I do not remember my age but I do remember my folks would go on 1 to 2 week vacations during the summer for they both loved to fish. There were not very many good fishing lakes around where we lived fishing off of the bank was next to impassable, the lakes around home had big clefts around the lake and you rely needed a boat. So every year I would ask to go and stay at my uncle’s farm near Cloud Chief Oklahoma. Uncle Elmer and Aunt Mary had a big two-story house on their farm and they also had two sons who were a little older than I was. They did not understand why I liked to come and help out on the farm. I guess it was because I was a city boy and they were country boys, they had to do the chores all the time and I only had to do them a couple of weeks out of the year. I would get up early and gather the eggs and thin go and help milk the cows I loved watching my aunt make cream from the milk and thin butter I would get to help churn the butter. I hated it though when it was time to help chop the weeds around the cotton or pick the cotton that was hot and hard work.
I remember one time going with dad, my uncle, and the two cousins; we went fishing in the Washita River near Cloud Chief. We did not use rod and rills. We would get down in the water and feel along the banks of the river and when we felt a whole up into the bank we would reach our hand up into it, and if you felt a fish you would hold on and pull him out. Sometimes you might get a 10 or 20 pound catfish. I hated it though when you would step on a mud cat and his fin would stick you in the foot and it would sting like crazy. You know I guess we were lucky because I know that there are Water Moccasins snakes in that river and a few alligator gars that is a fish that has a long mouth with sharp teeth all around their mouth, I got bit once with a gar and it only left teeth prints on my arm, I thank he was trying to jump over my arm but he did not make it. A lot later my uncle did get bit by several water Moccasins, he got help in time but it did make him pretty sick.
One other time while staying with them he let me drive the tractor pulling a plow, I was doing pretty good for a while but somehow I got the front wheels turned sideways. You have to remember this was back in the middle to late 1950 and the tractor was one of those that had two smaller front wheels next to each other any way I don’t care how hard I would try to get the wheels straight I just could not do it. I stopped the tractor and waited for my uncle to show up he would check up on me every so often. I guess he could see that I had stopped for there was no red Oklahoma dirt flying in the air. He came over and he did not haft to ask me what was wrong for he could see the front wheels facing to the side, he climbed up on the tractor started it up stepped on the clutch put it in gear revved the engine a little and let out on the clutch and popped a wheelie and as the tractors nose was up in the air he turned the wheels straight. He left me strict instructions not to try this and if I do get the wheels turned wrong again do what I did before just stop and wait. I had some good times with my uncle Elmer and it was so sad that he died early with a heart attack.
After going to my church this morning my pastor did a sermon about HELL. I guarantee you do not want to go there. Brother Charley asked have you ever been in complete darkness and my thought immediately went to when I was in the Navy and I had to go down six decks to check on what is called the bilges which means the very bottom of the ship it is the steel plate that actually touches the ocean. Any way while I was there I reached up to sturdy myself and accidentally turned off the light no matter how long you stand there you cannot see anything, I could not imagine living for ever not seeing light. But actually this is not talking about light like a light bulb but light in your heart that’s having the light of Jesus in your heart were you have love for every one, you know love others as you would love yourself.
Jesus is the light so I am so thankful I belong to him. Could you imagine what it was like when God had to turn his back on his son that was hanging on the cross, how dark that must have been, even though Jesus never sinned but he became sin when he took on my sins and your sins his farther just could not look at Him. That’s how we would fill if we didn’t have Jesus in our lives, it would be a shame if the only thing keeping you from God is not accepting Jesus as your savior. You know that is the only Sin that will keep you from Him, That’s right no matter what you have done that you might think would keep you from God it won’t. He loves you no matter what, and He wants you to come to Him, so right now just put everything out of your mind and concentrate on Him and ask Him to forgive you for all that you have done and let Jesus come in to your heart. If you are not sure what or how to do this you can talk to someone who you know that knows Jesus personally.
All I ask is please keep thinking about this and I apologize if I have offended anyone but all I can say is what Jesus has done for me. He saved me once from a bad car wreck, He has walked with me throughout my life and best of all from all the sins that I have committed and He has forgotten them.
I knew this would be a short blog.
