Possum Hollar

Stories about my family

Category: Uncategorized (page 1 of 5)

WORKING TOGETHER

WORKING TOGETHER 

Dad and mom bought a farm by the coal pits southeast of Warner, OK in 1948. They had high hopes of growing corn, cotton and other cash crops. But high hopes and hard work did not provide enough money to keep the farm going. 

The early 50’s were hard on small farmers as it was with most families in rural Oklahoma. It seemed to me that my folks were just hanging on, hoping that things would turn around next year. But it didn’t. 

Consequently, the family migrated to California and other places to work the crops. The money earned would then be used to buy seed, fertilizer, etc. for another year at the farm. So come harvest time dad would pack our tent and we would follow the other migrant workers. 

Several seasons we went to Stratford, California to follow the cotton and grape crops. Many times dad set goals for us to meet and when we met that goal we would be through for the day. He usually set the goal at 2000 lbs. when we picked cotton. We started early in the day when the cotton was heavy with dew. 

He would announce the goal early in the day, most times about 6 AM. Usually by 2 PM we were over 2000 lbs and could call it a day. At $4.00 per 100 bs. $80.00 a day was a good family wage in 1951. 

I believe it was 1952 when John Clark, a family friend, moved from Webber Falls to a small town in western Montana. He called dad for help. Acres and acres of golden wheat were ready for harvest when we arrived. Dad operated a combine that I pulled with a caterpillar and my brother drove a large tractor. 

We worked for thirty days straight and went back home. Dad was paid $900. and Leo and I were paid $600. each. Dad took John Clark’s check to the bank and was paid partially in silver dollars which we had to spend. In those days the government frowned on hoarding silver. 

The money was enough to buy school clothes and shoes for us kids with enough left over to buy seed and fertilizer for next years crop, and a little left over for the mortgage. Money earned belonged to the family. 

Dad was a man of dreams, a man of convictions, a man of hope and ambition. But most of all he was a family man. 

LIST OF STORIES

HOW TO USE THE FOLLOWING LIST TO FIND A STORY: First, select a keyword in the title of the story you wish to read and then enter that word in the search box on the top right side of any page on the website. Press search and you will be taken to selected story.

PART ONE……GROWING UP ON A FARM

HONESTY AND RESPECT……CURIOUS CHILD………….. TORNADO……….. MY MOTHER……. BRUSH ARBOR REVIVAL……MILKING COWS…… ANGRY FATHER…… BARN BURNED……… DAY I WAS SAVED……. HELPING STRANGERS……. BALING HAY…………HARD TIMES…….. GROWING UP IN 1952……….RAGS……….. TRAPPING RABBITS….. WAITING FOR DAD…. GROWING COTTON…DAD’S RAMBLINGS……. RURAL SCHOOL….WORKING TOGETHER… LESSON IN LOVE……. LOSING THE FARM…. SEARCHING FOR JUNK…..AUTO SALVAGE……….MY CHANCE….. BUILDING A CHURCH…HIGH SCHOOL OLD TIME REVIVAL…….. ROUTE 66……………… BUILDING A CHURCH….. GROWING UP IN 1950………………………

