There have been times that my dreams were great places to work out a problem.  Many times I have awakened with what is a logical answer to a question I had when I went to sleep.  I know that many times before I travel I won't sleep worrying about the events that could transpire when we are traveling.  On the other hand, many days I wake up wondering what the hell that was all about.  You know, those crazy dreams that are so separated from reality that no practical lesson could possible evolve from something that crazy.  I am not sure that people who don't remember their dreams aren't blessed versus those of us that have vivid memories f the crazy times.

There are times that I know that I am dreaming and do my best to let it become a free for all.  The main marker is when I light up my pipe.  I am not sure when I quit smoking my pipe but it was years ago.  This dream almost always occurs when I have dreamed that I just ate a great meal.  For some reason, I just don't have those thoughts about drinking.  Perhaps drinking is just so natural that I don't even think about it.  I know I stopped drinking in the early 90's so it has been at least 20 years since I have had the need to take a drink.  I bought a box of wine to take to Carrie's house for Thanksgiving and did take a small sip to taste it.  I just didn't feel compelled to drink a glass of it.

I think that was when I really started to think about drinking.  It was way and well on its way to the "go to" solution to my problems.  I think the term Mom used was "Self Medicated."  The more I drank, the more I wanted to use it as the solution to my problems.  It became the avoidance medicine in my life and just had to stop.  Today I don't try to stop others from drinking, I do point out that when you really need a drink, is the time you should stop and think about taking that drink.  If you can take it or leave it, then feel free to have a drink. 

Back to dreams,  One good thing for me is that my dreams of Combat don't happen when I am asleep.  There was one time I had just come home from surgery and I was watching "Platoon" I had a flash back when they went into a village.  I swear I could smell, taste and feel the fear from my time in Vietnam.  We had one trip into a village that felt like that scene from the movie. 

We didn't have the firefight or the violence the movie had but we did have a pretty significant event that day.  One of the children in the village was very sick and the women had began to wail that he was going to die.  The mood that day was tense and all the crazy noises from the women made it really chilling. Our Medic tried to help but he said that unless we could get the child to a Hospital there was little hope.  We set up a perimeter and call a Med Evac chopper from Pleiku. I have no idea where they took that child or the outcome but it was a fairly significant event and I'm sure the basis of that flash back.

One thing I am blessed with is fact that I seem to forget the really sad or hurtful things that happen.  They are soon buried in the great events that happen to me and people I know.  I am sad to see someone lose something significant to them but I am always more glad (Gladder) to see someone win or get an award. 

Oh well, better get cranking.




Getting ready to go to KC to meet with a large number of family members.  I know that Dan and Carrie Craig will be the greatest hosts.  I have as my resolution today to have my Type "A" personality and the old Colonel turned off. 

I am fairly sure that we will be watching the KU game at 2:30 (1430 for you military types)   Great times with great people and KU game thrown in for good measure.

If you were to come to our house during the next couple of weeks, you will hear me singing the Christmas music for our trips to the retirement homes here in Topeka.   What a great time to see all the smiles and to share their Christmas joy.



Thanksgiving Traditions

I love to be with family for Thanksgiving.  The laughter and good food just completes my soul and helps me get ready for the month long period of build up for Christmas.  For the day, we will be at my niece's house in Kansas City.  She is the greatest host you could ever want and the smiles go on and on. 

As a child, many times we would go to one of my grandparents house for Thanksgiving.  Seems like those trips included hunting season north of Hoisington, KS near Susank.  There would almost always be a turkey but I do remember pheasant a lot.  Seems like the oil field workers just didn't love the eating of the pheasant as much as we did.  Grand father, Curly Fruits, had a way of cleaning the birds that to me was unique.  He would split the skin from the neck down and pull the entire skin, feathers and all off in one motion.  After removing the guts, Grandma would take the birds in the house to soak ion salt water.  Generally this was overnight and the next day she would bake the cut up pieces in the oven low and slow.  She would take those half cooked pieces out of the oven and then treat them like fried chicken.   I'll bet I ate as many pheasants as anyone ever.  Loved the food my grandmother cooked.

I don't know why I feel compelled to share this story but it just stands out.  One year we had a great hunting season and I'll bet the 10 or so hunters all got their limit of three birds.  Grandpa spread out enough newspapers to cover the back porch and he started cleaning all those birds.  Somewhere the near the end of the carnage, my brother Rick came out to the back porch to watch.  He sat there silently and all of a sudden he just vomited right there in the middle of the piles of guts, skin and feathers.  Most of us would have just left the porch but he stayed there until he got sick.  I don't remember him as having a weak stomach, but that time all that mess just was more than he could stand.

The Military tradition is that the units would invite the family members to eat with the unit.  I was in Advanced Individual Training (AIT) at for Fort Sill, Oklahoma for my first Thanksgiving in the Army.   They asked for volunteer servers and I got to serve my first pies on the serving line.  I think that was the start of my Holiday dinners for me.  I always brought my red apron, my Santa hat and served pies.  Right to the end of my time in the Guard, I always served pies to the crowds.  I just loved to ask the children if they wanted a little whipped cream on their pumpkin pie. Smiles just made that work a treat.

The one thing I really did learn from my first duty on the serving line was that you didn't leave turkey out too long.  They left the turkeys on the serving line without the benefit of a steam table and then didn't rush to put it in the cooler when the meal was finished. I think they left the food out to give the serves a chance to eat at the end.  I skipped the evening meal and many of the guys in my Battery who ate leftover turkey and dressing that evening were sick for most of the weekend after that.  The good news was there was a training holiday until Monday. 

One thing I miss when we go somewhere else to eat is the lack of leftovers.  One way I have found to overcome that is to smoke a turkey the week before or after Thanksgiving.  I watch the weather forecast and try to find a day I can be outside and cook up a wonderful bird.  Did that last week and was really disappointed that in my rush I didn't bring the bird or season it enough to power past the smoke taste.  Now, don't get me wrong, the hickory smoke on my turkey is pretty good but I didn't get enough seasoning into the bird and it is just a little flat.  (This year)     There is also the matter of left over pie.  Just how can a meal of stuffing and turkey be complete without a wedge of pie.

My mother loved pie in about any form.  I think the majority of the family would rather have a good pie than most cakes.    My niece Amy commented that every time she would go visit with my mother they would have a piece of apple pie with a scoop of ice cream.  She said that my mother was also fond of those fried apple pies from McDonalds.  I do know that it was a surprise when the whole family ganged up on mother and told her that we did not like her sour cream and raisin pie.  Ditto on the mince meat pie.  She just started using the Mrs. Smith's pies.  Yea!  

Every time I get off on the subject of pies, I feel compelled to share that my sisters were in 4-H as young girls and every year they would work on their cherry pie recipe until even today my last choice in pies is cherry.  I will eat it if there is nothing else but apple or any of the cream pies just make my day.  I leave pumpkin pie to those that love it.  Put a little whipped cream on it and It is something I will eat with a good cuppa coffee. much later after the meal.

Now I am hungry....




Today is hump day of Thanksgiving week.  For those of us that are retired, it really doesn't mean all that much.  It is another day down and closer to Thanksgiving and then Christmas. 

Yesterday I had dinner with Dave and Barb.  They also brought Kyler and Austen to the Texas Roadhouse and we all had a fine dinner.  It was Austen's birthday and the boys were both looking fine and we enjoyed their company.  After dinner, I went to the Barbershop Chorus practice.  A good time was had by all.  The Barbershop org finally sent me my membership packet.  I have three years credit from my last membership.

