A story of hope and second chances.
Growing up my parents never supported the things I enjoyed. Football, Rock and Roll music, BMX racing, in fact never once, did they go to a bike race, or ask me about my Motley Crue poster on my wall. A bunch of freaks wearing make up and playing that “Devil Music”. In fact one of the songs was indeed…Shout at the Devil.
I always stayed true to who I was, despite the harsh pounding of religion and the stern parenting of my father who would ensure I made it to the church pew on time every Sunday. I didn’t hate church initially and in fact it was a good way to meet some really cute girls at the age of 13. I went to church, and found myself paying more attention to what Celena, Kary, Colleen, and Tyanne would wear to church. I thought I may be the luckiest guy around surrounded by all these cute girls. Yep…my hormones had just began.
I took a liking to Tyanne during the 4th grade and even asked her mom if she could go steady. Years later, I would find myself across from her taking wedding vows. Crazy. She and I found a way to get married some 9 yrs later.
That marriage lasted only a few years. Tyanne was pregnant, and I had recently joined the military at the encouragement of her father Ty. He told me that the military was a good way of life and I would be able to provide for a grandson that was on the way.
Tyanne and I suffered a loss 8 months into the pregnancy that hit Tyanne especially hard. Post partum wasn’t diagnosed at this point but it hit her hard and we ended up going through a divorce. Something I always felt was my fault.
I was shipped off to Desert Storm a few months later and my divorce papers were the first letter I got in a land of which I wasn’t Lokal to…Saudi Arabia. I signed the divorce papers, and continued my mission of digging bunkers, and fixing roads for the ammo trucks. I didn’t have time to process what a divorce was.
After I returned home from the war. I reached out to Tyanne to find out why and never got an answer of why the divorce. no response led me to believe that she was upset with me. Meanwhile I was still sad about the loss of my son with nobody to communicate with about the loss.
“In Through the Outdoor”. I met a woman just before I left to the Aleutian Islands. I wondered who I would replace Tyanne with in my life and the replacement came in a 5’3″ Hispanic woman named Sylvia. Met her in a country western bar. Asked her to dance and she said not a chance in hell.
I walked after her and asked why. Her response “I see you dancing with so many other girls. I don’t want to be just a number ” we danced the remainder of the songs and I married her 9 months later. I knew from the start she would be my second chance to an amazing marriage. She was. I loved her from the get go. Her spunk, her beauty, all wrapped in one. The perfect package. I knew it on day 3 of knowing her and asked her to wait for me while I left to Alaska. She agreed to it and we married 9 months later. This is the part I call “in Through the Outdoor” my second chance.
I wasn’t always a good Airman. I loved to get in fights and I enjoyed the way it felt to be victorious in the fights.
One day I was coming home from a baseball game in Tucson, AZ. I was at a red light and in front of me was a car filled with three large gentlemen. They didn’t notice the green arrow, so I politely honked my horn 🙄 and they were not so receptice to my nice gesture of get moving asshole. There were a few fingers flying as I followed them on base to the racquetball courts. They got out of the car and I remember a finger in my chest and 5 punches later, the individual fell to the ground. I didn’t realize what had happened until I found myself in a holding cell waiting on my First Sergeant, Master Sergeant Russell Kjose. He told me he had had enough and I would be discharged. I stood tall in front of my commanding officer a few days later and told my side of the story. He felt compelled to give me 30 days of jail time instead of discharge.
During my sentence, I thought about getting out and going to college. I was challenged by two mean Sergeants and they told me I wouldn’t make it 6 more months. We bet 50 dollars for a 100 dollar bet between them both and I was released. Less than 2 weeks later I found myself standing tall in front of the Commander again. This time facing discharge for something that happened prior to my 30 days in the hole.
He asked me why he shouldn’t kick me out and my answer…You found something in me before that stopped you from kicking me out. What’s stopping you now Sir? His response ” I see a full career just getting started” 21 years later 100 dollars richer and several countries, top annual ratings, thousands of new acquaintences later…I found myself walking “In Through the Outdoor”…my Second chance.
Through my life I have found myself in similar struggles along the way, and have always found that no matter what door I leave out. I am always in a new chance or a new situation. My friend Dave Austin calls them peaks and valleys. Although Dave may be right; my view is that the view isn’t always best from the peak. Sometimes the view is closer and more personal in them damn valleys. Enjoy the journey people.
My father called me after my retirement and asked me what I thought of my nephew joining the Marine Corp. My response much to my father’s surprise ” I’m proud of him and I wish him success in his choice “. My father actually called me to see if I would talk him out of the military. I never felt supported by my father who always referred to my job as that “military thing”. My father didnt even know what my job was.
One day I visited my parents for Thanksgiving and as my kids and I pulled in the driveway my daughter looked at me and said “wow that sure is a lot of Marine stuff on grandpa’s truck” as well as the Marine Corp flag flying just below the American Flag. I felt proud of the Country and the Marine Corp service but was a bit bewildered in the support my nephew received that I wasn’t afforded during my 21yr career. Maybe because of that Motley Crue poster. I’m certain
This and a few other things led to my father and I not speaking for almost 12 years.
I carried hate and anger toward my father for his lack of support through the years. I didn’t spend a whole lot of time even trying to patch or mend something that wasn’t broken but just simply was non existent.
Here we are today 12 years later. My father is dying or cancer, and I have two options. See him in the afterlife or be the better person I hope to be while cleaning my side of the street. I choose the second option. I have forgiven my father and I love him not for all the things he didn’t support me in, or the way he treated me growing up. I love my father for giving me my life. The one I was shaped in finding on my own. The one he forced me to find by moving away to join the military, through his lack of support and his love when he had time. I moved away to find out who I am and for that; I forgive him and choose to walk back in through the door I left 12 years ago. I have never felt such a weight removed from my yoke. It feels amazing to forgive and love vs hanging onto something and recieve a second chance to be around a father. I enjoy seeing my father now and plan to move to Utah to be closer to him as he walks through his final Outdoor. I love him.
I’m not sure about what the future has to offer but I’m thankful for second chances and having the ability to walk “in Through the Outdoor”