Monday, March 31, 2014

Taking Susie home, a chance to show off the latest son, Mark David

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Mark David Darnell a few months later.
Livermush, a staple of the Piedmont of North Carolina. It cannot be found elsewhere. Mom and Dad were out to visit us before Mark’s Birth and I mentioned we could not buy livermush out here, my mama took things in hand. Made a list, Liver,hogs head and cornmeal and assorted herbs and spices. Mama made a dishpan full of NC livermush.  Yeah, I know some of you don’t like liver but the taste is a long way from liver.
It is good fried for breakfast and on livermush/mustard sandwiches. Well while mama was taking care of that huge task dad was noticing a lot of farm wagons, I heard him say I sure would like to have a couple of those for my walkway back home.  They sure bring back memories of my childhood.
Now after Mark’s birth, when Susie was ready to return home we packed up. I had a one wheel trailer and loaded two  wagon wheels in it that I had bought for dad.  We headed to North Carolina.1182231

In the mountains of Tennessee we ran into snow. It got pretty bad and we were starting to slide a little, so I stopped and put chains on the Rambler. We kept on going.  The storm got so bad we pulled into a motel. UNFORTUNATELY it appeared to be one that rented by the hour.Surprised smile
Motel in the snow Tennessee
They had old wool army blankets and electric heaters only. Sherry and I were worried about her mom and the boys we were all in one room and kept close to keep warm. What a night.
The next morning we had about 6-8” of snow,we were getting ready to leave and I saw a rooster on his last leg it looked like jumping up and coming down with his wings out trying to maneuver thru the snow. I caught him and put him in the motel room.  I left a note for the cleaner to let him out.
Honestly I still am not sure if they even cleaned the rooms, so if a couple later that day rented for an hour, they were in for a BIG SURPRISE!
The rest of the trip was good, and we were able to show off Sherry’s latest creation.  WE were proud of both our boys.
One other thing, we had to drive by my brothers place of business, so I pulled in to say hello and show Mark off.  Unknown to me My sister in law had looked out as we pulled in loaded down, and said to everyone working, “Watch for thieves, looks like a bunch of gypsies just pulled in!”
Thanks for stopping by the log.
Nite Shipslog
I am sure many times and as we have traveled, we have looked a little ragged around the edges. LOL
1932 REO Royale

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Kirksville, Missouri

The Air Force Station was north of town. The Moped came in handy again so Sherry would have the car to take care of any daily errands  that came up.  Jack Jr. was a joy and smart.

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(Me ‘n Jack Jr. on the way to church. This is Downing Trailer Park in Kirksville, MO, Imma starting to look like a preacher)

He too was proud of our tomato patch, enough so he lead his two or three friends into it for a green tomato fight.  We had so many tomatoes I don’t think he even got a spanking.

Farmer Jack called called mama. “Mama my turnips look like carrots and they are bitter.”

“WHAT? TURNIPS? It’s July son too early for turnips. You were supposed to thin them out so they would have room to grow. Turnips are a fall crop. Maybe you should be planting some soon.”

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Well we farmers have to learn somehow, don’t we?

We learned to buy our eggs and milk direct from the farmers. Living in Kirksville was a pleasure and an education. People still trusted folk and a man’s word was his bond. I must tell you our greatest thrills were traveling out thru the rolling hills in the country in the evening, there can be nothing more beautiful and relaxing. (Ever read Paula and her tales of country roads. That is how we felt.)

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(This is us on a trip to Sedalia, Mo. See the Rambler in the back ground.)

Mom and Dad came out bringing Sherry’s sweet mama again. It was time for the little girl to be born.  Sherry was doing the positive thinking this time. In our motor home I had converted the 3/4 bed to bunk beds for Jackie and his brother or sister.

Time for the birth. I took Sherry to the small local hospital. I was even invited in. I was in the room with Sherry until the delivery. They gave her a shot (Twilight sleep??) She had Jack Jr with a saddle block.

