I Must Have Told You This Story A Thousand Times, But . . .

My children (and wife) laugh at me because this is one of my famous sayings right before I tell them a story, somehow related to the current conversation (at least in my mind ? ), at which point they tell me they’ve never heard it before! What! Do they never listen ? I must have told this story to them at least thousand times . . . . ?

I'm going to add to the stories below as these 'told you a thousand times' situations come up over the coming years.

Here are the story headings.  Click on them to go to a particular story, or read them top to bottom .

Huge Spiders Would Sometimes Crawl Out of the Bananas The Terrible Secret of the Missing Buttons
The Whole Box of Matches Exploded And People Came Boiling Out . . .
I Thought I Would Fall Forever . . . And the Basketball Standard Came Crashing Down . . .
Pat, I Can't Breath, It Feels Like A Weight is On Me . . . Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel
But Who Was At The Wheel!? J. Golden Kimball's Wry Comment
The Axe Murderer . . . World War II
Wrong House!  Argh! Duck and Cover 
A Funny Story At Church The Wizard Under the Bed
Yet Another Funny Story From Church A Lesson In Honesty
To Build A Fire . . . "So This is Ely, Nevada"
Fright-night  What! Pilot Peak . . . What's It Doing Way Out Here!
On the Campaign trail  . . . at age 8 A Drastic Drop in Barometric Pressure . . .
Rattlesnake in the Sleeping Bag The Coal Shovel Shivers . . .
  Pop Gun Diplomacy . . .

Huge Spiders Would Sometimes Crawl Out of the Bananas
Dad worked as a bag boy at a grocery store when he was young (one of many jobs he had during Jr. High and High School). He’d often tell me that sometimes when they’d get a shipment of bananas a huge spider (ugly and dangerous looking) would be found among the bunches; which spider they’d have to exterminate, after of course, the heart-throbbing scare of discovery, before putting the bunches out on the shelves for customers. Yah, sure you say? W e l l . . . 

Look here, or  here.

These were Banana Spiders (No not 'Garden Spiders', but Brazilian Wandering Spiders), fifty times more poisonous than a black widow and very aggressive!  I doubt Dad ever knew this.

The Whole Box of Matches Exploded
Dad worked as a bag boy at a grocery store when he was young . . . OK you’ve heard this already ? Once when he and Howie Gardner were unloading heavy boxes of matches from the delivery truck, Howie slipped and dropped the box (which contained many smaller boxes of matches) and evidently it hit just right and the whole thing instantly exploded into a ball of flames – made for an exciting time there in the parking lot ? Talk about your chain reactions . . .

I Thought I Would Fall Forever . . .
Dad lived in Price, Utah for a while . . . worked at a gas station there and attended High School.  A favorite pastime was to sneak up to 'Lover's Lane' with a few potatoes.   While the 'lovers' were focused on one another in the car, one could sneak up and put a potato in the exhaust pipe . . . then run like heck.  Pretty soon the car would back-fire in a LOUD explosion (and hurl the potato like a rocket) . . . very unsettling to those in the car to say the least.  One night Dad and his friends were at it again, but this time Dad was spotted and the man (likely just a couple of years older than Dad really) gave chase.  Dad was fast, but unfortunately forgot just where he was in the dark, and raced over a drop off . . . a concrete wall that was over 12 feet high . . . luckily there were bushes below to break his fall, but he said he thought he'd fall forever . . . it was a long way down.  

Pat, I Can't Breath, It Feels Like A Weight is On Me . . .
Not long after they were married Mom and Dad went camping in Arches National Park.  In those days, there weren't any campgrounds and you could just pitch your tent near the arches if you wanted.  They did so . . . a little ways from the road.   It was a small tent, just big enough for Mom and Dad.  During the night Mom had a terrible time sleeping.  She woke up and told Dad she was having trouble breathing . . . it felt like a weight was on her.  Dad did what he could and finally Mom felt a little better and both fell asleep.  In the morning, when they got up they discovered that some kind of animal had come in the night and actually sat on the tent on Mom's side.  There were tracks around the tent and clearly the tent was caved in; an animal had stopped and had a seat for a while.  Dad couldn't identify the tracks (which is strange, since Dad hunted and fished -- Hmm . . . Big Foot?  :-) ).  

