Monday, May 4, 2020

2020 The Year that Never Was?

We are about 2 months into the C~19, Corona, or whatever the Hell you want to call this contrived Bullshit...yep, the Virus is real, the death rate scare and other lies pushed by the left and it's lapdog press is overblown.  Hell, I'm 71 with Agent Orange {so the VA says} related Diabetes 2 and associated Neuropathy...am I scared of this sham?  Not a chance...

I'm pretty much locked into staying around the house and backyard, except for necessary shopping trips, got some yard work/mowing and outdoor painting done over the just completed weekend...could do more today, but this is the only day out of the next 2 weeks that doesn't look like crap...which may not be bad, because once the weather here in the Heartland starts to improve, this BS will only get worse...because the natives are going to get more restless and antsy ...

The masses and fools {mostly, but not all, on the left} are following like good little troopers in lock step with the Nanny State "recommendations" {in Blue States "Orders"}...as for me, much like this Clint Eastwood parody shows, not changing much in my life, except visiting with my 96 year old Assisted Living resident mother, or traveling, has changed.  My fill in Security Gig?  Well they want me to work full time...but that won't happen, I'm not in need of nor do I want a full time job.  So I will not bow down to that slavery, such is the gift of living in simpler and better times.  For that I thank God, my God, the Christian God...


So will 2020 be a "Lost Year"?  Time will tell if this is just a "Trial Run" by the Government and various state Governments to gain total control over the population...and by the percent of people begging to be "locked down" I'd say this year and perhaps many more will be lost... 

back later---unless I'm Jailed or Raptured, whichever comes first!

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Looking back at 2019...Part #6a October in Florida..

Got a call from my youngest sister sometime in the Summer, asking if I would mind coming down to Naples and watching their house, dogs, aging cat, and birds, while they headed over the pond to Denmark, the homeland of her husband "Denmark Michael" ...Mike is a world class chef and now  runs the cathering and kitchen staff at the Naples Yacht Club on the Gulf Inlet..they would be gone for about 2 weeks, "Well Hell" I thought, I could take the Jeep down, see some old friends, and make at least 3 weeks of it.

October 2019 in South Florida was hot and humid...well above average, for even that tropical setting...

I left Patricia with the house, cats, dog, and her own freedom for most of the month...Heading out on October 9th, a bright and sunny day in western Ohio...The trip started out on US 127 out of Celina and I stayed on that rural road until hooking up with I-75 just north of Cincinnati.
I planned to stay on the interstate until I got north of Atlanta...then I would revert to back roads...that all changed when I stopped for the night at Athens, Tennessee...stopping at a Hampton Inn, I grabbed supper, and as I was walking back to the motel, I glanced at the Jeep and noticed a leak on the passenger side of the real axle.  Contacted a old RV Driving Buddy of mine from Michigan, who now lives in Sebring, Florida...he told me that is was likely a broken seal, which would need looked at, but I could make it to Naples with no problem, then have it checked out...just for safety and convenience sake, I decided to stay on I-75 until I reached Gainesville, where I would take to the back road to Homosassa, when I would deposit a portion of my late brother Mike's ashes.  Mike lived on the water in that Gulf Coast Florida city from 1995 until he came back to Celina in 2007...I would deposit a portion of him in the water at Homosassa, another bit off the Jetties at our old hometown of Venice, and the rest off the dock at sister and bro~in~law's dock at Naples.  Mike loved Florida and the water...so I, with blessings from his daughters, decided that those were the proper places for his remains.  I made it a few miles inside Florida on day #2 and again stopped for the night at a cheap motel, Hell I didn't want to own the place, just have a few beers, watch the baseball playoffs, and get a good night's sleep...this place took care of all 3.  I was up early the next morning, drove to Gainesville and cut across to Homosassa...stopping to snap a photo north of town, along the Crystal River of "Follow that Dream" Parkway, where Elvis and Company shot that movie back when we were still living in Florida, around 1962.  Then on to the Manatee Pub, where Mike used to be the "Mayor"...the guys were drinking beers at the ripe old hour of 10am, I introduced Mike's remains to them, which was still the gang he had drank with in his living days.  I deposited 1/3rd of his remains and headed off to Venice...heading back east and picking up I-75 north of St Pete and Tampa.

Realizing this is going to take me much more than 1 day...at least 3, I will mark it from Part #6a and beyond from there.  Won't be able to finish 3 weeks of Florida and photos in one or two parts.

