Singing on Memorial Day

I guess I am one of the lucky ones that am still alive and get to sing on Memorial Day.  I am old enough to remember that when we would go to Grandma's house for Decoration Day we would go put flowers on the grave of both my Grandfathers.  They were buried about 50 feet from each other in Eldorado.  I haven't been there for a long time.  I do try to visit the grave of my Mother and Father from time to time.   They both served in WWI. 

Grandpa Petty
Glen Petty

Almost every generation of my family had someone in a War.  There have been a few exceptions but darned few.  The good news is that a lot of them came home and the family was able to carry on until my generation was born.  It doesn't look like my son will get dragged into a conflict and I for one am glad.  When I mentioned to my son the Military tradition in my family, he said, "Dad we have already given one life to the Military why two?"  OK, he is right.  I don't know how many birthdays, weddings and family gatherings I have missed because I was off in uniform somewhere.  A lot of the weddings were represented by Barb and Dave when I couldn't be there. 

We did celebrate with a cook out on Sunday and sent Dave home with an armload of food.  Keeps me from having all that good food left over.   Has anyone but me noticed the cost of steak has sky rocketed out of my price range.  4 Kansas City Strips were $43.00.  They were good but sheesh I would hate to have to feel them to too many people.   I marinate the steaks with Dale's seasonings and them grill them with hickory.  Almost puts me in a coma they are so good.  You should eat them as the main ingredient in a steak and potato hash.  MMMMMMMMMM...

Probably going to go see if I can mow without leaving divots today.  With a Zero turn mower, I do have to slow down on the corners because I can strip the grass when the ground in fairly dry. Wet, it is a piece of cake.  I also have a few other chores to do but one at a time and only one major chore a day.  There was a time when I could schedule myself all day but those days are over.  After mowing three acres, I can hardly climb down off the mower.  I need to hire a young man to do that I guess.  It is a shame I had to buy a riding mower and now need help to crawl down off the mower.  Oh well, I can still lift a 5 gallon gas can into the trunk to get it home. 

Better see if I can get u off this chair and get moving.  It would really be bad if I can't even unstuck my butt from the computer chair.  Speaking of that, have you noticed how big the chairs in the Doctor's offices are getting?   They are so big that even I don't stand a chance of getting stuck in one.



4 More Inches

Yesterday Barb went out and dumped another 4 inches of rain out of the rain gauge.   The weathermen say it will continue to rain through Monday.   I am pretty sure that as soon as it dries out, there are three yards that will need mowed.  I have a young man that loves to drive the zero steer mower and I'm sure he can be hired pretty cheep.  It is the feeding him that will be expensive.  He eats a lot like I did at his age.  Frequently and deep.

Monday the Topeka Capitol city Chorus will sing for a Memorial Day Service.  Should be fun.  We will sing the National Anthem,  America the beautiful,   Battle Hymn and the Armed Forces Medley.  These are four of my favorite songs and I hope we are well tuned up.  We will wear our Tuxedos and those of us that were in the Military will wear our ribbons.  The one I will wear with the most pride is the one that says Retired as it represents a nice chunk of change arriving in my bank  account each month.  OK, it represents 30+ years in uniform and that makes me very happy and proud.

From Private to Colonel in 30 short years

Our son and his wife are going to celebrate their anniversary soon.  I don't have a clue what to suggest we get them.   I guess I should just hope that Barb will have some good ideas.  That has worked well so far but I guess I should have an idea or two.  I don't think a lid for their septic system is a bad idea but Barb does.  Oh well, I always was more practical than pretty.

Sometime in the next day or two I will go over to the cemetery where Mom and Dad are buried and put up some flags and flowers. Seems like the least I can do.  I will take pictures and put them out to the family. 

Better get rolling and do something worthwhile.



And Again, It Rained

At least the really bad (F-3) tornado stayed well to the west of here.  I was watching the basketball playoff game when Barbara came down and told me about the really bad weather west of here.  It didn't reach here other than more rain.  It also rained again this morning.  Things are getting soggy here.

Yesterday I went up to Dave's to be there when the Septic System was pumped.  I am sure glad it went well.  It would have not taken that much longer for the lateral field to have been filled.  The guy who owns the truck said 10 years for two people would probably be OK but when he looked at the baffle, he changed that to 5 years.  Oh well, it probably had not been done since it was put in in the early 90's. 

One of these days, if and when it stops raining, I am going to hire Kyler to come over and give me a hand putting a roof on the little shed at Dave's.  I also need to clean the guttering at the small rental house and build a lid for the septic system at Dave's.  I think I can keep him busy for a couple of weeks.   I also need to clean the roof at the big rental house but I will probably have a professional put on a new roof.  There is a little siding needed on the garage but hey, there is time.

We sent off for our passport renewal and sometime I will do my best to find a Space A flight somewhere.  We don't have any destination in mind but we will go somewhere.

Better get busy here with chores.



Rained out again

I woke up this morning about 3 AM to thunder for a rain cloud passing by the area.  I guess it is a good thing I don't have any plans for the outside today as it is again too wet.    I did pick up a book at the Library yesterday but when I got it home, I realized I had read it.  Dang I hate it when that happens.

Last night at our Chorus Practice, I found out that I will be the only baritone singing this next Monday when we sing for the Memorial Day Ceremony.  No terrible big deal but I do need to work on some of the words of the Armed Forces Medley.  There are a few places where the words seem to go by faster than my memory allows.  I'll show up and do my best but that will have to be well enough.

This morning I did wake up early and the Movie "Rhapsody in Blue" was on.  Made me really understand what a great composer Gershwin was.  Compared to his talent, we are all hackers.   I will just have to settle to listening to his great songs.   The part of Ira Gershwin was played by the father of Alan Alda, aka Hawkeye on Mash.  He did show up in one episode of Mash and I thought it was interesting to see father and son years apart.

