Gooney Birds On Midway

You know, I spent some time on two islands in the Pacific. One was Wake, Island and the other was Midway, Island. I ate lunch at both places, sat around and watched the Gooney birds defecating on the runwgooney2ays and wondered why so many people were killed defending the birds and the islands? There were no women on either island but I suspected the Navy guys had substitutes. I saw one sailor with tattoos of large ants going around his rib cage into the crack of his ass. That surely told me something about the defenders of our Freedoms on them islands. Midway Island doesn’t have much here. It was bitterly fought over during World War II with the Japanese who used the landing strip. That same strip, much enlarged and reinforced was where our MATS plane touched down. We refueled there and the Navy served us a nice dinner in their mess. I walked around and saw these “Gooney Birds” and took this photo of them.

Still cold up here with lots of snow. You can have some of it or all of it. I got at least two feet left in most places and it doesn’t melt fast enough to suit me. I think we got more snow here than fell on Mt St Helens this winter. When it melts the people down the street will have one hell of a flood.

Affects of the War

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This is certainly not ‘new’ technology, but it seemed new and important at the time: World War II brought about shortages of everything and rationing. Few people today would believe that most families grew ‘Victory Gardens.’ Somehow by growing our own food, we helped the war effort. Chocolate candy went missing from the candy counters at the grocery stores and ice cream finally disappeared. They said it was being set aside for our soldiers, sailors and airmen.

Airmen in those days didn’t mean The Air Force but the air forces we had were a part of the US Army. So it was called, The Army Air Force. We had the United States Navy and a branch of it called The Marines. The navy ships carried the soldiers to far away places in the Pacific and sent their Marines ashore to take islands like Iwo Jima, Tarawa, New Guinea and Papua.

Gasoline was rationed as was motor oil and cooking oils. Most of the families fried food in animal fat called Lard but nobody got sick or developed cancer because we ate all that fat. We did not have vegetable oil like you have today. It was lard or nothing and the grease frying out of bacon made eggs fry better than modern skillet sprays.

But ordinary food was scarce in Gordon where I lived. There was no more ice cream and no chocolate candy. That was the food I missed the most. We could not grow ice cream or candy in the Victory Garden so we went without it. In the winter, after a snow storm had passed, mother would tell me to go outside and fill a large metal pan used to wash dishes in (we had no sinks but used large basins to wash dishes in) with clean snow. She would pour a little vanilla extract into the pan and store the snow around and the two of us ate all of it and claimed it was better than real ice cream.

I do remember that the stores had ice chests with lids one opened to see a large container of ice cream. All during the war the lids remained open and people didn’t have to pester the grocer by asking if they got any ice cream in.

Oh boy was it ever great to eat a chunk of real meat off the farm. Yum. Nothing like sugar cured ham or smoked meat. Bonnie and Milbert Ressler butchered once or twice each year and she made the best sugar cured ham in the world (my mouth is watering). As a little kid, I would ride my tricycle out into the country hoping to arrive in time for breakfast and a taste of that ham.Victory Garden Seeds.

To earn some prize or cash money I sold a box containing packages of vegetable garden seeds. People planted seeds and grew large gardens and in my small hamlet some families were better customers than others. The Tommy Rice family and his son-in-law, from Germany, Bill Lage, were my best seed customers. I sold Victory Garden Seeds each spring and instead of money, got a prize.

My best prize was a Roy Rogers Cap Pistol and Holster. I got a photo of me wearing them and a straw hat on my head. I look pretty big to be wearing things like that.

Lage’s always bought new seed every year and I usually sold almost all of the packages of seeds in the big shipping box. Mom used the seeds nobody wanted but for the most part, we saved our seeds from harvested crops from one year to the next. Mom always squashed tomatoes on newspapers on the porch and left the seed pulp to dry for next year. She also let onions go to seed and green beans and peas. We used those seeds the next year and did not have to buy seeds.
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Aortic Aneurysm

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You can see the Dacron tube inside the open aorta.

Back in 1996, I quit smoking because of a constant coughing. My aneurysm was discovered by Dr. Donald P. Wharton, our family doctor. He found it by feeling the abdominal area at the conclusion of a physical examination. He felt certain it was an aneurysm and sent me to specialists to undergo a long series of tests. During these tests, it was established that the aneurysm was 6 to 6.5 centimeters (about 2.5 inches in diameter) and ran vertically in the descending aorta from near the heart into the right leg. It was also discovered that I had suffered a heart attack that had damaged the Left Ventricle; one artery was 100% blocked but had rerouted itself; and, another is 25% blocked.

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Dacron tube used inside aorta

The doctor who performed most of the tests was Dr. Joseph Askenazi. His skills in probing the aorta with a device that enabled him to see all of the problem areas was amazing to me, and when we saw the 100% blockage that had rerouted itself, I looked up at Dr. Askenazi and said, “You know what that looks like?” He asked me what I thought it looked like and I said it looked like a Praying Mantis caught in a spider web. The whole mass was jiggling each time my heart beat and that is what it looked like to me.

After the surgery when I asked Dr. Pohl how he got to the aorta since it is near the backbone and all of the organs are in front of it. He explained, in layman’s terms, that my insides were taken out, put in plastic bags and set aside while he did the surgery. Finally, each bag’s contents are emptied into the cavity and you are sewn up. The lower part of the surgical incision ruptured on the third day after surgery when coughing after taking a breathing treatment. That prompted another operation in July by Dr. John A. Dutro
 who closed this rupture by sewing a Dacron mesh screen into the muscles on the inside of my belly.

Dreams

My dreams are seldom spooky but some are intense. I no longer have those dreams that younger boys and men have and it is not alarming to me. I do have dreams that are so interesting that should something wake me up I try to go back to where my dream and I were hooked up.

sleepingOnce, in my dreams, somebody or some thing was bothering Patty who was then able to lay down in a normal bed and I put both my feet on her butt and kicked or pushed her out of the bed. She hit the floor in a sitting position with her back leaning on the bed and turned to look up at me and said, “What did you do that for?” She was more than irritated.

Frankly, I had no idea why she was sitting on the floor with her back against the bed looking at me and asking such a dumb question. I didn’t kick you out of bed but about that time I remembered my dream and answered, “Something was trying to get you! I pushed you out of the way. Are you OK?”

I remember when we lived in Gordon and our tiny bedroom had a crib with a new baby in it and a small bed with two others in it. I used to dream a lot in those days about the kids in diapers yelping for a bottle of Kool Aid and would wake my wife up and tell her that one of the babies wanted a bottle. She would get up and fix a bottle for the one in need. She never made me do it because my work at NCR in Dayton was often 12 hours long and she knew I needed sleep to be able to go to work the next day. I barely had enough spare time to fix this or that or go to the local grocery store to buy my cigarettes.

My dreams were never about work or the people who worked in my department but were always about being an Indian or being with an Indian tribe. I read a lot of books in those days and my favorite books were related to World War II and the cowboys and Indians out West.

My 2007 Collapsed Lung

Not a happy camper at the hospital back in 2007. My lung had collapsed and that itself was a frightening experience. They had to cut between my ribs in the back and stick a one-way tube into my chest to let the air that escaped from my lung exit the cavity so there would be room left for the lung to inflate.

Am not sure what I was thinking about when this photo was taken of me, but it wasn’t something to eat as I was not that hungry while in the hospital.

I was glad to get home. The problem was that I got home for about ten days and the same lung collapsed again. I had to go through the same suffocation experience and the same trip to the hospital and the same cutting through the ribs and sticking the tube in place.