Monday, May 28, 2012

Time Off! {for a few days}

Over the years I have seen more than a few hot Memorial Day Weekends and a few Memorial Days that have been too cold to even sit out and, and the entire weekend have been of the former fact, I don't remember any Memorial Day Holiday this hot, other than possibably my days growing up in Venice, Florida, or my year in Vietnam...but then again those have been so long ago, I don't remember.  Since Friday, the temperatures have been in the 90s for high, with today's topping out in the 96 degree range, probably a record for May the indash thermometer on the Nitro read 96 for much of the return trip from Centerville, after spending a few hours with Hal, Lisa, and grandson Kasyn.  Hot it was!

We arrived just after 11, BBQed out, and watched "The K-Man" spash for an hour in his wading pool....just a few days past 6 months, his growth and achievements each visit are pretty amazing....

This will probably be my last post for a few days....maybe for more than a few...I will try to drop some photos and notes in once or twice during the next week or so...but at this time, things are going to be hectic, and busy...I have a quick trip to Upstate New York, a day or so at the Vietnam "mini-reunion" in Kokomo, and then baseball, the summer season, begins next Friday night with a 8pm start at Kalida's classic baseball venue...where the stadium is as old as me....Sam and I are scheduled to work there, then a double header together at Shawnee on Saturday the meantime, I will continue to work the the "new" computer, and figure out the differences which are making posting photos a bit more difficult.

So, hopefully with my travels in the next few days, the photos I secure will be worthwhile....and worth posting.....and I will be:

Back Later....God Willing of Course!   And try to remember the real meaning of Memorial Day....the men who sacrificed it all and those that survived...not those ass clowns in DC and the Media who claim to name the heroes.... Colin Powell, Al Gore, Barack Obama, and John Kerry aren't Audie Murphy or Alvin York by any stretch of the imagination....they don't make a infested pimple on a real man's ass!

Photos-Spent the Day in Centerville, and watched as "The K-Man" tested out his new wading pool....the sooner you get kids to love the water and respect it, the better they will be, and the more respect they will have for it, the fun, and dangers of being near the water.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Rambling Thoughts on a Memorial Day Weekend....

While still getting used to the workings of a new computer I don't have it in me to finish up the "Ode to Grand Lake" just yet.....I'm still working on getting my photos reloaded, and installing the set up for loading the program for the Nikon into the new "tower", the work will continue over the hot and humid holiday weekend.


Yesterday afternoon, I fired up the grill, mom, niece Lori, her young daughter Olivia, sister Kelly and, even even Mike stopped by, along with Patricia and me.....Burgers, Kosher Hot Dogs, Brats, and BBQ Chicken, Patricia made a veggie tray, and desert...the women had some wine, and I downed a few long necks...if I don't say so myself, the food was excellent, even with my old gas grill, converted to a charcoal, the food came out pretty close to perfect. {insert bragging on myself}


With my Spring work done on the diamonds, I still follow the Regional Games....Minster, who I was working the District Final, will make a return trip to the State and defend their D4 Championship next weekend...for the second straight year they defeated Sidney Lehman in the Regional Final to move on to the Semi State against Defiance Tinora.  Other area teams to make the finals in Columbus are Lima Central Catholic in D3, and Wapakoneta in Division 2, who defeated league rival and top ranked Defiance High School by a 6-1 score.  The State Tournament will be played from May 31st through June 2nd.

Upstate New York....

Patricia and I will take Kelly to the upper reaches of New York State next week....and she joins husband Denmark Mike at the Marina Resort on an island in the St Lawrence River...he will be there running that restaurant until Labor Day, when they will return to south Florida, and their home in Naples...hopefully I will get a few good photographs.


The NY trip will cut out most of the time I had planned on spending at the Vietnam Reunion in Howard County, Indiana....but hopefully I will be able to get over and stay with Tom McCandless and Company for a day...before returning to the summer umpire wars on June 1st.  The month of June is pretty full of baseball dates, except for the weekend of June 10th when we will travel to Columbus and watch oldest son, Sam, graduate from The Ohio State University...with his degree in Actuarial Science in hand...hopefully soon after he will be working in that field.  It is a wide open field....and he is already getting interviews.

The Hot Weekend Ahead....

Hot, humid, but no rain in sight....that is the story for the Memorial Day Weekend ahead....enjoy!

back later>>>>

The Photos-Things are not going to be easy with the new photo set-up....Have a great Memorial Day Weekend, and remember the reason....for this Holiday, it's not for the bastards like Obama and other haters of's in honor of those who served, fought, and die for useless idiots like him and his supporters.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Ode to Grand Lake....postponed a day or so....

