Monthly Archives: July 2018

Lessons from a POW

This was one of my very first columns for The Lebanon Democrat. It is special to me because the man i wrote about here is very special to me. i wrote it right after the bad San Diego wildfires in 2007. Dave remains a wonderful, actually amazing man, and i am proud to call him my friend. For some reason last night while watching the woeful San Diego Padres lose again, something Dave said to me popped into my brain. Something Dave said during our time together or wrote in his book keeps popping into my head. That’s a good thing. If i remember correctly, this pop up was how his North Vietnam interrogators kept wanting to know where they kept all the cows, pigs, and chickens to feed the crew on an aircraft carrier. Regardless, i wanted you, in case you missed it before, learn a little bit about an American hero. If you want to learn more about his story, his book, The Ways We Choose: Lessons For Life From a POW’s Experience is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and i believe you can still get one from his website, www.DaveCarey.com. If all else fails, contact me. We will get you one if you want it.

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA – This past Monday, I left the cleanup from the San Diego fires and flew to Lake Tahoe, Nevada. It was not an escape. It was work. I was co-facilitating a team building workshop for a California police department with my friend, Dave Carey.

Dave is not your ordinary business associate. On August 31, 1967, Dave Carey’s A-4 was shot out from under him over North Vietnam. He spent five and a half years as a Prisoner of War (POW), most of the time in the infamous “Hanoi Hilton.”

Dave and I met in 1985 at the Naval Amphibious School in Coronado. We worked together for just shy of a year as I transitioned into Dave’s position as the head of leadership training for the West Coast and Pacific Rim. Together, we help create a two-day workshop on leadership excellence for senior Navy officers.

Dave retired. Four years later in 1989, I followed suit. After my initial dive into my new job as Mister Mom, I soon started to look for ways to generate income in the quiet hours.

After some discussion, Dave and I agreed I would write a book about his POW experience, or more accurately, about his motivational speeches concerning his experience. After completing the draft, we decided it really should be written in first person. The original draft is on my office bookshelf.

Eight years later, Dave holed up for three weeks and completed The Ways We Choose: Lessons For Life From a POW’s Experience.

Part of my approach to writing was generated from conversations with Dave. He and I were driving to another workshop about fifteen years ago when I asked him about what outcome did he expect the audience to have when he gave a speech.

Dave said he had expectations initially, but discovered his listeners made their own connections. Early on, Dave had completed a luncheon speech when a huge Texan came up to him, put his big arm around Dave’s shoulder and drawled, “Can I talk with you, Dave? I understood every word you said today. The fact of the matter is, in this life, we are all going to get shot down, and some of us more than once.”

I don’t know about you, but I’ve managed to get shot down several times. Dave’s book and his ideas have been significant guides to me as I have wandered through living. The book not only applies to San Diego, Lake Tahoe, and Middle Tennessee; it worked in the Hanoi over 40 years ago.

Dave’s book revolves around a question he is most frequently asked, which is, “How did you do that? How did you and the other POW’s get through that?” He maintains they did that in a similar way to how we get through our daily process of life and work.

Dave’s assessment of how he and his fellow POW’s made it through boils down to five factors:

  • We did what we had to do
  • We did our best
  • We chose to grow
  • We kept our sense of humor
  • We kept the faith
    • In ourselves
    • In each other
    • In our country
    • In God.

His anecdotes relating to those factors are humorous, inspiring, and thought provoking. I have had the wonderful opportunity to discuss these things in depth with Dave.

So I check myself against his factors almost daily. They have even become part of the value statements for my consulting group.

I will not ruin the book by parroting it here. However, I am particularly fond of Dave’s pointing out how the POW’s trusted each one of them would do the best they could, would resist the severe interrogations to their limit; recognizing each of them had their own limit levels.

I now try to consider folks I work with are doing the best they can do. This puts a whole different shape to the way I work with these people. Fewer rocks are thrown; fewer lines are drawn in the sand; fewer chips are put on shoulders.

I would encourage everyone to read’s Dave’s book. Your connections should be yours, not mine, not Dave’s. I know folks in Middle Tennessee also get shot down every once in a while.

i should note here that bit about my consulting group is no longer extant. i write. i used to drive ships. i gave up consulting when i got tired of trying to make people do the right thing. i still follow Dave’s advice.

