Nick Russell

Douglas The Camel

 Posted by at 12:14 am  Nick's Blog
Jun 272016
 

Note: We find some of our best stories wandering around in old cemeteries. This one, which appeared in the May-June 2013 issue of the Gypsy Journal, began with a visit to the Cedar Hill Cemetery in Vicksburg, Mississippi.



Animal mascots have been an important part of military life for centuries. Mascots became symbols of loyalty and courage and provided lonesome soldiers far from home something to care about. During the Civil War it was not uncommon for both Union and Confederate units to take their mascots with them as they marched into battle. Dogs and horses were the most common mascots, but there were others, including birds, goats, and even a bear!

Company C of the 8th Regiment Wisconsin Volunteers had Old Abe, a beloved bald eagle that somebody had raised by hand. During battle, Abe would fly over the Confederate lines, screeching at the enemy. More than one Rebel ball was fired in his direction, but the eagle managed to dodge them all and come home from the war unscathed.

Not so fortunate was a Staffordshire Bull Terrier named Sallie, who was the mascot for the 11th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry. Sallie was killed at the Battle of Hatcher’s Run in Virginia, and is memorialized on the unit’s monument at Gettysburg.



But the Union forces weren’t the only ones with mascots. The Confederate 3rd Louisiana CSA had a donkey that would occasionally sneak into their commander’s tent and try to sleep with him, providing lots of entertainment to the troops under his command.

And then there was Douglas, the camel who was the mascot of Company A, of the 43rd Mississippi Infantry. Douglas was introduced to military life as part of an experiment by Jefferson Davis, who served as the United States Secretary of War before the South seceded. As American interests expanded in the Southwest, it was found that horses and mules were unsuited to the harsh climate of the desert, and Davis decided that camels would make excellent pack animals.

Camel headstone

In 1855, Davis acquired a number of camels which were shipped to Galveston, Texas and then transported overland to Arizona. Camels may have been better capable of handling life in the desert, but it turned out that American soldiers weren’t capable of handling camels, and the experiment failed. Most of the camels were simply turned loose to fend for themselves and eventually died off. But a few somehow ended up on farms in the South, where Davis thought they might replace mules and oxen.

It is unclear exactly how the 43rd Mississippi acquired Douglas, but once they did, he quickly made his mark in the unit, his appearance spooking the regimental horses and causing a stampede. Camels are by nature cantankerous animals, and Douglas was no exception, but still the men of the 43rd came to love their odd mascot. Possibly simply because he was so odd. The unit quickly earned the nickname of the “Camel Regiment.”

Douglas was assigned to the regimental band, carrying musical equipment and supplies, and was with the unit at the Battle of Corinth in Mississippi. When they were assigned to Vicksburg, the camel made quite a sight walking down the city’s streets, where most people had never seen such a creature.

Unfortunately, during the long siege that eventually resulted in Vicksburg falling to Union forces under General Ulysses S. Grant, Douglas was killed by an enemy sharpshooter. And to add insult to injury, the starving men of the 43rd ate him! Of course, by that time both soldiers and civilians inside the beleaguered city were already eating dogs, cats, and rats, just to survive.

Camel headstone 2

But the 43rd Mississippi never forgot their unique mascot, and today a tombstone at Cedar Hill Cemetery in Vicksburg honors Douglas in a section reserved for fallen Confederate soldiers, just one more reminder that war is hell for men and animals alike.

Congratulations Robert Graf, winner of our drawing for an audiobook of Big Lake Lynching, the second book in my Big Lake mystery series. We had 137 entries this time around. Stay tuned, a new contest starts soon.

Thought For The Day – There is a reason the rear view mirror is so small and the windshield is so big. Where you are going is more important than where you have been.

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Jun 262016
 

A while back I posted a blog titled Strange Sights about some of the oddball things we have seen in our 17 years wandering America’s highways and back roads as fulltime RVers. But we’re not the only ones who see things that leave us scratching our heads and saying “huh?”



