Friday, November 29, 2019


Who's a good boy?

We are baby sitting Herman over this Thanksgiving holiday. Son and fiancee are across the country visiting other family. We volunteered for this duty. A chance to have "a good boy" in the home for a few days is a big treat for us. 

My wife is prepping the dressing a few days before Thanksgiving and Herman is tuned into every movement knowing that any time a snack could just appear.



The first bread my wife and I have had in 7 months. We have been 99% true to our diet, but prepping the day before Thanksgiving; home made rolls, pumpkin pie, from scratch dressing, brings with it the mandate to taste test. The above roll passed with flying colors. Yes, of course, there was a second roll!




I often think that I need to go "somewhere" to practice picture taking. Better photography practice. Not really. 

Good practice is learning how to see photographs and learn how to bring visual interest to the simple things. Can I find those things in my back yard and practice some of what I have been studying and learning? Can I use my camera beyond the automatic settings?

The Canon 7D is a marvelous camera and I have barely scratched the surface in its use. YouTube is a wonderful learning source and a few of the photographers I have been watching are good instructors. Time well spent.

The photos in this blog are an example of a long-time picture taker working on becoming a better photographer. Also still learning work in post production and posting. 

Working with a tripod, manual settings, auto ISO and aperture adjustments for depth of field this past week.

A good photo will hold a viewer's interest and a few moments. A picture will be glanced and passed over.


Just two of us this Thanksgiving. A smaller bird and not as many side dishes. No house to clean for guests, spending the day in our lounging clothes. Keeping a wood stove on warm but still as excited for all the goodness of eats in the annual Thanksgiving meal. Leftovers will play as well as the main meal. 

A quiet prayer said, thanks given and a counting of our blessings.

Thanks for the visit this holiday.




Sunday, November 24, 2019




Meeting Senator "Scoop" Jackson from Washington State after he landed in Germany for a tour of our base. Someone told him that a boy from his state was flying him to the base and he requested we meet. He and his team of dignitaries (I suppose I can tell this now) got off the airliner and immediately moved to under the back of the plane to relieve themselves. We thought it not best to photograph that moment nor mention it beyond the flight line.

After that moment, they headed for our helicopters idling on the tarmac.

How many pilots flying senators these days get out of their aircraft to shake hands and meet their state senator while carrying a loaded .45. Curious? 

The weather was lousy that day as we landed inside Merrill Barack's,  Nuremberg.

These three photos were courtesy of the Army photographer accompanying the senator and his team. .




The photo I have been looking for more than 50 years. Mom kept everything and I mean everything.  

Thanks to her, some of these old moments are still recorded. This moment is mostly special to me. 

This was the closest I had ever gotten to a real airplane as a youngster, plus my first ride.

Maybe 5 years old when these two photos were taken. 

We often took off on the weekends to be near the water and when we could afford it, dad would rent a boat. These moments on the water were a real treat. 

A cold beer for my parents on a warm day and a packed picnic lunch always on a blanket near a beach. 

My father always had a sly grin on his face. Always. 

I think he was always looking for ways to play and on this day his son got to drive the boat and be a real man with a beer in hand. (The bottle had been half filled with water)

Can you imagine these photos taken and shared today? A father letting his young son steer a boat w/o a life jacket and then let his son drive the boat with "a beer" in hand - AND and with a can of gasoline near by? 

We laughed then and I am still laughing today. How did so many of us ever survive such an upbringing? 

MOST IMPORTANT: we were family-outing together and many times outing with other family members. Weekends were always a time to get together outside, usually near water, to go, see, do and with homemade picnic foods.



We carried 5 gallon containers of JP4 as we needed to stop for fuel on portions of the trip where fuel was not available.

Alaska offers some of the most beautiful scenery on earth. Flying and landing in remote areas like the photos above were always memorable. I spent the remainder of my time here casting lures into the river until the geologists returned from the brush. We always kept an eye and ear out for bear. Next to my fishing gear was always a 12-gauge shotgun with safety on, a slug in the chamber and 5 more to follow if needed. I never moved more than a few feet away from the fishing/gun kit.

Photography is a great hobby for memories, huh?

We lived in Eagle for three months and ate all of our meals at the one and only restaurant next to our hotel. In a few days we considered ourselves locals, especially when these kinds of meal options were listed on the meal board.



