Saturday, February 17, 2018

It's Us Stupid

It is not the guns, it is the change in our culture that is the trigger.When I was in grade school I once brought my .22 rifle to class for show and tell time.I didn't hunt , and my dad did not hunt, but he owned a pistol and my brother and I shared the rifle.Heck, I imagine 90 plus percent of Wallace folks owned some type of gun.

To my knowledge no one ever shot a fellow student,teacher, coach, or police officer. It probably never entered anyone's mind. Why not, you may ask ? The culture was different then.We were taught to respect each other, to love,yes love, our flag and country and most importantly of all, God was still welcome in our schools.

Too simple and sappy of an explanation for the violence for you? Well,then you explain it to me WITHOUT shouting out the old and worn out gun control argument. Follow the trail.It is that our culture has changed and so have we,

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Dream A Little Dream

 Spring training is almost here for the great American pastime, and yes, I am talking baseball. There is nothing more definitive on my calendar than the marking of the great expectation that comes with the new season right around the corner. Baseball, apple pie and Chevrolet, although if someone were to write that jingle today, it would probably read, baseball, sushi, and Toyota. That does not seem to have the same ring to it, so in my outdated mind, I still think of hot dogs, beer, and stale cigar smoke permeating the night air at the old ball park.

I still see the Mick, The Say Hey Kid, Yogi, Aaron, Mathews, Koufax, Drysdale, and a whole host of other all time greats as they arrive and begin getting ready for the greatest of all games. I still see the lovable Cubbies and their fans as they greet the first days of practice with their eternal optimism that yes, this is the year that curse of the goat is broken. I can understand that optimism, and I can understand that anticipation, for you see, I , too, have my version of the Cubbies to rocket my expectations soaring into the heavens, only to have them crash to the ground in hopeless flames of destruction by July 1. For you see, I am a die hard Seattle Mariner fan, and have been since that first pitch in the Kingdome, April 6, 1977. Now, I live and die with their fortunes, which have been few, and their misfortunes, which of been colossal.

. There is reason once again to hope, to dream, and to believe, that this year, 2018, just could be the year. I also still have hope that I will be 6'5 and be very wealthy. Well, a fellow can dream, can't he? After all, Spring Training is here, and anything can happen.

Sunday, February 11, 2018


The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don't play together, the club won't be worth a dime. Babe Ruth
Read more at:
The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don't play together, the club won't be worth a dime. Babe Ruth
Read more at:

Sunday, January 28, 2018

The Eyes Have It

January, and another freezing, biting, bone gnawing night at the hotel.. The parking lot in the back of the hotel was warped with mounds of frozen ice, and the alleyway made the crunch, crunch sound when some brave, or foolish, depending on your perspective, driver ventured out into the night.

I was visiting with one of my favorite guests, a truck driver from Montana. Jack was one of the good guys in life. He was still very strong for 63 years old, and even though he had his nice side, he was not one to fool with.

Jack had just come in to register before he would get his 8 hour call and hit the road again. We were both drinking a cup of coffee when we heard a car start up in the back parking lot,. We both looked up at the same time and watched as the engine revved up and the car shot out into the alley and crashed into a telephone pole.

Fearing the worst, Jack and I raced outside to see if we could assist the driver in case he or she had medical concerns.And then, what to our wondering eyes did we see, but a hooded tall figure beginning to flee. It took a minute to register in both our minds what we were witnessing. We had not witnessed a wreck, we had just witnessed a car theft gone bad. Jack yelled for me to call the police while he took off down the alley to try and stop the guy.

The police arrived in a few minutes, and the officer in charge asked Jack to wait outside while he questioned me about what I had witnessed. What did the guy look like? How tall was he? How much did he weigh? What was he wearing? I answered to the best of my ability.

Now, I stepped outside while the officer questioned Jack, asking the exact same questions . I went back into the office when they were done talking, and Jack went to his room to get some sleep out of what was left of his down time.When Jack had gone, the officer looked at me and said,"are you sure you two witnessed the same event"?Evidently our descriptions of the thief were so different that the officer was left scratching his head. I had him over 6 feet tall. Jack thought our guy was rather short. I said that he was wearing a grey coat parka style. Jack said he was wearing a short black jacket.

I have thought about that night over the years, and I vowed to be more alert when I was on shift in the hotels and be more vigilant getting good descriptions of everyone who came through the doors. I think, though, that the variation of answers lies more in the minds and experiences that we have in life, and how we view life. i guess in my mind, someone who was a thief in the night must be tall, and Jack, who had probably witnessed a lot more that I ever had at that point in my life, from his years on the road, saw a more accurate picture.

