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BS: The Mother of all BS threads

Rapparee 11 Feb 12 - 03:42 PM
Rapparee 11 Feb 12 - 03:40 PM
gnu 11 Feb 12 - 03:29 PM
Amos 11 Feb 12 - 02:44 PM
Amos 11 Feb 12 - 02:24 AM
Rapparee 10 Feb 12 - 09:18 PM
Rapparee 10 Feb 12 - 09:05 PM
Stilly River Sage 10 Feb 12 - 08:57 PM
Rapparee 10 Feb 12 - 08:57 PM
gnu 10 Feb 12 - 04:52 PM
Amos 10 Feb 12 - 04:45 PM
Rapparee 10 Feb 12 - 02:56 PM
Rapparee 10 Feb 12 - 01:48 PM
GUEST,Chongo Chimp 10 Feb 12 - 09:22 AM
Rapparee 10 Feb 12 - 09:08 AM
Amos 09 Feb 12 - 09:35 PM
Amos 09 Feb 12 - 02:58 PM
Rapparee 09 Feb 12 - 02:29 PM
gnu 09 Feb 12 - 02:02 PM
GUEST,999 09 Feb 12 - 12:39 PM
Amos 09 Feb 12 - 12:38 PM
Little Hawk 09 Feb 12 - 12:32 PM
GUEST,freds 09 Feb 12 - 12:30 PM
Amos 09 Feb 12 - 10:34 AM
Rapparee 09 Feb 12 - 09:38 AM
Little Hawk 09 Feb 12 - 12:31 AM
Rapparee 08 Feb 12 - 11:04 PM
GUEST,999 08 Feb 12 - 10:45 PM
Amos 08 Feb 12 - 10:33 PM
Rapparee 08 Feb 12 - 10:12 PM
gnu 08 Feb 12 - 07:55 PM
Little Hawk 08 Feb 12 - 06:38 PM
Rapparee 08 Feb 12 - 06:31 PM
GUEST,999 08 Feb 12 - 01:06 PM
Amos 08 Feb 12 - 12:19 PM
Rapparee 08 Feb 12 - 11:05 AM
Stilly River Sage 08 Feb 12 - 10:44 AM
Little Hawk 08 Feb 12 - 08:39 AM
Stilly River Sage 08 Feb 12 - 12:41 AM
GUEST,Eiseley 07 Feb 12 - 11:55 PM
Rapparee 07 Feb 12 - 11:34 PM
Rapparee 07 Feb 12 - 05:38 PM
Amos 07 Feb 12 - 03:15 PM
Little Hawk 07 Feb 12 - 12:26 PM
GUEST,Hokh Ptui 07 Feb 12 - 12:16 PM
Little Hawk 07 Feb 12 - 10:09 AM
Rapparee 07 Feb 12 - 10:06 AM
Amos 07 Feb 12 - 09:59 AM
Little Hawk 07 Feb 12 - 08:22 AM
Amos 06 Feb 12 - 11:44 PM

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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Rapparee
Date: 11 Feb 12 - 03:42 PM

Except for the few who don't prefer wenches.

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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Rapparee
Date: 11 Feb 12 - 03:40 PM

Thank you, Amos. At least someone remembered. Now I'll go back into the cinder and ashes in the corner and curl up and let the tears flow. Forgotten by all but Amos, hungry and alone, the cold cruel wind of winter blowing through the chinks in my log cabin's walls, my poor old horse unfed and ungroomed in the barn because the snow drifts prevent me from getting there, the fire dying low on the hearth and no more firewood, the last crust of damp moldy bread scrounged from a mouse hole carefully laid upon a scrap of paper as my birthday feast, my boots already eaten so that the hard frost on the floor tears bits of skin away when I walk, the chimney blocked with snow so that the smoke from the dying fire hides the roofbeams in its roils...I'll take a drink from last dregs from the barrel of filthy water and cry myself to a sleep from which, perchance, I might never awaken in this vale of tears but instead wake to a glorious golden land beyond Bifrost where the flagons of mead and rich, steaming heroes' joints burden the table around which the companions of my youth feast and wench.

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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: gnu
Date: 11 Feb 12 - 03:29 PM

Happies Rappy!

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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Amos
Date: 11 Feb 12 - 02:44 PM

Let us don our finest frappery
Bind up our loins with nappery
ANd get silly-slappery
To celebrate our Rapparee!!

Happy Birthday, Big Guy.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Amos
Date: 11 Feb 12 - 02:24 AM

It's top drawer, Rapp. Much better than your normal quotidian material. I swan.

Thanks for that great story.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Rapparee
Date: 10 Feb 12 - 09:18 PM

Nah, I wrote this stuff long ago. There's a lot of it.

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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Rapparee
Date: 10 Feb 12 - 09:05 PM

I suspect that Chongo cannot read or write, although if put in a room with a typewriter and HUGE roll of paper he might if given enough time write everything that's ever been written.

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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 10 Feb 12 - 08:57 PM

Wow! Someone is putting in some long writing hours on a Friday evening!

Went down to city hall for the annual garden club spaghetti supper. Big fat soft spaghetti, hamburger sauce, the works. Salad, bread, dessert. I got my carbs for the next couple of days all in one shot. (My next door neighbor gives me tickets every year - I fix her computer every so often so this is a nice little perk).

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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Rapparee
Date: 10 Feb 12 - 08:57 PM

EVERYTHING that I have posted since the post of 11:04 p.m., February 8, 2012 has been written by me unless properly attributed. Everything. In fact, on the originals I asserted copyright to prevent Certain Types Of People from getting any ideas.

