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To Iraq and Back: A Last Night Together and a Kiss Goodbye

295_27076787058_8676_nJudy and I on the German Sail Training Ship Gorch Fock at the Norfolk Harbor Fest a couple of weeks before deployment

This is another of my “To Iraq and Back” articles about my deployment to Iraq in 2007 and 2008 with RP1 Nelson Lebron. 

Now the time has come to leave you
One more time Let me kiss you
And close your eyes and I’ll be on my way
Dream about the days to come, When I won’t have to leave alone
About the times, That I won’t have to say

Oh, kiss me and smile for me
Tell me that you’ll wait for me
Hold me like you’ll never let me go
Cause Im leavin’ on a jet plane
Don’t know when I’ll be back again
Oh babe, I hate to go

From “I’m Leaving on a Jet Plane” by John Denver

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vLBKOcUbHR0

The night before leaving on deployment and the actual day of departure are some of the hardest that any military couples or families experience. In time of war it is even more difficult. Judy and I have done this too many times in peace and war.

As I went through all of my preparations to go to Iraq in some was it was a replay of past pre-deployment situations. However, this time I was not merely deploying on a peacetime assignment or supporting a peace making operation, or even deploying on a ship and being part of a boarding team after the 9-11-2001 attacks. In that last instance  Judy did not know that I was part of the boarding team until about halfway through the deployment.

But this time going boots on ground into the most bitterly of Iraq’s contested provinces, Al Anbar. That lent at certain dark pallor to the occasion.

Our last night together was rather somber to put it mildly. Judy and I went out to dinner on Friday night. Since I knew that I would not be having a good beer for quite some time we went to the Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant in Virginia Beach. For us Gordon Biersch is generally a good time kind of place, it has become over the years our version of Cheers a place where everyone knows our name.

That last Friday before the deployment to Iraq it was not a festive occasion, it was almost a wake. Judy and I were both quite subdued. In between the silence Judy talked about her fears about the deployment while I tried to reassure her that everything would be fine. I am a man who is somewhat Vulcan in my use of logic. I figured that even though things were bad in Iraq that my chances of returning were quite high, even of something happened to me. I tried to be calm and reassuring and no matter what I tried it didn’t work, human emotions are quite intense at times.

I also reasoned that since I had taken out the extra life insurance that I would be okay.  For me such logic makes sense. I kind of believe that if I don’t get it I will need it and if I do get it I won’t. It’s kind of like Yogi Berra’s logic when he said “You should always go to other people’s funerals; otherwise, they won’t come to yours.”

After dinner and several half liter glasses of Gordon Biersch Märzen amber lager we went back home. Judy watched quietly while I finalized my packing. I ensured that all my field gear, uniforms and clothing were packed and rechecked my EOD issue protective gear.

I then packed my Mass kit, Bible, Prayer Book and my Marine Pattern camouflage reversible desert/woodland stole. The stole was special as Judy had made me a few years back from woodland and desert pattern shirts which were way too big for me. They are one of a kind items. I have seen similar, but what Judy made were far better than any others that I have seen. I still use that stole even when I am not deployed. It is simple but quite exquisite, adorned with an embroidered Maltese Cross in tan on the desert side and black on the woodland side it is unique and I treasure it.

The last items I packed were my books on counterinsurgency, a few DVD movies, music CDs and my hygiene items. It is funny to think that now all of this would be stored on my iPad which if I ever make such a deployment again will significantly simplify my life.

I wrestled the big bags down the stairs and put them in the back of my Honda CR-V so I wouldn’t have to fight them in the morning. That accomplished Judy and I just sat together, she was feeling pretty low, the look one of despair.

On the other hand I was a mix of conflicting emotions. I was excited by knowing that I was going to get to do what I had trained all of my life to do. However I was very cognizant of the reality that it would be tough on Judy and that it was a dangerous deployment.

My last couple of deployments had been very tough on her. When I deployed to support the Bosnia mission as a mobilized Army Reservist and newly ordained Priest three of my relatives in Huntington West Virginia where we were living died. One was my maternal grandmother “Ma Maw” who Judy had become very close to over the past couple of years. They had become buddies and Ma Maw had taken Judy in not as my wife, but as “her” granddaughter.

