Brief conversations with heroes…

Posted on September 1, 2014 by Daniel Carney

wwii2

I suspect that veterans don’t buy these hats for themselves but that their kids or grandkids do.

Whenever I see a veteran wearing something that indicates they served our country I shake their hand and thank them for what they did.  The other day at Shaw’s market  (yes I do go grocery shopping once in a great while) I came across a man wearing a hat similar to the one in the picture.  I went up to him, shook his hand, thanked him for his service, and said that he didn’t look old enough to serve in World War II.  He replied that he was 89 years old and served in Patton’s Third Army.  I asked … you must have a lot of stories to tell … and he said … yes I do …and I said … have you ever told them … the answer was … no … and he walked away.

He will die, like many others before him, with a heavy heart and soul … he will die a hero … a hero of our greatest generation.

korean vets

I know only one Korean War veteran and we had a chat about a number of subjects the other day.  I have never heard him talk about Korea until this day.  We were talking about visiting Normandy and the American Cemetery… the 32 sets of brothers buried there and the Army Rangers climbing Pointe du Hoc.

army rangers

… the resulting casualties and the time it took the Rangers that made it to the top alive.  (15 minutes).

… when out of the blue he said “We (250+) were on the front lines for over 125 days with no breaks, little sleep, and cold rations and those alive came back to the base in two small trucks.”

It took me a few seconds to digest what I just heard.  I thought about asking for more details but just couldn’t because  I knew he wasn’t going to say anymore.

That was the end of our conversation.

I have written about my draft day into the Marine Corps and of my two friends drafted the same day.  One was killed in Vietnam and the other is just now sharing brief stories of his horrific experiences.

wall

We are a country of heroes … they live near us, they work with us, some are family and others are friends.

I must have missed the news of one of our heroes’ recent passing.  Louis Zamperini, the Olympic runner and World War II officer who survived a horrific plane crash, a seven-week journey across the Pacific in a raft, near starvation and unspeakable torture in Japanese POW camps.

He died at the age of 97. The cause of death was pneumonia, his family said in a statement from Universal Pictures, which is making a film adaptation of “Unbroken,” Laura Hillenbrand’s bestselling chronicle about Zamperini’s life.  I strongly recommend that you read it.

unbroken

We live in the greatest country on this good earth and it is all because of the men and women that have served our country in a manner reserved for true heroes.

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The last…

Apparently, the word is out in the stray/abandoned cat/dog world of Clonegal. 

Several years ago Jake showed up at our door, and now a weeks-old cat came crawling out of our woodpile.  Jake was my constant companion and we became best buddies.  Unfortunately, he was hit by a truck and killed.  Snoopy, the cat must have survived the roving fox from the back forty.


I love cats but I am allergic to them.  Years ago I wrote about “Already” the St. Agatha Road, Milton cat that used to come to my door and knock for me to come out.  Believe me, there were times I would hide so he wouldn’t see me. When I came back from a few days at the beach, he would ignore me and then break down “well I guess I showed that asshole a thing or two”.  The next day back at the door.


How did he get his name you ask.  I called him the no-name cat and my dear niece commented “will ya name him already”…so…

On my return to Milton several years ago, I expected Already to come a callin but he was a no show.  I thought he was just pissed and would show up when he saw some activity around the house, but no cat.

Months go by and I’m driving down our street and I stop and ask this elderly lady (look who’s calling elderly you asshole) if she has seen the neighborhood cat.  She then just opens up…” I was wondering when you would find out who owned the cat and come by to ask about him.  In my upstairs window, I would watch him come over to you and I could see how attached he was to you”.  Well, she then told me Charlie got sick and she spent thousands of dollars to save him to no avail.  When I left we both were in tears.

Now we have Snoopy and when I light the old pot-bellied stove in the garage the cat sits on my head. 


The garage is where I paint, play pool, the fiddle and watch TV.  Jake would in no uncertain terms howl in discomfort when he heard me play.  Snoop will do everything to get in the way of doing anything. 

