Tuesday, December 30, 2008
All in all it was a pretty fun evening. Xmas morning was good, we slept in, I gave Boub her secret gift, new diamond earrings, they are very pretty and sparkle quite a bit, so she digs them. And then we started to get everything gathered to go to her Mom’s for Xmas day.
Then I got the phone call.
My dad called me and told me that my cousin Richard had died sometime last week and they just found him.
Rich was one of my favorite cousins. He was a renaissance man, a bachelor’s bachelor, Viet Nam Vet from the Navy Branch, college graduate with his MFA in ceramics and glass blowing, ( I know, weird huh? He made some incredible art though) and he spent the last 25 years working for a manufacturing company as a designer and AUTOCAD monkey. His death was quite a blow to the family.
I know it is quite cliché but I really do wish I would have taken more time to spend with him. He would have been 61 at the end of January.
From what we can piece together He was at work on Friday the 19th, his boss told him he looked bad and sent him home, Rich told him that he might take a couple of extra days off to try and feel better. Then Rich’s sister called and talked to him of either Friday night or Saturday night, she can’t remember and then no one heard from him until the sheriff kicked his door in and found him dead. The body was so decomposed that we had no choice but cremation, and no one is sure yet what killed him. He was rotund, borderline diabetic, LOVED whiskey, and was an amazing 5’5”, 6”3” if drunk, and had the skills to back up the invisible height.
The ironic part to this whole tale is that the family had picked out a real nice urn for him, and upon further investigation at his dad’s place his sister found a more suited jar that he had crafted himself complete with form fitting lid, so his ashes get to remain in his creation for eternity. He unwittingly made his own final resting place.
Friday, December 19, 2008
yesterday wasn't that good
Bouby and I turned on our furnace about the same time everyone else in KC did. And this was all good. We like heat heat is good. We have enjoyed the benefits of heat since before we were born, so when we fired the ol' girl up in October and she squeaked a bit, we knew at sometime we would need to have someone look at her and make sure all was kosher.
We kind of forgot about the squeaky parts as our lives became busy as they tend to do at the end of the year, and then we got that gas bill....200 bucks! Years previous the winter time gas bill ran on average 80-90 bucks. So we decided to have someone come out and take a peek.
The inspector guy showed up yesterday at 2:00pm and Bouby showed him the furnace, and he looked inside, took off a cover panel, watched the gas ignite and then "hurumphed". Put it all back together and said "get out".
So he then went on to explain that we had a cracked heat exchanger and that the levels of carbon monoxide were way above the levels usually reserved for killing people, and the gas flames were shooting directly up the flue and were a really good fire hazard.
So Bouby called me in a panic, and I left work early to come home and deal with the furnace shopping.
What the fuck do I know from furnaces? I always rent, when I wasn't shacking up with some home owner broad (Pre- you Bouby!)and when my furnace needed replacing I made a phone call to my landlord and said "Fix the fucking heat Slummy McSlummerson!". So I came home and discussed options, and made a couple of phone calls. One of those calls was to a fellow Odd Fellow and we utilized our connections and got a pretty good price.
So I am working from the Casa this morning, and am a bit chilly since we had the furnace down to 63 last night so we wouldn't asphyxiate, and now all of that stored heat is gone until the guys get the new energy efficient 80% gas furnace installed.
I also had a dentist appointment this morning, first one in 14 years. I had a tiny cavity that apparently they filled with platinum because it cost me a fucking arm and a leg! But not bad for 14 years. I was told all is well but to start coming in for a cleaning since as you get older the less your saliva gets your calcium out of your mouth so you get build up and most people lose their teeth because of gum disease and not basic rot.
Which is good to know.
We now have a new furnace...it is not warm yet....but soon.
Monday, December 15, 2008
A Puppy Check up in Pictures
Now these last five are my Step Sisters pups, she is a breeder and a broker as well. So if you need some high end French Bull Dogs, or Weimaraners...let me know.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Re-publishing .....again...wait is that redundant?
