Scrapbook Two Hundred Twenty Four…


November, 2019


Three Sevens and a Vacuum Cleaner


Bitburg Air Base about 1957

When I arrived at Bitburg Air Base in 1957 they didn’t have housing for Peggy and I. She was coming over from the states to Germany in about 6 weeks, so I checked into the Bachelor Officer’s Quarters. It was okay for a temporary place to stay, with a strong emphasis on temporary. The bathroom was flanked by bed rooms on each end. The bed was a wooden Army folding cot about 20” wide. I think it was designed for a combat zone by someone who hated the human body. But I was going to stay there for only a few days, right? 

No, wrong. When my wife finally arrived, we still didn’t have suitable living quarters, so Peggy moved into that cot on top of me. Getting up in the middle of the night for a potty break was almost impossible and I don’t want to say anything more about that. 

A month of that and they moved us into 4 rooms on the 4th floor of a 4-floor walk-up. I think the Air Force had never heard of an elevator. We were young and happy and not making much money. But life was good because we both went way out of our way to make it that way.

The question of buying a vacuum cleaner came up a few times. The cost was $19.95 and we were not budgeted for that kind of extravagance. Peggy was pretty insistence and she usually got her way. I balked and we had several “discussions.”

Fortunately for me, our squadron was sent on temporary duty to Wheelus Air Base, just outside of Tripoli, Libya, where we had a gunnery camp. Derelict trucks, tanks, and airplanes were placed out in the Sahara Desert for us to shoot at with our F-100 fighter guns. Occasionally we saw packs of wild dogs and we strafed them instead. They were known to attack and kill pilots who had to eject from a crippled airplane. 

Wheelus was not the end of the world, but it was rumored you could see it from there. They had a thing called a Ghibli. It was a sandstorm that came out of the west and you could see it coming from 75 miles away. With the winds out of the Sahara blowing sand more than 60 mph, it was almost overwhelming. Visibility could reduce to 20 feet. When we saw one of those things coming there were 2 options. You could run back to your tent and be 100% miserable for 2 days, or you could rush to the Officer’s Club and be 95% miserable for 48 hours. 


It didn’t happen very often, but when it did, I chose the club. They locked the doors, taped up the cracks, and nobody got in or out until the Ghibli ran its course and dissipated in the Mediterranean Ocean.

That left us with 2 things to do at the club, eat or play poker. The problem was the food. They had powdered potatoes, powdered milk, powdered ice cream, and cooked meat that no one ever talked about. That left me with the poker option, and there were a few games scattered around the club that I could sit in on.  

I forgot to say that there was also bourbon, scotch, vodka, and myriad other such libations that freely flowed into everyone’s mouth but mine. I didn’t drink.

Fortunately, about 6 years earlier, when I was a corporal, there were frequent poker games in the barracks. Not wanting my lot to fall upon chance, I went to the base library and checked out Hoyle’s Book of Odds. We played only 5 card draw or 7 card stud, dealer’s choice. 

I memorized all of the odds for each game, and made myself 2 rules, never ever play a hunch and don’t bluff again after you’ve been caught bluffing. I also knew that most poker players who drank while playing, liked to play hunches.

At Wheelus, one dark Ghibli night, in the wee hours, it came to a showdown between me and my boss, a major named Charlie Davis. The game was draw and I was dealt 3 sevens, a jack and a duce. I discarded the jack and asked for one card, which didn’t help my hand. By holding 4 cards I figured my boss would think I was holding either 4 to a flush, or 4 to a straight. The odds against drawing a helping card were very high and I’m sure my boss knew that. He probably grinned when I wasn’t looking.

Charlie was sitting straight across the table from me and the 4 other players dropped out. I was startled when the major also drew only one card. Was he trying to do to me what I was trying to do to him? I figured his best hand to be 2 pairs and my 3 sevens would beat him.

The pot was big, over $40. Nether of us was completely broke, we just didn’t have much money. This pot was the culmination of the nights work, and important to both of us. I was thinking about Peggy. 

He bet five-bucks and suddenly it was put-up or shut-up time for me. Should I fold my hand and let him win? He was my boss and my career depended on how he rated me at the end of the year. 

Or did I call his bet and take the pot home? I didn’t dare raise. My thought processes were on fire. I would probably work for the Major another year or so, no more. But Peggy and I had already been married 5 years (going on 66 now). The decision was easier than I thought and that night I phoned Peggy and told her she could buy the vacuum cleaner. 


And Major Davis wrote me an efficiency report that got me promoted to Captain. 

In all of these years of marriage, my wife has never argued with me, but I’ve argued with her a few times. Always, when she sensed strong words were coming, she’d say, “Well honey, I’m sure you’re right,” and she would walk away, which totally debased me. She knew that in 10 minutes we were going to do it her way anyway, so why discuss it. But I was always the winner because I won the argument. That’s just the way us alphas are. f






182 thoughts on “Scrapbook Two Hundred Twenty Four…

  1. Nice Forrest, I must be an Alpha as well because my wife and I have a very similar relationship.

  2. I’ve only been married for 4 years, but we have learned that teamwork is everything. Compromise is key. She is always right. We depend on each other and that’s the way we like it. I do like to win some arguments though 🙂

    I’m hoping we can make it to 66 years just like you Mr. Fenn. Not because our marriage won’t last, but because the lord might have other plans. Prayers to you and yours.

