Friday, August 11, 2017


Colonoscopies are not much fun but usually necessary to let a doctor know what is going on inside your bowels.  In all my years I have had several with no complications other than a couple of polyps snipped out during the procedure.
One such procedure stands out that was done at the Veterans Affair hospital a number of years ago in Phoenix, AZ. As a WWII veteran, standing in line with revealing gowns was not something new for me.  But we were all heading for the same area for some mass production  scoping. My turn came and all went well but before I got off the table and then the technician asked my permission to do some further testing.  I agreed, proving that it wouldn't cost me anything and wouldn't hurt.
With those insurances I let him insert a tube with special little instruments.  "Now"he said, "Squeeze down like you are trying to stop a poop." I did, and he was happy at the results.  He than instructed me to try to poop even though there was no chance of anything coming out of those thoroughly flushed out bowels.  He was satisfied with those tests and let me get off the table with a thank you for being cooperative for his experiments.
After I was dressed and leaving the room I walked by an open door and looked into a kitchen type room.  On the stainless counter were
a number of used scopes while in a large tob of very soapy water with more scopes to be washed.
I thought to myself, "Time to do dishes!"

Sent from my iPad

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Duck Hunting

My very first outdoor column for the Statesman-journal daily newspaper was of  a hunting experience in Pocatello, Idaho.  Prior to the hunt I was proof-reading  for the paper in the newsroom one night in 1953  when Sports Editor, Al Lightner poked his head in the room and asked if there was anyone who would like to write the outdoor news.  I quickly volunteered and a new vocation started for me.  I wrote those columns from then until 1982.
Back to that first hunt.  Our little family had travelled to Pocatello to visit relatives and when my brother-in- law suggested a duck hunt I was eager.  I didn't have my shotgun with me at that time so he borrowed one from a friend.  The gun was a 10-gauge pump and was so heavy it really needed wheels for transporting. After packing it all day from pond to pond I'm not sure I would have had the strength to lift it into firing position had a duck flared up in front of me.  But, the outing did give me the material for that first column. 
One day back in Oregon another brother-in-law and I ventured to a flood-formed pool on a Hop ranch near Independence, Oregon and  set up our decoys.  The birds were flying high that day and wouldn't drop down close enough to be in range of our guns.  Shortly after legal shooting hours we waded out to pick up our decoys when a loner flared in like he wanted to visit.  The range was a bit too long but we each tried anyhow.  He flew away unscathed. I started  to grab some more decoys and noticed a state game enforcement officer standing by the edge of the pond.  Where on earth did he come from?  We were had!
After chatting with us for awhile he asked us to help him get his patrol car out of the mud back to where our vehicle was parked.  We did and then he obliged by writing each of us a ticket and confiscating or guns and decoys.  To get them back later we each had to pay a fine of $39.50 to the court.  I later saw that same officer trudging down the highway with a gas can in hand.  Normally, I would stop for a fellow motorist in need.  But, not that day!
On one successful goose hunting trip I was fortunate enough to bag a big Canadian honker who was leading a gaggle of geese headed south.  I really looked forward to eating that boy.  After I had him all prepared Cook Extroidinaire Grace put him in a roasting pan with all the fixins and put the heat to him in the oven.  It smelled sort of strong and was so tough we couldn't bite into the meat.  Grace tried adding it to a gravy mix and cooking it some more. We still couldn't eat it.  So, we finally gave some of it to our always hungry-for-people-food dog. He turned his nose up on it, also.
The garbage can got the remainder and in the future I steered away from the leader of the flock.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Of Cops and Biologists

During the 25 years that I wrote outdoor columns for a daily newspaper in Salem, Oregon I had interesting experiences with state wildlife biologists and state game enforcement officers.  Some of them became good friends and all had my respect for their dedications to their work.  It is because of all of them in past years that we enjoy what we have today.  Field trips and contacts with them gave me much material to write  about then and now.

