I believe I inadvertently managed to give myself an endogenous drug overdose. 😛
Don’t worry, I’m gonna be OK.
My youngest brother, a retired firefighter and paramedic, is currently the president of the Western Reserve Fire Museum. Today, on the 20th anniversary of the tragic events of September 11th, 2001, they held a short ceremony to commemorate and remember the ultimate sacrifice made by so many firefighters and other emergency personnel that day.
|Welcome||James Bell, President, Western Reserve Fire Museum|
|National Anthem||Cleveland Institute of Music Brass Ensemble|
|Opening Prayer||Captain Joe Mason Cleveland Fire Dept., (Ret.)|
|Movement of Flag||Cleveland Fire Depart. Honor Guard|
|Opening Remarks||James Bell|
|Guest Speakers||Greg Glauner, Chief of Brunswick Fire Dept.|
|Michael Millet, Chaplain Bedford Fire Dept., (Ret.)|
|Musical Selection||“America the Beautiful” – CIM Brass Ensemble|
|Tolling of the Bell||Lt. Robert Szabo Cleveland Heights Fire Dept., (Ret.)|
|Playing of “Taps”||CIM Brass Ensemble|
|Closing Prayer:||Captain Joe Mason & Chaplain Michael Millet|
|Musical Selection||“Amazing Grace” – CIM Brass Ensemble|
|Closing Remarks||James Bell|
It was patriotic but not partisan, holy but not particularly sectarian, at one level completely formulaic but still deeply moving to me. Both Chief Glauner and Chaplain Millet were among the thousands of firefighters who spontaneously left their communities, their families, and their normal lives to come to NYC to assist, in whatever ways small or large that they could, their brothers and sisters in the fire service who had been so grievously hurt. Each spoke of how they didn’t see themselves as heroes, but as just serving their calling.
Each also spoke to the unity our nation had in those dark days of later September 2001, and how we needed it back. Neither could say exactly how we would get there – both were good enough to not mention any politician or political position as either the cause or remedy. But I felt a CALL – that should be repeated nationwide – for each of us to try to bring ourselves, our minds and our hearts, back to that time of cooperation and common purpose.
And I – one who has never served like that, never laid it all on the line for my fellows, yet one who is deeply moved by the service of those who do – I will do my utter best to answer that call.
This is a testing attempt to back-date a post, or, failing an alteration of the actual posting date, at least posting it out-of-sequence so that it appears chrono-typographically in the place where you want it (in the ordering of all other posts).
You may wonder – why would I want to so firmly place the duncecap on my own head, wear my bleeding heart so far out on my sleeve, say all these things publically that might embarrass an innocent young woman, ???
Well….. I have pretensions of being a writer someday. So any writing practice is good.
And I’m the kind of guy that does his best thinking ‘out loud’ – usually by writing it down. And exploring why my marriage imitated the Space Shuttle Columbia, and why I made such a botch of things with Eve, just might, possibly, maybe, if I am damned lucky and smart and insightful (and I get a lot of “help from my friends”) – just might keep me from making these same foolish mistakes again.
I spent about a third of my life getting to the point where I got married.
I spent about a third of my life being married.
I figure, if the Goddess is good to me and I don’t abuse my carcass too much, I’ve got about a third of my life left. And I don’t want my “Third Act” to be anything less than the best it could possibly be – whatever that means. And that’s a big piece of what I want to explore here in writing, as I draw down the curtain on Act 2 and take my mark in the wings for the curtain’s rise on Act 3.
After a long radio silence, my blog is about to both restart in earnest and take a serious turn to the weird and personal. (Even more than before, hahaha) The reasons for this will become apparent shortly….
Hold on to your hats, or just skip the entire following category of posts (anything “life weirdness”).
It’s a raw, windy, gray day here in Northwestern Ohio. I was hanging laundry out, and the dampness of the clothes instantly chilled my fingers numb. Which matched the numbness of my heart as I contemplated the last week’s events.
So much hate. So much fear. The presidential election didn’t go the way I wanted it to, because it couldn’t have – I didn’t want either major candidate to win. But I will abide by the results, and strive to make this country work the best it can in spite of those results.
