A Great Neighbor: Served His Country: Unassuming and Quiet
This is a discussion on A Great Neighbor: Served His Country: Unassuming and Quiet within the Bob & Terry's Place forums, part of the The Back Porch category; My wife and I live in a mountain area with a few "Full-Time" neighbors half a mile away or more, and several "Fair Weather" folks ...
March 30th, 2009 12:18 AM
A Great Neighbor: Served His Country: Unassuming and Quiet
My wife and I live in a mountain area with a few "Full-Time" neighbors half a mile away or more, and several "Fair Weather" folks further away. Fairly quiet and private.
Our closest neighbor is retired. 83 or 84 (he can never be pinned down, LOL), spry as a young squirrel, and about as ornery. It has taken several years to draw any information out of him, but the stories flow more freely now as we've gotten to know each other. He and his wife have served our country all of their adult lives, but it took a few years to find out even that much. Reluctant to talk about himself, the best way to get him chatting is kind of slowly draw him out, and then ask a lot of open-ended questions. If you try to short-cut it, the stories veer off course, intentionally on his part. He's a sly fella too. So over the years I've slowly learned of what he did:
- He was a JG in WWII with the Navy, about which he won't say a thing, except it was his duty (just like my Dad, and most Vets I know); and afterward with
- The FBI until retirement. He'll chat about the Bureau, and has several "no-name" stories.......He spent several years in OKC, Tulsa, Chicago, and NY, among others.
He always has a funny story about JE Hoover, and the "Dress Code" in those days, including the fedora. He was in NYC during the late '60's and '70's, and as part of their mission, the Bureau did back-ground checks on all of the applicants for sensitive US posts including Los Alamos, the JPL, etc. These checks took him to all of the universities to interview applicants, their professors, contacts and the like. So, in his FBI "uniform", he goes to Columbia University in the middle of all of the student protests. He laughs about "sticking out like a real stern fella, what in his suit and tie and fedora, while all of the students and professors are running around in tie-dye and long hair and flowers", and "standing on the steps of the Administration Building", "surrounded by all these kids"......Then he laughs at what a vision he must have been there in his "Hoover" suit.......
One of the large military contractors had personnel files he'd review at their NJ or NY warehouse, and he described it "kind of like that building in the closing scene of the "Lost Ark of the Covenant", "that building just went on forever........" More stories, but I don't want to bore ya'll........
Once he wanted to climb on our 12 X 12 pitch roof to re-nail a loose shingle (NO! Don't you dare!), and he hurt himself riding his motorcycle last year........Still a kid at heart.
They built their house out here when there were no telephones (Short Wave Only) and no neighbors.........watched it change. His wife developed some health problems, so they moved to the Springs, but kept the mountain house. He comes out weekly or so, and we usually chat.
So, when we only came out occasionally, he served as "Neighborhood Security", and I teased he and his wife about being the only person in the world that had "FBI Security"...and now that we're out here full-time, I serve as "Neighborhood Security" for the FBI. They laugh.
He and his wife both know we both have CPL's, and could really care less. He's never offered up any service pistol or "gun" stories, but he's pretty private, which I respect.
He lets me borrow his 1968 Ford Bronco to plow snow too - it has a whopping 17,000 miles too, a 289, and a three speed on the column. Plus an old IH truck, an El Camino, and a Packard. He likes his toys.
Anyway, they are both great neighbors, the best, and served their country well (she as his loyal spouse that got transferred too many times). I'm proud to be his neighbor, and just felt their story deserved to be told. He'd never tell it, and would be mad if he knew I did, but he kind of replaced my Dad after his death, and I just wanted to ramble and mutter like a grateful America that appreciates the service of folks that protect and serve us.
Thank you! And Thanks to all of you that have or are currently doing so!
The tyrant dies and his rule is over, the martyr dies and his rule begins. ― The Journals of Kierkegaard
March 30th, 2009 12:20 AM
Sounds like a great guy... would love to sit down and drink some scotch with him and listen to any stories he'd like to share.
Last edited by SIXTO; August 12th, 2011 at 01:41 PM.
March 30th, 2009 12:41 AM
There is much to be learned from wise old men...
Stay armed...keep your ears open and your mouth shut...stay safe!
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March 30th, 2009 03:11 AM
Sounds like a good neighbor to have to me.
