Legacy

The last couple of days I’ve been thinking about what to do regarding all my writings. I have three basic catagories of writings: personal journals, news articles and stories and poems.

My bride asked: Are you planning to leave all this stuff for Kyle to have to throw away? That set my mind in motion as it’s really the only legacy I have to offer my son.

About 8 years ago I made the mistake of telling someone that I thought it would be great if my private journals and news articles could be sent to the Library of Congress for future research. She told me I was conceited for thinking so grandiose.

I hadn’t thought about the subject till my bride brought it up a couple nights ago.

She wasn’t saying anything mean; she’s simply looking out for Kyle’s interest. Her statement comes from the personal experience of having to clean out her parents home after they passed away.

While none of my writing holds any true literary quality, it does hold some historical information. And 100-years from now, I’d think some researcher studying the 1980’s, 90’s and Y2K may find some useful information among the pages I’ve scribbled.

But then again—maybe I am being egotistical. However I can’t help but look at it all and think it would be a shame to consign it to the trash heap.

Great Blizzard

Snow had been falling since the day before and I had to be to work at KBUL at midnight. As it would turn out, the power would fail throughout the region and the station would be off-air for about 12-hours.

Throughout the city, there were accidents from people sliding into each other with their vehicles, cars and trucks high-centered on snow drifts or where the snow plow had left a high furrow. Even 4×4 trucks with their enormously high wheel base ended up stuck in snow.

I had no problem with my little front-wheel Hyundai sedan getting from my home on Sutro to the studio on Grove. Only two other people made it in to the station like I had; Dan, the Program Director and the General Manager, Debby.

All we could do was wait the storm out, which I did by laying down on on the floor in the front lobby and falling asleep. My sleep was interrupted when the electricity returned.

Outside the building door was a generator, brought in by the engineers to provide electricity to make coffee and run auxiliary lights in the engineering office. It had been running most night and into the early morning, offering a gentle chugging noise that had helped me fall asleep.

Once the electricity returned, it became a scramble for Dan and Debby to make-good on all the commercials missed in the hours the signal had been dark. As each hour began I was handed a handwritten log with five to six minutes of commercials to play four times an hour.

After nearly 10-hour of being on the air, trying to play a couple songs followed by 10-to-12 half minute commercials, I was exhausted and ready to go home. Never have I ever been so happy to sign off the air.

As I left the building I noticed the generator was no longer on the steps. I figured it had been brought inside and was not in the engineering office, however I was wrong.

But by the time I got home, I had received a call wanting to know what happened to the generator. At first I got the blame for it’s disappearance, until I pointed out the generator was too big to fit in my tiny vehicle.

To this day I still don’t know how a person could get away with a 300-pound generator without being noticed.

Between Mouse and Dog

Living out in the county can be trying at times. Especially when it comes to an early spring invasion of field mice.

That means it’s time for the annual setting of the mouse traps. One, under the sink near the HVAC register. A second tucked in behind the refrigerator along the wall.

As I laid down for my nap in preparation for another graveyard shift, I heard the distinctive snap of one of the traps. This was followed by the painful wailing and crying of a dog.

Our two-year-old pit-bull, Roxy, evidently found the smell of the peanut butter to be too irresistable. The vet says her tongue is going too be fine.

Coming to Terms

Exactly 30-years to the day, I was fired from the U.S. Air Force. It took me years to come to terms with what happened, but now I accept full responsibility for everything that occurred.

It’s what happens when a person goes outside the chain-of-command like I did. It doesn’t matter if it was to the Inspector General’s office or not, I broke a trust.

I have concluded that given the situation I found myself in, I’d do the same thing all over again, without hesitation.

The best thing that came out of the entire situation is that I renewed my relationship with Christ. It came about in the early morning hours, when I felt all hope was lost.

A wave of peace washed over me as I lay in my bunk feeling sorry for myself. It was at that moment I knew God was with me, that He had never left me and that He’d always be there for me.

Once the sun came up, I felt refreshed and ready to face whatever lay ahead. It hasn’t been easy, but through the grace of God, I’ve continued on with life.

