Monday, January 10, 2005

Heroes in my (Red)neck o' the Woods

I live in what I think they call the "exurbs", something like that. I don't know. I just know it's kind of out in the sticks. This is the part of the world that is growing away from the blue-landers. Some of y'all ought to come on down and see why the country is getting redder. It's a little different from what you might think. Well, any way, I am driving in from the trailer park, and I have to stop at the dry cleaners. And there I meet my first hero ...

Business Owner and Servant

Rick is his name. I like people named Rick. I had noticed he and his family working there. Well, it turns out they bought the place. I think I hear ... no, I know I hear Christian music playing. Oh, one of those. Guy is always friendly. His wife works there, and his teenage son is there occasionally. The son blew me away one time with his politeness and professionalism. Any way, on this day, I asked Rick how things are going. He says it's going pretty good. Then he tells me he got into the business because he likes serving people and dealing with them. Huh? My mind wonders if Rick is for real. He says he and his family are really happy out in my neck of the woods. There are a lot of people like them, people that they can identify with. I know he has seen my W and military stickers, but he still seems to like me. The guy enjoys working at a dry cleaners with his family and living in my corner of the world. He likes serving others. Oh, I almost forgot ... Rick is black.

Rescuer of the Lost Boys

Later that morning, I am in a Starbucks (they have those out here, you know) trying to get some work done while fending off emails from angry moonbat readers of this blog, when Katie appears. This amazing lady has single-handedly rescued 19 Sudanese boys and brought them to our neck of the woods from inner city Houston. Her efforts in finding education, employment, and housing for these boys has kept them from facing deportation. These boys are completely devoid of life skills. Katie tells me how she had to teach a number of them (approximately ages 17-19) even to ride a bike. She also goes into inner city Houston weekly to deliver supplies and donated goods. Her kids are really getting into it, too. She asks if my oldest, who also has a keen interest in the Sudan, wants to go. I tell her it sounds great. Katie just lights up when she starts talking about rescuing these lost boys from the Sudan. She has basically become a mom to a number of these Sudanese boys who are now growing up in freedom. An amazing woman meeting a need and changing the course of lives.

Faithful Worker Bee and Family Man

The next day, I am looking for a birthday present and I am walking out of Barnes & Noble. There's Doug. He gives me his usual greeting, the obligatory salute. I return it, as always. Always great to see Doug. He tells me he is planning for a pretty big shindig for his 26th wedding anniversary. On the 25th, he took Mrs. Doug to Chicago, but he is still doing a pretty good deal this time. Hotel and a 5-star restaurant. Has a French chef, but I am impressed nonetheless. We talk. Doug is a squid, but he is good people. He is a former Sea Bee. He signed up in response to the Iranian hostage crisis. We talk about how his recruiter lied to him. They all lie. We laugh. We talk about our kids and the modern work ethic. Doug recounts how he likes to work. Imagine that. The conversation then turns to world events. Panties on the head don't seem too drastic to save the 7 American kids killed yesterday. Appropriate language inserted for the situation. Now, I am getting mad, thinking about it. But my older comrade cheers and encourages me with his very spirit. And I am reminded of how I got to know Doug. This retired Navy Captain directs traffic and helps people across the street at our church.

Mother of a Marine

On the way home on Friday evening, I am directed to stop at Blockbuster by Mrs. Cutter to get a DVD for my sons to watch. A cell phone consultation results in a search for "Field of Dreams". Lost ... where is it? Then I see my fourth hero, actually heroine ... Jeanne. This small, wiry woman is always smiling, always upbeat. Her husband is a former Green Beret. She does not look old enough to have a 21-year-old son. But she does have a 21-year-old son named William. William is a Marine lance corporal serving his second tour in Iraq. William volunteered for the second tour, and he is hopefully coming home in another couple of months. She talked to him at Christmas, and he sounded good. He was low-key about the intensity of things. They are getting shot at frequently, she says. But William says it's really not a big deal. He is growing weary of MREs and is ready to come home, though, she says. That's great, I think. The MREs are taking a toll, not the jihadis. Jeanne laments that the MSM is not reporting how well things are going. Also, we talk about the Marine lance corporal who supplied the two security rounds to the jihadi feigning death in the mosque. Jeanne says, "I would have done the same thing." I suspect that she could take a few bad guys herself. I love Marine families. Jeanne lifts me with her spirit.

There are so many people like this, all around me. I could go on and on and on ... These four are just some I ran into over a couple day period. Bottom line: It's a little different here in the red exurbs than the raw prejudice you hear from a lot of the MSM types and their moonbat kinfolk. The truth is that most of the critics haven't seen and don't know the "whoopin' twits" out here. Indeed, the real twits are riding on the shoulders of these good people.

I get mad when my friends and heroes get "group-demonized". But you know what? They generally laugh, and then prove 'em wrong with kindness and grace. It's good to be surrounded by so many exceptional people that are making it happen. We are all -- red, white, and blue -- richer for it.