Saturday, April 30, 2011

Wind Shadows

Shadow Shot Sunday
May 1, 2011

Shadow Shot Sunday is the fabulously popular weekly meme started by Tracy in Brisbane. Here in the USA, we post on Saturdays as it is already Sunday in Australia. If you’d like to see more Shadow Shots and find out how to participate, see the Hey Harriet Blog. In the meantime, Gabba Gabba Hey!

My Shadow Shot Sunday submissions are long range telephoto shots of wind turbine blades, taken at a wind farm in rural Minnesota. I love the small shadow on the left side blade in the first photo. In the second, the third blade is submersed in shadow and almost invisible.
I’ve included a couple of photos below that I took while driving through the Palm Springs area of California a few months ago. What do you think? Do these monstrous wind turbines create an ugly landscape? Would you concede their ugliness in your neighborhood to save fossil fuel expenditure and sunsequent pollution and global climate changes?
Wind turbines along Interstate Highway 10 in Southern California, USA
Here in the USA we have plenty of them, but there are more in Europe than America. They produce around 10% of America’s electrical power these days. Some folks say they are ugly and ruin the view of the landscape or the waterfront. But they harness the wind, which is stilll free, or at least blows for free, and they don’t burn coal, oil, natural gas or create nuclear waste to generate electrical power. 
Pardon the glare in the windshield, non professional photographer at work!
But what about the manufacturing and shipping costs involved? How much does it cost to manufacture the parts needed to make one wind generator of the type in the photos? How much energy is used to make one and ship it across the ocean and Continents? How about just dragging it across the country from a United States manufacturer?
The trucking rig alone, that’s the specialized truck needed to haul one of the large specialized pieces, is over $350,000 US dollars. Seven rigs are needed to haul one complete wind turbine. And how about those complete wind turbine towers with blades made in China, bought by American companies with Chinese financed yuan, and set up to generate and sell power for the masses?
Electrical power usage might be out of control by some

Interesting stuff, to be sure. Wave of the future? Maybe so. The industry has grown steadily since the 1990’s. But I wonder how it would be if we all just had our own old fashioned windmill and generated our own power.


Friday, April 29, 2011

Black Crow Talkin' To Me

Haiku My Heart
April 29, 2011

Haiku My Heart is a creation by Rebecca who pens the recuerda mi corazon blog. Check it out HERE for more Haiku and find out how to participate.

NOTE: As I went to link my Haiku My Heart offering, I found out about the passing of a wonderful soul. An artist, a healer, a wonderful wise human being. I have shared many a thought with her as we both loved the Great Lake Superior and, in fact, all the great lakes.
Deborah Gilchrist, may she rest in Peace

Most every day I play a little game with my charges. The two middle Grandkids. The older 13 year old leaves for school an hour earlier and the younger 4 year old is taken to day care. I am left hanging with the 7 and 11 year old. I help with breakfast and make sure they have their school backpacks ready to go, boots or shoes, jacket and what-not.

The game is about whether or not I will drive them to school. They know I like to go to the Dish and the Spoon Cafe. They also know I usually leave right after their school bus takes them away. They are so smart that they know I drive right near their respective schools and can easily give them a ride. We tease and leave the actual verbal instructions of, "Okay, go get in the van, I'll give you a ride this morning." until the last possible moment. All with smiles and laughing.

A side bar to this little game is that we pick a song to sing every day as we drive the few minutes it takes to get to Rocky Branch and River Falls Public Montessori. This was started by me just picking a song and singing it. Through repetition, they learned the words. Lately, we have hammered out "Rockin' Robin" ad nauseum, but the past has seen great hits like "16 Tons" and Shirley Ellis' famous "Name Game".

You haven't heard nuthin' like a six year old little girl beltin' out "I got one fist of iron, the other of steel, if the right one don't get ya, the left one will"

The other day, tiring of Rockin' Robin, we wanted a new song to sing. No one had an immediate idea. I told the kids I'd write a song and that I'd done that in the past. The first lines turned out to fit, in syllables, what I have been doing on Fridays here at Haiku My Heart. So, here are the first lines of a new song we'll be learning and singing on our way to school from Spadoville.

