Monday, December 21, 2020

Korea- A Christmas Memory of 1950 - A story from my father

 KOREA: A CHRISTMAS MEMORY FROM 1950

In 1950, the war in Korea had just started. My buddy Bill and I had finished our graduation requirements at the Minnesota School of Business. Neither of us had any immediate employment opportunities, but Bill had two uncles in the Seattle area, and he was sure they would welcome a visit.

So we pooled our resources, said our goodbyes to our families in Little Falls, MN, and took off for the west in my 1947 Plymouth coupe. We drove nonstop to Bremerton, the home of Bill’s Uncle Joe. A pleasant week or two passed, and money was getting low. Then we saw a notice that the U.S. Merchant Marine was hiring, and we applied.

Soon thereafter we were on a train ride to San Francisco, where we were assigned to a troopship, the Marine Adder. In a short while 200 crew members, a dozen or so Navy Corpsmen, and 3000 troops were on our way to Japan. It was an eventful trip. No sooner had we passed the Golden Gate than most of the men on the ship were seasick. The Adder, just out of WWII mothballing, broke down north of Hawaii. We spent several days without power (and with overwhelmed plumbing) in the sun and heat. With power finally restored, we got to Japan where the troops were unloaded and the Adder went into more repair.

After several days in Japan, we returned to Seattle, and spent time for another troop load. In November we sailed again to Japan with another 3000 soldiers.

We had expected a return to the U.S. Instead we were bound for Korea. The Chinese had entered the war and coalition troops were in retreat.

In a couple of days we were anchored a few miles off the Korean coast near Inchon. The ship rumor mill informed us that we were waiting to evacuate retreating troops. Also that we were being paid double salary, because we were in the war zone, within easy reach, across the China sea, of the Chinese air force.

So we waited, hearing little substantial information. Day became night became day. We had anchored about December 15. On Christmas Day 1950, we were still there. A day or so later we were watching the Inchon coast as huge explosions of fuel and ammunition rocked the ship. They were being blown up to prevent the North Korean and Chinese forces from seizing them.

That night, in darkness, all lights on the ship off, we moved south slowly. After an hour or so, a sailor on watch heard cries from the darkness. The captain had two large lifeboats lowered. Awhile later the boats returned with 40 or so wet and frightened South Koreans, trying to flee the oncoming battle. These included families with small children.

Cold and bewildered, our new passengers were taken to an inside room. Someone suggested they needed dry clothes. We all went to our cabins and found stuff to give them.

We sailed south, leaving our Korean refugees in Pusan, on the south end of Korea. Then we were off to Japan to refuel, and home to Seattle.

In Seattle I was greeted with a draft notice. I had to return to Little Falls, with every prospect of seeing Korea again, this time on land.

I heard of a program which, if I enlisted in the regular army for three years and could pass a test, would assign me to Army Language School in Monterey, CA.

I made the choice, I passed the test, and found myself in a line in Monterey, considering my language choices. Korean? (I’d seen Korea recently.) Chinese? (Obviously not.) Czech? A fellow recruit in line behind me said to a friend, “Do you know Czech has twenty-seven cases?”—I had no idea what a case was, but twenty-seven sounded like entirely too many. That left Persian—Farsi—which I learned to speak and write fluently.

As a student for one year and a worker in the Persian Department for 18 months, I fought the Korean war in Monterey.

There is a curious addendum to my story of Christmas off the coast of Korea, watching things blow up and refugees rescued. In 2010, when my wife and I were spending Christmas with our daughter’s family in Davidson, NC, we were guests at a party given by a member of the faculty of Davidson College, where Shireen teaches. Another faculty guest was Kyo Koo, a Korean-born teacher. He was accompanied by an older Korean woman and a small child.

This was his mother, he said, visiting Davidson to help his wife, who had just given birth, and see her grandchildren, like the one she was tending. I was struck by meeting three generations of this family which had apparently survived and prospered after that war, and mentioned that, 60 years before, I had been anchored off the Korean coast. He passed this information on to his mother, who clearly spoke little or no English. She responded with surprise and excitement, and, as he translated, we learned that his mother had then been eight years old and had, with her family, fled Seoul. She remembered having no proper shoes, wearing clumps of grass tied to her feet. She remembered walking down a frozen river. A brother of hers had not survived.

