A few weeks ago, people in Eugene held a ceremony to remember Thomas Egan. I served with Major Egan, then Captain Egan, in the Oregon Army National Guard. My husband and I both did. After we moved to Coos Bay and my husband retired from the National Guard I never saw him again but we thought about him occasionally. After his death and the creation of the warming centers I think of him more often and wish that we had kept in touch. At the time of his death there was mention of how much he had qualified for in Army retirement and someone wondered why he hadn’t collected. I wondered that myself until my husband reached the age where he could collect his. Now I think I know why there are “Thomas Egans” in the world. Men and women who are eligible for military retirement who haven’t gotten it. With today’s combined forces and the reserve component participating more and becoming deployed for extended periods I hope that things have changed, but when I was in, and during the time when my husband put in his twenty-plus years, things were different for the Army National Guard. We were the bastard step-children of the military. All one had to do was enlist and attend basic training to be reminded how those who served “one weekend a month and two weeks in the summer” lacked the integrity and honor to really enlist. The sad story of Vietnam still hung like a fog in history, and so did many stories about men who had joined to “beat the draft” because they didn’t want to go. There were stories also about soldiers who joined because the National Guard would take people who “couldn’t make the grade” to become career soldiers. All our equipment was third generation hand-me-downs from the regular forces. Some of it had been made workable by combining several into one good reliable unit. That was just how it was. I remember when our battalion got its first Hum-Vee. Everyone, from the infantry to the headquarters office staff found a reason to go look at it. I never learned to drive one because I was “attached”, and women didn’t go to combat back then. But I did get to ride in the ambulance version. It had a working heater – something our poor second-hand gamma-goats never had.
There were always sad stories about soldiers who were injured on weekends and during annual training who couldn’t work their regular jobs when they got back home and lost jobs, homes, and families as a result. The system didn’t seem to care back then, it simply wasn’t created to help in any way and if you injured yourself while on a drill weekend you were just out of luck. There was only so much the full-time staff of the battalion could do and after that it was up to the military department – who was pretty much guaranteed not to do anything. For some reason I thought it would be different when it came time for my husband to claim his retirement. My husband, like Major Egan, put in over 20 years so that he qualified for a partial military retirement. When we decided that it would be good to start getting it he was told it would take over nine months to get it – IF (and I emphasize IF) the military department decided he was worthy. So, he applied and waited. When he hadn’t heard anything, he asked and was told to wait longer and heard nothing. I think he even contacted our representative to see if they could inquire about it. After a year and another birthday, he decided to re-apply. He went to Salem and spoke to the Army National Guard full time person who handles those things. Again, the paperwork was completed and filed, this time the liaison (a different one than before) carefully checked and covered everything. Taking time to dig through old records stored away in a different place to make sure that he had everything. He also told us that not only my husband but myself could have ID cards and medical care and that we could get them both in a matter of weeks. Something we hadn’t gotten before. But the retirement – it would take at least NINE months and perhaps longer to get. This time, because the liaison had put in so much work to make sure everything was perfect before sending it back he was sure there would be something. Although they couldn’t tell us how much. So again, we wait. I’ve researched on the web and decided that perhaps, maybe it will be enough to be rent and utilities each month – and maybe a little extra for food if we are conservative with spending. Plenty to keep us from being homeless, if my husband’s health doesn’t change and he continues to work until then.
So, I think back on Major Egan and a few of the times I drilled with him that stand out in my memory. I remember the time when he had been told that he needed to find a Major position, or he would have to leave the Guard before he had the 30 years in that he was planning. Then to read that he had not been collecting that retirement he had worked so hard to get was disturbing to me. I wondered why he hadn’t gotten it. That was until my husband wanted to get his. I think now I understand. I also wonder how many other reserve component or perhaps even regular service retired military folks are not getting paid. A lot can happen in nine months if you don’t have a job and are hurting. How many homeless people could be getting retirement medical and pay if they had someplace they could stay safe for a year and have an address? How many more Thomas Egans will there have to be before people who served their country in the reserve forces get their retirement and benefits in a reasonable time? I don’t trust anything about the homeless census that is going on. Do they ask if someone might be eligible for retirement or benefits IF they had a place to live? I’ve already been told that the federal government takes the numbers submitted by the states and cuts them in half because, “they always pad them because they want more benefits” I know in Coos County they are being extra careful to be accurate so that nobody can say that they exaggerated about what is an epidemic problem here.