Black Crow talk to me
Teach me how to fly, make me
A dot in the sky

The black crows make a racket most mornings around here all year long. What are they saying? What do we want to say to them? Their speech sounds like complaining, but surely they can't be that curmudgeonly. Maybe they're answering our age old questions or telling  us how it is to be able to fly. Okay, so maybe there are some complaints about the scraps left near the trash cans. Maybe they're out of bourbon. I know one crow that drinks nothing but Remy Martin Cognac.

Please drink in moderation, don't drink and fly.

So, here are a few possible verses for our new song:

Black Crow talkin’ to me
Tell me what you see
Black Crow talk to me
Teach me how to soar in the sky
With the buzzards and the eagles up high
Make me a dot in the sky
Show me the way to go home
Wake up the neighborhood
Don’t leave me alone
Black Crow talk to me
Share with me what you see

Share with me what yer talkin' about

Let me see from way up high

Show me the secret, teach it to me

Let me fly away home

Let me tell you, there are not many better ways to spend part of an hour in the morning than singing with children. So many times, we play yet another game. As we sit around the table at dinnertime. One of the little ones starts it off by asking, "What's your favorite part of the day?" The question goes around the table and each person tells all what that event might be.

When it comes to me, my answer often is, "Driving the kids to school this morning."

Peace to all

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Nothing Much to Offer

Many around the country are looking for sunshine. Maybe it will come out from hiding soon

What a dreary dismal day weatherwise here in the Northland. The rain and wind came in last night and even with the just-after-six-AM-sunrise the windows didn't allow any light in to let us know it was morning. It was really sunny and quite warm Sunday. Even yesterday gave a glimpse of sun and some heat from Ole Sol. But today, and the next few days according to the NOAA weather service, we're in for blustery rainy, and even some snow mixed with rain, weather.

Not sure what I'll do today. I don't much feel like writing or posting on the blog. To be honest, I haven't for a while. Can't put my finger on why exactly, but there are no creative juices flowing here in Spadoville for moi. I have some art projects to work on, maybe, but without desire and passion, I'm lost. I'm sure if I looked around, I could find something to do. The downstairs bathroom toilet needs replacement and I've had a new one in the garage for a couple of months. Maybe I'll be a plumber today, maybe not.

I was going to go to Chicago today and attend the visitation and funeral for my Uncle. He passed late last week. I am so fortunate to have been able to see him last week, to tell him I love him and that we were all praying for him. He thanked me, although he may have not really known who I was at that very moment.

Uncle Willis was the Uncle that played Santa Clause when my cousins and I were growing up. We'd spend Christmas at my Aunt's place as my Grandma and Grandpa on my Dad's side of the family lived with my Aunt and Uncle. That's another memory I have about my Uncle Willis. He housed and cared for his Mother and Father-in-law for pretty much his entire married life. After Grandma and Grandpa passed away, he continued to care for his family.

Uncle Willis as Santa, with Grandpa, Auntie and Grandma. He's holding cousin Tommy

He worked for my Dad after the war. My Dad bought a couple of trucks from the US Army in 1945. He put them to work at a factory in Chicago called Santay Corporation. Uncle Willis drove one of the trucks and later went to work at a trucking company. He retired as a Teamster sometime around 1990.

My Aunt showed me a note he had written just before he went on this final journey. It was personal, but she shared it because it had a simple message. He told her that he loved her. The handwriting was shaky, but he knew what he wanted to say.

I'm not going to make the trip. The weather is terrible for a 400 mile drive and the van is acting up, needing some work on the differential. I can't trust it. I guess it sounds like I'm making excuses, but really, deep down, I want to remember Uncle Willis alive, looking at me and thanking me for coming to visit him.

