An Old Fashioned Date Night…

Think back to your high school years for a bit. It was a simple time especially if they were enjoyed in small town America. It was a beautiful time in our lives, with little to worry about in my day unless you had drawn a low number in the lottery, guaranteeing an extended vacation in Southeast Asia. High School athletics, an occasional bon-fire, an incessant run of movies in run down movie houses were the norm. If you were a woodsman or waterman, Missouri was your huckleberry. We had little concept of time, naively believing we were immortal, and that life was easy. The truth is that most of us did not see life coming.

The pandemic has altered our existence. We have been forced into a lifestyle that is predictable and challenging. For many of us, this time out in life has taken a year or so from us when our inventory of years is low and exceedingly precious. Sharon and I have ventured out a bit. We are gastronomes and make no apology. We have found a number of new eateries that have not disappointed, and more than a few that have seen our shadow for the last time. I am married to an incessant shopper who can remember the price of the same pair of jeans in ten outlets. She is capable of finding a sale rack during a hurricane induced power outage. We are venturing out again where she is sharpening those skills. So, like cicadas emerging from their shells we are slowly returning to “normal”. It should come as no surprise that a week or so ago, Sharon suggested we take a class where we learn to arrange a charcuterie display on a aptly named charcuterie board that we had burned a design into. We gathered at the Wonders of Wildlife Aquarium’s Great Barrier Reef display, at tables for two, where we were instructed by a couple of charcuterie chefs and the resident wood burning authority. It was the classic date; something new, a glass or two of Moscato, a sanded white pine board and an assortment of the kinds of healthy eats that go into this style of French table fare. We were kids again, laughing at our (my) lack of artistic skills, in a setting that was gorgeous.

The assortment that we prepared for the board

My board was totally unimpressive. I burned “Ozark Life”, within a heart, into the corner of the board, while the resident elementary teacher/administrator demonstrated her skill as she burned “The Taz M’Haul” (the name of our RV) and a paw print into hers. (I’ll get even with this beat down on the pistol range later.) These folks then gather your boards, sand them and put some sort of beautiful, food acceptable, finish on them and return them to you. This is all done after the food arrangement class with the provided meats, cheeses, fruits and veggies. Like the ragged old teddy bear you won throwing your arm out at weighted milk bottles, these boards are trophies and will be around a long time.

Notice the delicate touch!
The work of an over achiever

We learned some things. First, it is still possible to take leave of your senses and dispense with the challenges that our world presents. We also learned that a fused index finger and a burning tool are not compatible. I did not burn myself, however; my normally suspect penmanship became a form of hieroglyphics, strangely intriguing but somewhat appalling. Like a Roman Gladiator, I got in the ring and gave it a go, even if I held the tool like the ripper held a knife. We learned that an arrangement of mustards, select jams, fruits, dips, breads and vegetables with an assortment of meats spiced to different tastes is a welcome departure from fried, baked or boiled. Finally, we learned that a night without a screen that runs on electricity or requires batteries can be both soothing to the soul and delightful. I almost passed on this opportunity a week ago when Sharon suggested it. I am super glad I did not. Everything is life is NOT deadly serious, however; time together is.

Have a great weekend!


Why I Want To Have Another Colonoscopy…….

Almost everybody over the age of 50 has been wheeled into the cold, imposing procedure room where you are soon to suffer the indignation of a simple colonoscopy. It is the green mile that soon becomes inconsequential thanks to a little shot of Versed to lighten the moment. There has been a number of published accounts that describe the preparation for this cherished tradition, but some of us are not ready for the dreaded summary offered by the gastroenterologist when the Versed clears and your post anesthesia affection kicks in. Let me explain.

First of all, you have been lied to. When you pick up your gallon jug with a smidge of powder sifting around in it, you are told to expect a mild, lemony flavor. Says so on the jug. It does not taste like lemon, even if frozen in a slushy. It tastes like antifreeze smells, with a greasy texture somewhat like drinking water out of a minnow bucket. It takes about 20 minutes or so before your stomach roils around a bit and you head to the bathroom to begin a new porcelain relationship. At first it isn’t so bad, then it becomes a timing problem, solved only by precision forced glides from you chair to the room of convenience. You begin to understand why folks were hoarding tissue and start thinking about a level pay plan for water consumption at your house. Do not run, as you will surely miss an appointment with the toilet. Under these conditions, missing an appointment can be very distasteful.

