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Category Archives: Treasure Box Stories

Stories written purely with Cari in mind

Letters to Cari, #3 August 25, 2014….

Your only 9 years old and you have done many things to make me very happy and very proud.  As you read these letters you will find they aren’t really in a natural progression, more so as they come to mind.  But I will try to identify as best I can when they happened.  Smiling and trust me, many of our shared moments come to mind open. 

This particular incident occurred at the Christmas Pageant during your 3rd grade year.  Your mom and dad told us you had a part in the pageant but didn’t go into specific detail. 

As normal we (your grandma and I) are quite early, but that did get us good parking. And because of it we got to participate in many of the Christmas activities going on.  In particular you sat and visited with me as I sipped the hot chocolate you had gotten me.  We chatted about numerous things none of which changed the world but I just enjoyed that moment.  By the way you were dressed to the “nines” and looked as cute as you could be (as the below picture attests).

 

3rd Grade Christmas Show
3rd Grade Christmas Show

  

At long last we were advised it was time to move into the cafeteria because the show was about to begin.  Much to your Grandma’s and my great astonishment as we walked into the cafeteria we found we had stepped into a full house.  There must have been 300 or 400 people crammed to the space, everyone was jockeying for the best possible place to take pictures of their beloved children.  Your grandma and I were trying as well, but we ended up be shoved into the corner far away from where you were performing.  The program was simple enough that allowed full participation from your choir.  

Of course I don’t remember the entire program, I do remember the trash can drums, and thinking that was pretty cool.  Then your group came up on stage.  If memory serves you were in the 2nd row, about 5 or 6 right to left across the stage, and I know your mom or dad will be able to tell me exactly where you stood.  Your group performed a couple of songs and I remember watching you from the back 40 of the cafeteria and thinking she is really into it tonight.  

After either the 2nd or third song there as a shift in the performers on the stage. You came down from your perch and took a position center stage before the microphone and waited as appropriate.  When the music again started you began reading your part from the script you before you on the music stand.  I was astonished by how clearly you read your part, the clarity of your voice, how you announced each word correctly, and with the changes in inflection of your voice as you read.  It was amazing to see such a young lady with so much poise. 

I remember thinking when I was your age I could barely say my own name without sounding even more childish than I was.  I also remember how surprised I was with your ease in front of all those cameras, the flash of pictures being taken, and how all the movement around you did phase you at all.  It was like watching a miniature anchorperson going thru the news. This picture shows you looking at the paper on the music stand, but as you “performed” you would look up from your page and make eye contact, a feat I didn’t feel comfortable doing until I was well into my 20’s.  Yet it appeared so normal for you. 

You are extremely photogenic, and it showed in how presented yourself before that large crowd.  Smiling I can almost see an actress in the making, the smiling a leading lady, or the anchor of the evening news. 

Cari, I had seen you perform a few times before this event, and while your were a good and active participate, you seemed to hold back a little. This time you were all in and  your performance was outstanding.  It was so much fun to watch, and even more fun to brag about you later.  Take care, Love, Grandpa 

Folks, as always if you have any questions, comments or concerns please feel free to send them to me.  Take care, Bill  

 
 

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Letters to Cari #2 August 20, 2014

Today is your 2nd day of school.  Your 2nd full day as a 4th grader, I only say this to give you a point of reference when you read this.  Most likely I am long gone, and you have matured a quite a bit, this is just my way of staying a part of your life.

Today I am going to talk a bit about our relationship, and one of the key components of our relationship.  That being trust.  Below is a picture of you and me taking a walk.  It was at a football game. a Hudson High Homecoming.  The red tee-shirt you have is a Hudson High Cougar tee-shirt I believe.  Your mom at the time was the coach of the cheer leaders, and your dad was actively involved in the Home Coming program that would take place at half time.  Your grandmother and I had been invited to come to the game and sit with you as your mom and did their thing.

Grandpa and Cari

Your grandmother took this picture as we began our walk.

At the time this photo was taken you were getting bored, and I invited you for a walk, it was before my disease had taken full force, and I wasn’t on oxygen at the time.  But that is immaterial, we got up from our seats, and began our walk. I reached down, you reached up, and we held hands, you showed your trust in me, you knew I had your best interest in my heart, and you knew I wouldn’t let anything bad happen.  Of course you didn’t say any of this, you were a little over 3 years old at the time, and your communications skills weren’t nearly as refined as they are today.  But this simple act of holding my hand exhibited so much trust.  We walked in the middle of the track, I was about a ¼ step in front, just enough to offer a buffer of protection, as we sundered around the track.  To my mind this was the 1st time you truly showed you trusted me.  You let me lead you, and we kinda chatted, I don’t have any recall of what we said, but I am sure you pointed out things that interested you, and I am sure I pointed out things that interested me.  That day we ended up walking one half way around the track.  They were setting up for the half time show so we decided to turn around the way we came, we stopped in the bouncy room, and then took our seats for the game.

This moment of trust, was the start.  In the coming weeks, months and years, we would  countless times of exhibiting trust towards each other.  Sometimes it manifested itself when we would play “sit on me Grandpa.”  Where you knew I would indeed sit on you, but that I wouldn’t put my entire weight on you.  You would giggle like mad, screaming joyfully “sit on me” “sit on me” “sit on me” as I squished you.  But never were you totally squished.  Else you would be a pancake now.  In other times it manifested itself in the pool, as we played countless games, and I took part it either dunking you or throwing you.  It also showed itself when you were learning to jump into the pool.

As children we are given the greatest gift in the world we trust everyone unconditionally.  We never think anyone or anything will harm us, our trust is so complete.  But as we age, even as children, our trust begins to faultier, we don’t trust that dog down the street as much, we don’t believe that kid is going to be kind, that adult doesn’t quite seem right.

Today you’re 9 years old, you are beginning to develop your own sense of trust, and you’re looking at things with your own eyes, and making your own decisions.   Your mind is setting up the guidelines by which you will soon be making the rules by which you will live the rest of your life.  This is an important time for you.  You are blessed with 2 wonderful parents that are doing everything in their power to ensure you have a good foundation by which you establish those rules.   You have good grandparents that all are trying to help influence you, you have a wide range of cousins helping, and you have your church and the influence it provide.  You have all the tools before you.

As you have trusted me in our childish games, and our quiet times of softly spoken conversations in my office.  I am trusting you to continue to make the good decisions, I am trusting you to grow and be the good person you’re heading towards being.   Cari, again trust me, you will make mistakes, that is a given.  Some mistakes will seem unbearable, others will seem very trivial, and still other times you will be greatly confused by your mistakes.  But Cari, they are all opportunities to learn and grow.

Cari, the growing process never stops.  I am 64 as I write this, and I am learning each day, and yes sweet granddaughter I make mistake, some big some small, and I learn from them just as you will.

Love Grandpa.

Folks as always if you have any thoughts, comments, concerns or questions please feel free to ask.  Take care, Bill

 
16 Comments

Posted by on August 20, 2014 in Letters to Cari, Treasure Box Stories

 

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Come to Church…

On Sunday Easter April 20, 2014, I reaffirmed my faith in God, and that his son Jesus died for me, so I would be forgiven for my sins and poor choices.  It wasn’t an easy choice, yet it was very easy. 

Sometimes I claim that I am not the sharpest crayon in the box, my understanding of today’s (August 10, 2014) sermon “Foot Work,” may prove the point.  The scripture for today came from Romans 10:14-15 and I have read it to say in essence that for the word of God to get out there, someone has to take it out to the folks and spread the word.  I believe it goes on further to say that for folks to teach and spread the word someone has to send them out to do so.  As a Christian I believe I have some responsibility for getting the message out.  The below video was shared with us today, and it is sharing the message.

 

 

During the many years I searched I have opened my door the countless times for the Mormons and other groups, I shared a few moments with them, accepted their booklet, sometimes even a prayer and we parted they had completed their Mission, soft smile they led the donkey to the water, but couldn’t make the donkey drink.  Years later the donkey was once again led to the water, this time by my wife.  She led but didn’t try to force the donkey to drink, she let me drink when I was ready. 

Consider this video to be my attempt to lead those of you who desire to be led.  Drink when you want and need.

As always if you have questions concerns or comments please feel free to ask.  Take care, Bill

 

 

 
12 Comments

Posted by on August 10, 2014 in Music, Observations, Ramblings, Treasure Box Stories

 

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Touting My Own Horn

A few weeks ago I went to considerable effort to let everyone know that my blog www.DealingwithCOPD.wordpress.com had been recognized by Healthline.com as one of “The Best COPD Blogs of the Year.”  I would not have known my blog had received this recognition had it not been for a friend at the Daily Strength Emphysema & COPD Support Group. I was extremely honored and had to brag about the recognition and you’ll got it pushed on you LOL. 

For those that know me and are used to me, know I stumbled pretty bad at accepting praise.  For the first year or so if someone said something nice about my BLOG I went to pretty big lengths to down play whatever kind words that were said.  Then early this year I had the light bulb turned on in my head.  Huntmode had her fingers on the switch and turned it to the on position. In that moment of clarity I came to realize how I had been insulting the folks that had been going out of their way to express their appreciation for my efforts.  I can’t thank them enough for their patience and support, and forgiving my knuckle-headness.