Rest in Peace Uncle Willis. I'll pray for the rest of us you left behind, that our grief will be understood and the memories will be fond ones.

Peace to all

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Inverted Footprints

Shadow Shot Sunday
April 23, 2011

Shadow Shot Sunday is such fun. I can't even get through a day without seeing something that I think would make a great Shadow Shot. Check it out for yourself. Go to Hey Harriet and see more great Shadow Shots and find out how you can participate.

I tell you, it has become an obsession. I can't get through the course of a day without seeing something where I don't make the comment, "That would be a cool shadow shot!"

Problem is, this past week we've had no sun!
So, I dug through the photo archives and found these two unique photos. They were taken while on a trip out to the West coast on a family vacation we took in 2009. Twenty Two days on the road, 13 states and never had to yell at the kids once! Well, maybe once, but that's all!

I call them Yin and Yang. How one is deeply set into the sand and the other is inverted and raised above the surface is beyond me, but there they are, and both with a bit of shadow to prove it. Seems like even the air bubbles from the clam holes have shadows!

We don't have any plans for any kind of epic traveling vacation this coming Summer. We'll make some shorter trips and I'm sure we'll get to some beaches, but none will be like watching the Grandkids playing on the Northern California coast like we did in 2009.

Hope everyone has a great week and that the shadows start appearing for us here way up North in Wisconsin USA.

Gabba Gabba Hey!

Here's the kids having a great time making those unique footprints
  Peace to all

Friday, April 22, 2011

A Long and Winding Road

Haiku My Heart
April 22, 2011

Haiku My Heart is a place where soft hearts and peaceful minds meet and write Haiku, at least every Friday, but sometimes for days in advance or after. Please check out Rebecca’s recuerda mi corazon blog for more Haiku and find out how you too can participate.
Pyramid of dreams
What awaits us at the end
Fate pours through our hands
This photo looked like a pyramid for a moment when I was messin’ around with it. So the word pyramid came to my head and I wanted to use it in today’s Haiku My Heart offering. This Haiku was way out there for a while, and believe it or not, every word has strong relevant meaning. I won’t explain what the words and picture mean to me because there would no doubt be a huge difference in what it all might mean to you. I think it’s suppose to be that way.

So, take each word, or each line or the entire Haiku and have at it. What I’ve noticed since I started trying my hand at Haiku on Rebecca’s Haiku My Heart Meme is that each and every one of the participants entries makes me think of something, reminds me of some event or just spurs emotions from the visuals, words or both that I get as I travel from blog to blog. And some Fridays, there are at least a couple that I never know the true meaning that is being conveyed. And that's okay.

Some things take me a long time to get, (as in “get it”). Also, sometimes I’m not sure if what I ‘get’ is what it’s suppose to be I’m getting. Like the idea in recovery that says the process is spiritual and mentions a higher power. I rebelled against it for many years because I didn’t want to side with any one particular religion.

But now, I have an understanding and the idea is firmly planted in my life as a way of life, a way of living, a path, a walk, a journey. I travel on a rail these days. There is no end to it. Sure, there are train depots and you’ll see end-of-the-rail guards there where the train will stop and eventually head the other way, but surely all rails don’t lead to that spot. The locomotive must be switched or diverted onto that particular track.

Life’s like that. On the rails. Continuous, until switched to one place or another. Who's doing the switching?

My dreams are the places I might want to go. What happens along the way is my life. Where I switch brings me to events and some blind guarded endings and turnarounds. Some spurs are dangerous, some smooth sailing.
I love this. And I love the idea of living this way. Taking the experiences of the past and seeing them in the rear view mirror. Not knowing what’s around the next curve or over the next hill. Just watching the wheels going around and around right where I am at any given moment as I get from the start to the end, of something called life. 

I follow my heart. Matters of the heart, all the physical. emotional and spiritual references to it, are evident now. No one uses the heart better than Rebecca and her legion of followers. I didn't know I had bought into this just a few years ago. Some days I am totally aware of the blood circulating through the system of roads and rails that carry it around my body, into and out of my heart.


