Free Chapter from “Orange Socks”
50 years ago, I left Vietnam after serving in the U.S. Navy — fixing radios, playing Ping-Pong, and sweeping floors. I wrote about my experiences in “Orange Socks & Other Colorful Tales." It's a collection of funny, sad, and poignant stories. Here's a link to a sample chapter:
The Stranger Was a Hero
The back doors to the ambulance slammed shut and two paramedics went to the front, got in, slammed their doors closed, and the driver turned on the siren, screeching away from Sal’s Stereo Center. Less than a minute later, he turned off the siren. The driver grinned at his partner saying, “Don’t know what I was thinking. Ain’t no rush, is there?”
People stood around the police barricade, all of them trying to see inside the store. Police were walking around, a few trying to keep the spectators from getting to close to the crime scene, while other policemen were getting statements from those inside during the attempted robbery and double murder, of which those who were still alive, gladly gave their statements. Many of them said the same thing.
They didn’t know who he was, but the stranger was a hero.
Four Hours Earlier
Friday is Sal’s biggest day. Sales Day at Sal’s. Salvatore Poppatino, is a big man, heavy set, balding, and always smokes a cigar. Regardless of the new smoking laws; it was his store. His rules. Sal always greeted his customers when they walked into his store. It was one of the things people liked best about him. He genuinely took take a personal interest with every person who walked through his doors. As Sal was fond of saying, “It makes for good PR.”
At 1:20, Sal had five customers. Two single men, a young woman with two children, and a young couple. Counting himself and two employees, one of which being his daughter, ten people were in the store.
Sal had just finished selling the main features on a Pioneer Stereo, wall-to-wall Sound System with a five-CD changer. It could be remotely set up to every room in the house (even the bathroom), with a small portable speaker placed wherever they chose. It also operated by remote to adjust sound level. The young couple was impressed, and Sal, knowing the sale was in the bag, because he threw in eight small remote speakers at no charge. Sal would get the whole thing on their Visa card. “Love those credit cards,” Sal would say.
His daughter had just finished ringing up a purchase to a man for a set of speaker wires, when three men walked in, locked the door and drew out their guns.
The mother of the two children stifled a scream. The wife of the couple who couldn’t wait to hear the new stereo in her home, fainted; her husband catching her before she fell to the floor and gently laid her down.
Sal let the cigar fall from between his lips to the floor. In eighteen years, this was the first time anyone has tried to rob him. He wasn’t going to take this lying down. Sal was going to teach these punks a thing or two. You bet’cha.
Sal’s daughter remained motionless behind the counter. The man who made the purchase started to shake, and another man stood still, but he didn’t appear to be scared.
Unnoticed in the back room, was Sal’s other employee.
“Hey! What the hell do you punks think you’re doing? Get outta my store before I call the cops! Out, beat it!” Sal was so infuriated, his face was turning red.
The tallest of the three robbers, in three strides reached Sal and rose his right arm and brought his gun barrel down, slicing across Sal’s face, sending him to the floor, next to his now burned-out cigar. Sal was unconscious.
The mother of the two children had them run behind the counter, then kneeled down to help Sal.
“What the hell you think your doin’, lady?”
She looked up at him with both fear and defiance in her eyes.
“I’m a nurse scared as hell is what I am. But as a nurse, I’m going to do what I can to help this man.”
The man who hit Sal, raised his head and looked around the room.
“Alrighty then, lissen’ up. I don’t like repeatin’ myself so pay attention the first time. Everybody be cooler than the old man and nobody else needs to get hurt. I want all of you to throw your money on the counter next to the register.”
Looking at Sal’s daughter, he yelled, “And you, you sweet-thing, you; just empty the cash box and make it quick or you’ll get more than a thumpin’ like the old man did. When ya get done doin’ that, I know you got a safe here someplace; open that up and get the cash out and be quick about it!”
Frightened, she opened the register, and emptied the contents into a plastic bag with the store’s name, address, and phone number emblazoned in blue script writing.
“We don’t have a safe here. We keep just enough on hand to start the day.”
That pissed off the tall man and he took his arm holding the gun and smashed several items off a display counter; DVD players, portable boom boxes and the like.
In the back room, still unseen by any of the robber’s, Sal’s other clerk had hit a button that activated a silent alarm that went directly to the police station.
As the last of the people put their money on the counter, Sal’s daughter added it to the rest of the money in the bag. Motioning to his two partners he said, “One of you grab the cash and let’s get outta here!”
As one man followed the simple instructions, the other man stayed close to the front door when all three heard police sirens.
The man by the door looked through the door’s window.
“Whadda we do, Slim? Two cop cars just pulled up and I see three more comin’!” The one talking was becoming nervous as he hadn’t expected this much trouble. Neither did Slim.
