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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Delicious Stuffed Pumpkin With Cranberry-Raisin Bread Pudding ...

Yield: 12 servings


  • 1 (2 1/2- to 3-pound) pumpkin*
  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted and divided
  • 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
  • 3/4 cup half-and-half
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted
  • 1 (16-ounce) raisin bread loaf, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup fresh cranberries
  • Lemon-Vanilla Sauce


Cut off top of pumpkin, reserving lid with stem. Scoop out pumpkin seeds and pulp, and reserve for another use. Brush inside of pumpkin shell with 1 tablespoon melted butter. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon sugar. Top with lid. Bake at 350° for 35 minutes. Brush inside of baked pumpkin shell with 1 tablespoon butter; sprinkle with 1 tablespoon sugar. Stir together eggs and next 6 ingredients; spoon pudding mixture into a lightly greased 8-inch square pan. Bake pumpkin and bread pudding at 350° for 25 minutes. Let pumpkin cool; spoon bread pudding evenly into pumpkin shell. Serve with Lemon-Vanilla Sauce. Note: For individual servings, substitute 12 (1/2-pound) pumpkins. Scoop out seeds and pulp; sprinkle each pumpkin shell with 1 teaspoon butter and 1 teaspoon sugar, and bake with the bread pudding. (Do not pre-bake as with the larger pumpkin.) Spoon bread pudding evenly into baked pumpkin shells.
Southern Living, OCTOBER 2002

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Commentary by Jack Squat ...

"Senate passes measure that would protect gays -- Obama expected to sign legislation on hate crimes" I sure am glad to hear that Obama and his administration are moving above and beyond in their efforts to protect gays & lesbians ... well, in the interest of fairness, all human beings deserve to be kept safe from those who would do them harm ... but ... according to the government, gays & lesbians now deserve a bigger slice of that fairness than the rest of us ... I suppose laws already in place that should keep the general public safe just wasn't good enough for that crowd. Just yesterday, in Florida, another innocent child was found murdered ... the lifeless body of a 7-year-old girl (Somer Thompson) who had been missing since Monday, obviously abducted while walking home from school, was found discarded like a sack of garbage in a filthy landfill ... that little angel, along with countless others who have fell victim to similar shameful acts, certainly deserve a bigger slice of fairness and protection than what they've received ... America -- get your priorities straight! ... no individual or group, regardless of race, color, creed, sexual orientation or political affiliation deserves special, preferential treatment above and beyond any other individual or group -- not in America ... as I said, ALL human beings deserve to be kept safe from those who would do them harm ... Barack Obama and that bunch in Washington have shown us just where their priorities lie ... so now that they've made sure that those in the gay & lesbian culture can safely walk the streets and sleep in their beds at night without fear of harm -- how about affording that same level of protective covering to our irreproachable and powerless children???
How about protecting the children rather than the predator? ... how about enforcing laws already on the books, or enacting sufficient, new laws that will get these rapists, kidnappers, pedophiles, murderers and all lowlife weirdos, who live and breathe to do nothing other than hurt our children, off our streets and far away from decent folk? ... how about seating judges who possess the courage, character and brass to avail themselves to the severest extent of the sentencing guidelines already in place for these crimes against humanity, and put these habitual scumbags in their place? ... jail ... prison ... a deserted island ... or a grave -- and that ain't just Jack Squat! UPDATE: The body of another missing child, 9-year-old Elizabeth Olten, was found Friday in Missouri ... --Jack Squat

Monday, October 12, 2009

Birthdays - Who's Countin' ...

