A Challenge:

I had thought we'd escaped this when Cassidy didn't pass it to us, but Jeff has issued a challenge to do the "seven random things" meme. I'll be a good sport, just for the excuse to post 'images of martial discord,' celebrating that great American artist, N. C. Wyeth. The challenge only calls for one, but Wyeth's art is too good for only one.

Jeff tags the Hall.

1. Link to your tagger and post these rules on your blog.
2. Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird.
3. Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs.
4. Let them know they are tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.
5. Present an image of martial discord from whatever period or situation you’d like.

So here we go:

Grim's Hall, 2008 summer picnic.

1. As is surprisingly common, I was born choked to death by my umbilical cord. Fast action by an alert medical staff meant that I was restored to life without loss of health, as is not always as common -- I have known people who had lifelong difficulties because of just that thing, and I have heard of children who did not survive. I was greatly blessed to come through that fire in one piece: early luck.

Grim enjoys a quiet morning.

2. In spite of a fairly active life, I never broke a bone until a certain misbegotten gelding freaked out and reared over backwards while I was riding him, two years ago. That broke some ribs (@$#%! horse).

The wife gets me something nice for my birthday.

3. Those same ribs didn't heal correctly, and rebroke during a mixed martial arts match with an Army Ranger bird-colonel in Iraq this fall. I finished both falls with him in a headlock, but paid for it for two full weeks afterwards. Because of the endorphins (and the joy of having acquitted myself honorably against a genuinely powerful fighting man), I felt no pain at all until I laid down for bed that night. I could barely breathe the next day.

This has caused me to decide to take up gentler sports, like maybe kendo.

Cousins from the Tennessee branch of the family, near Big Moccasin Gap.

4. This week is my anniversary, so you'll have to endure a few marriage-related facts. On my wedding day, it was also Father's Day, and the summer solstice. A few years later, my son was born on the same day. Thus, 20 June is like a second Christmas around here: everyone has at least one good reason to celebrate.

Some of the cousins from the Old Country.

5. I was married in a kilt -- I believe I mentioned that recently. It was a remarkable wedding. My best man was a US Marine sergeant, in dress blues and NCO sword, a devout Methodist. He was less devout when used to run together, but he met a fine woman. They came to our wedding as a couple; he caught the garter (right on the skull) and she caught the bouquet. They were married the next year.

The morning workout session at Grim's Hall.

6. At that same wedding, my other two groomsmen were a sergeant from one of the Highland regiments, in his military kilt and dirk, who was a Muslim as well as a Scot; and a former Quaker friend of mine, converted to Judaism, who was carrying my sword. This, plus the kilt, got us a lot of attention. At the end of the ceremony, when I kissed the bride and then scooped her up to carry out of the place, a huge crowd of strangers I didn't know were there suddenly burst into applause.

Debating with my brother-in-law his choice of descriptive terms for my wife.

7. I really enjoy a beer, but have no real interest in any other form of alcohol. In fact, I learned in Iraq that I like even nonalcoholic beer. I do take a sip of Scotch at the Highland Games, and sometimes I've carried a small flask of bourbon for camping/hiking trips when I'll be sleeping several nights on the ground. The one use is ceremonial, and the other medicinal; the only thing I ever drink for pleasure is beer.

Pabst Blue Ribbon is my favorite large-production American beer. My favorite beer of all is Sierra Nevada's Celebration Ale, produced only for the Yuletide.

Now: I'm to tag seven people. My usual system for these memes is simply to allow readers who want to do so to jump in, in the comments; or coauthors, to consider themselves challenged if they wish to be.

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