Anyway, bottom line is: Mom really did have a weight on her!

But Who Was At The Wheel!?

Mom and Dad, just after Dad graduated from College, lived and worked in California (Dad worked for Lockheed as an engineer).  They made trips back to Utah to see the family once in a while, but they were poor, and so they'd make enough sandwiches to tide them over, stop only for gas when they had too, and drive straight through from L.A. to Spanish Fork & Salem.  On one trip they found themselves extremely tired on the long stretch from Las Vegas to St. George.  They kept saying 'We need to pull over', but being young and foolish, kept trying to go 'Just a little further' . . .

They woke up the next morning with the car safely parked on main street in Cedar City with absolutely no memory of ever getting there.  Both were absolutely astonished!  Neither had any memory at all from that last 'Just a little further' in Nevada to Cedar City.  Mom assures me that they were watched over and that 'someone else' took the wheel that night.

The Axe Murderer . . .

Ok, there really isn't an Axe Murder here . . . but that is what we call this story.  

As a little girl, Mom lived with her Mom and Dad in a little trailer in the pasture of a home in Heber for a time while her Dad worked on various State Road projects.  The trailer had no running water, or bathroom, but there was an outhouse by the huge barn in the back field.  The wood was there too.  You wanted wood for the stove, or 'nature called', and you had to walk from the trailer to the barn . . . quite a ways really.   One night, clear and moonlit,  Mom needed to head for the barn.  As Mom approached she had a strange uneasy feeling which grew more unsettling as she got closer to the barn.  Right next to the barn was the woodpile, chopping block, and axe.  Silhouetted In the clear moonlight's reflection off of the axe blade, she caught a glimpse of the shadow of a man looming towards here.  She screamed!  And began running as fast as she could back to the trailer screaming all the way.  Behind her she could hear the man's heavy breathing as he chased after her.  Grandpa, hearing the commotion,  slammed open the trailer door and leapt out.  The man who lived in the home came running too.  Mom reached the trailer and the man who had chased close behind her, on seeing Grandpa, and hearing the man from the house, turned a little, leapt the fence, and kept on running . . .and was never seen again.  Mom says she is certain he meant to harm her . . . 

Wrong House!  Argh!

One Christmas, while trying to do a good deed for a neighborhood family down on its luck, Dad and Mom, probably along with some others in their LDS Ward, bought a turkey with all the dressings, wrapped presents, etc., with a plan to put them all on the 'target' family's porch and run ('Like the Dickens' as Dad would say).

Nice plan, G o o d  plan -- Only one problem.  

They delivered to the wrong house!   

. . . when a little boy came to the door,  Dad and the others realized their mistake.  The boy saw the bounty, his eyes got as big as saucers, and he hurried inside  to fetch the rest of the family.  


Dad and the others raced to retrieve the goods and just in time too.   When the boy came to the door with his family there was nothing there.  Dad said he could see the boy pointing to the porch and saying to his family, "But it was right here!"  ;-)  The presents and feast were of course delivered to the right house . . . but man, talk about a time you should check your addresses :-) 

A Funny Story At Church

In Dad's Ward in Price lived Mrs. Peabody who played the piano at Church at times.  One Sacrament meeting the counselor stood to announce the program but got all mixed up and said, "Mrs. Playbody will now pee for us".  'Course the congregation roared! 

