Lingamfelter: Short-takes

For the next two weeks, we’ll be on the road visiting our kids and grandkids in Kansas City. So, I just wanted to touch on a few items this week.

Officers of the First Division Dinner: Every year since the end of WWI, the officers of the 1st Infantry Division who have served with the “Big Red One” in combat gather to commemorate our service and remember those who fell in battle. For the last two years—for the first time ever—the dinner was cancelled due to COVID. But this year we are forging on and will hold the dinner at Fort Riley, Kansas, the home of the “Big Red One.” Why do we do these things and others? Because we must never forget; never forget the fallen; never forget those who were prepared to give their last full measure of devotion; and never forget the brave officers and men we served with on the field of battle who are still with us. It’s a long trip to make by car, made more pleasurable since we will stop in Kansas City to visit family.

Planting our Vegetable Garden: When we get back from Kansas, we’ll put in our vegetable garden at the river. This year we asked the grandchildren what they wanted us to plant. The nominations were fingerling potatoes, cherry tomatoes, green beans, cucumbers, carrots, and spaghetti. Yep, you read it right. Our three-year-old grandson Arthur wants spaghetti. Why? Because that’s what he likes, that’s why. So, in the spirit of vegetocracy, I ordered spaghetti squash seeds. Creative, no? (No way I will tell him he can’t have spaghetti.)

Peering at my Pier: Last fall, I watched helplessly as a high-water event—a bad storm—destroyed my pier at the river. So, now I have to rebuild it. I could use a builder to do this, but that will cost a LOT of money. And since I’m a fiscal conservative, I’ve decided to do it myself. Yes, at 71 I will rebuild my pier. Why? Because, well, I’m as stubborn as a dead mule lying in the road when it comes to saving money on projects of this nature. Fortunately, I have some friends who will be helping me, along with two very capable and strong sons.

Gas over Gas: Speaking of money, are you about done with the price of gas lately? (Gives new meaning to the term “gas pains.”) The folks who are intent on compelling us to buy electric cars are thrilled with this, thinking we’ll all just capitulate to higher costs, and go buy a Tesla. News Flash: We won’t. But here’s what we will do. We’ll be headed to the polls in November to register our opinion about whether or not America should be energy independent…again. If you follow me on Facebook I will be posting gas price updates along the way to Kansas and back. Nothing like a road trip to stay in touch.

America the Beautiful: I love to make the trip to be Midwest. Kansas really is our second home, so to speak. I loved serving in the 1st Infantry Division. Fort Riley was a great place to live and raise a family also. I recall our first trip as a family to Kansas. I wrote about it in my book Desert Redleg: Artillery Warfare in the First Gulf War. Driving through the Flint Hills of eastern Kansas is stunning. You can’t avoid the feeling its “bigness” as you drive westward on the prairie. In a sense, the panorama reaches out to embrace you, enfolding you in its expansive arms. I love Virginia, our waters, hills, valleys, and mountains. But I love Kansas too. Somehow it is the embodiment of America. Big. Bold. Embracing. Impressive. Home.

Now you know why I love to make this trip each year.

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