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Saturday, November 19, 2016

Life Goes On... with a New Challenge

On the 3rd of September, Saturday of Labor Day Weekend, in my trusty 2005 Hyundai Santa Fe, I made my weekly run up to the Campton-Thornton Town Dump.  Returning to home (HNH) about 10:00 A.M., I parked in the garage and entered the kitchen via the garage steps.  As soon as I started to cross the kitchen toward the master bedroom, I sensed that my walk was unstable.  I managed not to fall, but perceived that my legs were not obeying my brain.  I went into the bedroom and flopped next to Shirl on our big bed, saying only, "I think I am dying."

Some two hours later, I awoke and felt mildly disappointed.  There had been no pain, so it would have been a quick and easy way to go.

But that noontime I was expecting a visit from Flavius Stroia from Târgu Mureș, Romania, a friend met several years ago, and three of his colleagues from the company they work at, whose headquarters are in southern New Hampshire. When I had learned that Flavius was back in the U.S. with two Romanian colleagues for a couple of weeks' training, I had invited them up for a cookout. So, I got up, learned that while still not feeling normal, I could walk and talk, and decided to have lunch with the visitors.

That was probably a mistake.  Flavius and I agreed that "I had not been myself"during our cookout, and it turned out to be a short visit.  They left at about 3:00, if memory serves.

Shortly thereafter, I dialed 911, and told the emergency operator, "I think I am having a stroke, and my wife doesn't drive."  In less than fifteen minutes the Campton police and Plymouth ambulance arrived, and took me to the Emergency Room at Speare Memorial Hospital in Plymouth.  I was admitted, a CT scan was done which showed no intracranial bleeding, and I spent Saturday night in the hospital.

Since then, I have been in rehabilitation for the non-hemorrhagic stroke, or Cerebral Vascular Accident (CVA) that had me hemiplegic in my right limbs for most of September.

I am far better now, thank God, though still far from free of the lingering symptoms of that stroke.  I offer my thanks to son Jesse, to Shirley, and especially to daughter Piper for their assistance over the past ten weeks. However, the bulk of the credit for my progressing recovery goes to the occupational therapists and physical therapists at HEALTHSOUTH Rehabilitation Hospital in Concord, New Hampshire, where I spent four full weeks, and to the therapists at Pemi-Baker Community Health Services where I continue to be treated on an outpatient basis.

I am again able to drive my car.  My target for improvement is to be back on my motorcycles by the spring of 2017.


Finally, please remember the stroke-symptom rule that I have learned since becoming a stroke-survivor:

FAST, meaning Face, Arms, Speech, Time.
  
If you note a drooping face or side thereof, if your arms do not work normally, or if your speech becomes uncontrollably slurred, call 911 and get to a hospital immediately.  Caught within the first three hours, many clot-caused brain blockages can be treated with drugs that will dissolve the clot before it starves brain cells to death. 

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Sorry, but in good conscience, I must contribute a politically oriented post.

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" Past behavior is the truest indicator of future behavior"  Dr. Phil
 
When Bill Clinton was president, he allowed Hillary to assume authority over an attempt to health care reform. Even after threats and intimidation, she couldn't get a vote in a Democrat controlled US Congress. This fiasco cost the American taxpayers about $13 million for studies, promotion, and other efforts.

Then, President Clinton gave Hillary authority over selecting a female attorney general. Her first two selections were Zoe Baird and Kimba Wood - both were forced to withdraw their names from consideration.
Next, she chose Janet Reno - husband Bill described her selection as "my worst mistake."
Some may not remember that Reno made the decision to gas David Koresh and the Branch Davidian religious sect in Waco, Texas resulting in dozens of deaths of women and children.

Husband Bill allowed Hillary to make recommendations for the head of the Civil Rights Commission. Lani Guanier was her selection. When a little probing led to the discovery of Ms. Guanier's radical views, her name had to be withdrawn from consideration.

Apparently a slow learner, husband Bill allowed Hillary to make some more recommendations. She chose former law partners Web Hubbel for the Justice Department, Vince Foster for the White House staff, and William Kennedy for the Treasury Department.
Her selections went well: Hubbel went to prison, Foster (presumably) committed suicide, and Kennedy was forced to resign.

Many younger voters will have no knowledge of "Travelgate." Hillary wanted to award unfettered travel contracts to Clinton friend Harry Thompson - and the White House Travel Office refused to comply. She managed to have them reported to the FBI and fired. This ruined their reputations, cost them their jobs, and caused a thirty-six month investigation. Only one employee, Billy Dale was charged with a crime, and that of the enormous crime of mixing personal and White House funds. A jury acquitted him of any crime in less than two hours.

