Cumberland Times-News

Columns

March 30, 2013

A nap after breakfast can be a good thing

Thanks to those who called or e-mailed to help me find that fellow I once wrote about.

A lady who works for the historical society had a clipping of that story, and I immediately recognized the name.

His late father actually became a friend of mine during the 41 years since it appeared. All I can tell you at at present is that he seems to have done well since his time as a Navy corpsman and now is what you might call a public figure.

Things have been hectic recently — as you will see — and I haven’t had time to get in touch with him, but I will.

——————

Goldy’s Rule 67: Amateurs argue about tactics. Professional worry about logistics.

This an old military axiom which reflects the fact that professionals know how to fight. What concerns them is how to keep the troops properly fed, equipped and otherwise maintained, and so on. Moving them from one place to another is also part of it. You get the idea.

I’ve been busy dealing with logistics in both my professional life and my personal life.

Today, for example, is Easter Sunday. I plan to sing with the choir at two different churches (eating breakfast at one of them), after which Capt. Gary and I will be hitting the road.

Here’s how the concept of logistics applies: I topped off the gas tank on Saturday in case my usual pit stops were closed for Easter.

Tomorrow, Capt. Gary and 1Sgt. Goldy will be in uniform to honor an American hero ... two heroes, for that matter.

I was going to sing with the choir on Palm Sunday, but had to withdraw because of another road trip I hadn’t planned. Someone called me to say I might want to make it, and I did.

Ten days ago, I began to write a eulogy for someone who was still alive. First time I’ve ever done that, but he asked me to do it.

All things considered, I couldn’t refuse. Besides, I do such things when I think of it and have the time because I might not have the time later ... logistics, again.

I’d share it with you today, but I’m still working on it. This is nothing new. I’ve scribbled changes to speeches I was about to give.

A week ago yesterday, I did something else I’d never done: sit at a man’s bedside while his funeral was being planned. He was offering advice, and so was I.

He was in bed when I arrived.

“Stay where you are,” I told him. “You look too damn comfortable to make you get up on my account.” (He would have said the same thing to me, if our roles were reversed.)

Then I went over and hugged him as well as you can hug someone who’s flat on his back.

The others skedaddled, so we could have a few minutes alone, without them fussing over us or being able to overhear what we might say about them ... or what he and I might say about each other, that we didn’t want them to know.

We smiled a lot and even laughed a little. As I will say tomorrow, it helps when two guys know the same family stories ... particularly if their nature is a bit on the ornery side.

I told him I hadn’t come to say good-bye. He said he knew that. We don’t say good-bye in our family. There will be a next time ... we just don’t know when.

They put me up in a room at the same hotel where my cousin’s oldest son was staying with his fiancee. His other two sons live nearby.

“Now ain’t this a fancy (kitty residence),” I said upon entering. “Not at all like the places where the captain and I stay in Gettysburg, and I have no idea where the bar is.” (I always keep a full flask of Old Whoop and Snort in my just-in-case bag ... more logistics.)

My cousin’s sons are my second cousins, although they sometimes call me “Uncle Jim.” Usually, they call me “Gussie” — which is what I call them.

I’ve tried to explain actual the relationship, adding that my dad had three cousins who were sisters. One was only a few years older than I was, while the other two were my dad’s age.

The youngest, in my mind, was my cousin. The older two were my aunts, and that’s how I referred to them even when I got older.

My cousins/nephews, cousin-in-law/niece-to-be and I hung out at the hotel, drank some beer (she had wine) and talked about the usual stuff. In some respects, I am still 29 years old.

That night, I dreamed about eating pizza and drinking beer and woke up hungry. When I was the age my cousins/nephews are now, I dreamed about other things and woke up feeling ... you know.

We met for breakfast, then returned to our rooms until it was time to go and be with the kinfolk who are my age.

I began to get a massive case of cabin fever.

When I tried to call my cousin/nephew, the hotel telephone didn’t work. So I walked around to his room, banged on the door and waited outside until he and my cousin-in-law/niece-to-be were decent.

They said they had been taking a nap. Hey, I like to take a nap after breakfast, myself.

My cousin/nephew’s cell phone rang.

“That was Aunt Cyndy,” he said. “We need to go now.” OK, I thought, when I get antsy and need to be somewhere else all of a sudden, there’s usually a reason ... and this was it.

He drove, I rode shotgun, and my cousin-in-law/niece-to-be was in the back seat. My other cousins/nephews were in the car ahead of us.

We had 40 miles to cover.

As we were turning off the main road to Craig’s house, Kyle said, “I got it to 115.”

I told him I’ve had it to 130.

“My dad taught me how to drive,” he said.

My dad taught me I, replied.

There were no traffic cops, and the gaps in the lines of cars seemed to have been spaced to accommodate us.

I was calm and never felt that we were in danger, and neither was anyone else on the road. Kyle, Charley, Scott and I concluded that the details of our trip had been arranged by The Master Logistician, in whom our trust is absolute (but don’t try this at home).

We were in time, and it was time well-spent.

I’ll tell you the rest of it next Sunday.

Goldy’s Rule 137 says: Courage is not the absence of fear, but the willingness to do what you must, regardless of the circumstances and any reluctance you may have ... especially if you can smile while you’re doing it.

Lately, I’ve witnessed courage in abundance.

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