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Triple Deuce Reunion 2011

Amazing April sunrise in Northwestern Wisconsin

Just returned from a road trip that logged in at around 2800 miles. From home to Chicago, then Memphis, and continuing on to Atlanta. The drive itself was comfortable. I used Goldie, our little 40 mpg Ford Focus. I had to out of self defense with gas prices upwards of $4.25 a gallon in the Chicago area. Weather cooperated and it was down right Summer all across the South from Memphis to Atlanta. I did experience one stormy morning, but the day improved quickly as we traveled East.
Crossing the Mississippi River, arriving in Memphis, TN

In Atlanta, we spent a few days at the Embassy Suites Hotel. This was the site of the annual reunion for the 22nd Infantry Regiment Society and the group within the group that I belong to, Vietnam Triple Deuce. I called it annual, but the event actually takes place every 18 months. The next one will be in Colorado Springs, CO in September of 2012.
Spring flowers and greenery in Atlanta with Goldie parked in the background

I attended my first reunion in 2009 in Seattle, WA. Up until that time, I didn’t have the desire to go. I had my reasons, or excuses if you will, but I had returned from the battlefields of Vietnam in February of 1970 and always felt that any type of participation would perpetuate and bring to the forefront the horrors of war and in essence say I supported it. I didn’t want to be approving of it, and that was something I realized I was deathly afraid of.
L to R: Spadoman, Bayou Bob, Savage Grace and Larry N.

Even when I attended the 2009 reunion I came away from the event laced with extreme fear. I attended there and was home for weeks before I realized what good my own soul had gleaned from going. There was actually much healing that took place.
My good friend Larry N. from Memphis, TN
This is where I want to make a very big apology. I’m doubtful the people who need to hear it will know I am sorry, but I am. I went back and read what I wrote about the first reunion I attended. I didn’t know what to expect and how the experience would affect me. I didn’t speak very highly of the 22nd Infantry Regiment Society. I let personal opinions get in the way of what I was there for and was quite judgemental and unforgiving.
I did change my mind, over time, and even had a sort of epiphany about the people who fight wars. You see, I am one of them. It skewed my thinking from that point on and I hated what I didn’t understand. I apologize to my brothers in arms. I didn’t “get it”. I rebelled and fell back on old defenses.
I came away from this reunion with a whole new attitude. I think some of the Bravo Company guys I was with in Seattle could see the change in me in Atlanta and I appreciate their patience with me as I mentally grew. The changes can be seen by going back to what I wrote when I recapped the Seattle reunion in THIS POST from October, 2009.
This concept is very hard to explain. I’ll let it rest there and ask you to take my word for it. I felt better about my whole experience of being a boy soldier. I developed a sense of pride for belonging to the 22nd Infantry Regiment and I realized that my past is part of me and has made me who I am today. In a very strange way, it has nothing whatsoever to do with war in a sense, and has everything to do with being human.
Insignia Coat of Arms for the 22nd Infantry regiment Society

At a reunion of this kind, there are people of all walks of life attending. The regiment has a storied history dating back to the war of 1812. US Army units attached to this regiment were part of the 25th and 4th Infantry Divisions in Vietnam. These days, the bulk of the attendees are Vietnam Veterans. But there were WWII, Korea, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans there as well, just in smaller numbers.
At the gala dinner on Saturday night, I arrived a tad late as I was out in the lounge talking with a brother that served in Vietnam. He didn’t buy a ticket for the over-priced fish or chicken dinner or I would have just continued the conversation at the dinner table. When I got into the banquet room, I found that the small group of friends I served with had saved me a seat. We were just four people and shared a large table with another small group of Veterans and their families. These Veterans were older than us and had served in World War Two.
Across the table was John. John hailed from the Chicago suburb of Evanston. Next to me was Herb Fowle of Hillsdale, Michigan. These men were in the 22nd Infantry Regiment and went to Omaha Beach in the invasion of Europe on D-Day, June 6, 1944. These men never mentioned the war. They didn’t have to, none of us did. Herb wrote a book after the war. “It took eleven years”, he told me. I told him I’d be in touch and buy a copy. The name of the book is, "Against All Odds" If you care to, write to Herb and purchase a copy of this exceptional book. He can be reached via e-mail at I sat next to Herb during dinner and found him to be a great man and was honored to share a table with Herb and John.
The cover of Fowle's book from the Amazon site

