Saturday, November 24, 2007

Chasing Mr. C

Suddenly, the house is quiet again. For nearly two weeks, the sounds of a happy two-year old grandson (not to mention the sounds of a happy granddaddy) filled this place. He left this morning, along with all of the in-law Thanksgiving guests. He's a great kid, if I do say so myself.

He reminds me so much of his daddy at that age that I couldn't help remarking about the fact several times a day as his climbing and exploring curiosity and "do it myself" attitude led him to the limits (and beyond) of the ability Nana and Pop to keep up with him. Miss Brenda and I chased after Caleb from dawn to dark, and he wore us out! Raising toddlers is a sport for the young!

His daddy was fearless, and I see the same trait in my grandson. To my way of thinking, that's a good thing in a boy. A fearless boy provides a world of pride and a world of worry to those raising him. Fearless boys fight fair and fight for fairness. Fearless boys test boundaries in everything. Fearless boys climb trees higher than mommas think they should. Fearless boys challenge their daddies at an earlier age than their daddies can take. Fearless boys dream big and live for their dreams. Fearless boys volunteer and lead from the front.

My fearless grandson left this morning and his prideful Pop had to go to another room to keep anyone from seeing the tears in his eyes.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Hard Corps

What used to be one of the most celebrated dates in my life passed with little fanfare this weekend. The traditional birthday of the Marine Corps was Saturday. We Marines, and our friends, noted the 232nd anniversary of the Continental Congress' 10 November 1775 Resolution that "...2 battalions of Marines be raised..." Since I was 18 (in the fall of 1974) and in the early stages of my preparation to be an officer of Marines, I have celebrated the Marine Corps' Birthday. Often it was with great pageantry and prideful peacockery partying amidst fellow Marines. Occasionally it was with quiet reflection and rumination, alone. This weekend was one of the latter.

I did receive some congratulatory missives from family and friends. My daughter-in-law further cemented her exalted position (achieved through the provision of one and 8/9 grandsons) by calling to wish me "Happy Birthday!" An old high school buddy, now a Chaplain with the 3rd Infantry Division, sent an e-mail with birthday felicitations from "your big brother, the US Army." Even a flight attendant on a trip last week stopped, when he noticed my eagle, globe, and anchor lapel pin, to comment, "you've got a birthday coming up this weekend don't you?"

But the weekend was spent in a much quieter fashion than Marine Corps Birthday weekends of old. It was probably the first one in 33 years that I didn't participate in a ritual cake cutting of some sort. Shame on me, I guess.

Fear not, fellow leathernecks, faithful friends, and long-suffering family members, the eagle, globe and anchor tattooed on my heart lacks none of the vivid sharpness of its inking. I am still a Marine, after all.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Reeling Rebels

My Ole Miss Rebels hosted Coach Orgeron's alma mater, Northwestern (Louisiana) State yesterday afternoon in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. As Number 2 son and I walked onto campus about a half hour before kick-off, you could hardly tell there was a game about to be played. With Ole Miss stumbling towards the end of the most disastrous football campaign since the 1974 season, attendance, even for one of the worst fan support schools in the nation, was at an all-time low. Vaught-Hemingway can accommodate 60,000. There was maybe 20,000 in the stands at kick-off. I've seen more fans show for a Spring Game.

All for good reason. The scrappy Division 1AA team from a unpronounceable and unspellable crossroads in NW Louisiana nearly beat us. They out gained us, manhandled our offensive line, and in the end, with momentum clearly in their favor, ran out of time.

We scored 17 points on them early in the first quarter and then didn't score again until late in the second half. It was so quiet in the stadium, and I was so deep in conversation with some old college buddies, that when I looked up to see what the score was with a few minutes left, I was shocked to see us with only a seven point advantage and them with the ball, driving. The final score was 38 to 31.

This inept coach must go. The problem is our Athletic Director, Pete Boone, is even more inept than Coach O. He probably thinks O is doing a great job. Knowing Pitiful Pete, he was probably more interested in trying to get the fan in the Colonel Reb costume arrested and thrown out.