Evidence 101

EVIDENCE 101...Wherever you go, there you are...







Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Halloweenie

Some interesting comments on Halloween and different perspectives.

Well Seasoned Fool sent me this...



Yuri...
I view Halloween as a chance to face our fears and to celebrate coming out of it alive.

Our church encourages the kids to dress up as their favorite saint.

I've suggested they go as St. John the Baptist (head on a platter) or St. George (Dragonslayer).  

Martyrdom offers many gory examples to pick from. :-)

This Halloween, I'll be escorting the younger ones around the neighborhood, the older ones will stay home and pass out the treats.  (Once you can drive, you can't trick or treat anymore is the rule at our house.)

For the adults, it's the annual meet your neighbor event since Suburbia can be so isolating.

And from the peanut gallery ( I love my peanuts) of comments....




 Let me just say, I embrace all those difference amongst us. My Halloween belief is much similar to all the responses combined, but most like Mad Jack's with a twist of Bill. I love the scary and I love horror films, anything scary but not cheeseball.

I was raised that All Hallow's Eve was a German/Irish Christian celebration before All Saint's Day, November 1. Since I am of German and Irish descent, it is probable that I will celebrate the Halloween festivities in style and over the top fashion. This holiday is commonly known as Halloween and many festivities and events including trick or treating are to be attended to gain the most of the fun factor. I think many people think Halloween is a secular American thingy.

I can tell you that my church that I attend now with Johnny Cash the Preacher, does NOT like Halloween and they are very vocal that the church celebrates this time as harvest time.

In fact, they are DEAD (pun intended) set against Halloween anything. No costumes, trick or treating, or pumpkin carving.

However, many kids talked about attending the Halloween Haunted Corn Maze in my town. When they did, they and their parents received shock and awe moments from some of the congregation.

Enter Fargo.

Not going to believe that way nor did my family did not raise me to believe in the Pagan's or Witchcraft way of Halloween as a celebration to raise the evil dead. Other people can, that's their choice.  My church can agree to disagree with me on this note as I told them...don't believe that way...just as I don't believe that alcohol is the devil (moderation is the key or occasional drink with meal )nor do I debate the "wine that was provided in the first supper was actually grape juice theory". Those things are crazy weird to me and I say it like that. And really? Who cares. I get long stares and big eyebrow lifts. It's all good. They still tell me I'm a blessing.   We will go with that.
So, embrace it however you like! I will be a Zombie this year wearing cowboy gear down to my spurs! That jingle you hear behind you is me. You better run! Mwahhhaaa!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

All Hallow's Eve

We all have very different views about each and every holiday.

One that is always under debate and scrutiny is Halloween. Tell me if you think it is has an origin of Christianity, Paganism, or something else and why. If you celebrate it, tell me your favorite types of celebration. You can email me and if you want to be anonymous, let me know.

I will have a post in two days which will be quite interesting...tied in with some of todays' happenings. Fargo thoughts are bouncing around in my hollow head and ready to get out....bwahahhhhhaaa!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Looking Out For My Welfare


ME: I need you to fold the clothes, please.

BUG: Mom, I will.

ME: Nope. On my time. You have chores and you are not doing them.

BUG: Mom.

ME: The world has stopped until the clothes get done.

BUG: Mom, I am sick of this (stomp, stomp).  I can't even relax. I don't want to fold the clothes.

ME: You must do your chores first, play later.

BUG: Ugh! I am so sick of this. I am really getting sick of being treated like this.

ME: Really? Because you have to fold a load of laundry? How do you think I feel?

BUG: Happy because you are torturing me. I hate this. I hate this!
ME: I don't like your attitude. Nor is talking back going to help you, because now you can fold the next load, too.

BUG: MOM! I cannot go on living like this! (yelling)

MOM: (yelling and imitating her in drama fashion) Me either! Welfare moms get treated better than me!

BUG: (big eyes) Oh, Mom, I am so sorry. (hugs the mommy) I didn't mean to hurt your feelings.

ME: What you are going to be nice to me now after your fit?

BUG: Mom, I'm sorry. I'm just emotional. BTW, this is really weird hugging you when you aren't wearing a bra underneath your sweatshirt.

ME: *blink*blink*

TRAILING TALES

talesfromprovence.com

 is the winner of Tales From The Trail by C.S. Wilson.

Congratulations! Woo hoo! [trumpets, drum roll]

Please email me at mommafargo@gmail.com for your mailing address. Yahoo! You will love it!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Neighbor Episode Number 9,790.9


I had to go to the barn to retrieve some Freshwave inventory I sold on Amazon. I turned on the lights and headed to the room with the stored products. I heard a noise behind the tall sheets of metal stacked for the scrap yard. I had some graffiti artists work their magic on the back side of the barn last year a few days before I purchased the house (according to Lord Farquaad and Sheriff Mike). Keep in mind in the area where the metal is it is very, very dark. The light doesn’t quite go that far.

ME: Alright you little bastard, come out of there before I flatten you.

The metal rattled and almost fell down (it’s 10 feet high).

ME: I mean it, you little shit. I will kick your ass. I am not going to put up with stealing and tagging my property. Come out here. We are going to talk to your parents.

