Thoughts and assorted philosophical musing about: Family, Friends, Fun, Hobbies, & other everyday things.
My continuing efforts to serve as a First Sergeant (Top) in the Army of God.
My latest interest is in Letterboxing.

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Saturday, May 30, 2009

Fleeting Thoughts

Memorial Day, the traditional beginning of the outdoor leisure season, has come and gone. This period in late spring and early summer is one most of us look forward to each year. Yesterday I was meditating and dwelling on the sights, sounds, and activities that I enjoy during this period of awaking and new beginnings.

Some of the things considered im my fleeting thoughts on this subject included:

Flowers, flowers, and more flowersNew lifeGrassy Lanes and shady grovesSpring plants and berry'sWeddings and new beginnings
Rain storms and showersBeaches and parksTime visiting family and friendsCookoutsAnd of course snuggling close with my wife
(You can only wish for a picture)

It is time to hit the letterboxing trail again. I need to produce a couple to plant and several new boxes have recently been planted in nearby locations. I have a couple that I want to do for my Berea series, but need to work out the details. I have seen several discussions on Atlas Quest as to what makes a good letterbox. Thinking about it I guess that from the beginning my goal has been to produce letterboxes that are integrated, i.e. those in which the stamp, location, subject, and logbook are all designed to be in harmony. It can take more work, but I consider such boxes to be the "Best Boxes".


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Weekend or weakend? and Tom Davis Letterbox

We took a long weekend break to be with our daughter Ellisa and her family for memorial day. I am pretty worn down from all the activity and travel. The way I feel today perhaps I should say it was a WEAKend.

It all started when I applied for a NEXUS card thinking it would be a quick and easy way to cross back and forth into Canada with all of the new restrictions going into effect. Then when my money was already paid out and it was approved, I learned that I would have to go to a government processing center to complete the application procedure. The nearest point was in Detroit. So I called my Daughter and told her that I would be in the area and would spend a day with her. She picked last Friday night and Saturday. Then my wife wanted a card too, the process was repeated and the two of us planned on going. When we realized that it was the Memorial Day weekend, and that Grandson Payton would march with his school, Reach Charter Academy, in two parades, it became a Friday through Tuesday excursion. Elllisa took all of the pictures, she does a great job and is enjoying her new camera.


Friday we took care of business, checked into our Motel, then joined Ellisa and crew for dinner and fun. Saturday Ellisa's hubby Matt had to work, the rest of us went to the farm market for flowers which then had to be planted that day by the ladies while I enjoyed a nap. Afterward it was off to get a grill (an early Fathers Day present) for Matt. We kicked in on the grill as our birthday gift for him. Subs for dinner then called it a night.

Sunday it was church followed by Matt going to work again while the rest of us went for our First Parade of the weekend, a four mile hike, which took the rest of the day and wore us all out. Of course I rode my little scooter. Next Pizza for dinner, followed by rest for our tired, tender, and sunburned bodies.

Monday Matt was off and we had another parade to do. This one was shorter and near to their home. It ended with a very nice ceremony. The weekend was then capped off by Matt and I assembling the Grill, which of course he then had to cook on. Great steaks, chicken, and roasted corn with all of the fixings then somemores. Can you have Memorial Day without a cookout? It was a very nice family weekend even if I am totally worn out. Oh! Did I mention that there was the required playing with the hose and that everyone came over to the motel for a splash to end the day.

I know that my health is very fragile and that each such visit may well be my last. As we were leaving yesterday I found myself apprehensively thinking - will I be back here again? That is a bit scary, but I believe it makes me appreciate these times even more.

I did get a new letterbox completed and out for "Plant a Letterbox Day". It was a bit rushed but came out fairly good. I chose a memorial box dedicated to James "Tom" Davis, one of those that I served with in the Vietnam War and the first American to give his life in ground combat during that conflict.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memories - Revision II and Final?


I have wanted to make a special post for today but just ran out of time and energy, mostly energy! Donna and I are currently with my daughter and her family enjoying an extended weekend. We have been doing all of the usual things plus we were in two parades. Tonight Ellisa's husband Matt cooked out on his new grill and we really had some fine grub.

So to honor the spirit of the day I have extracted most of the following from a posting which I made last year on another blog. It expresses my feelings as truly today as it did then.


"I have been struggling for a week or so regarding Memorial Day and my feelings regarding it. It seems to get harder each year for me to reflect upon it. Several times I have driven to DC and visited the Wall on Memorial Day early in the morning before all of the hullabaloo starts. During my 20 plus years in the Army I belonged to the Army Security Agency which was staffed by a small group of individuals that were assigned to a very limited group of units throughout their entire careers. As a result I often worked with the same folks over and over at different locations. Friendships developed that were sort of like a family.

During the Vietnam era I lost several of these friends. I have intended to put up a memorial page for some time now. Although there are other memorial sites for these hero's somehow I think it will be cathartic if I create one also. If I do I want it to be just right, so I just haven't gotten it done, and this leaves me feeling a bit guilty.