I will stop in the Doctor's office today for a blood pressure check.  I went off the new medicine and back on the old stuff for a week.  We'll see if the old stuff is good enough to keep my pressure in check.  For some reason the new stuff and I just didn't get along as well.  I fell off a ladder because I was way to dizzy.  Yes, I know I should not have been up there but I forget that I am 68 and the memories of adequacy still haunt me. 

Well, again I have reached the limits of my competency in writing so I'll just sign off again.  See you on the flip flop.



Way Too Much Work, Not Near Enough Energy

I can remember when I was growing up I could hit the floor running in the morning and pretty much stay that way all day.  Not so much anymore.  Whatever I did the day before now haunts me with aches and pains.  I bought a riding mower and now it makes my back hurt from bumping me along as I mow.   As a kid I never took any meds but now two Aleve's are mandatory.

The bad part of toys to do jobs here at Rabbit Run is the confounded maintenance they need.  It seems like it takes me an hour to get things in order to save ma an hour when I do little jobs.   There was a time when I finished the basement in Ottawa with only hand tools.    Not one powner tool was a part of that job.  Now I have three or four kinds of saws and a chain saw.  Oh well.

I am one of those people that can't believe that people would take good time out of their lives to watch horses race around a track.  There are even people that bet good money on who wins.  Don't you know that the horse doesn't care and it is all rigged?  I once had a friend that said that until he was in the Army he had never missed a Kentucky Derby.  Poor guy..  Wonder what he is doing now days. 

There are people in Kansas that are trying to revive the dog racing tracks.  If you think horse racing is dumb, you should see the dogs run.  There was one dog in the one and only race I have ever gone to that actually stopped to take a crap right in front of the grandstand.  In the following race one dog that was way out front tripped and fell and took out about half of the pack right on his heels.  One guy up in the stands hollered that he wanted to adopt that dog so he could kick his ass the rest of his life.  I knew who needed a good ass kicking and it wasn't the dog.  Did you hear about the dyslexic agnostic that just knew there was no dog?

Well, that is about the limit of how deep my word well is today.  See you on the rebound tomorrow.



Home Again, Home Again

After a couple of days on the road, I spent most of yesterday takin' it easy.  At 68, that's the way I should take it I guess.  I have some mowing to do today and a few fruit trees to spray.  Hope I can do it while I have the energy to get it done.  Oh well, I'll do what I can and move on from there.

The other day, I was thinking about my days in Officer Candidate School at Fort Sill's Home for Wayward Artillerymen.  The name of my Tactical Officer came to the front of my mind and I couldn't help but remember some of the silliness that evolved from his interactions with us.  I don't have a clue what Lieutenant Gooch's last name was but we would have never called him by his first name anyway. 

Lt Gooch was probably just above the minimum height and weight for being inducted into the Army let alone being promoted to the rank of 2nd Lieutenant.  He told us that he has spent almost a year in a 23 week program to get his commission.  He had an almost perfect grade in Leadership  but the gunnery part of our course just caused him to take a couple of academic setbacks.  I think that he was a model asshole but not the brightest bulb in the pack.  Here are just a few of the things we suffered through.

Being short, he would have us sit on the floor in our barracks and he would jump up on a footlocker to talk to us.  That wouldn't have been so bad except that the candidate who's foot locker he used would get demerits for having boot prints on the lid.  About the middle of the course, someone noticed that the clothing sales store had foot lockers for sale and we all chipped in and bought one.  We had the lid painted at a local body shop and then waxed it with pledge.  To say it was slippery is an understatement.  The next time that Lt Gooch showed up and jumped up on the lid, he promptly slid right on off and landed on his butt.  That was the last time he stood on any foot locker. 

After a long day of classes, we came back top our barracks and found a load of trash and chicken bones scattered all over the floor.  We were about to be placed on a weekend restriction when Lt Gooch broke down in laughter.  It seems that his class about 6 months earlier had put the stuff up there and he was checking to see if it was still there.  Other than having to clean up that mess, we all had a good laugh.  The next weekend LT Gooch had duty officer for the Candidate Brigade and late at night, we served him a chicken dinner in our barracks.  For the first time in all of our time in OCS we laughed and got away with anything. 

On Sunday mornings, we could go over to the day room and purchase grotto from the vending machines.  It was mostly candy bars and such but it was a treat for hungry young men.  One of the guys living the same 4 man cube space I had brought back a candy bar. It was absolutely forbidden but he was in a hurry and put it in the front pocket of a sweatshirt he was wearing.  Back in the barracks, he opened that Baby Ruth and was chomping it down.  Some officer came in the downstairs front door and someone called attention.  My cube mate put the wrapper for that candy bar in an empty binder on our desk and didn't fetch it out until the coast was clear.  The next day, our TAC officer came through the barracks and saw one of the binders was not in line with the others.  When he moved the binder, there on the desk was a piece of chocolate and half of a peanut.  He left a note that it was a 6X6 for whoever it belonged to.  We decided that if we split it down into a 2X2 we could live with it.  For the record a 2X2 was two weeks restriction for a pass and two penalty marches up MB4 (4.2 miles).  I only did a total of three trips up MB4 and that was only because of  that damned candy bar and I am not sure of what the other offense was except that everyone went the first time.

The guy who put the candy bar in the binder had a wife in Lawton and in the 10 weeks we had been there he had never got out to see her.  He was limited to standing in a parking lot and talking to her a couple of times a week.  After the additional 2X2 we were given, he dropped out of OCS and was never heard from again. 

There is little record of what happened to Lt. Gooch after we left Fort Sill.  The Tac officer for one of the other platoons was killed in Vietnam and so was the Captain who commanded our battery.  He had been promoted to Major and was killed in a helicopter crash.  Oh well, life for the rest of us was good and almost all of us made it home safe from Vietnam.  We did lose a classmate when he was killed in a car/motorcycle accident right after he came home from the service. 

