This post Eric ponders his genealogy as seen in his DNA profile,




English, Irish and Welsh

With a dram or two of Scotts

Make up my DNA


But who are all these others?

Scandinavian I can see

What with the Viking raids and such


Grandma was of French decent

So, those folks

were to be expected


But German –maybe

My genealogy ties to Charlemagne

are real after all


Spain and Italy I knew

But through marriage

So no DNA there

And yet they are hiding in

My genes


Dig deeply and more surprises appear

North African – just a quick swim across the Med

To Spain and Italy



Eastern European Ashkenazic Jew

And West African – who knew


I am a citizen of the world

Hiding in my genes

And the poster child for America


Memorial Day

Memorial Day Memories©
A serious time, yet one that always brings hope….
It seems like yesterday, when but a lad of eleven, twelve and thirteen, back in Union City, PA. I was a junior member of the VFW Post Drum and Bugle Corps, an adventure I shall never forget and always cherish. A time that I learned of wars and of those who fought them and those who remained at home to await the return of their loved ones.
I learned the deepest respect for the old timers and their stories of valor and fear and faith and courage, often in eulogies at graveside. The drums beat cadence, the glockenspiels called the order, and the bugles recalled taps in honor of all who passed in the line of duty, as they have done for time beyond my memory and will, I hope, long after I am gone.
Richard G. Shuster, RandomlyRamblingRick, Memorial Day Memories©
Vietnam Era Veteran, Father of 3 Gulf War Era Veterans
Memorial Day Ramblings©
Memorial Day Weekend-
Please Remember Our Veterans’ On Memorial Day, and every day,
please pause for a moment or two to consider the sacrifices of all Veterans’
who have given freely, so that we all may and may always enjoy our freedom.
As it was their job to defend our freedom, so it becomes our job to honor their memories.
Richard G. Shuster, RandomlyRamblingRick, Memorial Day 2010©
Memorial Day©
Memorial Day, once a time, to commemorate,
those who have fought & died in wars, to keep us great.
Those feelings, now I fear, have greatly weakened,
instead replaced, by America’s love, of the 3 day weekend.
Memorial Day:
Memorial Day for those Veterans that died.
Veterans Day, is for all who have served and are serving yet today.
As you know, Memorial Day commemorates all who died as a result of their service.
As well as those who have died, all other Veterans are remembered and commerated on Veterans Day. In reality, we should never forget our Veterans and every day should be Veterans Day.
Be at peace my friend……

It always seems more comfortable to stir-up somebody else’s ashes, my friend:-)

Resentments in all forms and self-delusions of being able to fix or protect another from anything seem to need to be balanced-out with acceptance through understanding and forgiveness, beginning, first, with ourselves.. and then with others around us…we must eliminate the ego-centric nature we have cultivated and replace it with a love-centered nature..

In a history of hard being better in many ways, we often find not having to battle the windmills of our past, leaves us wondering what we should be battling..letting go and letting be seem foreign to us, yet, if we do not, we do not progress….a dichotomy? perhaps, but one that provides growth through illumination not the damnation of darkness and despair…

Be at peace my friend…..

