Friday, October 6, 2017

From Wally’s Pond… Again…

This will become entry #400 for this blog. It started late 2009; a means to pass convalescencing time from my cancer treatment and the first of my hip replacement surgeries...
Yet, as time went on, it became a rolling memory book, confessional, travelogue and just a place where most (I have to be honest and say not all…) feelings have been shared. Supposedly, someone who writes must be willing to bare his/her inner self and put everything on the pages (well, OK, the e-filings) for all to see. Not my case. It is still my belief that some aspects of the mind -such as they may be- are private and should remain so.

After all is said, it is often a rudderless flight of fancy (nice term for aimless ramblings?) precisely the one that takes us to the most amazing destinations.

Near death experiences… are they real?   a personal experience associated with death or impending death. Such experiences may encompass a variety of sensations including detachment from the body, feelings of levitation, total serenity, security, warmth, the experience of absolute dissolution, and the presence of a light. (WIKIPEDIA)

Also from Wikipedia and according to Bruce Greyson, the general features of the experience include impressions of being outside one's physical body, visions of deceased relatives and religious figures, and transcendence of egotic and spatiotemporal boundaries.              NOTE: I did try to look up the word “egotic” and by inference (for there is no such word in the thesaurus) it refers to the boundaries of self, within one’s own mind.

Over the years there have been occasional opportunities to talk about these transcendental (too much?well… OK… interesting) issues with people of different faiths, races and backgrounds. Interestingly, there seems to be a relatively even split along the lines as to whether or not they believe in these near-death experiences.

Those who believe in this possibility, tell me that these visions are not always present. My questions: Who is subject to them and why? I have not found a convincing answer to those questions. Yet, in three occasions there were conversations between two individuals who said they had lived through them and myself. Nothing strange, esoteric or especially telling about them. Normal, run of the mill folks. One in India, one in Spain and one right here in the US. Two in their mid-forties, the other one over 60 years of age. Their account was very similar. Diffuse visions, people shapes with inner lights, a feeling of familiarity and, above all, peace. Both also told me that their vision of life thereafter changed to a better acceptance of circumstances and clearer definition of purpose.

This posting is not meant as a study of probabilities or even possibilities. It just means to raise a questioning eyebrow and pose the plausibility of that moment. The moment when our soul or spirit has accepted the reality of imminent departure and is getting ready for the next step of the journey.

What is apparently a very common thread from all the studies (not counting my three conversations… right…) done on this matter, is that those who do come back (Yes, I know… those who do not come back could not answer the questionnaires…) have a radical attitude change towards life, expectations, and general attitude. Almost all change to a better understanding of purpose… and yes, my guys definitely supported this last turn.

There is a lot of reading material on this subject; there is a lot of time to be spent going through that material and I will devote some (not as much as I would like to, but…) time to this because it is a topic which interests me. Not only near-death experiences but also those who have been actually declared clinically dead, only to revive a few minutes later.

From as early a time in my life as I can remember, there have been far too many “happenings” around me not to take these type of issues seriously. I have had, for many years, an implicit acceptance on my part that logic can only explain what we can understand according to set parameters. What we don’t understand or have an acceptable explanation for, is outside that realm of logical order.

Does it mean it  is not real or not existent? No; to me, it means that it falls into the realm of belief and willingness to believe; it takes a jump of faith. And then, we hold on for the ride of a lifetime.

There’ll be more… I think…

Be Well … Be Back!!!

Final Notes:
·       Pray for those who are fighting an illness which may take them away from their loved ones… Every request is heard, and counts!!
·       Follow us on Twitter … @RJAsPandora

·       Any comments please send to rjalcazar@gmail.com

Thursday, September 28, 2017

A Shared Moment.

There are moments when words are not the solution. We can only hope that, in those moments, we know enough not to say anything foolish.
Often, I truly understand that I am indeed blessed. This goes beyond my successful bout against cancer and the incredible places and people I have met over the years. Beyond unexplainable survival(s) at times when I was totally unprepared to face unexpected and considerable foes. Add to this all the minor and major mistakes made along the roads and detours life has steered me through. It really adds up to something much like a miracle.

