All in the Family featured the curmudgeonly Archie Bunker. Archie was television’s most famous grouch, blunt, blustering, straightforward and untouched by the PC crowd. He was the archetype of the conservative male. Michael desprately tried to reeducate him, but he persisted in his breviloquence.
Looking back at the last 40 years, we realize: ARCHIE WAS RIGHT!
Last Friday night I had supper in a little town in South Dakota. Brandon SD, has a little restaurant aptly named the Brandon Steak House and Lounge. I observed that the parking lot was full of locals, I stopped. They offer a prime rib dinner. Its nearly impossible to screw up prime rib so I thought I'd go for slice of beef, rare, the way it should be. They offer two sizes, regular for $14.99 and a larger cut for $18.99. Like any place that cuts its own meat, they left the size of the portion off. I figured the big cut was a 16 or 18 oz slab of fatty goodness. I went for the big cut. This was a mistake. The meal came with a all you can eat salad bar. I loaded up. This was the second mistake. Then dinner came.
Have you ever eaten in a place that offers a 96oz steak and they claim that you can have it free if you can eat the whole meal in one hour? I always wondered if I could do it. I now know, I can't. The hunk of cow on my plate was three times bigger than any serving I every dreamed of taking on. Never less, I dug in determined to make it to a bare plate. My strategy was to immediately drop the home baked roll I had slabbed up with real butter and forget about it. 20 minutes latter I gave up on the baked potato, the trimmings were going to get left behind if I was going to kill off the bloody beef on my plate. After 45 minutes of my best effort, I was beaten, I had a easy 12oz of prime rib left over, a half eaten baked potato, all but one half of the rolls, and I was kicking myself for the plate of salad I ate earlier. I had eaten but I was beaten.
About two hours latter I got a call on the cell. Farmer Tom was wondering what my plans for the night were. As I was headed to a town near him, he offered his hospitality for the night and I pressed on to the goal of a good nights company and a comfortable bed. If he posts a picture that he claims is me sleeping in a very pink girls bedroom, its a fake, and he photo-shopped the unicorn in too.
The next morning he kept trying to feed me breakfast, not knowing of course that I had eaten a amount of beef equal to roughly every cow in Iowa the night before. Mrs. Farmer Tom makes a good blueberry muffin.
I picked up the wife and boy at Boondocks Iowa, that's a real place btw not a pseudonym I made up. I noticed that some things change when you have a baby. I once was able to make road trips in the time that the map said. For example, if the road atlas said it should take 24 hours to make a trip, I could nail it in 19 hours. The plan is simple, stop, stick the gas nozzle in the tank, whip it out (not the gas, the other hose) and help the local fire department put out a 4 alarm fire, get another jug of the DEW, pay and you're on your way.
Thats still the plan, but its more complicated now. Now you get gas, wait for the boy to eat, mess his diaper, and flirt with every female in the truck stop. Then you get to go down the road with the wife insisting that the posted speed limit is way to freaking fast and if you loved and cared for your family like she thought you would when she married you, you'd let the 95 year old man, or is that a women, its hard to tell when you can only see white hair above the steering wheel, driving the 77 Pinto pass you at 22 miles an hour. At the very next exit you have to stop for yet another booby break. This would be GREAT, but the booby is only available as food and not entertainment, since Ipsa Jr. didn't get enough at the last 1hr27min and 36 second break that we took not 49 minutes ago. Only six hours into the trip we stopped for the night in Mitchel SD, (2:45 pm) because somebody said he was tired and wanted to stop for the night. Now to my ears it sounded more like, "Hit the gas dad, I'm a boy with iron britches lets make er home". However since the boy speaks baby, momma seems to be the only one with the gift of tongues and her translation rules.
After a long week at work, I've got the weekend off again and I'm catching up on chores. The master plan is to get some things done and make it to the mountains on Wednesday for some fly fishing, alone. Its good to be home.
We had a camera man with us this year and he did get some shots. This one is of a group stopping to body surf through a hole that the water made in a large rock.
I wish we had more "action" pictures for you. The camera man, who shall remain nameless, seemed to have a fixation on a different subject, that or he was thinking of a different kind of action.
