Saturday, July 30, 2005


Again with the mood descriptions that don't fit what I'm feeling. I guess that's one of the reasons I never answer polls that want one or two word basically canned responses. Their words just don't "fit."

The bed, in its infinite wisdom, gave me the heave ho at approximately 6:30 this morning. I get up for work at 6:30 anyway, but gee whiz, criminy, and all those other adjectives.

On the other hand, I had time to appreciate a small miracle. There is a tall evergreen directly east from our house and about two blocks away. A very, very large evergreen tree. I believe that piece of God’s creation is fifty feet tall if it’s an inch and right now it is directly in the path of the sun as it rises.

I spent about half an hour over my morning coffee watching the sunbeams move from place to place in the yard as the sun moved behind that tree. A day lily here, some black eyed susans there. Brush a coneflower or two on one side of the plant, abandon those two and find others on the other side of the bush. Pass by the butterfly bush, and then come back. Leave everything in the shade for a moment, except for one glowing white geranium. Change the angle a bit, come a little higher and hit the white climber and the neighboring red clematis full force. Nature painted a landscape for me. A very transitory landscape. She’ll be back in the morning, but something tells me it won’t be quite the same. And that’s what makes it magical.

I can try to capture the scene with words. They are pale, very pale reflections. I can freeze a moment on film. It’s just not the same. I get this feeling very near frustration when I can “see” in my mind what I’m trying to say but the words I have don’t fit what I want to say. At times like this I feel like I need words that haven’t been invented yet. But that won’t help because I’m the only one who would know what the words mean. Is this making ANY sense?

Friday, July 29, 2005


Molly Ivins is a favorite columnist of mine. She is definitely a graduate of the Mike Royko School of journalism. I love her acerbic with and independence of mind. Many of her columns are of the if you don't laugh you'll probably cry variety and she does know her stuff.


Austin, Texas – Sheesh, all I knew about John Roberts was that everyone says he has lovely manners – and already I was prepared to be against him.

Knee-jerk liberal? No, congratulations to the White House, Sen. John Cornyn, Fred Thompson and everyone else involved in “managing” Roberts’ confirmation process. Can’t these people do anything without being devious about it? (me-honestly I don't think they can. This bunch is so used to tap dancing around the truth they wouldn't admit they saw the sun come up on a sunny day.)

My first reaction to Roberts was: “Sounds like that’s about as good as we can get. Quick, affirm him before they nominate Bork, Bolton or Pinochet.” A conservative with good manners and no known nutball decisions or statements on his record? Hey, take him. At least he’s not (whew!) a member of the Federalist Society.

No such luck. Cornyn, who I would have sworn is not this stupid, apparently signed off on having the nominee “forget” he was a member of the Federalist Society, and Roberts obliged, which is strange considering his reputation for brilliance and a spectacular memory.

Turns out the guy is listed in the society’s 1997-98 Leadership Directory as a member of its steering committee in Washington, D.C. How many steering committees have you been on that you’ve forgotten about?

The reason that matters is that the Federalist Society is the ur-alpha-primo ultraconservative legal group in the whole country. Since we have only two years worth of Roberts’ rulings on the bench (itself unheard of for nominees to the Supremes) the information about how the society plans to steer the country can be very revealing.

So Roberts already looks disingenuous at best, and then the White House ups and decides it’s entirely too risky to let the public in on his record as a government lawyer and refuses to release the documents requested.

Excuuuuuuuse me, that is public record. Roberts worked for us. He was paid by the taxpayers; this is not a matter of national security. Where does this White House get off pulling this kind of stuff? Right away, it looks as if they’re trying to cover up. Lawyer-client privilege? Are they nuts? Everyone’s first reaction is: So what’s he guilty of?

As Jay Leno notes, this is a big job; these are the people who pick the president. Of course, we’re entitled to know what the man’s record is.

So, now all we know about John Roberts is that he has nice manners and is being managed by a bunch of morons – and he’s willing to say what they spin for him. Then we start getting the record. He’s defended the often violent Operation Rescue. He went to Florida to advise Jeb Bush during the 2000 election recount. Other Federalists signed onto the brief to convince the Supremes to stop the count in Florida and install Bush. It’s all classic, right-wing judicial activism – the very “activism” they complain bitterly about if it doesn’t fit their radical agenda.