The metal rattled even more so and soon, I saw movement. I was going to grab that little bastard by the hoodie and drag him to mommy and daddy, that is, after I gave him the what for and showed him my ninja skills if he tried anything.

I soon screamed to high heaven as a possum came running at me. With. Big. Eyes. He was huge and fat and pokey hairy. And grey. He was 50 shades of grey. I swear he was at least 3 feet tall and 75 pounds. I was afraid he would eat small children. After I got done screaming like a sissy girl and dancing around, I saw he was about 4 pounds.

ME: Yahhhhhhhh! OOOOOOOOoooo! Get out of here, you little shit. Go! Go! Get!

He looked at me. With. Big. Eyes. (The better to see you, My Dear)

ME: I mean it. You get! Go! Scoot! Leave! Andale!

He went forward the wrong way and I blocked him.

ME: Yah! Yah! Yah! Go! Get out of here! We! We! We!

He scooted to my tool room. My tools are my jewels.

It was very dark and scary in there and I ran and ran around banging things to make noise. I don’t know where he went except he ran and hid. Nasty thing.

LORD FARQUAAD: What’s all the racket over there?

ME: Possum in the barn.

LORD FARQUAAD: Oh. You would have thought you had some kind of cowboy dance combined with a haunted house or something. Really strange.

ME: How do you get rid of possums in your barn?

LORD FARQUAAD: You shoot ‘em.

ME: But I don’t want holes in my barn.

LORD FARQUAAD: They shit everywhere and have you seen the size of them things?

ME: Yeah.

LORD FARQUAAD: Do I need to say more?

Yeah. I don’t know what was up with the pig noises either. You just start possum panic when they appear. They are creepy things. I think they only come out at Halloween time. Shudder.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

It Isn't Easy Being Camo Green


The famous unmentionable sergeant and I were busy working at the River War Haus organizing and loading a trailer full of junk for our dump run when the call came into our cell phones, almost simultaneously. It was December of 2010.

It seemed a high and drunk girl was holding herself hostage with a firearm at an apartment complex on the west side of town. We were being requested as hostage negotiators.

Being 30 miles away, we hustled, after shoveling our lunch down our throats, to the scene in the Gold Beast only to find SWAT and several agencies were already there and communications had been futile. In fact, the female was downright pissed at everyone, including herself. Top that with still drinking. It was a great combination. And not a happy drunk was she.

Telephone communications were not existent. Bullhorns didn't work nor were they effective for this type of negotiation. There was no other choice.

I was about to become Raphael. Not the archangel. The green one...


Photo credit: Nickelodeon
 
The SERGEANTWHONOWHATESME took me to the back of the Negotiations Suburban (black like the spy type-duh) and dug into a locked box. Out came a new outfit.
 
ME: Uh. That is not my color or my size.
 
SWNHM: (giggle) Yes, you are wearing this.
 
ME: How am I supposed to be stealth and sneaky or move around in that? I am going to be a sitting duck.
 
SWNHM: You have no choice. Undersheriff rules.
 
ME: I hate rules.
 
It didn't take long to for me to feel the weight of the heaviest armored suit man could have made. I was 120 pounds soaking wet at this time...a far cry from my fat farm girl status now. Add another person and I was a contestant on the Biggest Loser because of my height and weight comparison.
 
Picture this. A small blond in a big turtle suit equipped with neck armor and a helmet, head to toe plated outfit...in camo green. I could see ahead, but had no peripheral vision unless I moved my head that direction. I walked in slow motion similar to a robot. I was a real live Robocop. Imagine my surprise when no one thought I was funny imitating Peter Weller's great lines from the movie.
 
ME: Come quietly or there will be... trouble.
 
SWNHM: Stop it. This is serious.
 
ME: Dead or alive, you're coming with me.
 
SWNHM: The Undersheriff is going to hear you.
 
ME: He has a sense of humor. Not like you.
 
SWNHM: Hold still. I have to secure this vest.
 
ME:  Your move, creep.
 
SWNHM: You are impossible.
 
ME: Pekew...Pekeww..POw..pOW..Pekew. Thank you for not smoking.
 
I was suited up and ready for bear. What does that mean anyway? Another negotiator was suited up as well and we were led to the main entrance area where SWAT was holding their positions.

The whole day was written in my journal with conversations and more "atmosphere", but I have posted that before for your reading enjoyment. I didn't post all of it, so here is the stuff behind the scenes that for some reason at that time in December, I was too embarrassed to post to this blog.

SWAT members came to lead us to the front door of the scene and talked me through the arrival into the hallway which was a funnel of fire. The other negotiator was going to stay further back.

There really was no good cover for anyone. I was it. A human shield. My right hand SWAT man was the best one to have from the force. He was huge, mean, and had been Soldier of the Year when he was in the Army. My favorite backup plan.
 
Negotiating with her was next to impossible so we had to devise a plan. I was to lure her outside with my smooth talking so the guys could capture her. She really hated me, but she hated the guys worse. I thought of her as the Bitch From Hell. We could only see shadows of movement through a crack in the front door which she propped open to speak through. It was being held open by SWAT even if she attempted to close it. We hoped she wouldn't because then she would know we had made moves to enter and tackle her. This was not our usual process and was the first time I had donned this suit other than training. I had done many face to face negotiations but never where I had no cover. To be honest, it was kind of unnerving but my adrenaline kicked in before I reached the front door (which opened up to stairs) to the complex. Once we got through the door, we held our position at the top of the stairs.  SWAT was not keen on our idea as negotiators to move closer. But they did it. Woman rules.
 