“Shaddaup and let me think.” Slim backed up to one of the windows and peered out and could see five cop cars, and almost a dozen cops. Wiping the sweat that magically appeared on his forehead, his eyes took in everyone in the store. Then his eyes fastened on Sal’s daughter.
“Think yer smart, don’t ya little girl, hittin’ the switch for help. Bitch! I got a good mind to blow your head off to the other side of the room!”
“She didn’t call for them. I did.” The other clerk stepped out from the back room and started walking toward Sal’s daughter.
Slim pulled the trigger three times, sending the clerk flying backward against a wall of display items, leaving a spray of blood that partially covered Sal’s daughters face.
“One thing I hate is a smart ass.”
“Oh, shit, oh man. What did you go and do that for, Slim? We’ll be in big trouble for sure, man!”
“I got us a plan, that’s why. We use all these people as hostages. The cops’ll have to let us go. They’ll know we mean business since I killed that one. If they don’t let us go, then fuck it, we kill’em all.” Slim felt powerful again. Back in control.
His two partners looked at him like he was crazy.
“Slim, I ain’t too sure about all this. Robbing this joint is one thing, killing that dude is another thing. Murder pays a heavy fine, man. I didn’t sign on to kill anybody.”
“Yeah,” said the other one still by the front door. “I ain’t goin’ to prison for no murder, no way!”
Turning his gun, pointing it back and forth at both men, he said, “Do as I tell you, or I drop you right here, right now. You guys don’t get it, do you? We just robbed this place. I busted the old man’s skull open and wasted that punk, and now we got us hostages. You two are in this as deep as I am whether you like it or not. If we don’t get outta this, we all fall. Get it? It’s not me. It’s not you. It’s us, as in we. There ain’t no goin’ back. And since smart ass is dead, the cops’ll know we ain’t bluffin’. Nope, there ain’t no goin’ back.”
From outside came a voice over a loudspeaker.
“Inside the store. This is Sergeant Delusso. There is no escape. All exits are sealed off. Any hostages you have inside, release them, then throw out your weapons and come outside, single file, with your hands behind your head. I repeat, there is no escape. Release the hostages, and throw out your weapons and….”
Slim broke out one of the window panes of the front door.
“Now you lissen up! These people ain’t goin’ nowhere! I smoked one person in here, and if you don’t let us walk, I’ll start wastin’ a few more. You hear me! I’ll blow these mothers away like nobody’s business!”
“I repeat. Let the hostages go. No harm will come to you if you release everyone inside the store. Throw out your weapons, and come out single file with your hands behind your head.”
What a dumb cop, Slim thought.
“No way, blue boy! You got five minutes to get outta here or we start killing people. You better do something fast, cause I’m lookin’ at two people I’m itchin’ to do right now!”
The two people were the couple Sal had sold the stereo system to moments before Slim and the others burst into the store. They huddled against each other; the woman, now awake, frightened and shivering, her eyes streaming with tears, and her husband, lips twitching, trying to look brave and failing badly. Still, he put himself in front of his wife as a shield.
The nurse looked up, and her eyes mentally saw her two children through the counter, praying nothing would happen to them as she continued to work on Sal. The other man stood quietly, thinking.
Sal’s daughter fought off the urge to pee.
Inside the store, everyone was tense. Slim and his two partners, Eddie and Velo, were more nervous than everyone else combined, as well they should be. But what could they do? Slim refused to give in and they were too scared to do anything to get him any angrier than he already was.
What Slim thought would be an easy heist, turned out to possibly end up in a full scale war. Slim was ready to do battle if that was what the cops wanted. He had been down twice; once in Rahway, and then in Chino. He knew this time, he would never get out of prison. Slim would rather take his chances on a bullet than the rest of his life wasting away behind bars.
The police waited outside. Each officer had their weapons trained on the plate glass windows on both sides of the front door, but didn’t dare fire as they could see several people standing around and wasn’t yet certain who the civilians were in danger, or if there were more than one suspect with a weapon.
But when the front door did open, and Slim threw the dead body of the clerk half on and off the curb, the police knew they were dealing with a psycho.
It was a standstill at the moment, but tension was mounting on both sides.
Sal was finally starting to come back around and the nurse kept applying pressure and cold compresses to the deep gash across his cheekbone. Her two children stayed huddled behind the counter, and she was worried for their safety; afraid of what these people might do to them. Hell, she was worried for everyone here. She looked up from the floor and just speaking to them openly, not just Slim.
“Why don’t you just let us leave! We haven’t done anything to you. Please, he needs medical attention, and you have my children frightened to death.”
“Lady, just shut it. Looks to me you’re doin’ a better job playin’ doctor better than a real one. I let all of you go when the cops let us go.”
Then the stranger spoke up.
