It may seem corny but !!???

1. Why can’t the clerk at the check out counter count?

2. Why can’t average Americans speak grammatically correct English, while people I have met in other countries speak it fluently?

3. Why do we spend more money on helping people buy food than anyone in the world, and have the worst obesity problem in the world?

4.Why do people set their thermostats on 78 degrees, and wear short sleeve shirts and shorts and no socks or shoes.

5.. Why do these same people get uptight about too much carbon emissions damaging the Earth.

6. Why do we spend more money on daycare in high schools, than we do on teaching young men and women, that having babies before they are prepared to care for them is not a good idea.

7.Why do people drive through parking lots like they’re in the Indianapolis 500? Let’s see; there are blind spots, and old people, and children, and it’s against the law to not give pedestrians the right away in commercial parking lots. It also seems dangerous to me.

8. Why did I get passed by an officer of the law recently, who was speeding while tailgating, and changing lanes without signaling, and texting on his cell phone?

9. Why do I have to fill out papers, asking about my race and ethnicity with only a few options , none of which apply? Why am I forced to define my self as Caucasian , when my father had an Afro at thirteen and his mother was part American Indian.

10. Why do people insist there is no difference, between the way a woman’s mind works and the way a man’s mind works?





This a picture of my father and his grandmother. It was taken in the spring of nineteen forty three.

He had just completed boot camp, and somehow made his way from Sandiego California to Arthur Indiana for a brief visit.

They had no way of knowing, that they would not see each other again for over three years.

He was about to be sent to Guadacanal, Guam, Saipan, Peileiu, Iwo Jima, Okinawa, and eventually Japan.

He would be chosen for the First Marine Raider Battalion. They were Special Forces trained to do things, I will write about another time. I bring this up, because this week is his birthday. He was born at midnight February nineteenth. Because of this he always said his birthday was February nineteenth and twentieth. Even his obits couldn’t get it straight, so he pulled it off all his life and even afterwards.

My daughter’s birthday is tomorrow the seventeenth. She almost held out long enough. They never got to meet. She was conceived within days of his death. In our family we always say they passed each other on the way up and down.

That would be just like my dad. ” Once a Marine always a Marine”. He would have made sure someone took his place on the Battlefield of life to fill that void.

Where did he learn to be that way?

A lot of the credit goes to that little woman standing next to him. She raised him for much of his early childhood.

She was born in 1868, but I knew her. I was thirteen when she died. I miss her.

Happy Birthday Dad! I miss you.

Happy Birthday Daughter. I miss you too.


Lazy bones on a Saturday in bed

Momma’s in the kitchen, cookin’ bread

Tryin’ hard to do it just right

Tryin’ hard to follow the light

Down that road

With that load

It seems like a thousand years ago

He took her to a picture show

The movie and the popcorn did their charm

When they walked out she was on his arm

Down that road with that load

Months later ole Lazy bones was born

Months after that his dad was gone

She kept on doing what she could

Wantin’ bad for things to be good

Down that road

With that load

Lazy bones wakes up smellin’ bread

A six year old smile and a teddy bear named Fred

They hug , kiss and snuggle to their souls

She pours some milk, he eats the bread, they go

Down that road

With that load

Down that road

With that load



I awoke up this morning as I have done my whole life. My parents did the same, and told me our folks have always awoken within a day or two of this day. They told me that I should come out of my hole no matter what the weather and look for my shadow.

I don’t know where shadows come from, but I have seen them year after year for my whole life.

Last fall before the weather turned unbearable the alarm on my smart phone was set, and here I am looking at a frozen pond and freezing in spite of my considerable fur.

I don’t know how my parents and grandparents and those who came before knew when to wake up. They had no electronic devices ,if you can believe that. They spoke of temperature changes and angle of the Sun and the axis of the earth and other things I was never taught in school. Somehow they figured it out as those before them had done.

I’m pretty sure, if we could just put a lot more money towards education then we could make me aware of how the world works. How did they do it, without sufficient funds or technology?

Grandpa used to say that we are losing our natural instincts for survival.

I don’t know what that means. I do know, that I’m climbing back in my hole, and hog the ground and turning on my electric throw, and wait until it gets warmer.

You gotta love evolution and progress and all that stuff.

Happy Ground Hog’s day!

All I see is a frozen pond and a shadow of myself.

