Monday, April 18, 2022
Well…, I graduated High School in 1970…, and now some 50 plus a couple of years later…, I am turning 70 on my birthday. Yeah…, I figured that I should retire at 70 to secure the top level of Social Security dividends. A few hundred extra dollars a month may not seem like much…, unless you need it…, for food or meds or beer. But as important as that stipend was…, the fact that Julie and her health problems would be 65 years old and Medicare eligible just a couple of weeks after I turned 70 were a major financial consideration. I planned to keep the job and the medical coverage it provided until then. But our WA state governor decided that it was within his authority to mandate experimental “vaccinations” for COVID-19 for state employees by October of 2021…, or termination. It cost us over a thousand dollars a month to keep the medical coverage in effect and a few hundred a month off SS retirement and probably less than a few hundred in reduced WA state retirement benefits from the early retirement. And that isn’t all…, unused annual leave is paid at full rate…, and I could have garnered close to three or four thousand extra dollars for six or seven more months on the job in addition to the decent salary during that time period. Sick Leave was only reimbursed at 25%…, it would have added a few hundred dollars to the stash that already measured nearly 15K. Yeah…, I didn’t abuse…, or even use much sick leave over just short of 25 years…, little things add up. It was put into an untaxed medical account that we have been using to pay the extra medical insurance premiums that the “early” retirement has cost us…, and there will be a little left over now that Julie will be Medicare covered in less than a month.
Yeah…, refusing to bend over and take the jabs cost Julie and I a pretty penny…, but I am feeling better about it every day. If you voluntarily took the jabs…, and now the "boosters"..., or if you were forced to…, I recommend that you don’t read a certain book by a well known deceased political figure’s son. It scares me for all of you…, but I want to make clear that I hope with all sincerity that he is as wrong as the main stream media and the powers that be who are shielding you from his investigation by censoring coverage of the book and labeling it “misinformation” and "propaganda"…, even though it is meticulously footnoted for authentication.
Back in 2017 I signed off on my birthday blog post…, “Now…, let’s all hang on…, and I do mean hang on tight…, and do our very best to enjoy our remaining rides around the sun.” And three years later I started my birthday blog with…, “Well..., you can’t say I didn’t warn you to hold on tight three years ago..., when I last updated The Blog.” I commented on the medical healthcare system, climate change, The Chump…, and COVID-19. I said, “Yeah..., take some common sense precautions if you are healthy..., and more precaution if you are at risk..., but I don’t believe that there is reason to panic or carry things too far. The thinking that we can keep this lockdown and mask up routine going until they find a vaccine is pie in the sky hopium. We have never found a vaccine for the common cold virus and we won’t find a miracle cure for this one.” I’ll stand by that statement…, but I ended the piece with this warning…, “Oh..., and don’t forget to hang on tight..., this ride is going to be one to remember.”
I was more worried about the world financial situation and the “growth at any cost” neoliberal capitalistic push…, and it appears very near now. In the 2017 piece I said, “And the military industrial complex…, or as I refer to it…, the Bomb and Bullet Builders, are about the only economic engine still firing these days. I have always contended that the Wee Bush drug us into the Iraq War with lies about weapons of mass destruction and mushroom clouds on the horizon in order to ‘get the economy going.’” Still true today…, we poked the bear with a shape stick for so long he had finally had enough and no choice but to turn around and confront the stick. We don’t care…, we will just supply our surrogate with more sticks and we won’t have to wield them ourselves…, but our “defense industry” will reap the profits. Not to worry…, the folks screaming nuclear war don’t have a clue. The “shot callers” are only in it for the money…, and nukes would end that game. Yeah..., I have been making fun of the big bad bear stories since 2016…, but we have finally managed to to poke him to the point we think we can blame him for the consequences…, and it is sad that so many have bought that line.
Well…, I guess your take away on this birthday post could be…, OH MY GOSH…, things are still getting worse…, climate change, medical coverage, COVID-19, war games and financial manipulation…, or you can say that none of those things have killed us yet so I am just a screaming Karen and pay no attention to me when I say again…, “Hang On…, Hang On Tight”.
Yeah…, these ’20’s have not been kind to us personally…, a house fire in the middle of winter in 2020…, lost an unforgettable partner in late 2020…, lost my only brother in late 2021…, and now a forced early retirement in 2021. But we are hanging in there and are as happy as we can be and looking forward to better times ahead here on The Ranch…, and wishing you all the same…, better times that is.