“Have it your way then. But if even one of those kids get killed, there won’t be a place you can hide that you won’t eventually be found. And when you’re caught, well, I have heard some nasty stories about guys who have done time for killing little kids. What I have heard isn’t pretty.”
Slim was about to say something when he remembered his stint in Chino. Some guy was doing time for multiple murders and one of them was a ten-year old girl. The guy was found dead less than three hours after he was processed in. His throat was slit and his hands and dick were sliced off. As tough as he is, remembering that made Slim shiver inside himself.
“Okay, the kids can go.” Slim turned to the broken window pane and yelled, “Hey, lissen up! “I’m sendin’ two kids out. Don’t try nuthin’ funny, or I blow somebody away in here right outta their shoes. Ya hear me!”
The voice from the bull horn responded. “Understood. Send the children out.” Looking around, he barked out one order. “Men, hold your fire. I repeat, hold your fire.”
The nurse hustled her two children to the front door, as they prepared their departure.
“Mommy! We are scared!” said the oldest of the two.
“I know, baby. Don’t worry, okay? I’ll be right behind you before you know it.” She put her arms around both girls, giving them a tight hug, kissing each on the forehead and cheek. Tears we were running down three sets of eyes. “Now, off you go!”
Outside, the police were covering the entire area, training their weapons on any access point that might allow a clean shot, but that single question remained; how many suspects were involved. The Sergeant who handled the bull horn distinctly remembered the words, ‘let us walk’ and ‘we start killing people’.
Which two, possibly three are inside the store?
The front door opened and both girls ran out into the street, where policemen, waiting, quickly picked them up and hurried them behind other police cars to a waiting ambulance.
In the store, the stranger said, “Now, you really should let Sal go as well. He isn’t any good to you in the condition he’s in. He would only slow you down. And if he dies, it is still murder one.”
“Mister, if you don’t shut your pie hole, you’ll be the next one on the hit parade.”
“Hey, Slim,” said Velo, “he’s got somethin’ there. Cops might give us a break.”
“Look smart ass; I’m running this show. Not you, not Eddie, or,” looking at the stranger, “or you. Everyone leaves when I say they can leave. Besides, he don’t look like he’s gonna die anytime soon. So just shut up about leavin’ here.”
Velo was about forty, with a porcupine face. What youth he once had, he wasted it away on something that sucked the very life from his eyes. He kept staring back and forth from the outside to everyone in the room.
Eddie, he was the lightweight of the three, and the most scared. He spent most of his time in a corner by one of the bigger windows, sneaking looks at the cops outside.
The one who had purchased a set of speaker wires suddenly bolted for the door thinking he had a chance to escape. As long as Slim was being distracted by the other guy, he was confident his chances were good. He got as far as the doorknob.
Velo grabbed him from behind his shirt collar.
“Hold it, asshole! Try that shit again and you’re a dead man!”
The man began shivering with fear. Warm water ran down his one pant leg. As Velo spun him around, Slim walked up behind Velo; already seeing what the other man tried to do and squeezed off one round, catching the man in the face. He flew back against the wall next to the door, blood splattering all over it.
Everyone in the store jumped. The wife of the couple who had wanted the stereo, along with Sal’s daughter, screamed. The nurse put her hands over her face in both fear and shame. The stranger just stared in grief.
“Oh, man! You didn’t have to kill’em! He wasn’t goin’ nowhere. I stopped him. I stopped him from taking….”
“Put a zipper on it, Velo. Stay by the front door.”
Velo barely moved.
“Now, Velo! Move it! Don’t make me tell you again.”
Slim followed Velo and passed him as he went over to another window, broke it open and yelled to the police.
“Hey, outside! I just wasted another body for tryin’ to escape. I want a car waitin’ for us out front in five minutes and all you cops outta here. If you don’t, I start killin’ people every five minutes.”
Slim waited a good twenty minutes before he felt certain the street was clear of any cops or snipers. A car was parked out front with the engine running. His threat worked.
“See there, all it took was another killin’ and they lissen. Now I want all of you to lissen real careful like. I’m takin’ two of you with us, and the rest of you can go, but no one leaves this store until after we’re in the car and gone.
“You and you,” he said pointing to Sal’s daughter and the nurse, “you two are goin’ with us. When I feel we are home free, I’ll dump you two off somewhere.
“And don’t try to argue with me because right now, I’d just as soon shoot you if you give me any lip.”
The stranger figured out a way to take care of Eddie and Velo, but what about Slim? Slim was nothing more than pure meanness and trouble. If he made a wrong move, Slim would put a hole in him larger in life. That bothered him. Times like this always did.
In his mind, the stranger went over the scenario. He really didn’t have much time to make a plan, but way back when he was young boy, he always had the perfect plan to foil the bad guys and save the day. That’s what being an only child can do for one’s imagination; but this wasn’t a game.