Ole’ Clinch Killer

You persevere and are suited up for the trip to the hospital sometime the next morning. You leave having very little confidence in your previously formidable nut cracking clinch, and your eyes are slightly crossed from the effort. Folks coming in for this procedure are easy to spot. Eyes crossed and gliding across the floor with movement that would bring tears to a ballroom dancer. They slam home the IV, cover you with a blanket, direct a solid left side position on the gurney and tell you to bring your knees up in a tuck. You are close to the moment of truth, with just enough time before sliding into “conscious sedation” to see what appears to be 500 feet of black hose hanging from a thingabob on a stainless pole. The doc entertains you in a short conversation and bingo……you are gone.

The pre- procedure warm up…….

Assuming a normal examination, the doctor meets you in the recovery room where you can barely see him and will remember very little of what he tells you. This is why you bring someone with you, otherwise you’ll be demanding the procedure just completed get underway. I have been through 5 of these fun days, courtesy of a small anomaly on my very first one many years ago. Although still groggy, and barely able to hear the doc, I abruptly woke up, as alert as a border sentry on the Korean DMZ when I heard the doctor say “you are all done and will never need another one of these”. What do you mean never? Why do you say never? I am on the five year plan and will surely need at least 3 or 4 more of these things. Get me scheduled for 5 years, I’ll pay for it if I have to. I do not want to hear “the last” when referring to my longevity. Suddenly, I liked the idea of a few more colonoscopies, as the alternative does not figure in my long term planning.

I close with this thought. Follow your doctor’s orders and never miss this easy form of preventative maintenance. We all know someone who is dying or has died from one of the most preventable killer malignancies out there. As an afterthought, cheat! Sugarless, real lemon drink mix turns the slippery clinch killer into something that will stay down. It has to be lemon (the color) and even my very conservative gastro doc reluctantly agreed it was fine, as long as it wasn’t red. It worked for me and has to be right, after all I read about it on the internet!

Never…the nerve of that guy! It is on my calendar for 2026. Cost be damned…… “last” times for me….no sir!

Have a great weekend!


The Fisher Era……

Clarence E. “Mel” Fisher died on May 4, 2021, at the age of 86. He was not a politician, though versed in politics, nor was he a professional athlete or Hollywood elite seeking fame or notoriety. He was the victim of Alzheimer’s Disease, a cruel malady that robbed him of his greatest asset, a beautiful and busy mind. He will be buried in a Missouri State Veteran’s Cemetery, with little fanfare, where other folks of a like mind rest for eternity. Such is the measure of a man we knew simply as “Fisher”, “Col Fisher” or, to his closest advisors, “The Kingfish”. To his many friends he was simply Mel. C. E. Fisher was the most consequential superintendent of the Missouri State Highway Patrol dating back to the early days of the organization when the likes of men named Ginn, Ellis, Casteel and Waggoner were in command. Ultimately, we tend to measure success by the wake a person leaves and Clarence Fisher left a great wake. His tenure was marked by incorruptibility and a keen understanding of the police function from the streets to high command. He was, in fact, a gentleman who enforced the law.

Col. CE Fisher, a troopers Colonel

The upper levels of police organizations fairly seethe with political intrigue. This intrigue is both from within and outside the organization. Often superintendents and chiefs are appointed to satisfy the whims of political power brokers, thus yielding a mixed bag of bosses with varying degrees of capability and interest in developing the force. Col. Fisher prevailed in a testy political process and quietly slid into the bosses office where he immediately set to work with an eye to bringing the patrol into the technology age while preserving the tradition that is the cornerstone of it’s success. He assembled a personal staff and began a whirlwind of innovation, correctly anticipating the needs of a progressive state police agency and keeping us ahead of the curve. The Colonel regarded every human asset as critical to the success of the Patrol and respected every employee irrespective of their role. His style can be best described as that of Gen. Omar Bradley, another Missouri alumni. He was a master of his craft, but attributed his success to his field commanders, division directors and employees, never seeking personal recognition or credit.

The Colonel never lost his zeal for the job. He could be found flagging traffic and setting flares at an accident scene. When we were involved in a manhunt, he was on the frontline, not directing by phone miles away. He and his underboss formed a two man entry team in a search for a police killer in small town America, making entries with guns drawn. (This elicited a friendly chiding by his staff as we had seen both of them on the range and determined the killer was in little danger of being shot!) He was the darling of the Jefferson City newspaper after personally and aggressively removing a heckler from a legislative gallery during a hearing. He never forgot that he was a police officer under the eagles of command. His car to car call at 1AM has sent more than one officer scrambling to straighten up his car before meeting the boss. He could be found in the field, at odd hours, contacting a road officer for coffee and conversation. No idle chat here, he would ask hard questions about needs and equipment at the service level. On many occasions, he would call a road officer, meet him and climb in the officer’s car for an hour or two, patrolling the zone. He worked incessantly to memorize the family data of officers in the field, often stunning them with his knowledge about their children and events. He also expected his field commanders to be active in the troop area. Leadership, to him, meant getting off your butts and hitting the roads. He was a strong advocate for training, in particular training centering around the use of force and current case law. He championed excellence.

