Obligatory Memorial Day Post (2017 Edition)

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arlington cemeteryToday is Memorial Day here in the United States of America, where I dwell. A day where we remember and acknowledge those veterans and soldiers who have fought for our freedoms in the past, and are currently fighting for them now. Also a day to remember the loved ones that have shuffled off this mortal coil, some far too soon.

Since I hold my family to be a very important part of my life, I thought I would take a moment to share a list of the names of the family members I remember fondly while growing up:

Bill Wheatley (Great-Grandfather)
Charlotte Marie Case (Great-Grandmother)
Robert Case (Grandfather)
Esther Case (Grandmother)
Gerald Strand (Grandfather)
Betty Strand (Grandmother)
Orland Krohn (Grandfather)
Fern Krohn (Grandmother)
Douglas Erickson (Great-Great Uncle)
Natalie Erickson (Great-Great Aunt)
Janice Nuzum (Great Aunt)
Bill Rabe (Great Uncle)
Murial Rabe (Great Aunt)
Barry Rabe (Second Cousin)
Janet Donahey (Aunt)
Janel Case (Sister)
Allen Donahey (Cousin)
Jerry Donahey (Cousin)

…this is not a complete list, of course. And by no means is it by order of importance. These are the ones that I remember as have being part of my life. There have been others, and there will be others to come. Such is the nature of living.

Anyway, happy Memorial Day, and thank you for all who have served, and are still serving in some capacity. Cheers, all…

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MAY 2015, Part 2: Playing Hooky, Pancakes in Iowa, and Memorial Day Shenanigans…

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RED GREEN!

Spotted at my Aunt’s house…sadly, it didn’t come with a roll of duct tape…

Continuing on with my assessment of the month that was May…

Weekend 3 (May 16th): This was the day I planned on going to a folk metal show in Lincoln, but decided that morning to skip out and do nothing. I wasn’t feeling like traversing all the way to a city that bears nothing but bad memories and the like, just to get my face melted off by a trio of bands that, admittedly, I am not very familiar with, outside of checking out some clips online. They’re very obscure, and I know I would have enjoyed them more had I gone, maybe even picked up some merch and looked into buying a download of one of their albums. I would have even been supporting live \,,/METAL\,,/ playing in Nebraska. But, my despondency levels due to my ongoing depression won out, and I instead remained in Omaha. I do not regret this decision.

Weekend 4 (May 23rd-May 25th): Memorial Day Weekend. Due to the events happening last year, I decided to once again participate in the annual Pancake Feed that the Dunlap, Iowa Volunteer EMT puts on in the Firehouse the Sunday of Memorial Day Weekend. I actually enjoyed helping out last year, and this year I thought it would be a good way to come full circle for certain things. I arrived Saturday morning around 10:30-ish to my Aunt and Uncle’s place (it’s been a familiar home-away-from-home since I could remember), and napped in my Uncle’s easy chair for a while, as my Aunt Joyce was called away to help with an accident that happened on Hwy 30 a mere fifteen minutes after I had driven in that area myself. Chilling. But, she finally arrived back, and after chatting for a bit, I accompanied her to the local cemetery. She was helping map the entire place, and she had to go back and double check a few things. I got to walk around a graveyard, which is one of my hobbies. Don’t act so surprised. She pointed out some of the more interesting monuments there, including some gravestones dating back to the Civil War period, and a couple of her favorite ones there. Gleeful chats of the morbid abounded. I’m beginning to understand the part of the gene pool that got sloshed onto me. So now, whenever one of my parents ask me, “Where do you get that kind of morbid behavior from?”, I can now smile conspiratorially, instead of wonder myself.

Dunlap Graveyard

Later on, Aunt Joyce had to take part in some church activities, so Uncle Pat and I joined my Cousin Rob and his kids at the local ice cream and burger joint for some dinner and catching up. My Cousin Julie and her family showed up as well, so it became a nifty family reunion of sorts. Then we all went back to the firehouse to a surprise party thrown for Uncle Pat for his birthday. Yeah, I forgot to mention that it was his birthday that day. There was cake. Very good cake. The kind with toys on top that the kids there made short work of removing to play with when the cake was cut. After all the birthday-related hobnobbing was over, those who were to be involved with the Pancake Feed commenced with the pre-setup duties. For me, that entailed helping to bring over all the foodstuffs needed, breaking open several dozen eggs into five gallon buckets for the scrambled eggs (the highlight of the whole thing), bringing over various cooking implements and the like. Basic grunt work, like last year. There were a few there that remembered me from last year. A couple of people I didn’t recognize praised my work ethic, which always makes me rather uncomfortable, as I’m always thinking that I could always put more effort into whatever it is I’m doing than what I am. Kind of a messed-up situation, having people tell you you’re doing awesome, while you’re thinking that you’re really sucking at what you’re doing. Anyway, we finished that up and went back to Casa de Cogdill, where I immediately went to bed, on account I was looking at a 5:30am start time the next day.

Uncle Pat's Birthday Cakes

the cake, sans the toys…the kids made off with the majority of them…before I could play with them…

I awoke to the alarm at the prescribed time, somehow managing to not instinctively throw the Android across the room to make it shut up. I don’t care if I was raised in a farming family, 5:30 in the morning is a time when only the truly bent really enjoy being up at. Oh, I’ll do it, but just don’t expect me to be cheery at that time. Or coherent. Or able to conjugate verbs, for that matter. I was lucky enough to conjure up the motor skills needed to turn the shower knobs. But, shower and dress I did, and I was off to meet Uncle Pat at the Firehouse to begin the final setup for the Pancake Feed that was to start at 7am. Others started trickling in, as we set up some signs, moved the emergency vehicles outside, set up tables and chairs, and got the food prepared. I nominated myself for juice duty, as it was something I did last year, and it also kept me from having to manhandle the food serving too much. That, and I could indulge my OCD side, in making a bit of a game with seeing if I was able to keep an even amount of juice-filled styrofoam cups out at any given moment. The goal itself was to maintain a perfect square of juice-filled cups, which…okay, I’m beginning to now see how kind of sad that is. Still, no one ran out of juice cups to grab. Yay, me.

