And the Conversation Picked Up Where It Dropped Off

On 20 June 1992, as Shawn and Geoff Wood (my buddy who died in a car accident who I still, to this day, think about every single fucking day) dropped me off at the Fulda train station, a conversation ended. Today it started again, and I will be damned if there was no interruption in the conversation. It just was like it was just a few days ago. Here’s my buddy Shawn Reagan slinging bass and chilling with Lily:


We’re rocking out to Little Feat and shooting the shit. He’s playing along with many of the songs and is quite good.

*** Update ***

Not sure if I am just really good at assimilating animals, or if all my animals are sluts and really do not care about me, but I love how they immediately adopt “strange”:


Fair warning. You walk into my house, you are getting a pet or two on your lap.

Shawn and I both had a good laugh about our mutual involvement and freak-out from the Doha Dash, and got pissed off again by the pigheadedness that led to a hasty clean-up of DPICM and FASCAM and other munitions that led to a couple EOD guys getting turned into pink mist in front of us as they tried to get rid of a bad 120mm round (or whatever it was, and thank goodness I didn’t have to witness that) that had not entirely cooked off. Fucked up shit.

I just remember being in my bunk and munitions started to drop through the roof, and a receiver base for .50 cal landed next to me, and I woke up in a froth and ended up pulling my shit together in a second or two, wondering if they were using Soviet tactics and rolling the arty in before the fight started (I was just a dumb PFC From Fulda, that was all I knew), then figuring out there was no one to kill to make it stop, grabbing my LBE, helmet, weapon, toothbrush, and a carton of smokes and running like hell with Geoff, and meeting up with a bunch of guys in the UN compound. Not much you can do when the motor pool is blowing up and hellfire is raining down on you in all directions. Not like you can mount an assault and take the motherfuckers out. You just run and get out of the fucked up AO and hope you don’t step on a landmine.

32 replies
  1. 1
    Mnemosyne says:

    I worked 12 hours today getting my boss’s retirement party up and running. I am now officially pooped, but a fun time was had by all, especially my boss.

    (Plus I get to make Yutsy jealous by telling him I was the first person John Lasseter hugged at the party. Mostly because I was the first person he saw when he got out of the car. The man is a hugger.)

  2. 2
    different-church-lady says:

    That’s exactly the way it is with friends who are meant to be friends — the way I describe it with my BFF is, “We started a conversation 30 years ago and never stopped it.”

  3. 3
    Big R says:

    Are Shawn and Geoff Wood kin? I mean, with the same last name and all?

  4. 4
    NotMax says:

    Oddly fascinated by the box of 120 “Tealight Candles.”

  5. 5
    gussie says:

    I’ve changed in 20 years. I have different conversations now.

    I used to be nicer.

  6. 6
    Yatsuno says:

    @Mnemosyne: If it had been Jonathon Groff then oh yeah. As it is I just wanna be in a Disney orchestra. I’m a really good English horn player.

    @Yoda058: Not in the Chair Force, since that body style isn’t what they tend to look for. If he was a Marine I’d be much more concerned.

  7. 7
    Yoda058 says:

    JoCo gives me real hope that it is possible for a young man like my son, who is a junior at the Air Force Academy and wants to become a pilot, could turn out to be OK. The thought has certainly crossed my mind more than a few times that he could become one of those stereotypical, overly macho, misogynistic, big-muscle-small-brained conservative after years of services in the air force.

  8. 8
    ruemara says:

    @Mnemosyne: You’re not just making Yutsy jealous. :P

    Here’s some pictures of the party I… I wouldn’t say attended, but did get to photograph.


    and acrobats!

  9. 9
    Eljai says:

    Lily must be quite the Little Feat fan. Or else she just likes cozying up to your friend’s butt — little trollop.

  10. 10
    maeve says:

    Feat’s don’t fail me now!

    In a fit of nostalgia, I bought this album this year. Best album title of all time.

  11. 11
    Steve Anderson says:

    I can’t even imagine what this was like. You have served your country, even though it doesn’t deserve it, with dignity and integrity. I appreciate you, and the blog, and your love of furry people.

  12. 12
    David says:

    Man how the political scene would be diff if only 10% of right wing bloviators could truthfully write a paragraph like that last one. Shit I wish.

  13. 13
    oldster says:

    I am shocked that you are still playing along with the cover up of Hillary’s guilt in over-heating the munition’s-carrier in Doha-ghazi!!

    Sounds like a bad situation. May the EOD guys RIP. And thank goodness it was not a whole lot worse for a whole lot of people, e.g. you.