He had to do this just right or more innocent people will die. The stranger knew once they got away, somewhere along the way, Slim would kill the women.
Slim told Eddie to grab the nurse. Slim then told Velo to grab Sal’s daughter and stand by the front door. Just as Eddie was reaching out to grab the nurse by the arm, the stranger took two huge steps and reached out for his wrist, twisted back, and threw him against the counter and came down with a hard left hook, knocking him out. And just as quickly, with an overhand right, it found the cheekbone of Velo’s face, knocking him out.
The stranger felt adrenalin run through his body and he felt that strength that always seemed to take forever to kick in. That happens when you are on assignment and everything about you is on loan. His instructor said it was readjustment.
Slim stood still for a moment, watching what was happening, as if everything was in slow motion, and couldn’t yet grasp what was going on.
Eddie was starting to come back around again, when the stranger kicked his leg sideways where his foot caught Eddie’s mouth making sure this time he stayed unconscious.
Snapping out of his confusion, Slim squeezed the trigger, catching the stranger between the shoulder blades, sending him rolling to the floor. When he landed, his hand touched the butt of Velo’s gun and clutched it tightly.
“Smart ass, punk!” Slim screamed as he stood over the stranger’s body, his arm extended and was about to pull the trigger again when he heard movement behind him.
He turned to look and saw Sal, his daughter, the nurse, and the couple run out the front door. Just as the nurse was the last to exit, Slim fired off one shot, but only catching the doorframe. He squeezed off another round but the chamber was empty. He reached in his pocket and pulled out six more bullets to reload.
Slim turned around, and decided he would put all six bullets into the stranger’s face. This was all his damn fault.
When he looked down, he was staring at Velo’s gun glaring up at him.
“You won’t do it, mister. You don’t have the look to kill someone in cold blood. On the other hand, I do.” Slim smiled his gritty smile and squeezed the trigger.
Two shots went off.
Blood pouring out of him, the stranger whispered, “Cold blood is one thing, but defending a life is another altogether matter. Besides, like all things; this is temporary.” The stranger lay still on the floor, just as did Slim.
The police, who never really left but had concealed themselves from view, closed in on the store. Other policemen took the hostages to a waiting ambulance to check for injuries.
Two of the officers who approached the entrance, peered inside, and saw several bodies on the floor. They also saw two bodies starting to stand up. The officers, with another six behind them, counted off five seconds and then stormed inside, making arrests.
Eddie and Velo were in a daze. When the police came rushing in, neither man hesitated; both put their hands behind their head and they got down on both knees. In doing so, they saw Slim stretched out on the floor, with dead eyes wide open.
One officer walked over to Slim, and saw a hole in his forehead. His face was frozen at the moment of impact, and police couldn’t understand why he died with a smile on his face.
The other man couldn’t as yet be identified. They searched his body and found no wallet, no money, and no car keys; not anything that could give them a name. He had a hole in his chest and one in his back.
“Whoever this guy was, he paid a heavy price to save everyone else.”
“Gary,” said an officer standing next to him, “I just wonder why he took a chance like this. He could have gotten everyone else killed.”
“Who knows, Peters? Takes all kinds, right? Pretty decent joe if you ask me. I doubt if any of the others would have been willing to take the gamble. I’ll give the guy credit, he had balls.”
Traffic was moving in the area again, and the police had finished getting statements from the victim’s in Sal’s store.
Sal had been attended to by paramedics, and feeling better, went back inside the store with his daughter to check the damage done and put their lives back in order.
The inside had already been dusted for prints, pictures taken of the crime scene and the position of the dead bodies as well. Sal knew it would be some time before he would reopen for business,
The young couple didn’t want the stereo. In fact, the woman never wanted to go back to Sal’s or any other store that had stereo equipment again.
Her husband, who never did anything to try and help was considered somewhat of a coward by one of the officers taking his statement. “Who would have guessed it. There goes a guy over two-fifty and six-three, and it’s the little guy who played hero. You would think the big guy would have done something.”
No one knew the stranger’s name who died that day. If you asked them today, they wouldn’t be able to remember what he looked like. They just knew he was a hero. Just as the nurse said, “It all happened so fast. I don’t even remember seeing his face. All I know as that my children still have a mother because of him.”
Whoever he was, police investigators believed they would know who he was after the ME did an autopsy, and ran a check on his fingerprints and get dental records.
The strangest part to the end of all this is when the ambulance attendants first loaded the body, they drove crosstown to the county morgue, parked the ambulance, got out and went to the back to remove the body, and when they opened the doors to remove the John Doe, as it were, to wheel him into the morgue, then let the coroner take over from there. Their job would be finished.
When they swung the back doors open, both men looked at each other with a puzzled expression on their faces.
The body was gone.