Anyway the most exciting thing was when the nurse was checking for dilation, Sherry yelled (thinking it was me), “Leave me alone!” and immediately kicked the sweet nurse.  I guess they are used to the dangers of the mothers to be because the girl just laughed it off. So on December 14, 1961, Mark David Darnell was born. A cute little fellow and very healthy.


(Grandma Susie with Jackie Jr holding his new little brother)

Sherry’s mama was invaluable with me working and Jackie being so ‘helpful’. Missouri was cold in December so everyone got along well in the  trailer, I mean Mobile Home.

After a few weeks I applied for leave to take Susie home and show off our new Mark David. Life was good for our little family, and we were happy with the size. Sherry finally explained the birds and bees to me and we decided to not get pregnant again.

Thanks for coming by the log.

Nite Shipslog


This trip was eventful also.



I made a great trade for this 1955 Rambler. I traded a super duper ‘55 Ford & paid some boot.  I know my daddy was shaking his head.  But we needed better gas mileage!!! LOL

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Jack Finished School headed for Missouri (continuation)

In the USAF about two years and still an  E-3, low man on the totem pole. I was assigned to the 790th Radar Squadron in Kirksville, MO.


The trip was eventful. We left 8o degree weather in Biloxi and met 13 below zero in Kirksville. This was after getting snowed in in  Kentucky and stuck on Ice in the Cape Girardeau area of Missouri.

Missouri was a wonderful duty assignment. It was a small radar site of 70 men. Ideal duty.  Here we lived in our 42x8 Mobile home in Downing Trailer Park.  Kirksville is known as the home of Osteopathy. Our neighbor in the trailer park, Mrs. Wilson was the head nurse in the Osteopath Hospital.  I will admit to not knowing what Osteopath was until moving to Kirksville. I had never heard of it.

A close-up of frangipani flowers.

Hippies were beginning to be seen in the USA during the late 50’s early 60’s. One was a student of Osteopathy and in our trailer park. I was washing my car once and he walked up. Looked as me funny and said, “He man, is this where you always wash your animal?”  They visited us a couple times and never sat in a chair, but on the floor. It made me smile.


(This is Shirl’s old home place, son Jack shot the picture a few weeks ago)

My job at the Kirksville, AFB was classified at the time. I was a repairman on the ANFST-2 computer built by the Burroughs's Corp. We were part of the nation wide radar coverage all which fed to the super secret mountain home of SAC. (Strategic Air Command).

Orange flowers

The T-2 was an amazing computer at the time. Using vacuum tubes the computer took up at least 1000 sqft of floor space and another 1000 sqft for the Air conditioning.  It kept the track and height of all air craft within 250 miles.

Ice Plant on California Coast

While here Jack was awarded Airman of the Year and showered with many gifts from the local merchants, but still no promotion.Surprised smile

A cascading waterfall, flanked by flowers.

During this time we were still active in church. WE met some wonderful people, some who are to this day VERY close friends. Our favorite families the ‘Conrads’ and the ‘Guffees’ were a breath of fresh air.

The trailer park owner allowed space for each tenant to have a garden. That was our first. We enjoyed the fresh veggies. Being a real Farmer I had 80 tomato plants from seeds.  And a bunch of Turnips. (You read that right 80 plants, after all we loved tomatoes and there were 3 of us!)


I was feeling a change of direction in my life again, this time toward the ministry(Yeah, that is right another  change). The local church ‘set me forth’ and recommended me for license. I started to study the scripture more diligently. Even having a packet of scripture on my steering column, so any time I was driving, was a few more minutes with the scripture.

I am not sure how it happened, but Sherry became pregnant again….Winking smile (I needed to do some serious studying on cause and effectSurprised smile.)

Nite Shipslog


This time she was all smiles. Looking for that little Girl.



a $380.00 paint job. (38000 pennies)


All pennies glued to the car to give it the Copper car.

