So Sorry...

Ten years. September 11th, 2001.  I had stepped out of the shower to hear the newsman saying "We're just getting a report out of New York that it seems a airplane has struck one of the  towers of the World Trade Center.  With that our world changed and never will it be the same.   I stood there and watched the first image of the North Tower with the plume of blackish grey smoke surrounding the top of it.  The camera was zooming in and the next thing I notice was all the sheets of paper that was silently floating to earth almost as thick as snow.

I thought for a second "How many?" How many lives have just starting spiraling out of control like these sheets of paper?  Then I though how could this happen? How could a airplane hit a building in the middle of one of the largest cities in the world by accident and I realized, this wasn't a mistake. I reached and grabbed a blank VCR tape and started recording the day that change our world as a nation. Over the next few hours I, like the whole world, watched the terror of the act that knock us to our knees.

 Later that evening I sat out my back yard and looked up to realize that for the first time in almost a century there was not a single commercial airplane in our skies over our great country.  Even twelve hours later the world was still wondering what was coming next.  Was this only the start? What was going to happen next?  The biggest question twelve hours later in most of our minds changed from "How? to What if?  And all we could do was watch, hope, and pray, because for the first time in a very long time the United States of America was not in control of what was happening inside our own nation.  No longer did we feel safe, no longer did we feel that "well, it can't happen here", because it just had. 

Over the next few days we all sat stunned, listened and watched the effects that these actions started having not only on our country but world-wide.  The blame was starting to become very obvious. From a far land,  a group of people felt that they must show to the people of the United States that we were not as invulnerable as we though we were. And to this day ten years later their actions have kept us in this state of questioning our safety.  No longer do I feel as safe as before that day. To this day when I notice a commercial plane over one of our great cities I, just for a moment, stop whatever I'm doing and think "Please don't,"

To those people, that were responsible for 9/11,  I want to say I'm sorry.  I'm sorry that somewhere back in time before that dreadful day our country had done something that made you feel this action had to be taken.  We cannot just blame "them" for what happened.  I am so sorry that Mankind as a whole has gotten to the point that we feel justified in taking another's life for our political gains.  Because,  in taking another's life I feel we have committed the ultimate sin to our God.  This is not what he put us on this world for.  So to him I pray "Lord I am sorry.   Lord, Show us your way....

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Temporary Friends

I sat the other day in the “food court” of the local mall drinking a cup of coffee and watched the people go by.  The coffee was only an excuse for me.  It was the easy way of saying “Woman! I can’t keep up with you anymore.”
For several years I didn’t even make it to the food court.  Fortunately, someone felt sorry for old men like me and put benches just outside the stores.  I call them the “I give up” benches.  Every once in a while another gentleman would pause  and watch his wife  be drawn into the bright lights and loud colors of the stores then ease their way over to the bench to settle in and wait.
Its odd how two men who have never met can strike up a conversation sitting on that bench because, well because that’s what old men do. You see, there is uneasiness for two grown men to be sitting that close to each other without finding something to talk about.  It’s not that they are going to become life-long friends nor probably ever meet again. But for those few minutes, it usually is entertaining and in some cases, you learn something you didn’t know. I don’t know how many times the conversation starts with, “Hmmmmm.  Did you know that……?” and usually the answer is “Really? I didn’t know that.” And the conversation begins.
There are two subjects that are usually taboo in these conversations.  Religion and politics.  You also may want to be careful sharing your opinion either positive or negative on people walking by.  I know a guy  who made a  crude remark about the young man approaching them with the multi-colored Mohawk haircut only to find out it was the others son-in-law.  Besides those areas, everything else is pretty well open for conversation.
Then with one of the wives come out of the store it ends with “Well, it’s been nice talking to ya!  With a reply of “You too!” and we each go our separate ways.
Now, in the cell phone era, I feel ok to be sitting in the food court, knowing that the love of my life is only a push of a button away if by chance her hero needs to come save her, or carry her packages.
But by sitting there in the courtyard I now realize that I am missing out on what had become part of my weekly traditions.  So from now on, when the wife gets her urges to shop I will be there right by her side until we pass the food court. Then I’ll stop, get a cup of coffee to go and again look for some new  temporary friends.