Interesting Conversations

This morning I went out to get the paper and the neighbor was out in his yard. I guess it is an old guy thing that we are out early and the wives are still in bed asleep. We discusses many issues and as usual didn't find a solution for much. He is an independent business man and said his toughest job right now is getting people to pay after he completes the work for them.

We talked about the loss of our parents and what that means to the children of the Baby Boomers. According to what I read, the death and resulting wealth transfer from the passing of the parents of the baby boomers is at an all time high. At one time there was an expectation that children would take care of parents in their old age. Seems like that now there is a nursing home culture developing. As John said, "The first time my son has to change one of my crappy diapers, it is to the nursing home for me." I told Barb about that comment and she said, "And where would little John be if his parents had treated him the same way?" I guess the fact that not too many babies are found on street corners with shitty diapers is a sign.

We are finally having some warm weather here in the heartland. Yesterday I needed to do some v-belt changing on the Super bronco mower and it was almost too hot to lay on the concrete in the sun. There was just enough shade to be on so it wasn't all that bad. I would like to meet the engineer that designed all the belt keepers on that mower. Nothing is left to chance and you have to get under the mower and pry the belts on. There is a keeper that guides the belt and if you miss it putting the belt back on, it manages to cut the belt right down the middle.

We have a new convenience store open at 29th and Coroco road. I went there with a gas can to see what it was like and perhaps to get something to drink. I pulled up and took my can out. There was a person in the store but she was out from behind the counter. I hit the pay inside button and it said wait - processing. I waited and a lady pulled up and went in the store. The clerk looked right at me and then helped the lady. I know that all she had to do was to push a button on the pump controls. After a couple of minutes longer she came to the door and said all gas is pre-pay. I calmly asked her where it said that on the pumps. She said her signage wasn't done yet. I told her that when they get their act together, I will be at the other convenience store where I can get a can of gas and then come inside to pay. I then told her that I was going to come inside and get something to drink also but I was now going to vote on their business with my feet. As I was putting the can back in the trunk she said, "Have a Blessed Day." Just between us, I hate that. Instead of trying to understand why their stupid process might make me want to go away, I get blessed. I left and won't be back.

Oh well, I have gone from the reporter of good things to bad things so I need to go away. No, I don't care what kind of day you have out there. Have a day.



When is Enough, Enough?

The dichotomy in Government right now is the attempt by one side to legislate the USA to be better than it is. The rest of us are standing on the sidelines trying to make sense out of all the laws we now have. Need to fix immigration, pass a new law. It will be written by a bunch of lobbyist that have their own set of needs and they may not intersect with what the majority of us need. Hell, we have about 140% more laws than we fund now. I think the congress needs to chill out and try to help the executive branch know what to enforce now. At least it would be nice if a Bill goes unfunded for two years it would go away. Each day the piles of paper coming out of Washington grows and the amount of pork flows the money into places we just don't need. There was a Disease Control research center on an island off New York and now it is in Manhattan, KS. Why move it unless they just need to build some new buildings? Follow the money boys and girls.

What does it say when to get a Supreme Court Judge appointed we need to find someone that has not done anything but head up a Law School? Someone so splattered by the decisions of a normal Judge can't stand the scrutiny. What does that say about fairness. Oh, I forgot, life is not fair. I'll be more careful.

I wonder why the Republicans are so outraged about the treatment of Sarah Palen when they have done nothing but coat Hillary with mud all these years. There was a lady from New York in a shuttle van I drove for a Jazz concert that went on and on about Hillary and what a great Senator she was. I asked her one simple question. What has she done for the United States as a Senator? The lady launched into all the accomplishments she had performed for the people of New York. I said that that would have been fine if she was in Albany in the State Senate but doesn't a US Senator have a duty to the country that is greater than to the State they represent?
Her husband thought that I had a good point and the lady said I was impertinent. Typical answer when you are on the losing side of a discussion.

The other day I went to the dollar store to pick up a couple of those sports water bottles for our bikes. I found them at $2.25 @. When I paid for them, the total came to $7.28. I looked at the ticket on my way back to the car and realized that the tax was 53 cents on that purchase. I realized that I had just been charged almost 8 cents on the dollar sales tax. Yes, anything you buy at the dollar store is probably something you really don't need but as I asked in the title for this blog - WHEN IS ENOUGH, ENOUGH?



I Wonder When

will the NCAA realize that making money off tickets is a major source of illicit money in College Basketball. Often, staff and players are given two tickets to each game and they are told to no sell them, but where is the compliance? How the heck could you ever measure compliance? Ask KU if there is not a giant loop hole in this practice.

will the USA realize that it takes the Taliban and killings to manage Afghanistan. There has been a war there for how many years? Sharia Law is harsh and managed by the Church and State. They can barely keep it all in line.

will the UN realize that Ethiopia is such a lost cause that they somehow invade and impose some form of law in that country.

will the voters in the USA realize that it is the incumbents not just the Republicans and the Democrats that are spending our money like there was no tomorrow. Do you realize that our National Debt is now 90% as big as our Gross Domestic product. That is all the money made in the USA not the tax revenue. Imagine how you could live if you owed 90% of what you made this year? Either they must cut taxes or we will follow Greece to the poor House. My share of the National Debt is over $109,000. I could pay my part but I'll bet a whole bunch of you can't, won't, oh hell, that's a pipe dream anyway.

I will ride the mower and just listen to music instead of creating all these scenarios in my mind.


How Old is Old Enough?

The news this morning reflected the passing at the age of 100, of the oldest living Medal of Honor holder. Lt John Flinn was awarded the medal for actions in Pearl harbor during the attack by the Japanese. A century of living and earning our Nation's highest award for valor just might be long enough for a life hog like me. I did my best to live up to the standards to earn the medal but never was in the wrong place at the right time. The old retired Army guys hope that John Flinn will be hanging around to share a cup of grog at Fiddler's green when we get there. We'll call it muzzle blast but you get the idea.

My mother died at 88 and dad at the age of 76. Can I just average those ages and sign up for 80 years young? I think I could manage to slip in another lifetime of living in the next 17 years. Yes, I am aware that when I get nearer to that age I will probably think 90 is the new 80. I guess I'll just try to make do with what I get and live life until the end. Remember that I think that life is not a contest to see who will arrive with the best looking or preserved body when we die. I want to live life as fun as I can and slip into the grave at the last minute and shouting, "Woo Hoo what a ride." I'll add the old Irish ending - And be there before the Devil knows I'm there.

Yesterday Barb and I went for a ride on the Clinton Lake trail over in Lawrence. It was nearing 90 and we kind of cut it short at 5 miles, or thereabouts. My ride ended with my bike deciding to play drunk puppy and have the tail pass my nose. The water crossing over the sidewalk was growing some of the most slick algae I have ever transversed. This resulted in falling on the sidewalk but walking away from the crash. The good news is that I was just pedaling around cooling down and not trying to set the new land speed record on a recumbent bike. I have had her up to 30 several times and she rolls like a dream at that speed. I will choose to fall at about 7 or 8 MPH thank you. Neither MUD or the Blue Easy rider racer spilled blood. I do limp a little this morning but I'll get over it soon and I get up and around.

The paper is full of the KU ticket situation this morning. They are saying that the loss to the University is somewhere about 1.3 million. Most of that results in the employees of the Williams Fund selling their two free tickets that are given to them. The whole athletic situation needs looked into at all levels. Players and employees are given two tickets to the games. What the hell did they intend for them to do with those tickets? When you can make a couple of hundred (or more) for each game there is a lot to tempt people to scalp the tickets. In my world the employees would be allowed to attend with proper identification but they would have to sit in the rafters like the rest of the low life. (Or the high life depending on how you are so inclined) Start with the AD and make changes until you get far enough down the list to make such shenanigans stop. Besides, why does the Athletic Director have to make over a million dollars? I'd bet that Paul Bahnmeyer and Dennis petty would do the job for a lot less.

