Monday, October 31, 2011

Out with October and Football and in with November, Basketball, and Dartball

More rain rolled through overnight, after a dry weekend, at least in Western Ohio:

Friday I left Celina about 11:45 headed for Columbus to meet up with the rest of the officiating crew...we would head south another 120 miles down US 23 from there.  First off however, I had planned a stop at Flemings Sporting Goods, to look for things to spend money on before the upcoming basketball campaign, for 2011-12.  I needed a new pair of shoes, smaller Sansabelt(without needing a belt) pants, and some other supplies.  Last year I wore belted pants, because I had lost enough weight that the 38 size of the Sansabelts would not stay up.  I wanted to make sure I kept the weight off however, before investing another $50 on a smaller waist size (36).  Since I kept most of it off, I figured time for a new look for the season...and with me planning on doing basketball only for another 3 or 4 seasons, this should be the last I would have to spent on gear for that sport.  Anyway, pants, shirt, permanent shine court shoes, socks, whistle, etc, I managed to get in a package, and it only set me back $150 or so....a few preseason scrimmages and I will have that paid for.

Done at Flemings and I headed to the I-70/I-270 Waffle House on the west side of Columbus, where I grabbed a bite to eat, and waited for the rest of crew to show ...  we headed out in the rental Impala about 3pm for the 2 1/2 hour trip to the Ohio River town of Ironton.  As (bad) luck would have it, they were calling for partly cloudy skies and 45 degrees at game time...someone forgot to tell mother nature however about the front moving across the river from the the time we drove within 40 miles of the game site, the rains began...they would last through most of the game, and then a spit or two of snow would begin to fall.

The game conditions, especially early on, were pretty miserable.  {click here to see the crew checking out the field before the game...I'm 4th from left pointing out something on the field}:

The above link takes you to and you can view photos of the entire game there...photographer Tony Shotsky gets credit for the entire 48 pages of photos.

   A steady rain continued to fall on the ancient stadium field, it was a sea of mud and water.  Although the rain lessened, the field was not going to improve....a muddy mess throughout the Ironton 30-14 win over rival Portsmouth....the win sent the home team on to the playoffs which begin next week.  After grabbing a shower in the excellent locker room, and a bite of snack bar chili dogs, chips, and drinks, we headed out, and back towards the state capitol, listening to the Cards clinch the World Series over Texas in the deciding 7th game....Damn!

We arrived back at the Waffle House at 12:30, and I fired up the Nitro, arriving home, after hitting a hawk, and just missing a buck deer, on the way, at 2:30 Saturday morning....I downed a couple of beers and hit the sack at 4, sleeping in until 10am.  Saturday afternoon, I finished my portion of the football season, working the Youth League Super Bowl double header....I have now packed the football stuff away, and will try to rest up my back, legs, and aging 62 year old body, for a few first basketball scrimmage is set for November 15th.

The rest of the weekend was spent, not officiating, but watching football....and cutting down the last of the seasons Sunflowers.

Saturday night, I arrived home just before half time of the Ohio State/Wisconsin game...down 7-3 at the half, The Buckeyes survived 2 late Badger touchdowns, by scoring one of their own with 20 seconds left to pull off the 33-29 upset....a nice touch to a so far dismal {at least in Buckeye terms} season.   Winning over Wisconsin is a plus....despite living there, having a wife from there, and and Annissa born there, I dislike the Wisconsin Badgers with a passion.  A far left wing university, with some of the worst fans in the Big Ten(right down there with Penn State)...not much to like about UW-Madison.

Sunday the Bengals continued their surprising season...knocking off Seattle on the road by a 34-12 score....Cincinnati, who some thought would win zero games this season, the Bengals now sit at 5 wins 2 loses, and are tied with Baltimore, just a half game behind the 6-2 Steelers.

So that was it....out with my football schedule, a rest before basketball.  Dartball practice does begin tonight, with the regular season set for next Monday night....frankly I'm looking forward to the 2 week rest....but not forward to the long winter ahead.

back later>>>>

Photos and links:

Top, the view about 90 minutes before game time....and a shot of my shoes at half time...they would only get worse...  The new permanent shoes I purchased from Flemings for need to worry about mud and the outside elements for these.  A view of the Ironton Stadium, on a much nicer day.   Originally "Tank" Stadium, used by the Semi-Professional Ironton Tanks, the stands were built in 1926: 

Friday, October 28, 2011

The Longest Day!?

I was all set to post the logo of the Texas Rangers on here, congradulating them and their fans on winning the World such luck!  The hated Cardinals twice came off the mat with 2 outs and one strike away from Texas claiming the crown, to tie the game, before winning it with a walk off home run in the 11th inning.  So tonight will decide has all the feel of the 1975 WS when the Reds blew game 6, losing in extra innings, but still pulled out a hard fought victory in game 7...hopefully Texas can do the same, but regardless, it's been an interesting series.....I will miss game 7 however....

I will be on my way back from Ironton...some 220+ miles south of here.  A final Friday night of regular season football.  If I choose to drive the entire way back(rather than stay at Sam's in Columbus) it will be around 3am when I make will indeed be the "Longest Day".   Then after a few hours sleep, I head for Celina Stadium to work the 2 championship games of the Cross County Youth Football League, with the JVs(3rd and 4th grade) beginning at 5:30 followed by the Varsity(5th/6th grades) to follow....

