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Yearly Archives: 2019
In my previous blog, I wrote about the USS Grayback, and the submarine’s connection to the Village of Allen, MD. Time magazine has recently posted a story about the Grayback’s discovery. I share it with you should you be interested. https://time.com/5723782/wwii-submarine-uss-grayback-found/https://time.com/5723782/wwii-submarine-uss-grayback-found/
For many years now the wife and I have been members and supporters of the Mount Washington Observatory. On our first climb to the top, we were driving our 1976 Plymouth. On the way down our Radiator imploded and we sprung a leak. We were fortunate to find a shop on that day that made a temporary repair and we made it home to Connecticut. Quite frequently I pop onto the mountain’s web page and check the weather up on high. The observance @ 11:30 on 11/23/2019 was: Temp – 11.3f Wind Speed – 56.2 mph Windchill – 11.6f
Way back when in my Marine Corps days I was an Aerographer at one time. From that experience, I have always been interested in weather. I share with you the U.S. Navy job description of that occupation. The school I attended was a Navy school at Lakehurst Naval Air Station in NJ. https://www.public.navy.mil/bupers-npc/enlisted/community/crypto_it/Pages/AG.aspx
Not long after my retirement from the CT State Police in the late eighties, my wife and I relocated to the Eastern Shore of Maryland and settled in the Village of Allen.
The home we purchased was originally owned Beverly and Laura Hitch, parents of Richard Beverly Hitch. Richard would be one of the missing crew aboard the USS Greyback, lost at sea off Okinawa on February 27th, 1944.
Richards mother, Laura Hitch would at one time turn this home into a Boarding House. It’s been said on Sundays past, you could smell the fried chicken cooking on the stove as you passed by on Allen Rd. Laura Hitch was often seen on the overhanging roof sweeping Sycamore tree bark as it shed each year. I would soon do the same after we moved in. We, like Laura, would entertain the public a year after moving in, turning our home into a Bed & Breakfast.
It is my and other family members belief, along with guests, who have felt the presence of others in the home. We have always thought that presence was Laura Hitch herself. Now that the resting place of Richard has been located, I can only wonder, was he there with us also? Ghosts, Spirits? Stay tuned, sometime soon I’ll expound on these super natural meetings.
Just last week after the Grayback was located, our town Scribe, Melissa Bright sent out the following email to the Village Mailing list. With her permission I attach that email. Melissa, you need to start a Blogging life.
Dear Allen Family – because Allen IS FAMILY –
Today we honor all veterans, but on this day there is news about a specific Allen veteran. Richard Beverly Hitch, son of Beverly and Laura Hitch, and brother to Thornton Hitch, was lost at sea during WWII aboard the submarine U.S.S. Grayback, where he served as an Electrician’s Mate 1st Class.
Today there is a report that the Grayback has been located. All these years, it was unknown where it lay. Recently, a Japanese amateur researcher discovered a single-digit error in the latitude and longitude of where it was believed the Grayback went down. Using this information, the Lost 52 Project, which hunts for missing ships, found the Grayback in June off the coast of Okinawa, where it went down on February 27th, 1944. The Grayback was on its 10th mission, and was among the 20 most successful subs in the U.S. Navy in terms of enemy ships destroyed. It is reported that her career was ended that day in February when a 500 pound bomb made a direct hit on her conning tower.
When these lost ships are found, they are usually considered hallowed ground, the final resting place of the sailors who went down with them. There has been no mention of any attempt to recover remains.
If I can get away from work for a few minutes, the church bell will ring at 11:11 a.m. this morning. There are markers in Richard’s memory, Punchbowl, the National Cemetery for the Pacific in Hawaii, and also here in Allen with his family, under the cedar tree in the Eastern end. At At 5:30 this evening, we will lay flowers at Richard’s marker in the Allen cemetery. Anyone who is interested is invited to come.
