Author Archives: Paul J. Stam

Words that Invade My Mind

And fold their tent like the Arabs,
And as silently steal away.

algerian nomads

Now where the hell does that come from? I know it’s from some famous poem and I could probably Google that line and find out all about it: the poem, the author, and all that kind of stuff, but in my life it came from my father. He is responsible for all the silly lines that come in to my somewhat aged mind.

When I was a kid my Dad read to us three boys every night before he “tucked us in.” It usually started with a poem. Then he would read us a story. He loved Rudyard Kipling and he read us Captains Courageous, Kim, The Jungle Book and all kinds of adventure stories, a few pages an evening. Continue reading

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Ah, Spring! When…

View across Kailua Beach to the offshore islet...

View across Kailua Beach to the offshore islet known as Moku nui. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A spring, when an old man’s fancy turns to doing nothing and napping at the beach.

Well, here it is the 4th day of summer and I haven’t been napping at the beach or doing nothing although I have somewhat neglected blogging.

Life is just too outrageously wonderful for anything? I have been wonderfully busy living outside myself while in myself.

In the ceramics department with the end of the school semester hours have been cut back at the studio and so I have been doing a bunch of stuff at home. I don’t do wheel work in my little apartment but I have been busy sculpting figurines. Somehow I think sculpting sounds more artistic than hand building, but it’s the same thing. They range in size from about 7 to 15 inches in height.

Hifh fireHere are seven figurines glazed and on the shelves ready to be high fired.

Wait 4 glazeThis next bunch has been bisque fired and waiting for my chance to use the spray booth for applying the glaze. I’m spraying these rather than dipping them. The blue around the bottoms of some is masking tape to keep the glaze off that area.

Ready 4 BisqueThese are waiting their turn to be bisque fired. The one on the top left sagged a little while drying in the damp room so I have that support under the man in the hope to keep it from sagging more in the bisque firing, but then it may sag more when it is high fired. Ah, the joys of uncertainty in ceramics.

DryingThese two have come out of the damp room to dry a little more before they are put on the bisque shelves. All together here we have 21 pieces plus another dozen slowly drying in the damp room. I guess that isn’t a bad months output for someone who was planning to nap at the beach.

MSS CoverOh, yeah, and I have another book coming out the end or this month or the beginning of July. The title of it is, Murder Sets Sail. Here is the cover.

inside, right at the beginning I state, “This is an absolutely true story except for the parts that aren’t.” I think one should be honest about these things don’t you? I’ll tell you more about it next time.

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Murder Sets Sail is published by 2nd Wind Publishers. This novel is not a mystery. You know from the beginning who the murderers are and who they intend to murder. Adventure aboard a sailboat from Honolulu to Hong Kong.

Paul’s book The Telephone Killer published by 2nd Wind Publishing is now available on Amazon and from the publisher. Kindle and Nook versions just $4.99.

To watch The Telephone Killer video click here.

The Telephone Killer is now available as an audiobook.

 

Since everything is copyrighted please feel free to re blog any of my posts but please repost in its entirety and giving appropriate credit.

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Rushing River – Krazy Kid

RushingRiver2a

I never really thought of my father as a particularly brave man, not until I was about twelve. I mean, while trying to kill any rat that came into our room, he mostly managed to chase it onto the porch where it scurried into the ditch and got away.

He never apologized for his failure to kill the rat. We kids never actually saw the rat, but we heard it and would shout for my dad who would come in with the kerosene lantern. By the flickering light of the lantern he would occasionally see it.

When he did see it, he would yell, “Hey!” as though having made a great discovery and then continue with, “Get out of here you scurvy little monster.” But mostly he just stomped his booted feet which seemed to drive the rat out. At least we didn’t hear it again that night.

He was much better with snakes. Whenever anyone yelled, “Nioka, (snake)” he was right there with anything he could grab to kill it: a hoe, a machete, a club and if none of those were available he would stomp it to death with his knee-high booted feet.

Once after killing a snake one of the natives reverently put a hand on my father’s shoulder and shaking his head a little said, “Bwana, that is a good kind of snake. It will never bite you until it is your time to die.”

I accepted his dealing with snakes as something any father would do for his children. But killing snakes was not at all like Uncle Eddie who went hunting all the time and had a reputation with the natives as a great hunter by killing leopards, buffalo, Kudu, Wildebeest and even elephants.

My father never really said anything, but I knew that he didn’t think much of Uncle Eddie’s hunting exploits, which I thought were just the greatest. My father only killed things when he had to.