Better get moving and see if there some way to get all of today's duties done.



Off the Net

I will be off the net for a couple of days.  Legal matters to take care of to Oklahoma.  One of these days we will have this done but not for now.

One of these days, I will learn how to work my own cell phone for the best benefit for the cost.  If I am asked, I have a smart phone but am a dumb user so I might as well have one that costs less.   There is one spot in Oklahoma where it is useless so even then, Barb's little flip phone is better.  Would you rather have a phone that costs 25 cents a minute and works when you need it of one with free minutes but doesn't work everywhere you need. 

Another air liner has gone missing.   Guess I won't be flying overseas this year anyway so it doesn't matter to me very much.  About most of the flying I will be doing is on a lawn mower. 

The other day, I put a five gallon can of gas in the trunk and it tipped over on the way home.  It popped off the little yellow cap on the spout and I had about three gallons of gas spill out.  I tried to get it all out nut a, a little worried about the smell on the trip today.  I guess I had better go out and open the trunk lid an the open air.  Oh well, might as well smell like something.

In our garden, there is a formal asparagus patch and it makes a pretty large batch each year.  Up by the mailbox, there is few plants that are growing wild and it produces asparagus spears that are about twice as large as the one's in the formal garden.  Not sure why but I guess I should go study the soil there and see if I can duplicate it. 

Better run, see you on the flip flop.



Dang, Missed Trash Day Again

For most of the many years we live here at Rabbit Run trash day was Friday.  For reasons unknown to me, they changed the day to Wednesday.  This morning I walked out to get the paper and the trash truck was going down the street.  Dang I hate it when that happens.  Oh well, they will be back in a week.  Now that it is mostly Barb and I, we don't hardly fill much more than one small can anyway.  We also have a recycle bin for the large dry stuff and that barely has a small amount in it.

Going to take the new mower up to my son's house some time today so his nephew can do some mowing there.  It beats the heck out of me having to do it.   I still have a little here to mow here but I think it will wait until I get back from our short trip. 

I have a friend that has about 15 people comment on his every post.  I have only one person that posts a comment and even that is not very often.  I wonder if I am so right or so wrong all the time.  Perhaps he has a lot of young friends that feel compelled to post a comment and most of mine are older. 

How do you manage to stay on track with your finances?  Don't get me wrong, we are mostly cash and it is not a big hairy deal but I am curious.  When we travel, I use the credit card and not the debit card and for the most part pay cash at a local gas station where they will let me pump gas and then pay.  I guess it is just an old guy thing. 

Better get moving so I can get two things done today not just this one.



Still Raining

I didn't know the Heartland had a Monsoon Season.  We must be right in the middle of it as it is still raining and we are way ahead of normal for the year.  Thank God I got it all mowed last week and I hope the ground gets dry enough before the City send me a "Mow or else" notice.  I'll bet there are way more places that are higher on the list than me.

As you know, I am a Barbershopper and really enjoy singing.   I am a natural Bass but have the range to be a Baritone and find the challenge worthwhile.  I do lean on one of the other Baritones too much but hey, he will get old too (Someday)  Last night I asked him how old he was and he said 25.  I resisted telling him that I have Army Boots older than he is.  I do wish I was younger but I can't complain about where life has  taken me.   I have almost everything I need, most of what I want and enough money to buy the rest.

How do you deal with someone that completely is the opposite of what you are and stand for?  For the most part, I ignore him and go on about my business but he does have a way of pushing my buttons.   The sad part is that he is right in the middle of my favorite hobby.  OK, I will just deal with it and move on smartly for the most part.  The great news is that the President of the Chorus is a good friend and he stands for a lot of the things I hold dear.

Have you ever looked at your life and done a good evaluation of what you did and what you got?  I think there are times that I spend way too much time doing just that.  I need to do a better job of dealing with what I have and forget the rest.  Oh well, sitting here and writing isn't getting me anywhere today so I will close it here and move on.



Like We Need More Rain

When I went to sleep last night, it looked like we might escape the rain but this morning I see there is no such luck.  Don't think it is a hard rain but we don't need it right now.  I got our and mowed but was far short of finishing even the small amount around here that I needed to mow.  Did I ever tell you that I hate to get old?  Well Duh Dennis.

I am resisting the urge to punch a guy square in the face.  He seems to just urkes me to no end.  If he was the perfect guy, I could overlook some of his antics.  I know this is my problem but I am about a life saver short of a full boat load of his crap.  OK, I know I need to demonstrate resilience in the face of this minor adversity.  I hope to fall back into my motto - Smile and keep them wondering what I am up to.

As if it wasn't a dark and rainy day, the e-mail this AM carried news that another of my Guard friends passed away.  He was only 66 and again I didn't even know he was sick.  I hate it when the only news I get is after they died.  My wish is that like the legend says, we will meet at Fiddler's Green and share a canteen cup of Grog and tell each other lies about our great accomplishments in the Military.  I do hope it will be a while before I have to go there. 

Speaking about sad things, I met a friend at Dillon's yesterday and he was in a wheel chair.  All the health problems that has plagued him for the past decade is now being attributed to Agent Orange exposure in Vietnam.  I guess that is the new mystery diagnosis for the shit that happens to us old soldiers.  I have offered that up to the VA when things happen without any obvious cause.  So far they have resisted accepting that.  It does seem to take longer and longer to get in shape each spring. I am looking for a way to not have the recession in health in the winter. 

Barb came home with a pile of good books from our library.  I started reading the John Sanford series called the Prey Series.  There is enough mystery and action to keep me engaged.  With the rain today, I will just stay inside and read as much as I can. 

I would tell you some phony reason for stopping here but - That's all folks.