My guess is that this photo was taken in the 1930's and these two were friends of my grandparents on the my mother's side.  

I do not recognize them as family and there are no notes on the back of the photo.

There are quite a few black and whites of young folks getting married and I am guessing this photo was taken on this couple's wedding day. 

Old photos like this are worthy of sharing of times past and of youngsters at a moment in the times of their lives. Chances are these two kids were also immigrants who came to America through the front door.

Some photo editing cleared up the background scenery in this photo.


A good spin off from sorting through old family papers and photos brings my camera out again. I should continue with old hobbies. 

All of this is "forcing" me to get reacquainted with the basics of photography too. These are also skill sets that wane quickly over time without current use and activity.


Pot of beef stew on the cook. Will add some potatoes when this cooks down some. 

No muss and no fuss on a cold rainy Sunday.

Thanks for the visit this week.  

Monday, November 18, 2019


I have blogged about my first airplane flight, but when I wrote that, I had not found a picture of that day. Looking back this morning for that post finds that I apparently have not put that information in one of the main blog headings so, a little re-write here.

My wife and I have officially started a full home clean-out, starting with the office closet. We have 20 years of stored documents and photos. At the end of the day yesterday, another hand full of sorting old photos found one of the ones I have been looking for that day of my first airplane ride. 

The fellow in the above photo was a good friend of my parents and was on his way to Alaska. He planned a refueling stop at Bowerman Field and a quick visit with my folks. 

We drove to the airport for that visit and my parents tried squelching my excitement that just maybe I might get an airplane ride. He was, of course, on a long cross-country flight and most likely would have the time to take me up. "Do not be disappointed if he does not have the time to take you for a flight."

Well, he did and from the look on his face, was also as pleased to give a first airplane ride to a youngster who was overly excited and who have never been in an airplane. 

It was that ride that cemented my love of flying. From that moment forward, my childhood dream was to find some way to become a pilot and fly. 

In 1965, I joined the Army with a signed guarantee for helicopter flight school. I never ever looked back. 

I have stared at this photo quite awhile here.



I have disliked my current camera bag since I purchased it years ago. Hard to get into, close back up and it always fall over and down on the camera/lens access pockets. 

In the back of my memory was this old camera bag, not remembering the older camera stored in the bag. To my surprise was finding this old Minolta SLR film camera that I picked up over 20 years ago inside. I remember that I got a good deal on this camera  and, at the time, it was an upgrade. 

As I sort through a myriad of old photos, it occurs to me that this was most likely the camera I was using for many of the photos I am coming across. The bag contained 6 fresh rolls of color film and a new camera battery.



I have come across many photos of my dad driving the 1963 Corvette I left behind in 1967 when I went to Vietnam. I had purchased the car during my final months of training in Alabama, drove it home after graduation from flight school and told my dad to drive it and take care of it in my absence. 

I remember he was hesitant to drive it, at least that was what he had told me. "Yes" he would take care of and watch over it; maybe "drive it a little." 

The old photos I have come across this past weekend tells me mom and dad had a lot of fun traveling the Oregon/Washington Coast and inland drives to Eastern Washington in that 1963 Corvette. 

The smile on my dads face tells it all. It is the same smile I had every time I drove that car. Top down and cruising in a classic sports car.
This photo to the left was most likely taken on the road from Grayland/Tokeland to Raymond, Washington.

There are photos of dad washing the car and proudly standing next to the "vette" while friends stopped over to visit. 

There are also a few photos of mom in the car and standing next to it and those photos tell me she also enjoyed riding and traveling in that sports car while I was over seas. Does my heart good. Yep, dad and mom truly loved the car in my absence that year.

Short post this week. Probably more old photos and a few memories in the posts ahead. Thanks for the visit.

Monday, November 11, 2019


Over 50 years now and I have told many of the old stories, maybe too often. I find now that looking at some of the old slides and photos bring back instances and memories. 
As I write this morning, in memory of a few of these years in my early 20's and in respect/honor for all Veteran's this coming Veterans' day, I find the visiting of these times as honorable as the days flying in support of our ground troops during 1967.

 A free-fire mission in the An Loa Valley, Central Highlands, Vietnam, early 1967.

