The Last Journey
Article #14 “Listen Up”
I have ten
grandchildren. There is one that I have
my eyes on lately that has my attention.
His name is Jesse. He is the
oldest of the triplets. He is named
after his uncle, my son, Jesse, who was a Marine and went to be with the Lord
in 2001. From what I have gathered from
his mom and dad (my son Jimmy), he is the most challenging these days with his
brothers. He apparently gets into
trouble often. I kept my eye on him a
lot when I visited the
Right now, I am listening to the rain pouring down
buckets here at FOB Boris. It is about and it’s just been raining cats and dogs for
the past hour or so. This morning I was
up early and took a walk high on a place here that overlooked the whole FOB and
the area surrounding us. It was a
beautiful morning and the sky was only partly cloudy and I could see for the
first time pretty much a 360-degree view of where I live at the moment. The sun was trying hard to peek out from
among the clouds and from time to time the glistening of the hills to the west
were shining ever so brightly. Gray has
been the predominant color lately and for the first time since arriving here I
was able to catch a brief glimpse of golden and green shimmering in the
area. It was nice and the temperature
was quite pleasant. It looked like parts
I was talking to a soldier up on the high place and I
mentioned to him that Sgt. Doyle will fly today, I could just tell by it. Later, I had run into Doyle and told him he
would fly today. He told me that all
flights were cancelled. I said to him,
“we’ll see. It’s early
yet”. Later, after lunch, the
soldier in charge of moving pax in and out of Boris, came in to the MWR saying,
“Chinooks are inbound and taking pax to
I kept asking if Doyle was here and nobody knew. All the soldiers look alike in their gear and
to me, they all looked like Doyle, but I knew he wasn’t there, yet. Then, just as most everybody was loaded up,
here comes a soldier whom I know is Doyle.
I can tell. It’s him. So I get out there and snap a few photos of
In the past few days
I’ve spent quite a bit of time with
I spent decades in years past speaking with veterans and reading books about wars from times past. I saw movies and documentaries and photos and news clips forever and ever and was always taken aback by the intricacies of how wars are run. I’ve met Senators, presidential candidates, Congressional medal of honor winners, pilots, former prisoners of war, and…infantrymen. There is something about the ground level view of things that dispenses into one the bigger picture of things. Listening, it teaches one a lot. I think I come to these parts of the world because most of what people tell me back home is not so important. Here, what people have to say is quite frankly, a bit more important than what Entertainment Tonight or CBS or CNN or NBC or ABC says is important. But those entities really don’t listen to warriors. I think they are too busy selling advertising. I’m glad I have nothing to sell.
During the night, I had received an email from a mother whose son is here at FOB Boris. I have no idea how she found me but, it happens when people find out what I am doing. She asked if I could find her son. She described him to me. I knew right away I would see him in the morning. Sure enough, I ran into him. And like Sgt. Doyle, this warrior too is more than good at what he does for a living. We spent some time talking today. I spent a lot of time listening. I got some continuing education from this soldier. I will spend more time with him and take his photo from time to time of him doing what he does. One thing about the Army. One soldier leaves and another fills the void. One Sgt gone, another Sgt picks up the ball. I’m once again in good hands.
Although this is not my first rodeo, this is however a new territory for me. I figure it’s like having been a bull rider and drawing the same bull time and time again until one day, you draw a different bull in the same event. You don’t know what this bull can do but you’ve heard what he did in a rodeo somewhere else before. Only time will tell and when the shoot opens and that 8-second count begins, and, well then the audience will just have to wait and see what happens. In that type of event really all what everyone is waiting for is to hear that whistle blow. That’s what everyone is listening for. Especially the bull rider.
I think my grandson Jesse will be a good listener one day. Right now he apparently doesn’t seem to listen very well. But I knew a person in his immediate blood line that never seemed to listen to anyone. But eventually, that became Pop’s job. Listen up. Jesse’s trying to tell us something.