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“Ready, Aim, FIRE!” April 17, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Life Lessons, Special Events, Travel & Leisure.
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15 comments

Dad enlisted in the Army and reported for duty on June 27, 1946, at age 18.

His enlistment, at the end of his first year at Northeastern University, coincided with the end of World War II, just before the Korean War.

Dad enjoyed his assigned rifle even though “all spare time has to be used to keep our rifles clean.”  In a letter to Aunt Pete and Uncle Webb:

“The rifle is really nice.  It takes an 8-shot clip which can be fired as fast as the trigger can be pulled.  When the 8th shot is fired, the clip is thrown out and the gun remains open ready for another clip to be inserted.  The peep sight has adjustments for both windage and elevation.”

In a letter to his dad at the end of July:

“We have been having more lectures on the rifle.  We spent four hours on adjusting our sights for elevation and windage.  They showed us how to determine the velocity of the wind, how the direction of the wind could be taken into account.  When Garrand invented this rifle, he did a darn good job.”

A highlight of basic training for dad, who had gone deer hunting in Vermont each fall, involved qualifying on the rifle range as an expert on the M1 semi-automatic rifle.  He enjoyed his time on the rifle range, despite having to rise early.  In a letter to his father dated August 5th:

“We are on the rifle range for a few days.  We get up at 2:45 and have reveille at 3:00.  We don’t come back from range till 7:00 P.M.  Then we have to clean equipment.  We will shoot 200, 300, 500 yards.”

Wikipedia ~ Basic Training (in Public Domain)

Two days later:

“We have had 3 days on the range firing the Garrand semi-automatic rifle (M1).  Today we started firing for record.  We use a 20-inch bulls eye at 500 yards, which is over one quarter of a mile.  I got 5 bulls eyes and 3 4′s which gave me 37 out of 40.”

“At 300 yards, I had 51 seconds to drop from standing to prone position, fire one shot, take clip from cartridge belt, reload and fire 8 more rounds. Out of the 9 shots, I got 5 bulls eyes, 2 4′s and 2 3′s, which totals 39 out of 45.”

“As a total of all my shooting for record I have 109 out of a possible 125 so far.  Tomorrow I will fire 17 more shots from 200 yards ~ a maximum score of 85 points.  We need 180 for expert, 165 for sharpshooter, and 140 for marksman.  It’s time for light’s out so I will finish tomorrow night when I can tell you how I qualified.”

The next night, he finished the letter with good news:

“We finished our time on the rifle range this morning.  Last night, I was a little doubtful whether I could make expert or not.  It meant getting 71 out of 85 points today.  I made it with 3 to spare ~ I got 74 out of 85. My total on record fire was 183 out of 210. That qualifies me as expert.”

“Nine of the shots I fired today were sustained fire (rapid fire).  It was another 51 second exercise.  I had to be standing, go to a sitting position, fire 1 round, insert new clip and fire 8 more.  Of the nine, I got 6 bulls eyes and 3 4′s for a total of 42 out of 45.  Out of the 42 shots fired for record, I got 19 bulls eyes, 19 4′s, and 4 3′s.  Better than I can shoot a 22.”

“Tomorrow morning will be a relief after getting up at 2:45.  We don’t have to get up until 5:00.  Next week we have bayonet drill.  They say that is a hard week, but it looks like fun.  I really should catch up on some sleep.  After all I have had only 5 hours of sleep per night for the last four nights.  Now for the sack.”

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A few days later, on August 10th, he shared an abbreviated version of his qualification experience with Aunt Lucy:

“This week we spent most of our time firing the M1 rifle at targets 200, 300, and 500 yards away. I did pretty good.  We needed 140 to get qualified as marksman, 165 to qualify as sharpshooter and 180 to qualify as expert.  I had 183, so made expert.  I feel pretty good about it.  I really didn’t expect to do nearly that good.

“As of today my training here is half over.  I have finished four of the eight weeks of training.  So far it hasn’t been bad except for the heat. This weekend I have a pass which allows me to go anywhere within 100 miles of the fort as long as I am back by 5 o’clock Monday morning.  I think I may take advantage of it.”

Aah . . . that’s better!

Concludes tomorrow . . . We Rest Here

Can’t Stand The Heat? Get IN The Kitchen April 16, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Gratitude, Life Lessons, Travel & Leisure.
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12 comments

Dad enlisted in the Army and reported for duty on June 27, 1946, at age 18.

His enlistment, at the end of his first year at Northeastern University, coincided with the end of World War II, just before the Korean War.

During free time, he enjoyed playing cards, buying drinks at the service club, going to the movies (“to take advantage of the $.15 tickets”), and getting to know his fellow enlistees.

“Tonight I am down at the service club.  They furnish stationary, desks, etc.  They have a nice restaurant and also a soda bar here.  There is a large room with easy chairs that would equal a very nice hotel lobby. They also have pool tables and ping pong tables.  I am down with two other fellows, both from Massachusetts.  We ate in the restaurant to see what it was like to avoid the mess hall of our company.”

