Thursday, October 31, 2019

Halloween Tonight With Spencer Jack & Linda Lou

Incoming email this Halloween morning from Spencer Jack and his paternal parental unit, FNJ, also known as my Favorite Nephew Jason.

The email included multiple \photos along with asking me the probing question "Are you ready for Halloween?"

The answer to that probing question is that I am as ready as I need to be.

Since I have been located in Texas my location has never been conducive to having my doorbell rang by trick or treating beggars.

When I lived in Washington, about three miles slightly northeast of where Spencer Jack is standing in this photo, in the neighborhood known as Thunderbird, I was inundated by trick or treaters.

The first few years of living at that location it was sort of fun having so many doorbell ringers on this particular night. And for a few years I had fun adding some Halloween touches, like a looping loud soundtrack of spooky noises.

I do not recollect, however, going as gungho with Halloween decorations as Spencer Jack appears to be doing.

Above we see a closer look at the doorbell location, with Spencer Jack holding a bowl full of candy bars.

One of the included photos documented what the little beggars will be getting tonight when they trick or treat at Spencer Jack's house.

That does look like a good supply, sufficient to handle the first wave of beggars.

Linda Lou lives a block or two from Spencer Jack's home location.

Linda Lou, if you are reading this, you should go trick or treating tonight at Spencer and Jason's.

I can't remember the name or number of the street, but it is due north off Blackburn, a block or two east of Hillcrest Park. I'm sure you can easily find it by looking for the 1435 house number and Spencer Jack's Halloween decorations.

I wonder if we will be seeing photo documentation of David, Theo & Ruby in trick or treat mode?

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Cold Wet Hoodoo Trio Rises In Wichita Bluff Nature Area

With the temperature a few degrees above freezing, with snow falling a few miles northwest in Amarillo, with cold rain dripping at my current Wichita Falls location, it seemed like a mighty fine time to go on a cold walk on the Circle Trail at the Wichita Bluff Nature Area location.

Last week I got a new phone, which has a better camera than the one I was used to using on the old phone.

But, I still have trouble doing that selfie thing.

Somehow I got the camera into video mode. And then when I got that to stop I could not figure out why the screen was black, til I realized one of my misbehaving fingers was blocking the lens.

About a mile into the bluff hiking I came upon something I regularly used to come up whilst hiking the Tandy Hills in Fort Worth.


Hence the selfie with a hoodoo over my left shoulder.

This was a collection of three well constructed hoodoos, rising a few feet from the Circle Trail. The middle hoodoo looks particularly precarious.

Soon after photo documenting the hoodoo trio I took a side spur off the Circle Trail and saw this bucolic bench scene you see here.

I do not know if anyone keeps such a statistic, but I suspect Wichita Falls has more rocking benches per capita than any other town in America.

It will likely be a few days before warmth returns to the outer world at my location, rendering a bike ride once again a pleasant experience. In the meantime, events beyond my immediate control may require a drive to DFW in a day or two or three.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

New Small Multi-Purpose Arena Will Turn Fort Worth Into Imaginary Business & Culture Mecca

I saw that which you see above, this morning, side by side, on the front page of the Sunday October 27 edition of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, online version.

Two articles.

On the left "Dickies Arena will promote Fort Worth as important city for business and culture".

On the right "Protesters interrupt Mayor Betsy Price during Dickies Arena opening ceremony."

I did not bother reading either of the articles. I knew, just from the article headline, that the one on the left would be full of Star-Telegram style propaganda puffery. Touting the nonsense that a relatively small multi-purpose arena will somehow have some sort of trans-formative effect on Fort Worth's business and culture fortunes.

While the article on the right likely sort of accurately reported on the continuing disgust of many Fort Worth locals regarding the Fort Worth police's multi-year history of shooting deaths of innocent citizens.

Fort Worth might want to think about improving the national and international bad reputation of its police force before the town deludes itself into thinking anything about Fort Worth promotes the town as important for business, let alone culture.

Maybe Fort Worth might want to think about the message the town sends with the boarded up eyesore of a park at the north end of its downtown.

Heritage Park.

Intended as an homage to Fort Worth's imaginary storied heritage.

Heritage Park was closed soon after four visitors to Fort Worth drowned in a poorly designed part of the Water Gardens at the south end of downtown.

Heritage Park also had a couple water features. Water features of a depth too shallow to drown anything, but maybe a mouse or rat.

But, those who run Fort Worth so ineptly feared Heritage Park might become the source of another costly lawsuit, you know, should someone somehow manage to drown in the shallow depths of one of Heritage Park's water features.

In a sense, the current state of Heritage Park does serve as an accurate metaphor for the town's actual heritage.

A short distance to the west of Heritage Park we have the location of the Radio Shack Corporate Headquarters Boondoggle.

Eminent domain was used to take property so Radio Shack could build a new corporate headquarters, which Radio Shack soon found it could not afford. So, Tarrant County College then took over much of the campus.

But, the damage to Fort Worth was already done. Due to the Radio Shack Boondoggle Fort Worth lost the world's shortest subway line, lost acres of free parking, which, with that subway line, made visiting downtown Fort Worth easy, and with free parking.

Then due north of Heritage Park we have another homage to the actual inept incompetent heritage of Fort Worth. The massive ruins of what has become America's Dumbest Boondoggle, also known as the Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island District Vision.

Currently with three simple little bridges stuck partly built over dry land, with construction started in the first half of this decade, currently scheduled to possibly be completed at some point in the next decade. With water added under the bridges at a currently undetermined date way in the future.

Yeah, one can really see how a new, relatively small, special events arena will be just the ticket to help promote Fort Worth as an important city for business and culture.

When will this propaganda nonsense ever end? When will Fort Worth ever get a real newspaper?

Well, James Michael Russell, a real journalist, is now journalizing for Fort Worth Weekly. Maybe there is hope that that weekly "newspaper" will again start practicing actual legit investigative journalism...

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Clear Blue Saturday Wichita Bluffs Natural Bike Ride

Thursday and Friday at my North Texas location were like a return to a Western Washington winter.

A sky totally cast over with gray clouds, frequently dripping. At times dripping copiously.

Cold. Rainy. Windy. Foggy.

And then by the morning of this last Saturday of the 2019 version of October nary a cloud existed anywhere no matter where one directed ones gaze.

Two days of gray was not enough time to activate a SAD (Seasonally Affected Disorder) bout.

Even so I felt the need to be cheered up by some aerobic exercise induced endorphins. And so my bike talked me into driving it to the Wichita Bluff Nature Area for some up and down hill rolling.

The Wichita Bluff hills were alive today with the sound of people having themselves a mighty fine time enjoying the almost perfect weather.