If you have one employee doing thefts, it is a simple matter. Two doing it and it approaches the level where first line supervisors should spot it. If there are six involved and they are loaning each other money, it is an all out conspiracy and the Big Boss needs to be fired for gross incompetency.



Good Bye to You, Lew

Many of the KU fans have wondered about the KU Athletic Director, Lew Perkins and his inflated salary. Now it appears that he failed in his most basic job and almost 3 Million dollars are are gone in a ticket scheme the employees of the AD scammed out of the system. Yes, it is time for a change and the place to start is right at the top of the entire mess. Yep'er, Lew Perkins needs to go and be damned quick about it. At least the people herded into Allen Field house won't be confused with sheep and get fleeced much longer. When six of your staff are involved in a a scam the boss flat doesn't know what the hell he is doing.

It should be noted that another set of parents were killed when a Ford "Exploder" had a blow out and overturned on the Kansas Turnpike. The SUV then hit an overpass and the driver and his wife were killed. They had four children in the back seat and they all survived. Shame on FORD for playing games. To make the SUV ride better, they recommended a lower tire pressure and that caused the tires to overheat and blam then explode. The exploder was made with so much ground clearance that it cannot stay upright when a tire fails. It should be noted that a lot of people also are cutting corners in these tough times and putting used tires on their highway vehicle. Take a penny and see if the top of Lincoln's head is visible when you insert the coin in the treads. If it is, replace the tires. How old are the tires? If they have three seasons and over 20,000 miles, consider replacement before hitting the open road. Do you have your car serviced at a Jiffy Lube? If so , they check the tire pressure. If not, go to the neatest auto parts store and buy a tire gauge. Tires should be checked weekly and damned sure check the fluid levels and tire pressure before hitting the turnpike.

Another community has been visited by the Westborough Baptist Church to protest at the funeral of a fallen soldier. My Blog Buddy over at Andy's Place rightfully wanted to have them keel hauled and silenced. I agree that there should be a fine for stupid speech, but I absolutely don't want our government to step in and take away any of our free speech rights to silence their stupidity. By the way, stupid speech is the kind where absolutely no one can keep a straight face when they hear you say something as stupid as "God Hates......" insert anything in that sentence and see if it doesn't look stupid. Wishing soldiers to come to harm because the Government allows homosexuals in the Military is like wishing street cleaners be harmed because their jobs are paid for by taxes we all pay. At least the street sweepers here don't have IED's to contend with.

Oh well, our system is back on line after two calls to AT&T about the fact we were off line. The never did admit they were at fault but right in the middle of the second call as they were telling Barb that it was all our fault, needing to reset out router and bad filters, it now works. I'm sorry, But I have to call BS on that one.




On your "I Love Me Wall" what symbols of your life do you proudly display?

I Sang in the one of the best Choirs in High School

I managed to make to the end of a career in The US Army, The Reserves and the National Guard

Yes, I realize this is backwards to go on the right sleeve of my Uniform

From Private in 1966 to Colonel retired in 1997
There is a wall of my house that has many pictures, diplomas and awards displayed. It is known by the other Military guys as my "I Love ME" wall. It has a lot of things displayed there and a lot of things still in the storage room in a box.
Today I took the MSN's test on the US History to see if I qualified to be a US Citizen. I got a 70% so I would probably have had a C in High School. Take the test and see if you can do any better


I'm not sure if this link will work directly, you might have to cut and paste. I would have scored higher had I really paid attention. I think most of us don't really pay attention to what we should know as citizens. The question I really misread was concerning the First Amendment. Yes, I know it does not cover the right to bear arms, I just missed the word first in the question and went for the most important part to me.
Oh Well,



It never ceases to amaze me the amount of paperwork required by different places to get and keep the ball rolling. I once had an SBA loan and we are pretty sure that it took an inch of paperwork for every thousand dollars. To make matters worse, it was a building loan and I started using my own money and that freaked them completely out. They wanted me to sit on my hands and do nothing until I had all their money in hand. Stupid. Then, I had to submit completion reports to get them to pay the money when it was needed. Double stupid. The crowning blow was when I got all of the money I needed, they finalized the loan as if the principle was the entire amount. I hadn't needed the last $20,000 but they made me make payment as if I had the entire amount. Payed that sucker off way short of the 15 years.

I am currently doing the paperwork to get the proceeds of mother's life insurance into the joint account that we will split. Mother listed me as the beneficiary because she had appointed me as her executor. Knowing that we had many hours of discussing what she wanted done, she felt comfortable in making the right thing happen. We'll see how it all works out in the end.
The really laughable thing is the low amount of total dollars in this whole deal.

I sure hope that things are going well for all of you out there. Barb and I are planning our summer travel and things look good for miles of smiles.



Thoughts for the Day

This is difficult to write because it walks the line of very sensitive. Let me assure you that it is a peek into how I feel and not intended to be a critique of others but to clarify my feelings of a headline.

After 88 years of a very happy life, my mother gave in to death this past month. I am not sure the exact cause of her demise, mostly old age and a bum ticker. It was her belief that she gave in to death for a life there after. With mom, it is not how she died, but how she lived. She, "Went gently into that good night."

It is about the people that die in the performance of their job that I write. This is highlighted by the death of a fireman in Kansas City over the weekend that I comment. People write that in the performance of their duty they gave their life. I think this is the wrong idea. I'll bet that in most cases, the soldier, policeman or fireman had their life ripped away from them by the circumstances of the event. In the event of war, it is an armed combatant that kills the service member. There is no giving, only taking of a life. In the case of the fireman, something inside the house killed that poor man. How can I say that gingerly, we need to think about proud men and women being killed not giving their lives. I know I am not politically correct, but I stand beside the proud warriors against death.

Some day, in a bunch of years from now, I will give my life to death sitting on a couch somewhere watching TV. Until now, anytime Death came knocking I fought as hard as I could to stay alive and death was challenged to the best of my ability. That is how I see the event of death. It is an all out battle to stay alive and sometimes good people are killed.




I feel fairly confident that the Vietnam Conflict was different for most of the people there because of many factors. Let me describe a few of them to you.

Terrain - Vietnam reminds me a lot of California in a lot of ways. Down south the land was flat and swampy in Vietnam. The further north you went there, the hillier it became and in a lot of ways more moderate in the climate. There were a lot of days that I spent outside all day in the rain and wasn't the least bit cold. Up on a mountain top LZ, there were days that it was too cold to get out in the rain and wash up. Most of us would rig some kind of a poncho roof that put water into our helmet and we would do our best to wash up. Out with an Infantry Company, the streams were our wash tubs. Put out a perimeter guard and take turns soaking everything in that cool clear water. I'll bet down south no one would get into that muddy water to try to get clean.

People - For a lot of reasons, most of the young Americans didn't try to establish a lot of Vietnamese friends. Hell, if you were like me, and sent all over the place, there wasn't a lot of time to establish close Vietnamese friends. Most of the time the Vietnamese were the enemy and anytime after dark they had better not be coming around. I ate C-rats a lot and hot meals no more that once every three days. I can count on one hand the times I ate the food of the people there. There were a lot of guys that would go into a village and eat grilled meats off a stick. I never acquired a taste for mystery meats. I did my job and counted the days until I could get the hell out of there. A friend of mine was an advisor and lived with the Vietnamese in a village. He loved the people and spoke their language. Most of the phrases I learned were pieces of french like DI Di for go away and La Di for come here. For some reason if you were OK, you were number 1 if you were bad Number 10. Declare they were VC and you would always get a the feedback, "I no VC GI, VC number 10"

Job - What you did in Vietnam determined where you went and who you were with. As an Artillery Forward Observer for a significant part of my time in Vietnam, I spent it out with the boys in the mud, the blood and no beer. As the new guy pretty much in every new unit, I didn't establish close ties with anyone except for the recon team I brought with me. There was a continual period of adjustment with each commander until they found out that I could read a map and knew what the hell I was doing most of the time. In almost every unit there would be a time where the commander would ask where I thought we were on a map. A lot of times I would call for a marking round of WP at a certain grid and plot a direction to that point. It didn't take many times for me to tell the CPT that the round would appear along an azimuth and sure enough there it was. There were a lot of guys that were in rear areas for their tour and I'm sure that they had a lot more interaction with the local populace. me, not so much. I met a bunch of GI's and for the most part loved the times when we would sit around and BS with each other. It was always funny to hear the guys from New Yark try to talk with one of those Cajuns. It was like they almost spoke a different language. Hell, I had a friend that was a sea bee and spent almost his entire time in Vietnam driving a water truck around a base filling the showers for the officers. In the dry season he also would wet down the roads around a flight line to help control the dust. If you wanted real hell, there were guys that were in rear areas and their job was to daily empty the shitters and burn the diesel and shit that accumulated there. One of my pictures of what looks like a really bad day in combat was just the perimeter shrouded in shit smoke. Looked bad, smelled worse.

