Saturday, January 17, 2009

Uncle Cran's True Confessions...

Miller Lite
For 'Lite-Wait' Drinkers
(Image from Wikipedia)

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:

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.

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.
Notice that Uncle Cran would rather "bare" his sins than "bear" them. One would almost imagine that he enjoys it.

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.

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.
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.

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.

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."
Just listen to the man! First, he drinks some woman's beer, then orders her to go get another one!

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.

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.
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!

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:

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).
Or as David Essex sang, "Mock on, oh my soul . . ."

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At 5:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Some people never learn," is a line from a song I heard sometime ago.
My fears have come true once again.
Nephew (once favorite) Jeffery has again taken my name in vain.
However, please note: I did not file the complaint that caused his blog to be removed, even though everyone can see that I have just cause.
(Never should have quoted Job:...."and after I have spoken, mock on."
Jeffery, that was a literary quote, not a command.

At 5:57 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Uncle Cran, if you can just get Colonel James Hodges to back up -- with the military might of Nato -- the 'diplomacy' that I use to further my career, then perhaps I can land a tenured position at Harvard by speaking softly while carrying Teddy's Big Stick.

If such transpires, I'll praise your name to the heavens...

Meanwhile, Uncle Cran, can you prove that you did not file that complaint to Google? Of course, you cannot. A negative cannot be proven. Need I provide more evidence?

Jeffery Hodges

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At 9:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now Cran,

It appears that I'm gonna have to dig into Jeff's archives again just to make certain.

However, I'm pretty sure I saw where once you typed something along the lines of, "...after that ONE EPISODE alcohol never passed my lips again..."

As I may've mentioned previously, my memory is somewhat addled (although I do remember bulldogging is not healthy for men in excess of about 30 or so) regardless, I'm pretty sure I read that. Perhaps close to where I read you slept on a lake...

But just now it's near time for a nap. I'll put off the archive search for a bit.


I'm so very happy to see your stuff back in circulation. I had several links that I'd been following comments on and was worried I'd miss out on any new developments. (I only wish now that I'd bookmarked all of Cran's exotica and esoterica.)


At 9:15 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

JK, good to be back and interacting with you and the others.

Though I have to admit that the week off was sort of productive in other ways . . . though not too re-productive, I hope.

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

At 9:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


The previous blog was my first and from the age of 21, my last drink, except one time when Gay & I got a bottle of wine, thinking it would help lower our cholesterol...which we took out and broke because we didn't like it, until this incident when I accidentally and unintentionally imbibed again.
But as noted here, I can only say this as being the truth.
It's up to the readers to believe or refuse to trust my honesty.

At 9:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jeffery, sorry to blast your hopes, but Col. James is a junior officer at the NATO headquarters where he is stationed. He has several senior officers above him.

At 9:45 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Well, just to be forthright, Uncle Cran, since the joke might sometimes go too far (for the casual reader) . . . I think that we all actually trust your honesty and believe your stories.

I trust you, anyway, though you might -- as might anyone -- occasionally mispeak.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 9:46 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Okay, Uncle Cran, I'll just wait for the Colonel to become a General.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 9:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


"...was my first and from the age of 21, my last drink, EXCEPT one time when Gay & I got a bottle of wine, thinking it would help lower our cholesterol..."

"...until this incident when I accidentally and unintentionally imbibed again. ..."

Searching your archives Jeff should be far more interesting than our Friday night wheelchair races in the nursing home.

Unless one of my nephews sneaks a jug of some Colonel's "beverage" past the security folks at the front desk.

Perhaps the security personnel of a NATO General Officer should be sent to a nursing home staff for pointers on how to keep a Baptist(?) Minister from performing such miraculous stuff.

Uh Cran, did you ever watch one of those Quaker Oatmeal commercials?


At 10:09 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

JK, perhaps Cran can follow the example of our fellow Arkansawyer and honestly say, "It all depends on what the meaning of 'is' is."

Slick Willie was never more honest than when he said that . . . though he might not have said it exactly like that.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 12:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd guess that's (that "is") about as correct as one might be expected to get.

I always "accept" the sorts of replies that I expect.

Of course on Gypsy no one is wagging fingers in my general direction.

(However I do apppreciate the very occasional pedestrian's view of some nice native whose T-shirt announces, "I'm Lost, Please Help.")

If, my friend Jeffery -see how easily spelt Malcolm- you don't recall what I speak of: I saved the image to my G-Drive.

Sun-Ae? Your husband explained the image was obtained from Wiki. Although I've not been able to replicate his "search terms" I'd (of course I'm male and single) give him the benefit of doubt.


At 12:55 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

JK, I blush to recall . . . but it is from Wikipedia.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 1:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would add of course, your husband is far more the "researcher" than I.