The thing a lot of the guys don't realize is that I am a natural Bass and the last time I sang with them I was a Baritone.  The words are all the same but the notes are different.  For this year's music I am just starting out.  For the Christmas music, I want to revert to the Baritone part.  Oh well, it will all work out.  I tell Barbara that I am doing the music for me, a lot like I write this Blog.  If someone else enjoys it, so much the better.

While I was out last night, I picked up a pocket size recorder.  I recorded the Christmas songs and now wish I had someone else's pocket to put the recorder in.   I have just a slight head cold, more of a stuffiness and I sounded a lot nasal.  Oh well. I plan on taking it when I take some of the road trips to Oklahoma.  Perhaps some of those War Stories might make it to this blog.  I seem to have a lot of time to think and the stories are my way of passing the time. 

I think I will call it a day here and move n.




I got nothing today.  nada, zip, zilch, nothing.


PS, that's not the least bit true.  I always have something but that's kind of the way I feel when I open my Blog and see weeks and weeks of no comments.  I have Blogs that I read and they have comments that go on in epic proportions.  Either I am way too logical or I attract the kind of people that don't have anything to say. 


What was Your favorite Christmas?

I seem to have a mind full of favorite Christmases. I hate to pick just one and really want to remember pieces of many.  I first want to point out that my best present of all is that Barb is so fond of Christmas and she just makes me drag out the ornaments and decorate.  I forget the joyous nature of the holiday and it is her love and caring that has made my life better for it. Here are just a few snippets of some of the best Christmas memories:

  • The first Christmas after getting married I was in Vietnam so it isn't very high on the list but, I do remember the flask of Scotch my sister Myrna sent and the Christmas cease fire that let me drink it.
  • The first Christmas hope with Barbara will always be special. Even if we did freeze out butts off in the 8X38 foot trailer.  We had our love to keep us warm.
  • The thing I remember the best is all the times we have had family to celebrate Christmas with.  All by myself I probably would not celebrate it very well. 
  • One Christmas, I went out caroling with the choir group from East High.  That is almost as good as singing at the nursing homes with the Barbershop Chorus here in Topeka.  I just love the music of Christmas.
  • I have always loved seeing the joy of Christmas in my son's face as he opened his presents.  The good news is that he let me play with some of his toys, especially the Legos. 
  • The year that Barbara let me buy my own present and then demanded that I open it in rotation as everyone else opened one.  Instead of just the recorder I bought, there was the keys and the title for a 57 Chevy.  Spent a couple of years getting it ready to drive.  It is in the garage.
  • The first time that Barbara had me move the dinning room table out of the dinning room and picked out a tree that filled that space.  She has a wonderful eye for beauty and decoration me, not so much.
I think I will simply try to celebrate Christmas this year with a little more joy and watch the wonder in the face of people as they give and get love from their family. 




Christmas Shopping

Things here at Rabbit run got a little boring yesterday afternoon and Barbara decided to go shopping.  She loves to shop around and see what's out there.  Being a guy, I go to buy not shop.  That's why I get left home a lot on these kinds of excursions.  When she got home, she spread out the loot on the living room table.  She bought a neat selection of toys that would brighten the days of most kids.  A lot of them are hands on, do something toys and heck, I even wanted to play with them.  I'm not sure who will get these wonderful toys, but I will resist opening the packages and playing with them.

As a kid, my mother would sit us down around Thanksgiving and let us pick out what we wanted for Christmas.  I don't remember being directed the direction of clothes or stuff like that.  Most of the items came out of the Sear's catalog.  Mom would buy our Christmas presents from there and then pay it off during the next year a little each month.  I think it is kind of funny that my aunt said the reason my Dad's mother loved my mother was she would buy things that for grandma that wanted not needed.  Then, Grandma would always get us underwear or PJ's for Christmas.  Must be something about having lived through the depression.

The animals here at Rabbit Run seem to be eating everything I put out about as fast as I get it to them.  As cold as it is today I can't say I blame them much.  The nice thing is that there are some of the nicest looking deer this year.  Most of them look fat and healthy.  I haven't see the turkey's as much this year but the camera has captured them a few times.  I guess I need to spread some corn out on the ground.  The big feeding bunk might just be too tall for them to see inside.   I also notice that the new trail Cam just doesn't do a good job at night.  The coons show up a little but mostly the reflection of their eyes and you can't see their bodies. 

I am convinced that the media is on co-hoots with the administration.  Instead of the things that are important, the focus has been on the Kennedy Assignation and the weather.  I am pretty sure that one was 50 years ago and the other happens every year.  When was the last time you heard about the sequestration cuts that are going to kick in soon.  Instead of having the guts to make a budget and live with it, the congress formed a committee that set in motion a way to bring our spending back into line. Let there be no doubt that the congress will tamper with the sequestration to favor those special projects that make them money and gets them votes.  Simply put, every program needs to cut about 3% a year until the things fall in line.  Gradual cuts are a way to help the organizations tighten their belts a little at a time and not cut things off without time to adjust.  I would also only raise taxes to pay off the national debt.  Any new dollar must go to that cause so the debt can be paid for by the people who made it.  I sure as hell would hate for our debts to be on the backs of only our children.  I know that it is heresy to say that the Social Security should be taxed, but if you have other income, it should be.  The only project that I would spend more on would be to support programs that build job and education. 

Today the paper had an article about low graduation rates.  People ask why?  I will tell you that going to school is work and if there doesn't seem to be any light at the end of that tunnel, why bother?  It is interesting to me that people don't understand the real value of a job and money.  If you only make $10.00 an hour, your annual pay is only about $20,000.  Unless you have government support for food and medicine, good luck on living on that unless you have two wage earners.  Any organization that pays a CEO Millions of dollars and doesn't pay a living wage just isn't doing it right. 

Oh well, beginning to sound like a damned socialist. 



Memories, Sweet Memories

Where do your memories of your younger years take you?  Like the time I spent there, a lot of my memories of the early days center around Minneha.  I attended classes at Minneha from Kindergarten to the 9th grade.  Like a lot of the boys that were Baby Boomers, we grew up to like a lot of girls but didn't know what to do about it.  I am sure that I had a lot of crushes on the girls I went to school with.  As I look back, I am glad that I grew up in a more simple time where just holding hands and getting a smile was enough.  I can't imagine what it would have been back then if we had the explicit movies and videos of today.

In my mind, I was a rough and tumble guy.  In my mind's eye I could out cuss, out fight and damn sure out run most of the guys I went to school with.  This is probably not the reality but what did I know.  The one thing I did know, was that there was a world full of girls to have fantasies about.  Like I said, I didn't know what I wanted from them but I sure wanted to find out.

Today as I sit here and look back, I am glad I wound up where I did.  I have spent 2/3rds of my life with the most stable influence anyone would have wanted for their life.  Thank you Barbara.

My Dear feeding my deer

Oh Shit, Oh Dear

A few years back, an Air Force tanker mistook the small commercial airport north of the river here in Topeka for the almost two mile runway at Forbes Field.  I am not sure when it hit him that the runway was real short but I do know the takeoff was hairy.  They drained every ounce of fuel out of the plane and only the Pilot and Co Pilot were in it when it took off to go to the right airport.  Yesterday, a stretch jumbo jet landed at Jabarra Field north east of Wichita thinking it was the McConnell runway.  In both cases, I would love to have a recording of what they said at that moment of truth that they had landed on that small of an airfield.  Makes me wonder if all that electronic hardware was worth the money someone paid.  My Garmin would have gotten them closer than 9 miles. 

Yesterday, I found that Windows 8 has a small icon called maps. It starts out as a map of the US and you can zoon in down to the street level.  For me, it was kind of fun to go back to some of the places I had been.  Kind of like travel but you can stay in your pajamas.  That and a good cuppa coffee and it was a good way to burn off an hour or two.  Almost as much fun as taking the mental trip I do in writing this blog.

