| Thursday, June 26, 2008 - 06:42 am |
LOL JMR32. How about "track toad"? Remember that one? Never quite got the heavy-light pissing contest myself. Having run around various places in Europe "light", I never had any doubts who was going to be doing the heavy lifting if the bear crossed the fence. Ever get to hear the sound of a Shock Army turning over simultaneously echoing across the hills? Psyops on their part, but damned sobering. Towards the end there before the Wall came down, let me tell you the outlook really changed. The "pray the balloon doesn't go up" attitude of the 70's and early 80's was replaced by a much more aggressive stance. AirLand battle doctrine was not only were we going to stop them cold in the first 100km, but the deep strikes on their reserves would put on the offensive within 30 days. Recon work on river crossings in Chechoslavakia and Poland were being analyzed. Good thing though that we never got to find out.
A bad night in a bad place got me into the heavy divisions not by choice. After a year of surgeries and rehab at Walter Reed, I was in no condition to be a "Ft Bragg" type anymore. I was just damned lucky to be accepted back into Infantry Branch much less be given a command outside of the "normal" career track. Believe me, a lot of officers were not happy to have a guy like me land one of their coveted "heavy" slots with the RIFs just getting underway. But that was just Army politics. You know the drill, I'm sure.
The M1A1 sure proved its worth in the big sandbox, didn't it? Remember how the press was back then about the "new" hardware? Nothing would work, it was all overpriced junk? I really enjoyed watching them eat crow after 91. Of course, they never realized that had we and the Iraqi's traded gear at the start, the outcome would have been the same. We simply cannot praise enough the skill and professionalism of our kids coupled with sound battle doctrine. You played your role in that too as an instructor. Outstanding job, trooper.
As to the FarmerBob Farm. LOL. If it won't bore you too much, I'll tell you a little bit about our slice of heaven here. My place began life in 1844 as a 3 storied, 4 bedroom, fieldstone farmhouse built through backbreaking labor by my ancestors from material right here on our farm. Over the generations, it has grown to what an architect might charitably call a "quasi modern, sprawling semi-monstrosity."
We ceased to be a working a working farm in the late 50's upon the retirement of my grandfather. My father became a big shot in our state government after getting home from WWII, and my calling was obviously along other lines as well. The barns, sheds, and other additions were torn down or converted to other uses over the years. The last real barn we had is now two townhouse style apartments, and my dad's airplane hanger is now rented out as the winter home of 3 RV's and 2 boats. My library, which is my pride and joy and home to around 3500 books, was originally an 40 by 55 room built onto the back of the house in the 20's and used for butchering livestock. When I took over the property after retirement, we finished the third floor into 2 more bedrooms and a skylit studio for my wife. We added a master bedroom suite off of the "great room" my father built, anticipating getting older and not wanting to deal with stairs as much.
The most hysterical change, however, was an indulgence for my Italian bride. The original kitchen, not too small to begin with, was gutted and refinished into a formal dining room. We knocked out part of the stone wall and built a new kitchen which would probably be adequate to feed a battalion. This includes a walkin reefer and freezer, and a pantry bigger than most kitchens. My wife is apparently convinced that civilization is going to end next week, and the two of us are going to live to be 900 years old. So the final result is 7 bedrooms, 5 and a half baths, a 2 story family room, a formal living room, dining room, a monstrosity of a kitchen complex, and my library and office. Its a hell of a pain in the ass at times, but comes in handy at family reunion time and situations like now, when we need to have the family all in one place.
Thank god for geothermal and my incinerator because I don't even want to think about what it would take to heat this place otherwise.
The original fields, never mind how many acres, were put into an conservancy trust some years back, and we've only kept the remaining 150 acres on the other side of the road. This inlcuded the pond, old grass landing strip, all the buildings and goes up to the crest of the low mountain behind it. Most of the property is trees and allowed to grow wild. A prettier site in all seasons, you cannot imagine.
The grandkids are having a ball swimming in the pond everyday and playing in the trout stream the runs through our valley.
Sadly, however, I will be the last of 9 generations to run the place. My kids have spread out across the country and the one son of mine that has remained in the area is a busy professional without the time or inclination to take on a property like this.
You aren't in the market, are you? LOL