Sunday, November 22, 2009

GRAB ME QUICK: I'm gonna fly away!

No, not like in "Some glad morning, when this life is 'ore, I'll fly away". I mean like in I've eaten so many chicken wings I can't keep my feet on the floor. QUICK, GRAB A HOLD!


Well, thats my story and I'm a sticking to it! uh huh! No, I'll not let the truth get in the way of a good story.

WHAT IN THE WORLD AM I TALKING ABOUT? Why, it was our last outing for the year for the Out with Friends for Dinner Group. It was Bill and Carla Ludwig's choice and they, or shall I say Bill, chose Jerzee's Sport's Grill.

The couple making the choice must try the place out, make reservations and then mail menus to everyone in the group. Featured on the menu was a whole page of wings. Must have been a couple dozen different flavors with assorted degrees of heat.

Julie and I both wanted wings and they had one selection of a 25 wing platter with fries to share. To that selection Julie and I added salads, fried onion rings and, for Julie, an apple dumpling with ice cream. Yes, we are watching our weight and after that dinner it was out where we could see it. UMMMM




I ate soooo many wings. Julie pooped out after about six or so. I couldn't finish them off but I did do my best. Thats why I'm having a "lift off" problem today--grab a hold, quick! WHAT DID THE WINGS LOOK LIKE. No "before" picture but here is an "after" picture.

What do we do at these outings? Take a peek at this trio and decide for yourself. GAB GAB GAB. What did they talk about? Who knows. It was so noisy no one could hear anything. That may be why Donna, Carla and Julie have their heads together?


At our outings you get to see the "good, the bad and the ugly". The good? Well, there's me. UMMMM again! The bad? Check out these characters. Don and Carl have hit bottom but Bill is still pushing it in.

Look at this "ROSE BETWEEN TWO THORNS" Looking good Sally! But, seated between Carl and Don how could she not look good?

Was everyone happy? Maybe, maybe not. Bill Ludwig, whose turn it was to drive the Pierce's this time, complained that we were in the grill for three whole hours. I told him that just went to show what a good time everyone was having. He informed me that there was a big NASCAR race on tonight and he was missing it. Although Don didn't say anything, he wouldn't, I bet he felt just like Bill. He is a big racing fan.

I don't know that I've been to a SPORTS GRILL before but it was great seeing maybe a dozen or so football games all at the same time on giant screens. Notre Dame got beat in a beautiful ending by UConn. How sweet it was.

Sometimes the group does not see everyone between the dinners. Do we see any difference from month-to-month? Sure. Donna got a new hair cut, a real cute short cut. I suggested to her husband, John, that he consult with Donna about a new style for himself. I don't think I convinced him. (John shaves what few hairs he has on his head. HA)

BYE-THE-BYE, we did establish something new in this sport's grill: Prayer! HA. I think someone said "Look, that table is HUDDLING UP". HMMMM Don't suspect they see a lot of prayer, at least not here.

We made the plans for the progressive dinner to kick off YEAR SIX in 2010. Getting a date when everyone is available is difficult. We had to settle for January 2nd, a wee bit early. The Hatfields were busy with a lodge fish fry on the 8th and the Wilson's leave to winter in Arizona on the 15th. Carl and Joyce will already be in Florida by January 1st.

Who does what, when and where? Each year we shuffle this up a bit. This year we'll start the evening out at 5:00PM with apetizers at the home of Bob and Kathy Hatfield, and from there go a few miles down the road to Don and Sally Wilsons for Soup. Back up the road, to Barberton and Bill and Carla Ludwigs for Salad and then, across town to Walt and Julie Pierce's for the main entre. Then, its down the road a few miles to John and Donna Murphy's for dessert.

Carla, who is my "go to girl" in all my foolishness--and thats saying a lot--is in charge of keeping everyone moving. We take about an hour for the main course, otherwise its time as necessary to eat the course, see the Christmas Decorations and on to the next location.