Restrict the right of courts to end school segregations, slow down on enforcing laws against discrimination, divest lower courts of jurisdiction over school prayer, go easy on title IX. All that was when Roberts was a junior White House lawyer and the records were opened during the Clinton administration. The records from his time as assistant solicitor general during Bush I are what they’re trying to keep under wraps.

The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page (the People Who Don’t Read Their Own Paper) tried to describe the Federalist Society as an anodyne debating society. No, it is not’ it is a radical right organization, which explains why the White House made calls to national media to deny that Roberts was a member.

Jerome Shestack, president of the American Bar Association in 1998, said, “So much of the society’s leadership consists of active politicians and others whose slouching toward extremism is self-proclaimed.”

The society is funded by right-wing and libertarian foundations. It attempts to influence legal education and works with right-wing legal advocacy and litigation organizations.

Alfred Ross, of the Institute of Democracy Studies, explains that “through it own 15 practice groups, the society is busy developing new legal theories for every area of American jurisprudence, from civil rights law to national security law, international law, securities regulations law and so on. And if one goes through the publications of their practice groups, one can only gasp not only at the breadth of their agenda, but the extremism of their ideology.”

The society has argued for the abolition of the Securities and Exchange Commission, severely limiting the Environmental Protection Agency and rolling back gender equity laws. Its publications have criticized teaching evolution and attacked the principle of separation of church and state.

Ross says it recently launched a state judicial selection project to try to dominate the state, as well as federal bench. This is all standard, ultra-right-wing claptrap. It’s all about control.

If we can’t shake loose the actual records on John Roberts, we certainly should ay attention to the group he’s most identified with.

Molly Ivins is a syndicated columnist based in Austin, Texas.

In my opinion, by the very act of lying and/or allowing himself to be advised to lie Roberts has disqualified himself for confirmation as a member of the Supreme Court. I don’t know what you’d call these guys but it’s not conservative. I can’t help thinking about the fable of little George, the hatchet and the cherry tree. We’ve gone from “I cannot tell a lie” to “I’ll lie until I get caught and then try to bluff it out.” I can think of at least two commandments in serious jeopardy. Coveting the office and lying to get it.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005


Well, it was 96 today. Quite a change from Saturday morning. I'm not complaining too loudly because it gets down in the fifties during the night. It's kind of weird actually. Almost too warm for a blanket when you go to bed and snuggling with your nose showing before dawn. Of course I've got fans in the windows so it keeps the cool air going.

Another thing that helps is that the humidity is way down. A two edged sword if there ever was one. The low humidity makes it more comfortable but it also raises the fire danger through the roof.

Back when my dad was working in the woods, this was "hoot owl" weather. So called because the guys went to work with the owls. This was pretty much pre Daylight Savings Time. On the first day of summer the sun comes up at 5:30 now, 4:30 then. Since it took at least an hour, often longer, just to get to a work site it meant the guys had to get up about 2 in the morning to be on site to start work when it was light enough. As soon as the humidity dropped to say 20 percent they shut down and went home. That was when the moms gathered up the kids and headed for the park. And in the pre cell phone ere we were on a four, count 'em four party line. The phone got wrapped in a couple of bath towels to tone it down so dad could sleep. :-)

If it got too dry, they just shut the woods down until it cooled off some and the humidity came up. And the forest service was very serious about this. If the ranger came up and said "shut 'er down," you shut down. You shut the equipment off and went home. A spard from a chain saw or an overheated engine could spark a fire. Better to shut down for a few days, than risk a fire. Bad enough dealing with what the thunderstorms caused. Fortunately the weather usually didn't stay that bad for too long. But, between being too hot and dry to work part of the year and being to wet, muddy or snowy to work in the winter it was a lucky logger who actually managed to get a full year's work. I understand they take other factors into account now. But, going strictly by humidity levels led to some funny things. Like being told to be sure fire equipment was set up on the worksite while there was still snow on the ground. This time of year does bring back the memories.

Sunday, July 24, 2005


Darn that mood list. It doesn't include curious and it won't let you do your own. Ok, so I'm listening to "curious" music. LOL

This is from Malcolm Boyd's Book of Days. Published in the late 60's but more relevant than ever. I think I'd substitute parent for housewife for most of this since parents share more these days, but then there are so many more single parents these days and sadly the majority are women. Not that I'd wish trying to keep up with a schedule like this alone on anyone-female or male.

