30 August 2007

Welcome Back, Your dreams were your ticket out....

Hello all. It is hard to believe it has been over two months since I posted something and so much has happened. I will try to encapsulate everything in chronological order. I guess I should have called this blog "Going Back in Time.."
14 Jun: Right before Father's Day, my good friend Gadi and his lovely wife Jenna welcomed their daughter Lila Sivan Ben-Yehuda into the world. I had the opportunity to visit them during my recent R&R (comments later) and I must say Gadi, either that beautiful girl's looks come only from Jenna or you should check the milkman (ha, ha). I know, bad joke. Seriously though, she is a lovely girl and you all are great parents. I am very happy for them.
16 Jul: I turned 35 today. I am now older than Mozart. Last year I was older than Jesus. As Gadi said, my goal is to get older than Reagan. Well on my way. Here is a picture of my birthday cake. It was a brownie cake Heather sent to me.
04 Aug: I landed in Atlanta at 745AM and saw Heather for the first time since January 27th. A wonderful and awful day. Wonderful because I was seeing her, awful because she had to tell me my close friend Chris, who was like a brother to me, was dead. I will talk more about that later. I spent the next 18 days flying from Atlanta to Florida (to visit my parents and sister) to Maryland (home in my bed for one night) to Austin, TX (to bury my friend) back to Maryland for good. Along the way I saw old friends Dan Subia and Rudy Quiles whom I had not seen for many years (13 1/2 in Dan's case).
I had a nice cookout with good friends at home and enjoyed some good food, good wine and good company. In fact I saw Gadi's sisters who came to my party and I had not seen since 1988 (Tahl) and 1992 (Naomi). But best of all, I saw Heather. We saw a movie, had a Rita's on the tailgate, and just enjoyed each other's company. What could be better. As our good friend Heather Mackenzie would say, it didn't suck!!
20 Aug: I said goodbye to Heather and started my journey back here which included numerous stops and 5 hours roasting in the cargo bay of a C-130. I got back to base late on 22 August and have been catching up ever since. I am now at 84 days and counting as of 30Aug.
Well that has caught you up on everything except for one thing, Chris. I remember emailing him before I came home telling him we needed to get together to talk. I write this finding it hard to believe he is gone. Even after crying by his graveside, I still expect a silly email or a phone call from him with his crazy laugh. Chris was a complex person. A writer, musician, historian, warrior. His life was always a challenge, whether he chased the challenge or it just fell on him. But he never backed away and he kept fighting, fighting to live life on his terms. I remember, at his funeral service, his eulogy, given by his close friend Tracy Green. He spoke about his relationship and how it was defined by a song. Heather astutely observed that all his relationships were defined by music, each person probably had a song that meant something special between them. I remember that he and I always talked about having "Tea in the Sahara" together. That was our song. Soulful, complex. That was Chris. I imagine him now, in Heaven, running around in white camouflage, sneaking up behind the angels and burping out loud "God Bless You". I miss him. I wish I could talk to him, about my adventures. I find it ironic that now I am the one and cammies and combat boots, and I wish I could tell him how much I respected what he did, that I understand it better now. God bless you Chris. I hope you are finally at peace.
Well that is all for now. I will try and update you more as things go on. Take care and I hope to see you all soon.