Now that I have completed my normally long opening remarks on to the meat of the matter.  Apparently my friend over at DS wasn’t the only person looking at that list of best blogs.  One of the web producers for remedyhealthmedia.com who is also an editor for HealthCentral found my BLOG because of the recognition it got as being one of the best COPD Blogs.  Then I got the below from that editor.

“Hi Bill, I’m an editor for HealthCentral.com looking for COPD bloggers. I came across your wonderful blog and would love to talk with you about writing for our site. If you’re interested, please email me at XXXXXXXXX@remedyhealthmedia.com. I hope to hear from you soon.”

I did in fact contact the editor, and we talked a couple of times.  I explained that I wasn’t a doctor or nurse or someone with any medical knowledge.  I was assured they weren’t looking to me for any medical information.  They wanted a blogger that wrote from the personal perspective, without drama or non-sense, and with a positive mental attitude, which pretty much sums up my blog.

They have an expectation that I will provide at least one acceptable post a month, but would gladly accept 2 posts per month.  I will write about topics that both I and the editor agree too, but the kicker is that the posts can’t be longer than 700 words no few than 500 (or there abouts).  As you’ll know I can hardly say hello in less than 700 words. So I am sure the 500 word minimum will be met without issue.

After careful consideration I have agreed to the terms as offered by HealthCentral, and I am completing the required paperwork.  I have no idea when or what the 1st post will be, we haven’t got that far. To top it off, smiling, I will be compensated for each accepted post.

So folks I am tooting my own horn, but please understand without you, your friendship, your support, your help, and your praise I wouldn’t be anywhere near this. Thank you, thank you so very much. 

If you have any questions please feel free to ask.  Concerns and comments are always appreciated. Take care, Bill

BTW this post is a record short post for me it is only 564 words.

 
38 Comments

Posted by on August 9, 2014 in Observations, Ramblings, Treasure Box Stories

 

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Another Sports Story…. A Treasure Box Story

Somewhere in the fine print I have talked briefly about my enjoyment of bowling.  As many of you know, my 1st sports love is golf, at my best I was only poorly good at it, but I loved it.  Bowling I was pretty good, never great, but I didn’t embarrass myself at a bowling alley.

My earliest memories of bowling were as a kid, Dad taking the family on bowling adventures.  I have no idea what I may have bowled, the only a few clear memories is that I did so in sock feet, and Dad only took us a few times. 

I started bowling in earnest when I joined the Navy, it was one of 5 main events to do while in port and not working, in no particular order these five activities were; golf, bowling, drinking, cards and go-cart racing.  The changing of money always took place no matter the activity.  During my Navy years I won more often than not, playing card, go-cart racing and bowling.  I could hold my own at golf, and we were all pros at drinking. 

But this is about bowling.  I don’t care what anyone says about bowling it is a sport.  And as much as I loved golf, I never really practiced, but I practiced at bowling, and I practiced hard.  I was never in more than 1 league at a time, and unless involved in a tournament I only bowled 3 games a week in competition. But for years I would bowl an additional 30 games a week in practice. I worked to make myself better, and I changed equipment when I felt it would help my game and at one point even had a coach.

I was involved in league bowling for 23 consecutive years.  I was involved in youth bowling for 5 years, 3 of those my daughter bowled, and then I coached youth bowling for 2 years.   I also bowled in summer leagues for 4 years.  One was a men’s commercial league which was the most cut throat league I ever bowled in.  Minimum average allowed 170; I barely slipped in with my 171 average at the time.  But it was also the only time I won a major individual award.  During that league I bowled my career best 279, with handicap it equaled a 307 which was single game high handicap score for the season, for which I was awarded the High Handicap Game Award, and it was also tied for 3rd best scratch score for the season. 

Over the course of my 23 year run of bowling I was fortunate to meet, become friends with, and bowl for and against a guy named Robert.  We met on a Tuesday night mixed league not far from we lived in Alexandria, VA. I am not going to say that Robert and I became friends immediately, but we had enough mutual interest that friendship happened. As bowlers we were competitive having approximately the same average, as guys we shared a sense of humor and a sense of right and wrong.  As we aged we shared info about our ailments, Robert was on the kidney transplant list, but never made it to the top.   My issues with my knees became changed to COPD.

Robert loved bowling, and talked and talked about putting together a team to participate in the United States Bowling Congress (USBC) Tournament. He asked me if I would want to take part, and off handedly said sure, he had talked about this team for a couple of years and I didn’t see it happening.  Smiling, in October of 1997 Robert approached me and said remember you said you would be willing to participate if I put together a team for the National Tournament, I said sure I remember.  And off we were.  At the time of my beginning to bowl this tournament, my league average was a solid 182. Which meant on any given week you could expect me to throw one game in the 215 – 220 range or one in the 160 – 180 range, I was considered above average.  February 1998 was the first of ten years of bowling in the National Tournament. Picture 1 shows the original team; we had to pick up a 5th at the tournament. Picture 2 shows the last team, Robert had lost his battle with kidney disease, and that’s his shirt draped over the bowling ball. Over those 10 years we bowled in the following: Reno NV – 1998, Syracuse NY – 1999, Albuquerque, NM – 2000, Reno NV – 2001, Billing MT – 2002, Knoxville TN – 2003, Reno NV – 2004, Baton Rouge LA – 2005, Corpus Christi, TX – 2006, Reno NV – 2007. 

 

Bowling Team 1998

Bowling Team 2006

I need to point out what a generous man Robert was, both in spirit, love, and financial.  I bowled in the tournament for 10 years, Robert would not allow me or any of the other members to pay their bowling fees, he could claim it’s his party, and he was paying.  After the 1st year Robert bought the teams uniform shirts (so we could get the annual team spirit award), again he would foot the bill, smiling, he even made special considerations for my Pillsbury Doughboy body, and made sure that no matter what color or style they came in the size I needed to be comfortable.  Year each he would gather the team at the hotel restaurant for a team meal, this included spouses and children that came, which at times numbered up to 12 or 15 folks, and he paid for dinner, drinks, appetizers, deserts, the works as his gift to those that participated with him.  I am also sure that more than once he picked up the cost for accommodations and travel for some team members over the years.  His only request of us was that we allow him to do scheduling around his need for dialysis, and his need for time to recuperate from that ordeal.  To a one we immediately concurred.  Now I know I am making Robert out to be a “saint,” well let me just say this.  From time to time I have been accused of cussing like a sailor, smiling; Robert from time to time could even make me blush.  And lord did he kick the equipment LOL LOL, which is a big no no.  He had been warned about that more than once.  As his skills waned because of his illness, he took it out on the equipment but right or wrong I understood. But folks I still looked at him as a saintly kinda guy.  He had such a wonderful heart, and he fought his illness in such a courageous manner, I suspect part of him is guiding me.

LOL I have stories about each of the events ranging from G rated all the way thru, well you get the picture.  Maybe someday there will be a part two to this post where I speak to them.

Quickly the tournament consisted of each bowler bowling 9 games over a 24 to 36 hour period.  The games were grouped 3 and 6 or 6 and 3. The three games made of the team event.  The 6 games made up the Single and Double events.  Single and doubles were always bowled together, and the team event was always team. So you would never go to the stadium and see some bowlers bowling singles and doubles, and others bowling the team event. 

The USBC stadium is a traveling circus that will/would take up residence in the host city for almost 9 months. They brought the bowling lanes, score board, inspection equipment, inspectors, equipment mechanics, and other personal with them from city to city, and the rest of the needed personal came from the local area.  The Stadium itself was made up of 100 lanes split in the middle with a 12 foot wide carpeted pathway where the bowlers marched in and to their assigned lanes.  Many of you have been to a bowling alley so you know your score is monitored and kept track of on a small TV screen placed 10 feet in front of you.  At the stadium, the scoreboard it like a jumbotron. It stands about 30 feet tall, and your name appears in 2 foot high characters, in bright yellow. And your score is displayed directly below your name, and because of the size and brightness of the scoreboard it can be seen in different time zones. If you’re in the space shuttle, at the right time you could probably see the scoreboard.  This was the single most intimidating sight I have seen period.   

Now some Tournament Bowling facts and facts about my experience; 

o   When the stadium was not repeat not in use you could not practice bowl there.

o   When the tournament started for the team even you were only allowed to throw 2 practice balls (one on each lane).

o   The very 1st three balls I bowled at my 1st tournament were all gutter balls.

o   The 1st game I bowled in tournament bowling was a 97, almost 90 pins under my average.

o   If you added the score for my 1st 2 games of tournament play you beat my 182 average by seven pins.

o   It wasn’t until my 3rd tournament which would have been in Albuquerque did I manage to break 200.

o   During practice before the Syracuse Tournament was the time I bowled 14 consecutive strikes.

o   If memory serves at all, only one year did I actually bowl over my average for the entire 9 games.

o   Because of rain storms in Corpus Christi the lanes were temporarily damaged due to water on the lanes.  Our Single/Doubles matches were bowled at 2:45am (completed at 4:15am) these games had been schedule for 10pm.  We were back at the Stadium at 10am to bowl the team event.  I did not do well that year.  Me and one of the guys spend a good portion of the time waiting for the single/double events at an adult beverage establishment, not only were we exhausted we were half in the bag.   

o   Over the 10 year run of tournament I actually cashed twice, once in a single event and once in the doubles event.  I have framed copies of both checks, and trust me neither covered even a 1/10 of the costs.  But at least cashed.

o   On average 12,000 to 16,000 bowlers take part in the tournament annually.

o   A team consists of 5 people, and when you bowl an event you are marched into the stadium. One time in Reno there were 500 bowlers marched in at the same time. That was cool.

o   My career best game was 279.

o   My career best series (a series is 3 games) is 665.

o   My career worse score for a single tournament game was 97.

