10 October 2019


While we were in New York in May we went to see The Temptations "Ain't Too Proud" just off-Broadway. Our 36-yr old son sat alongside his parents and knew all the words to the songs.
And I remembered:
He grew up buckled into his seat in the rear in our car listening to "Oldies" or "Classic Rock" radio.
And we liked it LOUD.
On a road trip when he was about 13 or so he asked, "Mom, were you and Dad Hippies?"
And we LOL'd.

During the day I wore OD Green.
But after hours I wore Bell-bottom pants with flowers embroidered around the cuffs, and gave the "peace sign" to every motorcyclist I passed on the highway.

I'm glad to have lived that life.
I'd also bet he's glad he knows all the words to "Ain't Too Proud To Beg".

24 September 2019

Tazio Nuvolari

Doesn't it happen to everyone?
But it seems to be happening to me more often now.
Aging? I dunno.

We have one of those alarm clocks that projects the time onto the ceiling so you can learn the time without lifting your head from the pillow.
3:37 it said.
And I'm wide awake.
"Tazio Nuvolari" says my brain.
Okay... maybe I was NOT QUITE awake!
Mulling it over, I was pretty sure Tazio was another of those superhuman race car drivers from the past, like Juan Manuel Fangio. But I wasn't absolutely sure.
"I'll have to look Tazio up after a couple cups in the morning", I said to myself.

"Leopold and Loeb", shouts my brain."
"Why are you doing this to me?"  I ask.
3:38 says the ceiling.
I KNOW who Leopold and Loeb are. I read a fictionalized account of their story while I was in High School.
It obviously made a pretty big impact on me.

"Sacco and Vanzetti"! 

"This is REALLY irritating!"
I force myself to roll over and think boring stuff.
And I refuse to look at the ceiling.

20 September 2019


Several of our political leaders are, and have been in trouble because of blackface. "Cultural appropriation"?
Watching old movies, I sometimes find myself cringing at what was deemed "normal" behavior and attitude toward "people of color", most often negroes.
That was then. That's history. The fact it makes me, (and I hope others) uncomfortable? That's a good thing.

Canadian PM Justin Trudeau now finds himself in hot water.
He was attending an "Arabian Nights" costume party in full regalia... clothing AND darkened face, neck, and hands to fit the occasion.
Photos have emerged, and he's under political pressure from some.
And I'm questioning "WHY?"

I've long been an admirer of "Pastor, Civil Rights leader, and (now notorious) philanderer," Martin Luther King Jr, and I wonder...
If I was invited to a costume party celebrating the life and accomplishments of MLK Jr,
would I be chastised for getting out the brown shoe polish and time correct clothing?
I think in today's world, that answer is a given. And that's a shame.
I'd be honoring a great man. I fear we no longer have a sense of proportion... or a sense of humor.

And this is the reason I have fewer friends today than yesterday.

30 August 2019


I am "of a certain age".
And I try, always, to remember that.

We LOVE to watch the black and white movies from the late 30's through the 40's. And the thing we notice most about them now, (in addition to wondering if there really WERE that many coupe automobiles running around on the streets back then), is that EVERYONE... and I mean all the really cool folks... smoked.
If you wanted to be like the cool people, the only question you had to answer was whether you'd smoke Chesterfields or Camels.
My Mom and Dad both smoked. Back then cigarettes weren't almost prohibitively expensive, so I can't throw stones at them for hurting our family financially.
But my Father died of lung CA and I will always wonder how long he'd have lived if he had not allowed the fad... the desire to "be like Humphrey Bogart... (remind me how he died?), to influence him.

They come and go.
One of 'em that irritates me now is this craze to permanently scar your own body.
Sara Jean and I walk four miles or so every evening. The other night, from about a football field's distance, I saw an attractive woman in short-shorts unloading groceries from her car.
Long-legged, I hoped she had more groceries to unload when we got closer. She did, and when we got close enough to say "Hello" I could she her legs were completely covered with tattoos.
I admit being disappointed. God gave her a wonderful gift. And in my opinion, she had willingly defaced God's artwork.

I know...
We have no indication (yet) of long-term unintended health consequences from defacing your body this way.
But it once was fact that you couldn't give blood within a certain time-frame after receiving one because of the possibility of infection.
So there's that.

