Wednesday, March 08, 2006

I can't believe this (another story)

So I’m down to my last hour and a half of work. It’s been a slow final two days. I am ready to wrap it up. Now, it has been said that I am over the hill, but there is still plenty of kid left in me. So as a last memorial, I decide to wrap my old beat-up work boots over the telephone wire in front of the shop. A silly, single, solitary legacy.

Well, I’m in the squat position about to launch them eternally upwards in the waning twilight when the boss pulls up in his truck. With a few more guys. Too late! My mind is made up. Up they go, a perfect shot the first try. I sheepishly slink back into the shop to avoid a direct confrontation.

When here come ALL the “bosses”, foremen, supervisor, all the way up to the company’s site manager! Guess what? They have a surprise for me! Yes, just after my final monumental demonstration of boot-throwing professionalism!

Well, I am not done being embarrassed. All the employees from both shops are called in and I am called to the front. Words like these from TWO certificates of recognition are read (one from my company and one from the military)

Ernest L. etc etc….Is to be commended and recognized for his performance of duties as a MWO Master Mechanic for the period (blah blah blah) Mr. L. was instrumental in assisting the 426BSB, 101st ABN and the LSI/EG&G contract maintenance team at C-7 Kirkuk achieve their goals through dedication, professionalism, and a positive attitude. Mr. L. was an enormous asset to the MWO/AOA operation and is a great credit to himself, LSI/EG&G, and the US Army.


“Enormous asset?”


WHO IS THIS IMPOSTER??? And all this signed by the Command Sergeant-Major, the Lt.-Colonel Commander, my Regional Operations Manager, and the Site Manager!

SHEESH! How embarrassing! Although, I did try to be some of that good stuff. All I remember is giving it a good shot. But there were times, like the time I was reminded in front of the cutest soldier that I was a Master Mechanic by the boss, I discovered a whole new attitude. When the other guys would struggle with something or put the windshield wipers on upside-down, I would say something like, “Step back and learn from the Master!” At least the “attitude” part is right.

Well, I am flattered. I don’t remember anyone else being sent off like this nor honored in such a manner. I want to know which one of you sent in what was obviously a huge bribe. C’mon, ‘fess up. I still can’t believe this.

And somewhere, there is a lesson in all of this...


Alysia Hurtado said...

Wow Ernie! I can't believe you are already leaving Iraq. But, I CAN believe the praise and honors you recieved. You are one of my heros and I am so glad to know you! Thank you for sharing your experience of Iraq with me through your blog. I love the stories and pictures and travels! You look great and happy and so fulfilled!
So, what are your plans for coming home? I hope you have a safe trip. You are the best!

Ernest said...

Thanks, Alysia, sweet to hear from you! Sorry your vacation was less-than-relaxing, I'll take a job in Iraq over motherhood anyday. But each to his own, eh? ;-)

As for home, yeah, family, friends, snowboard, skateboard, beach, mountains...and planning my next job over here in Iraq.

For now, I'd be happy just to get out of Baghdad, my flight has just been cancelled.....I just keep repeating: there is a reason for everything... to myself.

God bless you and yours!

Karyn said...

I for one am not surprised by the accolades, and am glad that you were recognized for all you've done. I so hope that you get out and get home!
You look awesome in the picture, you really do know how to accept one of those things!
Please keep posting. Some of us feel like you are a friend we're on the verge of loosing contact with, and I for one don't like that feeling. You don't have to be in Iraq for your life to touch so many, you do it by being you, a you I will miss hearing from, about, seeing pictures of and from. I'll keep watching here and praying for your trip home Ernie!

whackywheelers said...

Okay . . . do you see the tears?! I feel like a Mom so proud of her son! You deserve it!

I have never met you and yet you have brought such joy. The war had only brought "ugliness" in my thoughts, conversations, etc. You have shown me a different view . . . the human side of the Iraqi people, etc.

I will miss your beautiful pictures and your updates, but I'm sure your family is happy to have you home.

If you find yourself in Illinois . . . you've got a couch to snooze on! (If you don't mind a four year old and a cat!) We're 2-1/2 to 3 hours from Nauvoo, St. Louis and Chicago!


Ernest said...

Thank you, again, my friends, for your kind thoughts. I am honored by your sentiments. I have a feeling I will be back...but that bridge is still obscured in the fogs of the future...thanks again for your prayers, I have shared mine with you as well. And that has to be a good thing, if nothing else. Talk to you soon...