Thursday, July 24, 2014

Back from Brown County{Indiana}

Headed to Muncie, Indiana, over the weekend, to attend the wedding of my best friend Rick's daughter...Patricia and I stayed overnight in the Ball State City then headed for a few days in scenic Brown County in southern Indiana....rolling hills, artsy fart stuff, and weekend warrior Harley Riders{AKA Hell's Angles wannabees who sit behind a desk all week, then pretend they are Bad Asses Friday evening through Sunday afternoon}...

Our Cabin was called Daffodil Hill and was originally built in the middle 1800s....bath and kitchen were added later, then Hot Tub, and deck more recently....A/C, Cable TV, and Internet Access, made the "roughing it" part not so much....we did however have a few nice days, watching wild life, I drank some beer, and smoked a couple quality Cigars outdoors....all in all a good and relaxing time. 

Not a lot of wildlife, but we did have some Doe Deer and Fawn visitors, a couple of Box Turtles mating in the side yard and various Birds and Lizards hanging around....

The Lake Festival is here in Celina which will mark my 7th full year of writing this Blog...not as active or political as when I began, but still stopping by on occasion.....

back later????

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The 2014 Sunflower Crop begins

Cold Snow Filled Winter, Cold Rainy Spring, and now a mostly cool, wet, and humid Summer, have delayed the back yard flowers, some have been destroyed by storms, and others have acquired a fungus, that they may not recover from, despite my best efforts....

However, they Sunflowers that are coming out are some of the neatest in color that I have ever experienced since I began growing them each Spring about a decade ago:

Here are 3 that are currently on display in the backyard:

(1) Coffee Black (2) Burnt Orange and (3) Deep Purple/Pink

Monday, July 14, 2014

My Baseball Season Ends....

I finished up my Spring/Summer Baseball work over the weekend....94 games by my count since the 3rd week of March, if you count scrimmages, and the Summer games....

Drove 80 miles north to Archbold to work my 5th straight year in the Summer High School ACME State Championships.  Tim Copsey out of  Antwerp and I had games 3 and 4 in the opening round on Saturday Night.  Working the plate for the game between 2 time defending champion, Defiance, and the team they defeated in 2012 for the title, Dayton Northmont...The Bulldogs, as usual, got outstand pitching, and made my job easy, calling mostly strikes and watch both teams swing their respective bats, Defiance pulled away late and salted away a 8-0 opening round win, a No Hitter via Junior to be hurler, Shay Smiddy.  Always good to work a game behind the plate with quality teams....

In the nightcap, Tim and I almost got out early with the 4th straight game of under 1 hour 40 minutes...but Lima Bath tied the host school Archbold 1-1 with 2 outs in the 7th....and pushed the game to 9 innings, coming away with a 5-1 win....I will be surprised if Defiance doesn't win a 3rd straight title, especially with Coldwater losing it's first game to fall into the loser's bracket of the Double Elimination Tournament. {the Defiance team did indeed win the State for the 3rd straight year}

Sunday Wrap Things Up....

On Sunday I headed south some 35 miles to Russia{Rue-She} Ohio for a 14 and under tournament, a level I seldom do, but had worked there last year, they pay cash, so I figured what the heck?  Working the second Semi-Final and the Championship games both behind the plate,, I sweated for 5 hours, as the Championship game between the travel team Storm and Minster's 8th grade team lasted almost 3 hours, with the Storm pulling out a 14-13 win in the bottom of the 7th.

I was gassed!  And frankly happy to see the season baseball and umpire work, but it's time for a break....Rick Pearson's daughter gets married this Saturday in Muncie, Indiana, then Patricia and I head for Brown County to rent out a cottage for a few days.

The next month will see the above, then before the arrival of our 2nd grandson, due about August 10th, and the start of football officiating season on August 12th....I will have some time to relax...and the old body needs it.

back later:

Photos-my rear end view in action at Elida during the ACME District and early last year during a cold weather spring HS game...

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

45 Years Ago July 2, 1969....arriving at Nha Trang

I had began my Vietnam vacation a couple of days earlier, leaving from the Dayton Airport, through O'Hare in Chicago, San Francisco and Travis AFB....I then jumped on a Braniff International flight to Hawaii, Guam, the Philippines, and finally setting down in Vietnam at Tan Son Nhut Airbase outside of Saigon, on July 1st....There I checked in at base HQ and got a nice comfortable barracks complete with bed, in the humidity and stench of a early July day in my new country for the next year.....that night at TSN, I could hear the rockets and their concussion sounds and feelings into the night....first night in this war torn craphole, I didn't get much sleep.

7/2/69  Off to Nha Trang

Little did I know at the time that Tan Son Nhut would be my next duty station in Vietnam....but that was months down the road and my orders told me that I had to get to Nha Trang anyway I could and as quickly as possible.  The one thing I should mention, the Air Force, at least most of us, unlike the Army and Marines, did not get shipped together as a unit....we moved back and forth between bases and countries as individuals....I knew nobody that I served with for those first few weeks in country....I would meet up with old mates from Dover AFB in Delaware, down the road...but I had to get to Nha Trang....a small base next to the resort of a city on the South China Sea.

That morning I packed up my duffle bag, paper work, etc, and headed for Base Operations where they processed my orders and told me to head back to the TSN Terminal, and catch a soon to be flying out C~130 Cargo Plane that was "Non-Stop" to Nha Trang....five crew members, and older Mamasan women, and a few smelly goats, along with the cargo on board, that was soon in the air....cargo doors open I got a great view of the Jungles below...some apprehension  but little fear, after all, nobody would be shooting at a "Cargo Plane"  would they?[little did I know the history}....what seemed like hours, but my guess was only an hour or so, I saw the sea and adjoining beaches as we descended towards the small base and runway.....landing seemed surreal as we taxied toward the tiny terminal on the metal that adjoined the concrete runway.

Off with my "stuff" I checked in and asked "Where are the Security Police Headquarters"?  Soon I was out the door and a few minutes later, waked into the Cop Shop and announced who I was.....within minutes{at least it seemed} I was told I would be working Law Enforcement on A Flight{day shift}...How the Hell I lucked out, having been in Security at Dover, was beyond me....but I was happy as a clam....and thus it began, what would be my favorite six months in the Air Force, nothing else comes close, and as I look back, if I would have been allowed to finish my 4 years(I still had almost 3 to go) at Nha Trang, I would have without blinking an eye.

War or no war, it was grand duty....working day shift Law Enforcement 6 days a week, the beach and downtown open to me whenever I choose to go, what more could anyone ask for in a "War Zone"?

Many, some who had it much worse than me, others looking to evoke sympathy, some with major health, mental and physical, do not look back as I do....and if not having to return to Saigon and Tan Son Nhut in late December of 1969, I have little doubt I would not have left Vietnam, especially Nha Trang, until my discharge was in hand...that is my story and I'm sticking to it!

That arrival day was 45 years ago today.....and most of what transpired is as clear as it was when I was a lad of 20....I look back with a smile, the next year, especially the next six months would not be bad at all for a kid from western Ohio and the beaches of Florida's Gulf Coast.

back latere>>>>

Photos'  Arriving at Nha Trang July 2, 1969....My first Beach Photo, probably a day or two into my tour...complete with my Stateside outfit and a can of warm and nasty Black Label Beer....on duty at the Civilian Gate, and on LE Patrol with my buddy Harry Bevan, who I still have contact with today and have hooked up with him a VSPA Reunions...Harry, now retired, became a Philadelphia Cop for many years....Nha Trang Beach, now a tourist hotbed as it looks today and below my favorite shot of me with the V100s, taken by Harry in August 1969.