This is a blog, not a manuscript, so there is simply not enough room to list his many priorities for the Patrol. From arming our officers with automatic pistols to a new professional standards division he brought us into the modern age of policing. We underwent a detailed review by a nationally recognized police accreditation organization which changed innumerable policies and procedures for the department. His efforts in aggressively pursuing recruiting, to include minorities and protected class applicants was the genesis of todays continuing efforts. Automated fingerprint identification system involvement and improved radio communication reflect his touch. A check with the Research and Development commander under his watch, revealed in excess of 51 significant enhancements to the effectiveness of the Patrol as a result of the Colonel’s concern for operational efficiency and excellence. Staff studies were a routine fact of life for the research cadre.

A final note. Col. Fisher was a non confrontational boss. When the Patrol was threatened, he was masterful in the selection of a staff member to handle the problem on a level the antagonist demanded. He was an ambassador for the Patrol, earning the respect and appreciation of other law enforcement agencies and government entities at every level. He sought no recognition when the patrol was successfully involved in solving sticky problems. He was a problem solver, not a news hound. He was deft in walking the line between policing and the ever encroaching political interference that is threatening policing today as never before. During his watch, every piece of police oriented legislation that was considered in our legislature, involved his consult. The Colonel was a mainstay at the Capital, protecting the interests of the Patrol and policing in general. The Patrol was never in better hands.

I know these things, because I was privileged to be a field commander under his watch before becoming a member of his command staff. Our rare disagreements are a matter of record, but he was never threatened by and welcomed a differing opinion. He listened, made a decision and we moved on. Those were the best years of my career, courtesy of a unique, selfless and unparalleled Colonel, a trooper’s Colonel.

Colonel Fisher, you made the Patrol a better police organization, and by extension, the State of Missouri a better place to live. God has restored your amazing intellect and, by now, you are enjoying the eternal peace you richly deserve.

Thank you, sir. It was a hell of a ride….

To my readers, have a great weekend.


From Love To Lethality…..

Professional Opportunity

The Police Service in America is pleased to offer an incredible employment opportunity to uniquely qualified candidates in the exciting world of law enforcement. Many vacancies are occurring daily on an accelerated basis. Do you seek excitement? What could be more exciting than a chief or Mayor willing to throw you under the first bus that comes along? Soon, if the Biden Cartel can swing it, we’ll strip you of any qualified immunity you may have so you can subject your family to financial ruin! How good is that! We’ll train you how to dodge bricks and cower in your patrol car as “protesters” dance on the roof and hood, hurling obscenities, all in the name of “woke” philosophy. We will train you in managing confrontation and then dare you to use that training. We will expect miracles but pay little as you pursue your dynamic career to the top of the ladder where you, too, can trash your subordinate officers! Sign up today. It is the perfect place to gain “experience” while waiting for FedEx or UPS to call.


First you must have the patience of Jobe. It helps to be educated, but an education may be problematic when you realize how much fun you are having. (See above). It might tempt you to leave for a sane occupation. You must be devoid of emotion, and have little self respect when confronted by an imbecile displaying the middle finger and spitting in your face. Situational reasoning ability garners preference points, but not too many….see note on other professions above. If you are required to use force, you must be able to discern between force applied to a dark skinned person as opposed to a white person. Finally, when a gun or knife comes out, you must be able to contain your adrenaline rush and give the assailant the first shot or slash.

If you love excitement, we have an opening for you!

Job Description;

This position may subject you to the unspeakable horror and violence that a human can subject another human to. You will be expected to show no emotion when a child is butchered and you are tasked with figuring out what happened. You will be required to remove parts of bodies from accident scenes and provide comfort to grieving family members when tragedy strikes. You will see, smell and taste death in ways that will never be unseen. You will be expected to remain neutral when thugs and terror organizations such as BLM burn down your city. You may be tasked with providing security for the spineless Mayor who refuses to intervene out of political expediency, when a city block is co-opted for thug use. You must be ready as the one officer in twenty-five who has never fired a shot, on duty, in his career, to go from counseling a little old lady on the dangers of rolling through stop signs to taking the life of a sociopath hell bent on committing a mass murder. You will be expected to smile at stupidity, human frailty, and the dark side of life. You will be expected to take no exception when the Vice-President bails out the thugs who spit in your face just a few days before. When society vomits, you will be there.


