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Posts Tagged ‘Cooper Hampton’

Our Beautiful View

Posted on: November 12th, 2012 by Lisa Hampton 3 Comments

Our place sits out in the open prairie but up above the valley, to our south the rim rock of the mesas climbs a thousand feet above us.  The country between is blanketed with Oak Brush, Pinõn, and Cedar, with Blue Spruce, Aspen and Ponderosas as its crowning glory.  To the west the Sangre de Christos paint the horizon with a multitude of purples, blues and greys as each mountain and ridge falls away to another higher one. To our north and east you can look out for miles across a sea of rolling prairie grass that’s colors change not only with the seasons but also with the time of day and the shadows of the clouds above.

From the porch I look out at this version of heaven and know just how special it is, but, the very best part of the view is down at the end of our gravel driveway.

There, every day, waves our American flag; a beautiful reminder of who I am, what I stand for, and what not only our fathers and fore-fathers fought for, but now also our son.  What better reminder could there be, than this beautiful flag in the early morning sunlight blowing in the breeze?

And so today, we gather as a nation to honor those who serve or have served.  This is our day to thank them.

And like that flag, their service is a beautiful thing. Thank them with all your heart; tell them how much their service means to you.  Honor them by supporting the values that this country was built on, created for, and endures because of.  These men and women, they deserve so much more than just hanging our flag up for the day; more than we can ever possibly give back to them, and more than they will ever ask for.  But when you go about your day, not just today but every day, when you see that beautiful American flag, be proud, not only of our country, but of these men and women who have sworn to protect it, and then tell them and find some little way to do more for them.

The Big Circle

Posted on: September 24th, 2012 by R.W. Hampton 3 Comments

Baby Lincoln

Yesterday was an unusual day.  My two youngest boys and I made a big circle over into the Texas Panhandle to meet my daughter-in-law and the newest Hampton. As I held the tiny bundle of life I was filled with the same awe and wonder that I had when I first held his father.  Too soon it was time to say goodbye.

We then traveled another 45 minutes south to visit a dear lady that I’ve known all my adult life.  A glorious Christian woman who will soon be “winging” her way to that vast range that we can only see with our eyes of faith but we hold close to our hearts.  She’s ready too; as she has a son she hasn’t seen in 40 something years that she’s looking forward to spending eternity with.

It was quiet as we drove away when Calvin summed it up best with reverence in his voice, “Wow Dad, today we have seen the start of a life and the end of a life.”

Amen, Calvin. Amen.  At eleven years old I think he gets it.

A Texas Springtime Ranch-Country Wedding

Posted on: April 19th, 2012 by R.W. Hampton No Comments

 

Can you believe spring is upon us? It’s been a unique year with unseasonably warm weather across the country, even here at 6,500′ elevation it’s starting to look like spring.  Of course the 8 to 10″ of snow we got last week sure didn’t hurt as it was a heavy wet snow, preceded by a nice rain shower and followed up by another a few days later.  Yes, even we have a little green grass growing, the trees have budded out and you can even find the occasional flower blooming.  All this springtime blooming has taken me down memory lane to this time last year. It was a Texas springtime, ranch-country wedding. There was magic in the air.

Springtime in Texas is like that anyway – what with the Bluebonnets, Indian Paintbrush, Prickly Pear blooms and all. Then add a ranch country wedding to that already potent mix and mister, you’ve got some strong medicine!

We had gathered in Palo Pinto County, TX for the wedding of a long tall cowboy (one Colter Hampton) to his Brazos River rose (Miss Cortni Clower). There, in a leafy glade surrounded by family and friends, in just a matter of a few moments, a miracle of love was witnessed and the world became a better place.

As I looked around me, a lump as big as Dallas grew in my throat. For not only had the boy found his True Love, but older brother Cooper was home safe from the war and in attendance, younger brother Denver was in from college, and littlest brothers Calvin and Ethan were behaving themselves. Big sister Gina, along with her husband Corby (my son-in-law), and their sons Barrett and Gus were able to make a rare getaway from their ranch to be here, too.

Long lost cousin Barbara, from way up in Maryland, made the long trip to reestablish her Texas Hampton roots.

My brother, Jeff, and his soon-to-be bride, LeAnn, were there holding hands like love-struck teens.

I knew that my long time best friend, Don, and his wife, Cindi (who’s like a sister to me), wanted to be there, but I wouldn’t have bet a plugged nickel that they would really make it, ’cause real life often gets in the way when your real life has to do with agriculture. But, by God, they made it, too!

So did Lisa’s brother, Ted, and his wife and both of their boys. All the way down from Central Oregon on their spring break.