It was March 21, 1981, almost two years since the last adventure, when the stranger, now in another city, walked inside a bank, and within a few minutes, four armed men stormed in.
Uh-oh, he thought. This isn’t good. A bank robbery in Nebraska? Nothing ever happens in Nebraska.
Lightning struck outside.
“Okay, okay, I didn’t mean it.”
“Listen up. Do what you’re told and nobody has to get hurt.”
The stranger closed his eyes and softly said, “Here I go again. Given these assignments and being an angel’s apprentice isn’t as easy as it looks. Now I have to come up with a whole new plan.
“When they told me I would be using other forms to complete assignments, they forgot to mention how many times these bodies I’m in have to die.
“Geez, I can’t wait until I get my wings and let someone else have this job.”
… and the stranger was a hero.
On This Day: September 9th … Strange Holidays
Teddy Bear Day
Care Bears Share Your Bear Day
National Wiener Schnitzel Day
Today is leaning toward bears. One could say today could be a "beary" nice day. But would bears like a Wiener Schnitzel?
Teddy Bear Day
Come on, admit it. You had a teddy bear when growing up. I did and not ashamed to say so.
A Teddy Bear is a special friend to children all over the world. He's cuddly. He makes you feel secure in an otherwise insecure world. He's lovable. Your Teddy Bear is both a companion and a comforter. And, he's not afraid of the dark. He'll keep you safe.
Spend the day and night with your teddy bear . Cuddle up to him. Talk to him. And do all of your favorite things together.
Parents and adults: No child should grow up without a teddy bear. If you know of any kid without one, use this day to buy a teddy bear for them.
As we become adults, some find it difficult to give up our teddy bears. We feel there is no reason to give him up. Some adults have their teddy bears around all their lives. Its perfectly normal—and okay.
Have a happy Teddy Bear Day!
"You're braver than you believe, stronger than you seem,
and smarter than you think."—Winnie the Pooh
Care Bears Share Your Bear Day
Care Bears are on a mission to spread caring and sharing around the world, and encourage fans to spread caring, sharing, love, friendship, acceptance, fun and happiness to those you love every day.
The Care Bears toy line was originally introduced in 1983 to caring fans everywhere. In the last 10 years alone, 90 million plush bears have been sold at retail.
Care Bears are all unique and each one has a specialized belly badge that represents his or her duty and personality such as Tenderheart Bear, Harmony Bear, Share Bear, Cheer Bear and Grumpy Bear, among many others. They live in a far-away place in the clouds called Care-a-Lot, part of the Kingdom of Caring.
At their core, the Care Bears have heart, and are all about love, caring and sharing. The Care Bars are also big supporters of charities around the world that help families in need including the United Way, Operation Smile and many more.
The Care Bears hope to generate national support for a movement called #ShareYourCare that they hope will inspire people to spread caring, sharing, love, friendship, acceptance, fun, happiness, compassion and philanthropic generosity not just today, but every day of the year.
National Wiener Schnitzel Day
National Wiener Schnitzel Day is served up every September 9. Contrary to what most Americans know, Wiener Schnitzel isn’t just a chain restaurant. In fact, a Wiener Schnitzel is a veal cutlet coated in bread and then pan-fried. This renowned dish is considered an Austrian delicacy in its beautiful capital, Vienna.
Wiener Schnitzel, (again, the dish, not the restaurant chain,) is so iconic that there are copycat recipes all over the world. For example, in America, there’s the ever-popular chicken-fried steak and in Japan, tonkatsu, a breaded and deep-friend pork cutlet. But you haven’t lived until you savor an authentic dish of Wiener Schnitzel. There are lots of pretenders to the throne but for the real deal, head to Austria. If you do a culinary tour of Europe, put this incredible dish — Wiener Schnitzel — at the top of your bucket list.
A man goes up to the counter to order Polish sausage,
The cashier asks, "Hey, are you polish?"
The man then responds, "You think I'm polish just because I ordered a Polish sausage? If I ordered a wiener schnitzel would you think I'm German? If I ordered sushi would you think I'm Japanese? If I ordered Pizza would you think I'm Italian?"
The cashier responds, "No, it's just that this is s hardware store."
More Strange Holidays Coming!
On This Day: September 8th … Strange Holidays
National Ampersand Day
International Literacy Day
Well, this shouldn’t take very long.
National Ampersand Day
Try hard to contain your excitement about this “&” today.
Every once in a while, a holiday comes along and you say... “What!? This holiday certainly can cause one to stop and ask why.
The term ampersand is a corruption of and (&) per se and, which literally means "(the character) & by itself (is the word) and." The symbol & is derived from the ligature of ET or et, which is the Latin word for "and."
Regardless of why, this day is here for your enjoyment, so take full advantage and use the Ampersand character as often as you can, and in creative ways.
Did you know the ampersand was once the last character in the alphabet.
