Thursday, March 27, 2008

Captain John Alexander Lockhart, Shipmaster.

This is a painting of the clipper ship Cutty Sark.

We are in Samana Dominican Republich, my 3great Grandfather, John Alexander Lockhart, stopped here on his way to California on his sailing ship The Hungarian.

I just wanted to do one post from the islands. So this is it.

On the way down here I saw many flying fish (maybe 75 or so) There is sargasso strips all over.

The winds were 30 knots, the seas were 7.5 to 12 feet, The ship ride was smooth only a few got sick.

The ocean is blue, blue, the air is warm, warm, The food is good, good.

We went ashore today and did a tour. It is a very poor country, when the kids tell you they are hungry, they play the part well, they look hungry.

A post from at sea wouldn't be complete with out an old sailors poem, so here it is.....

Sea Fever by John Masefield

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,

And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,

And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail's shaking,

And a grey mist on the sea's face and a grey dawn breaking.

I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide

Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;

And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,

And the flung spray and the blown spume,and the sea-gulls crying.

I must go down to the seas again to the vagrant gypsy life,

To the gull's way and the whale's way where the wind's like a whetted knife;

And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow rover,

And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick's over.

Janis and I say "HI TO EVERYONE", and yes we are having fun!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Ernie and Janis take a "spring break"

We will be gone from Saturday morning, until Tuesday the 15th. So I should be "on line" through Friday. Just in case you wanted to say "Bon Voyage" (That's French for "Don't sink")

Radio Shack is happy with Janis, and thinks that she has followed the company plan, and met their goals well enough to deserve a cruise. She had her choice of companions and she chose me!

I doubt that there will be many shipboard communications from me, but who knows, they might have one of those satellite communication things on board. Like Sir Arthur C. Clarke invented. If that's the case, and the ship has run completely out of rum, I might take the time to give you a traveling update.

Oh yeah, we are going to those Bahama places, and something about a couple of Virgins???

If you click on the following link you will be able to see the ship we are on. If you click on the box in the upper right marked "Web cams" you will see where the ship is right now, it updates every 30 minutes. We will be aboard "The Norwegian Dawn". They have assured me that the ship is big enough to fit all the way across the Bermuda Triangle, so that shouldn't be a problem. The ship is 971 feet long. The ship is much larger than the "Titanic" Plus there should be no iceburgs in the Carribean. The world largest cruise ship is 1,111.5 feet long. Its called "MS Freedom of the Seas"

I'll still be here until Saturday, but I will leave this post up until I get back.... maybe... again communications and rum.

Norwegian Dawn
Maiden Voyage: Dec 14, 2002
Tonnage (GRT): 92,250
Length: 971'
Beam: 107'
Passengers: 2,224
Ships Registry: Bahamas
Passenger Decks: 11
Number of Crew: 1,200
Officer Nationality: International
Crew Nationality: International

We are on deck eleven, "amidship". That's a new word that I learned. By the time we get home I should know all of the "sailor words". Did you know that the "sailor word" for ship is "SHE"??? That makes me nervous!!!

Friday, March 21, 2008

The Origins of the Name "Easter".

Up front, before all is said, I value the most Holiest of Christian holidays, and believe in the Christian’s right to celebrate Easter. I honor their reasons for celebrating Easter. I’m a strong believer in tradition, as you may well know.

Now, I thought that I would give you some history on the origins of “Easter”. For millennia, before Christ was born, people celebrated the seasons, and followed the seasonal changes. The summer and winter solstice were celebrated, and also the fall and spring equinox were celebrated. The celebrations pre-date recorded history, so no one really knows how far back the seasons were honored as such.

The Catholic Church, joined the pagan and Christian holidays together, with the hopes of converting the pagan and non-believer into Christian. So, the pagans lost some of their most honored holidays to the Church, and the reason for the seasonal festival was muddied beyond recognition. I have even been told that as a non-believer, that I shouldn’t be celebrating Easter. With all due respect, it was our holiday before the “Newcomer Christians” showed up.