In the photo above my bike is sitting atop one of the bluff's high points, looking northwest at the Wichita River meandering through fall foliage.

I saw this morning via next week's forecast that we are currently scheduled to be frozen for the first time since last winter. I am not in the mood, yet, to be frozen...

Friday, October 25, 2019

Smoky Visit With The Retired Elsie Hotpepper

Til yesterday I had not had a chance to meet up with Elsie Hotpepper since she retired from her decades long career at a job the details of which Hotpepper has always refused to reveal.

Undercover government employee of some sort has long been the Elsie Hotpepper job speculation of many.

The week Elsie Hotpepper retired she left Texas, via Galveston, on a one way cruise through the Panama Canal, followed by a month in Mazatlan before flying back to Texas.

Hence the reason why Elsie Hotpepper is looking more sun tanned than is her norm in the selfie she took for this blog post.

Meeting up with Elsie for the first time in over a year I felt obligated to ask if she had any plans to try to give up on her three plus packs a day Camel unfiltered cigarettes habit. That puff of smoke in my face, you see above, was Hotpepper's answer to that perfectly legitimate query.

I asked Elsie what she has planned for her retirement years. Another run for political office? Mayor? Congress? Governor?

The answer was a resounding NO.

Elsie says her main activity is going to be being an even more active supporter of the Bucky Elementary Grade School from which Elsie graduated decades ago, way back in the last century.

Around the turn of this century Elsie Hotpepper was made an honorary lifelong Bucky Buckaroo after someone made note of the fact that Elsie Hotpepper, in all the years since she graduated, had never missed a single Bucky Buckaroo football homecoming parade, football game or post game dance. And that Elsie Hotpepper was an ardent supporter of just about all Bucky Elementary activities.

Now you who did not grow up in Texas, or the South, might think it unusual that someone would pay any attention to the grade school from whence they graduated. Well, the thing is, for many in Texas, and the South, graduating grade school was their last bout of higher learning, stopping their school years at 8th grade, never venturing on to high school.

Later generations, for the most part, in Texas, and the South, do go on to high school, with many managing to graduate and go to college, leaving their high school and grade school years in their distant past.

I thought maybe, now that she has the time to do so, Elsie Hotpepper might get her GED high school equivalency certificate. So I asked if that was something she might think of doing.

Again the answer was a resounding NO. Along with verbiage which sounded like Elsie Hotpepper was channeling Pink Floyd, telling me she did not need no education, did not need no thought control.

I thought maybe Elsie's use of double negatives indicated otherwise, but what do I know?

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Historically Musical Fort Worth's New Dickies Arena

I saw that which you see here a day or two ago in my favorite online propaganda purveyor, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

The article headline instantly struck me as patented Star-Telegram style puffery.

New "one-of-a-kind" venue?

I know this arena is new, and that it is a venue. But one-of-a-kind? That seems unlikely.

Reading the article I expected to be seeing multiple instances of propaganda puffery.

And I did.

However, perusing the "Dickies Arena, Fort Worth's new one-of-a-kind venue, is for more than just rodeo" article and reading the parts of the article which were actual factual descriptions of this new Fort Worth building, and looking at the gallery of photos, I can see this is a cool new addition to Fort Worth. An edifice any town anywhere would be proud of to have in their town.

But, having said this, let's take a look at the ridiculous propaganda puffery in this latest Star-Telegram Chamber of Commerce style production.

First paragraph...

Fort Worth likely hasn’t seen anything like Dickies Arena in a generation.

Well, now that assertion certainly can not be argued with. Nothing much has been built in Fort Worth of the large public facility sort or downtown skyscraper sort, since I first laid eyes on Fort Worth about two decades ago. One must point out the Modern Art Museum, added to Fort Worth this century, near Dickies, is impressive, and was added to Fort Worth in a generation.

Also impressive is the fact that the Dickies Arena was built in what for Fort Worth was a short construction timeline. I mean, it seems like only four or five years ago voters approved of this project by approving three silly ballot measures. One to charge a livestock stall fee, one to charge a parking fee, one to charge an admission ticket fee. I may not be remembering totally accurately the three ballot measures, but I can accurately say I had never ever witnessed such a bizarre ballot measure used to approve a public works project.

It is sort of ironic that Dickies Arena was built to completion in the years since America's Dumbest Boondoggle, also known as the Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island District Vision began trying to build three simple little bridges over dry land, starting with a TNT exploding celebration way back in 2014.

I suspect the project engineer who oversaw the construction of Dickies was an actual qualified professional sort, and not the inept son of a local congress person.

And then the next paragraph...

Sure, Fort Worth has seen its share of visionary endeavors. AllianceTexas is an economic driver. TEXRail connects downtown to DFW Airport. We’re promised continued growth in Near Southside and one day maybe along the river’s Panther Island.

Visionary endeavors? And these are the examples? Nothing more needs to be said.

And then there is this rather elevated claim...

“I think, you know, the level of finish that you have in this building is second to no other in the United States,” said Dickies Arena General Manager Matt Homan.

Okay, the General Manager of this building project has reason to be proud of the accomplishment. But, second to no other in the United States?

And then these two paragraphs featuring Fort Worth's mayor...

Dickies Arena would not have been possible with out the generosity of Fort Worth’s philanthropic community, said Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price.

“There’s not a lot of cities that can say they have a nearly $600 million venue that’s mostly funded by private donors,” she said. “People who don’t want to go to Dallas can come to Fort Worth and feel right at home.”

Uh, Fort Worth has a population over 800,000. Dear Betsy, most American towns of this size can finance a relatively small project like this arena without relying on charity from their town's more wealthy citizens. Having to do so is nothing to be bragging about.

And then we have an embarrassing quote from a local Fort Worth architect...

“I think it’s a really great mix of old and new,” Roberts said. “Our Cultural District is the best in the country. We’ve been very fortunate to have these world-renowned architects add to our city.”

How many big cities in America have an area of their town which they designate as being their Cultural District, one can not help but wonder? Is Culture allowed in other parts of Fort Worth? Or is Culture restricted to being allowed only in the Cultural District?

The following is an amusing paragraph with its comparison of a sign to a pickup truck...

If you can’t see the action on the floor, there’s a 25-by-38-foot rounded video board hanging from the dome. It’s the second largest of its kind in the country (behind the one in Detroit’s Little Caesars Arena) and weighs 12 times as much as a Chevrolet Silverado.

Oh my, a curved video board second biggest in America. And weighing 12 times more than a Chevy Silverado. Is that the small version of that pickup, such as the one I drive? Or one of the big versions?

Then there is a series of paragraphs touting what a great music venue Dickies Arena will be, unlike anything else available in the DFW market, including this doozy...