So that's my plan for the weekend....that and resting and maybe drinking a few beers on Sunday...

back Monday with the details....>>>>

Photos-I will be seeing footballs in my sleep after this weekend....and driving the Dodge Nitro rather than the van tonight....with the Deer running wild this time of year, the headlights on the Nitro are at least 10 times stronger than the old least giving me a chance to see any that may jump out on the way home tonight.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Back on Radio(for an hour), Growing Up in Venice, Florida the last chapter(from 2008)

Miserable cold, rain, falling this morning...the leaves are sticking to the walks, yards, and roadways....fortunately it is scheduled to end before nightfall, and tomorrow and the weekend, my final football weekend, looks cool, but dry.  Tomorrow the drive to Ironton, on the Ohio River, will take me to Columbus to meet with the rest of the Varsity crew...then another 2 1/2 hours down US 23 to the river town of Ironton as that school takes on it's rival from will be a late night, into the early hours of Saturday.  Saturday Night I finish things up for my football season with a Youth League Championship double header at Celina Stadium....then the welcome rest for a few weeks, before basketball starts.

Back on the Radio_____

I had not been behind a microphone since 2003, when I planted myself behind the sports mic with "Wulfie" and Dave last night at the Celina Moose Lodge, for their weekly sports show.  After being on radio and cable tv from 1978 through the next 25 years, both full time(for five years) and part time for the last's pretty much like riding a bike, or drinking a beer...once you learn, you don't easily forget.  I wasn't nervous once the show began, and the hour went flying by...we talked officiating, then the upcoming NFL games and predictions of same, and finally discussed Ohio State and High School games this coming weekend.  I even got asked by the boss, if I was interested in doing some play-by-play basketball this season....with my schedule pretty well full on Friday and Saturday nights, I'm not sure I can pull that off...but the off the cuff offer was appreciated.

In addition to the show, I saw my niece Megan, her husband Cory, and his grandpa Grinny Fox, a longtime baseball legend himself out of Rockford, Ohio.  I talked with them for a half hour or so, mostly sports and umpires.   I also sat down with some old friends from our Racquet Club days back in the late 90s and early I stuck around an extra 90 minutes and caught up on old times with friends I have not seen in some cases in nearly a decade.  A good time to say the least.... 

Growing up in Venice, Florida, a final look back_____

In late 1958, around this time of year, November, if I recall,  we moved from the Venice By-Way to the house on the Corner of School Street and Pineland Avenue in the Edgewood Section of would be our last home in Florida, and a house that mom kept until the 1980s....before selling our last link to those great days of my childhood in the 1950s and early 60s.

Here are the final segments from my look back, written in 2008:  {Click Links Below}

And here is the Epilogue....of a life lived long ago:

So there it is....a life lived 5 decades ago, on the sunny shores of the Gulf of Air Conditioner, 2 TV stations, AM radio, one car, but plenty of dogs, cats, snakes, gators, gopher turtles(tortoises), and other critters, in that life that really doesn't seen that long ago.

back later>>>>

Photos-{top} A sunset at Venice Beach, Florida, taken by me in the waning days of Summer 2000...Back when I started in radio, you need a license to broadcast, and it always helped going to a short term broadcasting school...these days, small market radio really doesn't care about quality...the early days of my broadcasting career were fun, although the moving and the starvation wages were problematical....and me and sister Marty's old cat, sitting on Dad's Chrysler Wagon, in the driveway at 328 School Street, Venice, Florida, around 1960....

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Growing Up in Venice Florida(parts 4/5 ....from 2008)...Storms Rolling Through

I was awakened overnight by some pretty loud lightning and thunder clapping, as storms rolled through West Central Ohio...those had to be pretty strong to wake me.  The Winter Beer season had arrived, and with no games to officiate and the World Series on a one day break, I grabbed a six pack of Sam Adams Winter Lager, and proceeded to down a few of those....they do produce a kick, so I dutifully sauntered off to bed about 10pm.  Only to be awakened first by the ancient Airedale, Reagan, wanting out about Midnight, then by the lightning flashes in our upstairs bedroom windows around 3am....those strikes had to hit somewhere close by, because a couple of them rattled the windows and shook things up.

This morning, Patricia took the Van and I drove the Nitro up to the dealer, to have some wheel locks removed...seems they "key" to those theft protection devices was nowhere to be found when Patricia took the Dodge in to get the oil changed and tires rather than spend over $100 to get the old ones removed and new ones installed, just get rid of the damn things...another pretty much useless invention, especially if you don't have custom wheels and don't live in or near a large city...ain't many people in small town Ohio stealing you average stock wheels and tires.  So, while that is getting done, I'm driving a loaner, 1996 Caddy with less than 80,000 miles on it....pretty nice ride, if I needed another vehicle, I might consider it, the price seems right...but I don't so I won't.....

Back on the Airway______
It been a few years since I worked in radio...I believe 2004 was the last time I got behind a microphone.   My buddy "Wulfie"  asked me to be on his WKKI Radio Sports Show tonight, live from the Celina Moose Lodge at 7pm,....wants to talk Sports in general and Officiating/Umpiring in particular.  So, back on the air for a few minutes tonight....causing me to miss the first Basketball Rules Meeting of the season at Van Wert...still plenty of time to get my required meetings in however.