So, “Happy Eostre, or Eastre, if you prefer.

I copied the following from :

Origins of the name "Easter":
The name "Easter" originated with the names of an ancient Goddess and God. The Venerable Bede, (672-735 AD.) a Christian scholar, first asserted in his book De Ratione Temporum that Easter was named after Eostre (a.k.a. Eastre). She was the Great Mother Goddess of the Saxon people in Northern Europe. Similarly, the "Teutonic dawn goddess of fertility [was] known variously as Ostare, Ostara, Ostern, Eostra, Eostre, Eostur, Eastra, Eastur, Austron and Ausos." 1 Her name was derived from the ancient word for spring: "eastre." Similar Goddesses were known by other names in ancient cultures around the Mediterranean, and were celebrated in the springtime. Some were:
Aphrodite from ancient Cyprus
Ashtoreth from ancient Israel
Astarté from ancient Greece
Demeter from Mycenae
Hathor from ancient Egypt
Ishtar from Assyria
Kali, from India
Ostara a Norse Goddess of fertility.
An alternative explanation has been suggested. The name given by the Frankish church to Jesus' resurrection festival included the Latin word "alba" which means "white." (This was a reference to the white robes that were worn during the festival.) "Alba" also has a second meaning: "sunrise." When the name of the festival was translated into German, the "sunrise" meaning was selected in error. This became "ostern" in German. Ostern has been proposed as the origin of the word "Easter". 2
There are two popular beliefs about the origin of the English word "Sunday."
It is derived from the name of the Scandinavian sun Goddess Sunna (a.k.a. Sunne, Frau Sonne). 5,6
It is derived from "Sol," the Roman God of the Sun." Their phrase "Dies Solis" means "day of the Sun." The Christian saint Jerome (d. 420) commented "If it is called the day of the sun by the pagans, we willingly accept this name, for on this day the Light of the world arose, on this day the Sun of Justice shone forth."

P.S. Bunny's don't lay eggs, but then, that's another story!


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Sir Arthur C. Clarke

Arthur C.Clarke 1917-2008

I apologize to those who are looking for light hearted and frivolous local history stories, but a man just passed away that I greatly admired; Arthur C. Clarke. There are a few people in my life that I have taken great inspiration from. Arthur C. Clarke is one of them.

We all have our hero’s. Kristabel and Keri admire Abba, Ekovox admired all the old country and western singers, and a few good blues musicians. He must have picked up a love of that Eko guitar from someone he greatly admired. Kym loves life, nature, and photography, throw in a few well written poems and stories, and that describes her pretty well. We all have our hero’s, and mine were the great thinkers of the world.

Nicolas Copernicus

Nicolas Copernicus was the founder of modern astronomy. He was the first modern thinker to postulate that the Earth rotated on an axis once daily, and rotated around the sun once yearly. He arrived at these theories without the use of a telescope. He inspired such people as Christopher Columbus. Columbus convinced Queen Isabella of Spain to finance him to find a quicker route to the spices that were on the other side of the world. Columbus wanted to find a new trade route, by going around the world, rather than around the horn of Africa. Much later, by one hundred years, Copernicus inspired Galileo Galilei, and Giordano Bruno. The Catholic church and the rest of the people of the day thought that the world was flat, or if it wasn't, the sun and stars most certainly revolved around us.

Galileo Galilei

Galileo built his own telescope and discovered four moons circling Jupiter, strengthening his theory of the modern solar system. Giordano Bruno, went even further, he speculated that many planets revolved around our sun, and other stars were suns, with planets revolving around them, and that the sky was almost unlimited with stars, suns, planets, and moons. He also speculated that it was almost certain that there was other life in the universe. Galileo wrote a book outlining his theory of the universe. He outlined his telescopic observations, and was eager to prove to the Catholic church that what he saw through his telescope was provable fact.

The Catholics were not amused by these scientific minds tweaking the nose of the church. Through the use of the Spanish Inquisition, Bruno was burned at the stake and Galileo spent the rest of his life in jail.

Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein was an amazing person in that he could visualize in his mind how the universe had to be put together to work. He knew that mass, energy, speed, and time, were all related and effected each other. Imagine how smart he had to be to be able to visualise that without any clues. It's easy to bake a cake once you know how, but the first person to do that must have been very smart. Einstein could visualise escape velocities, to escape the pull of gravity and put a object in orbit.

Issac Asimov

It has been said that Issac Asimov invented the word robot. The word was actually a Czech word for artificial man or slave. Asimov gave it it's modern meaning that we all recognize; a mechanical-man that follows our instructions. Asimov was a brilliant man that was one of the most prolific Science Fiction writers of all time. I've read every book that he ever wrote many years ago, and it is time to start over. If you don't know who Asimov was, but want to read one of his books, read "I Robot" it was the book that put the word "Robot" into the English Language. Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, and Arthur C. Clark were contemporaries. They were the most prolific science, and science fiction, writers of all time.

Leonardo Da Vinci

Leonardo Da Vinci was not only the man that painted the Mona Lisa, he was the man that visualized the water pump, clocks, cranes, winches, the parachute, and the helicopter. He was a man that could understand how things worked, and knew how to make them. He was an inspiration to many inventors.

H.G. Wells.
H.G.Wells first wrote about putting a man on the moon by the use of a mythical material called "Cavorite". Cavorite removed the effects of gravity, and it was easy to move a spherical vessel to the moon. The book that he wrote "The First Men in the Moon" was pretty far-fetched in 1901, but less than seventy years later men were walking on the moon.

Now, what do all of these people have to do with Arthur C. Clarke and me? These people were all my hero's, and they also inspired Arthur C. Clarke to be one of the most inventive minds of all time. It was Clark that was the first to calculate that there was a specific distance from Earth that a satellite would stay in a geostationary orbit. Geostationary means that the satellite stays in the same exact spot over the equator, and never moves off that spot. It rotates at the same speed as the earth turns. You know it as the place that you point your satellite T.V. dishes. It is the ring around the earth that all of the geostationary satellites stay. It is called "THE CLARK BELT". The Clarke belt is exactly 22,236 miles above sea level on the equator.

Clarke’s three laws:
1-When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.
2-The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.
3-Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. (I'll bet that you always wondered who said that!)

Monday, March 17, 2008

Now is the time for all good bloggers to come to the aid of their country!

Now is the time for all good bloggers to come to the aid of their country!

Wow! I don’t know where to start…How about “I told you so!”

Back in the early eighties, when Reagan was our president, Japan had a struggling electronics industry. The Japanese government decided that they had to subsidize that industry, or it would fail. So they gave their electronics industry money to sell electronics in the United States. They sold electronics in the U.S. below what it cost them to manufacture each piece. But it brought a steady flow of dollars into Japan and helped shore up their economy, and brought them the wealth that they needed to invest in other industrial products, like cars.

Meanwhile, big American and Japanese investors made a fortune on the cheap labor that Japan was able to provide at the time. The American electronics worker lost his job. The American workers cried “Foul”. They were losing their jobs to the Japanese worker. They felt it was unfair of Japan to subsidize a product that the American worker could build better and cheaper. At the same time, the Japanese banned American agriculture products because the U.S. government subsidized them.

The answer to the American worker was; “Tough, we live in a world economy now”. (Translated, we found a way to get cheaper labor to build a product to fleece the American economy).
The explanation was that; “America has the world’s strongest economy”. They reasoned that the displaced workers would find another job in the manufacturing industry. After all, there were plenty of jobs, and the American economy was strong.

At the end of the Regan administration, the Japanese paid Reagan Two Million Dollars to go to Japan to make a speech…. If that wasn’t a message to other American politicians, about where their money comes from, I don’t know what was.

The adopted mantra; “It’s a World Economy, Stupid” was the beginning of the end of American Manufacturing jobs. The politicians soon started explaining to people that; “ We live in an information economy now”. Translated that means; “You’re going to have to be smart, and have a good education to become a corporate C.E.O.”. While they were slowly killing American jobs, they still depended on the American buyer to buy and pay for cheap offshore products. Soon the only product that you could buy was, and is, offshore products.

