Monday, November 11, 2019

No Thanks Needed and Changing Lanes

I was telling a friend today that I'm somewhat self-conscience when anyone thanks me for my military service (not that it happens very often) because I didn't enlist out of a sense of patriotism. I enlisted because I was a kid who had no plan but knew enough that I couldn't continue working dead-end jobs. I don't think I should be thanked for that. Enlisting in the Navy was simply a card I played from a hand that made little sense at the time. But it was a good card to play and I'm grateful I did.

I wrote about my decision to commit to a 4-year enlistment six months out of high school in a series of blog posts beginning with this link. It was an enjoyable series of posts to write as I recalled so many memories (aided by a journal I'd kept) from my time in the Navy.

I'm not much for expressions of patriotism but that's just me. I respect those who feel otherwise. Still, thanks to all who have served and thanks to their families for keeping the home fires lit in their absence.

My brother Keith and his business partner are in the process of closing their cabinet business after some 30 years together. They sold the building they work out of last week and will continue making cabinets in their same location for another 6 months while they look for a buyer for the business. I'm happy for them both. Keith is the hardest working guy I've ever known and I'm glad that he's going to be able to move over into a slower lane for a change. He's earned it.

I took part in Random Relay 2.0 last Saturday morning at the West Lake Marion single-track MTB trails with the guys from Silver Cycling and others. It was a relay race put on for the purpose of raising money for trail grooming equipment for the WLM trails. It was a lot of fun—so much fun that I have no idea what place our team finished in.

That's all I've got


Anonymous said...

I think we were pack-fodder....dave p

Kevin said...

Yep. Those young ones saw us and their smiles grew wide! Lotsa fun!

No Longer a Factor said...

Hey there old friend, I enjoyed and totally related to your Veterans Day post. It appears we were both on a similar track when we left high school! I barely squeaked out of that institution with a passing grade, due to my personal "don't bother to study" policy. I too embarked on a potential career of bottom-tier jobs and went through a couple of them before I received a "pre-induction notice" from my friendly neighborhood Draft Board. It wasn't the actual draft notice but rather a "heads-up" that mine was coming soon. By best buddy received a similar notice so we decided to visit an Air Force recruiter ASAP! I was inducted and quite fortunate to get my first choice of jobs too! After basic training, I was sent to Keesler AFB in Biloxi, Miss. for Air Traffic Controller training. It saved my life and the rest is history. I assume you are enjoying your retirement. Take care!

Kevin said...

NLF, it’s so nice to hear from you. I was actually trying to contact you last week but noticed that your name in your comments no longer went to your blog. I’ve been going through each page of my blog and redirecting photo links away from my website (where I’ve hosted many of them) and re-establishing them via Google Photos. I came across several of your comments from years ago and got to wondering how you’ve been. I thought I had your email address but I can’t find it.

Enlisting in the Navy was probably the best thing I could’ve done after high school. It was good that I didn’t stop to ponder the decision for too long or I may have changed my mind. I’m glad your hasty decision worked well for you, too. I’m not necessarily prone to rash decisions but sometimes they work out quite well.

Retirement is very nice. I’ve been working a little side-hustle with my stained glass work during the winter months. Time is racing by so quickly though. A week passes by and it seems like no more than a few days. I’m sure you can relate to that as well.

How have you been? Any additional home improvement projects since we last talked?

Thanks for stopping by!

No Longer a Factor said...

Kevin! So glad you wrote back! First off; my current email address:
The address still works but, since I've slacked off the blog, I rarely check that one. The "conray" address can be accessed on my iPhone too, which makes it easier to check. As to the blog itself, I still have many stories to tell but not as much time on my hands to sit at my laptop to ponder just how to describe it all. As you know, our profession is a rather arcane one; not easy to describe to those who never wore the headset, plugged into a sector, tapped their teammate on the shoulder and said "I got it." Maybe one day I'll get back into it. I've actually thought about taking what I've done so far, adding more and making a book out of it. But there again, who'd read it? The blog itself never got much traction.

As to how I've been? Not sure I ever mentioned that my wife and I moved to South Carolina in 2014, moved into a vintage 1905 house and embarked on a years long restoration project. Been fun, frustrating, expensive, ongoing but rewarding. Sadly, a couple of years ago, right about the time we got a handle on things, she passed away (stroke). Crazy stuff. I still work on the house but now its mainly maintenance and upkeep.

Me and my buddy's quick decision to join the AF worked out great for me! I was lucky enough to get my first choice of careers (ATC) and had a pretty good four years. My buddy was not so lucky. He also picked ATC but ended up being sent to tech-school to become a Medic. Then, of course, he was sent to Southeast Asia to support the Vietnam war.

Time does race by quickly! I keep active; even bought a bike! That, plus maintaining this place keeps me in pretty good shape. I've also gotten back into my oldest love (music) and spend time each day practicing/playing my guitar and piano. Purely for my own entertainment!

Glad to hear you're still into the stained glass! Seems like just yesterday, I was reading blog entries chronicling your lessons. Or was that glass blowing? Dang! Anyway, I have a friend who does the stained glass arts. She's brilliant at it. I'm sure you have fun.

Been rambling on here. Take care and stay in touch. And if y'all (a word I learned down here) ever need a break from the cold, come visit. Winter is good here in coastal SC!