Wednesday, October 6, 2021
MY BROTHER - Larry Spence
Born February 7, 1954
Passed October 5, 2021
This picture is a little water damaged…, but I believe it is the one he would want
posted…, sitting on the old Skagit with a perfectly spooling mainline drum.
Well…, the pain, misery and medical problems that plagued him these last few years are at a merciful end for my Brother and Best Friend Larry. He passed away peacefully after his boys, Keith, A.J., Bert and their significant others, Chelsea Spence and Rebecca Brackett helped make that transition as meaningful and pain free as possible at his longtime home in Weippe, ID.
Larry was born to That Good Lookin’ Al and Wanda Spence and lived in Weippe his entire life, He went to school there and eventually graduated from the consolidated Weippe-Pierce High School of Timberline in 1972.
Mom - Wanda..., Dad- Good Lookin' Al
He then went to work for Bill Maki of Maki Manufacturing, Inc. for several years. He always considered that experience as one of the most fruitful and fulfilling of his life and considered Bill his lifelong mentor. I was fortunate enough to witness, on many occasions, those skills as Larry and I worked for Carney Pole for a few years and then bought an old Skagit SJ4 RT swing yarder and became contract loggers for about eight years. There is no doubt that Larry’s mechanical abilities learned under Bill’s watchful eye were a major contribution to the success of both ventures…, and the most meaningful of the last visitors Larry had was Bill Maki.
About the only thing that Larry liked better than mechanicing on heavy equipment and being a machinist…, was operating a yarder, cable loader, cat or grader..., and by unanimous conscientious..., he excelled in all of the above. He continued to operate the equipment acquired by Spence Brothers Logging and bought me out after I moved to Forks, WA in 1987. He went on to acquire even more logging equipment under his business Idaho Crane and Machine. More than he could fit into his world class dream shop that he finally got built on his Weippe property.
I don't know who was running the cat..., glad it wasn't me !!!!
Plenty of Work Ahead
In later years he hired on for the Weippe chapter of the Clearwater County Road Department and was well known and highly praised county wide as the best grader operator ever…, whether it was shaping up and maintaining gravel roads or keeping them and many driveways clear of snow in the winter time. The shop I mentioned now houses lathes, drill presses, milling machines, compressors, cutting torches, welders and tools that I have no idea how to operate, That “shed” as he referred to it was one bright spot over the last few years…, but not the brightest.
A few beers with friends in the "shed" :)
He hadn't finished the walls yet.
Probably because he was too busy shooing :)
The walls are looking better now...,
Just getting started on filling it up...,
The brightest would be the birth of his grandson Reid in 2019 and his granddaughter Hailey Kay in 2021.
Larry married twice, neither of which lasted, but the first marriage produced Keith Spence of Lewiston and A.J. Spence (Rebecca Brackett) of Lewiston. The second marriage produced Bert Spence (Chelsea) of Orofino. He also adopted Brianne Page (Christopher) and Stacy Wright (Glen) of Orofino and has five adopted grandchildren via them…, Evan, Megan, and Taran and Phoenix and Aevlyn, respectively. His parents proceeded him in passing but he is survived by the aforementioned children and grandchildren as well as his brother Scott R of Forks, WA, and many cousins and friends scattered throughout the Pacific Northwest.
At his request he will be cremated and no services are planned. The family asks that he only be remembered for his kindness, consideration and generosity to everyone who knew him.
RIP Brother Larry.
"Lay down my brother
Take it easy, take it slow
Lay down my brother
Rest a while, let it go
It's a long hard road in the wind and the rain
But you finally made it through
Odds are you'll be goin' again
But the odds won't be ridin' with you
You've been workin' every minute, every hour, every day
Still the work is never done
The life you love is passin' away
But you feel you've only begun"
Friday, September 18, 2020
|John "Savage" Thompson|
Born : March 18, 1950
Passed: August 9, 2020
Well…, he always said, “They’ll never take me alive”…, and there is no chance of it now. He passed away of natural causes on August 9, 2020. I thought 2020 was cruel and depraved and sadistic after the fire and all…, not to mention climate change…, COVID-19…, financial Armagedon.., and the political three ring circus running non-stop through this country…, yeah…, “clowns to the left of me…, jokers to the right…, stuck in the middle”… wish you were still here to help pilot me through this quagmire.
