2018-11-03 / Viewpoints

The Old Timer

By Howard ‘Mac’ Mcdonald

Our purple sage is in full bloom and it looks spectacular.

If you are an old-timer, you might remember Zane Grey, an author of western novels. His book, “Riders of the Purple Sage,” was a classic.

Somewhere in the wild country here in Arizona there is a cabin where he supposedly did his writing. I do not know a lot about the history of this section of the Wild West.

When I came out here for the first time in 1986, I drove to some pretty interesting places. Today, I have to depend on someone else to do the driving.

Tom Mix started his life in Mix Run, Cameron County, and just south of here is where he ended his life in an auto wreck. He was driving a Cord, which was a really fast sports car for its time. I have visited that site to see the monument that was erected for him.

According to one account, he had been gambling in Las Vegas and had a suitcase full of silver dollars on the space underneath the rear window. He drifted into a ditch and that suitcase came flying up toward the front and hit Tom in the back of his head, breaking his neck.

I don’t know how much of that story is true, but I do know that he did not believe in paper money and he carried his cash in silver dollars.

Regular readers of my column already know that California is not my favorite state. Others seem to be jumping on my bandwagon.

Our part of Arizona is being flooded with Californians and there is a housing construction boom.

I hope they leave their radical nut cases back home. We have enough simple-minded people and do not need any more.

One thing that always puts a smile on my face is a phone call from an old pal. There are a few of them still hanging in there.

Today the phone rang and on the other end was Ray, my old radio operator from Germany and with Special Air Missions at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois. The memories came flooding back.

We talk a couple times a month. Ray’s health is not too good. He has lost his kidneys and is on dialysis three times a week. His wife died in March, but he has family close by.

I ran into him in Manila. I already had orders to report to Georgia. When I told Ray that, he said that the Special Air Missions team really needed a C-54 engineer.

He was a staff sergeant and he somehow was able to get my orders changed. SAM was a very prestigious assignment. I still don’t know how he pulled it off.

Yesterday I watched a two-hour program about the Secret Service and it was very interesting.

Working for that outfit must be hard. Your life depends on them and the people you are guarding depend on you.

A couple of years ago, I got caught up in a magazine scam from Publishers Clearinghouse and I am still receiving magazines. One of them is Men’s Health.

Today I received their 30-year anniversary edition. The cover photo showed a young body builder. You have to look very close to tell that the kid is Arnold Schwarzenegger.

I did not read the article. Who cares what that bum has to say?

When Arnold was governor of California, he wrecked his marriage because of a sex scandal with their house maid. He would be right in step with the times today. He was also a lousy actor. It has been a couple of weeks since this black box and I went to Fist City, but I am ready to engage this nasty computer in mortal combat.

Just as I was finishing my column the first time, it struck me a low blow and erased everything I had written.

Maybe there are hackers who get upset when I tell it like it is. What you are reading now is a facsimile of my real words of wisdom. Meanwhile, the black box has been put on notice that it is skating on thin ice.

Can anyone remember when a movie audience had to follow the bouncing ball on the screen as it worked its way across words at the bottom of the screen?

That is our stock market these days. If I had any extra loot, I would not be handing it over to that big gambling ring. First off, with my luck my dollar would turn into a dime. Secondly, I have always believed that if you can’t understand something and cannot anticipate what’s going to happen, it’s probably better to keep your distance.

So much for my financial advice. You can call me at BR-549 to get my address so you can make payment.

Every day we hear about another senseless act of violence in our world.

Some people take one passage of the Bible and suggest that when you are attacked in any way, you should turn the other cheek. Other people take another passage and say you should demand an eye for an eye and a tooth for the tooth.

So much for basing all of your decisions on the Good Book.

During an NFL game the other day, the fan noise was so loud that the players couldn’t hear their signals.

Why don’t the refs just stop the action until the fans quiet down? It’s pretty unfair to the team that has the ball.

In golf, the fans have to be silent so the duffer won’t muff his putt. Woe be to anyone in the crowd who has to pass gas.

Speaking of noise, did you know that the blue whale can produce sounds that measure 188 decibels? That is the loudest sound emitted by any living animal. You never know what you’re going to learn when you read this old-timer’s column.

Here’s one more tidbit to expand your knowledge. The chef’s hat is shaped the way it is for a reason: its shape allows air to circulate around the scalp, keeping the head cool in a hot kitchen.

Thomas Jefferson said, “In matters of principle, stand like a rock. In matters of taste, swim with the current.”

After almost nine decades on this earth, there are some instances where I will always stand like a rock. Something is awfully wrong in this country when a clever person can carve out a life where he or she doesn’t have to work and can still get the bills paid by the people who do work.

Take a look around the streets during a weekday and you will see young adults who are just hanging around, smoking cigarettes and gulping down a gallon of soda pop.

About the only response I can come up with is to keep my musket clean with plenty of dry powder in reserve. I probably will not turn the other cheek.

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