Random Thoughts and Events…

Random thoughts and events, chained together…

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Prep for Daniel's Crock Pot Beef Stew

Prep for Daniel’s Crock Pot Beef Stew

            Welcome back My Dear Readers  to The Other Shoe. Life is nothing more than a random set of events, that we (as humans) assign; dates, priorities and brain space. If any one of us was just dropped into a life unknown, wouldn’t we wonder… Why does he remember this… why does she still fear that ,this happen so long ago… or why does that still cause him so much pain and suffering, it wasn’t his fault. Wouldn’t we forgive them? Wouldn’t we see past their frailties… their perceived failures?  If we all had just one life to change, for the better, wouldn’t we set someone else free from their pain and suffering?

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Prep For Daniel's Homemade White Bread

Prep For Daniel’s Homemade White Bread

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Monday, for all Americans (regardless of where they are, or live) was Veterans Day. My father served in the Army-Air Core in World War 2. My eldest brother, Ken, served in Vietnam, and my middle brother Darrell served his country in the Air Force flying over China and translating mainland communications from a flying technical wonder. For two generations ‘Hanning’ males have served this nation in the military.

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When I was 13, right before my father walked out of my life… and our family, he said something profound to me… (My father always said the most profound and wonderful things to me… I know now… he said them to me because he trusted me… trusted that I would not judge him… his thoughts… who he was… inside…) he said to me;

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            “Danny, I want one of my sons to go to college. Not to just leave high school and go off to serve. You are my last chance. Will you go to college?”

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I could never say “No” to my father. He could have, right then, asked me to try my best to go to the moon… and I would have told him;

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            “Yes!”

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So, I did.

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Daniel's Homemade White Bread Rising

Daniel’s Homemade White Bread Rising

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While every American was doing what they do, to celebrate or commemorate, Veterans Day… or just being happy to have a Monday off from work. While all that was happening, around our great nation. I was cooking and baking.

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Therefore a lot of this article is going to be videos and pictures from my Veterans Day of baking and cooking around my home. See, My Dear Readers, I don’t really celebrate Veterans Day as other people do, there is very good reason why.

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My brother Ken joined the Army (@17) because you could not make passing grades in high school, and he didn’t want to fail my father. (if you had known my father… you would understand that… NOBODY failed my Dad… NO-friking-Buddy!). So, Kenny Ray joined the Army, to avoid being a failure to his dad.

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Ken came back from boot camp, and he was introduced ( by one of his firends that did not go to Vietnam) to this very nice Jewish girl. I say that because that’s how I remember her, but also because I remember seeing her sitting on his bed, in his bedroom. Them holding hands and talking. And oh my goodness, My Dear Readers, she was everything you think when you say she was a Jewish girl. She had the thick black framed glasses, she had the long curly hair, she had the quiet giggle or laugh, and she had the carriage of a young woman with very old and very deeply held beliefs.

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I never talked to Ken about this, but I think I know what he saw in her. He saw in her something he found lacking in himself, a deeply held belief in very old things, old traditions, a very old religion. Moreover, Ken, he respected her for that and I think he wanted to be a part of that more than anything.

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Ken went from boot camp to a very prestigious posting, with the United States Army. He went to Washington DC where he helped stand guard for ‘The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. It’s not a post easily obtained, it’s a post with much honor and dignity. He was there, as I remember, about six months. Then our Army offered him two choices. The choices were;

A.)  He can go for four years to serve on a base in Germany or

B.)  He could go to Vietnam for six months.

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Ken, being the impulsive Hanning he was, (head and heart full of love) Ken chose the six months in Vietnam. (Ken did not understand.. that choice… dictated the course of the rest of his life… and death) He chose the six months because he was afraid this wonderful Jewish girl would find someone else if he was gone for years.

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All The Wonderful Veggies That Make Up My Beef Stew

All The Wonderful Veggies That Make Up My Beef Stew

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I remember, clearly, I overheard my mother and father talk about this, (at 55 I began to realize…) I was very self-aware child. Mother cried, dad yelled. See, they didn’t understand that Ken so desperately wanted to be loved he put himself in harms way, just for a chance to be a part of what he saw in her eyes and to be loved by her. At the time my father was still in the Air Force reserves, he did what he could. He pulled on whatever strings he had attached…  he made calls… He spun his wheels in the mud that was soon to be my eldest brothers life. It changed nothing.

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Ken went to Vietnam, while he was there the good Jewish girl sent to a dear John letter. She broke up with him, as any person in the 60s would’ve known she probably was going to. As it was the early 60s there is no way a good Jewish girl was going to marry outside the faith. Especially marry outside the faith to a young man who put himself in harms way. Had someone just said that to Ken, before he left for Vietnam, that this would happen? Ken would’ve never been exposed to Agent Orange in Vietnam. And, Ken would not have died of leukemia at 39. That’s one of the reasons why I really don’t celebrate Veterans Day… the same way most other Americans the people do.

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Below you’ll see some pictures I’ve taken, and I think I will probably put some above to break what was happening there. As well, I will post some of the videos of the wonderful beef stew crockpot I made on Monday. I got up at 5 AM, on Monday, to put the ingredients in my bread maker to make some fresh homemade bread for Allen to eat with fresh homemade stew. Like most Americans, in the 21st century, most days Allen I consume… well, garbage. Premade processed food churned out by fast food companies with profits not health in mind. So when I get money I try and buy a lot of really good whole ingredients and make something at home that Alan & I can enjoy several times during the week.

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The next video you’ll see, is the second step in the process getting ready to put all the vegetables and meat in the crockpot. The bread is kneading nicely, the bread finished really nice, but we ate it all before I can get a shot of it. My apologies.

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Life really is nothing more than a random set of events and memories that we, as humans, try to piece together and call a life. 25 years ago my mother died. The members of my family, that were in Texas, (I was in California as I have been the past 35 years). The members of my family that were in Texas, in Pearland, told me that I wasn’t wanted there. I was not allowed to attend my own mother’s funeral. My brother, Darrell, is the one that told me I wasn’t welcome. He never shied away when it came to being harsh to me, thrashing my dreams, verbally and physically abusing me. Darrell was always the first up to bat.

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Daniel's Homemade White Bread Rising

Daniel’s Homemade White Bread Rising

 

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I hope, one day, to visit my mother’s grave. I don’t think that’s asking much… Really. For a boy, to someday, visit his mother’s grave. You think that’s asking too much?

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Just a shot of a VERY thankful Danny in His Power Chair

Just a shot of a VERY thankful Danny in His Power Chair

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Life is nothing more than a random set of events, and memories, that we humans pieced together and call it…  a life.

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How’s yours?

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As always, I am deeply honored that you come here and read my work.

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Thank you!

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P.S. And another heartfelt thank you to all that helped me make this new home a reality.

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