“Right near the service club is the post library.  It has a lot of good books and most of the latest magazines.  It really wasn’t any hardship not to get a pass this weekend.  I am going to stop now and drink some milk that we bought here at the service club.  That is one thing the army doesn’t serve much of here.  They say it would make us sick on the kind of work that we are doing.  P.S. I really do not dislike the army.  Of course there are moments that are a little disgusting.”

Dad took advantage of the post library rather than getting a weekend pass to go into town (especially after being told that “there are more soldiers there than anything else”).  In a letter to his dad at the end of July:

“I have taken a book from the library on sea navigation and have been studying it during spare time.  I’m still glad that I enlisted and think that I will be a lot farther ahead at the end of one year and a half.”

In a letter to his dad, dated July 26th, he recounted some of the challenges of basic training:

“Just a few lines tonight.  I drew my first K.P. since I hit Fort McClellan. Tomorrow, instead of getting up at 5:15 as usual, I will have to get up at 4:30.  I get off at 7:30 P.M.  I think that it will keep me from having to stand inspection.

“The training has been pretty tiring, mostly on account of the heat.  I don’t have access to a thermometer, but one of the sgts said that it was 127 degrees F yesterday noon.  After marching, standing, and running the obstacle course in that all afternoon we didn’t care much whether we had supper or not.  After I cooled off I was hungry enough though.”

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Dad ~ Top Right

A few days later, in a postcard to his step-mother, Margaret, he concluded with: “The life here is really pretty easy.”

Aah . . . that’s better!

Continued tomorrow . . . “Ready, Aim, FIRE!”

Flight 293 April 12, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Fun & Games, Humor, Joke, Travel & Leisure.
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35 comments

AirplaneShortly after a British Airways flight had reached its cruising altitude, the captain announced:

Ladies and Gentlemen, this is your captain. Welcome to Flight 293, non-stop from London Heathrow to New York.  The weather ahead looks good, so we should have a smooth uneventful flight.

So sit back, relax, and . . . OH . . .  MY GOD!

Silence followed.

Some moments later, the captain came back on the intercom:

Ladies and Gentlemen, I’m sorry if I scared you. While I was talking, a flight attendant dropped a cup of hot coffee in my lap. You should see the front of my pants.

From the back of the plane, an Irish passenger yelled, “For the luvva Jaysus . . . you should see the back of mine!”

Aah . . . that’s better!

Source: e-mail from unknown author (sent by Joe M.)

Cocktails and Crew April 9, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Fun & Games, Nature, Travel & Leisure.
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35 comments

Last week, we attended a cocktail party hosted by the Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast at the Bay Preserve on Little Sarasota Bay in Osprey.

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The Conservation Foundation’s mission ~> “protecting the bays, beaches, barrier islands and watersheds of Florida’s Gulf Coast.”

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Before the drinks started flowing, we watched local middle schoolers wading into the waters for crew practice.

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Ready . . .  Set . . . Heave Ho!

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Over it goes.

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And they’re off.

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While the kids rowed, rowed, rowed their boats . . .

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Instructors scooted around in motor boats, barking orders.

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We wandered out on the dock and found a school of friendly fish.

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Bellying up to an all-you-can-eat buffet.

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The sun made its descent before the crew teams called it a day.

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The guest of honor, Rand Wentworth, President of the Land Trust Alliance, regaled us with tales of early conservationists, including Thomas Jefferson and Teddy Roosevelt.

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At last, time for some Jack Daniels and Ginger Ale.

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 Aah . . . that’s better!

Sneak Peek at Neal Preserve April 8, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Art & Photography, Nature, Travel & Leisure.
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35 comments

Our neighborhood is a bird sanctuary surrounded by 3 nature preserves ~ Robinson, Perico, and Neal.  Avian visitors include egrets, heron, pelicans, cormorants, anhingas, ibis, ducks, geese, vultures, and roseate spoonbills.

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Robinson Preserve opened in 2008 with walking and biking trails, a picnic area, kayak launch, playground, visitor’s center, viewing tower, and lots of wildlife ~ including several nesting pairs of bald eagles.

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Perico Preserve, still under construction, will be a bird rookery for nesting parents and baby birds.  “No Dogs Allowed.”

Reflections

Neal Preserve, located just to the west of our neighborhood, is scheduled to open tomorrow.  A few weeks ago, we had a chance to take a sneak peek.

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We walked along the elevated boardwalk and climbed the viewing tower.

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We saw fluffy cotton and cacti growing wild, 2000-year-old conch shells lining pathways, and palms swaying overhead.

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We enjoyed stories shared by the resident archeologist about two ancient burial mounds (300 B.C. – 100 A.D.) found on the grounds.

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And admired a trio of skeletons acting sentry over the ancient mounds.