Some of this, it was clear, her son Kyo had never heard before. In a warm room full of friendly people eating cookies and drinking mulled wine, his mother and I met. We had been maybe thirty miles apart on that very different Christmas, when I was a young man and she was a child.

It’s now sixty years since I was on that ship. There have been other wars since; there are still refugees. (My instructors at Army Language School were mostly political refugees from Iran.) But if the world is still a dangerous place, and 2020 a tough year for many of us, human kindness and hopefulness endures. As I say, “Khoda Hafez”—goodbye in Persian—I wish you also the best joys of the season.



- Below is a link to information found on the vessel my dad served on-  

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USNS_Marine_Adder_(T-AP-193)

-A black and white picture from an old photo album, taken of the fuel and ammo dumps my dad recalls being blown up-




-Here are a couple of pictures found on a search for images of the ADDER-  in the second photograph which was labled by Google images as "troops departing on the USNS Adder" you can see the vessel name on the life rafts to the left in the image.  



   



Below is a picture of the Adder after being converted to a cargo ship (per Wikapedia, sold to civilian use and converted to a cargo ship in 1968) named Transcolorado-



 

Saturday, August 24, 2019

A true tale of mistaken identity! Yet another misadventure from my early 20's

Rain began to spatter the windshield as I headed home. I was on West Atlantic Avenue, just past Powerline road in Pompano Beach Florida.  As memory serves it was dark early, must have been December or January of 1987.

Just past the strip mall was a stretch of vacant land, a weedy area strewn with broken bottles and old tires- possibly where some houses had been razed in the past.  As I approached a city bus bench I saw a lady, head down in to the rapidly oncoming rain scurrying along the deserted sidewalk.  I figured she had missed the last bus of the day, and was just trying to get home from work.

I had come to live in the Ft. Lauderdale Florida metro area a year and a half prior from a small, Midwestern town, where folks help one another out. Thus I pulled to the curb.  She hopped in with her oversize handbag. Flashed me a smile in the dim street light. As I pulled from the curb she asked "Are you a cop?"  

I was taken by surprise with this comment! Why anyone would think a skinny, scraggly haired 19 year old guy with some acne driving a well worn 1976 Ford Granada was a "cop" was beyond me. I was simply doing something known as "Minnesota Nice" for a person that looked like they needed a helping hand.  Below, a pic of me at 18, wearing my "I'm too cool to smile" pic.



I mentioned to her that I was headed for the turnpike extension, and she said that was fine.  Asked if she could bum a smoke ( I gave that up decades ago) and I said "sure" and shook a Marlboro Light out of the pack with my right hand as I steered with the left.     

In the dim street light I saw she had a pale, tired looking face. Nicotine stained fingers, no makeup. Fingernails chewed to the quick. Messy, shoulder length brown hair.  She was dressed in shapeless dark slacks, and a loose fitting pull over top.  Kind of pudgy, I would guess mid 30's, which to a 19 year old was "old lady".

I drove on,  "So!" she said "Do ya like to party?"  Well, as a red blooded 19 year old American male I said "Hell yeah I like to party!"  Of course, "Party" to me meant going out to a gravel pit or a warehouse with a case of beer, and a bunch of other young folks like me.  But her definition was something entirely different...  

She told me her name but I can't recall it.  She then asked "Lookin' for a date?"   She was acting really friendly too, leaning in towards me, licking her lips...

Of course, dim witted 19 year old me had not figured out what was going on... Yep, I was being propositioned. By a working girl. A hooker. And I was clueless of this. I believe I said something like how I didn't have a girlfriend at the time.  

You see, I had zero "street sense".  I knew lots of things many city folk did not.  How to skin a deer, catch and clean fish, fell trees for firewood, when to plant farm crops. Operate a hay baler, and give worming medication to sheep. 