Today, at age 71, like many others I must work to meet my expenses. But, I am able to. And that’s a blessing too. For my work involves doing things I truly enjoy. Like doing the ESL classes. Teaching others to speak English so they can improve their lot and their families’ lot as well. Pretty much all of my students are Hispanic. Some with documents and full of ambition and some without documents and full of hope.

We discuss many topics in class. A few days ago, we talked about there being a special place each one would like to visit or go back to. And that was the homework for the weekend. To prepare to talk about that special place and share this with the class.

We came back on the following class and, after the usual bits of small conversation to get started, came tie for the presentation. Some talked about their home country and a special place thy hoped to go back to, some about other places only mythical to them. The ones in the travelogue pictures with all the allure only a good photo editor can muster. But this was their dream, and very valid to them. Hope is a very strong incentive for work.

Then we got to a young woman (early-mid 30’s -- yes, young. Remember my perspective…) who had just joined the class one week ago. She was a little hesitant and I assumed it was the effort to say her piece in English. And yes, it was that, but there was another reason as well.

-“I want to go back to Paris” “I was there early last year with my husband”

And, of course, we all said something along “that’s nice, what good luck to have been there”

And then she added, fighting back tears
–“He told me with a smile that I might have to come back alone” “We came back home and he was killed in a car accident last December” “We placed  a lock on the Bridge of Love (Pont Des Arts) and I want to go back to visit the bridge again”

There was silence after this and, mercifully, the clock reached the time to finish.

She lingered for a few moments and came to me to apologize for tearing up. I said to her “There’s no need to apologize” “There is no need to say anything” “As someone who has lost a very dear person to an accident as well, I can tell you that the time will pass, but his presence won’t as long as you have him in your heart and mind”

What else was there to say? Nothing.

 Be Well … Be Back!!!

Final Notes:
·       Pray for those who are fighting an illness which may take them away from their loved ones… Every request is heard, and counts!!
·       Follow us on Twitter … @RJAsPandora

·       Any comments please send to rjalcazar@gmail.com

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Another Year... Some Thoughts

It’s about that time of the year when another 365 days of biological time-living have passed and I am compelled to sit, look at the computer’s blank page and let the moment wash over me, bringing forward all those semi-lost memories, languishing in the little reviewed drawers of my brain. Well, what’s left of it after 71 years of embattled endurance.

A year ago yesterday marked the arrival my 70th birthday. A benchmark of sorts. So I guess yesterday, if the numeral order is to be believed (something I wish could be disproved occasionally) defined my 71st birthday. Which, in sequence, actually means I am now living my 72nd. Year… And, in turn, makes me the oldest member of my direct family’s oldest living generation. Hmmm… gets too complicated to look at the overall picture from that angle… lopsided.

In any event, one more year has passed. I have not been very loyal to my blog in this time, relegating it to a some-when thing; only if the pang of peripheral writer’s guilt showed up in my head… It is something I have tried to remedy but there are some issues to ponder… What direction should I follow? Originally, the blog came to life as a memory lane trip while my hip recovered from a replacement and my body adjusted to its first metal insert… and to radioactive fallout from cancer treatment… a conundrum of memories of life from childhood on.

A few (as few as possible) quasi-political entries and some opinionated ramblings have been a part of this 7+ years. My fren’ Cheito from “HaiAleeah” and his celebrated appearances and comments (his entries have drawn more reads than most others) the ramblings from “Wally’s Pond” and also those days when writing became an issue and the results showed it. Many candid memories have been included and many others have been not so candidly left out. There were peak months when the blog had as many as 600 “reads” worlwide and, lately, months of 5 or 6 hits, reflecting the lack of new entries… It has been a joy ride.

No, I am not saying good bye, nor is this a fare-thee-well musing. I have enjoyed writing and also have enjoyed those comments which kept me going at times of questionable enthusiasm. And yes, the ones that questioned moments of effervescent enthusiasm with the resulting non-directional ramblings.

