MUSCLE CAR MADNESS

“One day Richard stopped by to have his car serviced. He had to work that day so “Lewis” asked me to drive him to the Carr’s grocery store on Gambell. I was elated on finding I’d be piloting the GTX.”

Me parked in front of Cheney Lake on Beaver Street.

I was blessed to grow up in Anchorage during the muscle car era. With my dad eventually owning a gas station, I got to drive many of the hottest vehicles Detroit offered. This journey started in 1969. My passion for fast cars began a few years earlier when I discovered Hot Rod and Car Craft magazines.

My father was in the Air Force stationed at Elmendorf. He worked evenings at Marswalk Texaco, located on DeBarr Road and Boniface Parkway. Isaiah Lewis and Doug Sizemore were also employees of this business; Bill Fisher and Joe Ridge included.

One afternoon when I was hanging around the station, Doug Sizemore offered me a ride in his 1963 Ford Falcon. It had a built 260 V-8 under the hood with 4-speed transmission. He banged all four gears while I held on for dear life. I was hooked at that point.

A couple of years later my father and Isaiah Lewis purchased Yeager’s Texaco on Taku Drive. They changed the name to Wonderpark Texaco. I was hired at $2.00 an hour to pump gas, clean floors and windows, plus other assigned duties. It wasn’t long before I was changing oil, lubricating chassis parts, turning wrenches, and of course taking the necessary test drives to make sure all was good.

Richard Watts was a fledgling employee of Carr’s in 1969. He had a ’69 440 powered Plymouth GTX back then, so he must’ve been making decent money. I idolized the young man for his vehicle alone.

One day Richard stopped by to have his car serviced. He had to work that day so “Lewis” asked me drive him to the Carr’s grocery store on Gambell. I was elated on finding I’d be piloting the GTX. It was a moment that’d change my life. I became addicted to Chrysler products because of that one experience.

Richard Watts went on to climb the ladder at Carr’s. A hard worker, he was a positive influence in my life. Ed Moses, a customer of ours, was the same. I don’t recall Ed having a fast car like Richard’s.

A fellow named Tom owned a 1964 Pontiac GTO. It had a 389 with single Rochester carburetor. Tom wanted three, two-barrel carbs installed like some GTO’s came with. Lewis told me it was one of the man’s final wishes as he had a serious health problem.

Lewis made sure that happened. I got to test the car afterwards and found it quite peppy. Only a few years later Lewis told me that Tom passed away. I remember him being a super nice guy.

Tom’s 1964 Pontiac wasn’t as fast as a 1970 455 HO GTO owned by a soldier named Anthony. We called him Bob for whatever reason? I no longer remember his last name although several years back I did.

I test drove Bob’s emerald green Pontiac on a drizzly rainy day. Going about 50 mph on the Glenn Highway, I punched the throttle to see what she’d do. Don’t ask me why female connotations are used for cars, but they were back then. Bob’s GTO immediately went sideways. Luckily I was able to keep her out of the ditch.

Later on I got to try things out on a dry road. To this day I believe it was faster than Richard Watt’s Plymouth GTX. It’d smoke the tires at will.

We had a supercharged Corvair in the shop numerous times. It was unimpressive in the acceleration department. An Army guy brought it up the Al-Can Highway. When the engine tossed a connecting rod, Alaska Towing & Wrecking hauled it away on a wrecker. I’m sure the square Chevy was crushed.

A 1967 SOHC 6-cylinder Pontiac Firebird was fairly quick. It had a 3-speed manual transmission with Hurst shifter. I delivered it to a customer who lived downtown near Bootlegger’s Cove. Going through the gears a few times on the way there, before long, burnt clutch permeated my nose. I made sure to roll both windows down and air things out as the owner had to take me back to the station. Thankfully he didn’t notice the pungent odor.

There were Dodge Challenger’s and Barracuda’s in for service on occasion. One 1970 340 Challenger belonged to a young fellow in Mt. View. He must’ve had three pine-tree air fresheners hanging from the rearview mirror. Lewis mentioned with a grin that they were needed to drown out any plant smell. I guess this guy was a big user including dealer. I’m sure it was for medicinal purposes.