English: Ruwenzori mountains Autor:Nick06

Ruwenzori mountains (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Age twelve. There is something significant about a boy turning twelve. That was the year I began to understand, what kind a man my father really was.

We were on a vacation at a mission station located at the base of the Ruwenzori Mountains. In the early morning and late afternoon, before the mist rose to shroud them, you could see the snow-covered peaks of the Mountains of the Moon.

These snow-capped mountains near the Equator in Africa were first reported to the civilized world in the second century AD by the Greek geographer, Ptolomy, who named them Lunae Montes, or Mountains of the Moon.

The whole range is some eighty miles long and about thirty miles wide. They are not of volcanic origin, but are huge sections of the earth’s crust that were thrust upward millennia ago by enormous geologic upheavals. From the savannah those peaks rise more than 16,000 feet. The rivers formed by the melting ice surge down clear, pure and icy-cold. The water rushes foaming through narrow, boulder-strewn gorges, roaring over falls, always rushing, never quiet, never still until they get to the savannah.

We were warned by the local missionaries about the furious nature of the river and forbidden by our parents from leaving certain defined area, which were frequented by the natives and missionaries.

My sister, five years older than me, had the responsibility of making sure we adhered to our parents’ rules when they weren’t around. It was an impossible assignment. No seventeen-year-old sister will be able to control three younger brothers ages 12, 11 and 9, who are by age and inclination defiant of all authority.

Being the oldest, I was the leader of most rebellions, although my two brothers could always come up with something if I ran out of ideas. I never did these with the intention of being defiant. They just turned out to be contrary in nature to the standing rules of the day.

True to form I led the way into the forbidden area along the cliff face above the foaming river, my feet moving tentatively along the four-inch rock ledge, my fingertips clinging to imperceptible handholds above my head or taking hold of an occasional vine that hung down from the giant trees of the rain forest high above. My brothers, in true rebellious loyalty, followed close behind sliding their feet cautiously along the ledge, putting their hands up to take hold where my fingers had been.

My sister followed along last saying, “Paul, stop it. Come back right now. This is dangerous. You know you’re not supposed to do this. Come back right now.” But she followed along, even though she didn’t want to, because we were her responsibility.

The sheer rock wall suddenly came to an end with the continuation of it back about three feet. I don’t know how many centuries ago the earth had trembled causing the break in that cliff, but it had once been part of that same rock face above the river.

How disappointing. I could go no further. I could no longer defy my older sister’s orders to stop. EXCEPT! There it was. A vine hanging down from a rain forest trees a hundred feet above. By stretching forward as far as I could I was just able to grab it.

I had never seen a Tarzan movie or heard of Tarzan, but any kid that has seen a rope hanging from a tree limb exactly what it is for and how to use it. I tested the vine, yanking on and finally put all my weight on it. It held. It would work. With all the courage of any twelve-year-old, I launched out, swinging wide over the roaring, churning river, bumping against the sheer cliff, my feet finding the little ledge. One hand found a handhold and I let go of the vine.

“Come on,” I shouted to my brothers.

John shook his head.

“Come on. It’s easy, Catch the vine when I throw it back to you,” I shouted above the roar of the river and tried to flick the vine back toward him, but it would not go.

“Paul, you get back here, right now, or I’ll tell Dad.” I heard my sister yelling.

I pretended not to hear. I edged along the face of the cliff, scornful of the brother who would not follow. “Come on, Sissy.”

No response.

“I dare you. I double dare you!”

I moved carefully, mindful of my foot placement and finger holds. Twenty feet later that face just came to an end. There was nothing beyond it. The sheer rock angled backwards with no ledge and no vines I could swing on. I could go no further. Still I felt superior. I had done something my brothers had not done, probably something no other white person had done, maybe even in that vast continent I had gone where no other human had gone before.

I started back. I knew how to do it. I had been that way before. Step by step, handhold-by-handhold, I made my way back to the vine. I tested it again to make sure it would still hold me, and then swinging out over the river I tried to get back to the ledge on the first face. But instead of going back to the first face I was further down on the second.

A vine growing from trees over the second face did not like to be forced to go to a cliff that is farther out and not in its line. No matter how I tried I could not get back. Hanging onto the vine I curled up with my knees tucked under my chin and thrust hard with my leg. I swung out over the water. I stretched out my arm trying to grab the wall, but all I did was scratch my hand. I tried getting right against the break in the wall and with one hand hanging on to the vine while reaching back with the other, but the moment my feet left the ledge I swung further away. I tried hanging on to the vine and reaching to the first face with my foot, but even when my brother bravely caught my foot, I couldn’t pull myself around.