A couple of days ago I smoked a turkey on the grill and we have about 10 lbs. of turkey meat to make things with.   I love that simple hint of smoke along with that wonderful turkey taste.  The only problem is that unless we get Dave and his wife Barb to help us, we will have to freeze the majority of the meat either today or tomorrow.  I think that putting the meat in a plastic bag and putting it in the fridge helps even out the smoky taste.  Next time I will brine the turkey.  This time I didn't and it just isn't salty enough.  Oh well, that is what they make salt shakers for.  Today's lunch will be turkey sliders on those sweet King Hawaiian rolls.   Brushed with melted butter, granulated garlic, Worcestershire sauce and onion powder and heated in the oven to melt some cheese they will be delish.    I also need to work on the roma tomatoes that have a rice and turkey filling with Feta cheese melted on top.  Dang, I am sure making myself hungry.

The weatherman predicted that we would have a glaze of ice on everything this morning and he missed by a few feet.  The ground might have been damp but for the most part it was still too warm to form ice on.  The car windows are flashed frozen with a light coat of ice but the roads are not that slippery.  The gravel on the driveway had a funny crunch when I went out to get the paper but the footing was pretty good.  This is the time of the year when we are getting cold enough at night to have stupid things like hail and snow but it warms up enough in the daytime to melt it all off.  Soon enough, that won't be true. 

I don't know how the weather effects you, but I think I fall into that category that gets mildly depressed when the days are short and the sun doesn't shine.  Even cold days with some sunshine are tolerable but I could not live in a place like Seattle or places that have the monsoon season.  There were other reasons to be sad in Vietnam but just the rainy season there was bad enough to just put me in a funk.  The only salvation here is that the Topeka Library has a great selection and I have at least one book to read.

Even cold days are fine with me if the sun shines

Oh well, enough of this, moving on to real life.



Way Too Busy

You would think that a semi-retired person would never have a scheduling conflict.  Well, I guess it is just not my schedule that compounds the problem.  The month of December is a train wreck of Family gatherings, graduation and Barbershop sing outs.  In the past we would have a family gathering on the Saturday prior to Christmas so everyone would have a chance to spend the actual Christmas Day with their nuclear family.  A lot of this was because Barb and I would travel to California to see her family.  Now, we are spread out over the United States and it is such a complete disaster to not book your tickets weeks in advance.  Throw in to that mix the graduation of one of our favorite daughters, Rebecca Petty, and it gets convoluted.  I know there will be a significant part of the family that will be in Arkansas for that event.  Oh well, I started the discussion and I will make do with whatever everyone works out. 

Now that I have that petty gripe out of the way, I'll move on to my next gripe.  I have been getting very forgetful in my "old" age and find that I have a bunch of passwords stuck on sticky notes here on my computer desk.  Even then, I find myself using the wrong one on a regular basis.  I hope Barb knows that her passwords are safe as I can't remember mine. Being here in the security of my own home I don't worry much about a hacker getting into my system.  Besides, there is not much there.  If you want to read my Blog, the only passwords you have to have are those on your system.  If anyone out there wants to write a guest blog, send me an e-mail and I'll include your stuff.

Today I saw a few minutes of CNN and there is a new thing being introduced by the Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid.  He wants to streamline the process of appointing Federal Judges.  The Republican Minority leader asked to follow the presentation and said that this is just another democratic move to create a diversion when one of their failures are about to consume the Media.  I did agree with Harry when he asked, "Does anyone think the Senate is working?"  He should have to write those words on a blackboard in front of the Senate 100 times each day.   I would throw out all incumbents this next election and see if they get the message.  The new demand should be, "Make it work or go home."
Everyone is wandering around Washington telling us that Sequestration will just break us.  They voted to build a program to fix the fact they can't understand the problem of building a budget and then sticking with it.  Pretty simple to me.  Outgo must be equal or less than income.  Throw in the need to pay at least 5% of the debt each year and then in 10 or 20 years we might get it right.

Today I read that the Military is considering closing the commissaries across the board.  Having shopped at both the local stores and the commissary, this sounds like a pretty good idea.  Most of the commissaries are great locations for a COSCO.  I would invite Wal-Mart in to see if they could make it better.  They would need a Military item store but I'm sure that it can be done in a good way.  At Fort Irwin in the 60's, it was 35 miles to  town and we needed a commissary but I am sure that there are grocery store chains that would salivate at the idea of having a chance to get into that market.  One trip to HiVee and the people on our bases would just fall in love with the better products and service.

Oh well, better get on with my day.  I saw that Barb finished her last Library book last night so at least there will be a trip there today sometime.



Just how think, You dumb I am.

I believe that is a malapropism. Or a word or phrase you are thinking but it comes out wrong.  Once I heard someone talking about the "Chirpets cricking" instead of the crickets chirping and I almost can't say it right.  Oh well, I can still spell (with the aid of spell checker) even if I type a lot of words wrong.  The one example I hear a lot is the misuse of the word prostrate for prostate.  It just doesn't ring when I say that over the age of 40 a man's bicycle seat needs to be larger than his prostrate. The funny part is that I can't ever remember using the word prostrate in my blog.  I darn sure wouldn't say it.  "I think I shall remain prostrate for a week if I hurt my back."  Nope, not me...

My point in writing this is this has been the week that everyone must think I am a complete fool or at least a significant number of people do.  Cases in point - Yesterday some New York number showed up on my caller ID.  I screen my calls and have seen this number a couple of times so I answered it to tell them that I am on the National No Call List and if they don't take my name off their call list I will report them.  A really fast talker said he was George from the shipping center and he had my help needed and alert notification machine ready to ship and wanted to confirm when and where I wanted it.  I am offended that in spite  of my falling down a few times this past year that anyone would think I need a med-alert bracelet and I damn sure didn't order one.  My standard speech was first that Again I am on the National No Call list and if they persisted I would report them.   Second if they sent me anything unsolicited I would leave it on the front porch until someone carried it off and I would never pay them a dime.  Most of this I was over talking him and he didn't shut up until I said "What part of no don't you understand?"  Click...

The second time this week was when an e-mail arrived in my in box that told me that I had a relative in England that left me $ 800,000  (or somewhere near that amount because the symbol was in British Sterling Pounds or Euros or something a US typist can't find on the standard QWERTY key board)  First, I don't have any relatives in England that I know of and there have been reports of a virus that is going around that captures your computer if you open an e-mail and you have to pay some software company to get rid of it.  That goes in the trash and then I empty it from the trash bin. I was tempted to open it on Barb's Mac as almost nothing is aimed at a MAC.  Speaking of MAC,

Yesterday Barbara got a call for Barbara Peetey and they said they were from Microsoft.  Well, I hate to break it to you but Barb has a Macintosh Computer and hates my Microsoft software.  The unique way that Window's 8 has my computer working just frustrates her to death.  We share a lot of pictures and she hates the way they are stored.  She likes to work off a list that is a file by date and then she can see snaps of the pics when she opens the file.   Windows 8 shows her the file by some picture in the file and then the pictures in the file as a slide show.  That is if she can get past the icon to find the pictures.  But in short, they got the speech about being on the National no call list and then click. Just a short note, I do not like how Windows 8 has changed some of the ways my machine works but mostly because I am a dinosaur and don't want to learn more ways to do the same thing.  Every time I get Dave over I have him show me something and he does.  (after much eye rolling because he likes me and knows most of the things he shows me are repeat items)

A while back, Dave got me a copy of Dragon Software.  It is that software that lets you talk and it will write down what it thinks you said.  It is another software program that you have to learn to be able to use.  I can basically use it once I get the word processing program open but do not have the ability to name all the moves it takes to get there.  I got a call from them and they want me to purchase an update for $99.  The insult of this is that they are offering on National TV the basic program for $59.00.  Heck, they are even throwing in a headset that I paid extra for.  Now lets see, would I purchase a update for a program for $99 that I can buy for $59?   Not only no , but hell no... It kind of makes me mad that I know they will turn around and call their new customers wanting to sell the update for a hundred bucks. 