Richard was 28 years old when the Grayback went down. Here is his photo from Findagrave.com:
Here is a story on the finding of the sub: https://www.whio.com/news/national/submarine-missing-years-discovered-off-japanese-coast/od5azFCGi1dfhCismb7N3L/
There are two Find a Grave pages for Richard, one for each memorial site: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/35050802/richard-beverly-hitch
Over the past few days there has been much Military news and happenings.
On Sunday, 10 November 2019 the 244’th Marine Corps Birthday was Celebrated;
During the American Revolution, many important political discussions took place in the inns and taverns of Philadelphia, including the founding of the Marine Corps.
A committee of the Continental Congress met at Tun Tavern to draft a resolution calling for two battalions of Marines able to fight for independence at sea and on shore.
The resolution was approved on November 10, 1775, officially forming the Continental Marines.
As the first order of business, Samuel Nicholas became Commandant of the newly formed Marines. Tun Tavern’s owner and popular patriot, Robert Mullan, became his first captain and recruiter. They began gathering support and were ready for action by early 1776.
Each year, the Marine Corps marks November 10th, The Marine Corps Birthday, with a celebration of the brave spirit which compelled these men and thousands since to defend our country as United States Marines.
On Monday November 11, 2019 we celebrated Veteran’s Day, honoring all who have served in the Military.
On November 11, 1919, U.S. president Woodrow Wilson issued a message to his countrymen on the first Armistice Day, in which he expressed what he felt the day meant to Americans:
ADDRESS TO FELLOW-COUNTRYMENThanks Wiki
The White House, November 11, 1919.
A year ago today our enemies laid down their arms in accordance with an armistice which rendered them impotent to renew hostilities, and gave to the world an assured opportunity to reconstruct its shattered order and to work out in peace a new and juster set of international relations. The soldiers and people of the European Allies had fought and endured for more than four years to uphold the barrier of civilization against the aggression’s of armed force. We ourselves had been in the conflict something more than a year and a half.
With splendid forgetfulness of mere personal concerns, we remodeled our industries, concentrated our financial resources, increased our agricultural output, and assembled a great army, so that at the last our power was a decisive factor in the victory. We were able to bring the vast resources, material and moral, of a great and free people to the assistance of our associates in Europe who had suffered and sacrificed without limit in the cause for which we fought.
Out of this victory there arose new possibilities of political freedom and economic concert. The war showed us the strength of great nations acting together for high purposes, and the victory of arms foretells the enduring conquests which can be made in peace when nations act justly and in furtherance of the common interests of men.
To us in America the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service, and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of nations.
WOODROW WILSONThanks Wiki
From this Marine, 1962-1968, I say to all my fellow Soldiers, Sailors, Marines Airmen, and Coast Guardsmen, Semper Fi! And, don’t forget to check on the elderly∞
Growing up in the South of New Jersey, Exit # 3 of the NJ Tpk. was my geographical reference point. I was quite familiar with the Jersey Devil. The below is from https://weirdnj.com/
The Jersey Devil
While this one is not a “ghost” story, the tale of the Jersey Devil has withstood the test of time—and for good reason. Stories of the winged beast are truly terrifying. But who or what is the Jersey Devil? According to Weird NJ, the infamous creature haunting the Pine Barrens is the child of Mother Leeds, a Pines resident who conceived her thirteenth child in 1735. At the time, Leeds had no idea how she could care for (let alone afford) another kid and so, in exasperation, she raised her hands to the heavens and proclaimed “Let this one be a devil!” Leeds got her wish. Moments after birth, her healthy baby boy grew horns and claws and bat-like wings. Legend has it the “devil” then killed his mother before attacking onlookers.
This remembrance should have been posted before or on Halloween, once again, however, Life got in the way.
One thought going back many years ago, in the mid-fifties I’d say, is the following:
There were train tracks going through our town back then. These tracks ran the breadth of South Jersey from Camden to Atlantic City, with many spurs running from them in north and south directions. One such spur even went to the north into the Pine Barrens.
On this day I was walking the tracks with a few friends in early fall. Just days prior, it had been reported that a murder had occurred in the area around Chatsworth, a town that is kind of the Capitol of the Pine Barrens.
