Uncle Cran's True Confessions...
Uncle Cran has sent me another post documenting his long, slow backslide into substance abuse, which has come to dominate his life so totally that he even . . . well, you'll see (and would have seen already one week ago if not for Uncle Cran's having reported me to the Blogger authorities for "Terms of Service" violations!):
Recently Jeffery suggested I submit my confession regarding an event that caused a mild sensation at son James' Pin On Ceremony at his promotion to Lieutenant Colonel. I have swallowed my pride, in much the same was as I did the Miller Light, in one large gulp:Uncle Cran means "last" in the sense of "most recent," but let's not delay his confession:
MY LAST DRINK OF BOOZE
It is with much trepidation that this confession is being made to a cynical and unforgiving nephew, and thus to my kinfolk, who exhibit the same traits.Note that Uncle Cran is accusing our entire extended family of sharing his weakness for the bottle.
After all the receptions to my true, honest and compelling stories, you would think that yours truly would have learned to keep things to himself.Notice that Uncle Cran would rather "bare" his sins than "bear" them. One would almost imagine that he enjoys it.
But the desire to bare my sins, and by so doing, pointing others to the straight and narrow way, and keeping them from the same pitfall, compels me to relate this incident.
Not to mention the mild thrill of another five minutes of fame in an otherwise drab and dreary existence.It's nice to be right rather than vain in my imaginings.
I remember this incident, as it occured nearly three years ago, during the Ides of March, bringing to mind the downfall of a certain Julius Caesar, of Roman fame.Note: Uncle Cran is trying out his humor on us. Humor often fails to cross cultural boundaries -- such as the cultural boundary between Uncle Cran and normal people. Please humor him by laughing.
With great anticipation my wife Linda Gay and I departed on our great adventure. First a drive to Kansas City, then a flight directly to Reagan International Airport, where we were taken to be with James, his wife Julee, and sons Jefferson, Bryson, and Anderson. Why did all three have the addition of "son" to their names? Well, it sounds better than Sonjeffer, Sonbry, and Sonander, in my opinion.
We had a good visit in their home. Then the great day arrived. James and a fellow officer were both being promoted from the grade of Major to Lieutenant Colonel, which is considered a major step for an officer. The event was hosted at the headquarters of Major General (2 star) Fox, whose title is THE CIVIL ENGINEER OF THE AIR FORCE. This is the highest position for one who is in the Civil Engineer field of the Air Force.Just listen to the man! First, he drinks some woman's beer, then orders her to go get another one!
We all put on our best clothes, and arrived at General Fox's headquarters. Before the ceremony, we were ushered into General Fox's office, where we were introduced to the general and his wife They were very gracious hosts.
From there we were escorted into the reception room for the ceremony, to await the ceremony. After a brief wait, we were called to attention, General Fox and the two officers being honored came in, and we were seated.
It was an impressive ceremony. General Fox read the awards and honors James and the other officer had earned, then the families of the two did the pin-on ceremony. Following was the reception, with food and drinks provided. Everyone was having a good time visiting and meeting James' fellow officers and attending dignitaries. Then things kind of went downhill for yours truly.
I selected some delicacies, got myself a bottle of Dr Pepper, and was having a good time. After awhile I was visiting with one of the officers, and set my drink down while we were talking. I took a bite of my food, and without looking down, picked up a bottle and took a good, long swig. I swallowed, and immediately thought, "WHAT AM I DRINKING?"
I looked down, and lo and behold, I had a bottle of Miller Light in my hand. The officer laughed, I looked around and another group of officers were looking at me. General Fox's aide, a female Lt. Colonel was gazing wide eyed at me, and said, "YOU'RE DRINKING MY BEER!"
I did the only thing I could think of . . . I replied, "Maam, I'm so sorry. Go get you another one, and I'll just slip into another room and pray for forgiveness."
It was too late! The story made the rounds . . . "THE REVEREND DRANK THE COLONEL'S BEER!: I had to endure a good bit of teasing about this, and it was kind of the highlight of the evening.Now, Uncle Cran's proudly claiming that he stole the limelight from his own son!
Even Linda Gay laughed about it. But I made the best of the situation, and joked with the others.I think that Aunt Gay had better keep a close watch on Uncle Cran. This sort of thing starts with 'wine', then leads on to women and song!
When we got home I wrote General Fox to thank him for the kindness he and Mrs. Fox had shown us, and how we appreciated the evening. I asked him to relay to his Aide-de-Camp how much I enjoyed "sharing a beer" with her.
The beer incident didn't seem to hurt James' reputation, because three weeks later, with the sponsorship of General Fox, Lt. Colonel James was promoted to command the Civil Engineer squadron at Elmendorf Air Force Base, one of the largest bases in the Air Force, at Anchorage, Alaska, where he served with distinction for two years, before his present assignment at Nato headquarters in Germany. Plus he was recently notified of his selection to full Colonel, and will be one of the youngest with this grade in the Air Force.Now that I've got a first cousin in high places, I'm expecting a job promotion myself, i.e., a tenured position at Harvard University, at least, or possibly a post as liaison between President Obama and Colonel James Hodges, who seems now to be in charge of Nato since he's on assignment at Nato headquarters in Germany. Moreover, given my six years in that country, I can liaise between Nato's English-speaking and German-speaking staff. I surely deserve such a high grade and a corresponding salary. Back to James and his genuinely illustrious career (and I am not being ironic):
Being one of the youngest, he received an "under the wire" promotion. He has accomplished this for Major, Lt. Colonel, and full Colonel, putting him 3 years ahead of some of his classmates. He was listed in the USAF Academy magazine as one of 33 from his Class of 1991 to make Lt. Colonel early, from a graduating class of 969. The list is likely smaller for full Colonel.Uncle Cran, all irony aside, you've certainly earned bragging rights for the things that James has achieved. For those not in the know, a US Air Force Colonel is only one rank below Brigadier General.
But let's finally return to Uncle Cran's gripping story of alcoholic decline, which ends in a borrowed moral . . . or what passes for a 'moral' in Uncle Cran's lengthy tome of longsuffering and lamentation:
Thus finished my confession, and as another fellow sufferer at the hands of his friends once said:Or as David Essex sang, "Mock on, oh my soul . . ."
But Job answered and said,
"Hear diligently my speech, and let this be your consolations,
Suffer me that I may speak and after that I have spoken, mock on" (Job 21:1-3).