Years ago, my mother was married to a second husband. Wait, after the first one died.  When he died, I was made the executor of his estate.  He had a few credit cards that mother and I made sure were paid off and I called them one day to cancel the cards.  You would have thought that I was committing fraud.  In spite of the fact that I knew there was no balance on his cards and that I had all the pertinent information they wanted me to send them a copy of the order making me his executor and a copy of the death certificate.  No, all I want to do is to let you know that I am cutting up the old cards and there will never be another charge I will pay for.  The lady said they would send new cards on the anniversary of him getting his cards.  I politely told her that I would give the new cards to anyone that wanted them and after publishing in the paper we would no longer be responsible for any debts against his estate, they would play cuffy getting a dime out of me or mother.   I then told her that I am the person that gets the mail for mother and damn sure that I would make good on my promise.  Guess what, they didn't ever send updated cards and didn't have to spend time and money making copies and sending them copies.

I often loo at the old blogs to see if there are an comments.  Normally there are none but on occasion, there will be a poorly worded reply and it is just some organization tying to get me to contact them.  The most recent one was from www.imarksweb.org. Only a complete fool would not know that anything that ends in .org is not an individual. 

Just now, the phone rang and it was listed as 800 service.  With caller ID those calls go off into the holding area of the telephone system.  I even had one call that was listed as a blocked call.  Well, just how think you dumb I am?  See you on the next installment of Denny the misguided typist and his QWERTY keyboard will travel. If you are also a dinosaur and don't know what a QWRERTY keyboard is, just look at the letters on the first line of letters on your keyboard.




Thanksgiving starts the time of the year when my family starts the getting together events.  I have a niece in Kansas City that loves to host large groups  in her great house and we love to go there to meet and greet the rest of the family.  Having been on the giving end of the family gatherings, I always wonder how I can re-pay her for her generosity.  That will be one of things I will work on this week.  We have discussed what wonderful treats we will bring to her house for Thanksgiving.  I know that most of the family loves green bean casserole but I hate to be so predictable. 

There was an article about Dick Cheney's family squabble over the question of same gender marriage.   I guess one daughter is trying to convince everyone that as a conservative she doesn't condone such things.  The other daughter is married to another woman.  This issue s completely bullshit.  Stand up and tell the world that someone you love is in a same gender marriage and it is not important to me.  I can say that and will also tell you that this summer I met a couple of families that are really wonderful people.  I would call them same sex couples but I really don't care what goes on in their bedroom any more that I do about the male/female marriages.  Whatever floats your boat.

I would also tell people that while I think abortion is a horrible form of birth control, I don't want the Government or anyone else poking their nose into what goes on between a woman and her doctor.  I would support what ever the law says and would not work to change it.

There was a short article in the paper about a Methodist Minister being tried by his church for performing the same gender union of his son and his new spouse.  I thought that kind of thing only happened in the Baptist Church.  Perhaps it is like the Brown vs. Board of Education case where the whole thing was just the legal wrangling to end segregation.  Heck, I think the Pope is headed towards understanding that same gender marriages are just a way of life.  OK, I know there are a lot of people out there that think they can find that in the bible there are things against the civil union of a man and man and or woman and woman.  I say phooey, the bible was written by a bunch of old guys  that never met Jesus and has more twists and changes than a pig's tail.  Man O' Man has this Thanksgiving tale gone down some different rabbit holes that where I intended.

Yesterday, I went to George Parker's funeral.  I got to meet a lot of wonderful people in George's family that I had never met.   My favorite of all of them is his son, COL Brent Parker.  He is in the Regular Army and is attending the War College in India.  He tells me that he will get his first look at the Brigadier General Board early this next year.  With his record of being the Honor Graduate of every school he attended he should have a pretty good chance.  Her has also had a good record of Joint Assignments and pretty good evaluations by General Officers of each branch.  I know that George was sure proud of his son and I wish him the best.  Brent's daughter is at Baker University and going to be a nurse.  She will be working in Topeka next semester getting her practical training out of the way. 

Last night I sang with the Barbershop Chorus.  I sang Baritone in the past and really want to be a Bass.  There seems to be a problem with the Baritones not coming to practice so the choir sounds unbalanced without a t least a couple. I will sing Baritone for the Christmas songs as I know that part for most of the songs but by the time our spring performance comes around, I will be back to Bass. We will make the rounds of the retirement homes early in December and sing for many audiences.  It is always a blast to see the joy on the faces as we harmonize.  Hope you can find something that brings you that smile on your face and in your heart.



Sad and Happy Day

I will start the day by attending a funeral for my good friend George Parker.  I hope to get to see many friends and George's family.  Sad way to start the day

The day will end with singing with the Barbershop Chorus.  The highlight of my week.  Great people and great songs.  Sure hope there is a baritone or two here tonight.  I am finding that my voice is able to get higher the more I sing and may go back to baritone but would rather stay a Bass.

Better get my stuff in gear.  Had a great dinner with Barb and Dave over last night. 



Memories and Hopes for the Future

I am not sure when it hits you, but there is always a few moments every day that I start to think about the past and I am sure there is a smile on my face when I do.  Perhaps because of the years I served as a Colonel in the Army, I don't smile as much on the outside as I do in my heart.  Throw in a little kid or two and I smile all over. 

Yesterday we went to the Gingerbread House Display at the Topeka Performing Arts Center and I got to see a lot of little kids doing fun things.  I sure wish we had figured out who's kid we could have kidnapped for the event.  I know Barb would have loved to help a child make a "Gingerbread House" out of graham crackers, icing and candy.  It was a 70 degree day but the wind whipped quite a few of those little houses on the trip to the car to go home.

This morning I re-read the Obituary of George Parker and remembered some of the fun times and funny things he said.  I am considering going to the family viewing this afternoon to see if there is anyone that wants to share in the George stories.  I know he would not want people to be sad but smile at having had the time to share him with each other.  I hope his son, Brent will be there and catch me up on what the Army has him doing now.  Having a son that is a great soldier is something that George would smile about.

I never think about the past without a few thoughts of my mother.  Having her gone is like reading a book that somehow one of the main characters is missing.  The things she influenced, the smiles she caused and the love she shared just comes flooding back.  My Dad doesn't inspire me like Mom did.

Mom with Mel at Mel's wedding shower.  Mom looked so lovely in that Red dress

There is something in me that makes me want to buy Lottery Tickets.  A winning ticket probably wouldn't change much for me.  Perhaps I would build (or have built) a slightly bigger barn to house Barb's greenhouse and a shop to work on cars.  I have always thought that I would have a studio one day that I could put those big Chart Packs of paper around the room and draft out the book I want to write.  Being a very visual person, I would love to make the outline and follow it.  The creative part of my time in the Guard is one that I will build on someday.  This blog is a part of that exercise and I do write it for me even if a few of you seem to enjoy it. At least 170,000 of you keep coming back or just a few of you come here a lot.

Today someone asked what is my favorite time of the year?   After a winter of snow and brown's, I always love the promise of spring.  Little green things start out just as the days start getting longer and it soon turns into summer.  If fall didn't turn into winter, I might love it the best but the change to the good of spring just makes my day.  The taste of good BBQ food doesn't hurt my feelings either. I don't want to sound racist here, but how come some of my most favorite things have been stereotyped into things black people like?   I love pork chops, greens and watermelon.  Back in the day a frosty mug of beer with that meal and I just was one happy camper.  I grew up eating cornbread and think a big pot of beans, ham hocks and cornbread is about the best.  For me, a little bottle of hot sauce should always be on the table.