Have I always done right? No. Do I try to do the right thing? Sometimes.

Will I screw up in the future? Yes. Is it difficult to admit this? You bet.

But thankfully, I’m not in charge.

Final Measure

The people gathered, all very excited to see the U.S. Air Forces’ Thunderbird flying team. Half the crowds were civilians, the remainder in uniform.

The aircrafts,  Northrop T-38A Talons, streaked and roared over head to shouts and cheers, as they flew in groups, bursting like a smoky flower high in the sky. Then they flew headlong at one another, a game of chicken at near the speed of sound.

On perhaps the fourth pass, disaster occurred as two of the crafts touched wing to tail. While the pilot who sustained the rudder damage managed to make it to an airport safely, the other pilot lost part of his damaged wing.

Witnesses could see the pilot was fighting his aircraft as hard as he could to bring it upright and to pull it away from the crowds and the close-by base housing. The craft screamed sideways, passing overhead, spewing smoke and debris.

The pilot, Capt. Charlie Carter blew his canopy and punched out as the dying aircraft drew tight to the earth. However his plane rolled over on its back and Carter ejected head first into a parking lot of the rodeo grounds.  

The charred and torn tail-section of Carter’s aircraft used to sit in a storage area on the backside of the air force base, well hidden from the publics view.

Over Doing It

So, I’ve been made aware that I post and blog way too much. Is this true?

A bit of the back-story: A friend that I’ve known since 1977 told me that I blog and post too much. They say my writing overwhelms their FaceBook pages, therefore they deleted me from their “friends” list.

While it doesn’t really bother me, I jus’ want to know what others have to say about this. If I am overwhelming you too, I’d like to know.

Truck Problem

Like I need another problem — worse yet — like I need another repair bill, but my truck refuses to go into gear.  It worked jus’ fine earlier in the day, but as I went out to head to work at 11 pm, the stick-shifter wouldn’t go into reverse or even first gears.

Fortunately, our house-mate, Kay is still on vacation and told me to take her car since she wouldn’t need it for work. I managed to get to the station in time for shift-change, but I’m still puzzled about what caused this to happen.

Worse yet, I’m no mechanic and I’ve got to have the damned thing towed to town. I’m at least 15 miles from the nearest service station, so it’s going to cost me a pretty penny.

I really shouldn’t complain because this is the first serious problem I’ve had with my truck in the 12 years I’ve had it.

While the inconvienence has me a little more than pissed off, there’s no sense in worrying about it. What has to be done, has to be done. I am trying to find the humor in this whole situation, but it hasn’t come to me yet.

Maybe in a day or two I’ll be laughing about it or maybe not…

What the House Painter Saw

The running joke has always been tanned fat is better than white fat. With that in mind, I pulled off my shirt as I mowed the backyard.

Soon I was joined by our house-mate, Kay Casti. She had decided to grab a rake and gather some of the clippings into a pile and enjoy the sunshine too.

Meanwhile, I continued to push the mower back and forth.

The next time I looked up, Kay was topless. I was surprised at this otherwise modest grandma for allowing herself to be seen half-naked.

She looked at me and started laughing. But the look on my face must have said something different, so she turned around.

Jus’ over the fence was the house painter hired by our neighbors. He was standing on a tall ladder alongside the house, looking in our direction.

Kay’s scream could be heard over the roar of the lawn mower.

Sharing Yourself

You should share your personal life-experiences.  Whether we know it or not, we each walk the path of history in some small way.

If it were up to me, I’d spent several hours every day, writing. While it is something I truly enjoy, it also seen an activity of a loner.  It is something I often do on my own, by myself and in the odd hours of the day.

This could explain why there are not more people in my life writing down and sharing their life-time of experiences. That and it is a whole lot easier to sit and watch television than it is to bang out a few paragraphs on the keyboard.

But jus’ because I spend so much time at it, doesn’t mean you can’t sit and jot something down in 10 or 15 minutes. Give it a try, your grandkids and their grandkids will enjoy it.