Fort Worth has historically been a music town. Elvis Presely played in Cowtown Coliseum early in his career and Willy Nelson cut his teeth in honkytonks along Jacksboro Highway, she said.

Oh yes, Fort Worth has historically been a music town. I bet you reading this in locations in modern America were totally aware of this. Oh my,  Elvis (Star-Telegram editors, Presley is the correct spelling of the Elvis last name, historically speaking) sang in the Stockyard's Coliseum way back over a half century ago, in the 1950s, followed by Willie singing in Jacksboro honkytonks. That is quite a music history.

Okay, that is enough of this. Read the entire "Dickies Arena, Fort Worth's new one-of-a-kind venue, is for more than just rodeo" article to find other gems of propaganda nonsense, such at the final sentence in the article...

This is really giving Fort Worth a much higher profile.”...

Monday, October 21, 2019

Rolling By Lake Wichita's Flying Fish At Low Tide

This final Monday afternoon of the October version of 2019 my bike rolled me south on the Circle Trail to Lake Wichita and the loop around Lake Wichita Park, which eventually arrives at the location you see above. Where I took a water consumption break by the lakeside work of art known as The Flying Fish.

I think I remember The Flying Fish correctly being the name for this lakeside work of art. I do know for a fact that Wichita Falls did not pay a million bucks for this lakeside work of art, which sits surrounded by scenic scenery and completed landscaping.

Unlike Fort Worth, which did spend a million bucks on a roundabout work of art, which does not sit surrounded by scenic scenery, but instead sits surrounded by weeds, litter and a couple simple little bridges stuck in slow motion construction over day land for years.

In the above photo you can see Mount Wichita piercing the blue skyline at the upper left. On the right you can see that Lake Wichita was in low tide mode when I rolled by. I saw no clam diggers.

But, seeing the low tide expose the mud flats of Lake Wichita it reminded me that I must remember to mention to David, Theo and Ruby's parental units that it might behoove us to check the tide schedule for Birch Bay and possibly schedule next summer stay there during a period of low tides.

One can not rely on the weather being predictable in Western Washington in July and August, though the chances are better that it will by sunny than rainy, but one can rely on the tidal charts.

An extremely low tide at Birch Bay would be extremely fun with David, Theo and Ruby. They did not get to experience what that is like when we were there in August of 2017.

Maybe David, Theo and Ruby's uncle Jake can figure out the tide schedule for us. He is expected to be there and thus possibly able to be motivated to research this serious tide schedule issue.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Unidentified Rusted Objects Draw Crowds To Wichita Bluff Nature Area

This next to last Sunday of the 2019 version of October is about as perfect as it ever gets, weather-wise, in my North Texas location.

And so I decided it was a good day to so some high speed bluff hiking on the Circle Trail in the Wichita Bluff Nature Area zone.

That section of the Circle Trail came to mind yesterday with reports on Facebook of mysterious unidentified rusted objects.

When I saw photo documentation of those mysterious unidentified rusted  objects I recollected having seen them previously and wondering what they were. Space debris from a failed satellite? Antique cement mixers?

I was not the only person checking out unidentified rusted objects today on the Circle Trail.

I saw more people today on the Wichita Bluff section of the Circle Trail than any previous visit. It was not the type throng one would see on the trail circling Seattle's Green Lake, but this seemed like a throng of people today, by Wichita Falls standards. In the above photo you can clearly see three unidentified rusted object seekers, but there were actually five more unidentified rusted object seekers that my non-camera eye saw when I took this photo.

Before arriving at the unidentified rusted objects, one passes by the jungle of tall foliage you see above. Those sticks of green are about twice as tall as me.

And then we come to the URO's, sitting at the edges of a dried up pond.

As you can see, I was not the only URO seeker taking photos today of these mysterious rusty remains.

I think the next time I go to the Wichita Bluff Nature Area I will bring my bike. Several bikers whizzed by today. It looked fun whizzing down a hill. One does not find a lot of downhill whizzing action at my current basically flat location on the planet...

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Mom's Final Newspaper Notification Visiting Texas Along With Hank Frank

A week or so ago an incoming phone call indicated to me that there had been no notice published in the Skagit Valley newspaper regarding mom's departure.

I soon learned there was some confusion as to who was taking care of this. Soon Spencer Jack's dad, my Favorite Nephew Jason, and Jason's Favorite Aunt Michele were solving the problem.

And then yesterday Jason called asking me if I had any good photos of grandma to be used in the publication of this long delayed notice. I was not at my photo storage device when Jason called, but a couple hours later I was able to see if I could find a suitable photo. That search soon seemed sort of futile.

During that search I did find the photo you see above, of mom and dad and their first born. And then I found some photos I took the last time mom and dad visited me in Texas, back in January of 2009. At the start of that visit I gave mom and dad cowboy hats, and insisted they put them on for any outdoor photos.

You will see some of those photos further down in this blog post.

Oh, I forgot to mention, last night Jason texted me saying he was hoping to meet today with our one and only remaining Whatcom County aunt, who he hoped would have some good photos of mom. Photos of that meeting arrived Saturday afternoon, and are also further down in this blog post.

But, before you get to that, you will get to the final version of what should show up next week in the Skagit Valley Herald, and later in the Whatcom County newspapers. For this blog post version I used the photo of mom which I sent to Jason last night as being the best I could come up with...

Shirley Louise (Wilder) Slotemaker

January 30, 1933 - September 20, 2019

Shirley Slotemaker, 86, of Sun Lakes, Arizona, passed away peacefully September 20, 2019 surrounded by the love of her family.

Shirley was born January 30, 1933 in Bellingham, Washington to LaVerne & Vera (Sundean) Wilder and attended school in Whatcom County, graduating from Lynden High in 1950.

On August 6, 1951, she married John “Jack” Slotemaker at her parents' home in Lynden and remained by his side until his passing in 2017.

Jack and Shirley lived in Eugene, Oregon and Mount Vernon, WA before settling in Burlington to raise their five children.  Shirley was primarily a housewife and mother, but she also operated a daycare out of her home and later worked at her favorite restaurant for her favorite son-in-law.  Jack and Shirley retired in 1995, living in Hoodsport, WA; Yuma, AZ, and finally Sun Lakes, AZ.

Shirley ran a tight ship, raising five kids in a three-bedroom, one-bath house. She took her role as homemaker seriously, and served home-cooked meals every night, always had homemade cookies in the cookie jar and usually a pie or cake on the counter. She hosted large family gatherings for many holidays and often joined in the big softball game across the street after the meal.  She will be missed.