Folks that’s about as much bowling information that you will ever want, I suspect when the time comes Cari won’t even make it thru the entire post LOL.  As always if you have any questions, concerns or comments please feel free to ask.  Take care, Bill.

 

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A Golfing adventure…. A Treasure Box Tale…

For anyone who has read a word about me, you know golf is one of my lifetime favorite activities.  I have spoken about it in countless posts, I have shared stories about my favorite 4some, and I have talked about the DIVES I have stayed in just to play.  I have admitted to sucking at golf, and being lucky at golf.  I have brag about this, that, and the other about golf, and have claimed that I have never not enjoyed a round of golf.  But one of the best memories of golf came from the time I played with Allison, the 1st time she ever played golf on a real course using real everything.  Today I will share that story.

But before I go any further I need to tell Cari, no matter why her mom says, her mom is one of the most competitive people I have ever encountered in my life.  She plays Yahtzee with the same go for the neck, killer attitude you do, she play’s Monopoly like she is a slum lord, and her days playing field hockey and Lacrosse, well, to say “she took no prisoners” is a vast understatement.   But and this is a very big butt, she was a true sports person, she always played clean and with respect.  Sure she would try to decapitate her opponent, but she did so with a smile, and at the end of the game she was the 1st to shake hands and congratulate her opponent. Win or Lose, but like me she has always enjoyed winning more.

For as anal as I am you would think that I would have written down the date this event took place, I do know where it took place, I know the week it took place, I just don’t know the year it took place.  The location was Phoenix, Arizona. The time frame; it was the week between Christmas and New Year; we were in Phoenix because Steph had to either attend a conference or make a presentation at a Conference.  I believe we flew out to Phoenix on the 26th of Dec and returned either the 1st or 2nd of January.  I know that Steph was only involved in her work related event for 2 or 3 days at the most.  Because the trip was filled with day trips to the Grand Canyon, Sedona, Flagstaff, Scottsdale, and we had a ton of fun and I am extremely happy that the car had unlimited mileage.  Gosh here I go again 4 hundred words of setup.

All smiles the Round is just beginning

All smiles the Round is just beginning

 

This round of golf was only 1 of 2 times we played golf together, and it was the 1st time.  I want to believe that it was a Tuesday because the golf course was not crowded, which would allow Allison to spray the ball all over the place, and there wouldn’t be anyone behind us bitching about our slow play. 

We were joined on the 1st tee by a single; I explained that it was Allison’s 1st round of golf on something other than a putt putt course, and that I expected the round to be relatively slow.  He introduced himself and said he would rather play a slow round with folks than a quick round by himself.  Having played as a single before, I knew the feeling.  It turns out the guy was slightly better than me, and quite cordial.  If offered advice when asked, and didn’t step on my toes at all during the round. He kept an eye on the ball flight and had an eye almost as good as mine.  Because of this Allison only lost 2 or 3 balls the entire round.  Of course this doesn’t count the balls in the water, we could all see the splash then, and for a beginner this was a MAJOR victory.  And the more she played that day the better she got.  She was upbeat, the picture shows us at the 1st tee, she maintained that smile the entire round.  And like a true golfer she cussed (as well as someone not used to cussing at that age could) a bit when she screwed up, I was so proud of her. She truly nailed a few shots, enough so I thought if she ever gets even half way serious about this game, she will kick my butt.  It was clear she was having a good time, and we chatted the entire time about a variety of things not all golf related.  

The Pièce de résistance came on the 18th and final hole of the round.  Allison was giddy and getting tired, she had found out that 5 hours in the Arizona sun (even if it is a dry heat) will wear your ass out. Still smiling, still joking, still having a good time, she knew this was the final hole for the round. She didn’t many any wild proclamations, she wasn’t bragging, she was looking forward to that cold soda that was only 400 yards away.  Allison tee’d up the ball for her final drive of the day.  Driving hadn’t been her strong suit, (hell, get in a car with her and you can see it still isn’t her strong suit).  But she cracked her best drive of the day, smack down the middle of the fairway, and long.  Lord the girl was an athlete, and now she was smug because she out drove me.  My second shot was fair, short of the green, but close enough that I was happy.  Allison’s 2nd shot was as ugly a shot as you can imagine, rolling maybe 30 yards dead left, her ball came to rest near the trunk of a small bush like vegetation, but she had room to take a stance, and she again hit the crap out of the ball, her third shot hitting short of the green but with plenty of top spin the ball rolled up and to the very back edge of the green at least 45 or so feet from the flag.  I dumped my 3rd shot, and my 4th was about 10 feet from the flag.  I walked over to Allison gave her a kiss for getting on the green, and helped her line up her totally impossible putt. This was a 45 + foot putt, downhill all the way with at least 3 major breaks before reaching the cup. We discussed it for about 15 seconds or so, and she lined it up. My only real advice was DON’T HIT IT TO HARD! Allison struck the ball like a pro, I knew immediately that the ball had the right pace, and it was amazing to watch.  You could have put any PGA player in that position, and he would have had a 1 in a 1000 chance of making that putt.  OK OK maybe 1 in a 500 chance.  But this was Allison’s 1st round of golf; she barely knew which end of the putter to hit the ball with.  She hit the 1st break point perfectly, and was cruising towards the 2nd break point still on track and still at perfect speed, her ball made the next break, and was destined for the hole, it just had to maintain its speed, and damn if it didn’t, that ball dropped dead in the center of the cup.  Allison who had been walking kinda behind the ball, immediately dropped her putter, and when into wawa wawa wawa chicken dance, giggling, laughing, prancing all over the place.  The guy who had been playing with us all day just turned to me and said “I can see who the golfer is in your family,” In a laughing tone, walked over and shook Allison’s hand and congratulated her, then sunk his 15 birdie putt.  I on the other had 2 putted for a double bogey.  Yes we knew who the golfer was in the Hamilton family. 

Below is the scorecard from that round of golf, it’s one of a dozen or so scorecards I cherish, but none more.  I am 64 years old and during the course of my life I have played over 1200 rounds of golf, of all of those rounds this was by far and away my favorite.  Allison’s par has the box around it, and I don’t remember for even a second why certain holes have x’s below them.

Scorecared

 

As always if you have any questions, comments or concerns please feel free to share or ask them.  Take care, Bill

 

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More about me than you would ever want to know….. A Grandpa Tale

Dear Readers, if this is the very 1st time you have ever read one of my posts, I am truly sorry to subject you to the following, I would suggest you look into the archives to find something interesting, this will just bore you to tears.  If you are someone who has followed me for a bit, you know I write a lot of stories for my granddaughter, to create memories of me for when my end of retirement comes.

For those of us old enough to remember AOL 1.0, that’s when I began my online experience.  It has been a wonderful experience to be sure, and over the years I have met and become cyber and real time buddies to a ton of folks. One of the ways folks learned about each other over the years where to send out questionnaires.  These questionnaires provided the answers to many commonly asked questions.  To be sure the online community has changed significantly since I was 1st online.  Sadly many of the changes have not been for the good.  But before I get way off topic, hardly a month would go by without a friend or chat room buddy or joke buddy wouldn’t be sending a questionnaire.  I think I was one of the rare ones, because every time I got the questionnaire, I completed it and sent it on. At one point I was only sending it back to the person who sent it, and my closer buddies (if the questions were significantly different).  What I have decided to do is take one of those questionnaires (from the wayback machine) and answer it again for my granddaughter only this time I will each question two ways, or maybe three. What the answer is now, what it would have been 10 yrs, and what it would be 20 years ago.  As you read you will find that the road to hell is paved with good intentions.  The questions had definitive answers that the years don’t change.  So I am sorry now if that disappoints you. 

Already I have changed the ground rules I am using 2 different questionnaires and will be applying the answer as appropriate.  This 1st questionnaire is from the late 90’s early 00’s.  Just so the record is straight, this is being done on Wednesday July 2, 2014.

This is for your entire Life!    X=Yes  O=No

(X)       Gone on a blind date – several times but all prior to 1973 — Makes me feel old from the very beginning

(X)       Skipped school – yes, but not since 1980 (in 1980 I skipped college classes).  Yes I am dating myself lost count of the classes I skipped a long time ago.

(O)      Watched someone die – and I am thankful I haven’t.  

(X)       Been to Canada – the 1st time was in the mid 1990’s          

(X)       Been to Mexico – the 1st time while in Radioman “A” school 1969, have been to several Mexican ports of call since 2006, visits on Cruise Ships ports of call.         

(X)       Been to Florida – Move to Florida 2002 – had been here dozens of times prior to moving here.            

