Saturday, September 25, 2021
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The Shining City Beneath The Tarnish

I retired from the United States Army in 2008. I had spent just over 20 years as an Infantryman, the last 12 of those years as a Paratrooper in “The Division”, the 82nd Airborne Division. (Those of you from other Divisions, I trust you recognize the grin on my face when I capitalize it like that, it’s all good natured ribbing and I will be more than happy to continue it in the comments) Since my retirement I have found a new career and pursued that with all the vigor I possess.
The tale is a long one but to cut to the quick, my wife and I opened a small business, a Tattoo Parlor, while I was employed as a DOD contractor. The business had grown enough that when I became unemployed we decided to “go all in”. I apprenticed with the artist we had working in our shop, the same artist who has spent years adorning both my and my wife’s bodies. I spent months learning to take care of the shop, clean the equipment, avoid disease transmission and generally keep the place looking like a Doctor’s Office. I eventually graduated from pigskin to human skin, albeit my own human skin. Both my legs from the calf down are my own work, it was neither fun nor pleasant but the memory is fading and I still have open areas so that when I want to try something new I can try it on myself first. I will know how a new technique will work long before I try it on a customer. I’m good at what I have chosen to do and to be able to pursue a second career that I love is a blessing few people get to experience. My sole source of income for my family is now our Tattoo Shop. As happens with entrepreneurs I have put everything I have into growing my business. Slowly and inexorably my savings, IRAs and 401k’s have been withdrawn and used to keep things afloat while working, praying and hoping that business would increase enough to make ends meet. It has.
Well, actually, it HAD. Then the unthinkable happened. Monday night someone broke into the shop and cleaned us out. Tattoo machines, power supplies, ink, needles, everything needed and the nice things we had collected over three years of blood, sweat and tears… Gone, in the blink of an eye. Someone took it upon himself and decided he deserved those things more than I did. I had earned them, he hadn’t, but that fact made no difference, much like paying taxes, you don’t have a say, just pay what they tell you.
Here, after three paragraphs of bs, is where I found the Shining City on a Hill, shining still through years of liberal imposed tarnish. Before the police had left the shop customers had begun stopping by to express their condolences. Others contacted us through our Facebook page. They, our customers, began planning a fund raising event to allow us to remain in business. Day after day through this seemingly unending week customers have stopped by, bringing friends and relatives, making appointments for work next week when we will have the necessary equipment to re-open. Customers have crawled about on their hands and knees in our shop, cleaning and vacuuming, dusting, giving their own hard earned and scarce free time to help my family.
The Shining City on a Hill is still there, coated with tarnish, dimmed and hard to see, but it still shines unabated. It still blazes forth from the hearts and souls of the great American citizens across the land. I hope you do not have to experience what I have in order to see it, but you may have to experience worse. Gas prices are nearing Obama’s stated preference of $4.00 to $5.00, Obamacare continues unabated and the resolution to “Repeal and Replace” seems to be faltering and the amount of spine necessary to halt the run away spending is sorely lacking in DC. There are hard times to come, it’s comforting to know I won’t be alone when they hit and I wouldn’t trade a single one of the fine Americans I call friend.

nessa
Retired Paratrooper, Biker, Tattoo Artist

8 COMMENTS

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8 COMMENTS

  1. Perfect title, Nessa. I saw an old rusted out steam locomotive in Russia, they wanted to sell it for the value of the scrap steel. Maybe $2000. Sanded down and repainted it was worth $100K. Some things we throw away, and some things we know are meant to last, so we just give it an extra rub of Brasso. You sir, defined what worth saving.

  2. Heart-warming story well told, nessa. And I am sure nobody asked you what your religion is, what political party you are part of, or whether you are a foreigner or native-born. The things that we share are much greater than those which the left would use to divide us.

  3. nessa- I am so sorry to hear of the loss of everything you worked so hard for, but, you still have the most important thing- your skill and talent, which no one can ever rob from you. Much good luck with a new beginning with some very dedicated and loyal people willing to help. Many blessings for your continued success.

  4. Glad to hear there are still folks who rally together when someone needs some help. Perhaps that tarnish isn’t as dark as you thought.

    As to Obama’s preference to 4-5 dollar gas, I think he’d still rather see it get there via higher taxes. Somehow, I think that was what he meant when he sounded alarmed by how quickly it rose 3 years ago rather than how high it got.

  5. Mr nessa: First, thank you for your service to our country. I know from personal experience that 20+ years of active duty can be a…long haul. Second, thank you for your writings, which I’ve enjoyed, both here & there, for quite some time now. My heart goes out to you & yours because of this loss, but I strongly suspect that with your strength and skill, and the help of your friends, your future success will be greater than you can now imagine. Keep up the good fight my friend, favor us with your thoughts when you’re able, and know you have an unseen ‘army’ of folks out here who are pulling for you. Cheers!

  1. Perfect title, Nessa. I saw an old rusted out steam locomotive in Russia, they wanted to sell it for the value of the scrap steel. Maybe $2000. Sanded down and repainted it was worth $100K. Some things we throw away, and some things we know are meant to last, so we just give it an extra rub of Brasso. You sir, defined what worth saving.

  2. Heart-warming story well told, nessa. And I am sure nobody asked you what your religion is, what political party you are part of, or whether you are a foreigner or native-born. The things that we share are much greater than those which the left would use to divide us.

  3. nessa- I am so sorry to hear of the loss of everything you worked so hard for, but, you still have the most important thing- your skill and talent, which no one can ever rob from you. Much good luck with a new beginning with some very dedicated and loyal people willing to help. Many blessings for your continued success.

  4. Glad to hear there are still folks who rally together when someone needs some help. Perhaps that tarnish isn’t as dark as you thought.

    As to Obama’s preference to 4-5 dollar gas, I think he’d still rather see it get there via higher taxes. Somehow, I think that was what he meant when he sounded alarmed by how quickly it rose 3 years ago rather than how high it got.

  5. Mr nessa: First, thank you for your service to our country. I know from personal experience that 20+ years of active duty can be a…long haul. Second, thank you for your writings, which I’ve enjoyed, both here & there, for quite some time now. My heart goes out to you & yours because of this loss, but I strongly suspect that with your strength and skill, and the help of your friends, your future success will be greater than you can now imagine. Keep up the good fight my friend, favor us with your thoughts when you’re able, and know you have an unseen ‘army’ of folks out here who are pulling for you. Cheers!

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