Mowing MUD

There is a new Ace Hardware commercial that says you can't mow mud.  Bet'cha they are wrong.  As I went out to get the paper this morning, I could hear mowers all over the southeast side of Shawnee County doing just that.  I'll bet most of them are wearing coats as they mow.  It is just in the 40's and thank god there is no wind today.   I didn't mow yesterday but as soon as the dew on the grass dries I will be out there with the best of them.  Or the rest of 'em.

The only good news is that I finally got over to the rentals and mowed last week.  It was either get some goats to keep it mowed or do it myself.  Oh well, I will take it slow and avoid the bumps.  My poor back just won't be up to much today.  I do have a planned nap in there sometime.  One thing I might do is haul the mower up to Dave's so he can get in a little mowing.  Might even look in on what his mower needs to get it up and running well.  Oh well.

It seemed like yesterday that someone left the door to the north pole open.  It was in the 40's with a strong breeze blowing.  I sure as heck didn't do much more than get out and get the paper. 

What are your goals for this year?   I have the urge to bring the 57 Chevy up to current standards and drive it.  It will need some disc brakes, Power rack and pinon steering and perhaps a new(er) motor with fuel injection.  There is also a new transmission a 700R4 that might help it improve the economy.   We'll see.  I am pretty sure that we will need to replace Barb's Buick as it is just short of a total wreck.  My mechanic a few years back said he would just raise the steering wheel and drive a new car under it.  The problem with that is even the horn doesn't work so perhaps we need a new steering wheel too.

This is for the over 70 group.  What the heck are you doing with the excess of the funds you are being forced to withdraw from your 401Ks, IRA and 503Bs?  I hate to just send them to the Government as quarterly withholding  but might just do that.  Can't just stick them back in another IRA as you need Earned income to that amount.  OH well, moving on.

In case you are from a place far away from Kansas, our Governor said a couple of years ago that it was up to the States to change and experiment with how we raised funds to Govern the State.  Whatever we did, it was either the wrong place or the wrong time.  In spite of big time increases in our sales taxes, we are way behind the power curve on that one.    He is going to be forced soon into admitting his error and let the Legislature put things right.  He can't seem to see the error in his ways and to move in that direction.  By a National Poll, our Governor is the least popular Governor in any State.  I am not sure if we have ever had a vote of no confidence or an impeachment and there have been some pretty low things done over the years.  I think one Governor actually had the State National Guard bring Machine Guns to Topeka.  According to what I heard, a really smart Sergeant left the firing pins at home.  It was a Happy Accident.

Better run, I hear grass growing out there.



About Healed

Not well healed, healed from falling off the ladder last Saturday.  There is still a twinge in my back but mostly that is a minor pain now and then.  Oh well, stay off ladders and be safe will be my new motto.

One of these days, I think I will look for a young helpful (Read - Cheap) person to do some of the chores around here.  Right now, there is approximately 5 acres of grass that need cutting.  Not sure but I think I skinned up the mower blade I replaced when I ran over a brick.  There seems to be a six inch path along the edge that just doesn't get mowed properly.  First job will be to see if I need to sharpen or replace that blade.  Then, I will probably need to g buy some gas, take a nap and worry about it tomorrow.  Sounds like a plan.

I am worried a little about the latest rounds of tests.  My H1C was right at 6 and that is borderline diabetic.  I have stopped eating copious quantities of ice cream, gummy bears and Cheese flavored popcorn.  Did I mention my blood pressure was also high?  One of these days, I may get to start doing all the things I once did and figure if it kills me, I had to die of something.  I haven't had a drink or smoked in years. 

Speaking of age, I read today that the last person born in the 1900's is the oldest person alive.  At 116, I wonder what the quality of life is for that person.  Perhaps if I make it that long, I will be able to do as I wish.  Unless Barb makes it to 117.

Every once in a while, I will make a mistake in Facebook and it will start underlining everything in red.  I can preview the work and the red line doesn not appear but it is a little disconcerting.  Oh well.



Petty Corollary

Remember the Ron White punchline, "I had the right to remain silent, I just didn't have the ability." ? Now for all of you that are English scholars, how the heck would you punctuate that sentence?  Where does the question mark belong?  Normally you put the ending punctuation before the closing quotes.    The problem with that is the fact that Ron wasn't asking a question, I was.  Oh well, don't bother to answer, I really don't care.  That's a Petty Corollary.

Back to the title of this piece.  In a lot of cases, my snarky side escapes me and I will add what I call a Petty Corollary to the end of something someone else says.  Part of that is caused because I either don't know who said it or I am too lazy to look it up. 

For example. this morning I pointed out that when hunting, shoot the easy one's first.  Think about all the press Donald Trump is getting.  Is there any doubt that reporters world wide are listening to his every word so they can shoot the easy one?  

A lot of accidents start with "Hey, I wonder what will happen if I do........."  

Do you wonder what will happen if Hillary is charged with a crime before the election?  Throw in Bernie Sanders as the Democrat candidate and then what?  That would make it all too easy to say the lesser of two evils.  Would Hillary give herself a Presidential Pardon if elected?  Would she give Bill a Pardon from the Impeachment?  Oh well, enough of the snarky things for this morning.

Back in my Billy goat days

Oh well, I had better stop here and go show Barb how to set up the sprayer. 



Oopsie Daisy

This is a much cleaned up version of what I said when I fell off the ladder the other day.  The good news is that day by day I am much better.  The bruises are well on their way to becoming yellow marks and the only real hurt is the stressed muscles in my back.  I can't move real quick but at least I can get up.

Dave came over the other night and gave me the new Pentatonix CD.  I love the way they blend their voices and the beatbox sound on the side of their songs. Their Bass just reminds me that I should be truly a Bass and not a Baritone.  I can carry the part but I lack the true vibrancy of the bass part.  One of the things I love about Pentatonix is they are not caught into any one style.  It is all good and they are so blended.
Barb is off to the eye Doctor for her final follow up from having her cataracts fixed.  She seems to be very pleased with the results.  Now if I can get her attitude changed about the Oklahoma Lawyers.  She is not in a smiley mood.  Some day that story will fully divulge but not for now.

