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Letters from the 2nd Civil War – #4

#secondcivilwarletters

July 9. 2018

Dear Mother and Father,

The morning after the battle, the painful, traumatic memories receded a bit, replaced with painful, throbbing hangovers. Only our sense of smell gave rise to any hope for relief. The colonel and his troop returned during the early morning hours bringing with them sack upon sack of Guatemala’s finest, and two portable roasters that were now turning those green beans into light and dark roasts. The aroma was almost enough to allow me to fully open my eyes in the bright morning sun; after my first cup I was ready to dance a jig.

It turns out that the mission was delayed because of those two ever present maladies that snarl and befuddle travelers and commuters – Boston traffic, and perpetual road construction. Fortunately, the colonel had dispatched two of his men, armed only with MAGA hats, to take the subway to the airport, and scout out the FEDEX terminal.

Now by armed, and I should be clear about this as there might be future implications from The Hague, the two scouts were also carrying concealed weaponry, that although  legal in the state of Massachusetts, would, if discovered, trigger a nasty response from the U.S. Attorney General. However, if successful, the two Red Hats guarding the warehouse would be in a state of blissful compliance when the Prius convoy arrived, having been subdued by the gentle ministrations of a smoked doobie.

When the colonel arrived on the scene, he was able to convince the two dedicated Red Hats that the President was arriving at Concourse A, and that they were needed there for a meet and greet with him. That certainly got their attention, but it was when he mentioned the all you can eat buffet that got them moving. The warehouse was now in our possession, the sacks of coffee neatly stacked on pallets. There was also a set of instructions for the guards in case of an attack – dump the coffee sacks in the bay. So, in a sense, it was because of a doobie that we did not have a repeat of the Boston Tea Party, and are now able to enjoy freshly roasted, freshly brewed coffee this morning. A morning to reflect on our successes, and to mourn our lost or ruined Birkenstocks. I do not know where the Massachusetts Blues will be sent next, but I do know that like our Minuteman forebears, we will be ready.

From the front,

PB

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Second Civil War – Letters 1-4

July 6, 2018
Dear Mother and Father,
It doesn’t seem possible that it has been two whole days since I joined the Massachusetts Blues. I am struggling to survive the privation being endured by the hundreds of recruits gathered on Boston Common. There is no WIFI to speak of, so many of us are scrambling to find pen and paper in order to write, only to find out that no one brought any stamps; indeed some of the younger members have no recollection of ever mailing a letter. We are also facing a crisis situation regarding our supply of coffee. It seems the Trumpite Regime has placed a heavy tariff on coffee imported from what they term as ‘sh*thole’ countries, so Starbucks is reduced to rationing our lattes and Frappuccinos. There is a rumor floating around camp that a FEDEX plane crammed full of coffee beans from Guatemala has landed at Logan Airport. If that is true, then I expect we will receive orders to load up our fleet of Prius’, drive to Logan, and commandeer that plane. I only hope that it isn’t during rush hour on I-93.
Well, I must sign off for now. Some of the fellows discovered where the Sam Adams brewery is located, and we’re off to enjoy some patriotic ale.
Your war ravaged son,
PB

 

July 7, 2018

Dear Mother and Father,

Loads of excitement to tell you about. Last night we were sitting by the Robert Gould Shaw statue watching the movie Glory on a widescreen TV donated by the Sam Adams Brewery (I imagine because we spend a lot of money there). The fellows were in a contented state of mind, munching away on white cheddar popcorn, and Junior Mints when one of the regimental Prius’ came racing into the compound, the driver, his head out of the window screaming, “The Red Hats are coming! The Red Hats are coming!” Our commander, Colonel Juan Montalvan (the title is honorary, he’s actually an IT professional) announced that the foe has been spotted setting up camp at the other end of the Common, and that we should get some sleep as there will be an early start the next morning when we will confront the opposition on the battlefield.

