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Bittersweet

It’s February 8th.

Regular readers might remember this is my daughter Molly’s birthday.  In this case her 34th.  Sadly, she only made it to her 12th.  😦

(The twenty-second anniversary of the accident that took her from us is in about five weeks.)

Molly 1986 2

I try to remember happier birthdays.

Last year, another element was added to this date.

Bob Hall, my dear friend whom I met when were worked as private investigators together, who before had attended junior high and high school with my then wife-to-be, and later managed the Legendary Gun gun store (where I worked part time, for a while) in 2016 passed into eternity.  Complications from cancer.

See, I told you this time of year sucked for me.

People we care about love, passing way before their time is a travesty!

Please take the opportunity today to hug those close to you, and tell them you love them.

You never know…

 

It’s The Beginning Of That Time Again…

…Actually, the beginning was last Halloween.

Yeah, I know, I can be a bit maudlin.

Time marches on, things change, people pass away.

It’s one thing when it’s an aged relative – that’s unpleasant, but expected.

But when it’s a child or a dear friend in their prime.

THAT’S when it gets me.

Recent Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas aside, now it gets more personal.

For the next six weeks, or so.

Today is Ground Hog Day.  I hear tell he saw his shadow – six more weeks of winter.  Perfect!

Yesterday was, by my recollection, Ground Hog Eve.  Marked on my calendar to remember a dear friend.

MARK BELL

As previously recounted in these pages, Mark passed in 2012 a from a sudden, unanticipated heart attack.  We had gone shooting together the previous Sunday.  His passing happened on Ground Hog Eve.

I have had many friends over the years.  Mark was one of the best, the most kind, giving, and funny.  A USN veteran.

His definition of guffaw remains at the top of this page in his honor.

I love you and miss you, my dear friend.

Mark Bell, R.I.P.

 

MERRY CHRISTMAS 2016

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

To all my friends and family near and far.

And, to all my Jewish friends,

HAPPY HANUKKAH!

And to my ‘other’ friends,

Joyous Solstice (belatedly)

And Best Wishes for a Safe and Healthy return for those in service to this Great Republic!

And to everyone, regardless,

PEACE ON EARTH, GOOD WILL TO MEN

Let’s hope 2017 is a better year for everyone.

Guffaw

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Christmas Eve at my niece’s last night!

Where Were YOU When…?

“December 7th, 1941.  A date which will live in INFAMY!”

I wasn’t yet born.  But I remember it was a touchstone for persons of my Father’s generation.

Where were YOU when Pearl Harbor happened?

I’m certain each generation has their historical event…

(Going back before Pearl Harbor)

The beginning of The Spanish-American War.

The sinking of the Titanic.

WWI

The Lusitania

The End of the War to End All Wars

But, Pearl Harbor sticks in my mind, because I’ve met folks who were there.  It’s not just from the history books, like the Civil War, the Indian Wars, “Remember the Maine!”

As the JFK assassination is for MY generation.

And the first World Trade Center bombing, Khobar Towers, the U.S.S. Cole and the second World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks.  And Flight 93 are for subsequent generations.

Each generation has it’s historic marker.  Some, sadly, more than one.

It’s up to US to keep the memories alive, with politically-correct history textbooks barely mentioning such events.  If they mention them at all.

Does this make us warmongers?  Hardly.

This is the 75th Anniversary of the Attack on Pearl Harbor.  If you were 17 at the time (and got permission, or lied) you could have been there.  You would now be 92, if still alive.  Veterans are passing daily into history.

Thank you for your service.

It is important to remember from whence we came, lest history repeat.  We must learn from our mistakes, and others.

And remain vigilant.

pearl

 

Veterans Day

vet-day-2016

I always tried to make it a practice at TMCCC to stop by the desks of veterans with whom I worked and thank them for their service.

As I can no longer do that…
Lonnie, Glenn, Glenn, John, Stan, Jim, Jodie, Ardith, John, and Gloria.

Thank you for your service!

Helen Rawls RIP

Tempus Fugit

Helen Rawls is a childhood memory.               Helen Rawls Obituary

Jim (about who was written here previously) is my oldest continuous friend.  I’ve known him since August 1960, when he was in First Grade and I in Third.  She was his mother.