My BACKUPPLAN and I entered and moved slowly up the stairs. He had a less lethal shotgun as the first initial plan of action.  I had to yell at her which seemed very impersonal but it was what worked at the time. Before too long, she was tired of the yelling and came to the door. After more longer exhausting minutes, she opened the door a few inches. I was sweating in that suit. It was heavy. I was a whiny piny pansy pants. Only in my mind. I wouldn't let the guys know that.
 
At some point she came out into the top of the landing and BACKUPPLAN took his chance and shot at her with less lethal. He missed her, but hit the wall. He rushed past me along with his entourage and they tackled her drunk self.
 
I had an inkling of what was going to happen with her position change and I also started to move to do the habeas grabbus. However, I was two persons in one green suit of armor. And big. In the SWAT stampede, I was knocked down.
 
In turtle fashion, I tried to upright myself only to flail around and spin on my back. I could have possibly rolled which would have sent me down the stairs so I could upright myself, but I couldn't get that initial boost. I watched as SWAT carried out the suspect by her legs and arms, putting a spit mask on her and carrying her like a kabob to a Cannibal BBQ. She had enough time to turn to me and call me a bitch. My work was done.
 
In my mind, I was researching turtle survival videos and turtle behavior that I learned as a kid in order to figure out how to get out of my dilemma. As the attempts continued and I flailed around, one of the SWAT guys reached down and grabbed the vest and yanked me up on my feet, setting me down like a toy Lego figure.
 
BORTON: You ok, Fargo? Good job.
 
ME: Thanks. Turtle POWER!
 
BORTON: Yeah. No shit. Let's get that thing off.

NEGO D: Good job.
 
They were all very gracious to me even though I must have looked like a nincompoop. Perhaps it was the danger of the whole operation and I went forward without hesitation. I didn't even pee my pants. Stuff like that never bothered me. But put me in a haunted house and watch me freak out. I was a little embarrassed for falling down and not being able to right myself. It was funny at the time, but had it been in a battle, I would have been turtle soup.

I decided that day forward that I was not going to play Ninja turtles anymore. Well, unless my friends made me.
 
So here is the best pic I could find because the paper has archived it.
 
Photo credit: Casper Star Tribune




Turn Up The Stereo!

It is no secret that the justice system struggles to be just. It has flaws. Sometimes it is successful in a just result...whether that is innocence or guilt in a verdict. So let's talk about juries.

Juries are made up of people such as yourselves. Maybe you have served on a jury. What did you experience behind the scenes?



Here's where I'm going with this. Many people on here and in our society think a victim has to be a "perfect" or "good" person...whatever that means to them. If a victim has more flaws...maybe the criminal shouldn't be punished as great as let's say...a child killer...or someone who assassinates a national hero.

Do juries give more time to those accused of killing "good" people? Do the victims that are of "questionable" nature with character flaws or even criminals themselves lower the punishment of their convicted killers?


When victim rights advocates have tried so hard to even the playing field, calling a victim a victim and the punishment should fit the crime not the person...why are we still in a quandary over a person's character or life choices?

What do you think? Is there such a thing as a "victimless" crime? As cops, that term has come out of our mouths. Are we, too, biased about victims? Are you?

 

Losing My Religion

This post is sure to spark some controversy as is the next one. Don't be afraid to post your thoughts, even if they aren't the popular ones. My thoughts are just that...mine. It doesn't make it wrong or right.


So...along with R.E.M., here is the topic that has hit the news this last week amongst all the crazy government shutdown. Watch the video...

http://foxnewsinsider.com/2013/10/17/stenographers-bizarre-outburst-during-house-vote-stuns-congress-members

So is she crazy? Is she being treated like a crazy person because she brought up God? Or is she just pissed off and disappointed at what goes on behind the scenes?

Inquiring minds want to know.

And what about this...

http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/video/chaplain-asks-god-to-forgive-senates-politics/2727866350001

I bring you back to the founding fathers....I believe the words, "In God We Trust" is and was embedded in our money, in our documents, and was the basis for coming to America. Why is God being taken out of our daily lives? What is happening to religion? Have we gone too far as a nation with "freedom of religion?" Did our founding fathers actually mean freedom of religion only meant if you believed in God? Did they know about other religions or practices that would not worship the same God we think of when religion is brought up? What about the witch trials? So why is religion and God under so much fire lately? Are we becoming so "neutral" that we are shutting off from what started this country? Do you see our Congress treating the Constitution as passé? Too outdated?

Anxiously awaiting your thoughts...

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Corn-holio...Stalk me

I am so far behind in my posting of stories and book reviews. Please forgive me. I was pretending to be the government.

Last night, my friend brought my daughter and I to the famous Haunted Corn Maze and Fun Farm. When we first entered the field parking lot donned with Cadillacs, junkers, and big trucks...I thought..."Wow!" We are multicultural.