As a retired guy, I find it kind of funny that if there is anything on the calendar we try to not schedule anything else.  It took a day runner to schedule all the things I had to do back in the day and now that one inch white space now drives our days.  I guess it is all in your perspective. 

Just a moment ago, my phone rang.  I got up and caught it on the third ring.  The only problem it was on my cell phone and I missed it by the time I realized my mistake.  When I tried to call that number back, it went no where.  Must be someone's fax machine and it doesn't answer with anything.  Oh well, that's another number I need to program to block. 

Speaking of that, Verizon has a feature that allows me to block five call on my cell phone.  If I want more than that they want another $5.00 a month.  I guess I will just rotate the numbers for a while.  Yes, I am a cheap cell phone user and hate to have to pay a lot of money to the ability to stay in touch.

Better get on the stick.  



Fell Down Again

The only problem was this time I was about 10 feet up in the air on a ladder.  I hate it when the mind is strong and the body is weak.   I am not sure if I got dizzy and fell or kind of passed out.  When Barb found me, I was unable to say what happened exactly.   She made me go to the hospital and basically all they did was kind of clean off the scrapes.  I am dinged up and bruised but nothing was broken.  I would have felt like they were more serious if they had really wiggled the places I hurt.  They did a CT scan of my head in case there was any damage done there.  Yes, climbing up on a ladder by myself is a good reason to think I may have damage to my brain.

I will go to the Doctor this morning to see if my blood pressure medicine change was good enough.  That alone might be a cause of the fall.  I am sure the Doctor will tell me to stay off ladders.  I guess I need to hire a kid to do the stupid jobs for me.   I can play spotter to keep him from falling.  I also have a tractor with a front bucket that will make sure the ladder doesn't fall and that will help.  I have a candidate in mind but no confirmation yet.

Yesterday Barb and I went to Lawrence, KS to do a little shopping.  I did walk around in Penny's but then went back to the car after one round.  Oh well, it was good to get out of the house.

I guess I had better get ready to see the Doctor.



Weather or not, we will weather this storm

For the record, I want everyone to know that I do not support any millionaire from New York for the Office of the President.  I do not think they either one know how hard people work to survive out here in the Heartland.   I can't imagine that anyone that accepts hundreds of thousands of dollars for speeches even realizes that that money came out of the pockets of the people they claim to support. Ask Scotland if the Donald has brought the prosperity he promised to their country. 

If anyone were to ask Bernie if he thought that Free College educations is a good idea, he would say sure.   How about those of us that worked hard to pay for our education?  Why should I continue to do that for others?  Besides, don't we have to borrow about 30 cents of every dollar we spend?  Isn't that debt added to the burden already their shoulders going to be just more misery.  Socialism works until the Government runs out of other people's money.  

I read that if you look at the size of our military we spend more than the next six nations combined.  At least a great share of that money goes to support people and spending on things here in America. I can tell you first hand that when Jimmy Carter cut the Military spending it cost a lot of people their jobs.  I think our Military is probably one of the best job programs out there.  It teaches our young people to show up and be accountable for themselves.  That is a small cost in my opinion.

Just once, I would love to have everyone show up and vote on election day.  I would encourage people to Never Re-elect Anyone.  If the goof balls running our show can't do things right, lets find a crew that can.   I think that serving the people should be work not easy.  I would have them live in barracks and stand in line and pay for their own haircuts.  During the off season, they should have to go home and tell their constituents what the heck they did.   (or didn't do)

One of the craziest things I heard all week is that the dreaded Koch Brothers are going to support Hillary for the Presidency.  That should tell you just how screwed up this election is going to be.  For the record, I want to remind you that no matter how much money they spend, the Koch Brothers can't change my beliefs and actions.  No amount of political advertising can make me believe that a sow's ear is a silk purse.

I am reminded of the conversation that a lady started on a shuttle for the Jazz Festival.  She was really telling everyone what a good job Hillary did as a Senator from New York.  I calmly asked her to name one thing she did for us while she was in congress.  She went on to elaborate the things she did for the people from New York.  I casually told her that those things should have been done in Albany as a State Senator.  Hillary was a US Senator and should have focused on the entire US not those from her home State.  Many people in the Van all agreed with me but I am pretty sure that I didn't change that lady's mind.   There is just no way I could ever cause the lady to have a Significant Emotional Event and change her beliefs. Oh well...

Think Globally but act locally.  Try to do your best to support those around you and not hurt others.



In My Perfect World

Every once in a while, I wax political and try to explain the convoluted thoughts going on in my world.  I know that the majority of us are the product of where you grew up and every waking moment thereafter.  I once had a really smart person tell me that if you really want to change behavior, the person you want to change must have a Significant Emotional Event (SEE).  If you want to measure SEE's you can start with combat on one end of the scale.  The sleep without dreams is at the other end.  Don't be surprised if I have a lot of pride in my country and a lot of strong feelings on what it is we should do.

Were I in charge, I am pretty sure that my somewhat conservative side will show and I don't really have a lot of reason to apologize for it.  There are a few things I would change if I could and here are just a few.

Hey MUD, what do you think of abortion?   I have no ability to have one and think that a lot of people have worried that problem almost to death.  I think there is a Federal Law and that says all I need.  If you really don't like it, stand up and say so.  If a State doesn't like it, they need to pass a law.  If it stands up through the State Supreme Court, That is what should be legal in that State.  Leave me out of it.  Why on God's Green Earth would you or any reasonable man want the Federal Government making decision about what goes on between a woman and her doctor.

