Trump Won’t Hire a Poor Person

I suppose he’s referring to monetary wealth. Is he saying that money is the mark of the man? I’m sure many would agree with such a statement.

I disagree because if this was true than Mother Teresa who probably didn’t own the clothes she wore was a complete failure.

She wasted her life.

The Old Man

One evening I stopped by a Safeway store on my way home. When I came out the west entrance I found an old man with a cart full of things. I asked him if he needed a ride. He told me a taxi would come by shortly and he would flag him down. I insisted and at last he relented. After loading his stuff in my car we began the trek to his house which was no less than fifteen miles. Not a cheap cab ride.

Eventually, we reached his house.

A steep path led from the road to his house. As I started to help carry his stuff – which included a fifty pound bag of bird seed – down the hill he insisted that I set it out on the shoulder. His brother would come up the hill and help.

He was so stern that I did as he said. Before I drove back to down I snapped this photograph.


Norman Mailer’s “The Presidential Papers”

As everyone already knows, Fidel Castro passed away last week. He was a school teacher, as I recall, and he took power from Batista. A great deal of political turmoil has occurred since then and I’m not sure the truth ever came out. In fact, I’m not sure where the truth lies. Those who knew the whole truth may no longer be among us.

There are those who wish to believe that Castro goal was to make Cuba a Communist Island Nation, for lack of a better term. But Castro didn’t have much leverage in the world of politics, not even in Cuba. He was overshadowed by nearly everyone. Norman Mailer’s The Presidential Papers bring a different slant to how Cuba became a political thorn.

After Castro had taken over leadership of Cuba he intended to make it a democratic society. But the USSR and the United States had different ideas, according to Mailer. In order to keep balance of power and “peace”, as it were, it was decided that the USSR should maintain a toehold in the Western Hemisphere and Cuba was given over to their control.

Castro was enraged, but no one listened to him. No one cared what he thought.  He took that hatred to his grave.

That’s the take I got from Mailers collection of essays in The Presidential Papers.

Aromatic (Revisited)

One Saturday morning while walking along Broadway in Eugene, Oregon a beautiful young lady in spike heels emerged from a doorway. I didn’t see her face, but she must have fallen into a vat of perfume. If scent had color I would not have been able to see where I was going. I crossed the street in order to get my breath.

The Train


Photo Source: Internet

I’m hungry, but I can’t afford the food prices on this Union Pacific train. My stomach is growling when the conductor announces that the Portland Rose was approaching Pocatello, Idaho.

“How long will the train stop?” I asked.

“Ten minutes.”

“Is that all?”

“Not to worry, son. If you have things to do there is another train right behind this one. It will be here in exactly forty-eight hours.”

The train begins slowing. The depot glides into view. That’s when I spot Martha. She’s standing on the freight platform. She’s turned away, facing the mountains, but I recognize her long brown hair and the red coat. We were together at the Kansas City train depot two days ago when she dropped the bad news on me, telling me she’d found someone else and she never wanted to see me again. She knew I was going to Portland. Has she changed her mind? Is she offering me a second chance.

I experience a moment of doubt. It can’t be her. But it is. I certain. I’d know her anywhere.

The train takes forever to come to a halt, and the conductor won’t let me out until he’s followed Union Pacific’s train protocol – wait for a full stop, open the vestibule door and set his metal stepstool on the concrete. Only then does he step out, turn and offer a hand to the heavyset lady who somehow has managed to get ahead of me.


In these hectic moments of trying to get out the door I lose site of the freight platform.

The heavy lady steps out and then suffers a dizzy spell. Her cane is of no use and she’s certain to take a header onto the concrete. I’m not a medic. I’m not skilled in helping people, but I manage to slip an arm around her waist and from behind I manage to support her. With the conductor’s assistance we head for a bench made of extruded steel and ease her onto it.

“You okay, Ma’am?” I asked.

“I’ll be fine. Thank you, young man,” she assures me in a breathless whisper.

Not more than two minutes have passed, but in the span of time Martha has vanished. She‘s gone and I‘m close to panic.

“Did you see a person in a red coat?” I asked a fellow wearing a brown Stetson and cowboy boots.

“Yes, I think I saw a red coat in the coffee shop a minute ago.”

I race to the doorway and scan the diners within. Checking my watch, I see that six of those ten minutes have already passed. The train will be pulling out momentarily and I have to be on it. My stuff is on there. I’m about to decide the whole experience is an illusion. Then a red coat appears at the ladies restroom door.

The train sounds a horn. Decision time has arrived. I must decide now. Glancing through the café window I see the train starting to ease away from the platform. I can still make it if I run. I have to make it. My bag is on the train. But then Martha’s face flashes before me – her pink lipstick, her soft brown eyes, her blue eye shadow, the dimple on in her right cheek, and the small flat place on the end of her nose. Nothing else matters. The hell with my bag.