Being Closer Together

Juanita Larson passed away at her home on May 3, 2008 from cancer.  She was born April 9, 1933 in Ackerman, Miss., to Luther and Pearl Spurgeon.

Juanita, or Mrs. Larson as she was better known to me, was an artist who lived and raised her family in Klamath. She was married to Alvin Larson and together, they owned and operated Requa Boat Dock and Klamath Jet Boat Kruises for nearly 30 years.

Their son,  Jon and I went to Margaret Keating School together. We eventually graduated from Del Norte High in 1978.

Four years earlier, I was busy helping with the writing and editing of our eighth grade classes yearbook. It was a simple booklet, filled with pictures and the standard juvenile fare, photocopied and stapled between two heavier pieces of paper.

What makes this yearbook special is the fact that Jon was able to talk his mother into creating the cover art for both the front and back of the booklet. Without her help, the yearbook would have looked rather bland. 

On the front, she drew a cluster of Serviceberries, which is indigenious to Del Norte. On the back—what else—a Golden Bear, the schools’ mascot. She even figured out a way to incorporate our class-motto, Being Closer Together,” into the artwork.

In the end, Mrs. Larson created something very personal and worth treasuring.

Toy Story III

Kyle and I went and saw the new movie: “Toy Story 3.” While its a great 3-D movie, I wouldn’t recommend it for any parent suffering from the saddness brought on by a child becoming an adult and I’m still not over the way its affected me.

Funny thing is — I can’t really recall the movie in total as I was too busy wiping my eyes and nose.

Justice for Sheryl

The night before it had rained and the temperature was a wet 46-degrees. That led police to believe they had another case of death by exposure. It had happened twice before in the last three years at the homeless encampment.

At first investigators held what information they had close to their vest. They told reporters to for the local newspaper the homeless woman had been found inside her tent, fully clothed.

Within three days that would change.

Not only would the county medical examiner find an extreme amount of bruising, the doctor also discovered she had been sexually assaulted and this may have contributed to her death. Police would also make an arrest in the case.

Sheryl Sanders-Dickson’s rib-cage showed signs of trauma, leading investigators to conclude she was tortured by way of heavy compression. She also suffered a punctured lung, though authorities have not yet concluded how this puncture happened.

With the new disclosures being made in Sheryl’s death, investigators were forced to release information contradicting what had been reported previously. Her partially clothed body was found hidden under a sleeping bag, and it was evident she had been attacked while unconscious.

Authorities now say that the brutalization of Sheryl was of such a massive nature that no-one would have willingly submitted themselves to such treatment. Toxicology reports are pending, though officials say the outcome doesn’t appear to be a contributing factor to her death, other than leaving her unable to defend herself.

Sheryl lived behind the Safeway Store along with other homeless people, all doing their best to survive. Also living at the same encampment was a transient by the name of Robert Randolph.

Randolph is known to the local law enforcement community. Four years earlier Randolph was found not guilty of second-degree murder.

The 47-year-old man was accused of body-checking John Waid the year before. Waid fell, hit his head and died eight days later.

Randolph has been charged with first-degree burglary, rape, sexual penetration with a foreign object and sodomy with a foreign object. He has not been charged with Sheryl’s murder.

Sheryl was a naturally beautiful woman, who had fallen on hard times. Her friends and family regarded her as good-natured and always happy, willing to help out another person when she had so little herself.

Sheryl was a graduate of Del Norte High School, class of 1978. She was only 50 years old.

Several bunches of flowers now grace the camp site where she died so violently.

Road Work

Yes, I’m angry. And no, I’m will not apologize for it.

It really ticks me off to find myself cut off from all the major roadways in or out of my neighborhood because of road construction. This isn’t the first time this has happened either.

To make things worse, some guy in a state truck yells at me because I wanted to pull out on to the street, in order to head for town. I went ahead anyway since he didn’t have a uniform on or appear to be wearing a gun on his hip.