It was quite the production and totally first class. Equipped with an hour and half long haunted corn maze, a lighted zip line, pumpkin patch, three concession trucks filled with bad goodness, and a farm shop filled with Halloween décor, corn stalks, and gourds. During the day, they have a petting zoo, cut out people for great picture taking and activities for kids. There was also the "friendly" corn maze section which was just a series of mazes and riddles with decorations that invited children to laugh and have fun trying to pick the right path.

Bug began to get apprehensive during the wait.

Once we got to the Maze Master who gave us the rules...

1) You can't touch them, they can't touch you.
2)No running
3) No cutting through the corn
4) If you need to stop and get rescued, hold your hands straight up in the air to the actors and they will have someone lead you out
5) No pushing
6)No drinking and smoking
7)Don't destroy any props or decorations
8) Have fun

ME: Do you allow screaming?
MAZE MASTER: Oh, yes. Lots of that.
ME: Whew.
BUG: Um, your rule about not touching them. My Mommy has to keep her hands down because she might punch someone.
MAZE MASTER: Mam, do you have an anger problem?
BUG: No, she doesn't except when she gets mad at me, but she has reflexes.
MAZE MASTER: Ah, one of those. Mam, keep your hands down at your sides.
ME: Yes, Mam.
LILY (my friend): Yeah, right. This will be hilarious. We are making Fargo go first.
BUG: Yeah, Mom. You have to go first.
MAZE MASTER: Well, looks like you got the short straw.
ME: Yep. Always.

The Maze Master was a hoot. We asked her if she had gone through it and she said, "No way." The girls in front of us had quite the reputation and had a girl with them who had never made it through the maze. We were about to make history, because I was going to run over or shove those girls through.

The Maze Master must have read my mind and she had the girls ahead of us go and we waited quite some time.

Then we were off like a herd of pumpkins.

And the SCARED THE SHIT OUT OF US began. We had not even gotten 30 feet when we were met with fog, a booby trapped washing machine, ghouls, a clown, quick sand, and trap doors.

BUG: (fearful and crying) Mommy, I don't know if I can do this. I peed a little.
ME: What?
BUG: Mommy, I peed my pants.
ME: (laughing) Oh, honey. I'm sorry. We have to make it through. Hold my hand.
BUG: No, Mommy. I'm serious. I'm having a heart attack.
LILY: It's Ok, sweetie. We will protect  you. Hold our hands and be in the middle.

So we continued on over bridges that shook and made you feel like  you were going to fall off only to be met by the Grim Reaper at the end who forced you back on the bridge then you met by a headless pumpkin character man thing with a chain saw.

FUCK.ME.IN.THE.ASS.

Your gut instinct was to run or fight. I really wanted to take them down. Then the RULES pounded in my head. Damn rules. We were then stuck in this place of doom with the scared girls whom we had caught up to. They were screaming like banshees and crying and the whole malarkey. It was hilarious. But I didn't like unstable bridges. We pushed past the girls and pushed the Grim Reaper aside and went on to more fog...then silence. Silence is worse than the noise and chaos. We heard some rustling in the corn stalks, but nobody came out. Just as we caught our breath, and rounded a corner to see a tunnel, fog, and some spooky noises. We entered the tunnel. I had my had ready in Ninja fashion as I held Bug's hand and drug the group. I knew what was going to happen. Even though you know you are going to get stuck in that tunnel with people chasing you and blocking your way, it still scares the shit out of you.

And so it did. The slow girls had caught up to us and they were so scared that one jumped on top of the other and cried. These were high school seniors. Lily and I laughed so hard that we peed our pants a little. No shit.

BUG: What's wrong with you two?
ME: Um. I think I peed a little.
LILY: Me too. I was scared and then I laughed when I saw that girl jump on her friend that did it.
ME: Me too. How embarrassing.
BUG: Mommy!
ME: What!
BUG: That guy is coming with a hatchet!

So we ran our little pee pee pants out of there to the corn stalk path into more pending doom. We experienced the hay rides, we walked through the light of the moon through the pumpkin patch. We checked out all the crazy gourds. We pee peed our pants. I didn't think my adrenaline would be elevated at all and I was high on natural crack.

I automatically wanted to take them out or run...two rules I sorta broke. I didn't break any noses or bones. One of the slow girls got punched in the face by a bad guy. Not sure what that was about, but it was probably during all the nutso activity with a mob of scared girls stuck in a group. Fight or flight or flailing arms or something. She totally deserved it. She wouldn't get out of my way. There was no way she would survivethe Zombie Apocalypse. In fact, she is going to be bait.

We had a great time and encountered more scariness. It was AWESOME!

Check out your local attractions and support your local folks. You won't be disappointed.

My bucket list adventure? A good haunted house.

My advice? You might want to bring diapers. Or forever wear pee pee pants. At least wear them proud. I did! Or maybe, just go to the bathroom before you do anything haunted this Halloween season.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

The Grill (Part IV)

Warrior Flight Team


After the services, Jim’s grandsons Patrick and Gabriel rode with me out to Manassas Municipal Airport where the Warrior Flight Team hosted the families for a late dinner at one of the pilot’s hangar.   At James Sizemore’s prior request, I had brought Paul’s Nimrod “party flight suit” and “go-to-hell” hat and changed into them at the hangar.  We got to meet and talk with the pilots, tour the airplanes and have a relaxing time visiting with the men and women who had so generously provided the fly-over to honor Majors Sizemore and Andre. 
 
