800,000 hits

800,000 people have visited this blog in the years I have been writing this blog.  What impact if any have I made on life?  Quite frankly I don't know. 



I have tried three times to write a post today and every time I have tried, I deleted the post I had written.   I worry that I am becoming a negative writer and I have simple forgot how to celebrate what I have.   The last thing I want to become is exactly what I wrote in those three failed posts.

Sadly, the realization that what I say is what I think, I am at a loss to change that.  I have hundreds of fancy little sayings but no way to escape the fact that in a lot of cases they are wishful thinking and not reality. 

I have traveled the world over and think the things here in the heartland are the best places I have ever been.  Is it just rose colored glasses or a desire to not change that keeps me here?   Can I realistically look at the things I love here without the thought that my perception is my reality - What happens if I am wrong?  Do crazy people even begin  to realize that they are out of whack and that alone makes their reality off center?  I read once that it is when people begin to notice they are wrong a lot and that is what drives them crazy.

Oh well, I will just try to get on today and pretend that everything is OK.  

I'm OK, but I'm not sure about you.




Well, the short ride for the BIG XII teams in the NCAA Men's basketball tourney is over.  I almost laughed out loud when one of the announcers said that West Virginia might be able to disrupt Kentucky.  All Kentucky had to do was throw the basketball high and use their reach/height advantage.  Throw in referees with happy whistles an it was clear that the game was over in about the first 10 minutes.   Oklahoma did a fair job but they didn't seem to run many plays and when the outside shooting didn't work,. they lost.   Wait for it,  The K-State Chant - "Wait for next Year."  

A couple of years back, I saw an experiment ran with some test subjects in a cave.  They were forced to give up their watches and any reference to time.  Soon, they just let their bodies tell them what time it was and they were soon out of whack.  Days turned into nights, nights where whenever and they had no frame of reference to how long it took to do anything.  I can relate to that now that I am retired.  I can take a nap and wake up completely disoriented as to what time it is.  I know that Barb can spend hours reading after I have fallen asleep and I can wake up at 5 AM and feel rested.  Have I mentioned how much I hate getting old lately? 

I attended the ceremony of one of my friend's sister last week.   Yesterday I saw that a former brother-in-law of mine commented that he had lost a dear friend this week.  I told him that this is the one aspect that no one prepares you for.  As kids, we were bulletproof and would live forever.  Now I can start listing friends that have passed on and it takes both hands.   I guess I expected to lose my grandparents and my parents, but losing those people my age and younger were not in my expectations.  Stupid me.

Yesterday I went out to hook up the mower to the tractor and found that the universal joint on the attachment part had failed.  Somehow the piece had been bent and the clips that held the cap on the joint came off.  Lose the clips and the little caps become hand grenades.  The new universal was $35.00 and the new part was almost $60.00.  Maintenance on this tractor is expensive.  This past week I put a new starter button on the tractor after spending over $100.00 on a new solenoid.  This tractor works fine right now but I am holding my breath to see how soon something else breaks. 

I read a Facebook site about 55-56-57 Chevys.  It blows me away how critical the readers are about the tires and wheels some guys put on their cars.  When I was doing my 57 Chevy, I tried to collect up a set of 57 Belair fancy hubcaps.  Most of the one's I found at swap meets were pretty rusty and the clips that held them on the wheel were broken or missing.  In the interest of my time and money, I bought a set of Crager Mags.  It looks like something I would have done in my earlier years.  The big difference is that  I would have bought them second hand and perhaps they might have even been hot back then. 

That takes me back to a funny story.  One of the guys in my neighborhood was Danny Rex.  He was a pretty normal guy but somewhat lacking in the intelligence area.   He saw an ad in the paper for a transmission on a 46 Ford.   He took the directions and off we went to take it out of the old car on a farm out east of Wichita.  When we completed the job, we moved on and almost forgot about it.  The next week, a Sheriff's Officer showed up at Danny's house to arrest him for theft.  It seems that my friend had the right address but the wrong street.  He had it written down there by the phone and still had the newspaper ad.  When it was explained to the farmer, he decided to not press charges.  Danny and I had to go out and put the transmission back where we got it and then go get the new one.  I am just glad that I hadn't driven my car on that first trip. 