  3. Thanks Forrest for the smile on this cold and windy evening here in Pennsylvania!
    I am pretty sure that I wouldn’t want to play poker with you.


  4. I don’t know about Libya, but the Air Force sent me to Shemya island Alaska and you could not only see the end of the world there, you could get the T-shirt that proclaimed that too.

  5. Forrest,

    Please, please, please don’t think that I’m sucking up to you, but rah, rah, rah, I simply love this SB.


    • Forrest,

      I should add that my wife and I experienced EXACTLY the same thing in Frankfurt, Germany with the exception of the cot at the Army’s Ambassador Arm’s hotel, aka the ‘Armpit’. A single bachelor officer was living in the room on the other side of the SHARED bathroom and my wife absolutely hated having to use the bathroom at night when nature called. Don’t forget to unlock ‘his’ door or pay for it in the morning. What an incentive to get married couples to move out and find a REAL home to live in.

      Out HHG (household goods) we’re still in transit when we bailed out of the Armpit and so we lived on bare floors sleeping on a mattress borrowed from the Army until our stuff showed up.

      ANYTHING was better than the Armpit!


      • One other thing. We arrived in 1977 and so it would appear not a lot had changed in 20 years!


        • Golly geez Forrest. The more I think about this, the more I see the places I searched last August, but the first place was a bust as you know.

          Perhaps the other place with a lot of heritage is better?

          Honestly, my head is spinning like I’m in a nose dive and don’t know what to think anymore. Maybe I’ll see the light one of these days but I’m not SCUBA certified anymore.

          Sorry. A severe case of head scratching just hit. You’ve probably already know about the Temple connection huh?


  6. I look forward to reading these stories every night – I can forget work for a while and smile – thanks Forrest ! I also walk away – somethings just aren’t worth fussing about – for 46 years now – he’s always right and I am a happy girl still.

  7. My Dad was sent to Thule, Greenland for a year. Family was not welcome. We stayed in Kentucky with my aunt. Dad missed my first birthday, but he brought me a stuffed animal… A polar bear. I still have my polar bear and I still have my dad. He’ll be 91 this month. He’s a lot like Forrest. He’s the energized bunny …. Still driving, takes care of his wife, does volunteer work and still goes to church. He doesn’t park in the handicapped parking … That’s for the older people he told me last year!

  8. A vacuum cleaner works wonders on the sand my small boys traipse into la casa. Team Peggy!

  9. Fours again.
    4 rooms on the 4th floor of a 4-floor walk-up…and 40 dollars.
    Prior to that was there was a birdie on the fourth hole in SB 222.
    in SB 221 it was 40’ wide and 4’ deep…and 44 years later.

    Is there a meaningful pattern here?

    • I see a lot of 2’s:
      2 options, 2 days, 2 things, 2 rules, 2 pairs…not to mention 20 inches and 20 feet.

      • Let me provide some insight. A home run in baseball is 4 bases. The world series just ended. The Twins and Yankees were vying for most home runs in a season by a team. The Addie story, though 100% true, relates to a four-bagger or home run. Remember the Baby Ruth candy wrappers? Baseball season is over. You might see football references now or not. I’m personally looking forward to the Vikings playing the Cowboys on 11/24.

          • Then again, it’s likely just be me with baseball on the brain.

            I have a feeling f is getting a kick out of people trying to find an association with numbers. 300 miles west of Toledo all over again.

    • 444 Is A Sign Someone Is Trying To Communicate With You
      [*] 444 is a number of protection and encouragement. It is a sign that you are currently following the right path. [*] If you see the number 444 repeatedly, it is often your angel giving you a sign that they are with you.

    • and then again there is not far but too far to walk
      not 4 but 242 walk….
      …and he spends his winnings on buying Peggy a vacuum?
      that sucks. He could have taken her to the Four Seasons.

    • Not far but 242 walk. Could that be 24.2 walk or 24 to walk? He says to listen good near the end of the poem. I’m trying to listen.

        • When the alphabet is Reduced to single numerical digits (A=1, B=2, etc)


          P=16 (1+6=7) reduced to single digit numeric representation…P=7

          Y=25 (2+5=7)
          thus Y=7

          PGY=Peggy, and she is Forrest’s lucky numbers, “his jackpot” 7-7-7

    • Ya, there’s a meaningful pattern here, flowing with the other SB’s. IMO . I do take notice of the “Timing(s)” of the F&Q with Jenny. He has prewritten a certain amount of SB’s within a set sent to Dal. Thus, they can be a planned flowing big picture Riddle to figure out. What perfect timing in this F&Q ,that FF has prewritten and given Dal a bunch in a set with 4 SB’s remaining in “the waiting room” at that time. Dal will post them when he posts them.

      Deuce, Duce or Two: He’s leading and revving these SB’s on to some conclusion and he’s not bluffing in the stories. IMO

      The next 3 ( as shown in the 3 men sketch here) in this series completes the riddle , unlocks the door to the blinding flash of AHA and away from the head in the sand. LoL. The question towards this credence would be if FF has a specific order for which they are to be posted.

      Back in the day, a dark room was used to develop pictures.
      “I just start typing in the dark with gloves on, so to speak.” FF

      To me, he’s developing a picture with these SB riddles.

