10/31/2014

Halloween As A Child






I'm an old man now.  My days of "trick or treating" are far, far behind me.  But, those days were filled with excitement as I recall.  I couldn't wait to get out of school, get my costume and mask ready for the Halloween trick or treating that night.  Those were some fun times as a child.  Of course, I didn't think how much fun it was back then.  I just wanted the candy.  But, Halloween was always the start of the holiday season. Halloween was always mysterious to me.  I could never understand what the rationale was to dress up like ghosts, witches and monsters, promise not to "trick" a house if we got a "treat."  I was one studious kid who tried to figure out things.  But, my misgivings about Halloween never stopped me from enjoying every Halloween all the way up to my 14th birthday.  After that, I just sort of lost interest.  Of course, then I had to take my siblings trick or treating on Halloween.  I hated doing that for some reason.  Maybe it was my way of rebelling against growing older.  But, I did my duty as the eldest on Halloween.  Eventually, my siblings grew too old for this passage in childhood also. 

The Halloween I remember most was when I was 10 years old.  Back in those days, everyone went all out for Halloween, unlike today when people turn out their lights to indicate they don't participate in Halloween.  We went to big house with a lot of cars parked around it.  Apparently, there was a Halloween Party for adults going on in this house.  We rang the doorbell and a man dressed in a skeleton outfit greeted us.  "Come on in, kids.  Go around the table and grab one of each in the bowls," the man said.  It was all kinds of candy there.  Snicker bars, payday, that corn candy I love even today and just about every kind of candy you can imagine in 1961.  There were about 15 bowls of candy on this one table.  Before we left, the skeleton man gave us each a candied apple.  Most of us dropped them on the way to trick or treat other homes.  But, that was probably the best Halloween night I can remember.  I had three bags of candy to tote home that night. We didn't get home until after 10PM, which antagonized my mother to no end.

Of course, it is dangerous to let kids go trick or treating in this day and time.  People will kill children if they get the chance on Halloween.  If I had kids today, I would not let them go trick or treating.  I'd take them to a church "Fall Festival" or to the mall.  That's sad when you think about it.  Children today still go trick or treating.  But, they do so with close supervision of an adult.  At least, that is what should be done on Halloween tonight.  Watch your kids tonight, parents. 

10/27/2014

My Life At Age 63





I turned 63 years old last month.  I remember when I thought I was old when I turned 50.  That seems like just a few years ago.  That's another thing; once you hit 40, time just seems to zoom by so fast!  From age 40 to 50 was about 3 years it seemed.  So, I guess I need to enjoy each day of life.  And, I try to do just that.  But, with my medical issues, that is hard to do.  I would love to travel some.  But, that would be very difficult to do now.  I should have went when I had the chance.  I may still be able to once I get my gastritis issues out of the way.  But, that is on down the road now.  My ex-wife and I would love to travel together.  But, she is still recovering from chemo and radiation.  So, I'm not sure when we will get to hit the road together.  She wants to go to Las Vegas.  I want to go to Mt. Rushmore.  Yes, we have difference even now.  We'll figure something out.  I guess when you hit age 60 you start thinking about your inevitable death.  I have not planned out my funeral arrangements as yet.  I keep putting it off.  But, this is something I need to do and soon.   I have to do this.  And I will.

Life now seems much different than when I was 40 or less years of age.  I didn't have the health issues I had back then for one thing.  I gain weight a lot easier now.  I am fighting to lose about 20lbs.  It is nearly impossible to do.  But, I won't give up trying.  I see friends I have not seen in years.  I think, my God they have gotten old!  Yes, I looked in the mirror and discovered they weren't the only ones to get old.  Sometimes I don't recognize the guy in the mirror.  Whatever happened to the young blonde-haired guy with thick hair?  It is rapidly disappearing and what's left is very gray now.  That is sad to think about.  My life has been far from easy.  But, I suspect I am not the only one to have a hard life.  It seems those miles of hard life are in the wrinkles I see in the mirror.  After age 60, you wake up with pains and groans you didn't have when you went to bed the previous night.  It just happens.  It's just old age and something you have to deal with on a daily basis.  As I stated in a previous post, I have a new car.  I thought that new Honda Accord would be easier to get in and out of each day.  I was wrong.  It is almost as difficult to get in and out of the Accord as it was the Civic.  I should have bought that Ford F-150 truck as I had considered.  I sometimes forget I'm not 63 years old.

People say, you are only as old as you act or, in some cases, as you feel.  I think the latter of the two falls in line with me.  There are days I feel every bit of those 63 years.  I never expected life would be like this as I got old.  I should have known this.  I'm not going to say life is miserable after age 60.  But, there are changes you have to make.  Changes that you may or may not have anticipated.  Now, time to go get that heating pad on my aching back.