Reveille blasted out of the loud speaker at the unholy hour of 9:00, the sound of Buffalo Springfield’s For What It’s Worth, interrupting pleasant dreams, and rousing the regiment into action. The troops were dressed in an assortment of L.L. Bean polo shirts and khakis, their feet shod in Birkenstock sandals or Earth Shoes, and after a hurried breakfast of Au Bon Pain pastries, gathered to hear the plan for the battle to come.

The Colonel split our company into two groups and placed me in command of the group heading to confront the Red Hats across the Common at Frog Pond, while he led the other half on the raid to free the Guatemalan coffee at Logan Airport. My cohort of 24 placard carrying soldiers of the Massachusetts Blues sauntered at double time, the dew covered grass soon soaking through Birkenstocks making the march a dreary, torturous affair. Some of the fellows had worn socks with their sandals and were now especially affected by the added weight and discomfort of wet cotton.

Upon reaching the pond I formed my troop in a three row deep placard-shield wall at the edge of the pond facing our foes on the other side. There were 20 of them, an unruly, ill-disciplined looking group who unlike the ordered formation of the Blues, acted like individual berserkers racing forward waving their placards, often ungrammatical, and certainly vile, shouting abuse at us or praise of Trump. Our frontline buckled at the onslaught causing the second and third rows to push back. Due to the lack of rain lately, the pond was shallower than normal, and very muddy along the shore. Many in the frontline as they were pushed forward became stuck in the mud, sinking in some cases up to their shins. Two of the unfortunates fell face first into the muck. The men in the second row rushed forward to plug the holes in the line while the third line grabbed the poor muddied wounded and got them to the rear.

The roar of a Chevy Silverado came out from behind the Soldiers and Sailors Monument leading a flanking attack of another 20 Red Hats. In the bed of the pickup sat a loud speaker blaring music by Toby Keith. I rallied what was left of the first line joining them with the third line and had them brace for the flank attack. I then grabbed the least muddy of the injured and sent him running back to camp to fetch our loud speaker. I could only hope our artillery piece would get to the battle in time.

 

July 8,2018

The Battle for Frog Pond – continued

The exhausted Blues fought on bravely, shouting witty left wing slogans to combat the patriotic overtures of Toby Keith, et. al. Then, the Red Hats switched to Kid Rock, sending a wave of nausea inducing music to bombard and confuse the Blues. The shield wall began to buckle; a few of the already mud-wounded fell to the ground, gazing in horror at the devastation to their Birkenstocks and their ruined pedicures. It wouldn’t take much more to stampede the Blues into ignominious retreat. I turned when I felt the arrival of our Prius; the loudspeaker mounted on the roof. I yelled to the driver, “Monster chorus!” Seconds later the beatific voice of John Kay and Steppenwolf were lamenting, “America, where are you now? Don’t you care about your sons and daughters?”  Kid Rock and the Red Hats were stunned; their advance halted but not broken.

The next few minutes were the most exhilarating of my life. The Red Hats, knowing they needed just one more surge to send the Blues running, switched from Kid Rock to their heavy caliber weaponry – Ted Nugent. As soon as I heard that maleficent voice and the screeching Cat Scratch Fever, I near panicked. My troops were falling, staggering backwards, the battle was lost. I then heard a voice screaming, “Jimi! Rockets red glare.” I glanced around to see who spoke but saw no one. The Prius driver heard it too and queued up the best version of The Star Spangled Banner ever recorded, then at full volume turned it on at the spot where Jimi is rockets red glaring and bombs bursting in air. The Red Hats threw down their placards and bull horns and ran. The Ted Nugent playing Silverado started shaking, and in a shower of sparks and smoke the loud speaker exploded.

