I saw her looking for something in the health foods & medicine section of the grocery store. I was walking by slowly, purposely scouting the area trying to remember if I had gotten everything in my cart that I had come to the grocery store to buy. Ahah! I remembered something that I needed in the health foods area. This took me to the aisle in which she was studying the shelves – for what, I don’t know. I politely excused myself as I had to walk in front of her, picked up my item, and then excused myself once more as I had to walk in front of her to get back to my cart.
I behaved as I usually do when I find myself in public in the general vicinity of a woman I find very attractive: I made sure not to make eye contact and try my best to catch a glimpse of her, without looking like I was trying to catch a glimpse of her… or at the very least, without allowing her to see me trying to catch a glimpse of her. During this whole few second moment of my shopping experience, I could almost see myself from an outsider’s perspective and I yelled at myself in my head to stop acting like an idiot and just move on to the register to pay.
Still, I turned my head as I walked to catch one last glimpse of her, this woman with her girl-next-door-look, long brown hair tied back in a pony tail, completely unassuming, but just something about her that made me look more than twice. And again, I tried my best to make sure I looked like I was straining to figure out if I had forgotten something from my mental list of items that I should have written down, while looking in her general area at the shelves, and then directly at her before turning my head to pay attention to where I was going.
Just something about her, I thought. I don’t know what, but really, it doesn’t matter, you idiot. She’d never be interested in you. Plus, what on earth would you even say to her. “Uuuuh, hi, I think you’re cute and there’s something about you that made me do a double-take. How are you today?” Yeah, I’m sure the store security would be on me within seconds after that smooth-talking introduction.
Anyway, so after all that has passed through my mind, I actually do remember a couple things that I forgot and then go back to pick them up. Then saunter my way to the check-out with the shortest line. I’m standing there just waiting my turn, noticing the ridiculous magazine covers for the ’beauty’ magazines and tabloids and making sure I don’t get too close to the person’s daughters who are being a bit rambunxious in front of me while waiting for the lady to finish scanning what their mother had bought. I move back a few inches to give them some room to roam around then do my usual waiting-in-line routine of scanning the people in line, scanning the people walking around the store, scanning the magazine racks and then rinse and repeat.
Then I feel that someone has taken their spot in line behind me. I turn around out of courtesy to make sure I am not too far back into them, as I was not aware of them until now and didn’t think I needed to worry too much about anything behind me, when I notice… it’s her. My gosh, miss girl-next-door with the long hair in the cute pony tail who reminds me of someone… or something… or some time in my life… is standing behind me. I do my best to keep cool and calm, since she obviously has no idea this is all going through my mind and it would no doubt freak her out if I all of a sudden start acting like some grade school dweeb who keeps turning around in class peeking over his shoulder and giving a goofy smile to the cute girl behind him. Oh wait, that’s right, I did that. And I remember that didn’t make a good impression then, I am positive it won’t make a good impression now. So I go back to my people, rack (magazines, not boobs), rinse and repeat routine.
During one of my magazine rack rotations, she comes into my view again. She picks up one of the magazines on the bottom shelf and then takes it back with her to her cart to read while waiting. I don’t catch which one it is, since as soon as she came into view, I did my best to look somewhere else for fear of all that was on my mind about her would somehow transfer to her subconscious, just from my gaze meeting hers. But I do note that there is an Easter edition of some magazine with a religious theme in the general area of where she grabbed the magazine. Hmmm, I wonder if she took that one. Says a lot, considering probably 99% of the other women I see in here are usually grabbing for the tabloids or the so-called beauty mags. This got my brain working even more overtime.