Oh well, on to bigger and better things. 



Only Time Will Tell

Ask about anyone, and they will tell you that the current crop of elected people has to be about the most self centered bunch of idiots ever.  I won't wax political for either side.   Seems like we just get one new bunch after throwing out the old guys and the new guys seem to get worse that we had.

Before you swell up and say Hell No!  I would invite you to consider that they have and will promise us the cure only to find a new disease worse than the last one.   The only thing that makes me laugh about this is the fact that so few of you voted in the last round of elections, that I can say that few voted for these Morons. 

Who is the worst President of all times?  Based on the latest polls and discussions on TV, the current guys is always the worst.   Only time will tell as this guy fills out the last two years of his term in office.  His record will be finalized and then and only then will we put him in the right place. 

What makes me really sad is that as I look out there I can't seem to find a candidate that will begin to really do the job well.  This is my problem, I know that.  

One person that I would love to see elected is a guy that a lot of people hate.  Senator John McCain is one person that deserves only the best from us.  He is an Ex-POW and one of the few guys that has been involved in things that have crossed the aisle and had bi-partisan support.   The rest of the guys in Congress seem to hate anything that is not their party's idea.  That kind of thinking got us the Affordable Health Care Act.   I heard this week that if costs so much that the Congressional staffers were told they didn't have to use it.  Another loop home created by the loop home Master. 

How can we fix this whole mess?   I am not sure we can but one thing we should do is to have congress really sit down and look at the laws we have and start cutting down on them.  I would go so far as to say there needs to be sunset dates (expiration Dates) on all laws. 

We should have all the government we can afford to pay for.  Not one cent should be proposed above the current tax level.  Income should be greater than or equal to outgo.  A few people said the last person to have a balanced budget was Bill Clinton.    What they don't say is that he just didn't increase the deficit they have. He just didn't spend more than we had coming in.   I would like to have a little of the budget deficit paid off each year.  Even a balanced budget with a 1 or 2 percent pay back would be something I would love to see.  

A few years back, my portion of the National Debt was something that I could have helped pay for.  It is growing so fast and high that I am no longer sure that even if we all emptied our savings we can make a dent.  I hear that a large number of people out there don't have any savings to dip in to.

Speaking of dents, the Kansas projected shortfall next year is about 600 million.  If there are about 2 million people living in Kansas, why don't each of us pay a head tax of a few dollars and balance that puppy.  I think most of us would also throw in a few dollars for education.   I would also stop the use of the Fuel Tax dollars to plug holes and start fixing our roads and bridges.  When the Willard Bridge here in Shawnee County falls down, I just pray no one is on it.

Jes' Say'n.


Strange Thing!

After a two year long battle with a lawyer involved, and because this is tax time, I wondered if the Lawyer fees are deductible.   Can you believe that even with the number of lawyers in Congress they are not?  Seems to me that that is one thing that a good lawyer would get passed quickly.    I haven't finished my research but at least not right out there in the open they are not for an individual.  Perhaps they can be included in a business as a write off but not openly for individuals.

Did I really expect that West Virginia would beat Kentucky?   Not really.  I wasn't sure about the Shockers but at least they didn't beat themselves, a great Notre Dame team played their asses off and won the game.  Now to see if Oklahoma will show up and win tonight.  Roy Who?

Yesterday I went out to the garage to set the tractor up to mow some in the field.  Seems the universal joint on the drive shaft had shelled its self the last time I used it to mow.  A new universal was $35.00.  When I tried to replace the old one, I realized why it failed.  Somehow the old fastener was bent and it needs to be replaced.  There wasn't one at either Tractor Supply store here in town.  They want $55.00 for that.   Crap Oh Dear.   Oh well, I will probably make a dump run with the trailer and stop by the north store on the way home.  Perhaps.

I am torn about getting a mower at the rental houses.  The lots there is three acres and I couldn't mow it in a week if I had a push mower.  We'll see.  It used to be pretty easy to hire a kid to mow but with the price of gas, I am not sure I could afford to do that. 

I can't imagine how fast this year is going.  It will soon be April and there is a lot of outside work to get done.  I thought by June we could at least hit the road some but we are in a holding pattern right now.  On the 18th, our Barbershop Chorus will hold their annual show.  We are getting ready but there is a lot of work to get done between now and then.

