Thanks To You, My Friends

My father’s funeral was yesterday. The family was present. The services, held in a good sized chapel, were conducted by a retired military chaplain. He was wonderful, his words comforting. We looked around and observed there were many less in attendance than we surmised. We finally realized that, at 88, our father had outlived the bulk of his friends.

A United States Air Force Honor Guard carried my father’s coffin from the chapel to a site of repose for the rest of the service, amidst an impressive court of columns, flags, artillery pieces. The guard ceremoniously folded the flag draped across my father’s casket as three riflemen fired their salute with M-1 Garands. Despite the fact that there are so few of them left in military service, the Air Force found a bugler for my father. She played Taps. The flag was presented to my eldest brother: “On behalf of the President of the United States, the Department of the Air Force, and a grateful nation, we offer this flag for the faithful and dedicated service of Colonel Alley.”

The day was clear and bright. The blue skies contained few clouds. It was a blessing.

First, thanks to each and every one of my readers for your kind comments about my father, literally, over the years. I don’t have many acquaintances; I have fewer, if any, real friends.

Certainly I had “best friends” when I was young and growing up — Randy and Rick. And I had a small cadre of very good and close friends during my college days (Randy, Chuck, Lynda, Richard, Jodee, Kerry, you know who you are!). We transported ourselves in a cloud wherever we went. Where one went we all went. Those were fabulous, fun, fanciful days.

But those days are gone. We all went our separate ways, quite physically. Cast to the four winds, little seeds blowing over hills to land in other areas and then sprout. Sprout with others.

Some of us got married, myself included. That marriage was not to last, since we were both as socially mature as a box of Frosted Flakes. We no more possessed a concept of how to conduct a true adult relationship, much less an actual marriage, than the Man In The Moon. We were young, stupid, and quite convinced the galaxy revolved around our individual selves. That we lasted six years was now, in reflection, a testament itself. We hit the rocks in the shallow waters just off the point, took water, hit the switch for the pumps haltingly, then shortly flicked it off and abandoned ship. I can only hope she’s happy. I’m certain she’s much happier now than then.

I’m not particularly social nor schooled in social graces. I’m not much physically demonstrative in a relationship. I can be, at times, warm and cuddly as a Bolivian Anaconda. I’m not a Joiner; I’m more the loner. It’s just there, in my wiring, straight from the factory.

But one thing I’ve come to appreciate (amongst many, many others, recently), is the support and countenance of the people surrounding my little blip on the blogosphere, here on Bloviating Zeppelin.

Probably, like much of you, I spend way too much time on the internet either writing my blog, researching for my blog, visiting my Usual Suspects list or gathering the latest information on news and politics. That’s not bad, in my opinion, not at all. I’ve gotten to virtually meet any number of new and fascinating people in my time following the first BZ post on June 19th of 2004. Amazing to think this ridiculous little blog has lasted so long and that, this coming June 19th, it will have been alive for five years.

Since then, I’ve managed to corral a readership, hit Large Mammal status, and recently enjoyed my 6,200th profile view. That may not mean much to some but, to me, for someone who writes mostly for himself and not for others (there goes that lonely, non-joining Lone Wolf crap again), I am still floored that anyone would much bother with me, considering there are so many other more infinitely valuable and worthy places to visit on the internet.

So when I welcome you, as a new viewer to my blog, when you comment — or even if you simply come to “dine and dash” — trust me when I write that I truly value your visit, I’m glad you stopped by and am honored that you’ve even chosen to comment.

Time is so precious. Thank you for giving some to me. Thank you for your support during these very tempestuous times for me and my family. What I’m experiencing isn’t anything new at all per se. Most of you have likely lost very precious loved ones or even your parents themselves.

But it’s new to me and you’ve all treated me with grace and courtesy.

For that I am quite honored. I don’t know how to repay you all for the help and comfort you’ve provided.

And so, I conclude, that I really do have friends. Most of whom I’ve never met (save Gawfer!) and likely never will. But your mere presence, right now, in these times, is very much akin to aloe on a burn. Like the cool side of my pillow.

Thank you all.

BZ

P.S.
My most sincere thanks to the Travis Air Force Base Elite Honor Guard. They drove 43 miles, one way, through dense Friday traffic to honor my father and the family. God bless you all.

18 thoughts on “Thanks To You, My Friends

  1. VW: my wife and I honeymooned in Tahoe, Jenner and Astoria, Oregon. We ventured into Washington as well and we’d like to go back north again to visit. So that is not entire impossible. That would be a great thing. I have numerous li — er, I mean, tales to tell.

