Tag Archives: Boring Personal History

Ode to the Silent Generation

Mom in the background, Me with the Smokey Bear, Dad, and brother Bob. Lower Pecos District Ranger Station, Santa Fe National Forest. Part of a photo shoot by Forest Service.

My mom and dad and their contemporaries were members of the Silent Generation.

My mother in the Forest Service camp 1947 plus or minus.

Born between the mid 1920’s and the mid 1940’s. They grew up during the Great Depression and World War II (which many fought in) and it marked their generation. Dad was a US Army MP at the War Crimes Trials in Japan during the Occupation after the war.

No idea who these guys are

Traditional values, financial prudence (boy howdy my parents had that!) interpersonal respect, determination, resilience, work ethic, self sacrfice, define this generation according to Indeed.com. They were also social on steroids. You don’t find too many “Silents” hunched over the phone updating their status.

Dad took lots of photos of people.

They formed clubs and had parties and celebrated a lot. When I was a kid it was nothing for us to just load up in a car and “drop in” unannounced on another family and often stay for hours. Can you imagine that happening today?


The black and white photos are from negatives that my sister gave me recently of photos my dad shot in a forest service camp in northern Idaho.


My parents met at such a camp. I think they spent most of their time socializing and not as much time doing blister rust control projects (blister rust is a fungus that kills white pine trees.)

A bus stuck in the snow out in the middle of nowhere., 1947, Northern Idaho.

Everybody looks exuberent and happy. Living in tents for months at a time. Nowadays there would be congressional investigations of the living conditions.


After his time in the camp, dad graduated with a forestry degreee from the University of Idaho and accepted a Junior Forest Ranger job in Happy Jack, Arizona near Flagstaff. He wrote mom a letter with a marriage proposal. She accepted by telegram and in short order quit her job at Gonzaga University and took a bus from Washington State to Flagstaff. Dad met her at the bus station and took her to a friend’s house where a justice of the peace married them. Dad then drove them out to Happy Jack where they lived in the house above.


Eventually they moved to New Mexico where I was born, and we lived in the Pecos Ranger Station where the first photo of this post and moved is from to the little village of Coyote. No public schools, so brother Bob stayed with a family in Santa Fe and attended school there. And then we moved to Payson, Arizona. Neat thing was, see the government house we lived in Coyote. We moved into an exact copy of it in Payson. Forest Service housing!! I got lots of memories of Coyote. Dad was out of state fighting forest fires one time and mom put a sewing machine needle through a fingernail. Pulled the needle out herself with a pair of pliers. That was something to remember.


Nobody cared, at least my brother and I didn’t. I’m sure my parents worried plenty but they kept it from us.

I have no idea where this photo was taken.

Later on our sister Ellen joined the family. We moved around little towns a few more times and then dad got transferred to Albuquerque. Whew!! I knew from when I was about six years old that I was a city kid. Sure, it was neat having a dad who was a Forest Ranger and we saw and did lots of neat stuff but give me the city to live in anytime.

Anyway, the Silent Generation is disappearing. Go hug a Silent if you can find one.

Back to Downtown Tulsa

I signed up for a race for this weekend and I had to go downtown to pick up my run packet. After spending 30 years walking around downtown every noon hour, I don’t get there that much since I have retired. So I made a trip out of it. If you are retired, it is advised to consult expert lawyers from a reputed law firm like the probate law firm – The Hatchett Law Firm to help you plan your retirement life and secure your future.

I picked up my packet at Tulsa Community College. They have this sculpture, Heart and Soul, by Candyce Garrett. It has been there for a long time. It is abstract and I like it but can’t explain it to you. I love the big granite boulder it sits on. Something tells me that they didn’t get it through Amazon.

Sculpture at Boston Avenue Church

This is another sculpture that has been there a while. It is in honor of my former pastor Dr. Mouzon Biggs, Jr. He was big on interfaith ministry and everybody getting along. People like him are sorely needed these days.

As an aside, he grew up in Carthage, Texas in east Texas. His father worked in a natural gas plant there and Mouzon would talk about how during cold winters his father would be called out to go fix something and he didn’t grumble and told his family, people are depending on us to keep them warm during these cold days. I worked in the Carthage in the late 70’s in a natural gas plant. I always regarded my work as a mission also to provide heat and energy to my fellow citizens. I believe in human caused climate change as much as anybody and we need to reduce carbon emissions, but the people in the industry are not monsters.

