Originally, I intended to post readers' and customers' photos. I had scheduled a post for yesterday, done all of the necessary pre-post work (contact the owners of the photos for permission, collect usernames and first names, write copy, program the post, edit, etc.), and readied myself to put the finishing touches on my article, but I kept procrastinating about that last step. I put it off so long that I ended up needing to postpone publishing until today. The more I thought about posting about crochet, the more my heart and mind wandered to our nation's military and the many soldiers, sailors, and airmen who've touched my life. So, for those of you who are itching to see the finished objects, come back on June 12 and you'll be quite pleased, I assure you. But please read on; I doubt you'll be disappointed.
It's Memorial Day. It's supposed to be a day when we remember our fallen servicemen and women and offer thanks to those who came back alive, but not always in one piece. Therefore, I just did not feel right letting today go by without acknowledgement of their service. Too much has happened lately to ignore all the efforts of our military. I won't speak specifically to current events; that's CNN's job. I'm no journalist, just a blogger with a lot of love for our military personnel. Instead, I want to tell you about my hero: my father who served two years in the Navy.
Me: "Daddy, did you serve in Vietnam."
Dad: "No, but I served during Vietnam. My ship was stationed in the Mediterranean. I never saw combat."
Me: "So what did you do?"
Dad: "I cut hair."
My dad was a barber, a real, old-fashioned, "shave and a haircut"-type barber. He bought his shop from the owner under whom he'd apprenticed and ran it himself for years until the physical strain of standing in one position on concrete floors for eight hours a day started to take a serious toll on his body. So it didn't surprise me that he cut hair on a ship in the Med for the two years he was enlisted. I know he loved the Navy, but I also know that family meant too much for him to make a career of his military service. He loved the travel, but he loved his home in Manchester, NH more. I don't know all the details, and Dad's a touchy subject in my family, so I dare not ask.
What I have been able to piece together is this: Dad worked in a shop not far from the restaurant where my mother waitressed. One afternoon, while having lunch with a friend/client (Bob), he finally asked Mom out on their first date. He took her to see Dr. Zhivago. That client and I ended up working together many years later and Bob told me repeatedly that if it weren't for him, I'd never have been born. You see, the way Bob told the story, Dad was too shy to approach Mom until Bob pushed Dad into it. It's a good thing he did because Dad proposed two weeks later.
Dad continued working in the shop and bought it from the owner when he retired. Eventually, when it became clear that Dad would not be physically able to continue in his chosen career for the rest of his life, he enrolled in night school and got his real estate license. He sold houses until his death in 1984. Dad always said that if he had to go, he'd choose to have a heart attack in his sleep. He did. He was 41; I was 14.
"I cut hair." That's all I know about Dad's military service, but whatever else he may have shared convinced my Uncle Walter (Mom's younger brother) to join the Navy. That statement also sums up the humble attitude that so many of our military personnel exhibit toward their service. When asked about her time in the Navy, my friend Melissa says, "I only served four years." ONLY four.
Please remember that today is not about a long weekend; it's about honor, service, and love of country. It's about Navy Seals who take on a seemingly impossible to execute mission to remove a terrorist threat. It's about families who struggle here in the states to keep up a strong resolve while their loved ones are under fire half a world away. It's about National Guard troops on the ground in the US doing their part to help our citizens who've lost everything because of natural disasters. But most of all, it's to remind us that freedom isn't free.
God bless America.