When our friends Tom and Barbara Westerfield left Elkhart Campground last week they were headed south and Barbara posted this picture on her Facebook page. I guess sometimes you just need to go paddling!

Kayak car

When I see things like this I’m really glad we have Sea Eagle inflatable kayaks. I could put half a dozen of them in the back end of our Ford Explorer, and still have room for a few passengers back there!



When we got up yesterday I had a message from Loretta Armstrong saying that she and her husband Rey were in the campground and they wanted to stop over and say hello and chat for a bit. They are longtime readers and fellow members of the Escapees RV Club. I stopped by their rig when I went up to the office to check our mail but they were gone. A little while later Terry and I made a quick trip to Martin’s grocery store, and not long after we returned they came by our motorhome and we had a nice visit.

Rey asked my advice on the best route for them to take east to Newburgh, New York, and that’s a trip I have taken many time over the years. Newburgh is only a few miles north of the US Military Academy at West Point, where I spent some of my Army time.

Rey also wanted to know about Strike Hold, one of the handiest products we’ve discovered in a long time. We first discovered this wonderful stuff at an Escapade RV rally a few years ago, and it is nothing short of amazing. Strike Hold prevents rust, works great for dry-lubing firearms and other mechanical things, and cleaning electrical contacts. I spray the prongs on our motorhome’s power cord a couple of times a year before I plug into a campground pedestal, we have used it on hydraulic jacks that did not want to retract, and my buddy Greg White has even used it to repair contacts in their Amazon Kindle and in computers.

While Rey and I were looking at the map, Terry showed Loretta her current weaving project, and I think she was really impressed with it. I know I am!

Speaking of things I’m impressed with, be sure to check out Kay Peterson’s new novel The Elephant Bond, which is a sequel to Kay’s 13 Days in Africa.

The Elephant Bond

If the author’s name sounds familiar, it is because Miss Kay and her late husband Joe founded the Escapes RV Club and helped generations of RVers enjoy this wonderful lifestyle. She’s an absolutely delightful lady; smart, charming, funny, and with a heart as big as Texas. Not to mention being a darned good writer, too!

Kay Peterson

Today is your last chance to enter our Free Drawing for an audiobook of Big Lake Lynching, the second book in my Big Lake mystery series. To enter, all you have to do is click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn this evening.

Big Lake Lyinching Audio cover

Thought For The Day – The biggest lie I tell myself is “I don’t need to write that down. I’ll remember it.”

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Why Is It So High?

 Posted by at 12:29 am  Nick's Blog
Jun 252016
 

Over the years we have been in a lot of RVs. Everything from small Class C motorhomes to huge fifth wheel trailers and mega coaches with four slides. A lot of them are sold on the “Wow” factor. You know what that is, right? A customer walks in, sees the pretty carpeting and all of the mirrors and fancy gee gaws and says “Wow!” And the salesman rubs his hands together in glee, because he knows the sale is already halfway there.



But every one of them have had one thing in common that I have never understood. Why the heck do they put the microwave/convection oven up so high?

I mean, seriously. A woman is making dinner for her family, the oven dings that it’s done, she stretches up and opens the door, and lifts this hot container full of steaming hot food out over her face and sets it down. What could possibly go wrong?

When I’ve talked to reps from different manufacturers over the years, I’ve always asked them about the position of the microwave and they all say that’s what the customer wants. Really? I don’t believe that for one minute. The position of the microwave is probably the single biggest complaint I hear from RVers, men and women both. Nobody wants to get their face scalded when all they set out to do is have something to eat.



Come on, RV manufacturers, you can do better than that! Instead of relying on focus groups and what some interior designer thinks is efficient, why you don’t get out and actually talk to real RVers who have actually spent some time in one of these things. You might come away with a different point of view.

It’s not an issue for us because Terry doesn’t like to use microwave ovens anyway, and for a lot of her cooking she uses a Breville toaster/convection oven that sits on the counter of our Winnebago. She has used it to bake cakes, cookies, bread and pies, to roast beef and chicken and turkey, and to bake lasagna. You name it and it does the job. And she doesn’t have to climb up on a ladder to get to it and worry about blistering her face in the process.

