12/15/2014

Short Stories

In my Military career, several long BS sessions have gone under the bridge and some may have even been true.  Take these or leave them, some may have happened like I am going to tell them but they have been filtered through a faulty memory and time passing.

One Guy from Paola, KS had a wife and a girl friend.  He would supposedly go out drinking with his buddies but his wife never saw him at the local taverns.  One night she followed him as he went out and saw that he went to a single lady's house that was well known in the community.   Several hours later, the guy came home drunk and smelling of the woman he had been visiting.  The wife took a tube of super glue and glues the offending member to his leg.   When he woke up to go to the bathroom, he was very surprised.  He got dressed and went in his car to a hospital in  Olathe where he was sure that no one knew him.  Low and behold the ER Nurse was one of his wife's best friends.  Evidently the solvent that removes super glue is also so strong that it will really do a number on skin in sensitive places.   Needless to say, he was met at the door of his home with a restraining order and the filed divorce papers as he limped up to the door. 

One of my best friends in the Military was such a wise guy.  We lived in a very small town and he decided to drive himself to the doctor the day he was going to have a vasectomy.   When he got home, he came walking up the drive very slow and his wife came out and asked him if he was alright.  In his highest Falsetto voice, he said "Oh, I'm fine." 

One of my friends once also decided to have a vasectomy and did not heed his doctor's advice.  Most Doctor's will tell you to go home, get a nice ice pack and watch a movie or two.  My friend decided to go play golf with his friends.  I am not sure what hole it was on, but when the swelling got very bad he finally went home and tried to get the swelling to go down.  It took a trip to the local Emergency Room  to drain off the bleeding that started on a backswing.  Bummer.

The other day I was in a specialty store in Lawrence and saw the entire shelf of canned sea food.  Smoked oysters and capers, sardines, clams and tons of other things I have never tried.   I was immediately transported back to a day in Vietnam.  We were out in the middle of nowhere and the unit commander wanted to send out a dismounted patrol and the recon Sergeant I had wanted to go with the Mortar FO and there was no need for me to go.  As we sat there in the sun relaxing, one of the guys asked the guys if they would like to share some of his goodies he just got from home.  It was an assortment of canned sea food and when we opened the cans, they were very salty so someone offered us a couple of cans of hot beer.  Never was I ever so sick.   I am sure it was the hot beer.

Once we were in the field at Fort Riley and on an overnight field problem.  About the time most people would have had a pretty good start on a night's sleep, One of the guys rummaged through his pack and found a couple cans of sardines.  They were nasty and stunk up the place.   He ate and then just left the cans there by his bunk.  I am not sure who, but someone during the short night woke up and put the cans of oily sardines in his boots.  I am sure that he wondered who they bad guy was all the next day when every time he met one of us we would say, "Do you smell sardines?"

Speaking of silly things that happened when we were in uniform, we had a Field Grade Officer in our unit that could not stand the sight of needles.  We would always take him into a class room and sit him down if shots were involved.  One day we were getting updates on our shots and he was due the TB test.   That's where they take little metal stick with a very small point and tap it on your arm to help the TB germs get in and if you had been exposed to TB, it would swell up.  No swelling, no problem.  No one even gave it a thought about the Major's aversion to needles.  As soon as he saw one of the guys in the line get that slight poke, he fell down like a polled OX.  The good news was that we were only a couple of blocks from the ER at the local Hospital. 

One year we were at Fort Carson, Colorado and were given a base camp in a fairly desolate area.  The Major in the pervious story had brought a small carpet to put by his bunk so he could put his boots on without getting his socks dirty.  Back in those days, we had blousing rubbers which were just little green bands with a hook on each end that would hold our pants legs up on top of our boots. As he picked up one of the rubbers, the hook on the end got hooked up on a loop in the rug and when he pulled it, it came loose and he was just sure that he had been snake bitten.  He was standing up on his cot afraid when someone noticed the blousing rubber there on the rug where he dropped it.  Much laughter over that one...