I once heard a story of a Marine Enlisted Father advising his son not to get a tattoo because "you'll never be considered Officer material if you get one."
That Marine Dad was obviously "of a certain age" too.

Yeah, fads come and go.
I'll be happy when this one is gone.
(And I hope to live that long.)

22 August 2019

The Man With No Name

I've never smoked.
Well, unless I was mocked and given a dare.
But, as a child, I was offended by and resented the air my parents forced my baby sister and I to breathe during Winters in our old automobiles. And I promised myself I would NEVER do that to my own children.
But I must admit to being tempted.

Images of Clint Eastwood with his Cheroots...
WOW! Was he cool or what?
And on the screen, when he slowly removed that cigar from his lips, the indentation was still there!
I wanted to be Clint.
I bought a pack of "HavaTampa Jewels".  And hated the taste.

A few friends smoked pipes...
Pipe smokers in the movies were smooth dudes... intellectual. Smart. Upper crust.
I wanted to be intellectual, smart, and maybe, "upper crust"... eventually.
I bought a pipe. I bought some tobacco I had smelled others smoking. Their "second hand" smoke smelled wonderful.
I hated the taste.

Now, "electronic cigarettes" are in the news.
I'm WAY BEYOND being influenced into trying them by movies and TV, but I fully understand how cool it looks to kids and folks wanting to be "in".
And I'm surprised at how many folks I see "vaping" around me.
It ain't cheap. The screen doors on your home are in disrepair.
How can you afford "strawberries and bananas with cream"  E-Juice?
(Yes, I see that it's cheaper than cigarettes, and agree it's probably not so unhealthy as smoking them.)

I can't help thinking, at some point in the future, thinking people will look back at things we've done to ourselves in wonder.
"Doctor, it hurts when I do THIS."

-"Don't do THAT!"

17 August 2019

Bit By Bit

It's August.
It's HOT in Middle America.
It's EASY to sit in the Air Conditioning and push buttons on the remote control-
Made easier by the fact nothing I need to do around our property must be done NOW.

My neighbor across the street suggested-
"I get out early, while it's still cool, and do ONE constructive thing every day. That way I don't feel so guilty."
Good advice.
Today I trimmed a couple trees with the pole saw.

It's five O'Clock somewhere, right?

14 August 2019


He was in line behind me, wearing a ball cap that said "Viet Nam Veteran, 25th Infantry Division".
"25th, huh?" I asked. "Where was that?"
"Pleiku", was his response.
"Oh really? I was there too, at Camp Enari", says I.
He got a strange look on his face...
"Where was that?"
And at that point I knew I was dealing with a pretender.

A few other questions yielded "Facts"-
He was a LRRP, (a member of a Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol).
His unit was absorbed by the 4th Infantry Division, (yet he's unaware of Camp Enari, the 4th's HUGE main base?)

I wish there was a fast and easy way to punish these liars.
I'm sure he, like me, gets the "Thank you for your service" comments, and maybe even discounts on meals, etc..

I hope my dead fellow Veterans haunt him.

11 August 2019

As Time Marches On-

In this political environment I normally say, "I'm glad I'm old".  But...
Last week we watched archeologists exploring the caves around the Dead Sea, trying to find more scrolls in jars. Only 10% of those caves have been investigated. Now they have new technology that gives them ways to read the scrolls without opening and damaging them.
As death approaches, political me will say, "good riddance!"
Curious me will say, "WAIT... what's next?"

08 August 2019

"By The Time We Got To Woodstock..."

"We were half a million strong!"

Like Apollo 11, we're approaching another 50th anniversary.
And just like Apollo 11, I viewed the event from half a world away in Viet Nam.
Enroute to Sydney, Australia for my R&R, I picked up the most recent "TIME" magazine in Cam Ranh Bay and saw the photo of the crowd.
WOW! What in the world was I missing back home?

We're watching a PBS produced documentary devoted to the event.
It is, at times, unintentional comedy.
"Peace. Love. And Music."
A HUGE crowd living in peace, doing what they wanted without interference.
Taking care of themselves.