More photos from the early trip...(1)  South Jetty at Venice...spent many a day fishing off this and the Nokomis North Jetty.  {2}  Heron flying over the Gulf of Mexico off the Jetties...(3) My buddy John Langley, originally from the Northeast, who has made his home in Venice for several decades, not far from our old house …(4) Our place on the Corner of School Street and Pineland Avenue in Venice's Edgewood Section, we lived there from 1958 through 1962....the first real house that mom and dad owned, mom finally sold it in 1980.  (5)  Walking along the South Jetty...the fishing is not nearly what it was back in the 50s and 60s...sad!






Monday, February 24, 2020

Looking back at 2019...part #5 Summer Winds Down...

If I don't get 2019's look back completed soon, it will be time to look back at 2020...so here we go with the end of Summer 2019...

After the Brown County {Indiana} getaway it was time to resume painting the old house parsonage, I was hopeful of getting most, if not all, done by the end of good weather...but a date watching my youngest sister's place in Naples, Florida, would get in the way in October.  I was gone most of the month of October, watching their house and pets while her and Denmark Mike were back in the homeland in Europe...so the "All Most Done" became about 40%...leaving me with looking at 60% for this spring and summer, along with some other work in the garage, kennel, and concrete sidewalks...OH Well, Hell...I turn 71 next month, and will take my slow and good ol' time.  Below a look at the west side of the old parsonage/house as the work was being done....most of the lower front and back are complete, the west side about 80% done, east side 0% and the tops of the front and back are scraped but not started painting just yet.  The Hazy Crazy Sun Shots are from September in Kokomo at the Boar's Nest.




Frankly I don't remember much else about August … didn't work at Honda much, didn't want to...I am sure however that I did drink a few beers, smoked some quality hand rolled cigars, and sat in the backyard and garage and kicked back.  August went by in the blink of an eye and September and the Kokomo/Greentown/Howard County Vietnam Veteran Reunion was on in mid month...many of the regular "Boar's Nest" gang didn't make it, and Tom, the Head Boar, was still feeling the effects of his battle with Lyme Disease …  it wasn't the same, but we did make do...the weather was nice, but with harvest in the air, you could tell that summer was winding down.

----Disney World----

The Big Deal of the end of Summer 2019 however had nothing to do with reunions or beers, etc...it was the family trip to Disney World Orlando.  Youngest son Hal and his family invited me, Patricia, and Lisa's dad and step mom to a full ride, including Air Fare for 4 days at one of the villages at Disney, they would stay for 8 days, but for the Grandparents days and 40 miles of walking was more than enough...it was hot and humid, but for the most part, except on evening, the predicted storms stayed away...by the time we  arrived back in Celina, we were pretty well gassed...but it was a good trip, although I don't know if I would do that kind of package again...the cost had to be a small fortune, but with their successful business in Southwest Ohio, they could swing it...





After Disney, then right over to Kokomo, I needed a rest before heading off to Florida in early October...the painting and house projects would have to wait....Didn't take a lot of photos at Disney, as the kids had Disney photographers take those and put them in albums...I more than made up for that however, on the October Florida 3 week stay...




Coming up next....Part #6...October in South Florida...

Thursday, February 6, 2020

2019 in Review part #4 Moving into Summer...

June and July 2019:

The older you get the more you look forward to warm weather...yea, hot, humid, weather, still sucks, but it beats the Hell out of Winter...






 
June begins with our visit to Kokomo and the "Sandbox Reunion" the shorter, less crowded, version of the September "Vietnam Veterans Reunion" over in Howard County on the farm/reunion site...smaller group this June, Mike Tillman didn't make it, neither did Sam Lewis, and the Head Boar at the Boar's Nest, Tom McCandless, was ill...we didn't know it at the time, but it turns out it was Lyme's Disease...nasty case as it turned out, but he recovered by September...a few photos above^^^

Cut my summer baseball umpire work down to about a dozen games, all in June and July, ending with the Junior ACME state title game with Grubaugh, and working 2 Semi Final games in the ACME state championships at Coldwater...    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>



As July wound down, Patricia and I headed for out annual short week stay at the cabin in Brown County, Indiana...we had our usual group of "Visitors" on the hoof and in the woods, and we visited my old Kokomo Reunion Buddy "Inky" Linn at his "Harleywood Museum" in the area...

As we returned home our backyard Sunflower crop was beginning to bloom, large in numbers in 2019 but just not the variety as in some past seasons...




Up Next part #5 Summer Winds Down

Back later>>>











Thursday, January 30, 2020

2019...Looking back in words and photos Part #3 May

I've been a bit slow getting this finished, here we are almost to February...the old saying "Time Flies By, the Older you Get"  is certainly true in my case at least...71 years approaching in about 6 weeks.

May and June 2019...

