Thursday, March 23, 2017

What a happy thing!

This blogging thing is enjoyable and therapeutic. Occasionally, though, it's downright amazing.

So there I was, watching cows and calves...

I was sitting in my pickup yesterday afternoon. My pickup was parked out in the pasture on the southwest slope of a little rise. Here's the place...

I was watching a cow, trying to decide if she was getting ready to have a baby or not. When cows enter the first stage of parturition (birth process, from the Latin parturire, to desire to bring forth) they often isolate themselves from the herd and begin to show signs of nervousness or agitation. This cow was off by herself, a good half-mile from the rest of the cows and over a hill, out of sight of the herd. She wasn't acting a bit nervous or agitated though and was simply cropping new grass with obvious relish. Furthermore, she hadn't yet "made bag," that is, she didn't show a lot of udder development.

Be that as it may, she was off by herself, and I've seen cows calve without making obvious bag and without isolating, so you never know. I was curious. I enjoy learning about cattle by watching what they actually do, which is always just a bit different than the books and experts say. Those differences, and seeing new things, or old things done a different way I suppose, bring me a lot of joy and enjoyment.

So. I was watching the cow through my trusty Shopko-sourced binoculars. I was getting bored and thinking about packing it in. The cow just wasn't doing anything -- other than being isolated -- that made me think she would calve in the next few hours.

Are you feeling the suspense yet?

My phone dinged, telling me of the arrival of a new email. I dug it out of my shirt pocket and did the swipey-tappey thing and brought up my email. I had a message from Blogger, telling me of a newly published comment. That happens all the time.

But this was different. Blogger said that the commenter was Chris Parry.

I think that my jaw actually dropped. I know I shook my head several times and refocused on the text. It still said Chris Parry. My heart started to pound a bit and a big grin erupted beneath my nose.

You might be wondering why a simple name elicited such a reaction.

Well, it's like this, see.

I've never had an Admiral stop by the blog before. And not just any Admiral, but Rear Admiral, CBE, Royal Navy (Retired). And not just any retired RN Rear Admiral. Chris Parry was Mentioned in Despatches for his actions as Observer in a Westland Wessex helicopter "Humphrey" assigned to HMS Antrim during the Falklands War. In addition to being part of the crew that inserted and then rescued SAS Troopers (and aircrew) from Fortuna Glacier on South Georgia, Chris Parry literally fired the first British shots of the war when he salvoed depth charges on the Argentine submarine Santa Fe (S-21, formerly USS Catfish, SS-339), just off Grytviken, South Georgia on April 25, 1982.

Somehow, some way, thanks to the wonders of modern communication technology (not, in fact, invented by algore), Chris Parry found my blog post from February 3. And commented!

Why is this such a big deal?

Well, several things, really, all mixed together in an interesting mishmash. For one thing, I've read his book about his 1982 experiences, 'Down South, A Falklands War Diary.' It's a fantastic book, and if you've any interest in the Falklands War I urge you to give it a read.

Also, I was a USN helo bubba in 1982. The Falklands was a huge topic of discussion and speculation. Most of us were very impressed with the press accounts we read of the RN helo crews. As it turned out, the press didn't even scratch the surface.

Much later, when old BBC videos became available on the "Tube 'O You," I had the opportunity to watch the series 'Sailor,' which documents the 1976 voyage of HMS Ark Royal. You can find the series here. As I watched episode six, I noted the presence of a young Sub-Lieutenant named Parry. Could it be? It was.

So there's a bit of time travel there. I find it fascinating to be able to get a glimpse of a young man who in six years time will be tested in battle, then go on to a very successful and influential career and retire as a Rear Admiral.

And not just any Rear Admiral. One who receives invitations to lecture at the US Naval War College and other prestigious venues.

Finally, there's the whole scale and distance thing. I was sitting in my pickup in the middle of the Nebraska shortgrass prairie at 5 p.m. Somewhere in England, where the time was 1 a.m. of the next morning, a retired Rear Admiral clicked "post" and sent me a message. Which I received pretty much instantly. How cool is that?

What does it all mean, this brief communication between people who are roughly the same age, who have had a few similar experiences, but who have never met? I have no idea really.

But I can tell you one thing for sure. I'll never wash my blog for as long as I live!


  1. Replies
    1. Everybody is asking me about the grin on my mug this morning. No one "gets it," so it may be a form of insanity. But I'm okay with that.

  2. Good Golly, I wouldn't wash my blog either if that ever happened.

  3. "I'll never wash my blog for as long as I live!" Boy, that's going to require a lot of deodorant. Seriously, way neat.

    Paul L. Quandt

  4. Brand new cows, and a Very Important Reader, congratulations, Shaun!