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It's my birthday, imagine that ... I almost forgot ... it wouldn't be the first time ... which was in 1964. Nor the second, that came but 3 years later ... one I forgot, but will never forget ... and which hopefully was the last. 1964 was an eventful year for me, especially the second half Hertzo... I was stationed in Fürth just outside of Nürenberg in northern Bayern about 90 miles north of München ... I was stationed there, detached from Herzogenaurach less than 15 miles away ... but I certainly wasn't stationary, anything but. In early September, I decided to use some of my accrued leave and fly home to see the folks and me girl. Those here in the old barbershop will appreciate the fact that the very last thing I did was to get a haircut so as to look me best when I got home! I can't remember if it was on the Base or in the town of Fürth, but it was a large barbershop ... a barbering school for German barbers, methinks. They didn't have barbering bowls like we do here so I asked for a flattop. The young man had no idea what that was but one of his colleagues did ... or so he claimed. That haircut was remindful of John Cash's Cadillac Car ... it was indeed a flattop, albeit multi-level ... they worked so hard and would no doubt still be working, had I not stopped them while I still had some hair. I paid $16 in the Philadelphia airport in an effort to salvage things ... and it took another $10 in Chattanooga a week later to finally get it right. Me FianceeWell, I got engaged ... her daddy reserved the First Presbyterian Church of Atlanta for Easter Sunday ... misplaced my orders and got put in jail for over 12 hours while they verified I wasn't AWOL nor no spy ... did get two big new suitcases filled with birthday presents, neat stuff including two new suits and a pair of Florsheims... flew back, only to find my leave had been extended as requested; two contrariwise notifications notwithstanding. It made me mad ... real mad! Almost broke, I got a driver to take me back to Joe BesserFrankfort ... spent me birthday at the Air Force base ... what with all the rush, I totally forgot it was the day but do remember seeing "The Hagger Twins" perform ... and Joe Besser too. It took two days but I finally copped a hop back to Langley ... called home for money but got a prepaid ticket to Chattanooga instead ... a commuter to Philly, then United to Atlanta. We circled Hartsfield for over an hour ... bad weather and backed up flights, attributed to a hurricane between Mobile and New Orleans. Another two hour delay ... waiting for the Delta flight going to Chattanooga ... so I surprised me fiancee with a call ... local call, she lived out on Nancy Creek in northwest Atlanta, and we talked for most of that time ... interrupted, every ten minutes or so, by someone on the loud speaker asking if anyone in the airport spoke German! After about 10 of them interruptions, me betrothed said it had to be an emergency and insisted that I find out what it was and see if I could help. I told her that surely, someone in that whole big airport spoke German ... someone other than me! Turned out there was ... two in fact ... trouble was, they didn't speak no English! A pair of old maid aunts from Bremen, going to visit their nephew in Biloxi ... hadn't seen him since he left home, just after the war! Ain't no way no plane was going to Biloxi that night ... "maybe two or three", said the manager of the airport. I explained that the manager would provide lodging and take care of their needs, but the ladies' main concern was that their nephew would worry when they didn't show up as scheduled, and rightfully so. We located him, they talked to him in obvious delight ... and everything worked out fine for everybody! Well, almost everybody ... not so fine for me. would you believe it ... I didn't get nothing ... not even a thank you, kiss my foot ... no, not nothing! I did get to miss my flight to Chattanooga ... but they certainly didn't provide me lodging or take care of my meals. Me girl and her daddy picked me up ... I stayed in one of the guest rooms and we drove to Chattanooga early the next day. My luggage? It went to Chattanooga as scheduled ... or so we think. I called Hartsfield when I got settled in and thought about the luggage ... and that's what they said would have happened. However, Daddy called the Chattanooga airport that night ... no luggage ... and it wasn't there when we checked the next day. Well, young love is impatient and the thought of five months together in romantic, historic Europe ... won out over five months apart, big wedding and three weeks in Hawaii! ChapelWe eloped ... that is to say, we drove down from Chattanooga into Georgia, just across the state line without tellin' nobody ... took a no-waiting blood test and got married ... inside a jail cell, not quite the First Presbyterian Church, but married all the same. Yes, a jail cell ... the Justice of the Peace married us but his office was so small that we had to stand in an adjoining holding cell