Friday, September 18, 2015

Friday night in the mountains.

I've been out on the porch for the last hour.  No moon yet, so it's very dark outside.  Not too cool for sitting out with a cup of coffee, but I think very soon it will be.

One thing about living out here, there are no artificial lights other than my own.  I used to use red security lights, because red doesn't destroy your night vision,and red works well with night vision equipment.   However, I've found that green lights work just as well in both respects, and green shows up less through the forest.  I still have a few red bulbs here and there but as they go out I am replacing them with the green.

I noticed for the first time tonight that the lightning bugs are nowhere to be seen. They were thick in the meadow last weekend. I suppose the cool nights have done away with them.  That's a shame, since they are usually around until the last week of September. This is probably not going to be a normal year weather wise.

 We still have two months until we usually get the first snow here in the Blue Ridge.  If things go on like they are, we may have snow by Thanksgiving. I've seen that before, but it was a long time ago, way back in the late 1980's.

I look on the onset of snow with mixed feelings. It's beautiful, and tranquil. But everything is so much harder to do with snow on the ground, and there are things you have to do regardless of the weather.

 My daughter turned 30 this month. Strange feeling. She's just about the age her mom was when I met her.

She and her brother are planning on coming down for a week in November. We are all going up to Asheville, N.C.

The company they work for has offered them the opportunity to move to Asheville where a new restaurant is coming on line. That would only be two hours away, not seven hours like it is now.  She's been to Asheville but doesn't remember it.  I hope she and my son like it and will transfer down here.  That would make life a lot more enjoyable, if they were so close. Asheville is where I distinguished myself by bending over to look at a book in the bookstore and dropping a Colt .45 onto the floor.  The old man next to me looked over reprovingly and said "that ain't no way to take care of a pistol" or words to that effect.  My Galco shoulder holster had come unsnapped. Fortunately, it only fell about a foot and onto a carpet. I'd hate to damage a good pistol through carelessness.

My wife and the kids at Grandma's about 1990.  I look at the blogs of people who have young children now, like Lisa and Kirsty and Alissa and G.M. and the other young families. I am jealous. I wish I'd worked less and spent more time at home now. But if I had, we couldn't have had the good life we have.  Everything is a trade off but you only get to choose once.

We worked hard , and we made sure they had "enriching experiences." They never went without, had good medical care , a good home, and I think they were happy.  They have turned out to be great people, never a problem with the police or drugs, or any of that.

I've lived up here a long time now.  It's changed some but no so much that I'm not content.  Part of that is luck, and part of it is initial planning to make sure nobody could build adjacent to my property. It's been a good life. I don't think I have any complaints.


  1. Harry - i loooooove the pictures of you and your wife and kids - how awesome!!! we are just entering our indian summer here which is always beautiful. jam's parents arrived last evening...i haven't had the time to do a post about it - but basically, i had a surprise 50th birthday party scheduled for him for tomorrow night and then his idiot brother sent him an email wishing him a happy early birthday tomorrow night. jam knew nothing about a surprise birthday party and thought it was just a regular dance. everyone and their dog is going to be there! so now it's just a community party to let everyone meet his mom and step-dad. i paid for 50 meals from the chinese restaurant in our little city that everyone here loves and have about 45 people coming for supper. then those people get a free drink and then we open the doors for the party.

    i am looking forward to his parents seeing how many good friends he has here, how well he is doing...i want them to see that i took him to this crazy little island and that he is loved and thriving.

    i don't know why i am telling you all of this...except that i know that you are my friend and will understand my blathering.

    i really hope the kids will love asheville and will take the transfer...i know how much you and your wife would like that. you raised good kids Harry...and you know where to send them.

    sending much love as always! your friend,

    1. Kymber, that's big news. It's kind of stressful, isn't it? My in laws lived with us for about a year when they retired from the missionary field in Africa, and it was a little strange. I liked them ok though.

      It must have cost you a fortune to put on that party. 50 meals from a Chinese restaurant can't be cheap. I have lived here since 1986 and I don't know more than 5 people well enough to invite them to a party. If we had parties......

      But you and J are very social people. And I think your little town is more social than mine has ever been. People here don't do much get together stuff unless it's a church function.

      I can understand you wanting his folks to see that he is successful and happy, and he is certainly that. I've often felt like you two are among the top contenders for having moved into the wilds and gotten exactly what you want out of all the people I know who have done that.