Ma Maw’s death hit Judy very hard and my mom and uncle in the midst of their grief over the loss of their mom they did not understood the depth of the relationship between Judy and Ma Maw. As a result, I was absent and there was much tension, misunderstanding and hurt feelings between them. In the week before Ma Maw’s death Judy tried repeatedly to get her to go to the doctor only to be ignored. The morning Ma Maw died Judy called me in Germany. She was frantic that I call Ma Maw and insist that she go to the doctor. I made the call and insisted that she go to the Emergency Room but she refused and said she would call her doctor. That night she died. I had lost my grandmother and could not go back to help and Judy had lost a woman who had become closer to her than her own grandmothers ever had been.

In 2001 during my deployment with 3rd Battalion 8th Marines to Okinawa, Japan and Korea we lost our 16 ½ year old Wire Haired Dachshund Frieda. Judy did her nest to keep Frieda alive for me, but there was nothing that could be done and finally with Judy being worn down to nothing herself, she was persuaded to have Frieda put down. The interesting thing is that after Frieda died she visited me in Okinawa and Judy about the same time in dreams. Frieda was always a weird animal and even in death has continued to find ways to remind us of her presence.

My 2002 deployment on USS HUE CITY to the Middle East and Horn of Africa came less than six months after my return from my deployment with 3/8. That deployment, coming on the heels of the 9-11-2001 attacks was also very difficult on her. In the space of 6 years we had been apart almost 4 1/2 years. Much of the time following that last deployment was spent on the road as I travelled to visit Marine Security Force and Navy EOD Mobile Units in the Middle East, Europe, the Far East and the Continental United States. In a four year period I averaged 1-3 weeks a month away from home.

With all of this in the background we spent our last night together. That night neither of us slept very well. When we got up I had a light breakfast and then accompanied by a friend from Judy’s Church choir we drove to the base.

Saturday morning traffic is generally not too bad so our trip was uneventful, but tense.  You could cut the tension between us by now with a knife.  It was about the time that we were nearing the base Judy said something about our relationship that I took really wrong. I sarcastically snapped back “Well I’ll just get blown up by an IED then.”

That sarcastic comment really hit her hard and I knew immediately that I had blown myself up with it. The words were harsh and devastating. I should have known better and should have kept my moth shut. After all I’d deployed a lot and taught pre-deployment classes talking about the emotional cycle of deployments. I was supposed to be an expert at this sort of thing, but instead my comment was very cruel.

To be sure the stress on both of us the preceding weeks had taken its toll and both of us were on edge.  For two months we had each in our own way imagined the deployment, me as a great adventure and her as a threat to our mutual existence. I wondered just what I would face when I got to Iraq and those were unanswerable questions. Judy’s great fear that something might happen to me and that she would be alone, not just for the time of the deployment but for the rest of her life.

That is one of the tensions in a military marriage that many people who have not lived it fail to understand. It is not just the wartime deployments it is the cumulative effects of multiple short and long term separations on the health of a relationship.

We got to the base pretty quick, maybe 15-20 minutes but the tension made me feel that the trip was three times as long. As we pulled up in a parking spot near the baggage drop off area we sat there for a few minutes. I got out of the car as did Judy.  I asked if she wanted to wait a while with me and with tears in her eyes said that she couldn’t handle the wait.

I unloaded my gear with the help of Nelson. He looked at Judy and said, “Don’t you worry ma’am we’ll do good and I’ll keep him safe.” Judy gave a soft “thanks” and gave him a hug.

With my gear unloaded I went back to Judy.  We looked at each other, embraced and kissed each other, each of us wondering if it was possibly the last time. We parted our embrace, and she the turned and walked back to the car, handed her friend the keys and they drove off.  It was a moment that I will not forget as long as I live. As she left I said a prayer under my breath and asked God to keep her safe while I was gone.  Then I turned to Nelson and said, “Okay partner, let’s get this done.”

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Filed under iraq,afghanistan, marriage and relationships, Military, to iraq and back, Tour in Iraq

“You can observe a lot just by watching” Yogi Berra….How PTSD has made me a lot more Observant

human condition

I love Yogi Berra quotes.  Somehow so much of what he said, even most of the things that he never said really resonate with my warped mind.  Somehow the illogical logic makes sense and I stop and say, damn…why didn’t I think of that?

I quote him here because it is absolutely amazing how much more observant I am in daily life having served in Iraq and come home with a nice case of PTSD, a bit of anxiety, hyper-vigilance and insomnia. I used to fret about the PTSD, anxiety and the rest of the stuff.  It did bother me and I guess it still does, but the insomnia gives me time to write and the hyper-vigilance really helps on the Interstate Highways of the Norfolk, Virginia Beach and greater Hampton Roads metro area.