while he said them "repeat after me" words ... and we did! We drove back to Chattanooga ... we didn't tell her, but Mama knew it within two minutes of our arrival ... mamas just know those things, I guess. Mama was thrilled! We called her Daddy who was at a convention in Saint Louis ... he wasn't! I figured it best for me to get out of Dodge ... so I flew back to Frankfort, first class, compliments of Delta, sans my lost new luggage and birthday presents ... train to Nürenberg, on which I fell asleep ... missed changing trains, and headed east rather than south ... realizing the problem as we approached the point where the train crossed into the eastern zone. Indeed, it was a problem ... me with my Top Secret, Cryptographic clearance ... being where I was ... was indeed a no-no. Luckily, I was allowed to detrain before we reached the border, but it was scary ... and a 2.5 hour trip had turned into about seven. apartment I found us a nice apartment in Fürth ... well, four rooms in an old 19th century two story. We had to share a separate bathroom with a German family ... but it was well furnished, convenient, and nice, as was the apartment ... relatively cheap too. Dirt cheap, compared to Atlanta prices, even in 1964. Me BrideMe bride arrived 2 November, 11 days after we were married ... in a snow storm ... the worst in 50 years, they said! Two feet of snow throughout the area ... and it continued throughout that winter. We bought a car ... wanted a Mercedes automatic, but none were immediately available locally ... so we settled for a Rambler American with its fully reclineable seats. It was a foolish decision financially; the Mercedes was less than $6,000, loaded ... one of convenience ... but we enjoyed it. She came over on a regular passport, independent of the Service, and not as a military dependent ... all the privileges, but fewer restrictions and some extra freedom. Her name, I can't remember ... dang! McBrayer, I think it was ... she spoke no German and whenever we got stopped, I spoke no English ... me German wasn't that good, but good enough to fool ugly Americans ... and all the military we encountered. One of the first things we bought was a Grundig ... radio, record player, reel to reel tape combination ... that was pretty expensive but she had always wanted one ... cost DM 3,000 or about $750 ... a good one ... same model, export version, cost $2,100 back home she said. For "Thanksgiving" we ate at my favorite Nürenberg restaurant ... where there were no prices on the menu ... scary, but it really wasn't very expensive. To our surprise, the chef treated us and then invited us to go "Bier und Wein" tasting with some of his friends! "Bier auf Wein, das lasse sein ... Wein auf Bier, das rat ich dir" ... meaning, methinks "beer then wine ... is fine, but wine then beer ... oh dear!" He spoke little English, his friend none ... but we had a great time ... I translated both ways ... getting at least some of it right. After over three hours of having so done, I discovered that they thought my wife spoke fluent German and that she was helping me with mine! Unbelievable but true! We all went back to the apartment where they stayed until after two ... singing old German songs and trying to teach them the English versions. Lili Marlene ... Rosamunde (Beer Barrel Polka) ... Du kannst nicht Treu sein (You Can't Be True, Dear), Du, du liegst mir im Herzen(You, you are in my heart) and others. The next day, the neighbors complained about all the noise keeping them awake ... but, we hadn't really made that much noise ... of that I'm sure. Germans is sneaky ... our neighbors made a tape of us singing, amplified it and put it in our Grundig when we were asleep ... goodness! Unfortunately, the tape later became corrupted and is no more. HauptbahnhofMost everybody got leather goods that year for Christmas ... aus Nürenberg ... including us ... matching coats. Nürenberg - 1945It was fun exploring and shopping in historic Nürenberg, even in a foot of snow. A beautiful city ... it took very close examination of the old stone buildings to find any evidence of what had transpired, twenty years after the fact. Getting the required passes was not a problem, provided the work was being done ... my work schedule was four days on and three off ... pretty good, but four on and ten off would have been better ... there was a lot to see and do!! Well, I told that to this good old boy who did the same work as me ... from over in Cajun Country, small bayou town of which I'd never heard ... not too far from New Orleans, he said. I was just talkin' ... but, he volunteered to work the four days for $30 ... said he had nothing better to do and could sure use the extra money. My guess is that he would have done it for $25, maybe a bit less ... but I was taking no chances. We stuck around the first couple of days, taking it easy and making sure he'd do as promised ... and he did! We drove down to München ... stayed the week at a wonderful hotel next to main railroad station ... I can't remember it's official name but the name