Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas Eve

Today is Christmas Eve. The wife and I went out to run some errands and pick up a few last minute items. Also stopped to deliver a present to the barn. I see the Horses are ready for Santa. On the way back home I noticed the crowd was getting bigger at our neighborhood tavern. Wife and I got to talking about that. It seems they will be open tomorrow afternoon. She then told me about the Gay men that she has known for many years. It seems that on Christmas they often get together for potluck suppers at their bars. It has to do with many of them being disowned by family, so they get together with the only family they have. Each other. It’s not going to be so different at the tavern down the street. The reasons one might find them alone on the holiday are as many and varied as the people you will see there. In our lil tavern everyone knows someone else there, and there is no shortage of Christmas spirit. As my good friend Don once said to me, “Evil lurks in the heart of man, not the haunts of man.” Over the years we have had many guests over for Christmas dinner. Friends that had nowhere else to be and no one to be there with them. They have always been a welcome addition to our table, especially with both of us being so many hours from our families. Tomorrow when you get together with your families, remember those that are close to you that might not have a place to be, or someone to be with. As for me, I think I’ll pop in to the pub and have a round with the folks in there. Just to share a Merry Christmas.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Colin Powell

I wonder if anyone else caught any of that interview that Colin Powell gave I think Bill Schieffer? He sure sounded like a surrender monkey to me. I don’t mean that I disagree with everything he had to say, but it was close!
I remember a time when as a young boy my class went on a field trip to the lake that was set aside for our school. It was a day trip in the fall so there was to be no swimming. We were there to work planting trees and doing other conservation type things. It was during a time of goofing off just before lunch that a bunch of us had gathered on the old rickety dock to look into the water of the lake. One of our number, a kid named John had gotten careless with a brand new compass that his mom had bought him just for this trip. We heard KE plunk! And I watched the compass sink down to the bottom of the lake. Now at this time the water was quite cold and we had no change of cloths so going in wasn’t an option. Also John was terrified of the water. He became very upset over the loss of his new toy. I wanted that compass and devised a way to get it. I then stated my intentions to John. He was less than thrilled that I was going to go get the compass and keep it for my own. I explained that I was the only one that could get the compass and if I didn’t then no one would have it. He then said to me that if I would get the compass for him that he in return would give or do some other great thing. I agreed. I then went and got a stick wit a three-twigged fork in it. I stripped to the waist and leaned into the water as far as I could go while having two other boys hold my legs. I took the stick and very gently snagged the compass and brought it up. When I gave it back to John he then asked me what might he have to do for it? I told him that because we were friends he should thank me. Had I been of less then honorable intentions I would have kept it because I wanted it.
Back to Colin. I’m sure he was a good soldier and seems at times to know a great deal. So here he was talking about us losing in Iraq. Lets define our goals before we us the losing word. He said more troops wouldn’t help. On that point we agree. He then says we need to get involved with Iran and Syria so that they will help us win this thing. General, if I may be so blunt…… They …..Want to keep the compass and they’re not our friends and they are certainly not honorable!

Friday, December 15, 2006

This too goes with the series for John.

