Thursday, May 17, 2018

RIP Coral Calloway

Two very rare things happening to me today. 1. I'm taking a personal day off. And 2. I'm going to a funeral. Folks who know me know that I rarely call off work. Unless it's weather related or I'm knocking on death's door, I don't take days off. I need the money.
     And I'm not really a funeral guy. The last funeral I went to was my eldest brother's and that was almost ten years ago. He was also the last of my close relatives to pass on. I have no parents, grandparents, or siblings left. Just little ol' me. 
     But this funeral is for someone who, while we butted heads more than a few times, I considered a friend. She was my Legion post's bartender, Coral Calloway. She ran our bar for a long time.
     By her admission, she was a piece of work. Headstrong, opinionated, said whatever was on her mind. She had no problem barring people. She barred her own sister, her best friend and your's truly for a couple weeks. Because of that I can count how many people she threw out on two hands with fingers left over.
     She ran a tight ship, but she loved a good party. Coral's idea of a good time was a bar full of people laughing and talking, drinks flowing, food on the table, and Earth, Wind and Fire on the jukebox.
    Coral loved all the Pittsburgh sports teams, but she especially loved the Steelers. She threw an annual Steeler party at the post where she put up black and gold all over the place and her voice was usually the loudest in the bar when the boys scored or when Big Ben threw a pick. She was not a fan of Ben Roethlisberger.
    I went to her viewing after work yesterday. There was a nice turnout of family and friends, the Legion was pretty well represented. And the funeral home did a good job laying Coral out. She was dressed in black and gold and her coffin was covered in Steelers gear. Just the way she would have wanted it. Her family is asking guests to wear black and gold to the funeral. Gives me a chance to break out my new Stiller jersey.
     Coral continued working for us-- for no pay, by the way. She was a volunteer-- despite enduring great physical pain and she'd foregone getting much needed surgery. She was stubborn like that. But she's feeling no pain now.  She's probably in Heaven cussing somebody out right now.  She had a mouth on her. But she was good people. She worked hard all her life, brought a lot of money into our bar, and it will be hard to replace her, if that's even possible. RIP Coral.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Mother's Day 2018.

Being that today is Mother's Day, happy Mother's Day to all the women who've been graced with the greatest honor a woman can have.
     An honor that confers great joy and pride, but also comes with equal pain, sadness, frustration, craziness and a range of emotions. With this honor comes the unique privilege of raising offspring.
      The creating of life within yourself, seeing that life born, grow, live, and ultimately make a way for itself. As a man, I can never earn that title, but I can respect those who have.
     To those who have had the title of Mother bestown upon you, whether by accident or by design, you have my undying respect.
      I've told my story about my mother, the master gardener without portfolio, the church choir singer, the housekeeper, the numbers player, the fisherwoman, the one and only Lily Brice who shuffled off this mortal coil back in 1985. 
     I remember the day well. It was Father's Day, 1985. I was on the USS California, CGN-36. We were on a WestPac deployment in the Indian Ocean. I was getting ready to go to work, when I got a message to report to the chaplain's office. 
    When a sailor gets a message to see the chaplain, it means only one thing. Somebody died.  I go to the chaplain thinking it might have been my father, who was doing poorly.  I was shook when he told me that the Red Cross sent a message to the ship saying that Lily Brice had died.
     I did what any Mama's boy did. I cried my eyes out. Here was this badass, tatted up Shellback bawling like a school girl who found out his mother had passed on.  I dried my tears, got my emergency leave orders and left the ship that night.
      So began a 12,000 mile trip from the Indian Ocean over 4 days via 3 ships, 2 helicopters, 3 planes, with stops in: Diego Garcia; Philippines; Guam; Hawaii; Ontario, California;  San Francisco and finally, Pittsburgh.  I figured that I wouldn't get home in time to see the funeral, so I told the family to go on without me.
      So I never got to say goodbye to my mother.  I spent 30 days at home in mourning, and glad that I had a respite from deployment life. I eventually retraced my steps and made it back to the ship.
     But before I joined the service, a relative told me to make sure I took care of my mother.  I took that advice. I made sure a portion of my pay went home to my mother for her to use however she wanted. It was a significant dent in my check and I found myself broke between paydays a lot. I could have used that money I sent home, but I dared not take it back.
      Every month, she got $100 from me. I didn't know nor care what she used it for. It was my way of paying her back for all she did for me.
      She supported me in so many ways. She saw me off with tears in her eyes when the recruiter came to take me to the Federal Building for my induction. She came to my graduation from boot camp. She came to Newport News to witness the Vinson being commissioned. She even hung up on me when I told her that I was calling her from Fremantle, Australia and the call came close to $100. She bragged to her choir buddies when an Australian family who was escorting me around Perth contacted her to tell her what a nice and courteous son she raised. 
     I just wanted to make sure that she would be taken care of while I was gone.  And now I miss her 33 years on.
     Thank you, once again, Lily Brice. 1927-1985. Resquiat in Pacem.  And may light perpetual continue to shine upon you and the rest of your sons and daughter.
     Pray for your lone surviving son, that he may continue to live as you taught him, a life worthy of your approval.

Sunday, May 06, 2018

Give Matt Murray a break, Pens fans!