Speaking of natural gas, I spotted some steel pipe going in for a new pipeline downtown.

And something new, one of my favorite restaurants has a fancy new midcentury modern style neon sign.

The restaurant occupies a former “motor bank” and serves all sorts of retro cocktails in addition to its good food. The bottom level motor bank part is now parking. I’m old enough to remember when I first moved to Tulsa I would go through the bank to deposit my paycheck. They had those vacuum tube things and off it would go with a swoosh!

So anyway it was nice to get back downtown for a visit.

Our World – Hiking the Wasatch Mountains

I’ve been going through old film photos and scanning them. Remember those days. You go on a trip, you sparingly took photos because film and processing was expensive and you never knew if you what you took was any good. Oftentimes you didn’t have time to put them in an album so you stuck them in a drawer somewhere and forgot about them. That’s what happened to these photos.


Back in the 90’s, Heather and I went to Park City, Utah for our summer vacation. It was a few years before the Olympics and things were still kind of sleepy in town. We went hiking a few days in the Wasatch and nearby Uintah Mountains.


It was summertime but in the higher elevations it was still snow.


There’s me with the map thinking we should climb that mountain over there.


The Wasatch Mountains are some of the prettiest mountains I’ve ever seen. Of course I don’t remember any ugly mountains.

I’m linking with Our World Tuesday

Skywatch Friday – What Has Been Edition


I am like zero for zero on sky photos the last week. No excuses, I mean the sky is always there right? Sure, but you need something in the sky to make it interesting. Not to worry, I dug into my archives. So this was taken in June 2010 in downtown Tulsa. I had to have been working late and that is not like me? So I didn’t wake up at work in time to go home after work.

#skyviewers #sunset #clouds #skyviewers #tulsa #oklahoma

I remember this photo well. Our family had gone to eat Mexican food with another family at a restaurant in a not very good part of town. After we ate we were talking and I noticed the sun set across the old vacant lot. I pulled out my old trusty Android clone and took a photo through the chain link fence and loved the sun flare, which of course I accentuated with snapseed and posted on Instagram. Speaking of instagram, are we instagram following each other on Instagram. Check my side panel, lets be followers. I love instagram but there are a lot of dishonest people on it and it took me a while to figure out how to deal with them. But I digress.


This is a blast from the way past. This is my mother in front of the house she and dad had at Happy Jack, Arizona when he had his first job as a junior ranger for the US Forest Service. I love the beautiful blue northern Arizona sky peaking through the trees.  I think they lived there before any of us kids were born.

And now an optional digression.

Mom talked one time that Dad was gone for an extended period of time and she was snowed in and got so bored she read through his college forestry textbooks. Another time, when we lived in a better house in Coyote, New Mexico she accidentally put a sewing machine needle through her thumb. Nobody was around so she pulled it out herself with a pair of pliers. She said I was around but I was about two or three years old and have no memory of that gruesome event. Mom was a copper miners daughter, and a Forest Service wife and  one tough lady. She loved her children fiercely and you didn’t really want to mess with her, or her kids. We lived in a succession of close knit small towns in the southwest and almost everybody was very nice but especially at school there might be some teacher or administrator who tried to lean on  one of us kids. If we were wrong, we would pay, if they were trying to twist things, she would twist them. It never took more than one encounter with her to straighten them out. 

I am linking with Skywatch Friday

Stories – My First Time in New Orleans Years Ago

I have a lot of stories. Just ask the people I work with and if I am around watch them slink away if there is the slightest possibility that I am going to tell another one like I am about to now.


Audubon Park

I just got back from New Orleans from a convention. My first trip was in 1977 when I was graduating with an Engineering Degree from the University of the New Mexico. (aka “Harvard on the Rio Ground” or “MIT on the Mesa” as it is known, at least to me.) You may remember 1977. Oil prices were heading out the roof and I had sixteen job offers including a blind offer from Gulf Oil Corporation. Yep, they sent me a job offer by mail with my choice of location.