      “Blinded by the light, Revved up like a deuce, Another runner in the night……”

      IMO .

      • Alsetenash – Everything you ever wanted to know about ‘Duces’:

        Courtesy of my illustrious ancestor. I didn’t know that a ‘Vicarious’ worked with a ‘Dux’. Huh. And check out Il Duce’s Latin motto. Interesting.

        Is this post all about maintaining pivotal relationships? Involving 2 people? Forrest and his wife, Peggy, contrasted with Forrest and his Major Charlie? It takes 2.

        And there is an X at the end of the singular of that original Latin form of the Italian ‘Duce’. Discuss.

        • Lisa, thanks for the info. I am in this kind of thought about it as it pertains to the story.

          Online search: Duce-“Used often in Houstin, Texas as a greeting or a departure.”

          Forrest is an old Texan. In the story where Duce is used is in a card game. He is playing against his boss. Forrest intimates his thoughts and potential predicament. If FF wins against his boss , he then thinks about the possibility of his boss holding a grudge for a later career performance review he’ll receive from said boss. If he does win he gets to buy him and Peggy a vacuum. He crunches his odds with his hand against his bosses potential hand. FF computes that he has three sevens and his boss likely has two pair. He’s pretty sure he’ll win.

          Forrest wins and buys a vacuum. His boss later gave him a good review and FF got promoted.

          So is “Duce” a greeting or a departure? All was a pleasant result.

          Next SB is about his wife’s birthday. It’s not yet her birthday. It’s the second time that photo, or drawing ,was used in a SB. This is the second (2) time a photo was used in this SB series that was also in a long ago SB.

          What’s in the first SB’s posted that pertains to these new ones? What is not in these ones that is in the other ones?

          Duce , deuce and reduce.

          I dunno, but all I do is deduce.

          IMO .

          • Lisa and Alsetenash.

            If I may, and this is from Merriam-Webster; “Definition of dux
            1 : a military commander stationed in a province of the later Roman Empire
            2 British : the pupil at the academic head of a class or school

            I know that there are many folks here that do not believe there is a lead searcher, but IMO THE MAN has spoken. The teacher still has a winning hand, but one of his students is doing real well and like Major Davis, he likes that person. That’s my take.


            PS – IMO there is a whole lot more to this SB than meets the eye and I believe this is one of them there ‘intersections’ he was talking about. Possibly 2 or 3.

          • Pinatubocharlie – Google the wiki page for the Prime Number 2:

            Two is the smallest prime number, and the only even prime number (for this reason it is sometimes called “the oddest prime”).[1] The next prime is three. Two and three are the only two consecutive prime numbers. 2 is the first Sophie Germain prime, the first factorial prime, the first Lucas prime, and the first Ramanujan prime.[2]

            Two is the third (or fourth) Fibonacci number.

            2,4,6,8…who do we appreciate? Forrest Fenn!

            Even Stevens, Forrest. Where is Steven Spielberg, when I need him? Loved the scale of notes from that theme from “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”. Richard Dreyfuss had a second home here for many years. His son, Harry, was frequently in Shakespeare’s plays here in town. Because, all the world’s a stage. And sometimes I feel I am Center Stage, here in Sun Valley. Where Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson have a second home.

          • Pinatubocharlie,

            Good points and backups. It’s very possible in your ideas. It could explain the new happenings.

            Who knows.

            IMO .

        • Alsetenash – Yes! I noticed that greeting usage of ‘Duce’, also. And the word ‘reduce’ in the scrapbook. Thinking of numbers and Prime factors. And potential Duce ‘light’ blazes:

          “Italian Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini used the title of dux (and duce in Italian) to represent his leadership. One fascist motto was “DVX MEA LVX”, Latin for “[The] Duce [is] my light” or “[The] Leader [is] my light”

          And playing cards. Did you know in the Raja’s Deck, the Elephant in the room was the.General? That card became the Queen in the French Deck. A ‘Duce’ in the Byzantine Empire was the General. Is that why Forrest kept the Duce card and discarded the Jack, which classically represented the Knights of Olde? In this case, Major Charlie representing the Military Knight as Jack and Peggy Fenn representing the Queen of Forrest’s Heart as the Duce or General to keep and win his ‘hand’ and that ‘pot of Gold’? Peggy looked like Queen Elizabeth I I in her beautiful wedding photos in 1953.

          And was Libya part of the Byzantine Empire, do you know?

          I love learning with you, Alsetenash, here at the HOD! Thanks again, Dal, for providing and maintaining this awesome forum for us.

      • From a Jack to a King
        From loneliness to a wedding ring
        I played an Ace and I won a Queen
        And walked away with your heart
        From a Jack to a King
        With no regret I stacked the cards last night
        And lady luck played her hand just right
        To make me King of your heart
        For just a little while
        I thought that I might lose the game
        Then just in time
        I saw the twinkle in your eye
        From a Jack to a King
        From loneliness to a wedding ring
        I played an Ace and I won a Queen
        You made me King of your heart
        For just a little while
        I thought that I might lose the game
        Then just in time
        I saw the twinkle in your eye
        From a Jack to a King
        From loneliness to a wedding ring
        I played an Ace and I won a Queen
        You made me King of your heart
        Source: LyricFind

        Listen good…

  10. Wise choice Mr Fenn. You knew that the odds of drawing 3 of a kind is 2.11%. That’s hard to beat. On another note, the odds of having all the clues line up in the Chase must be astronomical.