Little by little the truth came to me. I would never get back. I would die on that ledge or fall into the roaring river below to have my body beat against the boulders until what was left of me would be carried to where the river finally flowed gently emptying into a placid lake where the crocodiles would eat what was left of me. There was only one thing left to do and that was to start to cry with fear and frustration.

My brothers and sisters left me then, my sister in the lead. They were leaving me to die all alone. I clung to the cliff face, forgetting about the vine. There was no one there to catch me even if I was able to swing around to the other face. And then above the roar of the river I heard my sister say, “The others went to get Dad.”

With my face against the cliff I couldn’t see her, but she kept talking to me. No, not talking, shouting to be heard above the thunder of the river. “Dad will be here soon.”

I expected her to say, “I told you not to go there,” but she didn’t, just kept shouting encouragement to me until I finally heard the words, “Daddy’s here.”

There was a quiet for a while as she went back to make way for him to get to me, quiet except for the thundering of the water. I was still crying with fear and I can’t say I was overwhelmed with expectation. I was glad that he would soon be there, but what could he do? He was my father, not Uncle Eddie. Yet when I heard the voice say, “How are you doing, Son?” the tears just seemed to stop. I didn’t really answer him, just nodded my head a little.

“I’ll be right there,” he said and what little I had seen of his face disappeared behind the rock edge. I can’t say I was filled with joyous confidence that I would be rescued. In fact there was even a slight fear that we might both be on that ledge for the rest of our lives. What could he do?

His booted foot was the first thing I saw easing around the edge of the first face. And then half his body and head was visible and he said, “Move along a little, Son, and make room for me next to you.”

I slid one foot along the ledge, fingertips holding on, getting out of his way, and he just sort of slid around the edge of the first face, no flamboyant swinging out over the turbulent river. He was hanging on to a vine that naturally hung along the first face. There he was, hanging onto his vine, his legs straight in front of him pushing his body away from the rock.

He smiled at me and said, “I tested this with both John and me hanging from it so it should be able to hold us both.”

I smiled back, but I didn’t particularly like the “it should” part. Nevertheless, I really was beginning to feel that everything would be all right, especially since natives were beginning to gather on the rocks on the other side of the river to watch the rescue.

“Now, you’re going to have to hang on to me, Son. I can’t hold you. I have to hang on to the vine. So I want you to do exactly as I tell you, when I tell you.”

Maybe for the first time in my life there was no resentment or defiance at the thought of doing exactly what I was told.

“I’m going to swing my right leg around you now.”

With my face to the wall I felt the leg slide past me and then my father’s ankle pressed against my waist. He lowered his legs then until his weight pressed me against the wall.

“OK. Now let go with your left hand and put your arm around my neck.”

I had to twist and lean to one side in order to do it. My left foot left the ledge and I was held in place with just my right foot and right hand hanging onto the wall and the pressure of my dad’s body pinning me to the wall.

“Good. Good. Now put the other arm around my neck and hold on.”

I did as I was told. Doing that my right foot left the ledge and I hung onto him desperately, my arms clutching his neck. Clinging to him I saw the rope that was tied around his waist that ran back the way he had come and I suddenly knew I was safe.

“I’m going to bring my legs up between yours,” he said.

One leg at a time he moved them inside mine.

“Now put your legs around my waist.”

Hanging onto the vine he slowly started walking up the wall until his legs were straight out so that I was sitting in his lap, my ankles clinging to each other behind his back.

There we were hanging out over the water, my body clinging to his, my head pressed against his. I could feel the stubble of his two-day, vacation, growth of beard.

I felt his knees bend up behind me. He shouted something. I don’t know what it was he said and then he pushed powerfully away. We swung out over the river, the natural pull of the vine tending to drift us toward safety while the natives, back at a place of safety, pulled on the rope attached to my father.

We landed safely on the first face. I clung to my dad as he stepping side to side, carried met to the top of flat boulder where all the missionaries were waiting. Old Dad Stauffacher gave me a look the clearly said, “How could you be so dumb?”

My mother put her arms around me, hugged me tight, and said, “You could have been killed. If you ever try anything like that again, I’ll kill you.”

We walked back single file along the path that led from the river, between the boulders and ferns that grew higher than my head. I expected that when we go back to the house my father would have his discussion with me and then administer the razor strop, which I considered my just deserts for my action.

The discussion never came. Others talked about that incident, but my father never did.

