Occasionally my family (friends too) has to put up with the embarrassment of comments by your columnist. Comments or quotes of which I seldom ask permission; I just put it down in black and white for all the world to see. But then too some of their feedback is uplifting so I'd like to share a couple responses.
The first is from our son Don Trail, known in high school as "Dusty," commenting on living in Michigan:
"Wonderful Article Dad! That sure brought back a lot of memories .... in addition remember the Northern Lights, No-See-Ems, Smelt (here they come!) and good ol pasties ( I don't think I have ever had those since.)? Don't forget that skating rink you built in the back yard, too. That was a lot of fun. I think the most interesting part of living in the UP was the people. I don't think we really realized as kids what a diverse group of people we were. First you have all the Air Force kids going to school together. We really did not know the difference between the ranks and the important role my father the "officer" played over the "NCO" and enlisted folks. That was real culture shock. Then you stick a whole Air Force base full of teenagers from diverse parts of the country into a community of UPPERS." (Note: 'UPPERS' pronounced "you-pers" a localism proudly spoken by those who Live in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan) What a mix.Those Finns and Poles were an interesting crowd. At least we all spoke English (well, sort of), other than that it was very similar to living in a foreign country. We had to learn the customs, the food, the traditions, the local terrain. Some of us kids did better than others at "adjusting'" Thinking back that was probably good sales training for me, i.e. learning to adjust. The second best part for me living there was all the exploring we were able to do in the area and the enjoyment we got out of doing what the locals did. i.e. snow mobiles, skiing, and the beautiful sight seeing. Thanks for all the fond memories. I hope I can do the same from my kids one day (well, maybe not quite as 'extreme')."
And then Arley Steinhour, U.S. Navy (retired), who served on nuclear submarines and aircraft carriers for at least one tour in Hawaii, also wrote:
"Not all military duty is at Waikiki. My children, also remember the many things they learned to enjoy, at the numerous places we were stationed. Our God did make a wondrous place to live, the planet we call earth, even though they didn't get to go to some of the places I was "allowed" to go."
Two people, one with a Marine daughter who is serving in Afghanistan, responded to inquire whether the "Liberty Train" continued to carry injured service members from Walter Reed Hospital to the Army-Navy game. I Googled and had no luck finding if the train rides continue. In addition, I sent an e-mail to the author of the story and am still awaiting his answer. No matter if the gesture continued or not, it was a magnificent thing to do for those young people who gave our country so much.
I've also learned that politicians can be thin- skinned. For one our city manager really didn't care for my comments on the need to spend millions on a new safety center. However the people spoke and the center will be built. Still unanswered is how the county will take care of local arrestees and prisoners once the city jail (yeah I know it is a 96-hour holding facility) is left behind when the city moves out of their present facility. Also unanswered is what will become of the City Auditorium once the city offices are no longer housed there.
Then, too, our U.S. Senator E. Benjamin Nelson is a little sensitive to my constructive criticism. He still loves earmarks, and why not, he takes credit for spending the people's money in our district all with the goal of getting himself re-elected. And then there was his vote FOR Obamacare in exchange for the Cornhusker Kickback. That backroom deal gained for Nebraska nationwide notoriety that is still a little embarrassing for the majority of his constituents.
Senator Ben also wrote a personal letter inveigling me to give him a little more favorable press in this weekly column. He extolled his service on the Senate Armed Forces Committee and how he tries to make decisions in the best interests of the troops. Those efforts are truly appreciated, but then he turns around and votes to foist the homosexual community onto the Military Services.
We haven't seen the repercussions of that move yet but I predict that it will work out about as good for the military as it has for the Catholic Church and its unfortunate pedophile scandals. Somehow, not mentioned in the debate to repeal the "Don't Ask Don't Tell Bill" was the action of PFC Bradley Manning, proud homosexual, now in prison awaiting trial for copying Defense Department classified material and sending it to WikiLeaks. "Don't Ask Don't Tell" was a Democrat initiative implemented under President Clinton. Prior to that, since the time of George Washington, homosexuals, if known, were not allowed to serve for the very reason perfectly illustrated by PFC Manning.
Now the new year has begun and it is time to start over with a clean slate. It will be fun watching and commenting on the continuing three ring circus that is local, state and national politics today. May 2011 be the best year of your life -- yet.
That is the way I saw it.