This is an exercise of and for the mind. Writing is, somehow, my assertion to living, to having lived and to a continuance in this world. At least for now. As time goes on, there will be “new” memories and mixed in perhaps some of those left out. Guess I am not a “true” writer, since there is no total willingness on my part to share my “True Confessions”. In any event, predictable reaction to this would likely be… AND???

But, no matter… on we shall go. There will be new entries, with not much order or consistency. But with a lot of love.

After all, surprise is at the core of an interesting life, isn’t it?

Be Well … Be Back!!!

Final Notes:
·       Pray for those who are fighting an illness which may take them away from their loved ones… Every request is heard, and counts!!
·       Follow us on Twitter … @RJAsPandora

·       Any comments please send to rjalcazar@gmail.com

Monday, June 19, 2017

There are Memories and then… There are Memories…

  Today, being Saturday and most things that needed to be done being so done yesterday, there was some time in which to do not much, so HBO was tuned to and a movie called “The Last of the Blonde Bombshells” caught my attention.  A simple musical I thought… easy to pass the time. Well, it was a musical -of sorts- with a top cast, including Dame Judi Dench and a singer I had not thought about for quite some time, albeit one of my years ago very favorites: Cleo Laine.

  Mind you, I didn’t know she was on the cast, it just happened along the way to a happy finish. The storyline is about an all-female (plus a male drummer with blonde wig and all) English swing band (“swing” as it pertained to those times) which had become famous during WWII. The movie is taking place in the present, so that long past story had taken place some 50+years ago, the plot switching back and forth between then and now. The main character somehow meets up again with drummer-boy (another story-within-the-story) and they set out to bring whatever is left of the band together again.  

  When they got to the singer, there was this older lady (well… we all get there sometime, don’t we?) who began to belt this number with an incredible low/mid-range voice. My little man brain (the one sitting somewhere back there inside my head) kept closing out the visual and concentrating on the sound part.

- “I know that voice!! It kept on repeating…”
- “But I don’t know that face, I kept answering…”

  The sound just kept coming and being enjoyed… Eventually, the movie came to its end and, out of total curiosity, I stayed on to watch the credits roll by…

  OMG!!! You fool!!! Her name appeared on the screen and in my memory banks… Cleo Laine… to me, one of the great jazz/blues singers/voices of all time.

  Along with her voice came memories of sitting by a pool somewhere, sipping a cool drink and listening to a cassette (Yes, a cassette, what of it???) with her voice trailing over the pool waters unto the sea and the sunset, skipping over a few palm trees along the ways …  “the little ordinary things every one ought to do…” from Ray Noble’s “The Very Thought of You”…

  I did a lot of long winded travel in the late 70’s into the mid 80’s. But it wasn’t all work… Once in a while, there were sublime moments when the world would graciously allow itself to fall away and there was only a drink, the whisper of the water, the sunset and the glorious sounds of Cleo Laine cleansing my soul.

There are memories and then… there are memories…

Be Well … Be Back!!!

Final Notes:
·       Pray for those who are fighting an illness which may take them away from their loved ones… Every request is heard, and counts!!
·       Follow us on Twitter … @RJAsPandora

·       Any comments please send to rjalcazar@gmail.com

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

BGSA or AGSA???

Sometime in the future, in a non-denominational world, the ages of quick knowledge and enlightenment may be measured by the above little letters. What do these critters mean? I’m sure you ask…

These precious little letters mean no more and no less than… “Before Google Search Availability” and “After Google Search Availability”. Don’t laugh… there is a great cultural divide here.

If you are reading this, it’s likely you belong to a group of individuals who braved the world of academia with rulers, dictionaries, and… OMG!!!... Books! Yep… those ancient things which had pages to be turned, read, marked, annotated and underlined and then, when you were done with the year studies, they were resold to the next class of aspiring students. The value went up according to the quality of the notes and underlining which paved the way for an easier study time.

I think this crop of students, the “Goooglehead” generation, is privy to a lot of information we did not readily have. It could be said they are smarter because of this and because they can find out the answer to most anything with a few hits to the keyboard on their telephone and/or phablet and/or laptop. Perhaps. I agree that a pocket, electronic Wikipedia would have been a big help in our time. The Good Lord knows what trials and tribulations we went through at finals time; running to get the needed last minute information, going to the library (remember those?) and checking through the cards and the old records you could look at in those old viewers that rolled them in an almost unreadable screen.