Friday, March 28, 2014

There is something wrong in my country, Something that common sense could fix. 3 strikes, they should be OUT!


(I’m having an OFF day, can’t think this is a break in life)

I just read where a Federal Jury (IN CHICAGO) awarded a man in prison, serving life for 7 murders, close to $500,000 for his injuries in jail.  I don’t see where any of the families of the 7 murdered people were given anything, does that make sense? The injuries were sustained from a beating by a guard, that should not be, and he should be disciplined. BUT……


Now the article does say ‘He Might Not collect, but his family could’.  Something about that does not make sense. If anything is awarded it should go to the estates of the victims!


I also read a high School teacher’s statement that she is afraid.  She will soon be paying off the last of her debts including her College loans and is afraid of the uncharted waters. She knows how to be in debt. Her debts have been her friends,  she knows debts but debt free, not so much. What do I do with the extra money. do I need to make some more debts?

And there is the kid (18) from rural Ohio who spent 13 days in jail and placed on a million dollar bond, forced to undergo mental exams because of a pocket knife in his car. He is from Rural Ohio methinks. He was a student in a Voc/Tech school.


Okay, something about that also makes no sense to this old brain.

You know what I really think?  Some people in this country was born with no common sense.


I remember reading  what a college student said about this countries debts.  She said, “All this talk about taxes is silly, all we have to do is print 17 Trillion dollars and pay off who ever we owe!” Now why didn’t congress think of that?

In this country a person will spend millions of dollars (mostly someone else’s money) for a job that pays thousands.

We have a Congress person, a lawyer, former Judge and grad of YALE who said the constitution is 400 yrs old and once asked NASA officials if the rover on Mars would take a picture of the US Flag the astronauts planted there.

The money nerds know money . Using computers they tell these people who get elected, “We have $2.77 trillion dollars coming in from all sources, taxes fees, etc. That amount will come in every year with a little increase. That is how much money you have to spend to run this great country. Now do it.”


The brilliant men we elected to run this country say only $2.77 Trillion? We must have more, we need to spend $3.77 trillion. Let’s borrow some more.

Yes, we have elected some of our dullest lights on the string to run this country. Even I, at 17 yrs old, knew we could not spend more than we earned!  But then I am not a brilliant attorney or college grad from one of those Ivy League colleges.  They must know more than a laborer, farmer or production worker.(DON’T THEY??)


One of my soap boxes, Sorry.

Nite Shipslog

PSOpen-mouthed smiledaddy said, when you work give the man an hours work for an hours pay. He also said Owe no man.

He did not have to explain the money thing, that was common sense. You cannot spend what you do not have.



1984 FORD


1955 Nash

Thursday, March 27, 2014

BOOM! or was it BANG!?!

A couple days ago Sherry and I heard a BOOM! A tire on another motor home blew out. Later the owner asked if I had a gauge so he could check the rest of his tires?  He is a friend from NC, so I went over and lowered the pressure to what the coach called for.  The tires were 5 years old.


For information, most tires on motor homes do not wear out, they Blow out. We drivers are supposed to KNOW when a tire gets around 5 years old it is very susceptible  to a blow out, mostly because of weather cracking, rather than wear. But the ‘MAN’ in us says hey, there is 1/2” of tread left, why buy new ones. (I AM VERY GUILTY OF LOOKING AT TREAD, NOT PAYING ATTENTION TO AGE!)

SOOOOO before leaving the RV park, I checked our tires. One needed 10 pounds. So I thought, I will add air when we get fuel. Later driving up the road, I thought, ‘I won’t get fuel for 600 miles’. So I pulled into a rest area near Ocala,  and added air. This Coach has it’s own compressor, which is nice.

I checked all the other tires and they were good. Back on the road. Driving  I have nothing to do but keep it between the ditches and think. So I am thinking, ‘Did I check my tow vehicles connections?’ So I pulled into the next rest area and again went around the coach. One rear tire looked slack.