Attitude - There were days when I was like a tourist in a strange country and wanted to capture as much as I could with my camera. There were a lot of days that after a mortar attack or an ambush I would turn dark in my thoughts and wanted nothing more that to kill the som'bitches that hurt my friends. One thing I hated was those few times where I didn't have a map and a radio to contact a fire base to throw artillery rounds near me and on them. Those times were few considering the length of time I spent there. In fact, most of my time in Vietnam was some of the most boring times with periods of intense action. Almost everything I did was loud and I'm sure that my partial deafness was the result of that. Get up on of a mountain top LZ and fire howitzers night and day and see how much you can hear in the end.

I am sure that if you got a hundred guys from that war together you would find that there are a hundred different thoughts about what they did and where they were. My dad said that in his war and in the Navy, if he had a bed, it was dry. Me, not so much.

One thing I can guarantee is that if you were there, you remember it. That politician that misspoke is an asshole and worse a Lawyer so he should know right from illegal. I hear that there is a saying, "Once a marine, always a Marine." There is just a line you should not cross in your war stories and claim to be something you are not.



After a Week of Rain - 6 Inches

For many reasons I have been out in the rain a lot in my life. Is that like saying it has been my lot in life to have experienced rain a bunch? Whatever, I have been there and done a lot of rain. I had a paper route the year I turned 14 and for a year I had to go out twice a day and it did not matter if it was raining or not. I am not sure how much it rained that year but it seemed like it was pretty wet. Just for the record, it was the Centennial year (1961) for Kansas and we are approaching our sesquicentennial (150th year). Memories fade as the years pass so it might have been the driest year on record but I am too lazy to look it up.
By far, My wettest year, 1968, was spent in Vietnam and I experienced a Monsoon season first hand. One day it was hot and dry and we were driving down a dusty road. It started to rain and by the time we got to our destination, we were covered with mud. It rained just hard enough to enrobe (That a term I heard that companies use when they coat things in chocolate) us like a candy bar. It didn't rain hard enough to wash away the mud it just kept adding layers of new dust and turning it to a coating. Thank god I was at that time near our base camp and could change before it hardened. I didn't think it could get worse, but like many other times, I was wrong.
For the next few months, it rained almost all the time. You could wear a poncho if you wanted but you would get so sweaty that it didn't seem to matter. For those weeks, nothing dried out. It was a warm wet place and the national product was mildew. If you were fortunate enough to be near a village where there was a laundry could wash your uniform, it came back cleaner but it was still that smelly damp uniform you had been wearing. I am pretty sure that many of us started to smoke during that time if nothing else but to hide the smell of dampness that exuded from our clothes. A lot of that time I was out in the field and there was no place to bathe so there was that layer of stink to contend with also. When I first got to Vietnam, I thought that nothing could make it worse because of all the smells in the dry season, but again I was wrong.
I won't try to explain all the ways it rained, watch the movie "Forrest Gump" because it does a fine job of talking about the rain. For what seemed like months, it rained. The other day I found a bunch of letters I wrote to Barb from Vietnam and it was clear from the smell and the smudges which one's came from the Monsoon season.
In 1974, I spent my wettest month out in the field at Fort Riley. In 13 days it rained 16 inches and everything was one soggy, wet and muddy place. When we were foolish enough to try to get off the road very far to fire our Howitzers, we would spend the next 12 hours dragging them back near the road. They wouldn't let us fire them from the roads but they didn't look hard at just how near the surveyed firing points we were. I'm sure that we were at least 100 yards off the road but not any further.
I have memories of during that Summer Camp, of standing in water almost to the top of my boots and watching a movie inside a tent. Many of us were worried about the cord getting in the water and electrocuting us but not enough to quit watching. Inside our sleeping tent (pitched on the highest slope I could find) we actually dug little trenches to divert water around our bunks. One of the guys got carried away and dug his version of the Panama Canal. He couldn't figure out why those little gnats hovered around his bunk until he caught one of us just peeing in his trench rather than go outside in the rain. After a week of being wet all the time no one really cared but he did fill in the trenches with mud until it didn't hold as much water. Those little gnats were what we called "Dog Pecker gnats". the kind that bother the peckers of old dogs in Kansas from May through September.
The reason the rain is so near and dear right now as a subject, is that it seems like every day except one this week, it has rained. No one has tried to tie it to the Volcano erupting in Iceland and putting that dust up in the atmosphere (yet). It will have to continue a little bit longer but it sure shot the global warming figures in the ass because of all the clouds holding the temperatures down in the 60's.
Oh well, we'll all dry out someday and by August will be wishing we had some to that rain to help heal the inch wide cracks in the ground here in Kansas. Get dry and stay that way.


Who Do We Pay Attention To?

I will never understand how people out there in the real world pay one whit of attention to celebrities and their views on anything beyond their personal life. Actors are for the most part, people that can emote, cry and talk a good game when called upon to do so. Then, they are compensated with a lot of money to entertain us. There are a few exceptions but darned few.

Let me start with Bill Cosby. I think that Dr Cosby has earned the right to be critical of a society that has lost sight of how we can motivate our black youth to stay committed to education, hard work and family values. Yes, I think that in the 60's we started down a slippery slope that tried to give black families a leg up and somewhere in that effort, our black families got lost. Instead of a system that focused on helping young black men and women to get an education, we tried to elevate all blacks above the poverty level existence. At the same time, we tried to have guns and butter to fight two wars at the same time. Typical of the US Government, we had good intentions on the road to hell.

Do you care that Miss USA danced in a dance contest prior to standing on the stage in Las Vegas? Some radio station had a dance contest with a pole and immediately it was a strip contest. I don't think so. It should be pointed out to all the young women out there that in this day and age of cameras on cell phones and the search engines that can find anything ever written about you, don't do anything or say anything you don't want to see again and again.

One of the front page headlines on MSN today was the story about Paris Hilton's ex-boyfriend dating Miss USA. Who? Who Cares! Tell me about the National Merit Scholarship winners in our local school. Tell me about the meals furnished to the poor at the Rescue Mission and how I can help.

One of the headliners on today's paper was Ashley Force, who according to the paper is the daughter of another racer, who has won three races. Whoo Hoo! Three damned races and she has two pictures of her in the paper. The wife doesn't understand how drag racing is considered a sport when it is just a bunch of guys spending big bucks at a drag strip they call a park and no one is forced to pay taxes on the money raised there. They haven't managed to pay property taxes that help support out schools.

Some where there needs to be an ideal leader that can find the middle of this great country and inspire us to do what we all know is the right thing. Not a Rush Limbaugh type that keeps the pot stirred up, but a middle of the road guy that keeps going back to the main reason we are all here. It is a sad commentary that we don't make our children learn the commercial for the US at every level in school. We are all equal (in opportunity to do better) and have the right to the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness. The Government won't guarantee that you will be happy, only that if you will work hard, there is enough room for everyone to at the end of the day, to be happy.