Yet Another Funny Story From Church

One sacrament meeting, the person who had been asked to say the closing prayer nodded off (as is want to happen during a long meeting), then abruptly woke up mid-way through the meeting when there was a lull between speakers.  Being somewhat groggy, and somehow misperceiving the lull as having woken up just in the nick of time, and that it was his turn to do his part, he then rose, walked to the podium, and with a prayer, closed the meeting.  Everyone sat there horrified and dumbfounded  . . . well not everyone :-)  Thank you, thank you, Oh thank you!

To Build A Fire . . .

When Dad lived in Williston, North Dakota, he and his friends (10 or 11  years old) decided to build a fire and roast hotdogs one clear, and cold winter's day.  Loading a sled with firewood, matches, and the hotdogs, they trekked out of town through the snow, without telling anyone, to a favorite spot.  But try as they might, they could not light the matches to start a fire.  Dad said the matches would strike, but not ignite -- very strange.  It was very, very cold and the cold drove them to hurry back home where they found their parents and the town's people frantically searching for them.  An unusually cold Artic front down from Canada had settled in and the temperature had dropped to 50 below or colder.  So bitterly cold in fact, that matches would not ignite in the outside air.   

Note:  This was also the place, along with Glendive, Montana, where the tires on the car would flap down the street until they got warmed up a bit, and in order to start the big diesel graders and bulldozers used on Grandpa's dam projects, they would actually have to build a fire under the machines and fuel lines to get things warm enough to flow.


One night some boys from Mom's hometown (Salem, Utah) decided to scare the bejeebers out of Mom and her friend.  In the dark of pitch black night they dropped the two off on the far side of the Payson cemetery, with no light to guide them, and told them they'd be waiting for them on the other side.  In the middle of Payson cemetery is a high, massive gravestone -- which Mom knew well since she had been to the cemetery many times with her mother and grandmother.  Giggling, both girls calmly strolled to the big stone, scrambled up on top, and waited as quiet as could be.  Soon the boys, truly worried when the girls didn't show up, came back through the cemetery, huddled together for protection, nervous, and searching for them.  The girls waited until they came just beside and under the massive stone, and with a horrendous yell, jumped down on them  Of course, they scattered to the winds, yelping and screaming little girly screams, and on out of the cemetery  . . . with Mom and her friend in close pursuit and laughing hysterically.  

Turn around is fair play.

Note:  As a little boy, I once asked Mom why she wasn't scared in that cemetery.  She said, "I've never been scared of the cemetery.  You know we don't believe in ghost and goblins and that sort of thing.  When people die, they go back to Heavenly Father right away.  Besides, even if I had believed in such things, I have family members buried in that cemetery who loved me very much, and they wouldn't ever have allowed anything to hurt me."

On the Campaign trail  . . . at age 8

In 1962, the Republican Party approached Dad about running for County Surveyor.  He agreed and entered the race against the incumbent Democrat.  All the family pitched in to get Dad elected . . . including me.  While my sister and her friends canvassed the county with phone calls every Saturday, I, dressed in a white shirt and tie just like my Dad, walked with him through neighborhoods knocking on doors and campaigning (well, at least a little of the time . . . it seemed like a lot to me though :-)  ).  

Dad lost the race but it was still an exciting time.

Left: A photo of the official campaign poster (I helped place many of them on telephone poles, in store fronts, and in supporter's yards).  Dad is next to his Wild (pronounced 'Vilt') theodolite -- A T1A (if so, I still have this wonderful instrument), or a T2.  How do I know it was 1962?  Well, Grandma has written so on the back -- a fine habit to get into BTW :-) , otherwise I would have had some research to do.


Note: There is a bit of a 'pincushion' and 'trapezoid' effect to this photo because of the angle of the camera and the 'floppy' poster. 


Rattlesnake in the Sleeping Bag

Grandpa Killian worked for the Utah State Road as a construction foreman for many years (he even let me drive the huge yellow, road grader   as I sat in his lap once at one remote site when we visited him when I was a little).  

Anyway, anyway . . . back to the story . . . 