Still not convinced of her ineptness, Hillary was allowed to recommend a close Clinton friend, Craig Livingstone, for the position of Director of White House security. When Livingstone was investigated for the improper access of about 900 FBI files of Clinton enemies (Filegate) and the widespread use of drugs by White House staff, suddenly Hillary and the President denied even knowing Livingstone, and of course, denied knowledge of drug use in the White House.

Following this debacle, the FBI closed its White House Liaison Office after more than thirty years of service to seven presidents.

Next, when women started coming forward with allegations of sexual harassment and rape by Bill Clinton, Hillary was put in charge of the "bimbo eruption" and scandal defense. Some of her more notable decisions in the debacle were:

She urged her husband not to settle the Paula Jones lawsuit. After the Starr investigation they settled with Ms. Jones.

She refused to release the Whitewater documents, which led to the appointment of Ken Starr as Special Prosecutor.

After $80 million dollars of taxpayer money was spent, Starr's investigation led to Monica Lewinsky, which led to Bill lying about and later admitting his affairs. Hillary's devious game plan resulted in Bill losing his license to practice law for 'lying under oath' to a grand jury and then his subsequent impeachment by the House of Representatives.

Hillary avoided indictment for perjury and obstruction of justice during the Starr investigation by repeating, "I do not recall," "I have no recollection," and "I don't know" a total of 56 times while under oath.

After leaving the White House, Hillary was forced to return an estimated $200,000 in White House furniture, China, and artwork 
that she had stolen.

What a swell person - ready for another four or eight years of this low-life fool?
Now we are exposed to the unsecure keeping and attempted destruction of beyond Top Secret emails while Hillary was US Secretary of State and the "pay to play" schemes of the Clinton Foundation. What "shoe will fall" next?

But to her loyal fans: "What difference does it make?"

Electing Hillary Clinton president would be like granting Satan absolution and giving him the keys to heaven!

Please tell others. Our way of life depends upon it.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The number 73 is also prime!

In under an hour, on August 25th, 2016, I shall turn 73.

I am grateful to God for my life, for my health, for my family, for my friends, and for my many and varied experiences, many of which you, gentle reader of my blogs, have learned of herein.

Yesterday, I loaded our 1990 Honda 4518 lawn tractor onto my trailer, and started toward Manchester down Interstate 93.  This loyal old workhorse is in need of a new mower-deck drive belt, so I decided to take him down to Nault's Powersports, where I bought him some 26 years ago, and have him serviced professionally.  I have done that only once before in the 26 years that he has been in the family, and Shirl offered to pay for it as her birthday present to me.

Climbing up the Ashland Hill, just a mile south of the Plymouth-Holderness exit (No. 25), a car passed me, and its driver waved, and pointed back at my trailer.  Oh my God!  It was vibrating wildly, at 65 miles-per-hour, with a blown-out right tire.

I pulled off to the side of the highway, and considered my options.  There was a guard rail where I stopped, so I couldn't really get far off the road, only to a narrow breakdown lane.  I decided to creep on the flat tire down to Ashland, and deal with the problem there.

A state trooper came up behind me as I limped the Santa Fe and its wounded trailer down the breakdown lane.  His lights were flashing, so I stopped.  The Trooper came to my driver's side window, which I had opened for him.  He could not have been nicer.  He looked to be a rookie, perhaps 23 or 24 years old.  He checked to make sure that the tractor was well-secured on the trailer, then followed me to the top of Ashland Hill, passing on as it became obvious that I would make it safely to the Ashland exit.

As it happened, I was able to unhitch the tralier and leave it in the parking lot at Ashland Lumber, while I went to find a replacement for a shredded 155/80R13 tire.  I removed the damaged tire on its wheel, and found a replacement tire in stock at WalMart in Plymouth.  The automotive guys there again proved most helpful, as was Gayle, the clerk at Ashland Lumber, a blonde lady of almost my age, who got me permission to leave the trailer there while going after the tire.  When I told her thanks, and that today would be my 73rd birthday, she said, "Happy Birthday! 73? You sure don't look it!"  I wanted to give her a kiss...

In fact, I feel younger today than I did back in 2008, when a case of plantar fasciitis made the walk from the parking lot at the UBB Faculty of Letters in Cluj to my apartment on Pta. Mihai Viteazul a serious challenge...not to mention the 62 steps up to my second floor (third floor as we Americans count them) apartment.

Thank God for such days as 24 August, 2016.  Little challenges in the overall scheme of things, but real physical challenges, the overcoming of which rebuilds our confidence!

It is now about 1:08 AM on the 25th.  I am 73!

