April 19, 2021
Happy Monday evening VFOT fans and followers. Let me start off with an apology. This post is a day late. Here in Massachusetts, today is Patriots’ Day (normally also known as Marathon Monday). I know that it isn’t a federally recognized holiday, but here in the Commonwealth it is a day that we commemorate the anniversary of the Battles of Lexington and Concord. The “shot heard around the world” was the beginning of the American Revolution. In normal years, this is a state holiday, and it is also the day that they run the Boston Marathon. As we know, this is not a normal year.
It is however a long weekend. I decided to embrace that. I took today off and treated it as a chance to recharge. That meant when it came time yesterday to decide between writing my blog and taking a nap, I took a nap. Hence writing the blog today. Let’s get started.
I’m still making my way through Transforming Leadership (Burns, James MacGregor. Transforming Leadership-A New Pursuit of Happiness. 2003. New York: Atlantic Monthly Press.) I read a little about Mao, the creation of the Tory party in Britain, the Russian opportunists, and Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. I’m learning quite a bit from this title.
I finished Walk in My Combat Boots, by James Patterson, Matt Eversmann, and Chris Mooney. (Patterson, James, Eversmann, Matt, & Mooney, Chris. 2021. Walk In My Combat Boots. New York: Little, Brown, and Company.) Oh My God! This is a phenomenal book.
Finishing that one, pushed a recommendation on my Kindle for a similar title. I started Ashley’s War, by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon. This was another phenomenal book. I’d read accounts before of the US Military’s use of Female Engagement Teams and the Marine Corps’ Lioness Program, but I’d never found a narrative about the formation and the training of the Cultural Support Teams. “Ashley’s War” is that book. This is an amazing account of the women who volunteered for a difficult combat assignment, the training they underwent to prepare themselves, their difficult missions, and the inevitable losses they suffered. This is another one that I highly recommend.
Other Learning Opportunities
The last couple of weeks have been hectic. There hasn’t been a whole lot of opportunity for voluntary learning opportunities, but I did find a couple of chances. Last Friday, I participated in a roundtable discussion with Homebase regarding mental health services and programs for returning veterans. On Tuesday, we had our 1st Supervisory Roundtable of the quarter. This was a tough conversation about some important current events surrounding policing. It wasn’t pleasant, but it was productive and important.
Some Stuff About Me
Today I had a short reconnection conversation with a high school teammate. I’m not going to get into a lot of details here, because I won’t break his confidence. However, I will say that at various times in our lives, we all wear a series of masks. What I learned in this conversation today is that we never can tell for sure who around us is wearing a mask. We also don’t know who around us, might be able to see through our masks. Finally, we can’t know, sometimes until much later, what effect or impact we might have on those around us. Some of those impacts can last a lifetime. I know that some of my early influences have had a profound impact on me to this day.
We’ve had some pretty good fun times in the past couple of weeks. Our first date night was on a warm spring night, so we headed to Ye Old Forge Tavern. It was too chilly to eat out on the deck, but it was nice to get back to this older favorite. We tried some new milk stouts and shared some of their famous wings. For dinner, C had her favorite salad and I had their wonderful Shepherd’s Pie.
Last weekend was another warm one for the early spring. I decided to fire up the SoloStove and enjoy a few beers while enjoying an early evening fire in the yard. It was relaxing and recharging.
This week for date night, we landed on Jae’s at the Hilton Garden Inn. We got there early. Jae’s makes a great Dark and Stormy. We shared an order of Spicy Salted Pepper Calamari, then enjoyed our favorite Sushi rolls. After dinner, we headed home and broke out the 4,000 Questions book. It was another enjoyable evening.
On Friday, I was supposed to have a social engagement with a work colleague, then piggy-back that into an evening out. Unfortunately, he wasn’t feeling well, so the work meeting was a bust. Instead, C and I headed north to North Adams. We met the other half of C squared for a couple of beers at Bright Ideas, then headed up the street to Grazie for a wonderful Italian dinner. This was another great night.
Sunday, I got out for an awesome ruck march on another glorious spring day. Today, we took a walk through the conservation area with our pup, then I spent the afternoon patching up my new Gi.
Well, that’s about enough for now. On this glorious Patriots’ Day, let’s take a moment to reflect on what the Minutemen at Lexington and Concord were prepared to sacrifice to create this great country. In these difficult times, we would do well to remember that.
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