That Look

The other night Lili and I watched a movie called “Nebraska”, a delightful one-pop movie (the kind that would never have a sequel) whose strength was the story it told. The acting and directing were both first-class, and the black-and-white cinematography gave it just the right amount of authenticity.

There was one scene in the movie that reminded me of a situation I’ve been in many times in my life, and I believe I can safely discuss it without giving away any spoilers. If this situation sounds familiar to you, you’ve probably found yourself there before. I know I have.

The background is: A son (David) is driving his father (Woody) to Nebraska, and due to some unforeseen circumstances, they decide to stop off in the little town the father grew up in to see some of the extended family. David (in his mid-30’s) hasn’t seen any of them since he was a young child. He knows they are very back-woods folks, but he’s resolved to make the most of it. When they arrive at his aunt’s house, he meets a couple of his cousins (we’ll call them “Thing 1 and Thing 2”), and they are exactly what you’d expect a couple of corn-fed, small-midwestern-town, good-ol’ boy, churchgoing, Garth Brooks listening, NASCAR loving, mayonnaise sandwich eating, flag-waving, 5th grade educated, god-fearing republican country bumpkins to be. They’re entirely uninterested in meeting their cousin, but David tries his hardest to strike up conversation and be cordial. Continue reading

Things I’ve missed, things I’ll miss, and things I won’t miss

Being deployed means giving up certain things we all expect and everyone understands. Time with the family, holidays, significant milestone events, those sort of things… they are all part and parcel of being a deployed serviceman.

But then, there are those things that not too many people probably think about. Things that make life so much more worth living. Things that might mean something to us that might not mean much to others.

This year I missed Rush playing at VA Beach. Is it a big deal? Well, if you know me you know that a Rush concert is as close to a religious experience as it gets for me. The last time Rush played a show in or near my place of residence was in the 90’s. Since then, I’ve had to travel significant distances to see a show. Once I flew from Japan to LA. Once I was living in Hawaii and had tickets to a show in Miami but couldn’t go due to an exercise in Bridgeport. Last one I saw, we had to travel to Washington DC for.

Plus, considering they’ve been touring for 40 years, every tour is potentially their last one.

Also, I was not able to watch a single game of the NBA playoffs this year. Big deal? Well, the Miami Heat are poised to repeat as NBA champs. That hasn’t happened for a  Miami franchise since the Dolphins pulled it off in 72-73, when I was but a wee lad. This is one of the strongest NBA teams ever assembled, and it represents my hometown. And I missed the entire season.

It appears I also missed the opportunity to visit a dear friend who lives far from us, but was in the vicinity this week visiting family. Very demoralizing.

I missed the first summer in our new house, to include the first blooming of the gardens that came with it – one of the major reasons I bought the house. I also missed the snow we had earlier this year – my wife’s first time ever seeing snow. That means I missed out on some good fireplace time as well.

I missed “The Office” series finale. Huge bummer.

I’m going to miss some of the next NFL season, but not all of it, thankfully. I will also be home in time to see Magnus Carlsen take on Vishy Anand for the world chess title, so that’s a good thing.

I won’t miss the holidays, but I will be gone for both of our birthdays this year.

These are just some of the things I think about out here – things that are nice about being home… things that I look forward to being able to do without a second thought after I retire.

Enjoy the little things, folks.