Whoever is calling the shots now days got this one completely wrong. Not that it could not have happened at other times back down the road on some pretty wild rides. And I was along on a few of them. Did you notice the missing ring finger on his left hand on the photo above? Yeah…, I was along on that ride.
Happy Hour at The Clearwater Club is over…, we pile into his Mazda pickup with three of wildest of the wild women…, it was a bit crowded and that caused a wide turn and little detour up over the wrong side of the road curb…, that a cop happened to witness and thought he ought to investigate. It was just two blocks to his parents house…, and we beat the cop there and Savage headed into Mom’s house…, thee Wild Woman…, who would spend the rest of her life with him .., stepped up and told the cop that it was her that piloted the Mazda up over wrong side of the curb and pulled into John Thompson’s Mom’s driveway. OK.., this cop is a bit more Andy than he is Barney …, and says, “Look I am sure I saw John Thompson exit this vehicle and run towards the house…, “ and Jeannie says.., “No, no.., it was me.., “ .., and Mom arrives on the scene…, and Andy departs the scene grinning and shaking his head.
HOME FREE !!! Thunder Storm brewing…, and The Great Escape executed…. Somewhere near Zan’s Beach on the way to Weippe…, it cut loose …., and so did the traction on the Mazda…, and it didn’t seem like too bad a deal to be upright and perched atop a boulder battling the Clearwater River. Seemed like a secure position at the moment…. , and nobody was injured…, so Savage was in the bed of the little truck gettting a suitcase…., and I thought it would be a good idea to get the bottle of R&R from under the seat in the cab. I was about half way inside the cab on my stomach reaching under the seat when the little truck cut loose from the boulder. It kind of catapulted me over the top of the rolling pickup on down into the river and I remember being on my hands and knees in the water and making a wild scramble to get out of the way of the little pickup rolling my way. When I made it back up to the highway there was Savage…, with a missing finger. A couple of friends from up on The Hill made a timely entrance and got us all to the hospital.
That wasn’t the first time we exchanged pleasantries between us in a hospital…, but I do believe it was the last. The first was after the Blue Mountain Rock Festival at the University of Idaho in Moscow. Yeah…, it must have been The Russians…, witnessing Savage taking a little nap during the festivities…, delivered a swift kick to the jaw. The next day I stopped in at the hospital to listen to him talk through a wired shut mouth. The other time it was he who took me to the hospital to get a split lip stitched up. And well he should have…, he was the one who took us to the biker gang, Highwaymen’s Club House in Lewiston…, and by the time we left there…, with four of us in an old Dodge Power Wagon…, our driver decided to do a burn out from the stop sign before turning right on Snake River Avenue. It took us by surprise and the momentum pushed that driver nearly out the door that was not properly secured…, hanging onto the steering wheel with one hand to keep from landing out on the street does not allow you to straighten out the turn…, and we crashed right into the rock wall. We all kind of went our separate ways…, but managed to find our way back to Savage’s house in Clarkston, WA…., without my 10x Beaver Stetson cowboy hat I might add. I didn’t think things were that bad…, the bleeding had pretty much stopped and we had opened up a new bottle of 100 proof Wild Turkey…, and after a few shots I let them take me to the hospital…, where my mustache got shaved for the only time in the last 40 some years.
Hey…, they weren’t all bat shit crazy adventures…, but when he bought the raft…, I went right down and bought a Stearns life vest…, and still have it. But I never bought a parachute when he bought the hang glider…, and I never went along on any of those rides. And I am glad that he had provided wet suits that spring day when we rafted the Irish Railroad Rapids of the North Fork of the Clearwater River. As we scouted the rapids I told his drop dead gorgeous sister Ellen…, that she should position herself with her 35mm camera right below a big flat rock where the main channel was hitting hard…, I told her we would probably end up right on top of it. Well…, we did slide right up there…, held steady for a moment…, and slide right back into the main channel…, and hit it with a little more force than I was prepared for. It threw me right out of the raft…, but I managed to grab the life line on the raft with my free hand…, and kept my beer upright with the other hand. Knowing the priorities…, Rob Christopherson saved my beer first…, then dragged me back into the raft. And ever foxy Ellen has the pictures to prove it. Speaking of Ellen,,., reminds me of the Marshall Tucker Band concert in Pullman, WA that Savage secured tickets for me and her…, thank you brother…, many thanks indeed. I just could not seem to secure a date with her on my own.
