Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Speaking to James Bradley Rogers, John Henry Lamberton & Daniel Wilson Lamberton.

Hey kids, call me. I have news about one of your aunts that you should hear.  Speaking to James Bradley Rogers of Northern Virginia, also John Henry Lamberton and Daniel Wilson Lamberton.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Mattel

I was so jealous.  Erik had acquired a toy Thompson Submachine gun for our WW2 forays into the hills above Stapleton patrolling for imaginary German soldiers, and all I had was a bolt-action 1903 Springfield trainer rifle that simulated single-shot fire.  Erik had 20 rounds ready to go in a single long burst in the form of a a sleek black and brown plastic spring action toy gun, whereas my wood and steel rifle's imaginary fire was solitary, followed by a four-fold mechanical action before I could sight and shoot it again.  Think of all those Germans that could evade my aim during those four movements, whereas Erik could mow them down en mass.

So I saved up and bought a Mattel 45. calibre WW2 toy Thompson Submachine gun at the dimestore for $19.95, to add suitable firepower to our patrols in the highlands of Staten Island in the early sixties.  Abandoned was my sturdy trainer Springfield rifle, which my father had bought for me at my request and brought home one day after work.  I wonder what this combat veteran thought while bringing home to his only son a training (unfiring) rifle when returning home after work one day.  In the war he used a 15-round single shot M-1 carbine, a fast-firing but underpowered short barreled weapon.

Both Erik's and my toy submachine guns were made by the Mattel toy company and they were well-put together and worked really well.  There was no Made-In-China crap in those days.  Erik's was a Dick Tracy police model that looked like the weapon carried by American soldiers in WW2, brown wooden stocks with black barrel and works.  Mine was identical except that it was Mattel's military model and it was painted all in green camouflage.  I envied the looks of Erik's model, but mine had a shoulder strap and his didn't.  We did some climbing on our five or six hour traipses through the hills on Saturdays and Sundays so the strap was very handy to sling the tommy gun with while we climbed trees, posts or fences.  Erik eventually fashioned a sling for his toy weapon, made out of white twine.

Both toy weapons are merely dim memories in the recesses of our minds now but I saw a well-preserved working military model toy gun on ebay a few years ago, in its original box, and it sold after a fearsome bidding war for over half a grand.  The way these toy guns operated was you pulled a bolt on the side of the gun back which coiled a long heavy spring inside the toy and when you pressed the trigger the coil unwound with a brring sound simulating machine gun fire.  You could uncoil the whole spring all at once--it took a couple of seconds--or operate the trigger on and off and on again and fire short bursts until the coil unwound.  Then you'd rip the bolt back and be ready to go again, the equivalent of putting a new magazine in with twenty more rounds.  

 Erik and I caused countless German patrols to recoil and we slew several enemy soldiers each time with our forty rounds of firepower on our weekend boy soldiering.  And never once did we worry that we'd get shot by the police while we played out in public with our toy guns.  Times are much different now.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Practicing for the big R

I'm starting to burn up this year's A/L, which means it's no longer available as a lump sum payout if I were to leave work for some reason.  I guess I'll start storing it up again come January.

I went for a "schools" run yesterday and today, which is the same thing as a "hills" run in my town.  Yesterday it was a 4-mile run around Mount Daniels School atop the hill on Oak Street, this morning it was a 3-mile run around Timber Lane School atop the hill on West Street.  Both places have stairs to run up too.

After today's run, I worked clearing out the basement for a little while, throwing things out.  Lookit what I found, a picture from 1986 of a State Trooper holding his oldest child, who has donned his trooper's hat.

Then it was off to the local Starbucks for a cup of java from 9:30-9:45 a.m.  I don't speak Starbucks so when I asked for a "small house coffee" they put in my order as a small hot chocolate.  I scrutinized everyone's face who came in but nobody I recognized entered.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Taking Some Time

I'm off for much of December and so far I have stuck at home, running daily in Falls Church.  I'm available for coffee if anyone wants to catch up with me in person for a quarter of an hour, more or less.