Breville Oven

We had visitors yesterday. Bill and Pam Johnson from RV Notepad stopped by to chat for a while. I met them briefly at the Escapade in Tucson last year but I was busy giving seminars and helping Terry out in our vendor booth and they were in their booth, so we didn’t get to do much more than say hello. If you’re not familiar with RV Notepad, it’s a great tool that will help you with trip planning, keeping track of your vehicles’ maintenance needs and schedules, expenses, as a journal to record your travels, and a handy place to include pictures and notes on the people you have met and the places you’ve been. Check it out at www.RVnotepad.com. You can even try it for 30 days before purchasing, so what do you have to lose?

Yesterday was another decent writing day for me, close to 4,000 words. That brings me to a total word count of a little over 11,000 words in my new book so far, in three days.

Meanwhile, Terry was throwing the shuttle on her new weaving project. It’s a complicated pattern, and judging what I’ve seen of it so far, the finished product is going to be absolutely beautiful.

We have over 100 entries in our latest Free Drawing. Have you entered yet? This week’s prize is an audiobook of Big Lake Lynching, the second book in my Big Lake mystery series. To enter, all you have to do is click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening.

Big Lake Lyinching Audio cover

Thought For The Day – Defeat never comes to any man until he admits it.

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Boy Scout Lessons

 Posted by at 12:15 am  Nick's Blog
Jun 242016
 

Like a lot of kids from my generation, I was a Boy Scout at one time. I enjoyed our weekly troop meetings and camping expeditions. Well, except for one scary incident when our leader took us on a hike across a frozen lake in Ohio.



We were halfway across when I fell through the ice. It was probably more of a pond than a lake, but whatever it was, it was ten or twelve feet deep. I went down to the bottom, and when I came back to the surface I was several feet from the hole I fell through. I couldn’t swim a lick back in those days, and I still can’t do much more than dog paddle across the width of the pool, but somehow I managed to scramble along the bottom of the ice to the hole, where a dozen hands were reaching down for me and pulled me to the surface. Back in those days you didn’t call an ambulance or a rescue squad for something like that. They got me to shore, built a big fire, I stripped off my wet clothes and warmed up while they dried.

The only effect I had from the experience was that since then, I’ve never been comfortable on ice. My first wife’s family lived on a lake in Minnesota and her father and brothers were ice fishermen. I tried it a couple of times, and even though the ice was thick enough that they drove a car out to their fishing shanty, I could never relax and was always glad to get back on solid ground.



It’s been a long time since I was a Boy Scout, but I’ve always remembered their motto, “Be Prepared.” It has served me well many times over the years, including in the fulltime RV lifestyle.

A good example was Wednesday evening and night. A pretty good storm walloped this area, which they refer to as Michiana because it straddles the Michigan/Indiana state line. Electrical power went out for a short time. It came back on, but then the water went out just as Terry started her shower. No problem, that’s why we keep our motorhome’s fresh water tank full. We turned on the water pump and she was good to go. That is also why when we are going to be parked someplace for a couple of weeks or more, I always fill the Winnebago’s diesel tank before we arrive. My generator can run for a long time if necessary. There’s a lot to be said for being self-contained!

We have had a lot of company the last few days, and while we always enjoy visiting with our friends and readers, we were both looking forward to getting back to our projects. I knocked out 5,000 words in my new book, while Miss Terry threaded over 520 individual threads of thin yarn onto her loom for her latest weaving project. We plan to be back at both today.

Be sure to enter our latest Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an audiobook of Big Lake Lynching, the second book in my Big Lake mystery series. To enter, all you have to do is click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening.

Big Lake Lyinching Audio cover

Thought For The Day – When nobody else celebrates you, learn to celebrate yourself.

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Thunderboomers

 Posted by at 12:02 am  Nick's Blog
Jun 232016
 

Miss Terry wanted me to thank everybody for all of your wonderful birthday wishes in the blog, on Facebook, in e-mails, and even in telephone calls yesterday. You all made her feel very special.



