I find myself looking back over the past 24 years since I became a Life member Veterans of the Vietnam War, Post 52 and the people I initially met back then and now consider family, my brothers and sisters.
Too often over the past couple of years, I find myself saying goodbye. Or what I prefer to say, "Till we see each other again."
This week another brother left us to go on to a place so much better than what we have here. We know that, yet our hearts break and tears stream down our face.
As I was sitting on my porch the other evening, I received a phone call "I've got some sad news to tell you. Freddy passed away this morning." I sat in silence for a moment as another piece of my heart broke away.
I find myself writing letters to those who have left us. This is my letter to Brother Freddy.
Well, Freddy. I can honestly say that you have left an impact on my life.
All of those years we travelled as a Post to Rolling Thunder in Washington DC. We'd set up camp and have the biggest "kitchen" set up there with you as the main cook. Other campers at Bull Run started calling our large set up the "Walmart" of Bull Run because we had everything anyone could need.
Your one-liners that you would toss out that had me bent over double in laughter. The first time I ever heard you say "Well isn't that just slicker than snot on a doorknob" just about had me peeing my pants! I still chuckle when I think of that.
All those nights sitting around a campfire and just "shooting the shit". Those are some of my most treasured memories.
Oh my goodness, remember the year in DC they wouldn't let the bikes park in the fields we had always parked in and we ended up riding around DC for what seemed like hours trying to find a place to park? We circled around the Capital building so many times!
At one point we were all at a stoplight with the bikes running hot from all of the stop and go and slow speeds we had to drive.
You and Peg were on your Sportster. You turned your head, looked right at me and said in all seriousness: "I think my balls are on fire." I laughed so hard I almost threw myself off of the back of the bike I was on.
There were also the times when you were simply a big brother. Giving me advice and letting me know that you cared, calling me "kid" and "little sister" and telling me that I was going to be ok.
Goodness, so many years heading to DC, the years riding in our Post's Ride For Freedom, the dinners at the Legion and our Post, picnics, holidays and more. So many memories of you and they all make me smile.
Damn Freddy, I am going to miss you. Your laughter and your jokes. Your huge personality and how you cared about so many people. Even this silly "kid" that joined the Post filled with Vietnam Vets who became my brothers.
Oh, I can't forget! You made the best dang deer sausage and jerky around and you had the best tag line: "No head, no feet, just bring me the meat."
Tell all who have gone on ahead of us I said hello and I miss them.
Till we see each other again.
Love ya Freddy.