The progressive dinner will take the entire evening and is eagerly anticipated by everyone. Wait til they find out the Pierce's are serving baked possum with dumplings this year! YUM YUM

DO YOU ENJOY THIS KIND OF FELLOWSHIP? IF NOT, WHY NOT? Just ask a few couples if they would like to join with you and before you know it you'll be starting your sixth year.

William Penn:

"A true friend unblossoms freely, advises justly, assists readily, adventures boldly, takes all patiently, defends courageously and continues a friend unchangeably".

God Bless!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

THE REAL SCOOP: Straight from the hair dresser!

Blogging has become such an enjoyable part of my life. I commenced blogging as a form of communication with my family while on extended, away from home adventures. It has evolved into a source of new friends, world wide. I recently heard from Eduardo Dantas in Brazil. One of my blogger friends is Myrna Rae from Florida.

A spiritual woman, author and mother, she writes about a busy life of travel and adventure with many ups and downs along the way.

Terrorized by an abusive husband, she found the courage to provide the support to rear her three children on her own. Now a grandmother, her experiences include being a dealer in Las Vegas to becoming a hair dresser in Florida.



She has now had a book published. While it has not received the publicity of Sarah Palins new book, which I started to read yesterday, I also look forward to reading about a more normal life as seen from a beauty parlor's chair. The book at $16 and change is also cheaper than "Going Rogue".


Myrna lists http://www.myrna77@yahoo.com/ as a source for the book. I could not bring up that address. Do a search on the books title "BEAUTY SHOP BURNOUT" by Myrna Rae and you can order the book.

Ever wonder about beauty shop gossip? Here is your chance to get it first hand. I'm sure Myrna's book will have much more substance than just gossip.

Enjoy!

Bye-the-bye, it's a good thing I'm retired. I wouldn't have time to work. Today I have to show a neighbor how to care for my dog Gunner, bake two pumpkin and one custard pies and slice up four baked chickens for my wife's Thanksgiving Dinner at Infocision tomorrow and also get a haircut. BIZZZZZZY!

God Bless!

DANCING IN THE RAIN: A new version!

No, this is not about Gene Kelley in the movie "Dancing in the Rain". This is a very short blog about a message I just received from Frank Dawson.

I'm not sure about the original source but the following was a quote:

"Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass...it's about learning to dance in the rain".

No explanation necessary. If you understand it you can say Amen! and be thankful. If not, I probably could not make you understand.

But, ain't it the truth!

I liked this so much that I wrote it down to use later. Then, I thought, why wait. Get wet and enjoy!

Yes, I am a little wierd...but I'm wet all over most of the time. I welcome life's storms! I've survived so many. Raining? Let's dance!

The Virginia Reel:

Greet that gal with a 'howdy do", I'm just fine sir, how about you?

Swing that gal with your right hand, step to the music, listen to the band.

She'll come back with a left hand turn, don't spill the milk, don't break the churn

........Reel that set on down the line, you're looking good, you're doing fine...

God Bless!

Friday, November 13, 2009

PARASKEVIDEKATRIAPHOBIA: Beware!

Do you suffer from Paraskevidekatriaphobia?

According to the Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute in Ashville, NC an estimated 17 to 21 million people in the United States are effected by Paraskevidekatriaphobia.

What is Paraskevidekatriaphobia? The superstition that Friday the 13th brings bad luck. Some people are so paralyzed by fear that they avoid their normal routines in doing business, taking flights or even getting out of bed.

Paraskevidekatriaphobia is derived from the concatenation of the Greek words Paraskevi, meaning Friday, and Dekatreis meaning Friday.

It is estimated that $800 or $900 Million is lost in business on this day. The Dutch Centre for Insurance Statistics on June 12, 2008 stated that "fewer accidents and reports of fire and theft occur when the 13th of the month falls on a Friday the 13th than on other Fridays because people are preventatively more careful or just stay home".