I have read this a 1000 times in the last 10 years of the internet and it makes me bawl like a baby that is teething every time! Enjoy!!
A Secret Promise Kept
The appointment I was on my way to was very important; I was very late and very lost. With my male ego in check, I began to look for a place to ask directions, preferably a gas station. Since I had been crisscrossing the city, my gas gauge was perilously low and time was of the essence.
I spotted the amber glow of light outside the local fire station. What better place to ask directions?
I quickly stepped from my car and crossed the street to the station. All three overhead doors were open and I could see red fire engines with their doors ajar, chrome shining, waiting in anticipation for the bell to ring.
As I stepped inside, the aroma of the station assaulted me. It was the smell of the hoses drying in the tower, the oversized rubber boots, jackets and helmets. These smells, mixed in with the freshly washed floors and polished trucks, created that mysterious scent associated with all fire stations. Slowing down, I took a deep breath, closed my eyes and was transported back to my youth, to the fire station where my father worked for 35 years as head of fire maintenance.
I looked down to the end of the fire station and there it stood, sparkling gold to the sky, the fire pole. One day my dad let me and my older brother Jay slide down the pole, twice. In the corner of the station was the “creeper” used to slide under trucks when repairing them. Dad would say, “Hold on” and he would spin me around until I was dizzy as a drunken sailor. It was better than any Tilt-A-Whirl ride I have ever been on.
Next to the creeper was an old soda machine that had the classic Coca-Cola logo on it. It still dispensed the original green 10-ounce bottles, but they were now 35 cents compared with the 10 cents they were back then. A trip to the soda machine was always the highlight of the visit with Dad to the station, my very own bottle of soda.
When I was 10 years old, I took two of my friends by the station to show off my dad and see if we could weasel some sodas out of him. After showing them around the station, I asked Dad if we could each have a soda before we went home for lunch.
I detected just the slightest hesitation in my father’s voice that day, but he said “Sure” and gave us each a dime. We raced the soda machine to see if our bottle had a cap with the illustrious star on the inside.
What a lucky day! My cap had a star. I was only two caps away from sending for my very own Davy Crockett hat.
We all thanked my father and headed home for lunch and a summer afternoon of swimming.
I came home early that day from the lake, and as I walked down the hall I heard my parents talking. Mom seemed upset with Dad, and then I heard my name mentioned: “You should have just said you didn’t have the money for sodas. Brian would have understood. That money was for your lunch. The kids have to understand that we don’t have any extra money and you need to have your lunch.”
My dad, in his usual way, just shrugged it off.
Before my mother knew I had overheard the conversation, I hurried up the stairs to the room I shared with my four brothers.
As I emptied my pockets, the bottle cap that had caused so many problems fell to the floor. I picked it up and was ready to put it with the other seven when I realized how great a sacrifice my father had made for that bottle cap.
That night I made a promise of repayment. Someday I would be able to tell my father that I knew of the sacrifice he made that afternoon and so many other days, and I would never forget him for it.
My father had his first heart attack at the young age of 47. I guess his lifestyle of working three jobs to support the nine of us finally caught up to him. On the evening of my parents’ 25th anniversary, surrounded by all his family, the biggest, loudest, strongest of us all showed the first crack in the armor we as children thought would always be impenetrable.
Over the next eight years, my father battled back and forth, suffering another three heart attacks until he ended up with a pacemaker.
One afternoon my dad’s old blue Plymouth wagon broke down, and he called me for a ride to take him to the doctor for his annual checkup. As I pulled into the station, I saw my dad outside with all the other firemen crowded around a brand-new pickup truck. It was a deep blue Ford pickup, and it was a beauty. I mentioned to my dad how nice it was, and he commented that someday he would down a truck like that.
We both laughed. This was always his dream – and it always seemed so unattainable.
At this point in my personal life, I was doing quite well in business, as were all my brothers. We offered to buy him a truck, but as he so aptly put it, “If I don’t buy it, I won’t feel like it’s mine.”
As my dad stepped out of the doctor’s office I figured the gray pasty look on his face was from being poked, prodded and pricked with needles.