We handle everything. We will introduce you to the force continuum, a police response to the management of confrontation. There are 5 steps in this continuum, from police presence to lethal force. We will not let you use it though. Empty hand forced compliance, such as a properly applied Lateral Vascular Neck Restraint is out….it looks too much like a choke hold. We will train you to duck while being shot at so that you may ascertain the color of the assailant and respond accordingly, before you shoot back. We’ll even teach you to handcuff a combative person you have on the ground without holding him down (as soon as we figure this out). We will train you to gently use calming techniques when engaging a drunk maniac before you escalate to the nasty hands on control techniques. We will bring in Hollywood producers to coach you on proper smile technique and how to pose when you are making an arrest, so that any one of the hundred or so cell phone cameras catches your gentle application of pressure on an arrestee. We will turn you into a gentleman or gentlewoman who always calls a thug sir and and a street walker ma’am.You will learn to smile and thank them for calling your mother a cur that lives under a porch. We will also train you on funeral etiquette when attending an officer’s line of duty death service. We will help you find that line between love and lethality and teach what is at stake when you cross it.

There are 322,526,757 folks in America and about 700,000 sworn officers and counting (backwards). Add the Biden Cartel’s additional numbers of voting citizens who are coming across our southern border, many of them criminals, and the police have their work cut out for them. On average, our police officers, in an enforcement action, contact citizens 53,000,000 time a year. The percentage of these contacts that turns fatal is less than .000019%. The number of black folks killed constitutes .000004% of all police encounters.


We need to be very careful with this notion of “police reform” All the training in this world will not solve the reality that force is a necessary tool for societal conformity. Who do you want to provide that force, your neighbor who watches “CHIPS” or an officer who understands the game? The media and the Biden Cartel control the message today, and they are both incredibly out of step with reality. We cannot capitulate to the corrupt media and woke, far left mentality. Hear me, the police profession is not the home of systemic racism. When I hear “defund” and “police reform”, I become nauseas. I have tried to describe what the profession is coming to. If you object to the emasculation of policing, tell someone who is in a position to do something about it, before it is too late. Otherwise, buy a gun. You are going to need it.

Have a great weekend.


Paralyzed By Fear…..

America is paralyzed by fear. We have elected a President who has masterfully played the race card, attaching this ugly consideration to virtually every aspect of life, and we are shrinking into the night, setting aside reason along the way. Biden and the Democratic Party have created the perfect storm, and fear is the lead ingredient in this debacle. First, let’s address fear.

On the 20th of November, 1943, 18,000 US Marines stormed ashore in a tilted battle to capture a sliver of coral in the Pacific named Tarawa. Low water, causing them to step out of landing craft and cross an expanse of water to get to an exposed beach, covered by immaculately prepared Japanese defenses, caused our troops to cower behind the bodies of their fellow soldiers for protection against withering fire. Before this fight was over, some 76 hours later, our magnificent Marines lost 1,009 dead and 2,101 wounded against the Japanese losses of 4,690 dead. We also owned the island and it’s coveted airstrips. You can bet that every Marine that stormed ashore knew fear at levels we can only imagine. They conquered this fear and won a tremendous victory. They fought and died to protect an American way of life that our current Administration is hell bent on destroying. The threat to our culture has never been greater. Our enemy is within, the Biden administration. The Marines conquered their fear but we, today, have not.

We are afraid to confront folks who destroy our cities and subscribe to the mythical “systemic racism” that has become the battle cry of the Biden Cartel. We are afraid to challenge the full frontal attack on the institution of policing. We allow big men with small minds like LeBron James control the narrative and directly threaten a police officer for doing what he was trained to do. We listen, without comment, as various members of the Cartel threaten to eliminate qualified immunity for our police officers. We listen silently as Biden challenges our court system suggesting that police officers get a better deal than civilians. His Cartel believes that bullets know the difference between dark skin and white skin in deadly force situations. He has no concept of the reality that police officer’s relatively rare reliance on deadly force is designed to place the officer between a bad actor and a citizen. We are afraid of taking a position on these happenings for fear of being labeled a racist. We permit mentally challenged US Representatives to suggest there needs to be more “confrontation’” in the streets, indeed suggesting harassment for folks with a different view of today’s situation by challenging them when eating in a restaurant. How does she get away with this? She is black and we don’t dare risk being labeled a racist for being critical of such ignorant utterances, when skin color should not even be a consideration. We express selected outrage as the Biden Cartel has welcomed the criminal element across what used to be our border and flood America with folks who can be depended on to vote Democratic when they are finally granted privileges that are unearned. Yes, the Cartel attaches the race card to this influx and God only knows why they are committed to this strategy. Our fear is driving this train. We have allowed corporate America to hijack the “systemic racism” myth, a giant hoax on a scared America. The airlines need federal dollars to survive so they jump into bed with the Cartel. The issue is no longer the event, rather it is the color of the skin of the actors in the event. Why? Because of fear.