I for one am on the verge of applying my guiding principle to think Globally and acting locally. I don't care who has the highest paid publicist, I absolutely don't give a damn what you say unless and until you do something for the good of the people. Put your money where your mouth is and then you might have the right to tell us what you think we need to do. I will quote another wind bag - You're Fired.




OH NO, Chely Wright is a Lesbian. OK, I didn't have a clue who she was but she seemed to think it might kill her career so she told everyone on Oprah (?). Just for the record, she was born in Wellsville, KS and is a country and western singer that thinks the crowd she sings for is a closed minded bunch that will dismiss her for her sexual choice. In the words of martin Luther King, "I have a dream" that one day no one will care who the heck she or anyone chooses to love. One of the most wonderful people I know is a lesbian and guess what? She works hard, has a garden, raised a family and I am pretty darned proud to have her in my family. Perhaps it was a slow news day and Oprah couldn't find anything more important to talk about. I wish Chely a good life and hope that she continues to sing and have a good life.

It only took 150 years for Senator Brownback in the name of Congress and the President to finally apologised to the American Indians for breaking it promises all these years. The sad part is that the President who has apologised to every other country in the world for our boorish actions didn't stand up and do the apology himself. I am not sure why Senator Brownback pushed this legislation through and it took 6 years to get the people in Washington to do the right thing. Our Indian friends have been moved off their territory and put in some of the saddest places on our earth in the effort to make more room for the European immigrants need for land to farm. It was a stroke of luck that some of the Indians have oil under their land and some are well off because of that stroke of luck. For the record, I think the Indians should get a strong pat on the back and move on with their lives. I also find it amusing that now Indian casinos are opening to help them get back some of what was stolen from them. Just like the above paragraph, "I have a dream" that someday we will all live together and get over who our ancestors were. Other than Las Vegas, I wonder if us poor white folks will ever own a casino. They let me rent one when I go there.

The Drag Races are here at Heartland Park, in Topeka, this weekend. Do you know who will make the most money? the tow trucks that will circle the parking area and pull cars out of the mud after a day racing following a week of rain. I went out there one year and could not believe that people actually paid good money to attend a function that doesn't have a parking lot. The crowning glory is that the tow truck drivers make you sign a waiver against any damage they do in pulling your car out of the mud. And, then charge you big $ to do it. Yes, I am not a fan of racing down a strip as fast as you can go just to see them do it. I think they need to have some system that makes them start with one car and if it breaks, you are out. Most of the big race teams pull their cars back to the pits and rebuild or replace the motors between rounds. To me, a simple sport like rowing is a lot nicer to watch.

It made the top of the page that our State Attourney general has banded together with several others to take Fred Phelps case to the Supreme Court. They want to find a way to stop him and the Westbrough Baptist Church from picketing funerals. The answer is to find out a way to publicly ridicule them for stupid speech and quit trying to curtail Fred's free Speech. In the long run, any restriction on free speech will just continue to erode it for the rest of us. If you say Fred Who? I am pleased. On the other hand perhaps some day no one will care what they do.

Isn't that kind of where I started this? Either I have to stop reading beyond the funny papers or find a way to not care. Not sure I can do the latter.



At Lake Shawnee

Rock work by the Dam
The new Dam

Just Ducky

Ham by the Dam (aka MUD)

Not a ripple on the lake

Geese on the path and why not to ride in wet weather

The End

Stupid Search Engine

Pair of Humpday Scotties

Yes, I am mad because bing and Google did just exactly what I told them to do. There was an article that said the new Miss USA was in a stripper contest and it took me to the dance contest photo where the girls danced with a pole. Stupid me to believe there would be any nudity.

I am as mad as that Fox gal that strutted her stuff on the beach and someone took pictures. Then those dirty rascals actually posted them on the Internet and then some scum actually perused them. I don't know what she was angry about, those were some great photos of a good looking gal. I think someone said she had ADD. That means that she didn't pay attention to the guy with the camera clicking away a few feet away.

We did get in about six miles on the bikes yesterday. I found that my knees need some work and those hip flexors just didn't like it when I forgot to gear down and stopped on hills. Need to work on that. It was such a great day to be out on the Lake Shawnee trail. There were a lot of people out with their pit bulls. I thought the laws made it impossible to have them without insurance and no insurance company would insure one. To be fair, the only dog that even paid any attention to me was one of those danged Jack Russel Terriers and boy did she ever lunge at my shadow as I whizzed by. (Or from my shadow, I'm not sure)

Looks like another rainy day here in the heartland. Perhaps it is time to start working in the garage.



We need a list!

Yesterday in the morning, we went by the Dillon's store after running errands. Later on in the afternoon, we found ourselves back in the same store for a few more items. Now, granted that Barb lost her list the first time, but when questioned, Barb even denied that we had been there just a few hours earlier. I will have to admit that I keep track of the days by when I have to buy lottery tickets. Heck, I have to put my pills in a container marked with the days of the week to keep myself on the right dosage. And yes, I do have a billfold full of ATM receipts that need to be put in the check book.

I guess that if things were looming large and a delay of a day or two would really hurt, I might be more on top of things. Spending retirement days is much easier when your ADD kicks in. It also makes things nicer when naps overcome me when I get in a horizontal position.

Today is one of the first days in a long time that I don't feel down after a couple of weeks of sadness. Now, it the sun can burn off the fog and it truly gets above 60 we night get out and ride our bikes. There is even some mowing that has my name on it if I can slog through the mud enough to get to the places that need mowed. Oh well, have a great day out there.



Busy Sunday Afternoon

Yesterday Barb and I went over and picked up our daughter-in-law for a shopping trip. I think we all had the need to get out after a couple of days of being cooped up because of the rain. It was kind of a trip to see if we could find a way to roll out the dough for bierocks that didn't involve a lot of money or the need to take Naproxin after rolling them out on the counter. There was a noodle maker for almost $100.00 and a clay roller at Michael's for about $25. Barb has a coupon somewhere here at home so we decided to wait until she could find that 40% off magic. I am not sure why one was $16 (with coupon) and the other $100. They both were heavy in the box. Not sure that either one will do the trick.

We also walked around five or six different stores. It was good exercise but we really didn't buy much. I think we wound up with a big old box of Chex mix in individual serving bags and a pack of Dentene gum. The chex mix was the new 60% lower fat kind. Guess what? The leave the peanuts out and don't add any butter. Tastes like chex mix that needs peanuts and garlic butter flavor added. Oh well, it must be good for me?

Barb and I are looking for a good trip to take this year. We will probably travel by car and have a 10 day trip limit. Barb says I get grumpy after about 10 days on the road. I'm not sure why she thinks that but it must be true. I want to find somewhere where she can put the new NIKON to a good test. Barb loves scenic but not deep like the Grand Canyon or too high like a mountain top. I really don't care where we go so long as we go somewhere.

Oh well, better go find some thing to do worth while.



Do Retired Adults Need a Planner?

There are a bunch of things out there in my life that could use a few days worth of work to make them all better. There is a storage room and a garage with junk that with a planned effort would benefit. I do find it easy to spend time here on the computer and write on the blog daily but difficult to program time to do things that could use my efforts.

The other day, Barb said we need to have people over at least once a month so we will spend a concerted effort to clean up the joint. Could not argue with that. I noticed that my "I love me wall" has cobwebs up by the ceiling and looks bad. Oh well, dust bunnies on the floor and cobwebs by the ceiling sounds like a story about old people.

