by Ben Henderson
Wow it is still winter for sure! I don't know how much snow we got yesterday, but it snowed all day ... my guess is about 5 inches. I am really ready for spring though, so we don't need this. At least we can be thankful for temps above 0.
School has been going fine. Keeping busy. I have two tests next week and then we start our spring break on Friday. Can't wait, will be nice to be home for a while and see my long lost family. I think Heids has break the same week that we do , so maybe we'll see them sometime hopefully.
Oh , on a side-note, anyone who has a nice car to sell for really really cheap, I am your buyer. Just kinda keeping my eyes peeled for a car....so if there are any available drop a line.
Hi to all,
From Patty Henderson
Some big things have happened at the hospital this past month -- 23 people were laid off and others had hour reductions. Too many people hired for the budget and with the projected cuts, health care reimbursement from government programs will take a huge cut, which of course affects us tremendously.
I was one of the fortunate ones with no hour reductions or layoffs in my dept. HOWEVER, two of the positions that were laid off work very closely with me on a few of the committees that I chair; therefore, guess what ... "task redistribution." Not sure how I'll do what is xpected of me, but I bet I'll streamline some processes and hopefully become much more efficient.
I'm also trying to put together a way in which we can support the "survivors" with the grief and anger that accompanies such a thing. We are still very viable and will continue to grow, but it is a confidence "shaker."
Enough of the dismal stuff! Rachel takes her driver's test this month. Freedom for her and less waiting on mom to pick her up (and a time or two almost forgotten).
She is done with basketball for the season and had a fun season. Dan starts his playoff games tonight. Season is almost over ... it's offered a lot of entertainment. Ben has spring break in a little over a week and I can't wait. He hasn't been home since X-mas vacation, so am anxious to see the "whites of his eyes."
All are trying to line up summer jobs. Rachel will start her course for nursing assistant the end of April and hopefully then can become "gainfully employed." Ben will probably do the same intern job he had last summer (unless a better offer arises, of course) and Dan is still unemployed. Do you have any ideas? He says he needs to make some cash.
No other news. Just wanted to get a note off to you. Hope you are staying warm and the robins show up pretty soon! Take care!!
*Actually the robins (two that I saw) arrived here last week, on faith, during that cold stretch we had!
And this time we have a question for Dad from Doug:
I have a question for L.A.M.O.G. How did Dad ever pick tractor painting as a vocation? Also where did he begin? Maybe he can field those questions.
In answer to your questions, asking how and where I began the tractor painting business: In the year of 1959, I opened a shop in Howard Lake doing general farm equipment repair, welding and occasionally a tractor paint job. The shop I was renting was sold and so I moved to a location in the country. In a few years I moved my business to a location on Highway 12 but lacked a suitable place to paint.
In 1966 I bought the place west of Howard Lake and planned a larger painting operation. During the time we were getting our building done I painted tractors in the grove. As soon as we were able to construct a suitable building, we started the painting operation and Anderson Equipment was in business. Our family moved into the partially finished home and it wasn't long until that four acres of bare ground became a place for a business and a nice home.
We had about 50 dealers bringing tractors to our business. The procedure was steam cleaning, sanding, and in most cases it required disassembly of different parts. Wheels come off to be painted separately,
I painted two tractors a day, six days a week. I started out at $22.50, and they furnished the paint and decals.
Painting, along with repair work, made us a fairly good living and the help from our family members was much appreciated.
The business still paints dealers' tractors. It has the name Chap Equipment. I understand the price has gone up to $300.00 for the big tractors today; most have cabs and it entails a lot of labor.
Hope that answers your questions.
We were in San Antonio by mid afternoon. Stan advised us to stay right on Riverwalk. We found a motel a few blocks away; must have thought we needed some walking.
Riverwalk is a combination of natural and man-made waterways in the heart of San Antonio. Well below street level, it is a quiet oasis, a refuge from the busy city streets. Shops line the sidewalks next to the water; trees and flowers add color and fragrance; restaurants offer either inside or outdoor seating, with every kind of food imaginable. Strolling minstrels serenade diners and lovers like D and I. (We were both.)
