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Archive for October, 2011

BJ called me at work last Wednesday, and said that she just bought a new dishwasher, and would I stop by Lowe’s and pick it up on my way home from work. Always wanting to be a blessing I said, “Sure.” Now, I have always considered myself handy, having been in maintenance and construction for more years than I can remember. So, I do the smart thing and ask the lady in the appliance department would I need to purchase anything else to hook up the dishwasher and she said not if you are replacing one, just unhook it and install the new one using the same hookups. “It shouldn’t take more than a few minutes as handy as you are.”

 

I guess sometime when a man’s ego reaches a certain point, God, in a sense of humor, just turns off his brain. At least I think He has done that to me on several occasions. After unloading the dishwasher I unhooked the old one and put it on the back porch, thinking this was a piece of cake. I brought the new one in and started to hook it up when I saw that the water inlet did not have the brass nipple needed to connect the water line. No problem, I just took off the one on the old machine. It was the wrong size, but not only that, the drain hose was also too small and would not fit on the outlet. I knew then that it was another trip to Lowe’s, but such is life for someone of my vocation. I dearly love Lowe’s nearly as much as BJ loves Country Cobbler, Belk’s or Walmart.

 

I measured the size of the outlet, and after work the next day I stop by the store and told the same lady that my old drain hose was too small and that I also needed a 3/8” nipple. After looking in the drain hose bin, I told her I needed a 1-1/8 inch one. She said that the largest that they sale was one inch. I said that will not fit, which she replied that it would fit any machine that they sell. So, I purchased it and the nipple. At home I tried the hose and it did not fit. It was 1/8 of an inch too small, as I knew it would be. However, I am pretty handy, so I turn on the hot water and heated the end for a few minutes and rubbed some dish detergent inside of it, and forced it on. I got it three quarters of the way on. The end that connects to my sink was too big and I had to clamp it down hard. I’m thinking this thing will probably leak. Next I go to connect the electrical and notice that the cover for the connections was not there. The old one would not fit either. I am getting very upset with Lowe’s by this time. But I pressed on and just wrap it good and tape it up out of the way. Finally I ‘m thinking I can get it going and push it into the space for it. It will not fit! My counter top has ceramic tile for trim and the overhang hits the top of the dishwasher.

 

The only thing left to do is to pop off the tile, and replace them after I get the machine in, which I do. I turn on the water and check for leaks, after which I tell BJ she can try it out. She comes in and opens the door and pulls out a bag and says, “What is this?” I look at it and there was everything needed to install the dishwasher, (everything), along with the instructions.

 

Gees…

 

David Butler

 

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Camping with Bears.

Coming back from the store I was making the loop around the campground to get to our camp site on the motorcycle. As I came parallel with our camp site on the opposite side, I notice several people looking in the direction I was traveling. I looked up and saw a bear with his head in a trash can, (before the days of bear proof cans). As I passed him his head came up, and I guess he was startled by the sound of the bike as much as he was seeing me that close. His excitement however, was no match for mine when I saw him chasing me! I kicked the bike into another gear and kicked at the bear as I got away from there. That was indeed a close encounter of an unwanted kind.

That was Labor Day week-end in1966, and having been married only three months, I had taken BJ on a camping trip to the Smokey Mountains with another couple. They rode their bike and we drove our VW Bug. It would be many years before I got her to go camping with me again. And the second trip was worse than this one, so I cured her forever from wanting to camp. We had no tent, just sleeping bags and two sheets of plastic, one to lay on the ground, and one tied to trees to give some cover. The first night we slept in some mans orchard, and he did not like it, when he found us the next morning, and took a shot at us as we were getting out of dodge. The next night we stayed in a campground near Cherokee, North Carolina. It was from there I rode the bike to the store for a few supplies. I was very pleased that the bear gave up the chase and we saw no more of him, at least I didn’t.

I don’t know if it was the same bear or not, but that night while sleeping in our bags, BJ woke up and saw a bear sniffing at my head. Did she sound the alarm, or scream to run off the bear? No no, not my beautiful new bride. Having watched the bear chase me on the bike, I guess she assumed that he finally found me and came to finish the job, and not wanting to be dessert, she just slid down in her bag and zipped it over her head and kept very quiet. She was still in there when I woke up the next morning. She seemed surprised to see me. Later after talking her into taking a ride on the bike with me and burning her leg on the muffler, she had enough and we packed the VW, and left our friends and headed home, only stopping to eat, at an ‘All you can eat catfish,’ road side café.

My life, for the most part has been one big adventure, and my darling wife, bless her heart, has always been there to pick up the pieces.