      I hope they will like Asheville. It would mean a lot to me and the wife if we could go up and see them when we wanted to. Now, with them 7 hours and hundreds of miles away, it's just not really possible for both of us to go because we have to take care of the animals and the buildings. But in Asheville, we could even go up in the morning and come back that night.

      I guess I will just have to wait and see.

      It's good to hear from you, as it always is.

  2. Friday night in the retirement park . . . sigh. At least I'm useful here. My three daughters plan to fly out to visit on October 1st. Dad's well loved -and I think I raised my kids right. We were young parents, but had steady jobs. Could have made a lot more money but decided to be frugal and spend time with the kids instead. No regrets.

    I look at all the parents trying to raise kids with no job security and poor wages and it's no wonder they have such a hard time.

    1. I think you and I were fortunate in that we were raising our families when it was still possible to find a good job, and keep it. Now it seems like the good paying jobs are all based on "who you know" and they are constantly disappearing. The girl that serves us at the little cafe in town spent four years in school getting a teaching credential, but there are no teaching jobs. Older teachers are staying on for fear they can't afford to retire, so the system is clogged up.

      I guess the retirement park is really different from your place up north. But it must be a nice change to be able to get in the car and be in a nice grocery store or a nice restaurant in just a few minutes.

      The money vrs time at home is a really hard decision. I choose the money because I was not that long out of the service and I was afraid if I passed up that opportunity I would not get another. In retrospect, I think maybe it was the wrong decision but I've always been a worrier. Didn't want us to not have enough.

  3. Hey Harry,


    You did the right thing by working as much as you did I think. You had to provide for your kids and look at what you have now. It allowed you to pay for your kids educations and everything else.
    Hopefully your kids will find work in N.C. and you can spend more time with them in the coming years.

    That was interesting what Kymber had to say in the comments above. If I lived up in that region near Kymber I would have to politely decline parties and what not. A rogue polar bear could not get me to leave my house. Im about as sociable as a Chinease emporer in the Forbidden City and about 's mean as a two headed rattlesnake with a hangover'

    Speaking about rattlesnakes....

    In the privous post, Harry you mentioned Juarez, Mexico. I spent a lot time in Juarez and I have seen some really, really crazy things. Myself and a friend almost beat up two Policia near the bridge that were wanting bribes and I was not having it. Needless to say they let us go and nothing happened.

    Maybe tomorrow I will write in detail the story on how I outwitted a bribe taking thug.

    1. Hey, CC. Juarez was the closest citadel of sin when I was going to school at UNM. My buddies and I used to go down there some weekends, stay on the El Paso side at a hotel but cross into Mexico for some fun. I wouldn't go down into that place on a bet now. It's way too dangerous.

      I think you and I could adjust to go to Kymber and J's parties. Good food and drink, and you can always find a quiet corner somewhere out of the way. Alas, they live far away from me, and even further from you.

      If you want to write another story go right ahead. I'll post it for you here.

  4. G'day Harry,

    Cute kids you have there! I am spoiled I think, my daughter and my mother live 15 minutes drive north of my place and my wife's parents are 15 minutes drive south of us. My daughter is also 30, makes you wonder where the years go.

    It's Saturday afternoon down here and rainy and cold, we are having a cool and wet spring this year, after a couple of 29C days we are back down to 18C, I look at it this way, the more spring rain the less chance of bad bushfires come December.

    1. It's odd, but one of the reasons I stayed back here on the East Coast was to avoid entanglements with my large and often contentious family. But my wife's family moved here after we did. Her mom and dad settled in a town about an hour away once they got used to being back in the states. Then when my wife's sister's husband got out of the army, they both accepted offers from a hospital where the parents had settled. So I wound up with her family all over the area. But that worked out ok, we've gotten along with everybody.

      Hey, can you email me and explain to me what Google Plus is? I'd be glad to sign up, as long as it doesn't represent any kind of security compromise. I have no idea what it is or what it does.

  5. Sounds like a "Life Well Lived", my friend!

    Hope to be in an equally tranquil place in a couple of years, if things continue to hold together....

    1. Dr. Jim, I'm not sure you have a couple of years left. But a fellow has to do what he can within the constraints he has to deal with. I hope you can make the move before it gets really ugly.

  6. From Deb Harvey

    think we'll be changing our ideas of 'normal' as far as weather is concerned.

    passed through asheville about 36 yrs ago. i loved it! wish we'd been able to settle thereabouts somehow.

    we lost three and the one who made it is 32!! time does fly.

