Saturday, July 4, 2015

Out, On A Limb

I Think That The Soldiers Are My Role Models , Because They fight for our country. They Fight For The Right To Live, Right To Have Freedom, The Right To Have An Education. The Reason We're Probably here is because Of The Dear Soldiers Who Risk Their Lives , For Ours.

 Allyson Marie  

I was preoccupied.

The first half of my bike ride to Confluence was taken up with obsessing about something I'd read on Facebook. I know, I know. "Really?! Facebook?" Well, yeah.

There is currently a tiff among various Keyboard Rangers concerning a sign available on line. Someone can order something to put on their lawn that identifies the resident as a combat veteran. It asks for some consideration with regard to fireworks. The mere appearance of this on the goofysphere has turned the virtual water red with blood. Elite members of the "phony tough and crazy brave" have engaged brain (or at least fingers to keys) abhorring this display of...

I have no real dog in this fight. The closest I came to combat as a Naval Reservist was the night I stood patiently in line for a beer at the Pensacola O Club. My turn had arrived, when an arm, mug clutched in meaty hand, was thrust over my shoulder onto the bar. I turned to inform this dipshit that he could wait his goddamn turn. He was a Commander, dressed in the blue flight uniform of a Blue Angel. His mug said "The Boss." Oops. After you, sir.

 But, I digress. The author of the piece I'd read on FB broke the argument down into three distinct groups. Each of them were assholes, he surmised. All except for those who agreed with him, who were also probably assholes for not doing their own thinking. 

I spent my time riding down to Confluence in Denver thinking of the pithy things I would write, the rapier-like wit I would employ and how this veteran's ravings would be putty in my hands. I dined on a hot dog, had my picture taken next to a flag, and started home.

A couple rode ahead of me on the bike path. For some reason, even after riding most of Squaw Pass yesterday, I had legs. I closed the gap steadily. 

He was rugged and handsome, strong on his bike. She was tall, fit and tanned. They had the easy grace of athletes, turning the pedals effortlessly. They looked the type that usually blew past me with a kind word, disappeared around the next bend and were never seen again. They chatted casually, her brunette pony tail flitting across the light purple sleeveless jersey. I approached, preparing to announce the pass.

She had a prosthetic left leg.

The spoon thing at the end was clipped in. This was not an afterthought. Cycling was one of her sports, and she had adapted. Perhaps she had lost her limb in an accident, or to disease. Perhaps it had been a birth thing. And, perhaps, she had lost it in uniform.

An IED is indiscriminate. It does not intentionally spare the attractive young woman and decapitate the man next to her. It does not know, nor care, that the limb it takes is attached to a female cyclist who will return from the battlefield to her friends, her country and her road bike. It is as likely in 2015 that she lost her leg in a foreign country, in combat, as here. No matter how quick I was, I was not high speed enough to pass her.

Behind me, gears changed. A quick look - I expected to be passed. Other cyclist had come to similar conclusions and had fallen into line. When the couple turned toward Mile High Stadium we disbursed. 

A Veteran's right to have a little bit of consideration on July 4th? Who knew. It was a wonderful day to be an American.

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