Monday, May 25, 2009

The Echos of Cadence

When I finally got into serious trouble in my days as an "at risk youth" I ended up in front of the same judge as my father; which gave me an odd sense of pride at the time, he told me I could join the military or join Job Corps. My hair nearly touched my belt and there was no way I was cutting it for the Army, so whats this Job Corps thing? I was so vain.

I learned my lesson sitting in Jail waiting for my ship date, I turned my life around, graduated from Timber Lake Job Corps with a new outlook on life and for the first time I had realistic and obtainable goals. Looking back I recognize Job Corps as prep school for the military.

The military strips you of vanity as we know it...as civilians. Later it pops up in a more healthy form. Pride. Military vanity is an extra coat of polish on your boots or extra starch in your uniform. I learned that stubble can be very attractive if you can shape it correctly. I spent every morning of my military career swearing that my last day in service would be the last day I cut my hair ever again, but I never minded the shave.

In the native traditions, one cuts their hair as a sign of grief and mourning. I think about that every two weeks when I'm in the chair getting my high fade flat top cleaned up and sharpened. I've never told anyone until now, but I do it for them, and I think about them. I stare at the television but I see something else, and I wounder if it's still in there. If its still in me.

Tomorrow I will be an Honor Guard for the Order of the Pentacle, acting an a memorial service for a Pagan soldier who was killed in Iraq. It was very strange to piece my Class A uniform back together, I haven't worn one since before I was in Iraq. Fear. Getting all my medals and ribbons, the brass and the wings. Seeing my jump boots shine. Pride. I had to get a new Beret, shave it, soak it, mold it. Putting it all on was almost like being back in the saddle again. But looking in the mirror there was just one thing out of place...

When I was done I splashed a little aftershave. The familiar burn was like that first drink of soda after you've gone weeks without it.When I put it all back on and went back to the mirror I saw him. When I looked him in the eyes I heard the echos of cadence. I realized it was still in me and always will be.

Remember your troops, you have no idea what they have done for you...

...and if you can't stand behind them, I invite you to stand in front of them...

2 comments:

My Gal said...

Thanks Joe. Just thanks. Much love.

Rene' Ardesch said...

Hey Joe, Thanks for checking the drum blog! Glad you can add all you and your family do for the drum circle, Thanks. Rene'