Another thing about getting older, again, at least in my case, you hate cold weather more and more, and despite not being a fan of Hot Humid Weather, I enjoy warm over cold, especially late Spring and early Fall...at least here in the Heartland...

Since me and the OHSAA {Ohio High School Athletic ASS~ociation} parted ways back in late 2017, I continued to stay busy umpiring and officiating, but only when I wanted to...so as May rolled around, I picked out a few baseball summer league games {ACME} and held that number to a dozen or so...including working the Senior and Junior ACME State Tournaments....but as May arrived, I had other things on my mind...starting with Rick Pearson, Clint Thompson, and my, annual Mesick Area Mushroom Hunt in Michigan.


Rick started going up there 30 or more years ago...I have joined him most of the last 14 or 15 seasons of  hunting Morell Mushrooms...the weather is unpredictable...sometimes wet, sometimes cold, some times in between, or like 2018 very warm.  This past year, 2019, was a "Betweener...mostly cloudy, foggy, but not cold.

But like the last few years, we motel it, rather than camp, and we were, for the most part, "Shut Out"...that bums Pearson out...ME?  Not so much, I'm there for the comradeship and beers...

This past year, we spent a couple of days before and after at Rick's place on 17 acres in Northeast Indiana, north of Fort Wayne...while fishing we had and unusual happening...a large, Large Mouth Bass, 4 pounds at least, was jumping crazy like in Rick's Pond...Clint noticed him first, then as Rick and I were walking around the pond we noticed this big fellow floating on the top???  Not normal for this pond...no enemies except maybe a Hawk or Heron, but this guy was not damaged, at least not on the outside...so we hauled him in.  Lo and Behold this guy had bitten off more than he could chew...trying to eat and swallow a good sized Bluegill, it became stuck in the Bass's throat and gills, and he choked to death in the act...Karma!  Especially since the Bluegill survived...we pulled him out and he {she?} swam on it's merry way.
 

I also managed to catch some good  Full Moon photos over Rick's Pond...thus making up somewhat for us not hitting the Mushroom Goldmine ..

The rest of May saw me spend some time with the Grandsons...not as much as my wife or perhaps the other grandparents, but I did do some quality watching them play Teeball and Coach Pitch Baseball...K~man, the oldest, is becoming a good fisherman, as well as an excellent competition swimmer...Kam, meanwhile turning 5 is still figuring out what he likes, but is getting into Snow Skiing...he will chart his own course, with help from the parents.  My collection of Back Yard Feeding Birds continued to grow in 2019 as well...and the warmer weather gave me a chance to sit outside on occasion and down a craft beer and partake in a Hand Rolled Cigar or 2.



 
Back with a Look at June and July in the next installment...part #4

Friday, January 17, 2020

2019 in Photos..Part #2 March and April

The winter of 2018-19 was long and cold...not much Snow as in the past few years, but it was bitter and long.  We had very little fall type weather in 2018 and this made it all the more miserable waiting on spring to "Spring":  I did get out on occasion to the lake for some Sunrise and Sunset photos shoots...but frankly, me and winter just no longer get along that well....not like the great days in the 70s and 80s, when I was always out, Skiing, Jeeping along the back roads, or whatever...I never minded winter, sure I always was glad it was over, but it seldom slowed me down...these days?  Not so much...I notice myself in hibernation mode from November until April, at least as far as outdoor activities.

March was the first in many years that I didn't do a single baseball umpire gig...but I did a couple of club games in April...but even with those, I only did about a dozen games in total the entire spring and summer...this year it will be even less.


I did however taste "Gumbo", while Patricia and I were down at the Columbus VA Medical Center for my annual check~up and eye exams...spent about 4 hours there  doing both the physical and eye thingy, and in the cafeteria I decided to try some Gumbo...what the Hell?  It wasn't bad so I figured when I got
home, I might as well try to make some...it turned out "OK"... and I may try it again...Some Day!


March?  Can't remember if it went out like a Lion or Lamb...but It was the month that this "Old Lion" turned 70...few men in the family have made it that far, for various health reasons...so I
saluted myself and moved forward to April.  April is of course Vietnam "Sky Cop" reunion time at the Hope Hotel, Air Force Museum, and Wright~Patterson AFB...@ Dayton.


I've been organizing this event since 2010, with lots of help, for some people still here and others long gone...it's an offshoot of the Vietnam Security Police Association, an outfit that was hijacked by a couple of sorry Jerk~Offs some years back...and I was one of those booted, for, if nothing else, my honesty...but good riddance...this Reunion is much more than that over bloated outfit ever was.

