Showing posts with label Just personal. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Just personal. Show all posts

Nov 15, 2014

Nautical Distractions (5): One More Sunday

Naaah, not  John D. McDonald's "One More Sunday" laying bare the absolute corruption of the teevee-preacher industry.

I mean the final boot camp Sunday of the youngest heir to the Estates of Camp Jiggleview. Tomorrow he will ensure his fellow sailors have their chance to worship with whatever congregation they prefer, attend his own services, chow down at the "noon meal," and then, I wouldn't be too surprised, finally kick back for a couple of afternoon hours.

You see, he is now a sailor rather than a recruit, according to the United States Navy. That happened sometime in the past day or two when Company 018 completed "Battle Stations," the final test, the SHTF drills aboard a mockup ship. To prove it, the Navy confiscated his blue ball cap emblazoned "RECRUIT" and handed him one announcing "NAVY."

It's a bigger deal than it sounds like. Every piece of boot camp literature I can find suggests that the new cap means his superiors -- still meaning almost almost everyone in the service -- will return to him at least a smidgen of the respect  they have demanded for themselves since he was tossed from the O'Hare bus into the whale belly some eight weeks ago.

He earned a  meritorious bump to E2 early in the game and may -- I don't know yet --  have snagged another to E3. Nevertheless a very junior sailor has  a long row of elephant turds to shovel. We hope to help fortify him for it. Seven days from today some of the people who love him will be out there for his first actual day-long liberty call after formal graduation.

All the cheeseburgers and fries you can handle, Pardner. And I understand your dad is bringing a cigar. :) 

Jul 12, 2014

The Guns We Need

By "we" I mean Dick Sommers, my grandpa's Uncle George, and me. Maybe you, too, but not necessarily. As Dick told the preacher, some thinks one way, some another.


Dick went early to the upper Missouri and crossed the Divide to the Seed-skee-dee and beyond. He trapped his plews, bedded his squaws, and drank his whiskey until he began to gray. He returned to Missouri, married up white, and farmed his plot until he buried her. Then he allowed himself to be talked into guiding an early emigrant train to the Oregon Country.

Except for the kitless preacher,  who mooched, Dick's plunder was the slimmest of the lot, barely a burden for two pack horses on the six-month trek. Indian trade truck, kettle, a robe or two, and "a couple of knives, his Hawken, and an over-and-under  double with one barrel big enough for bird shot." And a small keg of whiskey.

The best modern analogue is found elsewhere, in good writing about equipping for a serious north woods canoe trip. The better authors remark the primitive red man who set out for a season with his bow, quiver, knife, and maybe a sack of pemmican. "Our equipment is a substitute for his knowledge," they write.

 Dick Sommers knew; his main arsenal lived in his head.


"Uncle" George lived and killed about a century later. He is my only known ancestor to fall low, a lawyer and incessant  office seeker who got hisself elected mayor of Madison, Missouri, twice, and justice of the peace in his old age, a time when he got an idea. He would sue a passel of his relatives to get his legal paws on a small dirt farm northwest of Madison.

The merits of the case are murky, probably lost forever. The larger points are that Leslie, 40, died, George took poison in prison,  and the large extended family -- a whole raft of us infested those parts then -- factionated itself  like a pack of Sunnis and Shi-ites. All over 111 acres of miserable ground which wouldn't have brought $25 an acre.

Leslie shared a surname with  George and was probably a nephew, maybe with some "removeds" and "greats" tossed in. He was 40 to George's 68.  He was on the other side of the law suit and pissed off, and aggressive, and, family lore holds,  on familiar terms with strong spirits.

On November 13, 1926, they met in downtown Madison.  A scuffle happened. George told the jury that being old and weak he was forced to shoot.  Two quickies and finisher.

 Within a month George was convicted of manslaughter. He appealed, lost, and in 1928 went to prison. Two years or so later, in the infirmary, he found a jar of potassium-something and drank.

So, back to the point. Then as now the media were awful light on interesting details but did report the gun George needed was

"a .32 revolver of the blue steel variety."

Therefore we are certain that whatever his other character flaws, my  ancestor George wouldn't be caught dead carrying no whore-house special colored chrome or nickel or some two-tone Brucie gun. A sure-nuf man's man. That's always been a great comfort to me.


Me? I figure that the only guns I actually need to face the wild world, including the wild civilized world called cities, are two: A 1911 out of John Moses Browning for carry and an old Savage .22LR over and 20-gauge under for pot meat and general pest control. With an especially sturdy pack mule I'd add a .30-06 to reduce the need for careful stalking, but we're getting pretty close to effete foo-foo-raw here.

I have other stuff, of course, but they're mostly fashion statements, unless I miss my guess.

Ain't no harm in that, I reckon, but, as I may have mentioned, some thinks one way, some another.


(Dick will be familiar to A.B. Guthrie readers.)

Oct 1, 2012

Still A Long Way Home, eh, Supertramp?

I exhale part of the long-held breath because the author of The World's Greatest Travel Blog is supposed to be on dry land again today. Still in the heart of the Evil Empire, she and her man are at least out of the clutches of the Volga River pirates. According to the schedule, they're  just a few hours away from their Aeroflot ride from Red Squaresville to New York .

I always like it when they return to the the remaining, residual protections of the United States Constitution. Too, I suppose any father is somewhat happier when his offspring leave a nation where there is brisk free-market commerce in leftover nuclear devices.

Sep 25, 2012

The morning mail

I've never  registered as an official RNC alumnus, so I don't know how I got on the has-been mailing list there at the Eisenhower Center. Maybe they checked old expense accounts. Maybe they dug into the bar tab archives at the Capitol Hill Club (good place to have a drink with guys in nice suits and the cute interns they brought). 

Anyway, they found me and figured out that, as free help, I might pump the Romney GOTV drive by a vote or two.


Every phone call and door knock is crucial to achieving our success...
As alumni of the Republican National Committee, you're fully aware of how important volunteer activities are to achieving our goals. And that's why we're asking for your help ... Over the next six weeks we need to reach out to as many potential voters as we can.

We appreciate your support!


Reince Priebus
Chairman, Republican National Committee

It's nice to be remembered, Reince, and I share your distaste for His Ineptness the President. But no, thanks.  Because Mitt, among a few other little things which don't really add up to a GOP interested in small government, free markets, foreign-adventure restraint,  or individual sovereignty. 



Aug 16, 2012

Burl Osborne, a pal

Burl and I worked together when he was still an Associated Press grunt. He went on to larger things. He died in Dallas yesterday, age 75. RIP.