    • Haha. I get it! What we have here is an overwhelming victory … the very definition of a “clean sweep”?

    • Thanks for reminding me! JacksonHoler had a good post about the odds of finding Forrest’s treasure over on Reddit. Its called “The odds are enormously against anyone finding the box…..” In fact, the odds may be more in favor of winning the Powerball than finding the chest.

      This makes me think that unless you have 9 clues (which includes the blaze), its better to stay home and reread Forrest’s scrapbooks.

      I think we are not going to stumble on the chest. We have to go with a complete solve if we expect to succeed against these odds. So why do so many persevere? You have to admit it is a lot more exciting than playing the lottery.

  11. How does the military find these – at or near the end of the world bases? An old Sargent Major once told me that there were only two bases in the entire Marine corps that were good – The one you just left, and the next one you will go to. I learned that he was correct 🙂

    You sure have found the key to a happy marriage Forrest. I learned long ago that the two best words one can utter in a marriage are – “Yes Mam” or “You’re Right.”… even if she isn’t – JDA

  12. Forrest,

    I guess I would put him on either two pair, a straight or a flush draw, I.e., approximatly 8 percent for the first and 16 percent for the latter.

    I would imagine you thought you were in the lead with trips and an expected 8 percent chance to win outright even if he completed his hand.

    As I see it, you were close to 90 percent to win and getting 8 to 1 on calling the bet. A no brainier, so to speak.

    So you wound up $5 richer after buying the vacuum and you made Peggy happy.

    I imagine that vacuum is burried deep somewhere west, or east of Toledo, depending on your point of view.

    I guess they didn’t have Texas Hold’em back then. Calculating Texas Hold’em Poker Odds isn’t that hard, in fact, it’s Made Easy.

    Still, Doyle Brunson would have been proud of you.


    • Wow, thanks for doing the math, S. Roe! This makes reading the scrapbook again even more fun!

      • Love LV – sin city, the bling, the money and the Cheap shrimp cocktails.

        First time I ate sushi was in LV…can’t believe that people eat sea urchin, fish eggs, and octopus. I stuck with the Cal Roll and my gin/OJ.

  13. I must admit, I love a great game of poker and I used to like a nice cigar. I still play a nickel and dime game at the clubhouse with the older gents, on Monday night. I also like putting comas where I damn well please and I can’t spell Worth a lick after 3 college degrees. One thing I do need each day, is a good reason to wake up, Thank you for these scrapbooks Forrest. Dal your a good friend to Forrest..

  14. I LOVE this story. The key word for me was “happy”. If we could all go back again to enjoy the chase instead of the quarry, we unanimously would.

  15. Forrest to think. All those decisions to buy a vacuum cleaner at the time. Now you’re retired, still with your wife and hid a treasure chest in the Rocky Mountains…..

    You share many stories of great moments and major downs. And all thru it you never gave up no matter how hard it got.


    • It’s been said that the best thing a man can do for their children is to treat their mother well. It seems Forrest has succeded in that endevor.

  16. Why Forrest, would you discard a Jack and hold a “Duce,”—unless you were playing a hunch? You weren’t playing lo-ball. Hmmmmm…

    • Ordinarily you wouldn’t, but in this case it doesn’t matter since he opted to disguise his trip-7’s by drawing only one. Whether he drew a full boat 7’s over 2’s or 7’s over jacks would make no difference to the outcome.

      • Maybe no effect in the card game, but in the story of the card game it completes the thematic metaphor. He weighed the options and kept “the two”—even misspelled it for added effect. He preserved his marriage.
        BTW…I looked up “Duce.”
        It means “leader.”
        Olive Jar

        • Online slang dictionary says “Duce”
          Can mean two fingers thrown up in the air with both hands to represent peace.

          FF kept the peace.

        • title for Mussolini, pronounced do-cha, whom was a leader. Could just represent that he was leading the hand, or that he was holding a leader card, a king. You wouldn’t throw away a jack instead of a two, but you would if you had a queen, king, or ace. The word play is that he never said he was holding a two. We just take it for granted that he just spelled “duce” wrong. Has nothing to do with a two.

          • I will concede this is a possibility. But without knowing the Major’s cards, it’s all something of a blazing mystery. As Z pointed out earlier, against any hand higher than a trip seven full boat, keeping either Il Duce, or the literal deuce, macht nichts.

  17. I just bought my wife a new vacuum. Unfortunately my skills at poker are not as good so I had to pay cash.

  18. Forest,

    It seems that playing that one hand helped you clean up all the way around….new vacuum, happy wife, higher position, and $20 left from the deal. Sometimes the odds are just too great not to play your hand. Seems like you succeeded in playing both your hand and Charlies.

  19. Forrest,
    I was wondering why and how you decided not to drink? Did your folks influence you? DiD something happen that defined your decision?
    It’s interesting. Good for you! You will live long!
    But you keep eatting those unhealthy dogs. Lol
    No really please share.
    Best Regards, Lou Lee

    • I also don’t drink. Tried it a few times in my teens and it made me an angry person, and I didn’t like being in various states of incapacitation. Looking at people that lost friendships, lost relationships, died or killed others while driving, the fact that it’s a poison (and when is it good to slowly poison yourself?)… it was pretty easy to do the math and see that some things in life are worth the collateral costs, and some aren’t.
      That decision has never cost me any happiness, and probably has given me more. But that’s just me.

