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Four Years Ago, Today

markabell2We lost MARK BELL.

My co-worker, shooting student, sounding board, reminder of things good, bon vivant, and loyal friend.

We had just attended Kevin Baker’s blogshoot the previous Sunday, and had spoken on the telephone, yesterday (four years ago – I cannot believe it’s been four years!).

Then his beloved wife Cathy called me tomorrow (four years ago) to tell me he had dropped dead from a heart attack suddenly yesterday.

Having almost lost Walter recently, this may be a little maudlin.

I don’t care.

PLEASE, tell the ones you love that you love them, and hug them, if at all possible.

Because you never know.

Happy New Year (AGAIN), Aka, Geez I’m Old!

When I was visiting my Sister on Christmas Eve (accompanying my ex-wife, who is close with my niece and grand-nieces.  Yeah, it’s weird, sometimes!)  my ex told me she had been visiting earlier that day with her (deceased) youngest brother’s children.  One of whom had a child, who married someone already with a child.

So, they are a step-parent, and by extension, I found out I am a great, great uncle!

Now I’m not particularly close to these folks, and don’t know over half of them, so my social obligation is limited.

But the label!  And the fact it’s 2016!  That makes me….(carry the one)….(removes sock to count toes)….going to be sixty-four this November!

And my ex already took note that I am graying (Thanks, M!)…

But, I am grateful for all I do have, and the fact I am on this side of the dirt nap.

So there’s that.

Tempus Fugit, my friends.

Another Orbit

The third rock from the Sun has gone ’round yet again.  And it’s reportedly now 2016!

Happy New Year?!

I must report, not much has changed for me in the past 365 days, save increased age and perceived infirmity.

Same (low) disability income, same crummy car, same rental room.

BUT, I continue to have friends and family, who support me spiritually, morally, and sometimes even financially!

And that has made all the difference!

My thanks to you all – you know who you are.

Who knows?  Perhaps this year will be even better?

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Guffaw

Happy-New-Year-Cartoon-Pictures

Christmas 2015

20151210_200303

As Don Benjamin (my high school English Lit. teacher) used to say when he’d (intentionally) run out his lesson plan:

“Well, here we are!”

My roommate did a fine job on the tree (which she also bargain purchased – it’s artificial!).  Sadly, neither one of us has enough money to do the holiday up right.

And she’s visiting her daughter in Tucson, today.

I visited my Sister’s for Christmas Eve festivities – here is a pic of nieces, nephews, grand nieces and grand nephews and my sister sporting their silly socks!  :-)  ♫You put your left foot in…

IMG_4179

I’ve the critters to keep me company today, and a traditional dinner of Italian food later for which to look.

Santa didn’t bring me the woman I asked for!  Nor the guns!

But, I’ve a roof over my head, a 16-year-old car that sometimes works and fuzzy creatures to annoy, confound and entertain me.

And food for my belly.

Life is good – to all my friends, near and far,  MERRY CHRISTMAS!

A Christmas Tradition

When my marriage was winding down, my wife and I separated.  And we eventually got divorced.

It’s only by the grace of God we remained friends.  (And remain so to this day! :-) )

The separation was longer than most.  Eight years.  But, we lived apart, shared custody of Molly, equally (alternate weeks, with one alternate day in the middle.)  And living a little more than a mile apart, it ‘worked’.

But, initially, when she told me she wanted to separate, pain aside, it occurred to me that I wanted to do something extra special at Christmas for our daughter.

Because.

And I found these art pieces of little girls interacting in their world, by Frances Hook.

And determined I could probably afford one each holiday season, as a special gift to Molly.

Sometimes, getting funds together for toys, clothes and such was difficult.  And the statuettes were an additional hardship.

But, I managed.

And she seemed to appreciate them, even when the tradition began, when she was age 5.

birdie

The first one was entitled “Birdie”.  I got it because I remembered her chasing sparrows in the park, trying to get one to light on her finger.   Calling out “Birdie, birdie!”

And so it was to pass she received a different one each year for Christmas.  It was nice as we all continued to share Christmases together.

But, Christmas 1994 found me having difficulty finding another Frances Hook porcelain statuette with a little girl in it that she didn’t already have.  Eventually, I did find one, though.

And I found out the reason for the dearth of sculptures.  It seemed, the artist had passed away the year Molly was born – 1983.  And in 1994, the porcelain figurines stopped production.

We lost Molly the next March.

I wonder if somehow The Universe had made the connection.

Thanksgiving

Regular readers of this blog are familiar with my dislike of this holiday.  NOT with the sentiment!  :-)

Make certain you hold each other close, honor each other, show each other you care and respect each other at todays gatherings.

And tell them you love them.

It’s not such a bad idea other days of the year, as well.

Because you never know…

And, it’s a good idea to make a list, even if it’s just in your head, of those things and people for which you are grateful.

I’ve a roof over my head, food in my belly, and a car – albeit a beater car.  But she runs (kinda)!

Many people don’t have such things.

And today’s feast is traditional with me:

Salad, garlic toast, and mostaccioli!

mostaccioli

MANJA!

and Happy Thanksgiving to all my friends, family and blogfriends™!

 

Happy Birthday, Dad, Belatedly

Dad1

Yesterday, November 16, would have been my Father’s 100th birthday. Instead, he passed at age 61.

There were so many life lessons he was unable to impart to me.

Calm reflection (he was an angry rage kind of guy); Moderation (he was an alcoholic and a compulsive overeater); Mechanical ability (I once saw him attempt to repair a leaky radiator hose with Scotch tape(!)  I was a kid, and even I knew that wouldn’t work).

But I knew he loved me.

After all, when I was born prematurely (and my twin brother didn’t make it) he hurriedly ran to the nearest church to pray for my survival.

