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Archive for November, 2009

An Evening at the Airport

The Large Man Chronicles

11-16-2009

An Evening in Charlotte International Airport

 

If you take the time to look, nothing special can become very special. If you look really hard, nothing special can become downright noteworthy…or blog worthy. (Damn! At least I hope so)

I am at the end of a 3 hour layover in Charlotte, on my way to Dallas/Fort Worth for a week of revenue generating activity. It is 8:00 PM and frankly none of these details are special: I do something like this just about every week. But at the same time, if you take a few minutes to really look, these are the things you might see from a gray upholstered chair at gate B3:

  • A rather tall and striking woman sitting straight across from me in a dark gray business suit…working what looks to be 2 Blackberries and a laptop: its friggin 8:00 PM! I hope she is not a valve & fitting sales person, or a blogger trying to get published. I can’t compete with that kind of work ethic. She seems uncomfortable with my gaze; she must see only my steel-blue eyes and none of the human complexities that lie behind them… so I move on.
  • Two seats down from the gray suited worker bee is another striking woman…but in a different way. She is sort of short and a little more round in her features, she is in black stretchy pants that are too tight. The spandex is SCREAMING for mercy… this pretty woman is not too big; her clothes are just too tight. Her hair is dyed jet black, and it stops just at the shoulders of a perfectly matching black stretchy top. The black top is …revealing. Let’s call it low slung. Displayed within the frame offered by this low slung top is a very large, very colorful tattoo of the sun rising in flames from her bosoms. I guess it could be setting in flames into her bosoms; I’m trying to discreetly figure it out. No matter what the sun is doing now, in about 15 years it’s gonna look like a golden pond in the middle of a burning swamp. You should think about that shit before you invest all that time and money into inking up such prominent body parts. She seems annoyed that I’m staring at her chest.  
  • There is a badass, true Texas cowboy sitting right next to me…starched and creased Wranglers, real boots with the wear of work on them, lines on his face tell a story…tough guy. The tough guy is on his cell phone saying something in a soft voice…daughter or granddaughter is my guess. He hangs up just after, “okay, I love you sweetheart” in a drawl that makes me think west Texas. Now he’s helping the family next to him wrangle their toddler, because they are 2 hands short. I would help, but somebody has to type out the story. This guy is cool, and is completely comfortable if you are staring or not. He’s a tough guy, but he’s a gentleman. I think I would like this dude, but he might not like me. I might be a little talkative for him. I won’t give him my card. 
  • Nestled next to the lady with the sunny bosoms is an art student. I have no proof, but I know I’m right. Same jet black dyed hair, with a streak of purple. She is sporting a tattoo of her own: left shoulder… a spider web with a black widow at 5 o-clock on the web. She’s protecting several shipping tubes from the rambunctious kids that Tex just gave up on. I think I like this girl. She responds to my smile with a smile of her own, so, unlike the worker bee, I’m thinking she has a sixth sense when it comes to men who are noble in their character. 
  • Now just walking up is a polar opposite of the girls in black; and distinctively different from worker bee too. Strawberry blonde hair that could use a little brushing…windblown & outdoorsy. She has a very tight Texas Longhorns tee-shirt on top of a very tight pair of jeans on top of a very tight (as in appropriately cool) pair of cowboy boots. Her tight, is not like Ms. Sunrise’s tight… her tight is like ain’t no one complainin’ tight. I have no idea what her story might be, but she just got Tex’ attention too. Let’s call her Longhorn.  Tex hops up from his place next to me and offers his chair…gentlemanly as it is, it’s a dumbass move because now she’s sitting next to me. You don’t want the hottest chick in B3 sitting next to me…game over.

 This is a rare treat! Usually only smelly fishing bait sales people, or someone with a cold will sit next to me. She has a sweet smell. Not like a perfume, but maybe a nice suntan lotion. Every guy in gate B3 is staring at her, and envying the shit eating grin on my face. I would have offered her my seat, but again, someone has to tell the story. She has a very friendly and easy aura all around her. Not easy as in slutty, easy as in relaxed. Easy as in… if there was no wine left at the party, she would just say “I’ll have a beer”.  Then she would just kinda toss her hair over her shoulder with a smile as she walked away and looked back at you as she said “Thanks”. That move gets me every time! The tossing hair over the shoulder with a smile of gratitude while settling for a beer when you really wanted a glass of wine move. My wife landed me with that move. I think they teach it at finishing schools or something. 

