Sunday, February 15, 2009

Request from a soldier...

A former student of mine, James Williford, recently sent me (and several others) this email. I thought I would share it...

hey all, I am deploying yet again.... Well, here's my address. Will be RIP'ing out with 4/101 sometime next month. Won't be at Salerno, but all of our mail will be routed through there. Will be at a COP or JSS somewhere in Khost province. Back to my old stomping grounds.

James R Williford
A Co 425th BSTB
FOB Salerno
APO AE 09314

Hey all, I know i don't really keep in touch with many of you. Some of you might care less I am deploying. But hell, support a soldier. Some of my men don't really have much for family or extended network of friends. Things that are good are non-perishable snacks (crackers and jerky are great, as is easy cheese in a can), Smokes or dip (hey you can hate it and choose not to support it, but if you wanna really perk up soldiers, send tobacco), padded insoles (preferably any size fits all. Foot movements in excess of 15 miles and over 10,000 ft elevation change during movement are not uncommon), and baby wipes (cuz water isn't always a basic thing while deployed). If you don't care, delete this. If you wanna help out, just send stuff. Once, once a month, once a week, whatever. Any helps out and it's nice to get mail. If you want the specific name of a soldier who might not get stuff from family, lemme know, otherwise i will distribute to those not getting anything by who's just not getting shit. Trust me as a veteran of two deployments and a recipient of the purple heart, when you are going out day after day and risking your ass and getting told it's for the US's safety, it's nice to know that it's not all smoke and people, not just churches and schools that do it cuz it's prolly a tax break, actually care that young men and women are downrange enduring often miserable conditions to come home and see people protesting the place they just lost some dear friends.

-Tango Mike
SGT Williford, James R
"Sapper 2"

Friday, February 13, 2009

Florida and Citrus Overdose!

Just posted some pictures of our February trip to Florida on "Facebook" but the link to the album is here:

That should allow those who are NOT on Facebook to see the album.

We went down just after our ice storm here. We were cold and in the dark for 3 days, and decided to get away for awhile. Well, wouldn't you know, when we checked into the motel, there was no heat. SO many people checked in, and it was SO cold (record), the hotel's electrical system couldn't handle the strain. They did get it fixed the next day but it sure made for an unpleasant evening.

While there we visited Plant City and 9,000 acres of strawberries. MMMMMM.

Then over to Tampa to the Seminole Hard Rock Casino. We had a $20 "free" spin on the machines, and Barry won $28, so his Hard Rock Tampa t-shirt didn't cost anything. I didn't do quite so well, but didn't lose much either.

Back then to Orlando and Hard Rock Orlando, in Universal City, or Studios, whatever. Two Hard Rock Cafes in one day -- that's a record.

We drove around some of the back roads in the Brevard County area, just to get a look at the countryside few tourists see. Drove up the A1A Highway toward Cape Canaveral, and the Patrick Air Force Base beach, Cocoa Beach, Indialantic, and Merritt Island.

We went for oranges. Boy did we bring some back. Plus, there was a place advertising "Pick your own" but no one was home. Well, we went back the following day, and totally to our surprise, it was Mr. Bunkley -- who gave us a tour of his orchard way back in 2004! It was like meeting an old friend. Anyway, we stocked up on his fruit, and visited 3 other orchards, coming home with enough oranges, grapefruit, tangelos, honeybelles, lemons, tangerines, and pomelos to give both of us a case of "the runs" for months. Is it possible to overdose on Vitamin C? We sure plan to try!

Now, we stay home for a few months ... then planning other trips to Maine, and New Orleans, and Virginia Beach, and Chicago, and Gettysburg, and ...

Monday, February 2, 2009

Picking up and packing up

Yesterday, Barry cut what was left of the Bradford pear down. That way, we won't keep saying "we miss it" and can get over it. Most of the flowering plum came down today, but we can probably still save that. Another Bradford pear got a limbing, as did a dogwood. The mimosa is next -- RIP, mimosa.

The whole area looks like a series of tornadoes came through -- except that the damage is much more widespread, and the trees are broken off in all directions. So sad to see people with trees on their roofs, electric service ripped from their houses, people dying of carbon monoxide poisoning because they don't know NOT to place generators OUTSIDE! Schools here in Boyle County have been out since before the ice storm -- they lost ALL week last week, and today and tomorrow as well. We're still under a boil water advisory, and probably will be until at least tomorrow...we'll see.

Putting everything in perspective, no power for 3 days but we were never really cold; lost virtually NO food, only damaged three trees seriously. There are still 250,000 people here without power, and for most of them, freezers full of food are now gone; in western Kentucky, many people aren't yet able to get home, and the National Guard is patrolling the streets.

The overall damage here in Kentucky is much worse than it was in Maine in '98; the big difference is that the pain won't last as long -- in another month, temps will be getting up into the 50s and 60s regularly, and even yesterday it nearly topped 60; with sun and south-facing windows, we got it up to 76 inside yesterday without the heat on.

That said, we're packing for Florida. We're going to drive down, stay in Cocoa 4 days, pick up some oranges, lemons, grapefruit, etc., and just bum around central Florida, maybe even get a side trip to Tampa or Vero Beach. It'll be a brief but welcome vacation.

The Cat is getting used to his "kitty kondo" at the Heartland Vet Clinic's "Crowbar Motel", as Barry calls it.