The latest knife through the Heart of America is the going to be the demise of the aircraft manufacturing industry. It seems that the American investor has found a better deal in France. We now buy the Presidential Helicopter and the military refueling aircraft from France.
That should drain the last American dollar out of the country. Either that or we will send it to the sand countries for oil. I would tell you about how wealthy some of the Sheikhs are, but you couldn’t believe it. The only people that benefit from spending all of our money over seas are the big stock market investors. The loss of every manufacturing job has been personal to me, because my whole family has been in manufacturing (Lumber) for more than a century. It was fortunately one of the last industries to go. But it is still hard to take.

America is finally broke, and broken. Banks are collapsing, The stock market is crashing. Soon you will seeing CEO’s moving to Switzerland. There's more.

Now for the good news!

Now when we say we need jobs, someone will listen.
The blogs are the last bastion of truth and honesty. The CEO’s, and the very wealthy own our politicians and our news services. When reading the blogs, you know that you could be told a lie, and you check it out. Why is it that nobody checks our politicians and newscasters. America has literally been sold a pack of lies, and bad politicians. This time when we rebuild America, lets form a system were our representatives represent us and not big money.

The blogs are the best way to tell the truth.

P.S... And just to deepen my suspicion that we are in trouble, the link that I had explaining the collapsing stock market has just disappeared. But don't worry, it's probably just me worrying!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Back when it was catch and keep.

This photo was taken as a post card in the late forties to early fifties according to the description of the other photographs it was with.

The description says "Steelhead caught in the Eel river by Deck Nicholson and parties of the Eel River Cafe."

I wonder what the limit was back then.

I do remember seeing many catches like that when I was a kid. The people from the city would come up here and make a big show of their catches. They would bring them to town and lay them on the sidewalks in front of the sporting goods stores and take turns having their picture taken with them.

It sounds like the salmon fishing in the ocean next year will be non-existent until they figure out what happened that caused the Sacramento River salmon runs to have dwindled drastically.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Cristina, takes on the Richardson's grove issue on KMUD

Cristina Bauss is going to do Eric Kirks show at KMUD in his absence. The show will be at 7:00pm Thursday March 20th. “All Things Recocidered”. (Reconsidered)

She is going to discuss all the pertianent (pertinent)(you sharp spellers missed that one!) facts around the re-alignment of the 101 highway through the Richardson’s Grove State Park
She has some special requests: Know what you are talking about!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Ann Coulter

"We need someboby to put rat poisining in Justice Steven's Creme Brulee" Ann Coulter Conservative Commentator

My cousin Jim the Mountain Man his lived in the hills too long, he doesn't know who Ann Coulter is. This is for you Jim. Ann is your kind of girl. This is a photo of Ann getting ready to hunt bear.

She hates liberals, and takes great joy at poking fun at them. The liberals foam at the mouth in anger, and the conservatives flock to buy her books so they can quote her accurately.

She has God on her side, which is kinda' spooky when you think about it. She is a Grateful Dead fan who hates drugs. I don't know what she drinks, but I understand that she makes a great accessory for a white Corvette.

Every man secretly thinks than they could tame her if they just had the chance, especially liberals who fantasize about a Having a tame Ann Coulter.

Click on this blue line to see Annie claim that Hillary is more conservative than John McCain. Yep, Jim, I'll bet you could tame her right down. You might need to cage her a while first, but I know how you like strong willed women. She would be a good match for you. She has claws just like that pet bobcat that you had. You remember, the one that liked to jump and spit and scare the hell out of people. She likes doing that to liberals.

She has been called the female Rush Limbaugh. But Rush is not nearly as cute. Conservatives don't take her seriously, but liberals hang on her every word. I've watched her a long time and she hasn't changed my mind at all. I don't think that she has changed anybodys mind, but it's fun to watch her try.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Johnson's Welfare Society.

Back before the 1964 flood, before the assassination of Kennedy, before Lyndon Johnson passed all the new welfare rules, there was a work oriented society that lived in Garberville. I know that is hard for you to believe, but we were here, doing just fine.