There are a large number of photos of our guide for some reason. The person on the right is Water Boy, I'm the second arm on the left. The gal blowing the kiss is our guide. She's originally from Tennessee. Her interests are, yelling loudly when excited, bossing men around and rafting. She is happiest when she can do all three at once. She kept talking about having a twin sister. I thought this was kinda of a multiple personality thing, you know a good sister and a slightly evil sister that comes out and scares people from time to time. Nope, she really has a twin sister, that looks just like her, right down to the dread locks. Anyway, one member of our party is apparently into twins, or at least rafting guides.
Back in my single days I also had a thing for twins. They were blond, looked alike except for the hair style and I slept with both of them at the same time, more than once. This happens from time to time. In my case it involved a camping trip, the girls parents and a large tent that we all had separate cots in. None the less, I slept with a set of very attractive twins one weekend in college. Where was I? Oh yes, rafting.
When you're on a trip with the gang its important to wear the right gear. Last year I took advantage of an opportunity to shrink my testicles by jumping in a river that was in the process of changing from snow pack to water. I would have turned to a popsicle and drowned if it hadn't been for the fact I was wearing a life jacket, that and ice floats. Water Boy was so impressed by last years stunt that he had to one up me this year. So he took advantage of the smallest little wave that we went through and "accidentally" fell out of the boat. Just remember kids, when you go rafting you never know what conditions you'll find, and its always important to wear protection.
For the record this was before we gave her a tip. After she got her tip there was an exchange of contact information. Also for the record, ALL the married guys were well behaved.
Dinner was a feast. Fillet and all the trimmings purchased "on base". The story of how this little detail of the trip came about is, at least for me, one of the best tid bits of the weekend. Normally the after rafting party is attended by throngs wishing to learn of our latest death defying feats. This year one of the admiring, was an older man prone to telling stories of his own. Towards the end of dinner, I looked over on a chair and noticed a ball cap. The hat was graced with three numbers and what looked to be a old pin that looked like a parachute.
"So, you were in the 509th", I said, ignorant of what the 509th was, beyond a military unit of some sort or the other. "Yes I am", he piped in, totally engaged in the conversation. "I made every goddamn jump in the war". It was hard to imagine this man, bent over with age jumping to anything more than a hasty conclusion. He continued, "We were the first ones to jump into battle". With pride he added, "I served with Yarborough, from the start". "Is that a fact", I stated, not having a clue who Yarborough was or why that was important. "Yes, I was in Africa, Italy and France," he said standing a little taller, his chest fuller.
I fully grasped two facts by this point. One, this man served in WWII and two, he thought he had really done something special. "Sir", I said sticking out my hand, "I'd be honored to shake your hand". He seemed taller. As he reached out to take my hand I added, "I'm pleased to know you". He replied, "I'm pleased to know you too". His grip was firm and strong, like a young man who is sure of himself. "Thank you for serving your country", I added.
I doubt you've ever wondered what America's first paratroopers looked like, standing at attention after being awarded their jump wings at Fort Bragg in 1942. Can you imagine their sense of pride and accomplishment? I know what they looked like. I saw it in Water Boy's dinning room. 65 years after the fact, I looked into the eyes of a 2o year old, who might not know what was coming next, but he knew he was ready and egger for it. I saw one of America's greatest standing like he had a steel rod running straight up his back. "Well thank you", he replied choking back his pride. You would have thought I just threw him a personal ticker tape parade.
I don't remember everything that was said in the intervening moments but I do remember him choking back something from deep inside. Then he said, "I'm one of two left alive". His eyes swelled and he ran out of things to talk about.
I retired to the deck to watch the fading of the day. Water Boy said to me, "It's true, he made all three jumps". After work today I took a minute to Google the 509th. I found this bit of history. Take a minute scroll down to the entry that says January 1944, its been mistakenly mislabeled, It should read January 1945. If you read nothing else read that one paragraph.
Now you know what it means to be one of two.
I had a blast this weekend and I'm already looking forward to the next trip. I hope to be able to say thank you and shake the hand of greatness again.
This guy got in the way today. BTW he's got 10 buttons on his tail, which means he's a good sized snake for his sub species. After I thought I killed him off, I measured him.
Yep, he came in at 38 inches, which is a pretty good sized snake. Right now 38 inches is the record snake kill so far this year, at least with the guys I work with.