MIssissippi River at New Orleans

They had locations all over the place and I sure wanted to avoid west Texas so they sent me to New Orleans for a tour there. I flew in from Albuquerque and stayed at a downtown hotel and the next morning went to their office and talked to an engineering manager and he told me what the deal was. The deal was that I would spend a year or two working out of the office in Quarantine Bay in the Gulf of Mexico. The thing was that I would live in New Orleans and drive down there in a company care with three other engineers. So I said,”….uh okay….” not that I was agreeing. So he said that I was going to go down there and tour the areas.


I was wearing my finest (and only) polyester sport coat, tie, and slacks and said “….uh okay….” and he introduced me to an engineer who had been doing this and so we went to the parking garage and off we went. Going down he was all professional and all that. I am not sure how far we drove but memory (which is very unreliable) tells me it was about 40 miles or south of New Orleans. We were driving along the main channel of the river and after a while noticed that the ships in the river were above where we were and my guide said, yep. We were below sea level.


So we went to our destination and got out of the car and onto a workboat and traveled further down the river. It was February, if memory serves me,and quite foggy and I was like really interested in the radar and all that. The Cajun crew was smirking at me in my finest polyester duds but there was nothing I could do about that. So we went down the river and through a lock off the river into Quarantine Bay and then motored over to the Gulf’s office which was basically an elevated barge run up on a mudbar in the bay.


The water was only a few feet deep and there were dozens of oil wells scattered here and about. They were just basically well casings sticking out the the water with wooden guards surrounding them. This was Gulf’s oil field in the area. So we climbed the stairs up to the office and had some coffee and talked about what was going on and then we walked down the stairs to a smaller boat and motored around to a workout rig working on one of the wells. A wire line crew was working on the rig replacing gas lift mandrels (don’t ask, doesn’t matter) and they were all Cajuns with blue jumpsuits being very polite with the guy from New Mexico with his polyester duds and tie.


This is the Dauphin field in Mobile Bay, Alabama

So we went back to the office where the crew had cooked some red beans and rice. They gave me a bunch of crap but I had worked three summers in the oilfields of the Permian Basin and had realized that the best way to handle crap is just to take it gracefully and so I took it and everything went okay and they all shook my hand when it come time to leave and I think I made an okay impression with these guys.

Street Car Street Scene

So the time came to go back to New Orleans and off we went and here was where the surprise came, or at least the first surprise. My guide and I stopped about every fifteen minutes on the way back at various beer joints. And the bartenders knew my guide, and he knew them!! So we drank a beer there at the bar and took one to go and off we went to the next joint. He said that this was part of the training program. So we stopped at at three or four places so as we drove across the big bridge into New Orleans I had a pretty good buzz on.


I was thinking we were going on to the airport but no. The second surprise was that management wanted to talk to me. Uh!!! Uh oh!!! So we went back to the office and I got to talk to the big cheese engineering manager and he talked and talked and droned on and on and then he yapped some more and I had reverted to the polite guy from New Mexico with the polyester duds and tie and then FINALLLLLLLY he asked if I had any more questions. I did! I asked if I could use the restroom.


So I made a big impression with Gulf Oil. I had worked summers though with Mobil and they agreed to let me work on the Gulf Coast instead of Permian Basin. So it all worked out. I still remember my day with the Cajuns in the bay and how exotic it was to this guy in his polyester sport coat, slacks, and tie.

Quarentine Bay Screenshot

Screen shot showing New Orleans at the top and Quarantine Bay at the bottom.

Running Hills Where There Are No Hills


Last week I had a lot of fun running hills at Turkey Mountain with Trail Zombie, Clint,and Lea. This week I couldn’t run there because by the time I get off work it is dark and I don’t like to run hills by my lonesome in the dark. The days are getting longer though and daylight savings time starts March 13 so it won’t be long.


So I went running on the flat lighted trails of Arkansas River Trails system. So I used whatever hills I could find and looped back around them. Places like bridges, overpasses, and underpasses and whatever small hills were available.


So I didn’t get 900 feet of elevation, I only got 41 feet but it is making me think how I can add a lot more elevation to my river runs. One thing is that you can see from the photo above that downtown is elevated quite a bit above the river so I might figure out a loop up and back. Tulsa’s infamous “Crybaby Hill” loop for the Tulsa Tough bicycle race is a loop that starts on the opposite bank above and goes behind the light colored condos just to the right. 


That ought to add some elevation.

What about you, are you looking for any hills to climb?