One of the three or four of us began talking about the incident as we headed back home from Hadden Heights. The sun was setting to our front, and the early fall darkness was setting in. Someone even mentioned the killer could have hopped a freight out of the Barrens. I remember all of our imaginations running a bit on the wild side.
As you come into Audubon, there is a lean-to built to protect commuter passengers in foul weather. Someone surmised that the killer from Chatsworth could be holed out in there. To this day, I can remember passing that lean-to very quickly. Dinner and the safety of home were calling.
Whenever I return to that town of my youth and pass that intersection, E. Atlantic and Chestnut streets, I can still remember that fall day.
I hope you all got a lot of candy and had a fun Halloween.
On 24 September an old and dear friend of twenty five plus years left his earthly homeland of Bavaria, Germany. Hubertus, along with his two brothers, owned a centuries old farm on Collins Wharf Rd in Allen, MD. This farm, which lies behind a brick gateway along Wicomico Creek has been a mainstay of the community since 1733.
Hubertus was surrounded by daughters Natalie, Isabel, Carolin and Sophie who held him, and eased his fears to let go, and feel safe in his passing.
Hubertus reminded Mary Agnes and me as being like an overgrown Leprecheaun. Hubertus was always so happy with life, especially his yearly visits to the Eastern Shore and the village of Allen.
There are nothing but wonderful memories of Hubertus and his daughters over the years. Once I picked him and his entourage up at Dulles airport each year, it was a constant how’s this, how’s that and what’s new. This went on non-stop until once on the Eastern Shore and the “Kentucky Fried Chicken” sign was spotted,
He shall be missed by all those he touched.
( Hubert’s greatest toy was his hydrofoil, brought over from Germany in a shipping crate many years ago. The scene of that boat flying up the Wicomico River at 60 mph with Hubert at the helm, shall be greatly missed.)
My best interpretation of the Death Notice
You are no longer where you were,
but you are everywhere we are
DR. Hubertus Rechberg
died peacefully in the circle of his beloved daughter
- 12 March 1948 in Munich
Died September 24, 2019 in Garmisch-Partenkirchen
In great love and gratitude we bid farewell to our father, father-in-law, grand-father and brother.
Wednesday the 2nd of October
11:00 am funeral service and funeral takes place
in the parish church ST. Clemens in 82438 Eschenlohe place.
12:30 – 17 o’clock approx. Reception in Wengwies
5.30 pm Children’s dinner PANCAKES – at Kiki
(Maus’s kitchen is occupied by the caterer!)
8 pm Family Dinner- at the Mouse
Until we meet again my friend.
Somewhere in the neighborhood of ten days or so ago, my Doctor of Nursing daughter decided to become a member of the Manual Labor force, whose main tool is a shovel. So much for the Florence Nightingale Pledge of the Nursing profession. An Umbrella Close-line base pole, No Problem!
After returning home from a trip to the ER several hours later, Arm in a sling, for at least two months mind you, we learn the cold facts of the incident. Son in-law, Jeffrey did send a text from the ER, ” in ER with Kathy, may have broken her arm”. “How” , was the wife’s response. “She fell off a shovel” “What the”, we say. We would soon learn the facts as mother goes to check on daughter.
I must take full responsibility for my daughter’s debilitating injury. For my daughters first eighteen years never once do I remember teaching and demonstrating “Shoveling 101”.
This woman, who is right hand dominate, fell off her shovel, to the right. In trying to break her fall with her arm under her side, she sustained a fracture of the R/Radius. Due to the human instinct to break a fall by outstretching the arms, the radius is one of the more frequently fractured bones in the body.
My first born will have many challenges over the next few months with her dominant hand in a sling. Writing, How to put her hair in a bun, washing one’s hands, driving. My goodness, can one even pick their nose? De-corking a bottle of wine, now that will be a challenge.
We are here for you Kathryn, just ask and we will be there. Fell off a shovel, really?
Choose a shovel that is ergonomically correct – a shovel with a curved handle. These shovels help you to keep your back straighter reducing spinal stress.