Supper at the Grill


When we left the hangar, the Sizemore contingent decided we were ready for supper, so James and Becky chose a restaurant off those listed nearby on the GPS.  When we ordered at the counter, we were handed numbers and we went to the back of the room to put a couple of tables together.  The wall across from our tables was covered with military unit patches, and on the top row, 4th from the left was an old Air Commando patch I pointed out to the others.  There were stanchions on the table to put our numbers on so they could bring us our orders. As we put them up, mine was #25; James had #51; Patrick and Gabriel had #39 and Becky had #26.  Each of us had a number that corresponded with the military type-numbers of aircraft that had been in the fly-over!  I noticed it first as they were being put up and said “look at our numbers!”   We all just stared at each other with our mouths hanging open… then I started laughing and the others joined in. The odds of us getting those numbers are exponentially astronomical.  Jim, Howard, and Paul were up there slapping their knees and laughing their heads off; they had just really pulled a good one on us to let us know they were with us in spirit and having a great time!!  If I hadn’t been there to experience it, I never would have believed it.
 
Coming Home


These past few days have at times been bittersweet, but also blessed with love, support and comfort for all of us.  Paul is always with me and my heart is at peace.
 
 Thank you, Aunt Superwoman, for sharing with us your thoughts, feelings, and experiences during this historical journey to bring two fine American heroes home. I am very honored our family was a part of this honor and history. It feels good to have them home.

Military Honors Funeral, Arlington National Cemetery (Part III)

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2013/09/23/vietnam-era-fliers-buried-side-by-side-at-arlington/
September 23, 2013

          Military Honors Funerals at Arlington National Cemetery 11:00 a.m.

I drove to the Ft. Myers entrance at Arlington and since I no longer have military ID or a base pass on my vehicle, I was sent to the vehicle inspection area.  They performed a thorough inspection: show my ID, get out of the car, open all doors, glove compartment, center console, trunk, hood and they also swept under the car with a mirror on a long pole.  Then the dog did a complete walk-around.  I was impressed with their professional job while maintaining courtesy.  As I drove out of the inspection area, the bus carrying the families drove in and I followed it to the Old Post Chapel. 

Jim’s grandsons escorted me to the pew in the Chapel.  The service in the Chapel was about 20 minutes and quite beautiful.  Near the end of the service Déjà vu again got me.  The organ played “How Great Thou Art,” which had been played at Glenn’s funeral 45 ½ years ago, and I couldn't stop the tears from flowing.  The Air Force mortuary detail Airmen carried the caskets out to the two caissons waiting outside the Chapel.  Jim’s casket was put on the caisson in front, drawn by white horses.  Howard’s casket was put on the caisson in back, drawn by black horses.  The band marched into place in front of the caissons and the drummers and pipers set the pace.  Some people walked behind, the families rode in the Air Force bus as the procession started the mile trek to the grave sites.  I drove my car since we’d been instructed that we could not leave personal vehicles at the Chapel.  I was about the 6th vehicle in line and I could hear the band and horses hooves as they moved along the cemetery paths.
 
 
At the grave sites, some of the family sat in chairs provided and the remaining family and friends stood for the graveside service.  Military Honors services are beautiful, even when your heart is breaking.  The precision, honor, respect and history of honoring our deceased veterans with such love and dignity always brings the memories of all those brave souls who have gone to their final rest before them.

As always, the volley of the gun salute makes me jump with every shot, and taps makes me cry.  Then, in the ensuing quiet as the last note wafted on the wind, I heard the unmistakable sound of those “big round radial engines” up in the sky to my left. I looked up and here came the airplanes doing the fly-over tribute, flown by members of the private, volunteer Warrior Flight Team. A beautiful B-25 bomber came first and the pilot opened the bomb-bay doors in tribute as the plane flew overhead.  Next came three aircraft, an A-26, flanked by 2 P-51’s, one on each side.  Jim and Howard were flying an A-26 when they were shot down and KIA and having the A-26 here was a magnificent tribute!  Next came a flight of 4  L-39 jets and as they got overhead, one pulled up in the “missing man” tribute.  We witnessed history in the making as 8 planes performed the fly-over, the most aircraft in the same fly-over ever done at Arlington National Cemetery.

The Honor Duty (Part II of Veteran's Day Series)

September 22, 2013 

Caskets Arrive

The morning dawned to a perfect pilot’s sky, “blue and a million.”  The Air Force vans for the families arrived at the hotel with our liaison officers; we boarded the vans and off we went to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.  We had all provided ID to the Air Force liaison officers ahead of time and with them as our escorts, we were all escorted through TSA without a lot of hassle.  The caskets were being flown on Delta Airlines and DAL graciously opened their VIP lounge to us while we awaited the plane’s arrival.  As we were escorted down onto the tarmac, we saw the news cameras lined up and then the two gray funeral home’s hearses arrived, backed into place next to the arrival gate and opened their rear doors as we saw the plane land and taxi to gate # 21.  The caskets arrived at 11:02 a.m. on Delta Airlines flight # 938 from Atlanta.  The aircraft was a MD-88 (McDonald Douglas).   I thought “how fitting” when I saw the MC-88 since Jim and Howard were flying a Douglas A-26 on their last mission. 

