Thursday, July 22, 2004

FAREWELL
Some of you know that I have been pondering for some time now whether I would continue blogging after Patti’s return.  I’ve been leaning toward the cessation of my online opining – however it is only recently that I’ve solidified the decision. 
 
I’ve decided to retire from the website business…and I am finally able to articulate to myself several reasons why.  Let me share some of these with you.
 
My mission is accomplished.  It was accomplished the day Patti returned home.  She and I began her site as she was preparing to deploy figuring it would be an easier way to keep our families informed of news of her.  That was before we learned there would be weeks with no contact, hence no news .  So I began to fill in the blanks with news items I could find on my own around the Internet.
 
Then COL Mike Tucker, the commander under whom the 1st Brigade originally deployed came to Friedberg and spoke with the family members.  He convinced me that the press was giving us only the bad news…and thus was born the raison d’etre under which this site has operated ever since.  Root out the positive developments in Iraq and the global war on terror and, where appropriate, offer a military perspective translated for those who don’t speak “Army”.  Oh…and on certain occasions throw in my own opinions free of charge.
 
It was a niche angle for a niche market.  And I don’t know all of the few hundred regular-to-daily readers but the common element among those I know is that most of you are personally invested in this war…you have a loved one who has been down range doing the dangerous heavy lifting on behalf of the nation. You have been the core of the niche market.
 
I know many of your loved ones are in the 1st Armored Division…and I trust they are home or en route and we can get on with the business of living our lives, cherishing our returned soldiers, and relearning, perhaps, to sleep without one eye open.
 
So…Patti is home – Praise the Lord – and I no longer have the essential motivation to spend hours everyday sifting through hundreds of negative headlines to find the positive nuggets.  And if I’m not going to do it well, then I’m not going to do it at all.
 
The site also served as my own bit of therapy.  But my darling wife is home now…I’ll take my therapy in the sunshine of that amazing smile and her uncanny ability to push back the frontier of sweetness every day.
 
But there are a few more reasons I feel compelled to stop.  You can agree, or not.
 
Back in June Sarah had an incident in which a posting on her blog caught the eye of someone who apparently sits among the blogging pantheon to those who lean (or lunge) left.  As a result of this notice, her site was deluged with comments from those who didn’t like what she had to say.  In between the occasional lucid argument were numerous scathing personal attacks and filthy epithets hurled at her simply because she stated her opinion.
 
I’ve not had that problem on this site…in part, I believe, because for the most part the message has been simple: here is good news from Iraq that you aren’t seeing in most news outlets.
 
However, since I’ve already confessed that my mission is accomplished and I no longer have the inclination to do the daily good news search…the danger exists that this would become a site dedicated to my opinion.
 
And I have several problems with that, not least of which is that Patti’s good name doesn’t need to be associated with my opinions as I try to sort out what is what in this world.
 
But larger than that it may be that I’m a product of my generation and breeding: I’m a forty-something Southerner, raised a Southern Baptist.  And back when I was growing up there in South Carolina it was a widely respected view that we don’t discuss politics or religion in what we Southerners refer to as “polite company”.
 
See…being polite still carries some sway with many of us who hail from Dixie.
 
And while reflecting on why folks would write such nasty things to Sarah on her website, I concluded that the anonymity of the Internet contributes greatly to such behavior.
 
But in an honest discussion with myself I found an incongruity in faulting some for such rude behavior when in fact an opinion blog is, by my standards, very likely crosses that line that separates polite company from the steely edge of politics, religion and other subjects likely to result in argument.
 
In short, I found that if I were speaking publicly to the same numbers of folks who visit this site daily, well, frankly, I would be more circumspect about expressing my opinion.  In short, the anonymity of the Internet has allowed me to cross the line of decorum set by years of successful tradition by my forebears.  And I’m not convinced – ultimately - that is a good thing.
 
I’ve titled many posts here over the last year some variation of “The Death of Civility”.  Each of those posts indicated to me that the lines of individual restraint that collectively support the smooth functioning of society are being eroded at a rate that I believe over-values the individual and undervalues the traditions and mores of civilization. 
 
In being honest with myself I know that by hiding behind the Internet and discussing politics, religion and societal problems I am breaking with the values I was raised with.  Especially with the steady readers whose names I know off the top of my head…for you, above all, are “polite company”.
 