"How Does the Frantically Busy Housewife (Girl Scout leader, church worker, part-time office worker, tired-out wife and mother, chauffer, cook, dressmaker, hostess ect., etc.) actually know what God's will is for her? And how does she combine all the demands on her time and energy from God and Christ and from her family and community and not LOSE HER MIND?  Letter from a housewife.

One might add that the only part of this frantic list that counts in the Gross Naitonal Product is the part-time office work. In our society, if you don't receive a paycheck and pay taxes on it, it doesn't count. The rest of the list, the glue that holds us all to together is officially "invisible" to the economy. My mom's work with United Methodist Women, Hestia's homeschooling and critter rehabbing, Hope5555 over at Am I There Yet's work to help create a reconciling congregation at her church-not on a ledger anywhere-is not counted in the GNP. That makes me incredibly sad. Because the work that isn't represented by numbers on a ledger is what helps to hold this country, and this world together.

Saturday, July 23, 2005


Ok, he's a little blurry but I caught this little guy on the wing. Literally. If you hit the view larger option, you can see the wings. Talk about your miracle.


I man be eating these words by next week when it heats up again. I'll just add some tomatoes, olives and salsa. :-)

Yes, I know most of the rest of the country is getting pan-fried and scorched this week. But, here in the southern Willamette Valley it feels like we went straight from June to August.

I've seen Mays when it hit 90 on May first. I think it rained on May Day this year. Come to think of it, it rained most of the month. We didn't really get a 90-degree day until a week after the Fourth of July. The zucchini’s nestled in with the landscape strawberries and lavender look like midgets. And I’ve never met a dwarf zucchini.

My room is upstairs and I've seen June days where it was hot all day, barely cooled off at night and started all over again as soon as the sun came up. I think there's been three nights so far this summer that I haven't had to put the regular blanket back on the bed before morning and that's after I turned the fan in the window OFF. Incidentally, we live on the east side of a hill. Unlike our neighbors on the flats, we avoid the worst of the afternoon sun. By five or so we’re in the shade. So far we’ve managed to get by with fans. And over the years I have managed to build an impressive collection. It takes some maneuvering, but if you get the right combination we stay pretty comfortable.

We had one day last week that topped 90 and then clouded over. It was so still during the evening. It wasn't too uncomfortable but there was not a wisp of a breeze. The only thing moving the lavender stalks were the bumblebees flitting back and forth. It seemed like you could barely hear the traffic noises. Perhaps it was because it was so still. When the wind comes from the direction of the freeway you can definitely hear it. And, when you can hear the train whistles come through loud and clear you know the wind is from the south.

The reward for the really still evening was a series of thunderstorms that lasted most of the night in some areas. I heard the thunder about 2 in the morning. It rained some, enough to settle the dust but not enough to flatten the flowers. And it smelled wonderful in the morning. Damp dirt, roses and lavender. The kind of scent the air freshener industry tries to copy but never gets quite right.

And this morning? It’s in the low fifties. It’s cloudy. And while most of the country is baking-I’m heading for the closet to find one of those sweatshirts I put away for the duration and some nice snuggly socks. :-)

Wednesday, July 20, 2005


Some more of this springs' day lilies. The bright yellow one is called Condilla. When the early sun hits it, it really glows.

The dark red one is called Lady Scarlet. It's fairly large and blooms and blooms and blooms. It's kind of hard to get good shots for some reason. The blooms are so large the the close up lenses don't work very well. They come out looking kind of abstract. LOL

The last one is called Little Fairy and it is a gem. If there are fairies in the garden, I think they would pick this one to live in.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005


"A wandering spirit caring for a multitude of just concerns, you are an instrumental power in many of the causes around you.

And so am I, very dangerous: more dangerous than anything you will ever meet, unless you are brought alive before the seat of the Dark Lord.

Gandalf is a character from the Middle-Earth universe. has a description of him.

If you enjoyed taking this survey and wish to help advertise it and your results, you can use the code below on your site. You are welcome to copy the image to your own Web space.