No. It is not, unless you belong to the Biden Cartel

Here is where we need to be. The color of skin is highly overrated, unless you need that color for identification purposes. The Biden Cartel has set racial equality back 100 years with their seizure of this aspect of life and use of it for political purposes. Damn him and his party for their capitalization of racism as a cudgel used to beat us into submission and silence. It has become quite fashionable to jump on the racism bandwagon, because it requires no courage to slink into a corner and ignore what is patently stupid. Thank the Good Lord that our marines on Tarawa conquered their fear and ultimately our enemies in the world. Fear is beating the hell out of us. We live in America, forged from courage and conviction. It is time to show the race baiters the door……if we have the courage. Just like we showed the Japanese the door in Tarawa.

We are at a fork in the road.

Have a good weekend.


Sacred Ground……

I took a deep breath before the first keystroke in today’s blog. It is important to note there may be 2d Amendment defenders out there that are as fervent as I am, but none that are more so. I am writing to offer a perspective relative to the evolution of firearms in America, specifically in guns presumably designed for self defense. I acknowledge that it is none of my business what a law abiding individual chooses to own in terms of firearms. My musings today have nothing to do with the recent mass shootings, as I am not qualified to ferret out the sociopaths and psychopaths that walk among us, which, of course are the problem, not guns.

I have been around guns all of my life. I am the son of an Infantry officer, who was masterful with small arms. I love to hunt, and have developed a penchant for long range precision in sporting rifles. As a matter of fact I walk a little out of kilter, as the result of packing a 3 pound pistol on my right hip for 27 years. The weaponry of my day in policing was pretty well limited to a shotgun, pistol and a lead filled, leather “slapper” our non lethal force multiplier. Before retiring, I added a canister of chemical mace to my armament, which in most cases contaminated you, the bad guy and your patrol car after being used.

The Vietnam era introduced us to a nifty little rifle that was lightweight, effective and easy to manufacture, the venerable M-16. (The first of these little rifles were a nightmare, as a few grains of sand would cause it to jam in the most inopportune moments.) They began an evolution into the amazing variety of firearms available today. The pictures accompanying this musing are not intended to disparage any of the fine manufacturers of the guns. The pictures are intended to make my point, which is to ask, are we stepping on our own toes with the appearances of many firearms today? Can we acknowledge that some of the firearms being manufactured stretch credibility as sporting arms? With some 70% of Americans alleging that some form of registration is necessary and a like number of folks believing that so called universal back ground checks would be okay, are we feeding this frenzy with our current firearm offerings? Our problem my firearm loving friends is these folks vote, just like you and I, and when they have the majority, they are going to attack. Votes reflect opinions and opinions are shaped, in large part, by perceptions, and the perception of a silencer equipped, semi-automatic “pistol” with a 30 round magazine, that looks like a military grade weapon is not good with these voters, which, it has been suggested, held the majority in the last election.

A pistol/rifle
One of today’s modern “pistols”
A Vietnam era M-16 combat rifle

In an attempt to offer a balanced review, I am mystified at the attack on the 2d Amendment, evidenced by Joe Biden’s opining that Amendments, and by extension, the Constitution, is not “absolute”. I would suggest that someone check the grave of Justice Scalia to make sure he has not dug out and left for Washington. It is this thinking that could prevail if the so called majority stays in power. (The conduct of this administration practically guarantees they will not.)

In summary. Today’s firearm offerings are utilitarian and offer a platform for accessories that is virtually unlimited. They are efficient, compact and in a personal defense posture, more efficient than at any time in our history. They are also very militaristic in appearance, expensive to own and shoot, and mystifying to many, many people. While a Glock pistol, with 16 rounds is a formidable and efficient weapon, today’s so called “machine “pistols are far more efficient. While the sociopaths and mentally ill folks grab the headlines, the folks who have the majority see only the guns they use. I am asking a fair question. Do we have any culpability in the current feeding frenzy with our demand for ever more esoteric semi-automatic weaponry, which has very little “sporting value”? We are, at present, just a precious few votes from another “assault” weapon ban, and we know the Biden Cartel has no respect for definitional parameters. They will call a moose a fox and a .22 rifle a cannon. This is sacred ground, I admit, and I will continue to fight for our right to own and shoot what we want to. That loyalty may not be enough if we don’t have the votes, and we may not have those votes when perception trumps reality.

Have a great weekend!


Signs, Symbols And Gestures……

People don’t talk as much as they used to. We don’t need to in this age of communication where the Gettysburg Address can be sent electronically, in a matter of minutes, to a phone or computer somewhere in China. Excellent verbal communication skill belongs to a select few, evidenced by the unbelievable volume of communication that is accomplished by text or other electronic conveyance. I thought it might be worth our while to candidly look at the significance of signs, symbols and gestures in use in our world today.