He tried to make me an athlete, as he had been.  Alas, my developing a physical disability @ age 12 stopped those attempts in it’s tracks.  And from that point forward, he was unclear how to relate to me.

I only saw him cry once.  When he told me how proud he was of my graduating the Eighth Grade, and that I never asked him for money.  To be fair, I didn’t know I was allowed to!  When my Mother passed, he kept his grief private.

I’m certain his childhood was horrific.  A stern father who had been a Marine and railroad policeman, and his having grown up poor during the Depression.

He had not been raised to be a hugger.  I don’t remember him ever hugging me.  A firm handshake was the order-of-the-day.

But, he did teach me a few important things.  Loyalty (be true to your friends – he was to his); Honesty (your word IS your bond); and yes, Love.

He loved his wife (my mother) with all his heart.  Watching her die @ age 41 of emphysema must have been horrible. (I was in the Second Grade, what did I know?)  And in spite of the fact they were estranged, my (half)sister was his jewel.  He was very protective of her, which probably in-part caused the estrangement.  But she was another connection to his wife, which I don’t think she ever saw.

And he kept his heart disease hidden from me until it was too late.

He was flawed – he was human.

I love you and miss you, Dad.  Happy Birthday!

Significant Others and Firearms

I’ve not had a significant other (wife, girlfriend, etc.) for many years.  :-(  I’ve been fortunate that the last couple were interested in firearms and I was able to further educate them.

And both carried.

But, I saw a blog post on the Alien Gear Holsters Blog that caught my interest.  And reminded me of some others I’ve known with less-than-interested significant others…

HOW TO CONVINCE YOUR WIFE TO LET YOU CARRY CONCEALED

With regard to how informed the significant others should be, I’ve two tales of woe:

A student of mine who worked at TMCCC with me had a wife who was vehemently anti-gun.  Before we met, he had talked her into allowing him to have a Glock 19 in their home.  (unloaded and locked away, of course!)  We were able to go out shooting a couple of times, and I was able to markedly improve his speed and groupings. Part of this involved what he referred to as his front sight epiphany!  (finally understanding how focusing on the front sight versus the target was the correct method to shoot).  He loved shooting, and became enamored with one of my AR-15 rifles.

You can see where this is going, can’t you?  :-)

Another one of my students had become proficient in assembling AR-15s for a local rifle manufacturer (as a side job).  He had also begun his own business to do the same.

And my student really wanted an AR-15!

Well, I connected the two of them, and a deal was made.  The rifle was made and passed to my student in the TMCCC parking lot (carried under disguise of a blanket).  Had we been discovered, both of us would have been undoubtedly fired, due to having a firearm on the premises.  (This was a few years ago).  But the exchange went fine.

Unfortunately, my student had been dishonest, as he neglected to tell his wife of the purchase!!

I disagreed with him, but, Hell, I wasn’t married to her.

He even kept the rifle bivouacked at a friend’s house (not mine), lest she fine out…

The morals and ethics in a marriage is for another blog post.

Ultimately, he was promoted, and had to move to Chicagoland, get a FOIA card (to get to keep his Glock), and was unable to take the rifle!  My understanding is he visits her (the rifle) when he comes out to the Phoenix TMCCC office.

The other story is of another TMCCC student.  We were good friends and coworkers, and again, his wife hated firearms.  But, he started with a .357 Ruger revolver.  Obtained his CCW permit and bought a 1911.  And carried often, much to the consternation of his wife.  But, he did obtain her permission.

Then, suddenly and unexpectedly, he died.  In going through his things, his wife discovered a 12 gauge pump shotgun (of which she was unaware).  She gave the revolver, the semiautomatic, and the shotgun to her son-in-law, who was a shooter.

Just to get them out of her house.

She received a call from a local gun store.  A gun which he had ordered had just come in, all paid for.  She called me, asking what she should do.  I suggested as it was all paid for, she should pick it up and give it, too, to her son-in-law.

That she did.

coonanIt was a custom Coonan .357 semiautomatic!

Too bad she just couldn’t stand firearms – she would have had quite a little collection.

I suggested to her, if she ever changed her mind (now living alone, and all) I’d be happy to educate and train her in firearm safety and self-defense.

No call to date.

(FTC – Alien Gear, Glock, Ruger and Coonan gave me nothing!  GO AWAY!)

Watch For Falling Rock

My Dad loved ARIZONA.  He was born in Rhode Island, and lived in Connecticut, but we moved out here for my Mother’s health (she had emphysema – better breathing) in 1955.  Obviously long ago (the air is much more polluted now!)

And we took many road trips to learn about our new State, it’s culture, geography and history.  Flagstaff, Tombstone, Montezuma’s Castle, Tuzigoot, Nogales, Horse Thief Basin, Tortilla Flat (yes, it’s a real place!)

falling rock

And, whenever we saw this sign during our travels, my Dad would always regale us with the tale of the forever-missing Indian, Falling Rock.

:-)

Of course, sometimes reality reared it’s ugly head…

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We were never hit – heard a few clunks over the years, though!

Wirecutter – thanks for the memory flogger!

Prayers, Please!

My nephew’s son, Greg Daniels, will be going through neurosurgery tomorrow TODAY!@ the U of A Medical Center in Tucson.

He is a young man, and I don’t know the history behind the medical issues, but I have been a parent. Scary stuff.

Please keep a good thought, or more, if that’s what you do.

THIS JUST IN – HE GOT THROUGH THE SURGERY OKAY.  PATHOLOGY WON’T BE IN FOR FIVE DAYS, BUT HE IS NO LONGER HAVING SEIZURES!

"Round up the usual suspects."

In Loving Memory…

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