Hunkering Down XIV

We were married at the Presidio of Monterey1 chapel 61 years ago today and we’ll have grilled cheese sandwiches and hot chocolate for one meal today. That menu isn’t because we are hunkering down.

I was on Army pay and payday had been just a few days before but there was rent, etc. and I had charged most of a suit with two pair of pants. We got our rings in a hock shop that afternoon. Having little experience with marriage, etc. and some miscommunication with others, we did not know we were supposed to go out for dinner with my mother and Shirley’s dad after the ceremony.

We just took off headed toward San Luis Obispo in a borrowed car. It was already dark when we both realized hunger and started looking for a place to eat.

In those days the Pacific Coast Highway did not have tourist places as it is now. When we did find a drive in it was about to close and the grill was shut off. All we could get was two, flat, greasy, cold grilled (American) cheese sandwiches and warm Cocoa. Thus, the tradition started.

In these 61 years, we’ve only missed one or two times of not having our anniversary meal2.

Our first order online grocery pickup yesterday went very smoothly. Only two items on our list were substituted and our car was loaded as Fred Meyer3 advertising said it would be. We placed another order as soon as we were home.


Hunkering down postscript: I guess we now know the reason for having our devices.


Hunkering down random: Edgar Allen Poe was moody – or so I’ve read.


  1. California 

  2. I was away for Army duties. 

  3. Hazel Dell store in Vancouver, WA. 

Hunkering Down XIII

It was April Fool’s1 Day yesterday. In the hunkering down is hard to do climate, I decided to do no tricks or jokes. Yesterday is already very old news. Back in the day2 news was not old as quickly. Newspapers in rural America were mostly once or twice a week unless one got one of the big city papers. But they were delivered by the mail carrier, so the most recent news was already a day or two old.

My paternal grandmother was a Bell Telephone switchboard operator, so she could be privy to any local news3, if she wanted to listen. But she was the early version of 911, so any call for help went through her. My maternal grandparents were on a rural party line, so that grandmother could also rubberneck on any of ten calls. If the bell on the wall phone rang one long and two shorts, she knew Tillie4 would be getting a call. She also knew if her phone rang (two shorts and a long), Tillie and perhaps a half dozen others would probably be rubbernecking. But whatever was heard on a party line was considered to be public, so the women sometimes talked in code. It didn’t really matter, most of them had learned pig Latin when they were schoolgirls5

Calling today is quick and mostly easy all over the world. We do have to buy a phone and pay for nearly service, but when I was in Europe during Berlin Wall times, it cost $9.00 a minute to call my wife in the states from a pay phone. For military calls, we had scramblers, but I’m sure there were rubberneckers from the other side listening in on our private calls in case we slipped up on some classified material. But we were doing that to them also6.

I am very thankful for having the time and a little experience to help my son with some work on his business site while he was meeting clients remotely.

Friends brought real Kona coffee from Hawaii when they visited 6 weeks ago. We’ve been selfish and not shared it with anyone. Now it’s almost gone. Sob-sob-sob!


Hunkering down postscript: Many octogenarians who may have thought digital social networking was foolish are now learning it’s the only to keep up with the kids.


Hunkering down random: Zoom isn’t just for cameras anymore.


  1. Should this be possessive or changed to plural? 

  2. Feel free to pick your own defining decade. 

  3. More likely gossip. 

  4. Not an unusual name for those days. 

  5. I’d explain pig Latin, but you can look it up on the internet without my giving you a link. 

  6. Remember Spy v Spy in Mad Magazine

Hunkering Down XII

March 31 was my sister’s birthday. She like nearly everyone we know has been hunkering down too. Her daughters sent us a Zoom link, so we had a party like we’ve never had before – total social separation. Her daughters sent us a Zoom link, so we had a party like we’ve never had before – total social separation. It was easy on the iPad. Would have been nice to have a larger screen. Perhaps I’ll see how it works on my very old laptop. I disabled the camera years ago, but if I quiver for the challenge, I’ll spend some time on it.