PART TWO……STORIES ABOUT MY FAMILY

LEAVING HOME…..MEETING PHYLLIS…. DAY AFTER DANCING RETURNING HOME…. COURTING PHYLLIS……. DATING PHYLLIS….. PLAYMATES IN 1948……….. ..WILL YOU MARRY ME ..MARRIAGE…….. THE FIRST YEAR…………… BASIC TRAINING………..GERMANY……………… MY FRIEND BERNARD…………..SNOW, SNOW AND MORE…………….. LIVING IN GERMANY………… AN ADDITION TO THE FAMILY…………….. IN-LAWS…. FT BLISS…. ONE THAT GOT AWAY…….. PROMISE MADE WHEN THINGS GO WRONG………. CYNTHIA THE TEACHER……….. RANDY THE PREACHER………. OLD TIME REVIVAL………THINGS SAID FROM PULPIT……. YELLOWSTONE PARK………..WISCONSIN…………….. BAD LANDS…….TETONS……… GUADALUPA RIVER…….RODEO AT THE CORN PALACE…….CREEDE CO………… PHYLLIS’ GRANDMOTHER….. PHYLLIS’ PHILOSOPHY……. BASIC TRAINING…. GOING TO GERMANY……LIVING IN GERMANY………. TAKING IN-LAWS ON TRIP….ADDING FAMILY MEMBER….. BASIC TRAINING AGAIN….. DERELICTION OF DUTIES………GOOD LDR MAKE MISTAKES………….. 1959 WAS A GOOD YEAR……YOUR FAMILY HISTORY…..A LOOK BACK.. SALUTE TO PATRIOTISM ……………THE HEARTACHE OF SEPARATION. .REMEMBERING……CHRISTMAS AGAIN…… WHY GOD SPARED ME… THE NICKEL IS NOT MINE…….. WHAT I LEARNED FROM MY DAD…..

PART THREE—–REMEMBERING SOUTH VIETNAM

FIRST DAY IN VIETNAM…….. A NIGHT WITH THE 3RD PLT…. MY FIRST BATTLE….. CAPTURE ENEMY SOLDIER…. THE LONGEST DAY………… THE DARKNESS NIGHT……….. MY LAST MISSION AS PLT LDR……. INTELL OFFICER……….. TEMPORARY COMMANDER………………… COMMANDER AGAIN…….. BEATLES AND THINGS THAT BITE… WAITING IS HARD……. MY FIRST COMMAND……FAILURE TO DIG IN NIGHT IN THE LIFE OF A CDR………LAST MISSION………….. RIGHTEOUS ANGER VIETNAM……..A SURPRISE VISIT……. PERSONAL INTEGRITY… SEVEN NAMES ON WALL….. FINDING SGT DILL….A LOOK BACK…….. HEARTBREAK OF SEPARATION…SURPRISE VISIT….A LETTER FROM PACE….. OPERATION THAYER II…….THE BATTLE, 23-24 April, 1967…….THE BATTLE CONTINUED, 25-30 APRIL, 1967…..HAUL OF POLISHED RICE… TRAGEDIES AND MIRACLES……..TEN HOURS IN VIETNAM……. LETTER TO THE EDITOR…….NIGHT IN THE LIFE OF A PLT LDR……WHY ME LORD…… ASST BDE OPS OFFICER…….. MORTAR ATTACK………………..

PART FOUR…….THINGS DAD TOLD ME

CHILDHOOD ILLNESS………..GROWING UP……………. GOING TO CALIFORNIA……… DAD TALKS ABOUT HIS SISTERS…. LEARNING TO READ…. HIS WIFE, ADDIE……….. BOARDING THE SHIP…….. FIGHTING GERMANS IN MONCOUR… ASSISTANT GUNNER………….. DAD’S RAMBLINGS……………….

READER COMMENTS

The religious stories received several comments from loyal readers.. Here are a few.

Don Qualls left this comment after reading the story about Alfred and Addie Burr leading the community in building a Church in Warner, OK in 1954.

It must be in the Burr blood, my mother, Juaneva (Pip) Burr Qualls was the main force in starting a Southern Baptist Church in Stratford CA. around 1962*63-ish. My brother Jerry Qualls could probably give the exact date, he attended the church until he moved to Webber around 1974. I remember spending many days getting the storefront ready, cutting weeds in the back, going to Sunday School. After my mothers death in 1965 we began to attend the Pentecostal church of God that Janis mentioned earlier

Uncle Tom Burr left this comment. What a GREAT story. I am glad and honored to call Alfred Burr my earthly and Heavenly brother.

Janis Burr Minter left this comment after reading the same story. Very interesting. I didn’t know about the building of the church. My dad helped build the Pentecostal church in Stratford. But he didn’t attend until much later in his life.

