Memberships

I am proud to announce that I have been accepted into the Tuskegee Airman, Howard Baugh Chapter. I will be helping to spread the memory of these fine brave men and to help the chapter grow. It is an honor to give a hand and attempt to educate the younger generation about these men. Not only were they the men depicted in the movie “Red Tails”, but they did so much more. If it were not for them, African-Americans would not be where they are today in the military. Black people have been in every war and conflict that this country ever had. They were even on both sides of the Civil War. Another fact I want to put in…Capt. Howard L. Baugh of the 99th Fighter Squadron earned the Distinguished Flying Cross for his heroism on a mission on 12 May, 1944.

Then the history goes even further than that. Blacks started out in the Revolutionary War up to the present time. Blacks were flying in other countries before they were reluctantly excepted in the USA. Even then, they were given inferior equipment and segregated from the rest of the units. And looking at the movie “Red Tails”, they still did not gain the respect or honors as others, especially when they came back to America.

After World War Two, they were disbanded but some stayed in the Army and, after the Air Force was founded, some crossed over to it. Therefore, there was army and air force veterans that were actual Tuskegee Airmen in World War Two, The Korean War and The Viet Nam War, not counting the smaller conflicts around the world that we as Americans had a part in. Again, I am proud to be apart of them. I will do my best writing for them and speak when and where ever I can. Check them out on the internet http://www.hbc-tai.org

I am still part of the Mighty Pen Project (MPP), check them out on Facebook. I love to occasionally submit a story or two, for whichever class is in session at the time. The writings get dissected, sliced and diced and my heart sinks when there is something wrong that I should have known better. Such is life and a person learn from the mistakes. Therefore, I am happy to report that the Mighty Pen Project is still going strong and is gaining momentum. Let’s bring more aboard.

There is one more thing that have just come up and I will express my opinion in this blog. In other words, I want to vent so I may go on with life. I try to write my blogs, this one and the one with the religious theme, in a way that everyone can understand, both American and non-American. Some people call it “dummy down”. I call it using plain English. What I am referring to is an article I read the other day that used English but I still could not read it without using a dictionary for every third or fourth word. The article used long intricate words that defied the knowledge of the reader. I really don’t think the average PhD. grad could understand what was written. Why use such wording to confuse the average individual? I say this…I will continue to use plain English and if there is something that is not understood, let me know and I will attempt to clarify it. If I continue to confuse people, I am sorry and will try to change for the better.

My Chain Is Being Rattled

Imperial Plaza is a wonderful place but it seem to always start a controversy of some kind, all of the time. I don’t know why the place want to step in it because of one or two complaints, sooth the ruffled feathers and go on with life. Take care of the one small situation and go on with life without antagonizing the larger group. But no, the powers that be want to try to satisfy the one or two and rile the multitude. There are more important things to do than cause an uprising.

What am I talking about…at last month’s town hall meeting the director said smoking areas and regulations were to be changed. Nothing was said at this month’s town hall meeting but the grapevine is humming loudly and I have been approached by people wanting to know what I thought about it. I could not satisfactorily answer them because I don’t exactly know what is planned. But, I will give some of my thoughts here in this blog.

I am a smoker, I smoke cigars along with two others (that I am aware of), the rest smoke cigarettes. Us cigar smokers normally smoke in areas away from most people. I normally sit on a bench, out in the open, minding my own business. Occasionally someone will pass and comment but I say nothing. I’m outside on a bench, under a tree. What is the problem? Who am I hurting?

I see one area for cigarette smokers by one of the buildings that is next to someone’s window (this used to be an administrative office). That should change and I understand that but why mess with everyone else? Let me say it another way. Federal, state and local law say I can’t smoke inside. I can’t fight that. Us smokers have been moved outside, into the weather. Okay, at first there was a little fight and grumbling but over the years, people have settled into the groove left for us.