Remembering the face of a liberator
Guest columnist
OTTAWA — Encouraged by his beautiful wife of 56 years, he proudly rolled up his sleeve to show me what time cannot erase.
I asked him if I could touch his arm, run my fingertips across the number burned into the skin: 725858. Under the middle “5” a roughly etched triangle identifies him as a Jew.
David Shentow spent his teenage years in Hitler’s concentration camps. He was born in Poland, raised in Belgium and long ago emigrated to Canada, where he met and married Rose.
They are a handsome couple, passionate about each other and life, perhaps in a way one can only be after you’ve lost everything you’ve ever loved, when you’ve faced years waking up in anticipation of your own death.
Something else the Shentows have an almost holy reverence for: the United States of America.
It’s interesting how reality offers meaningful perspective.
While some of our own elected officials, various national media and pundits, as well as the usual Hollywood bright lights, accuse our country, our president and our troops of everything from greed and stupidity to torture and murder, here is a marked survivor of real evil who calls the United States a “great liberator.” I guess when you’ve been to hell and back, you’re not given to hyperbole and hysterics.
On April 29, 1945, David Shentow thought he was dead. He had somehow managed to survive years of abuse and starvation first at Auschwitz and then at Dachau, but now, with nothing left of him, there was no way death would wait as an enraged Nazi beat him mercilessly with a club. He doesn’t know how many hours he lay unconscious.
He was surprised when he did wake and found himself as he says, “still clinging to life.” But the camp was different. Except for the moans of his fellow prisoners, all was quiet. The SS guards were gone, their sentry boxes abandoned.
And then music to his ears: the rumblings of a tank headed toward him. When the tank stopped and the turret was opened, Mr. Shentow looked upon a smile that would hold his imagination and his heart for the rest of his life. It belonged to a young African-American soldier.
“Hi, young fella!” the American GI said, “How are you doing?” He then threw the bewildered captive the only thing he had on hand at the moment — a stick of gum.
“This was the moment of my liberation!” Mr. Shentow tells me. “The day of my birthday. I had just turned 20 years old.”
The Nazis murdered Mr. Shentow’s parents and his two sisters, along with his youth. But “an American soldier gave me back my life,” he says.
Yes, the American soldier.
The same who now stands on the front lines in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The one who fights for the same cause of freedom as those American patriots who went before, who volunteers to protect us from an enemy bent on nothing less than our obliteration.
Mr. Shentow’s arm: 725858. That crooked triangle. For me, forevermore, it is now, also, the symbol of the policy of appeasement.
The world hoped for the best in 1938 and looked away while Hitler marched on.
Today, the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad calls the Holocaust a “myth,” wants Israel wiped off the map and says that “anybody who recognizes Israel will burn in the fire of the Islamic nations’ fury.”
I’ll take him at his word. We’ve been down this road before. Only now our expectations are different.
We expect instant satisfaction, demand immediate victories. CNN and The New York Times stand ready to dub any U.S. military operation a “quagmire” within the space of days.
There are no instant fixes for what we face in Iran, Syria, Iraq, North Korea.
We all want — indeed pray for — diplomatic solutions. But “solutions” must not include appeasing evil, “feeding a crocodile, hoping it will eat you last,” as Winston Churchill put it. It must not include abandoning the battlefield when the war has not yet been won. It must not demand instant victories; only a steadfast commitment to success.
It’s lonely at the top. But the bottom line is that the United States has the resources and moral fortitude to fight — and defeat — the forces now conspiring against the Western world.
Certainly much of the world resents this fact, and the more tragic fact is some Americans who think peace should come at any cost now view our country as the aggressor — a country they work to bring to its knees.
I wish they could see Mr. Shentow’s arm.
Ms. Cox served as director of communications for the S.C. House from 1998 to 2005 and as chief of staff for Speaker David Wilkins. She currently serves at the U.S. Embassy in Ottawa. The views expressed here do not represent official U.S. policy.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Illusion or delusion.

The story I'm about to tell you is true. As with everything else here if it weren't I'd tell you so. The reason I tell this and maybe more story's is for the benefit of John so that he may be something more then an atheist.
We begin by getting in the truck to go to work on a clear summer day. I'm not in my big Blue Ford with the monster tires this day. I have had a breakdown and am left with using my Mother in laws GMC four wheel drive to get to work till I get some time to fix mine. For background her truck is a 1978 GMC 1500 with a 350cid engine. The truck is white with a white shell on the back. At the time I worked as a mason tender, stacking block and mixing mud to make basements and brick walls. I had gotten my lil bro Craig a job with my company. We took turns driving to the town we worked in. At that time we worked in a town called Okemos Michigan. It is a bedroom community of Lansing and East Lansing. Yes I even did some landscaping for the head coach of Miami Dolphins Nick Sabin. He was the defensive coordinator of Moo U in those days. (otherwise known as the Michigan State Spartans.... See the green hat on Michael Moores fat head)
One must understand that I'm very nearsighted in the one eye that I have left. I've always had Coke bottle glasses and made up for it with cat fast reflexes. I'm also going to give real street names for those that choose to view the rout I took that a.m.
I had picked up my lil bro and headed north on Cedar st to Jolly road. I turned right onto Jolly and headed east. The next road was the last semi major in town that went north south. It was called Aurelius road, and was about a half to three quarters of a mile away. Jolly went from four to two lanes about the time it got there. We were running late as I had left late from getting the kids up. I was speeding, about 50 in a 45 mph zone. An odd feeling came over me that I've had a time or two before. As I was driving I saw superimposed on my vision a sight that wasn't there. I saw the death agony of a young Black woman! As I pulled back from the scene, I saw that I had hit a Chevy Chevette broadside with the truck. The woman inside didn't stand a chance. I saw her face as I hit her. I saw her eyes open and looking at me in shock. I saw her neck break.
As fast as I'd seen this terrible vision it was gone. Replaced by the real vision of the road..... and a lil white car in the turn lane ahead of me. As I got to the intersection I slammed on the brakes and swerved to the left. A lil white Chevette turned left into the path of my truck. My Bro Craig impacted the windshield. I missed her! I missed her by the hair on my young chinny chin chin! I saw the terror in her eyes as we went by. We had ten or so miles to go to get to work so I kept driving. After a while Craig asked how I knew? He said that I made my move a split second before she turned in front of us, and had it been him with his perfect vision she would be dead. I just knew, and I don't know any more.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