Guess he thinks he can get away with it because he’s managed to bluff other, more-compliant drives before he started shouting at me. He’s lucky I didn’t run his a$$ over as he tried to stop me from going.

I’d have hated to damage my truck like that.

Unwelcomed Passenger

Traffic is generally snarled along U.S. 395 around quitting time in Nevada’s capitol city. So I decided to try avoiding the mess by cutting down a couple back streets.

As I sat stopped at a traffic light, I saw this guy come running towards my car. The passenger side door was unlocked for some stupid reason and he climbed in without asking.

More shocked than scared, I asked him, ” What are you doing?!”

“Shut up and drive,” was his response. He added, “I’ve got a gun.”

Then the guy looked over his right shoulder as if expecting to see someone or something. I took the opportunity to pull out my lock-blade knife and open it with a loud click.

“You picked the wrong guy to screw with,” I told him.

He looked at me with surprise. Then he reminded me, “I told you I’ve got a gun and I’m not afraid to use it!”

My response was simple: “I already have this knife here and you don’t have your gun ready.” Then I added, “And I’m not afraid to use it either.”

He looked at my right hand, realizing the point of the blade was nearly touching left his rib cage. He blinked twice and jumped from my car.

While he was willing to threaten someone, thankfully he wasn’t willing to die backing up that threat.

Forgiven

What a crazy day. I promised Kyle that I’d pay for a tattoo for his birthday today. I didn’t call to make an appointment as I figured Reno is a 24-hour town.

Guess I should have since most tattoo shops in Reno-town don’t open until noon. Furthermore, none take appointments any earlier than 1 p.m.

Yeah, I know some will ask: How could you let him do that?

My response: He’s eighteen now and old enough to decide, especially since it’s something he’s talked about doing since the age of 12.

Besides, how many of us can truly remember our 18th birthday, let alone what we got as a gift? I don’t recall and I suspect that you might not remember either.

I think Kyle will remember his 18th birthday for years and years to come.

It took the artist nearly two straight hours of inking to complete Kyle’s tattoo. And he sat through the entire thing in one sitting.

It’s a design he copied a couple years ago from one of the members of his favorite Christian rock-band, “Skillet.” It’s a single word, a stong word, a word that has deep meaning for Kyle’s life: Forgiven.

And I approve!

Eighteen

Kyle is 18-years-old today and I couldn’t be happier — I couldn’t be sadder. He’s no longer my little boy — he’s his own man.

His passage into adulthood leaves me proud. His growth leaves me old.

Jus’ last year I held him in my arms for the very first time. Now its all I can do to get my arms half way ’round him.

He’s my pride and I’m so very proud of him.

While I can no longer legally direct his actions, I will be there to advise him if should ask—and sometimes when he doesn’t. He will always have a shoulder to lean on or an ear to bend.

What’s left of his childhood are trinkets, photographs and memories. It’s now up to Kyle to point the way as he matures in his new found adulthood.

New Rules

As I lay on the floor nursing my back, it occurs to me that I have rules for jus’ about every aspect of my life.  I know where the majority of these rules come from, while others, I have no idea how or why I think them.

When getting dressed, I put on my socks before I put on my skivvies. And I always have to have a belt on when I’m wearing pants.

Meal time mandates I eat in a certain order: salad, veggies, starches then the meat. I also never co-mingle my foods; its one thing at a time. Finally, I drink my milk, juice, coffee or whatever very last and never with a mouthful of food.

Writing even comes with its own set of rules: the two that are most prevalent are the use of the pronoun “I” in starting a sentence when it’s the first sentence in a paragraph. I’ll only use it if it is in the second or third sentence of the paragraph. Rarer still is the fact that I try never to create a paragraph longer than three or four sentences.

Even my bathroom habits have a set of rules. like making certain the toilet paper neatly wrapped around my hand rather than balled-up and defiantly NO pushing. As for showering, I wash top to bottom and after rinsing off, I use one end of the towel for drying my face, the rest for my body.

I know—way too much information.

Finally, I’m adding a new rule to my list: Don’t keep a notepad nearby when on pain medication as I’m liable to write about cr@p like this.

