“There is no real ending. It’s just the place where you stop the story.”

― Frank Herbert

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Cold and clear means good radio reception.


There's been a big moon out the last few nights, no need to run the external security lights. This morning it's shining spectacularly.  You've heard the expression "reading a newspaper by the light of the moon." I think you could actually do that right now.

It's cold, though.  Just below freezing so I'm not spending a lot of time outside this morning admiring the moon light.  The scanners are going, have been for more than an hour, and not a peep out of them. You can certainly tell when tourist season is over just by the immediate and marked fall off in county radio traffic.

About midnight I went out to the apartment and listened to skip on the SSB CB unit.  People are talking about the normal things. I think using a CB radio with a linear accelerator on it, at illegal power levels, is very much a country thing. I almost never hear anyone on there who isn't coming out of some rural location, unless you get the occassional truck driver and he probably is from the country when he's home.  CNN says that 51 percent of the American population now lives in cities, and the rate of migration from the rural areas to the cities is accelerating. I wonder if it's a coincidence that the same thing happened to the Romans when they started down the deceleration curve?

I know there is little employment in the countryside. Medical care is often extremely limited on a local basis, fire and police services are so thin on the ground as to be virtually non existent. I've written before how I called our Sheriff's Department and asked for the occasional patrol out around our quadrant some years ago, only to be told that "you folks are on your own out there."  I can understand it, it's a big county and a small department.  Young people leave, the older people become infirm and get moved to their kids houses, a "granny" house, or the ultimate evil fate, the county nursing home.
My own kids were raised here, and sometimes they come to visit but they tell me they would never want to live here, even if they didn't have to work. In the city, there are lots of people like them, no end of things to do, and they like it.



I had lunch with two young men , just turned thirty,  this week. They grew up here, and neither of them have ever traveled further from the mountains than a quick trip to the beach.  It's interesting to me that  these guys have not the slightest desire to see the wide world. When I was their age I'd already been all over Asia, Europe and the Middle East. I've lived in, worked in, or at least visited almost forty countries. One of my primary considerations was " Join the Marines and See the World." when I signed up.  I guess that recruiting poster has gone out of vogue, given the history of the last ten years. Still, I couldn't make either of these fellows understand why I wanted to travel when I was their age. They're good people, intelligent, hard working individuals with families. I guess our backgrounds are too different to really connect. I've been considering a trip out to New Mexico and I asked them if they wanted to go along, only half in jest.  Both reacted with horror, to the extent that I couldn't help laughing at them.  They didn't want to miss work, didn't want to leave their families, didn't know what the people were like out there, and so on.


Oh, well.  I honestly believe things are just changing so fast now that I'm not keeping up with the times.  But then again, when I think of life as it was in the 1950's, when I was a kid and life as it is now, I am not at all sure I want to.

My brother in Oregon is going through one of his phases where he is getting rid of his possessions. When he left California some years back, he sold or gave away everything he had, with the exception of what he could pack in a trailer and his car.  Now he's cleaning out things I would be keeping, including his family memorabilia. He sent me some old pictures he had that he thought I might want.

Among them, my graduation picture from the Army Airborne School at Fort Benning, Ga. That would have been the summer of 1973.  It's a staged picture, of course, taken in an old mock up out by the towers.


I made two jumps from the C130 Hercules and the three from the C-141 Starlifter, as I recall. I "volunteered" to go to jump school, as did all members of my reserve unit when they hit their third summer of college.  It was not a particularly enjoyable experience, and I never jumped again. You do what everybody else is doing though, peer pressure is powerful.


This is an old picture, taken at Quantico, Virginia in the winter of 1971.  All of the people in it are Southerners, except the 2nd from the left standing, who was from New York, and the guy in front who was from New Mexico.  That's me on the right, standing.  There used to be so many Southerners in the Marine Corps that the joke was USMC stood for "Useless Sons Made Comfortable." I don't know if that is still true or not.  The fellow in the middle, kneeling with his arm around the other Marine was from Way Cross, Georgia.  He got killed, which was a real shame because he was the nicest guy you could ever want to meet. His name was Gerald Drawdy.  I think everybody else made it through their service. The fellow kneeling on the right with the moustache was from Shelbyville, Tennessee. He did four years as a Naval Flight Officer in the F4 Phantom, then went back to school and became a lawyer. Strange, the things you remember after forty years, when you can't remember where you put your keys 15 minutes ago.