Growing up in Venice, Florida parts 4 and 5_____-

 Back to looking at my childhood in the 1950s and early 60s on the Gulf of Mexico....links to my posts from 2008 are below{click links}:

Part 4-

Part 5-

The final two segments coming tomorrow...

back later>>>>

Photos-Top...A view of the old Venice Beach and Casino from about 1950...this photo was taken from what is now the location of The Inn at the 2000, I took the second photo from the location of the Beach Casino(a "new" one built in 1960} looking back at the Inn, from where the first photo was the late 1990s and early part of this new century, we vacationed at The Inn on several occasions, the kids loved the place and location.  Winter Lager from Sam Adams is now in stock...a good brew, with the taste of a hardy stout...the final photo is another I puchased on Ebay...taken from the current location of the beach near The Venice Jetties...a massive Devil Ray was taken by these guys in 1928.  I saw one swimming between the South and North Jetties in the late 1950s...probably bigger than this one.  Sadly those fishing days are gone in the Gulf, fished out by so called "sport fisherman" and foreign interests.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Football Rivalry/Growing up in Venice, Florida, parts 2 and 3 from 2008

The game we worked last night turned out to be a rivalry game between the Grand Lake Rivals, Celina and St. Marys, a Freshman game...we were warned that the bad blood that usually is a sidelight when the two schools play would be front and center.  Seems the boys were verbally battling back and forth on Facebook during the week...the contest was as advertised.

The teams had played early in the season, with Celina coming out on top....this game replaced each teams scheduled contest because their original opponents had not fielded a Freshman team...St. Marys came to this side of the lake looking for revenge, and got it, by a final of 44-18.  That score however, was not the story of this game...

The bad blood spilled over into the contest, and although we did not eject any players, coaches, or fans, we certainly could least 20 flags were thrown, for a variety of reasons, mostly late hits, swearing{and we are not talking "Hell and Damn"}, personal fouls, unsportsmanlike conduct, etc....the end came none to soon, and not without some verbal sparing between one leather lung Celina "Fan" and me.  All I really can say is, if my boys had acted like what I saw on the field last night, they would have had my foot so far up their asses, they wouldn't have been able to sit for a week.

Anyway, that contest leaves me with just two nights of football in this season, then I can get ready for the basketball schedule....frankly I am looking towards the trip to Wisconsin and the 3 weeks off between my season.  Friday Night I will travel with the crew I worked with this past week...all the way to the Ohio River town of Ironton, for another rivalry game, between the home teams and Portsmouth.  220 miles, like driving to Chicago for a game....I will park the car in Columbus and take the crew van the rest of the's gonna be a long night.  Saturday I turn around and work the Youth League double header championships at Celina Stadium...JVs at 5:30 with the Varsity to follow.   Then sweet relaxation for a few weeks....

Growing up in Venice, Florida {parts 2 and 3 from 2008}

Today I will link up with 2 more parts of my Blogger look at growing up on the Gulf of Mexico in the 1950s.....The family moved to South Venice, Florida in 1954 and we spent the next decade in that sunny land of sand and salt water:  Here is part 2 from my April 2008 look back:{click link}

And this would be part 3: {again click link below}

back later>>>
Photos-   {top-The South Jetties on the Gulf of Mexico at Venice Beach, Florida....I spent many hours fishing off those jagged rocks, the one part of Venice that hasn't changed much since my childhood.
Football and Fireworks at last nights game was in full focus...A cropped photo of our 5th Grade Class at Venice Elementary...that's me with the goofy look, mugging behind our teacher Mrs Holmes...and my buddy Ron Dinero, who I found after nearly 50, is on the bottom left....and a 1988 photo on a visit to the old hometown...Dick and Meadows Drug Store on West Venice Avenue....where we spent many summer days reading sports magazines, and sipping on those great tasting "Cherry Cokes" from the fountain.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Growing Up in Venice Florida(part 1) ....from 2008

Football, football, and more football....and my legs, back, head, all feel it this morning...or maybe it's just a slight cold, but either, I'm about footballed out.  Regardless this will be the last week for me.  A break of sorts before Roundball starts.  A JV game here in Celina tonight, Friday I may head down to the Ohio River at Ironton, it depends on if the regular guy can make it{seriously I hope he can, that's a long haul}, then Saturday Night the Cross Country Youth League "Super Bowl" will be held in Celina...I need to select two other officials to work with me on that night, a tough chore, because Ohio State plays Wisconsin that night, and getting guys to move their butts off the couches and chairs, even for $100 cash, might be a hard do.

Growing Up In Venice Florida    

Back in the 1950s and early 60s, I lived in a small town on the Gulf of Mexico, called Venice, Florida....Venice, certainly has change over the past 5 or 6 decades, but when we vacation or visit there it still brings back memories of my youth....I Blogged about those days a few years ago, and will repeat those posts over the next week or so...beginning today with part one:  {click link below} 

Sure doesn't seem like 3 1/2 years since I posted that, and certainly doesn't seem like nearly 60 years since my family moved to Venice, or 49 since we left there for the return to Ohio.

back later >>>more Venice links and Memories tomorrow

Photos-Me living in South Venice around 1955 age 6, and Me, and the Blackburn boys{my classmate and buddy Ted Blackburn on my left}, along with my sister Marty, on our Venice By-Way residence on my 9th Birthday Party March 16, 1958...