One Veteran’s Pledge©
When it was my time, I served. My sons served, because I shared with them the value and meaning of serving. I wear the badge of doing the right thing, but also the pain of sending my sons into harms way. Today I can justify that it still is right, but am troubled over the pain my son has and the pain of so many other sons and daughters and the pain of their loved ones, who, like myself, sent them off to war. So, today, I proudly serve our Veterans in the best ways I can. I am an activist for Veterans issues, I honor our standing military and I help with health and well being issues of our Veterans of all Era’s and for the active duty military of today. This is the focus, this is our purpose, this is what we owe to our Veterans.
Richard G. Shuster, RandomlyRamblingRick, One Veteran’s Pledge©
Our Protectors, Our Veterans©
The lives of some known and many not, have touched us. There’s little difference than found in any other war, with caskets holding their bodies, now come home they to rest. They were our protectors, it is their duty they have done, and they did their best, and again, lives of some known and many not, have touched us.
How many times has the “story of stories” been repeated, by millions of families throughout the ages since first spoken? “He gave His only Begotten Son”, rings on and on. May that sacrifice never be forgotten. Likewise, millions of other sons and daughters have been given, as our Protectors, in their service; to God, to country, to family, to community. They, too, gave up their begotten children, their loved ones, for us, for all of us, to never be forgotten. As was His sacrifice, is theirs, our protectors, for the ever living hope of futures bright, we join in humble gratitude, to honor and to comfort all who need.
May our protectors, our veterans, never be forgotten.
In addition to the horrors and ravages of war itself, during each era of our protectors, our veterans, have had to face such issues as we have seen; issues such as radiation, psychedelics, agent orange, chemicals, biological agents and unproven experimental vaccines. It is my belief that it is our ultimate responsibility to do what we can to minimize these types of issues that were unnecessary to have occurred in the first place. We owe our protectors this, too, for all current and future generations.
  If we do not protect our protectors, our veterans, who indeed, will protect them?
The health and well being issues of our protectors, our veterans of all eras and of the reserves, guards, and active duty military of today are real. This should be our focus, this should be our purpose, this should be our commitment, and this is what we owe to our protectors, our veterans.If we do not protect our protectors, our veterans, who indeed will protect us?
Richard G. Shuster, RandomlyRamblingRick, Our Protectors, Our Veterans©
For Our Forgotten Veterans©
For those who served,but were not served in return
we thank you
we salute you
we pray for you
we offer our hand to you…
we pledge you will never be forgotten again.
Richard G. Shuster, RandomlyRamblingRick, For Our Forgotten Veterans©
Inalienable Rights©
Our rights; of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness, are guaranteed by our republic’s honored constitution and enforced by our men and women in the military.
Today’s military will soon be tomorrow’s Veterans, Be there for them today, as they are there for us. Be there for them tomorrow, as they were for us, always.
Richard G. Shuster, RandomlyRamblingRick, Inalienable Rights©
Together We Are Americans©
My eyes are filled and overflow for my sister and my brother.
Though from different clans, we are together in spirit and in pride
and have shared the sacred banner and uniform of freedom,
for those of past we did and do today,
for all those who will follow in the future.
Richard G. Shuster,RandomlyRamblingRick, Together we are Americans©

No not…

This issue Eric Hobson lets us in on some family secrets.


Occasionally I am stopped in restaurants, while shopping or even when filling my car with gas and am asked the same questions by strangers. I reply truthfully: “No, I am not Santa Claus. I am his better-looking younger brother”. We have gathered here today to learn the truth about Mr. Claus. By the way Clause is not our family name. Just as John Wayne was, in real life, Marion Robert Morrison, Santa Claus, of Saint Nicolas for that matter, are just stage names.


Yes the old boy is, as are most of the men in our family, overweight and we do tend to have a fair amount of facial hair that turns white with age. However a Saint he ain’t. Come on, this is a senior citizen who collects lists of all the naughty girls in the world; Really – don’t be so naive.


Speaking of collecting lists; you should know that Claus Inc. is the owner/operator of the largest database in the world. Yes you heard me correctly the largest database in the world – Google, Facebook and The National Security Agency are wholly owned subsidiaries of Claus Inc.


Claus Inc. saw years ago that computerization was the way to go and provided the seed money for the development of the first finically successful data base software (dBase, for those of you old enough to remember). Since then the company has been in the forefront of most storage/retrieval software used today – yep that includes ‘The Cloud’.


Another little known fact is that Claus Inc. is indirectly responsible for much of global warming. Those of you who are familiar with computers know that even today one of the biggest problems with computers is heat and in the past this was a Huge problem. Why do you think the Arctic ice is melting so quickly? It’s not because of an overpopulation of polar bears, reindeer or musk ox! Between the power plants required to run such a large enterprise and the heat generated by a server farm the size of Manhattan, well you can see the problem.


