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No. of Recommendations: 8
Yesterday a Christmas card from someone I've been friends with since age 3 brought sad news. First, she is battling cancer again, which they hoped was beaten in 2003. Second, her best friend since kindergarten, and of mine too, died of cancer in October. Third, a mutual friend from high school died of a heart attack in November.

All that's bad enough but none of us are 60 yet. We ought to all be looking forward to many happy years ahead. So today I'm thankful that so far my own health is very good and that I retired 5 years ago. Enjoy life while you can because you never know what it has in store for you.
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<...Enjoy life while you can because you never know what it has in store for you...>

That is so true!
It helps to be at a place in one's life where most of what was needed to be accomplished, is.

The last of our three children is on his own! He decided to join the Army at age 17 and is enjoying being on his own as a soldier. His big brother is also in the Army and outranks him by two grades.
Their big sister has a good job and lives with her husband and their two children (my grandkids :o) about an hour from here.

Wifey and I are living comfortably on our little twelve-acre spread and my mind is at peace. My obligations to our kids are done and from now on it's all gravy!

We all need to "check out" sometime and it's good to know that when it does happen, all Hell won't break loose because the kids aren't ready to fly solo!

Regards,

Grumpy
http://groups.msn.com/GrumpyPix/online.msnw?action=ShowPhoto&PhotoID=258
--finding time to play now
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Before you break your arm patting yourself on the back, Grumpy, you should ask yourself if you had anything to do with your kids joining the army instead of continuing their educations. Were they just getting away from home (your twelve acre spread)?

db
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That, iamdb, was a cheap shot!
Did you ever think that maybe young people would rather go into the service than college?
So what the hell have you ever done for the privilege of living in this country?
Both my brother and I went into the service and then college years later. Made us appreciate what we earned rather than just having it handed to us.
Merry Christmas Scrooge!
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<...Grumpy, you should ask yourself if you had anything to do with your kids joining the army instead of continuing their educations...>

Fact is, I had everything to do with my boys following in my footsteps and joining the Army!
Continuing their education is also part of the plan. Uncle Sam paid for my degree and will do the same for my boys.
http://groups.msn.com/GrumpyPix/online.msnw?action=ShowPhoto&PhotoID=241
http://groups.msn.com/GrumpyPix/online.msnw?action=ShowPhoto&PhotoID=242
http://groups.msn.com/GrumpyPix/online.msnw?action=ShowPhoto&PhotoID=244

Armin waited until he was 19 to join, Will and I did so at age 17.

Regards,

Grumpy
US Army, Retired
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No. of Recommendations: 3
Enjoy life while you can because you never know what it has in store for you.

It took me a long time to stop planning for the future and to start planning for today. When I came to my senses, I left the rat race almost 6 years ago at age 49. I decided that the focus of my life needed to be something other than earning money. I've never been happier.
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My father never really had a retirement. He got sick around age 62 and died a couple of years later. I said I wouldn't have that happen to me if I could avoid it, and I think that's probably been one of my main reasons to want to retire early.

A couple of years ago as I closed in on FIRE (probably already marginally FI, but I was in the midst of a project that I wanted to see through to the end) I was struggling with some of the usual RE questions like "Am I crazy to walk away from an enjoyable (for the most part) well paid job?". At that point in time my life-long best friend (who had retired the year before) was killed in a car crash when some kid ran a red light and broadsided him. If I needed any last minute convincing that I was doing the right thing, that was it.

I took his death very hard. Although we were very close we hadn't seen each other in years except at funerals. That was mostly the result of my living and working outside the U.S. for a long time. The last time we talked on the phone it was to set a date for a long overdue reunion.

You just don't know how long you've got.

G.F.
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Pleased to provide a pre-Christmas source of derision for someone from Florida and/or Ohio. I've always thought of the army as one of the employers of last resort, not a choice made by someone who has other obvious opportunities. Of the folks who I've known who have joined the motivations were (1) to get away from home, (2) for officers of color, a career opportunity relatively free of discrimination, (3) an alternative to incarceration. I haven't met anyone who joined out of a sense of patriotic duty, although I'm sure there were many who did so during WW II.

The GI bill was intended to compensate those who were drafted into WW II during the years of their lives when they might have otherwise been building a career. It has been generalized to be a carrot to entice a segment of the population to trade several years in the army for a promise of support for college. Thus, Uncle Sam provides what the parents can't or won't for those who wouldn't qualify for a scholarship. Once, a greatful nation's response to those who sacrificed for it (without expectation of such compensation), now denigrated to a deal for a promise to pay.

Yeah, my observation may not have been PC. But I do wish folks would be more introspective and a little less self satisfied.

db
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"Yeah, my observation may not have been PC. But I do wish folks would be more introspective and a little less self satisfied."