This is going to be a few years Riley is 5 and Noah is 3. Mama and I will be 74 years young when Riley turns 12; I was talking with their Dad Jeff the other day about this very thing. In fact I told him that he and Amy will haft to come along to help us old folk out. He suggested that all of us might just take them to Disney World. I thank that might be a good ideal, we might see if the whole family could plan to go with this much notice. So kids when you read this blog start thinking about it, this should be in the summer 2019.
Colten is twelve now and is wondering when we are going to take him for his trip. We were not able to arrange taking Colten until August, and we set up to meet Jeremy and Aubrey in Dallas Texas. After meeting the kids and staying the night we got up the next morning loaded Colten’s stuff in the Honda said good-bye to his mom, dad, and Caleb and we headed North East to Arkansas, Charlotte had picked a state park called Prairie Grove Battle Field State Park near the town of Prairie Grove, The did reenactments there and we knew that Colten would enjoy that. We got there and went inside the visitor’s center to check on times for the reenactments, well we missed it by one week they told us that the last reenactment was the last one of the season and would not start-up again until the next year. We drove thru the park and just tried to imagine what it was like to see all of the troops there fighting, but actually it wasn’t too bad for there were a few buildings we could look in. Next we headed for Pea Ridge National Military Park which Colten really liked in fact he found a little cannon that he just had to have. We drove thru the park getting out at most of the pull overs where you can get out and look at the battle field in different directions, but it was very hot out so we would not stay out to long, praise the Lord for air-conditioned cars.
The next morning we headed South East toward Vicksburg Mississippi, that’s right to the National Battle field after all it would not be fair that Colten’s dad and brother got to see it and he didn’t. Well I guess we should have come here first due to the fact that the people who do the reenactments were through for the season in fact last Sunday was the last day for it. Colten was disappointed that he did not get to see or even hear the cannon fire. We were in the information center looking around and there was a ranger inside, Colten was talking with him and was telling him about how his brother was here and that he was able to see and hear the cannon fire. The ranger told him that he could not set it up to fire the cannon but that he could take him out to one of the cannon’s just outside and show him how they would get it ready to fire it off. We went out to the cannon with Colten and the ranger started telling them what to do in fact he gave Colten the ramming pole and let him pretend he was shoving the gunpowder and then the cannon ball down the barrel of the cannon. He thanked the ranger and that made up for not getting to see the reenactment, then we drove him through the park and down to USS Cairo, he enjoyed that also we got to walk on board and look around at the Cannons and the paddle wheels that was used to make the boat travel down the river. We decided it was lunch time so we found this Rowdy’s Family restraint and it had outstanding fried catfish.
We headed South on US 61 toward Natchez Mississippi on the way down we stopped at some old ruins called Windsor Plantation it had burned down years ago and all that was left were the pillars that held the plantation together, after that we drove on down toward Natchez and we had heard about this old warehouse that was made in to a restaurant and it was right next to the highway so we stopped there for lunch. It was called The Old Country Store located in Lorman Mississippi, when you walk in you can tell it used to be an old warehouse but it had tables and chairs all around you pick where you want to set and the waitress would come by and ask what you would like to drink and showed you where the buffet was man that was some mighty fine eating. The owner would come around singing and he would try to get you to sing with him, he tried with Colten but he would not do it. We got back on the road heading South I saw an on ramp for the famous Natchez Trace Trail so I took it and that is one of the most beautiful roads you would ever want to drive on, the only bad thing is the speed limit on that road is 50 MPH and it is well worth the slower speeds. When we got to Natchez we drove across the bridge and stayed at the same Comfort Inn and Suites, when we were here with Caleb we could not keep him from working out in their fitness room, well we can’t keep Colten out of the pool that boy is like his Mama they both love the water.
After looking around Natchez we headed West and drove to Natchitoches Louisiana as we were driving I guess I was getting a little sleepy for the car wandered to the right and when the wheels hit the grooves in the pavement it made a noise Colten said Poppy are you trying to kill me well from thin on thru the rest of the trip he would say every little bit Poppy you awake. I told him not to tell his folks and he said he would not. We went to Bayou Pierre Alligator Park and Colten was able to see the alligators up close and at a certain time one of the workers would get in a boat go out into the lagoon and feed the alligators. We spent the rest of the day driving around and looking over Natchitoches it is a beautiful town with a river running through the middle of it and they say at Christmas time down town is all lit up with Christmas lights. The next day we headed South West toward Houston to take the Colten home and the first words out of his mouth when we saw his parents was Poppy tried to kill me.