My emotions ebbed and flowed during this entire experience over the three days I was there. At one point, I left the hospitality room and sequestered myself in my room for a spell. Just getting away to sort things out.
This was and still is a hard animal to understand, even for us that were there. I could see the ones that lubricated their brains with alcohol and how they have surrendered, not only their time at the reunion, but their lives, to the bottle. One way or another, the Warrior deals with what he has lost of himself.
Memories can be a double edged sword. But I can honestly tell you that the three of us that served together in Vietnam in 1969 concentrated on our lives as we live them today and mention the other guys we remember and where they might be. Most of our stories revolve around our relationships with other brothers and the recall of deep seated memories of names, places and what we ate and drank. We talked about the unsavory conditions of being infantry soldiers and the lack of luxurious conveniences that we take for granted today.
The reason I stayed away from such gatherings in the past was my misunderstanding of why we did it. I had this vision of honoring and supporting war, something I don’t and won’t do. But walking my own walk, or practicing what I preach, I realize that no one really had a choice in the matter. Our legacies were pre determined, for the most part, and we are the survivors in that master plan. Life itself remains a great mystery.
That said, it’s common knowledge that any history of events cannot be changed. Time passes, each moment clicks by and what is done is done. We become who we are from all events in our past. Some events have greater bearing than others, and probably none more than war. Enough said.
My Red Ant award from 2009

As I did in 2009 when I attended my first reunion, Larry N. and Bayou Bob received an award called The Order of the Red Ant. In Vietnam, it was inevitable that we'd run into nests of these large bothersome biting red ants. Seems like everyone had a story about their run-in with them. These photos are from my cell phone camera and I apologize for their inferior quality, but the occasion of Larry and Bob receiving their Red Ant Medallion had to be chronicled.

Larry receiving his Red Ant award.

I’m home. It was a safe trip. I got closer to people I spent time with for only a short time a long long time ago. I always called them my friends, but now we are true friends. We’ll carry on our relationships as brothers, and although we have that common thread of serving together on a battlefield, we are together now because we want to be. 
Bob and his spouse and soul mate, a gal who we were introduced to as "Tiny"

Lastly, the men and women who do this bidding for society, be it a “good” war like WWII or the conflicts we are involved with today as Americans, have their own opinions, reasons and justifications for doing what they did, (or didn’t do). But a common thread still binds in spite of any disagreement. 
Most mantra about war and Veterans claims a fight for freedom. This point of view can certainly be argued, but in the mind of a Warrior, for a fleeting moment or carried throughout their lives, we fought for someone’s freedom. That freedom is our own freedom as well. Freedom to sort it out, assess the value and the damage and come away with a value. Mine is that war doesn’t reap dividends, except for the friendships.
Honor the Dead
Heal the Wounded
End the Wars
I’ll continue to Honor the Warrior and not the war 

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Fondness of the Heart

Haiku My Heart
April 15, 2011

Haiku My Heart is a wonderful Meme project started by Rebecca of recuerda mi corazon. Take a look at the beautiful photos and haiku and find out how you can participate in Haiku My Heart.

Sand on stretched out toes
Plump clouds dancing in the sky
Peace on earth, here, now

I like this photo. It is from a few years ago at a beach on the Great Lake Superior. We were on Madeline Island with friends that had come many miles to visit us.
Madeline Island is part of the Apostle Islands. You can see the area where we were on the map.