"Any fool can know. The point is to understand."—Albert Einstein
Governors and the president are the only ones who can give out a pardon. But today isn’t about that at all. Well, not all that.
The word pardon can be commonly used as a synonym of forgiveness. Forgiveness is the deliberate act of giving up on feelings of resentment or vengeance towards a person, group, or institution that may have wronged you. Most religions and cultures hold forgiveness as one of the key elements of living a good, honest, and pure life. Scientific studies have shown that practicing forgiveness can improve the physical and mental health of the forgiver. People who forgive those who have hurt them tend to live happier and healthier lives.
It is thought that the day owes its existence to the pardon granted by United States President Gerald Ford to former President Nixon for his involvement in the Watergate Scandal on September 8, 1974.
This unofficial holiday is also known as International Pardon Day or National Pardon Day in the U.S.
To err is human, to forgive is divine.—Alexander Pope
International Literacy Day
The day was created by the United Nations. It is promoted by the UN's UNESCO. According to their website: "The aim is to highlight the importance of literacy to individuals, communities and societies."
Literacy is a global issue, and hence the UN takes an active role in promoting it. They do recognize and celebrate that billions of people are literate. But, they go further to promote literacy, and to seek improved literacy rates in every country of the world.
Celebrate International Literacy Day. Read a book, or help someone learn how to read.
"Never settle for less than your dreams: somewhere, sometime,
some day, somehow, you'll find them."—Danielle Steele
More Strange Holidays Coming!
The Effect of Change
By today’s standards, Andrew Duggin was a relatively young man, but by the standards of the Old West, Andrew Duggin was an old man at forty-seven. Andrew had lived in a time of change. Where sidewalks were once made out of plank wood, now they were concrete. Where saloons held piano players, dancehall girls and wild Saturday night fights and shootouts; now the saloons were called eateries, and they held waitresses, no piano player, and closed early. Hardly any fights to speak about, and don’t get caught brandishing a gun any longer. It’s against the law.
Andrew use to be a lawman. He retired in 1883, and now lawmen are called policemen. Horses tied to the hitching rail are rarely seen, and the dust from cattle drives that came and went through town, to the stagecoach; nothing more than a memory since most of the cattle is shipped by train as well as passengers and the mail.
Andrew remembered how life was. He fought at sixteen in the last year of the Civil War, even got himself a medal from President Lincoln, personally, He hired on with a few cattle drives, braved dust storms, flash floods, fought off Indians and cattle rustlers. Andrew even scouted for the U.S. Calvary. One day he rode into Silver Creek and took on the job of sheriff.
It wasn’t easy. He jailed many a drunk, stopped a gang of bank robbers once. There were also be the gunfighter who rode into town to see if he could make a name for himself; a reputation larger than life. Killing Andrew Duggin, most gunfighters figured, would be like taking on Masterson or Earp. Every western town has its own Boot Hill. There’s a lot of would-be fast guns buried there who found out just how wrong they were.
After twelve years, Andrew Duggin hung up his guns and retired to make way for a new era coming. New rules about law and order prevailed.
One day, late August of 1896, a man named, John Miller, rode into Silver Creek. John was near Andrew’s age. Just out of prison. Because of Andrew, he was sentenced to ten years for robbery. John came back to settle the score.
Andrew had just stepped outside from the LiverMoore Grain & Feed store and stared at John, standing there with his gun drawn. It was the last thing Andrew ever saw as John fired three times, hitting Andrew twice and killing him before Andrew could utter a word.
John holstered his gun, got on his horse and started to ride out of town before the local sheriff tried to stop him. John didn’t see them until too late, but funny-dressed lawmen came at him from three sides, firing at him. He drew his gun to return fire, but he was beaten before he started. Bullets ripped into his flesh, ripping him off his saddle. Before the final seconds of permanent sleep over took John, he realized what Andrew knew. The end of an era had passed him by and it was over.
There wasn’t a future left for John. No more train robberies, no more banks to holdup, no more Saturday night fights; no more women to have. The old days left him where he lay, in the dust.
Andrew Duggin and John Miller, oddly enough, were buried side by side in Boot Hill.
And Silver Creek moved into the future leaving the past buried on the hill.
They were two of the many men who made up part of the Old West.
Just thought you would like to know.
Is Chivalry realy dead?
Yesterday I watched a guy, probably about 50, offer to walk an older man to the train station. They are not related, he had no reason to do it other than courtesy. Roadworks have changed the town layout and the older guy was not a local and would have found getting across town a challenge.
I saw an old woman slip a young mum a fifty pence piece, the young mother was trying to buy her three children an ice cream each and had come up a few pence short, she had no reason to do this except a little sympathy for an embarrest person.
I smiled as I saw a lass, not much out of her teens hold a gate wide open so the courier on a cycle could manoeuver his steel steed down a narrow alleyway.