I could go on and on about this, because I am sure that is why positive identifications are so difficult, and maybe not even believable. I could go on and one about the sociological aspects of being products of our own fears. but, I won't.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

And The Beat Goes On

When I was a kid, I loved to go the Wallace Post Office and look at the walls. Why? Because on those walls were some of the most exciting pictures that spoke of big-time things. Things that we kids in Wallace would never see. The pictures spoke of dangers, excitement, exotic places, and things that movies were made from. I am talking, of course, about the lists that use to grace every Post Office wall, the FBI Ten Most Wanted List, complete with pictures and descriptions of these shady characters.

Back in the old days, all hotels received the FBI posters once a month. We were to, by law, post these lists where all desk clerks could read them and study the pictures. I am not sure that many clerks took it seriously. After all, what were the chances of one of the modern-day version of Jesse James, by the way, a distant relative of mine, would come waltzing through the door and sign up for a room. I can just see it happening now."Hi, I am Jessee James, the notorious bank robber, you may have seen my poster, and I would like a room, please". It just was not going to happen that way.

However, at the Carlton, I was brand new to the hotel business, and to me, it was exciting to get the posters, post them, and study the faces of these dangerous characters. It was January, and I had just received the new batch list. I looked them over and posted them as required. I had been especially drawn to one of the faces on the posters, and for some unexplained reason, I read all of the information about this guy. To this day, I can't explain to you why I picked this one out and memorized the face.

It was about five PM when he walked through the front door.No, it couldn't be! My imagination must be working overtime. I needed to quit reading those darn posters. But, wait, there was such an uncanny resemblance. And as he got closer to the desk, my heart started beating faster and faster, for there, right in front of me stood the guy whose face I had just memorized not one hour earlier. Keeping my voice calm, and my hands as steady as possible, I had him fill out the registration card. I glanced down quickly, and sure enough, the name was the same as the one on the poster.

I took the man's money, gave him a key, and told him to have a nice evening. After he went to his room, I played with some ideas on what to do for about five minutes. It was then that I decided to call the local PD and tell them who I had as a guest. Surely they would be jubilant to have the arrest of a genuine, FBI most wanted criminal. Hands shaking, I picked up the phone and dialed. Before I could even say who the criminal was, the dispatcher cut me off and said"that is not our department, call the County. WT? I then called the County. Same thing here."You will have to call the FBI, it is not our case".

This was not what I expected. Didn't all police departments work together? I guess not. No one seemed to actually want to come and get this guy. I almost didn't care by then, Maybe I would not say anything and let the guy have a good's night sleep. If the police didn't care, why should I?
The fear of having this guy right up above me finally won out, and I called the FBI. Finally, we got some action.Within fifteen minutes, FBI agents came in the door. Now, the fun began. They wanted me to go with them to the guy's room. I was to knock on the door, and if he answered, I was to make up some bull story of why he needed to open the door.If he did not answer my knock, I was to take the key, open the door, and step back quickly as the Agents went in.
Wow, this was just like the movies. But wait minute! Whoa! I would be right in front of the door!
Oh well, it might be fun.

So, up we went. I knocked on the door. No Answer. I knocked again, Still no answer. The FBI agent in charge nodded at me. OK, here we go, I thought to myself. I inserted the key in the door, and as I inserted a key in the door, and they all rushed in shouting "FBI" with their guns drawn. Well, guess what? The room was empty, and the FBI missed out on getting one of the most wanted men in the country.

To me, it was almost poetic justice. If the local police had done their part, they would have had the guy cold. No wonder a 9/11 could happen.  and now I know how dangerous criminals run so freely throughout the country.

We now have the same problem with local police and ICE. And the beat goes on, and the beat goes on.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Bad Boys Watcha Gonna Do-

When I was four years old, we moved from the suburbs of Burke to the big city of Wallace. We did not initially buy the house on Cedar Street, but instead, we rented a house on a street that no longer exists, Hemlock Street. Hemlock was about where the Wallace Inn laundry room is today. It dead-ended at what was then the main highway, Hwy 10.There were only six houses on Hemlock Street when we moved there, and at the end of the street where it met HWY10, there were about three steps that went up to the sidewalk. At the bottom of those stairs was a perfect place to build a snow fort.