I love peanuts and a cocktail or two. A couple of weeks ago I gave some to Snoop, who now is about seven months old.  She couldn’t get enough.  I bought unsalted peanuts one day and they were horrible, Snoop wouldn’t eat them either.  I’m just wondering if anyone that owns a cat, oh excuse me, if anyone that a cat owns feeds them peanuts.

In the past when I wrote about Already people would comment OK enough with the cat shit and now I promise this is the last about Snoop just like I promised that the last blog was the last…now this one could be the last, seriously.

But …





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embrace the day

 

 

embrace the day,

sing 

dance

write

love

paint

smile

listen,

 

by making the day better

for all those in it with you

I have been doing this blog for over 10 years, I hope you have enjoyed some or all of them. I truly thank you for reading them and your comments. I thank Mark and Lesley, my two guest bloggers, I suggest you write more. Not sure if I’ll be back unless John Connolly comes knocking at my door …so dance like no one is watching.

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The Mayo Curse and the All Ireland football final

 

 

Some of us from New England that grew up with the Red Sox and Ted Williams occasionally blamed the Curse of the Bambino for not winning the World Series.  I did not. That is if we ever got even close to getting into the World Series.

The Curse of the Bambino was a superstitious sports curse evolving from the Boston Red Sox to win the World Series in the 86-year period from 1918 to 2004. While some fans took the curse seriously, most used the expression in a tongue-in-cheek manner.

This misfortune began after the Red Sox sold star player Babe Ruth (sometimes nicknamed “The Bambino“) for $125,000 to the New York Yankees after the 1919 season.  Before that point, the Red Sox had been one of the most successful professional baseball franchises, winning the first World Series and amassing five of the first fifteen World Series titles.  After the sale, they went without a title for nearly a century, as the previously lackluster Yankees became one of the most successful professional sports franchises in North America. The curse became a focal point of the Yankees–Red Sox rivalry over the years.

Talk of the curse as an ongoing phenomenon ended in 2004 when the Red Sox came back from a 0–3 deficit to beat the Yankees in the best-of-seven American League Championship Series (ALCS), and then swept the St. Louis Cardinals to win the World Series.

The curse had been such a part of Boston culture that when a “reverse curve” road sign on Longfellow Bridge over the city’s busy Storrow Drive was graffitied to read “Reverse The Curse,” officials left it in place until the Red Sox won the 2004 World Series. After the World Series that year, the road sign was edited to read “Reversed Curse” in celebration.

On to Croke Park and the 2020 All Ireland Football Final.  Dublin has won the title 5 years in a row, Mayo not since 1951 when the “Curse” was put on them.

There is a tradition in the GAA of blaming the defeat on a force greater than human sporting abilities.

Curses and superstitions are common in the history and folklore of the GAA.  They intensify most often when teas wish to explain away a frustrating lack of success.  Win and the curse is broken and banished forever.  Lose and that curse will follow a team until they can prove otherwise.

The story of the so-called curse dates back to the last All-Ireland win for the county in 1951.  The Mayo team were traveling back west from Dublin after claiming the title.

According to the story, the team, traveling in the back of a truck, passed a funeral in the town of Foxford without paying their respects and stopping.  A curse was then supposedly put on them, which meant they would not win an All-Ireland again until every member of that team had died.  The story claims a priest or a woman put the curse on them.

Two members of the team are still alive today, Dr. Padraig Carney who lives in the US, and Paddy Prendergast who lives in Kerry.

Oh, ya back to the final…Dublin won again.

 

Credits to Wikipedia and the Irish Mirror

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Flowers, candy, sticks and ston”ed” or… I hope the dogs are sleeping at 5am.

 

 

 

 

I thought it best if I looked at the menu before I went there.  Wait a minute, let me back up.  My goal is to take one carry-on bag when I go to Ireland.  I already have stuff over there and I describe my clothes as classic, so in my mind they never go out of style.  Well this time my luggage was one carry-on and an overweight freight car that I had to pay extra baggage on a plane that was 1/3 full.  How did that happen, well I’ll tell you how that happened…the list of things to bring over just got bigger and bigger and dodgier.

