Greetings and Salutations to All my Kith and Kin and All the Ships in Outer Space:
I really do wish all you folks could be here to see what I see.
It's a bright, clear, sun shiny day, and I have a great view of C-130 "Hercules" aircraft circling Keesler Air Force Base, and at night, you should SEE the spooky orange full moon eerily rising over Keesler Air Force Base!
When I was soldier in the United States Army, I spent quite a few hours flying back and forth in C-130 "Hercules" aircraft.
And as an avid rail fan (in England, they're called "train spotters"), I really love watching all these railroad freight trains constantly passing by, right below my balcony.
There's also track inspection vehicles, track maintenance vehicles, executive office trains, military trains, and even circus trains!
Looking out over the Gulf of Mexico, I enjoy seeing the ships on the horizon (the water is too shallow for them to come closer) and the abundance of shrimp boats, which do come close, almost to the beach.
Do any of you make homemade fudge at Christmas?
Yesterday, I bought some fudge at the Navy Exchange mini-market downstairs on the main floor here in our Armed Forces Retirement Home.
Have you noticed?
Genuine FUDGE has become increasingly rare and expensive.
When I was a boy, Mama always made fudge at Christmas.
She also baked Christmas cookies and made divinity candy.
You should have SEEN the Thanksgiving dinner and Christmas dinner she fixed!
I was thinking about Mama last night.
I never really appreciated what she did and what she went through.
After adopting me, Daddy and Mama had three (03) daughters who still live, and two (02) daughters who died at birth, or shortly after.
When Daddy was away overseas in the Korean War, Mama and us kids lived with Grammaw and Grampaw in Owensboro, Commonwealth of Kentucky.
Then, when Daddy sent for us to join him in Japan, can you imagine what an ordeal that trip was for Mama, traveling alone, toting us kids along (with me being an adventurous and inquisitive boy!), riding on the train from Owensboro, Commonwealth of Kentucky to Chicago, Illinois, then taking the train to Seattle, Washington, and then sailing across the Pacific Ocean on a United States Navy transport, the USNS GENERAL M. M. PATRICK (T-AP-150)?
Mama kept a clean house, constantly scrubbing with Pine-Sol.
She had a sewing machine and made many of our clothes.
She was always washing and ironing our clothes, air drying everything on the clothesline in the back yard.
After church each Sunday, she always fixed us the biggest, fanciest dinner of the week, either roast chicken or roast beef.
She would buy home permanent wave kits at the store and give all of my sisters permanent waves.
I never understood any of that stuff, and still don't, but she spent a lot of time fixing my sisters' hair, over and over.
I remember an awful scare when we lived in Ashiya, on the island of Kyushu, in Japan.
I reckon I was probably playing out in the yard, when Mama called me inside.
She'd been painting the ceiling (?), and there she was, on the ladder, completely covered in green paint, with the paint bucket upside down.
She told me to go get Daddy, so I ran up the dirt road to the rear gate of Ashiya Air Force Base, and told the Air Policeman what had happened.
By the time Daddy, who was a master sergeant in the United States Army, and I got to the house, Mama miraculously had everything cleaned up, like nothing had happened at all.
When I'd get in trouble at school (which was pretty often! - - - and back in those days, teachers were allowed to paddle us), I'd come home and Mama would either scold me or spank me.
Then, when Daddy got home from work, I'd REALLY get it!
Mama really had her hands full, because me being a typical rambunctious boy, I was WAY more trouble than my sisters were!
When us kids got home from wherever we went, Mama was ALWAYS there.
In addition to everything else, Mama was a poetess, and the poem she wrote about me, "OUR SON JOHN", is framed and displayed on the wall above this desk.
When I grew up and got married, Mama made a special red, white, and blue quilt for me and Bonnie, with our names on it, celebrating the bicentennial of the United States of America.
Another time, either for a birthday or for Christmas, she made me a chess set, completely out of wood, with the chest folding out to be the chess board.
I had no idea she could do something like that!
She was from Alabama, valedictorian of her high school, and a nursing school student, until illness caused her to quit.
Because of my interest, she supplied me and my sisters with genealogical information about her ancestry.
When I was little, she told me her ancestors were Scotch Irish.
One of her ancestors, Uriah Hawkins, of Rhode Island, was in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War.
After America won its independence, Uriah Hawkins led a group of pioneers to settle in Michigan, where they had to fight the Indians.
Later generations of those pioneers would relocate to Alabama, where Mama was born, the daughter of a Methodist minister.
I don't know for certain, but I think some of those ancestors served in the Confederate Army.
She and Daddy always went with us kids to church every Sunday, attending services in the morning and at night, and to prayer meetings on Wednesday nights, plus we had family devotionals in our living room each evening.
Back in those days, men and boys always wore a suit and tie when attending church services, and women and girls always wore dresses, with hat and gloves.
In the Summer, us kids would go to Vacation Bible School.
I freely admit that, for the sake of survival, I'm now a confirmed, unapologetic racist bigot, but I wasn't brought up that way.
Mama told me never to call them "niggers", but instead, I should have pity on them and try to help them if I could.
She also told me never to use the word, "Yankee", because my Grampaw John, who lived in Lovington, Illinois, would slug me if he ever heard me say that word.
She enjoyed singing the traditional American Negro spiritual songs, and so did I, because as a boy, I didn't know they were Negro songs, and besides, growing up in a racially segregated community, back in those idyllic days, Negroes were not perceived as the imminent threat that they now have become.
Mama took piano lessons via a correspondence course, and as she learned each lesson, she'd then teach each of us kids - - - , well, sort of.
I enjoyed creating my own songs, and playing Rock 'n' Roll, but each time I played, the piano had to be retuned, and she couldn't afford it, so Mama told me to never touch the piano again.
Using the same technique, i.e., the correspondence courses, she also taught my sisters to play flutophone, autoharp, and violin, but she didn't even try to teach me.
Maybe I'd left home by that time?
Mama and Daddy (but ESPECIALLY Mama) made certain us kids were taught good ol' fashioned chivalry and common courtesy, such as saying, "Sir", "Ma'am", "Please", and "Thank you", and opening doors for ladies.
I never ever, not even once, saw Mama and Daddy argue or disagree with each other about anything.
I wonder how they did it?
Today, Mama and Daddy are buried side by side in Riverview Memorial Gardens in Spring Lake, North Carolina.
But, are kids today as lucky as I was?
After all, hardly ANY mothers stay home and raise their young'uns.
I reckon very few gals today know how to cook, bake, sew, do laundry, and keep house, nor could very many of them teach their offspring what they, themselves, never learned, i.e., the rules of good ol' fashioned chivalry and common courtesy.
Pretty much all of them have been programmed by their peers, the Hollywood media, and the government operated public schools to think that being a full time housewife and mother is dishonorable, and that women should be like men, and have careers.
Well, I reckon they all got what they wanted, huh?
I can see what they've done to my beloved United States Army.
Now, what's happened to their kids?
1800 Beach Drive, Unit 311