on its marquee included "München Hauptbahnhof" ... auf English ... Munich Railroad Station. Hauptbahnhof The Ice Capades were in town that week ... and troupe stayed at the hotel ... received complimentary tickets. We didn't officially meet them but shared the same dining room ... they were hot stuff back then! It was 5 star quality but the thing I remember most was the maître d'hôtel ... straight from the movies, only better! He took care of us personally ... the first night he brought us huge menus of many pages ... and me wanting to impress me young Ehefrau, I did the ordering ... it took me thirty minutes to read the German menu ... but I finally got her did! Baby shrimp salad with King Louie dressing, followed by Sauerbraten (Roast Beef, German style) fixed the hotel's special way ... with potatoes, black truffles and giant green peas(English, only huge) ... unbelievable ... super wonderful good and tasty too! To drink, we had local Bier, with a tablespoon of champagne per mug! The things I remember best were (1) it was cheap, (2) the portions were enormous ... enough shrimp to feed six, but the King Louie was so good that we ate it all and surprisingly, had room for the main course, and (3) on the second night, my bride discovered the English and French sections of the menu and never let me live it down! Yes, of course, we had shrimp salad every night! The second and third days we walked around town in the snow ... so much to see and do ... museums, so much history and mind-boggling architecture. This was mid November, long after Der Oktoberfest, the world's largest fair, that ends in early October and which will celebrate its 200th anniversary next year ... but, for some reason, the streets were filled with people. No, there's not another shoe to drop ... but it was crowded enough so that 45 years later, it's one of the things I remember most. glockenspielMaybe it's always that way ... both days we stood for well over an hour just looking up at the world famous Glockenspiel in Marienplatz, part of the Rathaus(city hall) in the heart of München, not far from the hotel ... waiting for it to do its thing that I'm sure always draws a crowd, a fantastic 15 minute show featuring bells and lifesized figures ... 43 bells and 32 figures, according to the Internet. The top half of the Glockenspiel tells the story of the marriage of Duke Wilhelm V to Renata of Lothringen in the 16th century. It includes a joust between knights representing Bayern and Lothringen ... Bayern winning! That's followed by the bottom half, celebrating the end of a horrific plague ... with barrel makers publicly dancing, showing the townsfolk that it was safe to return to the streets! At the very end, a golden bird at the top of the Glockenspiel chirps to let you know it's over. We also visited the world famous Hofbräuhaus ... established in 1589 by this same Duke Wilhelm V ... it was a blast, with a mug of its home brew running 50 Pfennig ... 100 Pfennig then roughly equal to a quarter. Germany is famous for its beer and I guess Das Hofbräuhaus is the most famous Bier Halle in the world ... but its beer didn't quite live up to its reputation ... the best Bier was the home brew found in Bayern's Rathskellers(cityhall cellers) ... smooth as glass, but with a kick what could put you on your fanny. I speak from experience! Our final day in München was spent at the Münchner Tierpark ... again snowing, but it was great and different from Atlanta's Grant Part ... open, lots of moats, not many cages. Took lots of pictures, few survived. We took a short cut back ... got lost, of course ... stopped at a small country General Store store out in the middle of nowhere to ask for help and directions ... I'll never forget saying "Entschuldigen Sie mir bitte ... vielleicht können Sie mir helfen. Ich habe meinen Weg nach Fürth volieren ... " Simple, right? Translation: Excuse me please, perhaps you can help me ... I've lost my way back to Fürth. Wrong ... I think I asked him 30 times or more, for close to an hour ... all he wanted to do was sell me ham and roast beef! We did get full on the samples and bought some candy ... but never got no directions. We backtracked to the zoo, and then to the hotel for another night of shrimp salad ... next day back to Fürth! I shared the story with the maître d'hôtel ... and he understood exactly what I had said to the storekeeper ... no problem. After dinner, he offered a possible explanation for the confusion ... "Fleish" is the German word for meat ... like flesh, but with an "ei" ... while "vielleicht" means perhaps. It had to be "the" explanation ... ... the "v" in German is pronounced like our "f" ... while their "w" is like our "v" ... e.g. "Volkswagen" ... people's car(wagon) ... is pronounced Folks Vagen. I was trying to say perhaps ... "fee-liecht" but he was hearing meat ... "fleich" I know that I have a long standing and well deserved reputation for being difficult to understand, but Germans are no different that bloggers ... they hear what they want to hear! That was sure better than workin'!!
