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Knives Of My Youth

There were a couple, or three.

The first I owned because of my Father’s disconnect.

He was raised on the East Coast, in a more poor part of town, by a railroad policeman/former Marine.  An Irish neighborhood.

In my mind, his youth resembled a Dead-End Kids movie, except not in NYC.

And, laws aside, there were knives and guns around.  And his Dad’s rules about them – were something akin to ‘touch anything without permission and you get a beating’!

Fast-forward to 1960s Arizona.  A desert, agricultural college town.  Lots of farm and ranch kids.  About 3/4 or whom carried some kind of folder with them.  Girls included.

And me.

We had a couple guns at home, which I was not allowed to touch (see above).

One day, while I was in grade school, my Dad came into the back yard where I was playing.  And he handed me a folding knife.  I was going to be leaving for camp in the Summer, and he thought I should have one of his (!)

CamcoWaterfallCelluloidJack

not mine

AND, not unlike The Dead End Kids, he gave me a quick lesson in Mumbley-Peg with it!  Not understanding knives didn’t stick well in the dry, desert dirt.  See, disconnect.

None of my friends had ever seen such a game.  And, anyway, they didn’t bring their knives out at school.

And, I took the knife to camp, a fellow camper borrowed it, cut himself, got taken to the ER(!), and I never saw it again!  He was okay, though.

Fast forward to a year or so later.  I’d made friends with a couple of kids a block over, including a little red headred headed girl (!)  (Puberty had yet to hit, and, anyway, she was younger than me and a friend’s sister…I wonder where she is now? STOP THAT!)

My birthday came around, and surprise-surprise, the little red haired girl stopped by with a present!  (Hell, most of my friends hadn’t given me anything!)

And what do you think it was…?

NO, not a folding knife.

A sheathed belt knife!  How cool was THAT?  Of course, my Dad immediately glommed onto it for his camping and fishing trips.

not mine

not mine

And it resided in the truck’s over-the-cab camper for years.  Until my Dad passed and everything was given away or sold. 😦

Now, my maternal grandfather (aka ‘Gramp’) always carried a knife!  When I was a kid, I thought this was a disconnect, as he was an East Coast banker-type.  The only time we ever say it was when there were presents.

Used to open the boxes!  A Christy gentleman’s knife!

not his

not his

And it, too, is lost to history. 😦

Although, if I really wanted one, Christy still makes them!

FTC – no companies gave me any of these knives for commercial endorsement – now go away!

 

 

Christmas 2015

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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…

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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.

WHAT? Not Garlic Goldfish, AGAIN! :-)

The Garlic Goldfish (a perennial favorite Christmas snack) have arrived! 

Actually, they were assembled by yours truly, in a couple hours standing at the iron skillet, Worcestershire, Blue Bonnet margarine and garlic powder at-the-ready.  Then slow baked until dry and toasty.

(For the uninitiated, this is a snack I’ve made traditionally for years.  Originally, I made standard Chex Mix, with the requisite addition of peanuts, pretzels and the like.  With a tablespoon of this, a dash of that.  I determined two things – people singled out the Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Crackers for consumption so the other ingredients were wasted, and screw this tablespoon-dash thing!)

I cover roughly 9/10 of the bottom of the skillet with Worcestershire, add 1/2 a stick of margarine, and sprinkle garlic powder generously.  Then marinate a pan full of crackers until they soak it all up.  Transfer all to a turkey roasting pan and bake @ 300* or so, turning every 10 minutes of so to check for burning, until they are all dry and crispy.  (I use Blue Bonnet because it’s cheap and takes the high heat.)

I used to make these in massive quantities for Christmas when I was employed and bring them into work.  It became such a tradition that folks would start asking me in September if I was bringing in goldfish that year!
:-)

Consumer Warning – they are QUITE addictive and go great with beer!  People consuming these snacks needn’t be concerned they will be molested by vampires, or members of the opposite sex. (Unless they, too, have partaken of the garlicky treats!)