There are many Natural Events that occured on Friday the 13th.

Hurricane Charley made landfall in south Florida on Friday, August 13, 2004.

The Friday the 13th Storm struck Buffalo, New york on Friday, October 13, 2006.

The Asteroid of 2004 NM4 made its close encounter with earth on Friday, April, 13, 2009.

Keep your eyes peeled for BLACK CATS.

Stay out from under LADDERS.

Just STAY IN BED? (I'm all for that!)

ME? Im more nervous than a long tailed dog in a room full of rocking chairs! Uh Huh

God Bless!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

2009 VETERAN'S DAY: Plus one

Yesterday was Veteran's Day. It was an honor to write a blog on the subject.

As a 16 year old in the WV National Guard it was frequently my honor to take part in the burial detail of fallen heros returned from World War II.

My Dad and my Great Grandfather have miltary grave stones. I am very proud of my country and those who have defended her.

I was ashamed for her, however, when, with the stripped down miltary under President Jimmy Carter, we could not mount a rescue attempt for the Iranian hostages. Not only could we not fly the helicopters across the dessert for the rescue, we also lost a C130 aircraft. People who hate our freedom and liberty gleefully filmed the remains of the helicopter and transport plane to show to the world.

Iran insulted and embarrassed the Carter administration, and our country, throughout his time in office. (Today they toy with President Obama). The day that President Reagan was sworn into office the decision was immediately made to release the hostages. Ronald Reagan was no Jimmy Carter! Yes, I was in New York to attend the ticker tape welcome home for the hostages.

The Normandy American Cemetary and Memorial is beautiful. I would love to pay my respects there some day.

I would also like to visit the grave in France of General George Smith Patton, one of my personal heros. I plan to visit his library in California.

I am further embarrassed, however, for my countries lack of response to the fallen heros whose locations are unknown. There were 74,000 unaccounted troops in World War II, 8,037 in Korea and 1,728 in Vietnam. The books were closed on the World War II missing in 1950--just five years after the end of the war. Five years for 74,000 mising! What about no troops left behind?

When the Vietnam Vets, the VFW and advocates like H. Ross Perot stirred the political pot, the search was started again but concentrating on unaccounted for Nam vets.

The Department of Defense Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) has a 400 person staff with a 55 million dollar annual budget. Yes, 55 million dollars a year to fund a 400 person effort. These people conduct expensive, high-tech and time consumming investigations all over the globe. The result? They find about 100 service members a year. With 83,765 missing finding 100 a year is insulting.

When remains are found there are no immediate response. I mean, there is no rush, right? There are 700 sets of remains at Hickham Air Force Base in Hawaii waiting to be identified. Do the math. One hundred a year and 700 waiting to be identified. How sad!

What happens when the remains are found and this 55 million dollar-a-year group is notified? JPAC spokesman, Lt. Col. Wayne Perry explained that their "tight" budget requires a years planning to decide which lead to follow.

They expressed appreciation for being informed of the find of this plane, pictured left, which crashed in the jungles in 1944.

Staff Sgt. Alvin Lennox was the radioman on that Air Force cargo plane flying from India to China. His 66 year old son and 98 year old wife were informed by the private citizen that he had made the find.

Would it not bring some degree of peace and closure to have their father-husband's remains brought home and properly buried along with other fallen heros? Maybe. The JPAC, however, just put it on their list.

What anguish for this family who probably has problems understanding a "tight" budget with 55 million dollars to annualy fund a 400 person effort. You know what? I have problems understanding it also. Lots of problems.

This is an American dishonor. It is not a political matter. It has outlived both political parties many times.
Note: In March 2010 Staff Sgt. William C. Fetterman, whose remains were found with the above mentioned Burma plane crash, was brought home for proper burial.
God help us!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

VETERAN'S DAY! Hurray for the "good" guys & gals.