I’ve remembered often about the first time I met Captain Egan. We had formed up the convoy to take us back home from our two weeks at Hunter Legit in California back to Cottage Grove and Eugene. Several folks had used chalk to mark their trucks with slogans such as, “Oregon or Bust” and, “So Long California”. I was just a fresh recruit and didn’t know anyone outside of my own unit and was looking for a piece of chalk to put my own graffiti on my truck. I walked up to the only officer I saw and said, “Sir, do you have some chalk I can borrow?” He got a pondering look on his face, the expression is hard to describe but classic Egan, and he slowly put his hand in his pocket and brought it back out with his fingers wrapped around something. “No,” he said, “I don’t have any chalk, but I have a horseshoe nail.” He opened his hand to reveal a brand new, never been used, horseshoe nail. It’s hard to forget someone who carried a nail with him to remind him of the importance of little things. “For the want of a battle the kingdom was lost, And all for the want of a horseshoe-nail.”
I have a rendezvous with Death
At some disputed barricade,
When Spring comes back with rustling shade
And apple-blossoms fill the air—
I have a rendezvous with Death
When Spring brings back blue days and fair.
It may be he shall take my hand
And lead me into his dark land
And close my eyes and quench my breath—
It may be I shall pass him still.
I have a rendezvous with Death
On some scarred slope of battered hill,
When Spring comes round again this year
And the first meadow-flowers appear.
God knows ‘twere better to be deep
Pillowed in silk and scented down,
Where love throbs out in blissful sleep,
Pulse nigh to pulse, and breath to breath,
Where hushed awakenings are dear…
But I’ve a rendezvous with Death
At midnight in some flaming town,
When Spring trips north again this year,
And I to my pledged word am true,
I shall not fail that rendezvous.
Alan Seeger was born in New York City on June 22, 1888, and received a BA from Harvard University in 1910. Known for his poetic representation of the First World War, he was the author of Poems (Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1916) and Letters and Diary of Alan Seeger (Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1917), both published posthumously. In a review for The Egoist in 1917, T. S. Eliot wrote that Poems “is high-flown, heavily decorated and solemn, but the solemnity is thoroughgoing, not a mere literary formality.” After joining the French Foreign Legion in 1914, Seeger was killed in action in northern France on July 4, 1916. (1) https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poet/alan-seeger
Alan Seeger (22 June 1888 – 4 July 1916) was an American poet who fought and died in World War I during the Battle of the Somme, serving in the French Foreign Legion. Seeger was the uncle of American folk singer Pete Seeger, and was a classmate of T.S. Eliot at Harvard. He is best known for the poem, I Have a Rendezvous with Death, a favorite of President John F. Kennedy. A statue representing him is on the monument in the Place des États-Unis, Paris, honoring fallen Americans who volunteered for France during the war. Seeger is sometimes called the “American Rupert Brooke.” (2) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Seeger
Coming soon! I’m going to the small town of Mitchell, Oregon to watch from my aunt’s ranch. They are expecting literally bumper-to-bumper traffic even in small out-of-the-way places like Mitchell. It might be more fun to watch the people as watch the eclipse.
Be sure to follow the safety guidelines as outlined by NASAhere. You can get eclipse viewing glasses from Eclipse2017.orghere.
Everyone concentrates on the problems we’re having in this country lately — illegal immigration, hurricane recovery, alligators attacking people in Florida …
… not me — I concentrate on solutions for the problems — it’s a win-win situation.
Dig a moat the length of the Mexican border.
Send the dirt to New Orleans to raise the level of the levees.
Put the Florida alligators in the moat along the Mexican border.
Any other problems you would like for me to solve today? Yes!