This is just a random clip that shows what happens if someone chokes in the door. The aircraft is traveling fast. Everybody has to go out in one big stream, or you will scatter troops all over the ground, disasterous for airborne troops. Besides, they saved this guy from a fate worse than death. To come down with the aircraft would have finished him with his friends and his career. I don't know what they do now, but in those days nobody came down with the plane.

30 comments:

  1. Hey Harry,

    (captaincrunch)


    I am still interested in getting a 'souped up' CB setup at some point. On the point of living in the country versus the city. I would take the sacrifices and live in the country. I have already lived in several big cities, did all the stuff like museums,etc. etc.
    Now I want a shooting range just off of my front porch.

    Where live now in South Texas is not too bad for a semi-rural, kinda urban area except for the Whataburger on Friday night.

    Whataburger is the best hamburger in the Universe and a Texas tradition. I went to Whataburger early Friday evening to get a Whataburger with Jelopeno's with a side order or Armadillo paste (just joking about Armadillo paste)
    The place was packed with a local high school football team and all the sycophants that go along including family members etc.
    I was going nuts. Way To Many People! My stress level shot up off the charts, yet I remained calm and got my order much quicker than usual. Whataburger deployed extra personell to work on Friday night and I was out the door in under two minutes.
    My idea of a crowd is five people. I would in time like to move to a much more rural area.
    I am glad I was in the military and I was able to travel. In the area I live in now have many local people suffer from a sort of 'mental and cultural inbreeding' and it shows in their personalities. I may prefer the quiet of a rural area where there is no change but I have seen things most people have only read about in books or seen in movies.
    The beach tourist season has of course stopped here except for the 'snow birds' with RV's from up north. I have seen license plates from as far north as Nova Scotia down here in South Texas (I should send them back with tubes of Armadillo paste)
    On the part about our fast pace society and changing with the times' Harry. I see technology changing almost daily. I have to ask 'what is the point' of getting the latest cell phone or tv for hundreds, hundreds of dollars just to have it become obsolete in two years. In a time of collapse, the tech will be useless anyway!

    That's the part where I have no desire to keep up with and that's technology.

    The way of the luddite is the way of independence from the system.

    Most technology is on being constantly 'connected' Being connected constantly involves constant updating via 'texting and social media' of some sort and that takes time out from other activities and decreases efficiency and creates an extra burden.

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    1. I don't do much talking on mine, other than locally sometimes. So I don't use a linear amplifier. It's still fun to listen to the skip though, you never know who you will hear and what they will be talking about. People using a CB tend to be a more eclectic group than hams, in general, and they are a lot less formal. I listen to hams, too, of course but they are pretty well schooled in procedure and it's a lot more constrained.

      It isn't so much technology I can't keep up with, although that's a problem too. It's more a case of the "times" and the way people think. For instance, when this girl got grabbed off the street in Philidephia, some guy saw it all. He apparently hid out until the man drove off with the girl, then he called the cops. CNN is calling him a hero. Not in my book. I've had picked something up and whaled the guy, and if I didn't have anything to pick up I'd have tried to slug him hard from behind. At least she could have gotten away .You would have done that too. I'd say the guy who called the cops was more of an anti-hero.

      I do have trouble with technology, but I'm working on it. Right now my project is to understand circles, followers, and how to sign up on someone's follower list. I think follower is a bad term, it ought to be "like minded" or something like that.

      I'd miss my internet friends if I ever went "off the air."

      I like hamburgers a lot. Mostly I make my own, as we don't have much of a choice in fast food joints and the food there has gotten so expensive it's cheaper to just buy the components and make them at home .

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  2. I don't know any one with a CB. My Brothers friend had one in the 80's. the last time I even saw one was in the film Contact with Jodie Foster.

    its mixed over here where people want to live. I like London there is so much to do and most of the museums are free. but it is too expensive to live there full time.

    Lots of people are moving out of towns here to the country and trying to be more self sufficient with chickens and growing veg. With the prices we pay for petrol and diesel I can see why people would want to stay in cities or towns where you can walk every where.

    I read somewhere that in the US less and less teenagers are wanting to drive and cars. This will lead to them needing to be in towns.