His crew would often be in the wilder places of Utah, far from home and family, and even a motel, and in those cases, they'd camp out near the construction site.  He told me that at one such 'campout' he awoke in the middle of the night only to realize he had a rattlesnake next to him in his sleeping bag.  Evidently, the snake had crawled in seeking warmth and shelter.  Unable, or unwilling at least, to move, or to call for help, lest he arouse the ire of his bedfellow, Grandpa laid there still as he could be and waited, and waited, and waited . . . it was excruciating.  

Finally, with the coming dawn, the snake slithered out and away  . . .

The Terrible Secret of the Missing Buttons

Dad told me that sometimes Grandma would scold Grandpa in the early days when Dad was a boy.  "Parl," she would say, "can't you be more careful at work.  You lose of lot of these buttons you know!".  You see, Grandpa would sometimes come home with a button or two missing off of his work shirt.  Grandma assumed he was careless and had caught it on the edge of a drafting table or some such 'snare' at the office.  Truth was, Grandpa, as the engineer, often had to climb down high cliffs on chain and metal ladders down to the dam sites.  Often the cliff would curve inward, and then out again at the top, and so Grandpa would have to hug tightly to cliff, ladder, and chain, on his descent and ascent,  just to keep from falling.  He loved Grandma too much to have her worry and so he never revealed the awful and frightening truth of the missing buttons. 

And People Came Boiling Out . . .

We took a trip as a family, along with Mom's and Dad's good friends, The Ludlow's, to see Glen Canyon Dam under construction.   High on the cliff face, overlooking the dam site, the huge earth movers looked like tiny ants, and the people at the base were hardly visible from that dizzying height.  The observation building, a simple wood, tin, chain link fence, and chicken wire affair, right at the edge of the cliff top, with a steep embankment right behind.  While all of us, and a rather large group of other tourists, were gawking, gazing, and pointing into the gaping drop-off below, Scott Ludlow, just one of the Ludlow kids, climbed back of the observation house and hurled a rather large rock down on its tin roof.  BANG! went the roof.  The sound EXPLODED and reverberated throughout the small structure . . .  the building seemed to shake . . . people screamed and came boiling out of there like a swarm of angry hornets.  His Mom and Dad were none too happy about it either . . .  SCOTT!!!!!

And the Basketball Standard Came Crashing Down . . .

One day my friend Gary and I were playing around with a golf ball on the Thurber Elementary School playground.  Gary bounced the ball, it pinged off the ground, and promptly got stuck tight, high up in the links of the school fence.  The fence was high, and right next to where the ball was stuck was a basketball standard.  Gary used the standard as a brace to climb and shimmy up the fence to retrieve his ball.   Just at that moment, a  gleam caught the corner of my eye, I stooped down to retrieve what I thought was a shiny  pebble from the playground.  Next thing I knew, I was on the ground with the basketball standard and pole on top of me.  Some of the bigger kids helped me from under the wreckage and started me into the school nurse.   As I passed little groups of kids on the playground, staggering, and holding my head, they would point and scream  . . . I guess my head was bleeding profusely.   I got to the school nurse's office and she got the bleeding stopped.  Mom came right away.  So did Dad.   They got me to the doctors (Dr. Nick, or his brother, and our neighbor, Dr. Les . . . I can't remember) and quite a few stitches seemed to fix me up.  I had to keep quiet and rest, for what seemed like an eternity, because there was fear of a concussion.  

Grandpa Killian came and headed up to the school to see the wreckage.  He came back 'white as a ghost'.  "He should have been killed," he said.   You see the hoop seemed to have bent right around my head.   I don't know how I survived either -- I shouldn't have.  Mom said someone was watching out for me that day.

'Course what had happened was clear enough.  Rain water had collected at the bottom, inside of the pole, and it had rusted away.  Gary's braced weight was enough to topple it over and on to me.  Turned out all of the other basketball standards on the playground had the same problem.  Soon after the accident, newly welded and capped poles appeared all around.