Gun Control is mentioned in the Second Amendment of the Constitution.  Don't mamby pamby around the issue.  If you want to change what is written, start a Change of the constitution and pass it like the law states.  For over 200 years, the law said guns were OK and that's good enough for me.

Freedom of Religion.   Guess what, I don't care how you celebrate you god or not.  The words to me mean that if I and a bunch of people want to have "In God We trust" on our money, it should not really cause you to change how you act out your religious beliefs.  I promise you that I won't try to change how you celebrate Kwanza or your religious holidays. (If I could only spell Honnika and get it past spell checker)

Now, don't confuse me with one of those people that want there not to be any change at all.  Just like times change, our laws need to change.  What I ask is that if there are changes in laws that there needs to be some simple truths told by the people changing the laws.  If a law is more than about three pages, it is way to comprehensive to be any good for the common man.  Laws should also have a sunset laws to go along with them.

Were I in charge, one of my cabinet members would be Dave Ramsey.  He has a few simple rules that would fundamentally change what we do.  His rule about spending less than you take in should be written on the hand of anyone that spends money.  I support about any program that employs men and women in such a manner they can hold up their heads and feed their family now or in the future. 

Oh well, it is getting late and I am pretty sure that I will never be in charge of the world.



Another fine person.

When I started school at Minneha on the east side of Wichita, our music was a record player in Kindergarten.  I don't know if Mrs. Longhoffer could sing or not.  Carrie Longhoffer was our next door neighbor and I was the son they didn't have.  Her husband and I spent a lot of time together feeding his cattle.  I think he liked to have someone in the back of the truck that would throw out hay to the cattle.  But enough of that, on to my favorite Music Teacher of all time.

Mrs. Holloway was one of those people that felt all music was good music.  She was known to sit us down on the floor and pass out instruments to play while we listened to songs on records.  There was always a bunch of Christmas songs to learn and that was before someone thought that songs would corrupt little kids to change their beliefs.   I managed to sing in her choirs whenever she put one together.  I don't remember the Christmas pageant being sloppy or not sung well.  In fact, "O Holy Night" was done as well by our fifth grade choir as I ever heard it sung.  It didn't hurt that we had a soloist named Margaret Mulligan that was spectacular. 

I am sure that Mrs. Holloway wasn't the only influence on my love of singing, but she sure got the ball rolling on my career of music.   A few years back, the local Methodist church was getting to hold their annual supper and stage play.  It was always a musical and we loved to attend.  One year they had a shortage of guys and a friend asked me if I would consider singing with them.  Would I, would I, you bet. 

For some reason their music director had the idea that all songs sung on the church had to be a little on the stuffy side.  This little light of mine was very syncopated and not a whole lot of fun.  I brought into it the old Baptist Spiritual rhythm and the choir just blew the doors off the performance.  From the smiles on everyone but the director, it was a hit.   There was song by Ray Stevens about a squirrel getting lose in the church and I found a dog toy that looked like a squirrel.  When the song was being sung, I prompted one of the guys to hold the squirrel up in the end of a stick and twirl it.  That also brought down the house.  At the end of the song he would throw it out on stage and the girls all screamed. 

Now, very late in life I am singing with a Barbershop Chorus and I love it.  It is so much fun to sing with the guys and we try pretty darned hard to enjoy what we are doing.  In the summer, we pick one Sunday each  to visit one of the local churches so they can give their choir a weekend off.  We will sing at three different churches each weekend and it seems to be a hit.

Oh well,  Here's my Mother's day story.   My mother lived in one of our houses and she was a fun person to sit and talk with.  I would do her grocery shopping and then we would sit and talk.  Generally she would have the remote for the TV screwed up and I would stop and restart it.  I found taking out the batteries and resetting it all the way back to the manufacturers setting did the trick.  One day Mom called and said she was very mad because the remote didn't work again.  I jumped in the car and went over.  She held up the remote and said "This damned thing doesn't work again."  I calmly told her that unless the remote had a button to inflate her breasts she needed to turn it around and aim it at the TV.  We laughed at that for days after that.  I sure miss Mom.

Mom in Eldorado circa 1942.



One Fine Person

Every once in a while, a name will float across my open memory banks and I will have an impression of that person pop into my brain housing group.   One such person is BG (Ret) Harold Sommers who passed away earlier this year.  I would like to write what about him that impressed me so much.

First of all, I think he generally liked most people and his positive like of people made people like him in return.  In almost every encounter with me, he always stressed the things that I had done right and did not go out of his way to focus on the small things I screwed up.  In our "one on one" conversations, he was very supportive and would encourage me on ways I could do something better. 

An example of this was the first Summer Camp I had with the 2nd Bn, 130th FA as the B Battery Commander.  I had been given a bunch of new Lieutenants that had a lot of ability but not a lot of time in the Field Artillery.  I think they all had been to the Field Artillery Officer Basic course at Fort Sill, OK so they weren't absolutely without some good training.  What they did lack was a lot of experience in all the positions in a Field Artillery Battery.  Harold, then a Lieutenant Colonel encouraged me to use my knowledge as a battery commander as a teacher and rotate the guys through all the positions and for me to focus on the battery XO because he was the guy I was with the most.  That was one of the best camps for me because it caused me to be in the trainer mode and not to focus on all the small stuff.  For the Record,  Tom Tritsch,  Bob Bartholomew,  Bob Johansen  were the three guys I really got to appreciate this first year as a commander.  I asked Frank Wright to come down to the battery the next year but I then took a full time job with another unit in Ottawa and didn't get to work with him as much.

One of the things I really liked about Harold Sommers was his competence at all the jobs in the Battalion.  At every staff meeting, he would ask questions of each area in my opinion, that needed asked.  He also had the patience of a saint in answering questions from anyone at the meetings.  There was little doubt that he was in charge and could answer almost any Field Artillery related question. 