I still remember like yesterday, taking that car back to a little trailer on the outskirts of Mt. View. Cisco Kid played the whole way going and coming. Yea, he was a friend of mine too.

We had Mustang’s galore come in for service. I drove a good many of them including a Boss 302. It was quick. The majority were unimpressive 6-cylinder and 289 powered models.

For all the Camaro’s running around town, I can’t recall any of them coming to our shop. I did get to drive several belonging to friends. They were light-weight and snappy with 302, 327, and 350 engines.

A customer living in Muldoon owned a 1967 American Motors Marlin fastback. To this day I believe it’s the ugliest car ever manufactured. The fellow possessing it bragged on how fast his Marlin was. I transported this slug to Action Locksmith on 5th Avenue for new keys to be made. It was absolutely gutless in the power department. I cringed thinking someone from high school might see me in it.

I picked up my own muscle cars and hot rods as money became more readily available. A 1968 Charger R/T 440, 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T convertible, 1954 Chevy sedan with 302, Z-28 Camaro engine, 1972 SS454 Chevelle, Corvette 350 V-8 powered Vega, 1969 and 1968 Plymouth Roadrunner’s (at least 7), 1968 426 Hemi Charger’s (2), 1968 supercharged 426 Hemi GTX, 1975 SS454 El Camino, 1969 SS L78 350 Camaro, 1961 Corvette, 1975 Firebird Formula 400, plus vehicles not worth mentioning like a gold 1970 Camaro Sports Coupe with 6-cylinder engine.

These days I’m still into fast vehicles but not as heavy as my early years. I’ll always keep a Hot Rod in my garage just because I’m a car guy. Right now, that’s a 2021 Charger Redeye. It’ll have to suffice until either a faster vehicle comes along, or I build another.

I’m thinking about a new project. Something tells me this next one will be electric!

Supercharged 426 Hemi GTX now has a new owner.

ARMCHAIR EXPERTS

“Fortunately, I recognized his brain disorder right away and didn’t follow suit. The misinformed guy eventually met his demise doing exactly what he preached.”

Rolling the dice on life

I’ve been on this planet long enough to recognize an armchair expert after only a few minutes of conversation. These are the guys and gals believing they possess intelligence levels equivalent to Albert Einstein; perhaps higher. Know-it-all is a politically-correct term used to describe this less than intelligent bunch.

Where sport’s unintelligence is concerned, armchair quarterback is the buzz word. This group is harmless compared to the other.

An armchair expert told me years ago that wearing a helmet was dangerous while riding a motorcycle. I’ve often heard bikers say that.

“You can’t hear with a helmet on!”, one fool told me. This guy couldn’t hear with his helmet off. He liked to sit up front at rock concerts.

Fortunately, I recognized his brain disorder right away and didn’t follow suit. The misinformed guy eventually met his demise doing exactly what he preached.

“Smoking will never hurt me!”

It’s rare to hear that anymore. Back in the day though, armchair experts mentioned it quite often. Sadly, the big C claimed a good majority of them.

“I don’t wear a seatbelt because they’re so constraining!”

I read a story where an armchair expert claimed their friend would’ve lived had she not been wearing a seatbelt. I’ve read numerous stories where lives were saved by vehicle occupants wearing them.

The latest craze where armchair quarterbacking is concerned revolves around misinformation on Covid 19. I’ve had so many people give me erroneous advice that my head spins. If you don’t have Dr. in front of your name, please, your opinion means little or nothing.

My doctors still advise me to wear a mask when I go out in public. It’s no biggie to me. Been doing it for over a year now. These medical professionals also suggest that I sanitize my hands afterwards. If Rob, the car mechanic, claims that masks are a joke, I’ll look at him just like I do folks saying not to wear helmets while riding a bicycle or motorcycle.

“Fool!”, I’ll think, but not say.

The internet’s full of misleading information on every subject. Conspiracy theories are lying around like trash outside a convenience store.

I’ll make my decisions on Covid 19 prevention based on what qualified professionals say. Most politician’s opinions do not count here. I have about as much faith in their analysis of things as I do Rob, the mechanic’s.

The man upstairs has my full attention. God is the leading expert on this subject. Right now he’s telling me to use my brain, and not rely on flawed advice coming from armchair experts!

