Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Say it ain't so !

(Sears candy counter)
I guess I am obsessed by age lately, but it is hard to find a store or chain of stores that has been around since my youth. But there is one. My memory is of the smell of hot cashews at the candy counter, as I accompanied my dad and mom into the magic store of Sears and Roebuck. I had only seen it thru the BIG catalog and from the postman bringing packages, including baby chicks (my favorite).

Before Malls, there was Sears.  Before there were Corvettes, there was Sears.  Before anyone ever thought of a  Mart (Wal or K) there was Sears.  Before anyone would give credit to the working stiffs besides the company stores, there was Sears. Before the internet ordering craze, there was the Sears catalogs. (Just after corn cobs, there was last year’s Sears and Roebuck Catalog, to read and use in the outhouse.)

My mind cannot wrap around the fact that a huge retailer, bathed in history, with its trucks, stores and lines of items such as DieHard, Craftsman and Kenmore, already on the line can be overtaken and beaten by an upstart.  The upstart  must buy trucks, setup suppliers, supply lines and stores etc. The thing that I see is complacency in leadership that refused to be forward looking.  It is a shame.

Retailers must think ahead or they die.  My brother was in the business of retail and I could never get over his thinking Christmas in June and July.

Giant businesses must try to read trends, and think years in advance.  This year's successes will not last. Once behind, catch-up is usually IMPOSSIBLE.

Do you remember  Woolworths, Grants, Roses, Barkers, Kress, Mazers, Hechts etc.?

I smile when I hear folks upset that Walmart is coming to a town, and they start saying how many local merchants will be put out of business, that is true. But if you will check that local merchant, if they were successful, it was probably on someone else's back. It is hard to believe any business will put Walmart out of business, it can happen if management doesn't stay on its toes.

I prefer Craftsman Tools. My first shotgun was a J.C. Higgins, my first NEW bike was a J.C. Higgins. I am about to lose something that has been around all my life, Sears  (From 1886!) seems to be going under, SAY IT AIN’T SO!

Nite Shipslog
*************   **Sears********   ****
 Was also in the Auto business for a few years early 1900's and 1950's.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Into the Valley of Death, Into the Jaws of hell

This old man appreciates the troops who have fought in all wars.  I have been fortunate, I WAS NEVER in combat.  But many of my family and friends were. Memorial day always causes me to  think.

They saw shipmates and peers die in defense of a cause decided by politicians. The soldier only follows orders. The cause is not his to DECIDE, his is to follow orders.

Have you ever read or remember the poem entitled, "The Charge of the Light Brigade", I certainly do.
The line, about following orders ALWAYS stuck in my mind. Alfred Lord Tennyson wrote:

Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs but to do and die,
Into the valley of death, 
Rode the 600!

A poem of a light brigade of the English against Russia. The light brigade was sent to the wrong battle. A battle Russia was prepared for (in the mid 1800's) and the English Light brigade suffered terrible losses. Thus the line, "Theirs but to do and die".

We have brave troops in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria who have probably never read or heard the words of the poem by Tennyson, but they are doing the same, JUST FOLLOWING ORDERS! 

Late in life I am realizing wars are decided by politicians and won or lost by their constituents: drafted or volunteered. 

Some of my jobs in the military were very classified, I taught at the level of Top Secret, in block buildings with no windows. I taught troops who were at the time headed for Vietnam. I knew men who came out on the last flights at the close of the war. Their stories were not pretty.

I wish all of our politicians could spend time in those situations, things may change.

BUT, but, I still believe this is the greatest country that has ever existed. We still have our freedoms. Ignoring the many conspiracy theories, we are going to make it. We assist countries round the world. We do help the down trodden. Many times we stick our nose in where it should not be. But overall, we are pretty good folk, us citizens of the USA!  God Bless America!

Nite Shipslog
PS: Many times our politicians suck bilge water, sometimes they get their dues.

