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Unread 01-27-2008, 12:51 PM   #1
Lazarus
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Sarge's tales

A good friend of mine, writing under the name of "Sarge" does some really prolific human-nature stuff. We co-manage a couple of firearm-related sites. Anyone interested can PM me and I'll give you the links. Anyway, this (with Sarge's permission) is one of his pieces.

Diamonds from Heaven



I woke up to dark clouds and wrapping my old bathrobe around me. I looked out the window. More snow. So far our area of Colorado has had 5 ft of snow since before Christmas and quite frankly I was getting damn tired of it.

Outside the window I could see what was just mounds of snow but were actually my cars. One mound in particular was a 1968 Plymouth Baracuda that I had bought for my oldest son. He was just 15 years old and getting interested in cars and girls not necessarily in that order. A friend had an old Baracuda for sale but there was a catch to it. He would sell me the title to the car and if I could get it out of the canyon it was in, it was mine. It seems he had lived in that canyon and a flash flood had wiped out his road and almost his cabin. Carrying their belongings and wading across what had been a small mountain stream they escaped and had abandoned mountain living. The Cuda was left behind sitting in the driveway along side the 'off it's foundation' cabin.

It was a challenge and my boys and I got directions to the canyon and there sat the Cuda, all tires flat and some of the windows broken out but for $25 it was too good to pass up.

We got that old car out and over the mountain stream and home to our driveway. There my oldest son, Troy spent almost a year restoring it. All his money and lots of mine went into that car. And then tragically he died just weeks before he could drive it.

My remaining sons and I took a pact that the car would always belong to their big brother but we would be charged with keeping it maintained and running for him.

There the Baracuda set, covered with snow and looking nothing at all like the beautifully restored muscle car my son was so proud of. It did my mood no good to look at it and wallow in grief for my lost son. Then as I was turning away the sun came out of the dark clouds and the mound of snow over the Cuda was lit up with light. The snow cover became a blanket of diamonds, sparkling, shining and bedazzling my eyes. The diamonds spilled over the car and fell in a pool around it on the drive. No longer was it just more snow, it was a thing of beauty. I looked at it in wonder and amazement. And then it was gone, the sun disappeared.

Thanks son, I needed that. Thanks for reminding me that you are still here in that car and that I just needed to get out of my funk and remember the wonderful years we had together. I loved your diamonds Troy.

Sarge


"Sarge" is a father, a husband, a teacher, a friend, and a writer.
He writes about life and about living. His stories are humorous and sometimes serious. He tells of adventure and of love. His family is his plot and theme. He was a farm boy, a soldier, a law enforcement officer, a detective, a designer, a teacher, a gunsmith, a junior spy. And from all this he writes his stories.
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Unread 01-27-2008, 01:00 PM   #2
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I enjoyed that
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Unread 01-27-2008, 01:46 PM   #3
Brian in San Diego
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Thank you, Laz! You have shared a couple of wonderful essays on life this week and I am glad to have taken the time to read them.
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Unread 01-27-2008, 02:09 PM   #4
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I very much enjoyed that. Please pass along my gratitude to Sarge.
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Unread 01-27-2008, 05:47 PM   #5
Lazarus
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I let him know that I posted it here with a link to the thread. I'm sure he'll stop in to peruse.....
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Unread 01-27-2008, 06:30 PM   #6
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How sad that his son died. Holding on to that car is such a wonderful tribute to his son.
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There will be peace in the world."
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Unread 01-28-2008, 06:08 PM   #7
Lazarus
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My "Crazy" Shirley....