One by one the Red Hat’s fleet of Chevy Silverado’s, Ford F-250’s, and Dodge Ram’s sped off toward the Mass Pike. The Blues were victorious; the field was ours. I was filled with pride, not in myself; I will let the historians drone on about my masterful battlefield leadership, and the historical-fiction writers to embellish it with so much hyperbole that it will rival Nelson’s victory at Trafalgar or Chamberlain’s on Little Round Top, but in the fellows who withstood the best the Red Hats could throw against them. I told the Prius driver to do a quick follow up on the Red Hat’s retreating pickup convoy and then report to the Colonel about our victory. It was then I came face to face with the stark reality of the cost of that victory. Of the 24 Blues that I led to Frog Pond, 11 of them were now causalities of war; many of them would never be able to wear Birkenstock footwear again, the painful memory of the mud, so thick and malodorous, would render them incapable of ever seeing them in any other way let alone donning them upon their feet. There were also cases of pulled muscles, the strain on hamstrings more used to sitting for hours in front of computer displays; the weight of the placards and bull horns too much for shoulders and backs to bear. An emergency medical situation faced us, our supply of Icy Hot and Ibuprofen having been accidentally taken by the Colonel on his Logan Airport mission.

The long march back to camp, under a merciless sun was ¼ of a mile of sheer torment punctuated by cries of anguish as the mud-wounded, and muscle strained troops limped back or were carried by the more fortunate among us. We were surprised, upon arrival, by the fact that the Colonel and his men had not yet returned from the Guatemalan coffee rescue. It probably would have been the right military decision to send out a search party, but sometimes leadership is more than going by the book. So instead of a search party my troop boarded the remaining Prius’ and headed to Sam Adams.

July 9, 2018

Dear Mother and Father,

The morning after the battle, the painful, traumatic memories receded a bit, replaced with painful, throbbing hangovers. Only our sense of smell gave rise to any hope for relief. The colonel and his troop returned during the early morning hours bringing with them sack upon sack of Guatemala’s finest, and two portable roasters that were now turning those green beans into light and dark roasts. The aroma was almost enough to allow me to fully open my eyes in the bright morning sun; after my first cup I was ready to dance a jig.

It turns out that the mission was delayed because of those two ever present maladies that snarl and befuddle travelers and commuters – Boston traffic, and perpetual road construction. Fortunately, the colonel had dispatched two of his men, armed only with MAGA hats, to take the subway to the airport, and scout out the FEDEX terminal.

Now by armed, and I should be clear about this as there might be future implications from The Hague, the two scouts were also carrying concealed weaponry, that although  legal in the state of Massachusetts, would, if discovered, trigger a nasty response from the U.S. Attorney General. However, if successful, the two Red Hats guarding the warehouse would be in a state of blissful compliance when the Prius convoy arrived, having been subdued by the gentle ministrations of a smoked doobie.

When the colonel arrived on the scene, he was able to convince the two dedicated Red Hats that the President was arriving at Concourse A, and that they were needed there for a meet and greet with him. That certainly got their attention, but it was when he mentioned the all you can eat buffet that got them moving. The warehouse was now in our possession, the sacks of coffee neatly stacked on pallets. There was also a set of instructions for the guards in case of an attack – dump the coffee sacks in the bay. So, in a sense, it was because of a doobie that we did not have a repeat of the Boston Tea Party, and are now able to enjoy freshly roasted, freshly brewed coffee this morning. A morning to reflect on our successes, and to mourn our lost or ruined Birkenstocks. I do not know where the Massachusetts Blues will be sent next, but I do know that like our Minuteman forebears, we will be ready.

From the front,

PB

 

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Letters from the 2nd Civil War – #3

#secondcivilwarletters

The Battle for Frog Pond – continued

The exhausted Blues fought on bravely, shouting witty left wing slogans to combat the patriotic overtures of Toby Keith, et. al. Then, the Red Hats switched to Kid Rock, sending a wave of nausea inducing music to bombard and confuse the Blues. The shield wall began to buckle; a few of the already mud-wounded fell to the ground, gazing in horror at the devastation to their Birkenstocks and their ruined pedicures. It wouldn’t take much more to stampede the Blues into ignominious retreat. I turned when I felt the arrival of our Prius; the loudspeaker mounted on the roof. I yelled to the driver, “Monster chorus!” Seconds later the beatific voice of John Kay and Steppenwolf were lamenting, “America, where are you now? Don’t you care about your sons and daughters?”  Kid Rock and the Red Hats were stunned; their advance halted but not broken.

