He called! As I was pulling into a local McD's for coffee, my phone rang. We talked about forty-some years for 15 minutes. From the Hanoi Hilton (Hoa Lo prison) to vacation homes, from childhoods to present times, etc. we swept along. It was a call that helped me to tie up a loose end from long ago. Thank you, God.
I'm really glad you were able to tie up those loose ends. It was only because you took a chance and moved on an opportunity. Until recently I just let the past stay where it was and didn't understand why folks would re-open that door. But I have found that it does good things for you to be able to bring old things to a conclusion. A lot of us have friends that survived the Hanoi experience. I'm sure it was an honor to serve in Operation Home coming.
Andy, serving on that project was indeed an honor. I also helped bring home a young F-4 jock. He was in prison a shorter duration, and was in fact in better physical condition than I was. And, i was a runner at that time, runnung at least 2 1/2 miles, three times a week.
You, Andy, are a hero of mine. You were almost certainly involved in sorties carrying the potential to change history. We were part of something that is very worthwhile, and much bigger than ourselves.
This report is of a trip yet to be taken. Later today, I'll run errands. A couple of items on my list include buying some rice noodles for the pot of chicken soup I'm making, and dropping off Julie's absentee ballot. Neither act is difficult, in fact they're easy. But - one is more important than the other, a lot more important.
The right, and duty, of free leople to speak up in the choice of their governmental representatives is important. Actually, it's more than important. It's critical. In wartime, we defend our country with our guns. In peace time and in wartime, we help to defend our country with our votes. 'Nuff said.
I did my duty last month with a mailed in ballot , fired my peace time shot for freedom from liberalism and socialism.
This morning it cooled down around here and felt like Fall , finally.
Enjoyed a 4 mile hike on the Florida Trail with the fallish temperatures , for Florida.
It was quite pleasant , the storm ( cold frount ) last night blew a lot of leaves off the trees so the trail had a carpet of leaves on it which made it even more fallish.
Our nation, the U.S.A., is on a journey - as are all other nations. Sometimes the paths are rocky, and uphill. At other periods, the paths are on nice ground and in the sunshine. Among nations, we like to think of her as the pride of the land.
Here, there is more freedom of choice than elsewhere. . And, freedom of choice is the rock bottom foundation of all freedoms. So, when we pause to give thanks, be sure to give thanks for our feedoms to choose.
Here, in America, we can each choose how we see our Creator. And how we relate to Him - or Her. There are, at this time of year, an accumulation of holidays. A part of them is to be sharing, and caring. And celebrating.
We celebrate during these days, and part of the celebration is for giving, and forgiving. We might think that to forgive another person is to do them a favor. And it is. And in a more expansive way, it is a bigger favor back to ourselves. To bear a grudge, is to bear a load. We have to carry that grudge, that load. Part of forgiving, is to relinquish that load.
AND, PEOPLE OUT OF THE MIST
A sequel to People In The Mist - above a couple of pages
Thirty years ago, my son and I had somehow crossed a time line, (what else could I call it?), and had ended up in a distant past. How distant, we never knew. Oddly - one day I had recrossed that same time line and had reemerged back into present time.
I have thought about those events every day since. What a crazy thing. What a sad thing. And, what an exciting thing. Nothing could happen to me that would ever top that, crazy chain of events. I thought.
After I retired, there was now time to pursue hobbies more actively. Wow - a week of Saturdays! A whole month of Saturdays! I could go canoeing and camping more. I asked a friend who I'd paddled and camped with a lot, if he was interested in a trip that would be similar to, but different from any we'd been on. Well, Charlie hardly ever turned down a paddling trip, and in three weeks, we were camped at that very same mysterious camp site.
"Charlie, do you remember when we were here, years ago?"
"Remember!", he exhorted. "That damned snapper almost got my toes!"
Pausing, I turned to him and said, "Charlie, I have a story to tell you. You may not believe it. Pass over your cup and I'll give you some of this single malt. And I'll tell it to you."