    1. Weather has been pretty strange.

      Asheville is a nice place. Not much of a city but still pleasant.

  7. Hey Harry,


    Here's one of my Juarez, Mexico true stories.

    Myself and my friend 'Bob' (changed his name of course) went down on Friday or Saturday night on the Santa Fe bridge in downtown El Paso. We parked on the El Paso side and walked over the bridge and drank at the bars along the strip there. One bar in particular we hit often was called 'Spanky's' where you could get four (watered down) shots of tequila for a dollar and if you had five dollars you could get a good buzz and ten dollars would get you good and hammered.
    Bob and I did our usual bar crawl trolling for women and just checking things out. Now I just got out of the Navy and Bob was fixing on going into the Coast Guard as an E-3 so he was enjoying some of his last months as a civilian.

    We left and we were both maintaining, lightly buzzed but not drunk, loud and showing it. We both knew that if you acted drunk and stupid the Juarez Policia (Police) would approach you and either you could engage in the fine art of offering a bribe or go to jail and go through a big hassle. Taking bribes is how those guys earn extra income. Its so rampant they may as well just mainstream it.

    We were walking up the Mexican side of the bridge, probably half way up to the top when we were intercepted by two Policia. They singled us off in and unprofessional manner. I told the one that was on me I was a student and had no money. I pulled my wallet out of my left front jeans pocket and showed him it was empty (but I had at least $50.00 in cash in my right front pocket) In Mexico you don't keep your wallet in your back pocket, I almost got pick pocketed by a 9 year old kid in Juarez once and learned the hard way.

    Now Bob was talking to the other Mexican cop and the cop that was on me 'said you can come and get your friend in jail tomorrow. The Mexican cop that was on me turned around and his back was too me and was only two feet or so away I remember (never turn your back on a suspect) I guess they don't do that in Mexico. I can see Bob was arguing with the other cop and Bob looked at me with those 'Are you ready to do this look' because Bob was not going to a Mexican jail, nor was I going to let that happen.

    I think we were seconds from coming to blows, maybe by bum rushing the cops and making a mad dash to the top of bridge, when we were saved by the United States Marine Corp. A group of Marines in civilian clothes, high and tight hair cuts and talking loudly started to walk up the bridge in a group of maybe six (a squad) and you can tell they have been drinking.

    The Mexican cop said to Bob. You can go, you can go.

    and Go we did. We beat feet the hell outta there.

    I know those Mexican cops made some good money off of those Jarheads. I felt sorry for those Jarheads but I guess they were warned about going down there in the first place.

    Now my friend Bob went in months later in the Coast Guard as an E-3. Some years ago he retired as an officer. Bob went in as a corpsman and the Coast Guard had a special program that he qualified for where they paid his way through medical school. He made it and was commissioned an officer. Bob is a Physician's Assistant living in another state. He works for a major hospital in an ER eight days a month and has a $500.000 house with forty acres.

    Back when we were going to Juarez, Bob was living in an 1980 RV in front of his parents house and working as a waiter at some restaurant.

    Bob did allright.....

    1. Juarez in the earlies was not a bad place. It wasn't the murder capitol of the border in those days.

      I never had any run in's with the cops. Maybe we were just lucky. I never over indulged in Juarez because you'd get rolled in a heart beat. I mostly went down there for the women, if the truth be told, and the proprietors of the establishments didn't want their clients getting thumped and not coming back. Maybe they had an arrangement with the police, I don't know. When I was even five years older I wouldn't have gone down there on a bet. The folly of youth.

  8. What fun pictures. I like Asheville. I have been a few times. It would be nice to have them so much closer.

    1. If you and the family ever come down there again, my wife and I will come up and take you all to dinner. That would be fun.

      If the kids were in Asheville, it would change a lot of things and relieve me of the worry about what to do with this place. From Asheville they could use it as a weekender, no problem.

  9. enjoy your something make you happy

  10. Harry you're right that it goes so quickly. I am forever having the money vs time debate with myself, it's such a fine line to tread. My kids are my world, as you know, but I feel working keeps them living in the countryside in a lifestyle I feel is beneficial. I'm sure your kids appreciate all you did for them. Family is everything, let's hope they move closer to you!

    1. I think most people who live in the country and have young children have to really scramble to provide a decent living, because opportunities in the countryside are limited. But it's such a nice place to live and your kids are protected from the odious things they'd have to deal with in a city.

      I do hope mine move closer to home. It would surely be nice to be able to see them more often.