On that day though, my fingers never reached the shiny pebble . . . I don't think it was ever there.

Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel

A favorite childhood story.   I remember Mom and Dad reading it to us many times.  But Dad actually lived this story. . . in a way.  When his father was building the Scofield Dam, Dad would get to go along and 'help' some of the time.  Dad said you wouldn't believe what was pulled out of the old pioneer dam there -- old wagon wheels, wagon beds, barbed wire, all sorts of refuse.  The pioneers had to use what they could . . . which was the reason the dam needed to be replaced -- it was unsafe.  But the project was behind and it was necessary to pour concrete and work in the cold weather.  Dad helped Grandpa scour the area for old steam shovels (now abandoned, but still somewhat functional) which were brought into heat a make-shift working environment (a 'bubble') enclosing the dam site.   

As an aside, and true to the book, Dad said that many steam shovels were abandoned 'in place' as they became obsolete.  Some, used to excavate dams and reservoirs, were left where they did their last work to be covered over with the rising waters.

J. Golden Kimball's Wry Comment

Ok, don't flame me . . . this isn't bathroom humor at all.  One time at 'intermission' at General Conference in the Tabernacle, Great Grandpa ended up in line behind J. Golden Kimball at the urinal.  J. Golden was having a hard time getting things 'to work'.  Finally frustrated, he gave up, stepped aside, and commented to Grandpa: "A man spends the first half of his life trying to make money . . . and the last half trying to make water."

World War II

You can read where Dad was when World War II started.  He was 11 years old.  He said he remembered that the next day when they went to school they packed into the school auditorium.  Lining the front of the stage were various and assorted radios (I guess they borrowed what they could) so the whole school could listen to FDR's famous  'a date which will live in infamy' speech.   He said the talk among his schoolmates was that the war wouldn't last more than just a 'couple of weeks' -- boy, weren't they wrong!  Anyway, all the young men it seemed signed up right away.  A band would march with them, playing loudly, down to the recruiting station and that's pretty much the last you'd see of them for a long, long time.  Dad said he went to Sunday School only to find his teacher had enlisted and shipped out.  Dad's part in the war is well documented here.   He shared with me that  when someone's loved one was killed, word would spread around town quickly and soon everyone knew about it.   People would do what they could to comfort their neighbor, but Dad said he absolutely dreaded going to Fast and Testimony meeting after this had happened because the details would be told by the grieving, and weeping parents . . . it was often a very, very sad meeting.   

When the war ended, Dad was off with other young men on an church sponsored camp-out in the mountains.  They had unwisely forgotten to tally up their combined gas rations and compare that against their needs.  Which shortage was demonstrated on the journey back when they realized they weren't going to make it without stopping for gas and they had insufficient coupons to allow them to do so.  But they pulled up to a service station anyway to see what could be done.  "Don't worry about!", said the attendant, 'Wars over!!" . . . where in the heck have you guys been anyway  :-)

Duck and Cover

The 1950s and early 60's were a time of many drills at school in defense against the bomb.  Sometimes you'd duck under your desk.  At other times, they'd get you into a basement or interior hall.  But always away from the windows.  But the ones I remember most were the ones where the town siren would blow and all the kids would dash home -- school would be canceled -- with the idea that in a real attack you'd go with your family to whatever shelter you could.  I remember one such practice I made it home and immediately made for Stephen Thompson's (my good friend) home to play.  His mother met me at the door and explained with a frown, "You're supposed to stay at home".    Dang!  I guess I'll just have to practice some more ;-)   

But seriously, though I was too young to be affected much, my Mom and Dad were very worried and, as I think back,  there was real fear there for the family.  I remember going with Mom and Dad to a home shelter exhibit and expo and Dad was seriously, seriously considering installing one of these in the back yard . . . but it never happened.  The movie Matinee ,with John Goodman, is a classic if you want to get a feel for this era -- highly recommended. 