…and one of the dodgy requests was for candy bars…the $32 each candy bars not made by Hersey.  Where do I find such sweetness …? In legal dispensaries in Massachusetts.  Oh ya, recreational marijuana is legal in our wonderful commonwealth because they, the pols, found out they could tax the shit out of it so that these shops would have to sell their candy bars at $32 just to make a profit.

Ah you say, let’s not get political … I say term limits …

OK Dan let’s stay focused here.

I go on line to find out where the closest dispensaries are … Dorchester and Rockland.  Not going to Dorchester so I go on line to Rockland’s web site so that when I do go there I know what I’m talking about.  Another reason I will go to Rockland is I need some booze and the largest liquor store I have ever been to is in Rockland.

OK where am I?  The menu on the dispensary in Rockland.  I quickly review it and make plans to go there the next day.  Of course monsoon rains, hurricane winds are in order and I wonder if this was a sign.  Oh well.  I pull into the parking lot, thought I was in a Herb Chambers Mercedes/BMW dealership.  I walk up to the door, was escorted to a check in booth then into the dispensary. Ya just know I’m going to say it … what a joint … 6 consultants ready to enlighten you on their products.  I was assigned to Chris with the tip jar in front of him.  He must have spent 15 minutes reviewing the “menu” and explaining the different effects each flower, candy bar and stick had on you.  He asked when do I start smoking in the day … all day? … in the evening?  After choosing the specifics and the amounts, I asked if I had reached my legal limit and he said no you have a way to go.  So on I went and then asked how much money are we at.  He said xxxx and I said that would last for over a year way back when.

Check out time and I give him my credit card and he asks if it is a debit card and I say no, unfortunately the state only allows us to take debit cards and cash he said.  Back to the order, cut some candy bars and other sticks and get to a point that I can cover it with cash…and then on my way to buy some booze with a credit card.

I do not know the regulations regarding taking my stash to Ireland and I didn’t want to find out.  I packed it all in my fright car bag and days before I left smelled it and it did have a certain aroma that only a trained dog would love and someone a bit curious would sample while watching the Rolling Stones at Hyde Park.

Had several Jameson’s in flight just so that I wouldn’t think of the consequences of my purchases upon landing and with my past experiences with customs it might turn out ugly.

Touch down 5:05AM.

Oh … look who’s coming a cute big puppy with someone really big.

 

Happy Christmas and a better…much better even better then that New Year!!!

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Sunrises are for you alone

I’m revisiting some thoughts and pictures since I came back in July…I hope you enjoyed them.

 

 

i’m lost in time  that moves quickly
yesterday … many yesterdays ago
i was stuck in time and it moved slowly
oh the value of time
where does the minutes go
where does the hours go
the morning arrives early
too early … quickly turning
to lost forever
after midnight my mind confuses
dark with darker
oh the value of time
so…
i think I’ll take the bus to
Clonegal
maybe my watch will capture
some time or even better
capture me

 

one white rose speaks softly
three makes a statement
how do you interpret
the language of beauty?

leaves falling

multi colored leaves
fall twisting in the breeze
most in bunches
save one
one that flutters alone
and refuses to make contact
with the others and the ground
it just floats with the wind
and disappears into
tomorrow
until that too
follows suit

a reluctant goodbye

come visit

when the weathers nice

stay for a while before

the cold winds blow

swim till november

it challenges

tempting most tempting

as the new day

begins to present itself

as i drive away

to

tomorrow

we’re all trying to figure it out

we’re all trying to get it straight

our different opinions and positions

are becoming extremely difficult

to share

where do we go?

what do we do?

abandon friends and family

i think not

aaaahhhh i’ve got it…

i think i’ll have another red breast

it is the september of my life

and i tend to think too much

not so much of the past

but more of what’s ahead

for tomorrow delivers

many questions and few answers

somehow a september sunrise

generates memories that reflect

on yesterday but now

the energy of this new day

awakens a spirit that demands

your full attention

to the challenges

of life.

