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On a sunny June day, in a sprawling crisp green veteran’s cemetery, beside a flag-wrapped casket, I delivered this eulogy for Lt. Col. Lawrence A. Greensides, USAF. He was a decorated bomber pilot in both WWII and Korea, and among many other things he taught me how to ride a motorcycle, how to drive a car, and how to live (and tell) a terrific story.
He was a great one, of a great generation, a living, loving legend for my own children. He is now a family legend departed, and he will be more than missed.
In Memoriam: Lawrence Aubry
We plant a man. We plant him in a garden reserved for such men. The soil is right for him here, in this place of flags, of ranks, of service pride, in this place where the mournful horn blows and old hands salute.
When the great Easter comes to this garden, to this sun-filled field; when the horns of final triumph blow, the crop here will be soldiers, sailors, marines…and the men who wore wings. And you, Granddad, among them.
Strong hands, strong heart, strong will—you were cut from the toughest cloth of a generation, cloth that wouldn’t tear or give, perfect for flight suits and coveralls and combat and war. That toughness could struggle in homes, on sofas, in the soft places, but that toughness saved the world.
You, Granddad, had seen Death before. You had felt its breath on you, that cold wind that tugs soul from flesh. Engines quitting high in the sky, bullets gnawing wings, fallen friends, shredded planes, and on the ground—bombs. The bomb that threw you and chewed your leg. The sizzling shrapnel you brushed off your chest. For a while, your life was simply almost death. You knew fear, terror even, but you never broke. Not then.
I was young, and I stood there, feet in the water, watching you stride into the lake, demanding to be baptized. I watched you sink. I watched you rise again, walking out of your own Jordan with two fists raised and a whoop of triumph. I listened to you tell me, tell everyone, and all the world, “Praise the Lord.” You were broken, but not by bullets and bombs. You were broken by grace.
Once more you have walked out into the water. Once more, I watch you sink. May we have your courage, for we will sink, too—your children and grandchildren and descendants unborn. But we serve the Man who was planted, the Son who rose, who gave you to us and us to you. And when He calls, we will rise together and raise our fists and whoop while the horns blow and drums roll and banners curl in the sky like ticker tape for the great parade.
Until then, we hope, we pray, we plant a man.
You, Granddad, fly ahead.
Your last war is won.
Many thanks to everyone who made book recommends for this Christmas. My kids will be thanking you, too, come Christmas morning.
And the ten winners of this giveaway are…
If you’re one of our winners, send an email to email@example.com with an address. Books will be send out right away…Cheers!
On Monday, December 5th, I’ma gonna give away The Dragon’s Tooth to ten (10) winners. Entry is beautifully simple and can be achieved in one of four (4) ways. Multiple entries are just dandy (max of one with each method).
Entry Method Uno: Post a cheerful comment right here, making your best recommend for a great gift book for boys (or girls). My books don’t count.
Entry Method Dos: Do the same on the Ashtown Burials facebook page here.
Entry Method Tres: Tweet something you would want to see or do at Ashtown and include the hashtag #dragonstooth.
Bonus Entry Method Cuatro: If you have a Boxing Monkey Patch, tweet a pic of its current location and include the hashtag #dragonstooth. If you don’t have a patch, bummer. Click here to cure your ills…
Added twist for Teachers and Librarians: if you win, I’ll include two (2) copies of the book, one for you personally and one for your library or classroom. Added twist for everyone: a stack of Monkey Patches will go out to all winners, and audiobooks can be swapped out for paper books on request (while supplies last).
A very merry Christmas to all y’all! Cheers.
So, I’ve decided to give away more than just Boxing Monkey Patches (though you can still get one by following the instructions here). Now I’ll be giving away signed copies of all my books (Leepike Ridge through The Dragon’s Tooth) in various drawings throughout the holiday season. And entering the first drawing is a great deal easier than pi (which is actually quite difficult). Here’s how to enter…
First, you’ve already seen The Dragon’s Tooth book trailer. Just for fun, we commissioned an alternative score for that trailer (more bluesy/rock). Watch here and be sure to compare it with the original. Vote for your favorite.
Second, hustle over to the new Ashtown Burials Facebook page and Like it. All peeps who vote and Like are automatically in the game for our first giveaway. Up for grabs this time? A signed complete set of the 100 Cupboards trilogy, and two copies of The Dragon’s Tooth AUDIOBOOK. Making three winners in all. Cheers!