And speaking or reindeer let me tell you about Rudolph and company. There has been a lot of discussion on social media about Rudolph and the rest being girls – not so. Like most deer reindeer do loose their antlers yearly. The females keep theirs through most of the winter to help with foraging and defending their calves. Adult males loose their antlers soon after the rut season. So, what about the 8 or 9 tiny reindeer of Santa’s? Juvenile males tend to keep antlers until deep into winter. My Bro. uses only juvenile males to pull his sleigh (besides they work cheaper). But, you say Donner and Blitzen have been around for years, surely they must be adult. The deer names are a copy write owned by Claus Inc. and new juvenile males hired for each season. This is sort of like the twelve or so Lassie dogs that have been in so many movies and on TV.


Another reason that only juvenile deer are used on sleigh duty is that it is only the young males that can fly. Flying ability turns out to be a double recessive gene. Each year tryouts are held for the positions. The DNA of reindeer has yet to be successfully decoded. So, the old way is still the only way to find out which can fly. The young males are taken up onto an ice cliff and thrown off – sort of like learning to swim by being tossed into the deep end of the pool. Since flight is a rare gene and only in males this can be a harsh day at the North Pole. Lets just say that there are a lot of workers in the sweat – No – make that workshop and venison is a favorite meal.


Finally, there is always a lot of discussion given to the time limits and the number of children the old man has to deliver to, how is such a thing possible. I am truly surprised that more of you haven’t stumbled onto the most obvious answer. It’s been right before your eyes for decades now. Our cousins have made a good living playing Dr. Who on BBC television. Yes we are a family of ‘Time Lords’. My Bro. even got a cameo on a recent episode.




Santa’s (tell all) younger brother


The author

Treasure Boxes

Once again Rick Shuster presents a thought provoking piece.


Treasure Boxes

Treasure Boxes are fun and sad and often filled with marvelous items, the kind mostly of which memories are made. A photo of that most special person in your life, a lock of hair from a child or was it a long ago sweetheart, a broach that was Great Grandmas’, the one with the pin missing; one baby shoe, the other got lost in a move long ago, a pocket/purse bible, with now hard to read, almost scribbling, a fervent prayer written inside the back cover, when a child was ill and hope was stretched beyond it’s limits. A poem from a friend that always brought a smile, an old coin, from some far away land, a child written note that had I love you scrawled across it, an obituary yellowed with age, someone you don’t know, wonder who that was? An embroidered handkerchief only used to dry up tears. And what’s this in the bottom?, another photo, I wonder who it is, I’m sure it’s someone special, oh look, it is my picture, excuse me please, I need to cry, I wish I didn’t cry like this, but I miss her so much, especially today, you see, I’ve been going through the Treasure Box.

Veterans Day Fortitude

Veterans Day Fortitude

Barry Peterson

If indeed we are free today because of our military might, then what shall we do with our freedom? Often on this day it seems that the only legitimate response is to celebrate that war is worth it and that those who fight are worth esteeming. I think we have to be careful though. I think this is the critical place where I bump into the apparent consensus of today’s celebration.


Will we reinforce the same patterns which perpetuate more of the same? Or will we seek new ways of being which will hasten the end of wars? We do not honor our veterans by holding the same tired mental patterns that ensure we will need to one day deploy my own sons and daughters to combat. I think the solution lies in applying the noble spirit of the warriors we esteem to the resolute creation of new ways.


Let me be crystal clear about what I honor today. I honor those who eradicated past evils. I honor the principles expressed through their valiant deeds, even if they faltered, even if their expression was imperfect or impure. These principles include courage; taking action based upon principle; doing one’s duty; selfless giving. Today is about connecting with how fortunate we are, as a people, to have an institution that is built upon these virtues, which inculcates these values into their members, into our culture. On this day, we celebrate these ideals and those who have strived to realize them in their lives. On this day, I attempt to connect with these qualities and apply them to my own life. To me, that is the highest honor I can pay to our lineage of veterans, even when my own attempts are ineffective or inelegant.


Here we gather to honor the men and women who are currently fighting and have fought for us.