But, we have rights also. As long as it’s legal and as long as it’s sold by a legal operation, then it is not only legal but my right to participate in the activity if I so choose. I do not demand that someone chewing gum I don’t want to smell go out in the cold or rain or heat, etc. and chew their gum. Why should I? Am I being told that my rights are stripped from me because I smoke? Are the gum chewer’s rights stripped because they chew gum?

I can hardly wait to see what the new rule will be because I want to see where this smoking area will be or will I have to be off the property in order to smoke. That was never said before I signed a contract and it is not in my contract. I have five friends who are lawyers and I wonder what they have to say. I must ask them about my chances of winning if I brought litigation. I’ll just wait and see.

I remember, when I first moved to Imperial Plaza, pets were not allowed. Now they are and, although I was professionally a dog handler/trainer, I do not like having pets here. I have three reasons for saying this and it applies to about seventy five percent of the dog and cat owners. First, the dogs do not get enough exercise (jumping, running, playing, stretching those muscles, etc.). Second, some people don’t pickup after their animals, especially if the weather is bad outside. Third, quite a few people can hardly walk and they try to walk the animal out into the grass without falling, etc. Then, add to the slowness, the lack of exercise because the animal is on a leash and can only move as fast as the person at the other end of the leash.

I’ve stepped in dog feces and have seen it along the sides of building, in the stairwell and smelled it in the hallways and laundry rooms. Yet, concentration is on smokers. Maybe I have to move again. I’ve heard rumors of that also but never considered it until now. I like this place and I don’t mind paying for the convenience and comfort this place bring. However, a war is brewing and, unfortunately, I may be either right in front of it or in the middle. All I ever wanted was to live in peace but that seem to be a false hope. Oh well, if I must I must.

Metaphor

The Imperial Plaza hawks are beautiful, majestic and purpose serving. Sitting high in a tree that is by the parking lot of the building named “Boxwood”, I can sit on the bench, smoke my cigar and watch them (as well as take a picture or two). I have noticed that chicks have hatched and the female stays in the nest. Mothers, no matter what species of creature, with very few exceptions, take care of the young and the male hunts for both female and young.

In return for the nesting, the Imperial Plaza garden don’t have much trouble with animals picking through the garden taking what is there. They also provide pleasure through their soaring, jumping from one tree to another and being a sentinel by sitting on the ends of buildings keeping watch over the property. They do not cause any problems and, as far as I am concerned, they are welcome to stay as long as they desire.

It is ironical that we have hawks because one of my air force bases was Hahn AB,

W. Germany and the symbol was a hawk. I was there ten years and we were known as the Hahn Hawks. We have a Facebook site that tells the story of the base and a Facebook private site so we may stay in touch and talk in private. The Imperial Plaza hawks are another matter. They are immigrants.

I know that is a stretch but let’s look at this metaphorically. Lately the immigrants and the wall have been an issue but I can use the hawks as a metaphor for the immigrants.

The male and female hawks flew over our fence and set up home in the top of our tree. They were not invited but they are here anyway. However, they tend our garden and keep other vermin at bay. They don’t cause problems and stay to themselves. They do a job that we can not and will not do. Therefore, we live in harmony with them. We are not afraid of them and they are not afraid of us.

The wall and immigrant situation is just about the same. For years and years we have lived in harmony with many people that are not legal residents (most are legal). However, they tend and pick our produce, do construction work and many other things that Americans either don’t want to do or want much more money to do the job.

Okay, get rid of the birds. Let’s say, people are afraid of them and want them gone. What is left is a mess. Not a thing will be left in the garden because the animals will get it all. Squirrels and rabbits will take over, not counting the other small animals I have seen. Imperial Plaza will not be the same. The same thing will happen with the immigrants. The fields will not get picked, tree edibles either, we will be short of construction workers as well as other low pay employee jobs like lawn care.