I had better get closed up here and get on with the day.  Miles to go and money to spend.



Is Edamame Edible?

For those of you that have never tried Edamame (Soy beans) it is a funny vegetable.  It comes still in the husk and the husk is so tough that it is like eating shrimp.  The biggest difference is that the shells on shrimp are very light and small and with Edamame, you wind up with a pile of green scraps almost as big as you started with.  Most of the husks are tough as leather and there are only one or two beans in the husk.  The beans are tender and have the look of lima beans.  They have little taste and to make the entire process edible, you have to sprinkle the husks with Greek Seasoning (Cavender's is the best I have found for this)  I think this is a social thing more than a good process for dinning.

Now that I have that thought out of the way, I will move on to the state of the State of Kansas.   The legislature is in the process of making abortion harder to get, authorize concealed carry w/out a license and passing a budget that is at least 600 million dollars short.  Instead of adding a few dollars to everyone's state income taxes, they want to raise the sin tax.  Smokers and drinkers will soon have to stop smoking and drinking because of the cost.  We can go to Casino's but lord forbid if we try to smoke or drink there.  For the record, that's three things I really don't do but you never know when I might want to go to a casino, have a drink and a smoke.  Unless I somehow outlive my wife (Not likely) I probably won't get to do that.

I am really proud of the K-State Coach.   Bruce Webber stepped up to the responsibility and sent a couple of his key players on down the road because they have failed to live up to their responsibility as student athletes,  He is also allowing a third player to transfer to another school.   It must be tough for a coach to cause the dismissal of two of his best players.  I wish that Bill Self would do the same with Cliff Alexander and stop any question of KU being involved with having a player tainted by an NCAA Investigation.  There is a publication called the Jayhawk weekly and this week they have a special page about what fans and players must not do or the NCAA will step in and slap the programs.  In my personal opinion, Cliff should be allowed to stay at least another year to develop to his full potential as a player but his family crapped on KU's lawn and he needs to pay the price.   KU, being a team with only one senior, there needs to be some room for new recruits in the scholarship ranks.  Unlike Kentucky and KU last year, the NBA is not going to be beating down the doors for the current players. 

I am having problems taking taped conversations from a small recorder and making a copy.  It seems to use an MP4a format and store the recording somewhere in the bowels of the computer when I try to download using the system software.  I have to do a search each time I find them and the one copy I have made seems to clip it off about 14 or 15 minutes.   I guess it is time to bribe our son to come over and help his computer illiterate dad out.  I have a couple of conversations I want to share with my father-in-law.   He is in his 90's and just see's and hears a little worse than I do.  Now a winning combination.  Yes, there is probably a software program out there that will do the job. 

The weather here in the heartland is on a roller coaster ride.  It got down to freezing last night and will be in the 70's over the weekend.  Oh well, IO have said that I do like to live where there are 4 true seasons.  Go south of here and the summers start to be like living in a steam closet.  Go north and the snow gets deep and frequent.  To really grow plants in the garden, we have to water in the last of June and into July until the harvest is complete.  Just for the record, the grass is on it's own.  If it lives, yea.  If it dies, it wasn't worth the effort I have spent on it.

I guess it is time to get off here and do some research on tax matters and software solutions.




Another Story

When we were kids, anything that looked like an adventure was a magnet for our attention.  In most cases, we weren't destructive but we did like to do new things that were different with or without a degree of risk.  Let me start this story by saying that one of our friends had a Dad that was the head custodian at the school we attended.  Ron had access to the keys to almost any part of the school, but what would be the fun of that.   This adventure began when one of us noticed that there was a ventilator grate broken and we decided that we could probably fit through the hole.

Most of us had no idea where that hole was and no understanding that it might just go no where.  We crawled, wiggled and forced our selves through that hole and low and behold found ourselves into a maize of tunnels that seemed to go on and on.  It was probably the pipe chase that was under mast of the halls and branched off into places like the kitchen, the bathrooms and the locker rooms. I think the school had steam heat and at least one of the pipes was wrapped by some kind of paper over asbestos.  No one knew anything about any danger there so we just kept moving through that dark confined place.  Every once in a while there would be a grate over an outside vent but a lot of it was just dark tunnels that were about 5 feet wide by about 4 feet tall.  Today my claustrophobia would have kept me out but back then, I was young, dumb and fearless.  