On the other hand, there are elements which might be missing from the new picture. The process of learning and thereby assimilating the contents, the acquired patience needed to find sources, read them and cull the wanted information. A patience which comes in handy later in the real world, where not all is solved by stroking the keys of a computer. I have witnessed a high level of frustration in youngsters (Geesh… I’m sounding old) when they can’t get an instant answer and resolution.  

There is another and, perhaps more important area, where overall development could be lacking. Early social life. For many, socialization comes through chat groups, not through face to face interaction. In the usual social media, what counts in the life of teens and young adults are the “likes” they may get to a posting. No matter how silly this posting may be. There have been far too many cases where a “dislike” brings on a depressive state. They become a symbol of rejection. These internet surfers have not developed the emotional and personality tools which would help them deal with the perceived slights.

Yes, I know. I come from a complex, yet simpler time. Complex because we had to learn to interact with others and this was not easy or simple. Simpler time because we were not overwhelmed with an ever-expanding universe of possibilities at our fingertips. We looked for what we needed and didn’t get the surrounding garbage that today comes with all searches.

Is this going to change? Not likely. Actually, the next generation of “smarter-than-thou” helpers is already on its way to us and our children, who gleefully want to be the first in line to get the new goodies.

It is their new world and we, the old geezers, created and handed it to them… Now we are becoming bystanders in the all-out virtual world race…

Be Well … Be Back!!!

Final Notes:
·       Pray for those who are fighting an illness which may take them away from their loved ones… Every request is heard, and counts!!
·       Follow us on Twitter … @RJAsPandora

·       Any comments please send to rjalcazar@gmail.com

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Once Upon a Time in Insurance Land...

Many years and moons ago I began selling insurance…

Back in the early 70’s there was this time when I was not a righteous member of the gainfully employed crowd (only smirk if you’ve never been there) and a friend asked me to go to an interview with a local agency of a major insurance company.

- “What, sell Insurance?” asked I with a look of surprise on my face.
- “Yes,” he answered, “That, sell insurance… and, why not?”

I have many defects (Quiet there in the gallery… no need to agree so readily!!) but fear of the unknown is not one of them.  I went to the interview and received an offer to start working immediately… well, OK… that’s the same offer made to most any walking body that might sashay into that office back then… The decision was made to start selling this product, without understanding how much and how drastically my later life would change as a result.

The sale of insurance, as a profession, carried somewhat of a stigma back then and this was not lost on yours truly. But needs of food, shelter and daily countenance do not understand the concept of “stigmas” so, I went on to my training period with The Prudential Insurance Company, affectionately known as “The Rock”. What’s more, this was a debit insurance office, which was the then more modern euphemism for the small, monthly collected old industrial insurance.

What a collection of characters I had the chance to meet!! Phil, the retired army captain, straight as an arrow, physically and mentally. Then there was “Pinky”, the office perennial sales leader, along with his manager Salvatore. Two stalwart old school Italians (amongst several others in their group) who were loud, funny and friendly.  And I can’t forget “Vinnie from The Rock” tall, gangly, orange mop head who was the archetypal salesman… Green pants, loud shirt and checkered sports coat to go with an incredibly bubbly personality… OK, overbearing personality….

That was the beginning of my Insurance career. A hotbed of activity, visiting neighborhoods, collecting premiums which went down to as little as $.50 per month (yes, fifty cents) while talking to clients and their neighbors trying to dredge up new business… I actually survived that office, mostly because I was guided by a good human being and knowledgeable leader by the name of Bernie… Eventually I learned to sell larger policies than those the office could accommodate and went on to “greener” pastures.

Some 44 years later, after holding down many different positions within the insurance business which ranged from sales, to sales management and corporate director and consultant, I am now “semi-retired”. The wonderful years spent in many countries around the world because of tenures with international companies, are part of a web of memories which keep most of these instances alive and warm. And I say “most” because there are definitely some instances which are probably best left for the “delete” bin of the mind.