I'm a Navy Veteran, Persian Gulf War Vet too, and I can tell you this: Navy guys are top shelf! Of course, I could be a bit biased...
March 30th, 2009 09:22 AM
He sounds like quite a character and one of "The Greatest Generation". It's a shame, there's not many of them left and sadly we lose more of them everyday. I'd draw near and listen to every word he has to say. You're lucky to have access to his wisdom. One thing I always regretted not doing with my father is having a tape recorder handy on those rare occasions when he'd "open up" and relay his experiences about growing up in the great depression and serving in the Navy in WWII. That might be something you'd want to consider.
"The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government" - Thomas Jefferson
"The patriot volunteer, fighting for country and his rights, makes the most reliable soldier on earth." - Stonewall Jackson
March 30th, 2009 10:58 AM
I shoot with two gentlemen that sound a lot like your neighbor. One was a tank commander at the Battle of the Bulge, and the other was a China Marine. I have know them for 25 years, and have had a few good stories from them, but they were also "only doing my duty." They are all from the days of Iron Men and Wooden Ships.
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March 30th, 2009 11:37 AM
Great story. Those folks aren't called "the greatest generation" for nothing...
My dad is of that age too. It's a real shame their time is coming to an end. I think people of that generation saw the best times this ol' USA will ever see.
March 30th, 2009 11:47 AM
Sounds like a great neighbor.
May I suggest that later you "pass it on" by being a good neighbor to others. Everyone of us could use someone like you neighbor and when we get older we owe it to others to pass on those values that have stood the test of time.
March 30th, 2009 10:40 PM
Good neighbors can be a somewhat rare thing these days. I've got good ones too and know I'm fortunate, apparently you are too.
Turn the election's in 2014 to a "2A Revolution". It will serve as a 1994 refresher not to "infringe" on our Second Amendment. We know who they are now.........SEND 'EM HOME. Our success in this will be proportional to how hard we work to make it happen.
March 31st, 2009 10:00 AM
Originally Posted by oldnonry
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Originally Posted by Dal1Celt
March 31st, 2009 02:34 PM
I grew up speaking English instead of Japanese or German because of men like him. Please pass along my gratitude.
"The flock sleep peaceably in their pasture at night because Sheepdogs stand ready to do violence on their behalf."
April 3rd, 2009 11:22 PM
What a find, my father was a WWII vet and never really talked a whole lot about his time in the Pacific. Thank him for me, for his much appreciated service to our country.
God bless our troops!
April 4th, 2009 12:15 AM
Definitely a perfect illustration of "The Greatest Generation." I think I adore your neighbor! Please pass on my family's gratitude to him for his service to our Country.
April 4th, 2009 05:13 AM
This gentleman reminds me alot of my late Dad who passed way last year from several forms of cancer. Let me tell you a little about him.
In the 32 years as an educator (teacher) he earned his Master's Degree in 4 areas of education. He earned his M.D. in English, U.S. History, Library Sciences and was a Critic Teacher. He was a typical overachiever. He eventually was forced to retire due to a severe physical disability.
When he retired he became somewhat bored. This man liked new hobbies to keep his mind occupied. For the next 15 years he started learning to speak, read and write in foreign languages. He already knew english, french & latin fluently. He then learned spanish, german, italian, polish. He was a natural for learning new languages. This became somewhat boring to him as well.
He then discovered that he was eligible to attend the University of Nevada, Las Vegas free of charge. This man earned his Doctorate in Education in RETIREMENT. He knew that he would never teach again but it was always a challenge to him. He didn't let retirement keep him from keeping his mind active.
My Dad passed away last year while suffering from several forms of cancer. He spent the last 3 weeks of his life in a hospital ICU. Normally a father is proud of his children. I'm very proud of my Dad's accomplishments. He passed away at 78 years old with a great many accomplishments to his credit.
It's amazing what one person can accomplish if we apply ourselves.
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April 4th, 2009 05:43 AM
"Rock and Glock" and "Pikachu711" Thanks for sharing. My Grandfather was of the same generation and growing up we were best buds. I learned a lot about what it means to take risks and work hard. He served on the USS Guam and I still remember all of his stories. He worked hard up until the final seconds of his life. He set an example for me that I will never forget. It is people like this that I am truly thankful for. They left or will leave a legacy that you cannot put a price on.
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