I Was a Sailor

Today’s Navy is a world apart from the Navy i served for twenty-two years. The change had begun as i was completing my active duty. Women were becoming part of seagoing world. Computers were becoming more and more critical to getting the job done. Gas turbine plants were replacing the old classic steam engines. i expressed my feelings in a poem included in these posts before and was part of my book, A Pocket of Resistance: Selected Poems. i will not judge which Navy is better or worse. They are just different, that’s all. But i sure liked going to sea in the old Navy. i am posting this in a group called “US Navy Gearing Class Destroyers.” Old sailors. i hope they enjoy it.

I Was a Sailor

I was a sailor
when the boatswainmates
swept down and triced up;
the decks were spotless;
first division stood
at the ready on the forecastle to
cast away all lines;
the sleek greyhound visaged lady
got underway,
no tugs,
no bow thrusters
like they, the pansies are required to use
today;
no sir:
we ruled the seas
standing proud in quarters standing out,
no manning the rails for show,
we did it like it was supposed to be;
the bow cut through the channel like
it owned the sea,
the trough slid up the side
only feet under the gunwale;
the stern wash was white with foam:
we were underway,
rocking and rolling.

I was a sailor
back when being a sailor
was tantamount to being a man;
there weren’t no great number
of automatic controls back then,
not one hell of a lot of video games or graphics to read:
you turned the valves and the steam hissed;
you cleaned the boiler plates on the lower level
with the blowers blasting air in your face
for relief from the hot wet heat;
inserting the plates and firing it up
hoping it wouldn’t smoke white
and
blow your ass
off the naval station
to kingdom come;
the boilers would rumble,
groan and croak,
spew their smoke out the stack,
build up steam
until there weren’t no smoke
and
the boiler tenders
down in the bowels
knew they would be
getting underway
soon.
we lined up the feed pumps;
kicked off the auxiliaries,
went on ship’s power,
dropping our umbilical cords from the pier
like the doctor cuts the cord
on the newborn:
separating us from mother earth,
sending us to the bounding main;
when we turned the nozzles of steam
onto the turbines of the main engine,
watching the tree trunk sized shaft
turning slowly;
the engine room wheezed and coughed:
made us feel like we
were in a jungle of sweltering pumps and motors
while the distilling plants gurgled with
Rube Goldberg smugness,
making you wonder if
they would really make
good water
again.

I was a sailor
back when we manned the big guns,
not standing apart, aloof, with computer controls
in the air conditioned spaces
but inside those big guns,
metal death traps where
we stood alongside the breech
when the firing shook our brains, our guts, our souls
and
we loved the thrill of it all;
the brass kicked out the aft end;
the hot case man with his asbestos gloves
smacked them out onto the rolling deck:
no automatic, manless machine of death
back then.

I was a sailor
back when we didn’t know
what the hell politically correct meant,
back when they meant
|what they said when they said,
“if the navy wanted you to have a wife,
they would have issued you one.”
Navy was a way of life,
living on board, locker in a club
just outside the main gate
with civvies,
so
you could go down to sailor town,
drink beer and cheap whiskey,
enough to make the woman look
pretty enough to pay
for the night so
you could get back in time
for quarters at 0700
unless there was a fight.

I was a sailor back then
when men were men
and
sailors were sailors
and
then was then.

Way “off the wall”

The item below appeared in yesterday’s (July 10, 2018) edition of the San Diego Union Tribune. It was included in the daily sidebar, “Off the Wall,” which contains interesting and humorous tidbits and a sports trivia quiz.

This particular item was so wrong, so bad on so many levels it caused me to laugh so hard i snorted my breakfast cup of coffee.

i hope you are not offended and also find it funny as hell:

Off the wall

Touching tribute

After a young New Orleans man was killed, his grieving family chose to remember him doing what he loved: sitting in front of a TV with his beloved Boston Celtics on the screen.

The body of 18-year-old Renard Matthews , who died from a gunshot wound to the head on June 25, was dressed in a Celtics jersey at a Sunday wake at the Charbonnet Labat Glapion Funeral Home in the Treme neighborhood. WDSU-TV reported that his body was positioned in a chair and he had a video game controller in his lap. His favorite snacks were positioned on a nearby table and the floor.

The 18-year-old Matthews will be buried today.