Charlotte and I told our grandkids that when they turn 12 years of age that we would take them on a one week vacation with us. Our oldest grandson turned 17 last November so it has been 5 years ago when we took him on his trip with us. He was up here in Amarillo during the summer of 2007 visiting with his other set of grandparents and us when it was time for us to take him back home. We have always love going to Vicksburg Mississippi and visiting the National battle ground there. Since we had been there several times with Caleb dad when he was a kid we had talked it over with Caleb and he said he would like to go there also for he heard his dad talk about it. We left out heading down US 287 toward Fort Worth Texas, connected with I-20 heading East toward Vicksburg. We drove until we got to Shreveport Louisiana where we spent the night, I told Caleb the story again about how this is where his dad turned the table over after we had eaten at Ponchos Mexican Buffet and he said he would like to eat there also so we went and sure enough they were still in business. We went thru the buffet line and I spotted about where we were setting when we ate there with his dad. As we were eating I noticed that the tables were now fastened to the wall so I guess Jeremy’s incident wasn’t the only time the tables were turned over.
When we got up the next morning we headed East across Louisiana and crossed the bridge into Mississippi. Stopped at the tourist information center and let Caleb look around at the river’s edge while Charlotte went in to check on the motels in the area. We drove around looking the town over showing Caleb the different sites that his dad had seen when he was a little younger than Caleb was then. We went by the park and got a picture by he old Cannons, It was starting to get late so we found our Motel unloaded and headed out for a bite to eat, Charlotte had been looking thru the tourist info stuff that she picked up and noticed that there was an old house dating back to the civil war days and it had been turned into a restraint serving fried chicken, mashed potatoes, biscuits and gravy, corn on the cob, and green beans. That does it I am hungry again, needless to say it was great food and the home had a good view of town for it was setting up on a hill.
The next morning we went to the park and the volunteers were getting ready to do a reenactment of firing the cannon. The boys who were doing the reenactments took him and explained what the different jobs were on firing the cannon, demonstrated loading a black powder rifle, and showed how they had to live back during the war. After he finished seeing all the reenactments we drove thru the park where some of the actual fighting took place, there were monuments set up showing where different men would be at and if they were from the Union or the Confederate Armey’s. At the end of the park is where the USS Cairo is being restored this was a Union Ironclad Gun boat which was sank by a mine that was anchored below the water and then set off by a Confederate soldiers from the bank of the river.
After leaving the National Park we headed south to Natchez Mississippi which is also located on the Mississippi river and we stopped at the tourist Information center. Caleb and I were looking at the river while Charlotte was inside and we could see a motel across the river it was right on the banks of the river, so when Charlotte came out of the information center we showed her the motel and I said let’s go check it out. So we drove across the bridge to Vidalia Louisiana to the motel, it is a Comfort Inn and Suites and it very nice we went in and got us a room that overlooks the river I think it was like 10 dollars more to get that room. You could watch the barges going up and down the river right from your room or we would walk down the walk way by the river it was beautiful. Later we drove back over to Natchez to eat and do some sightseeing it is definitely a beautiful town with a lot of history also. After we got back to our room and was settling down for the night Caleb ask me if we were going back over that bridge again, I said no why do you ask and he told me that it made him nervous and again I asked him why. He remembers that it had not been to long since a bridge collapsed I think it was on I-40 and a lot of cars had fallen into the water, I said I wished he had said something earlier but that I was glad he handled his fear because he would always be crossing bridges in his life time.
We went south again and drove to Avery Island where tabasco sauce and Louisiana hot sauce is made. We toured the plant and it was very interesting seeing what all it takes to make this wonderful sauce. We thin headed west toward Houston Texas and home I think he was glade to be home and not hanging around with the old folks any more.
Kennedy Space Center
I do not remember the reason why but for years we would take are vacations during spring break. This particular year we decided that we would drive to Florida and take the kids to Disney World. We drove from Amarillo to Florida taking the weekend to get there, I love to drive and the car we had got fairly good gas mileage so it was cheaper to drive and stay in motels plus we could see more of our great country. We had made reservations at a motel just a few miles away so it did not take us to long to get to the amusement park. The kids had a blast with all the rides, I remember we spent all that one day there and I know we did not see everything there was to do and Epcot Center had not even opened yet, I think you could stayed a week and not see everything. By the end of that day mom and me was what they call plumb wore out. We got to the motel and pretty much crashed, the next morning we turned in our room and headed out we had decided to drive to Kennedy Space Center. It was amazing and the kids loved it, we took a bus tour of the space center and the space shuttle was setting on the launch pad so we did not get to tour that part but did get to see it from a distance.