  • As we are all sitting (in Tex’ case standing…dumb ass) waiting for our plane to arrive, I notice a couple of pilots that I had seen having dinner earlier. They are now standing at the doorway to gate B3. Nothing special about that other than I remember thinking these guys looked to be in bad shape – not common for most pilots that I see. THEN, I remembered what I thought while I was watching these guys eat: “Now there’s a couple of heart attacks waiting to happen!” I had a private chuckle over this as I watched them down their Texas sized plate of North Carolina BBQ, hush puppies, slaw, fries, pecan pie, and a 55 gallon drum of sweet tea. I currently find this much less chuckle worthy as I think about them flying me to DFW for the next 2 hours and 35 minutes. This “not so special flight” is now becoming an adventure…and not in a good way. I like Disney World and white water rafting. I hate it when I have to take over the plane when the pilot and co-pilot are having coronaries. I’ve done it like 3 or 4 times*, and it really sucks.

I look back at “Sunrise” and she is still giving me the stink-eye. What the hell? If there wasn’t a family in the general vicinity I would challenge her on her aggressive posture towards me. Sunrise and I have a policy conflict. As a general rule, I will discreetly take a gander at a woman’s more striking features; it is part of being an American male…a civic duty if you will. Paint certain features up with an orange, red, and neon yellow fiery sunrise and the same policy applies, just remove the discreetly part. Frankly I’m a little hurt…if Tex were participating in the activity would she be as angry? I’m not even staring in lust, okay… maybe a little bit, mostly it’s just curiosity.

Oh it gets better…

So, they call zone 1 to board the plane, I am shutting down my remote office, I pack up my laptop, and as I walk by the row of chairs in front of me,  Ms. Sunrise says, “I hope you enjoyed the show little man”.

Huh? Excuse me? WHAT? Little man? (Obviously she’s not on Facebook) She makes this statement in a very passive aggressive voice. Loud enough that I could hear something, but not loud enough for me to be sure of what I heard…or so she thought. Because I lost my sense of responsibility at an early age, all of my other senses are more finely tuned and acute. I have the hearing of a whale, better than a guinea pig…better than a wife in the next room at a party when you are planning a fishing trip with the guys. I heard her just fine.

I want to respond…I (now) want to ask some questions. Why? You are a beautiful woman, why the ink? But if the ink is your thing, bless you, you have every right. I love expressive people. But when your posture and presentation says, “look at me”…don’t get mad when I do.

But I say nothing. I’m not in a confrontational mood, and what if she kicked my ass in front of everybody? Well let’s just say as good a story as that might be; it’s a Large Man Chronicle that I just don’t want to write. Getting my ass kicked in front of the Longhorn girl would be something you could never get over.  If you roll through the 3 levels of humiliation on The Large Man Humiliation Scale, it doesn’t get any worse.

  • Level 1 humiliation…any ass kickin.
  • Level 2 humiliation…ass kicked by a girl.
  • Level 3 humiliation…ass kicked by a girl in front of a bunch of women, children, overweight airline personnel, real cowboys, and hot chicks that smell like suntan lotion.

…this can’t happen. So I withhold a retort. I really don’t want to create bad vibes for myself or anyone…I’m going New Testament, and turning the other cheek. This is better for everybody.

So as I swallow the urge to engage the angry exhibitionist, I refocus on the pilots. Where are they? Are they really our pilots or are they just hitching a ride? I find them at the end of the jet-way…the answers are very clear. They are here, and they are taking me to Texas. My panic reflex starts to wiggle, throat tightens a little bit, that “need to pee” feeling starts to take over the lower half of my body. White knuckle grip on the brief case as I walk onto the plane. Because of a lot of miles flown, at least I’ll go down with the ship in first class. Just don’t lose it in front of everybody, I think to myself as I stow my briefcase and settle into the soft roomy seat. Maybe Longhorn is flying first class? My mood begins to improve with that thought, just as I start to get a little excited about that notion (and the fact that the seat next to me is empty), I look up to see Tex walking onto the plane with her right behind. HE takes the aisle seat next to me after he turns to her and says, “Nice to meet you, I guess I’ll see you when we get on the ground. I’d offer you this seat too, but the flight attendant said I couldn’t”.