EVERYTHING I knew about "Hookers" came from either Hollywood films, where they are always portrayed as beautiful, statuesque women. Leaning against a street lamp in a short skirt, fishnet stockings, spike heels.  The other source was when my buddies' Vietnam vet step dad would have a few beers and start talking about "Them whore houses in Saigon!"   Which made me think there were actual buildings like a strip mall, with "WHORES" in neon letters!   Even though the movie was not out yet, this picture of Julia Roberts is what I thought "hookers" looked like.


 


By this point, I had reached the intersection of Atlantic Avenue Extension and Hammondville Rd, the turnpike entrance.  As I sat at that light she threw out another line, as she leaned in even closer...

"Want some half'n  half? Seventy five bucks!"

The light became green, I crossed the intersection and pulled in the park and ride lot...put the Granada in park..."half and half?" I said, totally ignorant of the street lingo she threw down... She said  "ya know, some head, some sex..."

She slid over. Grabbed my crotch through my pants, Pulled up her top with her other hand, then put her nasty, cigarette breath tongue (and what ever else had been in her mouth) in my right ear..."Come on baby, you wanna f**k me? Fifty bucks c'mon!" (This explains the baggy loose clothing...not so much for being sexy, but for ease of client access when peddling sexual acts in cars on the curb)

"Noooooooo!" I pushed her off... I in fact did not wish to complete this act with this person!

AND THAT'S WHEN THE COPS PULLED IN!

Blue lights in the window. Spot light drilling in to my rear view mirror.  You see, when I crossed that intersection before the turnpike park and ride lot, I came in to the Coconut Creek jurisdiction. And Coconut Creek was a little bit of a "nicer" community. 

KEEP YOUR HANDS WHERE WE CAN SEE THEM boomed the PA in the cop car...

I kept my hands on the window sill! Along my side of the car came a guy in uniform not too many years older than me. Buzz cut. Looked like he bench pressed a stack of anvils each day. One hand on the butt of his gun, the other on a giant flashlight, ready to crack it over my skull!

My "hitchhiker" in the passenger seat had already been removed from the car by his partner on the passenger side. She so nicely had upended the contents of her handbag on my floor, consisting of a glass pipe for smoking cocaine, and other drug paraphernalia.

Minutes later, I was seated on the trunk of my car. My "friend" was in the back seat of the cruiser. She they apparently knew well.  

I babbled my true story out. Coconut Creek's finest mulled it over. Looked at each other. Shook their heads in disbelief.  My driver's license was handed back.  I was told "Get the f**k outa here, and we don't want to see you again!" then the other cop said "There's plenty of free p***y out there, and if there isn't, call an escort service!"   

I "Got",  I think I drove about two miles out of my way from that day on to avoid that entire area! 

I never told anyone about this for over thirty years. Why? I really have nothing to be ashamed of. I thought (at the time) that the guy friends of mine would just think I was a loser who couldn't score with chicks, and the girls would think I was a scumbag pervert.

There are things in life you just have to learn. My pop never took me out back and said "Son, when you move to the big city, there will be hookers, and when one gets in the car, she's gonna ask if you are a cop."   She never handed me a pamphlet entitled SO YOU'VE PICKED UP A HOE!  There was no Google or "Urban Dictionary" on the not yet invented "Internet" where I could see what the terms and code speak she was using, and what they really meant.

Word may have reached the small town. My retired dad would have been taunted at his civic organization meetings!  "HEY I HEAR YOUR BOY CANT EVEN PAY FOR PUSSY har har har!"  would be enough for my folks to have to move, and leave no forwarding address! I would have been dis-invited from any class reunions.  

Fortunately, none of this happened. I can look back on this and laugh now, partly at how na├»ve I was at that age, and partly at myself for being worried what people would think.  

I do owe those two officers, who I did not ask the names of, a debt of gratitude. I think partially they believed me, and partially they didn't want to deal with the pile of paperwork involved in an arrest and towing my car.  For I could been branded a sex offender which would dog me my entire life. 

Just remember, never let a hooker in the car!

Friday, July 7, 2017

Weed wacker frustration.. (Can ya feel it??)

It's a Friday night. July. South Georgia... it's hot out. We were gone all last weekend visiting family, so the grass in the ditchline is EXTRA tall...