At the end of one of our summer camps, we had a party at the Officer's Club.   We had a tradition of mixing a helmet of Artillery punch and passing it around the room and the junior officer had the task of finishing it.   That same camp, one of my friends, who was the cheapest guy I had ever met bought a fifth of whatever rotgut was the cheapest at the Class VI Store.  He was supposed to send it to one of the guys on post who had done him a favor.  When  the guy opened the sack and saw that it was old rot gut, he instantly sent it back with a Thanks, but no Thanks card attached.  Being the good guy I was, I helped my friend drink that whiskey as it was passed around.  In about 15 minutes, I had to go get sick.   I almost immediately went back to our BOQ where I promptly went to bed.  The next morning, I woke up pretty sober and feeling like I could survive the long convoy home.  The rest of the officers in the battalion were still in pretty bad shape and I had to sit at the convoy Start Point and dispatch the units out as most of the convoy officers were still so drunk and hung over they couldn't function. 

Well, that's the long and the short of it.  Have a great day.

MUD, teller of short tales. 

12/13/2014

My First Hockey Game

Last Night, the Capitol City Barbershop Chorus sang the National Anthem for the Local Hockey Team.  I stayed and watched the first period and we were all told of the saying, "I went to a fight and a Hockey Game broke out."   For the most part, it was a lot of fast skating and not much fighting.  Not being aware of the rules, it didn't make a lot of sense.  Four or five times up and down the rink and they teams would switch skaters.  That went on until a lucky bounce sent the puck into the net.  That was followed by some of the sappiest time out skits I ever saw.  It was neat to watch the Zamboni work out and then I went home.  I'll stick to basketball as my favorite sport.

Given a free choice, I think watching old western's or War Movies could be a close second to the Basketball games.  I am pretty sure that Barb loves basketball but not the old movies I watch.  She loves to watch people try to buy houses in places where they are grossly inflated and the kind of show where they restore old homes.  This spring it will be time to put some new touches on Rabbit Run.  25 years of good living here is beginning to show on the finish of our house. 

Have I mentioned that Barb and I have a deal?  I get to do the infrastructure and mechanical things and she does pretty.  I tend to be way too influenced by natural colors  (Brown, khaki and other muted colors) and she can do pretty, pretty well. 

Well, time to go out and about...

MUD

12/11/2014

The Weather

I'd rather the weather was nicer but I'm glad it warms up enough to melt the ice off the sidewalk.  I am looking forward to Friday and perhaps a day of sunshine.  I want to take a couple of shots of the Capitol building and they just don't come out on foggy cloudy days.

Have you made your Christmas wish(s) yet?   Barb told me that my present was just the right size to send in a package to her Dad.  I think, (Hope) she will replace it but am not sure.  I need to get out and buy her present.   It is difficult to buy for people that really don't need much.  The truth is that several pairs of my underwear are getting so old that the elastic band in the waste bands are getting so old they need replaced.  Throw in a few pair of socks and I'll be set. 

I'm trying to find a roofer that will replace the roof on the rental house.  It is a combination of sloped and flat roof so not everyone can or will do it.  The estimates are coming in at about $8,000 so far.  The good news is that I will have enough money to pay the taxes and the roof.  Next year I'll re roof the little house and the garages.   It takes money to make money.    I also have some plans on remodel for the bigger house if my tenant follows through with her threat to move to Silver Lake come the end of the school year. 

Last night, I watched the KU Vs. Georgetown Men's Basketball game/wrestling match.   The have a 350 lb. center that just fills the lane.  He is the unstoppable force and it took a great shooting effort for Brannen Greene  of KU to keep ahead.  It was clear from the start of the game that the announcers thought Georgetown was going to win and KU might as well stayed home.  After leading for most of the game, Georgetown finally got a one point lead and the announcers went nuts.  KU soon tied it up and when Greene went on his three point shooting demonstration hardly talked about KU and their fine defense.  All in all, Announcers don't win or lose the game.  Georgetown fans stayed loud and proud but after playing in Allen Field House it was nothing the Hawks hadn't heard.  I was amazed that the referees could maintain any semblance of law and order with all the wrestling under the basket.  The Georgetown Center camped out in the lane and it was more like a 5 to 10 second rule for him.  Oh well, great game Hawks.   Now they have to play Utah and that will be a big challenge. 

For some reason, we sang at several "Older adult Facilities" last month and we are not going to do any Christmas singing.  Friday night we'll do the National Anthem at a Hockey Game here in Topeka. I told the wife that I may stay and watch a while as I have never really seen a Hockey Game.  Barb said she doesn't understand hockey beyond the puck in the net scoring.  The finer points of icing and penalty minutes are just not in her lexicon. 