A picture says 1000 words

SIMPLICITY

“Late at night things cooled off to the point where you needed a thick quilt to snuggle under. Grandma always made sure my brother and I had two.”

Simple cabin

I’m ready for simplicity. Exactly where to find it is daunting? My Grandma & Grandpa Hankins were successful in living a simple life. They didn’t own a television or phone.

Grandpa & Grandma lived on top of a hill in Vernon, Alabama. A man named Joe Lee rented the drafty old place to them for a song. The wood structure was heated by a stone fireplace. Either wood or coal was burned to produce heat. Most of this went up the chimney.

Late at night things cooled off to the point where you needed a thick quilt to snuggle under. Grandma always made sure my brother and I had two.

There was an outhouse located near thick woods about 50-feet from the door. I’d never use it at night preferring a porcelain bucket instead. I stayed with them many times. Life was good back then!

There was a time when fancy and expensive things owned by other people impressed me. Not so much anymore. From what dad told me, my grandparents were content in not keeping up with the Jones’s. He didn’t use those exact words. Thankfully, I’ve never seen fit to compete with others in financial areas. I would’ve lost before the game began. Far as I know, no first place trophy has ever been handed out.

Mom often told me that money burned holes in my pockets. I didn’t understand her reasoning until my 30’s. My philosophy back then: Money’s meant to be spent! I didn’t understand the principle of saving for a rainy day. I do now having experienced hard times.

Grandma and Grandpa weren’t wealthy. They made do with what Grandpa earned as a painter and wallpaper installer. I remember the trunk of his 1938 Chevrolet having a chalk line inside, brushes, cleaning solvent, along with other painting utensils and knives. I also recall that dull-black Chevy having no brakes. He’d put it in low-gear going down the steep hill to slow things down. Mom would never let me ride with Grandpa during these times for reasons only a mother can explain.

These days my wife and I are on a mission to downsize. That means selling off or giving away junk no longer needed. We’ve both settled on a little town in Kansas called Alta Vista to call home; at least for 6 months out of the year. Arizona will suffice during winter. Both of us hate cold with a passion.

I don’t own a smartphone or a cellphone. Fancy restaurants aren’t appealing to me, other than perhaps for special occasions. Fast-food is fine for date night. I love piddling around in the garage even if it means nothing accomplished. Televisions are only needed when hockey or Supercross is on. A good book is entertainment enough. Time spent with my pets and wife is more than satisfying. Some of the above might not apply to her. I best not ask.

Looking back to where I’ve been, and where I’m at now, perhaps I found simplicity and didn’t even know it!

Simplicity with a 65″ flat screen TV

SENIOR TIME BLUES

“Teachers did not warn us, those ills will not improve!”

Unidentified man singing the senior time blues

Senior Time Blues

I’m pushin’ 70.

Warped mind say’s 25.

Eyes are losin’ vision.

Friends says my brain is fried.

Colon does not work right.

Doc said to eat some prunes.

Even with a mouth full.

I’m stuck in the bathroom.

Tried some citric acid.

To help my food digest.

Now I have an ulcer.

Poor stomach is a mess.

Read where homo’pathic.

The safest way to go.

Loads of beans and cabbage,

Will force my junk to flow.

Methane gas like crazy.

I’m ready to explode.

Please don’t bring a candle,

Around this pink commode.

There are others like me,

Singin’ senior time blues.

Teachers did not warn us,

Those ills will not improve!

JUNK MAIL

“Mom said there’d come a day when I’d appreciate getting mail of any kind.”

Really cool junk mail

Joleen and I get junk mail all the time. I suppose everyone does. For several years I never opened the stuff. I either tore it up while walking in the door, or ran things through a shredder. That practice stopped after I accidentally shredded a $100.00 rebate check. It was in an envelope that looked like junk mail. Thankfully the company issued another.

From that point on, via Joleen’s instruction, I began the arduous task of opening and inspecting every letter and envelope before destroying. There were many envelopes I couldn’t tear in-half by hand. These items generally contained plastic cards or cellophane advertisements. Our commercial grade shredder took care of them.

Mom said there’d come a day when I’d appreciate getting mail of any kind. She went on to explain that older people, especially those living alone, long for anything to be in their mailbox. She said my grandfather reached that stage in his late 60’s. I doubted that’d ever happen to me.