        Thanksgivings were without exception a time for family gatherings as I was growing up, a time when relatives would gather at a previously selected home and share the food, chores and general living of the day. Some cousins would only appear on Thanksgiving, or to a lesser extent Christmas, and one could receive the impression that they were kept in the closet between holidays.
        But Sundays were lesser holidays too, and Uncle Phil and Aunt Rose, neighbors Vern and Leona, and Mother and me would often share Sunday dinner with Uncle Mathias and Aunt Thecla. We would usually go over immediately after church and while Mother and Aunt Thecla would work to prepare dinner, me and Uncle Mathias would "get out of the kitchen" and do something else -- usually out of doors.
        I was twelve on the Fall Sunday when Uncle Mathias gave me a rifle. I suppose now that he had discussed it with my Mother beforehand, but at the time I could only gape -- something I still do when I take it down and realize what I was given on that cool, sunny day over a half century ago.
        Uncle told me shortly after Mother and I had arrived that we would be going hunting that day. We had often done so before: I would be the "dog" and flush rabbits for Uncle Mathias to miss.
        But rather than taking his shotgun, on this day he brought from his den a flintlock rifle, a leather shoulder bag and a powder horn.
        I recognized the gear; I had seen Walt Disney's Davy Crockett on television. I rather expected him to have a coonskin cap, for
it seemed to me that a flintlock wouldn't work right without one. But Uncle Mathias put his "huntin' hat," an old brown felt, on his head and his "huntin' jacket" on his body. He stuck a couple of sandwiches in his pockets, told me to get the canteen of water, and what was I waitin' for, didn't I want to go huntin'?
        We walked a quarter mile or so down the road from his house, and turned into the pasture of the old Schletter farm. Uncle slid the strange rifle under the barbed wire fence, climbed through and held the wire for me. A short distance further and we reached a high clay bank, cut by the creek over time.
        Uncle stopped and told me that it was necessary to "dry the pan" before we began in earnest. I was still so taken aback with the archaic weapon that he could have as well told me that he had to "energize the globbermet" before his death ray would work.
        He took a ramrod from under the barrel and ran it down the barrel, and then took it out and compared it to the length of the barrel -- since Davy Crockett never did such a thing, I had no idea why he did this. Then he flipped part of the flintlock up, took something like a tiny powder horn from his pouch, poured powder (I guessed that it was powder) into the flintlock, pushed the flintlock down, pulled the other part of the flintlock back and pulled the trigger.
        There were sparks and a flash from the flintlock. There was no great blast of smoke and flame from the barrel and I was disappointed.
        Uncle Mathias looked at my face and could read my
disappointment there.
        "Here," he said. "Let's load her up and try her out with a load in her. You watch me, and I'll explain to you what I'm doin' and why."
        And then he explained to me about measuring the barrel with the ramrod to insure that the weapon wasn't loaded, about loading from a measure and not from the horn ("Davy Crockett would have been called 'Hooks' if he did it the way they do it on television, so you forget that stuff and listen to me"), about patching and placing the ball with the sprue upright, about the use of the ballstarter and the ramrod, about priming and cocking and firing and he even mentioned the need to dress the flint from time to time.
        And when he fired the old gun this time, aiming at a can I placed against the bank across the creek, there was a most satisfying crash and flash from both the lock (as I had learned to call it) and the barrel.
        The tin can had a hole in it, right through the circle in the middle of the label. And I was in love with a rifle.
        "You can try it later," Uncle Mathias said. "But before you do, you'll have to pass a test."
        "You just told me all about it," I said. And because I wanted so badly to fire the rifle -- or even to hold it -- I added, "I remember what you told me. Just ask me anything."
        "What do you do for a misfire?" asked Uncle Mathias. "How do you pull a ball? What's the difference between two F and three F? How do you read a patch? What's a possibles bag? What's a jag for, and how's it different from a worm?"
        I, of course, failed the test.
        "Look," said Uncle. "Just because I told you how this old gal is loaded and fired, why, that's only the top of it. You got a lot of growin' and knowin' to do. But you sit down here, and listen to me while we eat some lunch." And he took out our sandwiches, sat under a tree and laid the rifle across his lap. I sat facing him.
        We ate in silence, as he prefered when we were hunting. After we ate, he filled and lit his pipe and relaxed against the tree trunk behind him.
        "I never thought much of this old rifle," he began. "Not 'til the Depression.
        "I got it from my Father, who got it from his. This rifle was made in Pennsylvania a long time ago, and it came out here when my Grandfather came out here as a young man. This rifle wasn't new then, but of course it was a lot younger than it is now. You're Great-Grandfather got it from a gent in Tennessee who had put it up as a bet in a card game.
        "It's not new, but it is in real good shape. I hope I'm in that good of shape when I'm as old as this rifle -- it was 162 years old last year, you can see the date it was made here by the tang.
        "Anyway, like I was sayin', I got this from my brother -- your Grandfather. It had been in the family, and I wanted somethin' to hunt with and so he gave it to me to shut me up. I used it for a few years, and when I left home on my wanderings, I left it behind and your Grandmother took care of it for me while I was gone.
        "What did I want with an old flintlock anyway? It was okay to fiddle around with when I was a kid, but I was a man when I left home, I was nearly sixteen years old! I was goin' to make a bunch of money up in the Yukon and I'd buy me a really good gun then!
        "'Course, I left Juneau with about a thousand dollars, a lot in them days, but somehow I never really got rich. I learned a lot in the meantime, though.
        "I came back and married Thecla and bought this farm and settled down to raise my kids. 'Bout the time the first one came along, we were in the War in Europe and I marched off to fight the Hun. I carried the best rifle of the time in that war, and I did my part and was glad to come home when it was over.
        "Thecla and me had four kids by the time the Depression hit in 1929.
        "Things got real bad around here real fast. I'd had a job at the mill in town, 'cause the farm didn't pay enough. We'd raise vegetables and a few chickens, but I couldn't make the farm pay -- it was just a tad too small for that, but it was a good place to raise the kids.
        "But like I say, things got bad fast. Early in 1930 the mill closed, 'cause Mr. Miller, who owned it, had borrowed too much money to expand it in 1928. And there was nothin' else around here that was hirin' people. Even when some people got hired the pay was poor, but it was better than nothin'.        
        "Nowdays, you have unemployment and other kinds of help. Back then, you were on your own.
        "Thecla don't like to talk about those times. She'd bake bread and stretch the flour somehow. We couldn't afford butter and we sure didn't have a cow, so we'd spread lard on the bread instead. Meat'd be a chicken we'd kill, but that was only for special occasions since a dead chicken couldn't lay eggs. And there were six mouths to feed and sometimes we'd even try to help out them what was even worse off than we were.
        "I had two rifles and my shotgun then. Only I couldn't afford the shells -- shoes for the kids came first.
        "Then I thought of this old friend. I had all of the stuff for her from the old days, and I traded a live layin' hen to Old Man Hawkes down at the store for two pounds of powder. I melted down some old lead I had in the barn and molded it into bullets, cut some patches, made some patch grease and I was on my way.
        "I started walkin' along the old C B and Q right-of-way. There was two reasons for this: first off, I could nail a rabbit or a squirrel along there, and second, I could collect what coal fell off the tenders and take it home for the furnace.
        "No, I didn't have a huntin' license and I shot rabbits and squirrels out of season. And I'm sorry I did it, because not only did I break the law but I believe now and I believed then that we'll only have any sort of game to hunt if we conserve what we have. But I had hungry kids, too, and I felt very close to that Indian prayer that apologies to the soul of the slain animals and explains that the animals were only killed to feed hungry people.
        "Then and today, I think that the person who shoots an animal only for the head -- the kind of person who shot that deer last Fall on Phil's place and took the head and left the meat to rot, you remember -- is something which ain't either human or animal, but some kind of other thing that should be squashed.
        "But I knew I was doin' wrong, and I took the responsibility for it. And when the Game Warden finally caught me, he put me to work paintin' park benches in town as a punishment. He knew I was only shootin' what I needed to feed the kids, and he never took me into Court. 'Course, it would have been different if I was shootin' deer, or sellin' what I shot or somethin'.
        "Thecla and me made it through '30 and '31, but '32 wasn't any better and didn't look like things were goin' to get that way, either.
        "Then one day, I was out walkin' along the tracks like usual, hunting for coal and rabbits, when a handcar came lickety-split around the bend and started brakin' as soon as it saw me.
        "Now, I knew I was trespassin' on the railroad's right-of-way, but I never thought anything of it, and the railroad workers had even got to know me and sometimes a shovelful of coal would miss the firebox right when the engine was near me. Why, some of the railroad workers were my neighbors!
        "But Old Discher was the Supervisor for the railroad here back then, and he was a hard man. When that handcar started
slowin' down, I saw that one of the people on it was Discher and I took off for the woods. Poachin' rabbits was one thing, but Discher would send me to jail for thirty days for trespassin', and then what would Thecla and the kids do?
        "I chose the wrong place to run into the woods, 'cause there was a creek borderin' the track -- and the creek was at the bottom of a fifty-foot gorge. I just dropped into the bushes and hoped that I wouldn't be seen.
        "Well, Discher knew right where I was.
        "'Come on outl,' says he. 'I want to talk to you.'
        "I lay still. I had a good idea what he wanted to talk to me about.
        "'If you do not come out, and put your gun on the ground, I will send these two railroad policemen with me to get you,' he said.
        "I stood up and put the gun on the ground, thinkin' that this was a heck of way to end up a day that had started out pretty well.
        "'Oh, come here,' said Discher. 'I feel no need to continue shouting.'
        "I walked over to where he and the other two guys were.
        "'I am told that you have been walking along this section of track for quite some time. I assume that you are picking up coal spills from the trains?'
        "I admitted as much.
        "'And you also shoot small game along the railroad right-of-way, even if it is out of season?'
        "Again I had to agree.
        "'Would you say that you are quite familiar with the tracks in this ten mile section, and with the roadbed in this section in general?'
        "I told him that I had been walking along it for a couple of years and that I had lived around here for more'n ten years, so that I felt I knew the area pretty well.
        "'Well,' he said then, 'Would you like the position of track walker for this section? The pay is twelve dollars per week, and you must furnish the kerosene for your lantern. You will be expected to replace spikes which have worked loose in the ties, and perform such simple maintenance tasks as that. More complex problems you will report. I warn you, you will be expected to work every day of the year, and you will be on call twenty-four hours each day. We will expect ten hours work each day from you and you will be supervised to insure that the railroad is getting its money's worth. As long as you perform your assigned tasks, you may also pick up coal and do what you have been doing. Are you interested?'
        "I just couldn't say anything. I thought I was goin' to jail, and instead I was offered a job. A job! I'd been more or less out of work for two years and this man was offering me a job!         "'Come, come! If you aren't interested in my offer, say so! I can find others for the position, I should think,' said Discher.
        "I told him that yes, I was interested and that I would report to the railroad offices the next day at seven in the morning, since I heard that that was the startin' time.
        "'Very good. I'll see you then.' And he got on the handcar and away he and the two railroad dicks went.
        "I sat down on the side of the roadbed and just shook my head. Then I stood up and started back home.
        "Thecla was surprised to see me back so early and thought that I was sick. Well, in a way I was, I guess -- sick with happiness. When I told her what had happened, she didn't believe it at first and then forgave me for not bringin' home anything for the stewpot. We ate a chicken that night to celebrate and I started doin' what I had been doin' the next day, but gettin' paid for it too.
        "I worked for the railroad until I enlisted in the Navy in 1941. Mr. Discher got to be a good friend of mine, and he told me later on that he'd heard about me from the train crews and after he had looked into my situation he'd decided to do something for me if he could. When I quit the railroad, Discher had retired and I was a foreman.
        "But that's how I came to realize how much this old rifle meant to me, when I had to use it to put meat on the table for the family. Now, men and women in our family have been good shots for years, good gun handlers and responsible citizens. I'll tell you what I'm goin' to do. You go down to the library in town and study up on shootin', and more important, shootin' black powder guns and flintlocks specifically. If they don't have nothin' on it, tell me. When you've studied up on it, I'll quiz you, and then I'll teach you some more. When you have the book learnin', I'll let you shoot. And when you can put five balls in a row in a three inch circle at one hundred feet, I'll pass this rifle on to you like my Father passed it on to me. Is it a deal?"
        I was so surprised with the offer that I could only stare. I quickly agreed to his terms, and Uncle Mathias looked at his watch and allowed that there was no more time for hunting that day, and only barely enough to get back in time for dinner.
        It took seven months before I fired the rifle, before I had the "book learnin'" to Uncle Mathias' satisfaction. It was another six months before I could meet his accuracy standards and the beautiful old rifle became mine, lock, stock and barrel.
        I own several guns, including two other muzzleloaders. But when I take the Old Lady down and rest my cheek against her stock for a moment I can feel the presence of Uncle Mathias, and of those who held and used her before him. It gives me a feeling for history, a personal place in the flow of Time. I've looked into her past, and now know what the crossed arrow and tomahawk mark means; I've tried to trace her wanderings during the years, and found a very distinct possibility that she was fired from a cotton bale rest outside of New Orleans one day in 1814. Her rifling has never been refreshed, as far as I can tell, and yet she will send a ball as true as what she must have when she was first "shot in."
        Once, as a teenager, I was shooting her when my Mother came to pick me up and take me home. In the way of the cocky kid I was, I suggested that my Mother take a shot with the Old Lady. My mother proceeded to swab, dry, load, prime and fire -- and shot in two a stick one inch square 75 yards away which I had been firing at for over two hours.
        Her only comment, later, was that she had had some lessons from Uncle Matthias "before you were born. Now take out the garbage."
        The Old Lady connects me with my Mother, too. I feel that I stand at the end of a long line of people who have entrusted the
Old Lady to me.   And it is a trust, not an ownership. I cannot sell the Old Lady; I can only pass on the trust. Someday I shall.

