Monday, July 31, 2006

I'm a Yankee, Dammit!

Isn't it funny how in our politically-obsessed world we're careful to watch international cultural boundaries but don't pay attention to those within our country. I don't mean of those people from other countries, but those from various regions throughout the U.S.

I learned today that I'm a "half-backer." A Yankee who's moved to Florida then eventually moves half-way between Florida and New York. And did you know, the true, original, cracker-Florida exists when the 10 miles of coast from either side of the peninsula and Orlando is taken out of the center of the State. And I think you need to be born into a state that has "y'all" in the dictionary in order to speak it. It just doesn't roll off my tongue gracefully.

Soul Searching Highway

I'm on the road this week. The idle time gives me a chance to think. I'm staying in the north Georgia mountains on a military campus. Some of the students are around, the campus is in full session next week. God, they look young.

I wonder how different my life would have been if I went down the military track. If I let the high school military recruits persuade me. I briefly considered Army ROTC but decided it would cramp my summers. And although I played field hockey in high school (and was captain; thank you), I had a fear I would not be able to survive basic training. Strangely, I was fascinated by the ROTC students. Had a thing for one of the guys who happened to be in some of my classes, until he became a Crow. Was also afraid, maybe intimidated is more appropriate, of some of the ROTC students. My fear gave me something to laugh about.

I think it was the movie, "The Boys in Company C," which piqued my military interest. It wasn't the cussing, but the camaraderie and tradition that grabbed me.

"Kids" from school served in the first Gulf War. Remember their stories upon their return. Although they were gone, it didn't seem that long. The war didn't seem that dangerous. There wasn't fan-fare upon their return. We didn't lose anyone, physically. I now wonder how many we lost mentally.

Being on campus here, I see a handful of young cadets dressed in camo. I see innocence and wonder what goes through their mind. Maybe it's good to be young and in the military without many life experiences. You wouldn't know any other way.

I paid my respect at a memorial sitting next to the gymnasium. It honors students and alumni who have died serving our country. Students. Blinking back tears, I wondered what it would have been like if my ROTC crush's earth science seat was never filled. How do today's students cope with a fallen classmate? How often do those classmates think of the fallen?

I digress, this is not the purpose of my post (well, maybe it is, I'm feeling extremely random). When I landed in Atlanta Sunday, I learned the plane was continuing on to Portland, OR. Strange. It's a place I'd like to go. Was it a sign?

Driving up GA 400, I thought about major life mistakes and how I always take the long way around to resolve them. The solution can be starring at me, yet, I don't see it. My eyes have been adjusted and I need to work on my action plan. No, my name won't be chaning to PFC Huber, I'm too old, or...