I don't have a clue where the future is going to lead me, but I am pretty sure that it will involve change.  The people places and things in my life will evolve into a few thoughts of the past and new day dreams for the future.  My son Dave says, not my circus, not my monkeys.   For me, the whole world is a circus and I love to see what the monkeys will do next.

Ringmaster Extraordinaire  


George H Parker II

It is with a sad heart that I read George's Obituary this morning.  He hired me in Ottawa in 1975 and we worked together until I moved to Topeka in 1980.  He was like a brother to me and I can proudly say I loved him the same way.  Back in the day, all of us smoked and while I didn't hear what kind of cancer took his smile away, I am fairly certain that it contributed. 

George was a person that invaded everyone's personal space.  The best description is that he was a leaner.  He would come up to you and lean in and get next to you when he talked to you.  He had several brothers and I can only assume that it was his close association with that group that gave him that particular trait.  After almost 20 years of not seeing him, I met him at Best Buy one day and the first thing he did was come up and lean on me.  I really grew to love that about him.

George was never a rich person and to say he was cheap is an understatement.  We went to Fort Riley one time and George had been drinking the whisky of the two Warrant Officers most of the previous times we went to Fort Riley.  On this one occasion, John Humerickhouse made George buy a fifth of Jack Black.  When we got back over to the barracks to spend the night, John unscrewed the lid and went over to the door.  He threw the cap away and George protested.  John told him that after buying all the whisky over the years, he was going to make sure that there was nothing left in that bottle to take home.  We laughed and drank that fifth.

George finally told me the secret of his joke telling.  He didn't try to remember the entire joke, he would only try to remember the punch lines.  He could make up stories to match the punch lines and tell jokes all night.  During one field problem in the 1-127th FA, he did just that.  He was always the first one to smile when the subject of funny things came up. 

George loved the Scott Joplin song that was the music theme to the movie the Sting.  (Maple Leaf Rag?)  He loved it so much that he sat down at his piano and picked at the song until he could play it with out fail or falter.  When he would finish playing, people would ask him to play another.  He would say he didn't know how to play anything else just that one self taught song.  I know he was a musician so I really don't know if he could not play the piano or if that was just his way to get out of playing more.  He played a saxophone in bands back in his college days.

The really sad thing to me is that in spite of how much love I had for George, no one shared with me that he was ill.  I would have stopped by to see him if I had known. 

I am sure that George is waiting for me at Fiddler's Green and when I get there (Hopefully not for while) he will tell me hundreds of Jokes and I will keep his canteen cup full of whiskey.  God Bless you George.

COL, USA (Ret)


New Subject

After writing yesterday's post, even I didn't give a rat's rear end where I had been in my life.  I kept wanting to go back and add every place I had been and it really dawned on me that probably the most important part of my life was if I was accompanied or unaccompanied.  Like as in BB (Before Barbara) or AB (After Barb).  Other than the first year of our Marriage we have pretty much have traveled Hand in Hand.  The US Army sent me to Vietnam and they just wouldn't let me take her along.  They did arrange for us to meet in Hawaii on R&R, but they didn't pay for her part of the trip.

Today I want to say that I am getting pretty tired of the 50th Anniversary of the JFK assignation. I remember that I was not a fan of Kennedy for many reasons and was just blown away with the dirty campaign that painted Barry Goldwater as the guy that would blow up the world. If you were alive during the Cuban Missile Crisis, you can remember that we were so close to being blown up that it wasn't funny. I remember that November day in 1963 as the day there was a fight in the hall at East High.  We were waiting in the hall for the Drafting class room to open and someone came by and said that Kennedy had been shot while on a trip to Dallas.  One of the guys said "Good." and a couple of other guys tried to fight him.  I did step in and broke up the fight even though I wanted to join in. 

There was an announcement over the intercom and they cancelled school that day and we were told to listen to the radio for more details.  As it turned out, we were off for the biggest part of that week and it was like a holiday to us.  Several of my friends loved to play football and we played several hours those days.  We sure as hell didn't sit around and cry over it.  I wonder how many of the businesses would shut down today and stay shut.  They don't even shut down on Thanksgiving day now. 

The other topic is the Affordable Health Care Act   Just how much would this have cost us if the Government had just told the Insurance Companies that they needed to up their coverage and lower their deductible amounts?   Does anyone have any idea what this abortion done with a hand Axe has cost us?  Someone wrote that the implementation so far has cost us more millions than the number of people covered.  How much longer are we going to support a Congress that tries to spend more money than they take in at every turn?  The latest is that Obama blinked and perhaps we will have a delay that will put this foray into Federal Heavy Handed Insurance to rest. 

I really would have loved to see that anything the Congress does applies to everyone from the private sector to the President.  Do you know that several States are exempt to buy the vote of their Democratic Congressmen?  I really don't care that the Amish are exempt, they don't have electricity and it is like the religious fundamentalists hijacked them like in the Muslim world is trying to do to their people.

Oh well, moving on. 



Places I have Been

Here is a list of places I have been in my life and just a few short words about those places:

  • 544 Byrd, Wichita, KS.  This was my home of record for the first 20 years of my life.
  • Susank, KS.  Where Erma and Curly Fruitts lived north of Hoisington, KS.  Like a lot of you, we went to Grandmother's house for a lot of our vacations.  Just so you will know, this is in the middle of no and damned where.
  • I have absolutely no memory of going to Michigan but mom told the story that about the time I started to cut teeth they were on a trip to Michigan.  On the way home I had fussed for hours. Finally mom but beer in my bottle and she said I slept from Chicago to St Louis.  She said I was so hung over that I hardly whimpered the rest of the way back to Wichita.
  • Central Ave, Eldorado, KS.  My father's mother lived there and it was a fairly regular Sunday visit. 
  • Brownsville, TX.  On this list you can include all the towns in between.  The only place I remember was Enid, OK where there was a tornado and a flood.
  • Pruitt, AR.  Erma and Curly bought their retirement home there and we visited it a lot.  Swimming in the Buffalo river and cold Green Diamond watermelon are some of my favorite memories.
  • Leon, KS.  My cousins lived there and we loved to visit them on the farm 
  • Arvada, Colorado.  My uncle and hos family moved to Colorado in the late 50's and we would visit them there.  We made one trip up to a cabin on Mount Evans and I had a full blown case of altitude sickness.  Lasted all the way back to Kansas.
  • Eldorado, KS.  Worked on the rebuild or "Turn-around." of the Skelly refinery.  Just prior to going into the Army.
  • Little towns all over the State of Kansas.
  • Topeka, KS.  My mother's brother lived there and we went to visit a couple of time.  I remember seeing the devastation of the tornado in 1966.  Clear path from I-470 to the Capitol building. 
  • Kansas City.  Armed Forces Entrance and Examining Station or now known as the Military Examination and Processing Center.  Twice in 1966.  Second time on to the Army early Sep 66.
  • Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.  Perhaps this is why I am still not too fond of Missouri.  A-4-2, "We can Do"  (A Company, 4th Battalion, 2nd Brigade) * weeks in the fall of 1966.
  • Fort Sill, OK.   You can draw a straight line from Fort Leonard Wood to Fort Sill and know where we went but we didn't stop anywhere that I remember.  There from Nov 66 to 3 July 1967.  Advanced Individual training and Officer Candidate School.
  • US 54 and US 66 enroute to Fort Irwin, CA. Listen to the song about Route 66 and you will know where I went after picking up Route 66 in Tucumcari.  I think I spent the first night is Albuquerque (Thank god for spell checker on this one) enroute to that wonderful place.  Remember what I said about Susank?  Susank was a metropolis compared to Fort Irwin.  The joke was you if God was going to give the world an enema, he would not insert it in Fort Irwin but you could see the insertion point from there.  B Battery, 6th Battalion, 84th Artillery 155mm Towed.
  •  Las Vegan, NV enroute to the Jungle Warfare School in Panama. I think there were airport visits to Atlanta and Columbia, SC and an overnight stay a night or two on the way.
  • Fort Clayton, the Canal Zone.  2 weeks to learn everything about fighting and surviving in the jungle.  I remember cheap drinks and mosquitoes.  Came home from there with Dengue Fever. Not a good thing to have.
  • Yermo, California.  Where I met the love of my life, Barbara.  Best deal I ever made. 
  • Disneyland, CA.  Made a trip there with Barb right after I got out of the hospital with Dengue Fever.  Did not ride on anything that went fast, in circles or up and down real quick. 
  • The week after Christmas we made a road trip to Wichita to have Barbara meet my parents.  Made a side trip to the lake by Roger's Arkansas to see Erma and Curley.  Flew back to Las Vegas and got Married.  11 Feb 1968...
  • Barstow California. we lived in a small rental apartment for a couple of weeks as the unit got ready to go to Vietnam.  Not near enough time to get to know each other.
  • Long Beach, California.  19 glorious days on the USNS Geiger enroute to Vietnam.  Made a short stay in at Subic Bay in the Philippines.  No big deal for me.
  • Camron Bay, RVN.  Stopping off point to get on a truck.  End location was Ahn Khe.  Spent a couple of weeks here in base camp getting ready to go to the field. 
  • Vietnam - Some of the places there are and this is not in any order - Qui Nhon, Saigon, Pleiku, Dak To, Kontum, Cam Rahn Bay, Phan Thiet, Buon Ma Thout,  An Khe, Quang Ngai,  Dak Pec.  You could add a lot of firebases to this list but those names don't mean much anymore. I would have to give you grid coordinates for the jungle locations.
  • From Vietnam, I got to fly to Hawaii to meet Barbara on R&R.  Stopped at Guam but not for long.
  • On the way Home, they tell me we stopped in Japan.  Not sure I even got off the plane.
The rest of my life next time....