a sunrise walk

what better

place and time

for sunsets are for

crowds

and sunrises are for you

alone

 

a mid-august sunrise
delivers a new day
a day you hope captures
the spirit and beauty of its
beginning
i await the results of this morning’s promise
with an expectation at day’s end
that the sunset will
challenge its beginning

her wings
propel her
she is free
as free as the wind
that guides her
and the water below
that feeds her
she is a spirit
that follows
no one
while she leads
but for now
she is alone
with herself
and free to
test the wind
and water
that dictates
her freedom

 

the moon is keeping
a watchful eye on
buzzards bay
while our attention
is drawn to the fireworks
around us
and the pit fire before us
sparks fly
as a gentle wind
warms our souls
and reminds me why
i love this place so dearly

hope your 4th was a celebration for the greatest country on the planet

photograph by L.E.Carrigg

 

 

 

 

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the road to Beauford

The journey actually started the day before in the town of Mattapoisett, Massachusetts. 

I don’t remember much from that time in my life but since I recently heard Mason Williams’ Classical Gas, I’ve been thinking about it…and I would much rather not.

About four months before this evening I resigned myself to the fact that I was going into the Army and was heading up to Boston to take my physical and then off to training camp.

The night before I had a few beers and then went home early.

The next morning I arrived at the Boston Navy Yard and was soon taking all kinds of tests to determine my fitness to serve.

Last up was my blood pressure.  I was told my pressure was too high and that I was to return in about four months to take further tests. Fast forward to this evening.  I thought if I was to drink and partake in other activities lasting through the early hours of the morning … what then would my body tell the draft board.

I will always remember the song that was playing on the radio of this tulip’s car as we left the Inn. 

 Classical Gas by Mason Williams

 

Next stop a dive bar in Fairhaven at closing time and the bartender greets us saying I’m closing and you guys are loaded.  There was one other person sitting at the bar.

 My lovely date says to the bartender…if you don’t give us a drink I’m going to drag this sorry fuck onto the bar and fuck the shit out of him…I believe we got several drinks.

I think the evening/morning ended around 4:00 AM, and I was on the bus going back to Boston at 7:00 AM.

Went through all the tests again and finally got to blood pressure.  

The way I figure it I was still loaded and my pressure had dropped to ” a welcome to the Army” level.

The next stop was a warehouse with about 500 guys in formation.  The voice went through the first 200 or so with,… step forward after your name and as the branch of service is stated … in the early 200s a name came up … step forward …US Marine Corps…the guy almost passed out.  It went on for another 150 or so then … Daniel N Carney United States Marine Corps … I didn’t step forward but said …hey I’m going into the Army.  Within seconds a 6’4″ Marine Staff Sergent was standing next to me and convinced me to step forward.

Only three out of this 500 or so guys were drafted into the Marines.

Hours later I was headed to Beauford, South Carolina.

On a train in a private compartment shared with the 3rd draftee.  We stopped briefly in Washington DC and then were transferred to a bus.

The stop in DC was interesting but because I was still in shock I just don’t remember much…or for that matter of the bus ride to Beauford … but I do remember this …

April 4, 1968, Beauford South Carolina.

Heading into Parris Island the bus driver yells out they just killed the fucking nigger!  The bus erupted in cheers…save the 3rd draftee, a drafted jew from New York, and me.

Needless to say, I was not looking forward to the next 13 weeks.

Up soon, my 8-week weight loss program and the road to Head Quarters Marine Corps, Henderson Hall, Washington, D.C.

 

 

 

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Coming to America

It is unfortunate that some people will be offended by what follows…believe me I am offended by what certain groups are doing to my country.

Call me white privileged…one who started a company in my upstairs bedroom writing proposal after proposal to town officials and spending 3/4 nights out a week for two years trying to convince them to choose my company … and then going to work at 7 AM.  Ya I’m white privileged.

And so it goes…

A series of anti-poverty billboards sponsored by a black conservative group urges young people to finish school, get a job, get married and save money, but apparently, that advice was too inflammatory for Milwaukee.

The “Tired of Poverty” billboards, part of the Center for Urban Renewal and Education’s “Success Sequence” campaign, were removed this week by Clear Channel Outdoor after complaints about the message, which one local woman described as an “attack.”

The four billboards featured photos of young Black people with the message, “Tired of Poverty? Finish school. Take Any Job. Get Married. Save & Invest. Give Back to Your Neighborhood.”  

Those that have stopped reading sorry…but tell me what is wrong with this message and why isn’t Lebron James talking about this.

A friend of mine, I don’t have many, owns a business that serves the public.  He has several locations throughout Southeast Massachusetts.  At his flagship location, he has employed members from a Lebanese family.  They came to the states with nothing.  One son worked 40-50 hours a week and then attended night school and eventually got his law degree.  A daughter has been with him for 9 years, she works 65 hours a week while getting her master’s degree.  They work hard and recognize that getting an education is a key to succeed in America…and I might add they all live together in a house they bought with cash.

Oh ya, this white privileged friend works 6/7 days a week sometimes… when not working on a Sunday…always on call.

Mary has worked with many nurses of color from the Caribbean.  They too came here with nothing and recognized that getting an education and hard work would advance their career. 

Don’t you think those kids that are killing each other in Chicago would listen to James or some other successful black person?  No politician in the world could do that or for that matter should even try.

Ya gotta have a horse in the race.  No one should get anything without some sweat and tears.

We all know what’s coming up and I hope that those of you here in the States vote… for there are thousands of men and women that have given their lives so that we can.

God bless America the greatest country on this earth.

Credits to the Washington Times

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the last waltz

the last waltz

 

it was a long time ago and i have watched the show “lost count” times.   tonight i am at it again 

i don’t know how many people were at the live show but no doubt thousands more claim they were there 

oh no you don’t know the shape

i’m in 

i’m thinking that anyone under 40 maybe 50 has never experienced one of scorsese’s best 

it makes no difference

if the sun don’t shine anymore 

the doctor was in the house

such a night 

if i don’t do it

somebody else will 

there is a town in

north ontario

helpless, helpless, helpless 

see the man with the stage fright

take a load off annie   and put the load on

me 

give me that old-time religion

the night they drove old dixie down 

just like you are marching off to war

come dry your eyes 

still feel alone 

that coyote is at the door

prisoner of the white lines 

train gonna ride all night long 

manis man

5 minutes time

hoochie coochie man 

if you mistreat someone

someone will mistreat you 

evangeline, evangeline

ophelia, ophelia 

on the radio

turn it up     radio 

oh man 

my god bless you and keep you 

and may you stay forever young

forever young 

can i come home with you

i’ll do anything in this 

god almighty world

if i can follow you down 

i see my light come shining

any day now i shall be released

 

 

oh no you don’t know the shape i’m in

…now 

really

 

Can you match the lyrics to an artist?

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KOS

The haunting torment of memories, not forgotten…where youthful innocence disappears forever …only to prompt a regretted confession that delivers an empty explanation of the curse men at war endure. 

It is my understanding that most combatives that survive war do not talk about what they did and the horrors they witnessed.  The ones that do usually open up to just one person and when all is said the memories continue to torment and the confession regretted. 

Though not public knowledge, KOS meant kill on sight for the British army during the “troubles” in Ireland.  The man that orchestrated the Mountjoy prison helicopter escape and the robbery of art worth of millions of dollars from the Russborough House was designated a KOS target.

I revisit this story because a friend of mine called me after reading “a day to confess” and asked me some pointed questions.  The last two were “what name does he go by and where does he live?”  I paused for what seemed to be a long time and said I don’t think I should tell you… for reasons left unsaid.  I was serious.  Over the years I never thought of the consequences of revealing his identity, but I do now.

I’m sure he would do anything to keep his past buried under time.

After the call, I went online to see if he was on any of the social networks.  It didn’t take me long to find him.  Two pictures jumped out, one with his wife and the other alone.  His smile was warm but his eyes were like ice.  I have no doubt that this wife still doesn’t know his true identity.

For those that haven’t read about him “a day to confess” follows.  It is a true story only the names have been changed. 

Just click on the date it was written and your thoughts and comments are welcome.

A day to confess

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