My good friend Harvey sends me jokes from time to time and this is one of the best. (Modified to be one of my tales from the old side) I went to Wal*Mart to buy the usual bag of Old Roy dog food and went to the checkout line. There was a lady there in front of me in the line that asked, "Do you have a dog?" Well, I was just able to resist the temptation to use the line "There's your sign" from Bill Ingvall but I just looked at her and said, "No, it is the Old Roy diet I use. Even though the last time I wound up in the hospital, I still pack my pockets full of the little nuggets and eat them when I get a slight bit hungry. I lose weight every time." She asked me if I had to go to the hospital because the dog food was bad for me. "Heavens no, Old Roy is full of a good balanced nutrition. I was out in the street sniffing a Golden retrievers butt and a car hit us." The guy in line behind us laughed so hard, I thought he was going to have a heart attack.
If you want truth in blogging, write your own stories. Me, I will use every scrap of information I can get.
Until next time.


Graduation Season

Spring brings the arrival of announcements for High School Seniors. We are always proud to see who in the family has achieved that milestone. This year our "great" Nephew Joe Craig is graduating from Shawnee East. He is the president of his class and destined for greater things. We got to hear his speech last night and enjoyed every minute of it. If there is ever a kid that goes at life strong, he's the one. I think he will also see a stint in Law School en route to a career in Politics. He is my vote for President in about 15 years.

Another announcement is Rachel Suell who is a very talented artist. We visited her showing this spring and loved her work. Three of her paintings were done to show original work in the style of another artist. I can hardly wait to see her style develop into a strong body of work.

Spring also brings the arrival of strong weather here in the heartland and the other night we had 3 inches of rain along with 30 to 50 MPH winds. The power flashing out stopped the Old Rugged Cross right in the middle of the song. I think it was mother just letting everyone know that she was there.

Twice this week we had members of the family together and I had really forgotten just how much we had to talk about and really enjoyed the laughter and friendship. At least one of the nieces voiced my feeling that the family doesn't get together enough. We did an almost quarterly get together when Mom was in Topeka. We'll see...



Help, I'm Being Saved by the Government

I am convinced that even the most liberal person out there is just doing what they feel is right to save the rights of the US citizen. That is in my opinion the problem. Government cannot do everything for everyone and it is that cradle to the grave support attitude by the Federal Government that is in fact getting in the way or the chance for everyone to succeed.

The foundation of our Government is that we all have the right to life, liberty and happiness, not the Government provided life, liberty and happiness. We have the right to get up off our butts, get an education and work hard and at that level we will succeed. Our programs were developed to help those that could not help themselves because of handicaps. We don't owe anyone extras because they are just here. I damn sure don't think we should provide support to people that are here illegally. If you are illegal and have a baby here, both of you should be shipped home as soon as you are well enough to travel. Citizenship is a product of where you are a legal citizen, not geographic of where you give birth.

I fully support programs that hold your hand long enough to help you get an education and help you find work. That doesn't mean that half of the people out there shouldn't pay taxes and be supported fulltime by the rest.

\I guess I am the ant in the grasshopper and the ant fable. I think that because working hard and getting an education worked for me, it should work for everyone. This doesn't mean that I have never been fired from a job, or had to look for work of showed up at work as much as I could. I guess I have found it very easy to do my best and get promoted in my work. I have been early and stayed late to do the job I had to do and so have almost all of the successful people I know. Overtime and comp time have always been concepts that came after the mission was accomplished.

I need for our Government to stop looking for reasons to intrude in our lives by spending more money in an attempt to make all things possible. There are people that will continue to live in flood plains. Don't rebuild their house and they will get the message. Perhaps having at least one State go broke is the the thing the other State legislatures need to see. If it is impossible to just borrow all the money the Congress wants perhaps the concept of PAYGO (Only pass legislation that you can pay for) will sink in. I have seen the enemy and he is US.


Friday Questions

1. With the large amount of food we cooked for the dinner on Wednesday, How long can you live on leftovers? For me, baked beans, potato salad, bierocks and pie is almost my dream meal.

2. Will a garage full of stuff ever clean its self? I have a lot of good stuff in there and probably won't use most of it too many more times.

3. Are you as tired of playing detective reading the posts on FACEBOOK as I am? What is wrong with saying I have moved rather than announce you are changing your city on FACEBOOK?

4. I know that it is moving towards spring but most of my family blogging friends have stopped posting. How long do you go before you stop visiting inactive sites.

5. Are you as tired of this theme as I am? Bye



Celebration of life

Last night Mom's pastor, Terry Brillheart from the Grace Community Church, conducted a life ceremony for our mother. He said he knew that Mom wanted happy memories for everybody.

He said that at least once a month he would try to stop by and visit Mom here in Topeka. He said she would always manage to give him thoughts and passages to brighten up his day. "She lifted me up" was his thoughts on the visits. He mentioned that Mom stood with him and his family when their church split and kept faith that good things would happen if they prayed and kept positive. (I know she also contributed money to help) Terry then mentioned that he normally counseled couples when married them. He said that between Mom and Bill they had 107 years of marriage and he probably couldn't add anything to help them. He said that Bill told him the secret of 50 years of marriage. Twice a week go out to eat and have a candle lit dinner. Bill said that he went on Tuesday and his first wife, Mary, went on Thursday. Mom would have just as soon eaten Tater Tots from Sonic.

Pastor Brillheart then retold the story of the fork and knows mom is in heaven with her fork and secure that she is a better place.

After the conclusion of the celebration of life, we showed the video to those that didn't get to see it in Oklahoma. It was lovingly prepared by my niece, Rebecca Demauro. It looked so great on the big screen TV and it got rave reviews. I gave copies to Carol and Myrna and one to Janet to send to Amy in Birmingham. I have a copy for Kim and Carrie that I will share on Friday night.

The night was ended with good fellowship, Bierock's and pie.

Thanks to all those that attended and good thoughts to those too far away to attend. Mom would have been glad to see all and would have said , we'll miss you to those that could not attend. Mom, we'll miss you even though you will be in our hearts forever.



25000 Visitors

As I got ready to leave the Bierock post, I looked at the counter and there have been 25000 visitors to this site. The more the merrier.



For as long as I can remember, one of the family dinner treats was Bierocks or German Kraut rolls. They are a mixture of hamburger, onions, cabbage and garlic wrapped up in a dinner roll and baked. I read somewhere that the German farmers would carry them in their lunch pails as the went to the field to work. Most German farmers lived in villages and the farms were a 4 or 5 mile tractor ride so they stayed in the field at lunch. I am pretty sure that the Germans used Kraut not cabbage and I have been told stories that rabbit was the filling in lean times.

We have about 100, no 97, no probably 96, by now on the counter ready to eat. We will run them into the oven just long enough to heat them up and give them the final golden browning. (Might even slather them with a little butter)

Mom's other favorite is pie. We have 7 or 8 pies ordered at the the Copper Oven here in Topeka. They make the best pie I have ever eaten. There will be some baked beans and potato salad with some chips but the bierocks and pie are the main course.

The weather is so variable right now. We were planning to do the memorial service at the cemetery but the weatherman is predicting rain all day with heavy rain later. We will make the call to have it here or there later. I would love to have it all here but I know many from out of town would like to see where mother is buried.

have a great day out there.

The Bierock baker - MUD


Ode to Dogs

I can't remember a time when there wasn't at least one old stinky dog around in my life. There was an old cocker spaniel named Waldo that the neighbor boy ran down in his driveway as Waldo rushed to catch up with me as I returned from the grocery store at the end of the street. I think that was the last time he drove into the driveway like a mad man. Hell, it could have been one of us kids as fast and reckless as he drove. I really don't remember much about Waldo other than he was not the fastest dog and not the brightest bulb in the pack.

Probably the record was set by Rex. He was a brindle colored Manchester Terrier/mutt mix that ruled 544 Byrd for a long time. One day I went down to Eugene Bandy's house and got to see the new puppies. They were little funny colored things that looked like their dads. I got to pick one and claim him long before he was old enough to leave his momma. That dog and I were inseparable except for school time. He would go with me on my paper route every step except for when the snow got too deep. I am sure that he knew every female dog in the neighborhood and fought a lot of dogs way bigger than he was. He knew how to get under cars to escape big dogs and how to dig under fences to get to that cute little dog in heat. Even after I went to the Army in 1966, he was a part of the letters from home. Right about Thanksgiving in 1966, he ran across the road to visit the neighbor's dog and got hit by a bus. Dang, that bus only came by a couple of times a day and he just wasn't bus smart. Rex will be at least a chapter in my book when I ever get around to writing it.