About thirty years ago, Eric and I were camped here. I was showing him some of the things here that you had shown me. So, I took us on a similar route to what you and I had traveled. A snapper almost got his toes too. Probably the same one. But, maybe not. Any way, one day, as we were paddling back to this site, something pretty weird happened. I went on to tell Charlie the story of people in the mist. He wanted to believe me, but how could he?
"Charlie, do you remember how I told you that Eric and I had a bad argument, and he left for Arizona? And that I never heard from him again? Well, that wasn't what happened. He actually disappeared back into time somewhere. And never came back. I came back, but he didn't. I know he survived there, because he left a sign. Look over here. I showed him the chiseled letters and numbers - Eric 2 Jul 68. That's when he was born."
It was wuiet for a few minutes. We both looked at the name and date. "What's this little arrow here, chiseled into the tock?", Charlie asked. He was pointing to something I hadn't noticed. We scraped away more leaves and moss. Another couple of inches out, in the direction of the arrow, was more writing chiseled into the rack. "Eric 1895++".
Wow, what the heck was this? Had Eric actually come back forward in time? Had he returned, but not to this present time, but a different present time? That was a lot to wrap our minds around. Had he returned, realized that he was again back at that site, but in a different time? Then connected with Europeans, found out what the date was, and added the second message?
A week later, Charlie and I were back home again. And I had some ideas about how to research that part of the Killarney area for the 1895 era forward. If he had been there - out of a far distant past, in a more recent past - for an extended time, as the two + marks indicated, maybe I could find some evidence?
My entry point was to find what towns and settlements existed in that area in 1895. Then I could search records of those towns for names and stories that might reflect Eric's name. After a lot of research that didn't turn up anything conclusive, I let the project lie fallow for a month or two. All I had found was a folk take about a blonde haired, blue eyed "Indian" that inexplicably turned up one day. It seems that he appeared, hung around that fall and winter, and left in the spring of 1896. No mention of a name, though.
All of this got me a bit more interested in genealogy, so, when Julie gave me a kit to analyze DNA, I used it. Part of the report from that package included information about family tree. Part of that is looking at census reports, etc. My family came over from Germany, and settled here in Michigan. I know the exact spot, to within 5 feet.
Three miles, SSE of my hometown of Okemos, is the T intersection of Dobie and Stillman Roads. Dobie is a 5 mile long road, running south from Hamilton Road to Holt Road. Stillman Road runs 3 miles easterly from Dobie to Meridian Road. In fact when I was a kid, I knew both Don Dobie and Ralph Stillman, whose families the roads were named after. At that intersection, several immigrant families had settled. They called their cluster Snickerville. My family's home was a simple two story house on the south side of Stillman Road, 95 yards east of Dobie Road. The house still stood there when I was a kid.
Reading over census reports, and amendments, I found what I was looking for. My grandad had been born there in Snickerville. He bought an 80 acre farm about one mile east of Snickerville, on Stillman Road. There he lived until he died. My dad was born there in June of 1910. The census report for that year, and that household listed my grandad, George, my grandmother Laura, my aunt Mary, uncle Stanley (dad's older sister and brother), baby George Junior (my dad), and a boarder Eric Voss!
BINGO! Somehow, Eric had traveled the several hundred miles southwesterly to Sarnia, Ontario, and then westerly across lower Michigan to where my grandad lived. Somehow, he had cooked up a story about being a shirttail relation, and boarded there. He was there when my dad - Eric's grandad - was born! My god, how does THAT happen? My son knew his granddad as an older man, and as a baby.
After that, he moved away, and I haven't yet found where. Leek Cemetery is only 1/4 mile south of Snickerville; all the Vosses are buried there. But, not Eric. Somewhere else, my son lies at rest. Lying in that place since before I, his father, was born.
Sitting here now, reading back over this, I pause. Looking out through the slider, out into the woods beyond the deck, I see that it's foggy out there. And, I can't see very far out into the mist........... . . .