      • A small amount of alcohol daily, whether beer, wine or spirits, provides some health benefits, including lowering your risk of developing heart disease or having an ischemic stroke. It can also reduce the incidence of diabetes and some cancers. The trick is the “small amount.” Some cannot master that discipline, in which case abstinence is the better choice.

        Btw, Forrest is not a teetotaler. In his stories he has consumed wine, beer, champagne, brandy and martinis at one time or another. (Have I missed anything?)

    • So the Giblhi is a *a hot dust-bearing wind of the North African desert.* That’s interesting.

      I’m glad Peggy got her new vacuum cleaner Forrest. Some of those higher-end vacuum cleaners can be down-right expensive. I know mine was.

      I also don’t play much poker so I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be very good at bluffing. I’d probably have to play a hunch too. This part of this SB kind of reminds me of the updated fetish doodle from that last SB. Sometimes you just gotta have a little faith in your hand. And a little good luck is way better than a whole bunch of bad luck, for sure.

      So cheers to your poker victory Forrest. I’m glad you won your hand and I’m sure it was well deserved. And the new vacuum cleaner for Peggy is just the icing on the cake in this story.

      Thanks for the SB marathon Forrest.


      • I also like this part too: “I forgot to say that there was also bourbon, scotch, vodka, and myriad other such libations that freely flowed into everyone’s mouth but mine. I didn’t drink.”

        LOL. This part of the story makes me want to have a drink or 2 or 3. But I don’t drink either.

        • I just watched a Giblhi video on youtube. Best not to get caught in one of those. I wonder what they can do to your car if you’re trapped in one, during one of those storms? I’m sure you can’t breath in one either. I get plenty of dust blowing around where I live, but at least we don’t have Giblhi’s!

  20. I can’t imagine having to share a cot. Peggy is a trooper. When I got married we were so broke that we slept on an air mattress with no pillows and when my husband rolled over I’d bounce around as the air shifted.

    The beauty of being young without responsibility. It was an adventure.

    Another great story Forrest, thanks.

    • I remember when I made my first trip out West too work on a cattle ranch, I owned a duffle bag and that was it. I had my health and looking back now, i was as rich as I could be, with a future ahead of me… this is my favorite scrapbook. I love poker analogies.

  21. Thank you, Forrest, for sharing the best advice ever for relationships and a happy life in general. “But life was good because we both went way out of our way to make it that way.” Also, you gave ingenious advice about winning an argument by giving in. Was Peggy ever a Zen master?

    I have to admit that being math challenged, all the number talk made me want to beat my head with a stick, but once I told myself to read the scrapbook again and apply it to the chase it was much better. I particularly liked the fact that you had “4 rooms on the 4th floor of a 4-floor walk-up” with no elevator. That climb was steep indeed.

    Lastly, I think the story about playing your hand no matter the odds against you is wise advice if you think you can win. With faith we can conquer mountains and sand storms, too.

  22. Forrest,
    I can’t help but to point out how the vacuum looks like a fox giving the finger. I see it. r

  23. I like “insistence”
    The offspring of Persistence and insistent.
    Great word , Forrest!
    Unless you have a lisp .

  24. Just before reading this I was helping my husband in his shop. For four hours he was trying to do something one way, while I told him several times the way I thought it should be done, followed by, “I’m sure you are right, though, dear,” because I’ve been a wife for a long time.
    He finally listened to my suggestion.
    Thirty seconds later the task was complete.
    I’m gonna ride this moment of glory for a long time… wives do that.

    • Don’t they, ever! Wives do that, I mean. There’s a lesson here that’s not the one I wanted to learn!

  25. My wife is always right. Well, even when she isn’t I give her the benefit of the doubt because I’m wrong more often. At least she thinks me being BOTG is a great idea, once more. I’m not even bluffing. I don’t bluff well. What you see is what you get. Wish Forrest played the same way 😉

    I usually premise the start of a poker game as I walk up to the table by saying, “I know I just got here about an hour ago, but I’m ready to play. I don’t bluff well and my track record shows that unless I’m spoon fed a great hand, I usually lose and vow to never play again.” Lol. That usually reels some sharks in. They smell the blood in the water and usually go for the kill. I had a really great friend one time, I guess you can call him the “dolphin” in the midst of a ton of sharks. He started to teach me to play a while back and I’ve gotten better. I still don’t bluff well though. I’m usually truthful to the point of being an A-Hole. That isn’t a valuable trait either sometimes, so…recently I’ve vowed to be quiet and respectful. I plan on sticking to that vow.

    Thanks for the scrapbooks Forrest and Dal. That’s a lot of ground to cover. A lot to compute. Ada could do it I’m sure.


  26. I think he might be saying that 44 is a bluff. But it’s not. It’s just a glaring signal to you all to think about 44. If you haven’t found that in your solve yet then think about it. You should have noticed the thing that it means on day one in my opinion for a reason unrelated to the number.

  27. Peggy, is quite the trooper, (I can’t imagine an American girl today that would share a bathroom with strangers) lol. I guess this is why us alpha males would risk our lives for their well being. Other than the cordless drill, I think the shop vac is man’s greatest invention, I wonder if this is the one Forrest turned into his blast furnace?

