Peanuts 1951 Comic Strip 16
“Twelve significant photographs in any one year is a good crop.” 
– Ansel Adams


Every now and again, it is a refreshing thing to sit and watch a good story-telling absent the mindless violence, sordid sex, and profane-laden vocabulary. Well, two out of three ain’t bad. Such was the case when I got to watch “The King’s Speech” earlier this week. I didn’t know how well I’d receive the tale, but every now and then a recommendation for its worth found its way to me. The latest came from a elderly couple that I met while ordering a bagel and coffee in a Dunkin Donuts. The man was a retired baker. I do not know if his Mrs held a profession in her time, but she was very high on this movie and made the fact known.

As I said, I did not know what to expect from this showing, but it honestly spoke to my heart in that it revolved around my own mother’s profession. I called her up to admit my amazement at the ability of someone to make an Oscar-worthy movie about Speech Therapy. Mama worked as a speech therapist early in her career, but it evolved into teaching children with learning disabilities and capped her career as director of the Headstart program where I grew up. Many people fail to ascertain the area of my upbringing and are surprised when I tell them I hail from Texas. I’ve been told I don’t sound Texas and on several occasion, that I don’t even sound Black. Most of that talk is from grounds of ignorance, as they don’t truly mean that I don’t sound Black as much as they really mean, I don’t sound uneducated. The fact of the matter is that growing up as the eldest child of a speech therapist will most times leave you absent of any tell-tale accent of your homage. Oh, I’ll grant you that over the years, I’ve picked up a little tone and inflection in my voice. I don’t speak quietly. Ten years in the Army barking orders to infantry ground pounders will do that for you.

I loved my time served though. My hand surgery has left me thinking back to those days quite often now and the memories seem much more clearer and vivid. I made a special effort to try to let go, sell off much of my gear, and let my Army days be behind me. They’ve come flooding back and I tell you I am in awe at some of the things my friends and I had to endure. I was having lunch with Felix today talking to him of this matter. I miss blowing things up. I miss holding a rapid fire weapon in my hands and watching tracer rounds streak through the air at a rate of 1 every fifth round because otherwise you heat up the barrel too much. (I’ve had to crack heads catching one of my joes linking a belt of all tracers.) I miss sitting back to back with my RTO in the middle of an LP/OP while the men in the perimeter try to stay awake in their two-man positions with dummy cords strung back to me from each of them. The North Koreans pump Korean opera through loud-speakers stories tall and almost a click away to lull you to sleep as well as mask the sound of their own movements. I do miss it.

Peace from a position of strength. It is this dichotomy that tug at me for the moment. I miss the weaponry of my days in the Army, yet I can appreciate a good movie absent all of it. And it ended with one of my favorites – Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7, 2nd Movement (A Major Op 92. Allegretto)