Know plenty of parents who paid big bucks to put Peter or Petunia thru college only to have them come home and live there until they were in their 30's. Or returned after divorce or got into drugs or or or. Sometimes staying in school simply extends adolescence. There are no guarantees that go along with a degree. Yes, education is important. Our education system is so lousy, high school diplomas are virtually meaningless. However, denigrating people who choose our military as a career and using that venue to gain further education seems pretty narrow minded and perhaps elitist. The military offers structure and teaches self discipline that is totally missing in our free-wheeling University environments. The military turns out fine men and women. Introspection and self-satisfaction goes both ways, no?
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The GI bill was intended to compensate those who were drafted into WW II during the years of their lives when they might have otherwise been building a career.

Well, sort of.

It has been a long standnig tradition to grant veteran's bonuses following a war. You might recall the Bonus Army of 1932. They were the veterans of WW I, who had been promised a "bonus" of $1 per day of service, and $1.50 per day of combat service, but the bonus wasn't to be paid until 1940. Came the depression, and they encamped to Washington - tens of thousands of them - to ask (demand) their bonuses early. They didn't get it, by the way.

The Continental Soldiers were promised a "mustering out" bonus of $80 if they served until the end of the Revolutionary war, whenever that was. That was a tidy sum in those days.

There were Civil War bonuses, mostly paid on the way in, and in some cases paid to people so that the original draftee did not have to serve. (Some local governments paid the bonus so their citizens did not have to participate.) While that is different, after the war there were pensions paid, including to widows, for many years, including (if I am not mistaken) up into the latter part of the 20th century.

The GI Bill was the same thing - only different. A "bonus" was offered, post war, but rather than a simple cash grant, the monies were to be used for "something productive." Many turned into college educations, others into the seed money for a business. The strictures were pretty loose, but they did seem to do the job of putting the money to good use.

My father, for instance, finished his college and got his advanced degree after serving in the Navy in the Pacific thanks to the GI Bill. He wasn't "drafted", he enlisted.
 
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db: (3) an alternative to incarceration. I haven't met anyone who joined out of a sense of patriotic duty

Heh. I met a guy during the Viet Nam War. I lived in Seattle at the time, and my friend was an officer in the recruiting station in Seattle. He was one who fell under your category (3). It seems he had been busted in Texas for possession, tried, and the obvious finding was "guilty". The judge told him that he was going to consider the case for two weeks. If at the end of that time the defendant had joined the armed forces, the finding would be "not guilty". Otherwise, the standard penalty in Texas in those days was 20 years in Huntsville. So, guess what? He joined the army. Finished first in his class in boot camp, and as a reward was offered OCS. Finished first in his class there, and as a reward was offered his choice of any available assignment. He chose Seattle. He marveled that instead of being a convicted felon, he was, by act of congress, an officer and gentleman. He still did pot, btw. He had many funny stories to tell about live in the recruiting station.

cliff
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iamdb: <... But I do wish folks would be more introspective and a little less self satisfied...>

And why is that, db?

Could it be that you, yourself, aren't very satified with your life and resent someone who is?

Introspective?
Yes, I look within me a lot and I like what I see!

Season's Greetings to you.
http://groups.msn.com/GrumpyPix/online.msnw?action=ShowPhoto&PhotoID=254

Grumpy
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Grumpy writes:

"Could it be that you, yourself, aren't very satified with your life and resent someone who is?

Introspective?
Yes, I look within me a lot and I like what I see!"

Possibly, Grumpy, or possibly a mischievous perversion to stick pins in those who are self congratulatory -- that urge is great everytime I see GWB tell us how well his plans are unfolding for Iraq, for our economy, for our health care, for the education of our children.

Introspecting myself, it is true that I don't live on twelve acres, but I do live within a block of a beautiful beach in a nice part of the country, worked my way through a doctoral program, became director of a research center, and helped numerous kids in their careers. My wife and my cat love me, or at least they say they do. Oh, and I gave a guy from Florida or Ohio a source for a post that received 11, or was it 14, recs. Now that can't be all bad.

Merry Christmas and a happy new year to you!

db
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iamdb: <...My wife and my cat love me, or at least they say they do...>

Well, there it is, then!
Anyone who is loved by his cat is alright by me!
http://groups.msn.com/GrumpyPix/online.msnw?action=ShowPhoto&PhotoID=164

But just to make sure you don't misunderstand me altogether; my original post was not so much about being self congratulatory. It was more about being relieved of the awesome responsibility of being a parent. We got through it alright and the end results are good.

It's about the relief in knowing that, yes - we'll be missed when we're gone, but our passing won't leave disaster in its wake.

Regards,

Grumpy
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Grumpy,

Looking at the picture convinces me my observation doesn't apply in your case. Peace!

db
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Grumpy...

But just to make sure you don't misunderstand me altogether; my original post was not so much about being self congratulatory. It was more about being relieved of the awesome responsibility of being a parent. We got through it alright and the end results are good.
-----------------

Just a reminder Grumpy...the responsibilities of parenthood NEVER end! Not that it is a bad thing...just that it is a very real thing. I still get those emotional phone calls from my girls, on occasion, that require a father's understanding and, hopefully, wisdom ...and they remind me that being a father is a life-long obligation. It also, by the way, makes me feel like I'm still just a little bit important to them. So...it's a mutually beneficial thing.

