My Father’s Journals

After my mother had passed, my task was to inventory everything in her house and decide what to sell, what to donate, and what to trash.

I went down to the basement and spotted an old trunk that piqued my interest. I opened it up and found that it was full of old journals that my father, who died when I was very young, kept. My mother told me about them, but I didn’t know she had kept them all in a trunk in the basement.

I opened the trunk and was hit with a musty smell, but I saw a bunch of journals and picked out one with the words “January – May 1972” written on them. I opened the book to the journal entry dated January 25, 1972. Here’s what I read.

“Today is the fifth anniversary of the death of Kenny, my best friend and comrade in arms. His life was stolen from him on this day in that quagmire they called the Vietnam War. I’ll never forget that day. It stood out, even though there was otherwise little variation from one day to the next for us grunts.

“Our platoon was caught in a Viet Cong ambush. We dug in, but shortly after the firefight began, Kenny, who was right next to me, was shot in the chest. He died instantly and there was nothing I could do to save him. I was devastated by the loss of my best friend.

“I was hit in the arm, but somehow, I managed to get out of there alive. My tour was almost up, so because of my wound, I was sent home. Shortly after returning home to my wife and young son, Kenny’s body made it back to the states.

“My wife and I, along with Linda, Kenny’s widow, attended his military funeral. I tried to be stoic for both my wife and Linda, but as soon as the chaplain said “In honor of the dearly departed husband, father, and friend, Kenneth Lumsden, we are gathered here together…” I lost it. I couldn’t hold back my tears any longer, and I cried for the loss of my best friend, Kenny, and for all of us who will never see him again.”

I was very moved by what I had read. With a lump in my throat, I put down my father’s journal, a man I hardly knew, and realized what a fine man he was and hoped that I could grow to be the man he was. I left the musty basement, went upstairs and outside to get some fresh air. Despite my melancholy mood, when I saw the grackles swarming around my mother’s beloved bird feeders, which gave her so much pleasure in life, I smiled at the thought of her finally being reunited in heaven with her husband. That thought filled my heart with joy and peace.

Written for these daily prompts: JusJoJan (journal), E.M.’s Random Word Prompt (anniversary), Your Daily Word Prompt (quagmire), Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (variation), My Vivid Blog (stolen), The Daily Spur (chest), Ragtag Daily Prompt (save), Scott’s Daily Prompt (dearly departed), and Word of the Day Challenge (grackle).

Truthful Tuesday — COVID-19

Frank, aka PCGuy, has published another one of his Truthful Tuesday posts. This week Frank, who tested positive for COVID-19 and has been quite sick, wants to know…

How closely has COVID-19 impacted you? Do you have first-hand experience, or has anyone in your family or immediate sphere of people you meet or see in person been diagnosed, or is it still something that hasn’t breached that third degree of separation for you?

My daughter and her live-in boyfriend, both of whom were fully vaccinated and boosted, each tested positive in December and I was sure, having spent some up-close and personal time with them shortly before they tested positive, that I would too, even though I am also vaccinated and boosted.. But somehow, I didn’t. They both got what appeared to be bad colds, but they subsequently tested negative.

I also tested negative. That said, I did come down with a bad cold at the beginning of January and it’s still lingering. But I’ve taken the home test three times since getting sick, and all have been negative, so it seems I merely have a bad cold.

I personally know of no one else in my relatively small sphere who has contracted COVID-19. But interestingly enough, I was reading a New York Times article that showed up on my newsfeed this morning, the headline of which was, “Two COVID Americas.”

A new poll of 4,500 adults conducted by the Morning Consult for the Times showed that there’s a remarkable disconnect between perception and reality about COVID and vaccines between Democrats and Republicans. What a shocker, right?

In this question about how people are dealing with the highly contagious omicron variant…

Many Democrats say that they feel unsafe in their communities; are worried about getting sick from COVID. They believe the virus poses a significant risk to their children, parents and friends. Most Republicans couldn’t give a shit. They, as a group, have decided that downplaying COVID is core to their identity as conservatives, even as their skepticism of vaccines means that the virus is killing many more Republicans than Democrats.

And then there’s the perception of vaccinations for COVID. For those who are vaccinated, the chances of getting severely sick are extremely low. Even among people 65 and older, the combination of the vaccines’ effectiveness and the omicron variant’s relative mildness means that COVID appears to present less danger than a normal flu.

For the unvaccinated, however, COVID is worse than any other common virus. It has killed more than 865,000 Americans, the vast majority unvaccinated. In the weeks before vaccines became widely available, COVID was the country’s No. 1 cause of death, above even cancer and heart disease.

But look at Americans’ level of worry about contracting COVID by vaccination status:

A majority of the boosted say they are still worried about getting sick from COVID, while a majority of the unvaccinated say they are not particularly worried.

These poll results suggest that Americans, particularly Republicans, have adopted some irrational beliefs about COVID. In our highly polarized country, they are allowing political partisanship to influence their beliefs and actions at the expense of scientific evidence and the health of our nation.

WTF, Republicans?

I apologize to Frank and to all of you for going off on this rant, but I just felt it had to be said. And I’m glad you’re feeling better, Frank.

Fandango’s Story Starter #30

It’s time for my weekly Story Starter prompt. Here’s how it works. Every Tuesday morning (my time), I’m going to give you an incomplete “teaser” sentence and your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to build a story (prose or poetry) around that partial sentence. It doesn’t have to be the first sentence in your story, and you don’t even have to use it in your post at all if you don’t want to. The purpose of the teaser is simply to spark your imagination and to get your storytelling juices flowing.

This week’s Story Starter teaser is:

Life had just seemed to pass me by until that day when….

If you care to write and post a story built from this teaser, be sure to link back to this post and to tag your post with #FSS. I would also encourage you to read and enjoy what your fellow bloggers do with their stories.

And most of all, have fun.

FOWC with Fandango — Variation


Welcome to January 25, 2022 and to Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (aka, FOWC). I will be posting each day’s word just after midnight Pacific Time (U.S.).

Today’s word is “variation.”

Write a post using that word. It can be prose, poetry, fiction, non-fiction. It can be any length. It can be just a picture or a drawing if you want. No holds barred, so to speak.

Once you are done, tag your post with #FOWC and create a pingback to this post if you are on WordPress. Please check to confirm that your pingback is there. If not, please manually add your link in the comments.

And be sure to read the posts of other bloggers who respond to this prompt. You will marvel at their creativity.