No mail today. The government is taking the day off, with pay. Bet they love Veterans Day, huh? I didn't see a flag flying in the neighborhood today. I did hear a lot about Veteran's Day on TV however. I'm in favor of honoring our countries veterans.

I still tend to think of the day as Armistice Day. In November 1918 President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the day as a Commemoration of the the 1917 armistice of World War I, the war to end all wars. The "Treaty of Versailles" was signed on the 11th day of the 11th month of 1917. On May 13, 1938 the day was made an official holiday.

Because of all the World War II vets that were recalled to fight the Korean War, in 1954 the 83rd Congress inserted the word "Veterans" in place of "Armistice" in the holiday designation. The bill was signed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Since my family has been in this country they have been involved in all of their countries wars. With the exception of my father, who was drafted, the family all volunteered. Great Grandpa Indivan Pierce was in several small and two major battles of the Civil War. He was grieviously wounded at the Battle of Berryville. Dad was in the Army in World War I.

My older brother, Henry, joined the Navy and further volunteered for extremely hazardous duty in the Armed Guard and was involved in the Battle of the Atlantic against the Nazi subs.

It should be noted that Henry was exempt from serving at all due to having a war essential job. He could have been safe and earned big war time dollars. Instead, he turned down the exemption and joined the Navy. He had his "Irish" up and wasn't about to miss a fight!

My brother Ray had a special story. Like his brother and father, Ray was a journey man molder--a highly skilled job that carried a full exemption from the war. Wanting to follow Henry, Ray tried to turn down his exemption and join the Navy. He was not permitted to do so.

Talking about getting one's "Irish" up, with his red hair, Ray got his back up and took on the government. He refused to continue working in the foundry. With full government control of who worked where, he was not permitted to take another job. That being said, workers being difficult to come by, Ray had no trouble getting hired "under the table" as a deck hand on a river boat.

In three months, when his exemption expired, Ray again tried to volunteer for the Navy. At that time people in jail could volunteer to serve in the Army and be let out of jail. Ray was included with 16 jail birds and put in the Army. His service is a fascinating example of the miltary inefficency and the seemingly foolish moves our veterans had to endure.

After basic training, Ray was sent to a Light Machine Gunner's school. After graduating from the gunner's school, someone discovered that he was a journeyman molder. He was then transferred from the Infantry into the Army Engineers and sent to Molder's School.

Yes, he had been molding since he was a kid and probably knew more about molding than the instructors.

After graduating from molding school, would you believe, he was assigned to guard German POW's in Montana. As the Army scraped together forces for the invasion of Japan they remembered that Ray was a trained machine gunner. He was returned back to the infantry at Fort Lewis, WA. On a troop ship he had passed Hawaii when the atom bomb ended the war. He was returned to Fort Lewis and discharged.

At age 16, not letting the truth get in the way of a good story, I added a year to my age and joined the WV National Guard. At 17 I joined the Navy.

I was the radioman on the USS Yuma ATF94 in the war zone when the Korean War started and was "froze" in the area for a one year extension of my enlistment. According to my DD214 I served for four years, nine months and seventeen days.

The son's of my brothers and sister, Jim Pierce, Henry Lee Pierce and Harold Sturgeon, were all in the Vietnam War. Henry Lee made a career of the Navy and retired as an officer.

Thankfully, none of my grandsons have had to serve but several of my more distant relatives are still in the service.

My first cousin, Ira Shamblin, died in battle in North Africa and Henry's brother-in-law, Jim Byus, died in battle in France. My wife's father was a wounded Navy vet and her grandfather, John Strader, served under General Patton through Italy and France. Yes, he referred to Patton as "old blood and guts".

At the risk of being a cheerleader for myself, lets hear it for our veterans!

Elmer Davis:

"This nation will remain the land of the free only as long as it is the home of the brave" .

PLEASE VOTE IN 2010!

God Bless, and thank you Lord for our liberty!

