Winsome Wednesday

Tonight was a regular food night at our VFW, Post 2503. We sit with a table of friends every week of the year. It is fun every week, just commenting on various topics with people you see every week.

It struck me as almost sad that next week we won’t be here with our friends, and it will be January 8, 2020 until we are all together again. In the past couple of years, we have lost so many of our people in the past couple of years, it makes me really consider how fragile life is. From one week to the next, you just never know. From a shipmate to my uncle and his brother on the USS ESSEX in the Korean War to a man who was a cousin to someone I went to school with all my life, to the kindest gentleman I ever met who was the representative for Poppies for the Post. Another man was so generous with his stash of things from Harbor Freight, he was always sharing tape measures, flashlights, scissors, and other things he collected. They all have gone on to their eternal rewards. We miss them and remember them with love. I hope we don’t lose too many more too soon. It’s tough enough with these wonderful folks being gone, but to lose more of them would be difficult.

The tree in the Canteen at VFW Post 2503.

Whatever is ahead of any of us in the next year or even two weeks, we will go through it together. Friends we haven’t even met yet will help us make it through difficulties in our futures. God has put people in our paths for us to partner with through difficulties that we cannot even imagine. We are all here to help each other in any way we can.

This approaching Christmas, let’s be mindful of our neighbors and friends, let’s check in with each other just to be sure all is ok.

Keeping our neighbors and friends close to us is a great way to know our neighbors and that all is well in our surrounding areas. We are better for caring about others. Our lives are richer for caring for others.

Thank you for reading today. I’ll be here tomorrow, and hope you are, too.

Three Young Sailors

Back in the Korean War, three young men from South Omaha, Nebraska, set out on the journey of their lives. Soon, they were trained in Naval flight deck procedures and set off to protect their country. Two were brothers, Joseph and James Conrad. And a fellow named Bob Blakeman. All three served on the USS Essex. I never knew this bit of family history until my uncle, Joe Conrad, passed away a few years ago. The Honor Guard from Benson VFW Post 2503 provided Military rites at his service, along with the Honor Guard from the Omaha Police Department.

The next time I saw Bob Blakeman, he and his wife, Mabel Vankat, were at the VFW. Bob told me about his connection to Joe Conrad, and asked how Jim was doing as well.

James (left) and Joseph (right) Conrad

I posted this photo on Facebook for Mabel to show Bob. In her nineties, Mabel was up on FB and loved it. Back to the story though, it was awesome to know the three men had a connection, and I knew them all. That sort of thing happens frequently in South Omaha. Everyone is connected in some way or another. Directions are given by “You know where Darby’s is?? Go up the hill across from it, and you’ll find our house.” Bars are the way to find your way around, and Lord knows there were enough of them.

Bob Blakeman felt awful he was not physically able to attend my uncle’s funeral. It really touched my heart. That’s how these older veterans are. If they knew someone, they felt they should see them home. Band of Brothers and then some.

The next person to lose was Bob himself. He had many struggles with health issues, making it difficult for him to get around, Mabel had to drive, his prosthesis didn’t fit or work properly. Struggles that were hard to witness. And such a nice man. I think he didn’t give compliments readily, but when he acknowledged the job my husband Dan was doing as the Post Quartermaster, he told him he was doing a good job, and thanked him. You could tell he meant it.

All that was left was Jim Conrad. He just passed away this week. I immediately thought of these three young kids, these three musketeers, these three amigos from South Omaha. I hope they have one heck of a reunion, reunited and swapping stories for eternity. We here on earth will miss the three of you. Thank you all for what you did for the world, the United States Navy, the Korean War, your families, friends, and the folks you were kind to. This world is a better place for your kindness. Be kind to people today, it’s National Kindness Day, and it would be a great way to remember these three kids in uniform.

A photo, an Eagle, and Bob’s favorite beverage at his table in the Canteen. It took my breath away. God Bless Him.
Joseph Conrad was laid to rest next to his wife, Lois. VFW Post 2503 Honor Guard and the Omaha Police Department provided honors for this good man. God Bless You, Uncle Joe.

And now, Jim’s family will be laying him to rest too. Thank you, God, for allowing all three of these kids in uniform to come home, meet their sweethearts, and raise families, contribute to their communities, and help make the world a better place.

Today is National Kindness Day. Be kind to people today. It would be a great way to honor these three kids in uniform. Please leave a comment, like this post, and like the Blog, please. You’ll be entered (limited to once a day) for every comment and every like (limited to once a day) to win a $50 Visa Gift Card, in honor of NaNoWriMo. Drawing is December 1, 2019. Who couldn’t use an extra $50 at this time of year?? Thank you for reading, I appreciate it very much.