<p><a href=""><img src="" width="230" height="250" style="border-color:#f8f8ff;" border="2" alt="Which Fantasy/SciFi Character Are You?" /></a></p>

Would you like to see what other characters people have been matched with? Or take the survey again, perhaps?"

When I stumbled on this little survey, this was not the result I expected. I'm kind of pleased though. I don't know how well the link will work on the glorious world of Mac AOL, but it is interesting to say the least. :-)

Actually, I worked through it three times and scored two Gandalfs and a Mr. Spock. Food for thought to say the least.

Sunday, July 17, 2005


Jackson Brown wrote this back in the Eighties. I heard it first on an episode of Miami Vice that centered on Central America.


I’ve been waiting for something to happen
For a week or a month or a year.
With the blood in the ink of the headlines
And the sound of the gun in my ear.

You might ask what it takes to remember
When you know that you’ve seen it before.
When a government lies to its people
And a country is drifting to war..

And there’s a shadow on the faces
Of the men who send the guns
To the wars that are fought
In places where their business interests run.

On the radio talk shows and the TV
You hear one thing again and again.
How the USA stands for freedom
And we come to the aid of a friend.

But who are these people that we call our friends-
These governments killing their own?
Or the people who just can’t take any more
And they pick up a gun or a brick or a stone.

There are lives in the balance.
There are people under fire.
There are children at the canons.
And there is blood on the wire.

There’s a shadow on the faces
Of the men who fan the flames
Of the wars that are fought in places
Where we can’t even say their names.

They sell us the president the same way
They sell our clothes and our cars.
They sell us everything from youth to religion
The same time they sell us our wars.

I want to know who the men in the shadows are.
I want to hear someone asking them why
They can be counted on to tell us who our enemies are
But they’re never the ones to fight or to die.

And there are lives in the balance.
There are people under fire.
There are children at the cannons
And there is blood on the wire.

Jackson Brown

It’s an angry song. A very angry song. Some things have changed over the last twenty years. Not much really. One thing I am sure of violence never solves anything. It’s a bandage over an infected wound. We lance it, it drains, maybe it moves someplace else. We lance it again. It drains again. But the infection remains. And it will keep infecting us. I wish to heaven I had an answer. My youngest nephew turns thirteen this month. The oldest will be twenty one in November.
I look at the world we’re building for them to inherit and I don’t know what I’m going to say to them when they ask, “What the hell happened?”

Saturday, July 16, 2005


There are many voices shouting their definitions of what makes a family. I don’t agree with a lot of their definitions. Especially the one that limits a family to a man and a woman and their children. Once you define something, you imply that anything that doesn’t fit the definition is not “right” somehow. I suspect that what we have is an attempt to define “who” is fully a member of our society and who is not.

I’d like to share a little about the people I call family. My youngest nephew ( number five of five and the oldest will be twenty one this fall) turns thirteen this month and it’s stirred some thoughts and memoriies. Dad passed away early in ’95 and I’m not sure how many memories the younger boys have of him. I’m afraid there may not be too many. One sister lives in Portland and the other lives in Umatilla. Say a two hour and a six hour drive one way. Neither family made it home that often and nearly thirty years in the woods left dad with physical problems that made it hard for him to travel. Anyway, it’s  brought back memories and stories about my Grandpa Parks. The only grandfather I knew.

I think I was in junior high when it really sank in. The man I called grandpa had a different last name than two of my uncles. I think you don't really notice things like this when you’re little because your grandparents are grandpa Smith or grandma Jones (at least in my family) and your aunts and uncles are uncle Jack or aunt Cora.

It happened in the early 30's and my mom was all of nine. Her dad probably would have survived the pneumonia but he had TB, too and these were the years before antibiotics and the social safety net. Guys who ran little downtown hotels and had families to raise didn’t go to sanitariams. There wasn’t the time or the money. The man I knew as grandpa promised to look after the family of his closest friend. He married my grandmother before too long and they had a son of their own. Grandpa treated all the kids the same, hugged them when they needed it and even if they didn't. Called all the boys his sons and watched as one went to sea in the forties and another went to the army in the fifties. Number three lucked out and spent his tour in the sixities in Germany. He stood up for the girl he called a daughter when she started her own family.