FTC – neither Blue Bonnet, French’s Worcestershire, Pepperidge Farm Crackers or anyone else gave me anything!  I bought and assembled it all myself.  Go make your own – and Merry Christmas!

Christmas Movies

My roommate and I differ slightly in which movies we like to watch to commemorate the holidays.

My roommate likes everything Christmas, especially SANTA CLAUS related.  The three Santa Clause films (Tim Allen), Miracle On 34th Street (two versions), It’s A Wonderful Life, Holiday Inn, White Christmas, The Bishop’s Wife – you name it, we’ve (I’ve) been subjected relegated thoroughly enjoyed them over the past week or so.  Some multiple times.

On DVD or BluRay, in Stereo High Fi…

Don’t get me wrong.  I like some of those, in small doses.  Some even get me a little misty…

But over-and-over tends to be a bit much.  (Sorry J.)

I blame commercial television.  Most networks essentially shut down production for the holidays, having fall or winter finales, promising new shows in February!

And giving us fewer choice in the likes of reruns, cartoons and the stuff enumerated above for our viewing pleasure.

It’s like Steve Martin said.  127 channels and nothing’s on.

For television addicts like me, it’s dire.

But, I found a way to counteract the Christmas movie doldrums.  I’ve included in the DVD rotation, Lethal Weapon and Die Hard!

As was recently stated on Facebook, it isn’t really Christmas until Hans Gruber is seen falling from Nakatomi Plaza!

Merry Christmas to all you movie fans like me out there…

‘Tis The Season To Guffaw!

I’ve been posting much about the constant encroachment of BIGGOV, and it’s depressing me…

Fortunately, it’s time for Seasonal Humor!  :-)

christmas2christmas3christmas1

claus blinker

For My Jewish Friends

…and those who also celebrate them!  –  Guffaw

Off the Mark

Off the Mark

khannikuh

L’CHAIM!

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™!

 

November 24, Seven Years Ago

(a follow-up to the November 8 post I Sometimes HATE Novembers, as promised…)

So, here I was, in my insurance-paid-for-rented-condo, about a mile North of my home, while contractors rebuilt it, after the drunk driver had hit it two weeks prior.  That’s what I get for buying a corner lot, off a street that zig-zags.  Drunks never caught that nuance, head straight for the alley, see the power pole, and crash into my back yard.

It had happened before.  Last time it was just the fence that was destroyed.

Good times…

I, of course, still had to go to work, pay bills, and check the mail at the house, all while surveying the excruciatingly-slow process of rebuilding the rear of my home and replacing the fence.

Thankfully (?) I was beginning to have more health issues (joy, joy) which meant I was missing more work. Which gave me the excuse to stop by and check the mail and the progress of the reconstruction more often.

And, it had been a couple of days since I had last checked the mail, and it was my birthday(!), so I thought I’d check the mail again.  Hell, there might be a birthday check from someone in the mail?:-)

I pull into the driveway.  No contractors present.  This always bothered me, as this process was taking forever. Of course, mine wasn’t their only project.

(This had been a little over two weeks!)

AND THE SIDE DOOR WAS STANDING OPEN ABOUT TWO INCHES!

This alarmed me, as no one was around.  The door had been always locked and the extra key placed in one of those Realtor-access combination locks around the door knob.  Which was now nowhere to be seen!

I exited the car and drew my 1911 pistol.  (Yeah, I know.  All my training (which I had trained others to do many times before) was to leave the area to a relatively safe location and call the police to respond. After all, there may have been multiple armed intruders inside burgling my home!)

BUT, this was MY HOME!  And the training went out the window.  Sigh.

I slowly entered the kitchen, listening intently for any activity inside, pistol at-the-ready.  Then into the living room, bath and two bedrooms.  This was relatively quick, as it was a 740 square-foot house.

It was obvious someone else had been inside.  Someone NOT a contractor.  A home computer, portable television, stereo, some faux Samurai swords and a number of other items were missing.  Movers had taken many of the larger furniture items to put into storage prior to the reconstruction.  But I was told they were unable to take the gun safe, as they were prohibited from storing firearms.

