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Tuesday, August 23, 2016


My dog Murphy is captivated by my electric razor.  When I turn it on she comes running at the sound.  Through the house at top speed,  dragging her leash behind her.  When she sees me rubbing the razor around my face, she is astonished and sits down hard on the floor, as if she was just handed a telegram telling her she’d won a bag of dog treats.

I don’t think we’ve ever had a dog as interested in the larger world as Murphy.  Yesterday, for twenty minutes she chased a tiny  bird feather around the back yard while over and over a breeze picked it up and dropped it,    Murphy stalked it, barked at it, walked away, came back, barked again and with a look of annoyance on her face, resolutely stomped away a second time.  She may have been angry with  the breeze for kidnapping her toy, for playing with her feather.  But after a few moments the breeze tired of the game and Murphy came back to move  the tiny wisp of white around  with her nose.  Finally, she ate it.

“She reminds me of you,” said Herself.

“Do you mean,” I asked, “her unflagging enthusiasm for the unknown and her genius for dealing with danger?”

“No.  I meant both of you will eat anything.”

“Not true,” I replied.  “I never eat rocks. I’ve seen Murphy eat a rock.”

“Only after she has barked at it for ten minutes to make sure it’s not alive,” said my wife.

“I never bark at food,” I said, for no logical reason.

“It’s why I married you,” she said.  “Your excellent table manners.”

“I knew you’d find a reason among the many available,” I said.

“Eventually, yes.”

Later, with Herself gone off to a movie with girl friends, Murphy and I sat out on the back lawn and watched the stars begin to unfold their nightly revue.  Somewhere along the narrow pond that runs behind the houses on our street a splash sounded in the still night air.  Not much moves in the pond at night and there have been rumors of alligators in the area.

In the half light I saw Murphy’s eyes open with interest, but not concern. 

“Go find out what made the noise,” I said to her.  I was almost instantly sorry for the suggestion and wondered how the heck I’d ever explain to my wife I’d sent Murphy off to do battle with an alligator.  If indeed the dog lost the fight.

Murphy stood as if to obey my command.  Her head swung around to point in the direction of the splash.

“Belay that order,” I said.  “it may not be safe, and we don’t want to lose you without ever finding out if you would have some day become a good dog.”

Even in the quickly advancing darkness,  I sensed her disdain for my remark and I was certain I heard her snort.  She lay back down in the grass beside my chair.  Soon she was chewing on a small rock.  I wondered what a rock tastes like, but my good table manners prevented me from asking Murphy to share it.  Besides, my teeth cost too much to risk them.  And if a rock in a dog's back yard has any taste at all, I can imagine what it came from.

More Murphy Stories Here:

copyright 2015, David Griffin

Murrells Inlet, South Carolina

Friday, July 15, 2016

Everyone Is Selling Something

by  June T. Bassemir

 "It isn't always easy."

There was no written test. as I recall, l when I applied for a job in the upscale and successful Hempstead, L. I.  department store called Arnold Constable.   It was just an interview with one of the men in the employment office who accepted my youthful good looks, my sincerity and my recently earned H. S. diploma.  It was the largest branch of the parent company based in Brooklyn, NY and was responsible for supplying the needs of a starved war weary fleet of customers.  Thus began my selling career which has carried me through a life time of selling everything under the sun except perhaps a four mastered schooner.  

I joined the sales force of Arnold Constable only a week or so after graduation in June and was assigned to "Miss Johnson"; a stately lady of probably 50 yrs., leaning more on the tailored side of femininity than not.  As the manager of the Nylon and Silk stocking department, she was a pro who had all the right answers when complaints came in to her from irate customers who carried with them, their recently bought stockings that had "run" after just one wearing.  She politely listened to their complaints but then as the damaged goods sat limply on the counter between them, she would back away refusing to handle such, saying she couldn't touch them because they hadn't been washed.  Of course, the customer was urged to go back home and wash them and if they had the temerity to come back the next day or soon after and continue their complaint with Miss Johnson, she would argue that the run was probably due to being mishandled during the washing process.  Ahhh yes, she had all the answers!  Rarely did I ever see the customer win the argument of stockings that had failed to satisfy after the first wearing.  Miss Johnson was a valuable employee largely responsible for the Arnold Constable Department store lasting on the corner of  Fulton and Franklin for as long as they did.  


Saturday, April 30, 2016

Line 59, Panel 18E Calls to Me

Memories of a life cut short
by Dick Naegele,
copyright 2011

Prior to the Vietnam war, my life was peaceful and serene living in Newport, NY. Newport is a small rural village, nestled in the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains of Central NY state. We moved there when I was going into the junior year in high school. My parents didn't want us kids growing up in the Utica NY and suburb's school systems,and they had found a wonderful old house with brook babbling through the backyard and mature trees shading the entire property.

