Tuesday, June 11, 2019

War Dog

Memorial Day weekend Cody dedicated a new statue in Veterans Park.
The statue is named War Dog.
The dedication was on a Saturday and hoping to catch the last hour of the dedication ceremony (that included speeches from dignitaries, patriotic music, the statue unveiling and then food) I scheduled the store to close early at 1pm.
With people still milling around and shopping, it turned out that I did not make it up to the park until 1:30.
By then the ceremonies were in full swing, and I had to park across the highway from the park.
No matter.
Glad to have finally made the ceremony I walked up the brick lined foot path, scanning the group in search of LC........................
Memorial Day Weekend in Tennessee was always a very big deal.
As the Aquatics Director for a Parks and Recreation Department it was always the culmination of three months of non-stop work, getting the outdoor pool ready for the summer.
The logistics of cleaning both the big pool and the wading pool, and the endless expanse of concrete deck.  Getting the pool filled, chemically balanced, mechanically up and running smoothly.
The hiring, training and scheduling of guards.
The marketing, and all the other logistics involved in what would always be a very hectic and always busy summer.
By Memorial Day it was good to go.
I always took Opening Day off work - confident that the physical plant and the staff I had nurtured for months were ready.
Accessible by phone if they weren't.
And as I inevitably mountain biked on trails out at the military base that was my favorite place to both bike and run (and across the road - paddle), the temperature was always blast furnace hot.
It was Tennessee.
It was always hot in Tennessee by Memorial Day.........................
Once I reached LC (who was standing at the back of the crowd), I gently touched him on the shoulder.
Momentarily startled he turned to see who had touched him and then smiled at me in recognition.
Standing beside him I focused on everything around me, trying to catch up on the ceremonies, and was immediately freezing cold.
It had been raining all morning but was now simply a misty, overcast, grey and very cold day.
God it was cold.
I shivered, trying to ignore the fact that I wasn't dressed well enough against the cold........................
Cedar Mountain on the left.
Rattlesnake Mountain on the right.
Jims Mountain through the gap........................
For the next 30 minutes I listened to speeches.
When it was time to finally unveil the statue I heard the applause but couldn't see the statue from where we were standing.
We were too far back.
There were too many people in front
Somebody else began to talk, but by then I was so cold that I didn't even care who it was or what they were saying.
When the speeches were finally done everyone in attendance was invited to move towards the statue and see it in more detail.
Determined to trooper on I began to head that way, but LC grabbed me by the arm.
This time it was MY turn to be startled and I turned to look at him.
"Let's go to Grannies and get some coffee".
"Don't you want to see the statue?"
"We'll see it another time.  I'm freezing".
"Me too.  I'll meet you down there"......................
So after standing in the freezing cold listening to boring speeches in the back of a crowd, we didn't even get to see the statue.
Or eat the food.
Or even visit the many other wonderful statues and memorials that fill Veterans Park.
Instead, we went to Grannies Restaurant, drank coffee and ate apple pie.  
With ice cream.
And that was OK.
We'll visit the park again soon.
When it is sunny and warm and when we have the entire place to ourselves.
A Cody Enterprise picture of War Dog and his handler.
We like it.........................

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