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.