Now I have been noticing this in the past month more than even at the height of my crash. Back then I had all these things but was way too gooned up to even figure out what they meant. I was talking with my Vietnam Veterans of America buddies Ray and John the Beer Men the other night at Harbor Park.  They man the beer stand behind home plate that sells Gordon Biersch Märzen and Bock, Yuengling Lager, Shock Top, Miller Lite and Micholob Ultra.  I of course will have either the Märzen or the Yuengling depending on my mood, since the Märzen is a premium beer you get less of it for the same price.  Anyway I digress….I was talking to these guys, both of who served in Vietnam about how much more aware of what is going on around me than I was before.  And it seems that although I seem to be doing better most of the time that I am more geared up than I was a few months ago.  I am noticing everything and when I’m driving I can sense the danger of the idiot driver careening across four lanes of traffic not signaling and talking on a cell phone while eating a hamburger even before I see him.  This was the case on my way home several times this week.  I could sense things going on before they happened.  It used to be prior to Iraq that Judy would see or sense these things before I ever would; now the foot is in the other shoe. Ray and John tell me, as does Elmer the Shrink, that this is a normal reaction to perceived danger.  Now I do understand his intellectually, I have read books and gone to seminars about PTSD and Combat Stress at the same time what is going on still makes me think.  I was telling Ray and John, half-jokingly that it was almost like “using the force.” I mentioned to Judy and a friend that it almost seemed that I could drive with a blindfold and still get through safely like the Jedi train the Padwan’s to do.  Of course I am not stupid and will never try this out unless perhaps I buy an x-box or wii with a driving program and do it in the comfort of my living room.

1001In a CH-46 over Al Anbar in a rare day flight

So with the hyper-vigilance I am in the zone so to speak. My mind and body feel more closely connected than ever before.  I notice changes in my body, hear better and am alert to anything.  Now lately I must be even more spun up than before and I don’t rightly know what is causing it.  I will have to go down and discuss this with Elmer the Shrink.   The part that is different now is that my spunuppedness now includes a pretty good startle reflex.  This is new, I had a bit of one probably since I was halfway through my tour, and now it is much worse.  So I’ve been thinking about how my dad came back from Vietnam.  Before he left he was pretty intense but he could relax.  Unless he was really provoked he seldom got angry.

After he returned from his Vietnam tour and then deployed again for 11 months barely five months after his return from Vietnam he was way different.  He was much more angry, drank heavily, and his startle reflex was out of this world.  He would talk about being “nervous as a cat.” He never talked to a pastor or therapist about anything, never re-connected with the people that he served with and did not go to veteran groups for any real socialization.  He seldom talked about his experiences and when he did he shared little.  I think I can understand why now, the thoughts, feelings and sensations are intense and often unnerving.  Sometimes they are downright frightful.  Maybe that is why it is so hard to get to sleep.

mental floss

I have become very aware of surroundings as well as myself and that has made me better at my vocation as a chaplain and Priest.  I notice body language, eye movement, choices of words as well as non verbal cues when talking with a person and I can sense things going on in ways I could not have done before.  So I observe a lot more simply by watching and I hope that I have not contributed to any lack of miscommunication by my readers tonight in writing about this rather surreal subject.

Peace, Steve+

Post Script: The Tides might be getting things back together, they won their third straight and are back to 2 games behind the Wild Card Gwinnett Braves and 3 games behind Division leading Durham.

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Going to War: Last Night together and a Kiss Goodbye

This is part four in my “Going to War” series. Previous parts are noted here:

Part One:Going to War: Reflections on My Journey to Iraq and Back- Part One

Past Two: Going to War: Interlude July 4th 2007

Part Three: Going to War: Wills, Living Wills, Immunizations Gone Bad and Christmas in July

Now the time has come to leave you
One more time Let me kiss you
And close your eyes and I’ll be on my way
Dream about the days to come, When I won’t have to leave alone
About the times, That I won’t have to say

Oh, kiss me and smile for me
Tell me that you’ll wait for me
Hold me like you’ll never let me go
Cause Im leavin’ on a jet plane
Don’t know when I’ll be back again
Oh babe, I hate to go