The Beech Tree Caper

The Beech Tree Caper

Uncle Buddy probably ran across this tree while squirrel hunting, since he lived a short distance from the Patoka River In Winslow Indiana, and the tree was several hundred yards north of the river. He and we, often walked those banks during squirrel season, since the hunting there was good.

This is not the tree you will be told about,since that tree fell victim to certain circumstances. I was fourteen years old when these circumstances occurred, and that was very long ago. Try to imagine fifty years ago. I know most of you can’t. Now try to imagine remembering every detail from that long ago. I will do the best I can.

The tree was behind a ball field that was just north of the river.

Do know why they call them ball fields? It’s because long ago not every baseball diamond had a fence to knock the ball over. They were lucky if they had a backstop. If a player could hit the ball between the outfielders then they had a good chance for an inside the park home run. I’m not sure if you could call that inside the park, since there wasn’t anything inside. It was just a field. Well, anyway that’s where ball fields got their name.
I dwell on the ball field so long, because it is the place of my very first memory.

I was two and a half years old, and sitting on the hood of a nineteen forties something Dodge. My dad came to bat, and hit the ball between the outfielders, and being quite fleet of foot hit a home run. I remember my parents questioning me about this later in childhood, when I brought up the story of dad’s home run. They very much doubted that I could remember something at such a tender age, but when they grilled me on the details they were convinced that I most certainly did remember the event.

Uncle Buddy discovered a bee hive in a big hole in the tree. As I recall the hole was shaped almost exactly like the picture. It was in a most precarious position, in that it was too high to reach from the ground, and we were unable to reach it with the feeble ladder we had available especially with the threat of bee stings, if we were so foolish as to reach in to steal the sweet nectar the Bees were willing to die for.

Beech trees have very thin bark and are easily scarred. That’s why young lovers use them so often to carve art work to express their eternal love.

The problem is the scars make the trees prone to disease and such. This one looked like it may have lost a limb during a storm. A bad thing for the tree but an opportunity for the Honey bees.
Now, just how do we harvest this plentiful bounty?
Well, Uncle Buddy; half uncle and half brother because of age proximity always had a plan. These plans usually led to conundrums of one kind or another. The posse, as we called ourselves, were as usual oblivious to these conundrums. The posse was made up of boys ,thirteen and fourteen and fifteen, and Uncle Buddy who was closing in on thirty, so what could go wrong?

The plan was to cut down the seventy five or so foot tree. It would land perfectly with the honey bee hole pointing straight up toward the sky, and we would then work our woodsman’s skills.

Our tools as I remember were two axes. We started in the early afternoon.We took turns each until they were exhausted, and were just about to call it a day when we heard the crack of wood.

It was just about dusk and visibility was a problem. Uncle Buddy explained to us which way the tree would fall and where we were to stand, and a signal was given for when to take off running, since all Lumberjacks took off running when a tree was about to fall.

Somehow, a chop or two before things were supposed to happen a scary loud crack rang out, and we ran in four different directions. That big old tree came down fast and loud, and taking smaller vegetation in the way like it wasn’t even there.

I was certain I was going to die. When the quiet sat in, and I was still alive, I knew for sure, someone else had been crushed.

From the quiet came Uncle Buddies voice.” Everybody O.K.? Where are you?”

One by one we answered giving our position and announcing that we were alright. My cousin Steve was the slowest runner of us all, but announced he was about a hundred and fifty yards away. Turned out he was. Go figure.

Now we approached the tree, only to find that it had landed with the bee hive hole in exactly the wrong spot. It was flat against the ground.
Exhausted and dark coming upon us we decided to come back tomorrow with a new plan.

We didn’t get there as early as we had planned, since Uncle Buddy drank quite a lot of beer, and stayed up to the wee hours doing it. Uncle Buddy Liked his beer.

When we arrived a little after noon we had all the tools needed to complete our task. We had both axes from the day before and two splitting wedges and I think a maul.

The plan was to chop our way down from the top into the hive. It was Uncle Buddy’s idea, and since no one else had a better one, then that was the plan.

As we chopped and split and slowly made our way through the hive Uncle Buddy gave us a tutorial on honey bees and, how we would get the honeycombs out without being stung to death.

It seems that his expertise in beedom had taught him ,that there were different types of bees we would encounter. Most he said were worker bees and were harmless. There was a Queen bee that ruled the hive and was much bigger than all the others. The only ones we had to worry about were the fighter bees. I had never heard of fighter bees and was a little apprehensive about this news.Uncle Buddy of course had a plan to handle them.