Shirley was preceded in death by her beloved husband; both of her parents; her stepfather Dr. James Porter; and her three siblings. Shirley is survived by her children Dean, Jake, Nancy (Loretta Spencer), Jackie (Jack) Weston, and Michele (Kristin); grandchildren, Jason, Joseph (Monique), Christopher and Jeremy Weston, David, Theo and Ruby; and great-grandsons, Spencer and Henry.

There will be no services.

Shirley will be laid to rest at Monumenta Cemetery, in Lynden WA.

And now the aforementioned photos.

The first photo is the one I cropped to make the photo you see above. We were at Rockledge Park on Lake Grapevine.

Mom and dad's 2009 visit to Texas seems so recent in my memory. Hard to believe it was a decade ago.

It being January there was nothing much going on at the State Fair of Texas Fairgrounds, so I was able to drive mom and dad right up to the Cotton Bowl.

Above we are still at the State Fair of Texas Fairgrounds, with the Midway behind mom and dad. And dad texting a message to, I think it was, sister Jackie in Arizona. Dad was an early adopter of the text messaging thing. Years before I finally got around to doing so. And dad did his texting on a pre-smart phone.

The above used to be known as one of the most unique McDonald's in the world. I have been told it no longer exists. I do not know what replaced it. I long ago webpaged it and that page used to generate a lot of AdSense action. I remember mom and dad had hot fudge sundaes at this McDonald's, not wanting to over eat because we were heading to Babe's Chicken House in Roanoke for our evening feeding.

The above is not Babe's. It is Riscky's BBQ in the Fort Worth Stockyards. We did the All You Can Eat Ribs option. I was embarrassed by the big pile of bones which eventually piled up on the table. I had no idea mom and dad liked BBQed ribs so much.

And now on to today's photos from Jason.

Last night Jason told me he was hoping to meet up with Aunt Judy in LaConner.

For the enlightenment of Fort Worth ignorami, LaConner is a Skagit Valley tourist town. LaConner is a small town, a small town which somehow managed to built an actual iconic, signature type bridge, over actual water, taking about a year to build the actual feat of bridge building engineering.

I digressed. Back to the photos.

Jason's email with the photos contained no descriptive text. I am guessing the photos were not taken in LaConner, but were taken in Jason's Fidalgo Drive-In in Anacortes.

Above that is Aunt Judy standing in front of Joey, who is next to Jason, who is holding Hank Frank, with Hank Frank's mama, Monique, on the right.

And above Aunt Judy is now holding Hank Frank.

I have no idea what Hank Frank is doing above. It appears he is walking at a location he probably should not be walking on. Hank Frank is mom and dad's second great-grandson, with the first being Hank Frank's cousin, Spencer Jack. Mom and dad never got to meet their second great-grandson.

However, a few months ago, whilst I was in Arizona, Joey sent his grandma and me a video in which Joey claimed Hank Frank was saying hi to grandma. I think I YouTubed that video, but this blog post is already way too long and it takes way too long to find a video and copy the embed code.

Thanks to Aunt Judy for helping with the find a photo of mom project. If mom had not been so camera shy this would not be so difficult....

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Atop Wichita Bluffs Pondering Big Blue While Shrinking

Likely the iconic view you see here needs no description, what with it being obvious we are atop a bluff on the Circle Trail in the Wichita Bluff Nature Area, looking east over the Wichita River at the stunning skyline of beautiful downtown Wichita Falls.

That skyscraper at the center of the skyline is known a Big Blue. I have yet been able to understand why the locals do not seem to realize Big Blue is a bit of an eyesore, sticking out like an out of place mistake surrounded by buildings which do not look out of place.

Since first seeing Big Blue I have learned in its former glory years it was a classic old style building with a beautiful high ceiling lobby. And then it fell on hard times, which somehow resulted in the building being clad with a blue metal covering to facilitate the easy covering up plumbing and electrical upgrades running up the outer walls of the building, turning it into what looks to be a poorly designed, sorely in need of some sprucing up, eyesore, with a frequently malfunctioning time and temperature sign at its top.

Turning the subject from what looks to me to be the worst Wichita Falls eyesore, well, in the downtown zone, to today's hike on the Circle Trail.

The past couple years I have found myself in Arizona on seven separate occasions, for two to three week visits. Upon each return I have been double non-plussed to find I gained some poundage. Usually in the 10 pound range.

I have found as one gets older it is increasingly more difficult to melt off excess poundage. In years past simply amping up the miles of biking, roller blading and hiking would accomplish the pound shedding. With no dieting of the food intake monitoring needed.

But now, I find the biking and hiking does not seem to reverse the slow creep to 300 pounds. So, I have opted to amp up the calorie burning hiking, and cut back on some of the calorie adding eating.

Hence the hiking the Wichita Bluffs today.

I hope to be able to fit back into my blue jeans before cold weather renders doing so a dire necessity...

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Chilly Wichita Falls Saturday Before Sunday DFW With No Texas State Fair Galaxy Of Girls

A couple decades ago, when my living space was on the west coast, a 60 degree day was considered warm, borderline balmy.

Today I was in sweatpants and a couple layers on top, including a stocking cap at the ultimate top, because the outer world was chilled to 61 when my bike talked me into going on a ride.

The location you see here, where the bike opted to take a break, is a side spur off the Circle Trail, with a rocking bench, in Hamilton Park.

I have never been able to ascertain if Hamilton Park is named after Alexander, or some local Hamilton. I suspect it is the latter option.

Tomorrow I am heading southeast, a rare Sunday drive to the DFW zone. I do not believe I will be going to the east side of the DFW zone, to Dallas, and the State Fair of Texas. Though I would enjoy doing so. I have not been to the Texas State Fair since 2007.

I have only been to two state's state fair. That being the Texas one and the Washington one, formerly known as The Puyallup. The Texas State Fair version is larger than the Washington State Fair version. Both have sky rides, with the Washington version being transplanted from its original use in 1962's Seattle World's Fair.

The Washington State Fair has way more farm animals than the Texas version. And way more agricultural exhibits. And way fewer exhibits of motor vehicles. I recollect the Washington State Fair as having way more exhibits of the various vendor sorts. And more arts, crafts and flowers. While the Texas State Fair has way more permanent buildings of the architecturally cool sort, as in classic Art Deco. Both State Fairs have a lot of fun free entertainment.

Every year at The Puyallup my usual favorite was the show put on by a group called The Shoppe.

From Dallas!

 I dunno if The Shoppe has ever played the Texas State Fair.

I recollect watching an entertaining rodeo at The Puyallup. I do not recollect a rodeo at the Texas State Fair. I suspect there is one, but I missed it.