10/24/2014

My New Car


New 2014 Honda Accord Coupe V6




I say "my new car" when I actually bought my new Honda Accord on July 27th of this year.  It now has over 4300 miles on it.  But, since I have been talking about buying a new car since January (Time to Trade in My Honda Civic), I thought I would make mention of it in a post.  In that post linked above, I talked about buying a 2014 Jeep Cherokee.  I came really close to buying one.  I like Jeeps.  But, I don't like the insurance rates for them and I don't like the ratings that people gave them on Google and Yelp.  So, I decided to stick with Honda.  I bought the 2014 Honda Accord Couple V6.  I almost bought the 4 cylinder.  But, I really didn't like the acceleration in it or the Jeep Cherokee.  I do a lot of interstate driving.  I need a car that has good pickup and gas mileage.  My Honda Accord does both.  Now, that 2006 Honda Civic EX I traded in was a good little car.  It had great gas mileage and was very dependable.  But, as I discussed in the article linked above, I had the ECT sensor replaced.  That cost just over $400.  Not much when you consider that was the most I had spent on it.  But, I kept having trouble with the A/C as well.  After 8 years of dependable service, it was time to update my transportation.

I am very deliberate when it comes to buying a car.  I actually started thinking about buying a new car a year ago this month, in October of 2013.  I am very happy with my 2014 Honda Accord Couple V6.  It is very comfortable, takes the bumps in the road much better than the Civic. It has all the latest gadgetry of today.  It has tire pressure sensors, which the Civic did not have.  It has a backup camera, driver safety aids (lane departure warning, front collision warning, etc) and many other features I find attractive.  I probably won't trade it in for at least 7 years as long as it doesn't give me any trouble.  But, I do get compliments all the time on what a beautiful car it is.  I love the car bra on the front as well.  I hate getting dings on the paint job.  Hence, the car bra.  I really like it.  It is a really nice car.

10/20/2014

Visits to the Doctor






There aren't many things I hate worse than going to the doctor.  Going to the dentist would be one thing I hate to do. Sitting with my car as it is being repaired would probably top the list of things I hate to do.  But, last week, I had to go to my urologist and dermatologist all in the same damn week.  Both were awkward for a variety of reasons I won't go into.  The urologist visit is to a doctor I don't like.  To be honest, there aren't many doctors I do like.  But, he is #1 on my list.  He is rude at times.  The thing about it, I don't say anything when he is an ass. I'm always at a loss for words for some damn reason.  I plan on correcting that the next time I visit. Next visit, I am going to be an asshole too.  I'm sick of him.  I just don't like him.  My dermatologist is a  pretty good guy.  He seems the opposite of the urologist.  But, it takes so long to get an appointment with him. I've heard that is typical of all dermatologists these days.   But, like all doctor visits, once I get to the skin doc's office, it's hurry up and wait and wait and wait.  Once in the back room, you wait some more. I hate waiting if you have not figured that out by now.  All in all, I think it is safe to say I avoid going to the doctor as much as possible.  At my age, I shouldn't do that.  But, I am so miserable while I am there.  It is a necessary evil, I know.

It seems that I always meet up with someone who has a personality disorder on my office visits.  Take for example the office visit to my dermatologist last week.  My appointment was 8AM.  The office wasn't even open when I got there.  Shortly after I got there, this mouthy woman shows up and lets me know she is unhappy with the entire world.  Case in point, there was a rattle coming from what I believe I correctly deduced as an AC vent.  She said it wasn't an AC vent causing the noise.  She didn't offer an idea what was causing the noise.  But, she 100% with it not being the AC vent.  People like that drive me insane.  Then we make it into the office, she proceeds to sit next to me again.  Once again, she mouths off about politics and why this country is headed to hell.  I didn't disagree with much she had to say.  But, one thing I learned a long time ago is never discuss politics and religion with people you don't know.  In fact, it's a good idea not to discuss the two with people you do know.  Thankfully, I was called into the back to wait on the doctor.  I don't have to go back to him for at least four months.  It may be even longer.  I think four months is too quick for a routine check.  Thankfully, I don't have to see Dr. Rude (urologist) for another year.

If you have stories about your doctor visits, please feel free to share.

10/17/2014

Letters Home from the Greatest Generation - Part V

Welcome to Paris GI!

 

 

Paris is Taken

Please click HERE to get all the info about this series.