I was born into a family that made due with what they had. And about ten years ago, I bought an inexpensive string trimmer (weed eater or what ever ya wanna call it) and I have been flogging the dammed thing ever since.  It replaced a Weed Eater brand "Featherlite" which I got free from someone that owed me money and used it until it was totally worn out.

A Ryobi SS30, and I bought it partly because it had the ability to use attachments like the tiller I have. Except like most multi-use things, it does not do any one thing very well! 

I hated this thing from the get go. I am right handed, and when I use it, my right forearm rests against the engine housing so it gets very hot.

The line feed hasn't ever worked right, so every ten minutes or so I have to kill it, and loosen the nut on the end to feed the line out manually. 

Why haven't I just ditched this piece of shit and gotten a higher end machine like an Echo, Husqvarna or Stihl? Because I keep telling myself it's no big deal... just needs some TLC...

Tonight I was out near dusk, it was still friggin hot and I was covered in sweat, grass clippings and had just stepped in the third fire ant mound...I shut it off AGAIN because the spool would not feed. I got that handled, and the recoil starter quit. Rope wasn't going back in. 

I messed with it a bit, then got out the tools. Separated the shaft assembly from the power head, then tried to get at the recoil to find I had to remove the clutch assembly and didn't know how to do that...

Lucky for me, we have a friend that gave me two identical trimmers that quit on him. I had already scavanged parts from one of them, found it would fire but not stay running. I swapped the carburetor from mine to one of his and had it running. Now to put the shaft and trimmer head on this powerhead, and I will have a working (maybe?) trimmer tomorrow.
 
Is this a good thing? NO! I am just delaying the pain! I will still have a spool that won't feed..If I had a reliable trimmer I could do all this in about 40 minutes, it takes an hour or more because I always have to dick with the damn thing! 

Sometimes, being able to tinker with things, and having the "make it work" mentality seems a curse. 

Perhaps my older brother has it down right. He moved to Arizona many years ago, and has no lawn to mow. How hard is it to maintain some rocks and cactus? He has no idea the joy he has been missing...

That's all I have for now folks. :) 

 
 

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Diesel pickup cowboys

Full disclosure: I drive a diesel truck at my job (which there is a policy about mentioning on social media, so that is all I will say) and it does the job it is intended for. 

I am also a gearhead of sorts. I have been known to modify vehicles to make them go faster. I have done things to make them louder. Sometimes it worked, some times no so much... 

Today's lesson is drawn from observation. The major US truck manufacturers are building heavy duty, diesel engine powered trucks.  

Ford markets their engines as "Powerstroke".  GM, "Duramax" and Dodge calls their truck a "Ram" and they use a diesel engine manufactured by Cummins. 

I have also noted this spurs modification. Many seem to want to modify such pedestrian vehicles to resemble the big rigs on the highway.  Giant exhaust stacks and the such.  

Such as this! 
Yep, nobody is going to mistake this for a weenie gasoline powered version...

A few weeks back, my family and I were in my wife's home town area, at a drive up restaurant named Robos. You drive up, get out of your car, walk to the window, and order your food.  There are picnic tables to sit at if you want to eat there.  It was a Sunday afternoon in July, the place was pretty busy.

As my son and I are waiting on our order, a guy pulls up in a white Dodge 4x4, powered by the Cummins engine. I could tell by the large, chrome emblems on the fenders, and the giant CUMMINS decal taking up the entire back window.  If that was not sufficient, he had to LEAVE THE ENGINE IDLING while he got out, ordered his food, and had a conversation with someone.  Now this would not be so bad, except he had what I assume to be a gutted muffler and about a 5 inch exhaust pipe. BLAHBLAHBLAHBLAHBLAH the engine idled away. I was not the only one looking disparagingly his direction.  No, there was no passenger requiring air conditioning in the cab.  This was a guy that simply wanted to scream "Listen to my Cummins!"

My son of 9 years old was with me, waiting on our order of great American drive up chow, and said "Dad, why did that guy leave his truck running?" My reply was "Because he is an inconsiderate jerk,"  Now I have had vehicles that I was afraid to shut off as it would not re start...but this was a shiny, late model truck, and I am sure he could have shut it down.    