She just walked past and smiled back at him as she tossed her hair over her shoulder and said, “Thanks, I like the window seat anyway. I look forward to that beer when we get home”.

Damn!!…maybe I should have offered my chair. I could have chronicled this later! Probably would’ve been a better story! Oh well…at least now I can include my wife on the distribution list.

We made it safely to DFW, no coronaries, no conflicts, maybe a love connection after we hit the ground. I didn’t see Tex, Longhorn, Sunrise, or the art student in baggage claim. I did see the worker bee…cell phone in her ear…making it happen.

If you just take the time to look, nothing special becomes something. 

As always, thank you for reading.

The Large Man

*ok that was bullshit. I’ve never really taken over a plane for a pilot that had a coronary. But I would if called upon.

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Saying Thank You

Large Man Chronicles

From The Fauquier Times-Democrat  Published 11/11/09

Saying Thank You

I make a point to thank a service member (active or former) every chance I get. I hope it makes them feel good. It always makes me feel good….and ironically, it’s one of very few things that I do that isn’t mostly about me. (Note to self: Work on that!)

15 years ago (or so), I met G. Gordon Liddy at a DC radio station’s remote broadcast…he told me that I should do this for all service men and women…thank them for their service. I think G. Gordon Liddy is a thug and an ass…but I also think he is a fairly intelligent person, and I think he’s right about this subject.

Shades of gray…

I never want The Large Man Chronicles to go political in its content because I’m not smart enough or dumb enough to try and sway opinion on issues that are so full of shades of gray. I personally do not like war of any kind. I don’t think we should have invaded Iraq…but at the same time, their leader was a murdering madman, and I believe he may have caused the U.S. harm at some point in the future. So maybe we prevented some horrific acts in the long term. Who knows? I don’t know. So here I stand on two sides of that very crooked fence.

I also do not want the LMC to go political because I do believe that finding Osama Bin Laden and stabilizing Afghanistan is a worthy endeavor. But I deplore war. Innocent women and children, and innocent men die in wars. Fathers, daughters, mothers and sons die in wars. Friends die in wars. Most of the time though, the men that start wars seem to get out of them OK. Hmmm?? How can I support that? Looks like I’m on two sides of that fence too.

My personal belief is that everything in life is not right or wrong, black or white, up or down…life is full of could be, might be, light gray and dark gray, and slanted horizontal lines. I’m burdened with just enough intelligence to know that I can’t judge anybody’s beliefs. More often than not, I wish I was a little bit smarter… BUT…every now and then, I really wish I didn’t know so much. What is right, and what is wrong? I don’t know. But nobody has ever convinced me that they do either, and I’m proud to say that I know a lot of very smart people.

Please don’t respond with child abuse, animal cruelty, human trafficking, spousal abuse, or the designated hitter…I’m saying that “not everything” is as clear to me as it may be to others. Some things are very easy – for anybody.

To me anyway, a war is something else. As I said earlier, I deplore war…but a very good friend of mine from high school was killed in the attack on the Pentagon on September 11th 2001. This was a girl that I had kissed, someone that I had held in my arms and danced with…laughed with…she was a friend, a daughter, and a mother….and maybe one of the sweetest, kindest people I have ever known. Based on those facts alone, finding Bin Laden seems reasonable to me. I believe that somebody should be accountable for that crime. Then I consider the other victims at the Pentagon, and all the victims in New York…their families, their friends…to me, it becomes a no brainer.

But is it a no brainer? I’m sorry, no… even that is not without shades of gray. I don’t have a child in the military. I don’t have a loved one sleeping in a bunker, wishing they were home. I’m not praying every night and day that a chaplain doesn’t come to my door. Shades of gray.

So… Whether or not you agree with the military actions that this great country is involved in, saying “thank you” to the mothers and daughters and fathers and sons that protect this country – and frankly mankind, is not a political issue. That seems reasonable to me.

Saying “thank you” as a courtesy to men and women that say, “OK…I’ll go”…seems reasonable to me. Women and men that would protect my children….your children….saying “thanks” to them seems like a reasonable thing to do. Taking care of them when they come home seems reasonable as well…I think I would rather update and upgrade Walter Reed Hospital before I paid for anymore AIG bonuses, but that’s another discussion for another time…and I might be wrong.