Here we stand, ninety-six years after the Armistice was signed to end that war to end all wars.


Here we stand, one century after the start of the war to end all wars. In the middle of another war. Another handful of wars?


Will it ever end? Will we ever see the end of war?

Is it possible that the way we think and what we honor on Veterans Day will influence whether or not we will ever get back to the post-World War I sentiment, no more war? I think so.


So, rather than entertaining the idea that war is worth it, today I want to rewind back to 1918 to reconsider the premise we already know, deep down in our hearts. Even though recent human history is plagued by it, there is an underlying unreality about war which indicates its unsustainability. Although we have known war, we also enjoy a primal knowing that all destructive, dark entities eventually collapse. I am absolutely convinced that one day war will end, even though you and I may not see that day in our lifetimes.


War is a product of mankind. Just like every other incredible invention, war will fade away when it has no value, no purpose. We are not ready for war’s end yet. If we were, then war would not be our reality. We can still work toward its end though.


Our thoughts and intentions attract war into our lives. If an individual has attracted war into his or her life, then it has value for that person. Period.


Similarly, there are a myriad of ways that we all relate to war. Your particular relationship with war has value for you. Period.


That’s all we can know for sure.


Perhaps Veterans Day is less about expecting all Americans to celebrate this day in the same way? Perhaps Veterans Day is more a special moment, both in Europe and in the United States of America, where we collectively hold the space for each person to consider individually what war means to him or her. Veterans Day gives us an annual pause, to consider fresh relationships both with war and with peace. War is a mirror into our hearts. In this way, war is a blessing because its reflection helps us to better know ourselves.


After moments of reflection, some people will still be unsure. Some will resolve to fight the next war. Some will turn their attention to the war with their own inner demons and inner terrorists.


Different outcomes perhaps. Yet on this particular day at least, we can walk down our own unique but equivalent paths with our heads high and our hearts pounding to the beat of the same drummer, the drumbeat of fortitude, which pounds ceaselessly the message that courage indeed never quits.


For me, Veterans Day is a celebration of fortitude.


For me, I see an order in the outer world that responds to my inner world. Seeking peace through war is a realistic though imperfect venture, because acts are preceded by thoughts, and the thoughts of attack and defense linger after the acts of war cease. As long as their residue is in my heart, I know only a shallow experience of real peace.


You might think I’m crazy, and you might be right. With the awareness of the Islamic State’s brutal tactics and menacing growth, I feel insane to suggest that one day we will refuse to rely on our military to keep us safe. When I imagine the raw fear of being captured and forced to don an orange jump-suit, the louder voice inside says I am a fool. This voice of reason knocks me down again. Though I aspire to one day courageously break my sword, unlock my doors and embrace the one I saw once as an enemy, I fall wildly short of that ideal every day.


Similarly, I know that every veteran is not perfect. When we, as a nation, categorically label them all as heroes, our good intentions bump up against an inner resistance rooted in two unspoken realities. As a grateful society, without recognizing these realities, we risk demeaning the true value of every service member and veteran. First, we risk trapping our veterans in silence, because below the fanfare, I know that I did things and held attitudes which do not fit into the shape of a hero. Second, doing one’s duty without recognition is the core of the martial ethos, is the core of what we respect about heroes.

This core value is not so much about what they did or did not do. It is really not about the perfection of their acts. It is about the fact that they did those acts again and again, when the American civilians called them: it is about fortitude.


The fact is we all fall short of the ideals we set for ourselves. The question is this: what do we do after we fall? The hero gets back up.


So, in their spirit of fortitude, on this day, I will stand up, again, for what is right for me, in my heart. Even if our causes differ, I encourage and respect you for doing the same.


BarryPeterson has been involved with the Northern Nevada Veterans Writing project since its inception as writer, mentor and friend. He is a West Point alumnus and instructor who teaches courses in genocide, the Vietnam War and nonviolence at the University of Nevada, Reno. Peterson has observed life from diverse perspectives, beginning his career in the military as an infantry officer.