For snow, consider a shovel with a plastic blade instead of metal– plastic is lightweight – isn’t the snow heavy enough?
Sometimes a smaller blade is better. You will not be able to shovel as much per shovel load, but the load will weigh less, which puts less strain on the spine.
Warm muscles work better. Take some time to stretch to prepare your body for activity.
Just like with a golf club, hand placement on the shovel handle is very important! Don’t put your hands (grip) close to one another. Create some distance between the hands. This will give you more leverage and make it easier to lift snow.
Think about good posture and maintaining the natural curve of your spine.
Stand with your feet about shoulder width apart to maintain balance. Try to keep the shovel close to your body. Bend at the knees, not the waist or back. Tighten your stomach muscles as you lift the snow. Lift with your legs, not your back. Do not twist your body, instead, step in the direction that you are throwing the snow or dirt. This will help prevent the lower back from twisting and alleviate any back soreness that you might typically experience.
Don’t throw snow or dirt over your shoulder! Go forward with it.
Fresh snow is lighter in weight – so clear snow as soon as it has fallen. Snow becomes dense as it compacts on the ground. Wet snow is very heavy. One shovelful can weigh 20 pounds or more!
Pace yourself. Take frequent breaks to stretch your back and extremities.
Make sure that the shovel head is perpendicular to the soil’s surface when you push the shovel blade in. And if you can’t push it in with one foot, if you have to jump with both feet to drive it in, then you need a backhoe or a pry bar to dig this hole.
When you’re going to lift the dirt out of the hole, hold the shovel near the middle of the handle and use the upward momentum of lifting the soil out to throw it into the wheelbarrow or onto a tarp. Don’t be at the end of the shovel and don’t be down close to the head. Both cause strain on your back.
When you encounter roots, remember your shovel is not a pry bar, but it can be a chopping tool. Turn it around and cut cleanly through the roots that you encounter, and then lift them out of the hole into the wheelbarrow. Shoveling is all about keeping your back straight.
Throughout my life, I’ve lived in quite a few places. South Jersey was my home for the first eighteen years. In case you don’t know, everyone in New Jersey lives near an Exit, that Exit is off either the NJ Turnpike or the Garden State Parkway. Some folks way up north will quote an exit off I-80 which runs E to W from the George Washington Bridge to the Delaware Water Gap bridge at the Pennsylvania line.
So, after that bit of geography, the better part of my early years was spent close to exits #3 & #5 just off the NJ Tpk. And Exit # 4A off the Garden State Pkwy. Thanks to the United States Marine Corps, while stationed at the Earle Ammunition Depot in Colts Neck, NJ, I also lived a short distance off Exit #8 of NJ Tpk.
After graduation from high school, the Marine Corps moved me about to assignments in South Carolina, North Carolina, Washington, DC, New Jersey, Japan, and California.
I married my wife of 54 years while in the Marine Corps and upon discharge we resided in northern Maryland for a year before moving to Connecticut and ultimately a career with the Ct State Police, retiring in 1988.
Upon retirement, the little woman wanted to relocate to the northern Maine coast. As for me, I was looking to travel south to the Gulf Coast of Florida. We wound up compromising and found the Delmarva Peninsula and the Eastern Shore of Maryland.
We were Yankees no longer, we now live below the Mason – Dixon line and are Southerners. There is a lot on conjecture as to the exact placement of those markers. Some folks locally say Mardella Springs has an original marker, others will tell you Delmar is the line of demarcation. In either case, we’re about 20 some miles south of that infamous line.
So, for the past 31 years, we’ve lived as Southerners. During that time, we’ve met some characters along the way. For this story, I’m calling the featured character Charlie.
Charlie lived in on a small wooded plot in a small trailer just off the main road that ran from Allen to Trinity, MD. This was not a terribly long stretch of road, only 3 1/2 miles to the old Trinity Church cemetery near our present home. Every Christmas and Easter someone comes by and places plastic flowers on two or three of the grave markers.
It’s been told that Charlie, back in the day, as they say down here, once was a store owner. Some kind of malady occurred in his life that caused him to give up the store and live a life of solitude., thus the trailer in the woods.