People complain about army food ... I know I did, calf's liver, onions and potatoes ... day after day. Me and calf's liver weren't no strangers when I joined up ... it weren't exactly my favorite, but Mama made it taste pretty good and we had it often, especially during the war. Well, calf's liver turned out to be a fair weather friend ... soon as I left the Service, it up and plum disappeared and I ain't seen hide nor hair of it since! It wasn't the food ... the army got the best, methinks ... it's what they did with it after they got it! mess hallWe participated in the army's war games from time to time ... shortly after our trip to München, there was a three day exercise and the colonel had me go to the Mess Hall ... get six steaks, two dozen eggs, some frozen ears of corn and some potatoes. Them steaks were NY Strips, over an inch thick, Angus methinks ... whoa baby! He supplied the charcoal grill, spices and such ... and I did the cooking! Them steaks were good! Army life was tough, especially during the winter, at least for them poor boys really doing the soldiering! Ours was an important job ... intercepting and decoding messages, guarding and testing top secret equipment, programming computers, stuff like that ... and making sure the food was of acceptable quality. In early December, I was selected as one of the bowlers representing our battalion in an Army Bowling Tournament held in Stuttgart ... we drove, snowed the entire trip which took nearly 4 hours, methinks. The team came in second ... bowling lanesI had the highest three game series in the tournament, finishing second in the singles, doubles, and all events as well. I might have won singles and all events ... shudda, wudda, cudda ... two things got in the way ... My singles series was the first of that day's competition and a little snow left on the approach went unnoticed ... I fouled on my second shot and they wouldn't gimme a muligan! Then, on the final day of the tournament, I somehow left my bowling shirt in the motel where we were staying ... house rules wouldn't allow me to bowl in a tee shirt on Sunday, so I bowled in my long sleeved wool sweater ... until the 5th frame, when my wife returned with the shirt. Who knows how it would have otherwise turned out ... but I finished with six in a row, missing the "all events" title by 4 four pins! After Christmas, I became a "short timer" ... going home in March ... there was still much to do and see, and we were running out of time! Unfortunately, my cajun friend wouldn't work for money ... not even $50, but, thinking he was safe, he said he'd do it for some good cajun Filé Gumbo! I told him that Filé Gumbo was my wife's specialty ... and that she would love to fix it, especially for him! Me Bride She was real sweet, real smart and she was real pretty ... but one thing she wasn't ... was a real cook! Of course, we both knew what Filé Gumbo was, everybody did ... Ole Hank told us all about it, right along with Jambalaya and a crawfish pie ... me oh my oh! A little smelling salts and rye whisky was all it took to revive her ... that and a bunch of promises ... and, we were off to find a cookbook! She wrote down all the ingredients and while she studied the instructions of every recipe she could filé powderfind, I went in search of a big pot and those things we needed ... found everything, save one ... the danged filé powder!! We had to fake that ... ground up tea mixed with drippings from the chicken ... we didn't know what it was supposed to taste like ... but being cajun, we figured it had to be hot and spicy. We added enough finely ground pepper, red and black, to disguise anything ... seemed like we cooked it forever ... just getting within 50 yards of the apartment meant being in harm's way ... the pepper in the air really burned your eyes. Joe showed up on schedule ... with some flowers and a bottle of wein! The air was heavy, filled more with nervous tension from anticipation of disaster than pepper ... the wine eased the things a bit ... but, some disasters just can't be avoided ... especially when your guest say's "that smells good ... let's eat!" Me wife did us proud ... the rice, the chicken ... she had told me she couldn't boil water ... but, it was really very good ... the pepper was something else! I asked Joe how he liked it ... "well, it's good and I like it ... doesn't taste like what I'm used to ... and it's mighty spicy ... but, I think that's just because I've not had any cajun food in so long ... need to get back in practice" ... if that's not a quote, it's a leaner. We watched in amazement as he helped himself to another full serving! Innsbruck MedalBags packed, we made reservations at a nice hotel in the historic old town district of Innsbrück, Austria ... leaving early the next day, taking our time and seeing the sights ... it was all good, but nothing to quite compare to Innsbrück itself, especially looking up at the mountains from down in the city! Car on frozen lakeBefore we knew it, it had turned dark ... and danged if I could find the hotel, though we saw it from a distance just after we arrived. We ate, asked for and received directions but, still couldn't find it ... it was about 10 when we pulled off the road to rest and regroup. It was a beautiful spot ... flat, an unobstructed view of their famous mountains, staring us right in the face ... awesome! After a while we fell asleep, taking full advantage of the reclining seats that went all the way back ... and our wool blankets, courtesy of the US Army. We slept soundly until about 5:30, as it began to get light ... couldn't really see anything yet ... not light, just less dark. It wasn't very long before we started to make out what looked