As the ground crew opened the front lower compartment, two beautiful female Air Force Officers, a blonde and a brunette, walked up and stood at attention and I knew they were the Air Force escorts for Jim and Howard all the way from Hawaii to Washington, DC.

The Air Force mortuary detail Airmen marched up and Major Sizemore’s flag draped casket appeared in the door of the cargo hold - the 8 Air Force mortuary detail Airmen marched up to their positions on each side of the ramp and the casket came out of the plane.  Everyone on the ramp stood at attention in total silence with their hands over their hearts, or the veterans and military personnel saluting, until Major Sizemore’s casket was in the hearse and the doors closed. As I looked back toward the plane, a movement in the 4th window caught my eye and I saw a small wreath being held up in the window – a passenger paying their respects.  I had been standing right next to the open door of the hearse that Howard’s casket was loaded into and had stepped back to the side out of the shadows as the 8 Air Force mortuary detail Airmen turned and marched back to the ramp as Major Andre’s casket appeared and again the honor and dignity of loading the casket into the hearse was repeated.  As the hearses pulled away, I was standing next to Jim’s two teenage grandsons Patrick and Gabriel Sizemore and the boys both hugged me.  As we started back to the terminal, a gray-haired lady I had not yet been introduced to came up, hugged me and then took my hand and held it as we walked along together back to the terminal.  What she then quietly said astounded me: “I saw you move back into the sunlight and your hair glow around your head like a halo. I looked into your face and saw love and kindness and I knew you were sent as our angel.”  I was speechless, which for me is a miracle, but if that’s what she needed to soothe her heart I wasn’t going to dissuade her.
 
          Visitation 7:00 p.m.

I was to meet the families at the Mortuary at 6:30 p.m. since I drove my own car.  I arrived before anyone else and had a few minutes alone with Jim and Howard before the others arrived.  Their flag draped caskets were at the front of the chapel together. I walked up and said a private prayer for each one, then bent down and touched their caskets with the hydraulic connector off the A-26 # 679 they had both flown in pilot training years ago. 

The families arrived and as they came in, most of them hugged me. Looks like the “angel” story made the rounds, so now I know my role here - hand holding, hugging and a shoulder to cry on.
 
There were many stories being told about Jim and Howard by their family and friends, some with laughter and some with tears.  The two Air Force officers escorting Jim and Howard from Hawaii were there and we got the opportunity to talk with them.  The blonde who escorted Jim is a Lt. Colonel, Command Pilot and is parachute qualified.  The brunette who escorted Howard is a Major, Forensic Anthropologist, also parachute qualified and had been at the excavation of the crash site in Laos.  Both of these lovely ladies expressed what an honor it was for them to be the escorts for Jim and Howard and bring them home.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

On Wilson's Tale...er...Trail...

Welcome, C.S. Wilson, author of Tales from the Trail, available on Amazon.com for a great price of $1.99 in the Kindle version and $5.90 in paperback. Get it while it is a hot price! You won't be disappointed. Filled with great stories, she will take you on the trail with her and you will revisit her discoveries right beside her on every page. It's a feel good book, fit for everyone.

Not only is C.S. Wilson a great author of a wonderful book, she is also my good friend. Every time I get to visit...we laugh...a lot...and there are always stories to be told. So...here we go with some interesting questions for all of us to get to know the author...

What inspired you to write your book, “Tales from the Trail”? How does it feel to be published?

I've always been a writer.  Always.  I can’t remember a time when I didn't write, so when I realized I was telling the same stories over and over again when people asked what my job was like it dawned on me that I should write them down.  I had just found the blogging world and started telling some of my stories via blog, thinking just my parents and my fellow wranglers would read them.

Publishing the book was always “one of these days”, as in, one of these days I’ll get around to compiling my stories and submit it for publication.  I sent out a few queries without response and got sucked back into my everyday life.  My friend Tara Janzen, who is a NYT Best Selling author made the transition from being traditionally published, to self-publishing a couple of years ago and I realized it was a viable option.  After all, if someone who had based her entire career on being traditionally published decided that self-publishing was going to work better for her, then certainly the bias against being self-published was beginning to change.
I have read a lot of not-very-good writing as a result of the ease of self-publishing and I swore I would do my best not to fall into that, so I hired an editor and had my husband, who is a graphic designer, do my cover.

But what really gave me the impetus to publish a book I’ve been dabbling at writing for YEARS was losing my beloved Estes.  I finished, and published, the book to honor her.


I just got word this week that a local store will be stocking my book and I’ve been asked to join a Local Author Day, so how does it feel to be published?  It feels awesome, but also like I’m a bit of a fraud.  I can’t quite believe that I’m a “real” author.

What is your favorite trail and why? What experience(s) made it your favorite?

My favorite trail?  That’s hard, I love almost all of them.  I would say the “Willow Creek-Beaver Ponds-over to the other pond ride” is my favorite.  I love the thrill of breaking through the willows butted up against the rock face and the climb up the side of the mountain on the Willow Tree Trail.  As that trail ends, you can pick up the Beaver Ponds trail and cross the creek a couple of times, ride through more willows that block out the rest of the world and climb to a spot to overlook the beaver ponds.  As for the last pond, I've just always loved it and it’s easy enough to get to after you finish the Beaver Pond loop.