And then I had this really weird feeling come over me. For a short moment, couldn’t have been more than 1/2 a minute to a minute, I had this sense of confidence come over me. It was like a flashback to years ago when I was in great shape and had complete confidence in what I looked like, yet, unfortunately not complete confidence in whom I was as a person, at least with respect to the defintion society gave to a good, ’cool’ man. Yet it was a slight confidence nontheless. Something I had not felt around an attractive woman in a long time. Most of the time – which is to say, all the time – I would simply go through my she’s-way-out-of-your-league-she’d-never-be-interested-in-you-so-stop-thinking-about-it -youre-a-loser routine in my head:
* Even if she wasn’t she’d never be interested in you
* Even if she was, she’s probably a liberal or smokes
* Even is she isn’t, didn’t we already agree she wouldn’t be interested in you?!
* Snap out of it and get back to what you’re doing and leave this poor girl alone with any thoughts of even thinking you were good enough to talk to her, let alone look at her
But this time, that didn’t go through my mind. I felt different somehow. I felt like the confident man I am inside when I am not thinking about how out of shape I have gotten over the last year. I felt like the confident man I am when I believe my delusions that women are interested in character and morals and principles in a man. I felt like… ahh… then it hit me… she reminds me of Amy. Or, at least, how I imagine Amy to be. I had just gone, in my mind, back to a time in my life when I was talking to Amy online and on the phone years ago – yet never met or seen her picture. Somehow, my mind associated everything with that time period, including how I felt in public, since I was in the greatest shape of my life back then and never felt insecure in public – at least with regards to my looks. And all the feelings and emotions of that ’relationship/friendship’ came roaring back within me within moments. Until I forced them back down deep again. She’s not Amy, you idiot. So stop acting like you might be standing next to a girl for whom you held a huge, silly online crush. Just load your items on the conveyor and pay and leave so she can do the same.
So, I did. Doing my best to not look up at the cute girl who reminded me of Amy standing right behind my cart skimming her magazine. Sure, I could catch her out of the corner of my eye when I looked at my cart to grab the items. I do have peripheral vision afterall. But no direct looks. Who knows what my eyes and face would give away were I to look at her while thinking of Amy and having all those goofy feelings, emotions and memories welling up inside me. Best not to even put either of us in that situation. So back to finishing with the items, making polite small talk with the POS operator and bagger lady and then wishing them a good day.
I then walk away out the door hoping I gave nothing of my inner thoughts away with my behavior, and yet also hoping I didn’t come across as a cold jackass who looked like he was going out of his way to not pay attention to the miss cute girl-next-door with the long brown hair in the pony tail… who brought back thoughts of Amy…
And it didn’t hit me until I was done loading the groceries into my car and then returning the cart, that she was right behind me in line and I could have seen her walk out the store and caught one last glimpse of her. But, alas, as I scoured the parking lot for her long brown pony tail, she was no where in sight. Probably for the best anyway. In case she did notice my lousy efforts to catch glimpses of her in the store, she would definitely feel weird catching me trying to look at her in the parking lot. I’d rather walk away with her thinking nothing of me rather than her thinking of me as some lunatic stalker.
But on the way home, I was just lost in thought about all of this. Here was my past coming back to affect me with some woman I’ve never met nor ever seen before. I haven’t talked to Amy in years on the phone and not in over a year on e-mail or IM, yet here she is still affecting me in my every day life. Well, not her specifically, but the memory of her.
I also was thrown for a loop by how I felt, albeit momentarily, when standing in line in front of this woman. I know how certain smells and songs can take us back to times in our life. I know there are certain smells that remind me of little league baseball as a kid – which end up making me feel the nervousness I felt when riding to the games. I know there are certain smells that remind me of women I have dated. Certain perfumes or skin lotions send chills down my back sometimes and make me mushy in the stomach, because they take me back to certain relationships with past girlfriends. And, of course, certain songs take me back to many different times in my life and affect me in different ways.
But this was the first time that I was affected in this manner. I wasn’t taken back anywhere. There was no sweet smell to remind me of anyone. It was almost like my body and mind and subconscious were reacting in a way they felt I would react were I in Amy’s presence: calm, confident and innocently attracted to this woman. Yet, it obviously was not her. And it didn’t last. My she’d-never-be-interested-in-you mechanism kicked in after a delay. But, at least for a moment, it happened. I was a different person… or at least, I felt like a different person. A new man. A better man. A confident man. All because of the memory of someone I have never met and being in the presence of a woman I didn’t know.