I would also like to say that I admire, and greatly respect, your personal and significant contribution to our country! You have given that extra measure that can't be rewarded enough. You can be proud of your sons and they certainly can be prouud of you. I do believe that it takes someone who has served under similar conditions to trully understand and appreciate your outlook on life.

All I have to offer is a "well done" and a thankyou and a Merry Christmas to you and your family.

Regards,
Bill
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Being a parent does not end when your kids go off on their own:

1) Most times they come back to you (both mine have for a period of time). Home is the place where they know they can always go.

2) This is a tough world - and our kids will always appreciate some extra cash. Better to give it while you can - since you cannot take it with you.

3) Advise is always sought and actually become more valuable to the kids as time passes.

4) Your home is always your kids home. They remember the good times there - and usually come back for the holidays if you are lucky.

5) And there is the nurturing role to play with grandchildren, if you are lucky.
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I haven't met anyone who joined out of a sense of patriotic duty, although I'm sure there were many who did so during WW II.

Just recently there was the story of the pro football player (I can't recall his name) who left a career paying millions, and became an Army Ranger out of a sense of patriotic duty. He was killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan a few months ago.

A young Marine was just buried here in the Marietta National Cemetery. He was in Iraq and his wife was serving in Afghanistan. He had been wounded and could have stayed out of Iraq, but he chose to return.

I'm sure there are many similar stories out there.

Carol
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Grumpy
US Army, Retired


Thank you and your son's for your service to our country!

FWIW, my son also chose to make the Army his career. He joined right out of High School and has done very well. He was never interested in going to college even though both I and his mother have advanced degrees.

He is in the 3rd Infantry Division (Mechanized) and was in the 'Tip of the Spear' in the initial invasion of Iraq. He was hit in the back with a round from an AK-47 but his body armor saved his life. He will be returning for a second tour in January 05, and we are cherishing our time together this Christmas.

My son is extremely proud of his service to his country, and fully supports and believes in the mission, and will do everything in his power to help with the transition to a free Iraq. We are also very proud of him, and are keeping our fingers crossed that he will make it back safely.

He is our only child.

Russ
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<...We are also very proud of him, and are keeping our fingers crossed that he will make it back safely.

He is our only child...
>

My hat is off to you, Russ!

I too am an only child.

Well, not really.

I never met my brother and sister. They were killed by a bomb before I was born.
When I got myself hurt, my mother flew across the country and kept a bedside vigil, alongside my wife (four and a half months pregnant) while I spent a month in a coma. Mom went back to the West coast before I came out of it. When she died a few years later, I gave a eulogy which some may have found strange.
I said that I was glad that I was standing here and she was there, in the coffin! It was as it should be. I said that I was very glad that I didn't make it three out of three for her! No parent should ever outlive their children!
Though mine, like yours, are destined to go in harms way, it is my fervent hope that they will indeed outlive me!

http://groups.msn.com/GrumpyPix/online.msnw?action=ShowPhoto&PhotoID=191

Regards,

Grumpy
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Part of me says enjoy it while you can yet another says that things happen as you get older that become memories no matter how old you get. I discover so many new things now. So I can't run as I once did yet this week I'm buying a guitar – never had one before – and I don't have to run to play it.

Grumpybiker, a fav of mine from The Military Fools board and with whom I've had more than a few chuckles, has two fine sons. Grumpybiker has set them a good example and, from his posts, he says he's done all that's needed (partially true) and that's essentially that. HA!

Grandkids, Grumpy. Little ankle biters sitting on your lap and doing what they shouldn't (“Don't pull Grampa's beard, hon.”) and they'll worm so deep into your heart that it'll shock you. It did me.

You wait, Grumpy. One day one of your boys will bring a girl home and the next thing you'll know you'll be passing over a poopy-diapered kid to this girl (the daughter you've always wanted) saying, “Here, you do this.”

Gawd Maude, you have so much to look forward to. I am a great believer in that the best is yet to come.

My prayers, as always, are for your sons' safety and return home.

MichaelR


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Grumpy,

We've got to know your sons through pictures that you have posted and are grateful for their service (and yours) to our country. Thank you for allowing us to be a part of their lives. Could you post some pictures of your daughter and grand children?

Thanks,

Wendel Wight, USAF Retired
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<...Grandkids, Grumpy. Little ankle biters sitting on your lap and doing what they shouldn't (“Don't pull Grampa's beard, hon.”) and they'll worm so deep into your heart that it'll shock you...>

Ho Ho Ho, Mike!
Been there, done that! I have two grandkids, as evidenced by this shot of last Christmas:

http://groups.msn.com/GrumpyPix/santastuff.msnw?action=ShowPhoto&PhotoID=77

Regards and a Good Yule,

Grumpy
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