After seeing the space center we headed for Sea World in Orlando, that part of the drive wasn’t very long but we figured we better get a room and we would go to Sea World the next morning, well guess what it was spring break and there was not a room to be found being from the Texas panhandle we did not have this problem up there. We started heading north checking every town we came too and all the rooms were taken. It was getting dark and foggy as we drove and that made us nervous, Finley 260 miles latter we found a room in Tallahassee. It was late I do not remember what time it was but we were exhausted from all the tense driving and not knowing where we were going to stay. We got the kids up stares seems like the rooms are always up stares, brought what luggage’s we needed and went to sleep. After a good sleep the kids woke us up and wanted to eat breakfast, after every one freshened up we decided to pack up and start heading toward home, I opened the door to the motel room and there were the keys to the room still in the lock right where I had left them when we got to the room praise the Lord no one had wanted to do us harm.
Back home we used to have an all you can eat restaurant named Panchos and we loved eating there, well it went out of business. As we were driving thru Shreveport the kids spotted a Panchos sign so we turned in for lunch. It was just as good as we remembered, after finishing each one of us went to the restroom “well you know to rest” any way Jeremy was the last one to leave the table and as he was leaving he leaned on the table to get up and the table tipped over spilling everything on the floor, we heard the noise and thin saw it was Jeremy we all rushed out pretending that we did not know him, of course having a brother that looked just like him didn’t help with the pretending. This has been almost 40 years ago now and we still talk about this vacation some times.
It was late one night and the wife and I was watching a little TV and doing our favorite thing which is eating. All of our kids was on a ski trip with or church youth group and we have been taking it easy, we both had a bad habit of staying up late and snacking while watching the TV, I had gone to the Taco Bell just a few blocks from the house and picked up some Tacos, Bean Burritos with green sauce and when I got back Charlotte had fix a picture of sweet ice tea and I do mean sweet for we would add a cup of sugar to a picture of tea. We had finished off the Mexican food and I started snacking on some M&M’s, I noticed that I was getting a headache my chest was getting this tight feeling and my left arm was hurting. I set there for a while hoping it would go away but it did not so I told Charlotte that I might need to go the hospital.
We went to ST Anthony hospital and I was admitted, they had run all kinds of test on me and said my heart was ok but they wanted me to stay in the hospital so they could run more test. The next day was Sunday and the kids came in from the ski trip, no one had told them about me being in the hospital for they were to wait until their mom got there and she would tell them. Yep you guessed it one of the other kids had heard about it and told my kids; of course the boys were younger that their sister and they went crazy upset thinking their dad was dying in the hospital. When mom got there she told them that I was ok but that I will have to stay and run more test to see if they can find out what is wrong with me. After doing an upper GI they found that I had a tear in my esophagus and that it was a Hiatal Hernia, (I am no doctor so I hope I got that right) any way they told me that this condition can mimic what a heart attack feels like. I was put on some medication and was told no more eating late at night and also eating chocolates late could have been the culprit that started this whole mess.
Now that the kids or all grown and gone we stay up late but I do not eat late like I use to, in fact all those years working I had to go to bed early so I could get up at 5:00 am to get to work and now that I have retired it seems like the wife and I can’t hardly stay up past 10:00 pm. You know if the truth be known this is probably why I now have Type II Diabetes because of all the sugar I have eaten plus being over wait. I am now 67 years young and so far the good Lord has taken care of me. My dad passed away at 67 with a Heart attack so it does weigh on my mind but I also feel I have lived a blessed live and if He takes me home tomorrow I would be happy to see Him and my family who went before me and sad that I would be leaving the rest of my family behind.
I would like to wish everyone on this planet called earth a very Merry Christmas. My Prayer is that we, and I mean the human race would love one another as we would love our self’s and as our God loves us. For God so loved the earth that He gave His one and only Son to be born of a virgin and to live amongst us to die on a cross for our sins to be buried and to rise again on that third day so that we the whole human race can have every lasting life.