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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: gnu
Date: 10 Feb 12 - 04:52 PM

Ooooo... fighten words?

Good stuff, Rap.

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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Amos
Date: 10 Feb 12 - 04:45 PM

Your notion that there is such a thing as capitualtion is a twisted and perverse one, good Rapp. When you write honestly, I admire your undeniable talent. When you don't, I chide you for it. Your qualities are absolute and impeccably your own, and no one need seek to best them or fear being bested by them. It is not that sort of a game at all, you know.

I suggest not taking your playbook pages from demented simians or their keepers.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Rapparee
Date: 10 Feb 12 - 02:56 PM

Amos is afraid to come out and admit my superiority.

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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Rapparee
Date: 10 Feb 12 - 01:48 PM

So, Amos still hasn't capitulated to my greatness in BS!!! (By the way, Dixon, Illinois was the childhood home of Ronald Reagan.)

On May 14, 1832, a detachment of 275 militia under the command of Majors Isaiah Stillman and David Bailey, under orders from Illinois Governor Reynolds, were encamped near Old Man's Creek, not far from its confluence with the Rock River. The militia camp was located about three miles (5 km) east of the Rock River near present-day Stillman Valley, Illinois, and seven miles (11 km) south of the Sauk encampment. It is believed that the militia and its commanders were unaware of their proximity to Black Hawk's British Band.

Black Hawk, in conference with the local Potawatomi, learned of Stillman's presence and sent three emissaries to the militia camp under a flag of parley in order to negotiate a peace with the soldiers. The already suspicious soldiers took the three emissaries to their camp, and during the proceedings the militia became aware of several of Black Hawk's scouts in the surrounding hills, watching the proceedings. Once the scouts were spotted, soldiers shot at the three emissaries, killing one. The other two fled back toward their camp, located near the confluence of the Rock and Kishwaukee Rivers.

The scouts fled but were pursued by the disorganized militia and several were killed. The surviving scouts arrived at Black Hawk's camp ahead of the militia and reported the events. At the camp, the warriors then set up a skirmish line in order to fend off the pending militia attack.[8] The militia soldiers, intent on pursuing the scouts, chased them back toward the main force of Black Hawk's warriors and their skirmish line. Black Hawk and his force concealed themselves and ambushed the pursuers. The soldiers, believing that thousands of Sauk and Fox were chasing them, panicked and fled back to the main force camped at Dixon's Ferry. Stillman's exact whereabouts are unknown during this point in the battle, a later newspaper account written by him did not mention his location and noted his only order was to retreat. Stillman's account, published in the Missouri Republican, has been called fanciful.
Twelve of Stillman's militia were killed in the melee. A band of volunteers under the leadership of Captain John Giles Adams made a stand on a hill south of the main militia camp. The men fought by moonlight as the main body of the militia fled back to Dixon. The entire 12-man detachment, including Adams, was killed in the fight. It has also been asserted that Adams may have, in fact, been killed by his own men as he futilely attempted to muster them to battle. The number of Sauk and Fox killed in the engagement is largely unknown; the militia party that was sent to locate the "missing" 53 militia men found no dead Sauk. Black Hawk is quoted as saying at least three and maybe as many as five of his warriors were killed.

                         --Wikipedia (emphasis added)
Stillman's Run
(A Ballad Of The Militia)

Were you there at the fight at Stillman's Run?
Were you there for the flight at Stillman's Run?
When our brave militia boys
The pride of Illinois
Took on Blackhawk and his band at Stillman's Run?

Were you there at the front at Stillman's Run?
Did you fire off your gun at Stillman's Run?
Was your poor scalp spared
When the savages appeared
Were you there for the fight at Stillman's Run?

When will the glory fade of Stillman's Run?
When will history pull its shade on Stillman's Run?
When Blackhawk and his boys
Taught the pride of Illinois
How fast they all could run at Stillman's Run.

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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: GUEST,Chongo Chimp
Date: 10 Feb 12 - 09:22 AM

You got him reelin', Rap, like a gorilla who's just taken a right cross, a left uppercut, a knee in the groin, and a clip of .45 cal in the gut. He knows he ain't got a chance. He is already pushin' up the celestial daisies. Ook! Ook! ;-D

- Chongo

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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Rapparee
Date: 10 Feb 12 - 09:08 AM

More, Amos? Or have you had enough and will concede my superiority in quality BS?