Sausage Man

Jimmy Dean was not only a business man, he was also a very fine country musician and at one time he even hosted a variety television program. It was a pleasure to talk with him during a radio interview I had with him while working at KHIT.

He was a great guy and made my job of talking about the current direction of country music easy. Jimmy was worried that county-western music was heading towards a pop and rock genre, leaving its traditions behind.

We had a great time talking, music history, family, a touch of politics and a life time of experiences. A few weeks after our on-air visit, Jimmy sent me a thank-you note and an autographed picture.

Thanks for music and the memory, Jimmy.

Letting God

It’s hard to understand what makes some people tick, but what I do know is that if I put my faith in a person, I’m bound to be disappointed since people are fallible. This applies to friends and family.

The hardest thing is to “let go and let God…”

Sound of My Voice

This is some thing I’ve known about myself for years, but have never admitted to. Even though I am in the radio broadcasting business, I don’t like the sound of my voice.

At one point in my life, I had a difficult time speaking because I studdered. And even though I had this problem, I wanted to talk on te radio.

After years in the business, my voice still doesn’t sound friendly to me. To me I sound as if I’m always struggling to keep my head slightly above water when talking.

Very strange, don’t you think?

New Doors

When I got home this morning from the radio station, I went to bed feeling bummed. This came after Kyle told me he isn’t going to be back here to the house until July.

First he has summer school, which I knew about, but then he told me he has plans to help his grandparents move their entire household to Texas.  Personally, I think this admirable so I will not stop him.

He also seemed so happy about his plans, and I certainly don’t want to dampen that. But on the flip-side, his plans have left me down.

Perhaps this God’s way of telling me to expect some new doors to open

Blue Poo

Kyle was seven or perhaps eight months old when his pediatrician, Dr. Kathleen Christopherson, noted he was iron-deficient. She prescribed a supplement that would build up this lack in his tiny body.

Unfortunately, Kyle’s mother forgot to tell me that she had taken him to see Dr. Christopherson or that Kyle had this problem. Instead I would have to find out the hard way.

A couple days after her started taking the supplement; I went over and picked her and Kyle up. I dropped her at her work, the Flamingo Hilton in downtown Reno and I took Kyle over to my apartment to watch over him till his mom was off work.

It was during his first diaper change of the day that I found myself on the edge of freaking out. Kyle’s movement was not normal looking and it scared me.

Panicked I called his mother and told her what was happening. She told me to hold tight as Kyle had jus’ been to the doctor and she wanted to call her before I took Kyle over to the doctor’s office.

A number of anxious minutes later, Kyle’s mother called back laughing. She explained Dr. Christopherson believed Kyle had been given too much iron-supplement and his little body was getting rid of the extra through his bowel.

The doctor drew this conclusion without even having to examine Kyle or his diaper. She only needed to know what color Kyle’s poo was.

There is something very wrong with turds the color of bright turquoise.

Slip and Slide

We stopped to have lunch as we made our way to South Dakota for a family reunion on the bride’s side. Being at this particular rest stop and being an amateur historian on the West, I couldn’t wait to hike up to the top of the massive rock setting in the middle of Wyoming.

As Easterner’s moved westward they often stopped at this rock, which is part of the Oregon Trail. Many would climb to the top of it so they could see what sort of land lay before them as they continued over-trail.

Once on top I found what I was looking for: the graffiti.

The oldest I found was from 1850 although there are older etchings in the stone. Pioneers scratched their names in the rocky clefts to let people know they had passed this way.

I took several photographs and also videoed the area as I continued to explore.

As I topped the rise I could see my bride frantically waving to me to hurry down. She was impatient and wanted to get back on the road.

I had obviously lost track of time.

Instead of returning the way I had come, I figured I’d take a short cut and hike down the craggy face of the rock. What I didn’t think about was the fact that I was wearing leather soled cowboy boots and my hike grew increasingly more and more slippery.