Memories

Yesterday, i posted birthday thoughts for Blythe. i had picked out too many photos to accompany those thoughts. So here they are today, with loving memories of our good times together:

Blythe atop Nuʻuanu Pali on Oahu in 1981. It was a wonderful pre-Christmas, end of a year of Westpac deployments for me, and magic to be with her. It was also cold up there.
In the Petrified Forest for about 15 minutes of our whirlwind visit to it and the painted desert. She was not really enthused about rocks that used to be trees. i was awed and felt the force of history, nature, and a sense of something larger, inspiring.
And a few of my favorite things. My RX7 Blythe helped me pick out. My parents in their first fifth wheel trip to San Diego, outside one of the best bachelor pads ever, overshadowed by the next move to a condo in the Coronado Cays, the Koala stuffed bear i got her in Perth, Australia, and Blythe. Life was good. August, 1981.
Sailing with Blythe on JD’s boat on San Diego Bay, 1982.

Eaters

As is my routine, i reread my post this morning. i laughed. i had gotten my terms mixed up. At my age, it’s excusable to do that but not excusable to let the mistake continue. In mentioning Shakespeare’s and my friend, Pete Thomas, i described the Guinness and Bass mixture as a “pink and tan.” i was thinking of the old army uniform, which was still the uniform at Texas A&M when i was an NROTC instructor there. i should have written “black and tan.” Oops.

Today, it was hot. Hot for the Southwest corner. Fires too. Something to discuss later.

Part of Maureen’s and my strategy to deal with hot included lunch at a cool place.

We chose Blue Water. It’s official name is Blue Water Seafood Market and Grill. It’s in the hotbed of unique cuisine, made popular for wonderful food of all sorts, not some place to go to be cool or be seen. It’s located at the end of India Street, the old, old road which begins in what was Little Italy, now the place to go to be cool or be seen. Although Maureen is cool and a sight to be seen, i am definitely not either. But at the northern end, India Street tees into Washington Street is not trendy. It’s just crowded because the food is so damn good.

There is an iconic Mexican restaurant with hot border Mexican Food, one of the biggest draws and probably the oldest in this little area of wide spread diet genres. It has a park across the street with concrete picnic tables. My buddy from amphib days, Bruce Brunn, and i used to run around Balboa Park at lunch and then stop for tacos and beer at El Indio and eat in our sweaty running togs sitting on the curb so as not to gross out the picnic bench sitters.

There’s this Brit pub called Shakespeare’s. Today, it was packed and ribald with soccer watchers. One of my best friends of all time, Pete Thomas and i would meet there for an evening meal featuring black and tan’s, i.e. Bass Ale and Guinness. i would order the shepherd’s pie, bangers and mash, or fish and chips.

There is Wine Vault and Bistro, an incredible dining experience with paired wines for each pre-fixe course. It remains one of our finest experiences in dining and we go at every chance. i couldn’t begin to describe how wonderful a place Chris and Mary have created.

On the corner, there is Gelato Vero, a small place with little sitting room Maureen claims has the best gelato in the world. i ‘m not a gelato guy and her claim is a bit expansive. i can’t argue, but it is good.

There are a number of Johnny-come-lately’s attempting to lay claim to culinary excellence by geographic association, but not for us. We’ve got the ones we go to.

i  think i’ve mentioned these favorite of ours here before, so i will refrain from more explantation except for Blue Water.

You have to wait in line. There are no reservations and it is always packed. You can’t claim a table early. The staff assigns you a table based on the number of your group and your preference, if available. We normally sit out on the patio where they have about ten small tables, but it really doesn’t matter. The food matters.

Today, we argued…er discussed what we would order all the way through the fifteen or twenty minute line wait. Maureen likes to share. That’s not my thing, but i will and am getting better at since i am old and somewhat conscious of my waistline. We would have liked to order damn near everything on the menu, most as either a sandwich, a taco, or a salad. Fish. Seafood. High Quality. You can pick out some of those to take home, no, all of those from the seafood market crammed into the side of Blue Water.

As we neared the order/pay young lady, i caved. We ordered the half-dozen oysters on the half shell with separate mild and spicy sauces. And we ordered the sashimi special with Ahi and yellowtail tuna.

It was quite simply, the best yellowtail i’ve ever eaten and the ahi would match up against the gazillion of pounds of sashimi i’ve had everywhere, including Japan.

From my experience at Blue Water and listening to those in line who have also eaten there before, that is a common adjective about the food: “the best,” whatever it is.

It is one of those places we go in the Southwest corner we find so good we keep returning and returning. And every time. i mean every time i wish two people could be with us. My son-in-law Jason loves all kinds of good food. He is extremely knowledgable as well. He and Maureen have discussions about food, and it sounds like Greek to me. i always wish he were with us.