From “I’m Leaving on a Jet Plane” by John Denver

The night before leaving on deployment and the actual day of departure are some of the hardest that any military couples or families experience.  This has certainly been the case with us and this was no different.  This time I was not merely going on a ship and being part of a boarding team, the latter which Judy did not know until about halfway through the deployment, but this time going boots on ground into the most bitterly of Iraq’s contested provinces, Al Anbar.  The last night together was rather somber to put it mildly.  Judy and I went out to dinner on Friday night.  Since I knew that I would not be having a good beer for quite some time we went to Gordon Biersch.  For us Gordon Biersch is generally a good time kind of place. That last Friday it was not a festive occasion, it was almost like a wake.  Judy and I were both quite subdued.  In between the silence Judy talked about her fears about the deployment while I tried to reassure her that everything would be fine. My reasoning was that since I had taken out the extra life insurance that I would be okay.  For me such logic makes sense.  If I don’t get it I will need it and if I do get it I won’t.  It’s kind of like Yogi Berra who said “You should always go to other people’s funerals; otherwise, they won’t come to yours.”

After dinner and for me three half liter glasses of Märzen we went back home where I finalized my packing. I ensured that all my field gear, uniforms and clothing were packed and rechecked my EOD issue protective gear. I then packed my Mass kit, Bible, Prayer Book and my Marine Pattern camouflage reversible desert/woodland stole.  The stole was special as Judy had made me a few years back from woodland and desert pattern shirts which were way too big for me.  My final check were my books on counterinsurgency, a few DVD movies and music CDs and my hygiene items.  I wrestled the big bags down the stairs and put them in the back of my Honda CR-V so I wouldn’t have to fight them in the morning.  That accomplished Judy and I just sat together, she was feeling pretty low. On the other hand I was a mix of conflicting emotions.  I was excited by knowing that I was going to get to do what I had trained all of my life to do, but very cognizant of the reality that it would be tough on Judy.  The last couple of deployments had been very tough on her. When I deployed to support the Bosnia mission as a mobilized Army Reservist and newly ordained Priest we had three of my relatives in Huntington West Virginia die.  One was my maternal grandmother “Ma Maw” who Judy had become very close to over the past couple of years.  They had become buddies and Ma Maw had taken Judy in not as my wife, but as “her” granddaughter.  Ma Maw’s death hit Judy very hard and my mom and uncle in the midst of their grief over the loss of their mom understood the depth of the relationship between Judy and Ma Maw and as a result pretty much treated Judy as an unwanted outsider.  In the week before Ma Maw’s death Judy tried repeatedly to get Ma Maw to go to the doctor only to be ignored.  The morning of Ma Maw’s death Judy called me in Germany to call Ma Maw and insist that she go to the doctor.   I called and insisted that she go to the Emergency Room but she refused and said she would call her doctor.  That night she died. I had lost my grandmother and could not go back to help and Judy had lost a woman who had become closer to her than her own grandmothers ever had been.  In 2001 during my deployment with 3rd Battalion 8th Marines to Okinawa, Japan and Korea we lost our 16 ½ year old Wire Haired Dachshund Frieda.  Judy did her nest to keep Frieda alive for me, but there was nothing that could be done and finally with Judy being worn down to nothing herself, she was persuaded to have Frieda put down.  My 2002 deployment on USS HUE CITY to the Middle East and Horn of Africa came less than six months after my return from Okinawa and was also very difficult on her.

With all of this in the background we spent our last night together.  I barely slept as did she.  I had a light breakfast and then accompanied by a friend from choir we drove to the base.   Saturday morning traffic is generally not too bad so our trip was uneventful, but really tense.  You could cut the tension between us by now with a knife.  It was about the time that we were nearing the base Judy said something that I took really wrong and sarcastically snapped back “Well I’ll just get blown up by an IED then.”  That really hit her hard and I knew immediately that I had blown myself up with the comment.  I should have known better, after all I’d deployed a lot and taught pre-deployment classes talking about the emotional cycle of deployments.  But the stress on both of us the preceding weeks had taken its toll and both of us were on edge.  For two months we had ach in our own way imagined the deployment  wondering just what I would face when I got to Iraq, the unanswerable questions of what might happen over there and Judy’s great fear that something might happen to me.

We got to the base pretty quick, though the tension made me feel that the trip was three times as long as it was.  As we pulled up in a parking spot near the baggage drop off area we sat there for a few minutes.  I got out of the car as did Judy.  I asked if she wanted to wait a while with me and with tears in her eyes said that she couldn’t handle the wait.  After I unloaded my gear with the help of Nelson who was already there with his gear stacked.  He looked at Judy and said, “Don’t you worry ma’am we’ll do good and I’ll keep him safe.”  Judy gave a soft “thanks” and gave him a hug.  With my gear now next to Nelson’s I went back to Judy.  We looked at each other, embraced and kissed each other.  We parted and then she went back to the car, handed her friend the keys and they drove off.  As she left I said a prayer under my breath and asked God to keep her safe while I was gone.  Then I turned to Nelson and said, “Okay partner, let’s get this done.”