We all took music lessons, of course. I learned to play the trumpet, Tony learned the trombone and Martha studied violin. Ted studied saxophone, trumpet and guitar -- more than any of the rest of us.
        Of course we all took piano lessons too.
        It was Ted's musical skills that prevented him from being bitten by the rattlesnake. And what with one thing and another it all led to . . . but let me start at the beginning.
        Snakes hibernate all winter, except for snow snakes, which estivate. But decent snakes hibernate and come out in the Spring. When they come out of their dens they're hungry and they look for food to regain their strength.
        Up to now I haven't said much about the regular snakes in the Boogie Swamp, but they were there. Garter snakes (which we called gardener snakes), black snakes, king snakes, water moccasins, milk snakes, hoop snakes, rat snakes, bamboo vipers, both rock and reticulated pythons, both king and spitting cobras, black mambas, fer-de-lances, coral snakes, anacondas, puff adders, asps and of course rattlesnakes.
        There were sidewinders, pygmy rattlers, massasauga rattlers, timber rattlers -- why, some days when you'd walk around in the Swamp it seemed that every stick you picked up turned out to be a snake!
        One day Tony picked up a copperhead to hit a piece of elm! That was exciting!
        As a rule snakes won't bother you if you leave them alone. And they do a lot of good for people! Really!
        But it was one morning in early Spring and the sun was up and starting to melt a light frost from the night before. It had been foggy and the trees wore a coat of rime so that they look like white jewel trees when the sun touched them.
        We set out, Tony and Martha and Ted and I, on a hike. We'd been inside all Winter (or so it seemed), so we hiked out and fooled around by Cedar Creek and by midafternoon we were on our way home, cutting through the Boogie Swamp.
        We took a break and sat on some rocks. I'd been whittling, and Ted picked up a stick and started to whittle also. As he whittled he whistled.
        He was whistling The Stars and Stripes Forever when and we heard the buzz of a rattlesnake right next to him!
        Ted started to whistle faster and faster, and as he whistled he whittled faster and faster. He whittled his stick into pieces, whittled the pieces into slivers and the slivers into sawdust. He whittled so fast that the sawdust started to smoke -- and none of the stuff he had whittled even touched the ground before it caught fire. We'd never seen anyone whittle that fast before!
        A piece of hot sawdust burned his hand and he said "Ouch!" and stopped whistling.
        When he stopped whistling, a big rattlesnake at least eight feet long crawled from beside him, coiled itself in front of him and looked at him.
        The snake's tongue kept going in and out, in and out, "smelling" Ted. Finally the snake started to rattle. Just a little, sort of tentatively and sort of jerky.
        Ted whistled a few bars of The Stars and Stripes Forever. He later said that he didn't know what else to do because there wasn't anything left to whittle.
        And you know, that old snake rattled right along with the music!
        Ted kept on whistling and made little motions for us to leave while the snake was rattling along with John Phillips Sousa.
        We quietly and carefully left and waited in the cemetery by Daddy's grave, our usual rendezvous. We hoped that he'd get away without getting bitten, but that if he did get bitten he'd get out of the Boogie Swamp before he got really sick or died. Otherwise we'd have to get him out.
        Finally, after what seemed like hours because it was, Ted appeared. He'd whistled just about every song he knew and had finally told the snake (who he'd named Rex) that he had to go. He said that the snake seemed to understand and even showed Ted a new shortcut out of the Swamp.
        After that afternoon Ted would whistle up Rex every time we'd go into the Swamp. They'd sit there whistling and rattling, and it got so that Ted would even sneak off by himself to see Rex.
        We never told anyone about this, not even Mom. How could you explain that your youngest brother played whistle in a duet with a giant rattlesnake?
        We asked Ted if he was going to put Rex in the theatre or in the movies and make a lot of money, but he said no, it was just in fun and besides it was Art. We said fine -- art, huh?
        Fall came and finally Rex went off to wherever he -- or maybe she -- hibernated. Ted missed his serpentine friend but got over it by Christmas.
        The next Spring Ted couldn't find Rex anywhere. He looked and whistled all over the Boogie Swamp, but there was no Rex to be found.
        Ted was really very disappointed, but he didn't let it stop him from doing other things.
        But it was a strange Summer, too. We didn't see ANY rattlers in the Swamp. None at all.
        School started and Autumn fell. Ted hadn't seen his slithery sidekick for a whole year.
        Then one day, when the leaves were red and gold and the sky was bright blue with white clouds and there was a hint of cool, we four were again hiking through the Swamp, returning from gathering hickory nuts along Cedar Creek.
        Ted was trudging along dejectedly, thinking, we knew, about Rex.
        We stopped for a minute and suddenly Ted's head snapped up and he looked off to the left and shouted "Rex!" and tore off through the bushes!
        Then we heard it too -- the faint sound of a rattlesnake shaking his rattles to the tune of The Stars and Stripes Forever.
        We followed the path Ted had cleared for us through the brambles and we found him sitting on a long rock, facing a good-sized depression.
        We sat on the rock next to Ted and saw that the depression was filled with rattlesnakes. There must have been seventy-five or eighty of them: long ones and short ones, fat and skinny, some with lots of rattles and some with just a few.
        And in front of them all was Rex.
        Rex coiled himself up and -- I swear that this is true! -- he bowed to Ted and made little bows to us.
        Then he turned back to the other rattlers and they formed rows and the rattling got quiet.
        Rex pumped his head a couple of times and the rattlers started rattling. It took a moment, but we realized that we were hearing The Washington Post March!
        When it was over we clapped and clapped and clapped. And it dawned on us that the reason that rattlesnakes were so scarce that Summer was because Rex had been teaching them the music he had learned from Ted!
        It was a grand concert! We heard Manhattan Beach and Hands Across the Sea and The Washington and Lee Swing and The Notre Dame Victory March and On Wisconsin and Fight Fiercely, Harvard and The Air Force Song and the Triumphal March from Aida and Home On the Range and Three Jolly Coachmen and They're Moving Father's Grave To Build a Sewer and Clementine and Bell Bottom Trousers and Anchors Aweigh and the largo from Dvorak's The New World Symphony and Eine Kleine Nachtmusik and Bach's famous Toccata and Fugue and at the end, of course, The Stars and Stripes Forever.
        Each of the snakes took a little bow after Rex motioned them up, just like a human conductor who was proud of his or her orchestra.
        We clapped so hard that they played Puff the Magic Dragon as an encore.
        Then they all bowed again and slithered away into a hole beneath another rock because it was getting dark and it was, after all, time to hibernate.
        Ted looked at his friend Rex and Rex looked at Ted and no one said anything. Then Rex left to join his fellows for the winter and we went home to a supper of fondue and flapjacks and fool and frittata and fillets and farl and fruitade to drink, and of course, fruit flambé for dessert.
        I don't know what ever happened to Rex and the All-Rattler Orchestra, but I heard some Mexican music that makes me think that maybe Rex taught maracas in Mexico. Ted may know, though.

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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Amos
Date: 09 Feb 12 - 09:35 PM

Mom, I am most proud of myself, because even BBW coiuld not get that hard drive to copy to back up correctly and be available. But I rolled up my old UNIX sleeves and persuaded it I was a superuser and issued some "sudo chmod -RHL a=rwx" commands in the right places and now all the hooorrible difficulty is over. Yay!!!!


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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Amos
Date: 09 Feb 12 - 02:58 PM

Well, that there is pure-dee delicious BS, Rapparee, and in such generous servings, too! I swan, it is among the most vivacious BS ever graced the dusty corners of Mom's place.

Thanks for the great job!


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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Rapparee
Date: 09 Feb 12 - 02:29 PM

Alright, smart guy....