After stopping for a few seconds to see what the better route was to continue downward, I felt my footing give way. I was suddenly sliding down the rocky surface.

It didn’t take long for my boots to catch a rough edge in the otherwise smooth surface. The force of the sudden stop pitched me forward, and I continued downward. Only now I was rolling head over heal.

My body spilled out onto a grassy area jus’ a few feet short of the walking path the surrounds the rock. I laid there for a couple minutes to see if I had any broken bones.

There was nothing wrong with me physically. All the damage was emotional, in the form of a severe bruising to my pride.

Parking Lots

Today started out great, but I let my attitude steal away my joy. Jus’ great!

Had to go pick up some product for my wife’s sandwich shops and that’s where things took a turn downward. I pulled into will call parking, went inside to complete my paperwork and when I came out I watched another person back her vehicle up to the loading dock.

As she got out of her car I asked her to move so I could pick up my stuff, but she told me she was there first. I let her know that I was actually there first as I had completed my paperwork before she even backed in.

She had a shirt on that proclaimed where she worked. Ironically, it was the same franchise as my wife’s business, but not her exact store. I told her I was also there for the same sandwich company.

Her response: Big deal!

So I asked her for her store number. She told me to eff-off, got back in her vehicle and she moved it to will-call parking.

I backed in, loaded up and drove to my wife’s first store.

As I pulled in I saw a large pick-up truck parked on the side door landing, under the awning. It was literally blocking one of our two public entrances to the business.

My thinking: Follow the rules. I decided to say something to my wife about it.

She told me it belongs to one of her good customers and that I should meet him. I told her that perhaps another day, when I’m less pissed off about where he parked, since it isn’t a parking spot and is bad for business.

My wife is mad at me now.

On Edge

When I worked as Road Supervisor for ATC/CitiLift there was a guy, named Kirk Wingo, who set my nerves on edge. He tried to act as if he were a “smooth operator,” but I could tell he was slightly off the mark when it came to being honest.

While I didn’t hire him, I did have to interview him twice for three different incidents involving the safety of passengers. He eventually was fired after failing to secure a wheelchair passenger properly in his vehicle.

He disappeared and I never heard another thing about Kirk until he was arrested for murdering a young Reno woman. Brandi Gallego was mother of two, a daughter and sister, who he strangled to death and left in a family van in a parking lot.

Kirk told the Gallego family that Brandi’s death was an accident involving rough sex. He eventually pled guilty to her murder and is now spending the remainder of his life in prison.

It’s enough to keep the nerves on edge.

Children First

Over the years I felt it necessary to come to the defense of Pat Patapoff’s memory. To be upfront, Pat and I didn’t always get along as we constantly had some sort of personality conflict going on between us.

It was during omy 20th class reunion celebrating graduation from high school in 1978, that I found out Pat was dead. The stories of how he died were at least ten-years old and varied widely.

So I pieced the different accounts together and have drew my own conclusion. Simply put, Pat pulled his children from their burning home in Klamath. After he pulled the children to safety, he returned to retrieve his guns, where he eventually died.

It wasn’t until recently that I found the courage to ask Pat’s daughter Krystel, what actually happened.

Krystel writes, “From what I remember, we had some friends over and I was sitting in the living room watching Pee Wee Herman. My sister and her friend were in the bedroom we shared, playing.  My friend went into the room and came back out, and within minutes my back started feeling hot. So I went in the other room and there was fire.

I told Dad and he grabbed all us kids and took us to the top of the road and told us to stay there.

Looking back, I told him I didn’t want him to go back in, but he did. He picked up the garden hose, but it had no water.  I saw him through the window, swirling around engulfed in flames, holding the guns he had went back in the house to get. They found him in the house, on the bed, holding the guns.”

For years I have refused to let anyone drag Pat’s name through the mud because he tried to retrieve the guns.  He saved four children, including both of his daughters.

This makes him special in my eyes; a true hero.  Nothing else can or should be said about a person whose last real act in life was brave, regardless of any perceived character flaws.

Krystel’s dad is a hero.  We should all be so lucky to have such a person in our lives.

