Things to read...

If time is short, I'd suggest reading at LEAST The Prologue and Legend of The Pinto Bean Posts!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Guns and Hookahs!!

Hello all! I write this from my buddies place here in Hudson, Florida. I headed up here just north of Tampa from the mangrove swamps of Cape Coral as soon as my head stopped pounding. As usual I swore off alcohol at sun up, yet had partaken of tasty beverages by sundown. Don't get me wrong, my idea of "hard drinking" is pretty tame, and I average about two drinks a week, but sometimes ya gotta have fun! The trip back north was uneventful, but I did have a bit of time to reflect on a few things. I've been thrilled to go on this trip, and proud to be "sponsored" by so many people who've never met me. I'm not sure what the final tally will be, but I'm sure that it will go a bit into offsetting the cost of this adventure. In the end though, I think back to what the medicine man told me; money isn't that important, it's what you learn from it that is. I've received a number of e-mails from people thanking me for lessons they've drawn from me, and no they aren't referring to dumb dog ownership! here's one in particular though that sticks out, as I've had it both in person and in e-mail.

Apparently people feel somewhat inspired by what I've done. One thing people continually note is "how much I've accomplished in spite of my injury." Well here's my take on that... First, one thing I always say is that everyone's injury is grave to them. People make the mistake of thinking "oh I could never go on if that happened to me", or conversely "how are they letting THAT slow them down." Within reason, everybody's injuries are important and serve as obstacles to overcome. One thing that I do know is everyone has the capacity to go on and do great things, regardless of their injury. Be it a sprained back, a missing arm, or a wheelchair for life, the life you lead afterwards is a reflection on your inner self. I have friends and acquaintances who've had relatively minor injuries who simply give up, sit down, and do no more. I also have friends who have injuries that make mine look like a bad paper cut, and yet they go on to lead productive lives. Why? Because they chose to! These people knew that they'd never be happy lying in a bed being fussed over. they constantly sought the next challenge. Sometimes that challenge was walking, sometimes it was as simple as eating. In the end they did the most they could, and were all the better for it. I'm sure I could sit at home and draw a little VA pension, tell anyone who'd listen about my tales of woe, and many people would say I was well within my rights to do that. I don't. Instead I go tax my tiny brain trying to learn the art of medicine so that someday I'll be a decent doctor. Before that I taught myself how to frame, do plumbing, lay tile, hang drywall, lay concrete, and a host of other activities all while trying to renovate my little place. I do all this because I choose to. Every time I get down, I just think about the "do nothing option" and I press on. Ultimately, while I am thrilled that people look at me as an inspiration, I try to let everyone know that everything I've done, they too are capable. It all comes down to you and your choice. Me? I choose to live.

Ok enough of the rant, back to beer and hookahs... I made it here to Hudson in time to shoot the breeze a bit with my friends here. They recently found out they will be the proud parents of triplets, so there was lots of talking to do! I also showed them the wonders of the blogosphere and they have now set up their own blog to tell the tale of three kiddies and the life of being a cop, and ask advice from those who are in the know about young'uns. Hopefully it all goes well! After trading tails of in vitro fertilization versus life on the road, we settled down for some good steaks and water. Ok maybe not so much on the water... Logan's parents (of the couch/urine story) came in for dinner too, so the conversation was never dull. Finally, bellies full, we settled in for post dinner drinks and whatnot. This is when Logan busted out Ye Olde Hookah. Having never messed with one, I was intrigued. I myself am a staunch non smoker, but he assured me it didn't smell like an ashtray in Hell, and fired it up. I must say that the smell was in fact quite fragrant, which was even more intriguing. Finally I got up the courage (read: had enough to drink) to take a puff, and was amazed that it wasn't bad at all. Apparently the tobacco is flavored, and it also takes on the flavor of whatever liquid you bubble it through, i.e. wine, beer, bleach or what not. All in all, it's a lot like a cigar, where the goal is to enjoy the flavor (which cigars lack IMO) and not really so much about inhaling all the smoke. Well the hookah brought up tales of the middle east where we both have been, and it wasn't long thereafter before the topic of guns floated by, too. So here we are, two ex-infantry buffoons puffing on a hookah, talking politics and guns. While drinking. Then the cameras came out. First it was a picture with the hookah, then the brandy... I'll let the pics themselves tell the tale of the rest of it. Remember, you can click the pics for bigger versions... Hopefully at least a few people might be offended and will send me hate mail, which I will then find immensely entertaining.