(X)       Been on a plane – My very 1st flight was when I left Louisville to go to bootcamp in April 1969            

(X)       Been lost – more times than I will admit                      

(X)       Been on the opposite side of the country – many times both during the service and as a civilian both working and visiting          

(X)       Gone to Washington DC – lived and worked in the DC area for almost 30 yrs                         

(X)       Swam in the ocean – yes and have been sunburnt on both coasts

(X)       Cried yourself to sleep – I believe we all have or will have at some point  

(X)       Played cops and robbers and I played cowboys and Indians

(X)       Recently colored with crayons – when I originally answered these questions the answer was no but having Cari in my life I can change this to a Yes

(X)       Sang Karaoke – at Joe’s in San Antonio, TX 1998 – it wasn’t a pretty sight   

(X)       Paid for a meal with coins only? – Christmas 1976 for Steph onboard the USS Independence – one of the best meals we ever shared

(X)       Done something you told yourself you wouldn’t? – and said many things I wish I could take back

(X)       Made prank phone calls – I was making crank calls before there were spam calls     

(X)       Laughed until some kind of beverage came out of your nose – it wasn’t a pretty sight  

(X)       Caught a snowflake on your tongue – but this was before I moved to Florida   

(O)      Danced in the rain – maybe this is something I need to do while I still have a chance.        

(X)       Written a letter to Santa Claus – yes and I will and have encouraged any child that may have thought I was him to do so 

(X)       Been kissed under the mistletoe – yes but would have enjoyed more opportunities

(X)       Watched the sunrise with someone [and the sunset too.] – Yes  

(X)       Blown bubbles – Yes Cari and I have done so out on the Lanai

(X)       gone ice-skating – yes it was in the early 70’s and my butt is still sore  

(X)       Been skinny dipping outdoors – I have a swimming pool in a private backyard, and while I may look like I am a whale, I look like a whale enjoying himself

Here is the second set of questions, clearly the going back 10 the 20 years isn’t working out, but as appropriate I will share that information.  Now on to a game of 20 or more questions;

 

1. Any nickname? – yes “Ham” has been my nickname for over 45 years, but I have also been called “Red” at various times until I was 40, and before I even got out of elementary school (3rd grade) I was called Camelskin  

2. Mother’s Name? – Ila   

3. Favorite Beverage?

non-alcohol – Ice tea unsweetened no lemon, Coke, lemonade (pink) and the most important of all Water – Coke and lemonade thru my high school years, Coffee during my Navy career – Water didn’t become truly important until I started coming to Florida on a regular basis, now it is my 1st drink of choice

alcoholic – Knob Creek Bourbon on the rocks – Greygoose on the rocks – a good Bloody Mary (do not use greygoose), and Corina for my beer.  Being honest my choice in alcohol have changed as I have aged, my normal go to Bourbon is Jim Beam and has been for 25 years. I didn’t discover good Vodka until later in life, so whenever I had a bloody Mary it was always with well vodka. 

LMAO as I am typing this, I am trying like the devil to figure why Cari would ever want or need to know some of this stuff. 

4. Body Piercing – None except for those made during surgery

5. Tattoo – No, but I have scars, and those have much better stories than tattoos.  Cari to my knowledge your mom has 2, by the time you read this she may have 3 or 4 for all I know, ask her, and please don’t get any, well maybe one.  

6. How much do you love your job?—before I retired I was quite fortunate, I almost loved my job.  I had a 39 year career working for the Federal Govt, I was extremely fortunate to have worked on some very interesting projects, that were of significant importance, and I may have already spoke of those in a different post.  But my last four years of my career was my favorite because I worked directly with my customers, that part, well love is too strong a word, but I really enjoyed my job.  I am now retired and I enjoy this as much as I enjoyed working.

7. Birthplace – Baltimore Maryland

8. Favorite vacation spot – Australia, we visited there for 2 weeks in November 2001, next favorite Hawaii in 1999, next favorite Disney Cruise 2013, before all of these and when I was Cari’s age we always vacationed at the Grandparents place.

9. Ever been to Africa? – Yes during the Navy years, most likely it was 1970.

10. Ever eaten just cookies for dinner? Yes, I bet it would be difficult to find someone who hasn’t especially when you add the LARGE glass of milk

11. Ever been on TV? – yes evening news December 21, 1999 in London England about terrorism and the Y2K fears, CBS interviewed us as we departed a double decker bus. I stood in the background looking like a dork while Stephanie talked.

12. Ever steal traffic signs? No, and Cari I suggest you don’t either that is extremely dangerous.

13. Have you ever been in a car accident? YES – Christmas night 1967, partiers ran a red light and struck the car I was driving. Then 6 months later I was a passenger in a vehicle where the driver lost control and we struck a telephone pole.  I was in the back seat, and the 3 friends in the front were all seriously injured.

14. Drive a 2-door or 4-door vehicle? – I have driven both, owned both enjoyed them both, 1st car was 61 Buick La Salle, 2nd 60 Chevy Corvair Spyder, 3rd was a 1960 Chevy Impala Convertible (my 2nd favorite car) and I still remember the 16 other cars I have owned during my lifetime.

15. Favorite Number – 55 that was my jersey number when I played JV Football

16. Favorite Holiday – Thanksgiving, always has been and I have written more than 1 post about the meal.

17. Favorite day of the week? Sunday

18. How do you relax – read or play video games, I used to golf and bowl but health issues has taken that off the table, now my favorite hobby my passion has become this blog. Cari hobbies are extremely important.  As a person you must be rounded and grounded.  All work and no play will not allow you to be rounded and grounded.

19. How do you see yourself in 10 year? hopefully alive, and doing things that give me some level of pleasures. Answered in 2007, hopefully it’s still a good answer. We will see.

20. What is your favorite sport to watch on TV – UofL Basketball or Football, have been a U of L fan forever and 2 days.  Now they will have an opportunity to kick some UVA butt on a regular basis. (For daughter Allison and son-in-law Stu)

21. How do I vent anger – internal explosion – Cari this isn’t the best way to do this. You will find plenty of reasons to be angry over the years, and you will find that explosions is not the right response.  Be careful in the one you choose.

22. What am I most afraid of – Not being able to take care of myself.

23. What is my favorite flower – Roses, Mom grew them, and I find the so very appealing to the eye.  Always have been.  Though Steph had a wonderful garden in Virginia that didn’t include roses. 

Okay folks that is more than enough information about me.  Remember this is for Cari, I may come back to it and refine it or update as I feel necessary.  Though I doubt if I ever publish it again.

As always if you have any questions comments or concerns please feel free to ask. My answers will be as honest as I can be. Take care, Bill

 

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Handprints

Not long ago Chatter Master wrote a blog titled “Is Will Be What Was” http://bikecolleenbrown.wordpress.com/2014/06/05/is-will-be-what-was/ which inspired me if of nothing else to draw Cari’s (my granddaughter’s) hand superimposed over mine.   If you go to Chatter’s post, you will inspired as well, maybe not to do the handprint thing, but inspired none the less.  Her perspective is a delightfully written little narrative that speaks to generations before and after, now and then and the joys and wonderment that come with it. Something, on even my best of days I couldn’t hope to replicate and this isn’t my intent. 

But I wanted to do something with that visual.  The impact of one generation laid over another.  Hands 2014Here at the Hamilton home we have a “brag wall”.  It is a wall that serves no other purpose that to display family photos. LOL the brag wall is located out of the normal public viewing area of our home, so are friends are not subjected to this on a constant basis. Some of the pictures reflect special moments, but most are of the family at various stages of our lives.  Our wall has pictures that span over almost 40 years of the Bill, Steph and Allison show. But also some of the displayed photos are actually even older because they show me as a child, that alone makes some of these photos 60 + years old, and without doing an inventory I suspect there are pictures there or should be there of our parents with their parents, so now I guess I should say some of the pictures reach back almost 100 years.  If they aren’t on the wall they will be.  

Right at this moment the “brag” wall has only 1 picture on it. That picture was taken last year when we took Allison’s family, on the Disney cruise.  The other pictures were taken down when we had the interior of the house painted, and we were too lazy to put them back up.  One of my missions between now and the end of retirement will be to get the “brag wall” back to its old self.   I want it to be a place that Cari can drag her mom and ask who was this, or who was that, or why do you look so goofy mom.  Because I am sure Allison will have a story or two to share, and if she doesn’t then she can drag Steph into the conversation, between them they can look, smile, giggle, or maybe cry.  Who knows? And then they can explain the picture together while they continue to laugh and giggle.  

The “brag wall” will be part of the legacy I leave behind when the end of retirement comes.  And while she doesn’t know it yet, Allison will be a big player in helping re-establish the wall. The handprints picture will be framed and a place set aside for it in the wall.  Shadow box photos of Cari and Allison (both taken at the approximate same age) which look almost identical will have a special place. The wall will claim its former glory. 

Many of you know I write the bulk of my posts for my daughter and granddaughter’s future enjoyment.  I write a lot about me as a kid, my adventures, my miss adventures, about things that were important (or seemed so at the time), or things not so important, by anyone’s measure. Most of my life history is wrapped up in these words.  These stories will be part of the legacy I will leave behind.  When other children are talking about their grandparents Cari will have her grandmother and these stories to share as she sees fit. 