I'd of expected no less an image presented on a paper subject to a "grade" from myself.

Personally, I gave it an "A" hence it's presence on my G-Drive. Jeff however didn't tell me how he graded it.

From what I've seen of his student evaluations, I can understand why he's untenured at Harvard. Perhaps Cran can explain.


At 1:05 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Yes, Uncle Cran will likely have more insight into the family's foibles, for he has several years' experience on me in that regard.

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

At 1:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"JK, I blush to recall . . . but it is from Wikipedia."

"Is?" Or was?

I suppose it depends on what is was - if the respite from blogging had either unintended or I suppose, "unforeseen...."

Heck I never taught this course! You're the language expert!


At 1:20 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

JK, it's beyond us all.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 9:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's pretty much my end of drinking escapades, but imagine my shock when I found out the juice I was injecting into my veins whenever I pushed the "happy button" to reduce the post surgery pain was actually morphine. But the desire to stop the pain overcame my inhibitions to the point that I was "shooting up" every ten minutes. That is how often the control on the button would allow.
And the oxycodone I took for five days after coming home was some derivative of some form of dope.
But I'm clean now.
Nothing stronger than Maxwell House coffee.
Believe me, JK?

At 4:33 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Uncle Cran, I understand that caffeine is a particularly powerful drug . . . but I hope that it remains legal.

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

At 7:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I will Cran if you'd do just the least little bit of clarifying for me.

(Now mind I've not done an archive search - but my memory presently is closer to peak perormance.)

I seem to recall a story in which as a youth you accompanied two somewhat older fellows to one of the other fellows parents house. There was something about a stop on a gravel road, a fight, and I believe, you might've admitted to "just a sip."

Fairly recently you mentioned something about, "...we were one happy bunch of kids..."

Another time during your mentioning that you were the owner of an actual US Naval warship, there was some mention of what is generally regarded on US Navy ships as a "big no-no" however being the owner of the vessel I suppose you had some pull. Anyway, there was a mention of moonshine somewhere in the ship stories.

Now we hear of high cholesterol, but given that the use could be considered "medical" in purpose, this might not pass muster.

And of course stealing the lady Colonel's beer though being a minister I can see how you might've thought you somehow "turned Dr. Pepper in to wine" so perhaps this could also be considered acceptable under the circumstances.

Cran? I think I've gotten to at least 5 instances of alcohol use here but if you could do just this little bit of clarifying for me, I think I can somehow accept that long ago sentence, "...that was the ONE and ONLY time alcohol passed my lips."


At 7:31 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

JK, you've got a memory like that proverbial element.

I envy you . . . not that I want to take your memory away, of course, but you know what I mean.

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

At 8:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know Jeff,

My memory is a big part of way I make so many efforts to degrade it. There are the occasional instances where it comes in handy, such as times when Cran and I can engage.

But being somthing of a loner I too often find myself subject to having more of the unpleasant sorts of stuff rising up.

I often wonder if a "good memory" is really that.


At 12:44 PM, Blogger Conservative in Virginia said...

... a flight directly to Reagan International Airport...

Since when is Ronald Reagan airport "international"? Until it was renamed, it was called National Airport.

BWI and Dulles are our international airports.

At 1:49 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

JK, I see your point . . . but maybe "good" isn't always "painless."

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

At 1:50 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

CIV, you've probably found more evidence of Uncle Cran's hidden drinking problem...

Jeffery Hodges

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At 10:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know it is now named Reagan...either national or intenational...I'm not sure which designation, so I yield to one with superior knowledge.
Perhaps I have former president Reagan's penchant for looking at the overall picture and leaving others to fill in details....(some would call that by other names....such as senility, etc.).
But I leave that to others to decide.
Your turn, JK and Jeffery.

At 11:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are correct, it is Reagan National Airport....mea culpa...(whatever that means).
But I did note that there are a number of international airports in the USA.
I think that security reasons may be why Reagan isn't so, or perhaps access to others nearby for such flights.
I have been to other nearby airports on other trips to DC, which are fairly close, but Reagan was so handy to where James, Julee & boys lived.
In another year & a half they will likely be there, as his next assignment is scheduled to be another Air Force advanced school, but I don't know the name or actual location of it.

At 2:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


You seem to've missed what I was actually asking for, that being simply, "a clarifying" after which I would (depending on the actual clarification) indeed accept what you say.

Look back up in the comment row to the one I entered immediately following Jeff's which appears with the 4:33 timestamp. Run through my memorical meanderings then perhaps clear up any obvious mistakes.

Then I will be happy to either do as you suggest or further reply to your:

"Believe me, JK?
Cran" which you posted at oh, 9:39 PM.


At 5:28 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

While we're waiting for more of Uncle Cran's Truly True Confessions, I'll go on to other posts...

Jeffery Hodges

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