        Well, it all started with Tony's idea to make a lot of money and it ended with (among other things) a drought, a tornado and Cedar Creek becoming shallow.
        Tony's idea did not cause the tornado, the drought, the shallowing and the other stuff. Ted and I didn't think much of Tony's ride on the tornado, either, but we certainly weren't going to stop him since we'd bet him a dollar he couldn't do it at all. We lost the bet, but Tony had to walk five miles to collect so it worked out even.
        Anyway, Tony thought we needed to make some money and he was right. It seemed unlikely that we'd recover any of the river pirates' treasure (even though we knew were it was) or any other treasure we decided that we'd probably have to work.
        We applied for jobs as roustabouts, trenchermen, steeplejacks, printer's devils, gandy dancers, bindlestiffs and waddies but everybody said we were either too young or didn't have enough experience. Ted applied for a job as a cellar master but couldn't make anyone believe he was over twenty-one.
        So we were left without any money.
        Oh sure, we rode our bikes out and picked strawberries, but it takes a lot of picking to make any money when the pay is seven cents a quart, tops.
        We thought about selling something, but Mom said that we didn't even own the wall we had our backs to.
        Then, out of the blue, Tony had a great idea.
        A lot of building was going on, and people were digging a lot of holes. We couldn't dig a basement, but Tony reasoned that we could dig post holes for fence posts and such like. Farmers would want them even if no one else did.
        Boy, did we think that that was a stupid idea! Then Tony explained.
        His idea was to sell holes door-to-door. We'd dig the holes now, in late Summer, when they weren't needed. We could take our time a do a really good job, and we'd make them really deep too. We'd cover the holes during the Winter, and Tony said that the cold would "cure" the holes (he didn't say what he meant by "cure" and the holes wouldn't be sick, but we humored him).
        Then, next Spring when people started putting up fences and things again we'd take orders for holes of different depths. Then we'd go to the holes we'd dug earlier, pull them up and cut off whatever length was needed. All the buyer had to do then was to pay us, dig a place for the hole and install the fence post or whatever. If you were careful you could probably drive short holes into the ground with a hammer.
        The idea was beautiful in its simplicity! And most importantly everybody needed holes and nobody else was selling them ready-made and pre-cut!
        Mom said that we positively could not dig up the back yard. That was okay, because we lived on what was called "filled land," which means that it used to be a dump. We'd dug deep holes before in the back yard and we'd dug up everything from old bottles to the roof of a Model T Ford car.
        We told Mom that we'd already decided to dig our hole yard in the Boogie Swamp. We could dig quality holes there and still keep it secret from people who might want to steal our idea or our holes.
        All during the rest of the late Summer and through the Fall we were digging holes in the Swamp whenever we could get there. We dug holes -- really deep holes -- just the right size for fenceposts. We dug lots and lots of these holes. Some of them got water in them if we dug too deeply, and one of them filled up with oil.
        We used the oil to lubricate the sides of the holes so that they would slide out easier when we sold them. We couldn't do anything about the holes with water so we just said we struck a "wet hole" and dug again somewhere else.
        We measured how deep the holes we dug were, and by the time Winter came we had dug over 250 miles of excellent, prime quality holes in the Swamp. We covered them with boards and rocks and left them to "cure" over the Winter.
        Even Christmas seemed dull as we waited for Spring, when we'd make our fortunes.
        Just after New Year's the temperature dropped. The people on television said that it was fifty-two feet below zero: the stuff in the thermometer had dropped out of the bottom and stopped fifty-two feet below.
        It stayed that way for a month.
        And there wasn't any snow. In fact, there hadn't been any snow or rain since August 5th.
        It was so cold and so dry that when farmers milked their cows the milk in the pails froze and then had all of the water sucked out of it by the dry air so that all that was left was a white powder. Later on somebody found out how to do this on purpose, called it "freeze-drying" and made lots of money, but then we found it to be only a nuisance.
        We were worried about our holes, because fifty-two feet below zero was probably too cold for them to "cure" correctly. A quick trip out to the Swamp showed that we were right to be concerned.
        Some of the holes hadn't been covered as well as others. These had frozen and shrunk in size from the dryness -- and the contents, being bigger, had squirted upward. There were long, slender holes sticking way up in the air from these. Oiling had only made it easier for them to expand upwards, like ice in a too-full container.
        Tony thought that these were a loss, but I solved the problem. We got some saws and cut the extruded holes off even with the ground. In the Spring we put a pulley and rope on top and sold them as flagpoles. We didn't make a lot of money from these, but Tony kept one around for a long time -- after it broke he put it inside of some pipe and he still has it in front of his house.
         Spring came, but without rain. Everyone said that there was a drought, and after a while the ground started to sink in places where people had pumped water out of it.
        Some of these sinkholes were big enough to swallow a dog, some a cow, some a car, and one or two a whole house! Ted's only comment when we saw sinkhole pictures in the newspaper was to ask, "I wonder where the dirt goes?"
        It was a good question, too, because we'd dug enough holes to know that it had to go somewhere.
        We shortly discovered that the dirt went into our holes in the Swamp. Only it wasn't just dirt. There was rock dust and sand in it too.
        Actually, we discovered this in a rather dramatic way. We went to Swamp to get a hole to fill our first order and saw that there was a cone of dirt and stuff over each of our holes, and more was being added to the piles every minute. It looked like a lot of little volcanoes, only the piles weren't little. Some of them, in fact, were quite large and must have had several tons of dirt in them.
        Ted wondered why all the dirt and stuff was coming up out of our holes and not up in people's basements and things. Tony explained that our holes only had holes in them, but things like basements and sewers were full of basements and sewers.
        It was obvious that we weren't going to make any money at all selling these holes. So we say down and watched the dirt volcanoes and remembered Ted's observation about the sinkholes: the dirt had to go somewhere.
        "Well," Tony said, "at this rate the whole county will soon be here in the Boogie Swamp." And he lapsed back into despondency.
        "We could have gone fishing. We could have played ball. We could have done our homework and gotten good grades. But no, we had to dig a bunch of holes!" I exclaimed.
        "It's getting windy," observed Ted.
        "It's getting windy and dark," I observed.
        "Great!" said Tony. "Now it's gonna rain and we'll be poor and wet!"
        "We need rain," said Ted. "The creek's only about twenty feet deep."
        And we heard a noise and looked up at the sky and there was a TORNADO coming!
        "Okay. I understand now. We're gonna be poor, wet and dead," said Ted.
        "Yeah," I agreed.
        "I'm going to ride it," Tony said calmly.
        Ted and I looked at each other and we both said, "It's his mind. Snapped. And he's so young, but not at all handsome."
        "Doggone it!" said Tony, "I read that Pecos Bill threw a saddle on a tornado and rode it. I'm gonna ride this one bareback! Give me the rope."
        And he tied a loop in the rope we'd brought to pull up the holes and made a lariat.
        Ted told him that he couldn't possibly ride a tornado, and that even if he did get on it he'd get hurt.
        Tony ignored him, stood up and twirled his lariat. He made the loop bigger and bigger, just as if he knew what he was doing.
        Just as the tornado got close to us, Ted shouted, "I'll bet you a dollar you can't do it!"
        "Me, too!" I agreed.
        "Done!" said Tony and he lassoed the tornado!
        Well. You've never, never, NEVER EVER seen or heard such a ruckus! Tony somehow pulled the tornado down close to ground and he jumped onto it. He used the lariat like reins and he looked just like a wild bronco rider in the rodeo!
        The tornado did not like being ridden. It tried every trick it could to toss Tony off. It sunfished, and arched its back and even tried to roll over onto Tony. Once it tried to scrape him off against some trees. It was all over the Swamp, bucking and rearing and knocking down trees and Tony still rode it and he yelled "Powder River, let 'er buck!" just like cowboys do.
        It was pretty darned exciting to watch, too, and Ted and I cheered and yelled and shouted.
        Suddenly the tornado sucked up all of the piles of dirt and all of the dirt around the holes and dashed off to the East, Tony, dirt and all!
        Then the whole kit and caboodle disappeared over the eastern horizon.
        Ted and I were in shock.
        "I didn't think he could do it," said Ted.
        "I didn't think he'd be stupid enough to try it," I said.
        "I hope that he doesn't get hurt too badly," Ted said.
        "I don't HAVE a dollar," I said.
        And as we watched, way far away to the East we saw some rain fall.
        "We can't go home without him," Ted observed. "Mom would be put out."
        "Well, we certainly can't call the police," I replied. "What'll we say -- my brother's missing because he was dumb enough to rope and ride a tornado?"
        "What'll we do?" asked Ted.
        "Let's eat lunch," I replied. And we did.
        After lunch we poked around the hole yard, but the tornado had filled up all the holes and packed them solid. We were definitely out of the hole business.
        It got later and later and we still didn't know what to do about Tony. Then, just before we would absolutely, positively have to leave and tell Mom that Tony was somewhere out East, Tony limped into the Swamp.
        About the only thing you could say was that he did have both shoes. His shirt was ripped up, his pants were shredded -- he even had chunks of his hair missing. He was soaking wet, but his socks were gone.
        He was quite a sight, and we said exactly that. He replied that he was also a gigantic walking, talking bruise and that we each owed him a dollar.
        Of course, we asked about his ride. And, of course, he told us. He talked for a long time, so I'm only going to tell the essence of what he said.
        Tony felt as if he may have made a mistake the minute he climbed onto the tornado. At first, the rotation of the tornado made it feel as if one pants leg was being pulled down while the other was being pulled up. But that feeling lasted only a split split second, or until the tornado realized that someone was aboard for a ride.
        Tony said that it was honestly the VERY WORST ride he'd ever been on. It was even worse than the time he took a dare to roll downhill in a barrel of rocks.
        The ride was so ROTTEN, so BAD that Tony was afraid to let go. And when the tornado sucked up the cones of dirt and stuff, Tony said that his body learned that the words "pain" and "bruises" had meanings he'd never considered before -- none of them good.
        He also thought that at some point he started to spin at about a billion R.P.M.
        But Tony rode the tornado (what else could he do?) and pretty soon the tornado realized that it couldn't shake Tony off. So it changed into a cloud and rained itself out of existence.
        Tony and all of the dirt and stuff were dumped KERSPLASH into Cedar Creek, just above the falls.
        He struggled to shore, wet and -- well, he said "sore" only mildly hinted at his pain. But he'd ridden a tornado, and he'd even done Pecos Bill one better by riding it bareback!
        The dirt blocked the creek, and then with a sudden rush it was washed downstream. Tony watched it build up at the bottom of the falls and make the creek bed level. What wasn't used there eventually spread all along the length of the creek. The rock dust acted like cement, and it filled up Cedar Creek so that it became as shallow as it is today and only reflecting a shadow of the inky depths it once had.
        As we plodded home Ted said that it was a good thing that we hadn't borrowed any money or we'd really be in the hole. Tony told me to sock him for that, but I was too tired and Tony was too sore.
        We eventually made $7.35 on the flagpoles, and we gave it all to Mom. We got to keep the boxtops and trading stamps though.
        A couple of weeks later the drought broke. All of the sinkholes filled up with water and became puddles if they were small and ponds if they were big.
        Tony has never ridden a tornado again, and we haven't been able to talk him into it. He says that it would make him too dizzy.
        Ted and I saved and saved and finally paid our bets, too.

