Bucket List, Pails in Comparison

Topeka Capital-Journal
Dec. 19, 2005

I have been given a list of “20 Things You Should Do in This Lifetime” and it appears if I had intended to do all of them I should have started sooner. Maybe you should have too. Here’s the list and some comments.

1. Visit the country your ancestors called home. I’ve done that. I’ve been to England, Ireland, Holland and Germany, and didn’t see anybody I recognized. All I really know if that my mother came from Nebraska, by way of Indiana, and my Dad from Kansas, also by way of Indiana. I’ve been to those places too and didn’t see any monuments to Shively’s or Sniders.

2. Leave a dollar where a kid will find it. I’ve done that. I also left my car keys where a kid could find them. When the kids were young, the keys disappeared. When they were older, the car disappeared.

3. Fly over the Grand Canyon in a helicopter. No way. I wouldn’t fly over the Shunganunga in a helicopter. They were not meant to fly.

4. Lend money to a friend without expecting it back. I’ve done that countless times, and sure enough, I didn’t get the money back. The friends were my children.
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Hole in One, Holes in Stories

Topeka Capital-Journal
Sept. 18, 1985

You probably aren’t going to believe a word of this, but it is all true:

It was in World War II, and I was taking the physical examination that led to the Navy. It happened that one of the guys in line with me was a friend named John McGraw. Not the baseball immortal, just a friend.

When the time came to give a urine sample, I was having a problem, but John obviously wasn’t. I asked him to take my little jar and fill it. He obliged. An hour later I was in the Navy.

A month later, I was at a naval training base and was called to the hospital. I was told to give a urine sample and to wait while they checked it. Later came the questions.

Did I have a family history of kidney trouble? Was I ever treated for blood in the urine? Sugar? Wet the bed? I played dumb because the doctor didn’t seem the type who would appreciate the truth. “I don’t understand this,” he said. “Come back in a week.” Continue reading

They Also Serve…War Years in the Norman (Okla.) Navy

(From the Memoir posted on this site)

At boot camp, I was named the company mailman, and suddenly everyone looked up to me. The job allowed me to skip a few marching and running drills, and I kept telling our CO, a high school football coach from Texas, that I had to see to it that the mail got through, on time, rain or shine.

And when the eight-week boot camp was over, the Navy was nice enough to send me home to Oklahoma. Comedian George Gobel, stationed at Altus, Okla., Army Air Base, later bragged that not a single Japanese plane got past Amarillo.

He had nothing on me. In my years at the Naval Air Technical Training Command base in Norman, no Japanese vessel ever was sighted on the south Canadian River… Continue reading