like small trees some distance out in front in of us ... and then it happened ... like something out of one of Lamar's many misadventures. A giant monster starting eating those things up ... first one, then another! We stared in disbelief ... and then it was gone! 100% true ... without exaggeration! Thank goodness ... a sigh of relief ... time to get out of Dodge ... but which way was out ... where was the entrance to this parking lot? Where was the sun? We sat in horror as that thing reappeared, consuming more of whatever they were ... and then it headed for us, no mistake! It was lighter now, and as we were giving up all hope of escape, we suddenly realized, both at the same time, that the monster was only the fog! We sat and laughed, for several minutes while the sun came up ... what a way to start the day! We could now see clearly ... signs just in front of us ... Achtung! dünnes Eis ... well, that's nice ... what did it mean? Unfortunately, I knew ... loosely translated, it Car on frozen lakemeant ... "you were right the first time, dummy ... it's past time to get out of Dodge!" A more literal translation, "Danger! - thin ice" ... our parking lot was no parking lot atall ... we were well out into a large lake, all by ourselves! We eased that baby out of there ... slow, steady and easy! We had just had enough excitement to last all of 1965 ... and here it was, just barely the second week of January. We hadn't been in any real danger ... easy for them to say ... and for me, 45 years later ... but we didn't know that then ... not while it was happening. We found the hotel, spent the rest of that day and most of the next sightseeing in and around Innsbrück. Innsbruck Tower 1Innsbruck Tower 2There's a whole bunch of stuff to see and do and methinks we seen and done it all ... maybe it's a woods and trees type thing but I couldn't tell you one specific thing we done or seen ... except for that huge mountain that seemed to follow us everywhere we went. Afraid to drive it during the day with no speed limit and crazy local drivers passing on curves, we left in the late afternoon and headed toward Festung Kufstein ... about 50 miles form Innsbruch, methinks. We got to see the town all litted up ... drove to the Schloss, well almost ... the drive was too slippery for us and we slid back down twice, then quit while we were ahead! Unable to reach our intended lodgings, we decided to go ahead and drive to Salzburg that night ... mostly uneventful, but we went down two looong, narrow one-way streets the wrong way ... in different Dorfs(small villages) ... in a span of about two hours ... folks were real nice and let us know it too. Driving on narrow winding roads through the Alps is fun, especially at night when you can't see how dangerous it is! We spent the night, what was left of it ... at the Hotel Leopoldskron in Salzburg ... actually part of a beautiful old castle where they had filmed "Sound of Music" back during the Spring, methinks, but we didn't realize that at the time ... it was past midnight. Festung Salzburg Early next day, we drove to Festung Hohensalzburg Knight's Armor We spent the entire morning in the Festung Museum ... unbelievable ... a super extensive collection of medieval stuff ... knight's armour, mail, swords, shields ... all types of tools, masks, and weaponry ... audio tapes and written programs in several languages supporting a tour of the many exhibits!Broad Sword That was truly fantastic ... could have spent a week or two there, maybe longer. Them Knights were strong ... I couldn't even pick up one their broad swords, though they let me try ... nor could I carry their mail! I used 8 rolls of film, just in the Salzburg museums ... it was forbidden, but I did it. Used our single reflex camera too, so I'd know what I shot ... would have been easier just to buy their prints, but not as much fun! St PetersWe had lunch in Salzburg's Stiftskeller St. Peter ... located within the walls of Saint Peter's Archabbey, said to be over 1200 years old. Then a walk to Das Benediktinen-Frauenstift Nonnberg ... das älteste noch bestehende christliche Frauenkloster in der Welt ... that is to say, Nonnberg Abbey is the oldest nunnery in the world, still existing. They said Maria Von Trapp was schooled there ... not sure. From there to the Salzburg Cathedral (Salzburger Dom) where Mozart was baptized and performed ... we saw an organ on which he practiced, in a building just up the street. MadonnaThe thing that impressed me most were the giant triple entrance doors ... but, the statues and paintings, especially those of the Madonna were awesome ... inspiring! The Dom was first established in the early 17th century ... but some of the works it held supposedly dated back to the 1st! SundialIn that immediate area was a large working sundial of the Dom's vintage ... I can attest to that. Like the runaway cart toward the end of the movie "Patton" ... one with what I thought was my name on it, appeared, seemingly from out of nowhere as I was engrossed watching that ancient time piece. It missed me, just barely! The weather turned sour that afternoon, with storms forecast for the next day ... so we forwent our day tour in Burchest garden and headed back to München, again more baby shrimp salad ... next day back to Fürth. Upon returning to Fürth, I had the all that film developed ... at least they so said ... every one taken in the museums were solid black, while all the rest turned out great. They said I must've did something wrong ... the only thing I done wrong was to take the film to them for developing, thats what I think! I was a disaster that could have been worse, had we not sent postcards from the Salzburg Museums to friends and family.