The Dell Computer had been acting up, and looking quite infected over the past weeks....the anti virus program had changed, and pop up and misdirections were getting to be a pain in the ass, to say the least....well yesterday it took any problems out of our hands, as the hard drive crashed....and now here I set with a "new" actually refurbished E-Machine from the local computer will do the job, but like anything else in computer/Internet land, it's going to be a drag.  And for4 now I'm working with Internet Explorer, rather than Firefox....which even while blogging is different, you actually have to use the "spell check" button, for me, that will be a problem, not the world's best spelling B champ, especially when I am in a hurry...anyway, I really have not figured out how to load photos, to the blog..the generic one of the new computer, it may be a few days, over the Holiday before I get back to "normal" blogging....but will check in when I get a chance.  In between loading, reloading, and figuring out where the lost stuff is on this puppy.

back later>>>>

Crash, Boom, Bang...

Hard Drive Crashes are a bear.....and ours did yesterday.  New(refurbished) E-Machine....

back later...when I figure it all out.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

An Ode to Grand Lake St. Marys.....part #1

No blog yesterday, I decided to take the 30 mile trip via the roadways around Grand Lake, and see how our alga infested, 13,000 acre swamp was looking.....Not So Good!

Regular readers have seen my hundreds of photos of Grand Lake sunrises, sunsets, and other looks over the last 5 years(in July)...what you have not seen of late are people using the lake....because few are.  Fishing is almost non-existent, boating is down, and swimming?  Forget about it!  The Blue-Green Alga over the past few years has put a damper on an already bad situation for the once largest man-made lake in the world.......

The 1960s____

When the Houseworth family left Venice, Florida, in late 1962...we had already checked out the Celina/Grand Lake area, it was some 30 miles south of dad's hometown of tiny Scott, Ohio, and located on the huge lake known as the Celina Reservoir, Lake St. Marys, Grand Lake, etc...the shallow body of water was hand dug back in the 1830s, where workers received 50 cents a day and a jigger of whiskey, to ward off the malaria that abounded in the swampy area.  Dad purchased a Marathon Gas Station{which still sits in the same location today} less than two blocks from the lake and Lake Shore Drive....we eventually settled in Montezuma on the lake's south side, and that is where I would spend my high school days.

Whether it was ice skating at Whiskey Run a long stones toss from our house, located by the small Lakefield Airport, or fishing in one of the channels that intertwined the Lake's south side, I spent many hours on and around Grand Lake.  When the Jones boys and I started driving, with Bob, a few months older, getting his license first, we explored even more....including plenty of "lake bars" as we turned 18...Windy Point was a focal point, a beach, and plenty of space to hang out.  We would also head to the north side, and check out the bars and Scotty's Beach on that side...spending endless hours during the summer in pursuit....of whatever we could find.

The lake wasn't the cleanest, even back then, but we didn't was swimable, and we used it most, or at least many days during the summer months.  Off to the Air Force I went, and when I returned to Celina and the lake, it was the next decade....

The 70s_____

When I finally returned to Celina, living full time starting in 1973, Rick Pearson had long since returned from his shorter stint in the Army.  While going to college Rick found his calling, while attending, first Wright State Lake, then Ohio University, he managed to hook on as a Lifeguard for the State of Ohio, and his location was Grand Lake State Park at St. Marys....Pearson used those summers to try to score women, and I'm sure he met with some success.  I do know for sure he loved that job....

After I returned from upstate New York...the lake was mostly a boating location, and bar stop for me.  Dad had passed away on Christmas Eve 1972...the next summer, I used his boat for most of those months, frankly it was lucky I survived.  As I recall, the use of the boat, was stopped, when mom pulled back the cover one morning and found a few empty cases of beer cans littering the floor.   That was it for me, she sold the boat soon after.  We did have some wild times on Grand Lake, especially Mike Schilling and me, both with boats that summer, and taking them out on days, both condition of lake, and our personal condition, that we had no business being on water.

The Lake Festival was, and still is, held every July in Celina....while managing the Red Door, it was our biggest and wildest weekend of the year....Jim Olsen, back then a DJ at WCSM radio, lived in a cottage on the lake's west bank....the parties we had at that shack were the stuff legends were made of.  I remember crawling on my Kawasaki and riding back across town at 6 in the morning, more than a few times...sometimes in early winter, with snow and ice covering West Bank Road I would slide that two wheeler back across town to Brandon Avenue....I was indeed crazy!

Fishing, for Nick Hromish and I, remained a part of our Grand Lake area lives through the 1970s, until Patricia and I moved to Wisconsin in the fall of 1977.  Other lake activities were also a large part of life in my 20s...working nights as a bartender, or home for the summer from college, I would take our first Airedales, Rag and Max out to the Windy Point area...those Terriers loved to swim.  Frankly Max was a good swimmer....but Rag?....Not so much, but she loved the water anyway...and to keep them off the beaches, I would take them to a small channel where we would swim for hours during the hot summer days.

After moving back and hooking up with the Health Departmnt in the 1980s, the lake and it's conditions began to change....even with the new sewer system on the south side, most of those changes, and the increased development, were not for the better.