Think about this:
The Ten Commandments
Is it just me, or does anyone else find it amazing that during the mad cow epidemic our government could track a single cow, born in Canada almost three years ago, right to the stall where she slept in the state of Washington? And, they tracked her calves to their stalls. But they are unable to locate 12 million illegal aliens wandering around our country. Maybe we should give each of them a cow.
They keep talking about drafting a Constitution for Iraq …. why don’t we just give them ours? It was written by a lot of really smart guys, it has worked for over 200 years, and we’re not using it anymore.
THE 10 COMMANDMENTS
The real reason that we can’t have the Ten Commandments posted in a courthouse is this — you cannot post ‘Thou Shalt Not Steal’ ‘Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery’ and ‘Thou Shall Not Lie’ in a building full of lawyers, judges and politicians … it creates a hostile work environment.
Also, think about this … if you don’t want to share this for fear of offending someone — Stand up and dare to be politically incorrect.
Posted by Liz on October 25, 2016 in Interestwith Comments closed | ∞
From the internet, original source unknown…
THE 5 MINUTE CHOCOLATE CAKE FOR ONE PERSON… LOOK OUT WORLD!!
5 MINUTE CHOCOLATE MUG CAKE
4 tablespoons flour
4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa
3 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons oil
3 tablespoons chocolate chips (optional)
A small splash of vanilla extract
1 large coffee mug (Microwave Safe)
Add dry ingredients to mug, and mix well.
Add the egg and mix thoroughly.
Pour in the milk and oil and mix well..
Add the chocolate chips (if using) and vanilla extract, and mix again.
Put your mug in the microwave and cook for 3 minutes at 1000 watts. The cake will rise over the top of the mug, but don’t be alarmed! Allow to cool a little, and tip out onto a plate if desired. EAT ! (this can serve 2 if you want to feel slightly more virtuous).
And why is this the most dangerous cake recipe in the world? Because now we are all only 5 minutes away from chocolate cake at any time of the day or night!
Posted by Liz on April 19, 2016 in Interestwith Comments closed | ∞
Working for Farmers Weekly has its advantages. If you ever want a bit of gossip or insider information about farming, there’s usually someone around who’ll tell you. I’ve managed, therefore, to find out some more about the Extreme Shepherding video that has taken Youtube (or should that be Ewetube) by storm and got nearly 3m …
Posted by Liz on April 3, 2016 in Interestwith Comments closed | ∞
The crocuses are in bloom. The idea of blooming crocuses has sent me meandering down the Google path looking up one thing and then inspired to follow another. I’ll share a bit of my mindless travels brought to me by the spring air and sounds of lawn mowers.
Crocus (English plural: crocuses or croci) is a genus of flowering plants in the iris family comprising 90 species of perennials growing from corms. Many are cultivated for their flowers appearing in autumn, winter, or spring. Crocuses are native to woodland, scrub, and meadows from sea level to alpine tundra in central and southern Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, on the islands of the Aegean, and across Central Asia to Xinjiang Province in western China.
I had always assumed that Crocus were from England, as are so many of our lovely flowers. Where did Crocus come about their name? Google doesn’t say much.
In Classical mythology, Crocus (Greek: ??????) was a mortal youth who, because they were unhappy with his love affair with Smilax, was turned by the gods into a plant bearing his name, the crocus (saffron). Smilax is believed to have been given a similar fate and transformed into bindweed.
In another variation of the myth, Crocus was said to be a companion of Hermes and was accidentally killed by the god in a game of discus. Hermes was so distraught at this that he transformed Crocus’ body into a flower. The myth is similar to that of Apollon and Hyacinthus, and may indeed be a variation thereof.
In his translation of Nonnos’ Dionysiaca, W.H.D. Rouse describes the tale of Crocus as being from the late Classical period and little-known.
Interesting that in the first story a love is involved, it seems that is often the case with mythology.
Posted by Liz on September 22, 2015 in Interestwith Comments closed | ∞
I was sorting through files on one of the computers to get ready to upload them to the cloud and I came across this note. It was written in 1998, my grandmother died in 2014 at the age of 103. I never sent it. It would have been so easy to. I post it here so that others might remember to write their grandmother.
