The Life Change of 1978

Both @gayathri and @angie10 showed interest in having me write about my experience with love at first sight, since that is exactly the case with my wife and me. It started on the night of August 30, 1978. Actually, it began a couple of weeks before that, but I had no idea what things were leading up to. At the time, I was working as the head cook for a full service restaurant called Sambo’s. I worked the evening shift and got off work at 10 pm. To relax after work, I’d go to a tavern called the Buffalo, where I’d have a few beers and shoot some pool. One day in mid August, just for something different, I decided to go across the street to another tavern, named the Round-Up. As it happened, there was an impromptu jam session going on and I’d had just enough beer that I went up to the bandstand and started singing and playing the guitar. It went over well and that is putting it mildly. People started paying for my beer, which was a pretty good deal as far as I was concerned. The bartender, who was also the manager, was a man named Leroy. Because of how much the people liked the music, Leroy asked me to start running a jam session on Friday and Saturday nights. He couldn’t pay me, but he said that my beer would be on the house. Like I said, that seemed like a good deal, so Continue Reading →

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The Story Behind the Song, “Smokey Mountain Rain”

One of the hit songs in the United States back in 1981 was a tune called “Smokey Mountain Rain”, performed by Ronnie Milsap. If you haven’t heard this song, it is really a nice one. It also has quite an interesting history. Many years earlier, Elvis Presley was one of the biggest names in music, worldwide. Even today, many people know who he was or still listen to some of his music and that music spans both decades and generations. What people might not know is that Elvis loved giving people a chance, if they had any talent at all, by giving them a place in his band. It made no difference if nobody else had ever heard of them or not. Elvis was rather impressed by a talented blind piano player and songwriter named Ronnie Milsap. Elvis hired Ronnie to write music for him and to play the piano in Elvis’s band. It was a good move for both men. One of the songs that were done was a huge hit for Elvis: Kentucky Rain, a song that Ronnie especially liked. Years passed and Ronnie became a major performing star in his own right, scoring a number of hits. He still remembered the song he’d helped Elvis with, though, and he still loved the music. Even though Elvis had passed away, Elvis still owned the rights to Tennessee Rain and Ronnie wasn’t about to do anything illegal, especially if it had to do with his deceased friend and mentor. So, in Continue Reading →

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Memories of Mother: Fishing

When we were growing up, we frequently made a weekend camping trip, which always featured fishing. Most often, those trips were either to Deadhorse Lake, Campbell Lake or the Chewaucan River (pronounced She-waa-can). All of these were very near a small town called Paisley, Oregon and in fact, the Chewaucan flows past Paisley. We were going to these places long before I knew what fishing was about, though I vividly remember my mother standing next to the water and casting a fishing fly out into the water. She would bring the fly in slowly, across the surface of the water, quite often enticing a trout to strike the fly. I was often amazed at how effortlessly she could cast that fly out and make it mimic a real insect on the water’s surface. It didn’t take long, watching her fish, before I became naturally interested in fishing. The first fish I ever caught was with Mom right there next to me. That wasn’t at either of the lakes, nor on the Chewaucan, though. Mom decided to take me to a different river, called Sprague River. This wasn’t far from where I’d end up going to school for a couple of years and it was only about 40 miles from the Crater Lake park boundary. It was a rare instance when she bait fished, but she knew that would be easier for me. She showed me how to cast out and began to teach me patience, since after two or three Continue Reading →

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Memories of Mother: Hunting

Hunting is a man’s sport, right? Anyone who thinks that way never met my mother. She was raised with eight brothers and sisters, by a father who’d been a sharpshooter in WWI and a mother who was very enterprising and pioneering. Every one of her siblings learned how to cook and they all were taught to fish, hunt, clean game properly and to deal with the outdoors. The fact is that Mom was an expert when it came to hunting deer, especially. Her rifle of choice was a .300 Savage. My father was a deer hunter as well, and he prided himself on being an expert hunter. Throughout our younger years, my two sisters, my brother and I went out hunting on a yearly basis. Dad was loath to admit that Mom could out shoot and out hunt him. In fact, he not only denied that it was true, he went so far as to make fun of her rifle, saying that it wasn’t good for shooting anything more than a jackrabbit at less than 50 feet. A lot of their hunting was in the open country of eastern Oregon, so she had ample opportunities to prove to everyone that it wasn’t true, though she never did try to prove anything to anyone. She didn’t need to, because everyone could see for themselves. Only my father still denied her prowess with that .300. There were a number of times when he’d make a shot of about 300 yards, using his Continue Reading →

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Why days are longer and hotter in the summer

When people hear the word ‘science’, they sometimes moan. Science doesn’t need to be boring or over your head, though. It can be interesting. For instance, do you know why the days are longer and hotter in the summertime? If your first impulse is to say that it is because the earth is closer to the sun in the summer, you wouldn’t be alone. A lot of people think that, but it is wrong. In fact, in the northern hemisphere, the earth is actually farther away from the sun during the summer than it is any other time of the year. Also, if it was because of the distance from the sun, places on the equator would have a very noticeable variation in temperatures, during various times of the year. Yet, the closer to the equator a location is, the less variation in length of day or heat. Why? It is for the same reason; the tilt of the earth. The earth isn’t straight up and down as it revolves around the sun. It is tilted at an angle of about 23.5 degrees. Because of this, the only place on earth that faces the sun all the time is right around the equator. On the equator, the light of the sun, and the heat from the sun, comes in directly. The length of the night and the day are also the same. If you draw a line around an orange, tilt is by about 23 degrees and then revolve the orange Continue Reading →

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Memories of Mother: Music

One of my earliest memories of my mother was of her playing the piano. Her playing style was what used to be called ‘Honky-Tonk’ and our favorite song to hear her play was from the Big Band Era, called “In The Mood“. Her fingers would fly over the keys as she played it. Neighbors would come over when she started playing, just to listen to her. Later on, she started playing on Friday and Saturday night at a tavern in the nearest little town to Crater Lake National Park. The tavern was called The Cattle-Crossing and it no longer exists because it burned to the ground about a dozen years ago. At the time, though, the place was fairly popular. When Mom started playing there, the place got busier and people would travel from all over the county to hear her play. At that time, she met a man named Pete Colley, who was also a piano player. Pete was a big man who was about as dark as midnight, with a brilliant grin, great personality and a heart of gold. He started playing at the Cattle-Crossing, too, and his style was Rag-Time. That perfectly matched Mom’s Honky-Tonk, and Pete and his family soon became good friends with our family. Pete and Mom would trade-off with playing piano at the tavern. Pete and his family started visiting us at Crater Lake and at first, that wasn’t very well received. It was the 1960’s and white folk simply didn’t associate with Continue Reading →

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