Monday, June 21, 2010

Belated Thanks

Purgatory race report later.

Last week was a perfect week. In fact, it was more than last week, as I parked my car on thursday evening, june 10, and didn't start it again until saturday morning, june 19. In that 9 day block I rode 330 miles, with the perfect week plus saturdays race (june 14-19) clocking in at 250 miles, about 130 miles of that at race intensity.

But this blog post isn't about that.

The perfect week culminated with a cook-out/bonfire at a relatives house for the purposes of an American Cancer Society Fundraiser. After riding 330 miles in ten days, the beer and food seemed to flow in me like I was beer bonging everything.

The bonfire, food, and frivolity went well into the late evening, and a good time was had by all.

But this blog post isn't about that.

Last year and this year they managed to secure live entertainment from Joel Cage, a solo acoustic-rock singer/songwriter. Joels style is unique, passionate, and somewhat eccentric, a hard-rocking style that's both emotionally and intellectually stimulating, accented by heart-felt rhythm and melodies with some impressive (but not oppressive) guitar licks. What few cover songs he plays are decidedly in his own style, in the manner that one would expect someone with his passion and love for music the present them.

But this blog post isn't about him.

One of Joel's fortes is his ability to musically illustrate imagery, presented in short soliloquies that punctuate the performance. Last saturday, he presented a new song called 'Devil'. He hasn't recorded it yet. I'll attempt to recall his preface to the song:

"I saw a cartoon in a magazine recently on the subject of Memorial Day. It showed a man standing in front of a barbecue grill holding utensils and saying to himself 'let's see, I have the hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken wings, ribs.....have I forgotten anything?'. In the smoke rising from the grill were the faces of soldiers and sailors. Now, I'm not a religious man by any stretch of the imagination, but I imagined the devil at that point, emerging from the ground behind the man, and reaching to place his hand on the mans shoulder. The closer the devil gets, the less the man sees the faces of the fallen soldiers in the smoke. But if the man can see those faces, and remember, the devil will be pushed back into the ground"

Now, I don't have that exactly correct. I was half in the bag at that point, but I think I have the sentiment right. Joel, if you ever get to this dark place of the world wide web, please know this was an attempt at an accolade.

This blog post is about taking the time to find the maturity to come to terms with the sacrifices - some too immense to comprehend - that others have made, yet not ever demanded recompense for.

Yesterday was Fathers Day. My father spent 21 years in the US army, including suffering such indignities as being station for 12 months on the Aleutian island of Shemya, and three combat tours of Vietnam - two of which were at forward fire bases. My father is a very quiet, reserved, patient, and tolerant man, with a pleasant and friendly demeanor. He enjoys Tanglewood, red wine, and fresh baked bread. You would never be able to picture him emptying an M-16 clip at advancing viet-cong forces, but that he did. His father was in fact killed in battle, on the island of guadalcanal in late 1942. My father was 2 at the time. He has no memory of his father.

I'm more than thankful that the man standing in front of the grill making sure he didn't raise the ire of his family by burning the burgers never would have had the chance to see my fathers face anthropomorphized in mesquite tinged vapors. I've understood this sacrifice for some time, as growing up in the military during the Vietnam war era, I had seen first hand the devastation done to a family when their father didn't return. I was thankful then, and thankful now, I didn't have to spend fathers day with a photograph, as my father has _always_ had to do.

That's what this blog post is about.

I took my father out to dinner yesterday. We drank Guinness, I had irish stew, he had fish and chips, and we enjoyed a good celtic music session.

And a good time was had by all.


Amanda said...

dads are awesome.
i think i like the way you describe music even better than the way you describe riding a bike...

Rockstar's Dad said...

...and I thank your dad for his service to our our GREAT country, and your grandfather for his ultimate sacrifice!

Anonymous said...

Thankful then.
Thankful now.
A great emotion.

'...anthropomorphized in mesquite tinged vapors'... thankful for this collection of prose.


zencycle said...

Thanks Miff, I've been known to craft an attractive turn-of-phrase from time to time