Short People Stories Part 2.

When I came home from Vietnam, the last thing I wanted to do was to wear a uniform or even think about wearing one. I do remember being in the restroom at the Campus Activity Center at Wichita State University and having a guy run in and tell me they were going to burn a flag in protest.  I told him that it damned sure had to be his flag because it would piss me off dearly if it was my flag.  He dashed out of there like his pant leg was on fire.  I read about the protest the next day in the paper.  Sure enough they burned an American Flag in protest of the War in Vietnam.  I would probably just gotten arrested if I had gone out there.  At the time it seemed to be a good cause to have an arrest like that on my record.

I transferred to KU between my sophomore and Junior year.  The wife had taken a job teaching in Leavenworth and It seemed pretty appropriate for me to go with her.  Those were some fun times in the Pin Oak Apartments there on the South east side of Leavenworth.  I met a bunch of cool people there and my favorite was Tom.

Tom was a little older than I was but generally we had a lot in common.  He went to College and I went to Vietnam.  His choice after graduation was to join the Army as a Bandsman and play the clarinet.  He started his career at Fort Leavenworth in the band and that was where I met him.   Late at night I could hear him practicing his licks on his stick and it was so cool to listen to it.  I met him walking his schnauzer one day and we hit up a good relationship.  I went to Lawrence every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  On Tuesday and Thursday, Tom would go to the fort for a short practice and then come home.  We would put on our PT gear and go back to the fort to play Basketball for a couple of hours.  Tom was as good at basketball as he was with the clarinet and we played a lot of good ball.  I wasn't that good on the outside but I could get in the middle and fight for the ball.  Besides, beer tastes so great after a hard couple of hours of basketball.  We would stop by the liquor store and get a six pack for lunch.  I am pretty sure that an afternoon nap was taken from time to time.

Tom was a little older than I was and had wife also.  I think they were starting out try to get their family started and I don't blame him for loving his wife.  She was Jerri, yes like Tom and Jerry but they were way cooler than the cartoon.  I think a lot of couples find a person that is almost opposite of themselves.  Tom was quiet and Jerri was the life of the party.  We loved to visit with them and I guess that we grew up in a lot of the same ways.  I don't think our parents were so poor that we missed many meals but we weren't rich by any standard. 

The funniest story was the time I went to visit Tom and Jerri opened the door and said, "Do you want to see my tits?"   All I could think to say was, "is Tom home." Sure, come in here and see all the tips I made at Fort Leavenworth last night.  Spread out on the table was a pile of coins and dollar bills she had been given as a waitress at the officer's club the night before.  Yes, she said do you want to see my tips and being just a little hard of hearing, my mind made up it's own words.  Dang, I hate it when that happens.  There I was set to have my own Penthouse letter and I was wrong.

Tom went to Germany to play in a band there and Jerri went with him for the first part of his tour.  The exchange rate as pretty good and for the most part they were having a lot of fun.  Somewhere about half way through his tour the exchange rate made a dramatic turn and Jerri had to go back to McGregor, Iowa to live with her parents.  By then they had two little girls and I'm sure that she would have been welcome with those two bundles of joy. 

Living next door to us was a couple that also had a dog.  I think I got to know people through their dogs.  For the most part the couple were pretty much like everyone else in the complex. Phil was a Guard at the Military Prison and she was at the time a housewife.  As they were getting ready to move, he asked me if I knew how to replace a door?  I went next door to see what the problem was and their dog had scratched up a lower portion of the door telling them that he needed to go outside.  I had a furniture scratch repair crayon and went over and covered the scratches.  It looked like a new door when I put the old spit and polish on it.  Saved him about $50. 

About a year later, I saw Phil walking out of the new Wal*Mart.  He looked pretty sad and I asked him what the problem was.  He said that he had reenlisted in the Army and with his reenlistment bonus had bought a house in Lansing.  His wife was working for Hallmark and had been injured in an industrial accident.  Based on his realtor's advice, they moved into a small apartment and he was just given orders for Germany.  He said they were at their wit's end that their debts were piling up and he really needed to get rid of the house payment.  I asked him where the house was and what did he need to get out of the house.

I drove over to the house and saw part of the problem.  When you opened the curtains in the living room you had a full view of the Kansas Prison in Lansing, Ks.  Barb and I had been discussing buying a house and other than the location it seemed to be a good house.  When we really set down with Phil and his wife they said they needed just a little more help than just to take over the payments.   They had signed up with some grocery buying club and they had been given a side by side refrigerator/freezer but still owed the club some money in that deal.  They also had a stove they were making payments on and needed to get out of that deal also.  I don't remember what the entire cost was but it was a great deal on the house and not a bad deal on the appliances.  We needed the appliances so everything worked out.  We bought that house and lived there for four or five years.  The couple that bought it still live there.  I am sure that today it is worth about $90,000 which is way up from the $18,000 we paid for it.

Oh well, better get on with the day. 



Strange Tales

For some reason, there are some books that just inspire me to write, not read.  These thoughts come from one of those events.  Buckle up as I tell you a tale that I am not sure where it will go or end.

One time during a Physical, I mentioned to the Doctor that I had a lump on the muscle of my right arm.  It didn't hurt or anything, but it sure looked funny as hell when I stood in front of my mirror and made my Superman Pose.  Kind of like those arms of Popeye that bulge in places they shouldn't.   He said that he would refer me to the Surgeon in the Medical Practice  (Cotton O'Neil) just to be sure. I put it completely out of my mind for a week or so and went to the appointment.