A sign in common use……..or is it?

No treatise on the significance of signs can be considered without the game of baseball figuring prominently. (It is sad that MLB has chosen to relegate this noble game to just another political statement, alienating millions of fans with their woke nonsense, a monumental lapse in judgement.) The stealthy American Indian had nothing on a coach or manger’s ability to demand a myriad of responses from a player on the field, without speaking. Touch the left eye, steal; the right eye hold fast, hands clasped take a pitch, well, you get the idea. I am guessing that a coach or manager suddenly scratching an itchy portion of his anatomy has resulted in much confusion on the part of his player intently watching for the “sign”. Baseball players are walking examples of the power of symbolism. We all know that ball players keep in constant touch with themselves. Really, they touch themselves constantly, always concerned about the precise location of their low hanging fruit. This is the one public arena where rearranging the furniture is absolutely acceptable, presumably because the manufacturers of protective equipment have yet to develop that one simple device that keeps everything where it should be. It may be just the simple task of moving the coffee bar where the bean bag was or the monumental task of hefting the love seat to see if it has gained weight since you last checked. At any rate, ball players are aptly named, well…ball players. Leaving anatomy behind for a moment, there is also the lost art of spitting, which conjures up another story on a personal level.

I hate tobacco in all forms other than the smell of a humidor where all that pipe tobacco is stored. I was an average pitcher in High School (but did have a winning record). All the big boys chewed tobacco, an acquired skill that would leave me retching at the thought. Relying on what little political skill I had, I placed a handful of dried apricots in a blender, shredded them and put them in one end of a Red Man tobacco bag. I kept tobacco in the other half, in case a player asked for a chew. When I took the mound, I would make a production of stuffing an enormous chew in my cheek and go to work. The opposing team would note that I never spit, which would of course enamor me to them as one tough son of a gun. Don’t laugh, politicians do this on another level every day! If you swallowed enough of the apricots, it also insured you would be out of the game in the 5th inning as it soon went to work on your digestive system.

Now on to gestures. Of course, the world knows and relies on the universal symbol/gesture of disrespect, the middle finger, to signal one’s lack of regard to the intended recipient. I hate this gesture, but admit it does cover great spans of space without running the risk of having your finger snapped off and stuck up your nose. (Nose being used symbolically, of course). When I was patrolling our highways, I delivered several lectures on the inappropriateness of relying on that sign of disrespect for my efforts in promoting safety. The poor folks who chose that route to express their lack of appreciation for my uniformed presence learned to rely on alternate forms of communication when addressing an officer of the law. I would not last 30 minutes in today’s police world, as I have no more regard for this gesture today than I did 20 years ago, and it is in common use by ignorant people everywhere.

Folks, we have seen the displeasure of a “sharp look”, warmth of a “broad smile” or abruptness of a “raised hand” replaced by an email or text message that conveys no warmth or emotion. Even emojis can be misconstrued. It is a “sign” of the times. Parents, motorcyclists, teachers and athletes are all schooled in the use of signs and gestures to communicate. A simple test of your ability is to agree to use no verbal communication for the first hour after you wake up in the morning, and relying on signs, symbols and gestures to communicate with your partner. You’ll be surprised….and laughing. I guarantee it!

Have a great week.


Plain Talk About Handguns………

I have carried some form of firearm for 50 years both on and off duty as a trooper and a citizen. With the notable exception of a sojourn in Vietnam I can count the times that I have shot at another human being on one hand, one finger, actually, and my business was seeking out folks who would harm another human being and putting a stop to their designs. Firearms, in one form or another have relegated me to the cadre of half deaf old uncles and grandpas who can’t hear much without the the marvel of todays electronic hearing devices. I have earned the right to comment on today’s arming of our citizenry in unprecedented numbers. This writing is not about the politics or constitutionality of carrying a firearm, rather the common sense approach to do so comfortably.

The hotter EZ above is far more pleasant to shoot than the LCP below….and far more effective.

To the shooters out there, now is the time to grab a cup of coffee and hear me out as I am going to challenge todays fascination with little, bitty handguns in untrained hands. Yes, there is a such thing as too little, kind of like the difference between a lady finger fire cracker and the old M-80 of years past, equivalent to a quarter stick of dynamite. The truth my friends lies somewhere between Dirty Harry and the back up, pocket derringer of Doc Holliday. The fascination with micro pistols is placing a lot of horse power in hands that cannot handle it comfortably or safely. Here we go.