This is modern chivalry, shorn of its fancy cloak and obsession with archaic language, this is chivalry adhereing to its professed standards of honour, justice and caring for the less able in society. It is honourable to help those who are lost, even if it did mean a half mile walk in the other direction and to see that the child didn’t end up feeling picked on because it had to choose a lesser treat than it’s siblings did. It is always good manners to help those who’s burdens are greater than ours, even if it is mearly holding a gate open.
This is chivalry, yes it’s changed it’s clothes, some may simply call it ‘ paying it forward’, but this is the root and branch of it, some may think it lesser as they can no longer use it to demean women, to put them in their place and make them reliant on menfolk, let’s face it no one likes being made to feel grateful for something they didn’t want.
This is the modern chivalry we should all practice regardless of age or gender a little consideration for others and a little kindness makes the world a nicer place and costs the giver very little.
On This Day: July 9th … Strange Holidays
National Sugar Cookie Day
National Motorcycle Day
This has to be the shortest one on record.
National Sugar Cookie Day
Here is your chance to satisfy your sweet tooth. Popular with young kids, and old kids, sugar cookies usually don't last long around the house.
It's pretty easy to see how Sugar cookies came to get their own special day. Almost everyone has had them. Many people are hooked on them. Put out a plate of sugar cookies, and you can be certain they won't be there for long. We haven't seen any surveys, but it's a sure bet that sugar cookies are right up there with chocolate chip cookies as America's favorite cookie.
Spend a portion of the day baking sugar cookies. They are very easy to make. If you have kids, make today a real family holiday, and let them help with the baking. Homemade cookies taste best when you helped to bake them. Once you've baked the cookies, hurry, and pop them into your mouth while they are still warm. They're so good that way.
Why did the Oreo cookie visit the dentist? To have his filling replaced.
National Motorcycle Day
Okay, all you Harley fans and all you other motorcycle buffs. Strap on your helmet, break out the leather jacket, rev the motor, and hit the open road.
It's National Motorcycle Day. It's a day to celebrate and enjoy everything about motorcycles. No doubt, this is a day for you and your cycle. It's a day to hop on and savor the freedom of the open road. But that's not all. This day is much more. It's a day to celebrate motorcycles and everyone who rides them, driver, or passenger. It is also a time to enjoy being a member of a motorcycle club. And let's not forget cycle dealers and manufacturers. They all share in the celebration and enjoyment of this day.
Do you hear the road calling? Sure you do! July is a great time of year to celebrate this holiday. The weather is perfect for riding, and it's the perfect time for taking vacation. Take a couple days off, or a whole week. Pack your bag. Now get on your motorcycle and ride off, wherever the road takes you. Even take a friend along as well. It's always much more enjoyable when you have company.
Dairyland Insurance, founded National Motorcycle Day in 2016. They also encourage all motorcycle riders to hold and participate in charitable events that include riding your cycle.
There are over7.1 million motorcycles on the road on the United States. (You might see a Yamaha or a Suzuki on the open road as well.)
"In the confrontation between the stream and the rock,
the stream always wins, not through strength, but through perseverance."—Buddha
More Strange Holidays Coming!
Weird History: Special Edition IV
Just For Today Only Mr. President
This is another of the many things forgotten about and that is David Rice Atchison. If you look in your history books for names and faces of presidents of the United States you won’t find him there but he was a sitting president—for one day.
He served as President pro tempore of the United States Senate for six years. Atchison served as a major general in the Missouri State Militia in 1838 during Missouri’s Mormon War and as a Confederate brigadier general during the American Civil War under Major General Sterling Price in the Missouri Home Guard.
He is best known for the claim that for 24 hours—Sunday, March 4, 1849, through noon on Monday—he had been Acting President of the United States.
Inauguration Day—March 4—fell on a Sunday in 1849, and so president-elect Zachary Taylor did not take the presidential oath of office until the next day, citing that Sunday is the Sabbath. Even so, the term of the outgoing president, James K. Polk, ended at noon on March 4. On March 2, outgoing vice president George M. Dallas relinquished his position as President of the Senate. Congress had previously chosen Atchison as president pro tempore.
In 1849, according to the Presidential Succession Act of 1792, the Senate president pro tempore immediately followed the vice president in the presidential line of succession. As Dallas’s term also ended at noon on the 4th, and as neither Taylor nor vice president-elect Millard Fillmore had been sworn in to office on that day, it was claimed by some of Atchison’s friends and colleagues that on March 4–5, 1849, Atchison was Acting President of the United States.
Be that as it may be, had he been recorded in history this would have made him the 12th president and Zachary Taylor, the 13th.