David Butler

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Our  Three Quarter Ton Army Truck was getting ready to pull out on Hwy One headed back to the base at Long Thanh North. Just as the driver let off the clutch to pull out, the truck stalled, and would not crank back up. I was in the back with three other soldiers and we jumped out and started to push the truck to get it restarted. As usual there were several young Vietnamese Boys standing around the corner looking for a handout. They came running over to help us push, in the off chance we would give them something, which we would have. The boy that was by me pushing, grabbed the body of my watch just as the truck started up and as I was jumping back into the truck. He pulled it so hard that it just popped the elastic band, and took off running.

“Hey, he’s got my watch!” I yelled for the driver to pull over and I gave chase. He ran across the highway dodging traffic with me in hot pursuit. On the far side of the road were several rows of concertina wire that he jumped with ease, putting some distance between us as I made my way through the wire much slower. Once through, I pick up speed and was gaining on him when he turn a corner and disappeared into a small village at the edge of the highway. I ran into the village for about a hundred feet and came to a sudden stop. I no longer saw the boy, but I saw some angry faces on some men. I looked back and none of my buddies had come with me. All at once, that watch didn’t mean anything to me anymore. I said as much out loud as I pulled my Smith & Weston 38 out of the holster. I held it down by my side as I back out of the village, all the while telling the boy to keep the watch.

I was really sick when I got back to the truck. The watch was not worth my life true enough, but that was not just any watch. No sir, that was a 14k Gold Bulova Accutron Spaceview Watch. I had spent my first tour of duty in Viet Nam wearing a $12.00 Timex self-winding watch, and just before I left for the USA, I bought that beautiful watch for a $140.00 in the PX. I had been planning that for 4 months. Back home that watch sold for $300.00. It was the world’s first fully electronic watch. It kept time to within two seconds a day. The watch was regulated by a tiny humming tuning fork. It was even chosen by NASA to be incorporated into their space time computers. Man, I loved that watch. Now, two years later when back in Viet Nam on my second tour I lose it to a kid, who I know would more than likely sell it to another GI for $10.00. If so, I’m sure that he still has it and tells people what a great bargain he got while serving his country, and I only get to tell this story. Shucks…

Note: While preparing for this story, I saw on the internet a 1968 gold accutron watch, like the one I lost, that had just sold for $1,790.00, and a 1960 model up for sale for $3,950.00. Now I am really sick.

Not really, as I wouldn’t trade those memories for anything.

David Butler

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Ketchup

I love horses, I really do, but only from a distance, or on a movie screen. One of my favorite horse movies is, “The Man from Snowy River.” I even rode one once but, decided then that being an equestrian was not in my future. As a teenager along with several of my childhood friends I went to a riding stable and rented a horse. While riding in the woods near the stable, the horse decided that he was through with carrying me around and headed back to the barn. I tried hard to change his mind, but was  rewarded with being bucked off. If that had been the worst part I might have tried again, but no, I had left one foot caught in the stirrup. So, on the way back to the barn bouncing along the ground, I knew then and there that I was not cut out to be a cowboy, a soldier in the Calvary, or any of those exciting vocations I had seen in the movies.   

So, thoughts of that rent a horse came to my mind when I was in Cherry Farms Store and was ask if I want to register for a drawing on a horse. I politely told them, thanks but no thanks. For the next three weeks, whenever I went to the store, I was asked the same question and gave the same answer. Then one day I took my daughter Terri Jo with me and they asked again and she put in for me to register. Mr. Cherry really put on the pressure with her there, I finally relented and filled out the card, thinking that there was no way my name would be drawn. I finished getting some equipment for the chicken houses and went home. As I walked in the door, BJ said that Mr. Cherry was on the phone. He had called to tell me that I had won that horse.   

Now, I’m not a suspicious man by nature, but there was something not right about this whole thing. I believe to this day that my name was the only one in the pot, and if you knew ‘Ketchup,’ you would have understood. And why would anyone name a horse Ketchup? Why not use some real names like, Trigger, Topper, Silver, Traveler or such? No, I had to win one named ‘Ketchup.’

Terri Jo loved Ketchup, and Ketchup liked Terri Jo however, that was the only person on this earth that Ketchup liked. The rest of us were to be hated. That feeling became mutual with me. Any horse that would try to bite you just because you were trying to feed them deserves to be hated. Remembering the rent a horse, I never once tried to ride him, but the moment I went into his pen, all he wanted to do was bite and kick. I soon reach the point that if I went in there I would carry a baseball bat for protection. Even that did not scare him much as he would move off about 20 feet and stand there with his ears up, waiting for his chance. One of his favorite games was to break out of his pen so I would have to chase him. More than once I found him hiding in one of the empty chicken houses. He certainly made life entertaining around the farm.

I have often wondered what become of Ketchup. We sold him to Bill for $25.00, or was it the other way around, where I gave him $25.00 to take him. I really don’t remember. Whichever it was, for me it was a good deal.

Ketchup, what a name for a horse…

David Butler

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