A technological advancement should not be an excuse to forget one’s manners.  Shouldn’t be, but frequently is.  Some among us haven’t yet figured out that one’s cell phone conversation should not intrude on another’s ears anymore than routine table chatter.  And why someone’s car alarm should awaken me in the wee hours of the morning requires a logic that defies simple, common courtesy.  The failings of some to apply tried and true manners to new technology does not excuse those of us with the vision to see the old rules need to apply still.
 
So…I am correcting a mistake, now that I recognize it.  I’m stuffing my opinions back into my pocket and I’m renewing my efforts to enhance the daily personal exchanges I have with others along the lines of good manners and the tenets of a civility.  I’m making an attempt in my life to extricate myself from the shrill shouting back and forth, and I intend to re-center myself in a land of genteel approach.
 
A website I use to track links to the site indicates that its software is tracking over three million blogs today.  That number has grown by nearly a million in less than a year.  My departure will not appreciably affect the blogosphere in any way.  And my return to the practices of the values of my heritage will do little to affect the balance or direction of manners and politeness in this world.  But it will have a large affect on the world Patti and I live in.  I’m doing what I can to make it better.
 
Finally, I’m going to borrow a phrase from Naomi Judd and “Resign as general manager of the universe.”
 
Patti and I have fourteen months of stressful separation to overcome.  We have a home and a relationship to rebuild, and we have immeasurable thanks to return to Him, by whose hand Patti has returned safe and whole.  There is much on which I need to focus.  Moreover, I need to be fully present in the real world.  So…I’m pulling up the stakes in cyberspace and replanting my feet squarely in The America I Live In.
 
I’m grateful to those of you with whom I’ve walked the last fourteen months.  Many wrote to encourage, some wrote to praise and others wrote to politely challenge.  Some shared photos, others joy, and a few, tragedy.  You filled the vast loneliness of a tiny apartment, and some of us formed an odd little 21st century family, brought together by a common event. Thank you for being my friend.  Thank you for sharing with me.  I wish you well.  I wish you joy.
 


32 comments:

Tammi said...

While you will be missed, I completely understand your decision, and find my respect for you has grown even more.

THANK YOU for taking the time to share the good news with us and allowing us to go through this past 14 months with you. And thank you for saying good bye, not everyone would have taken the time.

My prayers are with you and Patti as you start this new leg in the journey. May his blessing continue to shine on you.

Dang, I hate good byes. Even cyber ones. God Speed Tim.

Quality Weenie said...

I loved your website, a nice place to come and find the positives in todays world.

You will be missed by a lot of people.

May God bless you and Cpt Patti throughout your lives.

Toni said...

Well Tim I am not surprised by your decision. I kind of figured this would be the direction you would take and can't say I blame you. You and Patti have a lot of living to make up and there are more important things in life than maintaining a blog. Good Luck and Happy Life to you and Patti and thank you for all the ups you gave me in some dark and troubling times. You did make a difference. Toni

Anonymous said...

Wait, your taking away one of my crutches. No, but it feels like it. Sorry to see you close shop but it is a decision we all must respect.

I will never forget you, what you did for all of us and the impact your strength had on this time in my life.

Although we never met, it feels like I am saying good bye to good friends. May all your dreams come true.

Thank you. Scott Holmes

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed reading your blog over the past few months, I too have a loved one with 1st Armored and checking in with you became part of my daily routine, that helped me feel less lonely and for that I thank you. I wish you and your beautiful wife all the best. Cherish every moment together. Take care!

Anonymous said...

Dear Tim & Capt. Patti,

I am so happy for you that the end of this long journey has come. Now you can start on a new journey…together, this time, Thank the Lord!

My own journey will be ending soon. My son is to arrive in Germany tonight after 16 long months of deployment. He will then be on his way home to Maryland for a well deserved leave.

The past year has been very frightening and trying for us all. You helped so many people get through those times. You helped me to retain my sanity (although some may question that). I can never fully put into words what your website has done for me. And I am sure that I am not alone. Many people have come to rely on your postings. We are all saying good bye to an old friend.

May the two of you have a happy, long (and deployment free) life together! And thank you both for your dedication and service to us all!

Cathy

Anonymous said...