One fellow, name of Joe, invited me on a number of his field trips, most of which were educational and sometimes funny.  Like the day Joe invited me to hike up to a mountain lake to catch some photos of a airplane planting small trout on the fly. It was a grueling hike to reach the lake and we got there in time to get our cameras ready.  Joe warned that the plane would drop in quickly over the trees on the west side of the little lake, release its load of fingerlings and buzz off at the east end to clear the trees.  "It will happen quickly", he said, "so give him plenty of lead to catch it all."  The plane came in as quick as advised and our cameras clicked.  We moved in close to the shallows of the lake and could see those little guys scooting for cover to protect themselves from predators.  The stocking was successful.  Later, as we had our film developed (long before digital cameras) we found that I got a good shot of the airplane motor and Joe shot most of the tail above flume spraying out the fingerlings.

Another time Joe invited me to go with him to stock small trout using a special float boat in a lake atop the Santiam Pass in the Cascade mountains.  The boat was a small 12-footer that looked conventional  except it had a float ring to keep it from sinking when full of water.  In the transom was a gate plate to pull up to let the water in the boat flow out.  With the boat on the water at the shoreline a fish stocking truck showed up and filled  the little craft with small trout.  Off we went rowing and when far enough from shore, Joe pulled the gate plug and started rowing to encourage the little fish to swim out. It worked except Joe did have to scoop out a reluctant few with a bucket. A couple of boats saw us "desperately sinking" and motored over to offer help.  It was nice of them but not needed.

I didn't actually take a field trip with  game officers but often saw one  who was always willing to tell me when he was about to "bust" someone for a violation.  I saw him one day standing on the side of the highway looking down at a small fishing boat with an adult male and two small boys headed for a nearby marina.  He said, "See that guy", he pointed, "I have seen them catch way more than an allowable limit of trout." I watched the officer walk up to the guy with the kids and start searching their gear.  He found the extra loot of fish in their lunch box.  The officer was quite ticked off.  "What kind of an example did that father set for those little boys", he growled later.

I came across that same game warden alongside a small lake next to the Santiam highway one day while he watched a fellow out on the lake blatantly  casting spinner and worms to some eager trout. The officer remarked as I watched,  "he has earned a ticket, also,"!  The officer was standing next to a very visible sign that read, FLY FISHING ONLY.  

Deer hunting is a period when game violations can occur--some of which can make a law-abiding citizen shake his head. Hoping for some material to write about I stood by at a check-out  station Opening Day one year at a restricted hunting site and much of it was dull watching until one hunter and his young son pulled up  in a pickup truck to the gate.  "Any luck, see anything?" the officer asked.  "Naw, nothing," came the reply".  "Oh, how about this?" the officer snarled as he reached in under some coats behind the seat and pulled out a deer fawn!  He must have seen some blood or fur to get a clue. Another father teaching his son that crime doesn't pay.

So beware when out enjoying some outdoor sport, you just might come across one of those officers whom I have heard about that will arrest even their mother if they catch her violating game laws.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Farragut--Fever Valley

Thousands of rosy-cheeked young men in the early 1940's, and later, remember that first day arriving at a Navy Training Camp (boot camp) and as they climbed out of a "cattle car" we're greeted by shouts of  "You"ll be sorry!"  Thus began their transformation from "civilian" to a sad-sack "boot".

Most every action after that involved standing in line with a group of other guys while something was done for you or to you.  After being assigned a bunk in a barracks, a line was formed by us to get an armload of Navy clothing that might fit reasonably close.  I reluctantly gave up those brown wing-tip shoes to be replaced with a very plain pair of black ones that were a part of my life until I mustered out of the  Navy many months later.

Then came the line to be administered by a guy laughingly referred to as a barber.  No finesse.  They peeled us with clippers until we all looked like fresh laid hen fruit.  Gone was the long hair and curly locks that mother loved.  We should have cried but we were all so ugly, everyone had a good laugh instead.

Not so funny were the long lines in the gyms where we stood, buck naked while  corpmen popped a needle in the arms on both sides.  In a few cases, a blood vessel was hit and the red stuff dripped down the arm.  And, a couple of times I saw guys walk on with a needle hanging in the arm.  This causes a fainting reaction in some men whose bodies could be heard hitting the deck as they passed out. It was more apt to happen to the bigger fellows in the line.  Some of those meds tended to make us feel a bit ill temporarily.