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We didn’t see even the whisper of a ghost.  Maybe next time.

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Aah . . . that’s better!

Aerial America April 2, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Art & Photography, Travel & Leisure.
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24 comments

Several weeks ago, Brighthouse added the Smithsonian Channel to our basic cable.  Our favorite new show ~ Aerial America.

We’ve seen aerial clips from several states:  Arizona, Kentucky, the Dakotas, Utah, Wyoming, Colorado, Nebraska, and Maine.  We’ve enjoyed each show, but liked Maine best because it seemed so familiar.

Maine included fly-over footage of the Marginal Way, Baxter State Park, Kennebunkport (including the Wedding Cake House and Walker’s Point), Penobscot Bay, Rockport, Camden, Acadia National Park, Portland,  etc.

The Colony Hotel, Kennebunkport

We took turns exclaiming, “We’ve been there!”

If ever you’re staying in Kennebunkport, consider the historic Colony Hotel. It’s eco-friendly, pet friendly, and charming!

Aah . . . that’s better!

Have you caught any episodes of Aerial America?

Related post:  Sailing The Maine Coast

“We Are Number . . . THREE!” February 28, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Bulletin Board, Travel & Leisure.
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30 comments

We have two newspapers on the island ~ The Islander and The AMI Sun.

This week, both featured articles on Anna Maria Island’s standing in the TripAdvisor’s list of Top Ten Island Destinations in the U.S.

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We are number 3!!!

Here’s the complete list: 1. Marco Island, Fla.; 2. Chincoteague Island, Va.; 3. Anna Maria Island, Fla.; 4. San Juan Island, Wash.; 5. Maui, Hawaii; 6. Kauai, Hawaii; 7. Island of Hawaii, Hawaii; 8. Nantucket, Mass.; 9. Hilton Head, S.C.; 10. Key West, Fla.

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C’mon down . . . your table is waiting for you.

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Aah . . . that’s better!

“I’m Not Shittin’ You!” February 7, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Fun & Games, Nature, People, Travel & Leisure.
Tags: , , , , ,
38 comments

Huey,-Dewey-And-LouieWe attended a Travel Lecture at the library yesterday about “going” on a 103-mile Rafting Trip down the Middle Fork of the Salmon River in Idaho.

For six days and five nights, 24 participants and 6 guides brave white water by day and tent camping by night.

The scenery is spectacular and the quiet is deafening.

The guides do all the cooking and the heavy lifting, including setting up a portable toilet in a tent at a discrete distance from the campfire each night.

During the day?

The river is the toilet.

If you have to do your business, you wade into the not-so-balmy 50 degree water until you are waist high . . . then go with the flow.

You might want to position yourself upriver from fellow adventurers who “waddle into the wiver for a wee widdle.”

If you can’t avoid an upriver piddler, a friendly wave and inquiry (“are you shitting me?”) will have to suffice.

Problems arise when the river becomes a “low flow” toilet.

If the river is running low, the water is only 2 feet deep in places.  Squatting becomes the name of the game and strong thigh muscles are an asset.

If you’re weak in the knees at the thought, a spotter can hold you up while you bear down.

One year, a business man decided he needed to leave mid-trip to “attend to business.”  He didn’t say what kind of business was so pressing.

Donald-Duck-LaughingAs we left the presentation, BFF turned to me and said, “Kind of makes you rethink the whole buying Idaho Potatoes thing, doesn’t it?”

Aah . . . that’s better!

Related posts:  Wild Weekend (Colonialist) * I Lost My Snarky (Coffee Kat)

Chalk Art January 31, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Art & Photography, Special Events, Travel & Leisure.
Tags: , , , , ,
31 comments

Last fall, Sarasota held a Chalk Art Festival with participating artists from around the Globe.

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The theme had a military bent . . . with m&m’s providing sweet relief.

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Lady Liberty shed some light on things.

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One artist focused his time and talents on the 50th Anniversary of the Assassination of JFK.

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Leaving the festival, we noticed more Street Art . . . of a more permanent kind.

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Aah . . . that’s better!

Have you ever been to a Chalk Art Festival?  What did you think?

AMI History Trivia January 30, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Fun & Games, Humor, Special Events, Travel & Leisure.
Tags: , , , , ,
17 comments

At a lecture at the library, the Anna Maria Island Historical Society shared Island History Trivia with us.

The Anna Maria Beach Company, established in 1910, built a pier for passengers coming from Tampa on the ferry.

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After debarking, the day trippers wandered down Pine Avenue to the beach, to enjoy sunning on the sand and splashing in the Gulf of Mexico.

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If they didn’t behave, they ended the day in the Slammer.

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At lecture’s end, we played Jeopardy.  Two of us got all answers correct.  Our names went into a hat.  My name got selected as the winner!

The prize . . .

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Much preferable to wearing something like this . . .

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Aah . . . that’s better! 

 

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