We took the river "cruise," which floated us through the entire loop, a very pretty trip with interesting narration by the "captain." We decided to go have a look at The Alamo, which is just off Riverwalk. We went to the Imax show, The Alamo, filling in some gaps in our knowledge, as well as bringing to life the pages of the history books we suffered through in high school.
In the 20 minutes we had to wait for the show, D showed her true colors as a shopper. I realized that I was going to be cold for the rest of the evening; the temperature was in the forties. It was too far back to the hotel to go back for more clothes, so I said I maybe should find a sweatshirt in the mall next to the Imax Theater. She said we should be able to find a good deal in the 20 minutes we had, and we were off.
The stores were huge! We went up and down escalators, around corners, through stores into other stores. I had a fleeting memory of my mother hauling me up and down Lincoln Avenue in Fergus when I was a grade schooler in need of new clothes. With five minutes left, D found a very nice zippered sweatshirt that had been marked half off and then marked down again! It would have taken me several days to find my way to that bargain, and I would have never found my way back to the theater! I guess power bargain shopping prowess has its place!
After the show, we walked over to The Alamo, which was closed for the night. We walked about the outside, looking in where we could, seeing that it is a rather small place to hold such a big piece of history. The men who died there knew they could not win, but were willing to die to strike a blow for freedom.
We walked about on the Riverwalk, looking to find just the right restaurant, enjoying the romance of the place. We settled on a barbecue place with outdoor seating and heaters, great food, fun to sit by the water and watch the people ebb and flow on the sidewalk.
The next morning, January 31st, we drove out to Lackland Air Force Base, where I took basic training in July and August of 1969. According to their web site, there is a museum and aircraft display area open to the public, but not so; suppose security is tighter now. So we drove on by and headed through the foggy morning for Corpus Christi, eager for our first sight of the Gulf of Mexico.
We soon passed out of the rolling, grassy hills into scrubby terrain, much like the interior of Florida, which soon gave way to land as flat and fertile looking as the Red River Valley. We were finally getting some much anticipated warm weather, temperatures in the high 60's under a bright blue sky. We drove by a huge oil refinery and into Corpus Christi. Crossing a long, high bridge, we saw the aircraft carrier Lexington floating in the bay.
Finding a place to park, we walked up the long walkway to the Lexington. Having read many books and stories about aircraft carriers, but having never seen one, I was particularly eager to tour this floating piece of history. Most areas of the ship are open to the public. One can sit in the captain's seat on the island and tour the engine room with its huge steam pipes, imagining what life was like for the thousands of men who served on her.
Most areas of the ship are restored, with the self-guided tour starting in the vast hangar deck, where movies show aircraft taking off and landing, showing the extreme danger to the personnel during flight operations. There are interviews of men who served on the Lexington, firsthand stories of life and death on a carrier. The story is told of Tokyo Rose several times reporting the Lexington to be sunk. The legend is that she took to referring to the Lexington as the Blue Ghost, because of its unique blue paint, and because it kept coming back after she declared it dead.
After climbing many ladders, one finds the flight deck, over 900 feet long -- a vast expanse when standing on it, but probably looking a lot smaller to a pilot coming in to land. Many aircraft are displayed on the flight deck, in various stages of restoration.
Off the flight deck are the captain's sea cabin, the chart house, then below, the barber shop -- five chairs -- the sick bay, dental offices capable of any procedure or surgery, the huge galley, sailors' quarters. The ship was like a town, with most of the same services available. The sailors had pretty tight quarters, some sleeping in hammocks. The engine room was a huge place, full of big machinery and insulated pipes. Prominent signs warned that no man should stay there over four hours per shift, due to the danger of heat exhaustion.
There is a room dedicated to the first Lexington, sunk during the early part of World War II. A background narrator reads the names of the men lost with the first Lexington, while pictures and displays tell the story of her sinking.
