I'm in kind of a rush this morning. I need to attend a "Celebration of Life" this afternoon. It seems like I have been to plenty of those lately. This one is different. It is for my nephew, my brother's son.
They say life isn't fair, they're right. It wasn't fair for my nephew or his parents.
Brannon Sipes was born in northern Colorado. As a high school athlete, Brannon lettered in football and baseball. After high school, he left Colorado to play baseball at a Jr. college in Nebraska. I can't say for sure what exactly happened next, maybe baseball gave up on Brannon or Brannon gave up on baseball, but he enlisted in the Navy.
Always near the top of his class Brannon did not see himself as a "deck swabbing" sailor. He applied for and was accepted into the Navy's nuclear submarine program. In typical fashion, Brannon excelled in his life on the submarines (three different subs) earning the title of Sailor of the Year for the United States Navy.
The Navy changed Brannon. It taught him that Colorado was not where he wanted to be. Living at and around submarine bases in the southern United States, Brannon came to hate snow. He convinced himself that it snows in Colorado twelve months of the year and vowed not to come back. His conviction to stay warm enabled Brannon to convince his dad it DOES in fact snow every month in Colorado and now, Daddy Dave is looking for the warmth of the South also. When not on the boat, Brannon enjoyed golfing in the Florida/Georgia sun.
Brannon spent twenty years in the Navy in the "Nuke" submarine program before retiring with honors. Brannon parlayed his twenty years in the submarine program to his post-retirement civilian life in Washington D.C. but still working on submarines.
Living in the nation's capital was not as glamorous as one would think. A disagreeable political climate, long commutes to work, and the dreaded snow that Brannon disliked so much. He packed up his family and moved to Texas.
Texas was perfect for Brannon. Lower taxes, warm weather, (actually hot weather), his parents were closer, and politics he agreed with. Texas was perfect.
As in all life, things change. I like to think God had an engineering problem and needed Brannon to solve it. Brannon is home where it never snows. He is with his brother, a cousin, uncles, and, his grandparents enjoying the warmth.
We thank Brannon for his service to his country, our country. We ask that he rest in peace and not to worry, we are driving the boat now. Love ya, buddy.
Our crazy lives!