When we bought our first house in lansing, KS, I got the hankering for a little dog. Our friends had a schnauzer and I just fell in love with that feisty smart little dog. Barb wanted a child and I wanted a dog. I got Fritzy and she got David. Things were pretty well until the day that Dave was dog bit and that ended the inside days for poor old Fritz. There was a path around the yard where that little dog would patrol. Fritzy really stank for such a little dog. I am sure that part of it was his tendency to roll in about anything that smelled like anything remotely different than dog. Fritzy was with us until the year after the tornado. He had excaped right before the tornado and thank god because the house fell on his dog house. A couple of days after the tornado he came home, covered with fiberglass insulation, a small wound on his back and deaf. He resumed partolling the yard after that but just never had the spirit he had prior to the tornado. One day he was walking around in circles and I took him to the vet. He had an infection in his brain and the Vet put him down as I held him.

After we moved to Rabbit Run, I fell in love with a Golden retriever my sister Myrna Sue had. She let me have a male and we called him Moose. The first largest dog in the litter was called Hog Dog and moose was just the cutest big puppy you could have wanted. That first winter we kept him in the garage and I would go out and play catch with him every day. He was just stick crazy and would play fetch until he would collapse.

Sometime about the time it was time for us to bring Moose home, I was told there was a black Lab puppy down the street from where I worked on a construction site. Several of the girls would walk down to the hamburger stand on the corner and buy plain hamburgers to feed it. I saw that dog an knew that she was without a good supply of food and water she would die. It was time to put my Army skills to work. I saw where she would get out of the wind and lay down by some big rocks after a hamburger lunch. I circled around the back side of the rock pile and ambushed her. I took her home and on the way stopped and bought some puppy chow. I put that bag of puppy chow down on the floor of the car and Little Orphan Annie began to salivate. I think she ate three cups full of food on the way home. She was a malnourished black lab but was smart as she could be. When I brought home Moose, they became the best of friends. I had her spayed so we didn't have any little puppies.

Moose and Annie were friends for about 10 years and Annie died one spring day. She had a hard puppy hood and just wasn't as strong. Moose sat out in the pen and howled for a couple of days when I buried her. I went to the Dog Pound and brought home Baby. Baby was almost full grown but had been running wild for a while. She was covered with sores and I had to bathe her daily for a week or so with special shampoo and apply medicine. We became friends in short order. Moose was in dog heaven to have a friend and didn't seem to notice that Annie was replaced with Baby.

A couple of years later, Moose died of old age and I thought it was time to get another dog. My niece in Oklahoma had a big black lab and she wanted to not have a path around the inside of her yard. Thus, Taco came to Rabbit Run to replace Moose.

Now Baby has died and we are down to one dog and a hissing cockroach. Barb found a home for the Cocktails and one of the cockroaches died. I am pretty sure that Taco will live for a couple more years but I am not going to rush out and find him another dog to spend his time with. I guess I'll just have to get out more to play with him.

I guess you can say that I am pretty much as dog person and Barb tolerated that tendency so long as the dogs live outside. We have a cat that visits and eats here but he too lives outside. I can't abide a litter box in the house.

One of these days I'll tell you more about each dog. Baby was one that loved to run as fast and as far as she could when she would escape captivity and then come back and sit in Barb's water feature. I swear that she would just sit there and smile as she cooled down.

No such thing as just another dog. They have all been special. I have left out Grissy as she was from the beginning destined to be Ken's dog and my time with her was just to get her ready for that.



Rainy Monday

A front came through last night and brought a cloudy rainy day. Like most of the guys here in the heartland, I did get most of the mowing finished. At least I used up all the gas in cans. Looks like it will take almost a $20.00 bill to fill up the two cans.

Got up early this morning and made a run over to the Valley Brook house to put out the trash cans. We threw away some stuff from our freezer here and I didn't want it stinking up the joint so it did need to go to Valley Brook. The trash day there is Monday vs Friday here.

As I was having breakfast, I heard a guy say that he needed to pay the second half of his taxes today. I looked at my watch and it said it was only the 9th and the taxes are due on the 10th. I guess us old retired farts need to pay more attention to what months have 30 vs 31 days.

Oh well, got a lot of things done so I will close here and write tomorrow.



Mother's Day

A few years back, Both Barb and I were blessed to have our parents and many grandparents alive and well. Now it is down to Barb's parents and I do wish them the best. I feel like mother's day is, well, different now that mom's passing is so recent. She made it to 88 and then the old ticker just gave out. Right before she passed, many of us got to go to Bartlesville and say goodbye. In fact one weekend most of the nieces were there and I think there were eight or nine of them around her bed.

I think that our mothers have always been around us in spirit, it just wasn't as big a deal when they were alive. I got to spend a of of time with my mother over the last 20 years and the laughter is still ringing in my ears. Like a lot of things in my life, I will remember the good times and bury the bad times away in that locked box in my mind. I hope I never find the key there and can it can remain secure and tight. I'm sure that Mom remembered the love she had for her husbands and did not remember the hard time they had passing. I hope that is the way it will be for all of us with Mom. It really wasn't fair for Rick to be the one so close and visiting her right to the end. That had to be hard for anyone.

Oh hell, this wasn't started out to be an "oh poor me blog," it was just a Mother's Day post.
I think I will close here and go do something worthwhile. Happy day out there to all you mothers.



Heartland Update

The cool weather set in here and Barb told me that she wasn't going anywhere until it warms up some. It didn't frost last night but I'll bet it was close. Another trip out to get the paper and it is cold.

For the record, the front porch kitty showed up like the bad penny he is. When we got back from Oklahoma, he was here. You would have thought I was the reason he was gone for a week. He followed me and I'm sure he cussed me out in kitty talk. Now, he sounds like he has a sore throat and can't hardly make any noise at all.

Our female black lab, Baby isn't doing well at all. I am pretty sure that she is on her last leg and we'll be down to one black slob soon. Taco is so big that he could be a coffee table. I'm pretty sure that Baby has not been eating and Taco is eating both bowls of food. That'll end soon.

Better get cleaned up, never know when it will get warm enough to go out.



Mom's Thoughts

Years ago, Mom and I talked about some of the things in her life that were important to her. This is some of that list and in no particular order:

One of the highlights of her life was sitting on the front porch in Arkansas with family. She remembers the family trips, fishing and swimming in the lakes and river there. She talked about how Erma would say "Kid, while you are up would you get me a beer too?"

When it comes to spirituality, she was a member of almost every kind of Baptist Church and finally a member of grace Community Church in Topeka.

favorite things - family and animals. I know that in spite of Chevy Kitty being kind of mean she loved that fool cat. Like everyone, the last pet, Sassy Kitty was the love of her life. She had many friends that she loved to visit with.

In the area of Friends, she was a member of the Eldorado High Class of 1940 and as often as we could, drove down to Eldorado the last Friday of the month to have lunch with them. I think the numbers finally got so few that that ended but she sure loved them

You all know mom was an LPN nurse for many years and she loved meeting patients. I think she was a crappy patient herself but she talks about the pink ladies she met in the hospital and the joy they brought to the patients.

Until her vision gave out, she read everything she could. Once things got hard to read, she became glued to the TV. We were in the waiting room at the cardiologist one day and they had a Big Screen TV. She looked at me and said, "Denny that's what I want." I got her one that day. It was on 24 hours for the last 5 years. At the nursing home Becky got her a little TV and mom told her to take that Big Screen TV home with her. I hope Becky smiles every time she turns it on knowing that mom loved that TV almost more than anything else she owned.

