The bragging thread

It was about 12 hours post-ceremony, I think. We has been doing a little tourist-y shopping in the morning, then met up with the grandparents on the beach in the early afternoon. Evening was the luau, during which my mind was swirling with those thoughts, and then after the kids went to bed I sat down and let it all out.

re: faith, I’m not sorry to have lost it. I did go through a grieving process about the loss, though, and if you’re looking for resources, I’ll recommend The Grief Recovery Handbook. Offers a good way to “complete” the relationship, rather than pursuing the oft-touted but never-defined and therefore unattainable “closure”. I worked through their completion exercises for the marriage, for my faith, for a job change, and even for moving and leaving friends.

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Thanks for sharing.

One part that made me want to respond: “What we do for the dead is really for ourselves. To ease, in some small way, our own pains.” I don’t disagree with this from the perspective of those suffering the loss of a loved one.

For the rest of us supporting those who have lost someone, a remembrance is an opportunity to show the survivors that we love and support them.

Bumped to teh frist class! MIA to SKB


Ugh, an IPA?? That’s for coach!

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Flight came from ORD (Chicago). Not surprised it was Goose Island

I replaced the 12V battery in my Prius all by myself.

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Now do the 400v battery!



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I’m glad they made the manufacturers paint all of the high voltage stuff orange, so I absolutely know what I’m never, ever going to touch.


So last week a story of mine was published by Dragon Gems - digitally available on Amazon already, paperback apparently to be published in a couple of days!

An excerpt, to tempt you a little bit:

If he’d seen me first, he might have shied away from knocking on my door before 8 am on a Saturday. I can’t imagine what I looked like after four hours of sleep in the past two nights, unshaven, bleary-eyed and worn down from worry and beating myself up. But he had no visibility from the porch, obviously, which is why he felt the liberty to assault the door frame.

Bang, bang, bang came the noise, startling me out of my stupor. I realized I’d been standing motionless for a good five minutes waiting for the coffee. “Who’s there?” I called. The kitchen is right off the entryway of the house. The house that seems so much emptier after Janine left. After twenty-three damn good years! At least I thought they were good.

“Sergeant Comrow.” His voice was way too energetic for the time of day. He must have had a good night’s sleep. I envied him that much, at least.

“What?” Why the hell would a sergeant be on my porch?

When I opened the door the sight startled me. There, in full red-white-and-blue glory, all of five feet tall and maybe a hundred pounds, looking every bit of eighty years old, stood Uncle Sam.

Yep. That one. The guy from those old recruiting posters, who’s always looking right at the camera and pointing his finger in that menacing way.

“Oh, shit,” I said, before I could stop myself.

“Don’t swear, son. It’s not becoming of a representative of the world’s most respected nation.”

The old man took off his top hat, the white one with the blue band and sparkly star in the middle, revealing a full head of hair just as white as his billy-goat beard. He brushed past me on his way into my kitchen and rummaged around in the cabinets.

“Got any Earl Grey?” he asked, grunting slightly as he stood on tiptoe.

“Uh, no,” I said. “I just made some coffee. Would you…” I paused, and ran my hand over my eyes. Am I hallucinating? “Would you like a cup?”

“Pshaw,” he waved a hand at me dismissively. “Never touch the stuff. Stunts your growth.”

At that I laughed, because coming from him, as if that was his non-stunted form, was just a bit too much.

Uncle Sam stopped his exploration of my spice rack and turned to me, striding with purpose the three steps across my kitchen. “Listen, son,” he said, pointing that finger. “I’m serious. And you better shape up that attitude of yours or Basic’s gonna eat you up and spit you out under a week.” He paused, staring directly into my eyes from ten inches lower, and making me feel like a lily wilting under 100-degree Arizona sunshine.

“Okay, mister,” I said, backing up. “My apologies.” That seemed to work, as he turned on a heel and headed for my refrigerator.

“What’s the problem then?” he asked. “Why are you late for registration?”

I shook my head. “I don’t know what you’re talking about, sir.” I did not want that bony index finger turned my way again.

“Oh yes you do,” came the muffled reply. “You’re on the list for reporting to Camp Marquette, as of oh eight hundred hours two days ago. You aren’t there, now, because you’re here. I’ve been sent to retrieve you.” His pointed chin came back out, wrapped around the leftover fried chicken from two nights ago. Janine brought it home, just before she left; man, I wish we could sit down and just talk.