Life on this ship was surely not for the claustrophobic, or the faint of heart! I can't imagine what it would be like to be working below decks in the bowels of the ship when she was under attack. I was lost most of the time just walking through her vast labyrinth of rooms and ladders.
The dedicated people who are building the Lexington into a shrine and a museum have done a wonderful job of bringing a legend back to life, and of honoring those who served on aircraft carriers.
We headed north late in the afternoon, stopping at a Port Lavaca Ford to get a headlight replaced on the van. The service manager treated us very well, having to order a bulb from a parts house, having considerable difficulty to get it changed in its position behind the battery, then charging us only the $15 cost of the bulb.
We drove for a while after dark, stopping at a gas station/restaurant called Buccee Beaver. We passed some large refineries, all lit up, looking like some sort of sci-fi cities of the future. We stopped for the night in Angleton.
February 1st, as we were ready to leave, I heard a muffled boom while D was in the shower. It was notable because we had heard similar booms while touring with Stan near Fort Hood, but I had the thought that we weren't near any military bases now. We had the TV on, and the loss of the Columbia space shuttle was being reported. It wasn't until later in the day that I realized that was probably what I had heard. We were saddened by the loss of the seven astronauts.
I remembered that I had been in basic training at San Antonio when the first men landed on the moon; we got to stay up all night and watch it on TV. Space travel has come a long way since 1969, but it is still a dangerous thing.
We headed for Galveston, passing many more large refineries and crossing several high, steep bridges. Stopping at Surfside Beach, we picked shells and enjoyed the warm morning. Heading again for Galveston, we drove past beautiful, expensive looking homes, all up on pilings.
The fog was thick when we got to Galveston. They have a 12-foot high seawall, built after over 6,000 people were lost in a hurricane about 100 years ago. The top of the seawall is about 20 feet wide, perfect for biking, walking, rollerblading, etc. We walked along the seawall, checking out some tourist trap junk shops. We found a little coffee shop/ cyber cafe out on a pier, where we checked our e-mail. I had coffee and D bought a wonderful little homemade peach pie, which she shared with me as we walked along the sea wall looking for more junk shops. Six bucks for coffee, pie, and computer time -- a real bargain.
We drove to the end of the road. Galveston is an island, accessible only by causeway or ferry. At the north end; the road just ends at the beach. We watched ships go by and watched kids feeding gulls for a while, then backtracked to find the free ferry to take us to the mainland.
After a short wait in line, where D shared Wheat Thins with a flock of noisy gulls, we boarded a ferry, six rows of vehicles, and probably 60-70 cars on board. The ride was about 20 minutes; we met two more ferries and saw several other ships and smaller boats. Back on the road, we headed up the coast, wanting to stay near the water, to end up, eventually, in New Orleans.
We passed a pasture where cattle grazed alongside oil well pumps. I told D that's the way a person should do the cattle business -- have oil wells so you can afford to raise cattle. We saw a group of cowboys on horses, looking like they were getting ready to work cattle.
We drove through lots of swampy country with very tall grass. The road ditches were filled with water; it looked like they just dug dirt out on the sides and put it in the middle to build the road. Most of this area was fenced, with cattle in sight at times. I have no idea how they tend them or get them out of there; looked like pretty tough terrain to get across.
We rolled into Louisiana after dark, taking a short ferry ride to Cameron, where we stopped for the night.
+ LETTERS TO THE EDITOR?
* I have lots of nice letters to share: I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!!!!
Hey Grandma, I have a joke for ya; just thought it was kinda funny! love ya, Ben
An old man in Phoenix calls his son in New York and says, "I hate to ruin your day, but I have to tell you that your mother and I are divorcing; 45 years of misery is enough."
"Pop, what are you talking about!" the son screams.
"We can't stand the sight of each other any longer, " the old man said. "We're sick and tired of each other, and I'm sick of talking about this, so you call your sister in Chicago and tell her." And he hangs up.
