Reflection


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The sun was bearing down making the deck surface temperature in the low or middle 80s, and I was dressed in jeans, sweatshirt, wool socks, and a wide-brim hat. One would more likely expect to see someone catching the ebbing rainy season rays bear-chested in swimming shorts on such a day. Who in their right mind 1Left mind?wears layers of clothing on the deck when it’s one of the first sunny, over 70°, days of the year?
As my octogenarianism halfway into its fifth year, my mind continues to wander as I wonder. Or could it be that my mind wonders as I wander?

That was four years ago this week. I was sitting on a lawn chair reading Mark Vonnegut’s Just Like Someone Without Mental Illness Only More So. Mark Vonnegut is a highly educated and accomplished man who suffers from schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. 2BA, Swarthmore College – MD Harvard Medical School Sometime during the reading, I had a sense of observing of myself from afar. I recorded that someone peering over the fence could think I was mentally ill.

Well, I was in my 8th day of recovery from very invasive intestinal surgery to remove a tangerine-size malignant growth. I purposely and progressively reduced my 30 day supply of Norco (hydrocodone/acetaminophen) intake from 2 tablets every 4 hours to one tablet every five hours. I was tired of being house bound and wanted to have some outside experience. Sitting on the deck seemed to be a good idea, but I didn’t want to fall asleep and get overexposed to the sun. Can you imagine sunburn on and around a row of ten staples on your abdomen? Thus, the overdressing.

Did I really read Vonnegut’s book? As I try to remember my thoughts (or at least some of them) from that time, I consider that perhaps even the reduced dose of Norco had control at the time. So, were my thoughts just one of its side effects mixed with another set of residual drug delusions paired with drowsiness.

I wonder!
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PS: I am blessed by God and am continually grateful for the medical people who acted so quickly on my behalf.

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Just Wandering


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As my octogenarianism grows into its fifth year, my mind continues to wonder as I wander.
Or could it be that my mind wanders as I wonder?
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In case you are wondering why I’ve done several posts about vehicle wrecks, and even if you’re not wondering, I’m answering. Each of them is a slightly modified version of short stories in Grandpa was a Teenager. Most of the grandkids have heard most or some of the stories before they were mediumized 1If this isn’t a real word, I’ll just claim my coining it, or giving it a second meaning for my purpose here. as print. They have a home-printed preliminary copy, but I’m tuning it up a little. No auto-pun intended.
Speaking of books, I just got my review copy for the print version of my latest one. The Kindle version of Game Time: A week in October has been on Amazon for about two weeks and a sale is booming. I’ve posted a description of the story on I, JMB Say. The paperback will be available on Amazon after I review pagination, etc.
Indecision plagues me as I wonder about which started project should be finished next. Most logical seems to be the collection of teenage stories, or perhaps it should be a collection of my Army time stories, some of which have also been told to grandkids.
Then there is the historical novel about coming of age of a protagonist involved in the settlement of Ft. Ross, CA. Should I finish Erin Finn’s parallel story to Jason’s in Nescient Decoy. Or how about the started historical fiction about Jason’s grandfather’s OSS involvement during WWII?
My mind must be wandering as I wonder, or…
So, having said all of the above, and not having a clear and present path for my writing, thoughts, muses, … I might just take a vacation from this blog also.
Ah…
Nah!


I couldn’t not work on something – I pulled out the old (1998) files for Adventure to Ross, did some reading and editing and discovered I could finish the historical fiction novella with one more chapter. So, I’m on it!

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Other Car Crashes


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As my octogenarianism grows into its fifth year, my mind continues to wonder as I wander.
Or could it be that my mind wanders as I wonder?
I


II said earlier that I didn’t have a collision with another car until I was an experienced driver.

The 1939 Chevy coupe’ we bought in Petaluma, CA, was hit once, and I hit another car with it. But neither caused its final change of ownership. It’s departure from my possession is a story for another time.
The ‘hit-us’ was at controlled intersection in Novato, CA, a little south of Petaluma. The light changed to green and as we moved forward, A driver in the other lane, but behind us changed lanes and accelerated. It was a direct hit on the Chevy’s springy bumper. Jon was only a few months old, and the time was before car seats for infants and children. He was asleep on a crib mattress that fit the space behind the passenger bench seat. He was bounced into the air and came down unhurt. With no vehicle damage, we and the other driver went our separate ways.

My first ‘hit someone’ was in Petaluma a few blocks from home. I stopped at the stop sign and looked both ways. There was one car at least 3/4th of a block to my left. At the 25mph speed limit, I assumed plenty of time to make my left turn ahead of the other car. I did a double check to my right and moved into the intersection.

