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The Warrior in the Garden

For my first blog post I simply want to introduce you to the colonel. This is a picture of him and my lovely grandmother. They met on a US army base in Germany during WWII where she sought refuge after she witnessed her father and brothers get shot in the head execution style by Soviet soldiers. This is my favorite picture of them. He smoked cigars and rocked a flattop till the day he died. They often were the life of any party dancing for hours together well into their 80s.

The colonel was a man of conviction. He spent 30 years in the army serving in WWII, Korea, and three times in Vietnam. He represented balance before I even knew what balance was. He showed empathy but also recognized the importance of accountability. He was as hard as they come, but just as compassionate an affectionate. At funerals he was stoic. He was the rock we all needed. He even managed to lighten the mood with a well-timed joke at every funeral.

For the better part of my childhood I was raised by my Mother so the colonel served as my male role model. It is rare that a day will go by that I don’t mention him or consider what he might do or say if he were with me today. Even though he passed eight years ago, he was so principled, that when I experience tough times or lack clarity, it is easy to imagine what he would say or do in a given situation. To this day he still brings me comfort.

Even his funeral was a significant day for me. It was the first time I witnessed a 21-gun salute in person. So many people got up to speak at his funeral that the funeral parlor had to ask us to cut it short. If my memory serves me correctly, which it does, 31 people got up to speak. These were family members, friends, neighbors, and even servers and hostess from his favorite restaurants and breakfast diners. Just think, he had this big of impact with no myspace, Facebook, twitter, IG, snapchat, or tiktok. What a fucking trailblazer. After the funeral I went back to his house to spend a few moments in his garden. That’s where most of my lessons were learned growing up. The colonel, watering his lawn and flowers by hand, wearing an American flag bandana, smoking a cigar, giving life lessons to his grandson. I will forever remember him as the balanced warrior in the garden.


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