    BZ

  2. BZ,

    I was there at your Dad’s funeral…….or at least I was certainly picturing myself there as you wrote. You have a gift for writing & it certainly shows. Still praying for you. God Bless.

  3. BZ, Your blog is a treat and is one of the only ones I visit anymore.

    When you give out good vibes, you get good vibes in return. You respect those who leave comments, agree with or not. Plus your just a damn good blogger.

    You and I don’t agree with much when it comes to politics but when it comes to life, we agree on much.

    I’m glad your father was put to rest in a way he deserved and you should be glad that you and your family were able to do it.

    Stay well, stay healthy and most of all, stay ahead of the game.

    One day you and I will meet and we’ll have one hell of a good time and oh ya, I’m buying. My wife made me say that.

  4. 02 28 09

    BZ: My heart is with you. And as everyone has said above, you know how to tell a story. That is why we come back to read what you say. It doesn’t matter that the posts are written mostly for you; that is one reason WHY they are so good.

    It is good to know that your dad’s funeral went well. Yes, at that age their social circles do dwindle a bit. My Grandpa Butch will be 85 this year and he and Grandma Earl realized that most of their friends are dead.

    Thank God your Dad had you and your brothers and thank God we have our loved one in our lives.
    I can relate to the loner sentiment, but just as you need your wife, I need that comfort and love too.

    Have a great rest of week.

  5. You have a gift for writing and painting a mental picture for others.

    I’ll admit that my visits here are sporadic but if you’re ever anywhere close to western Oregon, I’ll buy you a beer, no problem.

  6. Sorry to hear about your dad BZ. I think i speak for many around the world who know America for what she really is, when i also thank you for your father’s service. May he rest in peace.

    Go well lone wolf.

  7. Your writing is great BZ, your blog will probably last a long time.

    Its good to be a reader of this and a “friend you never met”.

  8. David: you know, I almost felt your presence. Thank you for pulling the Lord towards me that day.

    Ranando: thank you very much for your kind words. And I can’t particularly say we’re light-years away on politics, but that’s another story for another day. I am definitely going to attempt to stay ahead of the game. And if I do get down to SoCal in the future, you know what, I will send you an e-mail and maybe we can bloviate and opine our own selves.

    Mahndisa: I can’t tell you how much we were blessed that day. The skies were just blue and clear then, the very next day, they clouded up. It’s raining now as I write this.

    Kaveman: thank you kindly, and thanks for each and every visit. I like Oregon a lot but, if I moved up there, I’d be just another damned Fornicalian. I’m familiar with Bandon on the coast, and Medford, Ashland, Jacksonville off I-5. Oh, and of course, Astoria, where we stayed for our honeymoon. REALLY like the Columbia River.

    MKSVIEWS: thank you very much for your thoughts, indeed.

    Isaac: and thanks for BEING a “friend I never met.”

    BZ

  9. BZ, I’m honored to know you, even in this small, distant way.
    Thanks for sharing these thoughts…very candidly and openly.
    You’re a good man, that’s so clear.

    As I’ve shared with you before,I’m so sorry about the loss of your father.

    You SURE had better look me up if you ever get down here, you know!! xxx

  10. BZ,
    We are with you bud. I love your life stories and this one especially as we got to take part and honor one heck of a hero who happens to be your dad.

    You and your wonderful wife take care. My prayers are with you.

  11. If ever in the Phoenix area, you are welcome to stop by, or I will meet you for a cuppa.

    May God continue to be with you and your family as you work through the first, rough, spots of missing your father.

    I’m still there, myself, and Dad went home September 3, 1993.

  12. We love ya Man! Buying you a beer is on my Life List, no worries, I’m very goal oriented, we’ll get it done. Five years of blogging is an amazing run, and a great body of work (as I know it definitely takes time).

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and yourself – I think you and I are alike in many ways. Cheers, steve

  13. Cary: thanks. And I’m sorry to hear about your father in 1993. My mother passed away in 2002. Did you find it pretty rocky back then? Questioning a lot of things?

    Steve: some day, and I’m not kidding, I really WOULD like to hit Dutch Harbor. That’s one of MY goals in the next year or two. And when that happens, I WILL be sending you a little e-mail.

    Thanks again for everyone’s kind thoughts and wishes.

    BZ

  14. Any American who wants “change” and supports Barack Hussein Obama. I call an “idiot” for a reason. Just because you don’t realize you’re an idiot, doesn’t mean that you’re not one. Before you liberals start trying to tell us about Bush, save your breath as he is NOT running. Another fact that “idiots” can’t seem to comprehend. McCain isn’t perfect and Sarah Palin is only hated by “jealous liberal idiots” and not for her record of reform. H

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