Kapow!

I hit the other car in the right rear fender. After skidding along the street, she drove back to near my car. No cellphones, but someone in the neighborhood called it in. The police took statements, we exchanged insurance info, and ironically had the same insurance agent. I was given a ticket for failure to yield. Based on over 100 ft. of skid marks after the impact point, she got a ticket for speeding. My day in court is another story.

Well – OK, then – the court story.

I’m not sure how I got the time off from my Army duties, but I wore my Class-A khaki uniform to court. At my turn in front of the bench, the judge said, “Army huh.”

“Yes, sir.”

He read the charges and asked me to explain. In those days, I usually had my Cannon 35mm wherever I went, so I had several photos to show in court.

He asked the patrolman to explain the charge and situation he’d responded to. His report duplicated my explanation.

The judge repeated his, “Army huh.” Then added, “Where?”

I said, “I work at Two Rock Ranch, sir.”1The facility is now a US Coast Guard station.

To which he said, “Work! I go to the officers’ club out there. No one out there works. Charge of failure to yield, causing an accident is dismissed, but you are assessed $7.00 in court costs.”

I wanted to ask if he had an association with the Army Security Agency other than going to the officers’ club. Perhaps he retired from the Agency, or…

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Motorcycle Crash


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As my octogenarianism grows into its fifth year, my mind continues to wonder as I wander.
Or could it be that my mind wanders as I wonder?
I


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The most popular motorcycles in the 1950s were the Harley Davidson and Indian. My Uncle Kenney Gabor, husband of Mother’s sister Lyla, let me ride his Harley now and then. I didn’t become skilled like I assumed him to be, but I managed to never turn it over.

I went to the A&W on my human powered Elgin vehicle to hang out with some of the recent Central High School class of 1955 graduates.

One of the guys pulled in on his well-used Indian motorcycle. He ribbed me a few times about the rebuilt Whizzer motor bike I’d ridden to and from Dean’s place for Freeloader Club meetings. As I remember his good-natured ribbing included my downgrading to pedal power.

When he suggested I should ride a real motorcycle, I told him about my riding the Harley. I guess he believed me because he offered to let me take a spin on his Indian. Of course, I accepted. I idled it around the A&W perimeter to show that I could ride, and he said something like, “Take it to the street.”

The street was clear, and I cranked up the compression. What I didn’t know and wasn’t told was that the compression and throttle on the Harley were on the opposite handlebars of on the Indian. So, at full throttle, I flew across the street, over the curb, smashed a lawn mower, and ended up under a picnic table with the motorcycle still idling in a lilac bush.

Other than having some dirt and lilac branches on it, the motorcycle was undamaged. But the lawn mower was totaled. I caused some alarm because a scrape from something under the picnic table made a minor gouge on top of my head. We all know that head wounds seem to bleed disproportionally to the damage.

I got cleaned up and arranged to pay for the lawnmower damage as soon as I got my first Army pay. Without knowing my agreement, Mother sold the special motor, a Model B Ford with Riley overhead valve conversion, I’d bought for my garaged Model A and paid the bill before I could.

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Crash at the Track


As my octogenarianism grows into its fifth year, my mind continues to wonder as I wander.
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Ford cars were part of my life in high school. The ’41, the pickup I crashed, several Model As, and the 1932 Ford two-door which two friends and I pooled part-time income to buy for racing. One George’s father was an aircraft mechanic and built the rollover cage for us. He also supplied the aviation four-point aviation safety harness.

I’m sure someone somewhere has a picture of that car, but who knows? Anyway, our first race day was a Sunday. In those days, such activities were akin to sacrilege. Except for diving to Minneapolis for a major league baseball game of course.

Dean and I cruised the gut and other places in my 1941 Ford to advertise the July 18, 1954 event. I have to say an octogenarian however – it may have been Dean’s 41 Ford.
Well, the Alexandria Stock Car Association rule was that the cars bodies had to be 1930s models, but the engines could be up to 1946. We had an 85 hp V8 but talked about upgrading to a 90 hp – the most popular Ford engine at the time.
The three of us took turns driving the races at the Douglas County Fairgrounds track. I don’t remember much about the season, but that summer was my only one.

One of the Sundays, I was holding my own against older much more experienced drivers. I was riding rather high into the first corner and trying to turn closer to the inside of the dirt oval. An experienced driver maneuvered me off the track. I went end over end. Those who were watching said I flipped once in the air and two more times contacting the ground.

Yes. I did wet myself. But the four-point harness and roll cage kept me from physical injury.

I raced only one more time – mostly to prove I could, but I also left for National Guard camp the next week and the car was inoperative when I got back.