The next few minutes were the most exhilarating of my life. The Red Hats, knowing they needed just one more surge to send the Blues running, switched from Kid Rock to their heavy caliber weaponry – Ted Nugent. As soon as I heard that maleficent voice and the screeching Cat Scratch Fever, I near panicked. My troops were falling, staggering backwards, the battle was lost. I then heard a voice screaming, “Jimi! Rockets red glare.” I glanced around to see who spoke but saw no one. The Prius driver heard it too and queued up the best version of The Star Spangled Banner ever recorded, then at full volume turned it on at the spot where Jimi is rockets red glaring and bombs bursting in air. The Red Hats threw down their placards and bull horns and ran. The Ted Nugent playing Silverado started shaking, and in a shower of sparks and smoke the loud speaker exploded.

One by one the Red Hat’s fleet of Chevy Silverado’s, Ford F-250’s, and Dodge Ram’s sped off toward the Mass Pike. The Blues were victorious; the field was ours. I was filled with pride, not in myself; I will let the historians drone on about my masterful battlefield leadership, and the historical-fiction writers to embellish it with so much hyperbole that it will rival Nelson’s victory at Trafalgar or Chamberlain’s on Little Round Top, but in the fellows who withstood the best the Red Hats could throw against them. I told the Prius driver to do a quick follow up on the Red Hat’s retreating pickup convoy and then report to the Colonel about our victory. It was then I came face to face with the stark reality of the cost of that victory. Of the 24 Blues that I led to Frog Pond, 11 of them were now causalities of war; many of them would never be able to wear Birkenstock footwear again, the painful memory of the mud, so thick and malodorous, would render them incapable of ever seeing them in any other way let alone donning them upon their feet. There were also cases of pulled muscles, the strain on hamstrings more used to sitting for hours in front of computer displays; the weight of the placards and bull horns too much for shoulders and backs to bear. An emergency medical situation faced us, our supply of Icy Hot and Ibuprofen having been accidentally taken by the Colonel on his Logan Airport mission.

The long march back to camp, under a merciless sun was ¼ of a mile of sheer torment punctuated by cries of anguish as the mud-wounded, and muscle strained troops limped back or were carried by the more fortunate among us. We were surprised, upon arrival, by the fact that the Colonel and his men had not yet returned from the Guatemalan coffee rescue. It probably would have been the right military decision to send out a search party, but sometimes leadership is more than going by the book. So instead of a search party my troop boarded the remaining Prius’ and headed to Sam Adams.

To be cont’d.

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Letters from the 2nd Civil War – #2

#secondcivilwarletters

July 8, 2018

Dear Mother and Father,

Loads of excitement to tell you about. Last night we were sitting by the Robert Gould Shaw statue watching the movie Glory on a widescreen TV donated by the Sam Adams Brewery (I imagine because we spend a lot of money there). The fellows were in a contented state of mind, munching away on white cheddar popcorn, and Junior Mints when one of the regimental Prius’ came racing into the compound, the driver, his head out of the window screaming, “The Red Hats are coming! The Red Hats are coming!” Our commander, Colonel Juan Montalvan (the title is honorary, he’s actually an IT professional) announced that the foe has been spotted setting up camp at the other end of the Common, and that we should get some sleep as there will be an early start the next morning when we will confront the opposition on the battlefield.

Reveille blasted out of the loud speaker at the unholy hour of 9:00, the sound of Buffalo Springfield’s For What It’s Worth, interrupting pleasant dreams, and rousing the regiment into action. The troops were dressed in an assortment of L.L. Bean polo shirts and khakis, their feet shod in Birkenstock sandals or Earth Shoes, and after a hurried breakfast of Au Bon Pain pastries, gathered to hear the plan for the battle to come.

The Colonel split our company into two groups and placed me in command of the group heading to confront the Red Hats across the Common at Frog Pond, while he led the other half on the raid to free the Guatemalan coffee at Logan Airport. My cohort of 24 placard carrying soldiers of the Massachusetts Blues sauntered at double time, the dew covered grass soon soaking through Birkenstocks making the march a dreary, torturous affair. Some of the fellows had worn socks with their sandals and were now especially affected by the added weight and discomfort of wet cotton.