One of our helicopters picking up to a hover at the "Golf Course" at the 1st Air Cav's base in An Khe. The helicopters were flying at max gross weight and would actually sink down into the lower grass field in front of this helicopter on take off before forward flight aerodynamics efficiency would kick in and the helicopter would rise in a take off climb. I was flying with the 2nd of the 20th Aerial Rocket Artillery, 1967.

Tail rotor failure at a hover the night before. Three complete fuselage rotations before the pilot and I lowered the collective, hitting the ground level and spreading the skids. Crew chief had a minor back injury. We considered this a successful landing with full tail rotor failure at night. Come to find out, the  bearings had been installed backwards inside the tail rotor assembly.

To add insult to injury, we were put into another helicopter that night to finish our night flight rotation. 

This was one of two tail rotor failures while flying combat in Vietnam. 

The second was in a Cobra and on that one I made a run on landing at an Air Force base w/o incident. No sooner had the blades stopped rotating, an air force pick up truck pulled up and handed the co-pilot me an ice cold Coca Cola with cap removed. 

We did our damnedest to try to stay there on the Air Force base with the Cobra for a few days, but we were transported back "home" later that day.   

To all Veterans: A heartfelt thank you for your service to our country.


Last weeks post about getting in an underground storm shelter for protection against a possible direct hit from the passing tornado in Dallas a few weeks ago, prompts a couple photos from a standing shelter we saw during our visit.

The 4 photos taped to the outside of the metal standing storm shelter we were shown shows how this particular model has proven itself in passing tornadoes. Still standing! The photo to the right shows how the all steel shelter is bolted to the inside garage floor. The inside of this particular shelter was lit by 12 Volt lights.

This would be my preference as opposed to being underground. 


Final Dallas story is about shooting skeet. I can't. 

Brother-in-law and his closest friend invited me along for a Sunday skeet shoot about 45 miles north of Dallas proper. I was just happy to go along and play with the boys. Getting a round of skeet shooting would be a bonus.

The range was set up for serious shooters. Most all of the fellows shooting there were also bird hunters. A day of shooting sports along with maintaining hunting skill sets. 

I watched a group of 5 shoot around the half-circle shooting stations between a high house and a low house that throws the skeets. Brother-in-law took me aside to load and shoot the 20 gauge shotgun. Any new shooter is always brought into the unfamiliar fold of shooters with safety lessons and practice.  

Our group of threes turn came up and we assumed the course. Individually, we took the shooting stand. Loaded 2 shells into the shotguns and assumed our stance. Yelling "pull" brought the high skeet first and then a second "pull" would bring the low skeet from across the circle towards us. 

I hit the first skeet like a pro. I should have up and quit observing how easy this was going to be. Save my shoulders and all of that. Of course this is not a real  option. Just for story telling. 

Twenty-two out of twenty-four of my skeet lived. Yep, I only hit two. Easy to count. And of course I had excuses. Several.  I made all of the common mistakes a newcomer does and was most likely better at making those mistakes than most. The birds of Texas are forever safe near my blind. 

One round was enough for me. Shoulders, you know! I watched brother- in-law and friend each kill their next 48 skeets without issue.

All in all, it was a boys' day out telling stories, playing with guns, running a hunting dog and grabbing BBQ on the way home.

I want more.

 Thanks for the visit this week.

Sunday, November 3, 2019


A week and a half in Texas visiting family and friends was the first vacation for my wife and me in several years.

Our first layover in Baltimore, after a quick hour and half flight, found us walking the terminal looking for breakfast. Off in the distance, I heard a bell ring to what appeared for each passenger getting off another flight arrival. The distance down the corridor was too far to know, though.

Soon, older fellows dressed in the same color shirts started to pass our locations. Most were wearing veterans hats and shirts. I learned the arrival of these men was an honor flight of older veterans coming to the memorials in Washington DC. I was reminded of my wife's father, a WWII veteran, and the honor flights of a few years back when these men were treated to free flights and all of the services to get to the war memorial for a visit along with other planned activities.

Volunteers clapped as each older man passed by our location and each were thanked for their service. The long corridor had many volunteers helping these men move along and all proudly applauded each and every one. "Thank you for your service" Many other airport travelers also joined in. 
I thought I was again watching WWII veterans but realized that there were not many of these men still alive and able to make a trip like this. And like a brick it hit me, these were my boys.  My men, my brothers, my war. They were the ones all of this was about and all were being so highly recognized by everyday folks. It has been over 50 years now. A great big lump in my throat and tears in my eyes. It was a most wonderful surprise for the beginning of this vacation. 