  28. Thanks for sharing yet another great story Forrest. Cool picture too. I was literally just vacuumming tonight and wondering if I should play poker but I am not whitty and dont know the game quite yet, I too am reading books and hopefully will master the game quickly. For Halloween, my uncle always has a “guess the number of mini candy bars in the jar” game, I picked 444 with 44 mini gold resees cups (before reading this story). I was way off by hundreds and lost…but my daughter, who seems to have a lucky birthdate, won that jar of candy! I’ve tried to get her out searching with me haha

  29. New featured question w Jenny… about all the new SBs: ‘ Dal has 4 more SBs in the waiting room, and there will be more if I stay healthy. He decides when to post a story and he likes to spread them out. I never press him because I’ve learned that he has a wonderfully polite way of telling me no. ‘

    • Good character because he did not hold a grudge against Forrest for beating him in poker.

  30. At first I wondered why he chose to write 100% for 2 days or 95% for 48 hours. Could it be because 48 hours sounds like less time than 2 days or is he drawing our attention to something else like the choice between the tent and the Officer’s club, delineating the line between the lower and upper ranks or comfort levels of the 2 places.

  31. I’ve played a fair amount of poker over the years in very similar circumstances. It’s fun to get dealt a good hand. Thanks for sharing the stories and giving everyone encouragement. Those desert winds are no joke…

  32. When I lived in Europe I remember these hot sand cloud winds in the South of France and Spain also called scirocco. I think all this SB is saying is someone is blowing a lot of hot air and we should ignore it.

    • WwwAmericana,
      Not showing your hand and knowing how to bluff like a pro…
      makes ff the single best poker player In the Rocky Mountain game. Thanks Dal for hosting.

      I look like a rookie, making rookie mistakes…over and over and over.

      I’m better at Canasta. no need to even try playing poker with Forrest. I’ll bet he’s an excellent tactical chess/chest player too.

  33. God bless Peggy. She’s smart like that! I have to go put my thinking cap on. Blonde, yellow, poker, numbers, military days and a vacuum cleaner. Hmm

  34. LMAO I know of these Cots 23 years and they are still the same size, one still has to be an oragami wizard to erect one, once mastered you can bounce all of your buddies change right into you pocket, and a fun game of spades.

  35. Forrest,
    you have been blessed with many warm memories and we have been blessed with your recollections.
    Thank you,
    Rick Lasttolook

  36. Wow! Those Desert Dust Storms are horrific. Been in two or three myself with my parents when my dad was stationed in the middle east. One time we were out in the Desert, and one came in so fast there was nothing we could do but stand there and let it pass. You see nothing and feel the sand completely engulf you. No clothing spares you the sandpaper burn of a sandstorm. No orifice is sacred either! You are lost in sand and wind. You cannot see nor do you want to open your eyes. Sometimes you can move to less windy areas so it’s not so bad. Sometimes they pass quickly and you are out as quick as you are in. But nothing and I mean rain and wind or snow and wind can compare to the knowing of being in a Sand Storm.

    I love ff stories. They remind me of a time long ago in my own life when my dad was alive and we were complete and happy.

    My Dad Was Charles Henry Williams he died when he was 27 years old in Famagusta Cyprus. Not a day passes that I do not think of my Dad or miss him. Today.. I remember him in the desert, in a sand storm.

  37. Have to love the early years of marriage. Love will make the tough times not seem so bad. Glad you won the pot and Mrs. Fenn got her vacuum cleaner. Those sand storms sounded like a doozy and surprised they last that long.

  38. Some times there is a message in the madness, and ever since this line of “CHAOS” started, meaning this rash of seemingly disconnected Scrapbooks, especially since the off balance image of Chaos, foot on the chest but a lack of balance, that macabre doll which appeard in two prior scrapbooks, Forrest has sent us into something like the “Twighlight Zone” and until now I have resisted making an opinionated or judgement call on what was going on here.

    Did anyone notice, or is it just me that there are repeating themes, numbers, ideas and names, like John, now AKA Juan? Juan thing is for sure that ff is sending a message down the line, perhaps it was the Chili Line at Christ Church, old cars and telegraph messages, but I think there is a pattern to this Chaos if I am correct no one will see the light at the end of the tunnel until spring, when the daffodils bloom and before the leaves fall I feel an awaking is in order, what wilt the summer bring that has to do with 22.4? Perhaps it is playing a hunch but if something is this hard to find an the odds are so stacked against us why not?

    Wheelus AFB was at one time the largest US Base outside of USA, and just before the “6 Day War” in 1967 I was in the MED Sixth Fleet for one year, as an Amphib Sailor our assignment, along with UDT (Seal) Marine Embassy and Recon teams was to standby for and evacuate American Citizens from Embassy’s in the Middle East, Cairo, Lebanon, or even Tel Av-iv (Isarel) if the war went badly, which it did not, lucky for me, an it was over in 6 days but the Golan Heights at night during that week looked like the Highlands in Vietnam, Flash of lights, a minute later, concussion and deafening sound, now wonder ff has trouble hearing now, we could see munitions blowing object up and what sounded like Daisy Cutters AKA Napalm BLU-82 the bleve-ies everywhere. In September 1969 King Idris monarch of Libya was overthrown by a group of military officers centred on Muammar Gaddafi, and that huge base was eliminated, considered not to be strategic, but was going to have the same problem as another similar base, Guantanamo, but we kept Gitmo and I was there months on end, we use to bet on Hermit Crab races at Gitmo, we still own it though.