I waited for a few minutes and was finally shown into one of the exam rooms.  I think there must be some kind of design for the doctor's offices.  In the middle there is a big metal cabinet that has a paper covered pad on top.  Along one wall there is a series of cabinets and one wall with a blood pressure cuff and an examination device to look in places to dark to see.   The doctor came in and I showed him what I considered a minor thing.  He said it was probably some kind of a fat deposit but it wouldn't hurt to see.  I expected him to say come back in a week or two and we'll cut it out.  Nope, he called in a nurse and she prepared a shot for the procedure.

I think they call it a local because it doesn't make you numb all over just where it is needed.  While the shot was numbing my arm, the nurse did some prep by laying out a cloth over the rest of my arm.  I think the Doctor was either drinking coffee or seeing one of the waiting room full of people I saw when I came in.  After about ten minutes, the Doctor reappeared and put on some rubber gloves.  He asked for a scalpel and cut me so quick that I hardly knew what he had done.  He pressed on the muscle and forced out the fat deposit and told the nurse to sent it to the lab but it looked like just a fat deposit.  He stood up off the stool he was on and told the nurse to close the arm with stitches.  She used what looked like monofilament fishing line, slapped a bandage on me and sent me out of the door. 

I guess the moral of this short story is that if you go to a surgeon, you will probably get cut on.  A week later I removed the stitches myself rather than wait three or more days to have the assistant do it.  When I called his nurse, she had me talk to the nurse that had assisted the Doctor.  Yes, the arm is healing nicely and there is no infection.  Good, end of story.

One day I was having my teeth cleaned by the Hygienist for my Dentist.  She is a really sweet person and manages to hurt the hell out of me but I go back for some strange reason.  There must be some masochist in there some where.  When she had my teeth cleaned and she had flossed with what felt like clothes line rope, she asked one of the Dentists in the Practice to examine her job.  Normally my Dentist does that but this time he was either playing golf or visiting one of his rural practices.  This time I had a female Dentist look at the X-rays and then into my mouth.  Just as she finished, she said how long have you had this growth on your face?  Right below my left eye was a red spot that had just been getting larger over the years.  I told her that I had no idea.  She told the hygienist to make me an appointment with the Plastic Surgeon and an oral surgeon for a patch on the inside of my cheek.  I went as soon as I could get in.

The surgeon took one look at the growth, pitched me the fact that he could do an eye job while he was in there at a discounted rate and told me that it would be at the Topeka Same Day surgery at 7:45 the next Tuesday.    I told him that I looked as old as I am and just didn't think I needed the extra procedure.  OK, go home and be early next week.

I didn't have a clue what was going to happen but I showed up anyway.  They put me in this funny gown and gave me a shot.  I remember being helped onto a table and a bright light being shined in my eyes.  A while later, I woke up and noticed my face had a big bandage under one eye.  They helped me dress and I went home.  No big deal, and I was told to keep it cleaned and to put Vaseline on it for a few days.  I was told to come back to the doctor's office and I did.

When I went to the Doctor's office, I noticed a lot of people there that were going to have some procedure or the other.  All I wanted was for the assistant to take the stitches out and for them to send me home.  When the Doctor came in, he was serious as hell.  He told me that he had screwed up and the growth was cancer.  He did not have the pathology lab standing by and he was going to have to go back in and do a deep tissue biopsy to make sure he had it all.  I swear that I went numb and the only thing I remembered that he scheduled me for the repeat of the same procedure in a month or so later. 

I won't bore you with the facts of that procedure.  I will tell you that it was a repeat of what I wrote in the preceding paragraphs.  The only difference was this time when he took the stitches out he said it was all clear now. 

 The oral surgeon was scheduled to do a biopsy of a patch on the inside of my cheek that was a dry rough place caused by years if smoking a pipe.  They prepped me and the dentist said screw the biopsy, I am going to remove the whole patch.  He did and he took off a place about the size of a nickel.  A couple of stitches and I was sent home.  The report of that was it was not cancer and it hasn't bothered me since. 

What I really want you to take away from this, is that I don't remember the pain or any suffering.  It is kind of like how I feel about my time in Vietnam.  I remember a lot of the details and people but have blocked out the panic, fear or any pain.  Time will heal all wounds or perhaps time will wound all heels.  Oh well,



My hat's off to ESPN for carrying the two games they had on last night.  Other than the fact that Dick Vitale was one of the announcers for the KU vs. Duke game, it was a great evening of some of the best basketball of this young year.  Michigan State has a great team and Kentucky played them right to the last of the game.  The same could be said about Duke and KU.  How can these 4 teams be this good this early in the season?  To me, the fact that KU graduated their entire starting five last year is tribute that Bill Self could even put a team on the floor.  To beat a Duke team is just a feat that tells me that after reloading KU will again have a great team this year.  KU Has a p[layer that is as smart as any player in Basketball.  Perry Ellis is shifty. He just scored 20 points and grabbed a lot of rebounds without all the hype we saw about the 8 McDonald's All American Freshmen in the games.  The kid that broke his scoring record in Wichita didn't even get into the game.  Oh well. 

This morning after our second day of temperatures below 20, the leaves are beating a hasty retreat to the ground.  Just a short time back time, the leaves across the Midwest were so pretty that it is a shame to have them falling to the ground.  One of the prettiest things I saw was the Asian Pear tree that had bright yellow leaves.  The grass was still green and about 1/3 of the leaves were surrounding the tree.  The Hickory trees here at Rabbit Run were also very spectacular this year.  A lot of times I take Barb to Leavenworth to see the trees along the banks of the Missouri.  The drive they call their Esplanade is spectacular and it is almost better than the cannon run on the Fort.  This year we stayed right here at home for some of the best views.

This has been a great couple of weeks to have Dave coming over for visits.  His wife was on a cruise with her best friend and 11 other girls from Austin.   Dave and I enclosed the front porch at his home and most days came here for some great meals.  My wife, Barbara came up the last day of our project and sure made it looked great.  I will say it again that if you want something built I am your go to guy.  If you want it pretty, get Barb involved.  We make a pretty good couple.



Just How Stupid Can We Be?

Now that we have Obama Care as the law of the Land, just how stupid could we have been to have believed a word of what we were told? You can keep your insurance or the new plan will save you about $2,500.  The whole reason this Ponzi scheme would have worked was if the young (read-Healthy) people signed up rather than pay a penalty.  There also had to be a lot of the old plans that were not coverage enough to cover everyone.  Now there is talk that the President is trying to get Congress to modify the bill to pay a part of the premium so individuals won't have to pay tons more.

What part of it is that no one seems to understand about the budget?  We are spending at least a Trillion Dollars more than we are taking in and we already owe about  five years of our income to the National Debt.   Just how far will we continue to push the limits until our system falls apart?   We are in the standards of Dave Ramsey and Dennis Petty, Broke! 

Just for one election, I would say we should not re-elect anyone and see if they just might get the message.



Veteran's Day

Most of the Veteran's I know gave you at least a year in a Combat zone and 20 more years in uniform so we could have the right to celebrate one day on the 11th Hour of the 11th day.  Tomorrow I will go to the Great Overland Station here in Topeka at 2 PM to sing the National Anthem and America the beautiful.  I am not sure where I will be at 11 AM but you can sure bet that I will be thinking of all my friends that didn't come back. 

The tradition calls for all departed soldiers to be at Fiddler's Green waiting to share a cup of grog with those friends that will come later on.  I can bet there will be some tall tales told and a few lies shared.  Grog will do that to you.