The 80s, 90s, and beyond, tomorrow....back later>>>> 

Photos-Me at the 2009 "Bar Stool Open"  13 bars, 13 mini golf holes, and lots of beer...despite it's decline over the years, Grand Lake Sunrise and Sunsets make for some good photography, a self-portrait taken last August off the West Bank....A channel off Montezuma and State Route 703, dad and I fished here on many is a non starter these days on Grand Lake.  The State Park Beach at St. Marys...where Rick used to ply his lifeguard trade, and try to impress the girls...this weekend, Memorial Day or not, I suspect it will be as empty as it was yesterday, even with temperatures slated to soar into the mid 90s....and Rag and Max Channel near Windy Point on the lake's south side as it looks today, Rag(foreground) and Max tree a Squirrel, back over 30 years ago....

Monday, May 21, 2012

The Spring Season Ends, back to the Workout Regiment

May is feeling more like July....

Sam and I drove to Coldwater, site of my just completed District 4 games this past week{see Saturday's Blog for details on the hard fought, close played final}for a Junior High double header between the host Cavilers and visiting Versailles, whose varsity team, along with Minster, remain the two MAC Schools left in the baseball Regional....Versailles in D3, while Minster remains in D4, as the defending State Champions in that Division.

We got started at 1pm and were done before 4:30, I was home by 5 downing a few cold ones....with the temperatures reaching near 90 degrees, can you blame me?  After a warm winter, a hot March, a windy, but dry April, May has, for the most part, a feel of July...who knows what it will feel line when Summer actually arrives?  But for now, things are dry, bone dry, the fields look stressed, as does my garden, as the plants and flowers make their effort to pop through the dry, hard, soil seem fruitless.  Ohio it seems cannot hit the happy medium, seldom do we have a seasonal season with enough rain, it's always, so I often notice, either too cold, too wet, or as is the case this Spring, too hot and dry....not that I mind the warm weather, but we could use some rain.  Today they are saying 40% chance of storms, but the radar is clear as a bell at this hour, and if it doesn't rain today or tonight, it may be another week of hot and dry before our next chance.

Spring Baseball....finished for PRH

With no regional games this year, for the second straight season, my spring season has come to an end....the break is short lived however...a 10 day break before Sam and I work a ACME Double Header at Lima Shawnee on June 2nd.  June will be pretty full game wise, before the Summer baseball season ends in July and I start concentrating on the coming High School and lower level football schedule.  Several things on the calender happen over the next month as I ease into that Summer schedule however.

Patricia and I may be taking my sister Kelly, who is staying with us for another week or so, through Memorial Day, to far upstate New York, where her husband/Chef Mike is getting ready to take care and the start up of a resort/marina food operation for the summer months....that would come right after the holiday weekend.  Then I will run over to Kokomo for a day or two for the mini reunion of Vietnam Veterans, this is the prequel to the big September bash...ACME Summer Baseball begins that Saturday as the State High School season finishes up....then the next weekend Sam finishes up his work at The Ohio State University in Columbus...he will receive his BS in Actuarial Science on June 10th....a Sunday. 

The Workouts....back at it!

When I got the news that my Carotid Arteries were pretty well "plugged",  it was suggested that I stopped my weight lifting and heavy workouts....well I thought, just how heavy are my workouts at 62/heading for 63 years of age?  But I ceases the basement three times a week weight's now been 3 months since I stopped pumping iron, and despite the baseball umpiring, I really need to get back into the regiment....and that begins today.

Over the past 2 years 9 months{September 2009} since it was discovered that I had pre-diabetes 2{ain't getting old great?}, I have watched my diet....losing 31 pounds down to 183 from 214, the last few months, with medication and workouts ceases, I have gained a dozen or so pounds back....drifting between 192 and 197.  So it's time to take back the's been just over 9 weeks since the surgery on my 63rd birthday back on March 16th, and I need to drop the pounds gained since then...summertime, with lite beers instead of the heavy dark ones and sweating off the pounds, hopefully I can get back down towards the 180 mark, and close to where I was before the surgery and medication....

Time is wasting, so time to get with it....back later>>>>

Photos-(1)As I look today...(2) ACME and American Legion Baseball are next on the agenda..(3) Back to lifting some weights, although I doubt if I ever get back to the heavy lifting, as I was doing (4)before the surgery...back on March 16th, the day I turned 63.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

A District Baseball Tournament for the Ages

Usually I don't post on the weekends, but after last nights district finals at Coldwater I felt I needed to post about it before faded from my aging memory banks.

The rookie of the 3-man umpire crew, at least compared to Bob Grubaugh with 22 years and Ed Oberlander with 40...although I am older, age wise, than 14 years since re-joining the umpire ranks, seems paltry.  We had a District Tournament for the ages...three games, one going extra innings, decided by a total of 4 runs.  The pitching was excellent, and the final scores were 4-2, 3-2 in 8 innings, and 4-3, with last nights championship game ending on a bang-bang play with the bases loaded:

I had a pretty easy night in the finals, until the top of the 7th inning, when things got tight, and two key plays made things exciting for the final minutes.