We started Terry’s birthday by staying in bed and snuggling yesterday morning. Unless we have to be on the road or have an appointment we need to get to, we always spend the first fifteen minutes to half hour of the day just holding each other and being happy that we have a lifestyle that allows us that freedom instead of having to go someplace and punch a time clock.

Once we were up and about, Paul and Chris Patridge from Maynard, Iowa stopped by to say hello. The last time we saw them was at Escapade in Tucson last year. They were just making a quick stop on their way to Ohio to get an exhaust leak fixed on their motorhome because Paul could not find anybody here that would work on a Workhorse chassis. Paul is into genealogy, something I’m very interested in and dabble with a little bit when I have the time, and we talked about that a little bit, and Miss Terry showed them her loom and some of her weaving projects.



Later on, we made a quick run to Martin’s grocery store for a few things we needed, and when we came home I took a short nap on the couch until it was time for Charles and Chris Yust to pick us up. The four of us went to El Maguey for Terry’s birthday dinner and lots of good conversation. Charles and Chris are leaving here this morning, headed to New Jersey to visit their daughter and then on to the Escapees Club Escapade RV rally in Essex Junction, Vermont. We’ve spent a lot of time hanging out with them in the last few months when we were all down in Florida, and I’m not sure when we’ll see them again. Probably sometime next winter when we’re all in Arizona.

Back at home, I read through the first two chapters of my current work in progress, Big Lake Abduction, and tweaked a few things here and there. It’s early on, but I like the way the story is flowing so far.

As early as the noon news on Tuesday they had been warning us of a big storm that was supposed to hit Elkhart about 9 PM yesterday. It rained a little bit while we were at the restaurant with Charles and Chris and then let up. 9 o’clock came and went and I thought maybe we were in the clear, but then it got here about 10 o’clock with lots of rain, thunder, and lightning that lasted several hours before moving on to the south. The news said we had 50 mile per hour wind gusts and over two inches of rain in the first 50 minutes of the storm. I don’t know about you but I like a good lightning storm and lots of thunderboomers, as long as we’re not on the road and it doesn’t get any worse than that. Mother Nature can put on some spectacular light shows, complete with sound effects!

It’s Thursday and that means it’s time for a new Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an audiobook of Big Lake Lynching the second book in my Big Lake mystery series. To enter, all you have to do is click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening.

Big Lake Lyinching Audio cover

Thought For The Day – I am free of all prejudices. I hate everyone equally. – W.C. Fields

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Jun 222016
 

Today is a very special day for us. It’s Miss Terry’s birthday! The world received a very special gift the day she was born, and I am beyond thrilled and humbled that out of all of the men in the world, for some crazy reason she has chosen to spend her life with me. She is not only my wife, she is my very best friend.



Terry is not only intelligent, beautiful, and talented in so many ways, she is also one of the nicest people that you will ever meet. She truly loves people and she would do anything she could to help out a friend or a stranger. I am absolutely head over heels in love with my wife and I adore her. We’ve been together almost 19 years now and every day I think I could not possibly love her any more than I do at that moment, but the next day I realize I love her even more. The very first thing we say to each other every morning is “I love you” and it’s the last thing we say to each other as we fall asleep every night. But I’m going to say it again, right now. I love you with all of my heart, Terry. Happy birthday, sweetheart.

Terry Bodega Bay

With the link to the new issue of the Gypsy Journal sent out, as well as the renewal notices to our subscribers, it was time to get back to writing. So yesterday afternoon I started Big Lake Abduction, the 10th book in my Big Lake mystery series. I only got about 1700 words done before I had to knock off to go to dinner, but it’s going smoothly.



Our friends Cliff and Bell Atwater, who arrived at Elkhart Campground on Monday, wanted to take us to dinner at King Wa, our favorite Chinese restaurant, and you know I’m not going to turn that down! This was their first time there, and they were both as impressed with the food and the service as we always are. Cliff and Bell are leaving today, headed home to Bay City, Michigan. We promised them if we ever get up in that direction we will stop in for a visit.