Judy Anderson. For your memory bank of Bro & Sister Burr, (Alfred Burr’s parents). When my brother-in-law, Burl Page pastored the little brown church on the corner behind the cotton gin, (In the town of Webbers Falls, OK), Bro Burr was the assistant pastor and when Burl had to work, he preached. He was the first person I ever heard speak in tongues! I wanted to do that, didn’t understand it, but wanted it. I loved to hear both of them testify. Sister Burr always sat on the front bench of the left side of the church. I still remember the long dark colored coat with a pretty pin on the lapel that she wore. And she always prayed during the service. She like the song “I shall not be moved”. We had a wood stove in the middle of the isle in center of the church and Bro Burr would carry the wood in by arm loads and many times came early to build the fire so church would be warm. Hope this gives you a short memory to reflect on two favorite people of my childhood.

Note: Brother and Sister Burr referred to by Judy are my grandparents. Thank you Judy, I did not know. Jack

Tim Denning left this comment after reading the story “The Day I was Saved.” Thank you for sharing – I always love to hear how someone came to know our Lord.
I came to Christ the Summer of 1974 at a meeting downtown in Wichita. I too felt that God through the preacher was speaking directly to me that night. It was hard to go forward in that big crowd but I knew that is what I had to do. I’ve never been the same since and would not trade his loving care for anything. Yes, I too have not walked as I should at times but he is always ready to draw me close.

Comment left by my sister Brenda. testimony from the heart… love all bc

Comment by Dennis Burr. Fantastic testimony. (Dennis is a man who loves family traditions as much as I do, Jack).

Comment by my daughter-in-law, Donna. Amen Amen Dad!!

Thanks for the feedback. Jack

TULSA VA CLINIC

A VISIT TO THE TULSA VA CLINIC

My purpose here is to encourage veterans who, like me, to use VA Medical service and to be vocal about the caliber of service you receive.  The opinions expressed in this post are based on services provided by Muskogee Veterans Hospital and most recently the Tulsa Clinic on 41st Street.

The Veterans Administration has suffered from bad leadership and poor administrative policies over the past several years.  Certain VA hospitals and clinics have been deservedly criticized for not properly serving the needs of veterans.

A few days ago I visited the Tulsa VA clinic to establish a personal medical record in the event I needed VA Services in the future. I had not been in a VA medical facility since the scandal of poor treatment of veterans which was prevalent during the last presidential administration and is still unresolved in many instances.  Accordingly I was skeptical as I approached the clinic.

First, I must say, I was filled with admiration and a sense of patriotism as I saw several veterans of the Vietnam era  with visible disabilities.  A few younger veterans were also in the waiting area.

I spoke to each one I met as I made my way to the information desk, they looked me in the eye and said they were fine.  Anyone could see that they were not fine in the physical sense, but it was also obvious they were talking about their mental and emotional state of being and that they were proud to have served their country.

Clinic named for LTC Ernest Childers

As I sat in the waiting room awaiting my turn, I noticed three vets who appeared to be indigent with emotional issues probably caused by PTSD or illegal drugs or maybe both. The nursing and administrative staff appeared caring and professional as they attempted to understand and care for the needs of each.  None-the-less, my heart went out to these men who needed more than medical assistance.  Another example that the cost of war cannot be measured in dollars and cents.

Promptly at the scheduled time my name was called to see the doctor.  She was attentive as I described the purpose of my visit.  She was friendly and easy to understand as she used non technical terms to ask the kinds of questions doctors ask patients. She gave me advice and information about my health that was more informative and helpful than the civilian doctor I have been seeing for the past several years.  I was impressed.

Post visit care was also impressive.  I was contacted by the Physician to check on me and a day or so later  a nurse called and gave me useful information on test results.  She also made an appointment for a follow-up visit.  The service provided was superior to the civilian facilities I have been using for the past several years.

Information I’ve provided here is one person’s opinion about a particular VA Clinic.  If your experience has been different, I encourage to speak to people who can do something about the issue concerning you.  Be persistent.