Charlie could often be found in the local country store sitting on an old wooden milk carton under a big fan. Charlie would be talking about the past with the store’s proprietor for the better part of a morning or afternoon, especially in the summer. You would always know when Charlie was there, his dog Brownie would be lying outside awaiting his return. Inside the store, lying about somewhere, was the resident Collie, Chief. He was the companion of the store owner and resident historian, who we shall call Butch.
When we first moved to Allen, since named Eden by the Federal Government and Postal people, there was no trash pickup or mail delivery. The post office was part of that general store and the Post Master or Mistress as in this case just happened to be Butch’s mother and he most often referred to as “Mother.” She went by a slew of names depending on who she was referring to her at the time. I always called her “Yes, Ma’am.”
Often while depositing trash at the “Transfer Station” one might run into Charlie. Growing up in New Jersey, we called them “Dumps” and would always make a “Dump Run” when making a deposit. I guess down here I just made a transfer, stuff to be used by someone else, I guess.
At times Charlie could be found conversing with the manager of the Dump, his name was Slim. Slim was there from opening to closing, watching over the three dumpsters, two for household trash, one for metal. There was no recycling back in those days, just household trash and NO construction materials were allowed. You were in big trouble should you transfer building Materials. Those had to go to the big Dump in Salisbury where you were weighed and had to pay a fee.
Often times, Charlie’s dog Brownie could be found in one of the dumpsters, looking for some munchies he was. You always had to examine before making a drop into the bin. There was a rare occasion when Charlie himself could be found in a dumpster. More than once this writer had to hold up the throw of a bag into the bin for fear of injuring a dog, stray cat or Charlie himself.
I would spend a lot of time chatting with Slim and Charlie from time to time. Slim was always up to date on what was biting on the hook in the local waters. With no Barber Shop in town, the Dump would often be a place to keep up with the local goings on, along with the Post Office and General Store of course. That old store made the best sandwiches I’ve ever tasted.
At one point in the past, old Charlie showed up at the Dump with a second dog. This dog was also brown. I asked Charlie what the dog’s name was, Charlie responded, “Brownie II.” How simple and appropriate I thought.
As time passed, Charlie appeared one day at the Dump, and the elder Brownie was not with him. I asked where the old dog was, and Charlie responded, “dead.” I wondered what happened? I asked Charlie and he replied, “Metalosis.” Not familiar with the term I asked, what is Metalosis? Charlie kinda chuckled and said, “The metal in the bumper of the car that struck him, what done it.
Life, South of the Mason Dixon Line, with the Rooster.
A while back I posted a commencement address by Admiral William H. McRaven.
Each month in a local paper, our daughter Kathryn posts an article on Population Health. When I read the article, I got all chest puffy and proud of my daughter’s material as well as learning that a family Sunday Night gathering was remembered. I feel Admiral McRaven and my daughters post kind of go hand in hand.
In case you didn’t see my McRaven post, here is that excerpt. Here is a part of the commencement address to the graduates of The University of Texas at Austin on May 17, 2014 by Admiral William H. McRaven.
Every morning in basic SEAL training, my instructors, who at the time were all Vietnam veterans, would show up in my barracks room and the first thing they would inspect was your bed. If you did it right, the corners would be square, the covers pulled tight, the pillow centered just under the headboard and the extra blanket folded neatly at the foot of the rack — that’s Navy talk for bed.
It was a simple task — mundane at best. But every morning we were required to make our bed to perfection. It seemed a little ridiculous at the time, particularly in light of the fact that were aspiring to be real warriors, tough battle-hardened SEALs, but the wisdom of this simple act has been proven to me many times over.
If you make your bed every morning you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another. By the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter. If you can’t do the little things right, you will never do the big things right.
And, if by chance you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that is made — that you made — and a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better. If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.
(Text of entire speech if interested: https://jamesclear.com/great-speeches/make-your-bed-by-admiral-william-h-mcraven
Daughter Kathryn remembers Sunday nights long ago.