Then there’s this guy up in San Francisco. We’ve been brothers for  half century plus. He loves food. Together, we’ve spent an ungodly number of hours dining at places running the gamut of low end dives to high end dining over those years. He’s the other one i wish were with Maureen and me.

But since they aren’t here, we’ll just have to go back to Blue Water and wish for them again.

Birthday Girl

It was forty-six years ago today.

Around 2:00 in the afternoon, i had returned from putting out the sports section of The Watertown Daily Times in upstate New York, and i mean UPSTATE New York, still one of my favorite places in the world over three-quarters of a century.

i had a sandwich for lunch and laid down for my usual afternoon nap. After all, i had gotten up around 4:00 and walked to work, getting to my desk before 5:30. It was my routine, i thought the nap was well deserved since on most previous evenings i had been at a sports event, mostly the Watertown Royals semi-pro baseball game.

My wife nudged me gently to wake me up.

“Jim, I broke water,” she announced in an offhand manner, “It’s time to go to the hospital.”

After her water broke, Kathie called the hospital to let them know she was on her way, arranged the apartment for me in her absence and for her return with our new infant. She packed what she would need at the hospital. She was orderly and calm.

The sports editor was catatonic. He threw on some clothes, grabbed her small suitcase, and ushered her down the stairs of the second floor apartment. He didn’t exactly break the land speed record getting to the hospital, but let’s just say he didn’t tarry in traffic.

He drove the blue 1966 Oldsmobile Cutlass to the emergency dock. She said something to the effect about his being silly and directed him to park in a regular space about a block away. They walked to the check-in counter. She was checked in and put into a room. He got to stay there for roughly three hours. They kicked him out. It wasn’t like it is today. Perhaps it was predictive of what would happen later.

He had supper out with his good friend and high school teacher Earl Weidemann and returned to the hospital. It was around 6:00. They parked him in the expectant father’s waiting room, a rather dark hole, and he waited there, worried about his wife and excited about what was imminent.

Just after 9:30, his wife gave birth to his daughter. She was beautiful, sporting a goodly amount of black hair. He was in heaven but not allowed to stay long. Her mother looked absolutely gorgeous and oh, oh so happy…perhaps because the worse part was over.

In just under two months, he would leave. The Navy looked like a good move for him to support his wife and new child, and he had chosen to give up sports writing and return to the sea. Unfortunately, it would require him to be away for long periods of time, while this new overwhelmingly force in his life would remain with her mother. His choice for them.

But oh boy, was she loved. She and her mother stayed with her mother’s parents, Colonel Lynch and Nannie Bettie in Paris, Texas but spent significant time in Tennessee. Both families adored her. Still do. One of his favorite photos of her was while he was in the Mediterranean. Her uncle, Uncle Snooks, who loved all children, seemed to have a special place for Blythe. Even though they all loved her, it was real close to the most lonely four months of his life.

When he returned, they began the Navy life in Newport, Rhode Island. Then, they moved across country to Long Beach. Then south to San Diego. Then to Texas A&M. It was a glorious time for him because he was with her even though the marriage was floundering, and he was lost at the thought of not being with her.

The family moving stopped there, and he moved on. He left with wonderful memories. He knew her mother loved her more than anything on earth and that was enough. It had to be enough.

So she grew up well. He spent as much time as he could with her, nearly all of his thirty days a year of allotted leave time. Her mother was good about letting her travel to places to be with him and with his parents. She spent a lot of summer time in Lebanon, Tennessee, having fun.

It was as good as it could be except for Christmas. After he went to extra effort to be with her and her mother for two Christmases, he realized her mother would be lost without her for Christmas, that he was a third (or fourth or fifth) wheel on Christmas. So he gave it up. Christmas was never as good for him as it had been with her.

But she grew up well, and he did spend time with her. She was happy. And she could make him smile with just a photo of her.

There are many photos of them together. He may post more later just so he can revisit good memories again.

Life moved on. He met a woman who was a wonderful match for him, and she thought so too. A miracle he thought. She loved his daughter.

And then she became Maureen’s daughter.

It was a wonderful thing. Then she had a sister. They are wonderful together. It makes him happier than anything in the world when they show their happiness together. He has been known to have tears well up when he sees them together.

While she was in San Diego, she met this sailor and fell in love. It took a while, but they married and have one of the better marriages around.