Much ado about March rain on its last day.1 The sun came out and we talked about a walk – would have been a bad move. Within minutes of the decision it hailed! When it stopped, I went onto the soggy back yard and killed two dandelion flowers2. One of the weather persons said we are now close to our rain year average but also said we are about to exceed it. Oh well, some years are like this. The first no rain day, I’ll mow the tops of the garden weeds so I can roto-till the next no rain day. That is if the mower starts and…

Not much else to say today.


Hunkering down postscript: I didn’t say this first, but, “It’s nearly impossible to produce anything perfectly. Trying to do so will usually result in one perfect sentence in a piece no one will ever read.”


Hunkering down random: Viking hats didn’t have horns like depicted in movies and other media.


  1. Can a month possess something? 

  2. My wife’s favorite flower 

Hunkering Down XI

Yesterday, like our last two Mondays was certainly different. Before this season of hunkering down, we met at Starbucks nearly every Monday for coffee and chat. Now all of our chats are by group text just old-fashioned one-on-one phone calls. Many younger people are group chatting on group aps. They have aps and understand them, but many of our generation do not. We will probably try Zoom with someone this week or next.

There was no need to go out except to mail our response to some bills. Under normal conditions, we’ve been getting and paying bills online. We turned the short trip to the post with a short ride around our part of town to just see what’s going on or not going on.

Much of my time has been on Rose-Rose-Rose and other Brushes with History: Cold War Era Stories for My Grandchildren. The text is about 95% finished, but prep for publication is only about 80%1

In the process for ‘Rose’,2 I’ve also done a little more on Grandpa was a Teenager because there are references to the time in ‘Rose.’3

Back to ‘Rose:’ Submitting a paperback manuscript to Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) requires considerable formatting so appearance is the way the writer wants. When I reformat, I also do a read through and add text if the story requires it or delete whatever should be. My intention is to publish ‘Teenager’ at the same time. They can be read independently, but Before Grandpa was Thirteen – ‘Teenager’ – ‘Rose’ are in time order.


Hunkering down postscript: Several days ago, someone asked us to join them on Zoom. Yesterday I discovered the webcam I bought in “99 isn’t compatible with Windows 10. However, I got it on my iPad and tried an invite.


Hunkering down random: April showers bring May flowers.
March showers bring inside hours.


  1. If I decide to self-publish, which is the most likely route at this time. 

  2. When typing as fast as I can, I’m never sure if the comma goes inside or outside the apostrophe. 

  3. Well, the rule says it goes inside just like sentence ending punctuation – except for exceptions. 

Hunkering Down X

S

unday was our seventeenth day of hunkering down from our last round of social separation1. We’ve ordered many things from Amazon and some things from other online vendors. I have a publishing relationship with Amazon and use Amazon Prime, so shipping for most things if free.2 So, we tried a new purchasing adventure — ordering groceries online for pick up. Our Fred Meyer has someone do the shopping and we drive to the store and pick it up at a designated place. Because it was not an emergency need, we selected the delayed option and pick up what we ordered on Thursday.

W

w went to church from our recliner and listened to one of our music leaders3 on Facebook before the sermon. My laptop has a home adjacent to the TV so the hdmi cable reaches. My laptop is older than the desktop we keep near the TV, but for whatever reason, the PC and TV don’t communicate. I usually don’t tire of trying to get things to work, but I seldom use the laptop for anything else these days.

W

alking has been left out of our hunkering down routine for several days, and it was supposed to clear up Sunday afternoon. It did not!4 Looks like next Thursday might be a break for us fair weather walkers.5


H

unkering down postscript: I’d better get to working on meeting a goal — a due date approaches.6


H

unkering down random: Did you ever wonder why garden pests don’t eat weeds?


  1. New PC term for social distancing? 

  2. Free is a very good price, but as many of you know, Prime isn’t free. 

  3. https://www.facebook.com/GGChurchVancouver/videos/212718166672934/  

  4. Science will not allow me to blame the weather forecaster. 

  5. see previous note 

  6. Like cougars in the woods, they creep up on the inattentive.