Another one from "Sarge."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
‘My Crazy’ Shirley


One of my unforgettable characters that a lot of my life was intertwined with was ‘My Crazy’ Shirley. Shirley and I went to high school together and she was a local character before I met her. How I met her I don’t remember but that she was going to be in my life was assured when she nick named me ‘Babes’. Shirley was a big bosomed, loud dressing, posturing woman with a loud voice even as a teenager. Very few could ignore this girl. Many were the times she would do outrages things in class or in the halls. I remember how on quite a few occasions she would walk past me and swat/pat me on the rear and holler seemingly to someone in the next building, "Hi Ya Babes". Often she did it as I was zooming in on some sweet thing with a figure full of possibilities. Little did I know she was saving me from a shallow, self seeking selfish girl. That did not make me feel all that good because the outside of that shallow, self seeking, selfish girl looked pretty good to me. All though high school we were friends frequently talking on the phone late into the night. We were never boy friend/girl friend but just friends. Although we did date on occasion, if you could call it that, it usually started out with us talking on the phone and Shirley hearing something in my voice. She would suddenly stop chattering and say,"Your down in the dumps today ain’t Ya Babes?" How she knew was always a mystery to me. She would tell me, (not ask me) to hop in that wreck of yours and come over to my house and pick me up. Which I would dutifully do, as I knew that only ‘My Crazy’ Shirley could bring me out of my adolescent funk. We would drive around half the night and she would listen to my problems and they would all go away.

Then we both graduated from high school and I went into the Army and ‘My crazy’ Shirley would write to me about once a month. I guess I knew when she finally married because the letters began to taper off. But by then I too was married and Shirley, I thought, was just a friend from my past slowly fading away. I finished my first hitch in the Army and went to college and got a job. The first week on my new job I was down in the manufacturing plant with a clip board and a hard hat, all important looking with my white shirt and tie. From somewhere out of the sky came the scream "BABES!!!!!" and I was attacked from behind, my clip board and blue prints flying in the air. Yes it was ‘My Crazy’ Shirley. If anything she was more outrages than ever. Her boss and I would talk over coffee and almost every time he would tell me what Shirley did to him this time. He always ended those conversations with the statement that "If she wasn’t such a good worker and a good moral builder in my department I would fire her the next time she pulled one of her stunts on me." That was ‘My Crazy’ Shirley.

Her husband Ben had my sympathy and I did finally get to meet him. I had her address and on a whim I stopped by the house. When I knocked her husband came to the door. I asked for Shirley. He looked at me strangely and called to her. As I stepped in the door I heard her feet running and braced myself as best I could. It is a good thing I had closed the door behind me or we both would have ended up outside on the stairs. She jumped up on me wrapping both legs around my waist and proceeded to kiss me all over my face. Even in high school Shirley wore more bright red lipstick than any one woman I had ever met. And there I stood in front of her husband with his wife wrapped around my body and covered with her lip prints. That was ‘My Crazy’ Shirley.

As class reunion times came around I looked forward to going to see my old classmates and of course Shirley. By now my wife and I had moved out of town and I worked at another company. But I knew ‘My Crazy’ Shirley would be there and she would embarrass me in front of the whole class, and to tell the truth I was looking forward to it. Then came a letter from my home town and the address I recognized but the hand writing was different. It was Ben, he told me that Shirley had cancer and he didn’t know if she would be up to going to the class reunion as she was having an operation just a month before that date. She had told him to write me. I made it a habit to write Shirley every week after that, I wrote about the things we did in high school and at work, and wrote little stories I thought she might enjoy. I always mailed the letters on Friday and she would get them on Monday.

I went to the class reunion and knew it would just not be the same. But I had no sooner stepped into the hall when I heard a unforgettable voice, not as loud as normal but the "Hey BABES" was unmistakable. There was ‘My Crazy’ Shirley in a wheelchair. I went to her and kneeled down and let her cover my face with her red lipstick. She whispered to me, "You should have grabbed my boobs when you had a chance in high school Babes, I don’t have them any more." I damn near cried. The dinner was over and dance music came on and I went to ‘My Crazy’ Shirley and putting my arms on the arm rests of her wheel chair, I asked her for a dance. She and I went out onto the dance floor and everyone moved back and made room for us. I wheeled her around with her arms around my neck and our cheeks side to side. When the music was over our tears were mingled together and running freely down our face. And yes I had bright red lipstick on my collar.

A month later we got a letter with Ben’s handwriting on it again. In it he told me that on a Sunday night he had taken Shirley’s medicine up to her and she was very weak. She whispered to him that she would not get to read her Babes letter tomorrow. And later that night ‘My Crazy’ Shirley died. But she is not dead in my heart nor in the hearts of all the people she touched in her 40 yrs of life. She is and always will be ‘My Crazy’ Shirley.

