Hello to you. It’s Friday morning, 7:40 am as I begin to write to you. I hope this finds you well.
The snippet of a dream I remember from last night/this morning lead me back in my waking world to Peterson AFB CO. I was stationed there for nearly seven years between Falcon AFB (now Schriever), HQ Air Force Space Command and Peterson. We were at Peterson when 9/11 happened.
What I remember of the dream is disjointed. There was something about seeing a folder that had the words, “Cooking in Heaven” on the cover. I remember meeting a Capt Carlton (I knew him as a General, the commander of the 36 Fighter Wing) and there was something about leading and being lead (this is something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately with regards to what is going on in our country – there is a lot of being lead by people that were hired to lead! We have a system that doesn’t make it easy for those who even try to be leaders!) In the dream I was an officer, a Lieutenant. I can remember saluting and being saluted. There was something about food before marching. A meal had been prepared but the soldiers were going to go marching before eating the meal and they were called back for the meal (makes me think of how Basic Training at Lackland AFB was lol!)
I was lead to a couple of poems I wrote during those days, one of which that was actually published. I thought I had bought the book it was printed in, but I don’t have it anymore! Glad I kept the paperwork for it. The theme of these poems is transition….moving. A very prevalent theme when you are a member of the military no matter what branch you are in.
In talking to other veterans, to include Kyle’s family, we still get the “itch” to move that comes after you have lived somewhere a long time. Then the “FIGMO” would happen (Finally I Got My Order or Fuck it, Got My Orders), getting order to move. After you separate or retire….your on your own and it gets harder as time goes by. You don’t have people to come and pack you up anymore and the knowledge you have a secure job waiting for you at the next location. As much as I hate to admit it, when I served in the Air Force, there was a job security that is nearly non-existent in most any job sector in America today.
Kind of a shitty deal though. Finding job security by feeding the war machine. I have to temper that statement though. When I was looking through the pictures and papers I have in binders this morning, to include the silly Photoshop picture of Air Force Space Command with a UFO flying over it, I am reminded of a much kinder and gentler military than I hear exists now. We used to temper the stress of our jobs with fun…comraderie…friendship….we were family for each other. Pretty much for the whole time I served, I was encouraged to share my gifts of writing and art. I did little newspapers with cartoons, did drawings and wrote poems for people’s special occasions like retirements, separations, promotions, and permanent change of stations. I remember the people who I served with both military and many civilians that made my 16 years even remotely bearable. I miss those people, not the jobs I did for the “machine.”
Changing Scenery Again – by Jackie Wygant (then Cammarato) National Library of Poetry, Beneath the Harvest Moon 1996
Once again we’ve found a place
But as soon as we feel settled
Order in hand, it’s time again to roam.
The boxes will come
Many good-bye will be said
A part of us will awaken
That which we thought was dead
All the treasures we bought with such care
Will soon be tossed and crushed
Loaded into a moving truck
Our apartment then empty and hushed
Soon too will come a parade of new faces
The dance of new friendships will begin
The longing to stay in our comfort
We’ll face with our usual chegrin
The scenery keeps on changing
Faces and places blending with the years
Someday we’ll be home
And when we do, be listening for the cheers!!
Jackie Wygant – it was Cammarato then) – I wrote this on 7 Aug 1998 for a decoration presentation not sure but think it may have been mine.
I wrote this around the time I left working at Air Force Space Command. I hated working there….nothing but a sea of gray cubicles and stress. My jobs there were very high visibility and stressful like arranging award ceremonies for the command and managing the records and promotion procedures for all the officers assigned to the command.
I did love the people I worked with and miss so many of them and wonder how they are to do this day. I think often of General Estes, who was the Commander of Air Force Space Command when I was there. He was not the conventional “CEO.” I would often see him riding his bike as I was running on base. I will always remember standing in line at the Base Exchange and he was in front of my ex and I. What was he buying? White socks lol. I think I remember that because it’s important to remember now matter how high you live or how low in so many ways, the ways that matter in this life, we are all the same from cradle to grave and back again.
It’s important to remember that when you get to the “high places” not to forget how you got there!
Angel on my shoulder it’s time to fly
Find another way to live
Though we are afraid, we mustn’t cry
For a lighted narrow door opens now in this wood
If we go through it
It will forever do us good
The doorways light casts away the shadows and dark
Inside of our minds and hearts
It lights a spark
Opportunity is provided, though not treasures and gold
It still sparkles like sunlit dewdrops before us
Providing us a future before our flesh grows cold
Angel on my shoulders open your wings
It’s time for us to be off
To new and finer things…..
*Happy birthday wishes to my friends Margie and Ken today wherever and whenever you are.