Tim:

You don't know me - I'm just a girl in Seattle who left an anonymous comment here and there. I know a few people who have relatives in the military but I am probably not who you would consider to be personally invested in this war, outside of the fact that I love our country and respect our troops and want them all to be as safe as possible. I originally came here because I thought the role reversal here was interesting - a man left to maintain the homefront. Over the months, I came to respect you and your part in this war and I have enjoyed your writings and news clippings.

I wanted to say thank you for doing this. I wish you'd keep going but I understand your reasons, being a former Southerner myself.

I imagine that during this time, with your wife away and while you were doing your best to be positive and offer positive messages on this blog, you surely must have been dealing with all manner of grueling emotions that I can't even guess at. I guess I just wanted to say that I hope I helped you, too, in some small way. I hope that having this audience helped you during a difficult time. I know that you helped me.

Thank you for taking the time to say good-bye and for letting us say good-bye to you two. I'll miss this quiet little corner of the web. I'll probably always wonder what happened to you both and when I do, I'll say a little prayer that you're still happy and healthy and still so crazy in love.

Best of everything to you both,
C

Juliette said...

Godspeed to both of you!

andrew said...

Tim, I was afraid this would happen, after all CPT Patti is back and the reason for the blog is over. You will be missed and if I may be so bold, ask that you consider starting a new blog and publish your opinions. Or if that is too much work, we'd love to have to publish at our blog (http://kawfeadikt.blogspot.com/). I know shameless plug but the offer is real but expect you have much better things to do with your time.

My God continue to bless you both and keep you close after being apart. We (your readers) will miss you but we also understand and support you.

David said...

Tim - a great run! You did well. You have had a positive effect on people you will never know.

Have a beer. (And give Patti a hug for me)

Anonymous said...

Tim & Patti,
I found your blog by chance - a small window into your day,
I read it with an open mind - staying above the fray,
I cried when I read things that touched me, other things made me smile,
And all the time I wondered - could I be so brave all this while?
See I have no family to speak of - that are brave enough to serve,
And although I have a big heart - I just never had the nerve,
I'm a basic regular American - but one difference makes me true,
I'm truly happy your giving this thing up - and spending time on YOU!

Thanks for your service (both of you) to our country, our souls and our hearts. I will miss you and hope that in time - you come back to give us an update!

Take care
Kathleen-New Jersey

Rob said...

Farewell!

Anonymous said...

One of the many who has enjoyed your blog. Thanks for all the information. You obviously have a wonderful relationship and I hope all goes well. Best wishes to you both.

Anonymous said...

Good luck, Patti and Tim! Thanks for letting us look in to your lives while Patti was in Iraq. I enjoyed reading your blog very much, but am happy Patti has returned home safely.

Robin in Ohio

Anonymous said...

Tim & CPT Patti,

It's been a daily pleasure to access your site, I also enjoyed our exchange of opinions! I too, saw this coming and am fully supportive of your decision.

I am sure CPT Patti has experienced first hand the following and unsolicited gestures from strangers as you were coming home. We were picking up our son last night at O'Hare airport. He was in his civilian cloth. I, my wife, and my duaghter were waving the Old Glory as he came down the escalator. Several businessmen around him noticed us and asked him what was the occasion. He said nonchalantly that he just came back from Iraq via Frnakfurt. All of them shook his hand and thaked him for his service.

Wow, I was proud, touched, and amazed!

John
Dad of 1AD Newly Promoted SPC (from PFC)

Anonymous said...

Welcome home CPT Patti!! God Bless you and your wonderful husband as you rebuild your lives together.

Your service to our nation is greatly appreciated. Please express gratitude for selfless and honorable service to your unit mates from this retired soldier (I served 3 years in the 1st AD in the mid-90's).

God Bless America!

Anonymous said...

Tim and Cpt.Patti-- I expected this to come to a close. I posted anonymously from time to time, always brightened or enlightened by your posts. You made my marriage better by living an example of maturity and perspective. I used to get grumbly, then here a guy whose wife if gone is showing me just how little petty things are and I learned to let them roll. My non-military husband is a lot like you describe yourself, Tim. I hope to be the kind of lady that Patti is as he treats me as well as you treat her, only he treats me *in spite of how I am*, not because I deserve his sweetness!

I wish you the very best that life has to offer.

Thank you for sharing such a part of your lives with us.

Carla said...

Thank you. You'll be missed.

Pat said...