Please extend a thank you to these men and women when you see them as you go through your day. Simply tell them, “Thank you for your service”. I promise that it will be appreciated…just try. It will make you feel great. More importantly, it might make them feel great…if just for a moment.

Thanks for reading.

To be continued…

The Large Man

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How to Turn on Your Man

Once upon a time, while delayed in some airport, in some town, I was perusing the magazine stand in the snack shop/drink shop/book shop/shop shop. As I perused, I noticed that about 12 of the 22 women’s magazines mentioned something to the effect of how women could turn on their partners …drive their men wild…get the attention they deserve….etc. etc….for better and more frequent sex (or better “lovemaking” for the readers over 60). There were “must do” lists, there were articles, interviews with experts; all the knowledge a woman would need to make a man want to get jiggy with her.

Hmmm…Is there a problem going on that I don’t know about?

Guys talk about sex too. However, in the 50 years and 10 days of my life, not one boy, dude, guy, or man has ever said to me, “Large Man, my (woman) just can’t seem to turn me on. She tries and tries, and nothing seems to work. Do you know where there is some reading material on this subject?”
I have NEVER had that conversation.

I’m not talking about enough sex, let’s face it – twice a day, every day of the week, and double that on a rainy Sunday on vacation, might not be enough sex. How can you define “enough”?  And I’m not talking about the quality of the activity…that’s another subject, and a subject in which no single person could be an authority.  I’m talking about the need to publish an article or a “to do” list on things a woman can do to get a man interested in her.

What the hell people? This type of writing is wasteful. It wastes the time of the reader, it wastes an editor’s time, and it wastes space in a magazine that could be used for other writing…perhaps writing that is creative in nature…perhaps an occasional Large Man episode. This is a self-serving point, but a valid point none the less.

So this got the Large Man thinking; who could be more of an expert on the subject of being turned on than me? Basically, I’m a walking, talking erection. I consider myself an expert in this field, because this has been a fairly chronic condition since I was 13 or 14 years old. We’re talking 36 years of experience.

SO…I thought I would offer my expertise to all the readers of The Large Man Chronicles free of charge. My only request is that when these techniques are used, and you realize how well they work, you credit me during the pillow talk session after your bliss.

One magazine had a list of 50 things…I will give you just 5 simple moves. This magazine offers a bunch of bullshit made up by people who are just writing to get attention…I…well…sometimes that’s alright I guess. Anyway my 5 moves are based on real life experiences – experienced by me, and other guys that I know. These are simply things that women have done to get me interested in having sex with them. Obviously, identities will not be revealed in the interest of decorum and protecting the innocent (or guilty).

Move # 1
This little trick was sprung on me very early in my life. Two innocent (age of consent) kids figuring out the beauty of life, first love, and all its sweetness.  She took my hand, kissed me, and then looked in my eyes and said, “Come on…let’s go in the other room”. It worked

Move # 2
A little later in life when we were a more promiscuous society…late 70s early 80s…sex and drugs and disco era, I found myself looking for comfort about town. It was during this time when this particular move was used deftly by a young lady with whom I was dancing. She leaned into me, pressed her body against me and without any eye contact she hoarsely (smoker) whispered in my ear, “Come on… let’s get out of here”.  Once again, I was helpless. I had to go. A subtly different move, but just as effective as move # 1… maybe even more effective, as I had no real emotional or romantic attachment to this person.

Move # 3
I would say that this happened with my first real grown up, long-term relationship. Thankfully I didn’t marry this girl, but I could have. She really knew how to “get my attention”, if you catch my drift. We had been dating a couple of weeks…the dates became more about dinner and TV at one of our apartments rather than dinner and a movie out. We were watching TV on the sofa at her apartment, we’re kind of kissing, and hugging…I guess you would call it making out. Then she sort of gently pushed me away from her, looked at me and said, “Come on…let’s go to my room”. DAMN!!! Next thing I know we’re having breakfast. Her room was right there in the same apartment, so from a logistics standpoint it couldn’t have been easier . We didn’t even have to put on our shoes. Try this one ladies, if it doesn’t work I’ll give you your money back.