- Merry CHRISTmas (califamilygirl.wordpress.com)
English: This is a 1957 Zenith TV with “Space Command 200” remote control, the first model by Zenith with the new wireless remote control. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Multiple TV antenna setup (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Can you believe that televisions did not always have remote controls? My 3-year-old grandson will be over playing and just having a good old-time, I will put some of his favorite shows on the TV and no matter what he is doing he will stop in his tracks and watch it. The very second that a commercial comes on he will turn to me and say fast forward papa fast forward. It does not matter if the show is live and I can’t fast forward he will pretty much keep asking until his show comes back on.
My son and I was talking about this just the other day, he said you know dad when I was little I remember all of us kids would be outside playing and you would whistle and one of us would come in to see what you needed and you would ask us to please change the channel. That was my remote control back thin plus we only had local channels coming from a TV antenna up on the roof. I had a lot of fun doing that but what they did not realize is that I was training them that no matter where they were at and they heard me whistle they had better come running. This was also long before cell phones and they were to check in every little bit so mom would know that they were ok so when they heard me they would call from a friend’s house or come running.
I remember when I was a kid back in the early 1950’s and the TVs first came out there were only two channels and there was no color back thin so how hard was it to find a channel to watch but dad would call me into the house to change the one channel. To come back to what I was originally talking about is how the roles have changed from the parents calling the kid to change the channel or turn up the volume to the kids asking the adult to fast forward.
I wasn’t aboard the Mo Boat (This is what we called the USS Monticello) very long before I was assigned 6 weeks of mess duty. No I had not gotten into any trouble every new comer to the ship had to do this. I started out in the Scullery peeling potatoes, and washing dishes it wasn’t bad duty for we had a potato peeler on board, you had to really watch it though if you left the potatoes in to long they would peal down to nothing. Doing the dishes though was a little different story for you better have your sea legs and a strong stomach, the smell plus the rocking of the ship could get to you if you did not watch it. I had to do this part for about two weeks if I remember right, one day I was talking with the chief cook and he asked me if I knew anything new to fix to eat, I said chicken fried steak is always good and he told me he had never heard of this kind of steak and wanted to know how to make it. Luckily at this time it had not been too long since we had left port and we had fresh eggs to dip the steaks in, I told him that first we needed to tenderize the steaks dip in flour and then in the milk and eggs then into the flour again throw them on the grill and fry them up till golden brown. Everyone loved them and the chief said I could stay in the kitchen the rest of the time.
We usually had good food on board ship at least for the first week or so after leaving port but after that, fresh eggs turned into powdered eggs, fresh milk turned into powdered milk and so on. I am not saying that was bad but it did make a difference on how things would taste. I know every time we would have SOS well I won’t say that word but it could be called COS or crap on shingle; actually it was corned beef and gravy on bread. I would always go to the ships store and get some kind of snack to tide me over till supper or diner depending on what you called it. Speaking of bread they would make it fresh every day but the flour would get flour weevils (Bow weevils) in it and I just could not eat it, but I would always get a slice of it because you could put it under the food tray and this would keep your tray in front of you while the ship was rocking. In the mess deck the tables are welded to the deck and they had a raised ledge around it to help keep the food tray from sliding off in rough seas. The seat was a swivel chair that was also welded to the deck and as you ate your meal you would swivel from side to side, this is something you just had to get used to. You would have to hold your drink with one hand the whole time are your buddy setting next to you would end up wearing it or it would spell into their food tray.
At night we would sometimes have movie night the mess deck was huge and it had a bulkhead (wall) that split it in the middle and there was a big hole with a move screen tied up to feel the hole. They would set up the projector on the navy side, yep we had a navy side and a marine side, the bad thing was the marines had to watch it backwards I guess the best way to describe it is like watching it in a mirror. We also had a popcorn machine like the movies had until one night it caught on fire and we had to go fire on board ship mode. We got out fairly fast because you really do not want a fire on board ship, needless to say the move had to be canceled for another day, and we did not have popcorn any longer. Our ship had a nice looking mess deck, the ceiling had ceiling tiles that covered up all the pipes running across it, I know one day I went aboard the Alamo that was tied up next to us and their mess deck just had painted pipes, speakers and conduit.