Then I got to thinking about all that went on with Amy. I really had it bad for her. I know now that it is impossible to fall in love with someone one only knows online and on the phone… really it is only possible to fall in love with the idea you create of whom is the person you’re talking with. You can’t really know someone without actually spending time with them, because you never know if what they are telling you is the complete truth. Trust me, I’ve had plenty of women lie to me about themselves online. Which is why I now trust no one. But, back then, I had not been burned at all and my image of Amy and who she was inside was just wonderful. Her intelligence, her personality, her vulnerability, yet strength, independence and sharp wit and, most importantly, the way she would never back down to me on anything when we debated anything. She challenged me. And I challenged her. Yet at no time did I feel we were belittling each other or disrespecting one another. It was always a respectful debate of ideas and thoughts on topics. And then of course when I would have her beaten on a topic, she would flatter me with saying I was cute when I was upset and flustered. I’d go from completely aggravated to completely jello in her hands.
She seemed to be everything I had wanted in a woman. Well, save for not ever having met her or known what she looked like or spent any time with her, and only creating a vision of whom she was based on what she shared with me… yeah, other than that, she was “perfect”!
That’s what was probably roaming around in my subconscious while standing in line and seeing miss cute girl-next-door. Of course, upon further reflection of all of this, all the facts came back and the romanticizing of the situation went out the window. I started to remember little things that I so admired about Amy, yet made me feel so ashamed of mistakes that I had made in my past, that probably doomed any future I could ever have with a woman like Amy.
You see, she was a virgin and intended to stay that way until she was married. She also had standards like everyone else, but one of them was like a stake to my heart were I vampire: she wanted to marry a virgin. Since I was not a virgin, this meant that no matter how much we got along, how much she may say she ’loves’ me and reciprocates the feelings I have for her, there is nothing I can do to measure up to the man she wants to be with.
At that point, I would be forever ashamed of my past… and myself. And at that point I knew that no matter what my intentions and what my principles and what my morals I had started out with young in life, I had proven to be a weak person and had ruined my future.
And for that, I couldn’t forgive myself. And, after this afternoon’s experience at the grocery store, I realize that I still cannot forgive myself.
I grew up telling myself that I would not have sex until I was married. And I was not ashamed of that position at all. And I wanted to find someone who shared that view. But, not once, but five times I gave in to weakness. (Yes, I actually just went back and counted how many women I have been with in my life. Pretty depressing to remember how many times I have failed.) Each and every time, with each and every woman I resisted temptation. But only at first. When the true test came, after first saying no, I gave in to temptation. I proved myself weak. And no matter what I do now and what I say now or what I have done recently or what I do in the future, nothing will change the weakness of my past.
And that weakness still defines whom I am now. And no matter what I do or say, I cannot change that.
There is no born-again status when it comes to this weakness, especially when I am looking for a woman with certain standards for a man. It doesn’t matter that I have not only held my current standard, but also lived up to it for the past 5+ years, including within a 3 year relationship. If I met a woman tomorrow who wanted a man with morals and principles and who had proven his strength in those morals and principles his entire life, I wouldn’t be that man. 5 different times in the past I have proven my weakness and have proven that I am unfit for this woman. 5 different instances in my life where I just had to be strong so as to be the man she wants and deserves and does not have to ’settle’ for. 5 instances of my life that ruined the future that I wanted. 5 times I allowed myself to be weak, for instant momentary pleasure. 5 instances where my character was tested… and I failed. 5 experiences I can never take back…. and I can never forgive.
And this is why I’ve taken myself out of the dating pool. I can’t forgive myself. All my young life, I have wanted to be the man that my girlfriend and wife deserved. I wanted to be the man she wanted, she desired, of whom she was so proud that she would never speak ill about me… the man she did not have to settle for… in any way: intellectually, financially, emotionally, spiritually or physically.