As a veteran you deserve respectful and timely treatment from people working  in institutions specifically designed for and whose sole purpose is to serve you.  Most do, but If you do not receive proper treatment, then do something about it.

In every governmental entity there are written policies on steps a veteran may take  to have the issue(s) resolved.  Ask the person who is not responding to your requests, to talk to his (her) boss.  If he (she) is not available, make an appointment or ask to see a higher level supervisor.  Persistency may be the only way to get answers.   Many times, change only occurs when someone is made uncomfortable.

If, on the other hand, you receive good service, be kind, and thank the person who served you.

There is a saying– that Kindness makes you feel good whether you are  giving it or receiving it.

 

 

GUADALUPE RIVER, CANYON DAM, TX

No story.  Just pictures taken November, 2016 on Guadalupe River near San Marcos, TX.  Phyllis and I were vacationing with our daughter, Cynthia and her family.

 

On our way

Our grandson, Evan fishing on the Guadalupe River.

 

Canyon Lake. Guadalupe River flows Southeast out of dam.

 

Guadalupe River

Our Son-in-Law, Ben Ferrell climbing the stairs from the banks of the Guadalupe River

Ben fishing near Base of Canyon Lake Dam

 

Getting ready to go to Tulsa

CREEDE COLORADO PICTURES

No story this time.  Just pictures.  Phyllis and I visited Creede, CO in July and again in September 2016.

Creede was the last silver boom town in Colorado in the 19th century.  The town leapt from a population of 600 in 1889 to more than 10,000 people in December 1891…..  Creede’s boom lasted until 1893, when the Silver Panic hit the silver mining towns in Colorado.  The price of silver plummeted and most of the silver mines were closed.   (Wikipedia)

Highest elevation in the area

CAMPGROUND WHERE WE STAYED.

RAIN ONE MINUTE, SUNSHINE THE NEXT, RAINBOW IN BETWEEN.

 

OUR MOTORHOME IN MOUNTAINVIEWS RV RESORT, CREEDE CO.

PICTURE OF PHYLLIS NEAR THE END OF OUR CREEDE TOUR.

A MUDDY DAY ON THE BACK ROADS OF THE CREEDE FOLIAGE TOUR.

HEADWATERS OF RIO GRANDE RIVER IS NEARBY.

OLD MINING TOWN NEAR CREEDE

 

 

Hope you enjoyed these pictures of Creede CO.

MIRACLES AND TRAGEDIES

THE MIRACLES AND TRAGEDIES OF JANUARY 20, 1967

This is about  a man I never met who sent me a letter which told a story that could have only happened because of a series of miracles.

PFC George W McGhee is the hero we carried off the mountain that night.

PhPhyllis and I met Pace Caldwell and his wife, Dot, in January of 2017 for the first time.  The four of us traced the names of three men killed, January 20, 1967, whose names were etched on the travelling Vietnam Memorial Wall, Ft Benning, GA.  Pace’s name was not on the Wall because he was evacuated from the battlefield under extraordinary circumstances 50 years earlier.

Several months ago I posted two stories about the battle of January 20, 1967.  (See The Longest Day and Darkness Night).   After reading these stories, Kevin Caldwell, son of Pace Caldwell, posted a letter of gratitude.

Mr Burr:

I would like to thank you for your courage and dedication to upholding “No man left behind”.  I know it was more than a motto and that you and your men upheld it on more than one occasion.  It is the occasion of the time that you held to it in saving Pace Caldwell’s life ( more than once from what I have heard), that I would like to offer my deepest gratitude.  I am the son of Pace born just a little over a year later in 1968. Seeing his image on this page from back then was very moving.  I am also the spitting image of him. His photo looks just like the one of me in uniform many years later that hangs on his wall today. You not only saved his life that day but also made it possible for me to exist as his son. One moment in time that you found the courage and strength to do what was right and brave produced many repercussions that one could have never imagined in that time.  I know as a fellow soldier and human that our vision is very limited and that we can not see or have knowledge of the repercussions of our actions. I wanted to say thank you so that you might experience a sense of pride and gratitude on the deepest level possible.  Your actions not only saved Pace but also allowed all of us that he loves to know uncountable moments of a future that would not have existed without him.  No medal, no words can describe the treasure that is yours due to your actions.  May heaven bless you and those you love 1000 times over for what you have given my family. I live in the D.C. area and have been waiting to see the memorial wall with my father Pace.  I thank you that I will not see his name on that wall and that I am here to be able to see it at all.

