Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Friday, March 9, 2012
My husband has been reading and commenting on Neptunus Lex for years. He’d e-mail me links to posts he found especially eloquent or thought provoking so I was an occasional reader as well. I frequently commented on Lex’s way with words – an expressive and lyrical writing that was simply a pleasure to read.
And a genuinely nice guy. When our daughter was applying to the Naval Academy, my husband e-mailed Lex and received a prompt and helpful response. Over the years, they e-mailed back and forth many times.
From my husband: “I sent him one of my favorite pictures once, of my daughter at about 12 years old in full Tae-Kwon-Do gear doing an ax kick with her foot well above her own head and a look of intense concentration on her face. Years later, when I shared the news that she got turned down for the Academy, he wrote back and expressed his sadness and said, ‘I know it’s silly, but she feels like family. I’m hurting for her just as you are.’ He then said that the young lady in that picture (which he remembered) would not let this bump in the road get her down for long.”
Lex had attended the Naval Academy himself and had an exhilarating career in the Navy – serving for a time as the XO of TOPGUN (all one word, as he would be sure to tell you). He logged over 5,000 hours in flight before his retirement. So it’s not surprising that he missed the world of invigorating flight and when the opportunity arose to yet again assist his country, albeit as a civilian this time, he jumped at it.
It was while flying an F-21 Kfir (an Israeli fighter jet) for a contractor that provided air-to-air combat training for military pilots that Lex piloted his final mission last Tuesday. Leaving behind not only a grieving real-life family, but many, many people who knew him only via the Internet, but considered him family as well and are bereft at his loss.
It’s hard to explain to the folks I work with why I keep reaching for the tissue box. Though I might have been only an occasional reader, I’ve been listening to “Captain Lex” stories at the dinner table for the past eight years. It’s difficult to believe there will be no more. It’s still not easy for people to understand why an on-line “relationship” can bring one to tears. And until this week, I would probably not have understood it myself.
Unlike many, I was fortunate enough to meet Lex in real life. He stopped by Boise after a stint at the air base in Mountain Home and my husband and I met him for dinner. He was as gracious in person as he was on line. It’s hard to believe that such a vibrant man is gone. And that the wonderful voice he gave his blog has been silenced forever.
RIP Captain Lex. You will be deeply missed.
Thursday, March 1, 2012
Wow – it’s been OVER A YEAR since my last post. What the heck? I have no idea why I was such a slacker. I have no excuse.
So very much has happened since December of 2010. Don’t worry – I won’t try to fill you in on the entire year in one post.
We had a wonderful year with our last exchange student, Anna from Germany. She fit with our family like a glove and made up for the sour feeling in the pit of my stomach that our Norwegian girl left. Of course, sending Anna home was incredibly difficult as we would have liked to keep her FOREVER. But, alas, that’s not a decision you get to make when you host an exchange student. You welcome a kid into your family, hopefully have a wonderful year and form a bond that will last forever, and then you have to put them on a plane to go back to the family they belong to. E-mail, Facebook and Skype are wonderful, but just not the same as dancing around the kitchen to music you both love or taking them to the vast outdoors of the western states and seeing the wonder in their eyes at the miles and miles of absolutely nothing that exists here and doesn’t exist in their country. Not that I’m knocking other countries. It’s just that in Germany, for instance, which is incredibly lovely, you’re never out of sight of some kind of reminder that people exist. And you can drive for quite a long while in parts of Idaho and Utah without seeing so much as a shack by the side of the road.
Anna is probably going to be our last exchange student. We’re winding down on the high school years in our house. Technically, we should be empty nesters since both of the kids I personally gave birth to are now part of the greatest Navy in the world (yep, my son followed his sister’s footsteps and is now at Nuke school in South Carolina). My own sister has had some issues with alcohol in her life and as a result, both of her kids are currently living with us. My niece graduates from high school this year and my nephew is a junior. My niece will probably attend Boise State University for at least one year, so we’ll have two kids living with us for the next 16 months at a minimum. It’s nice still having kids at home, though, so I’m not complaining.
I think that’s enough for one post, lest I write the ABC Novel for Television (yes, I’m THAT old).