Taken from songs: It's so nice to have had this time together.And thanks for the Memories. May the good Lord bless and keep you whether near or far away
My love and prayers go with.
Mom

Frank said...

Tim, did I hear a little Load Out?

Now the seats are all empty
Let the roadies take the stage
Pack it up and tear it down
They're the first to come and last to leave
Working for that minimum wage
They'll set it up in another town
Tonight the people were so fine
They waited there in line
And when they got up on their feet they made the show
And that was sweet--
But I can hear the sound
Of slamming doors and folding chairs
And that's a sound they'll never know......


.......But the band's on the bus
And they're waiting to go
We've got to drive all night and do a show in Chicago
or Detroit, I don't know
We do so many shows in a row
And these towns all look the same
We just pass the time in our hotel rooms
And wander 'round backstage
Till those lights come up and we hear that crowd

And we remember why we came

I think you know why you kept the journal. You have explained that well. But maybe you didn't know "why we came".

We came seeking a bit of understanding... and you gave it. We came seeking "news" of someone we knew and you gave it. We came seeking a connection, because really it was the only thing we could do...and we got it. We came to be amused, amazed and consoled. We came because we wanted to support Patti and all the others, and you allowed us to do so.

We will not forget those whose time is not over, thanks to you and your blog.

... but for you, the roadies have come for the piano.

Anonymous said...

All trails come to a fork sooner or later. I've enjoyed riding with you.

Cheers... homebru

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for your efforts on our behalf - you are two people who contributed so much to so many; thank heaven for both of you.

We will miss hearing from and of you - this is an odd cyborg world isn't it, where you form a "friendship" of sorts with someone you've never met? We agree with the need to return to some civility and unity in our country at times, no matter what the difference in views - it is depressing sometimes to see how vitriolic it all gets - especially lately - it doesn't really seem to be relegated to the blog world either, as one watches the news [now where are we going to go for news? Perish the thought we go back to watching! :-) ]

We will continue to read about our soldiers, and send prayers and packages their way (even though we don't have family or even close friends serving at the moment), and will always hope for you our family motto (to borrow a phrase) to "live well, laugh often and love much". Godspeed and God Bless

Your Police Family in the Heartland

Anonymous said...

Your efforts leant themself to bolster the "Pride of Dixie." God bless you & Cpt Patti!

SzaffireBlue aka NewKidOntheBlog

Anonymous said...

Dear Tim,
I've been a regular reader for months so I'm disappointed but not at all surprised at your decision. I don't have any relatives or close friends in the military, and it's been interesting to see your perspective on the news. I'll miss your insights. I think you and I both live in the same America ;-)

God bless you and Patti.

Sue in Ohio

Jack in TX said...

Tim and Patti-

Goodbye. God Bless. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, to both of you, for all your sacrifices.

I wish you both ..peace.

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for the months of the blog.

The best to you and the Cpt., and to all that you
both hold dear.

Anonymous said...

Wow. Thank you for all the light you've brought to us these past months, you will be sorely missed. You were one of my indispensible daily reads for months, and you've both been daily in my prayers. Thanks also to CPT Patti for her service to this country, and may God continue to bless and keep you both.

Katy in Ohio

Beth said...

Tim,
It's hard for me to say goodbye to you.The road we have walked the last 15 months would have been so much more lonely and bumpy without you there to encourage and cheer me on, and I hope somehow I did a little bit of cheering you on too. Someday when I am old and my grandchildren are grown and were sitting in the swing on the porch, I will share these memories with them.
I'll drag out the old footlocker filled with all the keepsakes that I've saved while Ryan was in Iraq and I'll let them read the encouraging words you wrote to me and the things you did for me and my family, and I'll explain how God Blessed me by leading me to you.. May God continue to bless you and Patti and may all your hearts desires be granted.
And come visit us here in God's country, TEXAS......
Proud Army Mom 1AD.............

Patti said...

NO NO NO NO...I can see not blogging daily but you could come in once or twice a year. This is a piece of history that needs to be kept alive. Please stay.
Your support and insight has been invaluable to me,
Patti Bader

Anonymous said...

Tim !!!!! We miss you !!! Have a 6 month break and then reconsider....o.k.??? Barbara, Lutz Patriots

Other Dave said...

I see some down time, and a new BLOG in your future. If you're headed through Charlotte ever, you have a bed, a hot meal, and cold beer whenever.

Out