After everything was put away and order was restored, the parents took this as an excellent opportunity to leave before things got too out of hand. We were then sitting around debating what to get into next when we heard the booms. Someone was shooting fireworks. We were out the door before the next set was off. We headed down the road to where his neighbors were firing mortars off as fast as they could. We brought along Logan's rinky dink black cat bottle rockets and quickly joined the fray. It went a lot like this... BOOM! BOOM! phhhtpop BOOM! I was reminded of the "Harlem Nights" scene where everyone had big guns and the one guy had a tiny pistol. It didn't take long before one guy was tying fuses together and other guys were lighting them. Two people bent over the mortar tubes, giggling with glee as they try to get all the fuses to light at the same time, then sprinting away before anyone took a round to the face! As this went on, neighbors began to gather to enjoy the free show that had manifested outside their doors. I think a number might have been betting on who got "blowed up" first. Probably didn't help that one guy out there was running around with one arm... The saving grace was that several of those involved were cops, and therefore viewed as professionals who knew what they were doing, and not as giggling half-lit man-kids with lighters and explosives. Anyhow, the night ended with no big incidents as I'd left RTD inside. I figured it would take him about three seconds before he started trying to go catch the fireworks...

Well today I'm headed to Jacksonville for a day or two, and then on back to TN. Like I said, I'll try to post for a bit longer about whatever I remember that I missed on the trip. Also, I must clarify, RTD is in fact housebroken, he only has issues if another dog has been there and peed first!! Hope everyone is still enjoying this!


Anonymous said...

Don't know if I can consider this having a good sense of humor or a sick sense of humor. I have smiled at some of your stories and inwardly giggled at some of the other ones, but now you finally got me.

The two of you -- first, guys sitting around talking about in vitro always is a fun discussion.

Second, drinking started, guns out, headdresses on, the hookah on the table, then the fireworks -- and it's all okay bec. he's a cop. I FELL ON THE FLOOR LAUGHING, HONEST TO PETE!!

Yes, I finally busted out laughing at this one. And it's true!! Been around cops in a group and they can be the WORST little boys with fireworks, drinking, et cetera, and exactly that, the poor neighbors think they know what they're doing!! Puh-Leeze.

So I am glad you're all safe. But, yes, for me, I have lived that a few times and that rang soooooo true. All you needed was a boat.

You need to come home to have a vacation from your vacation!

Hope when you do get gome, you can look back at all this and just say you had fun.

Sweetie, I don't know how much you "inspire" me, but it's been a blast. Thank you.

Sheila said...

Sounds like you had a blast and the pictures look great too. No hate mail here...I think you guys are hot! Take care and safe travels home!

Sarah said...

Those pictures cracked me up! What do you guys have on your heads, dish towels?

Long-time RN said...

Been reading a while, and this post is hysterical! Much like Kath, looked at the succession of photos, at first smiling, then outright laughing! Then reading your friend is a police officer-photographed with the hooka, oye! My eyebrows dropped back into place reading of flavored tobacco in the bowl! What a memorable night!

Michelle F said...

Daniel, I love reading your blog everyday and looking at the amazing pictures you have taken. (including the latest ones with you and your buddy)But I admit I have a heavy heart when you talk about heading home. WHAT will I do? I won't have the blog to read!! *sigh* Maybe you can entertain us with your adventures in school.

Ronster said...

I can only imagine what a neighbor would have though seeing a silhouette of those last two shots from the outside of his house. All you would have needed to do was start shouting allahu akbar and surely homeland security would have shown up.

Dirka Dirka, BTW.

LongIslandGirl said...

um, i'm just glad the dog didn't accidently get shot. i hang out with a bunch of NYPD and NYFD. The NYFD are the worst, especially building "bonfires" (aka 4 alarm inferno) down at the beach. THEN, add the fireworks!
I still shake my head over the fact that a few of my friends passed the psych test and were issued guns and badges. If only I had some video from high school *snort*. Where I come from, we have a different name for a hookah. ;0) Those are some great blackmail photos by the way, start mailing copies to the precinct.... Seriously, you MUST.KEEP.BLOGGING. Do we at least get a holiday photo of you and the Rockstar???? You mentioned the WWP HQ in Jax. I am participating in the Soldier Ride/Empire State Challenge in East Hampton on 7/26. I have a bunch of WIA names written on my shirt, I added yours too. Thank you will never be adequate enough for your sacrifices for MY freedoms, please know that I am deeply grateful. Email me if you ever need a tour guide of the big apple... Glad to see you enjoying yourself! Have fun in Jax,

Chevy Rose said...

Your attitude and writing does inspire. Stacy, Mississippi, at // wrote about the project for vets making rounds at Cracker Barrels. I think it's the same project you mentioned. We all know vets who come home and get stuck in time.
Stay safe and (hugs) to you both.

HookaLova said...

Ummm... I love the guns and the mini hooka but I think you guys have a sick sense of humor.. ! hahha amusing nevertheless.