I think that ride is my favorite because you get a bit of everything: busting trail, rock scrambling, and stunning views followed by an ever-changing pond surrounded by aspen.

As a wrangler, cowboy boots or flip flops? Did you ever tell a guest they couldn't ride because they lacked proper foot gear?

The boots come off as soon as I’m done working and the flip-flops go on.  I've been known to wander around our personal horses in flip-flops, but I would never enter the livery’s pen in them.  Too many horses not paying attention to what they are doing.  However, every time I was in our pen in flip-flops I can tell you that I always had my toes curled up.  As if that would protect them from a sharp hoof!

I have suggested to more than one guest that they would be more comfortable and safer with closed-toe shoes, but always left it up to them.  Most of them would change their shoes once I explained the hazards of having bare piggies hanging out of the stirrups.  Unfortunately, most of the guests would come while on vacation and they might not have had proper footwear with them.

What one quality do you expect out of your guests when you take them on a trail?

I appreciate it when guests listen to the rules and don’t challenge me on them.  The fact is, I’m responsible for their safety and that requires a lot of trust on the guests’ part.  In 9 years of taking out paid trail rides, I never had a “wreck”.  (You falling off of Washoe doesn't count either – that was just friends going for a ride J )  I came close to a bad wreck once, in my last year of wrangling.  While I absolutely believe that better than 90% of horse wrecks on trail rides can (and should) be avoided by proper ride management, there are some factors that are just out of the wrangler’s control.

The rules aren't arbitrary – I don’t expect guests to abide by them just because I’m a fun-hater.  I expect them to abide by them because to ignore the rules puts us all in danger.

Fargo side note here. Yeah. Uh. I did not "fall off" of Washoe, the Friesian stallion. I was bucked off and flipped into the air where I tried to grab a branch on the way down. I did land one hand on a tree branch, but I couldn't hold my grip and so it was inevitable that I would hit the ground. I landed on large boulders and was tumbled through a boulder field until I landed in a cold Rocky Mountain stream. Barely conscious, I managed to get up and put myself back on that stallion and show him who is boss. It was a proud moment and had it been on video, I surely would have been hailed as a wonder woman type equine-ist. (That is a word)

What is your favorite excerpt from your book?

The book is a compilation of my favorite stories, but if I had to pick one (or two) out it would be “Estes”, followed closely by “Falling in Love”.

It’s a known fact that horse lovers experience a great love for the animal and the ride. I know what being on the back of a horse does for my spirit, tell us your viewpoint of this common encounter and acquaintance between horse and owner.

When I first started wrangling, I didn't quite have the appreciation for the rider/horse relationship that I do now.  Horses were a means to an end.  I loved to ride and I would ride any horse available.  I slowly began to realize that I got along with some horses better than others and that there were horses who were all heart and horses I really enjoyed riding.  My very first wrangler horse, RC, is part of the dude string now, but he was my favorite because he was a challenge to ride, not because I had any emotional attachment to him (I do now, actually, but because of the fond memories I had of us working together).

Estes, and Meeker to an extent, changed that for me.  They were the first horses I “bonded” with.  Meeker was a lover and was the first openly affectionate horse I’d spent time with because, let’s face it, livery horses have to haul around too many people who come and go hour after hour to invest in any sort of “close” relationship with a human.  Estes was more aloof, but once she bonded with a human, all sorts of possibilities opened up.
The bond between human and horse is magical.  Every time a rider gets on a horse, they are putting their trust in a 1,000# prey animal.  The horse must trust the rider to keep them safe and give them good leadership, while the rider must trust that the horse will follow their lead.
Without Estes, riding is just riding.  It’s good for the soul to be out on the mountain, but being on a horse I haven’t bonded with is just riding – it’s not the soul-moving experience I've had for the past six years.

What is your pet peeve on the trail? In the barn? In the saddle?
Across the board – poorly mannered horses.  I have no tolerance for horses with no human manners, period.  And it’s almost always a human-caused problem.

Leave us with some great words of wisdom from your life experiences as an author.
I've only been a published author for about a month, so I don’t know that I have any great words of wisdom from that perspective.   However, from a wrangler’s perspective:
At the end of the ride,
Hug your horse
And tip your guide.

(The book touches on the “fun” part of being a wrangler – actually being out on the trails.  I left out all of the mundane details.  Trust me, the wranglers earn every penny of their tips.)

Mrs. Wilson, I can't thank you enough for allowing me to interview you. Congrats on your success with Tales from the Trail! 


Like The Boogie Man Is My Friend on Facebook and leave a comment on the status update about this post for a chance to win a paperback copy of this book filled with great adventures!

The Call

This post is the first in a series to commemorate our veterans in blog fashion. If I could, I would have the whole gamut of honors. Just hang your flags. Properly. With respect, and within the US Code Title 4. 

Without further introduction, these are the thoughts and words from Aunt Superwoman's recent journey to Arlington...


Journal entry, July 13, 2013:

James called this evening and requested that as Paul's widow, I be there at the airport with the families when the caskets are flown in on Sunday September 22nd   as well as the family visitation and the burial service. He has listed me as his aunt with the Air Force Mortuary Affairs Officer.  Jim Sizemore was Paul's best friend in the 609th Special Operations Squadron "Nimrods" in 1969 and Paul was also friends with and had flown a couple of missions with Howard.