I’ve opened some interesting junk mail. I don’t know how many pennies and nickels I’ve removed from envelopes and placed in my pocket. This clever tactic was used by companies, in an attempt to get people to actually read the advertisements. I took their money and ran, straight to our garbage can.

I find it interesting that some credit people know exactly what we owe. Sometimes the number is openly printed on envelopes so that the postman can see. These strangers have more insight into our debt than we do.

Many of these mortgage or loan companies offer fantastic deals to pay stuff off, at a interest rate only beneficial to them. Those items of junk mail go straight to the shredder without passing go. I take delight in hearing shredder teeth mutilate them to pieces.

Many charity organizations place free address labels in their mailouts, including small pads for jotting down notes. On rare occasion, pens can be found. Joleen once told me that if you used these items without sending a donation, it was wrong. I believe she was trying to lay a guilt trip on me. It didn’t work.

In my desk is a drawer with labels and notebooks. For people donating from the heart, stimulus gifts like these aren’t necessary to prime the pump. I choose those charities getting my money very carefully. They have to meet special criteria.

Just the other day I received a cool plastic Arizona license plate in the mail. It came from one of our local car dealers. The advertisement has my name in large letters printed on front. I’ve never seen anything like it. It must’ve been expensive to make. That thing is really cool!

This replica plate is a reminder for me to bring it, along with our vehicle, to the dealership and see what our car’s worth as a trade in. I find this very savvy marketing. You can even go online and do the same.

We have a 2009 Chevrolet HHR with 107,213 miles. I’m not quite ready to trade at this point, as our little Chevy panel still has many years left. When I do make that decision, I’ll want my plate back. Now framed, this personalized treasure hangs on my office wall.

Each day now I look forward to the mail truck stopping at our box. I know when it’s getting close because you can hear it miles away. The wreck evidently needs a muffler. I think that postal Jeep truly needs to be traded in.

Hopefully this week or next some good junkmail arrives. We’re getting low on those small notebooks, and I could really use a pen with ink. My old one’s about to die. The silver and black instrument is marked: COLONIAL PENN.

It came in an envelope that I shredded before fully reading the enclosed letter. When I asked Joleen what this company represents she told me,

“Colonial Penn sells funeral insurance.”

Well, the Penn family needs to start making arrangements, because I’m about to bury one of their kind in a Glad trash bag.

Looking back at all the junk mail I’ve destroyed, with the cost to print it and mail out, I’m sure the monetary number is substantial. The wasted paper alone undoubtedly amounts to a small forest.

It really wouldn’t break my heart if junk mail went away, taking it’s bothersome brother, Robocall, along with it!

Junk mail

ANCHORAGE DMV

“There was a unique musty smell to the place. Water would bubble up through areas of asphalt after a hard rain.”

Location of former Anchorage DMV at 2150 E. Dowling Road

I worked for the State of Alaska – Department of Motor Vehicles – for a short period of time. This was in their Anchorage office at 2150 E. Dowling Road. Before this building was ever constructed, my brother and I rode our Rupp snowmachine across the frozen property after school. It was basically a wetlands. Moose frequented the area during winter months, including giant, blood-sucking mosquitoes in summer.

Sometime in the late 1970’s, dump trucks started hauling out loads of damp peat from the bog, bringing in load after load of gravel. This was to ensure stability for a new building and parking lot. During my short tenure as a warehouseman there (1982 – 1983), I was educated by my own personal observation, and via discussion with other DMV employees, on the undue stress placed upon workers by the general public. It wasn’t unusual for a downtrodden clerk to enter our warehouse in tears. The room was a place of sanctity for some workers.

Because of such, I came away with a high degree of respect for DMV employees working behind the counter, and those in hidden offices. To this day whenever I have business dealings with either, I make sure to wear a smile. Most likely the person just leaving them wore a frown.

I recall one incident where a customer was screaming so loud at employees, that Jack Bradford and I were summoned to assist. Eventually A.P.D. showed up and hauled the angry man away. Inebriates walking in the front door and being led out the back in handcuffs wasn’t unusual.