Helen passed on Halloween at 97.

from her Arizona Republic obituary (in part):

…She spent the remaining years of her childhood in Indianapolis, graduated from Short Ridge High School, became a stenographer, and joined the Army. She was one of the first women (other than nurses), to be a member of the armed forces.

… Helen was active in the Community Christian Church, as a member of the ASU Faculty Wives and the League of Women Voters. She was also a volunteer for Meals on Wheels, tutored at local schools, and worked with various other charities. She lived the last 29 years of her life at Friendship Village Tempe.

Services are at Friendship Village Health Care Center – 2525 E. Southern Ave. Tempe, on Sunday, November 6, 2016 at 2:30 pm. Contributions can be made to a charity of your choice , in Helen’s name.

Until I read the above, I’d not known she had been in the Army.  She was my friend’s mom.  And a fine woman.  She was pre-deceased by her husband Bill, who had been a physics professor at A.S.U. in 1996.

Bill had served in the Navy.  My thanks to you both for your service.

Helen and Bill were the most functional family on the block.  (Obviously, an improvement over my dysfunctional family!)  Raised quality kids, participated in church and civic affairs, recycled before it was cool.  I knew Helen as just one of the housewives on the block.

Hardly just!

I’m glad they are together now.

 

Which Is The Correct Direction?

For some reason, my elders saw fit to pass trinkets from their lives onto me.  Some, I understand, like my Dad passing his Dad’s NY, NH & H railroad police badge to me.  🙂

And my Dad, his railroad pocket watch (complete with fob and Grand Central Station locker key)!

But others aren’t so straight forward.

My maternal grandfather (Gramp), took me aside one day and gave me a compass.  He didn’t explain where he acquired it, or who it was from.  Gramp passed in 1977 with this information.

I still have the police badge.  I gifted the pocket watch to my long-time friend Jim, as he has always been obsessed with trains, on his 50th birthday.  (He and my Father talked about trains for hours, when I wasn’t all that interested.)

I still have the compass.  Compasses of the same manufacture can be found on Ebay for $55.00.  Of course, they don’t have the personalization on the inside of the cover!

20160421_10521620160421_105153

 

 

 

 

 

The inscriptions read as though they might be of military origin, including a 1917 date.  The Great War?  I’ve no way of knowing.  Internet searches of the initials and dates haven’t provided any further information.

As it is with so many things originating with my family, like what happened to my twin brother, I guess the answers are lost forever.

 

Rose Mofford RIP

roseRose Mofford, the last ‘beloved’ politician in Arizona (per Arizona Republic columnist Ed Montini), passed yesterday at age 94.

A Democrat, she spent her life in public service.  Born in Globe, a mining town to the East of Phoenix, she was an All-American softball player in high school, and turned down an offer to play professional basketball with The All-American Red Heads.  She married (and subsequently divorced) a Phoenix Police Captain.  They remained friends.

She became a secretary to the State Treasurer, then secretary to the Secretary of State.  Ultimately, she was elected to that office, then became Governor upon impeachment of embattled Governor Evan Mecham.

She chose not to run for office at the end of her term, and retired to private life. (above via Wikipedia)

She was famous for being professional, personable, and answering her own telephone.  And that ubiquitous beehive hairdo!

I had a run-in with her one day.  Or rather she with me.  🙂

I was at the Arizona Department of Transportation (this was during my career as a private investigator) and opted to cross Jefferson St. (a very busy thoroughfare @ 19th Ave. and Jefferson), by jaywalking!

Just before I reached the other side of the street, a car turned East onto Jefferson and began accelerating.

Into me!

I clapped my hands onto the hood to get the driver’s attention (and to pretend I could actually stop the car) and looked up in fear.

The driver was Rose Mofford!  She was Arizona’s Secretary of State at the time.  She smiled broadly at me, and mouthed ‘I’m sorry’.  I mouthed back,‘that’s okay’, and she drove on.

I understand she supported reasonable gun control (whatever that is).  Being a Democrat, I’m not surprised.

She remains a symbol for a kinder, gentler time in Arizona politics.

She will be missed.

RIP, Rosie!

Hugh O’Brian RIP

Okay, 2016, enough already!

