Monday, June 30, 2014

Long hours at the hospital

 Twenty-eight hours on call.  No, not as a young doctor but as a chaplain trainee.  That is what Jessica has  experienced over the weekend at the North Carolina hospital she is serving all summer.

Most people want the consolation a chaplain can offer when there is a death of a family member or a dear friend.  This was the  second time Jessica has been on call without assistance. Most of the time

 she works a shift.  During her first time on call, she met with families who lost a family member, including a baby and a 15-year-old girl.

Jessica was able to find time to supervise a youth camp for Apex United Methodist Church, where she will be  employed when school begins.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Congratulations to the Guardian-Journal

Congratulations to the Homer newspaper, the Guardian-Journal, and to editor Michele Bates and publisher Kathy Hightower, on winning two first place  awards for investigative reporting.   Awards were awarded by the Louisiana Press Association, meeting jointly  with the Mississippi Press Association.

One award was for a story questioning travel expenditures of the mayor,  Another story receiving a first place award concerned the town's failure to comply with a notice from the Louisiana Auditor's Office.

As a former editor of the Guardian-Journal, I can appreciate what an accomplishment  this was for the paper and its staff.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Supremes are unanimousi telling Obama it takes more than a pen and a phone.

The Supreme Court has ruled 9-0 that Obama violated the constitution when he appointed members to the National Labor Relations Board without the approval of Congress.

Obama had packed the board with union members, giving the unions unchecked power, with employers deprived of a voice.

Thirteen times the court has voted unanimously  that Obama acted in violation of the constitution.  Now if we had  a way to block the EPA from destroying our already ailing economy with its regulations.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Grand kids return to North Carolina

Except for the TV  at times, all one can hear is silence; the grandkids from North Carolina have returned home. Lily and Oliver accompanied their dad back home where they will see their mother Julie who returned from a conference in Stockholm.  Julie and Mark also enjoyed several days touring Sweden and Norway.

While visiting with us, Lily and Oliver joined their cousins in many recreational activities but sometimes I felt that feeding Sarah, the cat, and Luke, the dog, was their favorite thing.

They expect to be back at Christmas, but that seems a long time away.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

We need a firing squad for the VA

We thought long waiting lists and and lies from the Veterans Administration were bad, and they are, but they are nothing compared to what we have recently learned -- a thousand  veterans, at least, died unnecessarily  at the VA because of poor care.  And  get this -- VA employees got bonuses for giving our veterans bad treatment.

But they can't be fired, the Obama administration declares.  I don't want these guys fired; I want them to face  a firing squad. Yeah, I'm mad as hell.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Battle for Okinawa ends

The bloody battle for Okinawa ended June 22, 1945.  The Allies began landing troops on April 1, Easter Sunday.  The Japanese fought fiercely, recognizing that losing Okinawa meant Japan's last chance to gain victory in the war would end, although the nation would fight on.

Okinawa became the last battle in the Pacific. Dropping of the atom bomb convinced Japanese leaders to surrender.  Many American seamen, including me, were delighted a planned invasion of Japan was not necessary.  Veterans have been heard to proclaim that "President Truman saved my  life when he dropped the atom bomb."

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Today is first day of summer

Summer came in today, June 21, as it is supposed to -- hot. Actually, the summer solstice  began the longest day of the year at 6;51, Eastern Daylight Time.In case you wanted to know, here are the first day of all seasons in 2014:

          Spring Equinox  --March 20, 12:57  EDT

          Summer Solstice --June 21, 6:51 EDT

           Fall Equinox -- September 22, 10:29 EDT

           Winter Solstice -- December 21, 6:03 EST

Friday, June 20, 2014

Liberty at Noumea -- not a Sunday School picnic

Expected and understood but still sad to learn this year will be the final lunch honoring World War II veterans at Barksdale Air Force Base.  After all, the average age  of veterans of that war is 93.  I am a youngster at nearly 88.

This renewed memories of my experiences in the war, with emphasis on Iwo Jima and Okinawa. The anniversary of the end of the battle for Okinawa -- that costly and bloody final battle  -- will be June 21.