And then there were all the Grand-folks! There were Hamptons, Moores, Lysters, Clowers and Rices, not to mention all the rest of Cortni’s side of the family – which was certainly abundant! The hall was full to over-flowing with cousins, aunts, uncles, neices, nephews, friends and even the occasional person that no one seemed to know.

All these smiling faces. All this history. All this love.

Even now, months later I find myself wondering if it may well be that not this side of heaven will we all be together again like this. No, surely not, but where else besides Texas in the springtime could it happen even once – like this?

After the “I dos” and all the pictures were taken, we all gathered in the reception hall to eat, drink and watch the newest Mr. and Mrs. Hampton cut their cake and drink Dr. Pepper toasts.

 

As the couple took to the dance floor, as the children played in the growing shadows, as the Texas sun made its way west, I stood alone trying to memorize every face and every scene of one of life’s few perfect days.

 

And amidst my memories of new love I find another. There I was, taking it all in, afraid to even blink, lest it all go away, my attention was finally stolen by a woman across the room. This lovely creature, although unaware I was watching, was working at the drink table filling cups with iced tea. I was taken not only by her obvious beauty, but by the look of total contentment she wore as she made an art out of this simple task.

Captivated and dumb-struck, I wondered how this could happen. What were the chances of a middle aged man falling in love at his son’s wedding? This kind of foolishness could get a man in big trouble. But no, not that day, because this angelic vision across the crowded room is the mother of my children, my sweetheart, my partner and my wife.

I smiled as I reached down and felt the gold band on my left hand.

Now why should old love born anew surprise me – or anyone, for that matter? After all, it was a Texas springtime ranch-country wedding, and there was magic in the air! 

Do you have a favorite springtime memory?  Is there really such a thing as “love in the air”?

 

Veteran’s Day thoughts… For Those Who Have Signed the Dotted Line

Posted on: November 11th, 2011 by Lisa Hampton 3 Comments

If you have been a fan of R.W. Hampton music for longer than, well, let’s say 4 minutes, (which is the amount of time it takes to listen to most of his songs), you know that R.W. is feverishly patriotic.

Yes, patriotism runs deep in the Hampton family and days like Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day are not merely for putting out the flag, but a time when we pause to honor those around us who have served our nation or are currently serving. 

On these special days we get a chance to stand up and thank those around us who have signed that dotted line saying “America, I’m yours.  I will stand up and fight for you, your citizens, your government, your flag and all that it stands for.  Regardless of whether I like that government, those citizens, or the cause I have been sent to accomplish.  Because as an American, I believe that in the end, right will win; evil will be conquered; freedom will reign and my family, my country, and my fellow soldier/marine/sailor/airman needs me.”     

Yes, these are special days.  Not just to honor men like these.

Members of the US Navy in Pacific Theater - WWII                    And these.        Sgt G Meisner, 2/9 Fox Co

 

But also these.                        2/9 Golf Co Ar Ramadi 2009

And women like these.   WAAC WWII

 

Violet Askins aka Violet Hill Gordon

Women Soldiers in AfghanistanAnd these… 

They are what make our country great. 

It’s what’s inside them.  They know that they were willing to stand up for their country and sign that dotted line. Willing to face our enemies in that  moment of battle and know the courage it takes.

Neither R.W. nor I have done this.  Signed the dotted line.  Faced our enemies across a battlefield.  

Brig General TC Lyster - Theodore C. Lyster is a familiar name to aerospace medicine physicians. His early recognition of the unique physical requirements of aviators, the specialized training necessary for flight surgeons, and the need for altitude physiology research provided the foundation on which the specialty of aviation medicine was built. Lyster's medical career, however, encompassed much more than aviation medicine. From his earliest assignment as a contract physician in Cuba in 1899 until his entry into private practice in 1921, he was heavily involved with the fight against yellow fever. In the era before medical residencies were commonplace, Lyster sought out training in ophthalmology and otolaryngology in the U.S. and abroad. His clinical and organizational abilities made him a valuable asset during the construction of the Panama Canal and during World War I. Lyster's many talents and his philosophy about aviation medicine make him a worthy role model for flight surgeons today.

Brig General TC Lyster, 1875 - 1933da

 

Army, Navy, Air Force & Marines. 
Our fathers, grandfathers, great-grandfathers, and our oldest son, Cooper, have all signed it. 
Lieutenant General Wade Hampton III, 1818 - 1902

Lieutenant General Wade Hampton III, 1818 - 1902

For as R.W. said to me one day, “My greatest disappointment in life as an adult is that I will never know if I had it inside me to do what they have done; to face what they have faced and to know that I did my part for my country.”

And so, although we are not Veteran’s ourselves, our part now is to support and honor these men and women who are.  To encourage them, to enlighten our community to their sacrifices, and to keep their memories alive; this is our job now. 