I checked the air, ZERO pressure! So I wanted to check if it was blown out or the air had just ‘leaked out, nail, etc’.  I tried, but since I cannot hear I could not tell if it was ‘taking air’. It is an inside dual tire and I was under the coach with my face against the tire trying to hear.

So I had to get my EARS (Sherry). I explained to her what to look for and I crawled under the coach again an she fed the air. I asked her if she had a reading, ‘yes a 5’. That is 50 lbs pressure. So I said ‘good she is holding air’, we need at least 90 lbs. So, me under Sherry continued to add air.

She tries to tell me something and I could not understand, so I crawled out. And she said, “I hear something like gravel rattling.” Now you have to be in my head to imagine how fast I thought. In a Micro second I was on the Appalachian Trail picking Black berries to snack on, when my sweetheart again says, “Get out of there, I hear something rattling!”  So I eased backwards looking intently and spotted the biggest Rattler I had ever seen. It was as big in girth as a soft ball.”



Just as my thoughts finished we were both rattled by a HUGE BOOM/BANG! The tire BLEW! I was peppered with bits of tire and Sherry was sorta moved backward with the explosion, but being out from under the coach saved my life or at the least my eyes and what is left of my ears, plus cuts and bruises from the steel belts as she blew. It was like standing beside a 1/4th stick of dynamite (nearly).

What she had heard was the fabric of the tire tearing as it was giving way.


Since it was an inside dual tire, the front tire protected us. My sweetheart says, “We could have really gotten hurt, couldn’t we?”

“Yes,” I said knowing full well men have been killed when truck tires blow.

“Thank God, for His protection,” the first words out of my Girls mouth, and she is right as always.

I give her credit, she in turn Gives God credit.

But we are okay. Road Service brought a new tire out. While he was coming, I dug out my records, HAS IT BEEN THAT LONG SINCE WE BOUGHT TIRES? Our tires on the rear ARE seven years old.  I should have known better. So just as soon as possible the other three will be replaced.

Didn’t meant to be so long,

Nite Shipslog


I am happy after a near miss. I try not to continue to say, “What if?”  That can ruin the rest of the day.




1959 Dodge customized

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Life in Biloxi

(In our present life, we head North today, turn the heat up) 
Todays post continuing our early lives:
Fred and Frances were transferred, I believe he went to Adak, Alaska.  We would not see them until he was out of the Coast Guard and pastoring a church in Tennessee awaiting assignment to the mission fields.
WE solved one of Sherry’s dilemma's; we moved from Ocean Springs to Pass Road so she would not have to drive or ride across the Bay Bridge every day. That helped.
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(Dirty Jack after a tussle working on the car! We were all cool when we were young weren’t we?)
The church was our salvation, bringing more permanent friends into our lives. Walking the beach, fishing in the Gulf and  swimming in the creeks that fed the Gulf.  Working on the car to keep it running and volunteering to assist at church services in jails and nursing homes, back then they were ‘Old Folk’s Homes’.
One service I remember, we bowed our head to pray the closing prayer and the old fellow beside Sherry, nudged her and said very loudly, “Are you Sleepy!” (One of life’s introductions of what may happen to you!)
We could no more afford a new car than I could fly, but I remember going to a dealership to try out a new 1958 Chevy Super dooper V8. Back then they gave you the keys and said ‘take her for a spin’. We did. WOW, I had NEVER felt such power under a hood. But of course it was just a kid’s thing, trying it out. WE weren’t about to go in debt for a car. (But it was fun to dream).
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(Grilling on a homemade grill with son Jack)
Two biggies: First, as a Radio Operator my chances of advancement weren’t good. Urged by friends, I applied for Computer Repair school. The School was  on Keesler at Biloxi. I got the school, a 9 month school. I enjoyed that. We bought a MoPed (motor bike) that I could use to go to school. Funny thing, Sherry and Jack Jr. had went back to Belmont to visit. I was on the first shift (6AM Classes).
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Sherry on our MoPed
I came home one afternoon very tired and just lay across the bed in uniform and fell fast asleep. I awoke and saw the clock read 5:30. I had slept all night! I had not studied! I raced to shave, the uniform looked ok, I ran outside to start the Moped and was cranking it when suddenly I realized, “it is warm for about 6am.” It was only 5:30 in the afternoon. I looked around sheepishly, hoping none of our neighbors had seen me. Relieved I went back in the trailer, to slow my heart down.
The second biggie: We paid off our trailer and with Jackie Jr, we wanted a little more room, so we bought a mansion, an 8’X42’ Mobile Home. They were no longer trailers but Mobile Homes. This was a pink and white beauty with two bed rooms. We were ecstatic. We had pink appliances and it was almost new.
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Sherry cooking in our new home
Thanks for following our younger lives in Biloxi, Mississippi.
Nite Shipslog
In teaching only one main subject, the USAF crams 4 years of school into 9 months. You are going to school 8 hours a day 5 days a week. It is intensive, but very good training.
This is a 1958 Chevrolet Impala exactly like the one we test drove. Boy did it have power.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Our OWN home, and Fred ‘n Frances!

