Tuesday, July 28, 2009
He was mouthing off about our President suffering from “rectal-cranial” inversion. I lost my beer out through my nose I was laughing so hard. We were shootin’ pool and he was pretty good (for an Army puke)…
We called him “Wild Bill” Stedman in those days.
He had been in a tough outfit during his service in the Army and I honor him for his service. The special training he endured in the Army is physically and mentally grueling, and any man who makes it through that deserves recognition and respect.
He was a good shot and one heckuva deer hunter and knew the Tug Hill well of course. I suppose I can say this now that he’s gone off to the great hunting ground…but Wild Bill told me he liked smoked salmon BETTER than venison sometimes. Well, I like venison a LOT more than salmon, so we agreed to swap venison for salmon pound for pound. He always gave me a tenderloin or sirloin – only the best cuts. We continued with this arrangement until I enlisted in the Navy and went away in 1980.
I haven’t seen Bill since and now I am sorry to have read his obituary. Now that he’s gone I regret I didn’t look him up when I was home on leave. He had a quick wit and a long list of jokes. He was a dependable sort and willing to help you out if you were broke. I probably still owe him like 20 bucks for beating me in 8-ball so much. Once in a while I’d beat him but I think he let me.
One time some friends and I were on the way home to Sandy Pond at zero-dark-thirty after an evening of revelry and mischief at the Redfield Hotel. Some local band had played that night and we all had a real good time. It was December and a light rain was icing up the roads so I had to drive like a Grandma. Coming around a long curve on a down slope somewhere between Redfield and Greenboro, we suddenly saw a dark figure with a flashlight in the middle of the road waving it around at an alarming rate and holding his other hand up, screaming over and over STOP! STOP! STOP! I started pumping my brakes but the tires were not experiencing any road friction on the wet ice so it took forever to get her stopped, just missing the guy with the flashlight. Then we saw the accident about a tenth of a mile down further. Looked like about 4 cars in a serious pileup in the middle of the road.
The guy with the flashlight was Wild Bill.
He was standing in the middle of the road forcing cars to stop before more cars piled up. He stood there waving that flashlight and screaming at cars until the cops and ambulances got there. Some of the cars he was stopping got a little out of control so he had to dodge them as they slid by. The man was fearless and agile. I don’t think anybody in the pile-up got hurt, but if it hadn’t been for Wild Bill stopping all those cars who knows how horrible it could have become. After he was done he just got in his vehicle and drove away.
He never mentioned it again – didn’t think anything of it I guess. The people involved in the crash don’t know it, but they owed Bill a lot after that night, maybe their very lives. Wild Bill was one of the good guys and I was fortunate to have known him only for a couple of years…we’ll miss him.
Monday, July 27, 2009
READY TO PICK UP DAD'S BOAT
Thursday, July 9, 2009
Sunrise is absolutely the best time to shoot photos in my book. Lately I have been catching the sunrise at Tydings Park in Havre De Grace where the Susquehanna River meets the Chesapeake Bay - lots of sailboats and yachts to capture there. Seems like Saturday mornings are best for this activity - few people are about before 6am. I love the solitude - helps me recharge...
I was first introduced to Greenboro by a bright young girl I used to be sweet on.
Greenboro was so different from Sandy Pond I became fascinated. The people living there seemed to be much closer and neighborly, ready to lend a hand in a heartbeat (well, many of them were related).
I was only 15 and awkward, oddly uncomfortable that there was no waterfront, no swimming, no water skiing. In those days my young psyche associated a sense of security and comfort from being able to watch the sunset over the water, not over a bunch of stupid trees. Strange how my immature mind worked at that age (Iwas pretty much a clueless pup then).
I was impressed at the amount of snowfall there during the winter months - about 3 times as much as we got at the Pond, maybe 200+ inches per season. I took that kind of snowfall for granted many years ago, but today I admit I have trouble wrapping my head around it...it is truly beautiful there after a 2 foot snowfall and the sun peeking back out, casting long shadows after supper.
Snowmobiling in this area was incredible. There was a million trails going everywhere. The snow was so deep it was like gliding on soft thick clouds. I never experienced complete silence before I had a chance to drive the old orange '69 Moto-Ski back deep into those woods and stop and turn off the engine. The deep snow would soak up all the sounds and you only heard the gentle breeze whispering in the tree-tops, with an occasional squeak or groan of branches rubbing against each other. At Sandy Pond you always heard other sleds or music or airplanes...there was only complete silence there a couple hours after the BARS closed and the revelers passed out, just before the sun popped up. (Chuckle)
A couple of friends and classmates- - Chris Ouderkirk (aka "Ode") and Greg Yerdon (aka "Bronson"), lived in Greenboro. Today Chris is the Facilities Boss at SCCS, but I have no idea what Bronson is up to.
I remember Ode's Mom Shirley was a skillful deer hunter - much different than my Mom.
I remember there was a horrible accident right in front of Bronson's house one time - a head-on collision. There was death. Sorrow permeated the neighborhood for months afterward - a very young girl had died. If my memory serves me right her name was Gay Giddings. I still get a chill thinking about that...everybody was trying whatever they could do to save them just after it happened. It is a remote area and it took forever for the ambulance to arrive. Enough about that.
I also remember Bronson's baby brother was attacked and mauled by their family dog, a St. Bernard. His face got chewed up pretty bad. Very bizarre.
I learned some important life lessons in Greenboro:
- Watching the old "HEE HAW" comedy show with good country folks is better than watching American Idol, CSI, and Andy Griffith simultaneously.
- If anybody EVER puts you up to shooting a skunk with a deer rifle, make absolutely sure you miss it. If you hit it with a 30 caliber bullet it will explode stinky skunk juice all over the area and gag everybody for days afterward...I still don't know why it was to be shot. I aimed low and shrugged my shoulders while it fled. After that incident I had a reputation in Greenboro of being a poor shot. So what. Not sure how I could be a good shot anyway with a strange gun I had never fired before in a strange place aiming at something I would never eat...
- I never want to witness a bull becoming a steer again. I was asked to help castrate a young bull being raised for beef, but ended up only watching the grisly procedure. I never went back THERE again - THAT guy deliberately scared the Bejesus out of me for his own reasons...which was uncalled for but funny when you think about it. I was just a young impressionable kid that was probably begging to be scared anyway.
- NEVER agree to sleep in an unheated room during the winter months if you staying at a friend's house in Greenboro. You WILL freeze your frigging butt off - and you BETTER not complain the following morning, or you will be labeled as a PUPPY from Sandy Pond (which actually was pretty damn accurate in those days.)
I suppose I could ramble on but it would be interesting to only a very few people. I am surprised by the vivid nature of my memories there.
The Littlejohn Wildlife Management Area is in that area too. There was (is?) a tall fire-tower at Littlejohn to use to spot forest fires. Lightning tends to spark fires in the woods once in a while. I and some of my buddies used to go there back in the day and climb that tower for fun - I have old-school 8mm movies of that.
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
I'll pick up the boat later - looking forward to making her seaworthy again.