Cliff and Bell Atwater small

Check out this golden oldie that pulled into the campground the other day. It’s a 1961 Beeline travel trailer that the new owners had just picked up after purchasing it online. They spent some time at the RV Museum with Al Hesselbart yesterday, trying to track down some information on the vintage rig, since it doesn’t match any of the production line Beeline trailers. But Al tells me the company made some custom rigs also, and this appears to be one of them.

1961 Beeline travel trailer small

Our friends Charles and Chris Yust from C&C Insurance came to the campground yesterday afternoon, after spending a week at the factory getting some warranty work done on their motorhome. Then they went out to Nappanee to have Carlyle Lehman at Focal Wood install a custom table that Chris can also use as a desk. It is very much like the table that Carlyle installed in our Winnebago when he put in our custom work stations and a bookcase. Here is the table pulled out in the work position. There is also a leaf that can be put in if Chris needs more room.

Chris leaf out

And here it is pushed in for travel or more floor space when not in use. Carlyle is one of the many Amish craftsmen throughout this whole area who produce excellent aftermarket products for RVs and RVers. We have sent many friends to him over the years and they have all been delighted with the results.

Chris leaf in

We are supposed to have some more bad weather coming in tonight, but in the meantime I plan to get some more writing done before we knock off to go out for Terry’s birthday dinner.

Thought For The Day – A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.

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Jun 212016
 

I think yesterday was one of those days when the stars were all aligned just right or something. I need more days like that.



We had some orders to mail out, so in the early afternoon I went to the post office in Elkhart. When we were in Tuscaloosa, Alabama a couple of weeks ago Terry and I were laughing that whenever we went to see my son Travis and his wife Geli, we managed to catch each and every traffic light on the way there and on the way back to our campground. Not just once or twice, but on each trip for the entire week we were in town. Not so yesterday. Every light was green all the way downtown to the post office, and when I got there I found several empty parking spots right in front.

It is been my experience that usually when you go to the post office on a Monday you can expect a long line waiting to mail out packages and pick up things. But when I walked in, there was one other person at the counter and two clerks standing there waiting for the next customer, which was me. I was in and out in record time.



From there I drove to Jiffy Lube to get the oil changed in our Ford Explorer. Again, my timing must have been just right because I did not catch one red light all the way there. The place has three service bays and two of them were empty, so I pulled right in. I don’t think I was there more than about fifteen minutes before they came to tell me that they were finished. I can see why, since they had three guys on the job at the same time.

And then driving back to Elkhart Campground, it was the same thing. Not one red light all the way! I was tempted to stop and buy a lottery ticket! But why push my luck?

A little before 3 PM the weather alert on my phone went off saying that there was a strong, fast moving thunderstorm coming down from Michigan with large hail, strong winds, and heavy rain. It recommended going to an interior room until the storm had passed. I’m not sure which room in a motorhome is the “interior” room.

Sure enough, it was a strong storm and the rain pounded so hard on the roof of our Winnebago that it was hard to talk. The thunder boomed, the lightning crashed, the wind was blowing really hard, and in about ten minutes it was gone, just as quickly as it had come. The sky cleared and the sun beamed again. At 11 p.m. the news reported that trees were down all through the region, an eighteen wheeler had been blown over, and close to 30,000 homes in the area were still without power.

We were both in the mood for a cheeseburger, so we went to Culver’s for dinner. They are our favorite fast food restaurant in the entire country, and you can’t beat their Cheddar Butterburger. And once again, it seemed like luck was on my side. No traffic lights on the way there, when we walked in we didn’t have to wait in line, and the food was as delicious as always.

We were surprised to see a new shopping center next to the super WalMart that includes a Hibbit Sports, Shoe Carnival, Maurice’s, Pet Smart, Duncan Donuts, Ross, Panda Express, and several other stores. Quite a change from we saw here two years ago.