It is said by those who know more than I do -who make up a rather large contingent- that a person, in the latter years of his/her life tends to become an amalgam of all those experiences lived along the way. I can only hope that I may have managed to nurture the better experiences into my makeup, culling those which could leave a negative component.

Well, I could only hope this is true….

Be Well … Be Back!!!

Final Notes:
·       Pray for those who are fighting an illness which may take them away from their loved ones… Every request is heard, and counts!!
·       Follow us on Twitter … @RJAsPandora

·       Any comments please send to rjalcazar@gmail.com

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Innocence, Music and Other Things.

I always thought that innocence and music are gifts from God. The former is pretty much gone and the latter, as represented by some of its latest iterations… well, I’m not so sure…
Ever since I was a little child, hiding behind my grandmother’s skirts, I was a witness -and participant- of a devoted love to music in all its variations. Later, when I was about 8 years old and in the arms of that same grandmother, my journey through the steps of a dance floor began. I learned to dance the music of my childhood and of my grandmother’s adolescence. Danzones, Cha-cha, boleros, Waltzes… even a street conga or two…

It was a time in which I would look behind the big radio to find the musicians that surely had to be hiding inside… Then, on realizing these folks could not really be inside there, I would be convinced that the answer was that there must be a giant theater somewhere in the radio station where troves of bands and singers would be sitting in wait for their name to be called as a result of a request from a listener. Ahh… long gone times... Much simpler and innocent than today, when imagination, fairy tales and heroic adventures are relegated to an ever-growing virtual pile of refuse.

I remember one of my favorite shows, which took place during a fifteen-minute stretch in the early afternoon, after lunch and before the school bus came to take me back to the hallowed halls of education. The little stretch of radio imagination was called “The Adventures of the Three Villalobos”. These were three brothers who were “cowboys” (yes, I know… there weren’t any real cowboys in Cuba but I did say imagination and radio and innocence, right?) and who, as a family much in the style of the latter day television Cartwrights (Bonanza) ran all over the Cuban countryside looking for wrongs to right and to defend the defenseless.

These were basic adventures. A short 15 min program but you couldn’t pry me away from the radio during those minutes. I loved it and also knew that during the afternoon the latest adventures would be a topic of discussion among my friends during the recesses. These discussions were an ode to the imagination and to the knowledge that we could be as good a hero as any of these Villalobos brothers.

Together with this love of music and to the radio adventures and all the imagination these allowed out minds to exercise, there was also a love of curiosity and questioning of all established presumptions. And there were (and are) many of these. I was lucky to grow into a family where there were no absolute bosses and where all were encouraged to talk up, to question, to discuss. I realize today this was not the norm in the environment where I grew up. And am thankful.

As years went by I couldn’t but accept that the music I used to listen to came from records played by an engineer at the radio station and not from live bands in a theater… I also had to grudgingly accept that my beloved Villalobos were but a threesome of badly paid aging radio actors in a studio somewhere in Havana and that all the galloping horses, the pistol shots and the very scarce kisses (remember, cowboys kissed their horses, not women) came from a well managed sound box and its hard working master.

What has been left in me from these and many other similar childhood adventures and dreams is a love of music and the belief that imagination is the cradle of reality and it must never be abandoned or relegated to a totally practical, “non-real” world… Imagination, which resides in that semi forgotten attic we often overlook, allows me to create and explore other worlds, other visions, other realities and, when I finally get to see them, what is to tell me these are not as real as the world from which we spy on them?

Be Well … Be Back!!!

Final Notes:
·       Pray for those who are fighting an illness which may take them away from their loved ones… Every request is heard, and counts!!
·       Follow us on Twitter … @RJAsPandora

·       Any comments please send to rjalcazar@gmail.com

Saturday, February 18, 2017

From the Desk of…

I have always liked this header. It seems to imply position or rank. Whether real or self-imposed, is a different story. There were times when, in the process of getting my own letterhead done, I actually thought about plastering this little ditty on the left superior corner. But in the end, it would not be found up there.