I was only a kindergarten pup, but big brother was three years my senior, and his friend was about a year older than my brother was. It was a great fort that they built, and in that fort was an arsenal of snowballs that we had spent hours packing with snow and a little bit of ice. Now, what are we going to throw those snowball at? Trucks, of course, that came along Hwy 10. We never threw at the cabs, but only at the trailer.

I, being of little arms and lousy aim, never hit anything, but Leon and Craig had already developed good pitching technique, and they hit their targets with accuracy and they hit them frequently.
Now, I, only being a  small tot, mostly watched the "big boys" practice their snowball throwing craft, and on this particular very cold Wallace winter day, I was just being a spectator. I was always afraid that someday we would get in trouble, or worse, get clobbered by some angry trucker for hitting his truck.
I had that sense of foreboding that day, and so, I was on " run as fast as you can" mode.

I don't remember who threw that snowball. All that I know was that I did not throw it. The semi came into view, and the snowball flew through the air like a Nolan Ryan fastball. Plunk, it hit something, but wait a minute, it wasn't the truck that it hit, nope, that would have been fine. Instead, it landed like a perfectly placed pitch smack against the windshield of the police car behind the truck.

Well, legs don't fail me now, I said to my shaking limbs, and off I ran as fast as I could go. My brother and his friend, being older and wiser than I was, did not run, and, of course, the cop did not chase them.Yes, it was me he was chasing. I had just committed the crime of eluding a police officer.
I ran as fast as my kindergarten legs would carry me, straight in our back door, and up the stairs to my bedroom. Of course, I was not savvy enough to realize that officer only had to see which house that I went in.

My heart was beating what seemed like a thousand beats a minute when I heard my dad's voice calling me. " Son, come down here. Someone wants to see you."
By now, the tears were rolling down my cheeks, and my whole body was shaking. I was so sure, probably from having watched too much "Dragnet", that I was going to be hauled off to jail. Perhaps a diet of bread and water was in the making.

Well, I entered the living room, and there was the officer, and my folks, as well as my brother. The officer told me that the older boys had already told him that I was not the one who threw the snowball. He then proceeded to lecture my brother and I on how such a stunt could cause an accident, perhaps even leading to serious injury for the driver. He then looked sternly at me and told me to never run from a police officer, and that he, at first, thought that I was the guilty one because I had run. He then left, and that was the end of it. Well, almost. There was, of course, the visit to our room by my dad, and the lecture of how this was going to hurt him worse than it would us. Yea, right.

The next day, Fort Hemlock was torn down, never to rise again. Now, did I learn my lesson? Well, stay tuned for the time that we were playing baseball at the intersection of Third and Bank, and a policeman pulled up, and well, you guessed it. Story at 11:00

Friday, January 5, 2018

A Vapor

So early in the new year, the joy of the recent holiday period has turned to sorrow in our house.My wife's 37-year-old son passed away so very unexpectedly.He was fine all day, and in fact, had celebrated his birthday on December 28th.

At 2:30 AM on Jan. 4th our phone rang.The gut-wrenching sound that comes from a mother who was just informed that her youngest child was gone is a sound that will haunt me the rest of the days of my life.

He was the devoted husband, father, and son, and now--

I leave you this day with the best advice that I can give.Tell your kids, spouses, parents, friends that you love them and tell them that everytime that you talk to them.

James 4:14
Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away

Monday, January 1, 2018

Happy New Year

Welcome, 2018. May God's light lighten our paths as we begin our new year.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Chrismtas

I like the word " Merry". It sounds so, well, like Christmas.

Here is a little bit of history about the word. When we think of saying " Merry Christmas" I think that we sometimes are seeing an image of unbridled joy, festivities of color and song, and perhaps mugs raised in a toast in an English or Iris pub.The word " Merry" has indeed changed a little over the years. Let's look at the song'"God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen"

We run the word together as if merry is an adjective for gentlemen, But in the old days, the words would have been separated like this, " God rest ye merry, gentlemen" See the difference? So, what does this mean? The original meaning of " merry" was peaceful, at peace, content. So, the song would mean, God Rest ye peaceful, gentlemen, let nothing you dismay. Why? Because Christ the Savior was born on that day, and the cares and storms of life are in his hands.

So, remember this Christmas season, when you say " Merry Christmas" you are actually giving a wonderful blessing to them. Rest, be peaceful.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Christmas Memories

We are blessed, and sometimes cursed, with this remarkable video library in our brains called "memory", and we can play the movies from those memories over and over . We laugh, we cry, we shout in anger, and then we smile as we turn off the projector, and are at peace with our memory of our loved one. The most beautiful part of all is that we can turn it on again, whenever we want to or need to.