Some years later my father had what the doctor called, “a complete nervous breakdown.” I didn’t know what it was then, and I don’t know what it is now. I’m sure medical science has some more up-to-date explanation. I just knew my father was very sick. I could see it in him and my mother had told us he was very sick. But, once while talking to the doctor I heard my mother say, “He’s just afraid of everything. He’s even afraid of the children.”

I wanted to shout, “No, he’s not afraid of anything.” But I had been raised not to interrupt the adults when they were talking.

As time went on I came to know that Uncle Eddie might have been a renowned hunter, was probably an adequate man and maybe even a good missionary, but he could never compare to my dad.

In this life, it is not the Uncle Eddies that are going to get us out of the messes we get ourselves into, but those that love us as only a Father does.

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Paul’s book The Telephone Killer published by 2nd Wind Publishing is now available on Amazon and from the publisher. Kindle and Nook versions just $4.99. The Telephone Killer is also available as an audiobook.

Another new novel of mine, Murder Sets Sail, will be coming soon from Second Wind Publishing.
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The Mouse and the Elephant – An African Fable

I have always liked this fable which I first heard growing up as a kid in the Northeast corner of the Congo. So here it is.

Central Rock-rat (Zyzomys pedunculatus)

There was a mouse who built a nest. All know that of all the animals of the field, the mouse is the least.

A female African Bush Elephant raises her trun...

An elephant, a bull, full-grown, with tusks the length of a man, made his way through the grass to drink at the water hole. He saw the nest of the mouse in the grass and said to himself, “That is only the nest of a mouse. What can a mouse do to me?” And he stepped on the nest of the mouse.

The mouse said, “He is an elephant, what can I do to him? He is so big, and I am so small,” and so the mouse built another nest somewhere else. But the elephant came another day from a different direction and stepped again on the nest. The mouse built a third nest and the elephant stepped on that also.

The mouse said to himself, “If I would live peacefully in my nest I must get rid of the elephant. To get rid of the elephant, I must first learn the ways of the elephant.”

So the mouse followed the elephant. He saw the elephant pull up the grass with his trunk and put it in his mouth. He pulled down branches from the trees and ate them also. At the water hole the elephant sucked up the water in his trunk and put it in his mouth. He sucked up the water and blew it over himself to cool off from the hot sun and all the time the mouse was saying, “The elephant is too large. How can I come against so strong an elephant?”

The elephant lay down to sleep, its stomach full with grass and water. The elephant said to himself, “I am full and content. I am large and strong. Nothing can hurt me while I sleep.”

The mouse saw the elephant sleeping and said to himself, “I am small and weak. The elephant is big and strong. I must use cunning, not strength.”

When the elephant slept the mouse ran up into his trunk. The elephant tried to blow the mouse out of his trunk, but the mouse crawled up farther; scratching and tickling. The little squeaking of the mouse sounded loud inside the elephant’s trunk. The elephant shrieked in anger, but the mouse stayed right there, scratching and tickling and squeaking.

The elephant beat his trunk against the ground, but the mouse stayed right there, scratching and tickling and squeaking. The elephant got up and started running among the trees; bellowing, waving his trunk, beating his trunk against the trees. The mouse just kept scratching, tickling and squeaking.

Whenever the elephant would try to eat, the mouse would scratch and tickle and squeak. When he tried to drink the mouse would scratch, and tickle and squeak and the elephant would wave his trunk or beat it against the trees, until finally it became so sore and bleeding that he could not use his trunk to feed himself or water himself.

So, the elephant lay down again, bleeding from beating his trunk against the trees, tired from running from tree to tree, hungry from not being able to feed, thirsty from not being able to drink and the mouse ran out of the trunk. The elephant died and the mouse built a nest.

Tell me now, which is stronger, the dead elephant, or the live mouse? There is no strength in death, and to be cunning is to be wise.

A fable from the Northeast Congo.

Copyright © 2012 by Paul J. Stam
All rights reserved

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Paul’s book The Telephone Killer published by 2nd Wind Publishing is now available on Amazon and from the publisher. Kindle and Nook versions just $4.99. The Telephone Killer is also available as an audiobook.

Another new novel of mine, Murder Sets Sail, will be coming soon from Second Wind Publishing.

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A Hand Is a Hand Is a Hand

A Couple of weeks ago I had a post entitled “Behold – The Hand.” I received more comments on that post than any other. Since I had so many comments on “Hands” I thought I would explain a little of how it came about.