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Last Visit with Dad, Beer with Breakfast and Musings on my Visit to Mudville

Me and last last pic

Dad and Me 15 May 2009 in our matching Giants Apparel

I got to the airport I had a better time checking in that my trip out.  I had time to get breakfast in the Home Turf Sports Bar. As readers of this blog know I do not do travel or airports well since I came back from Iraq.  I used to travel quite frequently and while I can do well I have a lot more anxiety in crowds and lines.  Thankfully Sacramento is not too bad today.  Even so I decided to get breakfast.  Had scrambled eggs, bacon and home fries washed down by a couple of pints of Sam Adams Boston Lager. I find that a good beer takes the edge off of the anxiety and taste a lot better than Xanax.  The first time I did this was in between flights going to and from Bahrain at Heathrow in London.  A pint goes very well with breakfast, which over there included eggs, potatoes, toast, tomatoes and rashers of bacon. Despite this when I got into the crowded line I have a decent anxiety attack.  The flight to Chicago is full and there are a lot of less experienced travelers and families with small children on board. Thankfully none of the kid’s has started screaming….at least yet, may the Deity Herself keep the kiddo’s quiet.  The most miserable fights I have been on have been the ones with the screaming kids.  I really don’t like the beer on aircraft since it is always in cans.  Beer doesn’t taste as good out of a can, even decent beer.  I prefer beer on tap or in a bottle.   However this afternoon I decided I could use a beer.  The crowed flight was beginning to get on my nerves, especially the young gentleman sitting in front of me who kept adjusting, readjusting and bouncing in his seat. He had almost caused me to spill my Diet Coke.  I went back to the aft galley and the flight attendant when he saw my military ID gave me a complimentary beer and thanked me for my service to the country. That was pretty cool, and though it was a brand I might not normally drink, it tasted better than any domestic beer I have ever had on a flight.   Way to go Southwest.

I do not know when I will get back to Mudville.  I assume that it will be sooner rather than later given my dad’s condition which is obviously deteriorating fairly quickly now.  At least we have gotten some of the hard things done.  My brother and I have continued to grow close and continue to find just how much alike that we are.  The only thing that we might disagree on is our taste in beer, that however is nothing to fret over.  I love his family, he’s a great dad.  Somehow all of us will get through this time.

A couple of other high lights of the trip were having a pizza, salad and beer over at my nephew Eric’s pizza parlor.  The place is called appropriately enough Eric’s. He bought it from the previous owner who had hired him as a teenager.  Then it was called Rick’s and it is still a local fixture in Mudville. Eric runs a great place and frequently is recognized as having the best pizza in Mudville.  As a pizza expert I can say that it is some of the best I have ever had.  Truthfully I like what I like better, Eric’s crust is a bit more substantial than mine, I like the really thin, light and soft New York crust.  Eric’s is definitely a New York Pizza and incredibly good, if you go to Mudville he’s on El Dorado Street.  Tell him I sent you.  He also serves Newcastle Ale on tap. That is also a major selling point for me. He has good taste in beer.  Whenever I go there we always have a nice talk.  He’s a good family man and business man.  It is hard to believe that I have known him since he was 8 years old.  I had dinner at Arroyo’s Café one night.  For the unenlightened Arroyo’s has some of the best Mexican food around.  If you are in Mudville it is worth the visit.  The portions are good sized, taste good and the prices are very affordable.  Finally I had a great time with my buddy Rob from elementary school and junior high school.  I hadn’t seen him since 1979 or 1980 and it was good to reminisce as well as catch up on things.

Today also marks a milestone.  It was 13 years ago today that I was ordained as a Deacon.  I’ll write about that experience another time.  Like most things in my life it was not an ordinary day or boring event.  I guess the surprising thing is that I survived 13 years as a Deacon and as a Priest.  Once again the Deity Herself continues to protect this miscreant Priest.  From the moment that the Blessed Sacrament was lifted high out of the Paten by a gust of air from an errant ceiling fan before the horrified eyes of the blue haired ladies at the cathedral where I was ordained, my service as a Deacon and Priest has not been ordinary.