The stories I write about Allison are a way of reverse revenge.  Cari will see what kinda of crap her mother tried to get away with, and either develop a different game plan or search for and find new and unique ways to get over on her mom and dad.  That is a child main purpose in life, to get over on the parents and grandparents.  LOL heck it is a war of wills whenever Cari comes to visit.  She has her agenda, and being a guy (even a grandfather) I for the life of me can never figure out the female’s plan.  But I will admit that I generally lose the war of wills, and in doing so love every minute of it. 

Folks, thank you for allowing me the opportunity to take some of your time. I do appreciate it greatly.  If you have any question or comments please feel free to ask. Take care, Bill

 
 

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I’ve Fought the Law, and the Law Won ..P2.. A  Treasure Box Story

The Chief told the girls they could make one call to their parents and explain what was going on.  My friends girlfriend immediately got on the phone and call her mom, the GF explained the problem in great and accurate detail.  Bill had been stopped for speeding, and allowed the cop to search the trunk.  The cop found the fireworks and moonshine and haul us all off to the Mayberry jail.  The Police Chief was threatening Bill with possession of illegal alcohol, possession of explosives with the intent of transporting them across state lines, and both Bill and my BF, the Mann Act for bringing her and my GF into Tennessee for “unknown” reasons.  My friend’s GF must have spoken for 20 mins and then listened to her Mom for another 15, before hanging up.  My friend’s GF convinced my GF to pass on making a call, so my GF didn’t.  My friend and I were not offered the opportunity to make a call, but knowing who my Friend’s GF was, we didn’t push.  I am going to use Marge to refer to my friend’s GF from this point forward because her and her family plays a major role from this point. 

I had been best friends with my Friend for a couple years; Marge was the only girl I have ever known him to date.  They were married as she began her Junior year of High School, let me be perfectly clear, she was not repeat was not pregnant at the time of their marriage, nor did she lose a child prior to marriage, they were in love as much as I have ever seen two people, except for maybe my brother John and his 1st wife.  Marge’s family was not rich, but they had influence and pull, and they had a ton of that. 

Marge’s mom was a lovely woman, and one of the warmest people I have known.  She fully embraced me into their family because of my best friend.  Marge’s older brothers protected me because I was the runt.  And after my GF and I broke up (Marge never really liked her) Marge would set me up with her friends and cousins. But is a chapter left untold. Anyway back to her Mom.  Mrs. Marge was big in the Democratic Party in northern KY and southern IN.  When I say big I mean really really big, she knew people, and those people owed her, some owed her a lot, some not so much, but a bunch of folks in high and higher positions knew her and would quickly bend over backwards to do her a favor.  Mr. Marge was a very important field engineer for one of the Nation’s major gas and oil companies he was responsible for the Northeast, but had influence deeply into the south as well. 

To this day I don’t know all the details of what transpired.  But within 2 ½ hours there was a lawyer there at the Mayberry Jail, to pick up both my GF and my friend’s GF. The girls were released and were never charged with anything.  The Chief also apologized for detaining them. Upon leaving the jail they were taken to Nashville and then flown back to Louisville in a private plane (owned by Major gas and oil company), my GF was delivered to her home by private car before curfew. 

My friend and I while not being allowed to leave the jail were treated very well and fed very well.  The Chief did inform us that the details for our release were being worked out, and to make ourselves comfortable because it could take a day or so.  With the next day being Sunday, my friend and I didn’t expect much to happen.  My car had been moved to protected storage, and we relaxed pretty all day Sunday.  The same lawyer that got the girls out Saturday afternoon came and visited with us mid-afternoon Sunday.  He explained that we wouldn’t be charged and would be released early on Monday.  He had to visit with the local judge face to face before the necessary paperwork was signed.

At 9am on Monday, the attorney came gathered us up and walked us to my car.  The Chief was trailing along behind and seemed in a good mood.  As we got into the car, the Chief ambled over and told me to be careful and to make sure I didn’t do any more speeding in the State of Tennessee.  The attorney just shook his head, and advised us that we might be well served to stay out of TN for a bit.  That was advice we took to heart, and it was years before I ventured into TN again. No more than 20 minutes after leaving the jail we were back in the State of KY.  The tank was still reading full, it was a bright and sunny day, the top was down and we drove back to Louisville without incident.  

Upon arrival back home we checked the trunk and found much to our surprise the fireworks and moonshine were still in the trunk.  We got rid of the stuff as fast as possible and laid low.  We never volunteered to do that again.  Besides only a few months later I was in the Navy, and not long after that my friend and Marge were married.  I haven’t talked to either in a few years now, but the last time I did talk to them they were still happily married. 

Now a little back story.  Our release was engineered by Mrs. Marge.  I always knew she was a player in the Democratic Party, I just never realized the level of her game.  Clearly it was at a level beyond anything I have encountered since.  Remember the only reason I was stopped was because I was speeding, and it wasn’t by as much as I would normally be speeding.  Apparently the cop that stopped us had no probably cause to search the trunk.  Anyway Mrs. Marge tentacles reached all over the three state area.  She knew someone, who knew someone, who could get to Mayberry and straighten and clean up whatever mess there was.   While she was doing that, Mr. Marge was arranging transportation for the girls.  I’m not sure if the trip to Nashville and return was company supported or not, and that’s not my problem.  It happened and the girls got to ride in an airplane home. 

The girls only had to spend 3 hours in a jail cell with an unlocked door and complete access to the restroom.  My friend and I biggest issue was we had to wear the same cloths all weekend, but this was 1968, and it wasn’t the 1st time I had spent an entire weekend in the same cloths.  The Mayberry jail was small, only a couple cells and we were the only occupants Saturday and Sunday nights. And we got to keep our purchases.  I thanked Mrs. Marge a bunch, and I loved her like a mom.  Also to her credit, she had to help out my friend and me a couple more times before I was off to the Navy.  I will say it is nice to have friends in high places even when you don’t know they are. 

So ends my tale of getting to spend two evening in a TN jail as a visitor, (I was never charged or arrested for anything), so I must have been a visitor.  I hope you enjoyed the story.  If you have any questions, concerns or comments, please feel free to ask, and thank my wife for suggesting I tell this story.  Take care, Bill

PS – This was not the only time I have driven Fireworks across a State line for a friend.  A few years ago, just before I moved to Florida permanently a good friend asked me to stop someplace along my way back to his house in Northern VA and purchase $500 in fireworks.  He had a specific list, brand names, gauge, and estimated cost.  When the guy I was travelling with suggested we call it a night, we stopped at the 1st SC exit, that sold fireworks, checked into a decent place, had dinner, and then bought 500 dollars’ worth of fireworks.  We carefully laid them on top of our golf clubs, and pulled the cover over the back.  When back to the hotel had a couple drinks called it a night and completed the trip without incident the next day.  So I can buy and transport fireworks without getting in trouble, so there LOL LOL.  Take care, Bill

 

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I’ve Fought the Law, and the Law Won ..P1.. A  Treasure Box Story

Friday (June 20th) after my wife and I returned our granddaughter to her parents we decided we needed adult beverages and Italian for dinner.  We were no more than a mile from our home and passed two extremely large firework tents. Which reminded Steph of a story I shared with her a million years ago, she turned to me and asked “Have you shared that firework story on your blog?”  Nope I said, she then said you should.  

So here it is. I have been arrested one time (so far) during my life, but I have spent 4 nights in jail over the years (3 completely different occasions), with the last time close to 40 years ago.  Before my arrest for DUI in 1968, I was honored to spend 2 nights as a (controlled) visitor in a tiny little town in Northern Tennessee just a few short miles from the Kentucky State line. The final time was while I was in the Navy; the MP’s got me for disorderly conduct.  I wasn’t arrested or charged, just allowed to cool my jets for a bit, and released. But the story Steph wanted me to share dealt with the 2 nights I was a visitor in Tennessee. 

Back when this event occurred Kentucky was not repeat was not very liberal regarding the sale of fireworks, as a matter of fact; most things beyond your sparklers were not allowed to be sold in KY.  But Tennessee was much more liberal at the time, you could just about anything that exploded in Tennessee, and you could buy in large quantities.  

In early June 1968 a friend and I thought we would take up a collection (or orders) and drive down to TN to buy fireworks for friends and neighbors (covering our costs and making a bit of a profit).  It was a great idea and was well accepted by both our friends and many of the Dads (our collection pot runnith over). 

My friend and I decided which Saturday we were going to make the run down to TN, and even invited our girlfriends for the adventure.  Though at the time we didn’t realize just how much of an adventure it was going to be.  We collected the funds from those that wanted to participate, and made our final arrangements.  That Friday night before we were to depart, the father of a friend called and asked if we were going to go thru XXXXX on the way to our destination, a quick look at the map confirmed that we would indeed be going thru XXXXX.  He asked if I minded if we made a side stop and pick up a package for him.  He would donate 25 bucks towards expenses if we just picked up this package and deliver it to him unopened.  I spoke to my partner, told him about the “package” and we exchanged knowing smiles we agreed to pick it up. 