A motorcycle test area was set up out back of our little warehouse, directly on the south edge of the asphalt. I watched one day as a guy on a big Harley, attempted to maneuver around several orange cones. He suddenly fell over with the bike landing on him. Jack and I ran over and helped lift the motorcycle off the man. Before long an ambulance arrived and hauled him to the hospital.

On another occasion, a girl taking her test drove right off the parking lot into some scraggly spruce trees. She was okay, but her large Honda bike was mired deep in the bog. Jack and I assisted in dragging it out of there. I learned from watching all this, that it was best to take your cycle test on the smallest bike possible.

Don was a driving test employee. I remember him well, because he rode along with me when I got my driver’s license on July 22, 1970. That date being so special to me because July 22 is my best friend’s birthday, including my daughter.

This particular test took place when the office was downtown, I believe on 5th Avenue. There were no parking spaces available close by, and a new driver was expected to parallel park while traffic was present. I passed with flying colors, but a couple of hours later ran a stop sign in Mt. View almost hitting a patrol car. That was no fault of Don’s.

Don, along with others doing the same job, told outrageous stories about being in vehicles with people incapable of ever driving. I suppose I fit that bill. These brave workers were basically placing their lives in stranger’s hands. Accidents during test sessions did happen.

One bizarre incident I recall involved a very popular employee. Everyone liked the guy. One day I came to work and was told he’d been arrested for embezzlement. The fellow’s wife worked in the Kenai DMV office and she was taken away as well. This story made all the Alaska newspapers. I was never privy to particulars on what actually happened, but I assume money was pilfered.

Some of the names I recall are Phyllis the office manager, Jack Bradford my boss, Don, Betty, Tom, Susan, Jo, Bob, Joanne, Margaret, Linda, and Brownie to name a few. I assume Brownie was a nick name? He was retiring just as I came onboard.

My job was quite simple. I delivered license plates, blank titles and registrations to our front counter, the Palmer office, and DMV headquarters on Tudor Road. I don’t recall a day where stress ever entered my work truck. It worked well for me because I was taking evening classes at U.A.A at this time.

The jaunts to Palmer were one of my favorite tasks. I looked forward to being called out on a 100-mile roundtrip delivery. A lady named Di was the Palmer DMV office manager. On occasion I got to mail sample license plates to people throughout the world. The plates were provided free of charge back then to anyone asking for one.

I took it upon myself one afternoon to wax our delivery truck. The forest green paint came alive after that. I doubt any other State of Alaska vehicle has ever been waxed since.

I was told the former DMV building at 2150 E. Dowling Road was built over a creek. I believe that because we often had water problems. There was a unique musty smell to the place. Water would bubble up through areas of asphalt after a hard rain. There was a corner of the warehouse where it trickled up through cracks in concrete. I left my warehouse job before Anchorage DMV moved to a new location off Spenard Road and Benson. A fellow named Barry took my slot.

If I have any legacy at all from working there, and I doubt I do, it’d be my destroying the DMV Director’s office sign by accident. One day I came in with a large box and knocked it off the wall. A loud snap echoed down the hall. I think for the most part I did a good job for this agency.

With a background in automotive technology and parts procurement, I transferred to the Department of Transportation – State Equipment Fleet in August of 1983. . I still saw Jack Bradford on occasion, when he brought the delivery truck by our shop for fuel and maintenance. By then the Ford pickup was needing another coat of Simonize.

These days in Arizona, I hear and read of folks complaining about horrific visits to a DMV office in all states. Generally speaking, the complaints deal with wait time. DMV in Alaska works with far less budgetary money than ever before. I’d venture to say that if many of these complainers walked in a motor vehicle employee’s shoes for a day, they’d have a bit more sympathy and compassion along with less gripe. It can be a brutal job at times.

I’ll always be indebted to them. Nothing but good memories while I worked there!

L.S.M.F.T

“My friend Jeff says that L.S.M.F.T stands for: Lucky Strike’s Make Funeral’s Thrive.”

They’re toasted for whatever that’s worth?

I’m thankful I never smoked. Being from the baby boomer generation, I worked around many people that did. Like others from my era, I’m a prime candidate for lung cancer. Secondhand smoke is a proven killer.

As a child I noticed cigarette commercials much the same as I did cereal advertisements. Some of them were quite entertaining and clever.