Kevin Caldwell’s website adds the following comments:

…… I can never repay Lt Burr and his brave men for the gift of life they have given me. It is for them and their comrades both living and dead and for the 760,000 plus of my fellow citizens in the 6th C.D. In MD, that I offer my services as a representative in Congress.

Pace Caldwell, 3rd plt, A Co, 1/35 Inf Bn, Central Highlands, South Vietnam

I may not be able to repay them directly, but I can honor them by promising them I will never dishonor their service and sacrifice by becoming just another member of the corrupt, dishonest establishment that controls our system of Gov. I instead will fight to my last breath against those who deny us our liberties and subvert the founding principles of our country and the Constitution. In keeping with the great traditions, these men fought to preserve, I vow to do all I can to reflect great credit upon them and to deserve the great honor these men have bestowed upon me.

I never forget, Forever Grateful

/s/ Kevin Caldwell

NOTE:

I can see God’s hand in the above story at several points.

First, it was no small miracle, that any of us survived the battle of January 20, 1967 , because we were inserted about 7 km from the intended location which put us into an area occupied by a large enemy force.  We suffered 3 KIA and 4 WIA.  The tragedy of January 20,1967.

Next, several hours later as the battle took a turn for the worse a sister unit suddenly appeared on our flank.  I had no knowledge of the friendly unit or their location. Apparently, they didn’t either.

Further, We were fortunate not to have had casualties from friendly fire.  To our good fortune, in the confusion of the battle, the enemy withdrew.

The next miracle occurred when an artillery helicopter flying nearby was persuaded to pick up some of our casualties when higher headquarters denied our requested medivac to pickup our wounded (perhaps for valid reasons).  Without this particular unexpected extraction of our wounded some would not have survived.  Pace was on this helicopter.

Lastly, the remnant of our platoon walked several miles to the valley below the mountain to the LZ.  We did so at night through enemy controlled area, carrying PFC George William McGhee, our deceased comrade.  Surely God’s Grace saw us through the night.

Fifty years later, Phyllis and I were happy to find out that our new friends Pace and Dot had a strong testimony of faith in God and continually give God the Glory for saving Pace’s life.  Pace and Dot are a wonderful couple who treated Phyllis and I like we were part of their family.

Lastly, Kevin Caldwell’s life and his current endeavors reflect great credit on himself, his family and is further evidence of God’s Grace.

We may never fully know how God’s purpose was furthered by the survivors of January 20, 1967.

However, for me and my house we will serve the Lord

DADS’ RAMBLINGS

This story is about my father, Alfred Daniel Burr, oldest child  of Frank Burr Sr. and Lydia (Stout) Burr of Webber Falls, Oklahoma.

MOM AND DAD, Early 40’s

 

 

I’d thought I’d talk about dad’s ramblings as he put on his philosophers cap from time time. Usually he would tell a story about something that happened to him or others in the past.

 

 

DAD AND ME, taken before he fought in WWII.

While he was a good story teller, he usually had a point to make.  At times his purpose was humor, at other times his point was instructional, sometimes it was both.I learned a lot from watching and listening to dad. He had several sayings he would repeat from time to time. I don’t remember his exact words but I remember his admonitions.  Here are a few:

Treat the other man with respect, you can’t have too many friends.

Smile and be friendly with others, it doesn’t cost you anything.

Find out what the other guy likes to talk about, talk about that.

Be fair in your dealings with others, they’ll come back to see you.