Wish me luck I’m running my first trail race Sunday morning, the quarter marathon segment of the Post Oak Challenge,  since I banged up my knee last September running the Escape From Turkey Mountain Race.  Check out my 2015 Post Oak Challenge. The quarter marathon is kind of kiddy race because we won’t go up Holmes Peak like the other races do. That is today (Saturday) and I am helping out on Turkey Mountain Cleanup this morning and Heather is teaching a class today at the gym and Logan needs to get to and from his musical rehearsal. You folks with families know all about shuffling things around.

The Homeless Guy said “Not Everybody Can Carry That Look Off”


Wednesday night I was at my liquor store downtown waiting in line to buy some craft beer as a reward for the run I was about to do. The guy ahead of me in line had a bottle of vodka in one hand and a ten dollar bill in the other. He was a homeless guy that I have seen in and around downtown for years. He turned to me and said, “You know you look just like those guys in the old time photographs. That cap and a sportcoat and khaki slacks. You know not everybody can carry that look off but you can.” So I said thank you very much. He asked, “So what kind of cap is that?” and I said that it was called flat cap and a friend from Uruguay got it for me and I love it because it was pretty darn warm.”

So he said “Really” and asked to look at it and so I handed it to him and he said, “No wonder it is warm, it is wool felt.” And I said, “sure is” and he handed it back to me and turned his attention to the clerk as it was his turn.

In a genial manner he told the clerk “Hey, that woman working here this morning said that I can only buy something once a day from you guys.” The clerk said, “That’s right sir we aren’t allowed to sell to the same person twice in a day.” So my new friend said, “Well you know that makes it kind of hard on me because I go through two of these a day” as he held up the bottle, “and I don’t want to be carrying one around all day. You know what I mean?” The clerk said, “I am sorry about that sir.”

And then the clerk said, “You want this in your backpack sir?” and the my guy said “Sure lets put it in there” and while they are doing that he says, “I haven’t decided what I’m going to do yet. My daughter,  I haven’t seen her in 17 years is flying in and said she is going to find me and I don’t know whether I should meet her or just go get drunk. What do you think?” The clerk said “I think you should go meet your daughter.” And I said, “I vote for that plan.”

The guy laughed and said, “Well we’ll see what happens, you guys take care.” And off he went out of the store.

For some strange reason, the guy made me feel good and bad at the same time. I have not met very many people so open, direct, and non-defensive as this guy.

Have you ever had a homeless guy make you feel good about yourself?

USS Missouri now at Pearl Harbor, back then in San Francisco

Battleship MIssouri Pearl Harbor - restyle

One of the highlights of our trip to Hawaii was Pearl Harbor. The old battleship, the USS Missouri is not berthed there and serves as a floating museum just down the harbor from the USS Arizona memorial. I would have loved to tour the Missouri but we were on a tour and didn’t have enough time. So maybe next time.


Brother Bob – all dressed up and the Mighty Mo’

I had actually been on the deck of the Missouri before. Way back in 1986 when it was recommissioned in San Francisco after being modernized with cruise missiles and other modern armament. You see my brother Bob was on the original crew after the refitting. I got to walk across the teak deck and view the plaque commemorating the exact spot where Japan signed the surrender of World War II. I think Bob served on the ship for three or four years and went around the world several times. I don’t think he was on the ship when it served in the first Gulf War. He was and is proud to have served on such a famous ship.


Sorry for the tilt

So, it was kind of nice to see the ship preserved and not salvaged and used to make Kias and Walmart trinkets. Instead it looks to me that it is guarding the USS Arizona Memorial.


Here’s me all dressed up and about 30 pounds lighter.


Uncle Bob again


So, I hope to see it up close and personal next time.


Easter and a True Confession about the Day

Metro Christian Cross

Almighty God, who through your only‑begotten Son Jesus Christ overcame death and opened to us the gate of everlasting life:

Grant that we, who celebrate with joy the day of the Lord’s resurrection, may be raised from the death of sin by your life‑giving Spirit;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one
God, now and for ever.

Anglican Prayer for Easter Sunday
Book of Common Prayer, 1979 version,
Protestant Episcopal Church in the USA.