 

 

 

 

Finally, finally, they produced a son: Samuel James Jewell Gander with his two middle names honoring his great grandfather. The old man, by now, Sam’s grandfather is so proud of Sam, his buttons damn near burst when he talks about him. If there is one thing in his life the old man would change, it would be to spend as much time as he could with Sam.

But the world and factors one can’t control often keep us from having what we want. And so it is.

She has a wonderful job now. She has a good husband. She takes care of her mother and her mother takes care of the three of them, especially Sam. It is as it should be, or as close as it can get. For his daughter, he accepts that as enough.

And oh boy, at forty-six (today), she is an incredible woman with an incredible son.

And he loves her still.

Happy Birthday, Blythe.

Addition to the Misnomer

i reread my post from last night this morning, and i realized there were a couple of things not there i wanted to express. Several responses from friends to that post made me determined to make this addition.

And oh by the way, Independence doesn’t include a free pass.

As Major Kenneth Morgan, the erstwhile Latin professor at Castle Heights defined in my 1958 freshman class: “Freedom is the ability to do anything you want…as long as it doesn’t infringe on someone else’s freedom.”

Those folks 242 years ago fought against tyranny for their (and our) independence. We have fought in our continued effort to pursue the ideas of independence, freedom, and equality against other tyranny. It ain’t easy.

To have freedom, each of us has to be accountable, responsible, and work. Yes, work. We seem to be all fired set on not working, on having fun, on doing what we want to do. Well, work is part of that. If we are lucky, our work is part of what we want to do, not something we have to do. But sometimes it just doesn’t work that way.

With the idea of independence, freedom, and equality for all, then we need to work for everyone’s independence, to step forward and fight for that independence, to speak up against self-interest, fear, and of course, downright prejudiced regardless of how well it is cloaked in some crazy idea of it being the right thing when those things threaten our or anyone else’s opportunity to be free and equal…so they too can have that responsibility, accountability and work for a better country.

And we should celebrate our independence today and every day and give thanks for those before us who gave us the privilege, the right, and the responsibility to do our part.

i hope you all have had a wonderful Independence Day.

Independence, a Misnomer?

It wasn’t all that good of a day, this Independence Day eve, if you will.

Oh, i got a lot of things done, but, as usual, none of them ever quite reached conclusion: lots of loose ends to tie up. Then, it looked like things were turning around. i went to the driving range and once again, thought i might have found some magic solution to consistency in hitting a golf ball, an illusion of magnificent proportions. Still, it felt good.

Then i came home for Maureen and i to tag team on dinner, a grilled steak being my contribution and of course Maureen’s incredible salads (once prompting my father to declare he could be a vegetarian if that was his fare). We tagged team on cleaning up as well, and then we sat down to watch the Padres play the Athletic in Oakland.

In the sixth inning, i gave up, passed the remote to Maureen and walked outside to the sitting area. Of course, even in the first part of July, one does not sit outside in the Southwest corner without a top shirt, which i added. i sat here as the glow of the sunset and the city turned dark and once again, opened up this infernal machine.

i thought about tomorrow and all of the stuff people will do. We will go to the North Island Naval Air Station and play golf with our wonderful friends, Pete and Nancy Toennies. Then we will repair to their home on the island for burgers. It will be a good day, and if we are lucky we will miss the traffic in the morning and return early enough to miss the traffic in the evening. We would prefer not to engage in the throng enhanced craziness some folks call a celebration of independence.

Really?

Independence is a tricky concept. If you are truly independent, you are utterly and uncompromisingly alone.

Some 242 years ago, the folks who escaped the tyranny of autocratic rule and oppression against many beliefs crossed an ocean, and subsequently defied that tyranny to win independence.

For them. Not for the folks who were here before they got here and not for the folks who came after them, regardless of how they got here if they were different from them.

Those folks who were trying to gain their freedom from tyranny had some rather incredible ideas about true independence and equality. Of course, it was for them, not for any others not of their background and ethnicity.

But the idea of equality, freedom, and independence for all was the core of what they founded even if they weren’t completely true to the idea of that concept for all.

It was the idea of complete freedom and equality that formed the best governmental system the world has ever seen before or since.

But we keep trying to fix it. Trying to make it better for…For whom? For us, not them.

You see, all of these folks since practically the beginning of time think they have the unquestionable right idea of how to make it all perfect…for them.

And every one of those ideas about what is right has a common problem. They are exclusionary. Those ideas are about what works best for them. Not everybody. The solutions are exclusionary.