After I shot these pics for the blog, and for the guys at work, I got one last little surprise. I was using my shovel to cut his tail off for a trophy. He decided to rally round for one last stand, and he tried for a strike. Which he almost made. Do you know those professional grade shovels that are supposed to be unbreakable? I broke one smacking him a second time on the head.
If you go back and look at the second picture from the top you'll see where I had dropped my shovel when I was taking pictures. Had he revived a little earlier and struck when I reached for the shovel, this afternoon might have included a trip to the ER for me. Alls well that ends well.
Holy inflamed esophagus burning with gastric acid Batman!
Some of you very astute readers will look at when this was posted and think, “gee wiz what was that old geezer
Normally when I have some time with the wife away, I’ll indulge myself in some form of convenient cuisine. The wife is gone for two weeks. I didn’t feel much like cooking. I went to the once tasty, now politically correct fryers of
KFC has gone PC. The diet police have stirred up some local governments, like Gothem, I mean
Back to KFC, the evil purveyors of digestive distress. I’ve been waken up several times tonight by the overwhelming burning sensation of stomach acid trying to eat its way to freedom via vis my pie hole. Will it never end? This is beyond acid reflux, its acid gone wild. Not being a medical authority, I can’t speak to this as a scientific fact; however, I’m pretty sure that stomach acid isn’t supposed to go as far north as the nasal passages.
I guess I should thank the diet police. After this I won’t be eating KFC anytime this side of quadruple bypass again. Not that I eat it much anyway. Recently I restarted the treadmill/exercise/eat right program. After all, fast food really will kill ya. Thanks to the diet Nazi’s it will now do it almost instantaneously.
Mrs. Ipsa insists I accompany her on her trips to Wal-Mart. Unfortunately, like most men--I find shopping boring and prefer to get in and get out. Equally unfortunately, Mrs. Ipsa is like most women--she loves to browse.
Today Mrs. Ipsa received the following letter from our local Wal-Mart:
Dear Mrs. Ipsa,
Over the past six months, your husband has been causing quite a commotion in our store. We cannot tolerate this behavior and may be forced to ban both of you from the store. Our complaints against Mr. Ipsa are listed below and are documented by our video surveillance cameras.
1. June 15: Took 24 boxes of Polident and randomly put them in people's carts when they weren't looking.
2. July 2: Set all the alarm clocks in Housewares to go off at 5-minute intervals.
3. July 19: Walked up to an employee and told her in an official voice, "Code 3 in Housewares. Get on it right away."
4. August 4: Went to the Service Desk and tried to put a bag of M&M's on layaway.
5. September 14: Moved a "CAUTION - WET FLOOR" sign to a carpeted area.
6. September 15: Set up a tent in the camping department and told other shoppers he'd invite them in if they would bring pillows and blankets from the bedding department.
7. September 23: When a clerk asked if she could help him, he began crying and screamed, "Why can't you people just leave me alone?"
8. October 4: Looked right into the security camera and used it as a mirror while he picked his nose.
9. November 10: While handling guns in the hunting department, he asked the clerk where the antidepressants were.
10. December 3: Darted around the store suspiciously while loudly humming the "Mission Impossible" theme.
11. December 6: In the auto department, he practiced his "Madonna look" by using different sizes of funnels.
12. December 18: Hid in a clothing rack and when people browsed through, yelled "PICK ME! PICK ME!"
And last, but not least:
13. December 21: When an announcement came over the loud speaker, he assumed a fetal position and screamed, "OH NO! IT'S THOSE VOICES AGAIN!"
"Res, this must be a record for comments on one of your posts. I know it's the most interest in the rafting trip, to date..."
I think I've had a few posts early on that drew some attention too. When I started the blog I had lots of time at the desk. Now that I'm out working in the gas patch I don't have very much time at all. Mostly I go to work around 6:30 and get home at night. Then its play time with baby. Household chores and consulting work have suffered as well. When I would post daily, there would be around 90-120 page views a day. The number is now around 40-50 with fewer commenter's. I have a feeling that if I posted more regularly that viewership would increase. That and I used to visit more blogs daily and comment which helped draw interest here.
If you are still considering rafting please email or call so we can finalize arrangements.