Mom said that the 10 years in Arkansas living near Erma and Curly was such a treat. She also said that hen parties with the daughters was pretty special. Her favorite times were when the whole danged family would get together near Holidays.

These are not listed in priority but were answers mom gave me to a guide the funeral home provided.

She ended it with the comment that she was so proud of her children, step children, grand children and great-grand children. Just a note to all the Petty women, there are some pretty special Petty boys out there too. Even if she did call me Ricky and call Rick, Denny. She loved us just the same. Dad came to understand that names weren't all that important so long as she didn't call him Rex.


Weather in the Heartland

At the Kansas Army National Guard Military Academy in Salina they had a weather rock. The sign said it the rock was wet, It was raining. If the rock was dry, it was clear. If the rock was swinging, the wind was blowing. last night, that damned rock would have been dancing and damp. The good news is that the really bad stuff went around us to the north and then the south. This morning I ambled out to get the paper in my shorts and T-shirt and realized that I had made a mistake as soon as the first breeze hit me. It probably is in the low 40's with a 20 MPH wind. Barb said the wind chimes were ringing off the hook all night.

Here's another little ditty that I found in the picture box:

She rises up at the break of day,
And through her tasks she races.
And cooks the meal as best she may
And scrubs the children's faces.
While schoolbooks, lunches, ribbons too,
And yet the census man insists she has "No occupation."
When the breakfast dishes are all done,
She bakes a pudding, maybe;
She cleans the rooms up one by one,
with one eye watching the baby.
The mending pile she then attacks,
By way of variation,
And yet the census man insists she has "No occupation."
She irons for a little while,
The presses pants for daddy;
She welcomes with a cheery smile
returning lasses and laddie.
A hearty dinner next she cooks
(No time for relaxation)
And yet the census man insists
She has "No occupation."
- Anon
I would add that today a lot of women skip the mending and ironing but to make up for that lost task, have full time jobs. We all do what we do to make our way in this world and things have changed since that poem was written. I wish that more women would have the time to be home and see to the children but times have changed.
Better get moving and on to today's tasks might even start a list of things I need to do but then again maybe not.


Life Lessons 101, Death

I will do my best to not turn this into a morbid tale, just a guide from someone that has been through it a few times. I hope that it somehow helps anyone through the process and somehow illuminates the amount of work death brings to the family.

Number One, if you can get your parents or anyone that is aged to do two things, it greatly steps up the process. First and foremost, figure out what the hell you want done with your stuff and put it in your will. Get a good lawyer to help if there is a lot of complications. They are worth their weight in gold. Talk to the person you want as your administrator and help them know who gets what or how to settle the stuff part of your estate. The second thing in this process is to decide what you want to do for your funeral. You can pick out the urn, or the coffin, pick out a burial plot and now days it is a pretty safe bet to buy funeral insurance. I will tell you that the funeral part of death is one expensive deal and I was so glad that My niece, Rebecca, was there to guide mother through that process. There is the matter of music, who will officiate and who will sing if appropriate. If you prepay, you can pick everything out and pay up front. If the costs go up later, it will all be taken care of. Doing this part before the crushing blow of death makes it a lot easier on the family. It will also be clear that it is your wishes and not some arbitrary thing made up. You can't imagine how picky people can be over things like the funeral spray. Write a draft of the obituary and no one will be mad that they are left out. I would even go so far as to sign it.

The next steps are fairly easy if you all live in the same state where the person dies. I would advise you to get a lawyer and have him guide you through the Probate process. In most cases, the estate will be under $150,000 and you can breeze through probate. Most States require the Probate papers to be filed withn a very short number of days. The papers will be filed and a court date set. Be prepared to appear in a court room if you are the executor. You will have to gather the names of everyone that could be an heir, an inventory of the estate, have it valued, file a tax return for the year (federal and State) and publish the notice of death to creditors. In most states you have 45 days from notification of death minimum. Get enough copies of the certified death certificate to give one to almost every Tom Dick or Harry your loved one did business with. Life Insurance, Bank accounts, stock companies and everyone else wants a copy. Once everything is in order including the intended division of the estate you will then have to appear before the court again to ensure that you have done a fair job of the process. Be prepared to have this stretch out if real estate is involved. Only after complete review of the material will you be dismissed.

I tell one story to convince people of just how difficult this process can turn into. When my step father married my mom, he had several credit cards that were maxed out. After the sake of his house, he had the money to pay them, yet, he just made minimum payments on them. He took a turn for the worse in his health and with his blessing Mom and I took over his finances. We paid off the cards and everything was fine. After his death, I called up the credit card company to confirm that the card was shut off and would be no longer required. It had been unused for almost a year and had no balance. The agent I spoke to said they required a certified copy of the death certificate. At $15.00 a copy there was just no damn way I was going to send them one. The agent on the phone said that even though I was the court appointed executor, there was no way they were going to accept a verbal cancel of the card and in fact were due to send out the new ones in a couple of months. I calmly asked her to open the notes in the account and be prepared to type the following. "If you send any new cards to my step father, I will personally put them on the front porch of his house and let anyone that wants them, take them. We would not be responsible for any further debts because he is dead and I have published a death notice in the paper - twice. Your failure to comply with that notice will result in you eating any charges that show up. Clear? End of message" I guess this one small thing only illuminates why some people call me Mean Uncle Denny. It is only one tip of one iceberg floating out there to crash you boat.

The estates of our parents can turn ugly if there is a lot of stuff and money involved. If done before the family member dies, it makes the process much easier. If you want someone to hold your hand through this ordeal, I would recommend a good lawyer. Then talk to someone who has gone through the process and for kicks and giggles, next time you are at a family reunion listen when the talk turns dark about the estate of someone that died. Or, smile and know you are prepared.



Things in the Photo Box

I am the current holder of albums and boxes of photos from both sides of the family.It is our intent to scan as many of the photos as possible and to put them in archival (acid free Boxes) and take them out of the albums that are causing them to degrade. In the photos were several small clippings from magazines and newspapers. See if there is a grain of old truth in any of them for you:

The Way You're Judged

Its the way you live, not the way you talk,
Not the way your preach, but the way you walk,
That the world will judge whatever you claim,
That the world will praise, as the world will blame.

Its the way you do, not the way you say,
not the way you speak, but the way you pay
It will like the best or will like the most,
its the way you work, not the way you boast.

Its the way you sing, not the way you sigh,
Not the way you whine, but the way you try,
That will hold you down or help you far,
Not the way you seem but the way you are.

- Douglas Malloch

Keep on Keepin' On

If the day looks kinder gloomy and your chances kinder slim,
If the situatin's puzzlin' and the prospects awful grim,
If perplexities keep pressin', till hope is nearly gone,
Jes' bristle up and grit your teeth and keep on keepin' on.

Frettin' never wins a fight and fumin' never pays,
There ain't no use in broodin' In these pessimistic days;
Smile a kinder cheerfully through hope is nearly gone,
and bristle up and grit your teeth, and keep on keepin' on.


Thanks to the many

This is the beautiful red dress mom was buried in
RIP Mom, 4-23-22, to 4-30-10

I am not sure where to start with thanking people so I'll just start with the services. Rebecca Demauro and Mowery Funeral Home did an outstanding job. It truly was a thing of joy and mom would have been proud. I was all set to tell everyone about the fork but I couldn't even talk after seeing the video and joy of Mom's life in all of you. How Jenn was able to do her part is a tribute to the strong Petty Women that will be expressed in all of you.

I now want to turn my thanks to my brother Rick. He provided mom with a loving support there in Oklahoma and he with the aid of Becky and Lauri saw that she was truly treated like a queen. We will all be forever indebted to the Oklahoma crew.

My sisters have always been a strong part of my life and I hope they know that I am well aware of how much Mom loved them.

I am not sure that without Da'barbs and Dave I would have wanted to make the trip down. They are always my support and I love them dearly.