James was told years ago that my first husband was shot down and KIA in Vietnam in 1968, but in his state of emotions over all this for his Dad, I’m sure James doesn't remember. 

This time it is about honoring Maj. James Elmo Sizemore and Maj. Howard Vincent Andre, Jr. and the Gold Star support needed by the families.  Standing there, watching that plane land and offload those flag-draped caskets is going to be Déjà vu for me; it's been over 45 years since Glenn was KIA and shipped home from Vietnam on an Air Force plane.  I will armor myself with my Southern Lady graciousness like Mama taught me; my purple-power panties; take as many deep breaths as necessary; stand strong and tall during all the events of what is going to be a very difficult weekend.


I Spy and other Fargo Ninja Skills

With Veteran's Day coming around the bend, I am going to be posting a family story in a series. I hope you will join me. It is near and dear. The person narrating the story...Aunt Superwoman. There will be excerpt from diaries, video, pics, and a great American story....and some soldiers and airmen.

In between all that, book reviews, interview with an author, some upcoming news, Harry Potter Halloween action, and a crazy cop story you have never heard. It has to do with a turtle issue. The stories may not be in any particular order, and the family series will be on random day leading up to the holiday Monday.

Photo credit: nick.com
So...stay tuned. The stories start tonight...

Monday, October 7, 2013

Yuri Strikes Again!

I am trying to get caught up on my posting. Seems the fence is falling down. Oy. Fargo updates all about Halloween and . Halloween decorations are going up in phases at the Harry Potter house. Work is well, interesting.  I am still getting hammered on Amazon which is getting so old. So long are the days of giving a review. Now you aren't entitled to how you liked a book and why. I don't mind a good debate. It's not a debate any more, but people trying to push their book on people. I guess they don't like it when they get a negative review. Why not just erase me? That's the strange thing. So...we are moving on to the other topics. I have some very interesting ones. 

We will start with the brilliant and ever mind provoking...Yuri!   You can check out his blog by clicking on his name. He really is hilarious, and he interacts family with politics with cooking with whatever pops in his mind. It's a fun read and some things he brings up are truly researched. He's my Encyclopedia. 

So without further re-introduction...HERE WE GO! I will put my two cents worth in red.

Welcome back, Yuri! Interesting developments in law enforcement. Here is his new update on our Colorado debate which was a little heated last time...
*******************************************************************************************

Last November, Officer Robert Price responded to a loose dog call.  He and two other officers tried to catch Chloe.Chloe's owner was visiting Commerce City for the Thanksgiving holiday, so she was not known to the people in the neighborhood.

Here is how the scene ended.

Officer Price was charged with aggravated animal cruelty based on the video taken by a 12 year old boy from across the street.His trial concluded this last week with a verdict of not guilty.

 http://www.9news.com/news/article/357994/339/Officer-acquitted-of-animal-cruelty-charges?odyssey=tab%7Ctopnews%7Cbc%7Clarge

This article briefly mentions the prosecution's and defense's main arguments.


In even briefer words:

Prosecution:
    1) Video doesn't show aggressive dog.
    2) You messed up the reporting process.

Defense:
    1) Video doesn't show everything.
    2) Uhmm.

Um. Yeah. All strange.

Questions:

1) Did the prosecutor overcharge Officer Price? If so, why? Here's my take...why go to criminal charges. Take care of it internally, pay the owner off, do some company wide department police-animal-procedural training. It's like they don't know what to really do with it all, but it looks bad, it feels bad, and it still ended bad. 

2) Are Tazers effective animal control devices? Sometimes, sometimes not. 

3) What happened to the office of Dog Catcher? Yeah. The whole thing was strange. 

4) What happened to tranquilizer guns, like we used to see on Mutual of Ohama's Wild Kingdom? I don't know if we are allowed to have such big elephant guns. LOL. The only ones that had those in Wyoming were biologists from the Game and Fish. They were used for grizzlies or other big dangerous things. I don't think they are appropriate for small animals. But who knows? Maybe they will issue butterfly nets and tranq guns to cops. Then, on the other hand, this case still baffles me. I find no reason for the dog in the garage to have gotten shot. Other videos we are seeing, I can see how it happened. 


Thank you so much Yuri! Your brain fascinates me. Ready for another matter of importance!


Let's here it from you...what do you have to say about all this?

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Fargo Getting Down

No. Fargo is not pretending to be the government clusterf*** shutdown. Different kind of down. Not depressed either. Different there, too. And no....no drugs. It's Boogie Down I am referring to...as in good topics of discussion...with  myself...because I think along with the government shutdown...some peeps out there went missing...or silent. So on with the next week of madness.

Like that use of asterisks?

I am sure my mom is maybe half proud that I didn't write the word, but then ashamed I implied it.

This week...moving on to other police topics...new book reviews...and a special story you won't want to miss. Amongst the greatness of the special story, I am going to talk Halloween and cops...and Veteran's Day. So...

Stay tuned.

In the meantime...here is some Casper police blotter news...

Don't you love the pics? Nice looking couple, yes?

Any matters you all would like to discuss? Shoot them in the comments or email. I am hearing crickets out there and silence. I feel like Robin Williams in Good Morning, Vietnam, only without an audience.