Our adventure began one Sunday afternoon when no one was at school. We, by dead reckoning, worked our way through that set of tunnels into the main boiler room. The first leg of that adventure took us about 2 hours.   We climbed down into the new boiler room where the Janitors had an area they stored pipes, wrenches and there was a big wooden work bench to help them repair things.   On one end of the boiler room was what passed for a tornado shelter and it was a much bigger hall.  You could have probably put the entire school there and had room left over. 

Would we take advantage of the door to the outside?  Nope, we saw that the tunnels continued into the older portion of the school and returned to the grand adventure.  We entered to the new area and our adventure continued.  We got to the far end of that tunnel and it went into the hallway clear down by the kindergarten room.  We had passed the boiler room for the old area of the school and we doubled back there to see if it too had a door to the outside.  Yep, it did and after about 4 hours of doing our imitation of spelunking, we exited that door.  We had managed to completely travel under the halls of the school from one end to the other.  Our hands and knees were sore from the rough concrete but I don't remember anyone having back problems. from bending over most of the afternoon. In retrospect, we should have known that the first and original part of the school would have a boiler room but none of us had ever seen any part of it.  In fact it was tucked into a lower area by the Home Education room and we really had no reason to go there.  The door to the outside was just a metal door with frosted glass that we passed a lot but had no reason to stand out.   

I am pretty sure that no one knew of our adventure and we were never discovered.  We didn't damage anything or steal anything so in our perspective. no harm no foul.

Junior Spelunker

Waxing Philosophical

Every once in a while I get this urge to share some of the things that has got me to where I am.  I think I am in a good place but that is up to you to decide.  Here are a few things I notice and care about:

It is my contention that while there is a lot of luck involved in choosing your life partner, that is one of the most important decisions you can make.  I found my wife on a blind date and from the first she talked about the plans she had for the future.   It was easy to see me in those plans and clearly she set the course for our life.  Listen to your dates.  If they have no plans or idea what the future holds, run! Better yet, if she has money in the bank for good reasons, she's got a lot of good knowledge.

Smart, Loving and good looking, What more could I want?

I think there a lot of people out there that want a lot of what I do.   The problem is that they let their desires cloud their visions.  We could do things different but at what cost.  Did our own desire to make things equal in the 60's cause us to take the desire to provide for ourselves?  Did our desire for everyone have the same thing cause us to lose the black communities?  Did our development of communal housing kill the desire/ability to own their own homes?  Are we victims of ourselves?

In my humble opinion, there is a need for a strong Military.  But, in the words of one of the best Generals, Dwight David Eisenhower, we need to fear the Military Defense Establishment.  In my perfect world, we would have a Military for several good reasons.  First it is one heck of a good program to teach our kids about service.  It is where the Government needs to spend money to help out the economy. In my memory other countries don't attack stronger Countries.  It is designed to protect us not attack others.   The Military guys I know are the ones that hate wars the most.

I think there is room in our economy for a hand up, not a hand out to our poor.  Programs that lead to gaining skills and Education and supporting people while doing/educating something is the answer.  Just feeding a man or woman does nothing to build their feelings of being worthwhile. While Maslow's rules aren't always the best way to run the train, it does have some basic things worth listening to. Food and shelter are basic needs and do not motivate. I can think back in my life the great feeling when I got a new job or completed a training requirement.  I think our young people feel the same regardless of their color, race or ethnicity.  Pride in who you are goes a long way to making you want to belong to something better.  It is hopelessness that is our enemy.

Did you read that spending on Education is a heck of a lot better than the alternative?  Read it here and believe that I feel strong about it.

One thing I learned early and often was that Barb was a better Dave Ramsey than he was back early days in my life.  She had goals and used investing as a means to that end.  Income had to be bigger than outgo!  We had a 30 year Mortgage and she paid it off in 15.  That new car was not as important as having basic transportation.  She didn't see well without her glasses so swimming was just not her thing.  Getting a boat was a way to go swimming so same thing to her. 