Every time I thought about using it, the question would pop… But… But… whatever is coming, is not coming from my desk, is it? When did it learn to send things by itself? Yep, I know… it sounds nonsensical to me too… In fact, this whole thing sounds off the wall to me.

So, let’s get on to another topic. And just how do we do this, I ask? … you may also ask if you truly wish to do so… The real answer is “I’m not sure” but if we keep on writing something is bound to come up. With all mental efforts avoiding the call to be drawn into the political arena… too easy… and too difficult at the same time.

Your whole life is a manifestation of the thoughts that go on in your head” Lisa Nichols, “The Secret”. Every so often I go back and read a little bit of this compilation book. Perhaps it should be said “re-read” because the book is earmarked in many pages, underlined like a 10th grade school book. It had been a while since my thoughts went in this direction. Today, while cleaning my desk of unwanted excess paper stuff (trying to use less real paper as I go along, using more and more of these virtual pages) there was the book, under a pile of long not-looked-at stuff next to the printer/copier/scanner sitting quietly on the far corner of the desk.  I opened one of the marked pages and there was the passage from Lisa Nichols reminding me that we are and represent, by all measures, the sum of our thinking. And I have to add that I believe this last is but a compendium of all we have seen, lived and become.

The concept behind this book and the myriad of writers who contributed to it is that one is the master of his universe. Well, at least the corner which is included in the immediate surroundings to one self. There are many variables, especially where several of these little universe corners meet and intertwine. Is the stronger wishful thinker going to win the day? Not sure how it works there.

“The Secrets” concept is, at the very least, self-assuring; it leads one’s trending thoughts into a more optimal result. Will it bring on all those things you may wish for? Not by itself. Rather, I think it creates a state of mind which allows the thinker to look at what is going on in his/her life from different perspectives and perhaps, identify a better way of achieving the desired results.

So, in the end… maybe it does function. Or, maybe it helps you identify and do the work that needs to be done in order to achieve your goals or solve a burdensome issue.

Hmmm… food for thought… In the meantime, will continue to weave the ever thinking spinneret…

Be Well … Be Back!!!

Final Notes:
·       Pray for those who are fighting an illness which may take them away from their loved ones… Every request is heard, and counts!!
·       Follow us on Twitter … @RJAsPandora

·       Any comments please send to rjalcazar@gmail.com

Friday, February 3, 2017

Sitting by Wally’s Pond… Yet again

I almost called this entry “one man’s opinion” but the other heading looked better on paper…

We have come to live in a society where a single uttered word can unleash all kinds of Pavlovian gut reactions. “Racist”, “Homophobic”, “Misogyny”, “Fascist”, Etc. The list of these terms is becoming longer every day and the number of those who use, or misuse, these words is also growing. I will concentrate on one specific moniker for the duration of this entry: “Immigrants”. Wait, read on… Don’t go off yet…

It is a topic which awakens feelings; both for and against. Yes, this nation has been built by immigrants but, for the most part and up to the last 10 years or so, these came in a somewhat orderly fashion and following a protocol. As is done in all other countries, we do have to have strong borders; I am also not against a temporary ban to immigrants from countries where the main export is terrorism (under any guise); anyone who commits a punishable crime, should be punished to the extent of the law. If you are a citizen or legal resident, you'll go to jail. If you are an immigrant without papers, you'll be deported. I will also define a “criminal immigrant” as someone who has committed an actual crime not just a person who has no documents.

Then, and I am afraid some of my conservative friends may not agree, there are millions who came and have lived here for 10, 15 and even 20 or more years and who have not been able to get papers. Criminals? Not so sure on that score. Most are church going, working 2-3 jobs at menial or less than menial pay to give their families a head start. Despite their low income, many have filed returns over the years, trying to contribute to the society which grudgingly gave them a place, albeit in its hidden corners.

Millions have, despite their legal handicaps, bought homes, cars, raised families -without asking for gov't help- and even a good number have started very successful businesses which generate millions in taxes & payroll every year and where they have given jobs to untold number of other immigrants and citizens. In many cases, I daresay, they have become better members of society than many US born citizens we have come to know along the way.