Previous to Lyndon Johnson you had to have lived at least a year in Humboldt County to get on welfare. Then came Lyndon Johnson. Johnson’s idea was that it was discrimination to say that you had to be a resident before you could collect welfare. His thoughts were that the residency requirement would prevent a person from moving to an area that had more jobs. Because, if a job didn’t pan-out, you weren’t eligible for welfare, and you wouldn’t be able to get back on welfare until you were able to establish residency. It was a great Idea, but it didn’t account for how creative some people can get to cheat on the welfare system.

In the late sixties and early seventies hundreds of people moved up here to Humboldt County because we paid one of the highest welfare rates in the country. The people that moved up here were young and they were raised in a sharing society. They shared “free love” they shared their drugs, they passed their joint, and they all lived together in communes. Not all were that way of course, some were honest people that worked together to make ends meet, and get ahead in life, and get out on their own. Johnsons new welfare system worked well to get them back into mainstream society.

They would establish one responsible member as head of the commune, he would own all of the property. The rest would get on welfare and give him all of the money, and they would pool their resources for food and clothing. They could all live quite nicely on their welfare income.

The above statements are true and provable, the following is rumor, but it is too juicy to let pass. Some of the the people that would apply for welfare would share kids, and they would apply for welfare with all of “their kids” with them. They would also apply for welfare in more than one county. Although I don’t know if they were actually able to do that, I know for a fact they would have done that if they could have. They had no sense of guilt for being leaches on society. It was shocking for a lot of us to see. Their lack of regard for other people was hard to take. They would throw their trash on the street. When someone would point out that there was a garbage can down the street, they would look at you like you were crazy. Often they point out that someone would pick it up. They really didn’t seem to get it.

Fortunately the local people were able to run the worst of the low-life heavy drug users off, and we were left with a strange new society of people that seemed to want to work, buy land, and live in the fresh, clean, new place that they had found. Land was cheap and plentiful. Some of the people that moved here had "Family Money" or were smart enough to get a good job in the woods, or one of the local businesses. The communes slowly dissapeared as people paired off and started their own families. They seemed to have gained a sense of pride in themselves.

But, they still loved their music and their Wacky Weed, and they were unwilling to let anyone tell them that it was not okay. The local people began to accept these strange new people, that seemed to have their own sense of pride and honor. But, it was definately two different societies. Johnson's Welfare society slowly found their stride and they are now full members of the ruling class of our town.

Who would have ever guessed?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

An apology to the readers

Several times I have replied to comments made, only to go back later and find that my replies aren’t there. For what ever reason that they didn’t post, I’m sorry. I wasn’t trying to ignore you. I was probably me not being careful. But from now on, I’m paying close attention to detail.

So I will, again, reply to those questions that I thought I answered, but apparently didn’t.

Robin, I don’t know who Suzy Blah Blah is, but she apparently knows Janis and me, or she is doing a very good fake, which is possible. She is definitely from around here, because she knows too many of the local secrets. I love it when she writes. I hope she isn’t offended, but I think she has outstanding dead-pan humor that she delivers without missing a beat. Her twisted sentence structure always fits, and her typo’s are always readable. It’s a real art, if you don’t believe me, try it. Janis always knows when Suzy writes, because it is the only time that I break-out laughing out loud.

Also Robin, I saw Gary Chapman two years ago at a high school class reunion in Laytonville at The Harwood Park Hall, I still call it the skating rink. Penny and Gary Comer catered a multiple class reunion. My mother graduated from Laytonville High School in 1941, so she was invited. I sent my money in and crashed the party. I’m glad that I did. Amazingly, I knew almost everyone there. It was really great for me, because I ran into people that had lost tract of years ago, and was able to re-establish some old friendships. Gary has been living in Ukiah since graduation, he is married and he works for the concrete company down there. He graduated in 61-62(?)

