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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Anniversary Time

Today is the 13th anniversary of our wedding. We have faced some amazingly tough times together, including major illness. But, God has preserved us. And, we are grateful.

It really isn't easy to stay married. It seems the forces of hell (and very often, the government) are arrayed against marriage and family because these are supposed to be the ultimate bastions of love, protection, encouragement and agreement. So, despite the odds and opposition, most men and women continue to marry with that hope and promise.

As in our marriage, I hope that in all those marriages that start with such hope and promise, the two partners grow together or that they will have patience when one or the other gets a little out of sync. It happens. But with God at the center you have a fighting chance. And, prayer and patience work wonders, as well as forgiveness and sometimes having a bad memory.

I really like this version of what Jesus said about marriage.
But Jesus said, "Not everyone is mature enough to live a married life. It requires a certain aptitude and grace. Marriage isn't for everyone. Some, from birth seemingly, never give marriage a thought. Others never get asked—or accepted. And some decide not to get married for kingdom reasons. But if you're capable of growing into the largeness of marriage, do it."
Matthew 19:11 The Message (MSG)

Thank God for his protection and provision, and for the blessings of marriage.

And, honey, I love you more than ever!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Sean Tries On Grandpa's Uniform

Ev Sets the Record Straight

Recently, I wrote about my parents' wedding anniversary and mentioned my father's military service. He wants to set the record straight, so here is his story:

"I was inducted into the army from Quincy, IL in late June, 1954. I had a student deferrment for four years while I attended Wartburg College in Waverly, IA. I volunteered for the draft after graduation.

[Note: When I asked him about this terminology, my father answered that he volunteered rather than wait to be called up, so that he had more control over the timing. By volunteering in June, he would get out of the Army two years later in the summer–just in time to get a teaching job in the fall.]

July-August, 1954, I attended basic training for 8 weeks at Camp Chaffee, Arkansas. There, I had the opportunity to audition for the Army band school. As a result of the audition I was ranked #3 against a quota of 2. However, the #1 man got sick and was put back a cycle (2 weeks). So I moved up to #2.

September-October, 1954, I attended band school at Ft. Ord, CA. After 8 weeks of training, I was assigned to the 324th Army band at Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland, along with Tony Archuleta. Joe Viola came 2 weeks later.

In June, 1955, Jean and I married in Madison, SD on June 19th. On June 21st, a telegram arrived from Band C.O. Bearman informing me that I was to be sent to Far East Command."

[Ev's side note: After my marriage, I got one half of the $78 monthly pay and Jean got the other half. After Laura was born, my Spec. 3 pay was up to $135 monthly, Jean got half of that and Uncle Sam added $55 (I believe) for Laura.]

Back to Ev's story:
"Tony Archuleta, Joe Viola and I, all clarinetists, arrived on August 4th for 2 weeks' wait at Ft. Lewis, WA, certain that our destination was Korea. But when a Korean-bound troopship left without us, we hoped it would be Japan.

From mid-August, 1955 to mid-April, 1956, with less than a year of service remaining, the Army flew us to Japan via Hawaii and Wake Island. I was assigned to the U.N. Headquarters Army Band at Pershing Heights, the site of the former Japanese military academy in Shinjuku, Tokyo. This was the 293rd Army Band with Marion Durbin, C.O.

We played for all ceremonial troop reviews at Pershing Heights, troopships coming and going at Yokohama Harbor, concerts around Tokyo, civilian parades, Far East football playoffs (Torii and Rice Bowls), plus regular season home games, and the huge and moving ceremony for the return of the unknown Korean war dead. This ceremony was held in the early spring of 1956 at Yokohama harbor.

From mid-April to late May, 1956, the entire headquarters band transferred to Camp Drake (an hour from Tokyo and site of the Japanese Kamakazi pilot training school). We were re-designated the 1st Cavalry Division band.

On June 4, 1956, I arrived in Sioux Falls, SD after an eleven day voyage aboard the U.S. Fredrick Funston troopship from Yokohama to Seattle via Adak Island, AK. I attained the rank of Specialist 3rd Class - the equivalent of Corporal."

Monday, July 13, 2009

Book Review: The Last Ember by Daniel Levin

From the moment you step off the plane at Rome’s airport with main character Jonathan Marcus, The Last Ember takes you on a fast-paced ride through archeology sites and research labs, courtrooms and U.N. offices, churches and catacombs from Rome to Jerusalem and back again.

The story begins when Marcus, a New York lawyer, unexpectedly arrives in Rome, the scene of his academic disgrace seven years earlier. His past passions begin warring with his common sense almost immediately after examining a chunk of the Forma Urbis Romae (a detailed marble map of Rome made around 200 AD) at the center of the case. When his colleagues discredit his long-lost girlfriend in court, Jonathan Marcus can’t ignore his feelings or the lure of archeological sleuthing.

A modern web of terror, destruction and deception as complex as the ancient Roman-Jewish world it parallels emerges as Jonathan slips, once again, into the fray. At the center of the vortex is the preservation of the ancient Jewish temple menorah and the secrets of controversial Jewish historian, Josephus. Powerful and elusive enemies seek this artifact to corrupt and destroy history, along with all Jewish and Christian Temple Mount historical treasures, as Jonathan and Dr. Emili Tavia fight to uncover the truth and preserve it.

This thriller reveals the high stakes and dangerous world of archeology in the Middle East, and the very real threat to historical preservation and archeological research. The actions described in the book are reflected in headlines and even in Congressional bills to stop the destruction of the Temple Mount.

For an exciting summer escape and a crash course in ancient history and languages, pick up The Last Ember

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Halfway through Summer

This past week and half felt as if it didn't even happen. Time flew by so quickly. We are nearly midway through the summer. Events that loomed so large - like the Chicago Telegu Festival with its vibrant music and dance - have come and gone.

I am sad about missing the ICVM Conference in Denver last week. The filmmakers, actors, producers, writers, musicians and tech people who attend are always amazing. They come from all corners of the earth and their energy, joy, prayer, worship and fellowship feeds the soul. The speakers this year, as always, were exceptional. Next summer, the conference will take place in St. Louis, MO. I hope that its being closer to Chicago will make my attendance more feasible.

But, this summer still holds promise and adventure. My writers' group is planning a little getaway weekend. My sister from Florida will be visiting. At the family reunion in August, the family will get to meet my cousin's legendary twin baby girls. And, who knows what unplanned exploits and escapades lie in store?

I am looking forward to the second half and I know this will be a summer that leaves a sweet smell of remembrance.