The next morning we gathered our girlfriends (his girlfriend was 14, mine was 15) put the roof down on my car, and started our trip from Kentucky into Tennessee.  The trip south was totally uneventful, I don’t have a clue as to how long it took to get there, or where we stopped, I just remember the trip being totally uneventful. 

When picked up the package that we had been instructed to, placed it the trunk of my car, and threw a blanket over it.  

Then we proceeded to one of the several Firework sales locations we had passed, and had a blast buying all manner of fireworks, we had specific names and specific quantities and approximate costs.  It was like going to the fireworks grocery store.  A little of this a bunch of that, some of those, a 2 boxes of this, and just kept loading the cart. It was a “Don’t forget the milk,” kinda deal.  My friend and I knew we were going to be hero’s, and we knew we were going to make some good change, and nobody was going to take a beating.  We gathered up our purchases, carried them out to the car, opened the trunk and threw them neatly under the blanket with that package we picked up. 

On the way out of town we stopped at some diner, had lunch, and filled the car with gas before heading north.  Back then gas was still less that 20 cents yes 20 cents a gallon. We were good to go, and we were headed north back to Kentucky. 

Of course I was not following the posted speed limit, heck I never have, always heavy on the right foot. When lo and behold there in my rearview mirror was a police car with his lights a flashing.  Being honest we had just passed a sign say 4 miles to the Kentucky State Line, and for a tiny moment I considered making a run for the line.  But that thought when away almost as quickly as it had arrived.  Besides it was only going to be a speeding ticket. Lord knows it wouldn’t be the 1st time I got a speeding ticket.  So I pulled over.  My friend pulled the registration from the glove box, and I dug my driver’s license out of my wallet.  The police officer ambled his way up side the car, and asked if I had any idea why he stopped me, I looked him dead in the eyes and said most likely cause I was going faster than the posted speed limit.  He smiled and said yelp that would be one of the reasons. He looked at my friend and our girlfriends and asked for ID, my friend dug his driver’s license out and handed it over, but neither of the girls (again ages 14 and 15) had license’s, and freely admitted their age.  The cop just shook his head and politely asked if he could search the car.  We had about 200 dollars in fireworks in the trunk which we bought just down the road, and we were still in TN, besides this was back in the day when you didn’t argue with cops, so I said sure, got out of the car (we all did), and he commenced to looking throughout the passenger compartment, finding nothing of interest he asked me to open the trunk.  I had a feeling that the shit was about to hit the fan, I just had no clue how much shit it was going to be.   The 1st thing he saw was all the fireworks, scattered all over the trunk. Looking at me, he said where exactly was I planning on using these and when (it was still a couple weeks before the 4th of July).  So honesty played out and I said we intended to take them home and use them on the 4th.  He asked if I realized it was illegal to transport fireworks across state line, and I tried the ole innocent me thing, going on no sir I didn’t know that.  I knew he wasn’t buying it and I figured I was about to lose $200 worth of fireworks. But then he pushed the blanket off the box that we had picked up.  He asked if I knew what was in the box, and because we had not opened it I could honestly say that “No Sir, I have no idea what is in the box.” To which he replied, “Let’s open it and see.”  As much as I would like to say how surprised my friend and I were when the cop opened the box and found four gallons of TN moonshine, we both kinda figured out that was what we were picking up.  And that folks is when the SHIT really hit the FAN. 

We were directed to get back in car and follow him to the local sheriff office, which we did, he directed me to put the top, lock up the car, and give him the keys.  The 4 of us were herded into a cell and the door closed (but not locked).  He was holding my friend and my driver’s licenses, and the keys to my car which was just outside the police office, (the place reminded me of police office in Mayberry) so he had all the info on us, but the girls (both minors from KY in TN), was causing him all manner of concern. 

End of part 1

Smiling yes this is too long to be a single post. As always if you have any questions comments or concerns please feel free to ask. Take care, Bill

 

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A week at the Hurl Rock Motel …… A Grandpa Tale

In a recent post I wrote of the best 4 some of golf buddies, and I threatened to write 2,000 words (actually turned out to be 2056) about our 1st golf outing in a group of 4.  It was unanimously decided (without my vote counting) that I would be the one to put together the golf outing.  I wasn’t overly concerned I had plenty of organizational skills, Terry, Jim and Don were all retired, and to make it work we only had to work around my work schedule. 

L to R Me, Terry, Don and Jim

L to R Me, Terry, Don and Jim

Early on it was decided that we would go to Myrtle Beach SC.  The golf Mecca of the United States, a place where you could play golf 100 consecutive days before you had to repeat a golf course.  Of course 26 years ago you only had your choice of about 60 different golf courses.  But for as many golf courses you had a far greater choice in accommodations, of golf packages, with more options than buying a car.  My sum experience to putting together a golf vacation had come the year before when approached I wrote a check.  Yes a ton of experience.

Deciding on Myrtle Beach was the easiest part of the decision process.  We had all been there at one time or another, we all knew there were great accommodations available, and we all knew that the restaurants were varied and very good.  We also knew that we didn’t want to go during the late spring early summer months because that would be too hot.  The guys all being retired left it up to me to narrow the date because I was the only one working.  I did as much internet searching as was available back then and found that the early to mid part of February was pretty good weather wise, day time temperatures in the low to mid 60’s night time around high 40s.   After a few days of discussion it was decided that we would go for the 1st week of February, arriving on Monday departing the following Saturday.  The easiest part of the mission completed.  We recognized it might be chilly but figured that was much better than hot. 

The next major hurdle was accommodations.  I didn’t realize the sheer amount of choices that were going to be presented to me.  We were interested in a “package” deal which included golf.  I don’t remember what the threshold for my financial involvement, but I knew I was on a limited budget.  My budget was such that it ruled out places like the Marriott’s, the Hyatt’s, and the Sheraton’s.  The guys also understood the significant difference between staying at the Marriott with a package, and a midrange hotel/motel.  I contacted a ten different motel/hotel’s (the Hurl Rock being one of them) offering golf packages and received brochures from all of them I had copies made of them, and created a spreadsheet outlining the package cost, the extra’s, the potential add-ons, closeness to the center of Myrtle Beach and other attractions, and blab blab blab.  I mailed the entire package to Terry, Don and Jim.  Asked them to review and give me their top 4 choices. Not having had any experience, and dealing with guys that are you to staff understanding their needs and preferences getting a decision was difficult at best.  But finally they all provided their input, and the only place that was common to all of their choices was the Hurl Rock Motel.   By default the Hurl Rock became the destination of choice.  I will say it right now, if you were to ask any of three; Terry, Jim or Don; Jim and Don would swear the Hurl Rock was purely my choice.  Terry would kinda stand with them, but would own up that one of his choices had been the Hurl Rock.   It took from May to Thanksgiving to make and finalize the arrangements for our 1st golf outing.  We were staying at the Hurl Rock arriving on a Sunday afternoon, playing golf Monday thru Friday, and departing Saturday. 

Don and Jim road down together, while Terry and I rode together.  The Sunday trip from Washington DC to Myrtle Beach SC was driven in a down pour.  Was expected to take 8 or 9 hours took Terry and I almost 11.  When we arrived at the Motel we saw Don and Jim leaning against the 3rd floor railing waving in greeting.  Terry and I quickly checked in and headed up to the 3rd floor, our room was right next to the room shared by Don and Jim.  Let me be the 1st to say the place had all the making of Dive, I would go so far as to say the Hurl Rock appeared to be a place that might have had an hourly rate as well. I know that if my wife had been with me she would not have gotten out of the car, she would have refused to even consider staying there, and we would have been driving the strip looking for nicer accommodations.  If you do an internet search you can find the Hurl Rock Motel at, http://hurlrockmyrtlebeach.com/.  If you will notice there is not a single picture that shows you a view of the Motel from the street.  Clearly the place has been renovated more than once since our week there, and in my mind it still looks like a dive.  Anyway back to the story.  Don and Jim had arrived an hour or so ahead of Terry and I, they had a chance to scope out the room, and the surroundings.  Don was so unhappy with the place that he had already started the search for nicer accommodations, but the golf package wouldn’t transfer and the places that had space were extremely costly.  Don was also pissed that he got scammed almost immediately after checking in.  Apparently some young man came to him with a sad story about needing an alternator for his car and that his family was sleeping in until the next day, and detail after detail, well Don gave the guy $100. Getting a promise that the guy would be there in the am after the auto place opened to return the 100.  Needless to say Don never saw the guy or his 100 bucks again.  Don’s was teased pretty much without mercy by the rest of us the entire trip and Don took it with quite well. I am getting way off track; let’s get back to the Hurl Rock.