IT'S MINE: My Grandpa Made It Just For Me!

It's mine! My Grandpa made it just for me. I get to decide where to put it. I get to decide when to light it. It's mine! My grandpa made it just for me! In the first afternoon her mom said that Rosebud must have told that to each member of the family at least ten times.

Those were Rosebud's, (Delanie Rose Pierce Boggs), exact words about the Jack-O-Lantern that her Grandpa carved for her.

I made a pumpkin pie with a crusty pumpkin in the center of the pie for Riley. Being the kind and thoughtful young man that he is at age 11, I know he cheerfully shared it with the family.

But, a pumpkin pie is one thing and a personally carved Jack-o-Lantern is another.

I took the gifts out the week or so before Halloween. That was four weeks ago. That carved up pumpkin has to be getting pretty soft by now. Another week or so and it will be slime. Pure slime. Slime that cannot be picked up.

Not wanting their new home to be slimed, my son-in-law, Jack, discarded the pumpkin out in the woods. Now, Jack is "the" original" naturalist. He is working on his Masters in Wetlands from Duke. He understood that when slimed that pumpkin would blend right into the soil.

The rear of their property extends out into a woods. The woods are over a steep hill from their home. He has underplanted the big trees with small plants and professionally lighted the woods. The results of the underlighted trees in the fall are beautiful and will become even more spectacular in a snow fall. The pumpkin would never be noticed. Right?

Well, not quite true! Rosebud noticed it evidently.

The family was outside and Kimberly noticed that Rosebud wasn't with them. Then she noticed Rosebud climbing that steep hill lugging that big, carved and soft pumpkin. Climb three steps to roll and slide back two. Kimberly didn't say anything but cleared the way for Rosebud to top the hill unobserved, so Rosebud thought.

Directly she heard Rosebud coming into the house. She heard Rosebud going up the rear steps to the upper floors. Kimberly called out "what are you doing, Lanie" to which she received the ALERT answer for which all mothers listen. "NOTHING" was Rosebud's reply.

Kimberly checked and, just as she thought, there was Rosebud, covered with leaves and twigs and a fair amount of plain old dirt, arms around that Jack-o-Lantern, climbing the steps, heading towards her lovely bed room, pumpkin, dirt and all!
How do you explain to an eight-year-old that even cherished belongings sometimes have to go? Kimberly has a Masters Degree in Family Counseling and I bet she was pushed for the correct answer.

And, Grandpa? Can't wait til next Halloween, the good Lord willing and the krick don't rise.

Do I write a lot about these two little munchkins? Yes, I do.

I have a lot of other grandchildren and love them all dearly, as they do me. I clearly remember carving Jack-O-Lanterns for Jenny, the oldest grandchild. But, they are all grown up now, some with kids of their own. These are my last two little ones and they bring great joy to me. They are each one sooooo special!

Gene Perret:
"An hour with your grandchildren can make you feel young again. Anything longer than that, and you start to age quickly"

God Bless!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

GUNNER: No figment of the imagination!

I've had my new dog, Gunner, for four weeks now. As I haven't written about him or taken him down to meet the family at Mansfield, my son, Mark, said he thought the dog was just a figment of my imagination. Does this look like a figment of the imagination, Mark?

Gunner, a three-year-old Giant Schnauzer, was a gift to me from my nephew, Jimmy Pierce. Jim had done some shopping for me and I was down to southern Ohio to pick up the items and admired his beautiful, black Giant Schnauzer.

I explained to Jim that I had wanted to get a Doberman Pinscher while Julie wanted a third Airedale Terrier. An Airedale Terrier is a wonderful "watch" dog but I felt the need of a "guard" dog. We compromised on a Giant Schnauzer.

In the late 1700's the German butchers and brewers needed a more agressive dog than their Standard Schnauzers. They cross-bred one half Schnauzer, a quarter Great Dane and a quarter Rotrieller. The result was a huge dog with good temperment but with definite guard dog tendencies. A Giant Schnauzer.

