Friday, November 11, 2011

Veteran's Day

My grandpa Rodney Oens.  My mom's dad.  He served in Korea during World War II.  I have his photo album from that time.  Tiny black and white photos of landscapes, people, little nekked Korean kids, and dead bodies.

He was a bit of a gypsy.  A real man of all work, master of none.  He was jovial and kind but he was also a stinker because he always got his own way.  He made excellent muffins.  He and my gramma fought.  A lot.  But sometimes they held hands.  They got married when she was only 16.  Did I mention he was a stinker?  When he had his first stroke, he went from being a real go-getter to being glum.  He could have gotten better, but he didn't because he was angry.  When I would take my little girls to see him in the VA nursing home he would pretend he couldn't talk.  Then if I left the room, he would ask Mike what the score of the baseball game was.

He died a few years ago.  Mike and the girls never knew the fast moving blur that he used to be and that I remember him as.

This is my grandad on my other side.  My dad's dad.  He served in the navy during World War II in the Pacific.  He was a tough nut.

When I think of Neal Landrum I think of sweet iced tea, a southern accent, and cigarette smoke.  He and Gramma (above) smoked all the time.  They had a house in Califonia that I can still smell to this day, twenty years since I've been there.  There was a guest bedroom that had a yellow chenille bedspread and they always had fudge pops for the grandkids.  He called me Lisa.  Then my cousin named Lisa was born and that got confusing.  He wasn't always a saint to everyone, but he was good to me.  Lung cancer took him a few years ago.

My gramma up there is my only surviving grandparent.

This one is my father in law, Keith, giving my husband-to-be a bottle.  How weird is that??  He was in the Navy and had a lot of crazy adventures.  He was on the USS Oriskany.  If you'd like a history lesson, look that up.  This is a video link to a fire that took place in '66.    He's there somewhere, in the smoke.  It's not the only fire on board a ship that he was on...he was something of a black widow.

Here's a video of it sinking:

Now it's one of the top ten diving spots in the world.  A huge coral reef.
My father in law is kind, funny, likes dumb jokes (like me), makes a killer pie, is unassuming, gentle, a morning person who always beats me to the coffee.  He likes to say that he dodged the draft.  By enlisting, that is.

This is Ian.  He's married to my sister and they have three rugrats (baby Buck wasn't born here during this shot.  I had a great shot of Ian demonstrating the difference between a soldier and a park ranger by the way you tip your hat, but for the life of me, I can't find it).  He's in the Army.  He's being deployed for a year on January 1.  I don't really like to think about it too hard.  He eats weird things like seaweed and wasabi everything and kelp popcorn, or some such thing.  He is also a cop.  He also cuts his toenails and leaves the clippings laying around.  He won't admit to it, but he totally watched every minute of the BBC miniseries, I think it was The Forsyte Saga, with me way back when when Cora was a baby, before he met and married my sister.

Thanks, men, for all you did and do.  We love you and appreciate you very much.


  1. Lots of memories here, Lyssie Lou; you captured some one-of-a-kind personalities in this blog! (but Grandma was 2 days shy of being 18 when she and Gramps got married. She had just graduated from high school, making her the first graduate of her family. Gramps was also the first in his family!)

  2. You know, i wrote 17 first, then I rethought it and went back and changed it... I didn't realize that about both being the first h.s. graduates though - very cool!

  3. thanks for me making get thursday morning allergies while reading this.