Down 4-2 Crestview's Knights, rallied in the top of the 7th....getting the tying runs on 2nd and 3rd with nobody out....a hard ground ball to short, caught the Crestview runner off the rundown ensued, I moved into position behind the 3rd base bag, Bob moved from behind the plate.  Just when it looked like the runner was dead in the water, he stopped, stepped aside the tag, and made a beeline back to third base...sliding in ahead of the tag.  Minster's fielders and coaches were not happy, wanting me to appeal to problem, he saw the same thing I did, no tag, and the runner stayed in the imaginary 3 foot baseline.  This eventually set up the game ending play (seen on the video}.

4-3 with the defending State small school champions, Minster, in the lead....bases loaded and now 2 outs...The Wildcat's #1 hurler, who has been out with a sore elbow, had come in to get the final outs...on a 1-2 pitch, the Crestview batter bounces a high hopper to short, a quick toss to second for the force out to end the game....the play was admittedly close, a banger, I made the out call, and am pretty sure I got it right....but honestly it was as close as it could be...I do know the second baseman kept his foot on the bag long enough, and I would make the call every time...but that doesn't mean as a coach or player for Crestview I wouldn't have been disappointed or thought the call was wrong....all in all the three district games were great to view, play in, or umpire....heartbreaks and close controversial plays are all part of the game.

Out to enjoy the weekend....back later>>>>

Friday, May 18, 2012

Lights Out! and a Day With the "K-Man"

Spent yesterday with Hal and Kasyn at Centerville...daughter-in-law Lisa was working at her office, and Hal was working at home with several on-line meetings to attend I headed down about 7:45, arriving at 9:15am to help out with the K-Man, who turns 6 months next week on the 24th....the pleasant youngster is well above the average when it comes to size and growth in just about every other measure of progress.  Not saying that because he's my grandson, it's just the way it is...things always even out, but Kasyn is well ahead of the curve.

I left  a half hour or so after Lisa arrived home, and headed back to Celina...arriving at mom's about 4:30 to pick up youngest sister Kelly, who has arrived from Florida, and will be staying with us for a week or so before heading to far Upstate New York to meet up with husband Michael.  Mike is a world class Chef from Denmark, who Kelly met while living in DC, where at that time, he was the head Chef for Denmark at the Danish Embassy.  This Summer he will be working at a resort/marina on the St Lawrence River in the upstate.  A newly purchased place, he is starting up the kitchen/dining  portion.

"Lights Out"___

Worked the double header in the District 4 semi finals at Coldwater on Wednesday night...and both games were competitive to say the least.  There was a umpire switch before the games began, as the District Headquarters, moved Garry to Bryan and flipped him with fellow Celina resident veteran Bob Grubaugh who was slated to work up there.   Bob and I worked the Districts and Regional at Elida two years ago, and Bob is usually assigned to the State Tournaments each year he is eligible.  Ed worked the plate for the first game, defending State Champions Minster against Spencerville, while I had the second contest as St. Henry battled Crestview....

Minster, handed the Bearcats a 2-0 first inning lead in the opener, but the Wildcats kept their repeat hopes alive, by coming back for a 4-2 victory....Spencerville left the bases loaded in the 7th as the game ended.

In the night cap, with me working the plate, Crestview fell behind likewise, 2-0 after 5 innings, then scored 2 in the sixth to tie it...they left the bases loaded in the bottom of the 7th and we moved to extra innings.  St Henry went three up and three down in the top, then in the bottom of the inning, the Knights put runners on first and second, but with 2 outs a pop on the infield seemed to have us headed for a 9th inning....that's when the rarity of high schoolers playing under the lights came into effect.

In high school, you seldom play under the lights....weeknight games start at 5pm, most schools don't have lights, and the vast majority are played in daylight...tournament time you get that "under the lights" on occasion, contest, and it can have an diverse effect.  Daylight is different than under the lights baseball....and even with good lighting, like Coldwater's Veterans Field has, you do get a different view...that happened in the 8th inning of Wednesday nights game....

When the Crestview batter popped it up near second base, he slammed his bat down hard, mad at himself, as he sprinted towards first base....lucky for him he was running it out.  The Redskin second baseman immediately lost the ball, and his infield teammates were at a loss also...with 2 outs the runners were moving, and as the ball skipped off the second sackers glove, the winning run crossed the plate, giving Convoy Crestview a 3-2 win, and a date in the District Finals tonight vs defending D4 State Champ, Minster.  The lights indeed were a major player in the final outcome.

Tonight back under the lights...a 7pm start, the sun will be setting, but by games end the lights will again be in play....Bob will have the plate, Ed at first base, and for the first time since 2010 I will be working 3rd base...the game itself, should be a good one!

back later>>>>

Photos-Spent an enjoyable 6 hours with Grandson Kasyn yesterday....and Night Baseball, is always different from day baseball, no matter how you slice it...


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Working the 3 Man Crew....

A picture perfect day, weather wise, yesterday...I got both lawns mowed in a couple of hours....then headed to Coldwater to meet up with Wulfie, Captain Kent, and some of the other old gang from our workout and Wallyball days at the Lakefront Racquet Club.  Kent looked good...he has been undergoing treatment for the past 5 years for prostate cancer and next week will begin to make bi-weekly travels to James Cancer Center at Ohio State in Columbus to begin experimental treatments.   The Captain has the attitude and health options to battle this disease and my prayers are with him in his fight.  We grabbed a bite to eat, had a couple of beers and parted, sober and while it was still daylight....times and we have certainly changed in the past decade since the demise of the Racquet Club.