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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: gnu
Date: 09 Feb 12 - 02:02 PM

My last post was not for 9.

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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: GUEST,999
Date: 09 Feb 12 - 12:39 PM


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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Amos
Date: 09 Feb 12 - 12:38 PM

What, the freds took Rapparree? Good thing he got the second edition down to Mom's before they beamed him up.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Little Hawk
Date: 09 Feb 12 - 12:32 PM

Speak for yourself, outlander!

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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: GUEST,freds
Date: 09 Feb 12 - 12:30 PM

This was a waste of DNA!

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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Amos
Date: 09 Feb 12 - 10:34 AM

WEll, I liked that story almost as much as the first time, Rapparee.

Knowing that Vietname was not your thing, I had to wonder where it might have come from. But I allow as how it must be your own, as you're the only one ever posted it I think.

It's a fine story, I agree!


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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Rapparee
Date: 09 Feb 12 - 09:38 AM

Well, Amos is after "Better BS"....

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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Little Hawk
Date: 09 Feb 12 - 12:31 AM

Beautifully told, Rap.

My Father had a couple of really lousy officers in the war who constantly sent men out on pointless night patrols in the same way, just to make themselves look like hot stuff and maybe get a promotion...and a lot of men got killed on those night patrols.

One of those officers ended up receiving a .303 round right through his binoculars while he was way back behind the line, watching his guys trade fire with the Germans. My father said everyone in the unit knew darned well it was one of his own soldiers who most likely fired that shot, but no one ever found out who it was that did it. He was sent off to hospital in critical condition, and not seen again by that unit.

The other one was a perfect son of a bitch who was utterly hated by the men he served under. He also caused many men to die uselessly. One day he ordered them to build a personal latreen (outhouse) for him after clearing a section of an old German minefield. They dug the hole and built the latreen. The first time he went in to use it he closed the door, presumably sat down on the seat and....BAM!!!

The latreen blew to smithereens and the explosion left a big crater in the ground. They found one boot with a foot in it about 50 yards away, and buried it with full honours, and that was the end of that guy.

My father said he had a pretty good idea of who would have done it, cos there was one guy in the unit who was an expert at rigging up bombs with pressure switches, and he had helped build the latreen. It was written off as an "accident", unexploded German mine that had presumably been missed while clearing the area. They had a lot else to think about, after all, and no one missed the guy anyway.

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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Rapparee
Date: 08 Feb 12 - 11:04 PM

Okay, Amos. BS it is!        