But the hate and fear emanating from the losers. And the hate and bigotry from some that we must suppose consider themselves “the winners”. The open calls for armed revolution, even from those (my own brother!) who have spent their entire lives selflessly serving others, regardless of color, creed, gender, or any of those tiniest of issues that divide our common humanity.
Which causes me to reflect more on how I can promote joy, and love, and light through my service. Everyone hear me now – I stand against all hate. Consider me “safety pinned”, or “White Rosed”, or just an ordinary man who will not allow hate into his life. This means hate expressed to individuals, to whole groups (of whatever kind) tarred with the widest of brushes – this means hate of my nation (for all its noble aspects and its flaws), threatened to be torn apart by intolerants of every stripe, or by international jackals waiting to catch us wounded and vulnerable.
I remain at Condition Yellow, both tactically in my day-to-day affairs, and strategically for the future of my nation. But I will not succumb to fear and hate. I will not let the darkness overcome the light.
Part 1 – Part 2 – Part 3 – Part 4 – Part 5 – Part 6 – Part 7
What did I want?
I wanted a Roc’s egg…. I wanted to get up feeling brisk and go out and break some lances, then pick a likely wench for my droit du seigneur–I wanted to stand up to the Baron and dare him to touch my wench! I wanted to hear the purple water chuckling against the skin of the Nancy Lee in the cool of the morning watch and not another sound, nor any movement save the slow tilting of the wings of the albatross that had been pacing us the last thousand miles….
I wanted to sail with Ulysses and with Tros of Samothrace and eat the lotus in a land that seemed always afternoon. I wanted the feeling of romance and the sense of wonder I had known as a kid. I wanted the world to be what they had promised me it was going to be–instead of the tawdry, lousy, fouled-up mess it is.
― Robert Heinlein, Glory Road
And I may have nearly found it….
It’s no secret that for some time I’ve wanted to start learning some martial arts. I arranged to bring the Polaris Fellowship of Weapons Study to Penguicon back in 2012 to restart the track (formerly called “Mayhem”, now called “Action-Adventure”) of introduction to martial arts and related material. And when I learned that Polaris offers a week-long summer intensive in their style of knife and sword training, I was bound and determined to attend.
I nearly went last year (and in fact had already registered and paid), but a minor medical procedure at just the wrong time knocked me out of it. They offered me a 75% refund or 100% credit towards next year. Guess which one I took. 🙂
Summer Weapons Retreat 2016 (called SWRv, pronounced “swerve”) ran from the 2nd through the 7th of August. Since it started at 8:00 on that Wednesday, I elected to pay the extra trivial fee and go up the night before, bunking over and being ready to start first thing in the morning. Then another minor disaster struck! My car broke down 5 days before I was supposed to leave, stranding me 90 minutes away. However, my friends Cathy and Eric Raymond were also going (as they had done for the last decade) and graciously agreed to pick me up on their way through Toledo.
So they stopped by our apartment Tuesday evening around 5, I packed my gear into their already overstuffed car, and we drove to Brighton, MI for dinner before checking in. Eric suggested I “load up on protein”, as I would be doing some significant muscle-building in the next few days. (A yummy Cajun steak kebob, medium rare, and perfectly broiled sea scallops at The Stillwater Grill – yeah, I think I got enough protein.) Around 8:00, after a rather convoluted drive through the back roads south of Brighton, we arrived at the camp. I found Clint M., the lead instructor, and ‘checked in’ – they said, “Yeah, you’ve paid, and signed all the waivers and other paperwork – twice. You’re good.” So much for formal organization. I found my room in the bunkhouse, and met my roommates Eric M. and Steve. Last one in gets the leftovers – I got my choice of one of the upper bunk beds.
SWRv is held on the grounds of the Emrich Retreat Center, which is run by the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan. It reminds me of other ‘church camps’ I had been to as a kid – a quiet pastoral blend of mowed lawns, woods, and rustic buildings. As other attendees arrived (all of them essentially strangers to me, although I recognized some of the instructors from their participation in Penguicon), the greetings were low-key, and it was clear that they were mostly old friends renewing those friendships. Would I fit in? Could an old duffer like me, totally inexperienced and not at all part of this company, earn a place in it?
Well, let’s just see what happens tomorrow….