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    1. Sol, finding a CB base station, or a good long whip antenna, is hard now. They have gone out of style but I am lucky, I have a lot of old gear from when I lived on an island off the coast of North Carolina. I had a killer system then, because , transmitting over salt water, you could talk to people 30 miles away off the ground wave.

      My kids need cars. There is public transportation where they live, but it's not very safe and people are always getting mugged on the bus or at the bus stop. I particularly don't want my daughter out at night at a bus stop and she works nights. I do think fewer young people are messing with cars, though I couldn't say why. It may be the expense, as the younger generation here is significantly worse off financially than mine was at that age.

      I don't want to live in a city, and my kids can't imagine not living in one. Seems odd, doesn't it.

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  3. Living in suburbia is convenient, and being literally 3 minutes from a fantastic supermarket is wonderful. Takes me about two minutes to get on the highway north or south. But the older I get the more elbow room I need. When I was young I did my fair share of traveling, the prospect seems less attractive today. When I was single in my 20s and looking for social contact I moved to an apartment in the big city. I could walk to the bars and if the line at the loo was too long I could put my beer down walk 100 yds home and use mine and my beer was still there when I came back. Socially it was fun, but It was a hectic time I do not wish to repeat. Always struggling to find a parking spot. Snow day parking bans were the worst. Neighbors were obnoxious, vulgar and abjectly inconsiderate. On occasion it was necessary to assert control over my space. It is what made me move away to the burbs. Now I find it is still to crowded. I find that I simply feel way to vulnerable being stuck in the midst of a mas of people and do not care one bit for the choices they make. Be they practical or political, more usual than not they do not align with mine. Though I feel somewhat redeemed with Tuesday's results if you look at the US map showing blues vs reds after Tuesday ours is still a decidedly blue concentration. The long term objective is to move somewhere where the general mindset aligns a bit more with our own, lower taxes, more agreeable weather and at least 10m miles from the nearest neighbor. Somewhere you can fart without having to get a permit or be taxed on it.

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    1. I understand completely what you are talking about. I left home at 17 to go to college in Albquerque, UNM is right in the city and I lived in the dorm, on campus. Everything I needed was right there. Then for the next sixteen years I lived either on base in the BOQ, aboard ship, or during my last year , on the beach at Emerald Isle. When I left the service I wanted to get way out, away from other people completely, so that I could make my own decisions and live how I wanted to, and not how "the community" expected me to. I've enjoyed living up here.

      Looks to me like the country is split right down the middle between reds and blues. I'd be ok with declaring California, Oregon, Washington, New England their own country. We could like Yugoslavia did, and everybody set up their own little place. I don't guess that will happen though, which will mean continuous turmoil and more problems.

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  4. That is crazy your police will not patrol there. We are rural but our sheriff does patrol here. Mostly because there is one family on the road with bad history and their kids still find trouble. They are a rough sort but we have not had trouble from them other than poaching once. I have not been able to travel in a while because of kids and finances but I do love it and miss it! My twenty year wedding anniversary is in two years and I hope we can swing something fun then.

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    1. We had a decent Sheriff's Dept. until 2007-2008 when our tax base crashed. They cut three quarters of the staff. What money we have been able to raise, the county commissioners have spent on grandioise buildings for themselves, and on inane things like a "fine art center" which we needed like a hole in the head.

      I didn't realize you had been married that long because your kids are relatively young. 18 years of marriage is a long time. I hope you do get to make a trip, somewhere nice. Paris is a nice place for something of that nature. It has to be the most romantic city , even more so than Venice.

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  5. i love living in the country, but also love to travel. However, I tend to seek out places away from the crowds.

    I went to college in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. It's so different and out of the way that it's like it's own country. I've met people there who were proud of the fact that they've lived their whole life without ever leaving the county. Even the young people are like that. I met a young guy who wouldn't go any place big enough to have a stop light. No kidding.

    As for CB radio, I've got a couple of those cheapo all in one units you plug in the cigarette lighter outlet. I use them when travelling, mostly to listen to the truckers.

    Populations are moving to the cities. Services in the country are getting pretty thin on the ground and sometimes going away entirely. It's getting to be like the wild west out in the country.

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    1. I know in the middle ages it was common for people never to venture more than a days journey from home, but it's strange to think people still do that today.