Tomorrow, I shall have a morning coffee with the family Morrison, of whom William is my former student in management accounting (and, as he reported at our meeting, three other courses!) from the 1970s, and whose lovely daughter Rachel is the girlfriend of Șuteu Valer (din Satu Mare), one of the UBB grads who came to Plymouth State University for his MBA, and who lived with us for two academic years.  We shall meet at 9:00 at the Mad River Coffee House, then I shall complete the trip to Manchester with the tractor!

It will be a full and fun birthday!

Thanks be to God for this life!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Beloved Romania: Why am I not Visiting her in 2016?

As readers of this blog, and its predecessor blog ("A Fulbright Year in Romania"), may have noticed, I managed to spend time in Romania in every year from 2008 through 2015.  This year, I was invited by my dear colleague and friend, Prof. Dr. Monica Zaharie, to a conference at UBB-Cluj that occurred in June.  I did not attend it.  I post today to explain my absence.

On Our Wedding Day, 6 October 1973!
Shirl is not well.  Shirley Kimball and I were married on 6 October 1973, almost 43 years ago.  She has been an amazingly giving and tolerant wife, who bore us four wonderful children, who put up with my many job changes, who moved with me from Westborough, Massachusetts, to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to Campton, New Hampshire, then back to Westborough, then back to Campton.  Shirl has proved a brilliant mother and teacher of our children, all of whom love her dearly.  And, when the time came that I was offered a chance to spend an academic year teaching in Transylvania, Shirl encouraged me to accept the Fulbright Commission's and UBB-FSEGA's offer.  Moreover, she supported my teaching in Finland for a week, rather than my coming home for that Christmas.  And, she supported my taking a third semester in Cluj in 2010, and my going twice to Bangalore, India, the second time to teach for seven weeks at the Xavier Institute of Management and Entrepreneurship (XIME).  A more generous wife I find hard to imagine.

S & D, Campton, NH, in 2015
So, with Shirl now suffering from a gastrointestinal ailment not yet diagnosed, but which has her in pain almost constantly, I feel it the least I can do to stay by her side, and to be her helper, and her driver, as we pursue the cause of her misery, and try to find a cure.  This pursuit has not been easy, as Shirl is a stubborn patient, and quite picky as to which doctor(s) she trusts.  But, we have made some progress this summer, so are hoping to learn the cause soon, and to find an effective treatment.

It is not that I love my friends in Romania any less, but that at present, I owe my wife Shirley more!  Dear friends, I am sure that you understand!  

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

"We with More Yesterdays than Tomorrows"*

They say that we lose things as we age.  It is true, and in my case I have been blessed in that my losses thus far have been of little things like physical strength, a bit of hearing and eyesight, a "tinch" of sexual prowess, and my ability to remember the names of old friends and former coworkers at Beebe River, or at Rochester Shoe Tree Company, or even at Plymouth State University, when I bump into them at Walmart, Annie's Overflow, or Rand's Hardware.  I also find my motorcycle rides more interesting this summer, because roads I knew well in the 1970s have changed so much that I feel like a newly arrived tourist when I cruise them.

Today I made a run to the Campton-Thornton town Dump, a thoroughly familiar trip made weekly, but detoured on my way home to explore Pond Road in Campton, and found to my surprise that it leads to a steep and sharply winding road up Campton Mountain to the ski area there, and its surrounding development, Waterville Estates.  Back in the 1970s, when I was plant manager at the Beebe River Bobbin Plant of the Draper Division of North American Rockwell, Waterville Estates was a booming second-home development catering to Massachusetts ski enthusiasts.  Until I made that left turn just over the dam bridge on Route 175 in Campton, I had not even thought of Waterville Estates in decades.


 Last night, I took my white BMW R27, built in 1966 and newly repaired so that its battery would charge, out on a ride at dusk.  I had just given it a fresh oil change to SAE 40w summer oil, and wanted to give the engine a chance to squish it around a bit.  So, I rode north on NH 175 for about ten or 15 miles to Woodstock, then came south down U.S. 3 back into Campton.  When I reached Chesley's Market, and the intersection with NH 49, I saw that a right turn would take me up Ellsworth Hill Road.  I knew that a PSU Business Department colleague and her husband lived up there, and decided to explore it.  Again, I may have ridden that road before, but if so it was when I was about 30, and today I am a month shy of 73.  Ellsworth Hill Rd. is a Campton byway that I saw last night as if for the first time, just at sunset.  It is a beautiful rural road that climbs to the west through a forest, past a number of widespread homes and farms, and where the forest wanes, reveals views across a valley to the north of what I took to be the Franconia Range of The White Mountains.  In the twilight it was magnificent.

From these two experiences, and from several others of late, I find my fading memory to be a blessing.  I am seeing old turf as if for the first time, and finding it fascinating.

