The War Kids

December 28th 2014

The Vietnam War was terrible on civilians, especially the kids. Those who champion fighting cannot open their mouths without adding to the sum of human suffering.

Peggy sent two large boxes of clothing for me to take to the local orphanage, and it was just like her to do that. When the director started passing out shirts and pants and shoes, and socks, you should have seen the smiles all around.

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Many of the children were missing body parts, but it didn’t hamper their spirit or their enthusiasm.

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Contributing to the children was a rewarding moment for Peggy and me, although at times I had to grit my teeth and look away. But I know that what we did left an indelible stamp on some impressionable clay, and that made it all worthwhile.

Diane Sawyer et al

December 26th 2014

IMG_1225sWell, there’s Diane with John Ehrlichman of Watergate fame. She interviewed him in the library at our gallery not long after he was released from prison. John didn’t trust her so he refused to answer any question unless it was asked while the camera was trained on both of them. He was afraid Diane would later change a question to his answer and make him look bad. No one ever looked at John the way he wanted to be seen. What did I just say???

John and I met with the Chinese Minister of Culture in Beijing, hoping to broker the many antiques that were superfluous to their great collections. John was allowed to attend the business meetings, but not the several dinners that were held for “us.” Our hosts always served 8 course meals, Every course was duck, and each was prepared differently. I couldn’t eat any of it, but I faked it as best I could.

The Chinese government liked our business proposal, but time was not on our side. They have a saying, “The tree grows slowly but the earth is patient.”

1/Lt. Aide de Camp

December 24th 2014

IMG_1210sReceiving lines were always fun because I got to make introductions to General Robinson. I would mention everyone’s name while they shook hands, and I had to get it right. Of course the general always said he knew the person as he flashed his two star smile. That’s him standing on my left. His wife, Edith, is the next woman and then Peggy. She’s the one who spiffed up the receiving line.

General Robinson’s job was to oversee all of the combat crew training in the Air Force, and that included nine bases, several hundred thousand civilian and military personnel, and hundreds of airplanes. One of my jobs, as the general’s confidential assistant, was to fly about twelve different fighters and bombers, and be able to answer questions. We were always off to Europe or South America doing something. It was the only dress up job I ever had and I loved it, despite the coat and tie.

 

 

Black-Crested Buzzard-Eagle

December 22nd 2014

I always liked birds, but I haven’t owned many. They’re messy. Peggy doesn’t mind having birds around, but the feathers bothered her.

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This is Lunch Time, and he’s native to South America. He got his name because every time I walked out on the upper deck of our gallery and called his name, he’d fly over and land on my arm. I could throw a chicken leg up and he’d snatch it in midair.

I didn’t wear a glove until one day he clamped down on my arm with all eight talons. I didn’t know what to do as blood spirted all over my clean shirt. Finally I put him on the floor and started to put my foot on his neck. That’s when he turned loose. That didn’t happen to me but once because I’m a fast learner. After several years I released Lunch Time in the mountains east of Santa Fe. I think he’s feeding on turkeys now.

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Someone gave Sinbad to me. His talons were docile, but once I offered him a drink of Coke and he broke the bottle with his beak. He had the run of our gallery and liked to hang out on an old buckboard we had in a back room. An elderly lady was looking at some things we had in the wagon and didn’t see the macaw walking toward her. He bit her on the thumb and it was terrible. Fortunately she blamed herself for not seeing Sinbad approach. Whew! I don’t remember what happened to Sinbad, but I’m glad it did. If you want to give me bubble gum I’ll accept it, but please don’t give me any more scarlet macaws.


 

 

Feeding the Griz

December 21st 2014

IMG_1221sSince so many treasure seekers are working around West Yellowstone, I thought I’d show this photo. It was taken by my father in 1936. The scene is Rabbit Creek, just a few miles north of Old Faithful in Yellowstone Park. Rangers collected garbage wherever they could find it, mostly from local restaurants and campgrounds. They poured it out on a large cement slab for the bears to eat. Open bleachers were provided not far away so tourists could watch.

First, the black bears poured in to feed. Sometimes there were a hundred or more. Then, about two hours before dark, the first grizzly came strolling in. His appearance caused the smaller bears to flee for their lives, and in just five minutes there were none to hamper the more powerful diner. A lot of the tourists fled also. If you zoom in, you might count 18 griz in this photo.

To find out more on the subject you can Google “feeding grizzlies in yellowstone.”