Now, i’m not claiming to have an answer. i guess all of you people who know the answer and excoriate those who disagree are smarter than me. However, your answers for the problems always seem to leave someone out or throw rocks over the wall at all of the bad acts out there who keep you from getting your way and disagree with your solution.

i’m not that smart.

i hope. Oh lord, i hope i’m not exclusionary.

Freedom is freedom. For everyone.

No system, not modification of a system will bring real independence.

What will?

No exclusion. Peace. Lack of hatred and fear. People treating people in their personal relationships as equals, treating them as equals. Wow. What a concept.

And you know what? As imperfect as it was, those folks who declared independence back 242 years ago, then fought for their independence, then won, they had the right idea.

And it’s that idea of independence we should be celebrating. Wait. No, not celebrating with picnics, eating too much bad food, drinking too much and admiring fireworks supposedly representing something that brings noise, destruction, and death, and all sorts of other ways of having fun.

No, we should be celebrating by quiet contemplation of how we can serve those who gave us the chance for independence with their sacrifice and their creation of the idea of true independence and equality. And then we should consider how we, as individuals, not of some political, religious, or other exclusionary grouping, but how we as our individual selves can deal with the folks we encounter as equals and as humans who are equal too us.

Don’t think that will happen.

But tonight outside my house on the coast of the Southwest corner and tomorrow while we are enjoying being with our friends, in the back of all of my thoughts will be thankfulness for my forebears who not only came up with an idea about true independence but fought for it and won. And then i will consider how i can best contribute to the idea of independence and equality for all.

May you have a wonderful Independence Day…and think about it.

 

he saw it coming

i had this pop into my head last night as i was putting the house down for the night. i was tired. As i took my evening pills, this thought popped into my head. i mean it popped in there and i knew it was not going to be there in the morning unless i wrote it down. So i came back to this infernal machine and pounded out the thought, expanded on it a bit. This morning, i smoothed it up a bit till it sort of sounded to me like it should.

i was going to send it to three of my best friends, the three i know to whom i can say pretty damn well what i’m thinking and not be thought of less, even if they don’t exactly agree: Henry Harding, who is my brother from childhood, who i don’t see anywhere near often enough, and who gives me strength and hope while staying grounded; Pete Toennies, my Navy sidekick (or am i his…who cares) who disagrees with me to the point where we can’t agree who disagrees with whom first, but is always there to laugh at the absurdity of it all; and then there is my brother Joe, my best friend, who went to the opposite corner of the country from me (or perhaps i went here after he settled in the Northeast corner), who had a totally different career than mine, i.e. preacher/Navy officer, and who thinks like i do except more sanely. Then i said to myself what the heck. I should have no secrets. Too hard to keep them just like it is hard work if you lie to others or yourself and then try to live by that lie.

So here it is:

he saw it coming, knew it was not going to come out well for him,
but
he just kept right on like nothing was wrong;
i mean
he saw it coming
like an old time steam locomotive, screeching whistle, belching smoke,
barreling out of the fog headed straight for him
while
he kept moving on down the tracks
head on
as if he was going to stop that boiler of metal moving fire with his bare hands,
or
like the herd of bison, roaring, snorting out of the dust they raised
on the plains
while
he just kept on plowing toward them
with his mule and plow;
don’t know why;
he never did know why;
he just kept headed for sure disaster;
perhaps he just thought he was grand enough
to brace himself against that steaming, screaming locomotive
or
to rend asunder that roaring, snorting, thundering bison herd
and
tame them
all by himself;
putting one foot ahead of the other
doggedly moving toward the inexplicable but inevitable
train crash, stampede.
nah;
i think not;
i’m a’thinking
he just had enough faith, enough trust, not enough sense
and
was bullheaded enough
to believe he could somehow get through
and
move on.

 

 

Jokesters and Best Friends

There was a side to my father and JB Leftwich not seen by a lot of people. Over the years and with the passing of many of their friends, these two became best buddies. They got involved together in a number of shenanigans.

It began with some joke postcards and letters the two of them exchanged when one of them went on a trip. i don’t know who started it, but i suspect it was Coach Leftwich. On a trip, JB or my father spotted a risqué post card and send it to the other back in Lebanon. Coach would respond with a funny letter with all sorts of false stories like how the police were looking for the guy who sent the postcard.

This letter was the result of my father sending Coach a postcard featuring a huge gorilla. Unfortunately, i do not have copy of that postcard and what fictitious story my father wrote on the backside. But here is Coach’s reply: