Tuesday, March 10, 2009

I Couldn't Believe it . . .

. . . and Other Brief Stuff

For most of my 85 years except for the first six or seven, I've been, in the eyes of others, a pack rat.

And for most of those years I have been hearing someone saying at various times "you should get rid of all that junk" but I have resisted vigorously.

When my back was turned my collections suffered. During World War II while I was in England, a bunch of my favorite comic books, lots of historic newspapers, my vast collection of Frank Merriwell adventure magazines and a lot of other things got thrown out the window from my third floor bedroom by my loving mother and my loving bride-to-be and then consigned to a backyard bonfire.

I was about to be wedded , back in 1946, when all that happened just before the ship that brought me back from Europe docked, and, I later learned from my tattletale mother, at the behest of my intended bride, whom I married just the same.

From that same bedroom a huge printig press at the foot of my bed, also was a victim of Miss L's orders, moved down to the cellar. That, too, later departed my life, but at my desire however.

I remember having a collection of movie posters. One prized one was a six foot long picture of Marilyn Monroe, a classy photo in good taste. I last saw it in Levittown, Pennsylvaia, sometime in the '60s

Not long ago my son Mr.T informed me his mother got hold of it one day and very deliberately and laboriously, by hand, reduced that gorgeous photo into a thousand pieces.

Through the years I have unconsciously managed to accumulate enough things that "might come in handy someday" to require two sizeable storage sheds and a two car garage to hold my "stuff."

Included are gallon glass milk bottles, canning jars, passe cameras including two Speed Graphics, a couple dozen rusty and handle-less rakes, spades, hoes, shovels, hammers and axes.

In the garage here one wall is stacked high with banker's storage boxes of books, computer printouts, tourist attraction pamphlets, years-old road maps, empty photo frames, advertising pens and pencils, most of which are dried up but might be valuable to people who collect such items, and lots of other stuff.

This has caused Lady B and a couple of concerned daughters to "suggest" it may be time to start eliminaating some of my stuff so that when my time comes to cross over the river, the kids won't have too much collectible material to sort through and toss.

Well, I have started. In the recent past I have shredded, bagged and land-filled all of my 1960 cancelled checks. I have a few years to go from there to now and back from there to 1936 but I think I've still got time.

Now let me get back to my headline up above -"I Can't Believe It". Lady B has been the who has subletly been coaching me to quit being a pack rat, often reminding me that she doesn't save junk because someday it might come in handy.

Let me interject here that my memory is beginning to cause me a bit of trouble as to recent events. That said and pointing back to the fact that Laby B doesn't save things, I must say that I forgot the object of which I am about to write.

A few days ago I did some office cleaning and was tossing out things when suddenly I heard "save that, it might come in handy some day."

Yes, my very own words coming at me from Lady B. Yes,the lady who never wants to clutter up the place. YEAH !


Now for the brief stuff. Not long ago a foreign correspondent reminded me, as does my daughter Yarntangler on a regular basis, that I should be using "spellchecker" because I seem to come up with a lot of typos in my messages.

That calls for answers and here they are. Spellchecker doesn't really spell any better than I do. I blame my typos sometimes on weakening eyes.
But, friends - get this now - I type with a New England accent so blame those typos on my accent, ya hear?

Another correspondent from up North wrote "it must be hard living there in that desert with those dust storms and the sand."

Well, Hobbs is not desert any more even if some road maps may indicate the city is in a remote and wild area. Much of this place is now concrete or blacktop. We do have an occasional dust storm.

There's seven big new hotels here, a four year university, a two year junior college, a decent sized hospital, most of the well known chain restaurants, a bunch of four lane highways, a horse racing track, a casino, a couple of museums and even two lakes although no river.

Yes there's still cowboys on big ranches here! And aroud here there's a lot of oil wells that help you folks up North get plenty of gasoline, most of the time at cheaper prices that right here in the oilfields.

OK, that's all for now. Have a nice day - or night.

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Old Newsie

Monday, March 9, 2009

The East Wind Blew and . . .

. . . Lo ! Another 9/11 Memorial

Southeastern New Mexico is well known for its high winds and those high winds do strange things, the worst of which are the terrible and tragic wild fires which destroy thousands of acres of range land, crops and homes.

You've all read of wildfires in California which are far worse than those of this area but occasionally you may read in your newspaper of our fires or hear of them on television.

But this blog is not about the wildfires, it is about the wind and the antics it throws around our neighborhoods every Spring and Summer. The focus here is the United States Flag.

On September 11, 2001, two terrorist-maneuvered airliners flew into New York City and in two separate crashes demolished the World Trade Center, then known by the popular nickname "Twin Towers." Nearly three thousand people were killed in that terror attack,many being New York City firefighters and police.

In the aftermath, rescue workers, firefighters and policemen raised the United States Flag in a mound of concrete and steel rubble against a background of the shattered towers. The pictures of that flag memorial flashed around the world in hours.

Now fast forward to Hobbs, America, a couple years later. Firefighters and police here secured a plot of land on the former Hobbs Army Air Base, center of the country's World War II B-17 bomber pilot training.

The firefighters and police had vowed after the New York disaster to memorialize here their brothers and sisters who died heroically in the fires and collapse of the Twin Towers.

The locals designed and erected, mostly with volunteer help, a memorial featuring a replica of the tilted United State Flag amidst the New York rubble.. The memorial was constructed taking advantage of - you guessed it - the wind - to keep the flag flying straight in the direction of New York.

But that's not the end of the wind story. A day after one of our terrific blows, a neighbor stopped by the house and asked if I might want some help straightening up my flagpole in front of the house.

He said it looked like the wind had pushed if over and I needed to push it back to its erect position. One look at the pole brought out a quick "no" as I realized the flagpole matched the angle of the one at the local firefighter/police 9/11 memorial and the one at Ground Zero in New York City

I like to think the angled flag flying (above) in my front yard is a personal memorial not only to the New York heros but also to Peter A . Gay, a son of longtime lawyer friend Peter B. Gay, back home in Massachusetts , who was a passenger and victim on the first plane which hit the World Trade Center .

- 30 -

Old Newsie