...the Doctor Who Christmas Special that is! All kidding aside though, I hope everyone is had an amazing extended holiday weekend and everything went well for them. The holiday season is always vey chaotic, and it can be gar to juggle all the balls being throw at us, so just remember to take some time off now that the festivities are over to recuperate from the celebration and great food.
I had a wonderful holiday season shared with some close family and friends, and despite the bitter cold of the frozen tundra, the day long trip back from Miami was worth it. Maybe next year I'll take my Christmas celebration somewhere... a bit warmer. who knows! With the chaos of family functions and festivities with friends, I didn't have nearly as much time as I would have like to be able to see as many of you as I would have liked, but I did manage to shuffle enough stuff around to fit a couple days in to be able to catch up with some of the gentleman from the Madison, Schaumburg, and downtown Chicago areas.
I enjoy each any every rendezvous I have with the men and women of the cities I visit, but I've found my favorite one are with the individuals who I've gotten a chance to build a relationship with over time. Its always so interesting to find out how someone else life in unfolding around them and knowing I get to be a small part of the amazing experience that is their life, an its always a treat when you learn new things about someone you've been seeing for, in some cases, years. Over the weekend I got to spend some time with a gentleman I've been seeing pretty regularly for the last several years. We'll call him "Jim". Over these last few years, Jim and I have spend quite a bit of time together, from the short hour long tryst, to more relaxed and slow overnight encounters. We've literally spent hours chatting about our lives, the things we love, the things we loath, and the things that make our hearts skip a beat. An just when you think you know just about all their is to know about someone, you find out something new. Jim and I were chatting about the bitter cold that swept through chicago for a few days with this most recent arctic blast, and there was a bit of admission that were both well aware of what the opposite of extreme heat is like.
I enquired a bit further and geared Jim was also a veteran, an by sheer coincidence he also shared the same occupational specialty as me--mortar infantry! I generally try to avoid conversations about military service, as most veterans do, because theres always the possibility you may end up dredging up some not so enjoyable things. As I've known Jim for years now, I didn't think there'd be any issue discussing the topic, so we did, and come to find out he's also a combat veteran from another era in US military confrontation.
That conversation was defiantly something that made my day and gave me a new found love and respect for this man that I thought I know so much about. Its little gems like that which make this field of work so rewarding. I do my best to find common ground with everyone that I see, but rarely do I come across a subject that I have such a deep connection with someone on. We sat and chatted about all the stupid things mortar crews do, and the immense amount of joy that dropping 20lbs of high explosives and steel down a metal tube can bring.
I haven't been in Chicagoland area often over the last year as I've been touring pretty consistently, which has... upset... a few gentleman that were pretty use to me being readily available, like Jim. So it was nice to finally get back to home base and see some of your wonderful smiles, and as always, I enjoy the time I get to spend with you all there. An I hope in the future that I get to hear some other stories such as Jim's.
As 2017 comes to a close, and we begin our journey into 2018I'll be be home relaxing for a bit for another couple days, while I get my ducks in order for the coming months of travel. If you live in the southwest US, you can expect to see a lot of until spring. I hate the cold, so short a few short trips to paces like Denver and Breckenridge, I generally try to stay in... warmer climates during the winter months. So if your in Arizona, New Mexico, SoCal, and Nevada, or Utah, you can expect to see ads and posts on your local boards/classifieds from me in the near future (ads on TER for your locations are already up!).