Friday, October 21, 2011

Marvin Kuhns, The Final Chapter?

The {hopefully} final day of three absolutely miserable days has come and gone...Tuesday through most of yesterday and into last night, were in a weather word "Awful".  Cold, rain, wind, 3 straight days of it.  As I headed out of Celina about 3:30 yesterday afternoon, it seem that it was going to be one wet, miserable, day of officiating Junior High football at Paulding.  However, as luck would have it...the rain ceased as I hit the land of windmills, near the Van Wert-Paulding County line near my old hometown of Scott...not that the sun came out or the wind died down...but the rain did slow to a sprinkle, and would stop by the time the 5 O'Clock start came a calling.  Despite some mud and wet conditions, the game was played in windy by mostly rainless the time I drove out of Paulding, heading south for Celina, the rains came back...and I drove the remaining 40 miles in a combination mist and light rain.

Tonight, back to Varsity fill in action, as I head to Fort Recovery, and hook up with the old guy crew out of the Columbus area, to work a MAC game between rivals St. Henry and the home standing Indians.  Redskins vs The, that would have the Politically Correct crowd in a tither....?  Tomorrow a JV game at Lima Perry is in the cards.

What's a Football Official to do?  Or AKA "Streaking in Stripes"___

I was watching the World Series last night, and on occasion turned in over to the College FB game on Fox case you missed the "highlight" of the's good stuff...not the game, but this part: 

Funny stuff, although I imagine there will be some suspensions in store for a couple of players at least.
Marvin Kuhns...The Final Chapter

Another and the final segment in my look back at The Outlaw Marvin Kuhns, for this blog during February 2008....

As you can see I was more upset with Blogger, which pretty well ruined much of my day's work....anyway old Marvin bought it that day on the Grubaugh Farm, which I drove by last is now in the area near Scott, filled with hundreds of those new "Green Energy" Windmills...massive things which blight the landscape, and I doubt do much good in the solving of the energy woes of this country....

for more on Marvin and his Outlaw life, this site has some good information as well, and a look at more of Marvin's Follies:

So there you have much of Marvin met his demise and how my dad, for Antique and Collectibles reason became intertwined with the outlaw....and me by proxy.

Enjoy your weekend...back later;

Top Photo-Marvin Kuhns in a softer moment, it appears, with his dog and her pups...I'm not sure if this was before, during, or after his Outlaw Escapades....

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

___prh...a day in the life....: The Life and Times of the Outlaw Marvin Kuhns/Rebroadcast sort of...

Rained overnight, and still coming down...not a nice day at all, more like mid November than mid October... the rains in fact, canceled my Junior High game here in Celina last night, which is rare for football.  I did however manage to pick up a Varsity game for this Friday, working with a crew from Columbus, that I had filled in on early in the season.  This week, it will be a short drive for me, while they will have 120 miles to travel from the Capital City, I will have probably 20, as I work Head Linesman for the St. Henry at Fort Recovery game....

My old buddy Dick Finke, home for a few weeks, before heading back to Clearwater, is dropping by this morning....have not seen him in over a we will catch up some, and probably head out and have a cup of Joe.....

Bringing back some past issues of the Daily Rant.....

With things going on as they are I have decided to bring back some old posts, which I enjoyed writing, back up for another look....the next three days will see the re-posting of my story of "The Outlaw Marvin Kuhns" and his connection to me, or my connection to him....The three part story and photo will run through Friday...Enjoy..

back later>>>>

{top photo}The Outlaw Marvin Kuhns, on the Slab, Stone Cold Dead, back in 1907 at Van Wert, Ohio....

Click link below to read story:

___prh...a day in the life....: The Life and Times of the Outlaw Marvin Kuhns: Since I got involved in genealogy research some 10 years ago, that interest in my family history has branched out in the lives of many famo...

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Idiots Disguised As Fans/The Changing Beer Season

A bit of rain falling this morning, after yesterday finished on a cloudy, windy, and seasonable note.  Yesterday afternoon I was off to Celina Stadium to work a Freshman Football game between two good teams...Kenton came in undefeated, against Celina, whose Freshman class appears set to bring the program back to respectability.  The game was as advertised, with Kenton pulling out a 22-20 win over the Bulldogs.  One official was a no-show, so three of us had to work the game between two pass orientated teams...Big John, who with bad knees, is not the fastest rabbit on earth, probably slower than me was the head referee...Pastor Jim, the only man with any speed, was on the Kenton side, I was with the chains on Celina's side...the three of us were.hardly going to cover 22 freshman players with footballs in the air and speed to burn....we did our best, but I'm sure we missed a few calls.

I doubt if it would have mattered in the final outcome, although I believe there may have been a missed a late hit against the Wildcats on a late fourth quarter 4th down.  That play came in Kenton territory late, and could have given Celina new life...Regardless, the real point is the collection of morons, who, mostly parents at this level, are called "fans"...yes, as in fanatics.