 Top is a 1961 VW the other is a Henry J of the 1950's
For you who want to review the poem here it is in complete.  Many folk do not care for poetry. There are times it fits my thoughts, today it was Tennyson.

The Charge of the Light Brigade

Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Half a league, half a league,
 Half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death
 Rode the six hundred.
"Forward, the Light Brigade!
"Charge for the guns!" he said:
Into the valley of Death
 Rode the six hundred.

"Forward, the Light Brigade!"
Was there a man dismay'd?
Not tho' the soldier knew
 Someone had blunder'd:
Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die:
Into the valley of Death
 Rode the six hundred.

Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon in front of them
 Volley'd and thunder'd;
Storm'd at with shot and shell,
Boldly they rode and well,
Into the jaws of Death,
Into the mouth of Hell
 Rode the six hundred.

Flash'd all their sabres bare,
Flash'd as they turn'd in air,
Sabring the gunners there,
Charging an army, while
 All the world wonder'd:
Plunged in the battery-smoke
Right thro' the line they broke;
Cossack and Russian
Reel'd from the sabre stroke
 Shatter'd and sunder'd.
Then they rode back, but not
 Not the six hundred.

Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon behind them
 Volley'd and thunder'd;
Storm'd at with shot and shell,
While horse and hero fell,
They that had fought so well
Came thro' the jaws of Death
Back from the mouth of Hell,
All that was left of them,
 Left of six hundred.

When can their glory fade?
O the wild charge they made!
 All the world wondered.
Honor the charge they made,
Honor the Light Brigade,
 Noble six hundred.
Copied from Poems of Alfred Tennyson,
J. E. Tilton and Company, Boston, 1870

Memorial Day, a good story if you have time...

Old story, but still relative,  It fits what I posted a few days ago about old folk, we never know WHAT THEY WERE IN THEIR YOUTH, THEY ARE JUST OLD FOLK…

Memorial Day, a time to remember the fallen. When I read this article, I saved it for Memorial Day. I realize this day is not for the living. But I remember my mama's prayers late at night in the 1940's for my brothers and kin. They made it home, was it her prayers? many other mothers prayed and sons did not come home.  This is just a heroes story, but this man saw hundreds DIE!

As I came out of the supermarket that sunny day, pushing my cart of groceries towards my car, I saw an old man with the hood of his car up and a lady sitting inside the car, with the door open. The old man was looking at the engine. I put my groceries away in my car, and continued to watch the old gentleman from about twenty five feet away.
 I saw a young man in his early twenties with a grocery bag in his arm walking towards the old man. The old gentleman saw him coming too, and took a few steps towards him.I saw the old gentleman point to his open hood and say something. The young man put his grocery bag into what looked like a brand new Cadillac Escalade. He then turned back to the old man. I heard him yell at the old gentleman saying: 'You shouldn't even be allowed to drive a car at your age.' And then with a wave of his hand, he got in his car and peeled rubber out of the parking lot.

 I saw the old gentleman pull out his handkerchief, and mop his brow as he went back to his car and again looked at the engine.  He then went to his wife and spoke with her; he appeared to tell her it would be okay. I had seen enough, and I approached the old man. He saw me coming and stood straight, and as I got near him I said, 'Looks like you're having a problem.'

 He smiled sheepishly, and quietly nodded his head.  I looked under the hood myself, and knew that whatever the problem was, it was beyond me. Looking around, I saw a gas station up the road, and I told the old man that I would be right back.  I drove to the station and went inside. I saw three attendants working on cars. I approached one of them, and related the problem the old man had with his car. I offered to pay them if they could follow me back down and help him.

 The old man had pushed the heavy car under the shade of a tree and appeared to be comforting his wife. When he saw us he straightened up and thanked me for my help. As the mechanics diagnosed the problem (overheated engine), I spoke with the old gentleman.

 When I shook hands with him earlier, he had noticed my Marine Corps ring and had commented about it, telling me that he had been a Marine too. I nodded and asked the usual question, 'What outfit did you serve with?'