And I blew that. I can’t claim to be the man she wants and deserves, when I have not been that man my entire life.
Sure, ’we all make mistakes’, some say. But my mistakes continue to haunt me.
I can’t forget them. Or forgive them.
That is pretty much how much of our society is nowadays. From the recent housing situation to our immigration (lack of) enforcement to our abortion laws. Each of these issues came about, because our culture and laws are set up to encourage people to act irresponsibly… and then bail them out to keep them from having to face the consequences.
In essence, we have a culture which is teaching its young that actions do not come with consequences. Brilliant.
I discussed this a bit in the comments section on this post at HotAir: The obligatory “punished with a baby” post
Someone made the comment on a blog I was reading – I think NRO – that we cannot just say “be responsible”, we have to have incentives in place for people to be responsible. This was stated in context with the housing situation. Instead of encouraging people to be responsible, otherwise they are going to lose their house, we are giving away handouts to those who were irresponsible. Thus, we actually have laws which are encouraging irresponsible behavior.
Same issue with illegal immigration. We don’t enforce our laws, so it actually encourages and emboldens illegals to come here, knowing they will just get amnesty and no real punishment.
Aren’t we doing the same thing here with our abortion laws? Aren’t we simply encouraging teens to have promiscuous sex? They are not being punished for their irresponsibility, the same way illegals are not punished and irresponsible house-buyers are not punished. We can’t simply say “be responsible”, there must be some sort of thing in place to encourage the responsible behavior.
But, but saying here’s some condoms and here’s some birth control pills and if that fails, hey just get an abortion, those are incentives to continue the irresponsible behavior.
Just something to think about.
Michael in MI on March 30, 2008 at 3:42 PM
I should have stated here, instead of doing the same as Obama and making the equivalence of pregnancy as a “punishment”, that we need to be teaching that actions have consequences. Promiscuous sex leads to pregnancy. The pregnancy is not a “punishment”, but rather a consequence of actions taken.
So, in essence, our abortion laws and handing out condoms and birth control to teens is teaching them that their actions have no consequences.
Michael in MI on March 30, 2008 at 4:14 PM
You are so right… to follow up on what you are stating here, I believe liberal thinking is very much psychologically rooted in satisfying a need similar to codependent satisfaction.
Almost all liberal policies enable behavior with consequences that would strongly discourage participants from continuing, but then the liberal policy reward kicks in to absolve the participant from the bad consequence, thereby perpetuating the behavior. Add welfare to the list of ills you stated… without welfare, people would be hungry, which is a fantastic motivator to go out and get a job. Without free and unfetttered abortion, people would think twice about having unsafe sex… the list goes on and on and on. ANd the liberals who want to “rescue people form their bad behavior are dependent upon that bad behavior so they can feel good about themselves by doing the rescuing. Just like all the votes for Obama, it makes liberals feel good to elect a man who wants to punish whitey because americans have built such a great society they feel guilty about it. Liberalism really is a mental disorder…I forget who said it, but man it is so true…
JustTruth101 on March 30, 2008 at 4:04 PM
“Many would agree that knocking a teenager out of school for a year or more is too high a price to bring a fetus to term.”
Why is that too high a price? There are plenty of people who go back to school and earn a G.E.D. and then go on to succeed. Are “many” who agree to this saying that killing a baby is a better price to pay than a teenager forgoing her high school years? So she misses some dances and such and earns her GED later. So what? How is hat too high a price to save the life of a baby?
Michael in MI on March 30, 2008 at 3:45 PM
Also, saying a baby=punishment is nothing compared to some discussions I have had with women who have told me proudly that they feel a baby is equivalent to an unwanted disease or a unwanted leech on her body, and thus she has every right to get rid of that leech and/or disease. The fact that diseases are not something one can always prevent, but pregnancies are 100% preventable made not a lick of difference in our discussion.