Jim, thanks for the kind words, we’ve come a long way since the days when we would secretly pounce on, and beat the crap out of each other. You’re right, I was just born knowing all that motor stuff. It’s women that I could never understand. I developed several plans to understand Janis, but just when I think that I have her figured out, she changes. So, I content myself with understanding motors. You’re right, they don’t all have to be cheerleaders.

Jim, do you have any pictures of the Forty-horse-power go cart we made? I want to do a post about that.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Ignore this and go down to the next post.

Chocolate, peanut-butter, oatmeal cookies. Some with cherries on top!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

More on who influenced us.

I talked once before about always having a secret place, a hiding place, or as I refered to it before, a Sanctum-sanctorum.

When I was nine or ten years old my Laytonville buddy at the time was a kid named Gary Chapman. His dad, Orville, owned a logging truck, and my Dad owned a garage on the highway on the family ranch. I got acquainted with Gary because his dad and mine were building logging trucks together, out of just about anything that you could fit together.

Dad had a wrecking lot behind the garage. In the wrecking lot there were a lot of old cars that would still run a little bit. Gary and I would siphon gas out of the cars that didn't run, move batteries, and oil. We would eventually get a car running. The deal with my dad is if we could get a car running without asking him how to do it, we could drive it around the orchard and the back end of the wrecking lot. The deal with my mom was we BOTH had to be in the car anytime that it was running. We got pretty good at driving around and going through the gears. We did a lot of bragging about how good that we could drive.

Gary’s dad Orville, who was straight from Arkansas said: Ya’ hain’t a driver ’til ya cun back up with yur mirra’s”. So, we would go back to the wrecking lot, get in the car, and take turns backing around our road as fast as we could using nothing but “mirra's”. We had a few dramatic crashes which caused a whole new set of rules. We were no longer allowed near the orchard because grandma didn’t want us to back into any of her trees. Our wrecking lot road was pretty tight so we ran into a lot of things. That got to be a lot of fun, so we played demolition derby for a while. Of course that was the last straw for my mom. She told dad in no uncertain terms that she thought that kids driving cars was a crazy idea. You could tell that dad was proud of us, but mom laid down the law. So he told us that he would let us drive anyway we wanted to, but if we run into anything, or if mom even thought that we ran into anything, that it was all over, and we would have no more car privileges. We got real careful after that. But “careful” soon got boring.

One of the cars in the back of the lot had dirty windows, and you couldn’t see into it very well. We decided that that would make a good fort, so we sprinkled water on the windows and tossed some of the dust we just got through making on the window glass. We had a lot of dust from driving around in the dirt. It turned out just right. It was bright enough to see inside, but too dirty for anyone to see us. We soon figured out that we had to put the dirt on the inside because the other kids would find our fort, wipe the window clean and stick their tongues out at us.

We took a hack saw and cut the back of the front seat out and laid it between the back seat and the front seat so you could sit in the back seat and stretch your legs out like a recliner. We brought our funny-book collection and a carton of cigarettes that we “found”. We had a bunch of soda-pop, and a little wine that we found in a part-empty jug. We had a can to use for a bathroom in case we were “under siege” for a long time. We would sit in there all stretched out reading our funny-books and smoking cigarettes. The other kids would bang on the car, or throw a rock at it and we would laugh our butts off at them, because we had a “fool-proof fort”, with Inside frosted windows, locking doors and everything else we needed already inside.

One day there was a BANG, BANG, BANG, on the top of the car. We hollered “HA, HA, HA, go away stupid”. And mom said, “you kids get out here right now!” CRAP, BUSTED. We bailed out, smoke billowed out like in that Cheech and Chong movie, “Up In Smoke”. She said, “the fort is okay, but if I come by here and smell one more cigarette I’m going to tell your dad. Of course we made a deal with mom, because dad was the last friend that we had that would put up with us.
I kinda’ guessed that mom must have slipped and told Gramma Ruby, because the next day Gramma took me aside and gave me a long and detailed lecture on “the evils of smoking”. The standard talk; It stinks, it’s dirty, it’s a fire hazard, girls wont want to kiss you, you won’t be able to breath, you will have to put up with endless lectures about smoking.” OKAY, OKAY, OKAY, I give, I’ll never smoke again!