Don’t owe the other man anything, if you can help it.

In business you are competing, get up earlier and work harder than the other man.

When working for the other man give him a full days work or quit.

Be on time and ready to work, it’ll take you a long way.

DAD AND ME, 1968

During one of his ramblings he observed that habits are formed early and usually stay with us throughout life. He cited an example of early married life. If you sleep on one side of the bed the first night, you will probably sleep on the same side for the rest of your life. While the example was cited in jest, the larger point was to establish good habits early.

Dad did not finish the second grade.  I guess many would say he was an uneducated man.  Particularly, if you judge by the number of multi-syllable words in his speech or the number of diplomas he displays on his wall.

However, different criteria is used by many who judge such things.  A little research revealed the following attributes of an educated person: (1)

A person who understands human nature and has the ability to establish, maintain, and improve lasting relationships.

A person who knows how to establish rapport with others; they know how to get others to trust and respect them.

A person who knows how to cooperate and collaborate effectively with others.

A person who knows how to resolve conflicts with others.

A person who knows how to persuade others.

A person who has the ability to conceptualize and solve problems.

A person who knows how to make decisions.

A person who has the capacity to endure and persevere.

A person who has ethical values and has integrity.

A person who has the ability and the discipline to do what is right.

I guess by these standards dad would have a Masters Degree.  He  taught me the important things in life, because he was a teacher not only in word but in deeds as well.

I could go on but if I did, I would be rambling, just like my dad.

(1)  50 Characteristics Of An Educated Person…by Marelisa

THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY

When this story was published several months ago, skeptics suggest that since, I did not provide a picture it was only another fish story.  Well, I found a picture of two fish caught from the same fishin hole.  (see end of story).

THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY

What a day to be on the water.  Together with my family we had travel north out of Ft Benning on a Friday afternoon, in late spring, 1973.   We had made this trip many times before.  Davis Lake was our favorite campground when we were station at the Infantry School, Ft Benning, GA, where I taught classes.

In fact, Davis Lake was the family favorite of all the many places we camped.  After I unhooked the camper, leveled it, hooked up water and electricity. I got my rubber boat out and prepared it for the water.

After each of us finished our setup chores, the kids went to swim in the pool, Phyllis went to visit with the Davis’s and I pushed off with my tackle ready to catch the big one.

And I knew the big mouth was out there, I simply had to find him.  Well, it may not be all the simple.  Since I had been after it from the first day of fishing here over the past 3 months.  Early spring fishing had been good.  I had caught 6 bass over 5 lbs.

But Saturday had not been a good day.  This morning was a shut out and this afternoon was barely better with only one catch at about 2 lbs.  I had been from one end of the six acre lake to the other.

Now I was revisiting a few of the likely spots before going back to camp. Another 20 minutes and the sun would be setting and I was telling myself this was my last cast.  Just one more.

Live salamander was my favorite bait.  Phyllis was gracious enough to travel the 80 miles to Atlanta for a few dozen salamanders.  Usually she did this on Thursday in preparation for the weekend.

The line was a premium 8 lb test and the hook was a Eagle Claw offset shank.  I used a file to sharpen each hook so that I could set it with the slightest tug and put the drag at about 6 lbs.  Just one more cast.

I am glad that I did.  I could feel the slight line movement when the bait was picked up.  I waited and waited and almost pulled in the line when suddenly the fish made a decisive move and so did I.  I hooked him good and I knew it.

I started reeling and then it happened,  He took off and I held on, adrenaline, pumping.    From the bank he went to deep water.   And then it jumped.  It  jumped high out of the water trying to throw the hook,  The sun was setting on the horizon and perfectly framed the biggest fish I had ever seen.  A beautiful sight.

I get goose bumps just telling the story again.

I worked the fish for another 6-8 minutes before it wrapped the line around a submerged log.  I was unable to get it free and he broke the line and swim off.  I was devastated.  I motored to camp and told all who would listened about the one that got away.

Now the rest of this unbelievable story.