    • 2442 TT.
      catch 22, u know.
      he’s been married 66 years, 66=FF. 24 42 = 6 6.
      he was 66 years old in the summer of ’97. etc…etc…etc…

      • poisonivey, When I wrote this solve back in 2017,

        I felt that the RR, aka the Chili Line was somehow in the poem, so much so I alluded to the Water Towers and Steam Locomotives as “Just heavy loads and water high”. Now since I was familiar with that part of New Mexico since childhood, and knew there was no paddle that could get up the wooden river, BINGO?

        Now after filming this youtube video…. I still feel it would have been easy, yet bold to park at Osier Lunch Station on the CTRR and walk down or up the tracks to stash Indulgence, but not a lot of places within 500′ of the tracks, and that place where I chose to film is also listed in the book of blazes here and it is within 500′ of the RR tracks.

        After scrapbook of Chili Line at Christs Church I started to focus on a place called Cruces BASIN Wilderness, which borders the South Rim of this Canyon, Toltec, however the Wilderness is not accessable from a sedan, a JEEP Grand Cherokee yes but what is your definition of SEDAN mr Fenn?

        I even found the exact co-ordinates of Molly Browns home in Leadville and the strangest of all his old house on North Main and the exact spot in Laos all have the same # of Longitude…PS there is also a BEAVER CREEK in the Cruces BASIN Wilderness….?


        • Tom, I believe you can access the Cruces Basin from the lower Los Pinos (Antonito/San Miguel) without too much difficulty…particularly if you have a 4WD trail rated “sedan”. I believe Mr Fenn’s vehicle fits the definition of “sedan”. I don’t think you need a 4WD off road vehicle just decent clearance. Don’t go in via Osier, that is a pretty rough road. Take a look.

  39. Forrest did you use the motor from that vacuum to build your Melting Furnace? I Imagine the Germans made good vacuums back then…

    From Scrapbook #205
    “Then I ran a hose from our fireplace in the living room, through the kitchen and pantry to the garage where my melting furnace was waiting. I’d made it from a vacuum cleaner motor. That gave me ¼ psi of natural gas, which was enough pressure to melt the metal. It was so much fun that I also cast the nameplate in bronze.”

  40. Not sure why some searchers see no hints in scrapbooks. I see hints in every scrapbook!

    Glad to see your marriage survived you being in the bachelor’s quarters, Forrest. My Dad was assigned to temporary bachelor quarters in Germany as well, and it lead to my parent’s divorce in 1984. Unfortunately, the battalion mascot was not a cute bulldog or cat or such. It was a beautiful young German woman. Finding out about the mascot did not sit well with my fiery Irish mom. Too bad my Dad did not play poker.

  41. The good thing about the high winds I had in my area the last two days… the dead leaves are all gone! No raking this year! Yippee!!

  42. Bucharest was once populated by tens of thousands of stray dogs in addition to all the humans when I lived there for a year back in the late 1990s. Left on their own, previously domesticated dogs have about four years to live and the bitches have puppies twice or thrice before expiring. After only a few generations, all the breeds of dog evolve into medium-sized highly intelligent wiry-haired mongrels who spend all day searching for more food.

    The dogs organized themselves into packs with their own territories, which were usually the parking lots for one block of apartments. When humans finished their horrible meals they would just scrape their plates off the balconies for the doggies below. Each pack of dogs was friendly to the humans in its block of apartments but they barked and growled at strangers walking past along the pavement. The way to deal with them was to act tough and confident.

    Food in Romania was incredibly horrible. Common menu items included sheep-brains meatloaf and cow-intestines soup (ciorba de burta). The sausages where either white or black.

    Life got really tough for the dogs in December because Bucharest gets cold like Winnipeg with a thick layer of snow covering everything for a few months.

    The American embassy had a contingent of soldiers who all bunked in a fraternity-style house several blocks from my apartment and they invited me to a pre- Christmas party. I memorized all of the state capital cities before attending and made a game out of it with all of them.

    After a dozen beers around 1am I said my thank-yous and set off for my apartment. It was dark and cold and the roads were deserted. As I walked past one block of apartments its resident pack of dogs decided to pick on me. They barked and growled and so I acted all alpha with a deep voice telling them to “fugi” (go away) but they were in a bad mood and jacked up the tension by baring all their teeth and slowly advancing towards me as I slowly retreated onto the street. I was out of options and about to be torn apart by stray dogs in a foreign country.

    Miraculously a taxi came along and the driver saw my situation. He mindfully drove his cab between me and the dogs which gave me a chance to flee. That guy saved my life and I never even saw his face or exchanged any words with him.

    A few years later the city culled all the stray dogs with much controversy, but I was already long gone.

    • 42 – Good one!

      Looking for a game of poker with four cards and a joker in it:


      Hobbies Card Games & Gambling
      What Is a Joker in the Game of Poker?
      Joker Card
      Gregor Schuster/Getty Images
      Toby Bochan
      Updated April 29, 2019
      What does a joker mean in the game of poker? There are two meanings for this term. One is to refer to a wild card. The other is the slang for a pair of jacks.