Back at the campground, we had a note on our door telling us that longtime subscribers Cliff and Bell Atwater, from Bay City, Michigan had arrived. Cliff has a little company called Cliff’s Custom Crafts, and among the many nifty items he makes are Dandy Dusters. Measuring over eight inches long and made of static free hog bristles, mounted in a beautiful wood handle, they are perfect for cleaning everything from computer keyboards to musical instruments, fans, air conditioner vents, and lots more around the home or RV.

DandyDuster3[1]

I keep one with a handsome Brazilian cherry handle in my desk drawer to clean up after myself, and Miss Terry’s is a light oak, and also gets a lot of use. You can find out more by e-mailing Cliff at cliffscrafts@chartermi.net.

It’s always nice to put faces with the names on a mailing list, so we walked down to their Class C motorhome and visited with Cliff and Bell for a while. This afternoon we’re going to have dinner together, which we are looking forward to.

Thought For The Day – I cannot give you the secret to success, but I can give you the formula for failure – try to please everybody.

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You’ve Got Mail!

 Posted by at 12:11 am  Nick's Blog
Jun 202016
 

If you are a subscriber to the digital edition of the Gypsy Journal, check your e-mail inbox, because you’ve got mail. We finished the new edition yesterday, and late yesterday evening I sent out the link to all of our subscribers.



I think our readers are really going to like this issue. In addition to our regular columns, letters from our readers, and some of Miss Terry’s recipes, we will take readers on a visit to the last surviving antebellum plantation home in South Florida and tell you the story of a daring escape in the final days of the Civil War. Then you will learn about a young boy’s grave in the middle of a residential street and how it got there. If you are lighthouse fans like us, I know you’ll appreciate our story on Florida’s tallest lighthouse. Or maybe miles of unspoiled beaches are your thing. No problem, come along as we visit the beautiful Canaveral National Seashore. And history buffs will like our story about a visit to an old Spanish fort and the tale of not one, but two gruesome massacres that preceded it.



About the time I was finishing the last of the corrections from Terry’s proofreading, our friend Chris Yust called to tell us that she and hubby Charles were in Elkhart, along with Wallace and Wanda Lewis, longtime Escapees RV Club friends. They were all going to King Wa, our favorite Chinese restaurant, and Chris was calling to ask if we wanted to join them. Well, yeah!

We got hugs from Helen, the owner, the food was delicious as always, and the six of us had a great time visiting while we ate. Can you think of a better way to spend some time? I know I can’t.

There’s been an ongoing thread on a couple of Facebook RV groups about whether or not it is okay to put down your RV’s leveling jacks when you are parked on an asphalt parking lot at a business overnight. We never do that. We also never extend out our slide rooms if we can avoid it. And if you are going to put jacks down, please, please, please use jack pads or something underneath them. Square pieces of plywood work just fine.

Jack pads

If you don’t, this can be the result. Isn’t that a nice way to thank an RV friendly business for their courtesy in allowing you to park overnight?

Jack holes

Folks, WalMarts, truck stops, and other RV friendly businesses that allow us to dry camp in their parking lots overnight are not campgrounds. Arrive late, ask for permission, park on the far outside edges of the lot, and if you must run a bedroom slide out, do it over the grass edge of the parking lot. We’ve seen some real slobs over the years, and we’ve seen a lot of places that once allowed RVers to spend the night stop the practice. Yes, sometimes it’s because of local ordinances, which are often put in place due to complaints by area campground managers. But we’ve also known more than a few businesses who no longer allow RVers to park overnight because of abuses by these mobile “guests.”

Congratulations Miami Krieger, winner of our drawing for an audiobook of Birdsongs, the first book in my friend Jason Deas’ excellent Benny James mystery series. We had 77 entries this time around. Stay tuned, a new contest starts soon!

Thought For The Day – It is our choices that show what we truly are far more than our abilities. – J. K Rowling

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Okay, Maybe Today

 Posted by at 12:06 am  Nick's Blog
Jun 192016
 

Singer/songwriter John Lennon said it best – “life happens while you are making other plans.” That’s pretty much what happened with us yesterday.