As some of you know I dabble in ceramics. On the wheel I do bowls, mugs and plates, but my real love is sculptures. On the wheel I have a pretty good idea of what I’m doing, and it’s pretty routine, but I have not idea what to do with sculptures. Each sculpture has is own challenges and that’s what so exciting about it.

Dancer 1Dancer 3I had started on a series of dancers and when I got the first one done and someone said, “I really like the flow of it, but what is she holding, a piece of cardboard?”

I hoped it looked like a scarf. But as I’ve already told you, “I don’t know what I’m doing.”

Some one else observed, “Her boobs are too low.” Since I didn’t have a live model to work from I excused that observations.

I didn’t throw that one out, but went to work doing it again. This is the result of the second attempt. So you say, “What does this have to do with your post about hands?” I’m getting to that.

Dancer 4

While I was doing it I was looking at my hands as they worked with the clay and I was very grateful that they worked so well. Even if their manipulation of the clay isn’t everything I would like it to be, that’s not my hands’ fault. I have known people with their hands so gnarled with arthritis they can’t hold a pencil.

Dancer 5aDancer 5bI started working on something a little different. Still with idea of a dancer, but different and this is what I came up with.

Then It seemed to me that in gratitude for all my hands have done for me, the least I could do is somehow pay tribute to my hands.

Hand 1Hand 3That is when I made this sculpture. I didn’t really try to reproduce a copy of one of my old, wrinkled hands. Wrinkles are awfully hard to reproduce in clay as I learned in trying to do the dancers scarfs and skirts.

There are some who are so good they can produce every wrinkle.

In a class where I was the model one student reproduced every wrinkle in my old face so accurately I wanted to hit him over the head with the head he had made of me. Not until it was high fired of course and hard as a stone.

Then he had the unmitigated kindness to give it to me. I immediately put it for sale in the annual Christmas pot sale at Windward Community College. I like to think that the reason it sold so quickly the first day was because I’m so good-looking, but I know it is really because of his talent to show my every wrinkle.

Damn, I wish I could do that. Well, given another 5 or 10 years I may get to be that good with the clay.

May everything your hand finds to do come with ease if not always with fun.

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Paul is the author of The Telephone Killer published by 2nd Wind Publishing now available on Amazon and from the publisher. Kindle and Nook versions just $4.99.

To watch The Telephone Killer video click here.

The Telephone Killer is now available as an audiobook from Amazon.

Another new novel of mine, Murder Sets Sail, will be coming soon from Second Wind Publishing. This novel is not a mystery. You know from the beginning who the murderers are and who they intend to murder. Adventure aboard a sailboat from Honolulu to Hong Kong.

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Behold – the hands

Have you ever stopped to consider your hands?

2 hands 1It is amazing how little attention we pay to our hands until something painful happens to them. Most people give daily, sometimes hourly, thought to their face, or their body, or their hair style, or even their shoe size, but hardly ever consider their hands except maybe to decide what color nail polish to use.

Babby meMy hands pushed me to a standing position when I was a child learning to walk, or held onto the helping hand during those first steps. Now at almost 85 they are again helping me to get up out of the chair I’m siting in, or reaching for a helping hand when I have to climb the stairs.

When I was a boy a friend accidentally shot an arrow through one of my hands. The doctor said there would be no permanent injury, but to this day I can’t fully open the last two fingers of my right hand. It is no great impediment, but when I notice it, it evokes happy memories of a day hunting frogs so we could have frog-legs for dinner.

My hands have held the reins to a team of matched grays pulling a sidebar mower or a side-delivery rake. They developed heavy callouses pitching the same hay that I had mowed and raked some days earlier.

They have passed ammunition for a 5-inch gun during a shore bombardment during the Korean Conflict. On another occasion they held a compress to a shipmate’s bleeding leg until the corpsman got there after he fell down a ladder. “Nothing serious,” the corpsman said, but it sure bled like hell.

These hands have turned the pages of innumerable books in a college library before computers came to be.

They trembled when I slipped the ring on my bride’s finger and again when I held our newborn daughter for the first time.

For eight years my wife, our son and I lived aboard a sailboat in Hawaii. Every year in about September when the rainy season started in Hawaii we would head south to the summer months in French Polynesia. It was our hands that raised and trimmed the sails and for 8 hours in every 24-hour day, for 22 to 25 days, we each had to take our turns of 4 hours of holding onto the tiller.

We sold the boat and started a normal life when our son was ready for college. In the years following we talked about our sailing days more than anything else, but we never talked about the part our hands played in it.