The Battle of Normandy, the Liberation of Paris, was concluded on August 25, 1944. Now, the steady drumbeat of Allied Forces could be heard in Berlin as the Germans prepared for the invasion of their homeland. My Uncle John would actually discuss this event of WWII. He enjoyed talking about it because, for the first time in his life, he was treated like royalty by the French people. All his life, after WWII, he held the French in high regard. He told us that in parts of France people only had a wedge of cheese and maybe a bottle of wine between them and starvation. But, it was offered to American GIs without hesitation. The French people had suffered for a long time at the hands of the German high command. In the mind of the Germans, it was payback time for WWI.

In this letter below, my uncle is becoming more and more emotional about the war. He is almost numb from the atrocities that the German soldiers committed against the French during their occupation and as they were fleeing the Allied Advance. He mentions one episode below that is graphic in nature. Readers be advised of this content. It is hard to understand how the German people could commit mass murder and commit atrocities that defy imagination to the occupied lands of WWII. My uncle is now worried about a number of things. The thing the U.S. Army troops were most looking forward to, taking of Berlin, was being mostly handled by the Red Army of the Soviet Union. To say the least, our troops were irate about this. Many felt that General Eisenhower had betrayed them. My Uncle John cursed the name of Eisenhower until two days before his death in January of this year. Many troops never forgave him.

Here now is the latest installment of Letters Home from the Greatest Generation - Paris is Taken.
---------------------------------

Cpl John S. Wxxxx
IV Division, Third Infantry, U.S. Army
Paris, France
August 27, 1944

Dear Alice
As you pobably know by the time you get my letter you know that we have taken paris france. The paris people are very happy to see us here, Alice. We all marched in about two days ago. We been drinking wine almost all day since that march in. Germans did not put up much of a fight. I think the German boys know the war is about to end. I still have hope we can be home by Christmas Alice. That is my prayer every night. I know one thing them german boys look like they all about to cry. They know the only thing keeping them alive now is the ones they been fighting, us American boys. We captured a lot of them in what little battle they put up agin us. They ran to us with the white flag yelling something at us. I guess it means they surrender is what they said. 

I wished we could kill all these dam germans. they did xxxxxxxxx some bad things in this country Alice. The thing I remember most is this little village about 20 miles south of where I am right now. We came into the village and the Germans had just left. We heard a woman screaming like somebody was hurting her. me and Mickey Cxxxx ran to her. She was speaking French so we could not understand her. But, she keeps pointing to her daughter. I could not see anything wrong with the girl until I made her turn around. She was bleeding out of her rear a lot Alice. She look like a young teenage girl to me, maybe the same age as your little cousin Patty. I still could not understand what happened. A french guy that could understend some english told us that 3 german soliders rapped this little girl in her rear in front of her mama and papa. The French guy said they had only left about 10 minutes from the time we showed up. We went looking for them. We did not have to look far. They were hiding in a barn about a mile from the village. 1 of them put up a fight. I shot him. He was the lucky one. The other 2 were not so lucky Alice. Some how they got they balls cut off. That is what we told major ellis when we brought them back screaming and bleeding. Major Ellis asked me how it happend and I told him maybe a farmer did it. He did not ask us any more questions about that. Those 2 will never rap another little girl again.

We are all mad as hell Alice. We got word today we will not be going into Berlin to finish off the dam germans. Instead we are heading to some kind of camp called bukenwall (Buchenwald Concentration Camp). And we may have to join up with the Third Army. I hate that as much as not going to Berlin. What the hell are they thinking? We so mad we can spit fire.

I am looking up at the stars tonight Alice. I wonder what you are doing as I writ this letter for you. It seems you are on one of those stars up there waiting on me to come home. I like to think I can see my mama put one of her apple pies on the front porch table to cool off. I like to think I can see old pooch (that was the name of his beloved dog) barking at the mail man bring the us mail to our house. I think I can see daddy rasing hell about no rain as he always does. I wish I was home Alice. I am sick of this dam war and everything to do with it. I never want to see any kind of gun again if I make it back home. I am sick of the sound of them and all they represent. I am sick of death, of boys without arms or boy without legs or boys without anything but a body and a head left on them. I am tired of looking at the death that war brings. The french people have been grate to me. But, the war is over for them. We must continue this war until it is over for us. I must go. Some of the boys want me to go with them to another party tonight.
I love you Alice
Johnny


***Until his death in January of 2011, Uncle John never allowed a gun in his house or on any of his property again. 

****This may or may not be the final installment in this series.  Unfortunately, the professor from the local community college can no longer help me decipher the writings of my Uncle John's writings.  They are faded and, as mentioned before, Uncle John's penmanship is horrible.  But, I will try to post at least one final chapter to close out the series. 

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