Bumping along in a Casspir, a South African armored personnel carrier, on our way to Anbar Province, western Iraq. The year was 2007 and we were under attack.
Perfect? Yes. For you see, if you decide to get shot at in Iraq in 2007, the best venue for that is inside a Casspir. A Casspir is a big, white, heavily armored vehicle. During Apartheid, the South Africans needed such a vehicle; well, the White South Africans did anyway. The first time I heard of “Casspir”
I was somewhere close to Camp Speicher, northern Iraq and this was to be my “commute car.” I thought instantly, after seeing my first Casspir, that it was so moniker-ed because it was this big white thing and, being an American, immediately thought of “Casper the Friendly Ghost.” I was wrong.
There is nothing friendly about a Casspir, aside from the fact that he (it) will save your ass.
Riding in a Casspir is probably one of the most uncomfortable things one can experience. The seats are small. The quarters cramped.
The air conditioning nonexistent. The suspension sans shock absorbers.
The windows, smallish, which open up just enough to point a rifle through, or perhaps allow a round to one’s head. The driver, usually a Wanna-be Rambo with poor grammar and a poorer sense of direction.
No fun riding in a Casspir.
But on that day, back in ’07, just outside Fallujah there was no better place to be. Casspirs were often called the ‘Best Bug-Out Vehicles’ in Iraq.
First they shot at us with RPG’s (rocket propelled grenades). They fell somewhat short. Following up, they hit us with AK47 rounds. (Those didn’t fall short) Our PLS truck
(Pallet-loading system) lost a windshield. Some of our “light-skinned” vehicles lost windshields and windows as well. “Casper” got hit, but the rounds barely scratched the paint (Thank you South Africa). No one lost his life, but we were somewhat shaken and more than a little pissed off.
American author Julie Powell is best known for her blog, “The Julie/Julia Project,” and the Nora Ephron movie ‘Julie & Julia,’ which is based in part on Powell’s experience.
Who Is Julie Powell?
Writer Julie Powell received national attention for her blog, “The Julie/Julia Project,” which she subsequently adapted for a memoir. Nora Ephron wrote and directed a 2009 culinary comedy-drama, Julie & Julia, based on Powell’s work and the life of Julia Child in 1950s Paris.
Powell was born in Austin, Texas on April 20, 1973. She attended Amherst College in Amherst, Massachusetts, graduating in 1995 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in theater and dance/fiction writing. She later married Eric Powell, an editor at Archaeology magazine, and the couple settled in New York City.
“The Julie & Julia Project” Blog
Powell began her famous blog, “The Julie/Julia Project,” in 2002, at age 29. At that time, Powell was working an unfulfilling job at the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, fielding phone calls relating to the aftermath of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks at New York City’s World Trade Center. Powell began her blog with the intention of channeling her energy into a more fulfilling venture. The blog chronicled Powell’s attempt to prepare all of the dishes described in Child’s classic cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, in just one year.
Powell frequently invoked Child’s journey to her culinary career, as she personally searched for a more meaningful use of her talents. Despite the popularity of Powell’s blog, Child herself did not embrace Powell, describing her project as a stunt without culinary value.
Of Powell, Child said, “I don’t think she’s a serious cook.”
Powell has said that her experience with the blog led her to embrace her talents as a writer, rather than as a chef.
And despite Child’s opinion on the culinary value of Powell’s work, Powell was recognized with an honorary degree from Le Cordon Bleu, the Parisian culinary school that Child attended.
I truly do not understand the Mathematics of My life.
My Slide-Rule is Broken
No Glamour Found There:
Only Talent & Sincerity
I’ve got a crummy job;
It don’t pay near enuff
I don’t have diddly squat
Soak Up The Sun, Son
Mistake? I Don’t Think So
Sheryl, I ADORE You
I Miss Shonnie So Much.
She Always Re-mined’ed Me Of Sheryl
I Fucked Up!