And another big thank you for coming all the way up to Weippe…, tracking me down and taking me to Troy, OR…, for The River Bottom Stomp. Yeah…, when Credence Clearwater Revival broke up…, John Fogerty found the most isolated place that I have ever been…, and settled in. But every year they held a little get together in Troy…, there were even Hollywood stunt men there doing flaming dives off the bridge over the Grand Ronde River and rockin’ all night. I was never a CCR fan prior to that…, but I have been a Fogerty fan ever since.
I am not sure that I had really met “Savage”…, and never could figure out how he acquired that handle…, he was a lot more fun lovin’ and full of laughs and good humor than anything else… but on the night of The Weippe Rodeo…, I got a little ahead of myself and had to take a little nap…, and a gal that I had admonished a few days before for waking me up on a work night and not performing as she should have…, woke me up again with intentions of making things right. Well…, as we we headed for my bedroom.., we found it occupied by Savage and another female figure. And not many weeks later after I knew him better he caught up with me at The Logger’s Lodge…, I was eating a cheeseburger…, in paradise…, and he says that he was just over at my place and the cops were there…, asking questions. Well…, I knew that there was some stuff there that I didn’t want discovered.., so I went to a friends house to spend the night. We had to work the next day so I head to my place to suit up and build a lunch about four in he morning…, when I hear the gravel crunching of a slow moving vehicle outside…, I peek out the window to see a F-ing cop car! Well…, I have had some panic attacks in my day…, but if that isn’t the Oscar winner…, I don’t know what is. I am sure you have all had to double flush a toilet…, and waiting for the bowl to fill back up can seem a little slow…, but when you are expecting the front door to be busted open by jack booted thugs…, time can literally stand still. Well…, that door didn’t get busted down…, and my heart held up…, but some other stuff went needlessly down the drain. Found out later that the boys living downstairs were the suspects…, they had robbed the local store for food…, my friend Jack Smith wrote a song about it…, “Weippe Hamburgers Don’t Turn Me On.”
One night up in Weippe we were in the apartment of my cousin and her friend…, they had managed to ditch us…, can’t imagine why… but they hadn’t locked the door to their apartment…, and there we were…, Savage pulls out his 380 Walther and aims it at the door knob…, I am thinking he is bluffing…, I should have known better. Well…, no more damage than that Belgein made Walther 380 made to that cheap door knob…, he graduated to a Smith & Wesson Model 59 with a 15 round clip soon after.
Probably a good thing that he didn’t have it when he and another guy got back from a logging gig in AK. Yeah…, they had a bit of cash and hit Tacoma where some guys were brewing a concoction they called Mescaline…, that tested out to be LSD. Well…, they did take him alive that night…, and when his partner made it back to Weippe and told the story…, I volunteered to drive back to Tacoma to help bail him out. I didn’t have the money to bail him out…, his partner did…,but when they told him that if he waited until until he appeared in court on Monday he would be release with a $25 fine instead of a $250 bail. His partner opted for the $25 option…, I wish I would have had the money partner…, you would have come home with us.
RIP brother…, nah…, raise a little hell…, a lot of hell…, it will make it easier for me to track you down…, and you won’t have any trouble recognizing me…, I will be the guy in the cowboy hat with the orange Stearns life jacket on..., lookin' for another ride!!!
Well..., I am sure he had his boots on..., Whites I am sure..., I can't seem to get the link to work here..., but if you copy and paste the link to your address bar you can get, "Play a Train Song" by Robert Earl Keen.
Saturday, May 2, 2020
The lockdown was conjured up by made-for-TV infectious disease experts who based their recommendations on the results of discredited computer models that don’t square with reality. In short, their calculations were wrong, thus, the policy they cobbled together, is also wrong. This is not a liberal vs conservative issue. This is not a Democrat vs Republican issue. The issue is whether policy should be shaped by data and science or by fake computer models and the relentless fear-mongering of the media. That is the heart of the matter.
The virus isn’t something we choose or don’t choose, and it’s certainly not something that can be avoided by bolting the door and hiding under the bed. There are only two paths to immunity: Vaccine or the natural immune response of antibodies. That’s it! There is no third path. Self quarantine is not a solution, at best it’s a temporary fix. Eventually, everyone will have to emerge from their respective spider-holes and reenter the real world. What other choice is there?