10 December 2010


By Andy Weddington
Friday, 10 December 2010

"When I was a boy I was told that anybody could become President; I'm beginning to believe it." Clarence Darrow

I'd not planned a Commentary for today having posted Sunday with a complementary Wednesday post regarding the contentious repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"--touchy subject--but decided it better to end the week on a lighter note.

So, I spent the last hour putting this true story together.

Yesterday was a pretty darn good day...

A trip to the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms, California, to visit some Marines who worked for me just before retiring a handful of years ago, a round of golf with a retired Marine friend who's been globe-trotting--from Afghanistan to Montana to China--the past few months (and who will be dropping by in a few hours for a visit over a cup of coffee and a slice of my wife's fabulous pecan pie), and an unexpected encounter at the Joshua Tree, California, United States Post Office.

More about the visit with the Marines in a future Commentary--there's a particularly good story about one of them I plan to tell but have not yet decided how best to present it. It's coming.

One of the other Marines, retired, I made a point to visit I outfitted with a 'Fedon's Bait & Tackle' ball cap. If you're a regular reader you may recall I spoke of 'Fedon's'--an obscure gem in Colorado--in a Commentary a few weeks back. Since that Commentary, the proprietor has been mulling over marketing his caps, T-Shirts, and sweatshirts; not so much to promote the business (he doesn't need to) but as a fun sideline. So for now--as time permits and despite a tough economy, I volunteered to work west coast promotions and act as sole California distributor. Today's motto: One cap at a time!

Why a cap to that particular Marine? Because during cocktails hour at a USMC Birthday Ball shortly after the Commentary was posted he made mention to me of reading and noting the Bait & Tackle Shop--he liked it. I think he may have asked where it was. But as I said in the Commentary and reminded him that evening, I'll never tell...you'll know it when you find it...Eddie and Tony enthusiastically welcome all visitors. Enough about 'Fedon's.'

Ah, the golf. For having not played in six weeks or so not a bad day. Perfect December Mojave Desert weather--unseasonably warm (70s), no wind to speak of, mostly clear skies, and not enough duffers on the course to impact speed of play. Best of all, no one was shooting at us.

Didn't see any coyotes which is unusual but caught a roadrunner or two scrounging for lunch. Roadrunners--they are funny birds to watch. And there was plenty of other "birds"--big, mean-looking green ones. The wonderful, comforting sound of beating wings--rotary wings--blades, that is, of helicopters.

The Combat Center is a busy place--Marines training for war while retired Marines play golf. The sounds, and military rolling stock--long-retired tools of war staged around the golf course, brought back memories of being a lieutenant in 6th Marines three decades ago and training for war while retired Marines played golf. It's not so much a cycle as a continuum.

Only one lost ball--a pink Susan G. Komen breast cancer awareness one (I play them in honor of my wife) on the 11th hole; a nasty uphill slight dogleg to the starboard (if you're civilian, Army, and Air Force--that's to the right) that's problematic seven out of ten times. I lost it to the port and, generally speaking, that is not good for finding the ball--too much desert scrub and trees. Losing it starboard is not much better though it's easier to find the ball. Oh well, not the first ball I've lost and surely not the last.

The driver, a retirement gift from a Marine friend (now retired), was working well--unexpectedly but pleasingly so. I must have been doing something right but have no idea what. The next eighteen could just as easily be a disaster with the driver--and I 'd have no idea why. Such is golf.

The few errant shots during the round were more than compensated by a couple of ridiculously long putts (the putter a retirement gift from a Marine friend--now retired) that should not have dropped but did. And a few other pitch and runs that came damn close to dropping.

For a self-taught hacker it's not too often the long and short games come together for a decent day. But yesterday was one of those days. Tomorrow, as any golfer--good or bad--knows, could be terrible. Life goes on. So does the pursuit of trying to play better golf.

Score? Irrelevant. There was only a stroke difference but we don't bet so it matters not. I trashed the card.

We had fun! We shook hands and parted ways confirming coffee and pecan pie the following morning.

The drive home, heading west on "the 62," through the desert was uneventful. Traffic was light. While stopped at a light in Joshua Tree, a white Ford compact turned in front of me just as the signal turned green. As I closed on the car but keeping a safe distance, I noticed a bumper sticker--bottom right--but could not quite make out the message.

About a mile down the road the car signaled a right (starboard) turn--apparently heading to the same destination as me; the Post Office. I turned right as well and right again following the car into the Post Office parking lot. I could finally read the bumper sticker: "Impeach Obama"

A quite young woman--about my age--was driving. She sat in the car preparing her mail and made a phone call. I went into the Post Office to mail a small package--ironically, to 'Fedon's Bait & Tackle.'

A few minutes later the woman came into the Post Office. I was completing my business at the counter and she was next in line. As I turned to leave, I made eye contact with her and said, "I really like your bumper sticker. Do you have any more?" She smiled, laughed a little, and said, "Thank you! Yes, on my other car!"

I said, "You made my day. Merry Christmas!" She said, "Thank you, you made mine. Merry Christmas!"

I left the parking lot. She followed me. I bet she noticed my USMC license plate frame and decal, and smiled; again.

And, actually, the bumper sticker text was all uppercase: IMPEACH OBAMA

Merry Christmas!

Post Script

Coffee and pecan pie is now only a couple of hours away--time to exercise! Have a great weekend!


Unknown said...


How do you really feel on this topic?

Clarence Darrow

Anonymous said...

Dear Colonel Weddington,

I have been reading your Friday weekly column for several months and must say you are one of my weekly highlights.

Our son in currently proudly serving in Iraq in the U.S.Army via the Oregon National Guard. He carries on his dear 'ole Daddy's lineage - no male has not served in a combat zone since the Civil War.

Today, I walk the walk with every military Mom, in prayer and trust that God will protect our beloved children as they proudly serve to defend freedom.

It is with a pride that I tell you how humble and honored our family is to display our American flag and below it the Service Banner.

We honor your service Sir, my husband a Vietnam Vet (2 tours on the USS Constellation), and myself a Vietnam-Era Air Force vet.

We love our country and with prayer every day we know our beloved America will survive.

Your article today warms my heart, the young are engaged as never before. I am grateful to know that.

Angela Ives, Redmond, OR

A Colonel of Truth said...

Dear Mrs. Ives,
Your family's remarkable history of service to country admirable. With our youth who choose to serve--your son among them--there is indeed hope for America. In fact, just last night my wife and I dined with a young Marine--clad in Dress Blues, combat vet, who barely 22 (he looked 15) was most impressive. Yes, there's hope. Thank you kindly for your note--it's always refreshing to know folks are tuning in. Merry Christmas!