The visiting side, even with the win, and getting the majority of calls their way, were particularly brutal...I'm sure Pastor Jim heard the barrage of foul mouth four letter words coming out of the stands...both sides had their share, but the visitors by far were the much so, after the game, one of the young coaches came up and apologized for the fans on his side.  Jim says he's about ready to chuck it(officiating as a sidelight)'s been a bad year for him as far as fan abuse...although this year, I have not seen in my games, anymore than usual.  And I've had no threats of physical violence, like last year...although Jim did have a couple of morons a week or so ago, in the game I took off, due to being in Dayton, telling him they would meet him in the parking lot.  They never showed, but even to threaten shows the pure stupidity of some.

My guess is these morons are not only lousy fans, they are most likely lousy parents....I am(along with Jim) back here in Celina tonight for a Junior High game...hopefully the rain will go away....

The Seasonal Beer Season_____

Although I am in no hurry for winter to ascend on Western Ohio, late fall and winter are my favorite beer drinking seasons.  Summer, I guzzle down gallons of Miller Lite...just because it's cheap and after a Summer ACME baseball double header, it goes down pretty well.  But when the leaves change, and that is followed by the snow flying, my taste turns to the darker shades of brew.

In the short fall season, I will test the various Autumn Beers from Sam Adams and Blue Moon(Coors), as well as some of the smaller micro brewery fares.  I really don't have a favorite "Fall Beer", but unlike some so called beer experts, I don't spend my time fretting about the ups and downs of every damn beer I try...If I don't like it, I simply don't go back to that particular taste.  Why bitch about it, just move on to another brand or taste?

The pumpkin beers and ales are varied this time of year...I enjoy a Sam Adams Octoberfest, and a Harvest Moon beer, and even the Pumpkin Ale out of Blue Moon as well....those are not something I would buy year round, but, as a change of pace from the summer lager scene and before the darker stout beers and larges of winter are produced, they are not bad....I'm sure I will have a couple after tonight's game.

back later>>>

Photos-Football season, of the lower levels is winding down....and if last night is any indication, none to soon.  And the fall beer season is in full bloom....Sam Adams and Blue Moon(Coors) both produce drinkable fares for Autumn.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Where Have All the Flowers Gone?

Fall has arrived in full force...the strong winds over the weekend took care of much of the color from the trees locally, a color that lasts just a short while, and with a bit of rain, and some strong winds, it is gone in an instant.

On Saturday I dragged myself out of bed, after a late Friday, where Nick, Tom, and I, had a few brews at C-Town Wings in Celina.  Nick and I downed more than a couple 22 oz Oktoberfest Drafts...but I felt pretty good Saturday AM despite it all.  Tom wanted to go with me, not so much to watch a JV game between Cory-Rawson and home standing Leipsic, but to take a side trip to Deshler to check in with his old horse training friends, to say good-bye before he heads for Florida next week for the winter.

 The game was played in cool and windy conditions, but we finished it up before Noon{after a 10am start), and were on our way to the Corn City Bar in Deshler.  We each had one beer and a Texas Tenderloin...then headed to visit Tom's friends, before stopping by the Stables to check in with one of the horses that he worked with..."Holiday Shopper", a four year old Filly has had a successful career, and Tom was a big part of running and training her.  Done there we headed back to Celina....

When I got home, I watched Ohio State "upset" Illinois...hardly an upset, the Illini were overrated from the get-go, and despite completing only one pass, OSU and it's defense dominated the 17-7 game.  In other sports, Texas and the hated Cardinals both completed their respective American and National League crowns, and will meet in the World Series beginning Wednesday.

Sunday, Sam, home from Columbus, and I worked a youth league tournament double header...a couple of upsets, and it looks like the teams from Celina, may be done....I know the Green and White teams all lost, meanwhile the Celina Black team won, so we will have a final double header on Sunday.   Football for me is winding down for tonight and tomorrow at Celina, Thursday at Paulding, Saturday at Lima Perry, and finally next Monday here in Celina, are all I have left on my schedule....then some rest, a trip to Wisconsin, then it will be time to get ready for Basketball season, and that first Grandson, who is scheduled to be born in late November.

The Garden's Last Gasp____

Cut off the few remaining Sunflower heads on Saturday...the Squirrels had already taken care of most....which just means less for them this winter.  Although I'm sure that they have been storing my stock for a month or so already.  The Moon Flowers were going great guns, until this last week, and now they appear to be spent as well....despite hundreds that bloomed this summer and fall, I think we will change their location next spring, to take advantage of the fast growing productive vines.  About the only things still blooming are the Marigolds, which are tough as nails, and will likely keep producing until the first hard freeze...and we may have one or two more lawn mowings left in the Toro before the lawn gives it up for the coming winter.  

Have I said "I hate Winter"?  As much as I enjoy fall weather, I am not looking forward to the long cold winter ahead....but then again, I am no fan of hot and humid summer conditions either....

back later>>>>

photos-The Flowers of Spring and Summer are but a memory...and Tom with one of the fillies, and one of his favorites "Manny Shuffle" from the Suggs Stables...

Friday, October 14, 2011

End of Week, Cleaning out the files

 Most of the past week has been spent recovering from the Vietnam Security Police Association's 17th Annual Reunion, and getting out doing some football, some fall weather enjoying, and "borrowing", cropping, fixing, etc, the photos from the reunion.....time for some relaxation..or not.

