Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Tuesday Tidbits

So nothing throws off co-workers like wearing clothes that you don't normally wear to the office. Our dress code is business casual, although many of them take a lot of liberties with the things they wear. I've resorted to wearing nice shirts with jeans, so when I showed up today in a shirt and tie with slacks, it was noticed. Quite a bit, actually, as I fielded a lot of questions about whether I had a job interview or not.

Uh, OK, so apparently, I need to dress up more just to mess with people. I mean, I like to wear nice clothes, but since I don't work face to face with customers and I'm in a secure area of the bank, nobody really sees what I wear and I hadn't thought about it much. But I had a good reason for my choice of clothing, as I attended General Timber Howie's service this morning at Willamette National Cemetary in Happy Valley. He served in the military, and so the funeral was done with full military honors.

And since Memorial Day was yesterday, the cemetary was in full decoration as girl and I drove up. Every grave stone had a small American flag on it, and there were flowers and larger flags all over the place in honor of the fallen, and it was quite a sight to see rows and rows of flags as far as the eye can see. While I'm not a military person myself as mentioned in my last blog, I am patriotic and love seeing the flag displayed and I do sing our anthem as much as possible. I think it's great to show pride for your country, even if you don't personally agree with the direction it is taking. But since the new administration has come in, I'm feeling a lot more optimistic about our future, and optimistic that many of the people enlisting in the military won't end up being honored at the cemetary before their time.

There was at least 80 people waiting for the service, many of the Timbers Army present and many of Howie's coworkers and some family there. It was great to see many of my friends there, dressed up for the occassion, and while it was very solemn in some of the tone, it was still interested to see the pagentry of a military funeral. The gun salute and the playing of Taps was something I'd seen in movies and television, but to see it live was rather moving. And then the flag presentation was truly a sight, as the soldiers unfolded and refolded the flag in precision before presenting it to Howie's sister. It was true pagentry, and something that I was moved by, the precision of the moves, the deliberate motions, it was a sight to behold. A chaplin said a few words which were nice, and then Drumman shared a few Howie stories that put a smile on our faces. But as we left, I saw the grounds crew removing all the flags, with their ball caps, torn shorts, and cigarettes hanging out of their mouths, and it seemed odd that something that was done so respectfully would be taken away in such a cavalier manner. I suppose that after seeing such precision and honor, it was odd to see the near opposite afterwards, but then again, we live in a world of very stark contrasts.

I can imagine the wake for Howie on Saturday is going to be a bit more jovial and there will be a lot more laughs. I'll be bringing a surprise that girl and I have been keeping safe, and it's all to do with Howie and one of our road trips. We will be spreading some of his ashes at the park, and celebrating the life of a truly great man. I already miss you, Howie, but I feel like you've never left because you're watching over us and smiling.

Timbers News: So in talking about promotion and relegation in soccer, Burnely was one of the teams promoted this weekend after winning a playoff with Sheffield United. Well, today it was announced that Burnley is coming to PGE Park on July 25th to face the Timbers in a friendly match. And it was announced today that Burnley is giving their most passionate fans a special discount for season tickets in the Premiership for next season.

Burnley has quite a bit of history in English soccer, as they haven't played in the top level of English soccer since 1976, and have been relegated to the bottom level of the leagues a few times over the years, and they now become the 43rd different team to join the Premier League this coming season, and they will be coming to Portland. This is close to the same situation that we had in 2005 when Sunderland came to visit after they were promoted to the EPL and played a friendly match in Portland that ended in a draw. That was a magical night, and led to some of us traveling to England in 2006, and then me and girl making a return trip in 2008 as part of my honeymoon. Sunderland fans were some of the greatest fans I've ever encountered, and that day in 2005 was true magic. While I'm not expecting the Burnley match to really match the same intensity or passion level, I would love to be wrong. Let's face it, Burnley hasn't been in the Premiership before, and I would expect many of their fans to make the trip to celebrate the honor. And for some of us TA, we'll be making a double header of it as we are providing some support to friends in their match earlier in the day.

And to John Strong, well done on the Talking Timbers show, this week's edition was really good, and in response to your question, Vancouver is a great city to visit, their fans are very respectful, they play in a nice park, and their teams are pretty good, but there is only one rival to the Timbers, and that is the team from the city that shall not be named. As if there could ever be any doubt.

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