Benson & Hedges generally had pictures of men and women smoking their cigarettes with a broken or bent end. That’s because they wanted to tout the length of their product. I quickly assumed people smoking this brand were either blind or clumsy idiots.

Of course Virginia Slims attempted to make sexy a part of their ads. Beautiful young models puffing away I suppose was to lure in the female smoker. It worked just the opposite at times. A former co-worker smoked Virginia Slims. Something had evidently short-circuited upstairs. I often wondered what he wore under his shop coveralls.

Lucky Strike brand was popular going way back. Many of dad’s friends smoked them. Lucky Strike had a nifty little motto that was easy to remember: L.S.M.F.T. The abbreviation stands for: “Lucky Strike Means Fine Tobacco.” My friend Jeff has a whole different twist on the letters. He says L.S.M.F.T means: “Lucky Strike’s Make Funeral’s Thrive.”

Camel cigarettes claimed their customers would walk a mile for a pack of smokes. One ad shows a man with holes worn in his sneakers evidently from making the hike several times. Even in my teenage years, my immediate thought was perhaps the guy should stop buying cigarettes, and purchase a new pair of shoes.

Winston has been around for ages. My grandfather smoked them. Their theme was quite simple, “Winston tastes good, like a cigarette should!” How bizarre! I could never conjure up the thought of cigarettes tasting good. Pizza tastes good including M&M’s and cherry licorice. It’s not like people having a pack of Winston’s in jacket pocket or purse would eat the things. Would they?

Tareyton. Their claim to fame was, “I’d rather fight than switch!” Colorful ads show male and female tobacco-addicts having blackened eyes. Evidently, someone needed to teach those poor smokers how to duck a punch.

Pall Mall is another popular brand. One of their advertisements shows a man lighting up a Pall Mall on the job. Evidently he’s finished for the day, because the blue collar worker has a tweed jacket over his shoulder. Most likely somewhere down the road, instead of needing a Pall Mall, he required a pallbearer.

Of course we all know about Marlboro and The Marlboro Man. These guys kept dying off so fast that Philip Morris Tobacco Company couldn’t keep an ample supply of actors. I wonder if The Marlboro Men got hazard pay?

“Come on up to Marlboro country!” was their infamous slogan. I never did figure out exactly where that was, other than perhaps they’re referring to Heaven. Something tells me there’ll be no smoking allowed up there.

Being a big fan of Hot Rod magazine, Viceroy advertised bunches in that periodical. One full-page ad pictures a handsome racecar driver in race attire, standing next to his sleek racecar. Striking a pose with lit cigarette held in gloved hand, two female admirers watch Mr. Macho from afar. I’m sure they were both thinking, “If only he didn’t smoke!”

Salem cigarettes were touted as being Springtime Fresh. Ad executives must not have been talking about springtime in cold weather states. In Alaska, we had two dogs that routinely did their business in the snow throughout winter. When spring arrived, and snow melted, fresh air was the furthest thing to be found. Then again, the pungent aroma associated with such did have similarities to stale cigarette smoke. Perhaps that’s the springtime fresh Salem officials were referring to?

I could go on and on here. Yes, I find humor in these ads. There’s also a sad side. I’ll end things on a serious note.

Several friends, family, and acquaintances of mine died from either direct, or indirect exposure to tobacco smoke. An addiction to nicotine is as bad as any drug out there. I’m sure several of the deceased people I knew wanted to stop smoking, yet couldn’t.

Maybe if cigarette commercials back then hadn’t been so well made, and persuasive, some of them would’ve never started!

"My friend Jeff says that L.S.M.F.T stands for: Lucky Strike Makes For Funerals."
…and how!

NON-ESSENTIAL OILS

“My friend Jeff says that CBD stands for Consumers Being Duped.”

Essential Oils advertised to cure headaches

Call me a skeptic, but whenever I see a Hollywood celebrity hawking products on television, red flags automatically go up. There has to be something in it for them, otherwise they wouldn’t waste their time.

My wife and her friends got sucked into the Essential Oils hoax early on. The company claims to have an oil for almost every kind of ill. Headaches, anxiety, insomnia, menstrual cramps, to name a few. Joleen got a bit peeved at me for calling them Non-Essential Oils.

