Wednesday, September 2, 2015
HOME.....PART 2 (the end) by HAL
It has been a few weeks since I told "them" I was going home to stay. My life
and marriage were worth more than resolving their "problems". After all, I had never considered myself irreplaceable. In my youth, when we would go out on, as
one wag put it, "our gallant quests", part of our practice just prior to
departure was to pair off, face to face and take turns looking into each other's
eyes and say, "You are expendable. With or without you, we will 'Charlie
Mike'"(long-winded verbal short hand for Continue the Mission).
I still don't sleep well as I should be. One ear is always listening for the
phone, alert tone or some other noise that is out of the ordinary. There is also
one eye that never closes fully, searching for movement that shouldn't be
And I miss the adrenaline.
It can be the low powered sort that happens when a piece of information falls
into place causing other pieces to come together answering a myriad of
questions, opening doors to other facts and leading us to all sorts of "intel"
gold mines. Then there are the major adrenaline rushes that occur just before
you step into the ventilation system overload and the fur and shit begin to fly.
I miss the exhilaration of getting out of those messes with a team intact,
even if there are a few minor injuries that time and a little R&R will cure.
Waking up worried about planning missteps still occur, although I mostly only
plan about what to suggest for mealtime and missteps there are not fatal.
There are things I do not miss. I do not miss those empty moments when I
worry that I did not tell my wife, sons, grandchildren and other members of my
family how much I love and miss being with them. I do not miss being separated
from friends, especially good friends like Stan, who have caringly fussed at me
for sticking my neck out "just this one more time".
Not missing those things is, and will always be, the best part of my
retirement from life in the shadows.
On the balance, considering all things, my decision to retire was the right
thing. If needed, I can help out my former employer or, more than likely, refer
them to the younger guy who can do what I used to do, like Roy Clark once sang,
"Yesterday, when I was young, much younger than today." I'm not consigning
myself to the rocking chair, but I know it's time to pass the torch to this next
generation, step back and enjoy the things in life I've missed. Now I can and
will stay in this country that, in spite of all its faults and problems, I love
I'm not so old that I cannot rise to fight again if my family, my friends, my
country or myself are attacked. The idea of death doesn't bother me. I'd rather
die under quick, yet peaceful circumstances, but no one gets to choose. I have
lived a life worthy of Tom Clancy style fiction and wouldn't trade it for
anything in my past.
As some wise man once said (or something close to this), "If there is to be
war, let it occur on my watch so my children and grandchildren will not have to
Don't get me wrong. I'm do not consider myself to be an extraordinarily brave
man and I do not worship war. Furthermore, I am not as young as I once was. But
I will do anything necessary, including "fight like a girl" to protect the
people and things that matter to me.
I worry about my country more than anything these days. We suffer from poor
leadership that wants to give away everything we have earned or should be
striving to earn. We offer few substitutes to handouts for those who are trapped
in a cycle of problems and are not taught how, and/or unwilling, to work to get
out of a trap their ambivalence has help perpetuate.
Each of us can always do more than we believe. I will continue to push myself
in retirement, if for no other reason than to avoid becoming a partner with
No, I will not consider running for office. I do not have the patience for
the kind of give and take it requires. In no way would I consider myself to know
what's best all the time, even though I am convinced there are many politicians
who believe they do.
If I am your friend, neighbor or someone who is bound by the laws you enact,
you need not fear me. Nothing in my makeup lends itself to rebellion outside of
the ballot box. I merely want the USA to remain the "land of the free and the
home of the brave."
All this time writing and being on a soap box has caused me to believe in one
I believe I'll take a nap.
Thanks, Stan. I'll write more often if you'd like.