I'll try to make this short.
My father died November 11, 1994. The next fall, we had hired a young guy. He was full of himself, much like me. Though we had worked together for over three months we had never hung out after work.
I happened to be working a Saturday which was rare for me. This kid says "what are you doing after work?"
I replied "I'm going to get shitfaced."
"Really? My girlfriends out of town. Do you want some company?'
"Well" I replied "My Dad died a year ago today and if you want to hang with me then you'll have to listen to how great he was all night."
"Sounds good. I'd love to hear about your father."
Now, this kid is a talker. I mean, he can go on and on. Much like myself. He was also a great worker and busted his ass for the company I worked for. I like him from the get go.
We went out to the Hideaway Lounge. It was supposed to be a night of mourning for me. I was pretty blue.
This kid has a great relationship with his own dad. At the time, talked to him every day.
We sit down, and this guy says to me " Tell me about your dad."
So I precede to do so. For those of you who missed a tribute read here.
I talked. He asked questions. He hung on my every word. What was supposed to be a night of me feeling sorry for myself turned into a tribute to my father.
A year passed. It was Veteran's Day. The day of my father's passing. I had made a point of this the year prior.
Tim comes up to me. "Are we going out to drink to your dad?'
I had never thought of it. I had my one year of grief and it was good.
"No. We did that last year"
"Oh Chip. This needs to be a yearly event. We had a great time. You need to celebrate this every year and remember the good times. Let's do it again."
We took a couple of other guys from work and the Walt Gibbs Memorial Celebration was born.
Tim is The Prodigy. He posts here on very rare occasion. We haven't celebrated the WGM together for over ten years but he calls me every November 11th. So the two of us bought a NASCAR package last spring. He lives in Sheridan Wyoming. I was booking my flight out of Bozeman. He has to fly out of Billings. He is really working me to fly out of Billings. I don't want to make the drive. It's no cheaper so why would I. I'm not even looking at the date.
"Hey! Look at your fucking calendar!"
"Oh! It never dawned on me. I'll be in Billings."
So tonight, I'm in Billings with TP and my brother. We will have a great dinner and a little hooch.
Today or tonight. Take a moment and remember the fallen. Those brave men and women who died to give us our freedom and the lives we lead. Brave men and women who laid down their lives, gave up their families and put themselves first. God bless them and their families.
If you have the chance, go to a Veteran's Day Memorial. Take some time to think about them. I know you will.