Football last night under the lights at Spencerville, lucky the rain missed us both east, west, north, and south...tomorrow I will rise early, and head north, taking the place of a young official who needed to beg out...not much profit in driving that far for a JV game, but, I figure, he will need to pay me back some time, since he also works baseball, and basketball....always good to have something to fall back on.  Sunday a double header, as the Youth Football League takes to tournament action.....then next week I will clean out some of the photos etc from the past reunion, and do some more cropping, and "fixing"...amazing what you can do with photos these days, as compared to only a decade or so ago....even the worst photos can be made viewable....

In the meantime, here is what I leave you with this week, as I file the VSPA Memories away...The Bench that was dedicated next to the Defender Statue at the Air Force Museum...borrowed from The Rameys...(2) A fall shot of "Whiskey Run" near Montezuma, Ohio, where I spent the winters of my high school years, learning how to master ice skating in those long ago and long winters of the mid 1960s....(3) And the photos of my Nha Trang Law Enforcement Buddies from 1969 with the 14th SPS....(a) Harry Bevan and me, photo by Tony Niemotka, and (b) Harry, me, and Tony, taken by Harry's wife Anna....enjoy the weekend, back later:

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

October 12, 1969...Nha Trang Rocket Attack

I was checking out the Vietnam Security Police website tonight, and noted a date...October 12, 1969:

It said "Nha Trang AB, 0550 hours, Rocket Attack, 3 Rockets, No Injuries, No Damage"  Or something like that...I remember that morning well.  I and the rest of A Flight Law Enforcement with the 14th Security Police Squadron, usually woke up, showered and dressed in no particular order, and we at Guardmount, and on duty sometime before 8am...truth is, 42 years later I don't remember the exact time our shift got underway.  But I do remember that morning.

I had been in country about 3 1/2 months, so I wasn't exactly a rookie, but other than a few alerts, I had not seen much action either.  In LE, especially day shift(A Flight), we were usually watching entry control points to the base, or riding around in Jeeps, giving the guys on the LE posts breaks for lunch, or latrine breaks.  Frankly it was not hard duty....and as I've posted many times on this blog, that tour of duty at Nha Trang, was my absolute favorite of my nearly 4 years in the Air Force, nothing else comes close.  War Zone or not, Nha Trang, at least for Security Police was prime duty.

That morning however, just before dawn I, and the rest of our concrete barracks, were awakened by the sound, all too close, of something hitting the base.  As it turned out the radar or TUOC Building next to the barracks was hit, as was the outdoor movie theater, located right across the street.  We were out and about pretty quickly, and our Law Enforcement duties began a couple hours early.  As for the "No Injuries, No Damage" line...maybe no injuries, but I  can attest that there was damage...and pieces of the rocket, called shrapnel lying around...I grabbed a couple of pieces, put them in my foot locker, and still have them today...along with a few other pieces of memorabilia.

There were only a few of us, maybe a dozen, working A Flight Law Enforcement....the late Phil Lange was our NCOIC, as for the rest...I have contact with at least a half dozen, and three of us got together last week at the VSPA Reunion in Dayton....Harry Bevan, Tony Niemotka, and brought memories flooding back, as did the mention of the rocket attack that occurred 42 years ago today.

back later>>>>

Photos-from Harry's Collection from the VSPA Reunion....left to right: Harry Bevan, Pat Houseworth(PRH), and Tony Niemotka, all three of us worked A Flight Law Enforcement and we in the barracks when the rocket hit....a piece of Shrapnel from the rocket attack at Nha Trang 42 years ago today...and the Base Outdoor Theater, right across the street from our living, along with the Radio/Radar TUOC Building both took direct hits.

Back to Normal....after the Reunions, Bonding, and Sunshine!

The Daily Routine, the weather, whatever, things appear to be sliding back into the normal realm, for the semi-retired.

The VSPA Reunion in Dayton is but photographs and memories, as is the Kokomo Vietnam Vet Reunion. The 10 straight days of outstanding weather, with temperatures running from the low 70s to low 80s, without a cloud in the sky, are also coming to and end.  High School Football, while the playoff season will stretch into December, is winding down, as the regular season has but 3 weeks to go...time flies this time of the year, but it will surely drag come winter.  As for me, today at least, is a day of rest....

After two straight days of football officiating, I get today off...I lifted weights and mowed mom's yard yesterday, so today, I can drop those off the agenda as well.  My lawn will need one more mowing at least, sometime this week, but for today, other than a good long walk, perhaps uptown or to the fairground, rather than the treadmill is probably in the works.  My desk is a cluttered mess of ball caps, pins, and other memorabilia from the VSPA get-together, so I will clear that off, and perhaps, if the sun appears, get some final photos of the leaves turning around Grand Lake, before they are gone until next May...but in general, the agenda is free and clear.  I believe Patricia told me she would be at school late, so I'll fix a late supper of Rib Eye Steaks, Baked Potatoes and some Green Beans...and that will be my day.

I have sorted through and sent out some of the photos from last week at Dayton...the collection is not as varied in number or quality as I would have liked...but some of that comes from me not being used to the indoor functions on the Nikon, and from the folks I gave it to to take photos, only doing what I showed them...thus, despite some great outdoor shots, the indoor photos left something to be desired.  I do have some requests out however, and expect Al, Tony, and Harry, my Nha Trang cohorts to feed me some good quality shots, in the next days and weeks....