You have to take a ferry boat to get to the island. The entire lakeshore is part of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. Once there, you’ll find a few shops and a few houses scattered about. There is also the Big Bay State Park.
This photo was taken along a stretch of beach at Big Bay State Park. Two friends out for a walk, feeling the cool sand beneath their feet. Talking, laughing, reliving memories from so many years ago. The birthin’ and the buryin’ of children, relatives and friends.

I needed a lift and seeing these friends enjoying themselves on the beach in this three year old photo, and remembering the laughter and great conversation later that evening, I feel better. I was feeling a little blue as I visited my Uncle while traveling through the Chicago area on my way to Atlanta.

My Uncle is preparing to leave this world and take that final journey. I remember Uncle Willis as a warm, compassionate fun loving human being. As he closes in on his departure, he is showing exceptional courage and teaching us all just how to keep dignity through a difficult time.
My thoughts and prayers are for our family and for Uncle Willis’s journey to be easy and peaceful. I’m also thinking of good friends meeting and exchanging memories and laughter. Making me aware that I need to take time out from ‘problems’ and live a little, like those two friends at the beach.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

On the Road Again

It's early in the morning, Wednesday, April 13th. I'll be heading out soon. The main purpose of my trip is to get to Atlanta GA and attend a reunion of the 22nd Infantry Regiment Society. This is the unit I served with in Vietnam, pretty much the entire year of 1969.

I'll be driving and pass through Memphis and pick up a friend, one of my Veteran friends named Larry. This one is Larry N. (You may remember me mentioning Larry G. and Larry C. in previous posts throughout the years.). Larry N. and I served together over there and I have seen him a couple of times. This time, we'll travel together and meet up with others we served with.

So, it is a road trip, and I am in need of one as I usually feel like I am when its time to travel. Not sure about posting until I return next Wednesday. I'll certainly check in with folks as soon as I get home and get hugs from the Grandkids, my daughters and Mrs. Spadoman.

Thank you for the kind words, wise advice and friendliness on the post below. I appreciate your visits here and I really appreciate the encouragement and support.

May Peace prevail in your lives.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Forty Three Years and Counting

Amored Personnel Carriers, APC's, sit on the road together awaiting orders, Republic of Vietnam, 1969

I turned 18 in May of 1967 and graduated high school one month later. I had a job. I had been working at a grocery store since before I turned 16. Now, school was out and I went to work full-time.

