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Memorial Day 2012

This is my Dad.  He was a veteran of the Korean and Vietnam wars.  He served in the Navy as a nuclear reactor maintenance specialist for 20 years and retired in 1980.  He died 17 years ago and is buried at Fort Indiantown Gap National Cemetery in the rolling hills of central Pennsylvania.

He ended up working for a power company but in an ironic twist, forbid airconditioning in his houses, insulated the hell out of every window, was a tyrant about running the dryer for a single pair of wet jeans and instructed everyone on how to take a proper navy shower. The thermostat was kept so low that we got dressed for school under the covers.  When it came to conserving energy, he was way ahead of his time and annoying as all get out.  I have rebelled.  Sometimes, my showers last more than three minutes, the water is set to hot and I let it run continuously during the shampoo cycle.

He was born in the middle of the Depression and probably never thought we’d be stupid enough to get ourselves into another one.  He probably never thought the religious right would get as much control as it did because up close, it just looks too crazy to be powerful.  He used to joke that we should save our Dixie cups because the south was going to rise again.  But he probably never expected we’d have to fight the Civil War all over again. He probably never expected that the first person in the family on either side to have graduated from college would be out of a job.  He wasn’t particularly political.  The only time I remember him voting was for John Anderson, an independent.  I’m not sure where he would have fallen on the political spectrum today but I seriously doubt he would have been suckered in by *anything* on Fox News.  He wasn’t the gullible type.  Knowing his views on energy, I think he’d be in a no man’s land, but *maybe* skewing towards the Green technology side of things.  I think that would have been interesting to him.  I don’t think he would have been into raiding other countries for oil because that means we’d end up paying money for energy, which went against his nature. He probably would have believed in global warming. There are a lot of things he wouldn’t be pleased to see if he were here and sometimes, he had a temper.

Yep, if he were here today, I think he’d be pretty pissed.

I kinda miss that about him.

Have a great day, people.  It’s nice outside.  Go out and get a sunburn.

It’s not summer yet but this is the start of the summer vacation season.  So, here’s my favoritist summer song in the whole world.  I love the lyrics.

The summer smiles
The summer knows
And unashamed
She sheds her clothes
The summer smoothes
The restless sky
And lovingly
She warms the sand
On which you lie
The summer knows
The summer’s wise
She sees the doubts
Within your eyes
And so she takes
Her summertime
Tells the moon to wait
And the sun to linger
Twist the world
Round her summer finger
Lets you see
The wonder of it all
And if you’ve learned
Your lesson well
There’s little more
For her to tell
One last caress
It’s time to dress
For fall…

7 Responses

  1. rd, Happy Memorial Day. BBQ Chicken

  2. He was a handsome young fella and I bet he’d be really proud of you, riverdaughter. Happy Memorial Day!

  3. One wonders what balance of possibilities and threats he would have seen in “pebble-bed” reactors and thorium reactors and such.

    (My father was a proNewDeal liberadical WWII veteran. He lived long enough to become VEry unhappy over the downward decay of events.)

  4. He was way ahead of his time as far as conservation goes. I live in the high desert and it’s amazing how comfortable you can be with proper passive heating and cooling systems.

    Something I shared for Memorial Day –
    War historian Paul Fussell died recently. Years ago, I personally gave his essay “Thank God for the Atom Bomb” to Gen. Paul Tibbets at a tribute dinner at the Proud Bird restaurant near LAX for him and the crew of the Enola Gay. [http://crossroads.alexanderpiela.com/files/Fussell_Thank_God_AB.pdf]

    A couple of weeks ago, I met the granddaughter of the former owner of the house two doors up from me (Gerald Marsh). He had built a miniature railroad around his property (including 60’ tunnel through the cliff ending in a hand-built rock trestle). He was a WWII vet who served in Graves Registration (picking up body parts and identifying the dead). It looked as if his energy and creativity was also a form of therapy.
    Along those lines, I would like to share another essay by Paul Fussell that seems appropriate for this coming Memorial Day.

    [http://www.theatlantic.com/past/docs/unbound/bookauth/battle/fussell.htm]

    Have a peaceful and reflective Memorial Day with your family, friends, and loved ones.
    Warmest wishes,
    LanceThruster

    I am tired and sick of war. Its glory is all moonshine.
    It is only those who have neither fired a shot nor heard the shrieks and groans of the wounded who cry aloud for blood, for vengeance, for desolation. War is hell.
    ~ Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman

    It is well that war is so terrible, otherwise we should grow too fond of it.
    ~ Gen. Robert E. Lee

    • My father was in the Pacific Theater. Non-combat, but how long would that have lasted into a land invasion of Japan by hand? I never
      asked him what he thought about the Atom Bomb and he never volunteered an opinion.

      Several million liberal boomers and Xers and Yers and Millenials might well remember that they would never even have come into existence if their fathers-t-be had been killed in a land invasion of Japan.

  5. Speaking of conservation living . . .

    I use vast amounts of energy at work. I am not going to quit my job to protest that.

    But at home, my NatGas consumption goes up to 150 or so cubic feet per day in the winter and down to 10 cubic feet per day in the summer. My electric use has sometimes gone down to 2.9 kilowatt hours per day in a good month up to 3.7 kilowatt hours per day in a bad month. I don’t know how that compares to the average retail residential per-capita enduser’s use.

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