Oh well, I hope you all have a great weekend and get to enjoy friends and family.

MUD

12/10/2014

700,000 Visits

Top the many readers that drop by from time to time, I want to thank you for the hits here on Riding With Mud.  I think I need to include a few more stories about our bike rides.  That probably will entail us going to places warmer to ride.   Thanks for all your reading

MUD     (Mean Uncle Denny)

Social Needs

As what I think is a fairly normal person, I too have social needs that from time to time need filled.  I get a lot of that done when I sing with the Barbershop Chorus but there is also a few times when I just feel the need to get out and meet with people.   Today we went to mail some packages at the Post Office and met a nice young lady with two small children.  Doing my best imitation of Grandpa, I talked to the kids and on the way out of the Post Office the mother stopped to talk with Barb and I.  She had been a substitute teacher at Tecumseh North Elementary and she and Barb had a lot of friends in common.  It was nice to stop and talk to her for a few moments.  Made me wish we had offered to take them to lunch.

If I was to try to aim this Post to a topic, I guess it would be how people feed their social needs?  With the kids here while their bathroom gets remodeled,  there is a lot of social interaction with them.  With the Christmas season here, there will be family gatherings to go to.   What do you do to fill that need?   I am sure there are many of you that feel Church is a good place to go and meet people. 

Moving on to the next topic,  I am always amazed at the news does its best to dramatize topics way above their real importance.  Turn that around and I ask why some events don't get more attention.  There are more young people killed on the streets of Chicago and Detroit on a weekend than most of the rest of the US combined.  Let one young white girl in rural Oklahoma die and it gets 15 minutes of airtime. 

This morning Barb and I talked about how many people in the USA don't feel empowered to participate in the climb of the ladder in a career that pays a living wage.  I read that a lot of employers have taken to hiring older workers who have lost their jobs to replace the kids that would have taken these starter jobs.   I can relate to that when I went back to school in the fall of 1970 and my job at Safeway bagging groceries was filled by an laid off Engineer at Boeing.  Being the kind of guy I was, I worked at a Salvage a couple of days a week to make do.  Our needs were not that great and I did know how to work.    I didn't ever go back to Safeway so I don't know how that guy fared.  Most of the Boeing jobs were transferred to Seattle so I guess that guy either moved or stayed at a fairly minimal job. 

I hope you all can join in the discussion od how we can get our country back on track.  For those young people, there were a lot of worse times in the 60's and it is possible to put it all together.  It takes a lot of smart people willing to work on our problems and not run around playing gotcha.

MUD 

12/09/2014

Work

I hear from a lot of people they can't find work.  I think what they mean is a job.  The difference is that if you are willing to work, you will smile, roll up your sleeves, do what you are told and then ask for more.  People that want a job want to have it fit their schedule, have little hard things to do and no one to ask them to do more.   Here is just a small collection of the things I had to do as I worked my way up in the job chain.

I think that mowing grass with a push mower was some of the hardest sweaty work I ever did.  No, not a gas powered model, a rotary push mower at Grandma's.  I had to oil it up and then really get it moving to keep it mowing.  I remember the first time my dad brought the gasoline mower over to Grandma's and I finished the yard in less than a half an hour.  It took most of the afternoon with the old mower.   I probably mowed more grass as a young man than most of anything else.  That was a job that was always good for a couple of dollars and I could find a lot of people that wanted it done. 

Our Boy Scout troop was led by a fellow that worked for Mr. Koch who was the father of the guys everyone demonizes today.  Our Scoutmaster would find small jobs at the Koch estate about the time it was time to go to camp.  I'll bet I weeded and cleaned up a mile or two of flower gardens each year. There was also a million bales of hay that needed to be stacked in the barn twice a year.  Sweat was the job and I did it well.

The next job I had was working in a gas station.  It was grunt labor and I was never finished.  I would also clean the station and the bathrooms on a regular basis.  I did learn a lot about cars and probably know the gas cap location of any car made between 1940 and 1965.  I learned how to replace fan belts and wiper blades.  I learned the common courtesy things that no one does today.  We would not only clean the windows, we would vacuum the floor mats.   I had one customer that would send his daughters into the station when they were going to Kansas City and I would really have to clean his Cadillac interior so the girls could stand to be in the car.  He smoked cigars and aimed the ashes at the ash tray but was not good at hitting the mark.  I would have to use the chemical window cleaner on the inside of the windows to remove the cigar smoke haze.  Water alone would not cut that gray haze.