Michael in MI on March 30, 2008 at 3:48 PM
Also, be sure to see Ed Morrissey’s update:
Update (Ed): I have to add something to this thread. My son & daughter-in-law had our granddaughter, the Little Admiral, when they were 18 years old. None of us ever saw her as a “punishment”, not from God or hormones or the universe in general. While we would obviously have preferred that Mom and Dad had a little more preparation for life, we never thought of the new addition as anything other than a blessing.
How so? We saw our son blossom almost overnight into manhood. He threw himself into his new family. Our daughter-in-law spent most of the pregnancy on an IV, and he learned to install and maintain it for her. They fought their school administrators almost their entire senior year, helped along by their very supportive teachers; they threatened to sic truant officers on my son (who was getting the best grades in his life at the time) until I told the district superintendent that I would be calling every TV station in town to let them know that the administrators were pressuring my DIL to get an abortion.
In May, the Little Admiral turns 6, and my son and DIL will both graduate from college. She’ll be a teacher, while he wants to pursue post-graduate work in math and physics. It’s amazing to see what people can do when they accept blessings in their lives rather than treat new life as a “punishment”.
And be sure to read this great account from a commentor at HotAir:
My wife and I had been married for 3 years before we welcomed our blessing. At the time, I had just finished my PhD and was starting a postdoctoral fellowship in genetics while my wife had been working at Pharmicia and Upjohn for 6 months. We decided to move back to our home state of Michigan because we knew we wanted to start a family. My wife was living and working in Michigan while I finished my thesis. When I did rejoin her, she had been telling me about some weird symptoms she had been having such as craving fruit and vegetables and being repulsed/nauseated by meat and onions. Her mother had told her a few months previous that she was pregnant, but my wife, the strong-headed woman that she is, told her mother that she was crazy.
Around the time of my birthday in February of 2001, I implored her to take a pregnancy test. It was positive. It was sooooo positive that my wife did not believe it so I went to a different pharmacy and bought a different test. Again, positive. We could not have been any happier. We figured that she was at most 3 months pregnant. During the first ultrasound, the technician told us that she was at 27 weeks. Wow. What a shock! The following weekend, we started looking to buy a house. We had planned on buying a house anyway but were living in an apartment on a temporary basis.
Things changed dramatically the following week. My wife had her first visit with the OB/GYN. While she was there the doctor found that her pulse was extremely high and her platelets were low….all signs of pre-eclampsia. The doctor told her to immediately go to the hospital for an emergency C-section. I was in my second week of working at my postdoctoral fellowship (8th day to be specific) when I received a frantic voice message on my cell phone that said, “They have to deliver me tonight. I’m in Kalamazoo at Bronson. Come find me.” The reason for the voice message is that my cell phone did not receive signal in the research building. I left my experiments are sped from Grand Rapids to Kalamazoo.
When I finally arrived, I ran through the hospital until I found the delivery unit. When I gave my name to the nurses behind the desk, they kindly took me to my wife’s run. The perinatalogist was there conducting a few tests. One test, a blood clotting test, was being done. After 5 minutes my wife’s blood was not clotting indicating that she could possibly bleed to death if she tried to maintain the pregnancy. The only choice was to deliver the baby premature (28 weeks gestation). In a little while I was given surgical scrubs and a mask to change into and shown how to scrub my hands and arms. As my wife was being wheeled into the OR, the last words she said to me were, “If it’s a girl, name her Jillian.” Not, “I love you” or anything like that. I chuckled and said, “I love you, too” and gave her a kiss.
After the surgeons had started the C-section, I was brought in to sit between my wife and the incubator that was waiting for our little one. At 8:52 PM we welcomed a 2.2 pound, 14.5 inch long baby into our family. It was not as easy afterwards as is sometimes shown on TV. Our baby had to spend an extra month and half after the delivery in the NICU. The baby had pulmonary hypertension and was on a ventilator for the first few weeks. Slowly things started to improve. Weight was being gained. The ventilator was replaced with a CPAP and finally a nasal canula. We did have several setbacks. The baby was diagnosed with very minor bleeding in the brain. Later, we found out that the baby was diagnosed with a cerebral palsy.