On A Side Note: After attending Fourth of July orations for most of the day, President Taylor walked along the Potomac River before returning to the White House. Hot and tired, he drank iced water and consumed large quantities of cherries and other fruits. The President suffered severe stomach pains for the next five days. Diagnosed as suffering from “cholera morbus” by his physicians, Taylor ate slivers of ice for relief until his body began rejecting fluids. At about ten in the morning on July 9, 1850, Taylor died.
*** Cholera morbus refers to acute gastroenteritis occurring in summer or autumn; characterized by severe cramps, diarrhea, vomiting, and severe body fluid loss. There was bacteria found on the cherries Taylor ate that gave him a severe infection that caused his death.
On A Side Note: The shortest war in American history was the Spanish-American War which lasted from April 25th to August 12, 1896. It was also the only war with the least amount of casualties—385 killed, 1,662 wounded, 11 prisoners, and 2,061 dead from disease . One cargo ship sunk and one cruiser was damaged .
On This Day: July 8th … Strange Holidays
Body Painting Day
Video Games Day
Math 2.0 Day
Another 3 for 3 day.
Body Painting Day
Body Painting Day celebrates the serious work of art and self-expression. Of painting on a nude or largely nude, live human body. Consider the art of body painting. First of all, while it is partially about nudity, it is not about sexuality. Body painting is a 3-D artwork and a form of self-expression and body acceptance, that cannot be captured on a two dimensional canvas. And, unlike a stone statue, body art captures a unique, live and moving picture, that cannot be expressed in a piece of stone, no matter how good the artist is.
New York City artist Andy Golub is the founder and promoter of body painting. Golub started the art of body painting on the streets of New York City in 2007. For this first public, non-commercial event, Golub used models in G-strings. In 2011, he used totally nude models, both male and female, for the first time. The models are ordinary people, not professional models. Along the way, Golub was arrested, but ultimately charges were dropped, as this art was proven to be legal under the Constitution, and a legal expression of art, just like any painting or sculpture you will see on the streets of Rome, or in an art museum.
Body Painting has spread in popularity. Among the cities formally holding an annual Body Painting Day are Amsterdam, San Francisco, and Berlin.
After holding several annual body painting events on this day, Artist Andy Golub formally created this special day in 2014. he continues to promote it.
“My body is my journal, and my tattoos are my story.”—Johnny Depp
Video Games Day
Today celebrates popular video games that stormed onto the market, and changed the way your kids play games. From Atari to Nintendo to Xbox, video games provide all too many hours of playing time on your television set.
In grandma and grandpa’s day, they had stick horses for toys and playtime. Today’s kids (big kids and little kids) have an enormous array of video games to play. Before you get tired of one game, another one hits the market.
Our extensive research into this special day discovered two separately distinct dates. Also, both dates for this special day refer to it as Video Games Day and National Video Games Day. Based upon our research results, we give the edge to September 12th as National Video Games Day. Lucky gamer that you are, you get to celebrate two video games days.
Celebrate National Video Games Day by playing video games. If you are off from school (or if you are a big kid off from work), make this a marathon day for video games. Better still, invite a few friends and hold a competition. Just make certain that you have enough controllers.
Thought for the Day:
You never really appreciate something until it’s gone. Toilet paper is a good example.
Math 2.0 Day
Math 2.0 Day is a celebration of the blending of technology and mathematics. For a lot of us, math wasn’t a favorite subject, we’d spend the entire period staring at the equations and wondering what sort of livid madman designed these torture chambers on paper.
Ultimately, however, we realized that math is utterly indispensable in our modern world. If you’ve ever wondered who uses math in their day to day careers, you aren’t alone and we have some answers for you.
Programmers deal with mathematics every day, as it’s the framework upon which all computer operations are formed. Everything from the order of operations to quadratic equations is necessary to make even the simplest program. Scientists are one of the biggest users of mathematics, whether they’re calculating the statistical variance of their data or figuring out how much to add to their chemistry experiment, it’s involved at every step.
One presumes you live in a house, drive a car, or operate a computer? The engineers responsible for designing those things so that they work, and especially in the case of the house, use math to ensure it doesn’t come crumbling down on your head. Math 2.0 day celebrates all these mathematical heroes and more.
When I was at school, I put invisible ink in the printer
before printing a math question. I couldn’t see what the problem was.
More Strange Holidays Coming!
Long Road Alone
Long stretches of black-top,
entwined with cracks, ruts, potholes,
all running into desert dirt,
designed to slow the journey to nowhere.
When a plan fails,
with ideas lost,
logic becomes foolish.
Having no purpose in life,
you become a shell, empty.
Blazing heat crossed over to wind-swept rains;
call it nature at her best.
Everything created to make an unknown journey
to lonely destinations, even lonelier.
Know your path,
Temper your anguish,
your pain, your inner-strength.
Keep courage in your heart,
or all is lost.