Move # 4
Move number 4 has a special place in my heart because of a 100% success ratio. A couple of different ladies have used this move, so I’m thinking some magazine may have already published it.  It plays out like this…The woman asks me if I want to have sex.
 I think the beauty of move # 4 may lie in its simplicity.

Move # 5
This one needs a little set up…
This is one that’s most effective at the beach.  I was younger…college age…and a group of us were in the Outer Banks of NC. I was staying in a house with a bunch of fishing and drinking buddies. Two houses down from us were a group of 8 girls on spring break. Just because of location we would see each other out on the beach during the day, share our coolers, sunscreen…play volleyball …swim together in the emerald green waters of the Atlantic.
One night we were all at a popular night spot listening to music, dancing, drinking…enjoying life. Around 11:30, one of the girls asked me if I wanted to go for a walk on the beach (that’s why I think this move works better at the beach)…I said yes. We walked, talked, held hands…next thing we know we’re in the general vicinity of our beach houses…GREAT! We sit in the sand, smooch a couple of times…and she looks at me and asks if I share a room with anyone. I reply that I have the master suite all to myself. She grabs my hand, and here comes move # 5…she say’s loudly over the crashing waves,  “Come on…let’s go to your place!”  We did…and, and well…you know the rest.

You can see a resemblance to  move #s 1 thru 3 , but when you consider the environment, it clearly stands on its own.

***

So there you have it ladies. My advice humbly submitted, and based on life experience of 50 years. I hope it helps. If nothing else, I gave you real and useful information, and saved a few bucks that you may have spent on a magazine.

To all you guys on The Large Man distribution list…if any of these moves are used on you, it’s more than likely a pure coincidence, but just in case…you’re welcome. Furthermore, if you are one of “those guys”, by that I mean guys that are the inspiration for the articles and lists that I am dismissing here…never, NEVER, tell me about it!

To be continued…

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Large Man Chronicles

November 11th, 2009

Silver Linings, Tragic Beauty…Remembering Our Veterans

Last month I went to a service at Arlington National Cemetery for the parents of one of my best friends from high school. After the service I went to my friend’s home, I joined him and another of our high school buddies over cigars and a few drinks… and (thankfully) even some laughs. My friend, Kirk, is a great guy – one of the funniest people you will ever meet. His sisters were the object of many a crush when we were all in high school…30 years later these women are still beautiful. This is a great American family and my heart just ached for their loss.

My friend described to us the silver linings that he had been able to find since the tragic passing of his parents. It was good to see, good to hear. I love this dude; I love a lot of the people who attended the service with me. I was sandwiched in between two homecoming queens from my high school. I stood next to the men that stood with me the day I got married. We all saw and spoke to friends that we had not seen in years. We all wish we could have gathered under different circumstances.

Deep reflection will usually haunt my days after things like this. This time it was more so than usual. The events of the day, October 6th 2009, the things that I saw and heard were very powerful and so moving to me – tragic and beautiful. I asked Kirk if he would mind if I wrote a story about the day. He flattered me with his response. I hope with all my heart I convey it well.

My friend’s parents, Jack and Adele Kightlinger, were laid to rest after a car accident took them from us in early September. They were laid to rest in a field of honor because of their service to our country: Jack, for his 22 years in the U.S. Army, and being a combat veteran of the Korean War, and Adele, as a loved one that waited for her soldier to come home. They were both 77 years old when we lost them, they were both from a small town in PA, and they had been together since they were in 8th grade. They were a great American love story… we’ll get to that in a minute or two. 

Arlington National Cemetery 

Like most people in our country, I had never been to a service at Arlington National Cemetery before. The terms “place of honor”, and “hallowed ground” are often heard, but I believe seldom understood. Go and you’ll understand. Stand amidst these rolling hills and stare at the sea of white markers…almost 300,000 Christian crosses, Stars of David, Crescent & Stars of our Muslim service men…Hindu, Sikh, Mormon…every faith, and every walk of life has been laid to rest here in this hallowed ground; this field of honor.

When the chaplain spoke at the service, and he mentioned how my friends parents “answered the call of their nation” it started making sense to me. When the rifles cracked, and I saw the flag being folded and presented to the children “On behalf of a grateful nation”, my heart ached with sadness and soared with pride at the same moment. It was then that I understood. As I stood there with the children and grandchildren of Jack and Adele Kightlinger, I was one of them, we all were. We were all proud Americans that were touched by those who served our country.