He loved to fish and tinker. He loved gadgets. I remember at least one Thanksgiving when everything and every one else was onand at the table except the ham and by all that was holy that ham was going to be cut with that electric knife if it took all night. I think mom intervened and grabbed the plate. “It’s hot, everybody’s at the table, let’s eat.” He went the way he lived. Somebody needed something fixed and he was the way home from my uncle’s house in Portland when his loving heart gave out.

Between my mom and three uncles there were fifteen kids who called him grandpa and after over twenty years I still miss him. I hope he's found a place on the bank to fish. With any luck all the cats, and other pets they had over the years are helping out.

Saturday, July 9, 2005


We got this day lily last year, but it was too late to bloom. It is named Strawberry Candy and is very spectacular this year. Got it through Oak's Daylilies.

Wednesday, July 6, 2005


My brother in law told us about a game his family used to play on trips when he was a kid. Back in the dark ages before they put DVD players in vehicles.

The trick was toi find the alphabet-in order-on the road signs during the trip. Has anyone else heard of this one? I fooled around with it myself on the way home Monday. Some of the letters are ridiculously easy. Any vowels are easy to find. I'm afraid I had to take my Q out of order. Q's are hard to come by on I-5. I didn't find one until I saw a La Quinta sign. Z's are also hard to come by, but at least it's the last letter of the alphabet. Yaaaay Sizzler. Kept me happy between Salem and Albany to the tune of about twenty fine miles or so.

Had fun a few years ago when we took all five boys to the coast. My oldest, and very inventive, nephew Chris kept the other four going with I Spy with my little eye. Yeah, it takes a little work to keep kids occupied, but what are they going to remember about trips a few years down the road? Games and laughter or which movie they watched?

Tuesday, July 5, 2005


We spent the Fourth at my sister's in Portland. The weather was great, they've gotten some more work done on their house, the pups are growing like small weeds (two boxers-Marley the male reminds me of Winston Churchill and is just short of having a "Hapsburg" jaw). They live next to Powell Butte in Portland. She's looking forward to getting the six foot cyclone fence in and letting the blackberries grow up it. With luck, that way the garden may grow faster than the deer can eat it. Squash leaves and blossoms seem to be the favorites right now.

There wasn't much traffic going up and there was none coming home. My definition of no traffic is about eight to ten cars visible in front of me on a three lane highway, three or four visible behind me and about one truck per mile. I took a vacation day today and I suspect that is was pretty slow at work.

We came home to one seriously pouting cat. Lucky's nose was so far out of joint it was in the next county. I think part of it was the fireworks during the day-she hates loud noises. Misty didn't seem to mind so much. But we left early and came home late and the Phantom Furball was not happy. Oh well, she got happy in the same fur coat she got unhappy in. We brought my nephew and half his worldlies back with us. We got a chance to see his apartment. It's the typical student digs. Small and kind of grungie but only three blocks from campus. He has to be down here for conditioning and weight lifting sessions for football. Besides, if you can swing it, it's the best way to get a place locked in for Fall Term. I suspect he won't be spending all that much time there anyway.

Back to the grind tomorrow. A three day week, whoopie. I like my job but trying to work full time and get over the dental work has been a little more stressful than I anticipated. Just keep putting one foot ahead of the other. It's weird some things are easier to get used to than others. Tomatoes, no problem. Cucumbers, no problem. Lettuce-a wee bit more difficult. Leaf lettuce-now that's another story.

Anyway, I hope everybody else had a good time too. And Lisa, I hope you had time to take a picture or two in Seaside. :-)

Sunday, July 3, 2005


It seems that some conservatives can't say or write the word judge without the adjective activist. Lisa over at Coming to Terms with Middle Age has an excellent entry on the budding hysteria on both sides. And, I found this quote from Rush "I managed to beat a drug rap by the skin of my teeth" Limbaugh in the Oregonian this morning.

"....This is a great way to illustrate the point that a number of us have been trying to make for a few weeks now, months, even years on the whole concept of judicial activism, because this hysteria, this interest, this breathlessness, shows how a bunch of enelectded judges have become the final authority in our country....."

I would note that the adjective is usually used only when the results are not what was expected or wanted. Deciding a presidential election was not condemned as "activism." At least not by the right.