So, I grew up in Connecticut, one of three children of a State Trooper and a nurse. One of my best memories was of Sunday nights. My dad would work on preparing for the week. My dad would get out his badge, his belt buckle, and his rank. He would then ask us all to get our shoes lined up. We only got one pair of shoes at the beginning of the school year, and they were usually leather.
My mom would get her white uniforms out. He would lay all his uniform parts out on the floor. He would get out the ironing board, take out his brass cleaning kit, his leather kit and proceed to wax, polish, and iron. He would shine his brass until it glistened, polish our leather shoes until we could see ourselves in the toes, and then iron his uniforms and my mom’s.
Sometimes he would teach us how to do it, other times we just sat and talked with him about our day. It was a labor of love, and also pride for himself and our family. When I joined the Air Force, I continued that ritual, polishing my boots, ironing my uniform…. Today, I still polish my shoes and iron my clothes, preparing for my week.
We are all so busy. We move throughout our weeks driven by kids, family, jobs, community commitments, friends, and so much more. We rarely get a minute to breathe. What I have found, is this simple act of taking time to prepare makes a difference and allows some of life’s chaos to turn into calm. Taking a break to plan can have a positive impact on our well-being. It gives us time to pause and look ahead.
What if all we were able to take a pause, one day a week and prepare? What could we accomplish? We could plan a few lunches or dinner meals at home, avoiding fast food drive-throughs for a day. We could plan time to talk a walk, exercise at the gym, ride a bike, maybe spend time with family or friends. We could even make time to plan for our health. We could schedule an annual physical, a mammogram, flu shot, or much-needed colonoscopy if we need one? What about a few minutes to check any prescriptions and make sure they aren’t about to run out?
Think of how much money we could save, the stress we could lower, health we could improve. Eleanor Roosevelt said, “It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan.” What would it hurt, to stop wishing for life to slow down, and instead, plan for it? Maybe try it this week, stop for 15 minutes and write down one thing you plan to do for yourself, then DO IT. Let me know how it goes!
A couple we consider good friends, who live down south in the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina, were recently at a wedding in Leadville, CO. The wife of the couple is a fellow blogger, who goes by the handle as Merling Muse, life in the mountains. Were the husband a Blogger, it would have something to do with trains, I’m sure. They recently made a cross country trip to attend that wedding, and blog about it along the way.
The trip brought back many great memories of a trip Uncle Bob, (wife’s brother, who is no longer with us) and I made in 2010 via Rt#50 all the way. Miss you and that “First One Today” Bobby !
So, bloggers post, and those who get to read them can comment about that post. On occasion I get a bit wordy, My response to Anne was so wordy, I thought I’d steal from it and make it a post.
Our daughter Sarah was married on 7/2, in an Anglican church built in 1733, which sits on the bank of the Wicomico River. Bricks in the church were baked in the same kiln as a home we lived in for five years 20 years ago. They were shipped here by boat from Williamsburg, VA. A bit of Brick History, should you be interested: https://brickcollecting.com/history.htm
Mary Agnes and I have been to Leadville, and have long thought of returning for the train excursion. Mary Agnes was enamored with Molly Brown, thus the trip to the high back then. https://mollybrown.org/about-molly-brown/
We did take the train ride to Silverton that year. https://durangosilvertonrailroad.com/?gclid=CjwKCAjw__fnBRANEiwAuFxETx5mCHb8ZdUybu40BWcIvcIeVb8SjGjsPQkvwL-Rk_I3gg4ymKeumBoCUWgQAvD_BwE
We have a granddaughter who graduated from USAFA, class of 2012 (Samantha) and for four years made trips to the Rockies. Brother-in-law Bob Romspert and I delivered Sam her car to her at the start of her junior year.
We used old Route #50 to cross the country and only hit an Interstate when we had to cross the Ohio and Mississippi rivers. Great memories with a now departed companion of that awesome trip and our time together.
For me, the highlight of that trip was stumbling upon Bent’s Fort.
Congratulations to the newlyweds Anne & John.