I stood with pride and stared at all these white markers, small in stature yet enormous in meaning. These markers are eternal monuments to the heroes that answered the call, and to their friends and their families, and to you and me. This place of Honor, this hallowed ground honors us all. I look forward to a time when my children can understand these concepts and I can take them there and (hopefully) explain to them what it all means. I hope they will be able to understand the pride that accompanies sacrifice. The images of that day, October 6th 2009, will be permanently etched in my memory.

 A Love Story…

After Jack served his country in the Army, he spent the next thirty years serving his country (and the world) as a White House photographer. From President Lyndon Johnson to President Ronald Reagan, Jack Kightlinger captured the history of our country’s highest office one snapshot at a time. Obviously a career like that is not a 9 to 5 gig. It was not unusual for Jack to be away from home for 20 days at a time – sometimes longer, sometimes over holidays. I know a little about what it takes to make that happen. Mostly, it takes a special partner. Almost always, it takes a woman. Adele served her country (and the world) as the wife and partner of a man who chronicled history. She raised three cool kids, she kept a warm and welcoming home (I know – I had been there), and she built a solid family, and she did it all with one hand behind her back. Adele Kightlinger was a cool, tough, chick.

Jack Kightlinger discovered this cool chick in Jr. High School. Adele Elway sat in front by the pencil sharpener in one of Jack’s 8th grade classrooms. After a conversation or two, Jack became a little desperate for Adele’s attention. Necessity is the mother of invention, and Adele became a necessity to Jack. Just about every day, he gathered all the pencils of his buddies sitting in the general area of his desk, marched up to the front of the room and sharpened pencils to a surgical precision point so he could rap with the cool, cute chick. Some pencils probably had to be sharpened twice. Now THAT is game my friends…add the fact that young Jack was in 8th grade when he devised the plan, makes it that much more impressive. Jack got Adele’s undivided attention for 8 to 12 minutes every day in the guise of performing needed service for his buddies.

Love was born; possibly in front of a pencil sharpener in the small town of Meadville, PA. True love. Love that survived the peer pressure of high school, the distance of college, the horrors of war, and a career that sometimes kept them apart for weeks at a time. Jack and Adele were together for the rest of their lives. For the next 60 plus years their hearts were together. One love for two lives.

I think about this over and over again, and I marvel at the beauty. I wish I knew more – the pencil sharpener story – charming as it is, is just one of what has to be thousands of fascinating little moments in this love story.

What touches me most can only be explained by how I relate to that kind of love. I can honestly say that I’ve been in love 5 times in my life. Five times in my life, I thought that I met the person that I could spend the rest of my life with. Obviously, 4 times I was wrong. Love can be complicated. Four times after investing my heart and soul into a love that I hoped would last forever, I woke up and faced a morning…the beginning of a new day, wondering how I would be able to cope with losing that love. I know that I’m not the only person that’s ever faced one of these mornings, most of us have.

BUT…Jack and Adele and never did. Never. They got it right the first time, and their love survived it all. War, work, life…even death was not stronger than their love. They never had to wonder how they would cope.

On the afternoon of Monday September 14th 2009 Jack Kightlinger passed away due to injuries incurred from a car accident. Adele was with Jack in the car, although she was injured, the injuries did not appear to be life threatening. But, very early on Tuesday September 15th 2009, well before the light of a new day ever touched her eyes, before she ever had to wonder what she would do without him… Adele joined Jack , due to complications from the same accident. More likely it was due to complications of one true love. Tragic and beautiful.

THAT…is a love story. 

I hope on this day, November 11th 2009, you will take a moment or two and think about the sacrifices that come with service to our country. I hope that you will think about the mothers, fathers, sons, and daughters that are in harm’s way because they believe that this country’s safety and ideals are worth protecting. I hope with all my heart you will remember the ones that came before, the ones that gave the ultimate sacrifice, and the ones that would have…ones like Jack and Adele Kightlinger. They are all heroes.

I also hope that if you see someone in uniform today, or any day, you’ll say “Thank you for your service”. There is someone out there that loves them, and wants them home safe and sound. We all do.

Thank you for reading…until next time,

The Large Man

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