I was devastated by the very thought of moving to “hicktown USA” and leaving all of my friends. There were no shopping centers, no theaters, and no city buses to travel around on.

It was a cold fall morning when an open stake rack truck backed into our driveway. It was no moving van by any stretch of the imagination. The truck's owner had been recommended by the person my parents purchased the house from, who was also the local pharmacy owner. It seems that the truck's owner was a local dairy farmer, and part time school bus driver, whose sideline was local freight delivery, as well as being the main source of deliveries from the local feed store.

I watched as two muscular farm boys loaded our furniture and household goods onto the truck, and covered it with a hay tarp. They were dressed in jeans and work boots. I was soon to learn that jeans and work shoes or sensible loafers were the norm, and that my tight chino slacks and pointed shoes with heel taps were scorned and ridiculed in small town America. The “Fonz” look was not acceptable. Walking the halls with a cigarette behind my ear was not acceptable either. Moving from Whitesboro Central School to West Canada Valley Central School, could just as well have been a move to the opposite side of the globe.

Continued HERE:

 Dick Naegele, "Clipper," now hails from Tennesee, but most days find his heart in the Mohawk Valley of central New York State, where he plans to one day return. Living the life of the "Last American Cowboy,"  Dick was a trucker and logged over  3 million miles on the nation's highways.  He has owned his own business, been a government manager and also a professional firefighter.  A writer of many talents and experiences, his  writing sees the hearts of people that most of us often miss.  More of "Clipper's"  writing is located  on his blog,   "Along the Banks of Beaver Creek," at:

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Easter Coming to Wisconsin

by Delores Miller

Full moon shining all night, but a big snowstorm is forecast in a few days.  Just what we need for a sloppy Easter egg hunt that the Easter Bunny will scatter around the Miller yard along with chocolate Easter Bunnies and real colored cooked eggs.  Want to come along to Good Friday and Easter Sunday church services with us?

It has been a busy spring for us, we are getting slower so things take longer.  Went dancing twice last week, good polka bands and saw lots of people to gossip with.    Tucker, Matthew's 5 year old son had grandparents day at his school and we went for tea and crumpets.  Was fun.  Here is a poem that was handed out:  'Grandparents bestow upon their grandchildren, The strength and wisdom that time and experience have given them.  Grandchildren bless their Grandparents with a youthful vitality and innocence that help them stay young a heart forever.  Together they create a chain of love linking the past with the future.  The chain may lengthen, but it will never part.

So last week was St. Patrick's Day, March 17.  Not Irish in our family but all the bars serve Corned Beef, cabbage, carrots, red potatoes and marble rye bread.  Russ cannot stand the smell of cooked cabbage, so took me out twice to eat it.  Was very good.  Nancy Reagan former first lady and wife of President Ronald Reagan died at 94 and we watched the funeral on tv from the Presidential Library at Simi, California.  Had visited it about ten years ago, beautiful view of the Pacific Ocean.    Russ had a luncheon with his Marine Corps buddies, they all joined together in 1953.  Needless to say they have gotten older.    And now this is Leap Year, had an extra day on
February 29.  Politics with people running for President in November and we will hear all that hullabaloo.  Went to a church luncheon, their speciality was pea soup and banana pie.  Was very good.  Another church had a pancake supper.  Girl Scouts were selling cookies, bought two boxes.    Another church had a polka service and a chili luncheon.

Funerals of friends, sad.  Cancer, heart trouble and a fiery truck accident.

So on that happy note we close and wish you a Happy Easter.  Think spring and planting a garden.

Russell and Delores Miller in sunny Wisconsin

 Delores Miller lives with husband Russell in Hortonville, Wisconsin.    In the summer of 2007 they  celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary with a party hosted by their five children and ten grandchildren.  It’s been a long road.  Dairy farming until retirement in 1993, they continued to 'work' the land, making a subdivision of 39 new homes on their former hay fields.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

The Dupont Gunslinger

By Harold Ratzburg

I'd guess that by now, anybody who knows me, knows that I have been a "gun nut" (also known as a "Collector") for all of my life. How that fascination came about is anybody's guess, but there it is and I just have to live with it.

