Friday, November 30, 2012

Slow is Smooth, Smooth is Fast

The Colonel is still feeling the need for speed, but lately he's been seeing a lot of caution flags.

Take the Colonel's latest in a long line of brushes with death, for example.

This story is probably best told starting from the beginning...

Sometime in the six days of creation God created ducks.  Sometime shortly after that, man discovered that standing thigh deep in freezing water blowing on a kazoo yielded the inestimable pleasure of seeing a duck turn into the wind, cup wings, and begin final approach down the barrel of a shotgun.  

The Colonel is a creation of God.

The Colonel is a duck hunter.

The Colonel loses what remains of his scant reasoning resources during duck season.

A boat is often required to ferry a duck hunter and three or four hundred pounds of decoys, shotguns, and ammunition from his (or her -- the Colonel ain't no warrior in the war on women) truck to remote thigh-deep sloughs favored by ducks. 

The Colonel's #2 son has a boat parked under the lean-to attached to the Colonel's Man-Toy Storage and Sawdust Production Facility.

The Colonel's #2 son, whose primary duck hunt-preparation job is pulling the boat out of the lean-to (the Colonel's primary duck hunt-preparation job is brewing a thermos of coffee), was coming late for a march to the marsh of a recent afternoon.   

So, the Colonel, not known for his patience, broke long-standing protocol and decided to do a duck hunt-prep job for which he was not fully cross-trained -- Task 13a on the duck hunt-prep checklist: hook boat trailer to truck and pull boat from under lean-to.   

Because the Colonel was not (and still is not, as you will shortly see) fully cross-trained in Task 13a, just getting the truck bumper hitch lined up with, and under, the tongue of the boat trailer was pretty much taxing his meager truck-backing skills to the max.

The Colonel backed the truck up to a point he thought was close, put the truck in park, jumped out to check bumper hitch -- trailer tongue proximity and alignment, found same lacking, jumped back into the truck, put the truck in reverse, backed up so more, put the truck in park, jumped out to check bumper hitch -- trailer tongue proximity and alignment, found same lacking...

The Colonel lost count of how many times he cycled through the sequence above.  It was cold and he didn't want to take his boots off.

At some point several hours into his attempt to accomplish Task 13a, the Colonel successfully attached the boat trailer to the bumper hitch on his truck and pulled #2 son's boat out from under the lean-to attached to his Man Toy Storage and Sawdust Production Facility. 

At this point the Colonel discovered another nuance in Task 13a for which he was not fully cross-trained.

He had pulled the boat so far forward out of the lean-to attached to his Man Toy Storage and Sawdust Production Facility, that he could not make a left-hand turn onto the driveway without driving though one of the comely and kind-hearted Miss Brenda's carefully manicured flower beds.

Loath to back the boat back under the lean-to from which he had labored long to pull it, and wanting to conduct a few more truck-backing drills for which his fine motor skills had just recently proved greatly lacking, the Colonel cobbled together enough widely separated brain cells to determine a step not found in the manual under Task 13a -- unhook the boat trailer from the truck and re-position the truck.

Yeah.  The Colonel knows.  Doesn't make sense.  Well, where were you when the Colonel needed you?

The Colonel, now operating at a pace just shy of the mark on the meter labeled "frenzy," slammed the gear shift into park and leaped from the truck.  

As the Colonel shuffled back toward the rear of the truck, he noticed that, no matter how fast he shuffled, he was not making any progress toward the rear bumper.

The Colonel wondered momentarily whether he had entered some sort of age-related time-warp and then noticed that, relative to other fixed objects and tools left strategically placed on the ground in the position of their last use, the Colonel and his truck were both making progress, forward and rearward, respectively.

The Colonel, now in a trot just one notch short of the position on the meter marked "sprint," glanced to his left into the cab of the truck and noticed that he had not placed the truck in park.

Nope.  Clearly in reverse

The Colonel could clearly see this because, luckily, the driver side door was still wide open.

The Colonel pivoted left and dove into the cab.

Well, almost.

Unluckily, the driver side door was still wide open and it knocked the Colonel to the ground...

...and under the truck.

Ever wondered what might possibly go through your mind during the short seconds separating you from certain maiming and possible final entries in your medical record?

No?  Well, allow the Colonel to provide some insight.

As the left front tire of the Colonel's truck, now gaining speed at an exponential rate, closed rapidly on the Colonel's person, the Colonel had time to ponder the imponderables.

Time to reflect on accomplishments.

