Category Archives: Aging

Two tombstones

I’m going to buy a civilian tombstone for Russ, copying his father’s & mother’s, adding only Beloved Son and Russ’s birth and death dates. His father, Rev. F.M. Wheat’s stone has a quotation from Corinthians: “At home with the Lord.”

I’ll use that, too. I like its double-meaning, whatever was meant in the New Testament (I’m not a Christian), plus an Afterlife meaning as well.

Retired Colonel Art, who may not want his last name used, is leading the effort to get a military stone recognizing Russ’s service as a Vietnam combat infantry lieutenant platoon leader. Who was wounded in both legs, still wearing the scars when he transitioned at age 81. Hope you’re enjoying yourself, Russ.

Stumblebum

Slippery Joe’s stumble (three of them) on the steep stairs to Air Force One is a depth-perception problem of his dementia, not the wind as his idiot press secretary claimed. Of course she couldn’t mention his dementia, which will eventually hinder his teleprompter reading for speeches, too.

Interestingly, his stair-climbing problems may lead to a gentler, two- or three-level climb for future presidents. Trump used to say that he admired the way the youthful Bronco ran up and down the stairs, which Trump couldn’t do. We can suppose Harris will try to if she has to replace Pedo Joe before his term ends. Otherwise, the problem will be fixed somehow. Otherwise the stumblebum will keep it up.

Beating on

“So, we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”

–FS Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

Pedicure

Lovely ministrations from Indigo Nails pedicurist Julie snipped off two ingrowing toenails from one of my big toes on Sunday afternoon. It no longer aches when I rub it on the sheets at night. She said they might recur if I let the growing of the nail extend into more than a month before cutting. So I’ll be remembering to make a monthly pedicure appointment from now on. Should have done this years ago, ingrown toenails or no. I missed a good thing.

Of masks and men 2

Finally, scientific proof that wearing a mask can be bad for your health even if you don’t catch the Chinese Communist Party Virus. Explains why I almost passed out the first time I wore one for an extended period at the grocery: lack of oxygen in the blood and buildup of carbon dioxide in the blood.

Of course you can’t get into a grocery or most other stores without wearing one and for liability reasons it’s doubtful these studies would persuade a store manager to step out of line. So, take deep breaths before and after shopping. And don’t just browse. I cheat and lift it for a breath when no one’s looking.

Via PJMedia

Second of the third

My friend Russell Wheat crossing a rice paddy on patrol west of Saigon sometime in 1968-69. A brave man doing his duty.

The leader of 3rd platoon, B Company, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Infantry of the 199th Light Infantry Brigade was wounded in both legs and sent to Japan where he recovered and was sent back to the field to complete his tour. He was the lucky one.

How this 2nd Lieutenant of Military Intelligence got to be leading an infantry platoon is a story worthy of our famous funnyman. He told it to me and a few others at breakfast at our Infantry OCS class reunion in San Antonio in 2005. I took notes.

It seems that in late 1968, after graduating from OCS and completing MI Basic, he got a cushy job in G2, division intelligence, 1st Logistical Command, Long Binh, north of Saigon. Sometimes he was a briefer to generals and other visiting dignitaries. He was, of course, known for his humor.

Sometimes it edged towards the smart-ass. The culminating instance was a briefing for a major general and his orbiting entourage of colonels, majors and captains. 2Lt Wheat closed out the strategic and tactical briefing by enumerating some weapons recently captured. One was an AK-54, the machine gun version of the AK-47. But the general didn’t know what it was and he interrupted Wheat to ask about it.

Wheat was in a mood. Obviously. “Sir,” Wheat recalled saying, “the AK-54 is an AK-47 with seven years of service.”

Silence. The humorless general visibly ground his teeth. His face got redder when someone in the back laughed.

And thus our Wheat reported for duty to Bravo Company, 2nd of the 3rd of the 199th, which operated west of Saigon to the Cambodian border. He was assigned to 3rd platoon. I asked him once how many of his men were killed. He stiffened. “Not an inordinate number,” he replied.

Two years after the reunion, I ran across a Google link to a pdf of the Methodist Children’s Home, a Waco orphanage. There I found that Wheat was a frequent donor and in 2007 had donated several thousand dollars “in memory of thirty-seven men of 3rd Platoon, B Company, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Infantry, killed in action in Viet Nam 1968-1969.”

In 2011, when I visited Israel for the first time, Wheat, a church-going Methodist whose father was a Methodist minister, asked me to place a prayer paper “memorializing” the 3rd Platoon in a crevice of the Western Wall of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, a Jewish tradition for two thousand years. I had an Israeli friend take a picture of me doing it and sent the picture to Wheat.

Maybe the thirty-seven are the reason Wheat, a native Texan and graduate of the University of Texas, made a post-war career at the Veteran’s Administration hospital in Marlin, south of Waco. He had failed at medical school before he was drafted. He retired directing a lab at the hospital.

He was found deceased shortly before Christmas by a Methodist pastor making a wellness visit to his home in Canyon Lake. He was 81.

Seniors on weed

Many seniors, it seems, prefer weed to opiods. But that’s mainly in states where it’s legal. It’s still illegal to buy or use in Texas and many other places.

If the House ever gets around to legalizing it country-wide, as many reps have said they want, and the Senate concurs (a bigger if), it may become as common as alcohol. Wouldn’t that be a kick?