That was the last cigarette.

When did you learn to drive and back-up with your mirrors?
When did you learn how to smoke? When did you learn how to quit?

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

A big influence in my life

My cousin "Jim The Mountain Man" encouraged me to do a post about people that have influenced us all the most. I have always wondered what made some people think so differently from me. I often suspected that it was the way they were raised, or the people that influenced them in their younger years.
The biggest influence in anyone’s life is usually a persons parents. That was also true in my case. I was raised with a coddling, over protective mother that would have surely smothered me to death, if it hadn’t been for my “man’s man, devil may care Dad”, who did not smoother me, but gave my adventurous soul wings.
My earliest recollections of being out with my dad was when we would go fishing. He would fish and I would play on the shore and stack rocks, bang things and generally do things that you shouldn’t do while fishing. I remember that he would let me eat the fish eggs that he used for bait, and every now and then I would get a sip of his whiskey that he sipped to stay warm. It was great sport for me because I knew that I was getting away with things that my Mother would never allow.
Working in the garden with my mother, I would watch the birds swoop down and eat the worms that were exposed by the spading. Being the curious, adventurous, free spirit that I was. I picked up and ate a few worms. That was until my mother caught me. You would have thought that I had eaten dirt or something, I had already tried that and it didn’t taste good at all. I had trouble understanding why I got in so much trouble for tasting a few worms. Who knows, it could have been a new gourmet delight. I’m sure that my dad wouldn’t have had any problem at all with me tasting a few worms, he would probably asked me how I liked them.
That’s when I first started noticing that people were different.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Bloody Bones, the kid eating monster!

This is a reprint from the Redwood Times, for the Out of town readers. It wont soak long. I just needed to lighten up a bit, and remember how much fun it was to be a kid!

In looking for a photo to use with the following story, I was amazed to find out that Ogres, and kid eating monsters, go back to the beginning of time.
“Fee, fie, fo, fum, I smell the blood of an Englishman”, used to scare the hell out of me, because even as a little kid I knew I was part English. I used to worry if Mr. Giant could smell PART-English.

Nowadays, it’s not politically correct to tell your kids spooky stories. Hmmm…. I wonder if that’s why I’m all screwed up. But, on the other hand there are still some pretty screwed up kids today…. Maybe their folks are sneaking them spooky stories.

Bloody Bones The Kid Eating Monster.
Back when I was a kid being raised on the family ranch in Laytonville, we quite often had family dinners in the summertime. The family get-togethers were our form of entertainment. After dinner the older folks would sit around and chat about all the latest happenings, who was doing what, and what tomorrow might bring. When the kids would start getting noisy, and start arguing about things, and being disruptive of polite conversation, we all were invariably sent outside, to do things where nobody had to put up with our noise. The older kids were always given strict instructions to keep an eye on the little kids, and not to let them out of their sight.

Usually it was pitch black outside, a black sky like only a kid that was raised in the country has ever seen. But, after a few minutes our young eyes were able to see well enough in the starlight to head out and do things. Sometimes there would be a full-moon, and it would be almost bright enough to play baseball, but not quite. We used to like to play baseball in the orchard when enough of us got together.

We had a favorite spot in the orchard that a fire, years-ago, had made a clear spot out in about the center of the apple trees. It was a nice grassy spot that always smelled sweet, like hot dry grass intermingled with the smell of the dropped apples and pears that were fermenting under the trees. There was a watering trough for the animals in the opening, and it had cool, clean, fresh spring water running to it, and out the other side, and it would water the grass.

There was a quince tree right above the opening, and I would pick up a quince on the way to our “Story Telling Spot”. I liked the smell of a quince, sweet and fresh. I always though that if a girl wanted to attract me all she would have to do was dab quince juice behind her ears and I would have followed her anywhere. The quince has a velvet-like surface that if you rub it on your shirt, it will come right off. I would rub on the quince until it smelled good, then sniff it, but I knew better than to try to eat it. A quince is very astringent. If you take a bite out of it, it will pucker your mouth so bad that you can’t even spit it out. Really! My mother, knowing how much I liked quince, would make me quince jelly every now and then. If you have never eaten quince jelly, GOOD, I’ll eat it for you. I didn’t know what mom did to the quince, but she could make it as sweet as it smelled. That always impressed me.