“Let’s go,” was all he said.
As we got into the car, I knew something was wrong. We drove off in silence and I knew Dad would tell me what was wrong in his own way.
I took the long way back to the station. As we drove by our old house, the ball field, lake and corner store, my dad started talking about the past and the memories each place held.
That’s when I knew he was dying.
He looked at me and nodded.
We stopped at Cabot’s Ice Cream and had an ice cream together for the first time alone in 15 years. We talked, really talked that day. He told me how proud he was of all of us and that he wasn’t afraid of dying. His fear was that he was going to be away from my mother.
I chuckled at him; never had a man been more in love with a woman than my dad.
He made me promise that day that I would never tell anyone of his impending death. As I agreed to his wishes, I knew that it was one of the toughest secrets I would ever have to keep.
At the time, my wife and I were looking for a new car or truck. My father knew the salesman at Cochituate Motors in Wayland, so I asked him if he would go with me to see what I could get for a trade-in toward a new car or truck.
As we entered the showroom, and I started talking with the salesman, I spotted Dad looking at the most beautiful, fully loaded chocolate-brown metal flake pickup truck he or I had ever seen. I saw my dad run his hand over the truck like a sculptor checking his work.
“Dad, I think I should buy a truck. I want to look at something small that is good on gas mileage.”
As the salesman left the showroom to get the dealer plate, I suggested that we take the brown truck out for a ride.
“You can’t afford this,” he said.
“I know that, and you know that, but the salesman doesn’t,” I said.
As we pulled out onto Route 27, with my father behind the wheel, we both laughed like a couple of kids at the fast one we had pulled off. He drove for 10 minutes, commenting about how beautifully it rode while I played with all the bells and whistles.
When we returned to the showroom, we took out a small blue Sundowner truck. My dad commented that this was a better truck for commuting because of gas and all the miles I would be driving. I agreed with him and we returned and finalized the deal with the salesman.
I called my dad a few nights later and asked him if he would come with me to pick up the truck. I think he agreed so quickly just to get one final look at “his brown truck,” as he called it.
When we pulled into the dealer’s yard, there was my little blue Sundowner with a sold sticker on it. Next to it was the brown pickup, all washed and shiny, with a big SOLD sign on the window.
I glanced over at my father and saw the disappointment register on his face as he said, “Someone bought himself a beautiful truck.”
I just nodded and said, “Dad, would you go inside and tell the salesman I’ll be right in as soon as I park the car?” As my father walked past the brown truck, he ran his hand along it and I could see the look of disappointment pass over him again.
I pulled my car around to the far side of the building and looked out the window at the man who had given up everything for his family. I watched as the salesman sat him down, handed him a set of keys to his truck – the brown one – and explained that it was for him from me and this was our secret.
My dad looked out the window, our eyes met, and we both nodded and laughed at each other.
I was waiting outside my house when my dad pulled up that night. As he stepped out of his truck, I gave him a big hug and a kiss and told him how much I loved him, and reminded him this was our secret.
We went for a drive that evening. Dad said he understood the truck, but what was the significance of the Coca-Cola bottle cap with the star in the center taped to the steering wheel?
By Brian Keefe
Monday, December 08, 2008
Why All Hunters are not ALL hunters...
20 years ago or so a group of men from North Carolina contacted my Grandpa, and Grandma, and asked to pheasant hunt on their property. As my G-pa was an avid hunter, and these men seemed to him, on the up and up he allowed it, and they became a yearly guest of the family. When my G-pa died, G-ma continued to allow these men to come pheasant hunt. and all was fine. Until a year ago.
Some of the older gentlemen stopped coming either due to health, or not wanting to travel all the way to Clyde KS for some Chinese chickens, either way, their spots were filled by a younger set, and these kids wanted to supplement their hunting of birds with some big Kansas whitetail deer. They asked permission and with a few rules, they were allowed to hunt certain pieces of land. Since they have been coming back for so long they naturally knew some other people in the area, and obtained permission from them as well....for specific parcels of land.