The highlight was meeting in person my old buddy from my Nha Trang 1969 days...John Claflin or as I call him "Johnny C" ...we had not seen each other since late 1969 as Air Force Cops in Vietnam...we would get to hook up twice in 2019, so 50 years later, first at Dayton, then later on at Ft Myers, Florida, at another All Service Vietnam Reunion:



Both still with Mustaches, albeit a few pounds and a few gray hairs later...

The reunion itself was a success as always, and we still have enough cash in the kitty to keep it free for all, except for the optional banquet and motel rooms, if they chose to stay there.  Everything else is cost free, beer, snacks, pop, wine, etc...all funded by a silent auction that gets bigger each year, and our 50/50 drawing...


With some 80 guys and wives, and a few grandkids, including our own...despite the shrinking numbers over all, our gig keeps growing...

Heavy Rains ended April and Grand Lake flooded for the first of 2 times in 2019...no, not man made Climate Change {which is pure Bullshit} but man made stupidity, State of Ohio fools that changed the way the lake rids itself of it's excess water...our 100 year floods now happen several times in a 5 year period.

April ended and the weather begin to warm....I was ready for some Michigan Mushroom Hunting...and getting out more often after 5 months of being inside..;that coming next in part #3.


back later

Photos~top  Another Grand Lake Sunrise in March...Homemade "Gumbo" PRH style...me and the Grandsons on my 70th Birthday.  Me and Johnny C at a Nha Trang Steakhouse in October 1969 and meeting face to face for the first time since, at the Air Force Museum in April 2019...BS session at the Reunion with a younger newer Air Force Security Force guy...and bottom, some more Grand Lake shots....a Frozen March at Grand Lake/Windy Point and one of the many American Bald Eagles that call the lake "Home"





Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Looking Back at 2019 in Photos




Didn't do any Dual Sport Motorcycle adventures this past year, maybe turning 70 is starting to catch up with me...in fact other than a 4 day mini vacation with the wife, and my 3 weeks in Florida, I didn't get out of state much...yea, the annual Mushroom Hunt, with no Schrooms to show for 3 days in central lower Michigan, with Rick and Clint happened, a quick trip to Wisconsin in early November, but that was it...

However I did get some photography work in...although once again, not many early morning wake up calls out on Grand Lake....maybe age or just tired of the same old thing, photography wise....kind of like the local motorcycle rides...Perhaps I will be more active in 2020...

Or maybe age is starting to be a factor, along with the Agent Orange related health issues...but Hell, I feel younger than my soon to be 71 years, so let's look back at 2019 over the next few days and wait and see about 2020...

Here we go....the first of six installments...

January and February 2019...

As usual, I spent New Year's Day "Bowling" with football games, beers, and too much food, at Rick Pearson's place in NE Indiana...Rick and I have been great friends since High School when we worked together at Marsh Supermarket in Celina, during my Senior and his Junior years...we also were "Best Man" in each other's weddings many years ago...Here Rick is with the "Spread" last New Year{2019}, and me{left} and Rick on my and Patricia's Wedding Day in December 1976 in Wisconsin.


The weather turned brutally cold in January which limited my trips to the lake for photo shooting, but I did get some shots in...however the biggest news as the first month of 2019 was winding down was that I finally pulled the trigger on getting a new Jeep, well "new" but new enough...a 2009 Wrangler "X",,,nothing fancy but good A/C, good tires, a great Radio, and 6 speed overdrive manual tranny....picked in up a day before the coldest day of the year down some 60 south in Eaton, Ohio.

The weather moderated somewhat in February and gave me a chance to get out to Grand Lake in the Jeep...the Wrangler, with less than 65 thousand miles on it, gave me no problems until October when I headed it to South Florida....then I discovered it had some costly issues.






 Even with the purchase of the Wrangler, I kept the Nitro to use for work and hauling snowblowers and mowers around for the remainder of the winter and coming warm weather...the 2008 Nitro now has over 164,000 on it, but the only issues are the shot Air Conditioner and the Radio...but with XM on my phone, I can plug that in and problem solved...since I took it over from Patricia it, despite some repairs and one wreck on an icy New Year's Day a few years back, has been a good, solid, vehicle and plan on driving it until it dies or becomes to expensive to keep.  The TW sat alone with the cats in the garage for the duration...2019 would not see much riding, maybe 2020 will see me out more, but turning 71 in March...Who Knows?

Also in February I headed down to the Hope Hotel at Wright~Patt AFB to finalize our Vietnam "Sky Cop" Reunion plans...it continues to get bigger every year....not sure how long I want or will continue to run that show, with great help from Mike, Mike, Wayne, and Jack....but we will see, 2020 is set for sure.   Up Next:  March and April as the weather begins to thaw out and I begin to get out...