      Jokers as Wild Cards in Poker
      The most common meaning of joker is a wild card in poker. There are often two extra joker cards included in a deck of cards. These cards have no suit, and they traditionally feature a character dressed as a court jester or clown. When a player draws a wild card, they can designate it to stand for any card of their choice. This adds a random element to games and affects the odds.

      Wild cards are not generally used in casino poker games or poker tournaments but may be used in home games or online games. A bug is similar to a wild card, but it stands for an ace except when it can complete a straight or flush.

      Some video poker machines play Joker Poker or include a joker as a wild card. They will often have adjusted payouts and odds, such as only paying for a pair of kings or better rather than a more standard pair of jacks or better. The Joker can add an element of fun to the game, but you know that the house will always win in the long run. The Joker might also be featured in extra play and wheel spins on the machine for additional chances at prizes and bonuses. Video poker has an element of skill as well as chance, but players may have to mentally adjust the odds when playing a game that includes a Joker.

      The Joker cards were introduced to card decks around the time of the American Civil War and were used as trump cards in the game of Euchre. Around 1875, the game of poker adopted the joker as a wild card. They have been a standard part of American playing card decks since the 1940s.

      Jokers as a Nickname for a Pair of Jacks
      The second meaning of jokers is a slang term for a pair of jacks in Texas Hold’em. If you have two jacks in the hole, you might say you “have jokers.” It is one of many colorful nicknames given to different pairs and hole card combinations. Other slang terms for a pair of jacks are hooks or fishhooks (referring to the shape of the letter J as well as how “fish” or inexperienced players might get excited and overplay a pair of jacks), Johnnies, Kid Dyn-o-mite (from the character J.J. on the “Good Times” television series of the 1970s), the Two Jakes, jaybirds, and brothers.

      The joker cards are not used in Texas Hold’em poker, except perhaps at friendly home games. Therefore, any reference to jokers you hear while playing Texas Hold’em at a card room, casino, or tournament is likely to be referring to a pair of jacks.


    • lol, that’s pretty good 42. should have buried him standing up, Y.
      two people can keep…etc… one “Y” standing up, one “Y” laying down/dead, the shadow, lol……….

  43. This may not be popular, but I’m not in a beauty contest.
    WHY not just accept the SBs for what they are.??
    ff,, for posterity or having fun, just scratching his initials in fresh sidewalk concrete.

  44. First thing Sacha is going to notice are the two triangular signs at the Bitburg Base gate. 😉

  45. Thank you Peggy. I really needed that one key phrase in my life. “Well honey, I’m sure you’re right.”

    I’d rather be happy than right. 😉

        • That’s a stock photo you can find in Google images. I’m sure Dal chose it so don’t read too much into the TC.

          Dal, to level the playing field would it be possible to let us know when you choose a photo or when Forrest specifically requests one so we don’t overthink things. Thanks!

          • Goldie locks, you are correct. The same Bitburg AF gate black and white photo was out on several others Pinterest sites

  46. Bitburg has me thinking about Germany…halt means the same thing in German as it does in English – stop, a train station etc. The military gate above has me thinking about halt in a different way.

  47. I know my 20″ sleeping mat works perfect for camping at my home of brown. Best way to see the animals up close. Nature’s scenery while treasure hunting in the canyon down.

  48. Reading all the comments above provides all sorts of directions for thought. Are we playing now? Or are we waiting for another sandstorm to bring us back to the table? One thing is clear If someone were dealt three 7s they’d be foolish to fold.

  49. Just read above where 3 7’s is Jackpot – I like that. Anyone out there holding 3 7’s, and have hit the jackpot?? Sounds good to me – JDA

    • JDA – I’m not holding Forrest’s treasure, but I did hit 2 jackpots in one year winning 1200 and 1700….and those are the only 2 times that I’ve gambled in 30 years. 1200 on a wheel of fortune machine, and the other hit 7-7-7 on a pink diamond slot machine. Hence my screen name 777.

      Wisdom shouted, “cash out, take the money, and don’t come back. I haven’t gambled since then. Lady Luck only smiles so many times.

  50. Love the title of this one!
    So many scrapbooks, so many tales, so much to think about. My summation: information overload! But I love to read them all!
    Maybe you could press pause next week till I get back from my first BOTG in a year and a half? 😉 jk…I can play catchup!

  51. Hoyle’s Book Of Odds, my dad had that book when I was a kid. He used to play many games, but mostly Texas Hold’em back in the day when the mainstream hadn’t yet heard of it.

    Great story!

  52. I love this story, for various reasons, but mainly it shines the light on Peggy, the unsung Chase hero. I will guarantee that Alpha dog Forrest will run most of his decisions past Peg first. 80% of the time he will not agree with her, but 90% of the outcomes will be heavily influenced by the first lady. He will rarely tell her she was right and hide that deep respect, remaining Alpha.

    All you men in solid marriages do exactly the same. 😉

    After reading my comment I reckon you guys should do something extra special for your loved one today. After all, you cant Beta good woman!

  53. This layout in this photograph looks every bit like my brothers old stomping ground. I’m sure I am just imagining things though.

  54. I love reading this. How do we assume its Peggys vacuum. Maybe its one step too far, but I will say it anyway; POLITICAL-CORRECTION is needed. I admire you Forrest, but there should be a little reverse roll play from time to time.


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