We finally got to welcome our addition to our home (that we purchased while the baby was in the hospital). Since the baby was on oxygen, around-the-clock care was needed. My wife took 3 months FMLA to care for our fragile infant. Once the 3 months was up, it was up to me. I had been making progress on my research, but I told my boss that it was either I work part-time at nights or nothing at all because it was my turn to be the caregiver. For the next 7 months, I cared for our baby during morning (4 AM feedings were rough!), day, and afternoon while my wife worked. Since my wife were for a big, evil pharma, she was our main breadwinner. I would go to work from 5-9PM every evening during the week and work one day on the weekends to keep my experiments moving forward. This is when my caffeine addiction started.
Because of the baby’s medical conditions, we were going to the neonatalogist’s office once every 4 weeks. Because of the slight cerebral palsy, we were going to physical therapy once a week at the hospital and had therapy once a week in our home. Every day I would do stretching exercise with an infant that was stiff as a board. The baby continued to grow and eventually no longer required oxygen. This was great news to us since we could not travel long distances. After the baby was discharged from using oxygen, we traveled to my hometown to visit my grandfather (a WWII Navy vet) who was on his deathbed at a VA hospital. I was so happy to see his smiling face (and tears of joy) when he saw his great grandchild 3 weeks before his death. My grandfather had been suffering for years with congestive heart failure. We were certain he was hanging on long enough to see his great grandchild.
As life goes, it is always changing. Pharmacia and Upjohn, where my wife had worked, was “acquired” by Pfizer. She lost her position with the company. Fortunately, she was able to find a new job…..with Eli Lilly in Indianapolis. So we moved our family here 5 years ago. Life has been good even though we are farther away from our family than we would like. A child has continued to grow. We did notice that there were a few changes that we could not quite figure out. We knew our child was behind other kids of the same age since walking did not happen until almost 2 years of age and talking was limited. Because of the way in which our child entered the world, special services from our school district were provided. A child was able to attend a developmental preschool. Before entering kindergarten, our child was evaluated by a school counselor. The most devastating news was given to us. Our child was diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. Through intensive work with physical and language teachers our child is thriving in first grade with kids of the same age.
I failed to mention that my daughter’s name is Jillian.
Do I consider everything I, my wife and family have been through with Jillian a punishment? Not in the least.
For what was once a bleak future on that cold evening in 2001 has turned into a future of hope and happiness. I could not have been happier when our daughter was wearing a sombrero and eating a sopapilla at Don Pablo’s to celebrate her 7th birthday this past Friday.
Barry O should really choose his words more carefully. This is another reason why I will not vote for this disingenuous SOB.
Dr.Cwac.Cwac on March 30, 2008 at 4:50 PM
While the Left goes out of its way to deny high schoolers the privilege of listening to the heroes from Vets for Freedom, I believe many high schools in California actually encourage their students to skip school to attend war protests and the illegal immigration rallies. If you read the links and watched and listened to the videos in my Vets for Freedom post, contrast that with what the Left considers “heroes” and “patriotic”: Iraq War Fifth Anniversary Protest, San Francisco, March 19, 2008 — Eccentric Is the New Normal
Zombie’s report on the strangeness in San Francisco last March 19 is now online, and it’s mammoth, with page after page of photos and video.