1966 seems like yesterday

COL, USA, (Ret)

Feeling Old

There were a lot of times that I worked hard and felt tired at the end of the day.  Yesterday I worked but not as hard and felt completely worn out at day's end.  I guess I will one of these days have to admit that I am getting old(er).  After a quick 66 years, you might think that I could still give 'er the gun for 8 hours.  Not so much.

I went up to Dave's and we finished the trim and put on a coat of paint on the porch cover.  Barb came along and cleaned up the flower beds and her work made it shine.  I sure hope that Dave's wife Barbara is as pleased with the work as we are.    She has been on a cruise with her friend Mel and 12 of Mel's friends.  If she is anything like me, she is ready to get home and spend the night in her own bed. 

I read a funny story in today's paper.  I guess a hunter put up a corn feeder and a trail camera.  The local cows found the feeder and trampled the life out of it and ate $40.00 worth of corn when they figured out what was in it.  The local farmer saved his trail camera from the feeding frenzy and he had a lot of funny pictures of "Cow's gone wild."  The article ended with a story about some turkey hunters.  There was this large male turkey that would strut out into a herd of cows and elude the hunters.  The hunters decided to find a cow hide and slip out in the middle of the herd to trick that turkey.  Sure enough the turkey flew down in to the herd and strutted near.  About that time, the rear most person under the skin told the other guy that here comes the bull.  "What should we do?"  The guy in front said "I'm going to put my head down and pretend to eat grass.  Brace yourself!" 

With all that said, I think I will take a bucket of corn down and fetch the SD card out of the Trail Cam.

Look at the date on this.  I got the month and day right but somehow changed the year.



170.000 Vistors

I know that a few of the hits are just me looking at something I wrote earlier but well over 169,000 time someone else opened these pages to see what I would say next.   I welcome all of you to these pages and hope you enjoy the ride.

COL, USA (Ret)
Head laborer at Rabbit Run farms
Tecumseh, By God, Kansas


There are some things that just won't change.  Here is just a few to think about:
  • Death.  The only option other than living is death.  I don't worry about when my life will end, only the way it does.  I am trying to live as long and well as I can.  Love, laugh and live.
  • Taxes.  Barb tells me we probably need to pay more taxes and do a better job as a society supporting the really important things in life.  I don't tell her but I do agree that there are a lot of things we could spend more on and make our life better. 
  • Transportation.  There was a time I would have put the word Cars here but as I look back, no matter what we drove, they turned into transportation and the memories of where we went are a lot more important than how we got there.
  • Clothes.  I have never been a person that spent a lot of money on what I wore except for the uniforms I wore when I was in the Guard or Regular Army.  Now I wear clothes to be warm or not to be naked.  The other day the rod holding up my clothes fell down and I hauled off a bag of clothes to the Salvation Army.  Probably need to haul off a bag or two more.  I do find that a few quality things often outlast and outwear piles of cheap clothes.  A good work shirt from Tractor Supply will last a lot longer than a fancy shirt from Macy's.
  • Shoes.  This is one area that I probably spend more on than most people do.  I do not own a lots of pairs of shoes, just a few pairs of darned good comfortable shoes and a couple pairs of boots.  Barb told me one time that if you try on a pair of shoes and they aren't comfortable from the start, don't buy them.  Good Advice. 
  • Friendship/love and Sex.  I have a world full of friends.  There are some I love and darned few that I have had sex with.   My advice to anyone out there is to think about that and remember to keep the categories clear in your mind.  I recommend you only have sex with someone that you most of all love and they should also be a friend because if you do it right, there will be a lot more friendship than love and a danged lot more love than sex. 
  • Stuff.  There is a lot of confusion about the things that are important and stuff.  I have a lot of stuff and darned few things that raise to the level of importance. By cluttering up my life with stuff, I am sure that I have lost view of what's really important.  I could probably haul off a dumpster full of stuff and be better off for it.  But that would take time and that leads me to the next topic.
  • Time.  I wish I had a better understanding of time.  There are a lot of times I want time to go fast and get to move on to more important places and times.  Then when I look back, I wish I had more time to do things the way I wanted to do them.  I have spent 66 years wishing I had time go by faster and now I want it to slow the hell down.  Oh well.
  • Houses.  I grew up poor and there were a lot of mornings that I woke up with frost on the inside of the window near my bed.  As I remember it, the only carpet we ever had in our house was the one I scrounged up as a young teenager and the neighbors got a new carpet in their living room.  As I have progressed through life, I have had a series of bigger and better houses until now Barb and I have about 1500 sq. feet each and neither one of us are in love with keeping that much space clean.  If I had any less, where would I put all that stuff I have spent a lifetime accumulating.
  • Reading.  I spent a lifetime in the Military reading and writing things and I thought just how nice it would be to retire and forget about that.  Here I sit at the keyboard wishing my vision was better so I could read more.  Danged Disgusting that we need to grow old and take naps. What's next, diapers?  Depends...



It is very interesting that people don't understand that life is really one uncertainty after another.  In fact, how boring would it be to have our lives like the movie, "Groundhog Day."  I had a student of mine tell me that there was no risk in investing.  I guess there is no risk in trying to develop new friendships either.    I am not saying that we crave change, but to not understand or try to, is what's bad.

In a staff meeting years ago, one of the guys was so resistant to change that it was apparent that he was the only guy that wouldn't go along with a change we needed to make.  After the meeting I spoke with our Chief of Staff and he said in those cases, we need to think of ourselves as being on a journey and those that won't come along are like the settlers that stopped in Missouri to farm instead of going west with the wagon trains.  There was an old Military saying, "Haul Ass and Bypass."  We would just let him have his say and continue on down the road.  Consensus doesn't have to be 100%.

I just finished a book by Clive Cussler and one of the major characters had all the facts on how dangerous it was to travel.  Clearly she knew that the car trip to the airport was a lot more dangerous than flying but she would ride in a car and not fly.  She knew the odds on an event happening but would never apply those odds.  It made for an interesting book but a scary way to live. 

I look back now and find it funny that while in Vietnam, I wouldn't play cards for money.  There I was taking the biggest risk of my life and yet I wouldn't chance it with my money.  I watched some epic games played where one Captain would lose several hundred dollars and have to borrow some money back to make it to payday.  I guess that was one chance I just didn't want to make. 

I saw a lady putting some gas in her Prius and told her about my brother's Prius that has over 200,000 miles on it.  She asked if he had replaced the battery pack yet.  I told her no, it runs fine.  She said that she leases her Prius just because it costs $3,000 to replace the battery pack.  She knows that the Prius overall has the lowest cost of operation and that leasing is not a good bet but, she continues to lease.  Barb and I buy a car and generally drive the wheels off of it.  We save our money and use it as a back up to the cost of a new one.

Way back in the past, Barb would let the checking account grow to cover her uncertainty.  I find it interesting that the amount she "grows" it to has itself grown until I get nervous about the amount we have in one account.  We have started to transfer money into different accounts in the local Credit Union.  I keep telling her that there is an upper limit on how much in total the FDIC or the Feds cover in any one institution.

Speaking of risk, what the heck are you doing with your investments right now.  The stock market is at an all time high and I trust it like I do a simple balloon.  It won't be full forever and as long as the baby boomers are pounding money in it for their retirement, it will look full.  As for me, I am really not saving any more for retirement.  I have my retirement income fixed for now and haven't touched what I have saved.  I may not until the time when I turn 69 1/2 and am forced to take out some by the IRS.  That is just so I will have to pay taxes on something.  Then I will be faced on what the heck will I do with the money left over?  OK, I will pay the taxes on the rest of my income.

Feeding the animals is one way I reduce my uncertainty

One certainty in all of this mess is that sitting here on the computer will eat time from my non busy schedule.  Guess I might as well do something worthwhile.