Strange Trip

Desperate to get back into radio, I answered an ad in the Times-Standard for KERG in southern Humboldt. The voice on the other end of the telephone instructed me to come to the station right away.

Once at the station I sat down with a short, balding man named Jerry. He was heavy-set with a full beard.

Both stood out on him because of the multicolored-tie-dyed tee-shirt he was wearing. He was, however the station’s owner.

His very first and only question was: Do you have a problem reading live copy on the air about PVC piping.

I told him that I didn’t.

He offered me the job and I accepted without hesitation. It wasn’t until I actually sat down in what he called a control-booth, a desk on a riser surrounded by thick plexi-glass, that I’d learn I had hired on to something strange.

It was wall-to-wall music, same artist, 24-hours a day and in between album sides, I’d read the live copy about PVC piping.  It was the only commerical the station ran while I was there, which was only about two-months.

Furthermore, listeners would come in to the station. Aside from being stoned and free-spirited, they’d start doing things with one another that would make a dog in heat blush.

I lasted only two-months at the job.

A few years later, it would occur to me why PVC piping was so important to the economy of the southern Humboldt town, that the strange people that came into the station were better known as “Deadheads,” and Jerry was and remains an important figure in American rock history.

Prelude to a Knifing

One early morning my brother was slashed so badly one of his kidneys nearly fell out of his body. It’s an event I’ll never forget.

What I had forgotten though is what led up to this event and caused an ex-girlfriend to hate me with a passion. I didn’t know why she felt like she does till I found an old journal entry yesterday morning about that night’s event.

It had been a number of months since Lora and I had broken up. She was far from my mind as I waltzed down the sidewalk to meet up with my brother and his friend, who were parked in the lot near a restaurant, whose name escapes me now.

I had jus’ been to Kacy’s Supermarket to buy the three of us some generic beer. We had plans to go down to Citizen’s Dock or maybe Endert’s Beach to sit and drink the swill.

That’s where those plans took a sudden turn.

Having jus’ dropped the beer in to my brother’s friend’s car; I heard an awful smashing sound. A large rock or perhaps a piece of cement had been hurled through the front window of Lora’s brother Don’s car.

In Del Norte County, everyone pretty well knows that both the city police and sheriff deputies arrive on the scene of such events rapidly. Such is the nature of a small town.

It was obvious that my brother and his friend knew this as well and they tore out of the parking lot leaving me standing there. So I simply took off running as fast as possible.

My line of flight was back the way I had come. I raced passed the large windows of the supermarket where I was seen by a number of people. These same people would later identify me as the culprit, though none saw what had actually happened.

Later I would manage to link up with my brother and his friend. We would avoid contact with law enforcement until my brother was knifed.

Dry-Chem Drop

It was period in my life where I was having a hard time holding down a part-time job. It seemed like evertime I got a new job, I’d get orders causing me to abandon the position.

However, one such job I lost, had nothing to do with the Marine Corps. Rather it had to do with miscommunication.

To keep my part-time job as a certified nursing assistant at the Crescent City Convalescent Hospital, I had to complete a nursing class. I tried to challenge the course but was refused the chance.

I attended class durning the day and worked the overnight shift.

One early morning I entered a room where a patient was calling for help. In the far corner at the base of a wall-heater was a fire.

I moved the patient out of the room and closed the door behind us, then returned to the room with a fire extinguisher.

Out in the hallway, the area filled with smoke. At that point, my Charge Nurse, Mike Ramel ordered us to started moving patients outside.

Soon the Crescent City Fire Department arrived. They said the fire extinguisher’s dry-chemical was what had filled the hallway and not smoke.

But by this time, I was already at Seaside Hospital, being admitted to ICU for smoke inhalation. I was there for two days.

Following my release I returned to class where I was promptly told I had been dropped because I was a no-show. Failing the class left the hospital with no other recourse but to fire me.

Besides I think they were happy to be done with me. I cost the hospital nearly $3,000 to have the facility cleaned after I used the fire extinguisher.