Harold Sommers went on to command the 130th FA Bde. He also was one of the first STARC Commanders as a Brigadier General and happened to be on the Observation Point the last day of camp when our unit had stopped the ARTEP because of errors.  I was designated to be the next commander of the 1-127th FA and I was just sure that because they had screwed up, I would not be selected for command.   He took me aside and told me that he was on his way back to Topeka that day and he would discuss the problems with the 1-127th.  He asked me what I needed to do as the new commander and I spent several minutes going over what was needed.  He agreed with what I said and the result of his actions were that I did in fact get the Battalion that fall. 

I hope that Red Sommers is waiting at Fiddler's Green with a canteen of grog so when I get there we can discuss our time here on earth and our time in the Field Artillery.


Ain't it True

Some one wrote on Facebook today that now we have to vote for one of the two candidates in the Election.  I told Barb that a part of the problem is that only about 40% of the people will vote and they get to choose who we have representing us.  There is a margin on the far right, one on the far left and a whole bunch of people that really don't either know enough to make a decision or who don't care.  I have done my best to vote in all the elections and if I were not available I would get and use an absentee ballot.  In Vietnam, I had to go find the Adjutant of my unit to have him certify that I was who I said I was.  I don't know if that worked, but I sure as heck took the time to vote.

My Doctor is affiliated with the Cotton-O'Neil Clinic here in Topeka and they are now using a system called MYChart.  I get this e-mail notification that I have an appointment scheduled with a Doctor and it really doesn't say why.  As I look back on the results of my tests, I don't know if my thyroid scan or my A1C reading is what caused me to have to go back.  I guess next Tuesday I'll find out.   If I was really struggling with my Medical costs, I would be a lot more concerned.  Thanks to Medicare and my Military Tri-Care for life it is pretty darned cheap for me to go to the Doctor.

Are you happy with your e-mail program?  There are things that Gmail does well and things that I need to change but no matter what I try it doesn't change.  I will give it the good old college try when I am finished here.  I send out a weekly schedule of what we sing and it seems to never go to the right people 100% of the time.  Some of that is due to the fact that people change their carriers and mail goes to their old mailbox and some of it is because I can change the names on a group.

Well, I'd better go and face the world like I knew what was ground truth and what is just the truth as I remember it. 



Don't You Hate it When That Happens

In the Military we said that "One Ah Shit, cancels a thousand Atta Boys."   Seems like many people fail to remember the good things but always are quick to jump on any mistakes.  Many of us suffer from the whatever crosses the front of your mind falls out of you mouth syndrome.  The sad part is that these things often don't get studied in the back if our brain housing group.  If they did, they would show up in red on the old word processor.   Hint, Hint to Microsoft Word.

The sad part is that while I suffer from the illusion that I am pretty bulletproof, one member of the Barbershop Chorus has the same illusion and he thinks his words carry a lot more weight than is reality.  One of the sad things is that I too have a copy of the By Laws and the Chorus Policies and I often have to quote them back to him.  He generally shuts up when I do that.  I have learned that he has to go to the library to read and send mail and I can just wait him out on most issues. 

I cannot figure out what the heck happened with Ted Cruise.  Is he fishing to have a third party and really screw up the Presidential election?    I have an idea, lets put Ted Cruise and Bernie Sanders on the same line (let them pick who gets what slot) and see what the fall out of that one is.

The following is a non paid political opinion and worth what you pay for it.

I, MUD, do not feel that Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton can tell when their mind should call bull shit on what they say.  They are both people that have grown up in some sort of privileged position and they don't feel they should have to tell the truth 100% of the time.  They feel they can call others what they want and there is no consequence.  Any rational man can tell when an article shows up in the National Inquirer, the source need to be considered.   I haven't trusted Hillary since she told us that Bill's infidelities were just a "Vast Right Wing Conspiracy."   I have a great deal of respect for writers that stretch the truth a little but no respect for people that tell out and out lies like they believe them.

The Master Gardener is out in the garden today preparing the watering system so she can plant the things that are on the rolling shelves waiting for the first frost free day.   If you have a system that works and you move it, you can guarantee that at least a dozen of the connections will fail.  They have these neat little things called goof plugs that can be inserted where the old connections were and not needed.  I will be out helping her in a little while. 

I got notified by my doctor that I have an appointment next week to discuss my A1C reading.  That is some kind of an average of my blood sugar reading and mine is at the maximum reading.  OK, no more gummy bears and a lot more fruit for a while, I promise!   Diabetes runs in my family and I probably an hitting the edge of being diabetic.  We'll see.

I hope you all are having a good week out there and the longer and warmer days is helping your attitude about things improve.  Quit listening to the evening news and pretend the election is way far away.   And quit buying those damned gummy bear snacks.  Especially if you buy them in the big bag at Wally World.



Sucks to be There

As I have said many times, being in the right place at the right time just doesn't apply to combat.  Being highly trained is also a thing that will get you killed if you happen to be in the path of one weapon or the other.  It didn't take me long to realize that in Vietnam it was either just do your job and not worry or get so nervous that you soon could not do it. 

One of my many duties for the 1st Bn, 92nd Field Artillery was to fly aerial cover for my convoys as they filled up the Ammunition Resupply Point (ASP) in Dakto.  We would go to the ASP in Pleiku and fill 10 or 11 trucks with ammo and haul it to Dakto the next day in a convoy.   Generally the Bird Dog (light Cessna built plane) would sit down in Dakto and the unit would unload they ammo so we could make it back home with the afternoon convoy.

The convoy that morning had been hit with a small ambush  and one of my trucks had been shot up fairly bad.  Seems like it had been towed back to Kontum and it had several bags of mail and some supplies for our forward area.  I talked to the Major at Dakto and he gave me a jeep to go see if I could find where the truck and the mail had gone.   I didn't wait for the real convoy to form, I just drove out to go to Kontum.  Serious bad choice but I did it none the less. 

