War Wounds

I often think of how my children have things better than I did. They definitely are spoiled to a much greater extent than their mother and I. My parents being teachers in Louisiana you would think the state thought they were teaching for fun on their salary. Plus let’s face it, toys are cooler now. Give me some Thundercats and G.I. Joes and that’s all I need. My kids are 7 and 8 now and they have iPads and all kind of other stuff that was technologically impossible. I mean short of a hoverboard they pretty much have all the cool movie gadgets we always dreamt of. (2015 is the year Marty McFly had the hoverboard so there’s hope)

Another way they have a great advantage is they know all of their grandparents and met two sets of great grandparents. That’s something I’m truly happy about because I only had one living grandparent (my dad’s dad) and my great grandmother on my mom’s side growing up. It’s something I missed out on. My grandfather lived far-away in Florida. I didn’t see him much but he was a great man in my eyes. Definitely a man’s man. Loved John Wayne and wrestling. Could probably build a car from scratch. Drove nothing but Lincolns and I understand he liked to pay cash for them. Great grandma scared the shit out of me and I’ll leave it at that.

I’ve always been curious about my grandfather on my mom’s side. Coleman Joseph “Bobby” Alford. He’s always interested me. He was in World War II. Namely Pearl Harbor. My son carries his name. He had his issues after the war. I think this is what has always made me curious. I just wish I could hear his recount of December 7, 1941. One of the biggest days in our history, a day that would live in infamy, and he was there! He was on the USS Nevada. To know what this man went through on that day would be amazing to me.

The sad thing is he went through his greatest struggles after he returned from the war. Raising my uncles being one of them. My mom of course was an angel. He also became an alcoholic after the war. I’m sure not an uncommon occurrence then and it definitely had its effects on my mom and I’m sure her brothers and sister. Some of them very hard for children although I don’t know much about it. He did get help and sober up in the 70’s. About six months later he was hit by a drunk driver and killed. A very ironic and tragic ending to his life.

To me it’s one of the saddest stories my family has to offer. It does teach me something about family and love. I talked to my mom tonight and at other times about my grandad. Even though they had rough times she never expresses anything but love and respect for the man. It just makes me more intrigued and sad that I never met him.

There is something to be learned from this. Sometimes we have a family member or loved one we don’t get along with. Maybe they hurt us or are going through something we don’t understand. Instead of being quick to judge, or maybe even sever the relationship, we should try to show some love and understanding instead. I know I’ve been judgemental before. We most likely all have. Even my mom (who is a saint). I’ve also know what it’s like to never know someone that may have been very close to you. We should all be grateful for the family members we are blessed to have around us. Sometimes family is all we got, and they need us as bad as we need them.

As for my kids, well they may be too young to appreciate how lucky they are to know all four of their grandparents. From listening to my dad play music to hanging with their Mi Mi or granny. Or my son hunting with his Paw Paw. They are too caught up in the excitement of being a child to understand how amazing these people are. Someday they’ll look back and understand how treasured these times really were. Until then they’ll be waiting for that hoverboard to come out with me.

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Surrounded By Turkeys

You all know the scene on Thanksgiving. Mom and the ladies are all scrambling around the kitchen preparing enough food to feed an entire army battalion. The men are gathered around the television watching one of the many football games on today while they wait to destroy every bit of food prepared by their wives and mothers. The kids are all together playing. It’s a gathering that reminds us why we are thankful and what this day is all about.

Well that’s the scene if you’re not stuck on a tugboat. Things are different here. Everyone is a little grouchy because we’re stuck here away from the families we love. The deckhand cooking today is glazing a ham with a concoction that only Jesus himself knows the contents of. I’m pretty sure the sides will be stovetop stuffing and Kraft mac and cheese. God forbid someone make some cornbread or mash an actual potato. We would have a turkey but some dummy forgot the last grocery order covered Thanksgiving. (Ok I’m the dummy that forgot but we don’t need to point fingers) Needless to say things aren’t the same. At least it’s easy to eat healthy through the holiday when you can’t get Mom’s pumpkin pie.

It’s hard having to work on a holiday and even harder to work away from home. We all miss our families and I’m sure my kids wonder why I didn’t get off the big boat when clearly mommy got off her job. It isn’t all bad though. I’m extremely thankful for the job I have. It’s hard being away from my kids and family but I find my work rewarding. I’m thankful that I know even when I’m not home my children are well taken care of. I’m thankful that I can cook my own meal today and not eat the train wreck of dishes prepared by Chef boy this sucks. All I’m trying to say is that even though we can’t eat with our families and loved ones we should all still be thankful that we have them to come home to. That’s what’s important and what really matters.

So everyone have a Happy Thanksgiving. I’m thankful that when Christmas comes if I write one of these I’ll be doing it from my house with my kids close by probably bugging the crap out of me to assemble some monstrosity my mother bought them with the intent to drive me insane.