Time to regret boxes left unchecked on his bucket list.

Time to chastise himself for denying himself dessert the night before, out of some deluded desire to live forever.

Actually, there really wasn't any time for all of that.  There really was only time for...


How the Colonel was able to extricate his carcass from under the truck prior to becoming a not-so effective speed bump on the boat's return to its berth in the lean-to adjacent to the Man Toy Storage and Sawdust Production Facility is a matter the Colonel will take up with his Creator face-to-face someday. 

Suffice it to say, the Colonel strongly suspects there was a Divine fist grasped surely around his belt at his back.       

At any rate, the truck was now not only returning the boat to its berth, but was also attempting to join it.

There is a slight problem with that.

There is only room for the boat.

One of the projects over which the Colonel has procrastinated is closing in the back of the lean-to adjacent to the Man Toy Storage and Sawdust Production Facility.  

As the truck and boat continued on their journey, the Colonel sat watching -- thankful for his procrastination.

Until he realized that the likely end of the journey was going to be a pile-up of truck and boat in the ravine behind the lean-to attached to the Man Toy Storage and Sawdust Production Facility.

Two things saved the Colonel from realizing that likelihood.

First, a lone pine tree behind the lean-to attached to the Man Toy Storage and Sawdust Production Facility stood in the way. 

The Colonel had time to begin regretting having to tell #2 son how a pine tree happened to be wrapped around the treasured 60 horse four-cycle outboard on the boat, when the second thing occurred.

Remember the wide-open driver side door through which the Colonel clearly saw the truck gear shift in reverse?

The same wide-open driver side door that provided the Colonel's guardian angel yet another opportunity to earn his wings?

The wide-open driver side door struck the corner of the Man Toy Storage and Sawdust Production Facility to which the boat berth lean-to was attached. 

The sound of door hinges being wrenched is reverberating in the Colonel's brain-housing group still.

The sight of the driver-side door bending completely backward and alongside the front left corner panel of the truck is one the Colonel will likely never forget.

That, and the sight of a truck tire, with truck attached, rolling toward him.

With the truck slowed by the driver side door sacrifice, the boat motor came to rest against the lone pine tree, and the journey ended without the feared pile-up.

It's been a week now and the Colonel is still shook.        

Monday, November 26, 2012

Thanksgiving; Extended Version

The Colonel knows well that the celebration of our uniquely American holiday -- Thanksgiving -- was last week, and that, as of the hour shortly after our collective post-turkey nap, America's decidedly un-Christian celebration of the Christmas season has already begun; in all of its commercialization, thinly-veiled conceit, plastic manufactured joy, and contrived narratives regarding wishes for "Peace on Earth.

However, the Colonel, as those of you who know him well can attest, and those of you who have regularly subjected your sensibilities to insensitive posts hereon have no doubt surmised, is a stubborn stick-in-the-mud, marching to the beat of his own distinctly different drummer. 

His parade float hasn't yet reached the grandstands.

His ball game is still late in the third quarter.

He's still waiting on the vote in the Electoral College.

In other words, the Colonel ain't ready to move on.

Therefore, he will use the occasion of this post to prolong his celebration of Thanksgiving.  There is indeed much for which to be thankful... TO GOD. 

First and foremost, the Colonel gives thanks to the Creator of the Universe and every atom and free radical in it.  The Colonel thanks GOD for creating him, and loving him enough to send HIS son Jesus to die for him.

The Colonel thanks GOD for placing, and keeping, the comely and kind-hearted Miss Brenda in his undeserving life.

The Colonel thanks GOD for giving him two sons and a daughter, of whom he could not possibly be more proud. 

The Colonel thanks GOD for two tremendous grandsons -- the Hope of 21st Century Civilization, Dashes One and Two.

The Colonel thanks GOD for the coming of the Hope of 21st Century Civilization, Dash Three.

You read that right; the Colonel is expecting a third grandson.

The Colonel's beautiful and wonderful daughter-in-law, she of the exalted and protected position of "Provider of Grandsons," will round out the Colonel's fire team with another rifleman early in the Spring of 2013. 

The threat of civilization's calamitous collapse at the hands of Mayans, zombies, socialists, and political correctness Nazis notwithstanding, the Colonel is proud to announce that the Ole Miss Football Rebels will be led to victory over the (dis)likes of Bama, LSU, and TSBU by a Gregory at quarterback for the better part of the decade beginning around 2025.

Oh, and one more thing...



Friday, November 16, 2012

Hate That

The word "hate" has gotten a lot of negative air time over the past couple of decades.