While I enjoy the opportunity to spend extra time with members of my biologically family I mourn for those from this extended family, so it's a weekend of mixed feelings. But The Lord knows my needs and helps me to deal with these issues."

This is the official list, but I think that others should be added.




SP4 James T. Davis
3rd Radio Research Unit
22 Dec 1961
"Tom" Davis was the first American killed in ground combat in RVN

PFC Donald R. Taylor
3rd Radio Research Unit
9 Feb 1964


SP4 Arthur Glover
3rd Radio Research Unit
9 Feb1964

SSG Robert F. Townsend
10th Radio Research Unit
4 Nov 1965

SSG Donald D. Daugherty
3d Radio Research Unit
13 Apr 1966

Lt William E. Leatherwood Jr.
8th Radio Research FS
17 Feb 1966

CPT James D. Stallings
337th Radio Research Co
25 Sep 1966

1LT John F. Cochrane
409th Radio Research Det
24 Oct 1966

SFC John F. Stirling
335th Radio Research Co
8 Mar 1967

SP5 William L. Stewart Jr.
8th Radio Research FS
8 Oct 1967

SP4 Richard G. Feruggia
8th Radio Research FS
8 Oct 1967

SP4 Terrance H. Larson
8th Radio Research FS
8 Oct 1967

SP4 Robert D. Nelson
8th Radio Research FS
8 Oct 1967

SP4 Joseph P. Rowly
8th Radio Research FS
8 Oct 1967

SP4 John D. Saville Jr.
8th Radio Research FS
8 Oct 1967

SP4 Ronald A. Villardo
8th Radio Research FS
8 Oct 1967

SFC Robert D. Taylor
335th Radio Research Co
26 Nov 1967

SGT Diego Ramirez Jr.
335th Radio Research Co
26 Nov 1967

SP5 Michael P. Brown
335th Radio Research Co
26 Nov 1967

WO1 Milton Warren Smith
138TH Avn Co (RR)
29 Dec 1967

WO1 Jonathan P. Shaffer
138TH Avn Co (RR)
29 Dec 1967

CPT John M. Casey
371st Radio Research Co
25 Mar 1968

SP4 Christopher Schramm
371st Radio Research Co
13 May 1968

SP4 Jeffrey W. Haerle
372d Radio Research Co
13 May 1968

SP5 Samuel C. Martin
101st Radio Research Co
17 May 1968

SGT Thomas J. Tomczak
403d Special Opns Det
23 Jul 1968

SP5 Harold Biller
175th Radio Research Co
25 Feb 1969

SP5 Harold J. Colon
409th Radio Research Det
21 Jun 1969

CW2 Jack K. Knepp
371st Radio Research Co
29 Nov 1969

WO1 Dennis D. Bogle
371st Radio Research Co
29 Nov 1969

SP4 James R. Smith
371st Radio Research Co
29 Nov 1969

PFC Henry N. Heide II
371st Radio Research Co
29 Nov 1969

SP4 Robert E. Dew
330th Radio Research Co
30 Aug 1970

SP5 Carl H. Caccia
404th Radio Research Det
21 Feb 1971

SP5 Robert J. Thelen
404th Radio Research Det
21 Feb 1971

SP5 Robert J. Potts
404th Radio Research Det
21 Feb 1971

SP5 Mitchell B. Smith
404th Radio Research Det
21 Feb 1971

WO1 Paul V. Black
371st Radio Research Co
1 Mar 1971

WO1 Robert D. Uhl
371st Radio Research Co
1 Mar 1971

SP5 Gary C. David
371st Radio Research Co
1 Mar 1971

SP4 Frank A. Sablan
371st Radio Research Co
1 Mar 1971

CPT Michael W. Marker
138th Avn Co (RR)
4 Mar 1971

WO1 Harold L. Algaard
138th Avn Co (RR)
4 Mar 1971

SP6 John T. Strawn
138th Avn Co (RR)
4 Mar 1971

SP5 Richard J. Hentz
138th Avn Co (RR)
4 Mar 1971

SP5 Rodney D. Osborne
138th Avn Co (RR)
4 Mar 1971

SP5 Larry P. Westcott
8th Radio Research FS
30 Mar 1972

SP5 Bruce A. Crosby Jr.
8th Radio Research FS
30 May 1972


A colleague from my days working as an electronics instructor sent me this link to a "Battle Hymn of the Republic" presentation by public school children. I found it inspiring, perhaps all hope for our country is not yet gone!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

HamVention., Plant a Box, and Memorial Day

Much of last week was spent with Ham radio activities. Thursday morning began my annual pilgrimage to the Mecca of amateur radio in Dayton OH for what is known as the HamVention. After many years I was running out of things to occupy myself for the two and a half day event, so I volunteered to help. They kept me busy about 4 hours each day. Still I had plenty of time to get around and check out what is new. The HamVention is by far the largest yearly gathering of Ham Operators from around the world. It is the world premier trade show for amateur radio related equipment. This is the place where manufactures and vendors annually introduce or display their newest and greatest products. The large number of vendors encourages very competitive pricing. In addition there is a flee market area with hundreds of spaces stretching farther than you can see. In this arial photo everything to the left of and behind the buildings (The Hara Arena Complex) is flee market space. The show attracts many non ham visitors come to purchase computers and related gear, which are much in demand for modern ham operations, at well below market price.