Uh, Rush ol' buddy ol' pal, can I recommend a couple of books for you. One, "Miracle in Philidelphia" by Catherine Drinker Bowen and "Novus Ordo Seclorum" by Forrest MacDonald. Both probe the intellectual background of the constitution and why the writers did what they did. And in both you will find that the founders deliberately left the highest court not elected but appointed by the president with the "advice and consent of the senate."

Rush, the Supreme Court was designed to be unelected and the first Chief Justice, John Marshall was able to stake a claim to the right for the court to be the final arbiter on whether national laws were in line with the contstitution. Just because a law manages to get passed doesn't make it fair, right or constitutional. Generations of Jim Crow laws, laws to restrict Asian immigration and laws forbidding public school teachers to wear religious dress or symbols while teaching (Oregon had the last one) are proof of that.

The idea that the law is what the judges, (not the king, the president or popular opinion) say it is had its beginnings with the reign of Henry II. This protects us. We've all watched the political philosophy of this country go one way and then the other over the years. While the court also goes one step left, two steps forward, a step and a half right, one forward it doesn't go as far in either direction. I'd say that the volume of gnashing of teeth on both sides is a measure of its success.


Well, it's been a year since I dipped my toe in the Journal pond. My site has been visited over 2600 times and at least half of those are probably mine. My version of MAC AOL makes each paragraph a single line. This is not conducive (hmmm, that word is worth at least a buck and a quarter) to editing or proof reading. If I can, I do the entry in Word and paste it. And ya know I still end up going in and out a few times until I'm happy.

I think I've written a few things that were pretty darn good, and quite a bit that's passable. The yard looks totally different from last year. The little digital that came with the video camera does NOT take good shots in full sun, they overexpose very badly. The next batch of  35MM  shots will be in next week. The weird weather and the gimpy knees have not made it easy to take pictures. And, unless you want to take extreme closeups lavender doesn't make good pictures unless you have half an acre of it.

The day lilies will be fantastic. The plants are much larger this year and the flower stocks are standing much higher. Yippee! I don't kneel well and you can only do so much bent in half.

I think the biggest change in the last year is dental. From the abcess in late March to I don't know how may follow up visits it's taken until now to get these chompers fairly comfortable. I worked my way through my first salad yesterday and I didn't have any problems today. Biting down in front is still a little weird. Trying to keep everything in place while you move things around is........interesting.

I've read a lot of good writing over the last year. Don't have time to read as much I would like. Thank you Lisa in Scappoose (you know who you are) for encouraging me to get my feet wet and for stopping by regularly with additional virtual "milk and cookies." Thanks to everyone who has stopped by. And here's to another year.

(I'm being zinged by a cat who wants a lap. She does telepathy and if that doesn't work she flexes one delicate claw in the back of my front. Bye for now.)

Friday, July 1, 2005


I started out this evening with an entry that was short and snarky. I took it out and put it back in. But, this is a great story and I wanted to post it separately.

I’d love someone from our security establishment to tell me how national security was helped out by this incident and I’m sure the whole story will play really well with the Dutch.

This story is by Mike Francis of the Portland Oregonian.


The Zippo lighter rests, gleaming, comfortably in the palm, no bigger than a combat medal. It is a small, silvery thing with a thumb wheel and a hinged lid, but this one has no flint or lighter fluid.

What makes it special is who it belongs to, where it’s been and what it says on the outside.

On one polished side, it has an insignia showing a bald eagle with its talons extended, landing between a pair of dice on a cream colored, fan-shaped field, surrounded by a circle of navy blue. On the other side is an engraved map, showing spots named Son, Veghel, Grave, Nijmegen, and Arnheim.

One side of the lid says “Operation Market Garden,” “60 years." the other side says “Bill Wingett.”

For about a week, the lighter was in the luggage of Wingett, a member of Easy Company of the 506th Parachute Infantry regiment of the 101st Airborne Division, a legendary unit known to most Americans as “The Band of Brothers.”

Wingett, who will turn 83 Sunday, lives in Salem. On June 16, he was returning from a trip to Europe as a guest of a group of Dutch people who wanted to celebrate the World War II exploits of Easy Company, from the invasion of Normandy to the Battle of the Bulge. Wingett had been back so tome of the places, but this was his first time to return to Bastogne, where Easy Company endured a brutally harsh and deadly winter in 1944.