 He said that he served with the first Marine Division at Guadalcanal , Pelieliu, and Okinawa .  He had hit three of the worst ones, and retired from the Corps after the war was over. As we talked we heard the car engine come on and saw the mechanics lower the hood. They came over to us as the old man reached for his wallet, but was stopped by me. I told him I would just put the bill on my AAA card.

 He still reached for the wallet and handed me a card that I assumed had his name and address on it, and I stuck it in my pocket. We all shook hands all around again, and I said my goodbye's to his wife.

 I then told the two mechanics that I would follow them back up to the station. Once at the station, I told them that they had interrupted their own jobs to come along with me and help the old man. I said I wanted to pay for the help, but they refused to charge me.  One of them pulled out a card from his pocket, looking exactly like the card the old man had given to me. Both of the men told me then that they were Marine Corps Reserves. Once again we shook hands all around and as I was leaving, one of them told me I should look at the card the old man had given to me. I said I would and drove off.

 For some reason I had gone about two blocks, when I pulled over and  took the card out of my pocket and looked at it for a long, long time. The name of the old gentleman was on the card in golden leaf and under his name was written; 'Congressional Medal of Honor Society.'

I sat there motionless, looking at the card and reading it over and over. I looked up from the card and smiled to no one but myself and marveled that on this day, four Marines had all come together because one of us needed help. He was an old man all right, but it felt good to have stood next to greatness and courage, and an honor to have been in his presence.

 Remember, as we approach another Memorial Day, OLD men like him gave you, and all of us, FREEDOM for America. Thanks to those who served and still serve, and to all of those who supported them, and who continue to support them.
America is not at war. The U.S. Military is at war.  America is at the Mall.

 Remember, Freedom isn't Free. Thousands have paid the price, so that you can enjoy what you have today.

Nite Shipslog

Our blogging buddy Rick is speaking at at Memorial Service today, say a prayer for him.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

The Appalachian Trail, I am excited

(Sorry to post early but I could not wait to tell you guys)
Sherry and I have hiked, walked, backpacked nearly 2,000 miles of the Appalachian Trail. We did not complete the trail but did drive to Baxter State Park and climb up to the Northern Terminus of the AT atop Mt. Katahdin, here is proof:
Now my excitement, my new book a historic novel: 
The Appalachian Trail, Over 2,000 Smiles (and a few groans). That white blaze beneath the sign is the final blaze of the AT.

Using the heroes of my past novels,  I give them a trip up the AT.  98% of the incidents happened. ALL the trail-names (i.e.: Pigpen, Sir Richard, Mr. President, Cricket, The ORIENT EXPRESS,etc) are real and ARE folks we met on the trail.

So here she is:
This is the shortest novel I have written,  201 pages of large (16pt) print and can be read in a day or evening. It is available now at:
https://www.createspace.com/6207832  for $8.50. It is also available on Amazon and Target. The e-book on Kindle  for $1.50.  Worldwide in 10 days.

I have tried to make it as interesting as it was, but that is impossible.  We met folks from at least ten countries, most of the states and Canada.

Highlights of persons:
 Freight Train... He was hiking to bring awareness to Kyle Petty's 'Victory Junction'. 
Penguin: A young lady who flew in from South Africa to hike the trail and did it in 6 months.
The Orient Express: Bill Irwin  the only blind person to do a solo thru-hike of the trail.  We were fortunate to take Bill and his beautiful wife Debra to dinner in Bangor Maine.

Sir Richard.... Flew over from the UK

The Overland Hermits: Yours truly & wife
We took this with a timer at the NC/GA border.
So the book is published, I am happy and was very nervous at trying to get it written in 200 pages.

My thanks to the proofers:
JoAnn Trull, Evelyn Funderburk and Mrs. D.

Nite Shipslog

The forest service says it takes 8 hours for the trip to the summit of Katahdin and back. (It took us  old folk, 22 hours, ;-). )

....................   .........    ............