I had a car. My dad made this big thing about transportation and how it was necessary for survival and taught respect for it. That meant your feet, your bicycle, your car or whatever mode you used to get to where you wanted to go was to be of great importance and taken care of.
Now I don’t remember any particular thing or lecture from him about this, I just still have it ingrained in me that transportation was important. Maybe this is why I travel a lot. I'll be leaving on Wednesday for a trip to Atlanta to attend a reunion of the unit I served with in Vietnam, the Triple Deuce.
In high school, I did most of what I had to do to get by. I passed everything. Usually, it went down to the last minute with some report or paper or test I had to take. Threatened often with being withheld from the next grade, but I never thought I wouldn’t get through it.
Graduation, Proviso East High School, 1967
I dated a lot earlier on. I met a girl where I worked. She was a year older than me and went to my school, but the student body was so big that I never saw her at school until I met her at the Jewel. That was the big grocery chain where I worked. It was in the neighborhood where I lived.
We went steady until she graduated and then split up for a short while. We ended up dating again on and off, but I dated other girls too, and between my job, my car and my girlfriends, I was a busy guy.
Sometime in 1969, Republic of Vietnam
Talk about living in the now! That was it. My life was simple, sweet, fulfilled. I didn’t read the paper or talk about the news. We had TV but I rarely if ever watched a program besides Ed Sullivan as he would showcase a current popular band that we were hearing on the radio. He would have them on live to do a song, I remember watching the Ed Sullivan Show a few times, but never the nightly news. You know, groups like the Beatles or the Rolling Stones. They were seen for the first time on Ed’s show.
As a new arrival, I was given the most dangerous job, APC Driver
Sometime before I finish telling you this story, it will occur to you how dumb I was. It occurred to me as I sat in a rice patty 12,000 miles away from home. It is raining and seems to never stop. Even then, I could have achieved awareness of the rain, the soil, the plants. I was aware of nothing at that time in my life.
I was inducted in April of 1968. April 12th. The first in a series of dates and times of year that turn my life inside out every time they show up on the calendar. 
My health suffers. My stress level soars. I tremble and live on the edge. I didn’t know that was why until many many years later, but I know why now, around this date, I feel like crap. April 12th, 1968. I say it and I want it back. I can’t help but wonder how I’d handle it today.
Thanksgiving 1969, L to R; Underwood, Sinn, Hietmeyer, Spadoman and Wilson
I remember taking a bus, actually the same bus route we used going to high school when I was taking the bus to school, before I had a car. In those days, you rode the city bus to school for a quarter. That was the student fare. It was the regular Madison St. bus that went from my neighborhood, right past the high school, to the Forest Park induction facility office.
Nui Ba Den, The Black Virgin Mountain. The only relief amidst an ocean of rice patties
There, we were given breakfast by a very nice bunch of old ladies. Moms, I’m sure, of other soldiers, or wives and widows of Veterans, making sure we were well fed and sent off properly. I want to believe that they were crying for us on the inside. I want to believe they knew what fate lie ahead for us all. I still had no idea. I still have this shame for not knowing, not realizing, being so dumb, so out-of-touch with the gravity of it all.
I am jealous of those who actually thought about it beforehand and decided to go to college or dodge the draft all together by going to Canada. Even those who got married and fathered children either on purpose or accidentally knew more than I. Can I find peace? Can I get rid of the shame? Will I ever heal?
Miller applies the Spadoman moniker on the 4-1 Track
We got on a bus which took us to downtown Chicago and the huge draft induction facility. I think this was on Jackson Blvd. We got off the bus and got in line. A long day of doctors prodding and a lot of time spent in your briefs standing around with a bunch of other guys in their briefs. All as natural as can be, all in order, all just the way it would become as the way the Army does things. 
I was assigned to a Mortar Platoon
By the end of the day, I was in the Army. In one of the lines, we picked up this piece of paper. It was green and in a plastic sleeve. There were a few pink sheets interspersed with the green ones. I got a pink one and the guy behind my wanted to trade, he got a green one. I found out later the pink guys went to the Marines, the green ones were for the Army.
The day went on into night and by 3 or 4 o’clock in the morning on the 13th of April, we landed in Shreveport Louisiana. It was my first airplane ride. I don’t remember a thing about it. We were given a pill as soon as we got off the bus. We were told this was saltpeter and it was to inhibit us from wanting to get laid. I don’t know what it was really, probably a salt tablet, it's hot and humid in Louisiana, or maybe it was saltpeter, I was too busy to think about getting laid.
Ready to move out, yours truly top left
We had been up since early the day before. I think I might have dozed off a few minutes here or there but I don’t remember. All I do remember is that we had been treated politely up until that point. After arriving in Shreveport and getting on another bus, we were broken down to the lowest common denominator. Stripped of self esteem. Stripped of values. Stripped of our souls. Taught how to kill but not how to heal.
The guy on the right is Tilsch, monsoon season, Vietnam 1969

From that moment on, I can remember only a handful of nights when I have slept all the way through without the help of drugs, alcohol or exhaustion. Was the Army that smart to be teaching us and helping us to get used to the fact that we would not have one peaceful night after they send us to Vietnam? I still wonder as I edit this. It’s 1:04 AM on April 12, 2011. Forty three years later and counting.


Amazing. I had to go back and edit the posting as I didn't add the word Peace at the end. My trademark, forgotten for one night.  Please forgive me.