In closing, I am thankful to God, and to Romania and Microsoft, and Blogspot, and The Internet, etc., for having kept my two blogs for the past 8 years.  The memories stored herein are proving to be personal treasures.
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*Source of quotation: Former President Bill Clinton, speaking at the Democratic National Convention, 26 July 2016

Saturday, June 11, 2016

In Memoriam: John J. Crummey, U.S. Army Air Corps, POW, WWII

Given my respect for my father's generation of Americans, those who fought in World War II, today I rode further than my normal radius to stand a flag line at the church in Northwood, then at graveside in Deefield, with the New Hampshire Patriot Guard Riders.

Given my connections with, respect for, and love of Romania, this was a doubly-moving mission for me. You see, Mr. Crummey served as a flight engineer and turret gunner on a B-24 Liberator for the U. S. Army Air Corps, and his plane was shot down, he was wounded, and then captured on a mission from a base in Italy to bomb oil installations in Ploesti, Romania, on 6 May, 1944.

Here is a link to his Mr. Crummey's obituary:

15th Air Force B-24 Liberator, WWII
At the church in Northwood this morning, before the flag line was posted, John Crummey's youngest daughter (appearing to be a woman of fifty-something) came over to the car where our flags were waiting, and thanked the NHPGR for our presence at the funeral.  In the conversation that ensued, she told us a little more about her father's experience when his plane was shot down by a German fighter.  She said her Dad had told her that the plane was burning when the order was given to bail out. Being a top turret gunner, John had to descend through flames to get to the parachutes, and suffered burns that resulted in his receiving the Purple Heart.  In the fuselage he found a parachute, but when he jumped from the plane, he could not locate the rip cord.  Luckily, he discovered in time that he had the chute on upside-down, and found the rip cord on the opposite side from where he had expected it.  When he landed in a Bulgarian mud flat, he became stuck, and stayed there until pulled out by a German patrol.  He spent the next four months in a German P.O.W. camp.

The mission they were flying had been to bomb the oil industry in Ploesti, Romania, a primary source of fuel to the German forces.  

There was a large turnout today for Mr. Crummey's funeral.  Along with multitudes of grandchildren and great grandchildren were many of my age and older.  Obviously, Mr. Crummey had been a well-loved man in his community.

Here are a few pictures taken at the rural cemetery in Deerfield, New Hampshire, where the late John J. Crummey was laid to rest.

Representatives of today's U.S. Army provided full military honors. The sergeant who played taps gave the finest rendition of that tune that I have ever heard. There were few dry eyes in the flag line, if any.




________________________________

Postscript:

For more history of the Ploesti campaign, please see: http://www.roconsulboston.com/Pages/InfoPages/History/Ploesti.html

Quoting from that website:  
"SATURDAY, 6 MAY 1944
STRATEGIC OPERATIONS (Fifteenth Air Force):
   About 300 B-17s and B-24s, escorted by P-51s and P-38s, hit targets in Romania; the B-17s attack an aircraft factory at
 Brasov and marshalling yard at Turnu Severin; the B-24s bomb Ploiesti/Campina marshalling yard and an aircraft factory at Brasov."


Without apologizing for what had to be done at the time to defeat Hitler's forces, I hereby express my heartfelt sympathy to any of my Romanian friends whose relatives may have been killed of wounded in this campaign, some 71 years ago. 




Thursday, April 14, 2016

Ears Too? Ya!

A couple of weeks ago I received an invitation to an open house at the local Miracle Ear center in Plymouth, NH.  It had been at least three years since I last had my hearing checked, so I accepted the invitation, and today went in for the exam.

My younger brother wears hearing aids, and recommends them highly.

Thus, I met the local Miracle Ear salesman/licensed hearing technician, Mr. Jay Marsden.  Jay is a former professional golfer.  He is, perhaps, forty-five years of age, and both handsome and intelligent.  He and his assistant, also a certified technician, devoted a full hour to my hearing status, not only testing me, but also educating me about the anatomy of the ear, and how our ears receive and convert pressure waves in the atmosphere (sounds) into nerve signals that the brain can understand and interpret.

Nadia Comaneci on Balance Beam
We also talked about golf, about Jordan Spieth, and what a terrific performance he has had in three consecutive Masters tournaments.  Then, we talked about life in general, and I mentioned my recent career as a Romanophile, having visited Romania for eight consecutive years.  At that, his eyes lit up, and he said, "Nadia Comaneci is from Romania.  I have met her."

That led me to tell about my affinity for gymnasts and gymnastics, as I was myself a champion springboard diver in my youth, and about my perception that Romanian womanhood tends to be the most beautiful, smartest, and most charming of that from any nation I have ever visited.

Jay concurred, recalling several other Romanian women he has known, even though I have not yet committed to spending a few thousand dollars for a hearing aid at Miracle Ear. ;-)

A perfect 10! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=odTtfnWdfGU