Since we were Navy with most of us being assigned to ships, swimming and diving lessons were part of the training.  The buildings and pools were heated which was good since the outside air in northern Idaho in the Fall and Winter can be quite cold--like freezing.  The swimming and diving was easy for me as I learned to swim when I was six years old and had always been around water.  But for some who had never been associated with swimming pools, lakes or rivers, this part of the training was arduous.  Even though it was scary for some, learning to swim was a must and they did learn!  Diving was a bit of cake for me but they wouldn't let me dive head first.  No fun at all.  The heighth of the dive board was probably only 20 feet but it looked like fifty from up on the board.  We were required to cup our genitals and jump in feet first.  Made sense.  Jump off a sinking large boat that had been torpedoed or bombed ocould mean lots of debris in the water that could break a neck during a head first dive.

Too often, after a swim in a heated building and pool, we were taken out into the cold air to march around the grinder, a large marching field and track.  No wonder some of us got sick but more on that later.  Farragut was named Fever Valley for good reason.

As we neared the end of our boot training,  we were given more freedom such as going to the PX (store and recreation) area.  We were able to buy gedunk (ice cream) and pokey bait (candy) and other sundries.  Near graduation we studs started thinking ahead.  I don't know how I was selected but I ended up being the person to purchase the condoms for a group.  The other guys were all chicken. I placed an order for two dozen with a young female clerk and when she returned she said,"here you are--Casanova!"  Blushing madly, I tried to sink into the deck.

Upon graduation we were all given ten days delayed orders after which we were to move on to our destined assignments or to return to Farragut for further training.  I had planned on hitch hiking to get to my home town and girlfriend in Portland, Oregon but before I could get on the road, I became very ill and sought the comfort of a tavern in a nearby  Idaho town.  While in there I pulled the arm lever of a gambling machine and won ten dollars on the first pull.  That purchased me a bus ticket to go home.  My mother picked me up at the bus depot and took me home to a welcome bed.

Sick or not, the next day I hopped into my Chevy and drove to see my girlfriend, Grace.  After much smooching and hugging Grace looked at my arm, rubbed it, and asked, "What are all those splotches on your arm?"  Further investigation showed I had them on my belly and chest, also.  I didn't know what it was but I was sick enough I let my mother take me to the Naval Sick Bay (clinic) in downtown Portland the next day. One look and they popped me into a room to be quarantined for two weeks.  Scarlet Fever.  End of a fun leave time for me.  Grace managed to sneak up to a window in the clinic a couple of times to visit with me and we couldn't touch but we could breathe all over each other.

Grace  must  have had a strong constitution because she never caught that bug from me and even accepted me still as a boyfriend, scales and all, after I received an extension on my boot leave.  

Almost seventy years later she still keeps a close motherly eye on my epidermis and other parts.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Art of Fly Fishing

Visit most any stream or lake in the Pacific Northwest and few anglers will be found casting an artificial fly lure.  Exception will be those bodies of waters set aside by law for fly fishing only.  It's not an easy method to lure a fish into grabbing your offering.  The cast may be a long one and factors such as wind,  brush behind the caster and type of water in front can be a problem. The lure has to be presented in a way that looks natural.  A sloppy slam of the artificial bug on the surface won't entice even the hungriest of fish.  But, the fish that does succumb to the lure provides a great thrill, no matter how large or small the fish is.

When I was 12 years old my father paid the astronomical sum of $100 for a series of lessons from a supposed fly casting champion.  That was in 1936 and the lessons were taught at a pond in Portland's  Laurelhust park.  After each lesson he would rush home, mom and I would get out our new fly rods and he would pass on his new knowledge to us.  That part was good.

From there on it was a matter of trial and error on which artificial flies to use and how to use them.  There were some tried-and-true favorites that worked on many bodies of water for us.  There were the Coachman bucktails, Caddis bucktails, mosquito,  Blue Upright and one very favorite, Queen O' The  Water.
Dad and mom had a business where they could leave work any afternoon or weekend to go fishing and we did that a lot during the summer months.  Not far away was the Clackamas river above the town of Estacada which, back then, was crystal clear and only lightly fished.   We gained most of  our knowledge through experience on that stream.  I can still remember vividly the day I stood on a small rock above the pool, laid a dry fly out perfectly on the water and watched a trout rise up like a bubble from the depths to swallow that fly.