      Since you have boating skills I'm sure you've made some great trips to little traveled places. I rented a houseboat on lake Shasta for a week some years back and really enjoyed that. I wouldn't mind living on a houseboat full time.

      When people leave the countryside, the tax base there dwindles and things start to fall off. Kunstler said as much in "The Long Emergency" and there would seem to be some validity to it.

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  6. Senior was listening on the radio one clear night and a bunch of ole geezers were chatting about their depends undergarments...lol

    We watched the Vietnam War Special on Natgeo last night called " Brothers War" it was about the 1967 Charlie Company. Wow! What a brother hood. It told their story from the time they all signed up and left out from San Fran, to when they came back home in 68. A lot of them were friends in high school who signed up together. Let's just say, that my eyes were not dry at the end of it. I hope it comes on again so I can DVR it..

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    1. Glock Mom, it's certainly true you hear some very odd conversations on the radio. Local traffic on CB here is almost entirely about the weather, the Walmart, crops, who got arrested for what and things of that nature. But when you are listening to skip, you can run across some unusual topics. Some of the Ham operators are pretty interesting people as well.

      I haven't seen that show about Viet Nam. I'll have to look at the AHC listings on Direct TV, I'm sure they will be showing it with veterans day coming up.

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  7. Interesting. Military records show a 'Gerald Drawdy' who died of non-combat injuries. ("Casualty Incident Summary - Gerald T Drawdy with the service number 14844207 had the rank of Specialist 4 in the U.S. Army when he was a casualty on 08/07/1966. This occurred in United States and Territories. Specialist 4 Drawdy was enlisted as Active Duty Army . ") But this is years before your photo. Kind of interesting to see such a unique name represented twice under similar circumstances.

    Kinda weird when you bring out pictures and start thinking about people you were with long ago, isnt it?

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    1. He was killed in a car wreck, along with his wife, just after Christmas . I believe it happened in 1976. You could probably find him if you want to check the obituaries for Waycross, Ga about that time frame.

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  8. Thanks for sharing your stories Harry, I always like hearing them. its too bad so many want to live in the city. We would never live in the city again.

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    1. Well ,cities have theaters, restaurants, book stores, craft stores, something for everybody. It's not my idea of good place to live, but it clearly suits my kids. I talked to my daughter tonight on the phone and told her about a good job she is qualified for at a state park near here. She was not interested.

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    2. i don't like to be too far from a hospital or from the fire department.
      i'm old no and i need services closer.
      i think it was 'orange jeep dad' who said the rural and small town hospitals are going out of business. just cannot afford to keep open. also there now is not ambulance service as widespread as it used to be.
      deb h.

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    3. Orange Jeep Dad spoke sooth. There's an article linked up on the right side of the block under "interesting articles" that validates his opinion. I'm old too, but I'd still live in the desert if I could, and I don't worry nearly as much about something happening to me as my wife does. I know she has logic on her side, and I have to drive a long way to go to my doctor, a trip I make every third month if nothing untoward occurs. When my number comes up, it will just be up. I don't want to go to hospital and wind up getting all cut about. I know this is not an intelligent outlook, but there it is.

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  9. I'd love to be able to move even 30 miles further away from Atlanta...but my daily commute is bad enough already. At my fathers funeral in an rural English village one of my brother's friends remarked that it was ironic that as teens we'd all been anxious to get out of there, but now would give almost anything to be able to afford to live there and raise children in the country.
    As to travelling abroad; you have to see the rest of the world to appreciate what we have here despite the warts!

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    1. Much of my time was spent in what were then Third World pest holes, and I would agree it does make you more appreciative of the life here. Paradoxically, the standard of living for most people has deteriorated significantly in the United States since I was doing my traveling. We're closer to Third World Status, and places like Turkey and Korea are first world now.

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  10. Hey Harry,

    (captaincrunch)


    Theres a big 'ass kicker' of a storm in the North Pacific that meteorogists say is down to 924 millibars and its heading towards the U.S.

    That storm I'm sure will give us on hell of a cold front in a few weeks so keep watch on the weather.

    We got a big on en route.

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    1. I knew there was a typhoon about to hit out there, because they said on the weather channel it was the first typhoon to hit Alaska in many years. I don't remember exactly how long it had been but it was awhile. I am about as ready as I can be. I have plenty of firewood, propane, and backup heat. I have enough supplies that if there is ice i don't have to go out off the mountain. My truck engine block heater has been repaired, so I can start it in cold weather. I put on extra insulation after last winter, and the pump house, pipes, barn, shop, main house and apartment are better insulated now. Just have to ride it out if it gets bad.