I got real sick toward the end of January, 1965 ... stomach problems ... unbelievable nausea, acid indigestion ... and acid reflux, though they didn't call that back then ... and it was more painful than a big splinter in your big toe! Vegas DiceThe doctors said I had a hyperactive vagus nerve and probably ulcers ... it could be taken fixed with surgery ... the kicker being an additional six months in the service of our country. "Probably ulcers" ain't ulcers when filling out an insurance application ... and I needed more insurance, being married and all ... besides I didn't relish getting being cut on ... so I opted not to do that, asking the doctor ... "how should it be treated assuming it's an ulcer, without an operation?" Then I found out that I would be going on an seven day boat ride instead of a seven hour flight home ... a boat ride with an upset, nervous stomach. TroopshipOh, the humanity! Being a short timer meant that I'd been there a long time ... and oh how I wanted to go home! But, it had its advantages ... I got time off for packing up our stuff ... getting it all shipped, taking the car up to Bremerhaven, the wife to Frankfurt ... not much time for soldierin' or work! It seemed like just yesterday that I had first arrived in Germany and gone into Nürenberg with a friend from the Army's Language School ... the first time I tried to put my newly learned Deutch to practical use. We had studied about the Nürenberg Frauenkirche(Church Of Our Lady) and I wanted to see it ... looked everywhere but never saw it. FrauenkircheIn my best German, I asked several people "Können Sie mir sagen wo das Frauenkirche ist?" ... always the same .. "Nein, bitte" In English, "Can you tell me where the Church of Our Lady is?" Ready to give up in frustration, I made one final attempt ... asking a little old lady of maybe 110 ... who thought for a while before pointing and answering in rather good English ... "It's right over there! And young man, she's a female!" Well, me best had not been best enough, though the words were ... "das Frauenkirche" would have been correct if "Frauenkirche" was neuter ... "die" is the female "the" I never made that mistake again but what I remember most is that though I was within 100 yards of the church, nobody I had asked tumbled to what it was that I was asking. It is remindful of case sensitive computer code! BretwurstMy friend and I found a small bistro ... "Cafe Prinz" ... and went inside for a beer ... six beers and six Bratwürst later I was dubbed "Der Bratwürst Kid" by its patrons! We learned in school and from the army that it was improper to tip as such things were included in the bill but I left DM 5.00 for the waitress(about $1.25) ... you would have too, had you seen her! I had such a good time that I was back there in less than a week ... It turned out that we were the first Americans not to have been thrown out of the place since it was reopened after the war. The waitress was the daughter of the owner. We ate and drank ... they tried to teach me a German card game ... and they wouldn't let me pay for anything! Unfortunately, some communists frequented the place and it became off limits when I so reported. Darby FieldOne of our playtoys was a "top secret" reconnaissance plane ... wasn't really anything special 'bout the plane but the equipment was ... real special. When radar fixed on that plane, it knew it and they could determine Recon Planethe location of the radar real fast ... and it had a special computer for determining real distances between two points, better than any of its counterparts too. It was housed in a special hanger, together with some big magnesium helicopters that burned up real fast on occasion. During the reign of das Dritte Reich, symbolism was big noise, and building facades throughout Germany carried Nazi emblems of many shapes, sizes and composition; including murals, elaborate blasted carvings, and stone engravings. When their 1000 years abruptly ended in 1945, them suckers quickly disappeared! Twenty years later there weren't any, that's for sure! Or so we thought ... Indeed, our hangar had one ... the last one methinks ... das Hoheitszeichen, the Nazi Germany national symbol. Hoheitszeichen How it had gone unnoticed all them years was anybody's guess ... mine was that it was hastily packed and covered up with dirt, mud, and stuff ... and erosion had given it another hour upon the stage. Well, more than hour ... the decision was made to clean it, fill it with mortar and smooth it, with a local civilian crew being hired for the job. Five showed up, sometime after ten with all the required stuff, including a large extension ladder, Bier and lunch ... lots of Bier. The boss was the first to go up to view and evaluate the situation ... after maybe 10 minutes, he came down and had a beer while others took their turn. By then, the boss had evidently forgotten something and went back up for another view ... came back down and they broke for lunch and more beer! After lunch, they again went through the same routine ... several times I urged "schnell, schnell" (faster) to which they responded in kind "langsam, langsam" ... by day's end, they had but managed to remove the loose dirt and debris and clean the area, promising to return the next morning to finish the job. The next morning, they each took their turn ... and their time ... climbing the ladder, same as before but with one difference ... they had an audience of maybe 25 cheering them on. I have to admit, they knew their stuff and did a good job ... finishing just before dark. Encouraged