 God bless everyone of our Veterans.  We go to sleep tonight safe because at one point you had the courage to sign that dotted line.

OXO – Lisa H.

Marine Corps 236th Birthday

Posted on: November 11th, 2011 by R.W. Hampton 3 Comments
Sgt Hampton with President GW Bush

Sgt Hampton, USMC with President GW Bush in the Oval Office

Happy Birthday Marines!!!!

Our Marine is in California this year celebrating with his wife at a Marine Corps Ball. We know he’ll be wearing his dress blues tonight and she’ll be decked out too.  We can’t wait to see the pictures! But, since they haven’t sent us any yet from the evening we thought we would post this picture instead.

Of course, this moment in time was a few years back; our Marine had a chance to get his picture taken with the President after completing his “tour” of duty in DC.  He went on to do two combat tours in the Middle East, returning this past February from a tour in one of the “Hot Spots” in Afghanistan with his battalion, the 2/9.  He recently transfered to the West Coast and will be stationed state-side for a while we hope, enjoying his family and being a machine gunner’s instructor/evaluator.

To those of you who share this birthday, we wish you the very best.  And the rest of you, we hope you have a chance to get to know these fine men and women who have been defending our country for the past 236 years.  Semper Fi friends.

Sincerely,

R.W. and Lisa

The Homecoming of the 2/9

Posted on: March 18th, 2011 by R.W. Hampton 19 Comments

The night of February 10 found me in Camp Lejeune, NC, to welcome home the 2nd Battalion 9th Marines from their combat deployment in deadly Marjah, Afghanistan. More specifically, I was waiting for my oldest son, Platoon Sergeant Cooper Hampton of Golf Company. This was Coop’s second deployment, so the waiting was not new; but somehow, with the constant flow of almost instant information via email and Facebook, the months passed by slow and long.

I had made a conscious decision from the start to be “in the know.” This meant being familiar with Helmand Province, its people, geography, topography, politics, customs and even weather. Our clock on the fireplace mantle was set to Marjah time, 10 ½ hrs later than our Mountain Standard Time.

Platoon Sgt. Cooper Hampton on patrol in Helmand Province, Afghanistan

Being “in the know” also meant starting and ending every day checking emails, Facebook and the news reports, trading information and updates with other family members. Even though our boys had no electricity or running water at their FOB (Forward Operating Base), we were able to receive short messages and even photos by virtue of generator-powered laptops. At times when all communication ceased, we knew we had lost one of our boys and the next of kin were being contacted. Through photos, video clips and short messages, we knew that our boys were “mixing it up” with the Taliban on an almost daily basis.

And so it seems in a strange way that somehow the lives of these young warriors, their families and our lives are forever entwined, and that on some level we, too, had fought and experienced the joys, sorrows, victories and losses.

It was all of these things and more that had my heart full and running over that cold, wet night. Along with dozens of others, I crowded into a Marine base gymnasium to wait. The scene could best be described as like a Norman Rockwell painting where people of all ages, carrying banners and balloons, eating hotdogs and drinking coffee, were passing the time visiting, playing bingo and doing crossword puzzles. There were grandpas and grandmas, moms and dads, and pretty young women dressed in their finest pushing baby strollers. Charlie Daniels’ music played over an ancient P.A. system that also brought us an occasional update on the status of our loved ones.

We were told that our boys had flown from Germany to the Marine Corps air base at Cherry Point, NC, and were being bused from there to Camp Lejeune. Although I’d never set foot in that gymnasium before, I felt as much at home there as any place I’ve ever been before or since. I felt as if I’d walked into a church social that had no beginning or end, no specific time or location. Just anywhere, anytime USA.

The spell was broken when a fella with a strong New England accent walked up and said, “You must be Coop’s dad.” 

“You got that right!”

My new Yankee friend explained, “I’m Nate’s dad!”

We visited a while, then a new update came over the P.A.: Fox and Golf Companies were on base. They’d check in their weapons at the armory and be marching in soon. They’d be here in 30 minutes to an hour.

You could feel the level of excitement grow as folks lined up to use the restroom and get one more cup of coffee before going out into the cold, damp, North Carolina night. As I refilled my coffee cup, a man beside me, sporting a ball cap that read “Proud Grandfather of a US  Marine” was doctoring his coffee with a little Red Stag whiskey.

“Want some?” he asked.

“You bet!” I said, “If there was ever a night to celebrate, this is it!”

“Amen to that!” was his reply.

I looked at the clock. It was a little after 11 p.m. I got a little nostalgic thinking that almost 24 years ago I was anxiously awaiting my son’s arrival into the world. Now here I was, waiting for that same son, no longer an infant but a hardened combat veteran, to return home from yet another world. Somehow I find that this waiting is just as intense as that first waiting was so long ago. And the questions are the same, too. What will he look like? How will he be? Will he be glad to see me? What will I say? How strange, I thought, these circles life takes us in.