When I got to LZ Mary Lou just on the south side of Kontum, there was a wrecker towing my 5 ton truck.  I jumped up on the back of the truck and saw several ponchos covering what I thought was the mail.    When I jerked the poncho back, I found that it was the bodies of three soldiers.

Seems like there was a large tracked vehicles in the convoy that had been hit right in the front with a rocket propelled grenade.  The concussion had killed the people in the cab and someone loaded them up in my truck.  I immediately told the wrecker driver to go over to graves registration and we would make sure the bodies were properly taken care of. 

When we got to graves registration, I went into the bunker and told them that I had three bodies in the back of a truck.  They sent a technician out and I told the drivers of the wrecker to help unload the bodies.  The two wrecked drivers were black and they both said that they weren't going to touch no dead men.  That left it to me and the Mortuary technician to do that job.  It was pretty sad that all three if the soldiers were dead but it was the concussion that killed them and they were not torn up.  I was sad to see that they were pretty normal looking but dead none the less. 

I am not sure where this story is going but there it is.  Again I state the lethality of the Battlefield extends through out the theater of the operation and it is sometimes more bad luck than skill that takes the life of soldiers. 


War is Hell

In 1968, I spent a year in Vietnam and am damn lucky to be here to share things with you.  As a Forward Observer for the majority of my tour, I saw some events that I spend a lot of time trying to forget.  When I was out with the Infantry, I managed to provide effective artillery fire and protected my Companies well.  I never got any of my people killed by friendly fire and kept up effective artillery fire to keep the enemy from doing damage to us in any measurable amount.

When we first got to Vietnam, they sent the majority of us to some kind of school or another.  I went to the Forward Observer school and when my Battalion was sent out to the field to participate in a major exercise I was still not with an Infantry Unit.  I went with our battery to the position we were in for our first actual night in the field.  We did not really have an idea what to expect because we were in a new area and almost no one in our unit had been in combat.

About 3 AM, my recon team had finished making a bunker and the radio operator I had newly assigned to me wanted to go over to the gun section he had trained with.  He had spent the day sleeping in the backseat of our Jeep so he was pretty wide awake.  I told him to go on over and spend some time with his friends.

About 3:45 in the morning, we were attacked with mortars rounds and it seemed they fired somewhere between 20 and 50 rounds into our position.  Only one gun section even moved their howitzer around and fired back.  When the mortars stopped, I ran over to the main battery position.  There on the ground was the Battery Commander and the Executive Officer.  Both were wounded bad enough they needed to be Med evaced to a hospital. That left me in charge of the battery and I did what I could to try to get a headcount and get the guns ready to fire if there was another Mortar attack. 

From the first of my time in the battery commander position, I noticed a jeep trailer burning over at the side of the battery.  It did not seem to be a big deal to me but a Major from Battalion Headquarters came over and told me to get a good headcount and put that Damned fire out.  I had the gun sections send a runner to their trucks and get fire extinguishers to put out the fire.  As the first guy started to use his fire extinguisher, I hear him exclaim "Oh Shit, there is a body under there."  The rest of the guys came over and put the fire out.  About that time, the Major came back over and asked if we had lost any of our gunners.  I told him that there was one dead under the trailer and he told me to get it out as fast as I could. 

I went over there and told a couple of the guys to get the body out of there.  They said it wasn't their job and besides the body still was way too hot to touch.  I saw a couple of metal straps there on the ground and looped it under the armpits of the body.  I pulled it out and we had to wait before we could even put a poncho over it.  After a half an hour or so, I went over to see if I knew who it was.  One of the guys had a flashlight and we looked hard to see if it was identifiable.  No one could tell me who it was.

Finally after a few minutes, I saw that it was my Radio Telephone Operator Sal.  Crap, I should have told him to stay where we were and he would be safe.   It just solidified my feelings that in a combat zone, the good and well prepared can get killed just as fast and the stupid. 

After all the wounded were sent to the hospital, we finally loaded the body on a helicopter and sent it to the rear.  The next day, I got a call from the base camp that I had been nominated to escort the body home.  I told them that there were no other officers left in the battery and I felt that I was needed a lot more by the living than the dead.  They called me back that someone else had agreed to escort the body home.  Thank God. 

I have been blessed that when I came home, I had a loving family, especially a wife that helped me get over the stresses of combat.  I did have one minor flash back watching the movie Platoon.  I had just had some major work done on my teeth and was home watching a movie.  For some reason when one of the women came out of her hut talking in that sing-song language of the Vietnamese, I felt like I was there.  I smelled Vietnam and flashed to places that I had hidden away.

Thank God it hasn't happened since but I do try to keep a lid on it.  After all, it was almost 50 years ago.   


Cool Hell, It is Cold...

One of the things that bothers me about Kansas is the fact that the weather changed from day to day and you can't be sure when to plant your garden.  Barb has most of her tomato plants in pots and she rolls them inside at night until she thinks it is really warm enough to plant the garden.  OK, if that is all the problems I really have with Kansas life would be way too easy.  We have a Governor and a legislature that tried out some ideas and they flopped.  Now instead of working on a good way to get us out of this mess, they have put things on delay and are working on the transgender bathroom problem.  They have hit a bunt out of the park but guys, they need to make sure it is in play before running the bases.   It wasn't...

Do you sometimes find it easier to get mad than really find a solution to a problem?  I guess the excuse that I am old kind of runs in the family.  You often do what you saw in your younger years and unless you stop and take stock you are destined to repeat that action.

I am slowly cleaning out the third stall in the garage.  I bought a couple of new shelves and just putting them together has taken more time than I wanted.  I bought Barb some great shelves that are about $30.00 more than the smaller shelves and they fit together like a glove and a hand.   The ones I bought are good but take a lot of time to put together.  Not to mention that they take two people to fit it together in the middle. 

Oh well, better go get some breakfast and get my act on the road.