Monday, November 23, 2009

An Update of Sorts

This will be for my readers that are not on the e-mail lists. Last week I had another round of doctor visits at Fairmont and Rochester, mainly to reassure Jan that I will live another day or two. Fairmont was a visit with my cardiologist to get the results from an echo cardiogram that I had done the week before and things are just hunky-dory with my ticker. Hopefully that part of my body has inherited some genetics from my Mom's side of the family. Jan and I went over to Rochester the night before and bunked with the Theobalds for the night. Luckily we got there in time to chase the boys around a little before bedtime ( see Tatertot Hotdish ). The appointment wasn't until afternoon so we spent the next morning cruising the bike shops and the mall before heading up to 5 west to see Dr. Martin. He poked and prodded and ran the scope through my nose and down my throat to look for trouble and everything was good here too. We skipped out of there and ran for home. Saturday was another PGR mission to Buffalo, Minnesota for an airman's funeral. Ssgt Rory Gavic died at Hill AFB, Utah. He was 25 years old and a dog handler that had spent a tour in both Iraq and Afghanistan. The word was that his birth father had just recently passed away and maybe that had something to do with his passing. I have been to way too many of these missions, but I am afraid that they will just continue even with the efforts being made to recognise and treat PTSD in our warriors. I arrived pretty early after a 0600 departure from home and had the distinct honor of welcoming a new PGR member to her first mission. She also was a Gold Star mother that buried her son 5 years ago this coming February. I have no idea of the pain she must be suffering. She described something in her heart that needed to get out and she joined the PGR. Once word got around everybody was paying attention to her. The time we stood in line during the visitation hadn't been too bad she said when I asked her after that part of the service but she expected the internment at the cemetery to be a lot tougher and I expect that it was, although I did not get a chance to talk with her after that. She was lined up close to the grave site so that all of the ceremonies would be visible. I was surprised to have a comment on my last blog from a Gold Star mother in South Dakota. What a honor to be contacted by someone that is dealing with such a loss. On to sunnier subjects. The weather has been nice- for November- so I have managed to get out on a bike recently and my projects keep moving along. I replaced the timing belts on my 94 Ducati, surprisingly it was not that difficult, except for getting them over the sprockets, and it ran when I got done. I also put a performance silencer on the dirt bike and that helped too. I think that I need to rejet also but that can be a winter project as it sounds as if the temps are headed for the basement soon. Thursday this week we are off to Rochester to the Theobalds again for Thanksgiving. I am sure that it will be a good time. Everyone is staying over so that the girls, Jan, Gen and Lindsey can go shopping on black Friday morning. I suppose the guys will just stay in bed as long as possible. I think that I will post a couple pictures just to brighten up the page. Be well, and stay in touch.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Sgt Wolf

Just a short one today. Yesterday I made the run to Alexandria, South Dakota to attend another KIA funeral. It was cold, windy, and spitting rain on the way down, smartly I drove the GT. I arrived about an hour ahead of time and already there were several members and their bikes hiding on the downwind side of the car wash at the Shell station in Alex. We were there to honor Sgt Eduviges "Duvi" Wolf's sacrifice in Afghanistan on October 25 of this year. She was 24 years old, and leaves a husband, Joshua and two small girls, ages one and three behind. We lined up across from the Catholic church in town for the service. This service was attended by a rather large group of women dressed primarily in black from head to foot. I wondered about their involvement until I talked to Jim, the state ride captain and a local former law enforcement officer. It seems that Joshua's Mom had taught school on several of the local Hutterite colonies, so the group were there because of his Mom. The Afghanistan story is, that the couple were stationed at different posts and she was coming over to visit him when here vehicle was hit by an RPG (rocket propelled grenade). His unit was called out to assist but he was forced to remain behind. Gary the Sioux Falls ride captain had visited with the family the evening before and found Joshua very quiet. I think that the consensus was that he should be watched over carefully for awhile. After the funeral Mass we escorted the procession and the hearse to a small cemetery on the north side of Farmer, another town on the Great Plains that is virtually a ghost town. We, the PGR formed a flag line near the grave site with our flags popping in the wind and held it until all family members had left. A person has a lot of time to think while standing on the line. You wonder how it is that a girl born in Cocula, Jalisco, Mexico comes to be buried 24 years later in a small cemetery amidst the corn and soybean fields of South Dakota on a cold windy day in November, 2009 after dying half a world away in a country she probably never heard of as a child. What makes this doubly bad is the two small children left behind. The last female service member KIA service I attended was in Madison, Wisconsin for Rachel Hugo a couple of years ago. At yesterdays' graveside service Sgt Wolf was awarded the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart by a Brigadier General, who also came over and shook my hand when he noticed the Red Bulls 34th division patch that I have on my vest. He related that they were a pretty tough outfit and I said that it was my father-in-laws' (Fritz Thielhorn) outfit. On another subject, last Saturday I attended a PGR leadership conference at St. Cloud. On the way home I stopped in New Ulm to check at Target for an item for St. Jan, no such luck. On the way out of town on Highway 15 I looked to the right at an office building and as I was turning ahead I caught movement out of the corner of my eye. I looked left just in time to see the belly of a deer going over the car, checking the right mirror I saw it land on the shoulder and head off into the weeds. Like I've said before "I live a charmed life", although I don't think that it is a good idea to push your luck. Well, stay in touch be well and as contented as possible. OK? Oh ya, a p.s. here. If you go online, look at station KDLT from Sioux Falls, they have a good video story about the funeral. They were the ones doing the interviews and shooting video in Alexandria and at Farmer. I saw myself a couple times where they film down the back side of our flag line. I'm the guy with the grey hooded sweatshirt over my head.