and suddenly, through the driving rain appeared a small, sporty car that wheeled into my driveway and stopped abruptly in front of the garage. Out stepped my visitors for the evening, the contentious and always interesting Ranger (http://www.RangerAgainstWar.com) along with his sidekick and co-blogger, the estimable Miss Lisa.
Their arrival wasn't a surprise. They live only a couple of states away and we'd long been discussing an in-person meeting. At least one such planned encounter fell through a couple of years ago, so I was pleased we were able to make it happen this time. Our visit did not disappoint. Ranger is about what I'd gathered from his body of work, a big, tough guy—in every way what one would expect from a fellow with his military chops—but also someone who, unlike many of our contemporaries—has continued to grow in his post-service days. I like to think I've done the same and I must say it's a real pleasure to be in the company of such a man.
Lisa is also about what I expected. She's slight, perhaps even frail-looking, but is also tough as nails. She doesn't let Ranger push her around, and she sure didn't let me do it. She's a formidable woman and is also a pleasure to be around. I always find these women of my daughter's generation to be very interesting. They're the first generation of women that grew up without many of the stereotypes of the past; they were accordingly able to take advantage of many educational and employment opportunities previously denied them. I hate to generalize, but from what I've seen, the women are often turning out better than the men, probably because they're more focused and more aware that one has to fight for one's rights.
They both have very interesting life stories, but I'll leave the details to them. One of my favorite expressions is, "There are eight million stories in the big city" (if you watched TV crime dramas in the 60s, you should remember that one), something I originally adopted as a sarcastic rejoinder to a whiner or to someone making excuses for poor performance, but it's also appropriate when observing the infinitely rich stories possessed by our fellow humans, or at least by most of the thinking ones. I got two such stories a couple of nights ago and was fascinated. I now know a lot more about what makes Ranger and Lisa tick; presumably they know the same about me. I think this will aid us in understanding each other.
The point I want to make here is that I find this whole area of human life experiences and behavioral patterns particularly relevant to what we're trying to do with this blog. This all began with a military blog, begun by an Army reservist lawyer, and it's now morphed into something much different. At those times when I may start to feel somewhat frustrated because we seem to be straying from that military-centric ideal, I catch myself, realizing how enriched and refreshed I am by hanging out with my co-bloggers and those who take the time to make comments. Something else I'm finding as well: I'm getting a little bored with much of what's in some of the long-running popular military blogs. "Yes," I find, it's really kind of neat having some talented folks whom I trust discussing something other than military issues. So I like our
"doctor, lawyer, Indian chief," approach. I think it may wear well over time.
We discussed myriad topics during our evening together, which included dining alfresco on grilled chicken and consuming adult beverages (Ranger and Lisa are light drinkers, so I did most of the consuming) on my patio, which, fortunately has a large protected area. I'm not going to get into a lot of detail other than to say that I think we're of like mind in most important areas. As old soldiers, Ranger and I of course had to go through our military backgrounds and see if we had any friends (or enemies) in common. Actually, when one thinks of how large the Army is—and it had a lot more troops during our time than it does now—it isn't really surprising that we each toiled away at the same time without ever running into each other or having friends in common. This is even more understandable when one considers that each of us dwelt in a small, insular community essentially closed off to Big Army. To get some good insight into their thoughts, I suggest perusing Ranger's excellent web site. Neither he nor Lisa is exactly shy about letting one know their thoughts.
I guess bloggers getting together isn't all that uncommon, but this was the first time for me. It was very gratifying to find that even while the mysteries of these folks I'd deemed admirable from afar were being stripped away, they became even more admirable in person. I hope I get a similar opportunity to meet the rest of you some time and I expect the same results.