One thing about the Texas State Fair which is way bigger than the Washington State Fair is the Midway. The Texas State Fair Midway version is the biggest, funnest, wildest of that sort thing I have ever seen.

Maybe the PNE (Pacific National Exhibition) in Vancouver comes close, what with having a big old-fashioned wooden roller coaster. But, I have not been to the PNE in decades, so my memory of it has faded.

The PNE's Midway has the first strip show I ever eye witnessed. Can't imagine such a thing at the Texas State Fair. Or Washington's.

Canadians are such free-spirited, permissive, progressive liberated, liberal sorts.

Just remembered, regarding it being unlikely the Washington State Fair would have a strip show. I had forgotten that Washington has long been a free-spirited, permissive, progressive, liberated, liberal sort of state, more like Canada than Texas.

That aforementioned Seattle World's Fair came back to mind when I remember the PNE's strip show.

The Seattle World's Fair had an adult section called "Show Street".  I remember mom and dad going to the World's Fair and seeing Show Street's Girls of the Galaxy show til prudish sorts of that era caused the show to be shut down due to the show featuring naked Milky Way girls.

Such shows were a staple of past world's fair. Sally Rand's fan dance comes to mind.

I wonder if The Puyallup now has weird distasteful fried food such as one finds at the Texas State Fair? I suspect not.

Just a couple weeks ago, after I Linda Lou shipped me some of her Jam Factory's raspberry jam, I asked if scones with raspberry jam were still a big deal at The Puyallup. The person I asked, who had just been to the fair, answered by saying they bought a bag of scones to take home with them.

I wonder if I will ever again go to The Puyallup or the Texas State Fair?

Ironically I was in Arizona last year during the Arizona State Fair, which takes place in Phoenix. During that visit, in answer to one of Miss Daisy's daily queries asking if there was anything I can think of to do that I have not seen or done before, I answered that we could go to the Arizona State Fair.

Miss Daisy thought that sounded fun, but I didn't think it was a good idea to drive Miss Daisy to the Arizona State Fair. I probably was right...

Friday, October 11, 2019

Walk By Wichita Falls Trash Can Art Thinking About Fort Worth's Waste

Many a time when I walk the Wichita Falls Circle Trail I will see trash cans which will remind me of Fort Worth's Homage to an Aluminum Trash Can.

That Fort Worth Trash Can cost $1 million and sits at the center of an un-finished eyesore of a roundabout which sits near the un-finished eyesore of a couple unfinished bridges which have been stuck in slow motion construction mode for years, over dry land.

As I walked past the trash can you see here, after stopping to take a photo of it, I pondering blogging about the absurdity of the Trinity River Vision Panther Island Boondoggle thinking federal money should be funneled to Fort Worth to pay for their ill-considered, ineptly engineered pseudo public works project.

As in how can it look good to those handling the federal purse strings to have this project begging for money when it is not all that hard to find out what the Boondogglers have already wasted money on?

Such as failed Wakeboard Parks. The aforementioned Homage to an Aluminum Trash Can, river cruises, music festivals, junkets, high salaries. The list goes on and on.

And I am getting to be so senile I forget I have already opined about the absurdity of thinking federal funds will arrive when so much money has already been wasted, with little to show for the wasting.

Well, there is that Trash Can work of art, those bridge ruins, and J.D. Granger's expanded waist line providing some evidence of where the money has gone.

So, I searched the blog to see when last I mentioned the Homage to an Aluminum Trash Can to find that senility concern arise when I saw it was just last month I posted Anonymous Wondering About Fort Worth Boondoggle Spending Million Bucks On Trash Can Homage.

And in that post I copied the content of an email which elaborated on that which my senile self was repeating above. That email is worth repeating, and so I will do so...

We all thought what you had to say about the Panther Island project having trouble getting federal funding was right on the mark. Particularly on the mark was your saying "Yes, it does not take much common sense to see that it probably does not look good to those handling the federal purse strings that at the same time a town is begging for federal funds the town is holding Rockin' the River Happy Hour Inner Tubes Floats, and starting up a bizarre river boat cruise line to sail the polluted river. Among additional nonsense. Done any wakeboarding at Cowtown Wakepark lately?"

Sometimes it seems your blog is the only honest reporting about the Panther Island project and all its problems. In the past you've asked how much money was spent on that Wakepark failure. Spending money on that type thing can not possibly look good to those in Washington who are responsible for doling out federal funds. 

Another thing you could have mentioned which seems wasteful for a project asking for outside help is the million dollars spent on what some say looks like a giant cheese grater, and you have referred to as an homage to an aluminum trash can. Why would a million dollars be spent on such a thing for a project not adequately funded?

This blog post has already gone long, and I have not gotten around to mentioning the main thing I wanted to talk about, that being a blog post from a few days ago which has gone sort of viral, and to which an interesting Anonymous comment was made, which I have not published, due to the person making the Anonymous comment suggesting I not do so, but that I might want to blog about it, removing that which might not be appropriate to publish. I am assuming the Anonymous person made the Anonymous comment rather than send an email due to that wanting to be Anonymous thing.

It's almost way too much for a borderline senile person, such as myself, to process...

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Incoming Cold Dodging Possible Lightning Bolts

Under an ominous sky my handlebars took my bike north today, first to Hamilton Park, via the Circle Trail, then south to Sikes Lake, where we stopped to take the stormy photo you see here.

I have had a couple day respite from needing air conditioned comfort.

But today the A/C is back on, for a short duration.

With that short duration due to the anticipated incoming cold front which is scheduled to drop the temperature by about 40 degrees by tomorrow.

This temperature schedule seems to be frequently changing, depending on which temperature information source is being the temperature information source.

Thunderstorming is also on the menu for today. So far I have heard no banging booms.

A year ago today I headed west to Arizona, arriving the day after leaving Texas. A week later Linda Lou arrived for a couple days of helping drive Miss Daisy. Hard to believe this is already a year ago. Seems so recent.

I do not know when next I will be visiting Arizona. I suspect it will be sooner rather than later...

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Almost Chilly October Sunday Wichita Falls Lucy Park Walk

What with the outer world suddenly being chilled to a naturally pleasant air conditioned temperature of 80 degrees this first Sunday of the 2019 version of October seemed like a nice time to drive to Lucy Park for a shady stroll on the Circle Trail, along with a swaying crossing of the Wichita River on one of Wichita Falls signature bridges.

Built over actual water in less than four years. With no involvement of a local congressperson's corruptible son.

As you can clearly see, currently the foliage of Lucy Park has not received the memo that it is fall and thus the time of the year to change their color from green to what are known as autumn colors, prior to dropping the leaves from the trees.