I knew I had about two hours Sunday morning before breaking camp.  My boat and most of the gear had been packed.  I took my open faced ABU Garcia and walked toward the deep end of the lake.

I cast my dead salamander a few times before I got to my place.  The next cast fell just short of the over flow gap and dropped to the bottom.  I left it there a minute or so. in no hurry because I knew it was futile. After all, I had lost the big one yesterday.

As I began to reel in my bait, something took it hard and my reaction was spontaneous.  The fish hardly fought at all but still took 3-4 minutes to get it on the bank.  You will not believe what was hanging from its bottom lip.

A short piece of line with my filed eagle claw hook, with an off set shank and a clinch knot tie in the line firmly embedded in the gill.

Unmistakably the one from yesterday!  It weighed 10 lbs, 8 ozs.

You may find this just another tall tail fish story.  I guess it is but this one is true.

For those who did not believe this fish story, I rummaged through  boxes of old pictures and found this.

MY FRIEND BERNARD

MY FRIEND BERNARD

My friend Specialist 4th Class Frank Bernard and I worked in the personnel office attached to an artillery battery stationed in Northern Germany.  Although I worked in the finance office and he worked in records, we were natural competitors. We competed in ping pong, pool and even for the next promotion.   The story I’m going to tell happened in Buren, Germany in 1963.

PHYLLIS AND RICK STANING IN FRONT OF OUR BUNGALOW IN BUREN, GRMANY 

 

 

But first I want to say, I will always be indebted to Sp4 Barnard for helping Phyllis get a port call to join me in Buren in the fall of 1962.  His actions were necessary because the officer charged with that responsibility failed to do so.

MARRIED HOUSING IN BUREN, GERMANY

See: ” When Things Don’t Go Right”  www.posssumhollar.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Since Phyllis and I lived in the same housing unit as the Bernards which  was located about six miles from Camp Stuckerbush (real name), Frank and I  frequently shared rides.

 

 

RICK AND ME TAKEN IN FRONT OF OUR BUNGALOW IN SPRING OF 1963

One day when it was my turn to drive, he challenged me to a race.  Frank had been “raggin” on me about driving a pile of junk.   Maybe it was but it was my pile of junk.  He would be on foot and I would be driving my ailing 1950 Volkswagen. The distance would be the space between two telephones.  Seeing a chance to win a bet, I agreed.

MY 1950 VOLKSWAGAN

 

Along  a deserted section of road on our way home that afternoon I stopped the car and Frank got out and took the runners starting position. He yelled “go” and took off.  I got a slow start but it didn’t matter because ten seconds later he started limping with a pulled hamstring.

I didn’t take his dollar.  Further, I think I would’ve lost because the old VW was slow on the take off.

Another quick story.  A few weeks later it was Bernard’s turn to drive on a morning when fog was so dense it was difficult to see the narrow road.  We were running late for work but Berdnard  said, I will get us there on time.

Suddenly, a truck appeared in front of us and Bernard steered his car into an orchard to miss the truck but he hit an apple tree.

The farmer who owned the tree was nearby and called the police.  We didn’t get to work on time.

There was a tradition in the farming area where we lived that if someone harmed the farmer’s livelihood, the aggrieved farmer was entitled to remedy.

For example, if someone accidentally ran over a chicken, the farmer would be entitled to compensation for all the eggs the chicken would have laid for the life of the chicken.

I suppose that the amount of compensation was based on an historical analysis of the average life span of a typical egg laying hen similar to the kind killed in the accident.

Since I know something about chickens and how finicky some laying hens can be and the multitude of things that can effect the health and life span of a chicken, it seems that if a case went to court, the defense attorney would have a field day with the assumptions about chickens.

I don’t know anything about apple trees.

Phyllis and I returned to the United States shortly after this incident and I don’t know if Specialist Bernard paid the farmer for the future crops of the damaged apple tree.  Like many families in military service, our paths never crossed again.

We hoped he escaped the farmer’s outrageous claim.

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