Not too many years ago, your choices fell along the lines of a very reliable revolver, usually in the 30 caliber range or a full sized pistol in the 1911 class of firearms, heavy pistols in the .45 caliber realm. When I started on the Patrol, we carried a very reliable and beautiful old revolver that was pleasant to shoot. We graduated to heavier revolvers in the magnum range and finally into the new polymer pistols that are the rage today. Ammunition was no where as sophisticated as it is today, velocities were adequate but not excessive. Smart troopers carried a handful of solid nosed ammo to dispatch the luckless cow or deer that had been struck and mortally injured. We enjoyed our range days, as the revolver was ergonomically designed and your hands were wrapped around walnut grips that were somehow comforting to the touch. I have yet to see a trooper who could not be taught the mastery of handling those handguns by folks like our legendary Roy Bergman, a shooter of national acclaim. Today, mom runs down to the gun store and buys her polymer pistol based on the single consideration of size. Never mind that every time she touches off a round, she closes her eyes, has little idea where the bullet is going and grips what little handle she is holding with the tenacity of a catfish eating a perch. The shooting experience is not pleasant and her practice sessions are therefore limited.

Polymer pistols are here to stay. They are light, affordable and can be configured in sizes that are easily concealable. In untrained hands, the smallest of these pocket cannons, with today’s high pressure loads, are simply not fun to shoot. The new shooter will squeeze a magazine or two off, and proclaim themselves combat ready. That is not in the best interest of the shooter or those around them. They are not combat ready, which dear readers, is why they want to carry a pistol in the first place.

I am not narrowing this consideration to women. I know ladies that are masterful hand gunners and men who cannot hit a barn door. That is a human thing. Personally, after three hand surgeries, I do not, at all, enjoy the snappy nature of micro pistols. For me, a mid sized pistol, still concealable, but entirely manageable is the ideal self defense carry pistol. There are many folks my age who still have the strength and dexterity to handle a small pistol with skill and dispatch……there are many who do not. What is my point?

When you go forth, arm and train a new shooter or a shooter with compromised hands, please place enough pistol in their hands to enjoy the experience. These handguns are out there and easily obtainable. In today’s market, there is a handgun and caliber that is appropriate for nearly every shooter. Shooting should be enjoyable and involve more than 8 rounds and a purse/pocket stash for the life of the firearm. You should become intimate with your carry choice, how to reload, clear stoppages, clean and finally shoot the damned thing. Hand gunning, like most anything in America today, involves compromise. Harry’s magnum is too much for today’s new shooter and Holiday’s derringer is too little. Err to bigger and you’ll thank me later.

Where do you and yours fit in the shooting paradigm? The controlled explosion that occurs at arm’s length should be manageable, fun, safe and effective. A death grip on a card deck sized pistol with a hot load in it is none of these things in the vast majority of shooters hands.

Have a great week.


The Red BAT…………

In a manner of confession, I acknowledge my seriously maudlin tendencies. Tossing a trashed pair of athletic shoes or an old sweatshirt that is barely identifiable as an item of clothing conjures up memories of the miles and smiles we have enjoyed together. It should not be surprising then, that watching a truck leave that has conveyed Tazzy, Sharon and I around the country evokes a similar response. I am also a retired trooper, and troopers develop a relationship with vehicles that follows them to their graves. It is in our DNA.

About 5 years ago, we began to RV around the country. I was skeptical at first, as situating yourself a few feet away from a stranger, in a strange place, is a bit out of my comfort zone. My concern was all for naught, as it turned out to be a hoot and results in meeting people who make you proud of America. We started with a nominal sized trailer, blissful ignorance as to what we were doing and our existing, very capable, Toyota Tundra pickup. I am not writing to evoke an argument over the merits of tow vehicles, but we determined the Tundra, in the howling crosswind we were negotiating on the way home, did not suit our interests. I personally delivered the Tundra to a brother-in-law in sunny South Carolina where it continues to suit his purposes to a “T”. Enter the red BAT, short for “Big Assed Truck”, a RAM turbo diesel with features that to this day I didn’t know it had.

When vehicles enter our stable, I endeavor to see to it they leave in as close to the same condition they were received. The BAT was no exception. Along the way, the BAT reintroduced me to the craftsmanship of the Chrysler Corporation, that I felt had gone the way of the dodo back when I was assigned a Grand Fury that was more noise than go, and equipped with a seat out of a New York taxi cab. When you work an interstate, you quickly ascertain the limitations of your brakes…..and the Grand Fury barely had enough to get you safely halted at a coffee stop. After a thorough investigation and conversations with mechanics, I turned to the BAT. It turned out to be the finest all around truck that I have ever owned, and folks, I have owned an embarrassing number of them.

