Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Mary Travers has died of leukemia

Cam Rahn Bay airfield, Vietnam, November, 1970:

The rainy season had begun, with a constant drizzle when the rain did not fall full force. The temp was in the low 80's, but we were wet, and used to much more heat, so we felt chilly in our thin tropical fatigues. The "barracks" were full of rats that fought over anything edible, living or dead. So we sat on the wet sand dunes, around makeshift fires, and in every circle was a guy with a guitar who played, "Leaving on a jet plane" by PP&M and "Early morning rain" by Ian and Sylvia.

And we dreamed of Mary, with her soft, long, blond hair, ample
figure, and intelligent, alive face. And waited.

I will not remember her as she later became, bloated by the drugs she took to combat her leukemia, (though her voice never changed), but as she was then; beautiful, alive, aware, with that voice with the faint rasp, as of passion.

Goodbye, Mary. One of those who will never forget you wishes you well on your long final journey.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Why we must honor veterans

In small boxes, hidden in closets, in the back of drawers, or in attics, little pieces of metal and colored cloth lay quiet, the medals given to men and women who, once, placed their lives on the line so that we may live in freedom. Save for a few, most of those men and women will never make headlines, be featured on the news, or invited to talk shows. They will live and work among us, seldom very different from everyone else. Most of them will not be in any sports Hall of Fame, or have their handprints immortalized on any Walk of Fame. The rich and famous, whose lives so often disappoint, are called heroes, but these people are called simply neighbors.

Yet they are the true heroes.

If we forget them, we will have as heroes only those who seek fame for self-gratification, or for talents only a few can ever share. It will be the possession of the media, a title bestowed to encourage viewers or listeners or readers, no longer based on the real achievement of heroes: willingness to face danger and endure pain for the sake of a cause greater than themselves. The highest regard of our culture will be given to people who either we cannot emulate, since we lack their special skills, or who are not worth emulation, as they are motivated only by selfishness or egotism.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Labor Day weekend, 2009

Over Labor Day, I rode my motorcycle to Lake Waccamaw, NC. My sister Martha and her husband Walter lent me their lake house for the weekend. It is the house my mother and father lived in after they retired. Here are some pictures of my weekend.

Lake Waccamaw, picture 1
This is a picture of Lake Waccamaw taken from my sister's pier. The lake is 5 miles by 7 miles, but very shallow.

Boys and Girls Homes of NC
MacNeil House is the main building of the Boys and Girls Homes of North Carolina campus at Lake Waccamaw. Once primarily an orphanage, today it mainly serves children whose parents have abandoned them or are unable to take care of them.

Lake Waccamaw Depot Museum
The old railroad depot at the lake has been converted into a museum, with many artifacts about the history and industries of the area. A retired caboose contains artifacts and exhibits about the railroad that once ran through the Town of Lake Waccamaw. My motorcycle, Scarlett O'Guzzi is parked in front.

Lake Waccamaw bike rally
A "Jesus Loves Bikers" motorcycle rally was being held at the exhibition hall of the Boys and Girls Home. It was the first year for the rally, and the publicity ran late, so it was sparsely attended. I believe next year will be better.

My parents' graves
My parents' graves, at the Hillside Cemetery at Lake Waccamaw.

Pierce and Co., Hallsboro, NC
Pierce and Company is an old-fashioned general store located in Hallsboro, NC, about 8 miles from Lake Waccamaw. It is a really interesting place to visit. It offers everything from food to clothing to furniture to building supplies and hardware. Every year, they make and sell some delicious homemade sausage.

Columbus County Courthouse
The Columbus County Courthouse in Whiteville, NC. It is built in a traffic circle. Several years ago, there was a movement to tear it down, but the local people rallied and raised money to repair it, so it is still in use.

General Howe oak on US 74-76
Scarlett is parked in front of the General Howe Oak. According to local tradition, British General Howe camped his men near the oak to protect Wilmington from the Patriots. After the British Pyrrhic victory at Guilford Courthouse, he marched his men northwards on a route known as General Howe Road, now NC-11. His forces served as the right flank guard for General Cornwallis on his march to Yorktown--and defeat. Although the tree is very near the roadway, it has been preserved for its historical significance.

Cape Fear River Bridge
The bridge over the Cape Fear River on NC-11 (General Howe Road). It looks very rusty.

Cape Fear River
The Cape Fear River from the bridge on NC-11. You are looking downstream, toward Wilmington, about 40 miles away. The Cape Fear is the longest river which lies entirely within North Carolina.


About Me

Jacksonville, N.C., United States
Retired teacher, motorcyclist, member of the Patriot Guard Riders, the Christian Motorcyclists Association, and the Moto Guzzi National Owners Club.