I'll go further. Many sons of these "illegal" immigrants have proudly worn the uniform in service to our country and of those, many have paid the ultimate price. Do these folk deserve to be judged without a hearing? I do not think so.

I am an immigrant and have citizen status thanks to the fact that one president saw fit to give a chance to those immigrants who had served during the Viet Nam years. I believe it is time to truly look at these proud and good folk, and judge each by what he/she has done, outside the general hysteria that surrounds this topic.

Be Well … Be Back!!!

Final Notes:
·       Pray for those who are fighting an illness which may take them away from their loved ones… Every request is heard, and counts!!
·       Follow us on Twitter … @RJAsPandora

·       Any comments please send to rjalcazar@gmail.com

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

The Sometimes Darker Side of Wally’s Pond…

As much as I like to visit that little piece of usual heaven which is my very own mental pond, sometimes while there thoughts come uncalled for; thoughts which bring back from hidden little corners those memories which had been hitherto banished for eternity. Well, eternity as may be defined by our mortal and very imperfect minds. Which is a lot shorter than the other one.

I sat there, quietly perusing many memories. Maybe trying to, from an amalgam of words and ideas, pick something which could be transformed into a blog entry; an entry which could be light a little funny (maybe) and easy on the eyes and the thinking process.

But, as things tend to go, when you least expect it…

The clouds rolled in and then away… behind them, came thoughts that had been purged from my mind. Or so I thought. In other entries past I glanced over my time in the army while overseas, trying to look at the better moments. Those were years which most of us who served in the armed forces chose to put mentally aside in the pursuit of a post Viet Nam life. I did not go to Viet-Nam; those who did gave all: body, care, thoughts, families and in many cases, the future stability of their own minds. I am not going to argue about right or wrong; or whether this, like many other wars, was created to pursue the interests of those who were in power at the time. Political and financial power.

I was stationed at Naha Wheel in Okinawa, probably the closest point to VN and the outlet for many of those who were lucky enough to make it and start the long, difficult and painful way back home. While in Okinawa, I drove a deuce and a half and went to the port on a regular basis to pick up used or discarded war ordinance (material/equipment) and bring it back to the warehouse, where it would be processed to its end, whatever that might be.

Those things, after delivery, I did not see again. Often they were not pretty sights, bloody remnants of a war without fronts where anyone could be a mortal enemy. Men, women, children, young, old.

Not so easy to make the human by-product disappear. My memories of those days and nights reminded me. The cries in the middle of the night; cries that came to someone’s lips while in the midst of a surreal dream, most likely reliving moments which would rather be forgotten. Someone waking up with a sudden start and dropping to the floor, looking to any one next to him as you would look at someone who wanted to kill you. The nights when we had to physically restrain a child who too early turned an old man and just coming back from the war zone, until we could make him realize he was amongst friends. The pain, the angst, the wasted lives. The feeling of total frustration and desperate want to help, and not being able to.

Yes, many memories came back. And I know mine are far from the worst. I can’t even begin to imagine the memories of those who at 18 or 19 years of age were in the middle of a fight no one seemed to support. Sometimes we would talk. It was not easy for me to listen and much more difficult for them to speak about their days and nights in the jungle. I laid in bed many nights, totally awake. I could only imagine what this generation was going through. Not knowing that perhaps the worst was yet to come for many, as they came home to a society which looked upon returning soldiers as not wanted killers. Today, after so many years, sometimes I still think about this when I wake up in the middle of the night.

War is real. You kill, you die. You bleed, you hurt. Then, when you manage to survive physically your mind may not. War is not, as some children may think today, a virtual TV game. Which you turn on and off.

Wally’s Pond. Sometimes the memories can be dark. But they are a part of who I am and will not be denied.

Be Well … Be Back!!!

Final Notes:
·       Pray for those who are fighting an illness which may take them away from their loved ones… Every request is heard, and counts!!
·       Follow us on Twitter … @RJAsPandora

·       Any comments please send to rjalcazar@gmail.com

From Wally’s Pond… Again…

This will become entry #400 for this blog. It started late 2009; a means to pass convalescencing time from my cancer treatment and the firs...