Tomorrow morning (Thurs. Dec. 4th) from 9:30 a.m. until 9:45 a.m. I'll be at the Starbucks in Falls Church in the Falls Plaza (see photo) at 1218 West Broad Street (near the intersection of Route 7 and Birch Street).  I would love to have company!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving 2014

On this Thanksgiving, I am grateful to have received information within this past week about my oldest son, Jimmy Rogers, thanks to an anonymous comment on this blog which I had deleted thinking it was spam since it contained an unknown URL.  Regretfully, I have heard nothing from or about Jimmy for over seven years.  (A hat-trick striker and reserve goalie for the McLean Sting, ca 1999.)

He's in his late twenties now and until this past weekend I literally didn't know if he was alive or well or anything at all about his adult life.  It's the same situation for my other two sons, except that they each used up all eight semesters of the Virginia pre-paid college tuition plans that I purchased with them as the beneficiaries, so their trails didn't run cold until 2010 for Johnny and 2012 for Danny, when I stopped receiving annual statements from those two plans I owned.  (The plan I own with Jimmy as beneficiary has never been applied for and will be vacated forcibly by the IRS soon if it's not used or a suitable "hardship" story isn't tendered immediately to account for the delay in its use since Jimmy's high school graduation.)  (Danny and Johnny in Maine, ca 1996.)

According to a recent press release on the Internet which the URL led me to, Jimmy is an entrepreneur in Arlington, trying to bring a product he invented to market.  I wish him success.  (Jimmy and his partner.)

Of course I stand ready and am eager to spend 5 or 10 minutes, or more if he'd like, to catch up with him (or any of my sons) at a Starbucks over coffee or a restaurant over a meal.  I am free every day in December except for December 22-24th.  (Shenandoah Valley, circa 1998.)

I regret that Jimmy, and Johnny and Danny as well, have not responded to any of the invitations to them that I have sometimes posted publicly, not knowing their addresses or phone numbers, but I will always be available if they ever reach out to me.  Any father who loved his children would do the same.  (Happier times.  On the Arkansas River in 2001.)






Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Billy Goat Trail 2014 Version

Every year I hike the Billy Goat Trail along the Potomac River on the Maryland side, usually with a friend.  The trail is a moderately difficult 3-mile scramble over rocks, up boulder fields and around tree roots.

This year I did it in the fall, which is late for me, as I usually do it in the summer.  But with so many of the leaves blown off the trees by the lateness of the season, I enjoyed better vistas of the river from the trail, which runs through wooded land for the most part.

There are spots where the trail comes out upon sheer precipices overlooking the river.  Also long rock crevices on cliff faces you have to traverse.

If you're not somewhat fit the trail won't be an enjoyable experience.  But completing the trek does give one a certain measure of satisfaction, given its moderate difficulty.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Viewpoints

Earlier this year my agency moved from its three scattered locations to a single location (plus some folks still at the headquarters building half a mile away) at L'Enfant Plaza.  There's quite a little federal beehive of activity down there, with HUD and the Constitution Center and other federal locales.  (My new cozy office.)

Basically it's a downsizing, as we all traded our more commodious offices, as befits working professionals, for tiny windowless offices or cubicles for the paralegals.  But we're on the 10th floor facing south with no view obstructions so our vista of the Potomac and the Virginia shoreline is spectacular as seen from the corridor windows.  (Sunsets are spectacular sometimes from our perch on the tenth floor.)

The noontime running is better, with many more places to run, as Haines Point, the waterfront, Nats Stadium, the Tidal Basin, Capital Hill and the Mall are all less than a mile away.  At the old location only Cap Hill and the eastern edge of the Mall were within a mile.  (Running around the Tidal Basin with a co-worker at noon, my favorite run.)

Plus my commute is shorter, by twenty minutes per day.  Progress, I guess.  (The early morning sun reflects off the tenth floor windows of my workplace.)