Okay, we are about 20 years old. We are paying rent on a small apartment, and having nothing lasting to show in return.  While home on leave We spotted a 28’x8’ trailer. We had loved the trailer at Camp Geiger, and had no problem living in it. We wanted something that was going to be ours.
WE looked checked on the loan and payments. The payments were going to be less or about the same as the apartment, but it would be ours. We somehow got the loan and returned to Mississippi to find a place for it.  Daddy, always the helpful one said, “I will finish up the paper work here. When you find a spot, Dick and I will bring it to Mississippi for you. His DeSota  will tow this little thing fine.
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(Jackie, closer to a year old, that was our trailer, yep, just an old silver aluminum trailer, but it was ours. I am the skinny kid in uniform)
Remembering this brings a great feeling to me. You cannot imagine how I felt. I felt like we were buying a 3BR 2 Bath house. I know it was ‘Just a trailer’ to some, but to us it was going to be OUR home.
We located an older mom & pop trailer park across the Biloxi Bay Bridge in Ocean Springs. The price was right, $12 a month plus utilities. WE notified our Land Lord, called Dad and he said they could have it down on Tuesday of the next week.
We parked in a sorta open spot, but the owner said we could move soon, a spot was coming open under a shade tree. Of course we needed that with no A/C. After a few weeks we moved and settled for the ‘rest’ of our tour.
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(This was a little later, Dad Came down bringing the oldest Grandson, Howard to meet the Youngest Grandson, Jackie)
There was something I did not know, Sherry was in a depression, and driving the bridge across the bay gave her attacks of panic sometimes. It was ideal for me, I worked just across the bridge at Point Cadet, the home of the Crash Boats.
A lot came open right beside us and a Coast Guard Petty Officer named Fred Alton Brannen and his beautiful smiling wife move in next door, they had a daughter, Frankie, 3 months older than Jackie Jr.
We were to become life long friends. They are still some of the dearest people we know.
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This was taken inside Fred and Francis’s trailer, their trailer was bigger than ours, I think was 30’.Smile
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(Fred & Francis, 1959-now after close to 50 years on the mission’s field)
Fred actually worked within a 100 yards of where I worked on Point Cadet.  He worked as an electronic tech on the LORAN navigations systems.
Sherry and Francis became VERY CLOSE friends.  That friendship was part of Sherry’s therapy.
What a wonderful feeling, super neighbors and we were buying our HOME!  Maybe I will be able to give my girl all I had promised.
Thanks for coming by the log.
Nite Shipslog
Life was good, Life was simple. There was no extra money for a lot of recreation, but WE WERE STILL our entertainment. Our social life was friends at church.