Tonight's predicated low is 49 degrees. That is only 17 degrees above freezing. I probably should go treasure hunting to find where I stored quilts and blankets...

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Ruby & David Race Theo To New Cabin On Puget Sound Island

I was feeling just a little despondently depressed this first Saturday of the 2019 version of October.

And then this afternoon incoming email from Tacoma, with photos, cheered me totally free from my despondent depressed state of mind.

A few paragraphs of text explain the photos you will see here.


Ruby, Max, Nica and Theo C. at the finish. With Nica’s little brother cheering them on.

That appears to be my one and only all time Favorite Niece Ruby, crossing the finish line first, followed by longtime boyfriend, Max, right behind Ruby. I do not believe I have met Nica, or her little brother. Or Theo C. I have met Theo S, who is Ruby's twin.

And then text explaining what all this running is all about...

David and Ruby signed up for cross country and had their second meet yesterday. It’s pretty cute. Ruby’s age ran a mile, David’s a little more. David has a soccer game today and it will be interesting to see how he does because I suspect his legs are tired. He was almost last and had to walk at parts but he plugged along and finished.

And the explanation as to why my Favorite Nephew Theo was not running with Ruby and David...

It was at the middle school next to Swan Creek so Theo and Kristin went bike riding while I stood around and watched the runners.

That is Theo under a bike helmet above, holding what looks to be some sort of cookie, leaning on a table with a thermos with a "YOU'LL LIKE TACOMA" message stuck to it.

What's not to like about Tacoma? That would be a good slogan too. Lots of parks, all with modern facilities, multiple public pools, streets with sidewalks, free to ride light rail from an intermodal transit center to downtown Tacoma, a pair of HUGE suspension bridges, built over actual deep fast moving water (built in less than four years), miles of developed waterfront, none of which took decades to develop while employing a local politician's incompetent son, with the billions of bucks spent on development in Tacoma coming from private investors, not pork barrel welfare handouts such as some backwards backwater towns in America rely on to try and do the simplest of public works projects. Such as build three little bridges over dry land.

And then in the other cheering news I learned there will be a new vacation cabin to visit when I am in Washington next summer...

We are buying a vacation cabin on Hartstene Island.  It is in a gated community called Hartstene Pointe.(you can Google it, interesting history as it was started by Weyerhaeusers.) The house doesn’t have a view of the water but the community has 3.5 miles of private beach, an outdoor pool and hot tub that is open in summer, 5 miles of walking trails, tennis courts and a lagoon where the kids can learn to row a kayak. They can ride their bikes all over. It’s less than a 5 minute walk to the beach from our place. We hope to spend a ton of time out there, especially in the summer.

Now that is a cozy looking cabin. With wooded surroundings. I miss being outdoors where it smells like Christmas trees year round.

That is one cozy looking deck. I like the wide wood planks.

And that is one cozy looking kitchen. I do not remember when last I cooked in a kitchen whilst being able to gaze out windows at an evergreen forest. Likely it was 1998, in my kitchen in Mount Vernon. My sources tell me the cabin will be ready for cooking by November. I am available for Thanksgiving dinner chef duty, if needed.

Above is a sky view of the lagoon where the kids can learn to kayak. The water looks crystal clear. Something I do not see very often at my current location. I wonder if they hold Rockin' the Lagoon Happy Hour Kayak Floats in the lagoon in summer? Likely not.

Friday, October 4, 2019

Rolling Around Mount Wichita Pondering Long Elsie Hotpepper Road Trip

Overnight the heat of summer retreated whilst the cool of fall moved in.

Barely 60 degrees when I first saw the temperature at first light this morning.

This past summer, if I remember correctly, I only rolled my bike's wheels a couple times to Mount Wichita.

But, today, with the sun glaring through a clear blue sky I rolled around Mount Wichita. And stayed cool.

The forest fire which had ravaged the slopes of Mount Wichita, early last summer, has mostly healed, returned to green, for the most part.

Soon winter will arrive, well, in a couple months. And with winter snow may cap the summit of Mount Wichita. But, I dunno, what with this ongoing global warming, the Mount Wichita ice cap may not form this upcoming ski season.

Changing the subject to something else.

During the course of this current week Elsie Hotpepper has been negotiating with me about going on a road trip. With Elsie Hotpepper behind the wheel, a couple thousand miles to the northwest, to Washington.

I have some reservations regarding a long road trip with Elsie Hotpepper. For one thing, I am a reticent, quiet sort who can drive 450 miles before finally saying something, such as "Time to fill up the tank". Which might either mean the car needs gas, or I am hungry.

While I am one who uses few words, Elsie Hotpepper is one of those non-stop talker types. And while Elsie Hotpepper is absolutely fascinating to listen to, particularly when she is lubricated with an adult libation, it can be exhausting following the complicated plot lines of Elsie Hotpepper's ongoing long monologue.

So, I have not yet decided if I am on board with the Elsie Hotpepper long road trip concept...

Thursday, October 3, 2019

J.D. Granger Booted Off Fort Worth's Panther Island

I first learned of the alleged "J.D. Granger Out" news via what you see here, a screen cap from Facebook, seen last night.

Soon thereafter a couple incoming text messages and emails told me the same thing.

The news in the Facebook screen cap came via NBC DFW. I clicked the link to the J.D. Granger Out as Top Manager of Fort Worth’s Panther Island Project article to find both video of the TV news segment, and a print article summarizing, sort of, the TV news segment.

We will get to the news from NBC DFW later in this blogcast, but before that mention must be made of the fact that soon after first learning this news I found myself reading the Fort Worth Star-Telegram version of this "news" in an article titled Panther Island to hire manager, as J.D. Granger’s role with Fort Worth project changes.

Okay, we seem to have a bit of a contradiction just in the titles of these two articles. NBC DFW has J.D. Granger "Out", whilst the Star-Telegram simply has J.D. Granger's "Role Changed".

Let's look at both "news" articles to see if we can figure out what the truth might be.

First in the NBC DFW article, let's look at the first paragraph...

Major management changes at the embattled Trinity River Vision Authority included the removal of its executive director, J.D. Granger, who had headed up the “Panther Island” project since its beginning more than a dozen years ago.

Okay, that seems fairly clear. J.D. Granger has been removed from the executive director job for which he was ridiculously unqualified.

But, then this...

Granger, the son of a powerful congresswoman who started the project, will instead work directly for Jim Oliver, head of the Tarrant Regional Water District.