The old Emil Schletter place burned ten years before I was born. Emil and his wife Leona had both died in the fire, and the property was, in the phrase of the country at that time, "tied up in the lawyers."
        It was a marginal eighth section, and poor farming methods hadn't helped the productivity of the soil. All in all, no one was anxious to settle the ownership of the land and by the time I came along it was generally felt that either "the lawyers" now owned the old farm or that it belonged to some cousin in New York city who didn't care about it and only used it for a tax break --opinions differed.
        It didn't matter to my friends and me. The thrill of trespassing (if anyone cared about it) added to the zest of playing among the ruins of the old house and outbuildings. It became for us land to settle, war-torn towns to liberate from the Nazi hordes, the landscape of some distant planet, or a place to escape to when school, parents or life itself began to close around us.
        Marginal for the Schletters, unwanted by the legal owner, the weed-grown pastures and fields became for a group of growing children a playground unequaled anywhere.
        We smoked our first cigarettes there. We swam in the pond in summer and slid on the ice in winter. We hunted rabbits with our .22s during hunting season, and sharpened our marksmanship against the high clay creek bank year-round.
        I'm sure that the deputy sheriff who lived only a half mile away knew what went on. At that time and place he would have done nothing unless a complaint were filed, or if someone were injured. Otherwise, he (and our parents) knew where we were and (usually) what we were doing. I'm also sure that certain of the grown-ups -- especially my Uncle Mathias -- knew when we were doing what we were doing. It was Uncle Mathias, after all, who was waiting for me at the gate the day I started walking home, green and ill, after trying chewing tobacco for the first time.
        His advice on that occasion, offered as he walked beside me and I tried to keep up a conversation and keep down my breakfast, was simple: "If you chew tobacco," he said, "it's best not to swallow the juice."
        I was a newly-minted second lieutenant, under orders for Vietnam and home for a thirty day leave when I last visited the Schletter place. Of those with whom I had grown and played, two were dead and the others scattered. Visiting, walking along the barely discernible trails and poking among the ruins of the burned house and the tumbled barn was to relive for a moment the past.
        I would never see the place again, for the creek was to be dammed to create a man-made lake for flood control and recreation. When I would return, waterskiers and fishermen would play over where I had once played.
        In two days, I had to report to Travis Air Force Base.
        In three days, I would be at Tan Son Nhut.
        In a week, although I didn't know it then, I would be with the Americal Division at Chu Lai. In a month, I would be operating out of LZ Gator, leading patrols through forests of eternal twilight.
        Unsurprisingly, Uncle Mathias was waiting for me, sitting on a rock by the old milk shed.
        "Not much doin' out here today," he greeted me.
        "No," I agreed. "Not much doing."
        We waited there, he on the rock and I standing, for a few minutes, each knowing that the other was thinking of the future and neither knowing whether or not to speak of it.
        Finally, Uncle Mathias broke the unstrained silence.
        "Yes, I am. I suppose everyone going to war worries."
        "Yes." I said it flatly, a statement of fact.
        "Good. I'd be worried if you wasn't scared. Fact is, I'd do my damnedest to talk you into runnin' off to Canada if you wasn't scared. Ain't nothin' quite so disturbin' or downright dangerous as a fearless second looey."
        I couldn't resist asking: "Do you speak from experience?"
        "Fact is, I do. Back in '18, when I was a sergeant with the Big Red One in France, I had a second looey put in command of my platoon who was fearless. I was just a youngster myself, of course, and like all the others in my platoon and all the others of my age, I thought that I'd live forever. Other people got themselves killed -- I was too darn smart.
        "We was in the trenches -- near some God-forsaken village which had been shelled first by the Germans and then by the French and then by the British and over and over and over and now by the Americans until it looked like the walls of Jericho must have looked after Joshua finished up. Lieutenant Doaks -- that was his real name, Daniel Doaks -- called me into his dugout late one afternoon and told me that me and him were going to go out with a patrol that night. We were goin' to get some "filthy Huns" for prisoners -- those were his words, 'filthy Huns.'"
        "What happened?" I asked.
        "We left the trench about moonset. Lieutenant Doaks had told me that he wanted only 'fearless warriors' (that's what he said, too) on his first patrol. I was green then, but I did want some of the old salts along -- Narbeth, or Smith, or maybe Oltanger. Fact was though, none of the experienced people volunteered and I was too green to order them to go along. I know now why they didn't want to go, but back then I just put it down to funk.
        "Anyway, like I was sayin', we left the trench after moonset, which was about midnight or one a.m. We crawled out to the wire and passed through, closing the wire after we left. About fifty yards out into no man's land, we reached a shell crater which we had marked as an assembly point and the final jumpin' off place for our little raid.
        "Right away, the looey started to screw things up. First thing he did was that he had brought a telephone with us and unrolled the wire as we walked. Nobody did that sort of thing in those days, 'cause the phones were not at all like the ones you have now -- and radio was limited to Morse code with a telegraph key. Now, as we were sittin' in the shell hole tryin' to look like nothin' was out of place, the damned phone rang.
        "It was the Captain, and he should have known better. The looey took the call, and all I could hear was what was said at my end. The looey told the Captain that yes, we were in the shell hole, our first point, and that yes, we would be going in right quickly to get the prisoner, and no, nothing had gone wrong, and finally one of the boys whispered to me, 'Yes mother, I'll be home directly" and it was all I could do to keep from laughing.
        "After he hung up, he gathered us together and repeated our mission. Of course, by this time I figgered that the Germans not only knew that we were there, but had figured out who we were, what we was goin' to do, when we was goin' to do it, and probably knew the maiden names of our mothers to boot.
        "But the looey wasn't afraid! No sir! Not him! He was going to lead his men into battle with the Hun and save Western Civilization with this one raid.
        "Then the mortars hit.
        "We were about as safe as we could get right then, bein' on the reverse slope of the front wall of a pretty damned deep crater. But the looey, he jumped up, drew his .45, and shouted "Follow me!" at the top of his voice.
        "He jumped up on the lip of the shell hole and looked just like that statue at Fort Benning -- the one at the Infantry School.
        "Germans saw him up there and came close to cuttin' him in half with a machine gun. He fell back into the hole and died in my arms.
        "The brouhaha was gettin' wilder. The Germans had now brought in artillery fire, and flares, and me and the boys in the hole were seriously thinkin' about leavin' the party and goin' home. Problem was, there was a hundred and fifty feet to our wire, a short eternity to open the gate in the wire and maybe another seventy-five feet to our trench. Say maybe two hundred and fifty feet, it could be done in maybe eight minutes walkin' and that time includes openin' the gate in the wire.
        "Crawling, and every inch of the way seemin' to be already occupied by a piece of unfriendly steel or lead, it would take considerably longer. Maybe forever.
        "And the Germans, they weren't fools. There might be a patrol right now gettin' ready to come out and catch us instead of the other way around. They knew that nobody went out into no man's land alone; they knew we were there.
        "And I had the highest rank in that hole. Six other guys were depending on me to have the right answers. And I had never been in such a predicament before -- hell, I'd only come under fire in training, just like the others.
        "Two of the boys messed their pants. I didn't, but it took some control, let me tell you!
        "A fifty-nine shell lit real close to the right; it tore up the lip of our shell hole. I figgered that another wouldn't land there (don't believe that, 'cause it ain't so), so I carefully peeked out around the newly rearranged dirt.
        "Sure enough, there was a patrol of about twenty Germans at the German wire, about two hundred yards in front of us. And we couldn't back up, go forward, go sidewise, shit, or go blind.
        "I slithered back down into the hole and told the others what I'd seen.
        "They were unhappy with the news, you might say. I must admit that I'd had better myself in my time.
        "Then I banged my knee against the telephone the looey had dragged along.
        "I picked up the handset and rang the crank. I thought that the wire had probably been cut by the shelling, but it was just possible that I was wrong.
        "I was wrong. The Captain answered on the first ring.
        "He was glad to hear from us, and told me that they were being shelled. I told him that I knew that, and that we had been getting shelled for some time too.
        "He asked to talk to the looey, and I told him the looey was dead. He asked me if I was sure. I told him that I felt that being ripped up with machine gun bullets probably did that to a man. He told me that I'd better come back and that I'd better bring the looey's body with me.
        " I mentioned to him that we would probably be leavin' the shell hole soon, but that we'd be goin' the other direction due to the approaching German patrol.
        "Man was pretty excitable, for an officer. He asked me where the Germans were and how many there were and told me to tell him quick so that he could call in some artillery on them.
        "So I told him. And then he hung up or we were cut off, because the line went dead.
        "I slid back up the slope and peeked out again. The Germans were through the wire and about fifty feet inside no man's land. Soon, unless something was done, we were going to have visitors."
        Uncle Mathias stretched, and stood up. He filled his pipe, lit it, and blew a great cloud of smoke skyward.
        "Just then," he continued, "Our artillery arrived. Only it was targeted on where the Germans had been instead of where they were now. Just the same, it made them take cover.
        "But the thing was, the Germans had been in those trenches in that sector for a long, long time. They were veterans, and fine soldiers. They knew every gully and hummock like I know my backyard. They just started to move out of the impact zone of the artillery, and towards us.
        "Now, remember that during all of this the mortar, machine gun and artillery fire from the German lines was goin' on. They were out to get us, and they wanted us bad.
        "I knew then what a tennis ball feels like.
        "I tried calling the Captain again, but it was no go. The phone was damaged, or the line cut, or something.
        "There was nothin' else to do. I gathered the boys together and told them that we'd either have to fight or run, and that either way it was touch-and-go about makin' it.
        "We put what was left of the poor lieutentant on a gas-cape, what you'd call a poncho today, which somebody had along, and pushed him up the slope of the crater and dragged him toward our lines. We left the phone.
        "About twenty yards away was another, smaller, crater. We pulled in there and regrouped.
        "The seven of us were unhurt, but scared to our toenails.
        "Then I had an idea, and put it to the group that we were in a good position to ambush the German patrol who was out looking for us. They'd be coming pretty soon to the crater we'd just left, and from where we were now we'd have a good shot at them. Might even be able to take a prisoner or two back, which was the whole reason we were out there in the first place.
        "Three of the boys said that they felt that it would be just as well if they continued to mosey on home. I said that that was fine, but would they leave those of us remaining behind most of their spare ammunition and grenades, take the looey's body with them, and tell the Captain where we were and that we'd be late coming home and so not to leave the porchlight on.
        "They quietly left us, and Bill Reynolds, Alvin Sharp,
Fred Wood and me slowly pushed our '03s over the lip of the crater and into the direction we'd just come. For luck, we each put Mills bombs where we could get them quickly.
        "Then we waited. We knew that the Germans would come slowly, and that the shelling would probably lift just about the time they reached our old hole.
        "The shelling did lift, suddenly, and the silence was as scary as the falling shells.
        "A flare went off right over our old crater. It threw the whole thing into sharp light, just as if it were day. And it also showed a patrol of twenty Germans suddenly leap up and surround what was now an empty hole.
        "They tossed a grenade into the hole, and we started shooting and got at least half of them with our first volley. Sharp grabbed one of his Mills bombs, pulled the pin and threw it. He was a good pitcher, and it landed right where it would do the most good. They were hurt, no doubt of it, but they were good veteran troops, like I said, and they ducked down and began to return fire.
        "It was just a matter of time before the Germans in the trenches figured out who was who and started dropping things on us.
        "I signalled, and we each grabbed a Mills bomb, pulled the pins, and threw them together.
        "The four explosions sounded like one, they were so close together. We jumped up and charged, no command or anything, just that it was the right thing to do and the four of us were readin' each other's mind.
        "To tell it quickly, we took four of the Germans back with us to our lines -- one apiece. They were so rattled from what turned out to be our crazy charge that all the fight had gone out of them.
        "We left the other Germans, the dead and wounded, in the hole. We figured that their stretcher bearers or someone would come to help those who could be helped.
        "Captain was mighty proud of us when we got back. Apart from scratches and bruises, nobody except the lieutenant got hurt, which was a pure miracle considerin' the effort which had gone into trying to do just the opposite. Sharp and Reynolds and Wood and me each got a medal out of it. And a weeks' leave in Paris!"
        "Uncle Mathias," I said, "what medal did you win with this engagement? I have never before heard you speak of this." Uncle Mathias, you understand, was not above making a long story out of a short one.
        His eyes grew lonely, deep and very, very sad. I would see eyes like that later; we called it the "thousand meter stare." There is a photograph in which I have it.
        "Those who have been there seldom, if ever, talk about it," he said slowly. "Reynolds was killed; he took a large fragment of metal in the stomach. Wood lost both legs to a mine. Sharp, the best pitcher I ever saw, bled to death in the Argonne when a shell ripped both of his arms off -- and that was a blessing, because he'd been blinded by mustard gas just before. I was with each of them when they were wounded or died. I still write to Fred Wood, but I don't think that he'll be with us much longer, as his lungs are rotten.
        "I received, for my part in this minor engagement, the Medal of Honor. Each month, I receive from the government of the United States the sum of one hundred dollars. If you doubt the truth of this, you will find it easily checked at the public library or by reading the orders you will find in my sea chest at home." Uncle Mathias, who could speak as correctly as I, did not forego his regionalisms unless he was quite annoyed. And he was annoyed with me.
        I tried to apologize, to tell him that I had never doubted him. Orally falling all over myself, I tried to make amends for a slight I never intended to someone I loved.
        Suddenly, his face lit up in a huge grin. "Oh hell," he said. "If somebody told me the story I just told you, I'd think they was stretchin' it a little too!"
        "But I didn't walk out here today just to tell you stories. I got somethin' to give you and somethin' to tell you before you go to war.
        "When I came back from the war, everything was changed. Our old house was too small and the town was, well, like a tiny box. I had to leave again, only this time I wasn't forced to but was leavin' of my own free will. Went out and found Thecla, and came back after a while. When things had gotten bigger again.
        "That's what I wanted to tell you. When you come back, nothing will be like it was when you left. This place will be under water, and you'll find that everything is a whole lot smaller. Maybe you'll have to leave like I did, and if you do I'll square it with your mother for you. And one more thing: if you ever find that what you went through was more than you can take alone, I'll listen to you."
            Then he said, rather quickly, "What I didn't tell you just now was what I haven't told anyone else, except that Fred knows it, of course. It is this: when we charged those Germans, they were dead, wounded, or in shock. Except one. One grizzled old Sergeant, I guess he was, popped up in front of me and knocked my '03 away. I don't know how I did it, but I grabbed him, wrestled him to the ground and choked him to death with my bare hands.
        "And I still relive that, some nights.
        "If you need to talk, when you get back, to someone who's been there, well, I'm here. Your war'll be different from any of mine, but killin's the same. And that's what it is about, when you come down to it."
        Uncle Mathias sighed and stood up.
        "Uncle Mathias?" I asked. "How do you explain the monthly money to Aunt Thecla?"
        "I told her the truth -- that it's a pension.
        "Now here. I got a couple of presents for you. Keep 'em to yourself."
        He reached into his jacket pocket, took out a small automatic pistol, and handed it to me. "It's only a .32, but it'll do for a backup if you need one. This was mine, I carried it in Europe during the last world war."
        From inside his jacket he took a knife with a blackened metal handle and a double-edged, diamond-sectioned blade. "This was your father's. He got it during the war; it's called a Fairbairn-Sykes stilleto and it was issued to the British commandos and the OSS. He sent it along to me in the last package I ever got from him. He said to save it until he got home. Since he didn't make it back, I kinda thought that you should have it now. You might need it."
        I was very close to tears.
        "Now you listen," Uncle Mathias continued. "Both of these are mine. Your daddy gave me this knife, and your Aunt Thecla bought me the pistol when she found out I was in Europe the last time. She sent it over with a friend of ours, thought that it might be handy to have since I was at war again. So, you can have these two things as a loan. Use 'em, but you've got to bring them back.
        "Right now, if you will please put those items in your pocket or somewhere else out of sight, you and me can stroll over to the house and see if Thecla's still got some pie and coffee around."