The rooms at the Hurl Rock were approximately 11 by 25 foot.  The back half was the “2nd bedroom,” with a bath separating the 2 sleeping areas.  The main area (which included the bed) has the kitchenette in it with a couch, table and 4 unmatched chairs.  The AC/heater unit was beneath the double window in the front of the unit.  The 2nd sleeping area had no window at all, but it had its own AC/Heater unit craved into the outside wall.  The interior walls were a cheap plywood stain a color I didn’t recognize then and wouldn’t today.  The beds had that sag in the middle depicting the thousands of bodies that laid there before.  The linen was tread bare at best, all in a miss matched white.  I am just saying that some of the old stuff was older than some of the other old stuff, which was real friggin old.   The AC/heater units had the most unique cycles and were as loud and annoying as possible.  Just as you thought you had the pattern down and was falling asleep the pattern would change again.  The attributes of the Hurt Rock as I have described them were the better qualities.  We didn’t cook a single meal in the rooms for fear of what an open flame might do.  We used the refrigs to keep the soda and booze in, and that was the extent of our uses of the facilities.  The Motel had no working soda or ice machines, but we were quite lucky there was a convenience store just on the other side of the parking lot, and their soda’s and other junk food were reasonable priced. The freezer did work in the frig so a 5 lb bag of ice when a long way.  The joint was clearly a Mom and Pop place, and their were at the end of their rope, it was clear neither liked their lot in life, and customer service was clearly not in their vocabulary, requests during the week generally fell on deaf ears.  One of the biggest selling points to the Hurl Rock is that it offered free breakfast.  This turned out to be the high point, and it truly was.  We were given a chit each morning for breakfast at one of the local non chain restaurants, and this was great, we ordered off the menu, and I had a feast each morning.  That was the only redeeming value that any of us found with the Motel.

Don continued to look for other accommodations for 3 more days, even to the point of offering to cover most of the cost himself just to get us out of the Hurl Rock.  But we finally just beat him down to the point he knew it didn’t makes sense to move. 

As I stated in the beginning the drive to Myrtle Beach was in a down pour, Monday morning it really appeared that the day was going to be washed out.  But according to the rules, we could and would not get a refund unless the course was closed, and we and to be at the course ready to play at our tee time, or we would be in forfeit.  Monday our tee time was 11am.  The 4 of us gathered for breakfast at 8am, it was raining and very ugly, we assumed that golf would be cancelled and that we would get a refund, that’s when we read the fine print had breakfast and ventured out to the golf course.  It was so ugly, but as we turned into the drive way of the golf course, the sun peeked between a couple of clouds, the rain stopped and by the time we were called to the 1st tee, the skies were blue, barely a breeze, and it was a wonderful day.  By the 5th hole we were playing in short sleeve golf shirts, having peeled off more than 1 layer, and wishing we had worn shorts.  It did not rain a drop the rest of the week.  But the weather got progressively worse each day.  Monday the temp got to mid 70’s, Tuesday maybe 60, and the breeze picked up.  Wednesday wow what a change the temp got no higher than 50 and the breeze turned into a strong wind.  We had seen the forecast the night before, and when out and did a little shopping.  This is a USF sweatshirt I have on, it was cheap and it fit, is the only reason I bought it.  Thursday the daytime temp did not reach 45, and the wind was howling at times, but we tough it out and played.  The forecast for Thursday night was to be the coldest in history for that day, with the possibility of snow.  Folks, only Terry and I were brave enough to play.  The overnight temp dropped to 17 degrees, and it did snow in Myrtle Beach, it was only a dusting, but the fact remains it snowed, and like dumb asses Terry and I tried to play. It was only 28 degrees when Terry and I teed off.  I lasted 12 holes and Terry lasted 17.  I was sitting in the club house working on my third hot chocolate when Terry dragged his ass in.  It was decided at that moment that there would be no more February golf in Myrtle Beach, and there wasn’t.

Every year after the Hurl Rock I was teased about the accommodations.  And I got no mercy at all, but the reality was the Hurl Rock sucked and I deserved it, but really for 10 years LOL give me a break.

For those of you that made it to the bitter end thank you, this turned out much longer than I thought, and I could have made you suffer more.  But enough is enough.  As always if you have any questions concerns or comments please feel free to ask.  Take care and be safe.  Bill

 

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Our First Halloween…. A Treasure Box Story

Halloween has been a special holiday for kids and adults alike.  In both cases it is celebrated in costume and over indulgence. This is a Halloween story about kids, in particular my daughter Allison’s first where she was going to be the one going to the door, ringing the bell, and saying “Trick or Treat.”  She knew those words were the key, and she truly understood the concept of tons of candy. This was also the first year that Allison understood the concept of a costume, and voiced a significant rant in what she wanted to be. Smiling, she chose to be a cowboy, not a cowgirl, but a cowboy.    In the past she had always gone as a princess, or lady bug, (actually that sums up her past Halloween experiences) and the reality was Allison didn’t really have a say. Steph and I had chosen what she was going to be, and Allison didn’t argue, smiling, she really didn’t understand the concept.  Her prior experience with Halloween was to put on something funny (and most likely she didn’t realize it was funny)  and take a walk collecting stuff her parents ate. Also it was just a walk around the block with Mom or Dad or both, at every open door hold out her bag, maybe mumble something, and an adult would put candy in the bag.  A kid’s concept of heaven I am sure.  I think preschool was a real boost to her Halloween educational process.

For the kids the Halloween costume is something they either painstakingly pick out and create or have their parents do all the work, by either going to the store buying the costume and making the necessary adjustments or by creating something from the tons of cloths and stuff around the house.  Allison is pictured here in her cowboy costume, barely able to contain herself, and about 45 minutes after we got her dressed and the makeup refined to something that Allison could/would tolerate.

Revised Makeup LOL

Revised Makeup LOL 

 Smiling, the effort we put ourselves thru for our lovely children. 

This is round two for the makeup.  Being honest this is 30 years ago Allison was probably 4 or 5. Not the sweet looking cowpoke she looks like in the picture. And you can’t even see the gunbelt she had on.  We couldn’t get a shot of her in the original pre-toned down cowboy make-up, because Allison wasn’t having it. During the first application of makeup, Steph had her more made up as a rough and tumble kinda cowboy, the beard was fuller and not a goatee, the mustache deeper, the eyebrows more arched and much darker. And I think there may have been a scar or two.  I know Steph put a ton of effort into this costume, and even more time and energy putting that makeup on Allison.  

When I carried her to the bathroom, and Steph and I 1st showed Allison her appearance, she totally freaked out, she when totally bonkers, screaming, crying, trying to get out of my hands, looking in the mirror moaning, wanting to know WHO’S THAT, screaming that’s not me. Allison was having nothing to do with the Cowboy she saw in the mirror and she was PISSED because her DAD was smiling and so proud and lovingly at the cowboy.  It was truly like a small thermo nuclear device had gone off in the bathroom.  It took 20 minutes to remove the original makeup and get her calm enough to try again.  If you look closely at the picture, you can kinda tell she is still not comfortable.  But the power of persuasion is amazing.  We told Allison no makeup, no trick or treating.  That was the final hurdle we needed to get over and it worked.  It also helped significantly when everyone we encountered told Allison she looked like a great Cowboy.

I will be going thru the photo albums, and picking out single pictures to share a “Treasure Box” story.  Some will be purely for Cari’s entertainment; others will be for my entertainment.  But no matter when you see them I hope you’re entertained.

As always if you have any questions, comments or concerns please feel free to ask.  Take care Bill

 

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A Memorial Day Story

I was sitting here reading mail, taking my morning medicines, and thinking about finishing my weekly “How I Feel” post when I came across this Memorial Day Story (via an AOL Mail from a good good friend).  Being the sap I am, and the proud veteran I am. I felt the need to share this with you. I didn’t write it, I don’t care who did (thought I would love to give them credit) I don’t know or even care if it’s true, it just made my heart feel good as I read it. Hopefully you get a warm and fuzzy as you read it. — Take care, Bill

A Memorial Day Story

As I came out of the supermarket that sunny day, pushing my cart of groceries towards my car, I saw an old man with the hood of his car up and a lady sitting inside the car, with the door open. The old man was looking at the engine. I put my groceries away in my car, and continued to watch the old gentleman from about twenty-five feet away. I saw a young man in his early twenties with a grocery bag in his arm walking towards the old man. The old gentleman saw him coming too, and took a few steps towards him.I saw the old gentleman point to his open hood and say something. The young man put his grocery bag into what looked like a brand new Cadillac Escalade. He then turned back to the old man. I heard him yell at the old gentleman saying: ‘You shouldn’t even be allowed to drive a car at your age.’ And then with a wave of his hand, he got in his car and peeled rubber out of the parking lot. I saw the old gentleman pull out his handkerchief, and mop his brow as he went back to his car and again looked at the engine.

He then went to his wife and spoke with her; he appeared to tell her it would be okay. I had seen enough, and I approached the old man. He saw me coming and stood straight and, as I got near him I said, ‘Looks like you’re having a problem.’ He smiled sheepishly, and quietly nodded his head. I looked under the hood myself and knew that whatever the problem was, it was beyond me. Looking around, I saw a gas station up the road, and I told the old man that I would be right back. I drove to the station and went inside. I saw three attendants working on cars. I approached one of them, and related the problem the old man had with his car. I offered to pay them if they could follow me back down and help him. The old man had pushed the heavy car under the shade of a tree and appeared to be comforting his wife. When he saw us he straightened up and thanked me for my help. As the mechanics diagnosed the problem (overheated engine), I spoke with the old gentleman.

When I shook hands with him earlier, he had noticed my Marine Corps ring and had commented about it, telling me that he had been a Marine too. I nodded and asked the usual question, ‘What outfit did you serve with?’ He said that he served with the First Marine Division at Guadalcanal Pelieliu, and Okinawa. He had hit three of the worst ones, and retired from the Corps after the war was over. As we talked we heard the car engine come on and saw the mechanics lower the hood.