The Wizard Under The Bed

For a couple of years we lived in Mission Viejo, just off Jeronimo Road, in a rented house.  .  One day I came home from work to be met by my two little girls waiting at the front door.  

"Daddy, we're scawerd", they said, "there's a big wizard under our bed and it's mean!".   I laughed.  

"What!", I said, "How big?".  

"Weally, weally, weally big", they said, "and it's hissing at us and berry mean".  

This was hard to believe . . . in fact I didn't believe it.  There were small lizards in the bushes in the back yard that the kids would try to catch . . .  but a big lizard?  No!  Incredulous, I followed them to their room and they stood at the door, a good distance away because they were "afwaid", while I looked under the bed.  

YIKES!  There -is- a BIG lizard under there and it -IS- hissing and it -IS- BERRY MEAN!.   

It was a Chuckwalla, about a foot and a half long from head to tail.  I got it out of there after some struggle and let it go in the back yard.  Just goes to show, you should believe your kids when they say there is a wizard under the bed.   :-)

A Lesson In Honesty

Dad's friend and infrequent business associate from Las Vegas came into the office one day.  "Pat", he said, "let me tell you about a land investment deal we are putting together . . . maybe you'd like to join us".  So he explained the situation and Dad said "Count me in".  Not more than a couple of weeks later his friend came by to drop off a check.   He explained to Dad that they had sold their interest in the deal and the check was Dad's share of the profits.   Dad was incredulous.  "But I didn't give you any money yet . . . you said you'd let me know".  "Yes, true", said his friend, "but you said you were 'in' and that was good enough for us". 

Dad used this as an example to me of honesty.  He said that it would have been very easy for the man to have just told him that the deal had fallen through and Dad would have thought nothing of it.   He could have, and maybe should have, rationalized that there was good justification for not letting Dad have a share of the profits since he had put up no money into the deal yet.  But he had treated Dad honestly, knowing he had said he was 'in' and that he was waiting to put his share of the money as directed . . . by the way, Dad pointed out the man was Jewish, not LDS as we are  -- I was still a very young boy then -- so that I would start to learn that good people are found everywhere and from many backgrounds. 

"So This is Ely, Nevada"

Dad was a private pilot -- a member of flying clubs, and owner, through the years, of several small planes.  He would take us flying with him and take Mom to various fly-ins and trips, etc.  Anyway, we children spent a lot of hours at the Spanish Fork Airport with him just kicking around, getting pops (Grape or Orange Nehi's :-) ) out of the pop machine, etc.   Anyway, anyway . . .  back to the story.

One day a man flew in, landed his plane, and strolled confidently into the airport office exclaiming "So -this- is Ely, Nevada"

Hmm . . . not hardly . . . that would be hundreds of miles to the west . . . in those days, with only Omni radio for navigation, and mostly just sight, following railroad tracks and roads, it was very easy to get lost . . . case in point.

What! Pilot Peak . . . What's It Doing Way Out Here!

Just to reinforce that last story . . . here's another.  Once Dad was flying back all alone from a business trip down south.  The air was smooth, it was a long way back, and he put the plane on autopilot and took a little nap.  When he woke up, everything seemed fine.  He seemed right on course, but the omni radio indicator was obviously broken because it kept telling him that he was way off course to the west and needed to correct to the east a good ways.  

Dang thing!  He muttered.  He could see the railroad tracks below . . . there's the highway . . . everything looks good.   Well, he was so sure he was on track and the omni indicator was wrong, that he discarded the little external evidences that began mounting up -- the things that just didn't jive on the ground -- and he didn't come to his senses until he recognized Pilot Peak right on his nose -- so named because it guided the 49'ers across the Salt Flats.  This evidence was just too much to be ignored :-)    

He -was- many, many miles off course (just as his instruments had indicated) and he ended up with just enough gas to barely make it to Spanish Fork.

Mercury spill A Drastic 'Drop' in Barometric Pressure . . .

