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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Your dream may not be my dream-

In the early 1970's I served in the U.S. Army. By virtue of the time of my service, I am a Viet Nam Era veteran. I did not go to Viet Nam, though the war continued through two of my three years of service. I was sent to Germany.

My fortune in the service was even better than that. I was stationed on Ramstein Air Base. We were housed in Air Force barracks. In the same sized room shared by two airmen the Army placed only eight soldiers. It was roomy by Army standards. Sailors would have found it palatial.

I shared my room with only three other people for the better part of one year. Our unit was a detachment and of fewer people than the artillery batteries that shared the building with us. So, fewer people per room.

One of my roommates was Tex. He was from Texas. Unlike the bit in Forrest Gump where the nicknames did not correlate with the origin of the soldier, we were not so creative. Tex was from Texas.

Tex was using the Army as a stepping stone to his dream. He was going to school while serving his country. He was studying business and management.

His dream? He wanted to get one of those quick stop markets. He wanted to run it himself, and anticipated a pretty good living. He was devoted to this dream of his.

While I don't see much to dream about in owning and managing such a store, Tex was passionate about his dream.

At least he had a dream, something he could envision and make come to pass. I can't recall having anything like that.

Those years for me were more of a quest. I was seeking meaning and purpose on a grand scale. Unfortunately the scale was so grand that I never quite grasped what it was that I was seeking.

I did know that owning and managing a quick stop market was not what I was seeking. My hunger was for comprehensive and absolute knowledge, a goal made unachievable by my finiteness and mortality.

Over the years I have learned much, but I never learned how to manage a quick stop market.

Maybe Tex was right.

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