Sarge (Shirley’s Babes)
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Unread 01-28-2008, 10:14 PM   #8
John Corley
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A powerful story about friendship and everyday life....
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Unread 01-29-2008, 01:14 PM   #9
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That was a sad, but great story. We can all learn some lessons from it. I know I look at life differently now that I have children.

I have I have seen much in my life and perhaps I have become hardened and perhaps callous over the years. I never understood the feelings related to such a loss until I finally had my own children. They were actually a God send for me and have opened my eyes quite a bit about life. I cannot fathom such a loss. I would be devastated.

My sympathies to your friend and his family.
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Unread 01-29-2008, 06:05 PM   #10
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"Hands"

Another One By "Sarge..."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Hands


How many of you men out there hold your wife or girlfriend's hand anymore?

Why not?

The other day I was sitting with my wife at a very popular resturant, waiting for our table, when these thoughts came over me.

I was holding my wife's hands and they felt warm and soft.

The same hands that felt cool when they touched a fevered forehead of my sick children. The same soft hands that warmed chubby little cheeks, red and cold from building the snow fort in the yard. They feel soft but if you look, there are calouses from working long and hard, keeping the house clean for her family. And from lifting patients and pushing wheel chairs at her job.

The skills of these hands are many and we all enjoy the beautiful quilts, clothes and scarfs that these hands have produced and given away full of love. And who else in the house can use their hands to create such beautiful Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners and gorgeous cakes.

Look closely at these hands, they are not as young as they were. There are lines in these hands that come with hard labor and no fancy cream or lotion will erase them. Small brown spots are evidence of some aging. Like the golden medals that soldiers wear as evidence of their bravery and valor, these little golden spots show that she too has lived life and won medals for her life's accomplishments. The same hands that I hold now as her husband, are just as warm and comforting as the hands of our youthful romance.

I look closely and see the well worn rings on her left hand, third finger. The little engraving on the band are all but worn off now and the large engagement ring is tired and smooth with the years. But she still proudly puts it on her finger every day and it still binds us together as the vows we repeated 26 years ago also did. What wonderful things are hands. You are missing a good thing if you ignore them. You can feel the heartbeat of the person through them and they seem to weld you together just as the minister proclaimed you to be "as one" now.

Some day I know I will hold my wife's hands for the last time, but the love will still be there even if it is the last thought each of us has. But then what a wonderful 'last thought' to have and what a wonderful thing to do, holding hands forever.

Thoughts of his wife by Sarge
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Unread 01-29-2008, 06:09 PM   #11
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"How Honest Are You?"

From "Sarge"
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
How honest are you?


Have you ever been tested? Have you ever been tempted? What is your personal limit of temptation? Well , Sarge found out his limit of temptation one day long ago. And he has never regretted his decision. It happened like this:

In the middle 1970's when the Vietnam war was ending and the USArmy retreated out of Vietnam there was pandemonium and the people that lived in that country knew what would happen when the North Vietnamese would take over. The USA air lifted all they could when they pulled out. Some helicopters could barely lift off from the weight of the refuges that held on to anything even the sides of the aircraft to escape the NVA. And they that did manage to leave, brought with them all they owned on their back or in a pitiful small suitcases or bags. These refuges were taken to Fort Chaffee Ark. for repatrioting. And also the escaping Army units were sent there to guard and control the refuges. Because it was well known that amongst the legitimate refuges were infiltrators from Red China and North Vietnam. These spies and terrorists were sent to our country to do what ever they could to discredit the United States.

And here we see Sarge, and his unit, the 1139th MP Company. Sent to Fort Chaffee to control and guard the refuges and ferret out the criminals and spies. Sarge was a SPC which means specialist, in this case Military Intelligence was his area of expertise. But like all soldiers he had to do yoman work, too. Patrolling the base to watch for the criminals preying on their fellow Vietnamese and guarding the post against black market criminals that would rip the warehouses off in a minute.