 I have a theory as to why it was left running. With a beer gut the size of his, he probably hadn't seen his penis, even fully erect, in years. So what better way to compensate then by leaving his powerful diesel engine run! And when he left? By all means, wind that fucker up in every gear, spewing out a cloud of black smoke! Now I could understand this behavior if he was say 16 years old, but when you are well in to your fifties....

Of course, the diesel guys have to put giant decals on the back windows of their great American trucks to let EVERYONE know that they indeed have a diesel engine in the truck. And what they think of other truck and or engine manufacturers..

Isn't this classy?  I'm pretty sure this guys actual sexual partner does not look like this.  And I am pretty sure no lady looks at this and says "Why, I'd love to bend over for a ride in this truck!"  
 
Then there's this guy. Yes, perhaps I am making an assumption this is a guy, but who else would put a decal on the tail gate like this?
 
 Yes, we understand you feel your Cummins engine is superior to the Ford "Powerstroke", but why the direct reference to male masturbation and ejaculation on your tail gate?  
 
The Ford owners can be just as "classy" on the road too. Wouldn't want them to feel left out!
 
Have we sunk to a new level of crude? I guess I shouldn't say "we" as the back windows of my vehicles are bare. Should I feel less masculine as a result?  

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Thanking Jack!

As a young lad growing up, I was lucky in many ways. First off, I was raised by parents who were not "hover parents".  Living in a rural area near a 900 acre lake, I had a lot of room to run. I had to earn the things I had, I was not given new things each time I asked.

As long as I had my chores done (and there were quite a lot) I was pretty much left to my own devices until meal times and evening chore times. I could be halfway across Big Swan lake in the canoe I bought with my own $100 I earned, building forts with my friend Craig using scavenged boards and nails, riding his Honda 50 (later he had a Yamaha 80) or hanging out with my "weekend" friends, the kids that showed up each weekend as the parents owned lake cabins on the lake.  

I always was fascinated by anything mechanical. My family moved to the property I grew up at in 1973 when I was six. A house was built, and mostly with hand labor from my dad and a host of others.

 I watched a man with a Cat D4 of fifties vintage (I have a photo) digging the basement, watched Joe Allen and crew do the cement block work on the basement, and watched the carpenters including Howard Roe and Ernesto Valencia nail the boards. Sometimes, they would leave a nail part way out for me to pound in the rest of the way. 

Now most of the lumber? It was sawmilled from trees cut down on the property, skidded out of the woods one at a time with a spoke wheeled 1938 John Deere model B tractor dad bought for $100! The logs were loaded by hand (no giant hydraulic claw like in those hokey logging shows on Discovery channel) on the bed of what I think was a 1940's-1950's truck. 

But that is a story for another blog post- back to Jack!

Among the weekend residents down the little gravel lakeside road with the cottages was Jack Robinson.  I would guess he was in his mid to late 40's, he and his wife were there most weekends from Memorial day to Labor day.  

He was always driving a different car. Being the extrovert I was (still am) I asked why he always had a different car- it turned out he was a body and frame man who worked for a large Buick dealer in the Minneapolis area.  FYI, to any Minnesotan NOT from the metro area of Minneapolis/St Paul, that is called "Da Cities"!

Jack would buy wrecked cars, and fix them in his home body shop. He seemed to do a LOT of Buick Regals and Oldsmobile Cutlasses with Landau roofs. 

Jack also had a vintage 50's fiberglass boat with a pea green 25 Johnson, a pontoon boat with a similar era motor on it, and a garage full of neat mechanical stuff. I would pepper him with questions.  He never once told me to buzz off and leave him alone. He did, however, give me a kick start on what turned in to a career I have spent 30 years at. 

One day he gave me a dented, faded outboard motor. It was a "Firestone" 3.6 horse. Yes, the tire company.  They would sell outboards in the tire stores at one time. The motors themselves were built by another defunct company, Scott-Atwater, and painted pea green with red Firestone script instead of Scott-Atwater gold with green logos. 

Here's a pic I pulled of the net- mine was a bit more faded.



Jack only told me "It used to run" about ten years earlier. I recall carrying it home, about half a mile! It was maybe 30-40 lbs. I would carry it about 50 feet or so, and have to put it down and catch my breath. 