Then there was the time on one of the small lakes in the 8-lake Basin where I kept casting to a trout alongside a partially sunken log who would flash up at it each cast but then spook.  Finally, one cast was slightly misplaced with the fly landing on top of the log.  It laid there for a moment then rolled off.  That little guy gobbled it immediately.  I gently released him to do some more growing.

Although it takes very little finesse and even can be done with a spinning rod is wind drifting a fly on Diamond lake in Central Oregon.  Fred Camp, who had a fly tying business in Salem many years ago, tied a fly called a Freshwater Shrimp, was a killer for that method on that lake.  With a breeze to move us along we got in line between Mount Thebeau (?) and the south lodge and dragged the fly just under the surface.  That method would catch fish when nothing else was working.  I'm sure it will still do the trick today with the right flies.

I have hooked salmon and steelhead on some of Oregon's coastal streams as well as on the Deschutes river in Central Oregon  using artificial flies. On the coast a couple of favorites were the Skykomish Sunrise or  Alsea Special.  A Black Maribou works well on the Deschutes fish.

Species I have not tried with artificial flies are the spinyrays but I'm positive it will work.  

For anyone interested in learning the sport of fly fishing I would recommend any one of many such clubs around the country who promote that art of angling.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Joy of Camping

Joe, Mary and kids had heard how much fun it was to go camping so decided to give it a try. Being city slickers they had no idea what was required but Joe solved the problem by asking for assistance from one of the clerks at a sporting goods store.  The guy gleefully sold Joe a carful of items.  tent, sleeping bags, air mattresses, camp stove, ice chest, and cooking utensils. It made a big dent in Joe's checking account.

Joe was not good about reading instructions and was soon frustrated with attempts at putting up a tent.  Taking pity on the camping greenhorn a camping neighbor finally stepped in and helped Joe get the canvas home in place.  

Next came the camp stove which must have it's fuel tank pumped up before it will give blue flames from the burners.  Joe burned many matches and fingers before help arrived.  He found some of the veggies in the ice chest floating in ice water before he found out the drain plug has to be open to let the water escape.

The kids were allowed to bring along one toy so a boom box radio was allowed on the picnic table where it loudly entertained them and all the neighbors from local station KNPT  .Everyone's eardrums were saved at 7 P.M.when  it unknowingly went off the air.  Next morning, promptly 6 A.M. a trumpet sounded reveille to announce the beginning of "On The Air" to all the people  in camp who were no longer happy campers! 


After sloppily bundling everything together and dumping it in the car the little family headed home.  Five miles from camp a little voice in the rear announced, "Daddy, I have to go to the bathroom."
" Why didn't you go when we were still in camp," he asked?   "Because I didn't have to", she replied.
Joe pulled into a combo service station-convenience store so the little girl could go potty and mom could buy some soda pop and snacks.
A short distance down the road again the little girl called, "Daddy" and he told her, "Shut Up!"  She  tried again and got the same  answer, along with a sweeping swat at her that missed.
Another try again down the road she quickly said, "But daddy, mommy left her purse on top of the car back there!"
Later, at home the kids were telling all their friends what a fun time they had camping.

Joe sold all his camping gear.

Thursday, July 25, 2013


Our kitty, Belle, was due to see a dermatologist vet one cold winter days couple of years ago.  Her name is Belle and she had a severe case of ringworm that our regular vet couldn't seem to cure so hopefully the new vet could help.
The weather was cold enough I brought the cat carrier into the house to warm it up before loading kitty   Into it.  I left the cage door open to make it easier to load her in when I was ready.
When time to leave I tried to load her in but it was a struggle.  She didn't to go in there so I pushed and shoved to get her in far enough to close the hatch.  Carrying her to the car was more difficult than usual as she seemed to have picked up a lot more weight.  I was concerned that maybe she was getting too fat.
At the vet's office I put the cage up on the examining table and asked the vet to check her out.  The vet opened the cage door, looked in and asked, "Which one do you want looked at?".  Stunned, I looked in and there was the other cat, Silver, snuggled in beside Belle.  He had entered the cage without my knowledge while I was after Belle.  
No kitty diet required.