Juice 3 juice 2

The pancakes were really good. The sausages were fantastic, though. They were Farmland brand, I was told, and I found myself having to make myself not snack on those tasty links of spiced breakfast pork meat the whole time. The eggs were good, though needed a bit of salt. The ham was good, but I do have to admit that I kept looking at the bunch of ham that was being served, and couldn’t help but think about a certain Patton Oswalt bit and snicker, which drew a few confused looks from the servers at times. I didn’t really explain, as I’m not going to do so now, really.

HAM!

“ALL OF THE HAM!!!!”

Massive amounts of people came, consuming mass quantities of carb-laced goodness. I think Uncle Pat gave more firetruck rides for the kids there than before, not certain exactly how many he gave. It was a lot, enough for him to comment on it later. I managed to stay and help out until a bit after Noon, when my body began aggressively insisting that I go lay down somewhere, and soon. So, I was given leave to head back to Casa Cogdill, where I gratefully crashed on the couch for a few hours. I was told I looked comfy. I was.

Pancake Feed 2 Pancake Feed 1 Inside Pancake Feed 3 Inside Pancake Feed 2 Inside Pancake Feed 1classic dunlap fire truck

The next day, Memorial Day, I didn’t have to be at work, so I stayed one extra night, and went to the nearby town of Woodbine, where my cousin Rob dwells with his family, to hang out a bit. It was his youngest child’s third birthday, the one I came to nickname “Boo”, on account of her uncanny resemblance to the toddler in Monsters, Inc. Watched Big Hero 6 (which is something I have to get around to reviewing now), hung out with the kids, chatted with the cousins and family, then I made up a cup full of various fruit and grabbed a diet Root Beer for the drive back to Omaha, for the planned Cookout & Movies gathering at Nex’s place. Got there in time for a couple of hot dogs, then watched Stargate and The Grand Budapest. I did more socializing that weekend than I normally do in a handful of months. And my introvert nature was making me hyper aware of this.

cowboy hat n' motorhead

As my Gran’pa always said, “Son, if you ever get the chance to wear a pink cowboy hat, don’t pass it up.”

Last part is coming up…

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Some Meta Posting For Now…

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1875:  A round tower and Great Cross in the graveyard at Monasterboice monastery, County Louth, founded by Saint Buite. Figured panels on the South Cross illustrate the Crucifixion, the Last Judgement and the Murder of Abel.  (Photo by Mercer/Sean Sexton/Getty Images)

1875: A round tower and Great Cross in the graveyard at Monasterboice monastery, County Louth, founded by Saint Buite. Figured panels on the South Cross illustrate the Crucifixion, the Last Judgement and the Murder of Abel. (Photo by Mercer/Sean Sexton/Getty Images)

Here we are, nearly to the middle of the year that is 2015. The smack-dab middle of the middle year of the decade of the…”Tens”, is it? I know about the first part being the “Aughts” or something like that. Really, the teenage years are the most awkward and ill-defining, be it humans or decades.

It’s also Saturday morning, in what is normally known here in my neck of the world as Memorial Day Weekend. The weekend in preparation for Memorial Day, the last Monday of May set aside to remember those who have sacrificed their time, efforts and sometimes even lives for the freedoms we all too often take for granted here in the U. S. of A. The manner of remembrance of which is marked by not going to work, congregating outdoors in sensuous pagan rituals known as “grilling burgers and brats” and drinking copious amounts of adult beverages, while wearing rather unflattering and sometimes tacky clothing and listening to what is called Country Music singing about patriotism, drinking said adult beverages, and some unidentified female referred to as “Baby Girl” whose choice of transportation is either a pickup truck or a tractor, depending on the artist in question.

I feel I should tell you, tender reader, that I’m writing this post freestyle, and make not promises as to doing any editing. All of this is straight from my sleep-deprived brain to your eyeballs, while I wait for my clothes to finish drying at this early hour.

Anyhoo, this weekend, after my laundry is finished in a bit, I’m taking off for the mythical land of Dunlap, Iowa, to spend a couple of days with my Uncle Pat and Aunt Joyce at their place. I’m going to help them out again this year with the Pancake Feed their volunteer rescue team puts on. I did so last year, and figured I would do it again this year. It would be a nice short vacation out of the madness that is my dwelling and daily routines and rituals.

I’m not planning on bringing along my laptop. I really want to focus on some things that have been bumping around in my surprisingly spacious skull. Meditate on certain things, all that. The only techy device I plan on bringing along is my Android. Otherwise, I’m bringing along my Bible and binder notebook for the old school writing when the urge to purge my brain droppings comes about. Old school, baby.

Then, on Memorial Day proper, I return to the land of Omaha, to partake of one of the previously-mentioned grilling rituals with several members of the Coven of Exalted Geeks, followed by the watching of a b-grade movie. I shall enjoy it immensely.

The clothes are done. I must now prepare for my journey into the netherworld of Iowa. Cheers, all, and a have a memorable Memorial Day Weekend. For all of you reading this from other points in the world, enjoy your weekend.

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