Once home, I plunked it in mom's rain barrel. She used rain water from the roof to catch water for her plants. At least she used to, until some fool contaminated it with oily sludge...

The motor had no rewind starter. I had to wind a rope around a hub and pull. I also found it would not start. Another week waiting on the sight of Jack's car passing our driveway, heading down the lane towards his cottage...  Jack told me how to check for spark. It had none. Then I had to learn out how to remove the engine flywheel. well, I did not do it properly! No flywheel puller, I removed the nut on the end of the crankshaft, and gave it a smack with a hammer! Of course I did not understand how hard this is on bearings or how you can bend the end of the crank, but that Firestone was pretty crude anyway.  

Jack told me how to clean and gap the ignition points (use a matchbook!) and I had spark. YES! Soon the Firestone was roaring away, churning up mom's plant water! Well so much for the plants. I still recall moms disgust as she found her water with about a quarter inch of oily goo floating on top. That mill called for something like a 16:1 mix. 

Well it ran good in the barrel, and I wanted to try it on a boat. I used dad's wheelbarrow to haul it down the lake landing of my grandmas. Down the hill through the hayfield to the little dock. Grandma had a 12 foot aluminum boat down there just waiting for my mill to be clamped to it's transom. 

Off I went! About 200 feet. It seems once moving, it got hot and quit. Another visit to Jack explaining the problem. He asked if it was spraying water from the exhaust.  Well, no! I learned what a water pump impeller was, and fortunately the old Firestone was pretty tough, and not seriously hurt. 

Jack also gave me a tip about a place called Twin City outboard that handled parts for defunct and old motors. This was all pre computer/internet/smart phone days. I had to make a long distance phone call (which I had to OK with mom and dad) and found the part was something like 12 bucks. 

I mailed the cash in an envelope (yes, things were done this way!) and a week and a half later, I got my little rubber part in the mail. Put it together, and a boating we went! Well, not for long. It still occasionally lost spark, I recall buying yet another motor for parts and then could not bear to part that one and had to try getting it going. I also remember making a crude bracket to attach it on a side mount to my Coleman canoe. It did got pretty well going forward, but would not turn for shit. 

I also recall one time I could not re start the thing half way across the lake, and forgot the oars! I threw the anchor (metal coffee can full of concrete tied to a rope) out, pulled myself in the boat to it, then repeated the process until in shallow enough water to dive over, and swim it in pulling the bow rope. 

At some point dad started letting me use his "modern" '74 model 6 horse Johnson with full gearshift. With a 12 year old me weighing less than 100lbs in a 12 foot flat bottom boat, it got up on plane and scooted me along.

Once I had the much more reliable Johnson to use, the Firestone was cast aside in a shed or something, forgotten. The acne and peach fuzz of my later teen years hit, I gained the holy grail of a driver's license, and cars became my focus.

Now 35 years later, I have found that though the cottage and garage are still there, Jack is not. Dad says he sold the place years ago. If Jack is still on this earth, I am sure he would be in his 70's. Dad gave the motors I had to a scrap guy when they sold the home place years ago.

If I could, I would love to go back and thank Jack. Tell him about all the big diesels in boats I work on and how I have gotten to travel all over the place to do it. Tell him how I rebuilt my first car engine on a dining room table in my first apartment. Show him pictures of the gutted hull with plants growing in it I resurrected in my back yard and how it is now a great family boat.     

Jack, I am doubtful you will ever see or read this, but I raise a toast to you (now that I am old enough to legally do so) for the help and inspiration you gave me!

Do any of you readers have someone you wish you could thank from your past?

Monday, September 21, 2015

The tale of the fart pants- and how I cleared out a K mart!

  Back in 2003 the wife and I were up at her mom's for the  Thanksgiving holiday.  This was the pre child era, where we could just go and do stuff like eat and shop on a Saturday afternoon.

We decided on Mexican, a place called Little Mexico in a local strip mall. The food's always good there. I am pretty sure I had the Guadalajara Cheese Steak.

Off we went to do some Christmas shopping. We went to the local K mart after finishing the meal and squaring up with the server. 