Mom of an American Airman

Today we are treated to a different perspective from a new writer to our group. Karen Enslin is the mother of Elyssa Enslin who currently serves with the 152nd Security Forces Squadron and also their Key Volunteer, reaching out to the families of the airmen on an as needed basis acting as a liaison between the families, command and the resources that are offered to the families. Karen and her family have been in the Nevada area since 2012 and a part of the 152nd for the same.


As a single mother of two young ladies I have always thought that I had two choices. Try to control them and tell them what was best or try to listen and learn from them and learn enough about them so I could point them in the right direction of a happy, productive life. The reason you are reading this article is because I am the mom of an American Airman. My daughter, Elyssa, is a member of the 152nd Security Forces Squadron and currently deployed. That is quite a sentence right there. I say it to myself all the time. Most frequently when she is telling me of an exercise that her and LT, Nokolibby, Pitts or countless other last names, abbreviations or acronyms are running that night. I dare say that I have grown to know these people by the same abbreviations, last names and acronyms that she refers to them by.   Other times I say it out loud just to make it real. Yes, Elyssa did choose to join the military and yes, she did choose this job but most importantly yes, she does truly love her job.


What we didn’t tell her recruiter is that when Elyssa enlisted, the family enlisted as well. I became hyper sensitive to all things military and found out just how little my daughter was willing to share with me about her military life. In the little that Elyssa would share I found myself quite confused. Not knowing military ways, etiquette or language. Again, I had to make a choice to find the answers and acclimate myself to this type of lifestyle or stay in the unknown. I chose to find out as much as a civilian possibly could. I was lucky enough to meet one of the men she spoke so highly of and his wife at a retirement party. I could instantly see why Elyssa would want to do her best for him. He had a great sense of humor, very approachable and maybe even a little surprised that Elyssa was with her mom but I instantly felt welcome. I met his wife as well and had the opportunity to share some of my concerns with her. She almost instantly mentioned being a Key Volunteer for the 152nd and maybe even Elyssa’s squadron. I was thrilled to accommodate her invitation to the upcoming meeting.


I distinctly remember the first meeting that I attended. I was very nervous and quite intimidated by the rank and titles that were introducing themselves and I also remember asking myself what my title was when it very simply was and is, “Mom”. Once my title was disclosed I was pleasantly surprised at how welcomed I was here too! I have attended as many meetings as possible for many reasons. First and foremost I thoroughly enjoy being a support system for our airmen and their families. The facts and services that are available to the families are truly too much for one person to know about but, finding out who will have the answers for the airmen and their families is key. Since Elyssa has been deployed I find comfort in being around the uniform, being around the people that have maybe already been there and the countless poor souls that have let me bend their ear with my plethora of questions. I am not so sure that I would be as comfortable with my questions if I wasn’t a key volunteer. I have had the opportunity to share with other parents their worry and pride for the children. When my daughter first left for her destination I did what I think most parents do. They become hyper productive, start a dozen or so odd jobs and paste a smile on their face when truly they are dying inside because they would rather take the place of their “baby” then to see them go. Then as you are reaching out to everyone to ask if they are ok or if they need help you get a phone call from someone asking you if you are ok… it becomes very personal, very quickly. In that moment that you realize that maybe that is just what you needed was for someone from the base, that your daughter, son, sister, brother, mother and or father calls his or her second home, cares if you are ok. When I got this call I was told something that ironically I hadn’t thought of. I was told that when I get nervous or scared for Elyssa to remember how well she has been trained for this and just as quickly as the tears and fear started, they stopped. There have since been times where I have had to pull these words back into my mind and find peace there. Ironically, the same place that I have agreed to be strong and informative and helpful to is the same place that has given me strength, kept me informed and helped me cope with the separation. I would love to thank all the Airmen that have willingly agreed to leave their families to ultimately protect our borders and the families that have stayed behind to clear the way for our airmen to keep their mind on the mission and the mission on their mind.



Winter Memory

Luana J. Ritch served on Active Duty with the US Army from 1977-1981, including a year deployment to Korea. She retired from the Army Reserve in 2005. She has participated in all sessions of the NNVWP since 2011. She writes about PTSD, military sexual trauma and everyday recovery.

