Thursday, January 17, 2008

Sad News

The last week was a difficult one to say the least. My sister’s husband of 32 years passed away suddenly. He was admitted into the hospital on a Monday and was gone by Wednesday. We flew down on Wednesday to be with her during this sad time. Yes, I flew to Atlanta from South Bend but needed some good drugs to get me through the flight. He had an infection in his abdomen but suffered a heart attack prior to surgery. They revived him but were concerned about doing the surgery after this heart attack. The infection was getting worse so they felt they should try to fix the problem and hope for the best. He made it through surgery but remained in a coma and was having trouble getting oxygen because of the damage done to the heart. He passed away about twelve hours after the surgery.

He was quite an individual. I believe that he was probably a genius and could retain almost everything he ever read. He graduated from Georgia State and was in the Army Reserves for four years. His main profession was a photographer and did this for many years. Later on, he went into the surgical instrument repair and sales business. He also loved to restore old cars and had quite a few in his day. Currently in his basement garage was a Jaguar XK-150, Porsche 356 Cabriolet, an early Volkswagen convertible and an early Mustang. All of these cars were in various stages of restoration. The Jag was complete and the Volkswagen was close to 100%. His daily transportation was a Nissan 350Z. Now that was a nice car.

Albert Bayliss Mullins, Jr. was his name but he also went by Al, Bayliss, or Moon. His family called him Bayliss and my family always called him Moon. Many people will sadly miss him. Moon, Rest In Peace.

Of course, I feel sad for my sister and wish I could have stayed longer with her to give more help and comfort. I probably will drive down to spend some time to help out and give that much needed comfort that she needs in this time of sadness.

John 11:25-26 (New International Version)

Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?"

Monday, January 7, 2008

Time To Think About Vacation

Wow, things sure have changed around here. A few days ago, we had 14 inches of snow and now the temperature is 61 degrees and most of the snow is gone. Guess that is why Michigan is so strange weather wise. The Great Lakes can make the weather do a 180 and sometimes that happens all in one day. In the morning you can have lake effect snow and by afternoon a thunderstorm. This warm weather today does remind us that we should start planning our vacation schedule for the year.

Being RVer’s, we need to do a little planning on campgrounds and the direction of our travels. We also have to give our house and cat sitter our schedule so we do not interfere with their schedule. Our four cats are not RVer’s yet so we need a sitter for them. Maybe someday we will get them used to traveling but not this year.

Our first planned trip will be to Branson, MO for a rally of about 100 rigs. There is a website called and they are having a rally for all their website fans. They are both in their early 40’s and decided to leave the corporate world and try fulltime RVing. After two years, they are still enjoying the lifestyle. Be sure and check out their website.

We usually spend a week in Cambridge, Ohio to do a little antiquing and visit the Fenton factory. The Fenton factory was going to close last year after over 100 years but supporters have kept it going. I hope that it will still be open this summer.

We will probably include many short trips to quaint places such as Shipshewana, IN, Frankenmuth, MI and Houghton Lake, MI. The Branson trip will be the longest of about a week and a half. Joanne is still semi-retired working at the Police Station so we still do not go for long periods as most retired folks. She has a flexible schedule at work but why push it too much when she loves her job. Next year we will probably head for the Black Hills of South Dakota for a couple of weeks. Of course, the other thing that keeps us locally is the grandkids active summer schedules of sports and activities. They all want Nana and Papa to come and watch. By the time they are teenagers, they won’t care as much as they do now.

Before we do all these trips, we need to take the fiver into the factory for a few fixes. I think we have a leak on the water inlet point that has gotten the wall above that point wet at some time. Need to fix that and a few minor fixes that always occur when you haul your home behind you at 65 mph. We love our 40-foot Travel Supreme but as I get older, I think that maybe I should cut back to maybe 38 or 36 feet. Backing up a 40-foot fifth wheel is a challenge at some of these campgrounds. However, we love it and that is what counts.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Re-Hash of Military Days

It has been awhile since I have written much on my blog so I thought I should do a little re-hashing of my military days. I had connections at the Draft Board so I knew when it was close to being drafted. My Dad was in the Navy along with my Uncle so I enlisted in the Navy but said I wanted to go to boot camp in San Diego. Being from Michigan, I wanted a warmer climate to train. The first available spot was in April of 1966 in San Diego so I waited until then to go into the Navy.

