November 10, 2015 AsktheBuilder Newsletter

Kathy and I are on the road visiting her dad. He’s 96 and while in reasonably good health, he’s declining.

If you’re a new subscriber, you need to know right now this issue is by no means a normal one with respect to buckets full of home improvement content.

There will only be one home improvement tidbit today.

Every now and then when a major or minor tectonic tremor of life rumbles me, I share it here.

Today is one of those days.

Veterans Day

Tomorrow is the day here in America where we honor living veterans who served our country in a time of war or peace.

It’s a shame we do it just one day a year as we non-vets owe to both living and dead veterans everything we have.

There are all sorts of cliches out there but one of my favorites is this simple one:

Freedom isn’t free.

Look back through history and you’ll quickly see that the unique set of rules we live by here in the USA – our Constitution – was a radical departure from what happened here on the planet for thousands of years.

Prior to September of 1787 when the US Constitution was signed, most people on the planet lived to serve a monarchy, dictatorship or despot.

I’m reminded of the simple line in the movie Ben Hur, “We keep you alive to serve this ship.”

New Hampshire was the ninth of the thirteen colonies that put the US Constitution in play when they ratified it in June of 1788.

Ever since that day, there have been people here in the USA and across the world trying to put the genie back into the bottle.

Our veterans have given much, some the ultimate sacrifice, to ensure that doesn’t happen.

My dad was one. He was a medic in General Bradley’s Second Corps that invaded Sicily at Anzio Beach. Along with General Patton and British General Montgomery, my dad and tens of thousands of vets drove the Huns up through Italy and eventually back to Germany.

In March of 1943, my dad was captured by the Huns in the south of France and served 13 months as a POW in Poland growing potatoes for the German army. He was liberated by the Russians in April of 1944 who were driving from the east to beat the Huns.

My dad suffered severe PTSD as a result of his service. His deep depression led to a sedentary lifestyle and he died from heart failure at the young age of 59. I was just 24 when we had to send him back to Heaven.

He, and hundreds of thousands of other vets, had their lives shredded defending the precious rights you and I have.

But each day these rights are under attack.

You may not believe it, but it’s true. There are groups of people out there right now that dream of putting your head on a stake.

I apologize for that wretched graphic, but it’s true.

The Two Richards

Last night, Kathy and I had dinner with my best friend Richard and his wife Linda.

Richard is a Vietnam vet. He enlisted in the US Marines to serve our great nation and after his first tour, he volunteered to go back to the battlefield.

A grenade explosion has robbed Richard of his hearing in his right ear and lots of it in his left ear.

He loves music and he told me last night that music doesn’t sound right at all now. He described it as lots of crackling and static.

But he harbors no bitterness about what happened.

Over the years, he’s shared some of his scary stories about what it was like in the heat of battle.

I can only imagine how terrifying it is.

About twenty years ago I started this newsletter. What a horrible shame I can’t tell you the exact date.

It’s one of the mistakes I’ve made here at I’ve failed to record many of the important things not thinking much at the time that they’d be important.

This happens to many of us and it’s covered really well in a scene in the movie Field of Dreams.

CLICK HERE and listen to what Doc Graham says when Kevin Costner asks him the question, “So what was that like?” It happens at 1:03 into the clip.

What major events in your life are brushing past you like a stranger in the crowd?

Believe me, there’s magic in the moonlight to make your dreams come true if you just open your eyes.

But I digress.

The second Richard I want to tell you about is one I’ve had the distinct pleasure to meet via this simple newsletter. Let’s call him Dick so as to not cause confusion.

Dick and his wife Sue became friends of mine when I shared in this newsletter so many years ago about my invitation to spend two days aboard the USS George Washington while it was out at sea.

CLICK HERE to read about this rare opportunity.

Dick was keenly interested in this upcoming trip of mine because he was a real tail hooker.

Dick was a US Navy fighter pilot in the Vietnam war.

He sent me an email to tell me what I was going to experience and to get me mentally prepared for the 24+ hours of eye and ear candy I was to enjoy.

Business travels would take me to where Dick and Sue lived and I visited them no less than three or four times.

We’ve become very good friends and I’m sad that I don’t get to see Dick as often as I’d like. He and Sue are incredibly generous people.

What’s this all have to do with you?

You could be a vet and I don’t know it. You could be married to one. One could be your son or daughter. One could be your parent.

I simply hope that you seek out as many veterans as you can today, tomorrow and next week and just thank them for their service and what they’ve done to enrich your life.

You getting this newsletter would be IMPOSSIBLE without their sacrifices.

You may take freedom of the press as just a normal thing.

It’s not normal or wasn’t before 1788.

I’ve said enough for today I think.

Go out of your way to touch a veteran.

Thanks Dad, Richard and Dick for your service.

Thanks to you if you’re a vet and I don’t know it.

Thank you for making my life easier and filled with things that millions of others only dream to have.

Oh, you want that one home improvement tip?

CLICK HERE for it.

I’ll be back to you on Sunday once I’m back in New Hampshire.

Tim Carter

Founder –

Do It Right, Not Over!


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