“I didn’t enjoy the feeling that friends of mine had died there in the vicinity,” Wingett said Thursday, from the home of his daughter in Southern California.

Easy Company took part in Operation Market Garden, an effort to capture bridges in German occupied Dutch territory, That campaign became the subject of a book and movie called “A Bridge Too Far.”

While Wingett and his companions were in Europe for the reunion tour, they were presented the custom-made Zippos, which replicate the company’s 1941-style lighters. Wingett had it in his luggage when he flew home. When it showed up on thescreening machines at Washington Dulles International airport – after the flight across the Atlantic – an airport security screener told him he had a lighter in his bag, and he’d have to surrender it. Wingett balked.

It doesn’t have fuel and it doesn’t have flint, he pointed out. How can it be considered a lighter?
Sorry, the screener said. It’s forbidden.

“Maybe we’d better get one of your supervisors,” he said recounting the conversation. The supervisor came over, listened to Wingett’s appeal, and told him he’d have to give up the lighter. So Wingett said, “Look, can we ask the pilot to take it and hold it, then give it to me when we reach San Francisco?”

The group went into a little room to ask another supervisor. “She just shook her head and said no airline is going to take responsibility for it.” Wingett said.

Wingett, who had to board his flight, gave up. He took some brochures that offered instructions about how to reclaim property from the Transportation Security Administration then flew home without the lighter. “It was a comedy of errors,” he said, “and I probably didn’t help by creating a bit of a scene when they took it.”

In Salem the next day, Kevin Coady, an Oregon Army National Guardsman who is a friend and admirer of Wingett’s, heard the story. He said Wingett, who is hard of hearing had tried calling the TSA, but couldn’t hear the commands of the voice-mail system. Stuck, he gave up.

“He had this look in his eye,” said Coady, who resolved to help. “I said, ‘I’ll do my best.’ Who wouldn’t?”

So Coady wrote and rewrote a passionate e-mail to United Air Lines, the TSA and a friend he knew from his Army service in Germany. Matt Kozatek.

When Kozatek, now retired from the Army, got the e-mail, he remembered Coady’s stories about Wingett and another Easy Company veteran from Salem, Don Malarkey.

Kozatek, whose father served in World War II, started called and e-mailing. One of is messages found its way to John Williams, a claims representative for United Air Lines, who told the men his rather is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

Williams sent a series of e-mails that detailed his own pursuit of the lighter and his zeal to help Wingett, whom he called a “great American.”

One message caught the eye of Jerry Golladay, a TSA aviation manager whose e-mail said he was a retired Navy veteran. “No amount of effort will be spared until we have this figured out,” Golladay wrote at one point. “It is an extreme honor to be of service to and American Armed Forces veteran, especially WWII.”

TSA employees, prodded by the veterans and determined to help, embarked on an intensive hunt that included an examination of videotapes showing the screening process at Dulles Airport and the sorting of thousands of confiscated items.

“They came up empty-handed,” said Ron Sokolov, the TSA’s executive director in the Office of Customer Service and Education. Another TSA official instructed them to try again.

That second search turned up the lighter, loose on a shelf, Sokolov said.

United's John Williams called Wingett at home to give him the news.

"He said he had it and would forward it to Kevin Coady,” Wingett said, “I said that would be very well.”

Wingett is flying home today and expects to have the lighter this afternoon. He said he’s not surprised by all the help he got from people he’d never met.

“I would say that a veteran will help a veteran whenever he can.” Said Wingett. “I try to do it to veterans new and old myself.”

I know they have to be consistent. But, I’m willing to bet that if the passengers on the plane with Mr. Wingett had been polled they probably would have been willing to risk flying with the 83 year old veteran and his empty, flintless lighter. I decided to copy the whole story because it names so many people who helped this story have a great ending.


I posted this and then got to thinking it sounded a little snarky but, I think I'll take my courage in both hands and repost it.

I'm only going to make this comment about the president's speech. I have to admit I only know what I read in the papers. It was on during dinner and I wanted to remain one with the excellent omelett I'd just finished.

We're hearing a lot about how "we" have to stay the course.

"What do you mean 'we' Kemo Sabe?"