Several other honor flights were also arriving. I learned that some of these groups get a police escort all the way to the Wall and Korean Memorial.

A few hours later we arrived in Dallas and shirt sleeve weather. After gathering our luggage, we were quickly whisked away by brother in law and his wife

Within a few minutes we were parked in front of Sonny Bryan's Smokehouse Barbecue. One of Dallas's landmark restaurants  dating back to 1910.  

We have eaten here before and always look forward to this as one of our restaurant stops when visiting family in Dallas. 


Dallas Tornado

It was reported that the tornado that passed through Sunday evening (10-20-19) had touched down 9 to 10 times. The pictures below were taken a few days later when we drove by edges of some of the damage. 

We had taken a family drive into eastern Texas that day visiting family friends and sightseeing. On the drive home at sunset, we could see the storm building but gave it no more thought than any other thunderstorm passing over the city. We arrived back home in Dallas just as the first rain and wind from the storm hit. 

I was exhausted from jet lag, little sleep and welcomed an early bed time. No sooner had I fallen deep asleep I was quickly awakened by my wife shaking me, telling me that I need to get up and get with the family in the tornado storm shelter. Sirens and tornado warning phone apps indicated that immediate urgency in our location. 

Brother-in-law was adamant that we get into the shelter as he herded us into the garage and down inside the shelter. It was the first time I had ever seen him so concerned in voice and action.

A few minutes later, we were settled, sirens screaming outside, cell phones in hand monitoring other family and vice versa. When he started to slide the metal lid shutting us in, I spoke up. "Do not lock me inside this underground box." I was not mad, but this is one of my fears in life. Always has been. I would rather take the consequences of a storm like that, than being locked in a metal box underground. Simple as that. 

He did accommodate my fears, leaving the lid open enough to see up and out. Had the storm hit his house, he would have closed that lid regardless. 

For 15 minutes, I bit my lower lip, holding my fears inside, watching, listening and trying to be a good guest whom he was protecting with every inch of his being. I appreciated his position protecting the family while accommodating my fears.  I was sorry to put that added pressure on him, but the moment and my fear won out. 

The all-clear was given, the tornado had passed us moving north east. The metal lid was full opened and we individually climbed out of the shelter. 

The aftermaths of the storm were eye-opening for me in the damage caused through much of the town of Dallas. All family members were accounted for along with close friends. For the next hour, cell phone calling and texting found everyone in brother-in-laws circle of life safe as well. 

The storm had come within 2 blocks of his home. Close enough to warrant the actions and behaviors of getting everyone into a shelter. 

For me a first. I appreciated it then and more so now as I look back having seen some of the damage. In all honesty, I had no clue to the quickness of a passing tornado and the immediate urgency with which folks need to act.  I also did not fully realize the severity of a tornado touching down.

These late afternoon photos show just some of the damage.

Driving through portions of these neighborhoods showed homes covered with tarps and trees down on both sides of the streets. 

These photos were taken a week after the storm passed and it was apparent that the neighborhoods, families and city of Dallas had their work cut out getting debris removed and a handle on repairs. A few homes we saw were unlivable. 

I took this photo below as we toured around the local area on the day of our arrival. The neighborhoods where my brother-in-law and sister (my wife) grew up. 

I asked him specifically to stop as I rarely see construction sites like this and especially at the standing completion of the framing build.

Brother-in-law just sent these photos of that same home. The houses on either side of this new home being built received very little damage.

I cannot imagine what the new homeowner and builder must have thought at arriving and seeing this destruction after the storm.

Surprisingly, no deaths or injuries have been reported.


Two pictures above taken earlier the day of the tornado in the Piney Woods about 90 miles east of Dallas.  

An older tractor nearly obscured by overgrowth and a late afternoon reflection of trees on a large pond.


Close friends and I often describe the ups and downs of daily living as "sometimes you eat the bears and sometimes the bear eats you." I am not sure who started that saying so many years ago. 

In the case now, back on the hill in New Hampshire, the bear flat out wins every battle when it comes to my long term wanting to feed the birds. 

From now on, I am just going to throw seed and feed on the old picnic table near by and am also throwing in the towel.


Winter is coming once again. Time for wood fires and a pot of soup on the simmer. First snows forecasted the end of next week.

Thanks for another visit this week.