I had planned to spend an hour or so finishing up the new issue of the Gypsy Journal so I could print it out and Terry could proof it. But about the time I was getting ready to do that, our friends Paul and Sally Wagner came by to say hello. Paul and Sally used to be fulltime RVers and had a permanent site here at Elkhart Campground before they hung up the keys a while ago. We have not seen them in a couple of years, so it was a real treat to have an opportunity to catch up on everything that’s been happening in their lives.

Not long after they left, my cousin Berni Frees and her husband Rocky showed up. They live in Muskegon, Michigan and Rocky is a volunteer with the Michigan Maritime Museum in South Haven. He is one of the crewmen on the tall ship Friends Good Will and was sailing Saturday morning. Since South Haven is about halfway between Muskegon and Elkhart, they decided to come and see us. What a treat that was!

Friends Good Will

Rocky and Berni are two of our favorite people in the world, and as Rocky said, no matter how long we are apart, five minutes after we get back together it seems like it was just yesterday. All four of us just click together.



It was interesting to hear about the tall ship, something I’ve always wanted to take a sail on, but never have. Rocky said he will be training to climb the mast to work the sails, but I would be much happier standing on the deck and watching, thank you very much.

After visiting for a while we went to Texas Roadhouse for dinner, then came back to our motorhome and played a game of Mexican Train, which is probably one of the most popular Domino games among RVers. And as always happens when we get together, there was a lot of laughing going on.

Rocky Berni

Rocky and Berni left a little after 8 PM for the drive back home, and we are looking forward to seeing more of them while we are in the area. Thanks for coming down, guys, we really enjoyed it!

So obviously I didn’t get much accomplished yesterday. No problem, there’s always today. That’s why I don’t wait until the last minute. Like John Lennon said, life happens.

Today is your last chance to enter our Free Drawing for an audiobook of Birdsongs, the first book in my friend Jason Deas’ excellent Benny James mystery series. To enter, all you have to do is click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn this evening.

Birdsongsaudio-copy_thumb.jpg

Thought For The Day – Life is best when you build bridges between people, not walls. – Billy Crystal, eulogizing Muhammad Ali

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Almost Done

 Posted by at 12:26 am  Nick's Blog
Jun 182016
 

Yesterday was another long day at the computer for me, close to ten hours, I think. But it was worth it because by the time I knocked off I was just about finished with the new issue of the Gypsy Journal. I’ve got about an hour left to go on it this morning and then I’ll print it out for Miss Terry to proof. If all goes well I’ll have the link to it sent out to our subscribers Sunday. And by next week I should be able start on the next book in my Big Lake mystery series.



We had visitors yesterday morning. Our friends Charles and Chris Yust have been hanging out in the factory over in Middlebury all week, having some warranty work done on their motorhome. They took their dogs to a nearby groomer and then came over to see us at Elkhart Campground. It’s always fun to get together with them, and it is guaranteed to include plenty of laughs.



This time the laughs were on me. When Terry was at the grocery store the other day she got some mango/pomegranate juice, and I decided to have one. One drink was all it took for me. You can tell by these pictures that Chris took of me that it didn’t exactly suit my taste buds.

Nick face 2

Nick face

Later on, campground owner Gita Patel stopped by to drop off a box of yarn to Terry that UPS had delivered to the office. We had a nice chat with her before she had to run off to check in some new arrivals. That lady never slows down for very long!

Another lady who doesn’t let any grass grow under her feet is Miss Terry. I know she’s eager to get the new issue of the paper proofed so she can start on a new weaving project she’s been planning. So much yarn and so little time.

Have you entered our latest Free Drawing yet? This week’s prize is an audiobook of Birdsongs, the first book in my friend Jason Deas’ excellent Benny James mystery series. To enter, all you have to do is click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening.

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Thought For The Day – Beauty isn’t about having a pretty face. It’s about having a beautiful mind, a beautiful heart, and a beautiful soul.

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