a life well lived

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month 11/11/00

Armistice Day, or Veteran's Day as they now call it in the USA, the day we honor all who have served in our nation's armed forces, in peacetime or in war. 

The Armistice, ending what we now refer to as World War 1, was signed on November 11th.  I can still that after we got the news, Bets and I banged away on the piano in wild celebration (I would have been all of 8, she would have been around 6).

Last Saturday, Elsa came home from shopping with a card that she knew would tickle me.  It was a Veteran's Day card honoring those who served in the Navy. 

I immediately thought of Jack Peddicord, who served in the Submarine service during World War II.  She had been thinking about Mike, who served in the US Navy in the early 1960s.   I love Jack dearly and am proud as all get out of him, but sent the card to Mike.

Some of you have heard my story about Jack's stint on a submarine.  It seems that crews were so small, various sailors took turns doing mess duty.  It can get pretty grim on morale when a submarine is submerged for long periods of time. 

Jack was doing kitchen duty during one of these long stretches.  The men were turning into a sorry bunch, with not a smile among the whole crew.  Jack thought it would boost their spirits to have something a little special, so he made the spiffiest dessert he could - jello with fruit cocktail. 

He was pretty proud of his efforts and you know what they say - pride goeth before the fall.  Well, apparently he was focused on his giggly concoction and not on where he was going because he tripped on a step leading up to the mess and - kersplat! - his face landed smack in the big pan of jello.  When he brought his head up, grapes and cherries and bits of pineapple and peaches were all over his face. 

Well, as Jack tells it, the crew  went into gales of long-overdue laughter, so Jack got the results he hoped for.

Michael, as I think I mentioned around Memorial Day, served in the Navy during the Cuban Blockade.  What a nail biter.  It was a scary time, but none of us had any idea how close to war we really and truly were.  

Mike served on the USS Enterprise, the largest aircraft carrier and the first to be nuclear powered.  I still get chills remembering Mike talk about a Russian ship that approached the Enterprise and how, when it got too close for comfort, the sights (sites?) of the battle guns on the Big E's escort destroyers raised up in preparation of firing.  The Russian ship backed away.

Those moments must have seemed an eternity to the men on all the ships.

Love and hugs to one and all, especially all the brave men and women of our nation's armed services, past and present. 

Dona nobis pacem.   - - Kay Lockhart

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