Daughter Sarah, her beau Greg, daughter Kathryn, wife Mary Agnes and yours truly The Rooster, spent the better part of a week in San Antonio, TX not long ago. The reason, Sarah’s son, and our grandson Thomas, (Tommy) was graduating from Air Force Basic Training at Lackland, AFB. We also spent a couple of meals with nephew Noah, a 2018 graduate of the USAFA who is in Drone training. Here’s a site on the subject if interested: https://www.aetc.af.mil/Flying-Training/
As you read this Tommy is now at Sheppard AFB, Texas for further training with the Air Education and Training Command.
So there you go, something to read and possibly follow up on a trip of your own one day. There’s lots to see in this great country of ours. Get off the Interstate, travel the back roads and small towns and meet the people who make this country what it is. You might just wind up in Allen, MD one day.
Life has been a bit busy of late. I’ve spent a month house and pet sitting. Took a trip to Connecticut for an old injury evaluation. Various doctor’s appointments, nothing serious though, I’m still vertical most of the time. Graduations, trips to Connecticut for more graduations. We went to San Antonio, TX for a grandson’s graduation from AF Basic Training. Visitors from afar, Alaska and the Netherlands to name two. Wedding plans with one of our daughters. Wedding week, in which I was a Co-Best Man with the grooms father. Wedding week was a blur of activity for these old bones. Today, just lots of rain. I’ve picked the below short piece for you all. So be you in Winnipeg, London, Ireland, NC, AZ or where ever, you’re all being thought of today.
Who’s Packing Your Parachute?
Charles Plumb was a US Navy jet pilot in Vietnam. After 75 combat missions, his plane was destroyed by a surface-to-air missile. Plumb ejected and parachuted into enemy hands. He was captured and spent 6 years in a communist Vietnamese prison. He survived the ordeal and now lectures on lessons learned from that experience!
One day, when Plumb and his wife were sitting in a restaurant, a man at another table came up and said, ‘ You’re Plumb! You flew jet fighters in Vietnam from the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk. You were shot down! ‘How in the world did you know that?’ asked Plumb. ‘I packed your parachute,’ the man replied. Plumb gasped in surprise and gratitude. The man pumped his hand and said, ‘I guess it worked!’ Plumb assured him, ‘It sure did. If your chute hadn’t worked, I wouldn’t be here today.’
Plumb couldn’t sleep that night, thinking about that man. Plumb says, ‘I kept wondering what he had looked like in a Navy uniform: a white hat; a bib in the back; and bell-bottom trousers. I wonder how many times I might have seen him and not even said ‘Good morning, how are you?’ or anything because, you see, I was a fighter pilot and he was just a sailor.’
Plumb thought of the many hours the sailor had spent at a long wooden table in the bowels of the ship, carefully weaving the shrouds and folding the silks of each chute, holding in his hands each time the fate of someone he didn’t know.
Now, Plumb asks his audience, ‘Who’s packing your parachute?’ Everyone has someone who provides what they need to make it through the day. He also points out that he needed many kinds of parachutes when his plane was shot down over enemy territory – he needed his physical parachute, his mental parachute, his emotional parachute, and his spiritual parachute. He called on all these supports before reaching safety.
Sometimes in the daily challenges that life gives us, we miss what is really important. We may fail to say hello, please, or thank you, congratulate someone on something wonderful that has happened to them, give a compliment, or just do something nice for no reason. As you go through this week, this month, this year, recognize people who pack your parachutes.
I am sending you this as my way of thanking you for your part in packing my parachute. And I hope you will send it on to those who have helped pack yours! Sometimes, we wonder why friends keep forwarding jokes to us without writing a word. Maybe this could explain it! When you are very busy, but still want to keep in touch, guess what you do – you forward jokes.
And to let you know that you are still remembered, you are still important, you are still loved, you are still cared for, guess what you get? A forwarded joke. So my friend, next time when you get a joke, don’t think that you’ve been sent just another forwarded joke, but that you’ve been thought of today and your friend on the other end of your computer wanted to send you a smile, just helping you pack your parachute.