Just before I went into the Military, I was lucky enough to get a construction job.  I was a basic laborer but I almost made myself valuable to the boss and was paid as a semi skilled laborer most of the time.  I could talk to the carpenters and find out what they needed to do whatever job they were doing that day.  Things like ladders, extension cords, nails and lumber were always as ready as I could make them when they went to work.  I also swept up the job sites and picked up everything at the end of the day.  I think I did my best to smile, do whatever needed done and be there if the boss needed anything. 

In the Military, I learned a lot about sharing the work and how to build teams to get things done.  I watched how the boss's set up jobs and the processes of whatever assigned duty we had.  I think the idea that the mission came first was a hard lesson to learn and one I learned well.  Most people will respond well if the job is explained to them and they have a chance to provide input on how they do the job.  It is sometimes hard to watch a new person do things the hard way but they learn just like I did.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that our young people today just don't have the experience in learning how to work well because they haven't done the grunt jobs.  I wish there was a way to give them the experience.
 
MUD

12/08/2014

Just a Thought or Two

I am a fan of good movies and there are several that entertain me a lot.   The Green Mile was a story told in a novel format as the book was printed a chapter at a time.  It was made into a movie that had a lot of impact on me and I'm sure a lot of people loved the dramatics and the Sci Fi tied together in one tale.  Turn around the drama of that with the final escape in the Shawshank Redemption and again Steven King's story was made into a great movie.  Both were stories well told.

Today I was channel surfing and ran into the Judgment  at Nuremburg.   I had forgotten the impact of a movie that tied one hell of a story into the reality of the events of the 1930'd and 40's.  I think it has a relationship to what happens with the times of every decade.  Where does the responsibility of the actions of the people belong to the people and just how much belongs to the Government?   When will the Governments of the world stand the ISIS soldiers up and make sure they know that it is their personal responsibility to adhere to how to treat prisoners and not their Wart Leaders.  When will the Muslim leaders stand up and make sure that what they are doing is not in Allah's name but their own twisted way, and that way is wrong.   Just as we stand our Policemen up in front of the Grand Juries and make sure what they do is done right, where is the moral outrage that killing someone over a petty crime is not right.   You know it, I know it and I'll bet every cop with a mother would shake her head and say I didn't raise you that way. 

Even with my mother no longer here, I can hear her say Dennis, that's not the right way.  WWMMD?  What would my Mother Do?  (or Say) is not a bad way to live for me and I'll bet your mother would have the same feelings.

I have made it my goal to say hello to as many different people as I can as I go through my daily activities.  Black, white, brown, male or female are all greeted with the same howdy and I think it has changes me more than the people I meet.  Try it, you too might find that we are a hell of a lot more alike than different. 

MUD - Howdy Neighbor
  

12/06/2014

Focus

I try to focus on the things I understand and try to not hold you to a standard that we don't both understand.  I think that if we look at the hard truth, we are a hell of a lot more alike than different.  There might have been a time that I wanted to be the richest SOB in town but I am pretty content to have what I have and would rather share than accumulate more.  I would rather call a close crew of people my friends than hate any one person. 

Last night, I went to the KU Vs. Florida Men's Basketball game.  The Florida team came out in the first half and it looked like Kentucky had come to Allen Field House all over again.  The young KU team overplayed the passing zones and Florida made them look foolish.  The second half started and the 15 point deficit became 18.  Then things changed,  slowly, KU started making shots and getting rebounds.  They chewed their way back in the game and the noise level in the Fieldhouse went through the roof.  When the score got tied, the place went crazy.  If I had to watch a regular game, I would have smiled and gone home.  Watching great people do great things it just couldn't have gotten any better.  Win or lose, this season will be a wonderful ride no matter the outcome. 

I am not sure where this post is really going.  I want you to know that we all share this little world and I will not hate you because of your color, race, religion or National Origin.  I hope you all wake up tomorrow and find a way to see how much the same we are, not the difference. 

MUD