Not everything the Government wants you to do is a good thing.  We saved early in the 401(k) type programs.   Now they want us to take that money out and pay taxes on it.  Just when it is clear that we should leave it invested, we are forced to take a part of it out. The really sad thing is that once we take it out, there is just no place to invest it with a good return.  Yes, we will probably just use it to pay taxes  Stupid me...

I know that as a landlord, this will sound kind of counter productive.  Renting might seem like a better way but you have no benefit from the growth of the value of the house.  That is the way we moved up in where we lived.   I won't even talk about the advantage tax wise to be able to deduct the interest from your taxes.  If you want to send me a dollar, I will be glad to send 30 cents back for you to pay your taxes.  Don't even think for a minute that owning a rental doesn't have a lot of responsibilities.  Tell it to the roofer that put a new roof on one of my houses in December. It was over $8,000 that I can not deduct.

Support whomever you choose for any political position.   Just don't try to tell me that your choice is better than mine.  How do your tell when a Politician is telling less than the truth?   When his lips are moving.  They have as their primary motivation to get elected and stay that way.   Why would they support what you want when there are people out there willing to pay big dollars to get their vote?  Take the money out of politics and see how soon we would have to draft people to represent us.   Being in a government position should be a responsibility not a right.  Heck, a lot of you don't even bother to get out and vote let alone serve your friends and neighbors.   The most thankless job is the school board.  Do you even know who they are?

When I was in the Military, I had a Top Secret clearance.  It was my job to make sure that every classified document was properly handled and stored.  Every time my boss wanted to put a document in his desk drawer overnight I was the one person that would go get it and put it in the safe.  I can not imagine that the Secretary of State didn't have a staff that felt the same way.  Setting up a home computer that handled extremely sensitive material was more than stupid, it was criminal.  Hillary was in violation of some pretty serious laws.  No excuse.  The Law is the Law.

I am involved in a law suit in another state.  Clearly the parties didn't consult a lawyer and follow his advice.  In fact they continue to do things that aren't what the law intended.  If you find yourself in a mess, consult a Lawyer.  Failure to learn or know the law is no excuse.  Failure to follow that advice is criminal. 

Along those same lines, I have made mistakes in my life.  I have had to go into my bosses office and admit my failure.  Commission or omission are the same in my book and I have done both.  When I did, I told the truth and never tried to sugar coat or lie my way out of it.  Telling a lie to cover a mistake is what gets you fired.  I hope your boss understand that you like him are busy and the more things you do the more things can happen that are not the way you would do them if you had more time or less things to do.  Mine did.  (well there was one guy that didn't fully understand that if it was illegal, it would not have my name on it)

Sports is entertainment not the reason for life. Win or lose, celebrate the young men and women for their victories.  For every person that is sad for KU, there are people that are happy for WSU. I don't understand why if Kentucky has such great bourbon they would care about basketball, but they do.

On a final note, sitting at your computer can waste a lot of time and isn't the way to get your taxes done.   Me neither.



Was I Skeardt?

Fear is what ever reality you have.  Most of the kids I grew up with played all sorts of competitive games as kids and I think that effected our reality.  At least for me it did.  One time, I mentioned to the wife that I thought playing computer games changed the driving habits of our son.  Push reset and get a new game (car).  I was soon reminded that I too crashed my share of vehicles and was the one that had to hire a lawyer to keep my license.  Go back to your corner Dennis and shut up.

Back to the theme of Was I afraid?  When I went to Vietnam, I was subjected to a lot of periods of boredom interspersed with moments of sheer terror.  If I had tried to maintain a constant vigilance the entire time I was there, I would have been a shell of myself in about 30 days.  You cannot maintain that level of adrenalin for more than a few moments.  So, afraid or Skeardt is just not a description I would use.  I tried to be as prepared to do my job as well as I could and reacted to my training when called upon. 

Near the beginning of my time in Vietnam, we stood a mortar attack that killed 13 and seriously wounded about 47 out of a battalion of about 500.  I was near the main body of the battalion and luckily did not get hit by any of the mortars or shrapnel.   During the mortar attack I tried my best to hide under my helmet and flack jacket. As soon as I could, I got up and ran out to the battery and tried to help keep everything together.  My training kicked in and I was awake for the next 48 hours.  I can't say I was afraid we would get hit by a ground attack, just concerned that it might happen and I did everything I could to make sure that didn't happen.  There was more the matter of taking care of the wounded and dead.