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  11. Hey Harry,

    Hubby loves listening to the radio late at night......especially those real clear nights.

    So, what part of New Mexico are you possibly planning on visiting?

    Great pictures from your early military years.

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    1. I'm thinking I would like to go up to Cuba, New Mexico. It's just a tiny place, but it's like going back to the 1950's. Even the only motor hotel there is a mint condition 1950's era "motor park." I haven't been there since 2006, hope it hasn't changed much. I'd like to see Santa Fe and Albuquerque again too. Go by UNM and see the old dorm. It's been made into offices now, but it's the same building.

      Yes, I was glad my brother sent them to me. My mom has a bunch of that stuff she said she was going to send here one of these days.

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  12. My husband commented on the bright moon.

    People are interesting. My husband is from the sticks of Missouri. My in-laws up and decided to sell pretty much everything, and they were going to travel the US. They ended up going to New Mexico and Southern California. That's it. Then they got sick of being away from the grandkids, and moved back. They got a house, and gained things back again. They hardly saw our kids, since we live in Nebraska. This year they up and decided to sell their house again, and move back to New Mexico. It's fine, but we just shake our heads a bit. New Mexico is great. It's just this back and forth stuff that they do, and their reasons always seem so odd.

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    1. Maybe because they are older. When you get older, you have all these issues that younger people don't have to consider. And, sometimes you don't really know what you want to do, so it makes it hard to settle down. I'd like to go out to New Mexico for a visit but I don't think we are up to moving out there, it would be quite a logistical ordeal.

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  13. First of all, I love your new header photo! Very clever.

    National Geographic had an issue several years ago that tried to convince us that cities were going to save the world. That somehow we could end world hunger and poverty if everyone lived in a city. Also heard somewhere that when gas prices were outrageously high folks started moving closer to cities, i.e. jobs. When folks think the only way they can meet their needs is with jobs, then that's the trail they'll follow. What struck me as odd when we bought our place (which granted, isn't very rural) is prices of rural properties. If folks are moving toward cities, shouldn't rural land prices drop? But they're outrageous. Doesn't make sense.

    Interesting post Harry, well written. Dan was an airborne guy. I think that's one of the reasons his knees bother him so much now.

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    1. Since the Marines don't have paratroops, other than in a marginal capacity in the Force Reconn units, I never had to make any jumps with bad guys on the ground. Having seen "Band of Brothers" and "A Bridge too Far" I'm really glad! Lots of old paratroopers have issues with knees, ankles, hips, etc. I hope his aren't too bad.

      That picture has quite a story behind it. I bought it on line from a Russian photo stock company, but I had to set up a paypal account to do it. Then I had to order it twice and pay for it twice because the first time I messed up since I can't read Russian. But in the end I got it. I really like it, being a ferret person.

      Have you ever read Kunstlers "The Long Emergency." I think you would find it fascinating because he is one of those who advocate living in giant hives and abandoning the countryside. He says that as resources continue to diminish, it will be a natural process that can't be resisted. I will be glad to send you my copy if you would like to borrow it, just email me at harryflashman23@gmail.com

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  14. In no particular order:

    AIRBORNE!!!

    I agree that wild catting CB's with big antennas and more power is a rural thing people seem to do.

    The travel thing is something I'm aware of but uncertain about. People from my particular small town seem to either travel a lot, once in a blue moon to a popular vacation spot (Hawaii, Mexico, etc) or not at all.

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  15. It was a reluctant "all the way "with me. But when the First Sgt. stood in front of the formation and called for anyone who didn't want to go to jump school to step forward, there was only resounding silence. Our First Sgt. was an outstanding individual and he had made it clear that he expected every "swinging d##k" in his unit to volunteer. He was gratified to report to the Commanding Officer that all hands had volunteered.

    I have often thought that if he had been calling for volunteers for Stalingrad the result would have been the same. We were all boots. Had there been an old salt or two in the formation I suspect the results would have differed.

    Don't know why boosted CB seems to be limited to rural areas but I think that by and large that is true.

    I just wanted to see what was out there. I think it runs in the family.

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