They had removed the Dillon XL 650 reloading press from it’s mount, preparatory to the rebuild.  But had not put it into storage. (I guess it was gun-related).  It was gone.

And the 800 pound, Fort Knox gun safe was missing.  And this was on the floor…

20151106_165708 (1)

Someone obviously had pried off the combination dial and locking lever to open the safe.  And when that failed, THEY TOOK THE ENTIRE 800 POUND SAFE! 

Credit cards, spare checks, school transcripts, cameras, my birth certificate and over fifty firearms! Gone.

First, I called the insurance company, to see if they had perhaps authorized storage of the safe and it’s contents, and had inadvertently broken the locking mechanism somehow in transit.  Then, I called the mover and the police.

And was scolded by the 911 operator, as it was for emergencies only.   How was fifty+ firearms possibly out on the street was not an emergency?

Ultimately, the contractor, the storage guy, my insurance man and the police arrived on the scene.  I recounted my actions upon arriving multiple times for each of them.  And I was livid.  To keep me occupied (and busy and out of the way) the police advised me to make a list of what was in the safe, including all the firearms and serial numbers.

I knew most of their descriptions by heart, but the list (with Polaroids and serial numbers) was not around.  It was probably in the materials previously packed and moved to storage.

Fortunately, I still had many of the receipts and gun boxes, which were labeled on the edge with the numbers.

And set about making the list on a legal pad.

All parties were questioned.  The contractor’s employees all had cellular telephones they were required to keep with them at all times (for GPS tracking purposes).  And all passed the location test.

As if someone couldn’t have left the phone at home off-hours to do a burglary?  Or they told someone else?  Come on!  I never broadcast about the safe in my home, suddenly, after many strangers had seen it, it went missing.

After six months, the house was reconstructed, painted, re-floored (safe drag marks) cleaned (even clothes in the closet dry cleaned!) and restocked with the stored items.  I had called in to stop all my credit cards the same day.

I received a check for the maximum available from my policy.  (Note-to-self:  Make certain all valuables are covered, and if there is a cap it covers all firearms.  I was insured for a maximum of 5K on the firearms, eventually paid just over 7K total.  Firearm valuation of the missing?  Over 21K! in 2009 gun values)

Fortunately, I had taken my favorite 1911 and .38 snub with me to the condo!

And none of the identity items, credit cards or firearms have ever surfaced.

I’m thinking Mexico, and thank God that Fort Knox makes a quality piece of security equipment!  I suspect it’s abandoned in the desert somewhere, still unopened.  (Let this be a lesson – if you’ve not done so already, bolt your safe to the foundation and wall studs – even if it weighs 800 pounds!)

And among the missing are my electroless nickel Colt Gold Cup, 1969 Browning High Power, 4 AR-15s, my Ithaca Deerslayer Police Special 12 gauge, my pre-model 27 Smith & Wesson 5″,  my Sig-Sauer P220 – marked made in W. Germany(!) and my 1942 Springfield Garand!!

I had to use the insurance money for other things, and never was able to replace any of the missing firearms.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!

FTC – Fort Knox safes gave me nothing.  I bought it at a gun show.  Leave me alone!

 

Remember The Living

vetToday is Veteran’s Day.

A day set aside to remember those who fought in service to this country. many of whom still remain with us, many still fighting demons, bureaucracies and political enemies.  And those who are not.

The Living Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Seamen and Marines.  Some remaining in service; some who left it, but all who have not forsworn their oaths.

As we take time to remember those who have passed in service on Memorial Day, please take a moment today to remember The Living.

Call, visit, and if possible shake the hands of those with us, and say, “Thank you for your service!”

Rob, Lonnie, Glenn, Glenn, Mark, John, Stan, Jim, Jodie, Ardith, John, and Gloria.

THANK YOU!

“People sleep peacefully in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.”  –  George Orwell

"Round up the usual suspects."

In Loving Memory…

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