The 3 Man Crew_____

In High School and small college baseball, for that matter even most Minor League Baseball, umpires usually work a two man crew....there are exceptions, like last Friday when by mistake we had three umps for a freshman baseball double header...but up until you get selected for a District or Regional assignment, you work the two man on most occasions in high school baseball.   I have worked perhaps three dozen games in the 3 man crew mostly in District and Regional game{they work a 4 man in state finals}....tonight and Friday in the Division 4 District at Coldwater, I will work three games with the 3 man.

Garry, who I work with often, and Ed, who I work with in the Summer months, will rotate from first to home to third base over the next few games, starting tonight.   In the semi finals, which begin at 4:30 with the Minster vs Spencerville game, Garry will take the plate, I will work first base, and Ed will take third.  In the 6:45 St Henry and Crestview game, I will work the dish, Ed at first base, and Garry will have third.  For the Championship Game on Friday Night, Ed, with his 40 years experience, will have the plate, I will move to 3rd and Garry will take first base.

The opening game tonight, Minster and Spencerville, are two teams I had early in the season against each other....I was still "wearing" my metal "stitches" in my neck, and the defending Division 4 state champs, Minster, won 10-0 in five innings.  I think this game will be closer, but the Wildcats, with plenty of pitching are a team that can make it back to Columbus again this year.  However there are no guarantees that they will make it out of this District to the Regional at Columbus and a second straight state crown are a long way off.

In the second game where I will work the plate...St Henry will battle Crestview, two teams long in tradition, St Henry with multiple state crowns and Crestview's Knights with plenty of NWC Championships and Regional slots.  The Redskins are the only team of the four I didn't work this year...I was scheduled to work two of their games, but the first was knocked out by my March surgery, and the second, just last week at Spencerville, was finally cancelled because of lightning and rain, before we could get it underway.  The game is a toss up and should be a good one.

Tonight's winners will be back Friday night at 7 to see which will move on to the Regional....I will take a break after working a Junior High double with Sam this Sunday, and take 10 days off...including a couple of nights at the mini-reunion at Kokomo.

No Mushrooms for Me______

Rick and the boys will drive to Mesick, Michigan, this week and attempt to Mushroom Hunt again this year, I will be tournament action comes first and the timing just isn't going to make we will see how they do.  Last year we found as many snakes as Morel Mushrooms...hopefully better luck will ensue this time around.

Rick told me this morning that they plan on camping without a tent this year....and eat fast food, the former would have caused me to cancel on that front, the second, doesn't sound that appealing either....not sure my body or heart could take of these days we will go the motel route, and make it worth the trip...age wise you gotta no your limits.

Speaking of that....Friday will mark 9 weeks since surgery on the Carotid Artery....and it is time to get back in the weight room...slowly at first, starting Friday...but back at it I will be...I can feel my body getting way to soft for my liking, time to get off my ass, and back to getting in least shape for a 63 year old body.

Tomorrow probably no blog....with the day off, I am heading to Centerville to see Hal, Lisa, and "The K-man" and visit with the grandson who turns six months next week.

back later>>>>

photos-Baseball is down to the nitty gritty...District action starts tonight with us working the 3 man umpire crew.  I will work the plate in tonight's second game at Coldwater...hopefully without to many arguments like last week's sectional at Shawnee....but I don't mind those too much at all.  Back in 2008 at Mesick...I will miss this year for the 3rd time in five years....not sure if I will ever be able to pump iron and get back into the shape I was just before the Carotid Surgery, buy will begin Friday to try....and tomorrow another chance to visit with the grandson Kasyn....

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Cigars, Ale, and {More} Sunrise Photos....

Yesterday was more like "normal" retirement let's face it, it's been 10 years this Summer since I "retired" from the Health Department, seems more like yesterday, damn have those years and seasons flown by...and how! So I'm really not sure just what the Hell a "normal" retirement is.... Anyway yesterday I took the cat in for a trim....the old long haired cat, is no longer long haired, that and a handful of flea killing pills set me back $70+ bucks...What the Hell?  She is set for at least 6 months...after taking her out, I went to the MRSI Board Meeting, which lasted over an hour....then did a little shopping at Wally World, then on to the Celina Wine Store to pick out some beers...with the usual I grabbed a bottle of Stouds Triple Abby Ale.  Sitting on the back steps talking over the day and life with Patricia, I was smoking a cigar, and had downed a stout beer, when I decided to pop the cap on the Stouds....I took one taste, and realized that this was a bit different, that's when I spied the Alcohol Content on the label...9.04%...OK, this would be a sipper, not a was a strong brew, and by the time I had finished it and the Cigar, I was pretty much done for the duration of the evening....