So, all is seemingly good, until last year, when people started hearing reports that these hunters were not playing by the rules that were set down by the land owners and farmers. We were told that they were seen on peoples land that they hadn't talked too, and basically went exactly where they were told to stay off. Including my cousin ad I's favorite hunting spot. It was rumored that the game warden was looking for them as well. Upon hearing that my Uncle made the decision that no one was going to hunt on ANY of our land without clearing it with my cousin...who now has that land set aside for his outfitter company.
Fast forward to this year when they asked the uncle if they could hunt and he told them to check with my cousin....they didn't. Thursday morning while we were in the trees, we watched them drive into one of the restricted parcels, see our truck, turn around and head back to the place they were supposed to be hunting, they drop three hunters off there and head out. We think they are walking the part of the creek that they have permission for, it took us a minute to think it through and if they were going to drop off their hunters in the wrong spot to begin with we guessed that they would be on another off limits parcel of land that connected to the ONLY place they had the right to be.
So we cut our hunt short, hightail it back to the truck and head out to the lower place. As we draw close we see that they had parked both trucks in an off limits are and three guys were walking through the woods. Now these guys had their game well planned out and their stories were straight. When we got there, they all agreed that they were just out for a nice leisurely pheasant hunt with their shotguns and their 6 bird dogs....yes I wrote 6, 6 damn dogs. Never mind that I have been hunting that chunk of land since I was a little kid and there have NEVER been any fucking pheasants there, but that was their story. The cousin told them that he saw them drop off the hunters and that he didn't want them in this piece of land and they said they were sorry and that they would leave immediately. At this point in time we gave them the benefit of the doubt and we drove off to ride the section to hopefully locate a spot for the afternoon.
As we circled back around 10 minutes later, their trucks were still their and they were so deep in the creek we couldn't see the blaze orange that had all over themselves. I guess they just told us what we wanted to hear. During our conversation, they told us of a monster deer that they had harvested the day before and told us we should go have a look at it since it was in G-Ma's garage. Since our morning hunt was ruined, and our honey hole was being trampled by people we were growing to hate, we headed for the bar/restaurant to talk with the uncle who was still there having coffee. On the way, we got a call from another cousin telling us that the highway patrol, and game warden were peeking into G-ma's garage windows...Interesting
We told the uncle the tale of the wayward hunters and he reiterated that it was up to the cousin to set the boundaries, and then we told him about the fuzz peeking in windows, and we all headed over to G-ma's. We looked at the deer carcass and yes it was a trophy, and confirmed their story with G-ma, that they had shot that deer on her land, it had run across the road and expired on someone else's land and they had gotten an earful from some pig farmer for trespassing.
Well this is getting too long. Bottom line is they violated the NUMBER ONE rule of out of state hunting. Treat the people and the land as if they were your momma and your own, and follow the rules set before you.
Ended up that they had shot that deer on someone elses land, which is why they got an ass chewing and that farmer and the land owner both witnessed them breaking the law and they had the deer confiscated, the kid that did the shooting was pointed out by the accusers and he was one of the hunters that wasn't supposed to be hunting deer as he didn't draw a tag, and fined $375.00. When I heard that I was shocked. He should have had the book thrown at him and his ass thrown in jail. The normal fine for hunting with out a license is loss of gun, loss of hunting license for 3 years, and a fine of $1500.00. Then there is also a "Trophy" fine that could have been assessed from between $2500-$5000. That little cocksucker got off easier than OJ.
And all though we can't prove it the coincidence is too great to over look. We found a deer that was shot, gutted and the ass meat cut off, and the carcass thrown over a bridge on the edge of our property. The rack was still on it, and when we climbed down to look at it we saw why, it was only on one side. So we guessed that they saw a rack, shot it, gutted it to make it easier to move, cut the hams off and dumped it over the bridge so they could just take some venison home.
Needless to say, they are no longer welcome anywhere near Clyde KS EVER again. It isn't hard to piss off a whole town when that town is only 700 people strong.
Oh and pics will come later...too much fun!