Upon reaching the pond I formed my troop in a three row deep placard-shield wall at the edge of the pond facing our foes on the other side. There were 20 of them, an unruly, ill-disciplined looking group who unlike the ordered formation of the Blues, acted like individual berserkers racing forward waving their placards, often ungrammatical, and certainly vile, shouting abuse at us or praise of Trump. Our frontline buckled at the onslaught causing the second and third rows to push back. Due to the lack of rain lately, the pond was shallower than normal, and very muddy along the shore. Many in the frontline as they were pushed forward became stuck in the mud, sinking in some cases up to their shins. Two of the unfortunates fell face first into the muck. The men in the second row rushed forward to plug the holes in the line while the third line grabbed the poor muddied wounded and got them to the rear.

The roar of a Chevy Silverado came out from behind the Soldiers and Sailors Monument leading a flanking attack of another 20 Red Hats. In the bed of the pickup sat a loud speaker blaring music by Toby Keith. I rallied what was left of the first line joining them with the third line and had them brace for the flank attack. I then grabbed the least muddy of the injured and sent him running back to camp to fetch our loud speaker. I could only hope our artillery piece would get to the battle in time.

To be cont’d.

 

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Letters from the 2nd Civil War – #1

July 6, 2018
Dear Mother and Father,
It doesn’t seem possible that it has been two whole days since I joined the Massachusetts Blues. I am struggling to survive the privation being endured by the hundreds of recruits gathered on Boston Common. There is no WIFI to speak of, so many of us are scrambling to find pen and paper in order to write, only to find out that no one brought any stamps; indeed some of the younger members have no recollection of ever mailing a letter. We are also facing a crisis situation regarding our supply of coffee. It seems the Trumpite Regime has placed a heavy tariff on coffee imported from what they term as ‘sh*thole’ countries, so Starbucks is reduced to rationing our lattes and Frappuccinos. There is a rumor floating around camp that a FEDEX plane crammed full of coffee beans from Guatemala has landed at Logan Airport. If that is true, then I expect we will receive orders to load up our fleet of Prius’, drive to Logan, and commandeer that plane. I only hope that it isn’t during rush hour on I-93.
Well, I must sign off for now. Some of the fellows discovered where the Sam Adams brewery is located, and we’re off to enjoy some patriotic ale.
Your war ravaged son,
PB

#2ndcivilwarletters

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Moronfest 2018 – Veni,Vidi, Moroni – We came, We saw, We were morons

MORONFEST 2018

 

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I must admit that I was a bit apprehensive about attending this year’s Moron reunion. All of us still maintain a close kinship for each other based on our shared history; a boatload of fond memories, a certainty that we each affected the others in ways that formed who we are today, but there is also a divergent set of opinions on politics, sometimes acrimonious in tone, that could, if left unchecked, shorten the reunion in a hurry. Fortunately we have a long standing rule about the topics that enflame – it’s a simple rule, to wit; Not allowed.

This year marks our 8th get together, but the first one for me in three years; financial woes kept me from attending the last two and was rearing its ugly head again this year, adding to the apprehension and doubt of my attendance. However, faced with the hard realization that we may not have that many more chances to swill cheap beer and shoot pool together etc;  mortality paying us a visit as we lost one of the original morons this past Spring. With that fact of life firmly in mind I made the 840 mile trek to once again conjure up memories and to create some more.