Reading this article on SciAm.com triggered this memory . . .

Dad took a college Chemistry class at BYU (this was that first year when he was a Geology major and hadn't decided to ditch that to pursue Civil Engineering at the U of U).

The instructor was explaining about pressure - gas pressure - and had filled a large glass U-tube with mercury.  Just as a side note, the instructor was explaining how mercury was terribly hard to contain and clean-up, etc., when the tube slipped just a few inches and hit the top of the desk.   It didn't hit hard, but it must have hit just right, and the glass shattered and mercury ran in rivulets onto the wooden floor, and into the cracks.  Dad said that they spent hours trying to corral all the mercury in the cracks using nickels and dimes (yes, mercury will stick to these) but it was a daunting task.

Reading the article above makes me wonder if the signs of this mercury spill was still there years later when I was in the same building taking test (the building became the testing center for BYU for a while - this was the lower campus, the old BY High building).

 The Coal Shovel The Coal Shovel Shivers . . .

One day Dad and I were getting into the tool shed out back of Grandpa's garage.   There were an assortment of shovels there . . . and one of them was a short, custom-handled, broad bladed shovel . . . not the 'dig a hole' kind, but a 'shovel coal' kind.  That was what it was -- a coal shovel --  Dad explained, and one that had given him nightmares as a kid.   Huh?   He then began the story:

When he was a kid, everyone had a coal bin in the basement next to an outside wall.  Since furnaces were coal burning, you needed a store of coal - hence the bin.  On the outside of the wall was a coal chute.  When the coal got low, a truck full of coal would pull up, men would jump out and shovel coal from the truck into the chute and down went the coal into the bin.

One day the coal truck drove up and little Dad was on-hand to 'help'  He stood and watched as one particularly gruff and scary man used this very shovel to shovel the coal from the truck to the chute.  As he did so, he swore a 'blue streak', and extolled the virtues of this particular shovel . . . how it was the best shovel in the world, and if anyone should try to steal it from him, all the bad things he would do to them, etc., etc.   Dad was certain anyone trying to take such a magic shovel from this rough character was a good as dead.

Soon the men were done, packed up, and drove away.   To his utter, innocent horror, Dad spied the special shovel propped up against the house . . . the man had left his shovel!!! 

Yikes!   Dad was scared.    Too scared to say anything.   Mortified.

No one but Dad knew or noticed, but there the shovel sat leaning against the house the whole day and into the next.   Dad had nightmares of the man coming back to reclaim his shovel and punish the 'thieves' who took it.   To add horror to  horror, Grandma discovered the shovel leaning against the house, and thinking it was Grandpa's, added it to the collection in the tool shed.  Now they really had stolen the bad man's shovel!   Dad's nightmares continued for quite a while . . . but mercifully . . . the frightening shovel desperado never showed up to exact his revenge . . . and Dad soon grew older and learned to fear other things ;-)    And in the tool shed the shovel contentedly sat for all those many long years . . .

Just like my Pop gunPop Gun Diplomacy . . .

I hereby reveal my first foray into International diplomacy.   While my career has not been illustrious ;-) it began on a hopeful note when Korkut Ozal and his family visited our family (Korkut and my grandfather were very good friends  . . . a bond only dam engineers can truly know ;-)).  Korkut’s son envied my pop gun (yah, we were both pretty young ;-)) and I made him a present of it.   Those were heady days . . . the days of my nascent diplomacy ;-)

We Neeley’s have friends in Turkey!!    . . .well, OK, maybe not friends, but my pop gun is there somewhere   ;-)

For a bio of Korkut, you’ll have to translate the Turkish Wikipedia - see:  http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=tr&u=http://tr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Korkut_%25C3%2596zal&ei=dYX4S7auG5DCNdS9lIQI&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CB0Q7gEwAA&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dkorkut%2Bozal%26hl%3Den%26rls%3Dcom.microsoft:en-us%26prmd%3Div


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