First off, I don't believe it was Kay Granger who actually started this absurd project. Second off, we learn that J.D. has been removed from the one job he botched to instead working directly for the guy who hired J.D., years ago, Jim Oliver, who later claimed he hired Granger because it was the right thing to do. I've long wondered why no one has ever asked Jim Oliver why hiring Kay Granger's son was the right thing to do. As for that working directly for Jim Oliver, did we not learn among the multiple "findings" in the widely reviled Riveron Review, that one of the problems with the Trinity River Vision mess was the management structure, and that in that Review it was stated that J.D. Granger reported directly to Jim Oliver? So, really, what has changed? Anything reality based?

And then this...

Oliver told NBC 5 Investigates that Granger will focus on flood control projects, while the economic development part of Panther Island - once a major interest for Granger - will be taken over by the city of Fort Worth.

Oh. Granger will now work on flood control projects. In an area of Fort Worth which has not flooded in well over a half century due to Trinity River levees long ago installed to prevent flooding. Yes, that should keep Kay's son real busy, and well worth his exorbitant salary.

And then this...

U.S. Rep. Kay Granger is credited with creating the project, first labeled Trinity Vision, and she is nearly solely responsible for securing federal dollars for its creation.

This article marks the first time I have ever read that Kay Granger is credited with creating that which has become America's Dumbest Boondoggle. If that is true that alone should get her booted out of Congress in 2020. And she is responsible for pork barreling the federal funds for its creation? I thought Kay was supposed to find federal funds to augment the dollars the locals were contributing.

Maybe it is the use of the word "creation" which seems off. Maybe, because so far, with millions already spent, nothing much has been created. Well, there are those remnants of three simple little bridges stuck in slow motion construction mode for years. I do not recollect The Boondoggle ever labeled "Trinity Vision". Long ago, near the start of this century, it began as "Trinity Uptown" before morphing into "Trinity River Vision". Then various iterations added to the mix "Uptown" and "Central City". Then J.D. Granger, and his minions of nonsense purveyors, conjured the Panther Island absurdity, where there is no island, and never will be an island, by any sane definition of what makes an island.

And then this...

Despite the many setbacks, the city of Fort Worth has continued to pledge its commitment to completing Panther Island, with voters last year approving a $250 million bond package to make that happen.

I do not recollect reading about this particular city of Fort Worth pledge. As for that $250 million bond package. That was the result of a fraudulent ballot measure which had voters believing they were approving "Flood Control and Drainage" projects. There was no mention of "Panther Island" or "Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island District Vision" or any of the other names by which the project goes, on that ballot measure.

Now let's take a look at the Star-Telegram's Panther Island to hire manager, as J.D. Granger’s role with Fort Worth project changes article about J.D. Granger's new job status.

First off we learn...

Granger will no longer be the top manager of Panther Island. Someone with experience coordinating multiple government entities is needed to help finish the $1.18 billion project, according to the authority.

Oh my, isn't that nice. After all these years of frittering away time and money someone with actual experience will be hired to help finish America's Dumbest Boondoggle. One can not help but wonder what sort of fool it would be who would want to take on this un-funded debacle.

And then this...

Granger, who makes more than $200,000, has worn many hats since the Trinity River project was first conceived more than a decade ago. The authority has been responsible for entertainment on the river, like Oktoberfest and Fort Worth’s Forth, finalizing design standards for development on the island, and working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

I have always wonder at what point in time it was that the Trinity River Vision evolved into being responsible for entertainment on the river. Conceived more than a decade ago? Try conceived almost two decades ago, near the start of the new century. One can also not help but wonder what those finalized design standards might be for development on the imaginary island.

And then this...

The project, first envisioned in the early 2000s, aims to cut a 1.5 mile bypass channel in the Trinity River north of downtown Fort Worth. The channel will form two islands, collectively known as Panther Island, and will help mitigate flooding while creating roughly 800 acres of prime real estate. It requires significant federal funding but has received little.

Okay, previously, as we pointed out, this article says the project was conceived more than a decade ago, and then in the above paragraph says it was first envisioned in the early 2000s. I did not know til reading that above paragraph that there are now two imaginary islands. Shouldn't they then collectively be known as the Panther Islands? Prime real estate? We haven't even reached the point where that prime real estate, currently an industrial wasteland, becomes an EPA superfund cleanup site.

The project requires significant federal funding? Well, isn't that special? What sane town begins a project of such magnitude without the funding already in place? Particularly when this project is propaganda-ized as being vitally needed flood control.

Land was stolen for this project, via the eminent domain abuse method. Eminent domain is used to take property for the public good, such for highways, schools, hospitals, that type thing. The fact that it is now obvious the land taken was not for a vital public need, due to the dawdling slow motion of the project, that and the fact it has never been about actual needed flood control, well, I would think at this point in time a lawyer would have an easy time bringing massively expensive lawsuits against the perpetrators of this fraud.

I personally know one or two of the victims of the Trinity River Vision eminent domain abuse, which is part of what fuels my disgust.

The article contains multiple typical Star-Telegram bits of propaganda, repeating debunked nonsense without questioning the ridiculousness of what is being quoted, such as verbiage from J.D. Granger.

Read the entire Panther Island to hire manager, as J.D. Granger’s role with Fort Worth project changes.article for the whole scope of this latest iteration of America's Dumbest Boondoggle, but before you do that we leave you with the last paragraph, with one final gem from Fort Worth's least favorite son, J.D. Granger...

“I thought I’d be gone long before,” he said. “I’ve always said I’ll stay here until this thing’s on cruise control. I think we’re right about there, and so that’s at least my commitment to local community.”

Yeah, J.D., there were a lot of us who thought you'd be gone long before. And yet you are still here. So, J.D. thinks the unfunded project is almost on cruise control, which apparently is what he thinks was his commitment to the local community.

I am still waiting for the forensic audit to find out where the money spent has gone. How much has been wasted in salaries being paid long after a project of this sort should have long ago been completed? How much has been spent on all the websites promoting the propaganda? How much has been spent on signage? How much has been spent on propaganda publications mailed quarterly? How much has been spent on junkets?

It is over a decade since I first heard from someone close to the J.D. Granger Trinity River Vision operation. This person identified as Deep Moat. Eventually I learned Deep Moat's identity. Way back then, over a decade ago, Deep Moat was upset by what Deep Moat eye witnessed. The party atmosphere at TRVA headquarters. This sitting around discussing where to go for lunch on the TRVA expense account. The well stocked liquor supply. Discussing where to go on another junket. Deep Moat was privy to the discussions of that which became the various Trinity River parties, like Rockin' the River and Octoberfest. Deep Moat did not understand why this was part of the Trinity River Vision. Deep Moat resented seeing tax payer dollars being spent in what Deep Moat thought was wrong and wasteful.

When, if ever, is there going to by any sort of accounting of the money which has been wasted by J.D. Granger during the course of well over a decade during which he has been on the public dole?