Once we had chopped our way far enough to confirm we were approaching the hive, we would start a fire under the tree right where the hole met the ground. This would rile up the fighter bees, and draw them out of the hive in their effort to protect it.

Once we thought we were close enough, we lit the fire and carefully continued chopping and hacking, and all that other real careful stuff we had been doing to get us to this point.

Soon we reached the hive well enough to consider removing some of it. At the same time the smoke was so thick that we could hardly see, and were coughing and hacking. The bees didn’t seem to like it much either as scores of them began to leave the tree in all directions, causing some commotion and waving of hands and questions for Uncle Buddy. I don’t know if these were fighter bees or not, but they really weren’t much of a problem. I think they just wanted to get out of there. I sort of did too.

Then Uncle Buddy did a most amazing thing. He stuck his whole arm into the hole we had created, and grabbed a big chunk of honeycomb. He did this bare handed, and was immediately covered all they way up to his elbows with bees. ” See”, he said. “These are worker bees. They won’t hurt you”.

081003081637-large Honey comb pics

My cousin Steve was the first one of us brave enough to imitate Uncle Buddy. The result was the same. He was covered all the way to his elbow, and if either one of them was being stung they were not letting on at all.

So now, because of the age pecking order it was my turn to show bravery, of which I was totally lacking. I still remember the eerie feeling of hundreds of bees covering my hands and arms. It was the same for me, in that I felt no stings at all. After a while we got more cavalier about the whole thing and only an occasional ouch would be heard. I remember I was stung three times. Each time it was because I swatted at a bee on my ear or mouth or some sensitive spot. If you left them alone they wouldn’t bother you. Near the end we could even brush them off slowly and gently and they fell off like so much sawdust or some such thing.

We placed our bounty in a couple small buckets, and started across the ball field towards Uncle Buddy’s house.

When Aunt Nina saw how little we had after two days she laughed until she hurt. When she placed it all on the stove to work her magic and turn it into honey, only two four quart pans were needed.

It really didn’t taste as good as I had hoped.

But we did it , by God.

That’s the story of the Beech tree caper.

Two boys in a tub

Yes my friends, the world was once black and white. Wolves roamed the forest, and the days passed much slower.xmas 13 snow @ Uschi 9-10 mo@misc 075
This photo was taken in 1952, and I am the cute one.IMG_0393
The side roads were dirt, and state roads were some new stuff called asphalt. It wasn’t really all that new, since it was used in Babylon around 625 B.C. All the rest of the roads were half dirt and half gravel, and some were pea gravel and tar. Those were great, except for the summer when the tar got soft and splattered vehicles that traveled on it, sometimes even hitting the wind shields.
There were no Interstate highways. The Federal Highway act wasn’t passed until 1956.
That was Pike County shortly after World War Two.
Pike County was the first County formed when Indiana became a State, but had the least population and lowest per capita income. It’s still that way today.
We drank from ground wells called cisterns and dried our clothes on a line in the summer and inside in winter. We used an outhouse until close to 1970 or later. Our vegetables and fruit were grown on my grandfather’s land and canned and stored in a cellar below ground under a building called the wash house.
The wash house and the house for living in and the out house were all built by my Grandfather who was a World One Veteran.
He was a carpenter and a plumber and a coal miner and farmer and an electrician and very handy.
Families were very close, and we got together most weekends. The cousins would play all day and then take turns getting baths in the washtubs. The water came from the well, and after two or three little ones got done, a couple more would hop into the same water.
After baths it was supper time. I never remember eating dinner in Pike county at any time of day.
Since this picture is taken in summer time, I know we had fresh vegetables and probably watermelon, which required another semi bath. Uncle Buddy probably had a mess of fish for us, or if it was late summer some squirrels.
We had a lot of baths in those tubs, and I can still taste the squirrels and the feeling of working my tongue to get those watermelon seeds up front, where I could spit them at my cousins if no one was watching.
The smells are still with me too. Smells like sweet corn and the sweat before the bath and the warm summer air filled with grass and all kinds of wild living things.
Somewhere along the line the world turned to color, just as it did for Dorothy riding that cyclone to a strange land.
Remembering my child hood dreams now, I think they were my cyclone. Unaware; I went forward through time and color and all the changes, and can only look back at a world that was black and white and simple and joyful as two boys in a tub.