More Windy Point, another Sunrise_____

I couldn't get back to sleep, after waking up at around 5am this morning....I'll pay for it tonight I am sure....but I got up, soon after Patricia got up for work.....and headed out.  I grabbed a large coffee from the Dockside Marathon in Celina, and headed for Windy Point on the lake's south side, to see if the sunrise would produce anything different....not so much.  No real cloud cover to produce anything out of the ordindnary, so I took a couple dozen photos, headed to Whiskey Run, where I snapped a few more...and headed home...I need some new spots to photograph on my spur of the moment mornings....

I was home by 7am and now am planning the rest of the baseball until tomorrow's District semi finals at I will take a stab at mowing mom's lawn, and then see what the rest of the day brings.

back later>>>.

Photos-A quiet, windless, cloudless, sunrise around Grand Lake this morning, Stouds Triple is an overly powerful Abbey Ale, the New Orleans Maduro Cigar went well with it....The Canada Geese and their young are the only visitors to the "new" Beach at Windy Point{see yesterday's post}...and the waters of "Whiskey Run" south of Montezuma were not moving at all this morning.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Son of a Beach, Windy Point, Grand Lake Ohio...

With a Freshman double header Friday Night finishing off the spring regular season, my baseball is on a few days hiatus until the District Division 4 games this week at Coldwater.  A double header semi final pair Wednesday night, then an under the lights District Championship Friday beginning at 7pm....those will finish off the high school season for me...Summer ACME and American Legion will get underway when I return from the mini Vietnam Reunion at Kokomo the last weekend in May/first weekend in June.

Meeting up with "The K-Man"___

Saturday Patricia, Anissa, and I, met up with Hal, Lisa, and grandson Kasyn{see yesterday's post} at Buffalo Wild Wings in St. Marys, where they presented Patricia, with some Mother's Day gifts....and we dined on some wings, while getting to see The K-Man for an hour or so...the little guy will be 6 months old late next week and is growing like a weed....still in the top 5% size and weight wise for his age for certain.  I will head down to Centerville this Thursday for another visit as well.

Sunday, Mother's Day....Anissa and I took some of Patricia's home baked cookies over to mom's along with a card....then pretty much stayed around the house for the remainder of the day.....on the agenda today, a MRSI Board Meeting at Noon, after I take the cat to the pet center for a trim....she always loves those!

Windy Point, Grand Lake St. Marys, "son of a beach"____

Growing up, or at least spending my high school years, living in Montezuma, Ohio, on Grand Lake's south side, I spent much of my time during the summer months hanging around Windy Point and Beach Point Billiards....both have changed over the past 45 years since I graduated from Celina High have I.

Windy Point had a small beach facing the west back in those days....maybe enough room for 20 beach goers, but the place was always full during the Summer, especially on weekends.  Me and the Jones Boys, and other friends spent many hours there, sunning ourselves and looking for women and trouble....we found, if anything, more of the latter.  Sneaking beers, camping{which was illegal}, and doing some night swimming into the waters of the lake{also illegal at night, if I recall}....

The State of Ohio and the DNR{Department of Natural Resources}, in their always wacky wisdom, decided to close down Windy Point Beach facing the west, and built a new one closer to the point and facing the north....the place was never the same.  

So here we are the coming Summer of 2012...and the State DNR has decided to rebuild the old Windy Point Beach.....brilliant!  30 years later, and who knows how many dollars spent?, and the state decides to put things back the way they were....yep, brilliant!

With the problems the lake is experiencing, I'm  doubtful this will work out well...but What the Hell?  I spent many hours at Windy Point before the Air Force and when I returned....I remember taking the first Airedales, Rag and Max there swimming on many a summer they say, you cannot go back, but despite my doubts of any success of this state venture, it does bring back some pleasant memories from my high school days, and those post Air Force years that immediately followed. 

Those Alga Warning Signs be dammed! 

back later>>>>

Photos-The "New" old Windy Point Beach....Kasyn eying Granma's Chicken Casadias, the old "New" beach, unused in years is now filled in...and Beach or no Beach, the signs tell you, this isn't the Grand Lake of my youth....Alga is here to stay!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

K~Man and the Grandparents

Yesterday, we hooked up with youngest son Hal, daughter-in-law Lisa, and Kasyn...they were in the area, so Patricia, Anissa, and I met them at Buffalo Wild Wings in nearby St. Marys....they were near for a wedding, so this gave them a chance to present Patricia with some Mother's Day gifts....and for us to catch some time with Grandson Kasyn:

Sunny Mother's Day in West Central Ohio, while north in Michigan, and down in Cincinnati it is raining....the Reds with a sell out crowd for the holiday, is in the mist of a 2 1/2 hour rain delay with no end in site...

back tomorrow:

Friday, May 11, 2012

Sitting In My Back Yard...

No game for me yesterday, I had one scheduled, but the host team was involved in a Sectional final, and it was canceled, giving me a chance to kick back and relax.  The sun was shining, but the temps were a bit below normal, reaching somewhere in the lower 60s, with a brisk wind....pleasant, but not perfect by any means.  I did some laundry, washed some dishes, made a run to Wally World{Wal Mart} for bird seed and some bananas....but basically I relaxed in the back yard.