When, if ever, will Fort Worth get an actual legitimate newspaper of record? And is Amon Carter rolling over in his grave seeing what has been done to his city?

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Linda Lou's Skagit Valley Jam Factory Blackberry Pepper Jam Arrives In Texas

Way back last month, at the end of the first week of September, mention was made of Incoming Jars From Linda Lou's Skagit Valley Jam Factory.

I had been eagerly anticipating the arrival of a box full of choice products from Linda Lou's Jam Factory, and was most eagerly anticipating the Blackberry Pepper Jam anticipated to be part of the anticipated arrival.

That anticipated box arrived. I opened it, and found no Blackberry Pepper Jam. In the part of the box reserved for the Blackberry Pepper Jam I found organic pickled carrots.

I made mention of the Blackberry Pepper Jam absence and un-anticipated carrots in the blog post about this.

Linda Lou was in Alaska when she learned that her Linda Lou Skagit Valley Jam Factory shipping department employee had made the egregious blackberry shipping error.

Those who know me well know of my fondness for anything blackberry. So, of course I experienced an intense sense of letdown when I found pickled carrots substituting for blackberries.

And then when Linda Lou returned from Alaska, upon her first day back in her Skagit Valley Jam Factory, Linda Lou personally took over from her regular shipping employees to box a new box to send to Texas.

That new box arrived yesterday, and contained only the coveted delicacy of Blackberry Pepper Jam.

That is one of the jars photo documented above, temporarily sitting on the patio outside its kitchen storage location.

I have yet to try the Blackberry Pepper Jam.

Yesterday I had the Linda Lou Skagit Valley Factory Raspberry Jam for the first time. Best raspberry jam ever, or at least in recent memory. It is like concentrated essence of raspberries in a jar.

Those living in the Skagit Valley already know what I am about to tell you.

Linda Lou's Raspberry Jam was the Blue Ribbon winner at this year's Skagit County Fair, along with winning Best in Division.

I do not know why Linda Lou did not enter her prize winning Raspberry Jam in the Washington State Fair (formerly known as the Puyallup). I suspect the trip to Alaska interfered...

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Jason Confirms Grandma Graduated Lynden High School Class Of 1950

A couple days ago a caller called from the Skagit Valley who had heard from a fellow church member that my mom was no longer among the living. That caller had not seen a notice confirming this in the Skagit Valley Herald, hence the call.

About the same time as that caller calling from the Skagit Valley, my FNJ, he being Spencer Jack's dad, Jason, text messaged me asking if I knew what year mom graduated high school, and if Lynden High School was correct.

I replied that he had the high school correct, and that I would guess the year to be 1950 or 1951. I also told Jason that his dad and his aunt Jackie had discovered his grandma and grandpa's high school yearbooks whilst going through that which needed to be gone through in mom and dad's former Sun Lakes home.

And that Jason might be able to ask his dad to check grandma's yearbook to confirm the graduation date.

I assumed Jason was making these inquiries because he was working on the notice to go in the Skagit Valley Herald, and Whatcom County newspapers. I assumed such because Jason had done an excellent job of this for his grandpa, back in 2017. If history repeats I likely will be sent a copy for fact checking prior to publication.

Then, last night, Jason emailed with the below message, and the above photo...

FUD -- Don't be confused by this photo: It is not Aunt Nancy's driver's license picture from the early 1970s. Rather the gal in the picture sporting a healthy coat of lipstick is your mother. I received this from Sun Lakes this morning, confirming that Grandma was a member of the Lynden High School Class of 1950.

This suggests to me that Spencer Jack and Hank Frank's grandpa Jake had used mom's yearbook to confirm the graduation date, and take the above photo via his phone.

I wish I had known those yearbooks still existed whilst I was visiting mom multiple times the past couple years. Long ago, maybe when I was a teenager, I recollect mom and dad going through their yearbooks with me and my siblings, and way back then it was amusing.

The past couple years mom was real sharp about remembering details from long ago. The present moment, not so much. Going through those yearbooks would have been a good thing. Who knows what mom might have remembered and told me?

I think it was during my visit to Arizona in July of 2018 that I asked mom about the time mom and dad drove across the country to New York City. I had heard some of that tale in years previous, but never to the level of detail I heard it that summer of 2018. I asked about this at that point in time because I thought mom had somehow traveled solo to NYC to meet dad, and I just could not picture my mom doing something like that.

Well, she didn't, which I learned when mom told me the whole story.

Dad was stationed in Germany. The year was 1951. Dad's dad died. The army sent dad home for the funeral. Mom did not remember by what means dad crossed the country, but she did remember being in a wedding party, in Lynden, getting a phone call from dad, with dad telling mom he was at the bus station in Bellingham, and could mom come pick him up.

Mom rushed out of the wedding, broke the speed limit to Bellingham. Mom did not remember how long dad's leave was. But, at some specific date he was supposed to report back in New York City to be shipped back to Europe.

But, I asked mom, if dad was supposed to go back to Europe what were you gonna do to get back to Washington, after dad sailed away? Mom's answer to that question really surprised me. Mom said that they were young and did not know what they were doing, that they thought mom could go back to Europe with dad. Did you have a passport, I asked? A visa? How did you think you could go to Europe with dad? We just thought it would work out was mom's answer.

They hung out in NYC for several days, waiting dad's orders, staying with a relative who worked in some sort of church type place on Manhattan. And then dad got his orders. He was being mustered out of the army.

So, mom and dad decided to drive back home, via the southern route, through the Deep South, including Texas.

That is the short version of the tale mom told me. One detail sticks in my memory. They drove though Las Vegas, which was not much of a town back then, heading to Death Valley. They had somehow heard that one needs a lot to drink if one tries to drive through Death Valley.

They naively somehow thought this meant an alcohol based drink. Neither mom or dad were ever alcohol consumers, but they bought a six pack of beer to take into Death Valley. At some point the car over heated. Waiting for it to cool down they got out the beer. Opening one, dad took a drink, spit it out, said that is awful. Then mom took a drink and had the same reaction.

Years later, on July 25, 2019, mom said pizza sounded good. I said, you wanna bake pizza here or do the takeout thing? Mom said whatever you want. I said I prefer to bake it myself. So, I drove Miss Daisy to WinCo where we found a bake it yourself pizza. I then said beer and pizza sounded good. So, I got a big bottle of beer.

Back at mom's I baked the pizza, put a slice on a plate, for mom, and also poured a little beer into a coffee cup. Mom took one sip of the beer, spit it out, and said that is awful.

Maybe this is how mom reacted to beer when it is consumed in a desert, what with Death Valley being in a desert, and the Arizona Valley of the Sun being in another desert...