I’m always forgetting to write to tell you thank you for the gifts and things you do for me. You have been so faithful – always sending at least a card for every birthday and Christmas since I was little child. It’s not that I don’t appreciate it, it’s just that I’m often in my own world – thinking of everything, worrying about nothing, and forgetting the simple, day-to-day things that are the most important. Things like saying “Thank you” in a timely manner.
I want to tell you how much you have meant to me – not just the gifts you have given over the years – but you. You are my inspiration to appreciate my surroundings and live life completely and to its fullest. Without you, I would never have developed my love of the outdoors, courage around horses, and ability to learn to do anything with my hands. The sewing, shooting, drawing, and painting that you taught me has transitioned to driving school bus, training dogs, and tearing appart computers. Because of the love for the outdoors you have given me, I could never live in town or somewhere that I can’t have my animals close. I need to see the trees, hear the birds, and smell life often and without interuption. These are some of the gifts you have given me – I don’t know how I could ever thank you enough.
Please accept these few words that contain a lifetime of gratitude.
The older I get, the more I enjoy Saturday mornings. Perhaps it’s the quiet solitude that comes with being the first to rise, or maybe it’s the unbounded joy of not having to be at work. Either way, the first few hours of a Saturday morning are most enjoyable.
A few weeks ago, I was shuffling toward the basement shack with a steaming cup of coffee in one hand and the morning paper in the other. What began as a typical Saturday morning, turned into one of those lessons that life seems to hand you from time to time. Let me tell you about it.
I turned the dial up into the phone portion of the band on my ham radio in order to listen to a Saturday morning swap net. Along the way, I came across an older sounding chap, with a tremendous signal and a golden voice. You know the kind, he sounded like he should be in the broadcasting business. He was telling whoever he was talking with something about “a thousand marbles.”
I was intrigued and stopped to listen to what he had to say. “Well, Tom, it sure sounds like you’re busy with your job. I’m sure they pay you well but it’s a shame you have to be away from home and your family so much. Hard to believe a young fellow should have to work sixty or seventy hours a week to make ends meet. Too bad you missed your daughter’s dance recital.”
He continued, “let me tell you something Tom, something that has helped me keep a good perspective on my own priorities.”
And that’s when he began to explain his theory of a “thousand marbles.”
“You see, I sat down one day and did a little arithmetic. The average person lives about seventy-five years. I know, some live more and some live less, but on average, folks live about seventy-five years.”
“Now then, I multiplied 75 times 52 and I came up with 3900 which is the number of Saturdays that the average person has in their entire lifetime. Now stick with me Tom, I’m getting to the important part.”
“It took me until I was fifty-five years old to think about all this in any detail”, he went on, “and by that time I had lived through over twenty-eight hundred Saturdays. I got to thinking that if I lived to be seventy-five, I only had about a thousand of them left to enjoy.”
“So I went to a toy store and bought every single marble they had. I ended up having to visit three toy stores to round-up 1,000 marbles. I took them home and put them inside of a large, clear plastic container right here in the shack next to my gear. Every Saturday since then, I have taken one marble out and thrown it away.”
“I found that by watching the marbles diminish, I focused more on the really important things in life. There is nothing like watching your time here on this earth run out to help get your priorities straight.”
“Now let me tell you one last thing before I sign-off with you and take my lovely wife out for breakfast. This morning, I took the very last marble out of the container. I figure if I make it until next Saturday then I have been given a little extra time. And the one thing we can all use is a little more time.”
“It was nice to meet you Tom, I hope you spend more time with your family, and I hope to meet you again here on the band. 73 Old Man, this is K9NZQ, clear and going QRT, good morning!”
You could have heard a pin drop on the band when this fellow signed off. I guess he gave us all a lot to think about. I had planned to work on the antenna that morning, and then I was going to meet up with a few hams to work on the next club newsletter. Instead, I went upstairs and woke my wife up with a kiss. “C’mon honey, I’m taking you and the kids to breakfast.”
“What brought this on?” she asked with a smile. “Oh, nothing special, it’s just been a long time since we spent a Saturday together with the kids.
Hey, can we stop at a toy store while we’re out? I need to buy some marbles.”