My first memories of a gun comes about in the first and second grades of Maple Valley Grade School in Dupont township.. With imagination of a kid, we kids found that you could fashion a gun of sorts out of a straight stem out of a lilac bush, (of which there were plenty around the school at that time) about seven inches long. What you had to do then was break the stem about three inches from the heavy end into a 90 degree angle and then peel the bark down at the angle and the bark would make a passable trigger guard. That left a barrel about four inches long. Then, armed with this formidable weapon, and if you could holler "Bang, you're dead" first --and loud enough, you could win the schoolyard shoot outs or nail those pesky Redskins hiding out behind the lilac bushes.

As time went on, I got bigger and more trustworthy with a sharp instruments and Dad got me a jack knife down in town at the hardware store. The next step up in the arms department was guns whittled out of cedar shingles. A coping saw helped a lot also, for cutting around the curves of the handle. Shingles were straight grained and easy to whittle and when finished, they didn't break too easy, With a shingle nail for a trigger it made a passable sidearm. You hadda carry it stuck in your belt but a quick draw was still possible.


Sunday, February 7, 2016

Mouse in the House

 by Chester L. Tuthill

It was 1945 and I was still in the Marines in China.  It was natural for me to make friends with some of the local merchants.  Eventually I was invited to go with them to a restaurant, in return for which I was going to take them to a movie at the auditorium in the school where we were lodged.

There were about five or six Chinese men there with me.  The first thing we did was climb up some stairs to a small cubicle on the second floor.  We were given a bowl of hot water and a  towel to wash our face and hands.  Everybody used the same water!

Once seated it now became a struggle to converse.  My Chinese at this stage was rather limited, nevertheless, with the aid of a book of translation provided by the Marine Corps we were able to converse after a fashion.  I'm not sure what was ordered as I left that matter up to them.  During the course of the meal which had now moved along on a really high note, due to the beverage of choice.  It was “bei gar”, an innocent, clear white substance, about 150 proof.  (My alcohol knowledge and  consumption was very limited.)

I noticed a cat fooling around at my legs, so I gave it a kick to remove it.  With that, I felt something shoot up inside my pants leg.  I thought, “My goodness a mouse must have run up my leg”.  I jumped up and started to unbutton my fly so as to take off my pants.  I was trying to explain to the startled group (with the aid of the translation booklet) what I thought had happened.  They said, “No, No, No.  This clean place, not possible.  Must be your imagination.”  By now, quiet had been restored;  the cat had left;  I sat down and we finished the meal a half hour or so later.

We left the restaurant and climbed into rickshaws for the ride back to the school.  I noticed the full moon didn't seem to stay in the same place.  It was sort of bobbing and weaving as opposed to the rickshaw which was weaving and bobbing.  The “bei gar” was working.  I thought, “How soothing it is to ride in a rickshaw being pulled along at a rapid pace by a local entrepreneur.”

Once inside the auditorium we all sat down and were waiting for the houselights to die so we could watch the movie.

I had my hands in my lap and we were sort of chatting to pass the time.  I noticed I had no feeling in my groin, and I wondered why.  I began to unbutton my pants again.  The business men I was with must have thought I had a fixation with taking off my pants.  I opened the fly and noticed there was blood on my skinny shorts.  I thought, “My God, I've been shot and I don't even feel it.”.  Continuing with the operation there suddenly appeared a bleeding mouse looking up at me with soulful eyes.  I took it by the scruff of the neck and said “See, I told you there was a mouse in my pants. And you didn't believe me!” 

I held my pants together with one hand, and walked to the exit door near by and threw the mouse out the door.  I re-buttoned my pants and sat down again.  The lights dimmed and we saw a local showing of Pearl Buck's  “The Good Earth” with Luise Rainer and Paul Muni.

copyright 2015, Chester L. Tuthill

 Chet Tuthill served in the Marines and after the end of WW2 was sent to China.  He took advantage of the Bill of Rights for veterans afterward earning a college degree.  Married with four children, he is now widowed and retired from the Education field.  He is the sole homemaker and caretaker of his son.  

Monday, January 4, 2016

Bruce's New Companion

 A Letter from June Bassemir
Dear Bruce,

Your new hobby received this Christmas of an expensive drone sounds like an exciting one. Richard tells me that a friend of his bought the exact same model drone as you have and that he can even program it to follow him on his long walks.  If you can do the same, I suggest you give your drone a name like: “Freddie” since he will become your companion on extended hot evenings.  You might even have to put his name and address on the base somewhere in case he becomes inoperable some time.  It could say:  “Hi my name is Freddie and I live with Bruce Tuthill in Baiting Hollow, FL  Please see that I get home.”  After those long walks “Freddie” will have to rest so I hope you have provided a special parking spot in your garage where he can wait until his next outing. 