After finishing up my morning writing, I got stuff done around the house, checked out the plants, did the Wally World thing and sat around the back year, taking some photos, looking at the seedlings popping through the ground, where some did, and others are yet to make their presence known...if they ever do.  Eventually I thawed out a couple of Rib Eye Steaks, for Patricia and I, a couple of cans of mushrooms and some beets....I fixed supper, and had it ready by the time she arrived home around 5pm.

Not very exciting times for sure....but it was rather relaxing day....

Today...back to "normal"____

This afternoon it's back to baseball...Freshman Baseball, and a double header at that.  Now it's been years since I worked a lower level game, other than a JV contest or two a year to help out...but when Bruce the AD from Celina called me, I didn't have a tournament game on the schedule, and the $110 pay check for 4 or 5 hours work seemed fair enough.  But Freshman baseball...with me behind the plate for the first game, is something foreign.  These games tend to ruin your strike zone, and sometimes the lower level coaches are just asking to get the heave-ho....I have "Zero" tolerance for this level coaches...I don't expect many problems however, especially out of the Celina coach, since he is the next door neighbor kid, that I coached in youth football, and who I sold my Jeep Wrangler to, just last Summer....

The weekend is free of baseball, unless somebody needs a fill in...which I don't anticipate.  So now I have to get used to not working the diamonds, except for the District next week at Coldwater....then it's off until early June.   Mushroom Hunting and a Kokomo Vietnam Mini-Reunion are in the forecast before the Summer Season begins.

Mother's Day Weekend is here, and I have some "shopping" to take care of....enjoy the weekend...back later>>>>
Photos-Looking out my back door, the fact that Spring has Sprung is pretty obvious, green grass and the flowers, including the various Comedy/Tragedy faces of the pansies are present.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Baseball Tournaments Continue and The Death of "Surfer Joe"

The Tournament Trail Continues____

As I headed to Convoy around 3:30 yesterday afternoon I noticed a few bands of showers forming throughout the route....Showers?  It wasn't really supposed to rain...but once again Mother Nature decided to take a different course....I drove through several spots of rain.  One west of Rockford along the St. Marys River on US 33, another by the tiny berg of Glenmore in southern Van Wert County, and a few more spotty areas of rain as I approached the Crestview High Schools baseball/softball complex.

My old buddy Jim, my partner for the game, was already in the lot when I arrived at 4:15 or so....the showers had moved out, but a west wind could be felt in the partly cloudy 65 degree temperatures.  We walked over to the diamond, talked to the coaching staffs, received a supply of baseballs for the game, and got paid...there would be few surprises this day, the coaches, players, and fans, all knew each other well, and all knew or at least have watched Jim and I umpire many times at this park, and with these teams over the years.

Lincolnview's Lancers, on Crestview's turf, would be the underdogs....the records said as much...but the Lancers would give the homestanding Knights all the wanted before falling 5-3 in a game played in just under two hours.  I thought I had a good strike zone, and Jim didn't miss a beat...only one strange call, that being a "Ball Lodged in Equipment"  call by Jim as he noticed a ball get caught in the catcher's chest protector....he moved the runners for Crestview to 2nd and 3rd, both would score on a double to right, and that would end the scoring.  Crestview will move to to the Coldwater D4 District against St. Henry next week, I will likely have the plate in that semi-final contest.  We move to three man umpiring crew for the Districts, and Garry will be joining me and veteran Ed from St. Marys in the 3 game set.   Jim on the other hand will be working the Districts as well....his farther north in Bryan, near the Michigan State line.

No game on my schedule tonight....just a Freshman double header for tomorrow at Celina, and then the District will end my Spring or not, this season has flown by.

The Death of "Surfer Joe" Godfrey_____

Way back in late December 1969, I was transferring from Nha Trang to Tan Son Nhut Air Base midway through my Vietnam tour.... looking back it seems amazing how many days and gray hairs have I went through since those days?

I was assigned to "C Flight" Security upon arrival, that would be overnight work on the dark, foreboding perimeter....I quickly settled in at the huge complex.  Tan Son Nhut was much larger than Nha Trang, and instead of day shift Law Enforcement, I would work overnights in the towers and bunkers of Echo Sector...the site of death and attacks from the NVA and VC during the previous 4 years.

One of the first people I would meet was a character who had been with the 377th SPS, working security since the spring of 1967...Chris Godfrey was his named....I chose to call him "Surfer Joe", after all he had that California look about him.  "Joe" had been in-country for nearly 3 years by the time I arrived, and would stay for a few months past my departure date of 29 June 1969....3 1/2 years working Security, including being on duty the night of the TET Offensive in late January 1968.

Godfrey was, to me at least, your prototypical California guy.   He had obviously been working on his tan for his entire Vietnam tour, his hair was streaked with either natural or "summer blond", and he was into the newer "head" music{as we called it back them} of Led Zeppelin, Cream, and that ilk, rather than the California sound, from the Beach Boys and Jan and Dean.  Chris, like many of us, could be found afternoons around the base pool, just a stones throw from the 377th SPS Barracks...we all, at least the white guys, would spend hours before heading off to our night shift, working on our tans.