All Us kids sit down in the grass, out in the middle, where the starlight was the brightest, we would form a little circle, and start to take turns telling stories. The Milky Way is straight up, over our heads that time of year, and we would look at it with wonder and laugh over the story about the little Greek God that was sent to milk the cow, and on the way back home he tripped and spilled it all over the sky, and it is still there, splashed all across the heavens. If you don’t believe me, next summer go look.

As the night drew-on, the older kids would start telling scary stories, about monsters and horrible murders. One story that I knew would always be coming was “Bloody Bones the Monster“. Nobody knew what Bloody Bones was, or what he looked like, but everybody knew that he liked to hunt and eat little kids, and he was sneaky. Sometimes when Bloody Bones would get a kid, there would never, ever be a trace of the kid ever, ever, again.

My cousin Corky was the master spooky-story teller. The story changed to fit the situation, but it would start with; “Bloody Bones, ten miles away, and getting closer. Bloody bones reared up high on his hind legs and sniffed the air long and deep, he was hungry and he needed to find a kid to eat. Bloody Bones would sniff the ground, and track around a little bit and he started moving toward the kids that he so desperately needed to eat." Chills would zing up and down my spine, and I would remind myself that this is just a story, but I did remember that a kid across the valley had disappeared, and I wondered to myself if maybe Bloody Bones was real.

I always thought that I was a smart little kid, and if Bloody Bones was real, I could certainly outsmart him. I always placed myself with my back to the wind, on the far side of the circle, because I knew that if Bloody Bones was following a track I would be facing him, and the other kids would be between me and Bloody Bones, and he would eat them first. I would laugh a nervous little laugh, knowing that Bloody Bones wasn't real, but I'd heard the story before and I knew the other little kids were going to be scared out of their skins. I had to go to the bathroom, but I would have had to go down the same path that Bloody Bones would be comming up, so I just held onto it.

By the time Bloody Bones had moved up to five miles away, the story was getting real dramatic, and he was feeling his starving need to kill and eat a little kid, or that he was so hungry he just might eat the kid alive! My eyes were riveted on the trail leading up to the story telling spot, I would glance from side to side. I saw shadows moving under the apple trees and I knew that the shadows were deer that had come down off of the hill to eat the fallen fruit. Then a deer snorted, and the other little kids squealed in fright. I was delighted at their fear, because I knew it was only a deer. I rubbed my Quince and smelled the sweet smell, and I laughed at their fear, but I wished that I had gone to the bathroom.

Bloody Bones was three miles away, and I was rubbing and sniffing my quince and I had rubbed most of the skin off, but it sure smelled good! Bloody Bones had disguised himself as a deer to sneak up on the little kids. I knew stories of the Indians that had done that to sneak up on their game. That quince sure smelled good!

Bloody Bones was getting closer, and smarter, and I started to doubt all my plans for staying safe. Just as I got through reassuring myself that I had it all figured out, a deep, deep, rolling, gutteral growl, like I'd never heard before, came out from behind the apple tree right behind me. It was Bloody Bones, right behind me!

I told you that I was a smart little kid, and it came to me in the blink of an eye that Bloody Bones would not eat the WET little kid. So, I took the precautionary measures to reestablish my invulnerability. As we all sat there frozen waiting for Bloody Bones to choose which of us to eat, my uncle, that had heard the Bloody Bones story before when he was a kid, stepped out from behind the tree laughing that he had scared us all so bad.

Later, back at the house my mother asked me why my pants were all wet. Not wanting to lie to her, I mentioned the spring that ran through the orchard. She said; "For a kid that thinks he's so smart, you sure sit in that spring a lot. This is the third time this summer that you have come home with wet pants. And, why do you smell like Quince?"