Wednesday, November 28, 2012

So proud of our MaMaw

I wanted to share with you something my mother has done for our soldiers.  Most of the time you hear talk about parents being proud of their kids.  Sometimes, the kids get to be proud of their parents.  Im fortunate that my parents have given Patrick and I so much to be proud of.  This is just something else that makes me proud of MaMaw.  She has spent hours and hours sewing scarfs for our soldiers in Afghanistan.  I mean hours.  Below is a total of the amount of scarfs she has sent, each with a personal note. She received an email from one of our men over there, it is copied below.  We love you MaMaw, we are so proud.

All together -

2010 - 35
2011 -  412
2012 -  306

Total  753

From: Bailey, Danette D CSM USA 3-401st AFSBn CSM <>
Date: Wed, Nov 21, 2012 at 10:24 AM
Subject: (U) Thank you for the hand made scarf,


Ms. Ayers,
I wanted to take this time out to say thank you for the beautiful scarf,
that I received in a care package sent to me from Operation Gratitude.
I am the Bn SGM for my battalion here in Bagram Afghanistan.  It is a
great feeling to know that our American people still show care, love,
gratitude and support for the Warfighters of this great nation we fight
so hard for as an American Soldier today.   I never take for granted how
bless I am to continue my duty, loyalty and selfless service after 31
years of service and still continue to live the Army values while
serving here in Afghanistan.  Although I have only been here for a
little over 2 months with 10 months to go, it feels like eternity.
However I have a mission to complete and I plan to do just that.  The
Soldiers, DA Civilians and Contractors who serve under my leadership, I
am thankful for their support as well.

Please know that I appreciate the time and care that you took in making
this scarf that I will carry in my bag during my BFC's (Battle Field
Circulations) until I am back home to the states to wear it proudly for
all to see.

I am very thankful, God Bless you and thank you again.

SGM Danette  Bailey
3-401st AFSBn
Bagram, Afghanistan
APO AE 09354
DSN (312)-864-5294
MMCS: 644-5294   Cell:  079-619-6536

"First to the Line"


Thursday, November 8, 2012

I have this reoccurring nightmare, seriously

Alright, most of you know that I swim on a daily basis.  I try and lift during lunch, swim before work.  When I swim, I am 100% in a zone.  My head is down and the rest of the world is blocked out.  Not only is a great workout, it is a way for me to clear my head. I do a lot of thinking while swimming, I think about what I have to do that day, how to phrase something, etc.   I have really come to enjoy my swimming workout.  My gym itself is elevated, it is on the second floor of the building.  Honestly, its kind of a workout just to get to the gym.  The pool is even more elevated.  You are in the back corner, elevated, looking down on everyone working out.  The pool is a great, smaller room, well heated, etc.  Great conditions to workout, its very cave like.  There are a lot of times when I am the only person in the pool too.

This is where my nightmare begins.  It is a nightmare that I think about almost every time I get in the pool.  At some point during my swim I always think...what happens in the Zombie Apocalypse occurs while I am swimming?  Seriously, I think about this.  I always envision me getting done with my swim, I get out of the pool and look down at the gym, and then BAM!   There is nothing but blood, carnage, and death.  Maybe even a loan "Walker" or two stumbling about the gym.  I seriously think about what I am going to do if the ZA occurs while I'm swimming.  What does someone do to fight off zombies in their swim trunks?  Sort of like when you are showering at home and you hear a thump somewhere in the house, you think to yourself "great, now I am going to have to fight off the burglar naked. "  Same sort of thought that I have with the pool.  

Anyway, thus far I have been lucky. No Zombie Apocalypse while I have been swimming.  I will go to work out tomorrow and sometime during my swim I will think to myself....what if today is the day?

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Ghosts of Ole Miss

I have really enjoyed ESPN's 30-30 films.  I watch almost everyone, regardless of my interest in the subject.  ESPN has done a fascinating job of telling a sports story that many of us have never heard of.  They teach history, they teach sports, they tell stories.  It really is excellent.  Its hard to pick a favorite of the bunch, and I am really looking forward to the one on Bo Jackson.  He was one of my favorite athletes when I was a kid.

Last weeks episode was on Ole Miss and 1962.  This was the year that Ole Miss went undefeated on the football field but the school was almost torn apart by racial strife on campus.  John F. Kennedy had to send in the National Guard in order to protect James Meredith, the first African American at Ole Miss.  I wont go into too much detail about the show, or give you a history lesson, its worth checking out on your own.  However, I couldn't help but feel a sense of pride after watching it because of how far we have come.  

We in the South get kicked around and made fun of a lot.  Some of it is well deserved, well earned.  We have made mistakes and sometimes continue to do so.  However, it was great to see someone take notice of the strides that have been made in the South and the conflict that still rests within many of us.  I think of how far the South has come just in my parents lifetime.  My parents grew up in the segregated south.  When its talked about here in Chicago, even people older than my parents only remember it from TV or  school books.  My Mom and Dad lived it.  I know that many of my grandparents ignored the "laws" and treated everyone as best as they could.  My great grandparents owned a grocery store.  They offered credit to their regular customers, white....and black.  To them, everyone was poor, everyone was the same.  I am proud of that.  There were a lot of people like my great grandparents in the South, I would like to think it was the silent majority. But it doesn't change the way things were back then in much of the South- the separation, the fear, the hate.  To go from separate doorways, separate water fountains, and separate counters in a deli, to an African American in the White House- IN ONE LIFETIME- is pretty impressive. That's what my parents have lived through, that's the stories they know from experience, not some text book. 

You can't really talk about the South without talking about the SEC.  When Kennedy addressed the nation about forced integration, even JFK mentioned it.  The first SEC school to have a African American basketball player was Vanderbilt.  The first SEC to have an African American football player was Kentucky.  I'm proud of that too. Ole Miss (itself) has gone from 1962, to having their first African American student body president this year. I can understand how it is easy for you to throw stones from your couch, hundreds of miles away.  I can see why you think we are all dumb rednecks.  Again, we do enough to continue to earn that.  However,  you cant really understand our love for the South.  The good and the bad.  You haven't lived it.   You don't know what its like to love a song like Dixie, but at the same time be ashamed at some of the things Dixie stood for.  You don't know what its like to have your relatives, many of whom were honorable men, get painted with a broad, negative, brush because they wore gray.

Now that I am in Chicago, I feel I can never really tell the proper story of the South.  I do get asked a lot, but I can never do it justice.  If it is a part of you, you can't really explain it.  If it isn't, you cant really understand.  Its not just a direction, its a way of life.  

We are a conflicted bunch, but we in the South have come a long way.  This 30 for 30 illustrates that.

Epilogue:  On que, Ole Miss strikes again.  Apparently some were upset after Obama won last night and their was minor rioting/flash mob in The Grove.  I have seen the video and its relatively minor stuff, but still pretty embarassing.   I would not be surprised if this 30 for 30 isnt somewhat related.  Like I said, we continue to do stupid things like this.