Think about the pay. The immigrant will work for ten dollars an hour or less. The high brow American want more, much more. Ten dollars an hour for a ten to twelve hour day is not as much as fifteen dollars an hour or more. The American will only work five days a week or less and the immigrant will work six or seven days a week, if you let them. Then there is anything over eight hours of work become overtime but not for the immigrant, unless it is automatic, and anything over a five day work week (forty hours) is overtime unless you’re an immigrant.

I watch the male bird bring food to the nest for the female and the chicks. It is a pretty sight. The bird keep a little, so as to have the strength to continue working, and the rest is for the nest. The immigrant is the same. They make the money, keep a little and send the rest home (where ever the locale), just like the birds. Most Americans will make the maximum amount of money they can, keep most of it for themselves and give the family as little as possible.

There is another part to this saga. Send the male and female birds back across the fence because they are illegal. The chicks must stay because they were born here and have a birth right. Now Imperial Plaza must care for the chicks. They must provide food, lodging, medical care, clothes, etc. That will be a lot of money when the male and female birds were doing it and Imperial Plaza did not pay anything.

The same applies for the immigrants, The kids that were born here must stay and we, the tax payers, must foot the bill until they become adults. Sure, we pay a little now but not as much when they don’t have parents to care for them. We must think before we leap because everything we do have a consequence that may bite and we will all suffer. Any comeback about my little metaphor? Hummm

The Pen Is Mighty

“The pen is mightier than the sword”. This is the phrase that have been said for “X” number of years. More years than any of us have lived or can remember. It is the truest words ever spoken. After my blog, where I wrote about “The alarm clock” and the one about ROMEO, both here at Imperial Plaza, things changed. I didn’t speak with anyone about it, nor did I see anyone about it, but things changed. The trash truck comes around a little later. The leaf blower is a little later. ROMEO is back to the way it used to be. Alas, I didn’t do anything but write because I am only a force of one and I am tired from fighting losing battles. So, in order to vent, I wrote.

Venting is a good way to relieve stress and pain in a way that does not hurt anyone. This blog, for instance, is a small way of venting. Letting off steam peacefully and calming down because of the length of time it takes to write a blog. I write this blog on retirement (I get off course at times) and I write the religious blog (I get off that track at times also). Sometimes the lines of both blogs blur into each other because my mind is muddled a lot. I have a lot going through my mind all the time. I guess that comes with old age and, the Lord knows, I feel really old at times. So I write, hoping to relieve my muddled mind, and that helps to make the pen mightier than the sword.

A person suppose to rest (relax), and slow down during their waning years. I find myself becoming busier and busier than ever but, in a way, I enjoy it but I also rest. I’m not as frantic as I used to be. This keeps me active, my mind stays alert and keeps me healthy. Everyday I see so many people, some younger than I am, that are on their last legs (as the saying goes). I see them sitting around, doing nothing but talking to each other; smoking and talking to each other or just sitting do nothing. Deteriorating. Getting sicker by the day. There are so many things to do here at Imperial Plaza that are FREE yet they participate in nothing. I am given one excuse after another for not participating and none of it seem true to me. Then I see those that are active, energetic, vibrant, full of life and are in their eighties, nineties and a couple at one hundred. Life is being active and being active is life. I shouldn’t complain, I am not complaining. I want to live a long healthy life, however, I do not need more to do.

I have my writing, crossword puzzles, Sudoku puzzles, jigsaw puzzles, bicycle, some television programs, appointments, going around with my wife (driving to the casinos, shows, appointments, etc.), family gatherings, fishing and a few things here at Imperial Plaza. I am now seriously thinking about accepting the offer to help the Tuskegee Airmen on their talk circuit (I still help the Mighty Pen Project on their talk circuit). There is so much that I do that I, at times, can’t attend something because other things all of a sudden take priority. While doing these things, my mind is always on the next blog to write, what will it be about and the construction of that blog..

