Mother Goose Meets a Real Navy SEAL

“Hello? Sir? Excuse me, sir,” Mother Goose was nearly squawking as she wheeled her bicycle into the driveway. The man turned from loading the back of his SUV to see who could be honking at him. Quickly dismounting, Mother Goose stuck out her wing and said, “Sir, I just want to thank you for your service to America!”

When he smiled warmly and shook her hand, Mother Goose knew she had made the right decision to stop and meet this man. His handshake grip was the strongest and friendliest she had ever experienced. Having passed this home countless times in the past two years, I was at an extreme advantage in this meeting. I had seen his American flag flying from the porch next to the POW/MIA flag. It was his Blue Star Banner hanging in his front window that had gotten Mother Goose all in a flap about that old tradition. His car parked in the driveway with the license plate holder that read, “Retired Senior Chief” and his bumper stickers all told the same story: in this home lives a deeply patriotic and retired U.S. Sailor, possibly even a Navy SEAL.

I told him about my twin sons who are training for nuclear operations in the U.S. Navy in Charleston. He was proud to tell me that he had joined the Navy in 1960 and retired in 2000 at an E-8 level, senior chief petty officer and, indeed, a SEAL. My mind whirled around the life he must have experienced.

“So your boys will be going into the bubbles?” he asked with a grin.

Mother Goose stared at him with a blank look on her feathery face and then turned her head to contemplate what he might mean…

“On a submarine?” he graciously clarified for the goose who is rather ignorant of Navy terms.

“Well,” I replied with a thankful smile. “They have gone back and forth on that. Possibly now they’ll want to be on an aircraft carrier, maybe one that ports out in Washington.”

As we chatted back and forth about boot camp and this and that Navy policy, different neighbors walked by us on the sidewalk — moms and kids going to soccer practice and baseball practice, folks walking their dogs, or getting their own exercise in the late afternoon sunshine. He addressed each and every one of them with a cheerful and heartfelt greeting as if he knew each person on the avenue. He smiled fondly at every single one. Later, I thought about this at great length.

This soldier/sailor has knows every form of danger known to humankind — probably fought in the jungles of Vietnam and the deserts of Iraq and possibly the mountains of Afghanistan. He’s certainly survived the most atrocious and fearful situations. The number of SEALS who actually retire is relatively small in the general military population — most just don’t make it. But here he is, smiling at all these neighbors and passersby, including a strange goose on a bike. He seems to have time for everybody.

I wonder if he looks at each and every person he meets as someone he would rescue or protect.

For forty years, it was his job to defend America and bravely serve our nation. To most of us that sounds noble in itself, but what if he doesn’t just view it as service to America, but something much more personal. Maybe he looks at us with such fondness because he was protecting and defending Leslie or Dianna or Debra or Jeff or Erik or Linda or Mark — real people in his neighborhood with real names and faces, with children and dreams and daily occupations.

His name is Bill. He looks like a regular retired guy, but he’s so much more than that. He’s a real hero!

The Blue Star Banner in the window is for his son, a U.S. Marine who has recently returned from tours of Iraq and Afghanistan. Another hero.

Of course, you know Mother Goose…she’ll be privately obsessing about this for awhile. I already downloaded a book from Amazon entitled, Service. It’s the story by Marcus Luttrell of his service to America as a Team 5 Navy SEAL. In just a few weeks, the Act of Valor DVD will be in the stores. Memorial Day is in ten days. My own two sailor sons will be home on leave for a few days later this month.

These guys are looking good, but they are not the sons of Mother Goose…

Mother Goose thinks this is a good place to insert a “call to action”. If you see a uniformed service man or woman, go up to them with your wing extended and thank them for serving America. If you know of a veteran in your neighborhood, thank them for their service. If there’s a military family with kids at your school, get to know them — they have special needs, especially if mom or dad are deployed. Please pray for the safety of our brave soldiers and sailors — pray that wars would cease.

God bless America and God bless you.

One is Silver, the other Gold

When Autumn leaves start to drift by my window, I remember little things that my precious Mother spoke into my soul. Did you ever hear this bit of wisdom?

Make new friends, but keep the old; one is silver, the other gold.

It’s a lovely pearl that she imparted to me when I was young. Our family moved to a different town about every three years as we kids were growing up. Actually I went to ten different schools in twelve years! I was always the new kid in class. It seemed that as soon as I was a part of a crowd or had a few close friends, Dad would get another transfer and we’d pack it up and head down the road. Friends would come and go. Mom would remind me of that verse, and I know that she applied it to her own friendships as well.

Eighteen months ago I moved suburbs away from my grown-up girlfriends to live as a newlywed in Oak Park. I have missed my weekly tea parties and walks and talks very much, but try to stay in touch with my golden girls. And it has been very difficult making new friends in this town. Is it because I’m older? Do I look too cranky to approach? How do people make friends when all the ladies are working and so busy? Should I change my hair?

But YAY the other day I actually had two conversations with two different neighbors! Imagine! Maybe these will be silver friends! One of the ladies I call Squeaky Mom because of her unusually high pitched voice. The other mom is Georgia. Mother Goose overflowed with joy! New friends like silver!

Squeaky Mom (who is also known as Kim) is nearly as old as Mother Goose — she has older kids like me, but also a young adopted son from Siberia. His name is Lucas who always says “hi” to me — Kim explained that his birth mother in Russia is Natalia and perhaps that’s why he connects with me. Huge blessing that he waves to me!

And Georgia actually took a picture of Mother Goose with another mom for the school yearbook — they want to have a page full of parents’ pictures. Ha ha so funny that she included me, and I’m not involved in anything at the school. But still she made me feel special.

I forever love my golden friends! And now God has heard my prayer for silver friends too.

Horrible House Fire

Last Wednesday at about 4:00, I saw on my front porch in the sun.  I watched kids playing down the block and across the street.  One of the little boys across the street ran next door and plucked a dried hydrangea flower and ran around the side of the house with it clutched in his hand.  Getting too warm in the sun, I went inside and then sat on the back porch in the shade.

Ten minutes later, my stepson Eric shouts “Fire! Fire!” from the front half of the house.  I run to see what’s wrong and see the house across the street going up in flames, porch and front of the house quickly becoming engulfed in fire.  No firetrucks in sight, no firetrucks wailing in the distance.  People on the street and on the sidewalk calling 911. The firehouse is two blocks away!  Where are the firetrucks? Why is that house burning? What can I do? And where are the kids?

It was a feeling and a sight that I can only describe as irrational.

To make a long story short, everyone got away safely with no injuries.  The nanny who had neglected to keep track of these young fellows at least had the sense to move them to safety.  The firetrucks finally came — nearly every truck in our village and surrounding towns — I’m sure there were more than ten trucks and paramedic units parked all up and down our street.

The parents arrived, and that was the saddest picture of all.  I could only think, They left their house this morning for a normal day of work and activities and this is what they came home too.  So quickly a regular day can turn into a tragic day that we can never forget.

But the bottom line is this:  Rejoice with all your hearts that no one was hurt!  Yes, they’ve lost their home and their pictures and their stuff, but they still have their precious family.  Neighbors and friends are gathering around them and providing so well.  In this case, once again, LOVE WINS.

God bless you and your precious family today.  Love, Natalie

Important Stats for a Goose

  • 77,493 honks to date

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