Monday, May 28, 2012

From Cook to Colonel

Is this any way to treat a West Point graduate? After all, he was trained to lead troops into battle. His troops appear to be a dog and cat. I don't think he was cut out to be a Mess Officer

I'm not sure where his own wishes were at the time. He and his wife and very little boy had been assigned to Schofield Barracks in Hawaii. The picture was probably taken in 1929 or so. Somehow he ended up in Cooks and Bakers School. I suspect it was not by choice. He was a bit of a maverick in some ways, not particularly content with how the Army of the late 1920's was functioning. Could some unhappy commanding general have felt it was only justice that the second lieutenant be relegated to a job that was a step above the infamous Kitchen Patrol duties? I remember that kind of duty well from a time many years ago when one day I was assigned to KP and the next day to Ash and Trash and kept that routine up for several days in a row.

 Later in life Cooks and Bakers School paid off - he ended up with a real gift of cooking, especially his secret recipe for waffles. He produced the best waffles I've ever had and he went through a performance worthy of the greatest gourmet chef in the world.

He didn't stay on active duty too long, resigning from the Army in the early thirties and worked in banking and real estate for about  decade.

Then came World War Two. Some might think the Army had grown desperate for manpower when he was recalled to active duty. Instead, the powers that be were realized that he had unique gifts that would be important to the war effort. Not only did he serve through World War Two but he continued faithfully serving in the Army for many years - even into the 1960's, when he officially retired from active duty.

Even in retirement years he continued to exhibit qualities and abilities that were valuable to society.He lived a life steeped in West Point's focus of duty......honor....and country. And he continued to make the best waffles in the world. I'm proud of the cook who became a colonel. He was my dad. Gone but not forgotten.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Someone thought I Was Enormously Gorgeous

Someone once said I was enormously gorgeous. When I looked in the mirror this morning I asked the question, "Are you talking about me?"

They said that it was because I had beautiful blonde hair. I don't - fact is, I have a slighly receding hairline that is more gray or white than blonde. But I count my blessings that there is something there.

To be enormously gorgeous they said I needed to have perfectly straight white teeth. I don't any more - there's a gap here or there and I observe dentists licking their chops and checking heir balance sheets every time I visit,

To be enormously gorgeous, they told me that I could not have little brown dots called freckles on my face. I didn't back then but now I have age spots and an eager-to-grow beard growth. Thank goodness I haven't gained too many wrinkles.

To be enormously gorgeous, said the other person, I needed to be the smartest kid in town. I wasn't and I'm not. It took me three times to pass algebra in high school and probably never got my deportment above a D. I've done all right since school - maybe age mellows a person.

To be enormously gorgeous, they said, I need to be able to tell the funniest jokes around. My problem is that I remember part of a joke  but seem to always forget the punch line

To be enormously gorgeous, I was told, I had to live in the nicest house in the best neighborhood. I remember the years where our trailer homes progressed from 27 feet to 30 feet, to 33 feet, to 38 feet,
to 40 feet, and finally to a 55 foot 10 wide mobile home. Each time a new child came along it seemed we moved into a larger unit. Now I'm happy to be in an independent living 2 bedroom 2 bath senior apartment. Better, I think than some of the negative alternatives.

To be enormously gorgeous, my advisor said, it involves wearing only the coolest clothes and most popular shoes. Maybe my blue jeans and tennies might come close in this category but they sure are not like what we had to wear to school back when nice shoes, sport coats, ties, and stylish slacks were the norm.

My friend said that you had to come from, and become,  the perfect family to be enormously gorgeous. Some in my ancestry really thought this but I learned how not to be perfect from a couple of classmates and my brother.

But when I look back to my age in the picture I might have fit my mother's idea of enormously gorgeous. Then I looked in the mirror and thought to my mom - "sorry, beautiful lady, there have been a few changes over the years."  

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Mad Scientist Laboratory

To  begin with, Joyce says I need to clean up my mess. But she has been saying this for months. Now I wonder why she let me add more electronics to my computer room collection. To top that off, it's not the entire collection - there are more units in the living room. Just not as obvious.

Notice that I said 'computer room' - not 'man cave'. She has a real thing about the man cave description so I feel comfortable with 'computer room' - it seems to offer a bit more sophistication.

At any rate, the additional equipment came as the result of Jeff asking for videos to watch as he goes through his cancer treatment. I'm happy to do that if it make Jeff's days more pleasant.

First, my wonderful Super VHS video tape unit quit. (It currently resides under the bed out of the picture.) So I had to go out and try to find a VCR playback unit to feed videos to my computer for conversion to compact disc. Not too hard to find -
got one for half price (five dollars) at a Goodwill store. Then I needed to find a Cassette player for downloading music. That was a bit harder to find. None of the Goodwill stores, or DAV stores had cassette players - cassettes seem to be out of style.
So I started to make the rounds of pawn shops. I finally found one - got it home and it didn't work and took it back to get another. That works fine. Another ten dollars down the drain.

So, I now have a playback disc player, a cassette player, a VHS playback, two 8mm camcorders (in the closet), a computer and a printer in the computer room (not forgetting the maze of wiring connecting various components). Oh, I must not forget a non-working computer at the end of a dresser, a slide projector, and an 8 mm antique movie projector. And a few (?) piles of slide reels, movie cans, VHS tapes, and CD's and DVD's. That's the computer room which also has a closet (full), a dresser, (full) and bed (laden with'stuff').

Not to be outdone, the living room includes a DVD/VHS player AND a DVD recorder attached to our flat screen 46 inch television which is also connected to a cable system box.

Does the mad scientist label fit?

And Joyce has advised me that in two or three weeks we will be having company from out of state. I fear she will not simply ask - but perhaps lovingly demand - that something is done to make the computer room habitable. Oh, well..............