DAN’S DINER

IN SAUSAGE GRAVY WE TRUST

20180622_093815 (1).jpg The official opening of Moronfest 2018 was scheduled for Friday morning, 9:00 sharp at the venerable home of the Gourmet Omelette, Dan’s Diner – corner of 10 Mile and Hoover. My itinerary had me staying with Ralph and Denise the first two nights of my visit, arriving around 5:00 p.m. Wednesday after 17 hours on the road. One of the unplanned results of this reunion was that I got to spend one on one time with almost all the morons; catching up on life in general or as seemed to be the case with many of us, how many more grandchildren we now have, and none was better than the reacquainting of two kindred spirits-twin sons of different mothers, if you will. Ralph and I have been friends since circa 1957. Urban legend (that I am just now making up) has it that we met on a fine spring day in the alley between Lenox and Dickerson and at once recognized our potential friendship, and at the same time recognized that the alley was a concrete baseball field. We drifted apart in the 60’s and lost contact for nearly 50 years, reconnecting through the aether via social media and finally reconnected in person at Moronfest 2015. We emerged from that 50 year hiatus two people vastly different from our youth, yet strangely alike in our current mindsets. It was simply a wonderful visit, albeit bittersweet in retrospect as you ponder the lost 50 years.

A NIGHT WITH A GARAGE FULL OF MORONS

It was with some hesitation that I pulled up stakes at Ralph’s and stayed at Tracy’s the rest of the weekend, but how often do you get to hang in his garage with a cooler and a mini-fridge full of cold beer, while remembering old deeds; told with gusto, laughter, braggadocio, and perhaps with just a slight hyperbolic slant (and nary a word or any snide/witty remarks about ‘the forbidden’ – more on this later)? The highlight of the ‘night in a garage with a bunch of morons’ was the memorial tribute to our departed moron brother, Wing Tom. The ceremony, hosted in true moron fashion by Chuck, included the passing around of the newly acquired, official Eastside Moron Hall of Fame beer stein, purchased in true moron fashion by Chuck. 35920418_10216775084353312_2472593452328550400_o  We each took a sip in memory of Wing, many of us relating sentiments or memories of our times with Wing. It was a poignant event, the laughter filling the cluttered, makeshift lounge with images of Wing’s smiling face, the sadness of his passing, never completely gone, but for a few minutes forgotten.

IT’S NEVER GOOD WHEN YOU’RE THE BEST IN YOUR FOURSOME

The main physical activity at Moronfest 2018, befitting the fact that we would most likely die dribbling a basketball or running a pass pattern, was two rounds of par 3 golf. Friday’s exhibition was a caravan of 5 golf carts bearing a motley assortment of 10 aging golfers and a seemingly unlimited supply of interesting golf shots.   The winning team on Friday was anchored by $6 Jim who carried his team to victory, a heavy task indeed given he had this guy with this golf swing as a team mate.  20180622_105620 (1).jpg Anyway, it was the most fun I’ve ever encountered in a ten-some.

We were down to a seven-some for round number two, a hurriedly decided affair after loading up with carbs and sausage gravy at Dan’s Diner Saturday morning, hoping to beat the anticipated showery activity predicted for our area. The team of $6, Turtle, and Chuck refused to split up, their greed for dynasty status overriding moron camaraderie. So, it was the three morons versus the four morons (Mark, Rick, Ralph, Me), hence the title of this section. 35932378_10216775080513216_3169687410636226560_o And as the title implies, the three morons are now a golf dynasty.

SILLY TRACY & ROYAL FLUSH CHUCK

A POKER GAME FOR THE AGES

Prior to breakfast on Saturday, Turtle was complaining about his back, but insisted it would loosen up. His first tee shot in round 2 did the opposite of loosening, the club hitting more of the ground than the actual golf ball causing painful spasms instead, rendering him mostly hors de combat. However, he gamely pressed on, leading his team to victory (well, $6 Jim led the team to victory but I will not speak ill of the tragically injured.) How does this relate to the poker game the more astute might ask? Well, my peeps and fellow travelers, it goes like this. Upon arrival at Rick’s poker palace, and driveway basketball court, Tracy took a couple of Tylenol and laid flat on the floor. That seemed to help as he was soon able to get up and walk without using two golf clubs as props. The morons made their way to the backyard patio for some pre-poker game preparation. (Law abiding peeps should skip the next few sentences.) Someone in the morons produced a small shotgun holed pipe filled with a substance, that while legal (finally) in some states, is still verboten in MI. Back in the old days, many of the morons broke this law on a daily basis, but for many of the morons going one toke over the line hadn’t been done in years. Abstinence over decades plus more potent hybrid blends than we had back in the old days made for some great comedy.  And oh, by the way, Tracy was no longer in any pain and was practically dancing a jig. 🙂