Let me interject something at this point. I am a strong believer in military service and how it prepares young people for the rest of their lives. Having a system similar to Israel where everyone must spend some time in the military is a good system. Spending two years in the military for both men and women would probably create a healthier and more disciplined population.

Enough of my soapbox rhetoric let us continue with my military days. I spent my boot camp days in San Diego’s wonderful weather where we could march all day in the hot sun. It is better than marching in the snow. Besides marching, there was a lot of military training in the classroom and teaching us the Navy Regulations. We also took tests that helped the military decide what specialty we would be best suited. I got high marks in the new computer field and in medicine. I should have taken computers. At the start of boot camp, we were a disjointed bunch of guys but by the time of graduation, we were a well-oiled machine.

After boot camp, I was sent to Hospital Corps School in San Diego. U.S. Naval Hospital in BalboaPark, San Diego is a beautiful facility. The whole area was nice. Sun, surf and beautiful women. What more could a sailor ask for? I graduated first in my class even with all the distractions.

From San Diego, my next duty station was U.S. Naval Hospital in Portsmouth, Virginia. It was a nice setting on a bay but it overlooked shipyards and Navy ships. I worked in the Operating Room and help train OR Techs in Pack Room Procedures. That included how to create sterile packs for surgery and how to clean and prepare surgical instruments for the next operation. I was an OR orderly while going to College so I had some previous experience in the field. On most of my duty periods, I was an ambulance driver. Boy did I get lost in Portsmouth and Norfolk but I did learn to get somewhere fast on a code 3 (lights and sirens) was to go down one-way streets the wrong way. People could see you coming and got out of your way very quickly.

One of the memories I had of my duty at Portsmouth was a bad accident that happened in Norfolk. They have helicopter carriers and a helicopter was taking off from one, lost control, and crashed back onto the deck of the carrier. I do not like being around helicopters during takeoff or landing. When a helicopter goes down, the blades break off into thousands of little pieces that are traveling at high rates of speed. You do not want to be around when the pieces of the blade are flying by because it does major damage to human tissue. We were just getting ready to leave the Operating Room about 3 PM, the word came in about the accident, and that casualties would be arriving soon. Portsmouth had eight surgical suites and we filled them all with severe trauma cases. There were limb amputations and very bad wounds causes by the flying debris. One patient took over 50 pints of blood because of a large abdominal wound. Sorry to say he did not make it. It was two in the morning before we finally got the OR ready for the next morning’s surgeries. We were a little tired working that next day. I only got about 3 hours sleep before being back to work.

I was scheduled to go to Pharmacy School at Portsmouth but by the time the next class started, they wanted me to extend my service by another year. No way. Got my orders to Nam a few months later. From Portsmouth, my next duty station was Camp Lejuene for Fleet Marine Force training. That training included shooting a rifle (a type that was NOT in Nam) and the 45-caliber pistol. In addition, we got a lot of physical training, nighttime patrols, patient care in the field and taking care of snakebites. I never saw a snake in Nam. The best thing the Marines did was to get us into great shape physically. I hated Gunny then but thank him now for getting us prepared for combat.

After a 30 day leave at home, I was then off on a full expense paid trip to Vietnam. Read some of my earlier blog about my misadventure on the way to Nam. I think it is under my fear of flying section. I arrived in Nam around 1 July 1967 and was assigned to Bravo Company 1stth Marines. Battalion 4 I was then injured on Friday the 13th of Oct. 1967 and finally arrived on Guam on 2 Dec. 1867. Spent three months in the hospital on Guam until my orders came through to go back to Nam on 3 March 1968. I arrived in Saigon on 3 March 1968, flew to Da Nang 4 March 1968 and then flew to Phu Bai on 5 March 1968. I was assigned to 3rd Shore Party Battalion in Gia Le outside of Phu Bai on 5 March 1968. I left Nam the first part of July 1968 and headed home for a well-deserved 30-day leave.

My last assignment for the Navy was another FMF duty. I was assigned to Camp Pendleton and luckily got picked to replace a retiring Chief in the base Medical Supply. That turned out to be great duty. I only had to stand duty about every 17 days and then I was in charge of a clinic on base (it is always good duty when you are the boss). I rented an apartment on the beach in Oceanside so my stay in California was very pleasant after the previous year’s duty in Nam. I got an early out of the Navy to attend college in January 1970. Did you notice that after 4 years in the Navy, I never once got on a ship?