Chris "Surfer Joe" Godfrey, if there are records to show, probably spent more time with the 377th SPS in Saigon/Tan Son Nhut, that any man in history...some spent 2 tours and even three tours in Vietnam, but Chris spent 3 and 1/2 tours{years} at Tan Son Nhut, in succession.  I left that summer of 1970, Chris headed home a few months later...I never saw him again, but I did hook up with him through the VSPA{Vietnam Security Police Association} and "talked" with him via e-mail on more than a few occasions over the past decade....he passed away this past Monday: 

I just hope that his family realize or come to realize what a legend, although he would never admit it,  that he was to many men who came and went during his long tenure at Tan Son Nhut....God Rest Your Soul Brother!

Photos-From Parkway Independent Photographer Pat Agler, me working the plate, and coach Schumm working me at the Shawnee Sectional last Saturday....Bunker 51 site of death and mayhem at Tan Son Nhut on 31 January 1968....Chris Godfrey was there before and long after TET, me in early 1970 heading out on Charlie Flight....and The VSPA, where  Chris Godfrey, and many others have hooked up with old comrades over the years.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Flyers Fizzle, Josh Hamilton, and a Check Up....

The Heat is Off_____

Looks like a couple of days with highs in the 60s....not a bad thing, with the plate for a Sectional Tournament at Crestview tonight, and some lawn mowing scheduled for tomorrow.  After that temperatures are slated to head into the 70s for highs, making it sound like pretty perfect May weather.

Doc Visit____

I headed to rural New Bremen, some 15 miles away at Noon yesterday, for my post surgery check-up with the cardio doc....hoping for some good news on the blood work and a chance to maybe drop some of the damn meds I am taking....the results were a mixed bag.  He said my blood looked good, "except", despite the Zocor I was taking, my Cholesterol count was still too high...the bad stuff setting at 137.  He asked me point blank, "Are you taking your Zocor"?  What could I say, except "yes"!!  Every damn night...I thought.  So it was decided that I would go off  the Zocor and begin taking Lipitor  when the script was filled...not sure that is the answer.  I'm eating pretty good...I just happen to believe that, I may be stuck with the High Cholesterol...time will tell.

On the good side of the "mixed" news was that after some discussion he decided I could go off the blood thinning Plavix, once the current scrip is finished....guess the blood is thin enough.  This hopefully will end some of the fatigue.....hopefully I said.  Frankly however, I am not sure exactly what the future holds....nobody can be sure of that....except perhaps "Miss Cleo".

The Flyers Fizzle_____

After the Philadelphia Flyers dispatched the hated Pittsburgh Penguins in round #1, it appears they forgot about New Jersey in the next round, the Eastern Semi-Finals.  After winning the opening game in OT, the Flyers were completely outmatched by the Devils, and were swept the final four games, losing the series final 3-1 last night.  So another year without the taste of the cup.....1975 when I was bartending/managing the Red Door was the last time, now that has been a few years back.

The NHL has changed, and the "Broad Street Bullies" are no more....I have to admit, I cannot get real excited about the Western, Phoenix(3)* vs LA(8) Finals...or New Jersey(6), whose fans usually come disguised as Empty Seats against either top seeded New York Rangers, or Washington (7).  New York is the only high seed left, meaning most of the good work done during the long regular season was a waste for many teams.

* Place Seeded in Conference

Josh Hamilton, The Big Red Mistake____

A few years back, the Cincinnati Reds picked up a fallen future star off the wavier wire named Josh Hamilton.  Hamilton a Tampa Bay prospect had ruined the early part of his promising career, with drugs, booze, and tattoos....The Reds took a chance and it worked out, Hamilton became a solid Center Fielder, but the Reds management and their bean counting manager Dusty Baker, couldn't stand success.

They traded Hamilton, thanks to Brandon Phillips whining, and Dusty Baker's incompetence, to Texas, even up for a "prospect" name Edison Volquez, a right handed forward a few years ahead, and Volquez is pitching in San Diego, and Josh Hamilton, still in Texas, is arguably the best hitter in baseball.  This has shades of 1965 when Cincinnati sent "aging" outfielder Frank Robinson to Baltimore for another right handed pitcher, Mitt Pappas.....Robinson won the triple crown and the Orioles the World Series the next year.....Pappas was pitching for the Cubs a couple of years later.

Last night Josh Hamilton had a game for the ages: 

And make no mistake, despite his critics, especially from frustrated Reds fans, Hamilton has already made this "trade" a massive give-away by the Reds.

More Tournament Baseball____

Tonight I finish off the Sectional Baseball season, for me at least, working the plate for the Crestview bracket final between the home standing Knights and county and NWC rival Lincolnview....the winner will move on to the Coldwater D4 District next week, which I am scheduled to work as well.  A  Freshman double header Friday is all that I have left until the three game District next week, with two games on Wednesday the 16th, and the District Final on Friday the 18th....

Time to get ready for that tournament game...running late....back later>>>>