Friday, September 5, 2014

My Favorite Years: 1974....

I  think most of us, looking back, can pick out a time and place that we felt that we were on top of the world, top of our game, most happy, etc....for some it's when they were married, became a parent, retired, or on the reverse, got the job they wanted, graduated from college....whatever, they deemed to be at their best....but how about a year in total....take a look back in your memory banks, and reflect, just when it was that you were enjoying the Hell out of Life.

A time that if you could, you would do it all again, perhaps with some tweaks and a few changes, but live it again you would:

The Year 1974:

Lots of things happened around the nation and world that year....Nixon Resigned, the War in Vietnam, my war, while not totally complete, was winding down...we had surrendered, not to the little weasels in black pajamas, they just were not that tough...we lost the war to the leftist elites and the political hacks in Washington DC...59,000 or so lives, wasted and for what?  The nation would soon enough be tossed under the bus by a Hillbilly Peanut brained fool named Jimmy Carter, but that would be a few years down the road...for all the bullshit that went on in the 70s, for me, it was a great decade, and 1974 was one of the best years in retrospect.

I has lost my father in late 1972 on Christmas Eve...that pain was losing it's grip on me, although you never really get over those things....I had left upstate New York and moved back home in the fall of 73, met my future wife in December of that year, and was deciding what to do with the rest of my days....

1974 was a good year for music:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HRct0-85NVQ

Well some of it good, some, not so great....

Also some of the best movies came out or at least finished their runs in 1974...these 2 come to mind:





Patricia and I had our first "Real Date" watching Blazing Saddles, getting there on the Kawasaki....the uncut version still one of the funniest of all time....not politically correct enough for the gutless fools ruining the country these days....


As for me....I bought my first Motorcycle....dad hated those things, but I wanted one, and finally in the spring of 74 I bit the bullet and pulled the trigger on this 1974 Dual Sport Kawasaki 250...not the biggest, fastest, and certainly not a Harley, but it was a fun bike that I took on the road, off in the dirt and woods, and even tried my hand at MotorX racing with it a couple of times....

As for career plans...Hell, I still had none...I passed with flying colors my Civil Service test to become a Postal Security Cop, either in Dayton or Cincinnati...got offers but really it seemed like the Air Force Security Police re-run...sure the pay was good, the benefits excellent, but me, living in an urban sitting, taking orders from some half wit Redneck....?  Not a freaking chance...so I turned them down.  Instead I choose to join owner Wayne Holman and work as bartender, manager, and not so willing Bouncer at the infamous "Red Door" in downtown Celina....helping to make 1974 and most of 1975 among the memorable days of my young life back then....some of the stuff I did, I don't have the stamina or will for today...but they sure were fun times....working 6 nights a week{Monday off} and raising Hell with Bob Jones, Mike Schilling, the Late Jim Olson, Rick Tester, Nick Hromish, Randy Winklejohn, and a handful of others, was non stop....by the time I finished up my Red Door Tour in late 1975, I was ready to head to SE Ohio and College...and by this time I had purchased a house on North Brandon in Celina, just 3 doors and one block from where we live today...Patricia would live there with the Coon Hounds outside and the Airedales, Rag and Max, inside, while I played college student during the week and came home on weekends....we were basically broke, but who cared?  It was still fun....

1974 was when they still had Baseball double headers in the MLB....I would rent a chartered bus out of Dayton, and the Red Door crowd would head to Cincinnati to watch the Big Red Machine play on Sundays during that Summer of 74....way to much fun, and too much smoke and beer to remember even seeing most of the games....but at least, most of the time, we were not behind the wheel!

1974 was probably the last year I could have cared less about making money, paying bills, or getting a good night's sleep...I was 25 years old, and living for the moment.  Stupid?  Perhaps....Careless?  Yes, that is a Damn Straight....but it was the year that I realized that I was going to go my own route....make mistakes?  That is what life is about...I would not then, and certainly not now, listen to what others thought I should do.  I do not regret the things, mistakes and all, I did....40 years later, some of the things I did seem insane or perhaps just plain stupid, but then again, that was most of the fun.

Nick, Jim, Slorpe, and I headed out at 3am one Sunday Morning to Kansas City, Kansas, to buy 30 cases of Coors Beer....to bring back to Ohio{where you couldn't get it back then} and sell it, illegally as Hell, for a $1 a can at the Red Door.  We put a cooler full of iced down beer in between us, and while Nick drove, the rest of us drank that Rocky Mountain slop. We returned to Mercer County some 24 hours later and drove around the back roads, drinking Coors Beer, not wanting to go home.....then there was the time me, Tester, and Nick, headed to central Illinois one early morning to buy a Blue Tick Coon Hound from a
dog broker named Dewey O. Sarver....and anotehr me and Schilling heading to Wisconsin, just hours after Patricia and I had returned from there visiting her family, to raise Hell and buy some Wisconsin Beers  that were not available in Ohio....another 24 hour "Road Trip"

I started coaching baseball, little league baseball in 73 and continue through 75, umpired my first baseball game in 1974 as well...played Slow Pitch Softball for a variety of teams, back when that was big around here.....

I did it all, so it seems, but mostly I just lived, and enjoyed.....and don't regret a damn thing, at least those things I can remember from.....

1974, indeed, one of my favorite years.....


Photos-Top, my Red Door Days....sometime around 1974...give or take.  Blazing Saddles and American Graffiti and Blazing Saddles, my two favorite movies around that time...The Kawasaki 250 and me on same jumping my driveway at 303 North Brandon Ave, my first purchased home....and me and "Drum" the old Bluetick that kept Patricia company when I was down at Nelsonville and Athens playing college student...he wasn't a great hunter, but a good, if not maddening dog, that could climb out of any Kennel.....

1974...it was



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