Monday, June 16, 2014

#20 2014

A trip to New York City.  I had finished basic training at Fort Or, CA been home on leave for a while.  My orders were to report to Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland for my 2nd eight weeks of training.  I had enlisted on the buddy plan with Larry McMillan, a friend and Dixon High classmate.  We boarded a plane Sacramento(my first plane ride)I don't remember where we landed, but we got to Aberdeen and reported on time.  I was to be trained as a metal body repairman.  Larry as mechanic the first time for us to be back east.  The humidity was something we were not accustomed too.  It took some time to adjust.  Trees all around not open country like out west.  After a while we decided to go to New York.  I had a cousin living on Long Island(I think)I wrote her and asked about coming to see her.  She was married.  We took a train into NY to the Grand Central Station.  Walked out side and craned our necks to look at the skyscrapers.  All the time nervous about pickpockets etc.  Then back into the station to get a train to the town close to where they lived.  I don't remember the name of the town.  She and her husband were there to meet us.  We went to their house and talked for a while.  Then we went to and ice cream polar.  This store had some fanatic's creations.  the one I had was very good.  Back to their house were we spent the night.  Next day back to the station for a train to the city.  Then back to base.  For a small town country boy it was a big experience.

Aberdeen Proving Grounds had a weapons development area.  They would test some of them at night.  I was awakened many times by the sound of gun fire.  There was this one weapon that fired many times for about a minute or two.  Like a Gatling gun but much larger shells.  Really sounded wicked.

There were also woodchucks all over the place, living under the barracks.  As big as a medium sized dog.

Funny how things come back in memory.  I can just picture some of those times in my mind.  Part of the makeup of my life.


Sunday, June 15, 2014

#19 2014

This is about my Dad.  To honor him on Father's Day.  Daddy was a kind and caring man, in his later years he was a born again Christian.  I remember him telling me about coming to Christ.  He shook my hand and was very excited.  At the time I was well ok but  many years later I realized how much that meant to him.  I am sad that I did not appreciate the moment with him as much as I should have.  He was active in the First Southern Baptist Church of Dixon.  He was choir director and a Deacon of the Church.  I did not share his love of the Lord.  Several years later when I went into the Army and was stationed in Germany.  I began to read the Bible he gave  me and became a believer.  I have never been a devout church goer, but I do believe in God.  I am grateful my Dad was a believer, it gave him much peace and joy in his life.

A couple of years ago one of my nephews asked me "What was Grandpa like?".  He said he had been kinda afraid of him when he was younger.  Him and his parents lived in another state for several years so he wasn't around Daddy that much.  I could not find the words to ease his feelings about Daddy.

He worked and us kids knew about what time he would be home.  We would hear the car and drop what we were doing to go see Daddy.  Always a kind word and happy to see us.  He was a nice man and I learned a lot from him over the years.  As a teenager I would work summers with him on construction jobs when possible.  Not being paid but just to help him and to ease his day.  It was also a learning experience for me.

Saturday was shopping day for groceries and things.  Saturday night was movie night at the local movie house.  A western with Roy Rogers or a Tarzan film.  No popcorn but maybe a candy bar.  Daddy was my rock.  I could count on him.  Daddy never drank or smoked.  I respected that.  Later as a teenager I learned to play a few cords on the guitar.  Daddy had friends and cousins, who played and sang.  We would go to some one's house and play music for two or three hours.  Old country songs, Bob Wills and old gospel songs by the Blackwood brothers.  Some of the guys picked a mean guitar.  Me I just watched and corded along.  I felt really good after those sessions.  I never sang with the group.  I did my singing at home alone.

Daddy raised me right.  He was a great Dad.  I miss him a lot.  So thank you Dad for all you did for me I wish I had shown more appreciation for him when he was still alive.  The last time I saw him alive we were heading back to Idaho.  We said our goodbyes in his driveway.  I said "Goodbye Pop I love you".  I had never called him Pop before.  It just seemed right at the time.

Friday, June 6, 2014

#18 2014

Saturday June 7, 2014 is the Belmont Stakes horse race.  Fifty two years ago I was in New York and thinking about going to the race.  Why was I there you ask?  I was in the Army and on my way to Fort Dix, NJ to be deployed to Germany for a couple of years.  I had boarded a plane in Sacramento, CA flown to New York.  At the airport I got a cab to take me to a Hotel.  I was in uniform (class A) the cabbie was very talkative .  He turned the meter off and drove me around Central Park and even stopped by his house.  Then took me to a Hotel which was not far from the race track.  The next day I debated with myself about going to see the race.  I had been stationed at Fort Ord in CA where I had became acquainted with a fellow from New York who was into horse racing.  He name was Harry Leo.  I had a car so along with Harry and  a couple of other guys we would go to the Bay Meadows horse track.  This track was located close to San Francisco.  After a day at he track (Saturday) we would go to SF and Harry would take us to places in China Town to eat.  Harry had a expensive camera he would pawn to have extra money for the track, he was always able to get his camera out of pawn.  I must say I had more winning days than losing days at the track.  I would really get into the races.  On base a kid came around selling newspapers.  I would buy a paper and go right to the racing section.  I kept a file on the horses so that when we went to the track I knew what was going on.  It was a real thrill to see and hear the horses coming out of the last turn heading into the stretch and too have a bet on one of the horses heading to the finish line.  The most I ever won was about two or three hundred.  That was quite a good amount back then on a PFC pay.  We had some good times.  Drank a little but stayed out of trouble.  Back to New York.  On Saturday race day I couldn't make up my mind to go or not.  It wound up I didn't go, I think I watched it on T in the room.  The winner was Jaipur withe Bill Shoemaker up. (I looked that up on yahoo)

Got a taxi  to Fort Dix the next day.  Reported in as required and spent a week or so getting ready to board a troop ship for Germany.  Perhaps another story.
Take care.
Pappy 1