Tag Archives: my family

Memory Lane: ‘Soldiers of Fortune’

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I know I’m gonna get you with this one: Soldiers of Fortune, from back in 1955.

My father watched this show; that’s how I remember it. I remembered the title and the name of one of the characters: “Toubo Smith.” I mean, you can’t forget a name like Toubo.

In each half-hour episode, globe-trotting adventurers Tim Kelly (John Russell, later to star in Lawman) and Toubo Smith (Chick Chandler) take on the crazy jobs that no one else will touch with a ten-foot pole, have wild adventures in every exotic location you can think of, and use up more stunt men per 30-minute series than any other in the 1950s.

I was amazed to discover some of those episodes floating around Youtube. In fact, you can get the whole two seasons, 1955-56, on disc. I watched one last night and enjoyed it a lot–skullduggery and derring-do in the mountains of Tibet. You have to admire the way they packed so much into so little time, and without giving the impression of hurrying through it.

Dad, I can’t remember this show without remembering you.

Nothin’ beats a good story, does it?

Memory Lane: The Back Porch

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I do miss our old back porch. It wasn’t as fancy as the one in this picture. It was raised on cinderblocks with a crawlspace full of spiders underneath, and it had a nice glider on it, ideal for playing chess.

We played a lot of Monopoly on that porch, seated on the woven grass mat on the floor: perfect for a rainy summer day. In the summer I could leave my lizards out there. Or just lie down on the mat and read Rick Brant. And no trouble with mosquitoes, thanks to the screen.

Ah, paradise! I’m old enough to realize that paradise usually consists of simple things that don’t cost a lot. And if we had a porch now, a porch like our old porch, I could sit outside and write even if it was raining.

I remember my parents, aunts, and uncles all sitting on that porch, talking, laughing, smoking, just enjoying each other’s company.

I hope we have a porch in Heaven.

You’re all invited, if we do. Monopoly, anyone?

Thank You for Your Prayers

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I’m much better today, although not yet entirely out of the woods: very tired, still stuffed up–but with intervals of breathing. It makes for a very quiet Fourth of July. Patty and I did our “Deer Cove Market” jigsaw puzzle again this afternoon.

I’d better be better tomorrow, because I have to go to the bank and do something about the avalanche of paperwork concerning Aunt Joan’s microscopic estate. It never ends. What they would be doing to us if she’d actually left any money, I prefer not to try to imagine.

Meanwhile, everybody, thank you so much for your prayers: and thank you, Our Father, for hearing them.

‘An Open Letter to My Critics’ (2015)

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I re-ran this post once before, but the Fourth of July seems to me a good day for running it again. It hasn’t gotten any less true since I wrote it.


Are we oddballs? If we are, it’s the wider society’s loss. I was brought up–by my family, not a village!–to believe that God was always nearby, always watching, always available to hear your prayers: who loves us, who gave His Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, to save the whole world: to believe with all my heart that this is true. Certainly my parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles believed it.

Our country’s founders believed it. Else they wouldn’t have dared defy the British Empire.

More than ever, God’s truth–which is the truth–needs to be put back into our daily lives.

And into our hourly lives would be still better.

‘Home’ (2016)

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I cry for the people and places that were there, but here no more.


Only God can fill that hole. Only God can regenerate Creation. Only God can heal us: and Christ Our Lord will cast out death.

Back from the DMV–Already?

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We estimated at least three hours at the Motor Vehicles office, to get Patty’s license renewed; and that couldn’t happen till after I got back from the vet’s. It looked like a great opportunity for the whole day to go up in smoke.

And yet here we are!

The DMV has set up a mobile unit outside, just for processing licenses, and the whole business was over in a matter of minutes. The state employees were friendly and cheerful, the customers were all jollied up, people making jokes and having fun–at the DMV??? Really? Are you kiddin’ me?

No lie–that’s how it was. Not what we expected!

Oh, and Robbie’s OK, too. She may need the strength of her medicine slightly reduced.

Anyway, I now have several hours back that I thought I’d lost. This calls for a cigar.

‘Feeling Sick? See Your Cat’s Vet’ (2015)

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I’m not the first to suspect that our pets are getting better medical care than we are.


I’m sure the reason is because the government hasn’t gotten around yet to interfering with veterinary medicine.

While you’re reading this, I’m getting ready to take Robbie to the vet.

Tomorrow (*sigh*)

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Well, I won’t be here for much of tomorrow. First I have to go to the vet’s for Robbie to have a checkup, which we didn’t expect to do quite this soon; and then I have to take Patty to Motor Vehicles to have her driver’s license renewed. They need to make sure she didn’t turn into someone else since the last time they renewed it. Here in glorious New Jersey, unless you’re an illegal alien, you have to prove you’re you before they let you drive.

I’ll try to put up a few early posts before I go, and I hope you readers stay with me. If I can’t manage much that’s new, I hope you’ll take the opportunity to browse among the archives. There’s all kinds of stuff to read.

Meanwhile, we’re getting a torrent of paperwork demanded by the state regarding Aunt Joan’s microscopic estate. You’d think she left a million dollars. I expect myself to die of old age before this work is finished.

I’m tired.

Memory Lane: ‘Melvin the Moon Man’

Image result for melvin the moon man game

Before the advent of video games featuring blood and guts flying all over the screen, children had to be content with benign, peaceful, harmless games–like this one.

Remco put out “Melvin the Moon Man” in 1959, and it was a hit. My parents got it for us for Christmas, and it was simple enough for all three of us to play: my sister, age 4, my brother, 7, and me, 10. If we had had a cat, he probably could’ve played, too.

You spin the handle of the unique Tumblebum dice glass (that, and the colorful graphics, were the game’s big selling points), and your plastic Spaceman traveled around the United Craters of the Moon collecting Moonbucks. The one with the most Moonbucks wins. No tactics or strategy involved. Just follow the map according to the roll of the dice.

I don’t know what Melvin cost in 1959, but it’s selling on eBay today for up to $150. In 1959 anything over $5 was a major expenditure for my father which my mother would have to weigh carefully. They really must have loved us to buy us silly stuff like this.

And that’s what makes this memory so sweet.

How to Keep a Toddler from Going Up the Stairs

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My grandma had an original turn of mind.

I stayed at her house a lot–she was always available to baby-sit–and one thing she didn’t want me to do, when I was very little, was to climb the stairs. In case I fell. So she kept me from doing that by telling me that the Mick-Mock lived up there, but was never there if a grownup went upstairs. Not ever.

Here’s the cool part: she never told me what the Mick-Mock was. She left it all to my imagination, which was fully up to the challenge of terrifying me. I imagined the Mick-Mock as a ferocious collie, probably because one of the neighbors had a collie dog that used to go into a berserk rage if you walked past on the sidewalk. I was very afraid of that dog; but I knew the Mick-Mock would be worse. Much worse.

But because I was told the Mick-Mock was scared of adults, I was just fine with the upstairs if one of my aunts took me there. That’s where their own rooms were, and I could even sleep peacefully up there at night because they were there, too, and so the Mick-Mock wouldn’t dare show itself.

Later on, Grandma worked the same–I don’t want to call it a scam: let me call it “psychology”–on my brother. He, three years younger than me, imagined the Mick-Mock as a malevolent stick figure. I’ve got to hand it to him: that was cooler than my imaginary killer collie.

We grew out of our fear of the Mick-Mock. Grandma set it up in a way that allowed you to grow out of it. I guess raising six daughters taught her a few tricks over the years.

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