Recently, I made the acquaintance of a hard working, very real gentleman from Herman, MO., courtesy of Facebook and a mutual friend who happens to house sit for us when we are on the road. Yesterday we met for lunch and talked about our experiences as first responders. It was the perfect opportunity to get the measure of Matt, and I came away feeling certain the BAT, which he was here to take delivery of, was going to a home where it would remain a favorite family member. I suppose as a result of the many miles that Sharon, Tazzy and I have spent seeing America, wrapped in the comfort and power of the BAT, our travels have endeared her to us. Thus the maudlin approach to her leaving for Herman and the custody of Mathew, who happens to also be a skilled mechanic and exacting craftsman.

Mathew, his wife Cindy, SR and the BAT

We have ordered a new RAM that will soon be built by the good folks in Saltillo, Mexico. They say it will take 8 weeks to build. ( Folks who know me know I have infinite patience. I will wait until Monday to find out what the hell they are doing in Saltillo and where my new truck is.) It, like the BAT, has a few options that I can barely spell, but are cleverly hidden in the packages that manufacturers make you take in order to have the stuff you gotta have. We have gone all in on this one, as I am getting to the age where you may have no necessity for another one in the years to come. To that end, I have already named the unborn, soft white turbo RAM “Cirrus” after the soft white colors reminiscent of the cirrus clouds that float over Missouri on a breezy afternoon. When she arrives, I’ll drive over to Herman for another lunch with Matthew and introduce her to her older sibling.

The automobile, in it’s many forms is the heart of America, beginning with those first few solo miles driven by a newly licensed driver. It becomes a reflection of you, your values and a part of your image. With this in mind, I drive RAMs and likely always will….an unashamed fan of the big, thumping Cummins diesel that seldom sees hardship. Many thanks to my mechanic friends who pointed me in the right direction. I will never forget the BAT.

Have a wonderful weekend!


An Advantage of Age…….

Today marks the first day of spring. I am looking through my office window at a lawn that has suddenly become threatening to the button downed neighborhood that we live in. It occurred to me that we are shaking off the chaos of winter in anticipation of a new season and new adventures. When you are retired, with no deadlines, pending projects and production schedules, you begin living rather than existing between critical events. This explains why older people lament the passage of time. We are not tied to a clock. When we look at a calendar, we are often shocked.

On this first day of spring, we have plans that reflect little reference to time, rather a response to conditions. Breakfast is not on a schedule. There is no specific time for that first cup of coffee, and I am more interested in a busy Robin outside my window than the happenings in Washington. More as a result of budding trees and the sounds of a lawn mower last evening, I instinctively know the crappie will be schooling on secondary points, the canoe trailer tires need to be aired up and the RV unbuttoned after reposing for nearly a year while the world was preoccupied with a virus. We will drive over later today to Pryor’s Pizza, a hundred miles from here, to enjoy our favorite pie after a slow drive through Piney River country. Neither of us has given much thought to tomorrow as we have little desire to mingle among those unfortunate souls who have only the weekend to live life. Another, non calendar, indication of spring is the breakup of tom turkeys from their winter bachelor groups into fierce competitors for the affections of amorous hens. I have no date on a calendar for this event, nor for the blooming of dogwood trees, signaling the movement of crappie to the banks to spawn. Calendars and watches mean little when nature talks to you. When float trips are spontaneous, a trout adventure is arranged the day before and conditions are just right for a mess of morels you go. You are relying on what guided the Native Americans long before the advent of fancy watches, cell phones and a calendar clutched in your hands or within easy reach. It is a beautiful time to be alive.

She has no clock and….I don’t need one.

To be sure, the schedules of folks who are still slaves to some master somewhere, interfere with our ability to drift. There are appointments for doctors, and vehicle maintenance. You must schedule your adventures with the RV, thus assuring an available camp site, although we often dally when we travel, preferring to simply “pull through” at a campground for the night, never unhooking from the “BAT” (big assed truck). We enjoy traveling in our abode instead of to an abode, thus permitting spontaneous stops and roaming about. This freedom opens new adventures, such as visiting an Amish family in Pennsylvania and enjoying a pastry in their kitchen, or pulling off and glassing elk and antelope.

The blissful dismissal of time as your master has it’s perils. I mentioned the often expressed dismay with the passage of time by folks who have used a lot of it in their lifetimes. The ability to wander, drink in this unbelievable country and answer to your inner clock rather than a wall clock results in sadness and shock when you suddenly find yourself getting senior discounts and preferential seating. I am closing with this advice: embrace life that is not tied to a timepiece, shamelessly exploit your freedom to go and do what you damn well please, when you want to, as opposed to when you can. Live life doing things that matter to you and not a “boss”. Finally, measure time in months rather than hours. The American Indian understood more about time, with little regard for numerical measurement, than you might guess. Spring is here. I know this because of the trees, birds and morning warmth when I enjoy a coffee. Embrace the freedom in a state where freedom is still sacred.

Have a great weekend!