Platoon Sgt. Cooper Hampton

As I look around I see that others are dealing with these strange emotions as well, and I’m glad we’re all going out into the night together where tears of joy and raw emotion can have their way. I watch as a lovely young woman checks her makeup one last time while another tells her three young kids that “Daddy’s on his way!” An older couple readies their balloons; they even have a bottle of champagne to open. I nervously fumble for my phone to send a quick text to the family back home, “It won’t be long now!”

As folks are making their final preparations, it occurs to me this scene is as old as time itself. Many, if not most, have had long, hard trips to get to this place. All have been waiting for hours, but no one is complaining, just counting down the moments, the seconds! This scene has played out for as long as men and women have gone to war.

My thoughts are interrupted when a woman at the gym entrance calmly but urgently announces, “They’re coming!” All talking stops as everyone heads for the door and out into the night. It is pitch black, but almost as if by instinct people line up around the edges of the cold, wet parade ground. Not a word is spoken and not a sound can be heard but that of marching boots as they get louder and louder. Eyes strain to see in the blackness and then, like ghosts, I can see the silhouettes of men getting closer. Then, in perfect formation, they halt in front of the waiting crowd. Faceless and unidentifiable, yet only an arm’s length away. Time and breathing seemed to have stopped as one lone voice said, “At ease, men. Well done and welcome home. You are dismissed!”

The waiting crowd started making their way forward to find their loved ones. Some called out names, while others held up cell phones to see. As I waded into the crowd to start my search, I could faintly make out forms as they reunited and quietly slipped away. In the shadows I could see couples locked in embrace, oblivious to their surroundings, as if they were earth’s only inhabitants. I saw tall, straight, young, fighting men holding tiny babies for the first time, and whole families, holding each other, laughing, crying, as if one. I could hear children crying, “Daddy, Daddy, Daddy!” I felt almost as if I was on Holy ground as I wandered through these scenes looking for my son.

“Cooper, Coop, Sergeant Hampton!” I called over and over, each time a little louder until a faceless voice said, “He’s in here somewhere, sir, just saw him.”

“Thanks,” I said as I wandered on. Finally I stopped and stood but an arm’s length away from a silhouette that I knew that I knew. After what seemed like forever, a strong voice said, “Dad!” and my not so strong reply, “Coop, oh son, my son, you big, beautiful son of a bitch, God bless ya, welcome home!” I held his face in my hands, making sure this was not a dream. We hugged as men do, laughed, cried, slapped each other on the back – afraid to turn loose, as if this was not real and would all go away.

The circle was complete.

Shortgrass

Posted on: August 11th, 2010 by R.W. Hampton No Comments

The land of the shortgrass is my home. 

It is often brutal in the winter, with winds whipping off the mountains carrying storms across these high altitude plains. It can be dry as a bone into the summer, with ranchers crying for rain. And in years like this one, it is a beautiful, lush, green pasture that rolls over the land, interrupted only by the hills and ravines that have been created through time and sprinkled with the occasional grove of cottonwood or elm trees near a dirt tank oasis and scattered cactus and yuccas, which bloom in the spring.

Although what is considered the shortgrass country stretches from the Southern Rocky Mountains to Alberta, Canada, our little Clearview Ranch is located at the foot of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, a chain within the Rockies here in Northeastern New Mexico. It is popular country for raising horses since it gets its name from the short, but potent, native grasses that are suited to this windy high desert region. 

There is a rugged beauty here that is evident not only in the land, but also in its inhabitants. Many an old timer has been heard to say that if you ever wear out a pair of boots here, the country will steal your heart forever. 

My oldest son, Cooper Hampton, and his best buddy, Dawson Enloe, joined the Marines together during high school.  Over the years they have set foot in many countries and worn out their boots, both overseas and around our own great nation, but they have always expressed their desire to someday come back home to the Shortgrass country, their home. 

This song was written for them.

Happy Independence Day, America!

Posted on: July 2nd, 2010 by R.W. Hampton 11 Comments

As Americans around the world get ready with family and friends to celebrate our Independence Day, I’m contemplating the few precious hours my family and I will spend with my son, US Marine Corps Sgt. Cooper Hampton, later this month before he leaves on his second combat deployment. It is a strange irony and a sobering reminder that while much has changed in our country, the cost of freedom is still the same.

So here I am with another video… a little tribute to America and all the men and women who have paid the price for our freedoms. If you like this little song, please consider forwarding it along to share with your friends. And of course, I always love to hear what you think.

Happy Independence Day, America!