Used to be, the word was used rather freely and without fear of recrimination.

The Colonel pauses to apologize to the errant LSU fans, who may have accidentally stumbled on this post in search of a corndog recipe, for the use of such a big word.  Recrimination.  Nope, you crazy purple bead-wearers, it don't mean "repeatin' a crime."

Hating something was once an acceptable stance.  Not any more.

Unless you are a member of the self-designated political correctness thought police.  It's okay for you to hate. 

It's okay for you to be intolerant of the Colonel's views and beliefs, because you are so much more intelligent and so much more enlightened and so much more cool than he is.

It is true that the Colonel is a knucle-dragger, whose world-view is based on the study of an archaic and largely irrelevant subject (history), and whose "cool" quotient ranks in the negative numbers. 

Way down in triple digit negative numbers.

So, the Colonel will not waste any of the few remaining synaptic connections in his rapidly dwindling supply to participate in recriminations (oops, sorry Boudreaux) with those of you whose self-scored political correctness quotient rivals the USA basketball team's total against Lithuania.

He'll just hang on to his hate and let you hate him for it.

So, just what does the Colonel really hate?

Well, some in these parts (the shallow northern end of deep southern nowhere -- aka: Yoknapatawpha County) feel like it's never too early to hate Mississippi State.

The Colonel can't bring himself to hate State.

He has all of his hatred dedicated to Bama and LSU. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Sunshine and Rain

The last week or so provide more attenuation to the Colonel's already perpetually dampened mood, but he must admit that there were some rays of sunshine peeking out occasionally from the gloomy overcast.

Sunday morning a week ago, the Colonel learned that an uncle had gone to his final reward.  The Colonel only had two uncles and Uncle Wiley's passing left him with none.

Sadly, the Colonel learned more about his last uncle from his eulogy than he ever knew from personal experience.

Because he was a military brat, and then a career military rat, the Colonel's first half century of life was spent far away and disconnected from blood family. 

The Colonel envies those whose extended family of aunts, uncles, and cousins were/are constant close elements in their lives.  He never had that.  And, he will admit, a lot of it was his own fault.

Nevertheless, the Colonel listened with heart-filling pride as he heard his Uncle Wiley remembered as a selfless servant of Jesus, whose humble behind-the-scenes service to others was greater and of more impact than anyone knew or appreciated.  Uncle Wiley wanted it that way.

The Colonel didn't even know that Uncle Wiley had been a veteran.  His generation was like that -- service of nation was expected and nothing to crow about.

Uncle Wiley continues to give.  Last week the Colonel got to hug cousins he hadn't seen in over 30 years.

The same day Uncle Wiley's mortal remains were laid to rest, the Colonel's republic executed its most sacred duty.  

Even given the acrimony of this particular election, and the fact that his candidate lost, the Colonel was proud that his nation followed its constitution to the letter.  The Colonel was given hope by the fact that a president, whose obvious disdain for many of the constitution's principles, provisions, and prohibitions (disdain shared by more than a few former presidents, the Colonel must admit), still resisted the storm-excuse temptation to act extra-constitutionally.  

Perhaps there is a bit of hope for the hopester.

The Colonel seriously doubts it.  But, his God is capable of changing even the darkest hearts -- the Colonel's was changed.

At any rate, the Colonel takes heart in knowing that our republic will change leadership hands (in this case, maintain) peacefully and purposefully in a way in which most inhabitants of this big blue marble can only dream that their country would or could.

The Colonel's week was darkly cloaked on Saturday by two more disappointments through which a few bright threads were woven.  

First, he awoke on the 237th birthday of his beloved Marine Corps and realized that he would not be surrounded and buoyed by Marines.  It really bummed him out, and he took it out on his family, disappointing them and himself.

The Colonel's heart, though held in God's loving hands, is still a flinty cinder, devoid of any self-redeeming value.

Luckily, a quick stop in the Grove that afternoon prior to filling his appointed place of duty in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, reunited the Colonel briefly with a couple of Marines with whom he began his journey in the Corps nearly four decades ago.  They wished each other "Happy Birthday, Marine!" and then talked about grandchildren.  

Grandchildren... amazing.  More rays of hopeful sunshine.

Lastly, the Colonel's Rebels once again raised his hopes... before crushing them with yet another last quarter collapse.

Guess he should take solace, in this era of change for change's sake, that Ole Miss' failure to return to gridiron greatness is one constant the Colonel can continue to count on.