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Posts published in “Day: March 28, 2013

Loving Spain, then and now

By Kristan Hoffman

Seven years ago, I fell in love with a boy. He was my closest friend in college – someone who made me laugh, challenged me to challenge myself, and listened to all my hopes and fears without judgment. One night while we were hanging out in his dorm, I confessed my feelings for him and then bolted out the door. By the time I got back to my own room, there was an email waiting. He had feelings for me too.

For the next month, things were perfect. Every touch was electric, every smile laced with the shared secret of our affection. When we left campus for winter break – me to Houston, him to upstate New York – I expected the absence to make our hearts grow fonder. I expected the new year to be better and brighter and blissfully full of our burgeoning love.

Instead, on our first day back for the Spring semester, he broke up with me.

Naturally I was devastated. I had no idea what I’d done wrong and no idea how to fix it. I spent the following two weeks in a depression, robotically going to classes and club meetings, doing my homework, and eating only because I had to.

Eventually I pulled myself from this abyss, forced myself to take care of my mind and body so that my spirit could mend. And when an unexpected opportunity arose to escape my regular life – which felt like the mere husk of an existence – I snatched it. An old friend was studying abroad, and a surprise stipend from my summer internship meant that I could afford to visit her.

Nine days in Spain didn’t heal my broken heart, but it helped. My feet kissed the cobbled streets of Granada, my arms embraced the scorching air of Sevilla. I drank in the architecture and history of Valencia. I floated in the shining blue waters off Barcelona.

On the last day of my trip, I took a stroll alone through Buen Retiro park in Madrid. Couples in rowboats drifted across the small lake, and behind that, groups of young people sat chatting and laughing on the steps of the big stone monument. The lush green park made me feel small, and the cheerful conversations made me feel alone, but in the best possible way. Because I was finally happy, all on my own, even on the other side of the world from everything I knew.

My lost and drifting love had found a new place to anchor, a new place to call home. The gaping emptiness inside of me had grown smaller, because Spain had started the process of filling it.

The rest I would have to do on my own, of course. With time.

* * *

Seven years later, I returned to Spain, very much happy and whole. This time, I came with the very boy who had once broken my heart. Between then and now, we had weathered many highs and lows. I supported him through a campus controversy; he supported me through drama with friends. We got back together and we broke up; we fought and we made up. He graduated and accepted a job in another city; I graduated and moved in with him. We met each other’s families, we adopted a puppy, we got a joint credit card.

We had started building a future together, so I wanted to make peace with our past by visiting Spain. In a way, I was introducing one lover to another. But there was no jealousy or fighting – just good food, good sights, and good company. As we strolled hand-in-hand through Buen Retiro park, I was reminded once again of why I fell in love. With both of them.

Crosby Post Office named for War hero McNerney

CROSBY – The local post office is now officially Army First Sergeant David McNerney Post Office Building following a dedication ceremony last Friday officiated by the Crosby Post Master, Pastor Keenan Smith, Precinct 2 Commissioner Jack Morman, Houston Post Office District Manager William Mitchell and mostly Congressman Ted Poe, R. 2nd Congressional District. The new Congressman for Crosby, Steve Stockman, after redistricting, was represented at the event by his wife.

David McNerney was bestowed the Congressional Medal of Honor based on his bravery on March 22, 1967 exactly 46 years before at Poli Doc, Republic of South Vietnam by President Lyndon Johnson in September, 1967. Many of the men that accompanied him that day to the battlefield where he encountered vastly superior numbers of enemy combatants came from throughout the country to honor his memory.

Pastor Smith performed the invocation. Staff Sergeant Chris Boyd of the 138th Fighter Wing Alert Detail #1 performed an Armed Exhibit Drill and the colors were posted by Crosby High School JROTC.

Seating was near capacity as many stood during the ceremony.

Congressman Poe in Nov. 2011 proposed a tribute to McNerney recalling that after high school in Houston, McNerney volunteered with the U.S. Navy and pulled two tours of duty in Korea. He left the Navy in 1953 and joined the U.S. Army. McNerney was one of the first 500 soldier for the U.S. in Vietnam. During his third tour of duty in Vietnam, stationed near Cambodia, he and his company were sent to recover a missing reconnaissance team. He came under heavy North Vietnamese Regular attack and was wounded. Nonetheless, McNerney called in close artillery fire. He destroyed an enemy machine gun nest. He pulled wounded to safety while under enemy fire. He secured a landing zone for helicopters and refused to be evacuated although wounded by a grenade.

Poe told congress, “Mr. Speaker, this is a fairly recent photograph of First Sergeant David McNerney. He kind of looks like Clint Eastwood to me and he’s just as tough, because i knew him for a good number of years until he died in 2010.”

This is not where Sergeant McNerney’s service to America would end on that battlefield in Vietnam. He went to work for the United States Custom Service and caught a record shipment of drugs inside the Port of Houston.

Poe again returned to congress with a proposal in July 23, 2012 and asked that the Post office at 133 Hare Road in Crosby be named for McNerney.

A reception was held at the David H. McNerney American Legion Post 658 following the ceremony.