Another one of my childhood icons, Hugh O’Brian, passed yesterday…

He was 91.

For those too young to be baby-boomers, he was Wyatt Earp in the TV series The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp 1955-1961.

When the Western was King.

(Yeah, he didn’t sport a mustache, and didn’t truck with hookers on the show, I know!)

(from Wikipedia)

O’Brian first attended school at New Trier High School in Winnetka, Illinois, then the (now defunct) Kemper Military School in Booneville, Missouri. He lettered in football, basketball, wrestling, and track. O’Brian dropped out of the University of Cincinnati after one semester to enlist in the United States Marine Corps during World War II. At seventeen, he became the youngest Marine drill instructor.

(…)

Hugh O’Brian dedicated much of his life to the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership (HOBY), a non-profit youth leadership development program for high school scholars. HOBY sponsors 10,000 high school sophomores annually through its over 70 leadership programs in all 50 states and 20 countries. Since its inception in 1958, over 435,000 young people have participated in HOBY-related programs.

One high school sophomore from every high school in the United States, referred to as an “ambassador,” is welcome to attend a state or regional HOBY seminar. From each of those seminars, students (number based on population) are offered the opportunity to attend the World Leadership Congress (WLC). In 2008, over 500 ambassadors attended from all 50 states and 20 countries. The concept for HOBY was inspired in 1958 by a nine-day visit O’Brian had with famed humanitarian Dr. Albert Schweitzer in Africa. Dr. Schweitzer believed “the most important thing in education is to teach young people to think for themselves.”

O’Brian’s message to young people is “Freedom to Choose” as explained in an essay on the topic:

I do NOT believe we are all born equal. Created equal in the eyes of God, yes, but physical and emotional differences, parental guidelines, varying environments, being in the right place at the right time, all play a role in enhancing or limiting an individual’s development. But I DO believe every man and woman, if given the opportunity and encouragement to recognize their potential, regardless of background, has the freedom to choose in our world. Will an individual be a taker or a giver in life? Will that person be satisfied merely to exist or seek a meaningful purpose? Will he or she dare to dream the impossible dream? I believe every person is created as the steward of his or her own destiny with great power for a specific purpose, to share with others, through service, a reverence for life in a spirit of love.

— Hugh O’Brian, The Freedom to Choose[10]
When I get depressed, and think the Hollywood crowd consists primarily of self-centered leftist morons, I remember there are folks out there who have dedicated their lives not only to entertainment, but the betterment of others.
Hugh O’Brien is one of those folks.
And now he’s gone.
RIP, Sir!  And thank you!
hugh

Mr. Crayola

I’m no artist.  Cannot draw/paint/sculpt to save my life.  Lucky to be able to sketch a short straight line if needed, usually crooked.  (I can sing (moderately) – but, is my singing ART?)

Because of this, I’ve a great appreciation for true artists, people like my college roommate Dave – who has been making art since he could walk.  And the classical artists – Leonardo, Michaelangelo and such.  Modern folks not-so-much.  An exploration of random color splotches doesn’t move me as does La Giocanda.

And my understanding of art is it is to make one feel something…

My friend Doc In Yuma sent me a collection of art (via email) which did move me.  Not just because of the skill of the artist, but, because of the media used.

Crayons!

A few examples, and his story:

MR CRAYOLA
Mr. Crayola Don Marco
Don Marco, the Master Crayola Artist

Don Marco was born in Northern Minnesota in the late 1920’s. His interest in art was evident even before starting school. As a young adult in the Army Air Corp, he began his life’s career in Air Traffic Control, which continued until his retirement from Honolulu International Airport in 1973. Much of his spare time was spent as a professional artist.
Before retirement, Don started developing a technique to create fine art, using Crayola Crayons. Shortly after retiring, he published his first print. Living in Southern California, his work was in demand, including commissions from Burt Reynolds and a one-man show at his Dinner Theater in Florida …

It’s hard to imagine these are done with crayons!
Burt Reynolds

Mr. Crayola | LETVENT.COM

Mr. Crayola | LETVENT.COM

Mr. Crayola | LETVENT.COM

Seascape

Story Don Marco..... The Master Crayola Artist

"Round up the usual suspects."

In Loving Memory…