So we head towards the late fall and early football will end in a few weeks, then basketball beckons.  I've got a State Meeting to attend on-line, I may do that today, then again, I might not...the Van Wert Rules Meetings for roundball begin October 26th, then my first scrimmage comes sometime in mid November.  After the banquet circuit, I hope to lose the 8 to 10 pounds I have gained since last season, before the tip off of the 2011-12 basketball campaign.   Sure I'm still down 25 or so from the Summer of 2009, but want the basketball outfits to fit nice and loose.

First though I finish up football....and although being off tonight, tomorrow I work a game under the lights at Spencerville...a JH game, and it appears the rains may have an effect on that one.  The weather and time will tell...

Speaking of sports...oldest son Sam, majoring in Actuarial Science, continues to work for the Big Ten Network and OSU.Com....yesterday he was working the color for the OSU/Northwestern Men's Soccer game...after all the years broadcasting I never worked a nationally televised game on TV or Radio...  here Sam has already worked a few national games, plus got a Big Ten Award last season for Student Production.  Not sure what he plans on doing after he graduates from Ohio State next spring, but with the Act-Science degree and broadcasting as a side lite, he has a couple of options.

back later....

Photos-The sun over Grand Lake, having shown for the past 10 days or so, is covered with clouds.  My Antique desk is a cluttered mess of Reunion Memorabilia....back to English Muffins with my morning coffee, now poured into my new Nha Trang 14thSPS Mug, purchased at the reunion...Basketball is just around the corner....seems like football just kicked off yesterday.  And finally Sam's award from last season at the Big Ten Network, for Sports Direction/Production....

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

After the VSPA Reunion....part 2

Another great early fall day is at hand...last night we were still wearing shorts and short sleeve shirts officiating the JV game here in Celina...the Bulldogs came out on top 33-14 over Lima Shawnee, thus making up in small part for the 63-20 ass whooping they received from the Indians on Friday night in the Varsity game....some of the visiting fans had their fine "whine" on during the game.  It never ceases to amaze me how utterly clueless some fans are, and that goes for quite a few lower level coaches as well.   They really don't know a damn thing about the game....any game, name your game!

Today, we are scheduled to reach 78 for a high and the forecast looks good, albeit a little more cloudy, for tomorrow, before rain moves in late week.  Tonight I stay in Celina, for a Junior High contest....

VSPA Reunion Friday October 7th_____

Friday was basically an off day at the was everybody on their own.  Most headed to the Air Force Museum at Wright-Patterson.  Patricia had a dermatologist appointment about 20 miles north of Dayton, in Troy, Ohio...and it was at 6:30 in the AM.   We got up at 4:30 or so, and headed the Nitro out on the Interstate...done with the routine appointment, we headed back to the Holiday Inn in Fairborn, and grabbed a buffet breakfast at the Hotel...after that we packed up before heading out....I managed to get some quality "war stories" in with several of the guys, before we finally called it a day.  I had a football game to officiate Friday night at Allen East, near Lima...and also to deliver a friend of Hal's car back to Celina.  Matt had loaned Hal one of his vehicles, while Hal's was in the shop getting the Hail Damage repaired from last Summer....some $6100 worth of work, that the insurance company took care of.

So that was it for Friday...the game went off, and despite the poor records of the two teams, it was a pretty well played contest which the home team won 33-22.  The crew headed for the Beer Barrel in Lima after the game....where we dined on Wings and drafts....I, still exhausted from the week to date, finally fell into the sack about 1:45 in the morning.

Saturday October 8th______

Patricia and I had already decided to save a few hundred bucks and spend only two nights in Dayton....Wednesday and Thursday.  With the games and her doctor's appointment, there was no reason to lay down cash for Friday and Saturday....the drive is only 80 minutes or so, so once the Saturday night banquet was done, we would head home.

Plenty of small talk and small war stories were to be had once we arrived back in Fairborn at 4pm....the banquet was a couple of hours away, so we took the opportunity to get into some discussions with the other guys, and some "Old Timers" as well.

There were three reunions going on at once at the Holiday Inn...among those were a group of World War II flyers of the 13th Air Force....these guys spent the war flying in Burma, and despite many in their late 80s and early 90s, they were a treat.  One spry 86 year old in particular, named Glenn, wove some stories for us young guys(in our 50s through 70s).  After the war, Glenn went on to become a teacher, then principal, and finally a school me, he refused to wear a necktie to his banquet, saying "I wore one of those damn things for 48 years, and no longer have to, and don't own one"....being one of a half dozen or so not wearing a coat or tie to our banquet, I could see Glenn was a pretty sharp guy....and like I said, pretty damn entertaining.

Our banquet saw plenty of speeches, plenty of raffle door prizes,(Patricia and I were shut out, dang!), and plenty of awards, which seem to get recycled each year among many of the same people....dang shut out again, Sam Lewis and I joked about needing a truck to haul all of our awards away....trouble makers we are.  