The USS Pickens, APA 190, had a job to do and did it, including picking up survivors from three ships, but we were taking it easy in Saipan when we were sent to the French island of New Caledoniaa and its capital
 city of Noumea.

Three of my friends and I were among the first to get liberty, which began in the middle of the morning. We visited a bar, where I had my first taste of an alcoholic drink, which was a Tom Collins because "it tasted like lemonade."

From there we visited the Ships Service, ate some ice cream and bought an Eisenhower jacked for an English serviceman.  We had about exhausted everything the city offered so we decided to go back to the ship.  First we would stop by the bar and have another Tom Collins, but each bar looked the same, a rough plank across two barrels. 

We were sober when we left the bar but as soon as we got back into the sunshine we began to stagger.  How it happened we did not know but we were drunk. We managed to get back to the dock and shipmates took care of us, even helping us undress.

We learned that one third of the crew took care of  the ship, one third went on liberty, and one third took care of the drunks, which turned out to be everybody.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Wow! Quite a day

Three grand kids  --one almost five, another almost three, and the other 15 months  -- were with us Monday evening playing together surprisingly well and keeping us entertained.

Lily and Oliver, accompanied by their dad, Mark, arrived from North Carolina Sunday afternoon. Brighton, of course,  is here in Shreveport. Lily and Oliver had spent the morning with their grandmother Jen, who, with Josh, is getting a house ready to sell or rent.

Mark was to leave Shreveport for Sweden at 6:30, but the plane did not depart until 1:30 in the afternoon. He flew to Houston and from there on  to New York, Munich, and to Stockholm where he will join Julie.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Who fiddled while Rome burned?

No, it wasn't Nero.  It was that man who spent a four-day weekend golfing and fund raising while cities in Iraq fell one by one and hundreds of citizens were beheaded.  For hundreds of years the different religious groups have not gotten along, but Obama says they must fall in love before any effort will be made to help the nation survive the insurgents. 

Can you believe what kind of man we have as president?

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Best Fathers Day gift ever

The news is bad; no one will dispute that,  but there is always something good. Today, June 14, is Flag Day, an occasion to fly the American flag and show we love our country and will fight to save it and protect our freedoms.

Tomorrow is Fathers Day and also the birthday of our daughter, Jessica, the best Fathers Day gift I ever received.  Jessica will be 24, born June 15, 1990.  She has completed her second year at Duke Seminary and is spending the summer serving as a chaplain trainee in a hospital in North Carolina.

Happy birthday, Jessica.

Friday, June 13, 2014

"Dream" becomes nightmare

Tens of thousands of mostly children crossed  the border from Mexico into the United States, giving us a problem that is continuing.

Why are they making that long journey?  President Obama  invited  them.  Word is out all over Central America that Obama refuses to enforce laws on immigration.  The president has  promised that if children enter the United States they will be allowed to stay here  and invite their parents and other relatives to come, also.

Just one more Obama goof.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Obama gets his way in Iraq

To Obama, the war to free Iraq was never military but was political.  He wanted to boast he ended the war in Iraq and brought the soldiers home..  Now the Obama security and military advisers were caught napping as insurgents (or terrorists or militants, whatever) have within 48 to 72 hours captured at least two large cities and are threatening Baghdad.  What are we to do now? Is all that blood shed in Iraq shed in vain?

We hardly saw you

Jessica is back in North Carolina after being home for a few days.  We were able to spend  little time with her because she spent most of her time as a voting delegate to the annual Louisiana conference of the United Methodist Church.

                         Mark arrives Friday night with Lily and Oliver

Mark  will be here for  a couple of days before flying to Sweden to join Julie, who will be attending a conference.  They will take time to visit places in Scandinavia. I envy them that trip.  On the other hand, we will enjoy a visit with grand kids Lily and Oliver.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Sad but expected

Luncheons honoring World War II veterans will come to an end after a final luncheon this fall.  This is announced in a notice sent out by Col. Steve dePyssleir, director retiree activities office, Barksdale Air Force Base.  In the announcement it was pointed out that WWII veterans average age is 93.

