Monday, August 31, 2015

Happy Birthday, Oliver

You are four years old. Save me a piece of birthday cake and I'll come eat it as soon as I can. Love, Grandpa

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Remembering Katrina

This morning at Christ Methodist Church a small service commemorated the tenth anniversary of the Hurricane Katrina.  I was reminded of the work church members did over a period of years, making repairs and assisting in other ways.

People from other states and nations donated money, clothes and  other items.  I especially remember how Terrall and Evelyn Lowe opened   the Methodist camp  on Caney to feed and house refugees from the hurricane.

Most of the damage, including deaths,  was done  by flooding  which could have been less, if not avoided,  if the levees had been improved as was  supposed to be.

More from Jessica soon _ count on it

At church this morning several people told me they missed the letters Jessica has been sending from Israel, that they have enjoyed them very much.  I don't know  when she will write but I assured them they will hear soon.

Not only has Jessica been busy, but she has been ill with stomach problems twice. Whether it is the food or the water, she will adjust.  I am anxious to hear how the two sermons she preached last Sunday were received.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

It's that time again

Yes, school is starting, but I was not talking about that; I am referring to teachers turning their pupils into salesmen.  My first sales call of this season was by a middle school boy selling cookies.   Usuallly, the sales call includes a colorful pamphlet with pictures of the product.  I asked the price of the cookies; he said it was 17 dollars a tub "but  the tub is real big."

The 17 brought to mind  the time years ago I received a call from the school that my son was in trouble. I discovered the band director was angry that my son had refused to taske orders for 17 dollar baskets of candy because, my son said, the product was overpriced and he would not take advantage of friends.  I solved the problem by making a cash donation.

I wish schools were not allowed to utilize students as salesmen.  If there is a need the school cannot provide, let the parents donate the money rather than give it to some company.  I know some people, including my wife, disagree.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Buildig a better wall

Trump wants to solve emigration problems by building a better wall, even though illegal aliens will climb and go over it or dig a tunnel and go  under it.  No matter, I am sure the Great wall of Trump will carry his name  and rank with Great Wall of China, although the wall in China is 8850 kilometers long.

The world has many large walls and several famous ones like Hadrians wall, built by the Romans to keep  the Scots out, and infamous ones like the Berlin Wall,  built to deny freedom, and silly ones like the chewing one in Seattle.

The way to keep the Mexicans out is provide jobs in Mexico that pay five dollars an hour.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Great wall of Trump is no answer

It happens at every national election.  The  news media selects one candidate to glorify and another to denigrate   There's probably never been such a love affair as exists between Fox and Trump.  I would like to see  how much air time Trump has been given compared to that for all other Republicans seeking nomination for president.

Trump has picked on sores that have bothered most voters for years, but  even where he has proposed ways to address these concerns, most of his solutions are flawed. Our immigration problems are well known, but Trump offers nothing  but a wall.  No one presses him on costs, which some estimate at close to 200 billion dollars.   Mexicans can go under and over a wall and  most enter the United States in cars and trucks.

If  the news media was honest  Trump would be forced  to answer  questions on all his so-called solutions.

Bad way to choose a president

Some voters seem to be more interested  in the height and age of candidates than their polices.  Past presidents have been tall and most male candidates are six feet or better.  More are in their sixties than any other age  group.  Under those standards Rubio has a problem; he is the youngest by a year at 44 and under
six feet at 5-10.

Some voters lack interest in trying to  determine who will serve the nation best and the  country would be better served if they stayed home on election day.  Many may think that applies to me.

Happy birthday, Frank Cascio

We hope to see you and Carol this summer.

Friday, August 21, 2015

I' m 89 today.

Yes, today is my birthday.  I recently saw that 16 million people fought or otherwise served the nation in  World War II, and a million of those are still living.  I am proud to be among the living.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

This is worship?

Jessica, missionary in Israel, discovered there is no freedom of worship in Israel.   She was invited by Kristen to attend with many others f a non-violent act of resistance in Beit Jala, a town on the outskirts of Bethlehem.  Intent was to have a worshi p service and communion led by a Palestinian Roman Catholic priest.

Jessica found  out Wednesday morning there is no truly freedom of worship in Israel and peace is easier promised than delivered.

Kristen  invited Jessica and others to attend a non-violent worship service in a town near Bethlehem. Leading the service was a Palestinian Roman Catholic priest.   The priest asked for 30 minutes; the Israel official would permit  only 15.  Arguments led to fighting and three Palestinians were led away in handcuffs.

Jessica did take communion from a Catholic priest.

Jessica preaches Sunday

Jessica  will preach twice  this Sunday -- one Church of Scotland in the morning and another Church of Scotland in the evening.  The Church of Scotland was founded in 1560 by John Knox and carried the name of Kirk.  It has become modernized and Presbyterian.

The Lowes  came here from Ireland as Presbyterians and became Methodists.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Remembering birthdays

My 18th and 19th birthdays came while I was in the Navy.  Note, I did not say celebrated.   I was in the San Diego Naval Hospital the day I became 18.  I was depressed when I informed a nurse that the previous day was my birthday.  She asked me why I had not said anything, that ''we could have had a cake or something."

I was in San Francisco for my 19th birthday.  Japan had surrendered and the Pickens had loaded on troops to occupy Japan.  We stopped in the Philippines and exchanged those  troops  for those occupying those islands.With all the excitement I did  not realize I had become 19 until a week or two after my birthday.