“I still don’t understand,” I said. “I’m not supposed to be in basic training. I’ve never heard of Camp Marquette. And I’ve never even thought of joining the armed forces.”

At that, my refrigerator tinkled as it closed, the tartar sauce banging against the Tropicana.

“Look, son,” Uncle Sam said, leaning a bony shoulder against the handle, and launching into what seemed like a well-rehearsed speech. “I don’t know all your ins and outs, why you’re running away. Some are trying to get away from their father, or their mother, or both. Some get a girl in trouble and need to take care of her. Some just know they need a little discipline. Some, they think we’re still fighting the Japs, they think they’ll get to shoot some yellow fellas, become a hero.” He sighed, put his arms folded across his chest, and looked at me. From this distance, I could see he too was really, truly tired, despite the bravado. “Doesn’t matter what your story is, I’ve heard them all. Point is, you signed up to join the United States Army, and I’m here to help you fulfill your end of the bargain. The Army is not easy. But it also does not take broken promises lightly. Now, you may feel that it’s not right for you after a week of PT and KP and LP. But that’s for a week away. Right now, we got to get you in the truck. You packed?” He came to my shoulder and put a hand on it, tried to turn me. Maybe to head to my room?

“Sir, I still don’t know what you’re trying to pull. I have no idea why you think I signed up to the Army, but I can assure you, I did not.”

“Peterson,” he said, “let’s go. I’m tired of your bull spit. I got five more pickups today, and if we don’t get a move on, I’ll miss dinner.”

And there it was. “Oh, sorry, simple mistake, I’m not named Peterson. I’m Harrison, actually. Harrison Carver. You must have the wrong house.”

That stopped him. Uncle Sam stepped back a moment, pulled out a paper from his pocket, unfolded it. “This is 425 Cherry Street?”

“Yes, sir.”

“In Springfield, Minnesota?”

“Yes, sir.”

He scrunched his eyebrows.

“But you’re not Lance Peterson?”

“No, sir.”

“Does he live here?”

I shook my head. “Not unless he’s a ghost. I’ve been here for ten years. And I bought this place from my parents who lived here thirty years before that.”

Uncle Sam scratched his beard, then alternated between that and patting down his pockets for something else.

“Carver?” he said, looking at me.

I nodded. Mmm, hmm.

“Springfield?” Again I nodded.

“425 Cherry Street?” I grabbed my wallet from the counter and opened it up, taking out my driver’s license. I held it out to him.

He spent a minute looking back and forth between me and the picture on my license. He even stepped to the front door, red-and-white stripey pants swishing with the effort, red sequined shoes tap-tap-tapping, to open my door, find the numbers attached to the frame, and cross-reference them with my driver’s license and his paper. He stopped and stood stock still for a good ten seconds.

But then he turned to me, wide-eyed, and with a voice that trembled. “Carver,” he said, “What’s this on your driver’s license?” He pointed with a suddenly trembling finger to the issue date.

“Oh,” I said, “That’s when I got the license about, um, seven months ago?” I did a little mental math. “Nine, actually.”

Uncle Sam turned white as his beard. “Carver,” he said, “Why does that say two-zero-one-six?”

“Because it was issued in June of two thousand sixteen, about nine months ago now.” I held out my hand and took back my license. “Why?”

Uncle Sam held frame for another few seconds, gears turning. Then, slowly, he held out his paper to me. It was covered with that old-time manual typewriter kind of letters. I thought that was a nice touch. The Army must be harkening back to better days, with some pomp and show. Maybe it helped to ease some fears.

I glanced through it. Indeed, it was a letter reminding mister Peterson that he did commit to two years of service to the United States Army, that he was expected to show up at Camp Marquette in good physical condition (I glanced at my dad-bod, and wondered how Uncle Sam could have made that mistake), and that he was expected at 0800 hours on Tuesday, March 13, 1956.

Wait… today was Saturday, March 18. But not anywhere close to 1956.

Whoa. I think I figured out Uncle Sam’s problem.


I am now a LIV member…


Liquid IV, i.e.