I’ll get back late tonight and head over to Gordon Biersch with Judy for dinner and a couple of Marzen’s.  Tomorrow I’ll try to take it easy and rest.  I look forward to Monday night and the Tides game.  It has been over 10 days since I’ve been to a game.  Thankfully the Tides were out of town for most of this time.

Thank all of you again for your kind words, thoughts and prayers over the past week. They have been most encouraging.

Peace, Steve+

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Filed under alzheimer's disease, Baseball, beer, healthcare, Loose thoughts and musings, PTSD, travel

Rainy Days on Mondays and Tuesdays Always Get Me Down…Especially on Game Night

Last night was a disappointment.  We had our second rain out of the year at Harbor Park.  I got to the the stadium just prior to what should have been the first pitch.  We were already delayed, but the radio announcer on 1310 AM sports radio say that he thought that they might get the game in.  Boy was he wrong.   I got to the park and had my usual chat with Chip the usher for section 202, my friend and usher Elliott visiting family and slacking in Massachusetts this week.  I also talked with Ray and Bill the Vietnam Veteran  Beer vendors and Kenny over at the King Twist Pretzel stand.  As I was getting my cup of Gordon Biersch Marzen the rain started coming down again.  Like really heavy.  I went over and got my pretzel, this time salted with Guilden’s Spicy Brown Mustard and continued to visit on the concourse.  I did not even dare to try to take my seat in section 102 row B.  Far too exposed to the elements. The rain continued as me and my stadium buddies talked about life, baseball the military and other assorted subjects.

I’ve never been a big fan of rain, especially when I have to be out in it.  I have never been fond of the tropics for this very reason.  I always figured with my love for the military that had I served in World War II that I would have done very well with Rommel and the Afrika Korps, but not so well at Guadalcanal.  To my Vietnam era brothers, I’ll take the desert of my Iraq any day over the Mekong Delta.  When I deployed with the Marines to Okinawa in 2000-2001 I was ever so glad to go to Camp Fuji Japan and to South Korea for this very reason.  I don’t like to be out in the rain.  I know that we need it, but I still don’t like it.  I hate to clean mud off of me or dry out clothing and not only that there are the vermin.  Snakes, bugs and all sorts of slithery and slimy creatures that you can’t see loaded with all sorts of poisons and disease.  There are patently some of those things in the desert, but they are easier to spot.

We in addition to contenting with the infernal rain, we had a leak at the hospital which involved my office.  It was damaged by the leak, not nearly as badly as my next door neighbor Carl, but enough to warrant me getting called at home and to have to wait for maintenance people half of the morning.  That is now fixed and as I look at the fresh ceiling tile, untouched by moisture I breathe a sigh of relief.  I look in my trash can and see the goo of the former ceiling tiles which look like regurgitated oatmeal with mold on it, and I can only thank God for Grace.  Not God’s Grace, which I am always thankful to the Deity Herself for, but for Grace the lady who faithfully cleans my office who found the leak and reported it.  God does look after Her miscreant baseball loving Priests, and once again I am thankful.

It has been raining all day today.  I do feel that this is the Devils work for only the Devil could be involved in trying to rain out more one game in a short homestead.  I will head over to Harbor Park and hopefully this infernal rain will relent and we will be graced by baseball tonight. If not, I’ll have my beer and hot dog and go home when they call it after conversation with my friends on the concourse.

Blessings, Steve+

Post Script:  The Deity Herself smiled upon us.  The rain ended and we got game one in before it started coming down again.  The Tides won on a combined 2 hit shutout by starter Rich Hill and Matt Albers.  Hill was in his 3rd rehab start with the Tides.  Tarps we being readied as I left the stadium between the two games.   The weather radar shows some pretty heavy weather coming up from the southwest.  I do think that the Devil may take the nightcap away.   I had a nice time talking with Chip, Ray, Bill and Kenny up on the concourse.  Had an older gentleman who said that he played for the 1969 Tides sat next to me with his brother who knew little about the game.  The older gentleman knew the game and when his less than knowledgeable brother got distracted on the concourse for a couple of innings we had a nice talk.  All in all a nice night.  Hopefully tomorrow is even better. Peace, Steve+

Second Post Script: Despite the Devil’s best efforts the Deity Herself ensured that the weather held at Harbor Park for the Tides to take the nightcap from the Clippers 5-2.  This in spite of a 17 minute power outage.  The weather is now coming in fast.  David Hernadez got the win for theTides and Jim Miller the save. Nolan Reimold, Scott Moore and Oscar Salazer all doubled and Mike Costanzo tripled.

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