I Guess I'm Not Going to Make It to the VA Cemetery

I'm writing this in "stream of consciousness" form, so bear with me.

I woke up feeling rough again with this virus or flu or whatever it is and my mom woke up sick today as well, so I guess I'm not going to get to go visit my friend's grave today.  It has been a tradition for me to go visit his grave every Veteran's Day.  I know he's not really there, anyway, but it was a way to remember the 34 years of friendship and honor his service.

Since his parents died, I haven't had contact with his family.  His sister and I used to be close, but she got married and moved off to the Texas Hill Country, so I lost contact with her.

My friend was a Navy Viet Nam veteran and in his final days, he asked me to have this song played at his funeral.

He had always been into rock until his final year.  His significant other had left him the previous year, so I guess he needed some "cry in your beer" music.  Their split had been so traumatic for him that he significantly increased the amount of whiskey he drank, destroying his liver and pancreas.

He had been drinking pretty heavily before then.  Whatever happened in Viet Nam that he wouldn't tell anyone, even me, his closest friend, pretty well destroyed his mind.  It was a shame because he was extremely intelligent and had been a nuclear weapons tech in the Navy.  After he got out of the Navy, he turned to the bottle and had a hard time holding down even simple jobs.  Were it not for his significant other having a good job as a lab technician, he probably would have wound up on the street.

We used to play guitar together along with some other friends and would play at bait camps on the Texas coast.  His significant other played, too, and she had a sister who sounded just like Nancy Wilson, so we played several Heart songs.  The sister's husband got jealous, though, so he made her stop singing with us.

My late best friend, after he came back from Viet Nam, changed from his ROTC "war is fun" stance and turned anti-war as did other of our friends who served.  I figure those who have seen war know better than those of us who haven't.  A lot of what he told me came during those times I held his head while he was praying to the porcelain god.  Just from listening to the things he DID tell me, I know war isn't pretty.

Since I can't be at the cemetery today, I'll re-post the video I made from the last time I was able to go.

I miss my friend.  I'm sure I'll see him again before too many years.

To all of those serving and who have served, thanks for your service.

Uploaded 05/30/2011
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