Back inside the house, seated around the table, poker chips being counted out for dispersal, deck of cards being shuffled – what’s the first thing we do before actual card playing? Order pizza because now we are hungry for some reason. Now, I don’t know why Turtle decided that he should be the one to call the pizza place and put in our order, but that is how it played out. After placing the order, a miracle in and of itself, Turtle came back to the table laughing like crazy. We asked him what was so funny, and he began to tell us, but could not because of another bout of uncontrollable laughter. He tried three times and failed three times. Turns out that he could not remember what three toppings to order on one of the pizzas, even with Rick telling him multiple times.

Over the years we have learned to rely on $6 Jim to provide interesting poker games. One of them, Anaconda, brought out one the funniest poker moments I can remember. To backtrack a little, we play games that sometimes have the low spade ‘in the hole’ wild, or sometimes the low card ‘in the hole’ is wild for your hand. In this particular hand of Anaconda, and this is crucial to the story, we were playing Hi-Lo, meaning the high hand and low hand would split the pot. We reached the part of the game where you reveal your cards one at a time…there were three of us left in the pot, Chuck, $6 Jim and me. I had a full house queens over nines…it was obvious that $6 Jim had the low hand so all I had to worry about was Chuck. After three of his cards had been revealed, I knew I had him beat but he kept betting and raising. When the last bet had been called, $6 Jim won half the pot with the low hand, my full house won the other half, but not before Chuck thought he had won with a Royal Flush. Chuck’s hand consisted of Ace, King, Queen of clubs and a pair of nines. The poor moron thought we were playing low card ‘in the hole’ was wild thereby giving him the hand to beat all hands. Oh well, sometimes it doesn’t pay for a moron to think too much.  🙂

I-90 FOR MILES AND MILES AND MILES

A REUNION EPILOG

It was 5:30 a.m. Sunday. I was planning on leaving at 6:00 to drive to Ann Arbor for breakfast with college friends Rochelle and Steve Igrisan…however, the aging body rebelled and I could not get out of bed except to stagger to the bathroom, the bladder doesn’t care if you don’t feel like getting up. This lack of sufficient recovery meant I would eat one more time at Dan’s Diner and then head home from there – miles upon miles traversing I-90 from Toledo to Boston. It also meant that I had one more opportunity to sit with Chuck for a brief acknowledgement that the reunion was everything we could have hoped for. We did confess to each other that there were a couple times where a witty comment came to mind that could have broken the truce as it were. We both agreed that we did good not to utter them. So, hats off and high fives to a most endearing group of morons for surviving yet another test of our endurance, and proving again that once  a moron, always a moron.

REGRETS, I HAD A FEW

One anticipated meeting, with Debby Prince-Vassallo, did not happen as due to her busy schedule she proved to be as elusive as she was when I, as a teenager, was making feeble and futile attempts to woo her. It’s an utterly devastating fact that she will have to wait even longer for me to sign her copy of my book, Clash of Empires (available at Amazon) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MXR186R   🙂

DO YOU REMEMBER MRS. EDGERTON?

EPILOG #2

An important item on my schedule happened prior to the Moronfest, dinner on Thursday with Ralph and with great anticipation, my editor and old friend Marguerite Walker II.  We last saw each other sometime during our years at Jackson Jr. High, but it was our time together in 6th grade under the firm gaze of one, Mrs. Edgerton, that provokes the most memories. Now, it is fair to say that young Marguerite was the smartest kid in the class (oh heck, in the whole school), but had a foible in her makeup, one that I also have. Quick wittedness is a double edged sword, the laughs garnered from classmates at some vocalized retort, is quickly offset by the arrival of Mrs. Edgerton’s penchant for discipline. I think that, at least partly, my memories of Mrs E. are a bit kinder because I was rarely at the wrong end of her ire, while MW received more than her share of it.

