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Sunday, January 04, 2009

Soldiers' Home News

Greetings and Salutations to All my Kith and Kin and All the Ships in Outer Space:

Tonight, the mess hall here at the Ol' Soldiers' Home served grilled steak for supper, with walnut cream cake for dessert.

There was also one leftover slice of German chocolate cake sitting on the shelf in the short order line, so I quickly grabbed it!

I had invited the local full-time missionaries from The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-day Saints (i.e., the "Mormon" church) to be my guests at supper, but they had to suddenly decline in order to be elsewhere.

That's understandable, for when they're on their mission, the obligations of their mission comes before everything else, and I'm well aware of it.

But, I doubt I'll invite the missionaries to any future suppers when our mess hall is serving grilled steak.

No, the problem is not with the missionaries.

The problem is with our mess hall.

The steak I had at supper was delicious, and unusually tender.

It was also unusually small.

Our mess hall serves grilled steak approximately every month or every other month, and until a few months ago, they'd serve us a whole steak, one that was as large as the plate it was sitting on, and you could get more than one helping, although the steak was not always well cooked.

Now, our mess hall serves us a small cut of a steak, probably a third or a fourth of the size of a normal sized steak, and only one helping is permitted.

To add insult to injury, the Soldiers' Home has increased the price of meals from six dollars to seven dollars.

No, I don't pay for my meals, for I live here.

But, if I invite a guest, I do pay for their meals.

An alternative would be to invite the missionaries to my room, and send out to Domino's for pizza, which I have cheerfully done on occasion in the past.

But, have you ordered a pizza lately?

I love pizza, but unless I'm mistaken, I suspect Domino's is putting less and less toppings on them, which may be due to our deteriorating economic situation.

I am glad that Domino's has made it easier to order pizza by allowing me to use my computer and order over the Internet.

The local neighborhood is entirely Negro, and to be blunt, it is very difficult for a White man to ever do business with them, as they slur their speech, frequently evince a hostile threatening attitude, and act like they're offended at having to do any work.

So, using the computer instead of the telephone is the only reliable way to order a pizza.

Even then, you have to keep the order really simple, or they botch it up every single time.

A couple of days ago, I was shocked to learn of the death of Lorenzo Clark.

Lorenzo Clark, from North Carolina, worked the graveyard shift in Security, and resided in one of the houses here on the grounds of the Soldiers' Home.

Prior to that, he'd had a long and distinguished military career, earning numerous decorations.

Although Lorenzo Clark was Black, he was well educated, civil, and courteous, with articulate speech.

Lorenzo Clark was a man whom I had great respect for.

He became one of our security officers after reductions in staff resulted in his no longer having an office for counselling with residents.

I remember seeing a photograph in his office of him wearing a dress blue uniform and accompanying the President of the United States reviewing the troops of the Third Infantry Regiment (i.e., "The Old Guard"), so I know he made it to the top of his profession.

I knew he had cancer, but I thought he'd overcome it.

He looked very healthy to me.

The last time I spoke with him, he was on a late night patrol, and I was driving around the grounds in my pickup truck.

I was wondering where our herd of deer was, and why wasn't I hearing him on my amateur radio?

He told me the deer were out there someplace, and he was using the radio, but not very much.

Right after we parted, the herd of deer crossed the road right in front of me.

Then, I found out why I couldn't hear anything on my radio.

The volume was turned all the way down!

So, in a while, as I approached the Security Office, I saw Lorenzo Clark out front, getting ready to drive away in his patrol car.

I sped up behind him and flashed my lights to get his attention.

I told him about seeing the deer and learning that my amateur radio was working just fine, as I could hear all of the Security radio calls.

That was the last time I saw him alive.

By the time I learned of his passing, the funeral was already over.

We've been notified that one of the raccoons has tested positive for rabies.

That's truly sad, for we really enjoy watching (and sometimes feeding - - - a clear violation of rules, though never enforced) our numerous raccoons, oppossums, foxes, squirrels, deer, ducks, geese, and pigeons.

I reckon it's just a matter of time before all the animals are rounded up and carted away or destroyed.

There's a notice posted by our elevators that we need to unplug our television sets and our computers.

The maintenance people are working on the electrical system, and there'll be power fluctuations all day long, every day this week.

I reckon I'll have to figure a way to change my habits, and stop spending hour after hour after hour on the Internet, or relaxing in my recliner while watching a movie on my wide screen television.

There's lots of other stuff for me to do, i.e., books to read, my guitar to play, armed insurrection to plot, et cetera.

I just have to force myself.

The other night, when I was in the basement doing my laundry, one of the maintenance guys told me that someone in this (the Sheridan) building has been deliberately sabotaging our plumbing system.

The maintenance crew found twenty-nine neckties flushed down the toilet and causing drains to flood.

The ambulances continue coming and going around the clock, as folks here at the Ol' Soldiers' Home kick the bucket.

Before the current administration here at the Ol' Soldiers' Home, the rules were different, and many of these current residents would never have been admitted here.

It used to be that all new admissions had to be able to walk up and down flights of stairs and walk unassisted through the chow line with a tray.

Now, the majority of residents are at death's door when they get here, as most of them require oxygen tanks and are using wheelchairs or walkers.

They've got these folks housed on the upper floors of multi-story dormitories, so in case of emergency, there's no way to get them out.

Basically, the Soldiers' Home is no longer a full service military retirement community, but has degenerated into just a poorly run nursing home, and the King Health Center, which used to be our hospital, is now merely a hospice.

Also, these physically and mentally disabled residents are permitted to go through the chow line, which not only causes an undue inconvenience, but also poses safety and health problems (i.e., people who are severely physically disabled aren't able to properly observe normal hygiene).

It's all so unnecessary, because tables are provided for the disabled where mess hall staff will wait on them, take their orders, and bring them their food.

But, under the current executive administration, no rules are enforced.

Apparently, they answer to no one, for I can't figure out who's in charge, or who's responsible.

Who is there to complain to?

Well, in a couple of days, I go to the dentist.

I wonder what'll happen there?

Since my birthday is this month, I expect our health clinic to schedule me for a physical examination.

It's been many years since I've had one.

The bureaucracy of our Soldiers' Home often is unaware of my existence, or else, the employees are rather poorly motivated.

I continue to enjoy watching the crackling fireplace on my wide screen television, and enjoying my sparkling fiber optic Christmas tree, as it revolves and continuously changes colors.

I'm very comfortable in my fully furnished private room, and rarely leave it, as I'm extremely reclusive.

But, even with the heat turned completely off, my room is much too hot during the Winter.

That may be caused by my neighbors turning up the thermostats in their rooms.

On the other hand, during the Summer, this room is very comfortable, for I love the air conditioning.

It's been a couple of weeks since I last killed a cockroach in my room, so MAYBE, that problem has been solved.

At least, I don't have mice, which some guys say they've seen in their rooms.

Yes, I'm quite well off, and I know it.

But, I still miss the "HIGH LONESOME" of the Rocky Mountains and the high desert wilderness of the Great American West, and I still long to return there, if only I can figure out how to pull it off.

Well, I reckon that's enough news for the time being.

If there ain't enough facts to go around, I'll just make something up.

What do you think about that there, huh?

Thank you.

John Robert Mallernee, KB3KWS
Official Bard of Clan Henderson
Armed Forces Retirement Home
Washington, D.C. 20011-8400

NOTE: "My unpopular and controversial personal opinions are independent of my Scottish clan."

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