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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: GUEST,999
Date: 08 Feb 12 - 10:45 PM

Sorry, I feel so ashamed.

Speaking of runs at the mill, did you catch the game on Saturday?

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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Amos
Date: 08 Feb 12 - 10:33 PM

You gentlemen need to raise your standards in Mom's house. We require fresh, thoughtful, inspired BS, not your ordinary run-of-the-forum kind of any old BS.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Rapparee
Date: 08 Feb 12 - 10:12 PM

MOAB...the thread that refreshes!

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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: gnu
Date: 08 Feb 12 - 07:55 PM

Stop that. It's distracting.

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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Little Hawk
Date: 08 Feb 12 - 06:38 PM


So refreshing!

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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Rapparee
Date: 08 Feb 12 - 06:31 PM


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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: GUEST,999
Date: 08 Feb 12 - 01:06 PM


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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Amos
Date: 08 Feb 12 - 12:19 PM

AN old friend came by last night, whom I had not seen in over ten years, maybe twenty. His hair has faded to gray, and his face has lines it didn't once have, but his eyes and his laugh have continued as they were, flashing and bright, full of zest, an immortal fire against the ravaging cold of time. It was delightful to see him.

BBW has strike out on a new adventure. We bought a used autoharp and she is determined to learn it. An old Oscar Schmidt 12-button. We will make music together. Huzzah for that, I say!

Today I am up to my earlobes decoding a flurry of technical talk concerning the design for a new device to be used in connection with horizontal boring, which is not very boring. I love understanding above all things. Don't you?

I think BS is, paradoxically, a higher form of understanding made manifest; to genuinely create that which is not, you must see clearly that which is. Otherwise your BS is rootless, ungrounded, free-floating and irrelevant.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Rapparee
Date: 08 Feb 12 - 11:05 AM

Come the first couple full weeks of March and we'll be heading South towards the Four Corners area. We may pay a visit to this joint, home of the Vicktory dogs.

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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 08 Feb 12 - 10:44 AM

It's those clicking toenails I've learned to respond to - if I don't, if they get a nose in the bedroom door and I'm not at least sitting, they take liberties, like a jump on the bed, to see if I'll let them stay. Or a bounce off the bed to tell me it's time to let them out. Ooooof!

Eiseley, did you find the same thing I did regarding kids' homework - it doesn't look the same as when we were kids. It's almost unrecognizable. Makes me wonder what we were doing in school.

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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Little Hawk
Date: 08 Feb 12 - 08:39 AM

Dachshunds DO do that, Stilly. They are experts at it. ;-)

They also never miss an opportunity to encroach a little further on previously unconquered territory, same as your dog.

If you allow a Dachshund to sleep on your bed, the Dachshund will align his or her back against yours and periodically PUSH!....resulting in you slowly moving out toward the edge of the bed. Within an hour or less you will be dangling at the very edge and in danger of falling on the floor, while the dog will be gloriously occuping the exact center of the mattress!

At that point you shove the little critter back where it belongs, causing much groaning and sighing from the aggrieved canine, who then settles down...a few minutes go by...and the dog stealthily begins to push you millimeter by millimeter over to the side of the bed again!

This battle continues all night long or until you bodily eject the dog from the bed. If you do, the dog complains for some time, finally sighs deeply, and goes off down the hall to the living room, muttering about the injustice of it all.

"click" "click" "click" "click" (the dwindling sound of his toenails going down the hall...)

"THUNK!" (he flops down on the living room rug)

"Uuuuuuuuuurghhhh!" (he utters one last wounded sigh)

And the silence of the night descends...

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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 08 Feb 12 - 12:41 AM

Good to see you here, Eiseley! Cinnamon says hello - and she asks any of you who like pit bulls to ask if she can please sleep on the foot of the REAL bed again. I let her on the bed last night, a one time thing, with her dog pillow, and she thinks all of a sudden she should sleep there every night. Tonight I let her return to the front room with the other dogs and put her pillow on that futon and she lay there quietly breathing with that tiny little whine in every breath that they can manage even when they're not really out-loud whining. Do you know what I mean, LH? Can dachshunds do that? So I let her take her cushion back into my room, but she's on the floor (she's on a Persian rug, but she is on the floor).

She may be only a pit bull, but she wanted me to remind Rap that if he heats his gun to 400o to melt a screw loose that he might have a loose screw. Starting at about 390o wood starts breaking down, turns to charcoal (she read it on the Internet so it must be true). Leave the screw alone, or you'll turn your gun to charcoal.

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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: GUEST,Eiseley
Date: 07 Feb 12 - 11:55 PM

I've just spent several hours monitoring the homework of my youngest son. It is a grueling process and almost enough to drive me to drink. I shudder to think what will happen when (if) he makes it to sixth grade.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Rapparee
Date: 07 Feb 12 - 11:34 PM

I learned tonight that Eiseley's off drugs and booze.

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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Rapparee
Date: 07 Feb 12 - 05:38 PM

Thanks, Amos. I                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    .

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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Amos
Date: 07 Feb 12 - 03:15 PM

Oh, just for the record in case someone DID use LocTite on your handsome shooter, Rapparee, be aware that LocTite liquefies at 400 degrees F.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Little Hawk
Date: 07 Feb 12 - 12:26 PM

You must be very, very busy destroying things. Am I right?

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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: GUEST,Hokh Ptui
Date: 07 Feb 12 - 12:16 PM

I do not understand this. What I do not understand I must destroy. Please explain.

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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Little Hawk
Date: 07 Feb 12 - 10:09 AM

Hey, Amos, go _______________________! And further __________ you can just ____________________ yourself, and if _____________ then ______________________ to the nines you ___________ @!

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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Rapparee
Date: 07 Feb 12 - 10:06 AM

"    out, Amos! I l t he fus !"

' gett g be tter t t.

"B   grou d!   et ut f he !"

"   t dyn   te s wea g. e car   !"

"F    i t   h   !"

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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Amos
Date: 07 Feb 12 - 09:59 AM

Well, yes, when he gets really good that's exactly what he will sound like. And peace will reign in the halls of our Mom.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Little Hawk
Date: 07 Feb 12 - 08:22 AM

You mean like___________________________________________________ ?

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Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
From: Amos
Date: 06 Feb 12 - 11:44 PM

You're definitely on the right track, there, Rapparee!! I am proud of your progress. Soon you will be omitting whole sentences!!


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