Winter Memory

Luana Ritch

A white blanket of pure cold,

Covering a field in unmolested beauty.

Ice crystals cling to wire fences

Hiding sharp metal barbs, biting the cold.

Brilliant peaks,

Heavy with snow and ice.

Slopes of green Ponderosa pine

Draped in white flocking.

Frigid winds form curtains of icy powder.

Breath freezes into white streams

Matching trails of smoke rising,

From chimneys of distant homes.

Morning silence is broken

By the crunch and slosh of feet

In semi-frozen dirty white slush

Feet numb, Hands sting.

Moisture from my breath is ice on my lip.

Suddenly, I see steam rising,

Corrugated tin of old Quonset huts.

Ice hangs in long frozen fingers from the wire

Running along a small winding Korean road.

I’m shivering in that pre-death of hypothermia.

No heater hoses leading

From a box of empty promises,

Sitting between the seats of my jeep.

Ice, packed down by traffic,

Now several inches thick,

Makes a slippery silver path.

My jeep slides out of the village.

I recall a whooping hillbilly laugh

From the Motor Sergeant as

I ask for heater hoses.

A tree branch breaks from its load.

Snapping my mind back.

Another Nevada Winter.

Finally, tire chains on my car.

One last glance at the field

Sparkling diamonds,

In the ice of winter.


A Good start to the New Year

Rick and Jo are todays contributors – Rick with his sly humor remind us of our resolution failings. Then Jo Meecham has a short piece she entered into a 95 words or less story competition.


New Year 2016 New Year Resolution #1

With great resolve, it is resolved, resolvent action, to be taken.
No more resolutions made, when known, we’re going to break ’em.

Randomly rambling Rich Shuster



Jo Meacham

I ran in the desert so I could test my new dog, Molly, off leash. Molly took off without listening, utterly failing the test. Sensing no danger to the dog, I ran ahead. I thought about my recent deployment and how this desert reminds me of Afghanistan. It bothers me that women there still need protection from bad men. Lost in my thoughts, I did not notice the bad man lurking. He attacked me and met an untimely death. Molly passed the ultimate test! I vowed to send a Rottweiler to every woman inAfghanistan.


Wishing all a peaceful New Year

On Christmas Eve

On this day before Christmas Randomly Rambling Rick Shuster has some thoughts about the season.


Across many miles, it’s time again to remember, our loved family and friends
with deep prayers and sweet thoughts, as over life’s roadways we wend.
To those closer by and others we’ve enjoyed being with, during this past year,
and to those afar, but ever close to our hearts, all, we always hold dear.
This is the Christmas season, a time to remember the greatest gift
ever given, to all of mankind. The miracle of miracles; Jesus Christ,
the literal God in human form was conceived and born of a virgin.
Please join us in giving all Praise to Him, today and everyday.
December and Thoughts for the Holidays©
Busy streets with twinkling lights glistening on the snow
can not match a child’s anticipation, with eyes all aglow.
As Christmas nears, time moves slow, with slumber hard to find.
Hoping for good deeds remembered, all others left behind.
Houses cheery, with decorations on display.
People looking forward, to the coming Christmas day.
The cards and letters mailed and shopping nearly done.
The Holiday, upon us soon, a time for family fun.
People all-over begin holiday travel,
and last minute shoppers begin to unravel.
Miles to be covered and gifts to be wrapped,
resolved last year, never again would be trapped.
If this sounds all too familiar, to many it might,
know you’re in good company, come Christmas night.
Merry Christmas, With love, joy, peace and goodwill to man,
sounds very much like a worthwhile plan.

Hanakah Thoughts

This week Rick and Eric share some thoughts on this first day of Hanukah.


May your candles burn brightly,

May your love for G-D warm your hearts and home.

May joy and peace be your daily reward.

Random Rambling Rick Shuster


Always fight for right

The Ancient Maccabees teach us

Freedom is never free



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