Frantic, the son calls his sister, who explodes on the phone, "They're getting a divorce? I don't think so!" she shouts. "I'll take care of this." She calls Phoenix immediately, and screams at the old man, "You are NOT getting divorced! Don't do a single thing until we get there. DO YOU HEAR ME?" And she hangs up.
The old man hangs up his phone and turns to his wife. "Okay," he says, "It worked. They're coming for Thanksgiving and paying their own way. Now we have to think up something for Christmas!"
* I wonder if that would work for Grandpa and me?
And there was a letter from Elaine -- in regard to Grandpa's rationing article.
That was interesting. Remember when we could not get silk or nylon stockings, so the girls used LEG PAINT, something like suntan lotion?
Remember, no fudge or sweets baking, as sugar was rationed. Each person in a family got a book of stamps every month or so, and we had a big family so we got more sugar than a small family. You had to use ration stamps to buy cans of vegetables and fruit, so many grew victory gardens to can their own vegetables.
Coffee was rationed; stores sold a substitute "bean thing" -- no good. Pepper was hard to get. One day DeLoris went with Harry to town for groceries, and she saw RED PEPPER, so she was so glad she told mom she bought TWO!
Pineapple, coconut, dates, chocolate, cocoa, all hard to come by, so mostly a plain white cake is all one could bake. Meat was rationed but we had our own so did not lack there. Other items hard to get besides tires were batteries. (We saved the battery radio only for news or important things.) Shoes, one or two pair a year only, with stamps. Appliances, and metal things of any kind, all was used for war purposes.
You would remember the typewriter story... I had hoped for one for Christmas, and Dad finally consented to getting one for a FAMILY gift... We waited and waited, and then a letter came ... SORRY, NOT AVAILABLE, DUE TO DEFENSE USES ONLY. I finally got one when I started teaching in 1947.
Remember when we kids saved string, collected metal pop bottle caps, milkweed pods (for parachutes), gum tinfoil wrappers, all for defense? Scrap metals were worth hauling into town to sell. These are just a few things I remember from those days.
* And a few compliments were appreciated!
from Donna --
I want to congratulate you and your assistants on a job well done! I enjoy each and every article and letter. Doug, your column was super! Your cooking tips are great; thanks for sharing. Loved the glossary, too -- especially the "wuss" definition! Good rationing examples, Dad ... what a memory! Thanks to all!!!
from Donna's friend Barb --
Thanks for the bulletin. Many young families stressed by separation ... maybe "good" for the nation ... help us "spoiled brat kids" find the right values in life. We have never had to do "rationing" ... so many in "we deserve a good life" mind set. All life experiences teach a lesson ... make us better or bitter. Our choice....
Love, Barb Dewey
From Marlene --
Great Bulletin! I, too, was wondering who wrote the neat Kitty story. I really enjoyed Shari's letter. Quite touching what she told us about Mike's experience after 9/11. It seems like almost everybody knows somebody who's been deployed. I don't know if I told you that Jennifer Lundstrom's boyfriend left two weeks ago. Anyway, thanks for putting it all together again.
Nothing new here to report -- I think I will go whip up some of that salmon stuff for tonight's supper!!!
A Poem from the Hills --
by Frank L. Stanton
If you strike a thorn or rose,
If it hails, or if it snows,
'Taint no use to sit and whine,
When the fish ain't on yer line;
Bait yer hook an' keep a-trying-
When the weather kills yer crop,
When you tumble from the top,
S'pose you're out o'every dime,
Bein' broke ain't any crime;
Tell the world you're feelin' prime
When it looks like all is up,
Drain the sweetness from the cup,
See the wild birds on the wing,
Hear the bells that sweetly ring,
When you feel like singin' sing
Our Present Staff:
EDITORS: Mom, Grandma, Dorothy, etc.
Doug -------St. Cloud Correspondent
Rich---------Mr. In-A-Jam(b) &
Kim------and his assistant