That’s it for venting with nothing really to vent about. I just hope the feeble people that does nothing at all find something to become more active. This way they will live a longer, healthier life by being more productive. And, I thank God for letting me put down the sword and pickup the pen.

Comings and Goings

I want to welcome Ron back to Activities. It is so good to have him back especially to lead ROMEO on it’s monthly excursions to different restaurants. Yes, ROMEO is back to its original form (the pen is mightier than the sword) . Now Activities can get back to his norm and on it’s luxurious way. Again, welcome back Ron.

As I have said before, it is so nice to be retired and to be able to go to places without worry of having to do this or that to your house. My wife and I went to our favorite casino places, Maryland live, Horseshoe and MGM casinos. We spent three days and two nights away without a care in the world. Who says you can’t do things when you are retired? That is what retirement is for, to do what you want to do when you want to do it. The only reason that we came back so soon was because we had another engagement Saturday evening, where I ran into a guy I used to work with more than twenty years ago. Again, good food, music and lots of fun.

Last Tuesday, as it is every Tuesday, the White Squirrel have it’s live music along with good food and fun. The Thunderbirds, who plays every other Tuesday, were really great in the music playing and selection. The White Squirrel have a new menu and the food was really good. I am glad to see the upgrade in the food because, for a while, the food was going downhill. I talked with James, the assistant manager of the dining facilities, who is back and he seem to be doing well. He is still crazy and it was really great to see him running around acting crazy with everyone.

Now that warm weather will soon be here, it is time to get my bicycle, and other things, ready for good weather so that I can go outside and get some pleasant exercise done. Being cooped up all winter have really gotten me out of shape, as if I was in good shape to start with. LOL Being in the age group that I am in, doesn’t take much to get me out of shape. Keeping myself active and not sitting around doing nothing should keep me healthy and vibrant ( I hope). Of course going to the casinos, like we do, and all the other things, doesn’t leave much room to cram in the exercising. I really don’t like going down into the gym and going through the exercise routines that a trainer would give. Good shows on TV does not help the situation any either (smile). I will keep trudging along and doing the best I can to stay in shape so that my wife and I can continue to go to the casinos.

Really, there’s not much to put in to today’s blog. I am just looking forward to the warm weather and the upcoming activities from the Activity Department here at the Imperial Plaza. The Activity Department have the cherry blossom/boat ride coming up as well as other exciting outings. I don’t know how many I will be able to go on because I know that some will clash with my schedule. But, of course, I cannot miss ROMEO. So I say to all, get out there and be active. Maybe I’ll see you somewhere along the way.

Black History Programs

With February being Black History Month I was a little busy. Actually, the way I feel about it, there should be some way Black History is incorporated into each and every month. There is too much history, up front and much, much more hidden (think about the movie Hidden Figures), that is relevant and should be remembered. I have thought about the direction I wanted to go while writing this particular blog but there are many directions and my mind was mixing them all. I think I have a grasp of it for now.

I did not want to write anything that I have read or heard about. I want to give you personal experiences, experiences that are in line with what I am writing. My mind seem to drift off the main subject and I could write much more than I post. I’ll try to make it short and to the point although it is difficult when writing history or about historical figures. For instance, when I wrote about The Last Graduating Tuskegee Airman, I only wrote about the time before he went into the military up to his graduating as a Tuskegee Airman. If I had written his entire story (I have him telling it to me on an over an hour long digital audio recording).

I was a part of one program where I was portrayed as Sen. Obama and then as President Obama. I read his speech when he was running for president and his farewell speech (I used my radio voice from my radio days). That was a nice program and I was told I did well. The audience was very small and I only counted three Black people in the place. Imperial Plaza have enough Black residents to fill the auditorium yet they come to very few programs and this was about them and for them. Yet, they complain there aren’t any programs for them, etc.