While in an aisle that had the glass case for the video games, I felt a stirring down below...I was getting rather uncomfortable! She just kept on talking about something and I was TRYING to act interested and all the while deal with the gurgling, churning pressure that was building and expanding....FINALLY my sweet lady said she was going to pop over an aisle to look at something there...

This was my cue! I quickly went all the way down to the OTHER end of the aisle we were on, and let my flatulence go.....oh it felt sooooo much better! I then saw my sweetie coming back over and HEADING RIGHT FOR ME!!!

Oh no.... we had not been married nearly long enough for me to subject her to this.  I quickly moved to make the interception.. she started to tell me what she had found when suddenly, her expression turned horribly sour!    NOT MY WIFE BELOW!!



She said "you!.....NASTY!!"   And I was trying to explain how I went clear down to the other end of the aisle to do this....but the voluminous folds of my loose fitting Ralph Lauren jeans (which by the way SHE bought me so there it's her fault!)  held warm pockets of the "fragrance" so rather than just being discharged at the other end of the aisle, I was sort of letting little puffs of poo air out with each stride.

Just then a group of teens popped in from another aisle to look at gaming systems..that did not last long! One of the teen boys said "Oh my GOD it stinks here!!" and they cleared out..at which point I busted out laughing which of course made me blow out what ever gas I had left in me. I was laughing so hard I could not tell if the tears coming from my eyes were from the laughter or the gas!

Eventually, I caught up with my poor suffering spouse over by the check out, where even she had to admit it was pretty funny driving a gaggle of teens away from the game display.

From that day forward, those jeans became known as my "fart pants"  until they were retired from the "nice" drawer to the "work around the yard" drawer and eventually were so holed and thread bare they were discarded a couple years back. 

Years later, K mart closed that store down. I will always wonder if it was because of me! 

Sunday, June 7, 2015

The John Deere MT tractor abandoned on the island

A few weeks back on a Sunday afternoon we took a cruise in our 1969 Glasspar boat... now we had been to this part of the Skidaway river east of Savannah many times, but it was a low tide (we have a large tide swing in coastal Georgia) and my eye fell upon some submerged pilings....



I looked and saw the thing that grabbed my attention most...the un mistakable shape of an old tractor! Look just to the right of center on this pic, behind the first bark less large tree. I was only looking at the rotting pilings that normally can't be seen except at low tide, and wondering why a dock would have been on this low lying island when I spotted it.  Now I know, so a barge could transport things like this tractor on and off island.


The tide was very low, and the muck at low tide is like stinking quick sand. Having plans of pulling up on a somewhat firmer beach to play with the kids and the dog, I noted where the tractor was, and made plans to return when I had my actual camera and not my phone camera for a closer inspection.  

A few weeks later we had a few hours time and the tide was high at 11am on a Sunday. I spied the prize, and nosed the boat up staying somewhat to the south of the center, avoiding contact as I knew those rotting pilings were lurking just below surface level to gash a hole in our hull if hit hard. 

Once ashore, I took little time figuring out what it was. Partly due to my knowledge of post war John Deere tractors. It was a model "MT" standing for a model "M" with the "tricycle" front end arrangement.


    -With an attached disc harrow implement. 

And missing the cylinder head. I suspect the hood and much of the light gauge sheet metal disintegrated long ago.  A "Two Banger" of upright design.  A little research found me tractordata.com, revealing that it was a 100 cubic inch mill, with a 4" bore and stroke, around 20 horsepower.   

 You can see the remains of inner tubes, this machine had rubber front tires but the rear was on steel.








A casting number on the transmission case- the serial tag is long gone, I could see where the rivets used to be. Look up and to the left on this pic, you will see a rectangular place with a rivet where it used to be.
 
Here is a pic I pulled from the web of a somewhat more intact tractor of the same model-
 
 
And here is a short youtube video I made-
 
 
 
 
Hard to believe I have lived and boated here for 19 years and never seen this!  After making the video and going over the county GIS system mapping, I discovered this tract of acreage belongs to none other than the Univeristy of Georgia. Now, to see if I can find out when it went from private hands to the state! I love these mysteries.