Near the end of my tour, I was on a mountain top LZ and we started getting RPG file from another hill near by.  I rushed out of my bunker and started directing the fire of one howitzer to shut that sucker up.  I had no concern for my safety, I wanted it stopped and shooting him before he got us was my goal.  When the firing stopped, the firebase was shot up pretty bad but there were no fatalities on our side and only a few wounded.  During the time when a rocket he fired at us was coming in, I can remember getting down behind a tree stump.  When it was all over, I looked for that stump and the only thing I could find was a 3 inch stump of a bush.  My perception was it was bigger but it was not.

I think that has been the story of my life that while I might have an increased adrenalin level, I am more prone to action rather than frozen with fear when something happens.   I hope to die in my sleep at least 15 years down the road, but I am not afraid of dying.

In fact, I tell people that I am so glad to have such a great life and I am not sure I would have changed a thing were I to get the chance to do it all over again.  Well, I might have bought more 57 Chevys back in the day. 


Notice to Basketball Fans

Many years ago, the wife and I decided that Basketball is just a sport played by kids.  At every level, they should see it as a means to an end not the sum of everything.  If colleges were awarded bonus points for their graduation rates not Championships, the whole idea of sports would evolve.  With that as a starting frame of reference, we are really big sports fans.

Today will be a game with Kansas University (KU) playing Wichita State University (WSU).   I attended WSU for 2 years and graduated from KU.  Barbara completed her degree in Education from WSU and got her Masters in Special Education from KU.  As you might be able to tell we both celebrated the success of both schools and really have mixed emotions about today's game.  For us, we will cheer the game and no matter who wins we will have their color T-Shirts to wear.  For us it is more of a great chance to see both teams than to watch one get beat. 

During the season, one of my friends, (surprise I do have friends) who has a daughter at K-State really made a big deal out of the Win at K-State over KU and Iowa State.  I didn't hear a word out of him about the fact that they were one of three teams in the BIG XII not selected to play in the post season.  I won't laugh at him when on Monday night I will wear the colors of the team that wins today.  I will be happy that KU and WSU played and salute the winner. 

I think that between both teams there are only 2 or 3 players from Kansas.   The rest of the players were recruited to attend their school and the rivalry is more that one team will end their season today rather than it is Wichita Vs. Lawrence.  Heck, Bill Self is an Oklahoma State guy and I'll bet if they cut his pay back to the level of the rest of the Educators on that campus he would be gone as fast as the season ends.  I read one commentator called KU the White Collar school and WSU the Blue Collar school.  How silly is that?   The kids are just basketball players and it doesn't matter what their parents did.  The other night there was an ESPN program about Christian Laettner who attended Duke.  Duke was the Rich Guys school and everyone thought he was from a rich family.  He was the most blue collar guy that ever played at Duke.  Perception became their reality and no amount of information could change that.

Having worked with a lot of teams while in the Military, I can pretty much think that the members of the teams will show up and play.  There may be some that will hang their head and perhaps shed some tears when the game is over.  If they really stopped and considered that the winner will soon get to play Kentucky, they would be less sad.  That will soon end the season for whoever wins today.  The team that is 36-0 is not likely to be eliminated.   Oh well, good luck to the players and have a great show to all the people watching.  I will be in front of my TV with bells on. 

Rock Chalk, Woo Shock &  pick a pail of posies for the loser.


My Stupid chant on a Bus

At Fort Sill. OK in 1966, I was an Officer Candidate doing my best to learn the Profession of Artillery so I didn't get killed or kill any of my fellow soldiers in Vietnam.  One thing we did was ride to far flung classes on busses driven by a bunch of old retired Sergeants that retired there in Lawton and drove the busses to supplement their retirement pay.  They always wanted to hear or see something new from the Candidates on the bus.  One Morning someone said lets give him the Fort Sill Cheer.   "We Love it here, We love it Here - Bull Shit."  Someone said lets tell him what we think of it.  "We hate this F#$%*ING Place."   Someone said no, lets give him the positive cheer - "We Positively hate this f#$%^&ing Place." 