I Lost Her!
Yeah, It Happens
Seems to Happen to Me Far Too Mucho Much!
“Shonnie: Just Some Last Thoughts & One “Reminisce”–
Important ‘Breaking News’ Re: Shonnie’s ‘Make-Over'”
Let’s Get This Out of the Way First:
Do NOT Read Unless You are Already Familiar With The Story from Reading the Original Series.
Skip Ahead to Here:
Some of Y’all Faithful Readers… (That is Not Sarcasm. I sincerely appreciate all Y’all who read me and have ‘Read’ me over the years, and tears, and beers)
…some of Y’all have probably noticed I have been re-visiting old work and endeavoring to ‘re-work’ same.
I am doing this because a few of the old posts still have value and meaning for me and hopefully for you as well.
Most do not, but there are a handful that do.
“Shonnie”, being one of them.
“Are you going ‘somewhere’ with this Lance?”
“Yes.I just wish to inform Y’all that my ‘Current Mission’ is to re-write the entire Shonnie Series.Chapter One is Done. Now only Thirteen to go!”
Someone once told me, “Lance, your ‘Shonnie’ is probably the only ‘real’ writing you have ever done. Most of your other shit is just that: ‘Shit.’ Granted, some of it is entertaining shit, but ‘shit’ it remains. ‘Shonnie’ is the only one that will ever have even a snowflake’s chance in Hell of getting published. Provided you allow a good editor to slice and dice it.”
“Uh… Nice ‘talkin’ to ya. Thanks.”
I killed this Series a few years ago.
Pretty Certain Alcohol was involved.
Anyway, I brought it back, (With the help of Word Press—Thank you WP) if for nothing else, my own edification.
And every word I wrote, everything I recounted, actually happened as written.
(And of course, it was resurrected because I love Sheryl Crow. And of course, as a vain writer, I just cannot cotton to killing my own words, once dragged out of my mind and put down. Hahahaha! Writers! Y’all know what I mean.)
Please Bare er, ‘bear’… with me on this one Y’all.
Time always makes things (memories) better. This is how I cope. As for me and Shonnie, memories are multiplied, ‘super-sized’, if you will.
The words I wrote of our relationship are all too true. I do hope she never reads those words, as neither she nor I are strong enough to re-live those heady days. This is how life is and I suppose how it should be.
One is young twice, but old only once. ‘Once a Man and Twice a Child’.
And youth makes one do stupid shit based upon that ‘youth’, and then, if lucky, one has a chance for redemption later in life while old and hopefully ‘wise,’ and before that ‘Second Childhood’ kicks in, making one fairly useless, even if still lovable.
(Not religious redemption: human redemption) I do not apologize for my youthful indiscretions. They belong to me alone and I will carry them alone.
If anyone has it in their head after reading my story of Lance and Shonnie, that I did not truly love her, that I allowed her to set me free for my own self-preservation, that I did not want to fight for her, then you may want to go back and read between the lines a bit.
And with that ‘mini-rant’ spotlight shined into my soul, I leave you with this idealized and fantasized version of what Shonnie meant to me.
(Ms Shonnie’s part played and well-acted by Sheryl Crow.) Yet as good as Sheryl is, she could never be as good to, nor for me, as was Shonnie.
(But, I’d grant her an audition, none-the-less)
It shames me now to admit this but I was, back then, not strong enough to be Shonnie’s man.
Would that I could be granted a second chance
And, even now, today, I probably still am not.Never will be strong enough
If you are new here and confused, here is the beginning of this little saga:
Below You Will Find Most Of The Original Posts. Once / If You Arrive At Thirteen There Are Links To The Final Few Chapters. Please keep in mind however, that each and every one of them is in the process of being rewritten: first to last. This will probably take at least two or three weeks.
UPDATE: The Shonnie Reconstruction Project is Completed.
Please read the new versions.
They are all still truth. Truth expanded. More detail, yada yada yada…