Of course Debra Irwin drives, note the license tag, ORIENT.
(Sad note: Bill Irwin, author of Blind Courage, succumbed to cancer at 73)


Friday, May 27, 2016


My girl makes the best fish stew around.  For many years we caught our fish, now we get frozen ones. We eat two meals a day, breakfast (usually cereal) and Supper between 3 & 5pm.  The day I am typing this entry when we finished eating her stew and I began washing the dishes. I said, "Great supper," then thought and continued, "Or lunch and dinner."

I can remember when as a young person, after leaving mama and  home, I started hearing the terms lunch and dinner.  It was hard for a guy to get used to dinner being an evening meal, because growing up that was supper.  Our meals were Breakfast, dinner and supper as I grew up. I never pictured lunch as a real meal.  I did carry my lunch to school for a few years, but for some reason I never associated lunch as a 'grown-up's meal.'  Yeah I was a very shielded kid. LOL

Our meals would be boring to most folk. We were talking about meals after I finished the dishes and we sat talking about our favorite meals. Sherry does pinto beans, salmon patties, cornbread and a mayo, lettuce, onion & tomato salad.  That lasts two days. Her Fish stew is two days, at times a third day with a sandwich. (BTW we share the work in the kitchen, she cooks I clean up. I cook and I try to clean up but she butt's in at times. (Smile))

I am a pressure cooker guy. I buy the bulk chicken leg quarters and pressure two of them. I serve the thigh over rice with gravy, along with a mixture of peas, carrots & onion. The left overs are mixed and the legs stripped and added to make a chicken rice soup for the next day.  I have added another meal, it is a veggie stir fry with chicken and shrimp in it.  That is usually two days’ worth.

But we were discussing the merits of pinto bean juice. We both grew up  using the juice to soak biscuits, getting them soggy and eating it. YUM! Cornbread and bean juice is good also.

Then she said her brother Johnny called her and while talking brought up how much he loved their mother's soakies.  Ever use that term? It was a saucer with sweetened coffee with cream and soaking biscuits in it, that was dessert!  We had soakies at our house growing up also.

Thanks for stopping by the Shipslog.  I know you have better things to do, and I appreciate it.

Nite Shipslog

**********   ******    *******

1955 Corvette, Mercury and Chrysler

Thursday, May 26, 2016


Perception:  the way you think about or understand someone or something.
(My perception of the older Automobiles is that they had more class and character than the later models.)
I am always amazed when someone doesn't see things the way I do.  After all why wouldn't they see it my way, I am seldom wrong.(LOL)

We humans are more complicated than the other animals on earth. I can look at a guy/gal and think, "I can't believe how stuck-up they are."

Someone else will look at the same person and see them as withdrawn or shy.

I have a dear friend who spent time in prison. He is one like able guy, he really is. If you met him today you would never think he has a 'sorta' dark past. We were distant for many years and I lost track of him. Business happened to bring us back together. I used his company for some subcontracting jobs.  Distance they had to travel to my jobs prevented more inter action.

He was telling me what one of his fellows in jail said to him once, it was: "Come on xyz, lie to me, I love it when you lie to me." One thing xyz was not, was a 'story-teller' (mama's word for liar).  xyz is probably retired now. The last time we were in the small town where they live , I could not find him. 

I forgave him easily for his 'big mistake' because I 'perceived him' as a good guy, even if his ambition had overstepped his common sense. 

I forgave easily because I like him. I know folks who will never forgive him because they perceived him as a loud-mouth, completely differently than I see him.

I do like to think my judgement is good, but I have been 'conned' (not in a mean way) by outside appearances. I had another dear friend I thought was a millionaire, but he died absolutely broke and deep in debt. Me, being that wrong, hurt my ego. "How could I have been so gullible?"  BUT I still remember him as a great guy and friend.

Yeah, and when someone gives you the job of cutting the cake or pie and specifies, "Make sure you cut the pieces small!"  (If it is their cake, better have them define their perception of 'small', LOL)

Ever have a situation due to conflict of 'perception'?

Nite Shipslog
************   ****************   *************