by our "success" with Filé Gumbo, I decided to try me mama's recipe for chocolate fudge ... I followed the instructions to the letter and it turned out great!! Well, it did ... on the third attempt, after an expensive transatlantic phone call. The first two disasters wouldn't harden, even when left overnight in the freezer but that third attempt was a great success. I did the same thing all three times ... Time went by fast ... too fast, and not fast enough. Unbelievably, my stomach calmed down two days before departure ... lots of folks got seasick on the ride home but not me, I was stomach problem free, none whatsoever! BingoTo pass the time during the evenings, they scheduled gigantic Bingo Games ... $2 a card, three for $5. Each game was a bit different, with the final game being a coverall for money remaining from what had been taken in. The first night out, there was a big crowd and the games went quick ... seemed like everybody at our table won but me ... then I went and won the coverall for over $900! Funny, there weren't anymore Bingo games ... we figured it must have been somehow rigged so that the crew won more than its fair share ... and something went wrong! I remember playing poker with one fellow that was continually exaggerating the truth, if not telling lies ... a purposeful distraction, methinks. I said to him "You're a "nefarious prevaricator" ... to which he replied "Oh no man, I'm half Dutch and half Indian" ... probably the only time that he told the truth! On the last night out, a rather tall kid that I had earlier met came up to me and asked what I planned to do after leaving the Service ... "think I'll try buying and selling stock" ... "really, I'm a farmer too!" He was serious, but his reason for asking had nothing to do with farming ... he had been drafted to play professional basketball for the Knicks and wanted me to be his agent! Statue Of Liberty Another of my many missed opportunities! Finally, we got to see that lady with the torch what gives goose bumps to so many ... did me! That final day came an went ... thought it never would ... we were gathered in this huge enclosure, sans air conditioning... big fans ... and the entire morning seemed designed to get folks to reenlist ... tempting ... close, but no cigar. We drove to visit friends in upper state New York ... but, by week's end, we were headed to Atlanta, where all had been forgiven ... and following weekend visited my folks in Chattanooga. That was an adventure too ... we drove at night ... I75, and US 41 where the Interstate wasn't completed. Just before the last Georgia Exit(more now) we were stopped by a Deputy Sheriff ... said we were speeding ... doing 80 going up a steep grade as we approached Chattanooga. That's what he said ... we followed him into the same little town where we had been married, some six months earlier. Car TagsIt was wet and cold ... he got what he wanted ... hot coffee, a warm office, and someone with whom to talk. We had to post a $25 dollar bail which we would forfeit if we failed to appear in court ... but we got some coffee too. Truth is, that Rambler wouldn't do 80 up that hill, even if we had been so inclined ... which we weren't, not at night in that rain! The real reason he stopped us was that he had never seen European Plates before and wanted to check us out ... he so admitted, but didn't give us back our $25! Remember the lost luggage? lost luggageIt never did show up ... I had filed a claim as soon as they would allow ... the value of one bag and its contents easily exceeded the maximum payable on both. The claim still had not been paid ... and probably never would have been paid, had Daddy not contacted one of his friends at Delta. Nobody challenged the validity of the claim ... the problem was that three airlines were involved and for some reason they couldn't determine where it was lost and who was liable ... maybe the prepaid ticket confused them. Daddy followed up again that weekend and I finally received a check for $600 in May. I found work with a consulting firm in Atlanta and continued with my Actuarial studies ... choosing not to rejoin my father's company ... I wanted to make it on my own not be known just as Mr. Mac's son ... probably a mistake! Yes, stationed in Atlanta, but again not stationary ... over that year and the next seven, visited many national parks ... spending time in 49 of the 50 ... all except Alaska ... including our planned three weeks in Hawaii. sailfishThough we had many adventures, including our pullin' in a couple of big Sails at the same time during a squall off Key West but none were better than that time spent in Germany and Austria. For them what don't know ... if you ever catch a Sail and don't want to release it or have it mounted, smoked sailfish is as good as it gets! Though I followed that army doctor's advice, a stitch in time, would have saved more than nine ... I continued to have stomach problems and some fifteen years later, they pumped 24 pints of blood through me during an emergency operation, saving my life after that acid finally ate through the main artery in me stomach. Unfortunately, things didn't work out for us ... but them were good times, better than that! I once forgot her birthday ... well, I really didn't ... I just forgot mine! Problem was, we shared the same one! CarolCarolNot long ago, she told me privately that it pleased her that I had found a real good one in Carol ... strange, Carol said the same of her! Well, not so strange, I agree with both of them!
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