Givin’ an Arm and a Leg

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Givin’ an Arm and a Leg

I survived a recent flight without lotion and water. Queen Helene cocoa butter saved the day as lotion, and I didn’t have to make as many pit stops as if I had consumed my usual quarts of water.

Spouse and I ran off to California’s Central Coast for a four-day personal retreat. Perfect weather, perfect fresh fish, perfect Central Coast wines, no cell phones, no laptop, no news, no nuthin’ but hanging out on the beach, walking along the beach, and sleeping to the sounds of crashing waves. We disconnected.

All this peace and love faded away as we waited for our return flight out of San Luis Obispo. I realized how far out of the loop I really am when it comes to the gritty side of today’s world. When a bus dropped off a half-dozen injured military personnel—most of them amputees—my mother’s heart broke. They were young, handsome, fit, and had given an arm or a leg in war or occupation of a hostile land. They were heading home or back to the Brooke Army Medical Center after a five day surf outing in Pismo Beach, Ca.

I can’t say what was in their hearts and minds, other than each amputee had to go through a complete pat-down in order to cross airport security. Some seemed adjusted to their fate. Some did not. With each humiliating security check I prayed that these young men lost their limbs or wear their disfiguring scars for a purpose that will benefit humankind.

To my way of thinking, not until one sees the severe wounds these soldiers have taken, do we get a sense of the horror experienced by the brave and the innocent. Fortunately there are programs like Operation Comfort ( and the Amputee Surfers Alliance (

Like 99% of Americans, I support our soldiers. I am not such a pacifist and dreamer that I don’t believe that we need these volunteers to fight for our country. While I may not agree with the political drive of war, I’m grateful that these soldiers took a brave step and volunteered.

And I will never again complain about the amputation of water and lotions from my carry-ons.

…one more thing…Operation Comfort is looking for donations. Let’s keep the surf up for these young people.

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