Easter - Coyote, New Mexico

Dad, me (the little one), and brother Bob, Coyote Ranger Station, New Mexico, Easter late 1950’s

It is true confessions time today. Easter makes me uncomfortable. I mean really uncomfortable. What a confession for somebody who says they are a Christian isn’t it. It is not the theology that bothers me. What bothers me is my memories of Easter’s past. Some of my earliest memories of church are of a Lutheran Church in Santa Fe, New Mexico. My dad was a Forest Ranger on the Santa Fe National Forest and we lived in the little town of Coyote. Every now and then we would make the long trip to Santa Fe and go to church. In the days before there was good air conditioning it could be hot and stuffy in the church and I would pass out. Not from a state of religious exhilaration but from a lack of air. I would wake up laying down in the grass outside the church. I think it happened twice when I was a preschooler and once again when I was 16 and just visiting.

So, I just quit going to church on Easter for decades. I think that I was in my forties before I went back on Easter again. Now I go to Easter but I do have to subdue a little panic feeling because the building is generally packed and the weather is warm so if I have to get up and go to the lobby for a little cooler air and to get some space between me and others please excuse me.

So I know that Easter is the big day in Christianity, bigger than Christmas, bigger even than the Super Bowl!! But I’ve never really liked it very much personally.

But, Happy Easter to those of you who observe it, and are better Christians than I, and if you don’t observe it, have a good day anyway!

Song-ography – White Christmas Edition

The theme on Songography is “Any Christmas Song.” I picked White Christmas because to Christmas is very nostalgic for me and White Christmas is a very nostalgic song. And a big part of my childhood was spent in Forest Service Ranger Stations up in the mountains. That was back when when snow was kind of magical and not the pain in the butt that it is now.  I’m using my  father’s old photographs so I don’t know if that is cheating or not because I didn’t take them.


I think that is my brother, Bob, taking a photo of me and my little sister Ellen at the Payson Ranger Station on the Tonto National Forest in Arizona. My sister was born in Payson and we moved to Utah soon thereafter. I think this was on a visit back to Payson. The Forest Service was very tight knit socially and everybody moved around a lot so we knew somebody almost everywhere. I love the old school jeep and truck and the galoshes. Does anybody wear those any more? Those buckles would get iced over and they would be hare to take off.

I’m dreaming of a white Christmas
Just like the ones I used to know
Where the tree tops glisten
And children listen
To hear sleigh bells in the snow


I’m guessing that this is northern Arizona in the early 1960’s.

I’m dreaming of a white Christmas
With every Christmas card I write
May your days be merry and bright
And may all
Your Christmases be white


This is the old Payson Ranger Station in Arizona. The building on the left was the Assistant Ranger’s Residence. It is now a museum. The building on the right was the Ranger’s office. It is part of the museum. We lived across the street in in a cinder block house owned by the Forest Service.

I’m dreaming of a white Christmas
Just like the ones I used to know
Where the tree tops glisten
And children listen
To hear sleigh bells in the snow


This is my Mother at their Forest Service owned house in Happy Jack, Arizona on the Coconino National Forest (I think). This was after my parents were first married and several years before I was born.

I’m dreaming of a white Christmas
With every Christmas card I write
May your days be merry and bright
And may all your Christmases
May all your Christmases
May all your Christmases
May all your Christmases be white


I think this is another scene from northern Arizona.

I’m dreaming of a white
Christmas with you
Jingle Bells
All the way, all the way


A road through the forest. We used to do the Griswold thing and go cut our own tree (with a permit to do so of course). It was always an adventure to go find the tree. Dad was an expert at “improving the tree.”

The movie White Christmas came out in 1954 and I was born in 1955. I find the movie fascinating because to me it shows how the “Greatest Generation” thought of themselves. The old can do if we just pull together and work together spirit.

Santa Fe Ski Area late 1950's or early 60's

Dad tells me that this is the Santa Fe ski area way back when. It is a lot different now. I love the guy rocking the red ski sweater and what looks like a tow rope in the background and the shack which may have been the “lodge.”

And here is a clip from the movie. Everything is cool until you get some dialog and it is in a language I couldn’t understand. Oh well!!

Things are a lot different. Everybody is kind of spinning in their own orbit these days.

But hey, I still love Christmas for a bunch of different reasons and I still love snow, when I don’t have to go anywhere in it. Have a Merry Christmas!!

Linking to Song-ography