Had that old Sergeant wanted to get us all in boiling hot water, all he would have had to do was turn us all in.  I am sure that there would have been a bunch of us sent packing - mostly to Vietnam. 

So when you hear that a bunch of drunk fraternity kids got their chapter kicked off the campus, just remember the times you too were young and stupid.  I guess the biggest difference today is there is the ability to record everything on your cell phone and back then it would have been his word against ours.  


Another Story

I bet that in the annuals of Story Telling there has to be a special place for those people that can spontaneous create a story that starts and ends with a clear path in between.  What worries me is that I hope I am not starting in the beginning of Dementia.  I had old family and friends that could not tell you where they left their keys but could recite tale after tale of their childhood.   Here's my story and I'm sticking to it.

The outer story was that this morning at Breakfast in Oklahoma City I met a couple of young girls that were in OK City showing animals in some show. They won the right to be there by winning their district.  The girl with the big belt buckle was showing her horse.  The other girl was showing a sheep.  I told a guy with them that I fully support the idea of sheep.  They are best with mint jelly.   He said that was a ba-ba-ba-ba-bad joke.  Then I remembered the story of the first basemen's mitt.

My uncle joined the Navy around the time of the Korean War.  When he was in High School, he was one heck of an athlete and played basketball and first base.  He left Kansas with nothing more than the clothes he was wearing.  He left his first baseman's mitt in the back window package tray on his old Chevy.  He was gone four years and when he returned home, he stayed with us for a while.  He took that old mitt out of his car and threw it away.  Being young and in need of a glove, I saved it from the trash. 

After four years of sitting in the sun in that car, that glove was stiff as a board.  I brought it to my dad and asked him if he had any ideas on how to make it supple.  I was thinking that he might use saddle soap or neat's-foot oil but no, he went into the shelves next to our bathroom.  He brought out a jar of his magic Mutton Grease he called Tallow.  That stuff turned the glove into one of the softest gloves in the game.  The problem came when the smell just did not wear off.  When I joined a little league that summer, the other players would not let me bring that glove in the dug out.  I had to leave it outside on the grass.  I don't think that it ever stopped smelling really bad.  I think the coach made me the catcher so I would use the team's equipment and leave that stinky glove at home.

The girls in the first paragraph had just sat down to eat so I waited until they were about done to tell the rest of the story.

I went to Vietnam on the USNS Geiger and they served a lot of different things.  On the third day out of Long Beach, they served stewed mutton over rice.  I took my first fork full and put it in my mouth.  All I could taste was that damned first baseman's mitt and the more I chewed, the larger the chunk of meat got until I finally had to take a napkin and hide the remains.  First, we had only been at sea for three days so I wasn't completely over the motion sickness, but that damned mutton was so rank it wasn't funny.  

The girls thought that story was kind of funny and they left to go to the livestock show.  I wished them well and I left to come home.   On the way through Wichita, I wondered to myself if there is still somewhere on the east side of town a smell that no one can place.  I'm sure that if the glove wasn't burned, it still smells like that dead sheep left out in the rain. 


Stupid is as Stupid Does.

In an effort to help us understand that working together is the best way to live, Starbucks is having their people write on the coffee cups.  Many people are up in arms about it.  I don't buy their coffee because I find it too strong and expensive.  I don't boycott, I vote with my feet.  I would encourage you to do the same. 

This last week, a black friend of mine and I were discussing how tough it is to grow up as a kid in a blended family.  Heck, he and I both found it tough to grow up in a regular 2 parent family.  He currently has a young son that is his fiance's child by another person.   He and I agree that anyone that doesn't love a child exclusive of the parentage is just missing out on what makes life fun.  He is kind of afraid to encourage the kid to call him Daddy but he thinks it is great to come home from work and have the kid cry out, "Daddy's Home."  The real father of that child has weekend visits but often is too busy to come over and pick up the kid.   His loss.

This is the 50th anniversary of my High School graduating class.  I have mixed emotions about going to the reunion.  Mostly the people that wil be there are kids that I went to school with from Kindergarten through High School.  Gotta Run.