It was a fitting tribute that all the Seward Kids came up and were there. I just wish they lived closer so we could all get together. Funerals are just not the time to be forced together. It was such a joy for me to hear how Paul's grand daughter saw all this activity. Yep, she was old, she died and she's happy in heaven. Mother would have laughed until she cried over that. Annie, Sam and Robin and families were there to share and I thank them.

My last thanks goes to my first and best friend Harvey who drove over from Bentonville to attend. He had visited Mom a month earlier and came to pay his respects for the final time to Mom.

We will hold a memorial service at 6 PM om May 12th. Everyone is invited. Afterwards, the crowd is invited to Rabbit Run, 4921 SE 42nd, Tecumseh, KS for Bierocks and pie. We will provide tea and water to go along with the dinner. Might even buy some ice cream for the pie. You are welcome to bring your own beer if you desire. Mom wouldn't mind.
Oh, I better end with thanking my Dad for choosing to let mom catch him. We were never rich but never poor.


Monday Morning Musings

Have you thought that as more and more information floods your life you just have to limit the amount of things that really get to the level of important. Or, as I fear, is old age stealing my ability to expand with the new faster means of information flow. At one time, I wrote e-mails and sent them to the family much like the blog I now write. I slipped over into Facebook and find the quality and quantity of information there sorely lacking. It makes me wonder what is the real purpose of this blog and is it relevant to anyone but me. I guess the truth of the matter is that so long as I find it a good outlet I will continue. When it no longer provides me with any good outlet I will stop.

I was watching the military channel the other day and they talked about the US Air Force (Then the Army Air Corps) and the effect of their efforts in the war on Japan. Many of us on the surface, know that the bombs they dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki stopped the need for an invasion but really don't know about the effects of the other bombing on the ability of Japan to sustain their efforts. Seen from the side of the Marines and Navy, one might think their island hopping efforts pushed Japan back and finally isolated them from the raw materials needed to sustain. The Army Air Corps view was that the island hopping finally allowed us to push our air fields deep enough to bomb the mainland. There is probably some truth in both sides. I do know that the Marines and the Army sustained a lot of casualties in a bloody war.

Just a note. The front porch kitty had been spending a lot of time between somewhere else and Rabbit Run for the past month. He has officially been missing for a week now and I fear the worse. There is no shortage of perils for an old tom cat nearby. Cars, Coyotes, dogs, other cats and perhaps some farmer tired of his fights are all threats. He was here for many years and while we never really took care of him, I did provide food when he showed up. I won't delete him from the active list just report him on the morning report as MIA and wait to report him AWOL or as a deserter later. Up until now three days was the longest he was gone.

Miles to go today. Probably won't update tomorrow. See you Wednesday.



My Cousin Jim

Jim is the oldest child of my father's brother. We are both the product of the Baby Boom following WWII. Until Jim moved to Colorado about the 6th or 7th grade, we got to spend time together a lot. While we aren't close today, when we get together it seems like old times to sit and discuss the things we have been up to.

He called last night to express his feelings about the loss of my mother. He said that she always treated him with love and laughter. I think that is a pretty common theme said by everyone that knew mom. Mom always said that one or the other of us would wind up in Jail. Jim now works in an Arizona prison. Thankfully neither one of us wound up there as a permanent party inside. He says that he has 4 more years until he can retire.

Jim said to tell the family that this time he won't show up in the middle of the night for the funeral and while he really would love to see us all, he must remain in Arizona and work. When my dad died he drove here to join the family. That was a tribute to the family that we all loved, laughed and enjoyed the time together.


Manic Depression

There is an old skeleton hiding in the back closet of the Petty family and many people are reluctant to open that door and discuss it. Lets start back with my Dad. His erratic behavior was not as apparent until he returned from WWII. There were periods of depression followed by such highs that he could do no wrong. The beautiful part was that he was a truly talented man in many ways and he could cope for longer periods than some. During my early years he had times where he would undergo shock treatments and be hospitalized. Then the treatment of his lifetime came in the form of Lithium. His life normalised out and he became the boring old guy that watched a lot of NASCAR and golf on TV.

The second problem that we have is our addictions can rule our lives. In spite of the best information in the world, several of the family still smoke. There are a few that if we lived closer to the casino's would gamble too much and then there is the big alcohol problem that sneaks up and bites many of us from time to time.

I am a drunk! I would be an alcoholic but I can remain sober and not have to attend those meetings. Thank God that dad's liver was damaged and he stopped drinking to add to his Manic depressive or Bi-polar problems. At least one other member of the family has also admitted her problem. My long lost cousin Jim called me last night and told me that he had almost given up drinking.

I was coping with the stress of a career with a lot of pressure. I had not found that place that allowed me to go home at the end of a hard day and feel good if I had done my best. The key for me was that the harder my day, the more I "Needed" a drink. When you need one is precisely the time you should walk away. If you think you can't stop drinking, try it and see. If you can, do. If you can't get some help.

If the members of our family want to find a fitting tribute to my mother, we need to find a way to hold an intervention in the life of one of our family and help her put it all back together. There is a tough old road out there that will drive her down until she understand that taking her medicine and stopping drinking is the first and second step back to the things we call normal. Tough Love will demand that she participate of find the doors closed. Somehow we have to find a way to get her attention and help.

Yes, I know it is easy to be preachy from miles away. All I can say is that I've been there , done that.



Virginia Petty Schawo Services

There will be visitation from 4 to 8 PM on Monday May 3rd.
The funeral services will be on Tuesday at 2 PM at the
Mowery Funeral Home
9110 N. Garnett Rd
Owasso, OK 74055
918) 272-6244

There is also information on the web under Mowery Funeral Home, Owasso, OK.

Pastor Terry Brillheart has agreed to do a celebration of mom's life at 6 PM on Wednesday the 12th of May. Barb has agreed to do Bierocks and pie following the ceremony here at Rabbit Run.


Asparagus Day

Mom, Myrna, Carol, Bessie and Earl, The Petty's

A few years back, I mentioned to Barb that my grandmother grew asparagus and in the spring we would wind up with it on the Sunday table. Barb ordered some plants from a green house and we have been on the receiving end every since. On her walks she gathers individual stick and puts them in a glass by the sink. Today will be asparagus day here at Rabbit Run.

For some reason I find that I love an omelet with fresh asparagus pieces cooked in. At one time I was a Ham and two eggs over easy but I am slowly coming around to the throw everything in the omelet kind of guy. With asparagus so abundant why not?

The lunch will be a soup with a base of celery soup, onions and a diced potato. Add the asparagus pieced to that and you will have a green "spargel" soup. The Germans would make it with the yellow asparagus (Spargel) but that stuffs far from free and not available here as fresh. I could grow my own but just don't have the time and energy to make it happen. In Germany this time of year you would see acres of little plastic frame tents that would get filled with straw and keep the asparagus yellow.

If there is any left, I think a grilled asparagus would accompany a nice grilled piece of meat for supper.

OK Boys and Girls, did you gain five pounds just reading that? I'll bet I had to swallow a quart of excess saliva just thinking about the wonderful meals.

I want to thank everyone for the kind condolence words about our loss of our mother. She was truly the matriarch of the family and set a pretty high standard for the young women in the family. As I look at them, I see things in them that remind me of Mom. The eyes, the smile, the love and in many cases the joy of singing. At different stages in Mom's life, I see different things. It would be sad if I started to tell you what it is about the girls I now see mother in. I would hate to leave someone out and make them feel bad. I'm sure that mother loved them all and I will do my best to carry on that tradition.

I want to tell you a story that mom told me one day. During the depression there was not a lot of great things to eat. Seems like they suffered from different meals of Beans and taters. One summer night they were out on the back porch eating and their neighbor shouted, "Beans and taters, taters and beans! Seems like all we ever have to eat is beans and taters!" Just for the record I love beans and I love taters. I will smile every time I have a big old bowl of either in memory of my mother.

Going over to the lake to see Jenn and Austin.

Write if you get work.