What’s on the iPod: It’s Only Life by The Shins
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|Great-great-great grandfather’s grave – Civil War era|
A blessed Veteran’s Day to all who have served. We remember.
Sometimes your best plans can turn from good to, well, memory-making. I took off half a day on Friday to drive to DC to see my cousin. He was part of a days-long tribute to Vietnam veterans, reading names from the Wall. That he came from Indiana and spent a number of days in order to do that shows the fierce loyalty these guys have to each other. That I got to participate was amazing.
I arrived and, per usual, had to spend an hour getting from the north side of the city to the south side. loathe driving it, but the other choice was taking the train, paying too much and walking too far. I was up for a drive after a long week inside.
I arrived near the wall, sent him a text, and walked toward the monument. He sent back his location – by the statue of the three soldiers. I looked up. There was the statue. “Where are you?” he’d asked. I typed back “Right behind you.” Then I saw him. Hugs and smiles and then right down to the familiar. Mind you, this is someone I’ve not seen in 16 years, and a cousin who is older, so one I knew, but not well. But you get to a point in your life when family is family, and that’s a bond that transcends so much that seemed to matter when you were a different age in a different time.
We walked to the tent where he was to get his next list of names. Then he turned to me — “They have an empty space between me and then person reading after me. Want to read some names?”
I said it nonchalantly, but I was a wad of emotions. “Sure.”
Thirty names. Thirty people I’ve never met, would never meet. At first, I scanned the list to make sure I could pronounce them. Then it hit me — any one of these names could be attached to a person sitting in the audience. They weren’t just names.
That’s how I read them — as though family had traveled hundreds or thousands of miles to hear them. For those two minutes, they were the most important names I’d ever speak.
What an honor.
The rest of the weekend was a good counterpoint to those few hours. I spent Saturday cleaning. I started with one drawer — we’d set a goal to clean out one closet or one drawer a week. By 3:30, I’d cleaned eight drawers and had vacuumed and dusted much of the house. The guest room is ready for his brother, who shows up this week. I still have much to do, but things are starting to take shape.
We spent Saturday night at the local coffee house listening to a local band. Wow. I had no idea talent like that existed in our little town. J. D. Malone and the Experts sang most of their own songs, but I managed to catch a minute of video on their cover of a Tracy Chapman song. This is a tiny coffee house that seats maybe 75 if you shove them in, and the managers may have been looking for large shoe horns — they were lined out the door.
Yesterday I went to church, where they’re looking for volunteers to help serve Thanksgiving dinner to those without a place to go. I’m going to sign us up for a few hours in the afternoon to help prepare. Our dinner can wait. This is a Catholic church like none I’ve seen. They have a slew of community service projects going simultaneously, and they provide newcomers with a booklet of the projects and how to sign up to be part of them. Glad to see the Catholics becoming more accessible.
After that, we headed to Philly and did some “ohming” with my homies — meditation group. It was a great turnout, and it was good to see some faces that hadn’t been there in a few months or more.
Today, I’m having a lunch meeting with a colleague to discuss an upcoming project, then back here to crank out five articles and two case studies. Busy week ahead, which I love.
How was your weekend? What’s happening in your work world this week?