  14. 14
    PurpleGirl says:

    @ruemara: Good photographs. Now that was a costume party with a theme.

  15. 15
    oldster says:

    And incidentally, props on grabbing the toothbrush. Even when I think I may be under an artillery bombardment, I never forget the importance of good dental hygiene. They may find my corpse riddled with splinters and fragments, but by gum they won’t find periodontia, and they won’t find that early-morning sweater-fuzz on my teeth!

  16. 16
    Aimai says:

    Wait– last time you guys met you were not a world famous republican apostate and blog owner with fund raising skills, great cooking skills, a troop of adopted sons, your father had all ten fingers, and you had never been quoted in the press for your extensive political commentary. You hadnt even been to a political convention with abl. So what did he say when you told him?

  17. 17
    Soonergrunt says:

    You were there for the Doha disaster? Christ.

  18. 18
    donnah says:

    I think many of us forget that you were in the service and that you faced some life-threatening shit, John. And even though you downplayed it in your post, the danger and fear had to have changed you.

    I’m glad you got to hang with an old buddy. I’ve got a friend from college with whom I share a lot of memories and we can do the same thing: pick up the phone and talk like we just saw each other a day ago.

    As for your slutty pets, that just means you love ’em so much they don’t fear anyone.

    Thanks, John. Thanks for everything.

  19. 19
    Big R says:

    Wow, I look really insensitive now with my earlier quip. Sorry, John.

  20. 20
    Paul in KY says:

    @Yoda058: The main thing is to do is to ensure he still has compassion for those on the outs & that he doesn’t mind paying his fair share in taxes. If he ends up as an officer pilot (and advances to captain, which almost all do), he will make alot of money. He will run into peers who bitch incessently about their taxes and they will want him to bitch too.

    Starting as an Academy grad & a pilot is about the best start you can hope for in USAF.

  21. 21
    Paul in KY says:

    @ruemara: Looks pretty ‘Marie Antiontteish’. Was Madame DeFarge in attendence?

  22. 22
    Paul in KY says:

    @Aimai: I’m guessing he has told him…

  23. 23
    Yoda058 says:

    @Paul in KY: Thanks very much for the good advice on compassion! He and I do communicate with others very well and I will certainly do my best.

  24. 24
    Paul in KY says:

    @Yoda058: You have alot to be proud of! Best wishes on your son’s future. I served in USAF from 82 – 85.

  25. 25
    Renie57 says:

    What kind of chair is your friend sitting in? It looks like its meant for two people; must be so comfortable.

  26. 26
    Violet says:

    Love seeing pictures of Lily! Such a sweetheart. Glad you guys are having fun catching up.

  27. 27
    Mnemosyne says:


    Well, I only get a few things to brag about at my job (and the salary ain’t one of them), so I have to get my thrills where I can. ;-) I had my pedometer on all day and registered over 14K steps (a normal day is about 7K), so that says how crazy it was.

  28. 28
    Hugh G. Rection says:

    Bitchin’, dude! Too bad you didn’t get your nutsack blown off by some “arty”. What a toolbox!

  29. 29
    wenchacha says:

    JC: last night PBS Frontline did a piece on Syria. The saddest part was watching the family of three little girls and their Mom, seeking and finding living space among the rubble of abandoned homes. The 5 year old has seen everything: bombs, explosions, death of a man whose head was exploded in two by a shell. She is a little girl full of life and fantasy and giggles, surrounded by death and destruction. Daddy is away at the war, and they never know if he will return.

    War is such a human failure. Why do we need the big brain if we don’t use it for that which will continue our race? It’s as if we were made to self-destruct.

  30. 30
    James E. Powell says:

    I recently had the “conversation continued” experience with an old friend who disappeared from my life, probably not coincidentally, when I got divorced over 30 years ago. We found that we had not moved much from our positions in various arguments, but we were able to agree that Aerosmith’s post rehab albums, while very popular, were not in the same league as their early 70s stuff.

    We also got to thinking and talking about the fact that for almost all of human history these interrupted conversations were very much the exception.

  31. 31
    John Cole says:

    @Hugh G. Rection: Ahh, yes, this again. Did not use the approved military terminology 25 years later, and thus, I was never there and I am somehow acting all hardcore when I just told you all I did was RUN LIKE FUCKING HELL.

    Thus sayeth the internet warriors. Also, my weapon was a fucking .45, and not a 9mm, if we want to revisit the classics.

  32. 32
    LTT says:

    Well that all sounds fun. No not really.

    Hail to the friend and critters and music. And the memories (may they recede to a soft, quiet place…)

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