This is not a surprise.  It is a symbol  of what is happening as veterans are dying.  Veterans of the  Second World War grew up during the Great Depression, learning as children about working hard  and doing without.  They served valiantly overseas  to save our country and our freedoms, and they returned to rebuild this nation to be strong militarily and economically. Today, their voice is largely ignored and they can only hurt as the present leadership seems determined to wreck the country.

Jessica's sermon well received

Jessica was warmly received as she gave the sermon Sunday morning at Christ United Methodist Church. She told of her desire to do mission work in Israel and related how various obstacles have been overcome.

Jessica attended the opening of the annual Louisiana conference of  the Methodist Church Sunday evening and will be attending as a voting delegate Monday and Tuesday.  She will return to North Carolina Tuesday to take up her duties as  a chaplain trainee at a hospital there.

Friday, June 6, 2014

D-Day Normandy

Early on the morning of June 6, 1944, soldiers, sailors and airmen began the largest amphibious operation at that time to free Europe.  The next 24 hours began what was to be a major turning point in World War II. More than 10,000 were killed or wounded in the fight.

While remembering those who  participated, let's not forget there were other D-Days before the victory over Japan ended the war.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

"Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!

Immortal words from one of our greatest presidents.  Ronald Reagan died ten years ago today. He was 93 years old.  Mrs. Reagan put flowers on his grave.  How much this country misses and needs him!

Jessica arrives Friday

Looking forward to Jessica arriving Friday night from North Carolina where she is devoting the summer to serving as a chaplain trainee in a hospital there.

While at home Jessica will preach this Sunday, serve as a delegate to the Louisiana annual conference of the United Methodist Church, and celebrate her birthday, which falls on Father's Day.

About mayhaws and other things

An article in the newspaper about mayhaws got me remembering how fortunate we were to have access to so many wild fruits, not only mayhaws and the queen of jelly it supplied, but blackberries from spring to fall, two kinds of plums, and muscadine grapes.

We had a wild cherry tree but the fruit was too sour to eat, except for birds who would eat the cherries, get drunk, and fall to the ground.

Cultivated fruits began to ripen in June and July -- first figs and then watermelons and cantaloupes.

Life wasn't without its good things when i was a kid on the farm.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

A dirty, evil action for political gain

Surely, not even Obama would make a deal to free five Taliban commanders to enable them to wreak more havoc on the world, all h in exchange for an American soldier held by the Taliban for five years. 

The United States does not negotiate with terrorists and does nt free terrorists for promises the enemy will  free our people who are captured.  To give in would lead to the taking of more of our citizens. Yes, that's what we thought.  Obama, though, flouts the constitution, laws and morality.  He made the deal to free the Taliban leaders and likely some Americans will pay the price. 

What about this guy we got in exchange.  It is noble to say we will leave no one behind, and we can not but be happy an American is free.  However, there are questions about whether Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl was a captive.  An article in 2010 says Bergdahl walked away from  his post in Afghanistan leaving a note criticizing the American forces.  The army searched for the sergeant for two months, six men losing their lives.

Something about this stinks worse than rotting fish.  More information is needed, but at present it appears that Obama should be impeached.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Shellback initiation

The battle in Okinawa would continue until June 21 when the Japs surrendered, but the USS Pickens had left the battle area weeks before and was at Saipan when we got orders to leave  June 3, 1945, for the Solomon Islands.  If T knew the purpose then, I have forgotten it.

We would cross the equator on our way, and that inspired the Shellbacks on board (sailors who had crossed the equator before) to plan initiation for the Pollywogs (us that would be crossing for the first time).
Pollywog flags began to appear throughout the  ship, one even flying from a topmast.  The admiral raised hell about this and ordered the flag taken down.

As we crossed the equator initiation began. John  White has supplied pictures taken by his father Mike White, who was a Shellback and ship photographer. Copies of those pictures are on my blog dated June  11, 2014.