Patricia and I sat with some of our Mini-Reunion co-horts, Bob Griffith, Sam and Ruth Lewis, Doug Davis, and Tommy Webb...I mingled back towards the back tables where the gang from Nha Trang were seated, and also got to visit with my old hometown, Scott, Ohio, buddy Bill Marshall and his wife Karen, who also hails from Van Wert County...I know here brother Doyle well.   The event ended close to 11pm, and we said our farewells and got some final photos with the Nha Trangers.....before making the drive back to Celina...arriving just before had bee an exhausting 4 days.

All-in-all it was a great time...frankly I still like Kokomo and our Mini Reunions in Dayton, but this was a chance to see folks like Harry Bevan, whom, although we had corresponded over the last decade, I had not seen since he headed home in November 1969.......and that in itself made it all worthwhile.

We are planning a mini-reunion in March of 2012 back at Wright-Patterson, but first I will enjoy the memories of this big reunion(some 135 Sky Cops were on hand with 100 or so wives and guests)...

back later>>>>

Photos-(1) Some of the pins, collectibles, and mementos from the reunion, I also managed to grab the last of the Nha Trang Coffee Cups, and some decals which I placed on the rear  window and bumper of the Van, when I returned home.

Three Air Force and Army Air Corps groups were holding their reunions at the same time...the interaction was pretty darn neat...Glenn, the former school teacher/principal/superintendent entertained us "younger" guys and wives, before he left for his banquet.  Other photos, include me and my Scott, Ohio hometowner Bill Marshall at the Memorial Dedication.  Doug Davis a Sky Cop K9 handler who was stationed at Wright-Patterson and Vietnam, Doug traveled all the way from Traverse City, Michigan...Sam and Ruth Lewis, and Tommy Webb pins a Life Membership pin on Bob Griffith....Bill and Karen Marshall awarded Bob his LM pin....he joins 700+ of us now calling ourselves Life Members of the VSPA.

Monday, October 10, 2011

After the VSPA Reunion....

Gotta say the time since Patricia and I left for Dayton and the Vietnam Security Police Association Reunion last Wednesday, most of the time has been a blur....the one constant was the weather, which turned out picture perfect for the time of year, in fact, anytime of year.  The sun was a constant, with high temperatures rising to the middle 70s early on during the reunion, to the lower 80s by the end...lows overnight were pretty much in the middle to upper 50s.  No rain, no clouds to speak of, and the humidity was pretty darn near perfect as well.

Wednesday 10/5/11

I picked up Patricia at about 3pm from school, and we made the 75 mile trek in about an hour and a half....checked into our room on the fourth floor, and headed down to the Holiday Inn lobby.  Didn't take long for people to stop by and greet us...seems more people know me, or at least my radical right rantings on this blog and the VSPA Bulletin Board, than I know.  But it soon became apparent that many of the readers of both were in Dayton for the reunion.

Bill Harris, Bill Ramey, Bob Gephart, Howard Yates, and my old buddy Sam Lewis, were the first folks I the time the first night's buffet dinner got started, my Nha Trang pal, Harry Bevan, whom, while I had conversed with via e-mail, Blogger, and Facebook over the past decade, I had not seen in 42 years walked over and gave me a big handshake and hug....he took me to his table where another half dozen or so Nha Trang guys from the Philadelphia area were seated with wives.  Al Gerard, who was on B flight at Nha Trang and Tony Niemotka, who was with Harry and me on A Flight Law Enforcement, were there with several other guys that were at Nha Trang at various times in the late 60s...also George Maag, a friend of Harry's from Philly, who while not at Nha Trang(he was a SP at Da Nang in 70-71), had traveled with the group.  

We shared BS throughout that first night, while we lost more than a few folks as the hours passed, George, Harry, me, and my old Mini-Reunion co-hort, Mike Tillman, a retired State Police guy from Kentucky, managed to hold guard on the beer and booze table until well past 1am Thursday morning....I would feel it the next day at Wright-Patterson AFB.

Thursday October 6th_____

I was just a bit hung over when, Harry, George, Harry's wife Anna, whom although I had never met, I knew her from Harry at Nha Trang....they had married just a month before Harry was deployed to Vietnam in late 1968, Patricia and I ate the buffet breakfast at the restaurant at the hotel.  Then we headed to the AF Museum for the dedication of the VSPA Bench next to the Defender Statue in the Memorial Park on the grounds.

After that it was lunch with the new crop of dog handlers and Security Force men and women(something there were none of when we served), of the 88th Security Force Squadron.  We were then treated to a show of the dogs working....back to the hotel to rest up, then the Nha Trang group headed out for a Mexican meal, at a restaurant not far from the Holiday Inn....youngest son Hal, and his wife Lisa, joined the group, for drinks and a heavy meal.  By the time we were done there, we were pretty much gassed.  Most headed off to bed, but Harry, George, and I, head out until about 10 or later, before giving it up...I had to get up early, Friday was going to be a travel day, starting very early, so the second day ended, with me hitting the sack, trying to catch up with my lack of sleep.

More Tomorrow.....

back later>>>>>

Photos-Howard Yates from Orlando played the Bagpipes at the Memorial Bench Dedication on Thursday.  Geogre Maag, Harry Bevan, and Mike Tillman, BS during the early morning hours at the Hospitality Room.  Tony Neimotka, and me, Tillman and Rick Adams at the dedication Thursday...on opening night, George Maag, Al Gerard, me, and Harry....and finally the SF Dogs put on a show, taking down a "victim" at the demonstration on Thursday at the base.