“They work for some people!”, she said. I didn’t argue with her knowing where that would lead.

Celebrities’ Daphne Oz and Hugh Jackman tout the virtues of Essential Oils. Not to be disrespectful, but I don’t know these people from Adam. Their opinion on oil means about as much as Bob the mechanic’s advice on grilling fresh vegetables. Bob doesn’t even own a grille. It seems somewhat haughty of Daphne and Hugh to believe that their name’s alone have selling power.

Shifty salesmen years ago, traveled around the country in horse drawn wagons peddling cure-all elixirs; snake oil as it’s correctly called. The products consisted mainly of alcohol. If you drank enough your troubles went away for a short spell. A massive headache most likely followed. Essential Oils falls into this snake oil category except you don’t drink it. It’s purported magic comes from sniffing or rubbing on skin.

Another wacky product undocumented experts claim has healing powers is CBD oil. It’s in everything including sandwich spread. I’m not going to try it. I still won’t eat poppy seed muffins in fear of testing positive. A former co-worker said that happened to him years ago while testing for a job. He didn’t get it. I think there’s more to it than that but didn’t say so.

Companies are making billions on CBD oil. Some outfits peddling the stuff falsely refer to themselves as medical dispensaries. I think it’s accurate to say that’s stretching things a bit. One so called dispensary in Needles, California had a red cross emblem painted on their building sign. That merely helps suckers buy into the validity of this reefer byproduct.

Big stores like Wal-Mart and Walgreen’s currently sell CBD based products. Before long, I look for Girl Scouts to add a CBD health cookie to their selection. That’s scary. My friend Jeff says that CBD stands for Consumers Being Duped. I have to agree.

If people want to spend their money on Essential Oils and CBD oil products that’s fine with me. For them to tell me they work, I’ll have to chuckle. Personally, I have no need for either.

There’s one oil out there that surpasses everything. The name alone says it all. Marvel Mystery Oil is perhaps one of the 10 top wonders of the world. This wonderful concoction of top secret ingredients has been around since 1923.

Marvel Mystery Oil may not soothe headaches or cure menstrual cramps, but it will free up frozen parts in an engine block like right now. Real men love the unique aroma. I do.

Hugh Jackman and Daphne Oz can brag all they want about about Essential Oils. Should these two ever use Marvel Mystery Oil, I believe they’ll see fit like many of us in the know, that the stuff ‘s a cure-all unlike any other and truly works.

I swear by the product. Coming from me, that should tell you everything you need to know!

Essential oil above all others

MULDOON ROAD RANGE WAR

“With high-pitched shouts from the guy to stop, Jim eventually ceased his hammering. Lozano limped away with gashes and scrapes to his head and face. That’s the last time we had trouble with him or his Rangeview pals.”

Rangeview Trailer Park

When my family arrived in Anchorage, Alaska, the spring of 1966, after a long and arduous drive from Lubbock, Texas, all was well. We spent the first night at Mush Inn Motel and had dinner at Lucky Wishbone. The next morning, dad carefully backed our New Moon mobile home into space #299 at Alaskan Village Trailer Park. We quickly went to work getting things in order.

Our first chore was to wash off the inch thick AL-CAN mud. After that, my brother Jim and I began the task of making friends. It didn’t take us long. Being military kids, we were used to doing such every three years.

We had ample opportunity to explore the surrounding country with new pal’s: Bob Malone, Chuck Staley, Danny Kunda, and Jeff Cloud. Across Muldoon Road from our home was a small grocery store named White House Market.

Lock, Stock, and Barrel gun shop was located within the two-story building as well, including Chuck’s Barber Shop. Directly to the north of those businesses was a well-beaten trail in the woods running across Chester Creek. It wound through thick trees behind ABC Auto Wrecking, ending at Rangeview Trailer Park. At that time, I didn’t know there was a rivalry of sorts between kids living in Alaskan Village and Rangeview.

This rivalry came to light one day when we were in the woods throwing rocks in Chester Creek. Three Rangeview kids came out of the trees on bikes and began to intimidate us. One of them, a tall, stringy-haired-fellow had a chain wrapped around his waist which added to the confrontation. They told us to move along or they were going to kick our butts. We quickly left.

