2006-12-09 / Viewpoints

Through An ‘Old Timer’s’ Eyes

By Howard

It saddens me to see the troops in the field who do not have a clue of how to fight a war. It should be mandatory for the leaders to study Patton and learn how a general should act. Attack, attack, attack was his way of keeping the enemy off balance. They do not seem to realize that our enemies are everywhere. There’s too much political thinking and not enough military common sense.

If I had been promoted nine more ranks, I would have been general. Wouldn’t that be frightening?

In 1958 I was stationed at Toul Air Base, just outside of Nancy, France. The Cold War was in full swing and we were expecting the Russians to make a move on the free world and attack the U.S. in Europe. We were the first unit in Europe to get the Super Sonic F-100 and we were pretty cocky. The young pilots we had were always looking for a fight. One of our squadrons was the 417th, commanded by Chuck Yeager, so you know these young men were always on the prowl.

That year, the first nuclearpowered submarine, the USS Nautilus, was the first vessel to cross the North Pole under water. Emporium’s own Harry Thomas was a member of that crew.

Charles de Gaulle came out of retirement to become the prime minister of France and later ran for president. Our election campaigns are bad enough, but old Charley was a master of smear. He was elected and made us take our nuclear bombs and get out of France.

Hula hoops came out in 1958 and a first-class stamp was four cents. Elvis Presley went into the Army. He could have gone into Special Services and entertained the troops, but he took the hard road and ended up in the motor pool. Not so later on with Cassius Clay. He changed his religion and refused to serve.

The Baltimore Colts, behind Johnny Unitas, beat the New York Giants in the first National Football League sudden death championship game. One other really good thing that happened

in 1958 was the birth of our son David. It sure doesn’t seem like 48 year have gone by.

Deer season is about history. It sure was nice being in the woods and not being bothered by pesky old deer. I am glad that I can remember what it was like a few years back.

All the bucks that I saw hanging had large racks. Maybe this is what they have been striving for, but it doesn’t make the sausage makers happy. I still haven’t figured out how killing off so many does is supposed to make the hunting better. Too many egg heads planning the deer herd and no one with common sense involved.

Something I have been trying to figure out is why do the hunters spend so much money buying camouflage clothing? They say animals are colorblind, so what difference does it make? One hundred square inches of orange is required by law and when you apply that much orange, most of the camouflage is covered up. Remember the Woolrich red hunting suits? A lot of deer bit the dust by a hunter wearing Richies.

Cold weather footwear has really improved. The boots are lighter and warmer, but the only thing bad is that you have to pull them off the shelf yourself. What happened to the shoe store where a clerk would wait on you? Now, it is trial and error.

I haven’t heard of any lost hunters so far this year. They used to tell you that if you were lost, shoot three times in the air. One time, these two hunters were lost and tried the threeshot routine. No one came, so the hunter told his buddy to shoot again. His friend replied, “I can’t; I am out of arrows.”

The same two guys killed a nice buck, but did not have a pull rope. Each grabbed a back leg and was having trouble. Everytime they would come to a tree, one would go on one side and the other on the other side, so they would get hung up. They ran into another hunter and he advised them to pull the buck by the antlers. That worked great, and away they went. Eventually, the one hunter said to the other, “It sure is a lot easier this way.” The other guy replied, “Yes, but we’re getting farther from the car.”

The days are getting shorter and shorter. Dec. 21 is the shortest day of the year. We lived in Alaska for two years and the daylight hours in the winter were pretty short. Funny, but when you are young it does not seem to matter.

In Feb, 1953, my buddy and I got picked to go to Arctic Survival School. They took us out into the bush and dumped us off. We were given an emergency survival hit. We were in the field for five days and the temperature hovered around minus 60. It did warm up one day to minus 54. We built fires as large as Emporium and still couldn’t stay warm.

When we got back to Anchorage, it was right at zero and felt pretty warm.

With Christmas coming, cookie baking is in full swing. As a diabetic, this is a very dangerous time for me. I have very little will power. Maybe I should have the dentist wire my jaws together.

A little snow would be okay, but we don’t need dumped on. The highway crews are primed and ready to go. We are lucky that we have a top-notch crew standing by.

Looks like the Felt Manor addition is right on track. Kwik Fill and Rite Aid are not on schedule, but the weather was the main cause of their tardiness. Construction work at this time of year is a risky business. Old Mother Nature can throw you a curveball.

I hope that the New Year brings some kind of closure in Iraq. Maybe those people will realize that killing each other is not the solution. This is a nice old world, and if all the folks realized that, we would be so much better off.

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