One week Sarge was detailed to spend the days at the bank. The bank was a temporary building (trailer house) that housed the government bank so that the Viet's could have a safe place for their money or valuables. This was 'cush' duty and Sarge enjoyed it immensely. All he had to do was stand near the door and give anyone coming in the 'going over' look and scare the bad guys out. And to top it all off there was free coffee and donuts all day. What a tough job.

And then the bank manager called Sarge to the back room. This room was reserved for private deposits by people that did not want their identity or amount of wealth known. There the manager told Sarge to lock the door and take his gun out of the holster and guard the door and the people inside. Sarge did as he was told. Inside the room besides the manager was a little old Vietnamese man and a little old Vietnamese woman. The man was stooped and bent over and his wife was a copy of him. She was a chubby woman but had a thin face. They had two old cardboard suitcases with them and they held on them like they was their precious children. The manager sat down and told them that they now could make their deposit. As Sarge watched with widening eyes they opened the two old suitcases and revealed that each was full of American currency. Stacks of $100 bills all banded and crowded into the cheap cardboard suitcases.

The bank manager counted out the money and gave the two their receipts. Then the little old lady pulled her dress up to reveal an undergarmet of old rice sacks and it was lumpy. The man handed her a knife and she cut the lumps out and started to hand the manager gold plates and lumps of silver. The old man was by then cutting the lining of his shapeless coat and he was placing on the table emerals, rubies and other precious gems. The pile of shiny metals and gems grew until it was three inches high and a foot around. The manager weighed on a scale each piece of gold and each gem. The gems would be put in a safe deposit box and the bank would buy the gold and silver converting it to American money.

All told the hoard they managed to bring out of Vietnam added up to $1 million plus the gems. The money and gold lay there on the table. And Sarge was the only one in the room with a gun. Yes, the thought ran through his mind that he was the only one with a gun. And that much money in one place he would never ever see again. But the ethics and morals his parents taught him said that the money was not his. It was his job to guard it and the owners. And that is what he did. For the nexttwo hours until the armored truck could arrive, Sarge sat in the room with all that money and gold and gems. The little old lady could not speak any English but the man was fluent. He and Sarge talked about their country and what it was like to have to leave it and be in a new and strange country. The little Vietnamese that Sarge knew allowed him to say "Worry not, Grandmother, you are safe" to the little old lady and she soon lost the frightened and stressed look on her face and even smiled at her husband's occasional joke. Then the truck came and the money was transferred, the old man stood at attention and saluted Sarge and then shook his hand. The little old lady gave him a hug and said thank you in Vietnamese.

Sarge went back to his station at the door and continued doing his job as he had been trained to do. And he had one new thing to think about. He now knew the limit of his honesty.

Sarge
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Unread 01-29-2008, 07:14 PM   #12
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When is Sarge gonna come "introduce" himself?
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Unread 01-29-2008, 07:25 PM   #13
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I can't believe the story...for one thing there's no such thing as Military Intelligence.
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Unread 01-29-2008, 07:56 PM   #14
Lazarus
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John~~ I only bring some of his stories here because he is such a character! I would be glad to invite him (And I will) to stop in....but he isn't much of a "Tile Guy." Perhaps I can persuade him to post here. If I can't...I'll continue to put his writings up here. His wife is "Lt. Linda" and quite a gal! Sarge did a series about "Duke, The Dog" which is hilarious. Let me see what I can do.....

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Unread 01-29-2008, 08:09 PM   #15
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As great a story as that is, this is a get your hands dirty board. Although this didn't happen to me it was at a company that I was installing for.

Back in the day we were doing a lot of night and weekend work, mainly banks. One weekend the tile guys would go in and replace the lobby tile and the next weekend the carpet guys would come in. Well, one weekend the carpet guys showed up to start their work on Friday night and found the bank fault wide open. I mean totally open. Not even a locked gate behind the vault door either. It made the papers and they were awarded the "most honest" installer award that year. Now talk about temptation! Personally, I wouldn't have looked twice at it. I would have call the police and have them stand guard until a bank manager could be located.





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