Also, if you want to be even more disgusted with the Left, check out Huffington Post, one of the more popular Leftist websites on the web and their “tribute” to the United States military: HuffPo Dances on Soldiers’ Graves
If you don’t know about Vets for Freedom by now, be sure to check out their website: VetsforFreedom.org
Below, find links to reports from milbloggers and video of the speeches.Vets for Freedom: Report from the Minnesota front
As I promised, I saved this clip for last. David Bellavia is best known for his book House to House, which is his personal account of the war in Anbar. I could not include Pete Hegseth’s introduction of Bellavia, but  Bellavia contributed much, much more than just a memoir to the war effort. The Army awarded him the Bronze Star and Silver Star, and Hegseth warned us that these were just temporary; he’s under consideration for the Medal of Honor for his bravery, which would make him the first living MoH recipient from this war. He went into a house alone where at least six insurgents had his unit pinned down, and the only one to come out alive was Bellavia.
Bellavia continues his efforts to defeat the enemy in Iraq with a stirring presentation, one that at turns was funny, heartwrenching, inspirational, and defiant.
FORT HOOD – Five-year-old Gaven Cox was given one wish to do anything he wanted.
Instead of asking to go to Sea World or to meet Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, Gaven modestly asked for some McDonald’s food. The child’s parents laughed and told him to make another choice.
“He told us he wanted to be an Army soldier,” said Melissa Heminger, Gaven’s mom. “I was a little bit surprised that he asked for McDonald’s, but in reality, he wanted to be a soldier since he was 3.”
Gaven, who is diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, was granted one wish by the Make-A-Wish-Foundation.
Heminger said Gaven’s stepfather was a former soldier and his Army medals fascinated Gaven.
While the Army has age restrictions on how old a person must be to enlist, it decided to make an exception.
Gaven, the nation’s youngest soldier, is from Crandall and was “sworn in” there. Crandall is 27 miles southeast of Dallas.
The 5-year-old and his family arrived at Fort Hood early Thursday morning and were greeted by more than a dozen soldiers. He was wearing a miniature-sized combat uniform. In a few minutes, he was given a Kevlar helmet and dog tags and was promoted from specialist to sergeant.
After his promotion, young Sgt. Cox gave a proper Army salute and was given a mission.
“All right, Sgt. Cox, your mission is to go through that gate, ride a horse and kill five enemies,” said Sgt. Christopher Gaines. “Are you ready?”
His 8-year-old sister Jade shouted, “Let’s get them!”
After defeating the “enemy” on horseback, the country’s youngest soldier got to do what most never get to do: Gaven flew a Longbow helicopter.
Well, sort of.
He was granted access to enter a trailer-sized home that was made for training helicopter pilots.
After being seated in the middle of five large rectangular screens, Gaven put on his helmet, equipped with a radio and a microphone.
Eric Fremming, a retired Army aviator who now teaches soldiers how to fly via simulation, began telling Gaven’s father what was going on.
“Right now, we got (Gaven) flying in Iraq,” Fremming said, while pointing to a 12-inch monitor. “When (Gaven) sees some bad guys, he can start shooting.”
After a few seconds, Fremming points to the screen again.
“Oh, wait. Yup, he’s engaged the enemy,” Fremming said.
The simulated machine gun noise overpowered the training area.
“He’s the youngest soldier I’ve ever trained,” Fremming said. “This is just like flying a $40 million Longbow.”
Yet the simulation was just a taste of what was to come as Gaven got perhaps the best gift the Army could give him: an actual ride in a Black Hawk helicopter.
Yet even with all the fun, Gaven became overwhelmed with activity and collapsed to his knees after finishing an activity. Within seconds, a soldier identified only as Pvt. Isaac picked him up and put him on his shoulders.
“You all right?” Pvt. Isaac asked.
Sgt. Cox nodded.
“Good,” Pvt. Isaac said. “You’re a soldier now.”
Gaven’s disease is a cancer of the white blood cells, which are the cells in the body that fight infections. With ALL, immature white blood cells are overproduced in the bone marrow. This causes damage and death to other cells by overcrowding the other white blood cells and ultimately spreads to other organs.
However, there is an 85 percent success rate of curing the disease in children, according to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Web site.
“He’s been going through some very aggressive therapy,” Heminger said. “But he’s been very strong – I’m having fun, and I think (Gaven) is having fun – it’s nice to forget that he’s sick for a day.”