I have no idea how many years of hours these hands, first on a typewriter and later on a computer, have hit the keys in my trying to write novels.

The hands have always had something to do with all my joyful moments. Why have I never paid more attention to them?

They have been bashed, cut, bruised, bled, broken and reset and are probably the most abused of any part of me. They are old, soft, and wrinkled now, but of all my body parts they are what I can depend on the most. They catch on to something if I start to fall and hold me up. They still clap for something I admire.

As they have been doing for eighty-some years they still faithfully lift the food and drink from the plate to my mouth, maybe a little more often than they should sometimes, or feeding me things the doctor says I shouldn’t eat, but that is not their fault. They are only doing as they are told.

Oh, how grateful I am for those hardly-ever-thought-about hands.

May your hands never fail you and be always ready to reach out to someone who needs a helping hand.

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Paul’s book The Telephone Killer published by 2nd Wind Publishing is now available on Amazon and from the publisher. Kindle and Nook versions just $4.99. – Soon to be available as an audiobook.

Another new novel of mine, Murder Sets Sail, will be coming next month from Second Wind Publishing. This novel is not a mystery. You know from the beginning who the murderers are and who they intend to murder. Adventure aboard a sailboat from Honolulu to Hong Kong.

We jus signed a contract for another book with Second Wind Publishing. Death On the Church Steps is another mystery.

To learn a little more about me click here.

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A Snake In The Grass

My last post was on Christmas Eve and I told you about the gift of mongooses that were given to us. I mentioned that to the best of my knowledge not one of the 3 mongooses ever killed a cobra, though that is what, according to Rudyard Kipling and others, they are supposed to do. I also promised you a real live, no I mean dead, cobra story. Being raised with the law that one must always keep a promise, here goes—

Aba house-2abPlease note that this picture of the house where I was born and where I grew up has a grass roof. It has something to do with the title of this post.

Snakes. We had snakes everywhere. Well, not everywhere. I mean, my mother never served me wiggling snakes in my soup like in that Indiana Jones movie, Temple of Doom. I have eaten grilled python steak, but it wasn’t cooked on shiny, chrome gas grill, but skewered on a stick over an open fire. Continue reading

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A Mongoose I Once Knew

Red Berry Wreath

Well, here it is Christmas Eve and I should be saying all kinds of gooey Christmassy stuff, but they have already been said a thousand times or more and besides when you read this it will probably be past Christmas. So since you are reading this after Christmas is past let me tell you about a childhood Christmas past.

Now some of you may know I was born and raised in Central Africa. Now don’t be alarmed I have been totally civilized being as how my parents were missionaries and all. Their being missionaries meant that we were to do everything for the natives at Christmas time and not for ourselves, well, that’s not quite true, but story tellers are allowed to tell little white, or big black, lies ain’t they? Continue reading

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If At First You don’t…

You know the saying, “If at first you don’t succeed; Try, try again.” Or maybe you are more familiar with the saying, “If at first you don’t succeed, throw in the towel.” Or maybe you like, “If at first you don’t succeed, you probably shouldn’t have tried it in the first place.”

Poseidon, Greek god of water. The Roman water ...

Now you may be wondering what in the world a picture of Poseidon has to do with “If at first you don’t succeed.” Well nothing really, but since this post is about Poseidon, I thought I’d introduce you to him early.

What I was trying to do was a sculpture of Poseidon, or Neptune if you prefer, as part of the Hawaiian mountains. After all, the mountains came up out of the sea, which is Poseidon’s domain. Continue reading

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Reading? Why not?

Henry E. Vallely did the cover art for this 19...

When I was growing up In Central Africa in the 30s and 40s reading was the only entertainment we had. Nobody even had a radio to listen to such things as Jack Armstrong, The All-American Boy. The government post must have had cable communication of some kind because Lt. Lebray brought my father a cable telling us my grandfather had died.

Radio 4We were the first to have a radio on our station. It was a short-wave radio, dark grey, almost black in color. It sat in the corner of the living room close to a window. The copper wire that acted as the antenna was almost invisible where it ran out through the bottom of the window.

Outside the window, it ran up the wall, across to the nearest porch pillar and then from pillar to pillar halfway around the house. I helped my father string that antenna and we tried several different ways until we thought we had the best reception.

Half an hour before the news came on we started the 12-volt generator located on the back porch. It was allowed to run for half an hour to charge up the batteries. At five minutes of four it was turned off so the loud putt putting of the two-cylinder engine would not interfere with hearing the radio. Continue reading

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