They came over to us as the old man reached for his wallet, but was stopped by me. I told him I would just put the bill on my AAA card. He still reached for the wallet and handed me a card that I assumed had his name and address on it, and I stuck it in my pocket. We all shook hands all around again and I said my goodbye’s to his wife. I then told the two mechanics that I would follow them back up to the station. Once at the station, I told them that they had interrupted their own jobs to come along with me and help the old man. I said I wanted to pay for the help, but they refused to charge me.

One of them pulled out a card from his pocket, looking exactly like the card the old man had given to me. Both of the men told me then that they were Marine Corps Reserves. Once again we shook hands all around and as I was leaving, one of them told me I should look at the card the old man had given me. I said I would and drove off.

For some reason I had gone about two blocks when I pulled over and took the card out of my pocket and looked at it for a long, long time. The name of the old gentleman was on the card in golden leaf and under his name was written:

‘Congressional Medal of Honor Society.’ I sat there motionless, looking at the card and reading it over and over. I looked up from the card and smiled to no one but myself and marveled that on this day, four Marines had all come together because one of us needed help. He was an old man all right, but it felt good to have stood next to greatness and courage, and an honor to have been in his presence.

Remember, as we approach another Memorial Day, OLD men like him gave you, and all of us, FREEDOM for America. Thanks to those who served and still serve, and to all of those who supported them, and who continue to support them. America is not at war. The U.S. Military is at war. America is at the Mall. If you don’t stand behind our troops, PLEASE feel free to stand in front of them! Remember, Freedom isn’t Free. Thousands have paid the price, so that you can enjoy what you have today.

LET’S DO THIS: JUST 19 WORDS:

GOD OUR FATHER, WALK THROUGH MY HOUSE AND TAKE AWAY ALL MY WORRIES; AND PLEASE WATCH OVER AND HEAL MY FAMILY; AND PLEASE PROTECT OUR FREEDOMS, AND WATCH OVER OUR TROOPS, WHO ARE DEFENDING THOSE FREEDOMS. AMEN

As always I am open to your questions, concerns and comments.  Take care, and have a safe Memorial Day.  Bill

 
 

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Fifty years of Searching…

On Sunday Easter April 20, 2014, I reaffirmed my faith in God, and that his son Jesus died for me, so I would be forgiven for my sins and poor choices.  It wasn’t an easy choice, yet it was very easy.  It only took me 50 years to get to this point.

I was born on October 25, 1949, the 1st child and son of William and Ila Hamilton. I was the 1st of 5 boys and one girl.  Warren, my third brother died of what was termed “crib death” before he had a chance.

As a child I remember the “church” being a very important part of our growing family, I remember having cloths that I only wore on Sundays for church.  I remember before Easter each year we kids would always get a new outfit for Easter Sunday service.  I remember going en mass to church each Sunday.  I also remember going to Sunday school, I remember going to Sunday evening services, and I remember going to Wednesday evening services.  Also if there were a youth sponsored event, you can count on the Hamilton’s kids being there. If the church had a gathering the family attended in mass, and there were no excuses.

This practice of church attendance started before I had memories of such things.  But I know I was a regular in Church in: Baltimore MD, Easton MD, Reynoldsville PA, Norwalk CT, York PA, Dover PA, Shelbyville KY, and of course Grandpa’s in Waynesburg KY.  I was baptized into the Southern Baptist Church, in a creek not far from the Pilot Baptist Church (before my 10th birthday).

The Southern Baptist Church was the only religious organization I was even remotely aware of until I was 15 years old or so.  Going to a Sunday church service was Hell on earth.  The preacher stood at the pulpit and screamed and pointed his finger at you and told you all the reasons you were going to hell, his voice carried for miles, his rant was always the same. Each Sunday he picked out your sin and screamed at you until he was blue in the face.  The message was always the same, you are going to hell, and you’re going for this reason or that, and the only way you could get to heaven was through the church, and it was a message about being at and in the church so your fellow brothers and sisters could see you for the Christian you were, that without the protection and guidance of the church you were on a direct course to hell.  But by attending church at each opportunity you would be graced with access to God and Heaven.  The message when on still ranting that while Jesus may have died for our sins, he only did so for those that came to church to prove they were worthy.  This was the message that I received from every service until I was about 14.  To this day I don’t ever remember hearing a preacher speak (during this phase of my life) in a quiet tone, speaking of God’s love and the joy one receives from that love.  The pulpit was a place where anger and wrath, a place where condemnation was spewed.  At this point in my life I was tired of the church, tired of hearing what an evil person I was, and tired of the formula for being saved.  But I couldn’t do anything about it because it was a family event.  Dad taught Sunday School (or so I have been told). Being at church was a requirement not an act of Joy.

But it all came to a stop when we moved to Louisville KY.  I do remember the 1st couple of months of going in mass, but the Church wasn’t convenient to our home, and soon as a family we stopped attending.  I am sure there were other factors involved, but for me to even speculate would be pure fiction on my part.  But I remember the great relief I felt, no more screaming, no more blame, no more belittling, that was a pure Joy.  In my mind I knew there had to be a gentler God, that Jesus was a kind soul that lifted your spirit. But I thanked God for putting the family in a position were going to Church was not convenient.

Our house in Louisville was located about 150 yards from active railroad tracks.  For the next 2 years, whenever I needed alone time I would go walk the tracks. During these walks I would get my head straight, I would sort out what I needed to sort, and I would pray.  I prayed for family and friends, I prayed for good results on upcoming tests (those never came thru until I learned to study), having recently being quite ill prayed that didn’t happen again anytime soon (that one was answered), and I just spoke to God and Jesus, addressing each or both depending on the conversation.   Sometimes these conversations were in my head, but usually I spoke out loud in a conversational voice.  It was a comfort to speak to Jesus.

During these walks I watched a new Baptist Church being built right on the other side of the tracks from where I lived, and that I could access the Church by existing pathways, and it was no more than 7 or 8 easy minutes away by foot. One summertime afternoon I got the courage up to visit that Church.  I was ready to become an active member of a Church. This place was new and fresh, my memories of the sermons I heard were not as pressing as they had been a couple years earlier, and I really wanted to join a group of fellow Christians. I walked into the Church and followed the signs to the Pastor’s office.  I gently knocked on his open door, and asked to speak to him.  He smile, bid me to enter, introduced himself and asked all the appropriate questions about me.  We were all smiley faced.  Then he said where do you go to church now.  I told him that I had not actively gone to church in 2 years, but that I had spent that time talking to God and Jesus right there on those tracks behind his church.  And like every other Baptist Preacher I had or remembered hearing he when right into the spiel that as a Baptist you needed to be at church every week, you needed to be seen there, and you needed those in attendance to witness your love of God and Jesus.  I looked at him and said something like “no sir, I disagree; I believe God and Jesus listen to me as I walked the tracks.”  His face got red, his voice got louder, and it was like being back in the country.  His finger pointing and screaming just exploded.  I got up and walked from his office with him screaming at me as I did.  I left the church, and I walked away from the church for the next 50 years.

While I was away I visited a variety of churches and listened to a variety of sermons.  None really set with me.  Sometimes it was the rituals, sometimes it was the message, but mostly it was the people in the church.  As Forrest would say “Stupid is as Stupid does.”  I have seen a lot of hypocrites at the churches I have visited over the years, and these were all reasons which in my mind justified my feelings.  That I believed strongly in God and Jesus, but I didn’t believe or trust the church to have my soul’s best interest at heart.

But this started to change about 5 years ago, my wife had joined the First Presbyterian Church of Brandon Florida.  Kicking and screaming she got me to attend more than just the Christmas and Easter services.  I had the opportunity to listen to the Pastor Rebecca and the Associate Pastor Tim.  They preached of a caring loving God that didn’t find fault, who didn’t activity seek out fault in his followers, and his son who is nothing but Love and Kindness.  There was never a raised voice, always a warm smile.  And from where I sat it was genuine.  They did care. Over the next 5 years I believe I have met about 100 different people, actually closer to 200, and to a one, they are what I have always expected a Christian family to be.  The message preached each Sunday is of a loving caring God, the scriptures are to the point and make you think and feel.  Rebecca has moved on to preach at a church closer to her children and grandchildren, and First Presbyterian has an interim Pastor Lucian, whose message is similar and as powerful as Rebecca or Tim.  These three have delivered the message without screaming, or pointing fingers, or blaming the fellowship of the Church. They along with the members of the church have made me feel the way I thought I should feel at church. My belief in God and his Son has never wavered.  This church made me feel I belonged not only to the Lord but to the church.  

I had decided to join the Church before I found out my end of retirement date had been pushed forward.  At first I was hesitant to join because I didn’t want to appear to be the Church going hypocrite I had seen all too many times during my search.  But I overcame that because of the folks that make up this Church, and I knew in my heart, it was where I belonged.  April 20, 2014 I stood before the congregation and reaffirmed my faith.

 As always thank you for taking the time to read my post, if you have any questions, concerns or comments please feel free to ask, I will answer.  Take care, Bill

   

 

 

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