I found this plate on the front of a late sixties era Chevy truck. A yellow dog in the Carolinas is a very common sight, We grow them wild down here. They are related to the Dingos and Russian step dogs. It is believed that they came over on the land bridge that used to exist. The saying as told to me by Daddy Bob was that this fool would vote for a Yellow Dog if the dog was running as a Democrat. Some peoples problems are very evident.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Vicky's page

On the day I met Bill's sister nothing much out of the ordinary happened. I had gone to his house and there she was. End of story.... So I thought. A few chance encounters later and I realized that she didn't shy away from the kid with the massive glasses, even made a point of starting a conversation. It didn't take long before I thought she was the coolest thing I'd ever seen. Most of the guys used to make fun of her because she was like nothing any of us had ever seen. Jet Black hair to the middle of her back, and lil wire glasses offset by a black leather bikers jacket and her own dirt bike. The Fonz wasn't going to do any better. I don't know how it happened but we became friends, then good friends, and then something more. She was my first real girlfriend. It was she that taught me the finer points of how to bury a bike into a berm low and get a good holeshot coming out. She took over my paper rout while I went off to wrestle for school glory and a couple of medals along with two blown knees. When I couldn't walk she would come see me. We had part of a summer and on through the next. Then she gave me the news that she was going back to California to live with her mother. It seemed that dad was moving and she didn't want any part of being a farm girl. I was at the time crushed. We said our goodbyes and moved on. Over the years she was never more then a step or two away from my mind. When I was racing motocross I thought of her often, and wondered if I would ever see her again. As time went by I was about to take a new job working for an old friend at a huge office complex. About a day or two before I was to start my new job I went to my Mothers house to pick up what then was my only daughter. I got to the house and found Mom softly weeping. When I asked her what was the matter she gave me that days paper. It told of a young woman that worked at the complex I was about to go to work at. She was killed in a jeep rollover while out four wheeling with friends. I knew for sure it was her when I read the names of her two brothers and where they lived. She had at that time a husband and child. I don't know what the plan is but there must be a plan. This sort of thing doesn't happen without a reason. She and her friendship are to this day a treasure of mine. There was one more Jeep incident but I survived it.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Life's people still

So it’s the season again. I always have a hard time about this time of year. The reasons vary from the simple to the complex. They range from the people and places that are no longer in my life to the ones that still are but are very distant. It is the one time of the year I don’t like living in the Deep South, something about the power of snow falling to cleans the soul. For whatever reason cold rain doesn’t suffice. It was a December about eight years ago that I experienced my toughest year, but that is another story. I got an e-mail from my sister Kate; she sends me mail by the score. This one told about there being three types of people in everyone’s life. It had to do with time frames that one interacted with others. Said something like a reason, a season, or a lifetime. It got me to thinking about even more of my life’s people, and what might have been or should never have been. About a million years ago, when I was about thirteen or fourteen I met a couple of people that were only to be there for a season. I use the term season a lil bit loosely because I believe God has longer seasons then we. Anyway to begin the story, I used to collect Baseball cards. Along with my wrestling, it was my passion. I had Mickey Mantle and a Babe reprint, and a Mark Fydrich; the man that talked to baseballs. The friend that got me started in all of this had long since gone God only knows where. My collection was getting kinda stagnant. One day a friend told me that a new boy had moved into the last house on our street two blocks away, and he was a collector. It was my first ever meeting with a kid from California. He didn’t seem different to me, but they aren’t at that age. He was just a slight bit older and a lot more confident about most everything. It was Bill LeFever that convinced me that it was worthwhile to ride the city bus an hour to another city and spend the day in dusty old bookstores looking at Baseball cards and old books. I had no idea such places existed, but when I found out! I would forget to eat while searching out Edgar Rice Boroughs Books or the rare Mantle card. Bill and I were never real close. We had our time, but it was when we could squeeze each other in. Never the less, I’m grateful for the things he taught me in the year we had together. I am most grateful for the introduction to his sister. Continued.