The threats continued at random. Whenever we came across these bullies we went out of our way to avoid conflict. There came a point when that all came to a head; literally speaking.

Bob, Jim, and myself were coming back from hiking, when this tough guy with his chain menacingly approached us. For the sake of this story I’ll refer to him as Lozano (not his real name).

Because Lozano was older than Bob and me, for whatever reason he singled out my brother to push around. Jim is the most mild-tempered guy you’ll ever meet. Push him too far though and he snaps.

While holding chain in one hand, Lozano made fun of the BB gun Jim held and tried taking it away. That’s when my brother knocked him to the ground and started beating the guy relentlessly with fists and gunstock. Unlike the movie, “A Christmas Story”, where little Ralphie is stopped short from knocking a troublemaker senseless, Bob and I stood back and watched as Jim did just that.

With high-pitched cries from Lozano to stop, Jim eventually ceased his hammering. Lozano limped away with gashes and scrapes to his head and face. That’s the last time we had trouble with him or his Rangeview pals.

On my last day at Clark Junior High, in 9th grade, on the way home, our bus drove by Rangeview as it always did. This trailer park is located on Muldoon Road. Out of nowhere a volley of ice balls hit the side of our vehicle. Bob, me, and several other Alaskan Village kids yelled for the driver to stop and let us off. Amazingly, he did!

We chased the culprits for a distance, before hustling back to our bus which had remained parked alongside Muldoon Road. That’s my final and most fitting memory of the Muldoon Road Range War as I like to call it. Soon afterwards, my family moved to the Lake Otis area.

  • Final note – When Mann Leiser purchased the property that the Rangeview-Alaskan Village trail ran through, it ended our skirmishes in the trees. Sadly, the trail’s long gone, along with Leiser’s once prosperous Alaska Greenhouse complex. Alaskan Village Trailer Park is also nonexistent while Rangeview is still in business.

Alaskan Village Trailer Park

THE RIPE TIME?

“We’ve been slowly getting rid of junk. Just the other day I sold a car that I’ve owned for 46 years. It was hard to do but I felt the time was ripe.”

Sutphen Mill Christian Cemetery – Chapman, Kansas

I’ve written about this subject more than once. Whenever I do, friends and family often think something’s wrong. Far as I know everything’s good under the hood. There are a few frayed wires and leaks but nothing serious.

During my early life I gave death little thought. The teen years were when I first remember hearing a pastor read Hebrews 9:27 in a sermon.

“It is appointed for man to die. After this comes the judgment.”

He went on to say that everyone was going to die sooner or later. Like a kick to the stomach, I quickly realized this included me. I brushed it off until a good friend explained things further. He reassured me there’s life after death.

Using verse John 3:16 as guidance, Jeff Thimsen led me to Jesus Christ. After that life changing moment, I knew I was ready for judgment day; spiritually speaking. I didn’t give my earthly preparation nary a second thought.

Over the years I’ve had opportunity to see many friends, family, and acquaintances pass away. Some seemed prepared and others not. One man had so many antique tractors, that it took three auctions to get rid of them all. He started downsizing long before his judgment day. Others didn’t make the same plans.

My wife and I made a decision 20 years ago to purchase a burial plot and have a gravestone put in place. That seemed bizarre to our children at the time. They didn’t understand such irrational thinking. Now they do. It’s just one last thing they’ll have to do when we go.

A few years back, I asked a good friend, John Ballard, how do we know when it’s the right time to start getting rid of things. John said it was interesting that I asked, because he’d just made that decision himself. He didn’t know at this juncture that he had mesothelioma. A few years later John passed away from the cancer.

We’ve been slowly getting rid of junk this past year. Just the other day I sold a car that I’ve owned for 46 years. It was hard to do but I felt the time was ripe.

Joleen has furniture and things she inherited from her grandparents and parents. We’ve hung onto it for many years, but I say it’s time to bid farewell. It’s better to start doing so now, even though we hope to be around for many more years.

The one important item we haven’t done yet is have a will or living trust drawn up. Friends tell us we need one. Joleen agrees. I see things a bit different.

If we get rid of all our plunder, the legal document will be nothing more than a blank sheet of paper. Maybe that’s reason enough for us to hang on to some of my stuff. I mean, we do need to leave the kids something!

Got junk?