Monday, May 28, 2007

Honoring the Brave

Long time, no type.

I've been off doing dental drugs and traveling between torture sessions. Haven't had the time nor inclination to blog but will try to remedy that sooner or later.

In the meantime, it is Memorial Day. It was my family's custom to go picnic at the cemetery on Memorial Day and on Labor Day. Those were the days at the beginning and the end of summer when you cleaned the family headstones, planted flowers and had a sort of mini family reunion and dinner al fresco among the dearly departed. But, that's not my subject today.

I was going through a box of my keepsakes and found my POW bracelets from the Viet Nam war. I could fib and say these aren't mine but I bought them both in the early 70's before we were married, one for W4D and one for me. We wore them for many years, never knowing what happened to the young men who's names were engraved on our bracelets.

Viet Nam POW Bracelets

I can remember the day I bought these 35 years ago (if not the actual date) as clearly as can be, from a table in front of a store in a neighborhood open air mall in Tampa. The table was decorated with red white and blue bunting and many bracelets were laid out in lines. Three ladies sat at the table and took donations and answered questions. I selected PFC Paul Hasenbeck (MIA 4-21-67) and S2B W4D selected Master Sergeant Marshall Kipina (MIA 7-14-66).

Yesterday, I looked up the service records of PFC Paul Alfred. Hasenbeck from Freeburg, Missouri who was born May 11, 1947. I also researched. M/SGT Marshall Frederick Kipina, born Dec. 14, 1944, who was born in Augusta Maine and hailed at the time, from Calumet Michigan.

PFC Hasenbeck was lost on a sampan in South Viet Nam in April of 1967. You can read more about Hasenbeck here.

M/SGT Kipina was a member of the 131st Aviation Co., a group known as the "Nighthawks." Kipina was an observer and sensor operator in a surveillance plane that went out at night to photogrpah the Ho Chi Min Trail and track enemy activity. He and the pilot (Captain Robert Nopp) were shot down in Laos in July of 1966. There has been a possible photo ID of Kipina some years after the plane went down and some believe he survived the crash to become a POW. You can read more about him here.

Neither body was ever recovered.

Today, I honor them both as well as all the military men and women who have given their lives for our country and the cause of freedom.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Run for the Roses Saturday

Kentucky Bourbon -- check.
Kentucky Bourbon

Simple Syrup -- freshly steeped and chilled
Pitcher of Simple Syrup

Fresh Mint -- potted and on the sundeck ready to smoosh and sniff.
Spearmint for Derby Day

Julep Cups -- washed and polished
Roses on the table -- check
Derby Cups and Roses

Tomorrow on Derby Day, we'll drink to the memory of Barbaro and all who fought so hard to save that magnificent horse.

I hope the Queen wears a lovely hat.

Okay, who is gonna invite us over for the race?
I'll bring the julep fixin's and the cheese straws.

Thursday, May 03, 2007


It didn't go well at the dentist, nor later at the endodontist. I will be getting anesthesia from the oral surgeon next week. This weekend, I am going back to a little cottage on the beach until Thursday when the surgeon does his thing.

Since I can't think of anything but dental tortures, here's some more pictures of St. Augustine. This is the view looking south from the outside of the Fountain of Youth, which is really a spring a couple of hundred yards from the Bay.

St. Augustine Florida

Same spot but looking north. These live oaks are only about 100 years old. That gray shaggy stuff in the trees is Spanish Moss. The tabby (oyster) wall sourrounds the Fountain tourist attraction.

Live Oak lined street

The wall is taller than I and I could hear peacocks screaming inside. Peacocks are beautiful but they are mean.

Tabby Wall, St. Augustine

I wonder how long it would take W4D and I to eat enough oysters to make a tabby wall? I guess we would eat about 6 or 8 dozen a day, every day. At that rate, it would take us about a year to make each section if we could eat them year 'round, which would be impractical and unhealthy. One doesn't eat fresh local oysters in the summer time.

St. Augustine Tabby Wall

Instead of a wall of oyster shells, I am going to make walkway and garden borders in my yard out of wine bottles. That will surely add to the value of our house and delight our neighbors.