Anyway our time together at dinner flew by quicker than the actual four hours we spent talking. I knew MW 50 years ago, after the four hours I was wishing we had kept in touch. However, it is now, and we have forged a partnership in my quest to write novels that will be turned into screenplays by Ron Howard or Steven Spielberg, so I guess we’ll have to be satisfied with that. 🙂

 

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Heavenly Libations – an excerpt

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The Everglades style air boat that Two Birds had ordered through Amazon, paying extra for expedited shipment, arrived the following morning. They maneuvered the boat into the murky waters of the swamp. NASCAR Bob pushed his way to the driver’s station and announced, “I’m driving,” and then in his best Ricky Bobby’s voice, “Gotta go fast.”

“I love that movie,” said Joey excitedly, “ooh, ooh, can I be your sidekick? I’ll be Bake and you can be Shake.”

“I hate to interject some salient information here,” said Two Birds sounding much more intelligent than usual, “but, we need to get to that hangar in a stealthy manner. Now, through my very expensive binoculars I found a good place for us to beach the air boat.”

“Wrong,” interrupted NASCAR Bob, “it is not ‘the air boat’, its name is The SS Shake&Bake.”

“And, I’m navigating,” Joey added, “That’s the sidekick’s job.”

“How can you be the navigator?” replied Two Birds, “I’m the one who lives here and has spent countless hours looking at this swamp. You don’t know where to go, I do.”

Joey started shaking his head, “No, no, no, I’ll be the one telling Commodore Bob where to go.  I am Bake, he is Shake. You’re just a passenger on the SS Shake&Bake.”

Two Birds, his patience having been tested to the limit, threw his hands in the air in defeat and said, “Okay, I’ll tell you and you tell the Commodore.  Is that good enough?”

With that settled, Commodore Bob started up the Chevrolet 350 engine, “Whoowee, will you listen to that baby purr?” as he revved it up even louder.

“What?” screamed both Two Birds and Joey as they were climbing into the passenger seats in the bow of the Shake&Bake.

“Tell the Commodore to go past that line of large cypress trees to starboard,” Two Birds yelled to Joey.

Joey strained to hear Two Birds and turned to the Commodore and shouted, “Two Birds said to go fast.”

The swamp came alive, the sound of the SS Shake&Bake’s roaring engine sending flocks of waterfowl racing for the heavens. Two Birds turned in his seat and started to yell for Commodore Bob to “Slow down”, but as the boat plowed forward those in the bow seats were drenched by a sudden wave splashing the occupants. Commodore Bob was laughing, the exhilaration of going fast taking hold. It was when he noticed that they were headed into a copse of large cypress trees that he realized he didn’t know where they were going. “Hey Bake,” he yelled down to Joey as he slowed the boat to a stop, “Which way do we go?”

“Tell the Commodore to follow the tree line for eight-tenths of a mile,” said Two Birds to Joey, “we’ll see a landing area just a few hundred yards to starboard once we get past the trees. There’s a pipeline that empties into the swamp. I don’t know what is coming out of it, but the usually lush, green vegetation in that spot is a not so lush grayish-brown.”

Commodore Bob glanced to his left as they came to the end of the cypress trees, and with a gleam in his eyes, and without warning, turned the boat hard to port, sending Joey crashing into Two Birds knocking him over the port side rail, his head now in the murky water. Joey reacted quickly and pulled Two Birds back on board.  Two Birds looked up at the joy filled Commodore and started to scream but instead of “Commodore you idiot”, a gargled, sputtering sound came out with a stream of murky water and a small turtle.

Commodore Bob slowed the boat to a stop. Up ahead was a beautiful expanse of open water dotted with groves of lily pads, many of them being used as deck chairs for frogs. A great blue heron stalked among one such grove, striking down and skewering a sun bathing amphibian. A large gator, aroused from his shoreline nap, slid into the water and started swimming toward the SS Shake&Bake. “Anyone want to play buzz the gator?” Commodore Bob asked.

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