They ran out of medical supplies the second day of the event.
New York's National Guard TO THE RESCUE in UH-1 Hueys. The Guard Hueys brought in supplies AND Doctors to take care of the drug overdoses, babies being born, and normal minor injuries that happen in a city of about 500,000 people.

The third day of peace, love, and music they ran out of food for the crowd.
People from the two nearest towns heard of the trouble and decided they had to do "the Christian thing" and feed the multitude. They raided their pantries, refrigerators, and freezers. Farmers donated what they could... one of 'em boiled thousands of eggs and had them transported, by civilian helicopter this time, to feed the, now mud covered, crowd.

I can't help but laugh.
Good, responsible people are such wonderful suckers.
We never learn, do we?

To my readers:
Peace! LOVE! Happiness to you.

30 July 2019

My Compound Ankle Fracture-

It has now been a little over a year since I watched my right ankle bone make a special appearance in Santorini, Greece. (Help! Part Two-, Pitchpull, 22May18. Look it up.)
I'd like to share my "healing" thoughts.

First, I knew the instant upon seeing the bone erupt that I was in real trouble.
We were halfway down the steps of a vertical cliff on a tiny island, in a non English speaking country, 2500 miles(?) from home. I stood up to see if I could hobble my way to the boat landing at the end of the steps; tried to put weight on my right foot. The ankle acted like a mechanic's "universal joint", and wobbled freely in all directions. Walking would be impossible. I was no longer in control of my own life.
I HAD to depend on the help of others. 

I am a control freak. I HATE being in that position.

You can read at my original May of 2018 posts how "others" came to our rescue...  our perilous donkey ride to the bottom of the cliff at Santorini; and the rest of our journey home.
But I want to share my thoughts from just over a year later:

There are wonderful people everywhere. When we were desperate, an American couple got off their donkeys, mounted Sara Jean and me, (her FIRST ride on a four-legged animal!) and walked alongside us to get us down that hill, asking me all along the way if I was "faint".
We don't know their names, but to us they certainly are heroes. I wish there was someway I could express my gratitude to them.

My Greek surgeon, when he came to visit me post-surgery, bragged about having attended a refresher course at Loyola University, and asked if we had ever been to Chicago. The U.S. Ortho expert that looked at his work when we got home expressed amazement at the wonderful job he had done.
When you hear some idiot Congresscritter from Minnesota put our country down, remember this:
People from EVERYWHERE in the world flock to the U.S. to suck up the BEST, because we are the BEST. And I thank God that Doctor Giannanopolis came to our country and paid attention to the training he received.

If this injury had happened to me 100 years ago, I'd have spent the rest of my life as an invalid. I'd have been a burden to my family. (See my out of control comment above.) I'd have been miserable, walking with a cane or crutch, and might have died early, with a bad attitude.
As it is, I am back to about 95% complete recovery. My beautiful bride and I walk 3-5 miles every evening. I don't limp. I feel a twinge of pain now and then, but I attribute that to the fact that I have a 72 year old model body that I'm trying to push in a way it does not like being pushed. My 72 year old belly looks better because of it. The 72-yr old belly and my 72 yr-old heart tell the 72-yr old ankle to kiss their 72-yr old hindquarters!

Being escorted via wheelchair through the airports in Athens, Rome, Copenhagen, Reykjavik, Boston, and here at home was wonderful... and terrible:
Going to the head of the line to get tickets, board the plane, and get baggage was great. Receiving the looks from those standing in line was uncomfortable. (Again, see "control" comment above".)  

During the trip home I COULD have fended for myself with the crutches I had been given. But again, I'd have been a burden to others.

Every day, we all get a day older.
For most of us, TODAY is the healthiest we are ever gonna be in our lives. Health-wise it probably won't get better than today.
We should be aware of that, and enjoy it to the fullest.
I have a newfound respect for old people, and people recovering from terrible injuries... some MUCH worse than mine. When you see them wheeled to the front of the line at the airport, be glad it ain't you, and don't resent them.

And take notice when our elected officials denigrate our wonderful country.
When you get to the ballot box, REMEMBER.
Who is leaving the country for somewhere better?
How many are risking their lives to come here?

Thank you for the reminder Lord.
I know how blessed I am.