Monday, May 31, 2010

Cherry Pickin Good

I spent the beautiful day watching the sun shine on my yard from the dining room table.  My research paper is due Thursday with an assignment for Tuesday coming up and one big one due on Sunday as well so type type type is what I shall do this week.  Barry went to play golf with his Dad this morning at Keane and then came home for a bit to say hi.  His mom fixed a big lunch and he went over there to eat as well.  I wanted to go but was feeling the need to keep typing along.  He came back with BPA free food containers his mom purchased for us filled with yummy leftovers.  :) 
After a bit more typing and feeling like I got to a nice stopping point Barry and I went over to Granny and Pepaws to pick cherries from their trees.  Of course no stop is ever brief there......and I will never complain about that!  :)  We picked and picked and Granny and Pepaw helped us too.  Pepaw told us the story of those cherry trees and how one of them is a sweet cherry tree and the other is tart but you can't tell the difference in the taste at all.  However the birds know the difference and pluck the sweet ones first. 
Being Memorial Day and post martini Pepaw was in the mood to tell some good old Navy stories.  He talked about how he signed up for the Navy and how he left.  He was at odds with his father because he had wrecked his car, and in 1951 at 19 years old he decided to hitch hike to enlist in the airforce.  When he got there the people in the recruitment office told him everyone was out to lunch, so he walked across the hall to the Navy's office where people were standing and enlisted with them instead.  :)  How funny, and to think how different life maybe almost was for him. 
The day he was to leave his mother called him at Granny's parents house to tell him he needed to come home because his father thought that he hated him.  He had 40 min. before he had to get on the road and when he arrived home his dad was up in his room sitting on his bed.  Pepaw went and sat on his fathers lap and they both cried and mended their hearts till he left.  The entire bus ride to Great Lakes, Illinois for boot camp he cried, and when he arrived there he cried, and as he got on board his ship everytime he thought about it he cried.  When he arrived home his father was so very proud of him and they never had any problems after that. 
He told us about how rough the seas would get and seeing air craft carrier propellers spinning like helicopter blades as they came flailing over the top of waves as a big as mountains.  Once in a typhoon he recalled laying there watching the boat tip at 48 degrees, knowing that one more degree and the boat would flip sending them all into the ocean.  The picture he sent this morning of the USS Buck in rough seas was interesting to see and he said that there were times when the waves would dent the firing cannons on the front and bend the rails that were around the decks.  The night time was scary knowing in rough seas or when the thought of a mine or bomb would enter his mind. 
Pepaw said that when he would come back home to the states he would immediately change out of his sailor uniform into civilian clothing.  He said that things were similar to the way they were with the soldiers in Vietnam. Coming into port in San Diego families would line the docks to greet the sailors, but nobody was ever there for him.  "I was just a poor boy from little Ironton, Ohio."  When he got off the train in Ironton after being gone for 9-10 months at at time, nobody was ever there to greet him, and at times he would get home to his own home 1:00 in the morning or not, and all the family would be asleep, nobody greeting him.  He had told me before and it saddened me just as much to hear it today.  I'm not sure why Granny wasn't there to greet him, I know that there was a time when they had split up while he was away in the war.  I know I wish I could change that for him, but he said times were just different back then.  With one car in the family if his Dad was working there was no way for his family to get anywhere either. 
He told these stories with tears in his eyes, and at times on his cheeks, with Barry, Granny and I moist in the eyes as well.  Before we left tonight Pepaw gave me a patch with the symbol from the flag of the USS Buck.  It was a symbol created by a contest his captain had to see who could come up with the best design for the ship.  All the shipmates voted and a bucanneer riding the ship one.  They had that flag flying each time they came into port.  At the reunion this year Pepaw bought eleven of them, one for each grandchild.  What a neat thing to have, and as he and Granny said, maybe someday we'll have a son who will think it's neat as well. 
This is the msg that was sent from Pepaw after I sent out a video of anchors aweigh this morning. 
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Tom and Pat Miller <>
Date: Mon, May 31, 2010 at 9:58 AM
Subject: Re: At Maw-Maw's
To: Elizabeth Cooper <>, sarah marie miller

Thank you honey. We old veterans like being recognized. For a lot of years we felt unappreciated. It's better now.
The picture below is the USS Buck in some pretty rough seas.  Now and then I still have dreams. Some of my shipmates at the reunion said they still dream and ask if I did. I was telling one of my them about one I have and he said that's not a dream, that a nightmare.
Love you,

Elizabeth Ann Cooper

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