After consulting with his wife, Carol, Jim gifted this beautiful, AKC registered dog to me. Jim and Carol had paid $800 for the dog--the prices I saw were more in the $1,000-$1,500 range--as a pup. They brought the dog home and, for the most part, confined him to a new pen off their rear deck.

He had not been obedience trained and was not used to a one-on-one, in house association. He was like a two-year-old child. A giant two-year-old child. He would not only jump up on Julie and I but he would also jump from chair to couch to another chair. He jumped over tables. He jumped on the beds. He knocked things over. A mule pulled less than Gunner did on the lead. He was wild!

He is so tall he looks down on the table and so far has managed to steal a slice of toast, two strip steaks and a meat loaf. He did this without our seeing him. He is one slick food thief! Thats the bad part.

Is there a good part? Thankfully, yes! My dogs have always excelled in Obedience Trials. I have the "touch" when it comes to training dogs. Here he practices the 5 minute long down.

He is now calm and quiet in the house, stays off the furniture, leads gently, walks at the heel, sits-and-stays and down-and-stays and jumps over obstacles on command. Here he shows he knows how to sit.

He pees and poos when and where I tell him. I've taught him "Home". On command he runs out to take a pee, comes to a sliding squat, does his business and makes the gravel fly as he launches himself for "Home". Yes, he gets a treat at the door. Or, at least he used to get a treat but now mostly just settles for an "Atta-Boy".

I take him where he can poo without having to pick it up--not in a neighbor's yard. HA. In this picture he is searching for the "POO" spot. I can't see him at night but know when he has finished as I've trained him to come running straight to me, sit down directly in front and look up. Yup! It's treat time again. I know, but he does it faithfully for a wee bit of turkey.

Yes, I have worked with him a lot, however, he is truly a joy to train considering that he is three years of age instead of a seven week old puppy. He has about a five mile run each day, two shorter walks and a work session. This breed must have excercise or they get into trouble. Getting the excercise, however, is what keeps them quiet and calm. That and my "grumpy" disposition. HA

He gets fed the best lamb and rice dog food twice a day but must sit and wait until I tell him he can eat. Then he must eat his food between my feet. At first he wouldn't do that. He'd take a bite or two and off he'd go. I immediatedly dumped his food.

Like I said, he is a fast learner and hunger is a great teacher. He now sits quietly until I tell him he can eat and then quickly licks his bowl clean before I can dump it. HA!

He had an ear infection. The vet treated him, gave me medicine to put into his ear every day for a couple weeks and then I'm to have him reexamined. He also got all his shots, a flea treatment and blood drawn for a heart worm test.

I plan to continue to work with him for the rest of the year and put him in obedience classes in January. I know how to train him but I need to socialize him to other dogs and people and teach him to compete against other dogs in the ring. I hope to get a CD and a CDX with him before we're through.

Bye-the-bye, his registered name is "Pierce's Knight Hunter" and he was called "Hunter". I just couldn't get my tongue around that name so called him "Gunner", eventually "Gunnie". Thats the nickname of a Gunner's Mate in the Navy or a sergeant in the Marines and I think a good name for a guard dog.

People with dogs live longer. At coming 79 I need all the help I can get. HA. Actually I have greatly increased my exercise as I excercise and work him. I do have a sore, left hip but am gimping along like Grandpa McCoy. I also needed some responsiblity, something nearly 20 years of retirement has eliminated.

All the "good" guys in the neighborhood have commented on the dog's good looks and what they believe to be his training. The "bad" guys in the neighborhood haven't commented but I know they have seen him and will conduct themselves accordingly. I work with dogs but wouldn't want to mess with a dog like this, believe you me!

Bring on the Obama winter. I'm ready.

Edward Jesse:

"With the exception of women, there is nothing on earth as agreeble or necessary to the comfort of a man as a dog".

God Bless!