11 September 2006

Where were you?

It seems like there are events in history which affect the human psyche such that people remember where they were at that time. The assassination of President Kennedy was one of these events. So was (for me) the shooting and attempted assassination of President Reagan. The Space Shuttle Columbia, and later the Challenger. If you don't remember these last, obviously they didn't affect you as they did me.

But if you were able to remember anything, you most likely remember exactly where you were and what you were doing on September 11, 2001.

I was in an office, in a building older than my father in Fort Polk, Louisiana. It was part of a training compound, originally for troops preparing for World War II, now for Special Forces troops preparing for missions all over the world. I had been involved in an exercise, a war gaming exercise, and it had ended the night before at about midnight. We were due to climb on a chartered aircraft later that day, and were packing up the office in anticipation.

Then, SFC Mac, my NCOIC, got a phone call from his wife, who told him to turn on a TV. We had not packed it yet (yes, we had a TV with us--what do you expect? It was a Special Forces unit), so we plugged it back in and tuned in the news, a grainy broadcast from a local LA station. It was there that we all were able to witness the impact of the second airliner, and the subsequent collapse of one of the most recognizable landmarks in the world, and the deaths of 2500 people.

We didn't leave Louisiana that day. Or the next. Or the next.

We finally left on the fourth day, after flights nationwide had been resumed. Not in a comfortable chartered aircraft, but in the cargo/passenger bay of a C-141 Starlifter. I didn't care. I wanted to be home. I didn't know if I would get to stay there very long, and I wanted to hug my kids. I only had the six boys then, and the twins were 4 years old. Mrs. Carter was expecting my little Princess, and had already had a few health issues while I was gone, and I was anxious. Due to restrictions placed on aircraft by the federal government, our plane landed at the local Air Force Base, rather than the commercial international airport. And because I knew it would cause fewer problems, I asked my sister, Michelangela, to pick me up. Her Husband was in the AF, stationed at the base, and I knew she would be able to get onto the post. Thankfully, she was glad to do it. Thanks, M.

I did not get deployed until much later, in the fall of 2003. Interestingly, I was back in Ft. Polk when we were told that we would be deployed. But that is a tale for another time.

Anyway, that's my story, and I'm stickin' to it.

What's yours?

10 September 2006


I was sipping a cup of refreshing Dr. Pepper(r) just now, and as I was slurping the very last of the liquid from the dregs of the crushed ice, I noticed a short brown hair adhering to the inside of the cup. Probably one of my own, from me running my hands through my stylish mop (ha!) while I relaxed, but still...


Why do we have such diametrically opposed emotions about hair? I run my hands through my own hair, and especially through my wife's gorgeous red tresses, and my daughter's golden locks. I ave been known to kiss my wife and daughter, and even my sons (when they were younger and let me do such blatantly affectionate things) ON THE HAIR. I have combed my children's hair, and my wife's on occasion as well.

I even pet the cat.

My sister, the Frog, has two dogs. I would bet money that she has petted them--they are like her children. In fact, I bet she has issed them, too. My mother has a dog, too. Her dog has full run of the house, and a shaggy coat. Who here thinks that mammals don't shed? There is undoubtedly canine hair all over the house.

But the moment that the hair leaves the body, or at least breaks contact with it, the hair becomes something at which we turn up our noses. "Eww! look what was on your shirt. Don't worry, I'll throw it away."

I don't know. It just seems weird.