There is a problem however that I am not sure you are aware of right now and that is: I wonder if this new companion will override your faithful loving wife who will have to sit at home and wait for you and “Freddie” to come back from your tender walks in the evening.  I guess she could always join the two of you but she might feel that she is barging in?  Perhaps you should rethink this new companionship.

Of course, if  “Freddie” is out sometime and not living up to the honor system of viewing, the Drone Police might come knocking at your door.  And then you might have to engage a high priced Drone Lawyer to defend poor “Freddie” in the event he is incarcerated on a minor infraction of being somewhere where he shouldn't be.  The listing of Drone lawyers in the classified (if there is still a classified) will become a definite need and a new branch of study for young men and women in colleges will be worth looking into.

We might also need a social register with the names of male and female drones because surely there will be other companions with names like “Sally” or “Olivia” or “Lucy”.  Of course, their flying about could become a problem for you, so I suggest a firm control with definite flight patterns planned on a weekly basis.  One other thing:   I realize that space is unlimited but let's talk about drone traffic.  Do you forsee problems in that area?  What happens if  “Freddie” and “Olivia” collide?  Will that break up the friendship?          

                June Tuthill Bassemir is the widowed mother of four and grandmother of ten.  An artist and writer, she  volunteers as a docent in a 1765 farm house.   June loves old cars and antiques, and has also enjoyed furniture stripping and rug hooking.  "I used to say I was a stripper and hooker.but with so many trips around the sun, no one raises an eyebrow anymore. They only laugh."  June has given up furniture stripping, but is still an avid rug hooker.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Merry Christmas From Wisconsin

We always enjoy hearing from Russell and Delores Miller in Wisconsin.  That goes for any time of year, but especially during the holidays. 
 It's time for Christmas, although we have no snow and the temperatures are always above freezing which we like, no icy roads or yards or plowing snow.    But it is dark gloomy days, the sun seldom shines. Got the bill for the farm taxes, over $3000 which made a dent in the checking account.  Threw out my back and going to the chiropractor, which helps.  Russ decorated the small Christmas tree and the gifts are gathering up under.  Thanksgiving was November 26, had 17 people for the feast, most stay nights.  Also went out for Indian food.  Then one Sunday afternoon went dancing.  The band Don Peachey played 60 years ago at the Caroline Ballroom, before we were married.  He is now an old man, but still has good beats.  Deer hunting season was for 10 days.  Russ does not hunt.  But it was the 'rut' and so many deer in the middle of the roads, getting hit and killed.  
Watching professional football, the Green Bay Packers and the New England Patriots and the University of Wisconsin Badgers.  Bucky Badger always entertains.  Sandhill cranes finally left, they stayed longer than most years.  Where do they go?  Veteran's day was November 11.  Programs honoring all military personnel.  We went to 4 of the programs.  Good food, music.

Here is a picture if it comes through taken at grandson Tucker's 5th birthday.  In the back row is Barb Olson, the other Grandmother, Sam Olson, and of course Delores.  Front is Lisa, Leon Olson , Russ and Matt with Ollie and Tucker.

So that is it for the year 2015.  And a Merry Christmas to all.

Russell and Delores Miller

copyright Russell and Delores Miller, 2015

Monday, October 26, 2015

Making Hay While The Sun Shines; 1929 Klingbeil Style

By Delores Miller


So it is summer  on the farm and time to make hay on the Klingbeil Farm in the Town of Little Wolf, Waupaca County, south of Dupont.  But first a little history and genealogy:

Wilhelmine and Gottfried Klingbeil left Posen Province Germany in 1873, traveling aboard the ship S.S. Leipzig landing in Baltimore.  Over two hundred passengers crammed in steerage.  Two small children, one died  on the boat and is buried at sea, another son Herman died shortly after they arrived.  Train ride to Bloomfield, following the river to Fremont and then to Little Wolf.  Along with their steamer trucks, they brought their Bibles and Lutheran religion.  Eight more children arrived in 18  years.  Gustav Jule, Bertha Lembke (my Grandmother), William, Albert, Ella Johnson, Minnie Becker, Robert and Marie Becker.  Thirty years later, the family gathered for a group picture at the Quimby Studio in Manawa.  The land of opportunity provided financial means for this expensive  lithograph. 

Age and infirmity  caught up to these patriarchs who had been married for 62 years.  Gottfiried became ill, he had cataracts on his eyes, after a few operations he lost his sight.  Lost his hearing, had lip cancer, suffered from eczema.   Long white beard that frightened the grandchildren.   Wilhemine, who had heart trouble  and Gottfried died several days apart in 1929 and the funerals were held together.