sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Living Life

I had a recent discussion with a friend I'd grown up around. We went to Jr. High and High School together. We shared a few stories about this and that and more than a few laughs. Facebook united me with a large number of people with whom I attended high school.

I never went back "home" after I graduated from high school. My story with those people ended there. It's interesting to catch up with them at this point after so much water has passed under the keel. I'd been voted 'most likely to succeed' in my senior year. I think that they'd hoped that I would have been a politician or would have cured the common cold. One former classmate said that she was disappointed that I didn't make more of myself. Be that as it may...

The movie, "Napoleon Dynamite", has meaning to young men who grew up in or around farming areas. The bit where the farmer provides a farm lunch to young men who may have been hauling hay or doing something like that makes me flash back. Particularly the bit about being paid in change. I was paid in loose change more than once - the farmer raided his change jar. The farmer complained a season later that boys were too lazy to come work for him. It wasn't about lazy. I was also paid in used soda bottles with a redemption value once, by a different farmer. Yes, I did take them to the market to get something like $4 for a day's backbreaking labor, but I never worked for that guy again either. They used to deduct the price of the lunch from the pay for hauling hay. And they deducted it whether or not you ate the lunch. Lunches were nasty about 50% of the time. The farmers who put out a decent lunch tended to fill up their work slots much faster. Some farmers encouraged boys to brown bag it. Most of them worked us through lunch and we just ate when the sun went down and work stopped. I remember diving into my sack lunch on the ride back to town in the back of a pick up and  being  dropped with the other boys on the main drag. We walked home to supper. 

Then there were the Future Farmers of America that Brig writes about in her blog. I avoided the FFA, and they generally avoided me, but this is more what I considered to be the text of FFA programs. I wasn't ever cut out to be a farmer. I did do ranching work in the summer, but that's different than traditional mud farming, milking cows, etc.

And I preferred Credence Clearwater to Marty Robbins. That was a death knell to anyone who wanted to rise in the ranks of future farmers.

I decided to see the world instead of being tied to the land.

Sunday Compendium

It's been a weird couple of weeks for me because of work stuff (mostly delegated), hanging out with eccentric friends and when not with them, with kids and grandkids, which is always very nice. This a mishmash of different thoughts based on recent stuff. The coming week, it's back to Latin America and all that charm.

Your Thought for the Week:

To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target.
What a Wimp

Because this is your Sunday Sermonette, the "Lordy" comment is as close as I can get to being profound. James Comey is one of the more inept FBI Directors in history from all indications. I don't know whether or not his successor will be any better. Since light travels faster than sound, some people appear bright until you hear them speak. 

Living Off the Grid

I have a friend who lives off the grid. He's lived off the grid as long as I've known him. We met under circuitous circumstances that are best left unexplained. A long time ago he and a small squad were trained to assassinate Fidel Castro in Cuba, but that op never moved beyond the training and planning phases. My kids know him as Uncle ___, who kept a pet rattlesnake named "Loser".

The first name I knew him by was the name of a dead man, killed in a deniable USGOV action in Peru a long time ago when the government was chasing Sendero Luminoso (The Shining Path).  
On September 12, 1992, Peruvian police captured Guzmán and several Shining Path leaders in an apartment above a dance studio in Lima. That essentially ended the revolution - but I've heard that it more recent years it's picked up again.
The reader's digest version is that USGOV betrayed its own operation in the Upper Huallaga Valley to the Maoist Shining Path and my friend is the guy who wasn't killed. He made his way to the US Embassy in Lima and was exfiltrated through circuitous means. Taking the name of his dead friend, he dropped off the map officially, though he is one of very few masters at Savate, and competed well into his 60's. 

I mention him because he only deals in cash, pays cash for clunkers that he drives, lives in a warehouse, rented under another name, works for cash and so forth. He does not and has not owned a computer, has no credit cards. He only uses 'burner' telephones. He's paranoid - but just because you're paranoid doesn't mean that they're not out to get you. He's also been in trouble from time to time and I've been able to get him out of it - though now, pushing 80, I tell him he's too old for trouble. Even so, he's going to roller skate through Death Valley in high summer once again. (he's in excellent shape)

Most people can't live off the grid. It takes a lot of effort and requires a lot of sacrifice. He called me a few weeks ago and said that he was in town. We had breakfast and talked of old times. He has a girlfriend, half his age, who lives about fifty miles from me and was visiting her.


I've always liked baseball. Now I have a seemingly endless series of baseball games to attend as my oldest grandson transitions from the regular Little League season to the summer season (All Stars).

The older three grandsons (from two daughters) wanted me to take them to see a new film that just came out...Captain Underpants.
Synopsis: It's a cartoon in which two fourth-graders hypnotize their principal in order to transform him into Captain Underpants, the superhero from their homemade comic book. The trio soon battle a new teacher at their school, who's secretly a mad scientist. It's funny to boys between 5 and 10...
Naturally, I filled the boys with sugary drinks and treats before returning them to their mothers... It's my job.

Destroying Arizona

Last week I was in Arizona, doing similarly dastardly things to my granddaughters (spoiling them rotten). They went through half a tub of that red licorice that is sold at Costco. It's more addicting than potato chips, but is better for the movies than the stuff sold at the concession stand, and about 1/10th the price.

While in AZ last weekend, a Cessna 172 crashed downhill (like 30 miles down hill) from the White Wolf Mine. The Payson Airport has a cafe and a lot of Phoenix people fly up for breakfast.

Both  pilot and passenger (two brothers about my age) walked away from the crash with only scratches and bruises. The smoke plume brought people to check it out. The pilot missed the runway by a few miles, which goes to show that you should leave the mimosas for after you land. But who am I to judge?

The plans for the shack are still with Coconino County...patience is called for, and I've never been particularly patient. The Raptor no longer gets angry glares from the locals since it has an Arizona license plate on it.

Soon to be a Best Seller?