Thursday, October 27, 2016

Contemplating the Eternal


I started writing this post back in April. After ORPO and I rode the REAGAN. I'm not sure why I didn't finish it at the time. Perhaps it was too soon. The mug The WSO bought for me triggered the memory. So I'm finishing it today. Keep that time frame in mind as you read. So here we go...

"Today" (as referenced above) was the 30th of August 2014. Two years ago. Another, recent, event triggered the need to finish this post. Maybe I'll actually finish it and publish it this time. You'll know soon enough. Bear with me, parts of this will seem disjoint and I might be all over the map. Lot on my mind lately. Stand by for heavy rolls, as a Lieutenant I met once liked to say. Yeah, he was a SWO. So here we go... (again)


I know people who don't believe.

Apparently their existence has no more meaning than that of a leaf on a tree.

Once it falls to the forest floor, its existence is over. There is nothing more. Tout est fini...

The other day Some time ago (in the hazy, distant past), over on Facebook, I had mentioned my visit to Shakespeares Pub in Sandy Eggo on one of my last trips out there. Someone asked me if I had used Lex's Mug.

Now Lex's Mug is a beer mug which had been the property of CAPT Carroll "Lex" LeFon, U.S. Naval Academy Class of '82.

Some time after Lex's passing in 2012, his wife Mary (aka The Hobbit) brought this mug to Shakespeares. A new custom was established whereby Lex's friends and fans of his blog would drink from Lex's Mug when stopping in at Shakespeares.

I have never had a Guinness from Lex's Mug when visiting Shakespeares (twice four times since the custom was established) and most likely never will. (I still have not.) This is not so much out of a fear of breaking Lex's Mug (of which Mary has another at home and I would indeed be terrified of dropping it or otherwise damaging it) as it is out of respect for Lex as a man, as an officer and as a writer.

So when asked if I had used Lex's Mug, I answered "No, I am not worthy of that."

There were comments regarding worthiness to drink from Lex's Mug and such but as I said at the time, "Others can drink from Lex's mug, I don't mind, I prefer to just sit and contemplate the Eternal."

Or words to that effect.

So that was then, this is now (sort of). What sparked this post? (Those long ages ago...)

There are two things I will always usually do when visiting Sandy Eggo: (1) stop at Shakespeares for at least one pint of Guinness and (2) pay a visit to Fort Rosecrans (situated on Point Loma), where Lex's ashes are interred. (The last time I was out there in January of this year - 2016 - I didn't make it out to Ft. Rosecrans. The press of time didn't allow for it. I did look in that direction - more than once - and render a silent salute.)

In Last week August of 2014 I was in Sandy Eggo and I did both of those two things. The latter is what sparked this post (though the former gave me the title). (Actually based on that aforementioned exchange on koobecaF*.)

Then last night On the night of 29 August 2014, I had a dream. A very odd dream. (And revisiting this post brings that dream back. In spades...)

I was visiting Sandy Eggo and noticed that no matter which way I turned, I could see two things: Point Loma and a Naval Air Station chock full of Super Hornets.

First of all, to see Point Loma, you need to be facing west. For that's where Point Loma lies in relation to downtown Sandy Eggo.

Secondly, while there is a Naval Air Station in Sandy Eggo (North Island) it is devoid of Super Hornets. Unless there are one or more transiting the area and are there for a stopover. For some time ago, Big Navy (read Washington DC and/or the Pentagon whenever you see that term, many add a sneer of contempt to the saying of that phrase) decreed that the United States Navy would no longer base their West Coast Carrier Air Wings in Sandy Eggo. Henceforth, those wings would be based at Naval Air Station Lemoore. Way out in the dust and heat of California's Central Valley.

Now in the dream, Whisper (another friend of Lex's, that's his callsign) handed me a silver plaque. He told me that this plaque would allow me to see reality in Sandy Eggo. Point Loma would always be to the west and I would not see phantom F-18s parked all over North Island.

Unbeknownst to Whisper, that plaque would also transport me to the deck of an aircraft carrier passing out to sea from where I could see Point Loma. I had to but wish it. (No mention of how I was to get back!)

Okay. Dreams are pretty weird experiences. Mine, when I remember them, are weirder than most.

From what I've heard, dreams are the brain's way of taking disparate information, mashing it together and then (having categorized it) throwing it away. Okay, sure. I'll buy that.

Now let's look at the evidence.

When I visited Sandy Eggo, I rode an aircraft carrier out to sea. We passed Point Loma, I made a point of mentioning Lex up on that ridge line, the two people I was with know Lex as well, they get it.

I remember thinking how nice it would be if after riding the carrier my son-in-law and granddaughter had not had to drive down from Lemoore (Hanford actually) to pick us up. That is a very long drive. Takes you through L.A. it does with all of the traffic woes that entails. And you need to retrace your route to get back there.

Now many of the air crew in REAGAN's Air Wing will fly off the boat and head on up to Lemoore. But there are those who don't fly off. Like the maintainers. How do they get back to Lemoore? I'm sure they don't have to drive (I hope they don't have to drive). But really?

So my frustration that these folks (and me in this instance) have to travel a long distance to get home from Sandy Eggo is obviously where the magic transporter plaque comes in. (Or so I surmised back when I had the dream.)

As to the rest? Who knows, certainly 'tis beyond my ken.

----------------------------

Anyhoo. This post was started a couple of years ago. I have often looked at it, sitting there all dusty and forlorn, in the "Drafts" section of the blog, and wondered if I would ever finish it. Well, I am doing that now. Why? (You might ask...)

When I got to work yesterday morning I checked in on koobecaF, which I often use to keep track of the progeny, and saw something which gave me pause. There was a post from a friend which read as follows...
To all FB friends--the family of Scott _______ regrets to inform you that Scott passed away on Oct 20. To all of you, he says "so long".
Now given the current political climate there has been a lot of strife, angst, nasty language, and lots and lots of bitterness (even among friends) on koobecaF, I know of a few people who have decided to give up on koobecaF for now. Perhaps forever. So at first I thought Scott's post was one of those "I've had enough, bye-bye Facebook" posts.

No, my friend Scott actually passed away on the 20th of this month.

Yes, I was stunned. For one thing Scott was younger than me, born the same year, I was born in May, he in November. When one gets to be a certain age I suppose one must get used to the idea that death is no longer a possibility, but an absolute certainty. The young tend not to think about that. As you age, you do.

So while casting about for a way to remember Scott, I came across this unfinished post. Seemed like now was the time to finish it and put it "out there."

Scott was a fellow Lexican. Since the passing of Hizzoner Himself, four Lexicans have entered the path at the end of the clearing.
  •     John
  •     Marianne
  •     Buck
  •     and now Scott
So for Scott, for John, Marianne, and Buck (and of course Lex, always) -
Through many countries and over many seas
I have come, Brother, to these melancholy rites,
to show this final honour to the dead,
and speak (to what purpose?) to your silent ashes,
since now fate takes you, even you, from me.
Oh, Brother, ripped away from me so cruelly,
now at least take these last offerings, blessed
by the tradition of our parents, gifts to the dead.
Accept, by custom, what a brother’s tears drown,
and, for eternity, Brother, ‘Hail and Farewell’.


- Gaius Valerius Catullus


For what it's worth, I still don't consider myself worthy.




* It has become the fashion among certain folks to refer to Facebook as koobecaF, as a way showing a bit of disdain and/or disrespect for that bastion of social media. It's a petty conceit, I know. But there it is, it's even (as of yesterday) on the Acronym page. Along with rettiwT. That one you need to look up yourself. Though it's easy to figure out. Once you know the secret.

24 comments:

  1. Heavy thoughts, Brother. It ain't easy bein' sentient.

    I started doing the koobecaf thing with the vague notion that it might give a snooper a momentary headache. I kind of like the way the new word rolls off the tongue. The tongue of my mind, I guess, because I don't think I've ever attempted to verbalize it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I provide a guess at pronunciation of koobecaF on the Acronym page.

      It seemed the thing to do.

      As for being sentient, that is a mixed bag.

      Delete
  2. You may not consider yourself worthy, my Friend. I disagree.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Lex...would certainly believe you worthy and he'd likely even pour it for you himself. And Scott...that one hit hard. I had just been chatting with him on the koobecaF 2 days before he passed. How horrible for his family.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Kris, you're probably right.

      I'm still in shock over Scott, hard to believe, hard to accept.

      Delete
  4. From one Scott to another Ave Atque Vale!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Miss Lex every day, I do. I carry the Lex challenge coin which Mary gave me. Thanks for the post.

    Paul L. Quandt

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not a day goes by that I don't think of Lex.

      Delete
  6. I understand why you don't drink from the mug, but I don't think it should be a "Worthy" thing, it is more a communion thing, "Drink from this in remembrance of Lex."

    Either way, drinking from the mug or refraining from doing so out of respect, speaks volumes on what a fine person you knew him to be.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Joe, you get it.

      I like the communion aspect. I might just do that next time I'm out Sandy Eggo way.

      Delete
  7. You have my condolences. Losing friends is never an easy thing to bear. I'm of an age, now, where there are daily posting announcing the death of fellow Vietnam veterans. We're all of an age . . . now. I, myself, have sat on that edge of eternity many a time, of late. Just yesterday I was released from the hospital after having my heart revert to tachycardia again. The Doc re-adjusted my meds once more, then sent me home with the warning that if it happens again, drastic measures will have to be taken; meaning a delicate surgery that I may not survive. This bothers me some . . . but not as much as I thought it would. Dying, anymore, does not frighten me. According to the Christian Bible, we are promised "Three score and ten," . . . nothing more. I'm now at "three score and ten," from now on it's all a daily gift.

    "I know people who don't believe.

    Apparently their existence has no more meaning than that of a leaf on a tree.

    Once it falls to the forest floor, its existence is over. There is nothing more. Tout est fini..."

    That'd be me.
    When we die, we're worm food.
    When we die, we live on in memory, until those who knew us, too, pass on.

    http://fineartamerica.com/featured/one-fallen-leaf-joseph-welsh.html

    Thanks for the post . . . and the forum, Sarge.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad to hear you're still among us.

      Three score and ten. Wow.

      Delete
  8. Sometimes it really isn't just blogfodder.
    Those reflections that take time, even years, to germinate, are every excruciating moment spent to find the right words.
    I know just how tou feel about being "worthy".
    Sometimes it is enough to just walk on the same ground.

    ReplyDelete
  9. His mug is sacred to us, but not quite at Holy Grail status. I think Lex would be honored to have you quaff a pint from it. Drinking from it shows it off and helps sustain his memory- more so than it hanging above the bar in loneliness. Time to visit again. (Shakespeares, and Newport)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm starting to come around.

      Concur on the "time to visit again."

      I pine for Sandy Eggo. (Not exactly the fjords, but a lot warmer!)

      Delete
  10. Silent Running...Run Silent, run Deep. U-1944--call sign VX-- resurfacing here on station again after major action and reporting in. After action/damage rpt to follow. What a perfectly appropriate post to see me return. Almost met Lex, Buck and Marianne this time. Makes one think--but only later. One never thinks of the ultimate possibility even as one is undergoing it--at least not me--just knew I was very sick. Updates to follow..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good to have you back on station VX. We were starting to worry.

      Delete
    2. Glad you're doing better VX. Wouldn't know who to think about when I drink a GOOD rum, otherwise. ;-)

      Delete

Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)