Monday, March 25, 2013

2013 Sebring Trip

For several years, Jim Bloomquist and I have been riding our bikes to Sebring, Fl to enjoy the 12 Hours of Sebring road races.  I have always picked the Vetts to win the GT class, but, alas, they have always been beat by the BMWs or Ferrari's.  Not this year!!  So in memory of their win and Rex and Deb Decker's love of Vetts, I have included a bunch of shots of Vetts at the races.

You will also note that there are several pics of my buddies in different positions of semi Somnambulistic repose.  It is hard to believe that anyone can sleep while the race is in progress, but we all do it.  Do not be surprised if Dick Ward does not have his own pics of me catching flies.

Believe it or not, this is Jim trying for the umpteenith time to get a seat pad that will make  his tush comfortable.  This one failed as well.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

My Brother in Arms

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

My Brother in Arms

We made eye contact as I exited a family restaurant on a Sunday morning where  Jim Bloomquist and I had just finished a filling repast.  The place was on Hwy 19 just north of the "Forest" and close to the town of Palatka, Fl.

He arose as I passed him and he seemed to follow me out to my bike.  As I neared the bike, I heard him exclaim, "Semper Fi" Marine.  As all Marines do, I turned to face the source of the salutation and return his Semper Fi.  On the outside chance that some reading may not be familiar with the expression " Semper Fi", it is a contraction of the Marine Corps' motto, Semper Fideles, which, when translated from the Latin means, Always Faithful.

This happens all the time when I am on a motorcycle ride because I wear my summer leather jacket with all the USMC patches and stuff.  This story would not have been possible without the jacket.

Regardless of the history or circumstance, this human has successfully completed the requirements of the recruit depot and advanced infantry training schools and is automatically rendered the respect he or she deserves unless this concept is proven to the contrary.

My fellow Marine was short, very thin, with reddish gray hair that was very thin all over.  His skin was the pallor of a smoker and he looked none too healthy.  We chatted pleasantly for several minutes and I then attempted to extract myself from the conversation because my riding partner was waiting on me.

This man appeared to have endured the travails of rough life.  If he told me the correct dates of his service in the Corps, 1963 to 1967, that would put him in his late seventies.  Although appearances can be deceiving, I would guess that most of that time he spent doing hard work for meager wages.

Men like this are visible all over the 50 states and are lost creatures whose age and health have made them dependent on something or someone.  This man is close to being down and out.  It will probably happen regardless of his immediate future.

He may or may not have had a wife and kids. He may have known true love but it does not matter now. 

I speak now with the conviction of a prophet.  With all that life has thrown at this man he can still recall that hot, steamy day in the barracks and on the grinder, when he knew, for the first and possibly the last time in his life, he had just completed the requirements to belong to an elite group.  A group that puts the mission of the group above all.  That electric moment when the DI puts two Eagle Globe and Anchor emblems in you palm and you close those moist clammy fingers around the cool black metal that were the object of your dreams in the squad bay.  That his fellow brothers, who will ultimately end up in harms way, would give up their lives to protect his and that he can count on their loyalty through out.  He has a swollen chest from the pride of his accomplishments in this caldron and he knows, he feels, he inherits the history and traditions, he soaks up the culture and he will bleed for the right to issue a hearty Semper Fi.  For after a lifetime of  "nothing special", he will be able to tell himself that he once was the pride of the nation.  He was once a member in good standing in the United States Marine Corps.

May his creator find a place for him where the streets are guarded by United States Marines.