Many ham radio groups, including the ARRL hold there annual gatherings and dinners in conjunction with the HamVention. Multiple Forums and Discussions are scheduled each hour of every day along with activities to keep spouses and kids with different interests engaged. Ham License sessions are provided. It is a really quit a blast.

So now I have cleaned up everything that did not get done while I was gone and am working on a Memorial Day blog. Also Sunday is "Plant a Letterbox" day, so I would like to finish a memorial box to get out. Friday morning I will be off to Detroit to take care of some business and to visit with my Daughter Ellisa and her family.

To add to the confusion the church web site crashed and I am struggling to get it back on line. Busy, Busy, Busy.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Thoughts of Mom

Saturday I posted some sentiment about mothers. Yesterday was spent helping my wife Donna, the Mother of my four children to enjoy mothers day. I gave her both an edible fruit bouquet and a traditional flower bouquet. After church we enjoyed an exceptionally wonderful buffet served at one branch of Bucci's, a locally favorite restaurant. Two of our sons were able to join us for dinner then they came home and spent the remainder of the afternoon working around the house to accomplish some projects which she has been wanting to get done. She tells me that she had a wonderful day.

The following is more sentiment which, although it was included with the clues for my Hanami letterbox, I wanted to share with a wider audience. It is a slightly modified version of a poem which was found on the Internet without attribution.

What is a Mom?

A mom is one of God's best gifts,
Someone to treasure all life through,
She's caring and loving,
Thoughtful and true,
Someone who is always a special part of your life,
Someone who holds a prime place in your heart,
She's a mentor, a confident and also a friend,
Someone on whose love you can depend.
A mom always has your best interests at heart,
She's someone so dear and so good,

She's a blessing, she's a gift,
She's a treasure like no other,
She's someone that is truly wonderful.
Wherever you go, and whatever you do,
A mom’s love will always see you through,
A mom is truly invaluable,
Indispensable and unforgettable.
I wouldn't want anyone but her,
And that's why I'm so grateful,
that God picked her for me.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Payton Day and Dixie

Last Saturday was Payton Day. Friday night after work Donna and I drove to Toledo to help in preparing a Family Birthday Party for our 6 year old Grandson Payton. Donna helped a lot in the kitchen giving her and our daughter time to catch up on all of the little things that they might have missed during their three to five hours a day of talking and texting on their cell phones. Except for a trip to the grocery store, followed by cutting up stuff for a tray of veges, I mostly tried to stay out of the way and not complain.

After struggling with the cake crumbling while attempting to frost it, Ellisa abandoned that project and started over from scratch. However, the final result (sometime latter) was very successful.

I did not take me camera (senior moment) so I do not have any shots of my own to share. Payton's mom, Ellisa, was given a very nice second hand camera that morning by her brother-in-law Jason. She took a lot of pictures, but her computer is down so she has not yet shared them. Here are a couple stolen from Jason's Facebook Page.

It is apparent that Payton is enjoying himself. Payton is a real little charmer who is frequently found surrounded by girls. Here he is captured showing Anna, the daughter of one of his mothers friends since her early childhood, around the grounds.

The party was a complete success and enjoyed by all. Afterward we drove back home and arrived about 10pm, just in time to fix more food for a church potluck the following morning.

This week was more laid back. I put out a letterbox for Mothers day which is both a tribute to all mothers, and a bit of a memorial to my own mother. Mom's given name was "Hazel Joyce", but at one point in her working life she was labeled "Dixie" to avoid name confusion with others. She liked that moniker and was often called that by friends throughout her later life. This letterbox tribute was probably due to recent efforts to get more in touch with my feelings. Repeating part of the sentiment from this letterbox:

"Life brings us many joys and celebrations, but also some heartaches and disappointment along the way. We go through a period of mourning when someone close passes on, then we pick ourselves up and move on.

I am old enough that I have seen many friends and loved ones go. However I find that the one death that I have never fully recovered from was that of my mother. Losing your mother leaves a void that nothing else can ever fill, a broken link and special bond that can never be repaired or replaced.

My mom was truly a sweet and gentile person who endured many hardships without complaint after being orphaned at an early age. She passed away on the 17th day of August 1995. Nearly 14 years latter I still miss her wit, wisdom, council, understanding, and love. Someday we will hold each other again!!"


Considerable time was also spent this week in getting some things ready for Donna to enjoy mothers day and in planning for her upcoming retirement party.