The second program was at the Virginia War Memorial. I was on the stage panel for a discussion plus a question and answer period. There were six of us and among us were Tuskegee Airmen, a woman (Army Retired) whose story would make you think of one of the women in the movie Hidden Figures), Viet Nam and the Iraq era. I can’t tell you who was more interesting, the Tuskegee Airmen or her. My input into the program did not hold a candle to theirs and I could have been listening all day to their stories.

The crowd was small and , here again, there should have been many more. After the panel stories, question and answer period, we went outside for a wreath laying. Franklin Military Academy presented The Colors and I assisted in the wreath laying ceremony. We pledged allegiance to The Flag, a female Franklin Academy Cadet sang the National Anthem and a cadet blew “Taps” on his trumpet. The weather co-operated. PBS was there and it aired the next morning and the papers were there but I did not see the article. All of it was beautiful. I could do this all year, not only during February.

The thing I am sad about is for the young people. Most are not interested in history, especially Black history. They know about some of the famous Black people but they do not know about the small things that were accomplished. Most do not want to know who did what or why. They seldom understand what the conditions and hold backs were. I have even found they have a lot of misconceptions about ancient history, like the Pyramids or the oldest operating library in the world. Things like this are important to me, personally, and it helped shape my mind and all my actions through life. The few that soak up history seem to be better because of it.

All of us on that stage at the Virginia War Memorial was a tiny sample of the history that is sort by historians. It was sad only three of four kids were there to hear about the tiny portion of history from the people that produced it. Yes, I am a part of it although I rarely talk about it. It started with Civil Rights and ended at my retirement from the military.

To those before me and/or accomplished more than I have, thank you. To those that are learning about past history, keep digging. There is a treasure trove to find. And, as I have said before, you will never know who you may be talking to because most will not say unless asked. That person may have a background that would shock you. Keep digging…

ROMEO

Remember the acronym ROMEO I refer to from time to time? The group of men from Brookdale Imperial Plaza? Well, I guess all of you could tell from my writings that I really loved being out once a month with the guys. There are only around a dozen of us that do this and we really enjoy eating and drinking together. All men with jibs on each other and language to boot. I’ve been here a little over three years and have been on thirty nine out of forty outings.

ROMEO…Retired Old Men Eating Out. Before now, the only two men that were not old nor retired were the bus driver and the Activities Guide. That was before the last two. The last two have had a woman or two and a non-resident young male. RETIRED OLD MEN EATING OUT. It was great saying what you wanted to say, the way you wanted to say it and everyone understood and did not get offended. They understood the old way of speaking and how to rib someone. No explanation necessary. Cursing was not a no-no because no one but us guys were there.

The last two outings had women. The first one was from the Activities Dept. because she said she always wanted to eat at that particular place. The last time was because our normal man, from the Activities Dept., had to drive the bus (short of bus drivers) therefore a female from the Activities Dept. was selected because that is all there is. In the past, the activities guy driving the bus had been the driver, tour guide and aide all rolled into one. That was then but not this time. Then, when we get there the other female joins us. Then in walks her boyfriend. We had to make room for him.

The only place to make room was beside me therefore I was jammed in beside them and small talk was made with them. The usual banter with light jibs was never made and, it seem to me, tense. We ate, got on the bus and returned to Imperial Plaza. By the time I got home (I stopped outside for a while to smoke a cigar) my wife knew I was sitting with the women. That was not a problem, considering who the women were. The wives always kidded us about the time we returned. It was a standing joke that we needed a written excuse to get into the house if we were running late that evening. Most times we were late but it was always the usual laughable joke. Never who we were with or what we talked about.

The group’s name is ROMEO and I will drop out until it comes back to an all male group. That is what I signed up for. I did not sign up for a mixed group. I can do that with my wife and have even more pleasure. There will not be any telling of what I did or that I was sitting with the women because she is with me. I can stay as long as I like because she is with me. I can go back to being a loner and not the point of speculation. Good-bye ROMEO! Or is it now PEO People Eating Out?