Pushing my way through the knot of people I force my way within arm’s reach of Martha.

“How did you get here so quickly?” I ask.

The person in the red coat turns to face me. He’s wearing bright red lipstick, has three days of stubble and breath that would turn a rattle snake.

“What are you talking about?” he asks, flashing a mouthful of large, yellow teeth.

I shrink away. What the hell? How did this happen?

Turning on my heel I make it to the entryway. I’m too late. My train and my bag are already a half-mile down the track. I think of my bag with all my clothes and two air force uniforms, my furlough orders. I’ll never catch it. But I have to.

Darting out to the street I hail a Pocatello Taxi. “Follow that train,” I shout as I scoot into the back seat.



Andy’s Morse Code Key

As a licensed amateur radio operator I have made friends in some rather distant places. Most of them I will never meet in person – have an eyeball as we say in the radio world. One of these friends in a distant land is Andy Nechawsky who resides in Ukraine and possesses the call sign UU1CC.

Andy’s trade is that of a book illustrator. In addition, he is fluent in Morse code, English, Spanish, Ukrainian, and probably Russian. I’ve yet to have the pleasure of hearing his voice or his fist (the sound of him sending Morse code).

When Russia invaded Crimea in 2014 Andy was very concerned for his safety. He feared Russia would, among many things, seize his call sign, UU1CC, and there would be nothing he could do about it.

Me? I could only trust he would come out of this okay. My trust, it seems, was well placed.

Nineteen months passed and nary a word…until this morning when his photo and a message appeared on Face book.

When Andy comes to mind I first recall his photo I‘m sharing with you. It’s a telegraph keyer used for sending Morse code, fabricated from a computer hard drive that would no longer serve its original purpose.

<a href=””>Trust</a&gt;

You Have To Know What To Say


Image from the Internet

A dozen years ago, give or take, I visited a local office supply store and invested a wad of cash in a new computer system – desktop XP, monitor, printer, keyboard, mouse, etc. I was startled by the size of the bottom line, so when the salesperson suggested a free replacement program for an affordable sum I bought it.

A few months down the road the monitor failed. I dialed the North Carolina number that was highlighted on the contract. They knew who I was and where I’d bought my stuff, but they weren’t going to replace or repair my monitor. End of conversation. I had no alternative but to take my contract and sales receipt to the office supply store where I’d purchased the monitor and plead my case.

The department manager with whom I dwelt was no longer at that store and no one else seem anxious to help me out. So I went up the chain of command to the general manager who happened to be a young pregnant lady who appeared to be about two weeks shy of delivery. Without a doubt she was having a bad day before I knocked on her door. I told her how badly I felt about dumping my troubles in her lap. By the time I finished my story she was angry.

She dialed the number and put the phone on speaker. When he began with his rhetoric she lit into him like only miserable pregnant lady can. And when she finished he said: Yes Ma’am.

Three days later a new monitor arrived via UPS.


Solitude is an individual experience.

After making arrangements to interview an aging amateur radio operator I arrived on time, but no one in the ham radio community knew where he was. Using a local radio repeater, I issued his call sign a number of times. Even some of the local hams chimed in. “Where is that man when we need him?” someone said.

Ten minutes passed before he responded. He’d gone fishing. Fishing was poor and he fell asleep on the river bank. “You were part of my dream,” he said.

Right! The truth be known he didn’t want to give up his few hours of solitude.

<a href=””>Solitude</a&gt;



As I reflect on the people who have touched my life, some directly, others remotely, I find it difficult to choose the most admired.

I recall my SAC Wing Commander of so long ago, Col. Carlton, who, when scheduled to attend the War College and earn his first star. But in the midst of his preparation for change of command an Operational Readiness Inspection (ORI) a simulated call to nuclear war occurred. If he failed it his Air Force career was done. As preparation for the flying portion of the inspection began the flight crews discovered many of the B-52 wings were cracked. He decided that in war-time they would have to fly their missions, so that’s what they did. I admired him for the courage he displayed.

There were the founders of Bike Friday – Allen, Hans, and Ian. Twenty-five years ago they rented a garage. With a few dollars they began building custom bicycles that folded and fit in a suitcase for travel. They soon outgrew their garage and moved into a storage building. Later they moved to their present location. And they now have sales representatives the world over.

A cousin ten years my senior graduated college many years ago and succeeded in the art world. At age 81 he suffered a stroke that left his right side paralyzed. He’d been teaching painting classes in Mexico and he wasn’t ready to stop. So he taught himself to paint left-handed and then continued his Mexico classes.

But perhaps the person whom I admire most is the grandson of a cousin three times removed. If he didn’t share my name we might not be related at all. Still in his early twenties he put himself through barber school and opened his own shop a year ago. With the pressures youngsters face these days earning a barber’s license is a benchmark.u

<a href=””>Admiration</a&gt;