We are not big on birthday celebrations.  My wife surprised me on my  80th with a party attended by relatives and friends.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

"It depends upon what the meaning of secret is"

No need  to be concerned, Hillary fans.  Mrs. Clinton will not go to jail nor be fined   more than  what is to her pennies.  She and Bill have been in more scandals than wasps in a nest and they have always escaped and went on to pull another scam.

I have a favor to ask of her though; quit treating ever crime as a joke.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Japan surrenders

Seventy years ago -- August 14, 1945--  I went on liberty in San Francisco, the first liberty I had enjoyed in weeks as I was standing double watches.  Rumors were flying on the USS Pickens that Hirohito was considering surrendering.   That meant so much for us as we were preparing to invade Japan.

I left the ship and went downtown to find a restaurant.  I heard  yells and shouts  --  President Truman  had spoken on the radio and said Hirohito had agreed to terms of surrender.  How his military would take this was still unknown.

I entered a restaurant and found a waiter was hanging a  closed sign on the door.  I was seated at the only open place with  a family group. I ate and went outside to find people going wild.  A girl grabbed my  hat and ran. I chased her down to get my cap back; I did not want to go to the brig for being out of uniform.

All the celebration left me cold; I thought if the president was right we would avoid more fighting, for which I felt a more serious and dignified celebration was called for.

I went back to the ship to  celebrate with my shipmates.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

President announces Japan surrenders

My memories of 70 years ago, when  I  was in the Navy, sometimes fail in details.  I had written that Japan surrendered August 12, 1945, but the ship's history says August 14.   Word for word from the history:

     "On August 14 we were in  drydock getting last-minute repairs before sailing into the final Japanese invasion.  But rumors were flying ...Japan is ready to surrender! Then our President's announcement:  Japan has surrendered!"  There was no stopping the hysteria which followed."

Official date of the surrender is September 2, but to most everyone, when the president spoke, the fighting was over.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015


I did not expect the recent "debate" of Republican candidates for president to be a debate.  I knew it would be a range of questions and some answers, but I was not expecting the moderators to have so many "gotcha" questions for each candidate. They had plenty of time to ask those questions weeks ago.

What I was hoping for was learning from the debaters what they considered the worst problems the nation faces and how they propose to solve them. What will they do to fix the economy? How would they handle Isis? We have many problems and want to hear how  they can be fixed.

Hopefully, the next "debate" will help us come closer to learning who has the best answers to serious questions.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Bomb dropped on Nagasaki 70 yers ago today

Seventy  years ago, August 9, 1945, the atom bomb was dropped on Nagasaki,  just three days after the first ever atom bomb shocked the world when it was dropped on   Hiroshima.     

We continued to prepare the USS Pickens and take on  members of the Black Hawk division.  You can imagine the excitement and the question of whether Japan would surrender or continue the war. Whatever Japan would decide we would go to Japan, to fight or to occupy.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

One month in Israel

One month has passed for Jessica in Israel.  She has been able to return to her apartment  after spending two weeks in a cave. Jessica and volunteers from several nations taught some 50 boys and girls and led them in activities such as completing a tile mosaic and painting to decorate the walls of a new kitchen area.

Jessica was able to shower and rest after returning to her apartment, but she had to share her dwelling with ants.

 While she has a few days free before beginning another   activity, Jessica and the girl with whom she shared a cave will tour Galilee and other places in Israel.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

The right decision

Seventy years ago, August 6, 1945, the atom bomb was dropped on Hiroshima and the world changed, never to be the same again.  President Truman had to make the decision to drop the bomb, hoping it would persuade Japan to surrender.

Three days later, August 9, an atom bomb was dropped on Nakasaki, and Japan surrendered August 12.

Some historians fault the use of the bomb, insisting Japan could have been defeated by an invasion.  They don't consider that military leaders at the time  predicted American would suffer more than a million casualties. Veterans of Okinawa, including me, who were preparing to invade Japan, are convinced the atom bomb saved their lives.

President Truman had a tough decision to make but he made the right one.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

No leave for me

We had been in San Francisco two or three days, joining other ships, the Army and the Air Force, in preparing to invade Japan.  Excitement was everywhere, and some lucky sailors were given a few days of leave.I was not one of them.  I did not get leave after boot camp, nor after radar school, and not even when I got out of the hospital.

I have called the day I was told no leave the saddest day of my life.  I wasn't afraid to go to Japan but I  wanted to see my family first.

An August like no other

August, 1945, 70 years ago, was a month like no other, for me in particular, and for the world.  Our ship arrived in San Francisco August 3, joining  other ships, the Army and Air Force in preparation for an invasion of Japan.   The next day, August 4, I learned I would not receive a leave.

We were to prepare the ship and take on the Black Hawk division, which we were to land on Japan. The first atom bomb was dropped on Hiroshima on August 6 and another bomb hit Nagasaki  August 9. Rumors of a possible Japan surrender were flying and became a reality August 12.

In addition to the world spinning, I was 19 years old on my birthday August 21.  Nothing unusual there except  I did not remember it until we were on our way to the Philippines several days later.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Guiding the Pickens into Frisco bay

Today is the first day of  August, a date  I remember because on August 3, 1945, the USS Pickens sailed into San Francisco after 11 months in the South Pacific, beginning a month of excitement. 

For me, it was a tough time beginning with the early entrance into the foggy bay.  I was on the radar with the task of guiding the ship by spotting the buoys and keeping the ship from sinking any fishing vessels. I don't know how to explain the difficulty I had in   telling the difference between a buoy and a bat as depicted on the radar.  Both were only blips, with the boats the ones moving.