     I see all these Pens fans ripping netminder Matt Murray for some subpar play in the playoffs. I for one, like goalies. It takes a lot of balls and no small amount of masochism to put on 25-30 extra pounds of gear, step into a goal crease and have guys fire 100+mph hockey pucks at you 30+ times  a night for 80 games plus the playoffs.
      Plus having guys trying to crash the net and run your ass over. I loved Fleury when he was  here. I liked Barrasso. I once had a Gilles Meloche jersey.  I'm down with goalies.
       But give Murray a break, people!  Kid's been in the league for what, three years, won two cups, and fans are already kicking him to the curb? Talk about what have you done for me lately!
      Maybe this isn't just the Pens year. Pittsburgh does not have a birthright to the Stanley Cup. Murray's done quite well for a young up and coming goalie. And he will only get better. He hasn't  even peaked yet. And he has two Stanley Cup rings! At 23! Which he was insturmental in earning! Not like dude sat on the bench all season. He was between the pipes paying his dues!  How many goalies break into this league with a chance to earn hardware from jump?  Not very many. 
     Barring a career ending injury, Matt Murray has a good long career ahead of him with a opportunity to win a few more Cups. Either with or without the Penguins.
     I can only imagine the pressure on Murray's shoulders having to follow in the footsteps of a Penguin legend, dealing with the passing of his father, and having to listen to a bunch of fans rip him because he's not the second coming of Ken Dryden, Grant Fuhr and Patrick Roy.
     Get over yourselves, people!  And people wonder why I don't like Penguins fans.  #JustSayin

Saturday, May 05, 2018

Uncle P does Christianity all wrong.

     The fact that I take a live and let live approach to my Christianity means that i'm in violation of one of its basic tenets which is to proselytize. I've never liked proselytizing. It's too much like selling.
      And I don't like selling things. Which means that when I die, I'll probably get reamed out by St. Peter because I didn't try to make disciples. Jesus might look at me with a sidelong glance while he shakes his head and tsks. My name might appear with an asterisk in the Book of Life. And instead of getting a big mansion where all the muckety-mucks live in Heaven, I'll probably get a studio apartment in the low rent district where all the praise music singers live 😄.

      Especially since the Evangelical wing of Christianity has embraced  conservative Republican politics which goes against a lot of what Jesus taught. 
     Then again liberal Christians aren't above using politics to advance their idea of the Trinity either. Ideological full mooners of both liberal and conservative strains have given Christianity a bad name over the years. Jesus was more of a liberal, but he had some conservative teachings too.
     I think we'd all be better off if we can get the politics out of the church on all sides. But that will never happen. We all want to put God in a box that appeals to our sense of aesthetic. But God won't nicely fix in any box, no matter how pleasing it looks to us. There's always going to be parts of him that will stick out no matter how hard we try to shove him in. 
     And God don't take kindly to being shoved into boxes. Tends to piss him off.  And we don't want to piss off God too much. Never know when he'll decide to go all Old Testament on us all over again. #JustSayin 😀

Friday, April 27, 2018

Stephen Foster Statuegate...my thoughts.

    Concerning the whole Stephen Foster Statuegate flap. So what's next? Are we going to rename the Stephen Foster memorial across the street into something less offensive?
     I'm surprised someone hasn't got their undies in a knot about that yet. I get that a bunch of people find the statue racist. But I don't pay attention to it, nor do I care what the city does with the thing.
      I just think that a statue of Stephen Foster should be next to the building that bears his name. If I got bent out of shape about everything that annoyed or offended me, I'd have a standing reservation at Western Psych. I've got more important things to worry about than every little thing that offends me. Thankfully, little in this world does offend me, or I would have been shipped off to the funny farm years ago.
      Not saying that people shouldn't get offended by things they find objectionable, but by every little thing that frosts their cupcakes? In that case, some folks would have their panties in a knot 24/7. What a way to live. And some folks will probably say that I'm being a race traitor or I ain't 'woke' or whatever.
     Guess what? I wasn't put here to meet with your approval, or follow your standard of right or wrong. I'm a grown ass man, I don't have to answer to you.  I can only answer to what I feel is right, not anyone else's. If you have a problem with my way of thinking, it's YOUR problem, not mine. #JustSayin

Friday, April 06, 2018

12 years of the Scribbler!!!

Happy 12 years of the Moonlight Scribbler! Enlightening the ass end of the Internet with  descrations of the literary art, amusing and occasionally disturbing observations and random brain dumps from the Little House in the Ghetto by your's truly, the humble Chief Scribe in Residence since April 6, 2006!!

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Happy 36th Birthday, USS Carl Vinson.

36 years ago, today. Me and about 2,500 of my best friends put the USS Carl Vinson into commission. The shipyard officially handed over the keys to a shiny new aircraft carrier to the Navy and told us to have fun but not to ruin the paint job. Since then, the Chucky V has been kicking ass, taking names, and looking fabulous doing it.

Damn, that was a looong time ago. I had almost forgotten. I served aboard Vinson from June 1981 to January 1984. I made her maiden world cruise in 1983 from Norfolk, VA to Alameda, CA.  I was in the hangar bay when the command went out to 'bring the ship to life.'

I got to work hard, play hard and go to places a lot of people couldn't find on a map. It is a rare distinction to be called a plankowner. That is, a sailor who was a member of a ship's crew when she was put into commission.

We were the first crew. We set the initial standard. We were in many ways, the guinea pigs.  It was our job to man the new ship and get her ready for service. It was our job to polish out the Vinson's rough spots. To establish the culture and reputation that would see her through her service life.

And I'd say we were largely successful.  The Carl Vinson has established herself as one of the best carriers in the fleet.  She has won many awards, positively represented the Navy in several newsworthy situations, and has garnered a sterling reputation.

And as she heads towards the closing years of her 50 year service life, she stands ready to go out as she came in. On top and looking fabulous.  I'd love to be one of the rare sailors who could complete the circle. To be on her deck when she closes out her days, as I was when she started them.

To all who have served aboard her with pride and distinction from that commissioning day to this day, Fair Winds and Following Seas.

Vis Per Mare!!!