No bicycling for Jackie for awhile - Oct 29, 2013

Well, my hand is slowly improving.  I can bend my ring finger quite a ways.  My middle finger doesn't like to bend at all but it can, so my job is to bend it a little throughout the day so it doesn't freeze up.  I won't be biking for awhile, though; not only am I reluctant to get back on the thing, but I can't apply the back break with my right hand.  The only break I can apply with my left hand is the front wheel, and I am not anxious to pitch head-first over the handle bars.  I don't use the front brake often, so it is not a big stretch of the imagination to visualize me screwing it up.  So no biking yet.

That's a shame, too, because this is a great place to bike.  There are about 60 miles of bike paths, and since this is Hilton Head, most of them are scenic.  Back in Illinois I always admired Pampas grass; here it grows wild, and big.

Goodbye to the Snack Shack!

Well, the Snack Shack has officially closed for the season.  It's a little bitter-sweet; one one hand, the Owners are returning from their summer homes and they love Randy's cooking.  It's always gratifying to cook for people who appreciate it.  On the other hand, when management announced a few weeks ago that the Shack would close at the end of October, we started making plans about what we would do with the extra time.  We have been working 4-5 days a week since we arrived.  That's not a problem because we asked for the Snack Shack.  But since they don't run the Shack during the winter, we are ready to relax.  We have some things to do around the RV (aways!!), plus more biking, crafts, sightseeing -  we are looking forward to this.

So goodbye to the Snack Shack!  We served some great food to some great people.  One lady wants Chicken Salad every weekend, and although we can't do that, she never fails to ask for it!
Our South Carolina Burger was a big hit; people told us that after enjoying this big boy, they could skip dinner!
And how about a BLT where you can really taste the bacon? 
Randy had to unpack the big meat slicer to make his Steak Sandwich, but it was worth it because we sold out.
We sold out of most of our weekend specials, including the Meatloaf Sandwich.  I didn't even get a picture of that; we sold all 6 pounds in an hour on Friday!  

But what we are most famous for is, in the words of our customers: "The best burger on the island!"
And here's the man behind the food, Randy!  He had everything planned for the closing; we went through the last of the burgers, steak sandwiches, fries and chips. 
Notice the spotless kitchen; it wasn't anything like that when we arrived.  Before he opened it he worked a solid week to get it in shape, and has worked every week since to keep it that way.

Four years ago: Ancient city, and the Superstition Mountains

What a pain

Well, I have really gone and done it now.   

Yesterday when I fell off my bike, I rolled onto my back and just lay on the sidewalk a moment, taking stock of what hurt.  I knew I dinged my knee up but I've done that before and recovered OK.  What I was scared about was my hand.  I knew immediately that I'd bent my fingers all the way back, but I didn't know if they broke.  I was too scared to look so I rested my hand on my tummy and begged God to not let my fingers be broken.  Then I gathered enough courage to move my fingers (although not enough courage to actually look at them).  And they wiggled, so I knew they weren't broken - yeah!!!

As I lay there trying to figure how to get up, one of the Resort residents bicycled up.  He looked at me laying unmoving on the sidewalk, with my bike tangled around my feet, and asked "Are you doing this on purpose?"   ?!?!?  When I said no, he kindly got off his bike, set my bike up and out of the way, put my sandal back on my foot (I didn't know it was off), and gave me a helping hand up.  

I got back on my bike and finished my errand to the office, but I wasn't happy about being on the bike anymore.  At home I kept ice on my knee and hand for a couple of hours, then went to bed with Salonpas patches all over and a brace on my hand.

The ice did trick for my knee again - today it aches but it is mostly just scrapped up.  But my middle and ring fingers on my right hand are sore, swollen and turning purple.
I can't use those fingers at all yet.  Being right-handed, this is creates some difficulty.  I know this isn't a big deal but it is a pain, in every sense of the word.

Like falling off a bike

Yesterday the weather started getting a little cooler.  We got out the little electric heaters we got in Arizona and set them up overnight.  And today when we went outside it was a cool, crisp fall day.  It felt great all day, just cool enough for jeans instead of shorts.  We had a good day at the Snack Shack and were thinking about going to the Meet-and-Greet at the Resort Clubhouse tonight, when I fell off my bicycle.  I wasn't going fast - in fact, I was just straddling it and turning it around, but I lost control and tipped it over.  I landed partially on my knee but mostly on my hand because I was trying to catch myself.  Bent my fingers right back.  Hurts like the dickens, and I suspect it's going to hurt for a long time.

fell once before, and I wasn't actually riding then, either.  Apparently I can ride the bike, but I can't be on it when it's not moving.

One year ago: AMAZING Tasting Dinner!
Two years ago: Appalachian Mountains, Cades Cove Park
Three years ago: Waiting on a radiator in Motel 66
Four years ago: Arizona State Fair

Art, Seafood, a Pirate Manatee and Chocolate Cake

Today we headed towards Savannah, but got sidetracked at the Buffton Art and Seafood Fair.  Yep, they combine Art and Seafood here.  I ordered "Crabby Benedict", which is Egg Benedict with crab cakes.
A lot of local artists were there with unique items.  We had plenty of opportunities to use our usual chant:  "If we still had the house, we'd get that!"  There were several gorgeous paintings, but we just don't have enough wall space.  A Gullah man was selling lovely hand-made baskets; very well made, but I still have trouble paying $170 for a basket.
So we left the Art Fair and went shoe-shopping.  Later, back at the Resort, we took the dogs for a walk, stopping to talk to friends along the way.  People here are getting ready for Halloween; my favorite decoration is the beautiful Manatee sculpture, all dressed up like a Pirate.
At home Randy served me a great dinner, as usual.  He also baked a yellow cake with chocolate frosting, exactly what I asked for.  Before we cut into it, our fellow Workcampers came over to visit.  Our dogs started barking so we stood outside a few minutes, talking.  They brought presents, including ice cream, and Randy went inside to get the cake.  He came out holding the cake platter and said "Jackie, please tell me you already had some cake".  I hadn't, but someone else had!  
And little Julienne said "No, no, I didn't have any chocolate cake.  It was that trouble-maker Shorty, and he smeared chocolate on my chin!"

Poison Ivy for me, and great food at the Snack Shack - October 19, 2012

I haven't been interested in doing anything lately because I have been fighting a case of poison ivy for two weeks.  It started with blisters under my right eyebrow that appeared shortly after I weeded our RV site.  That lasted for a week and then, right when the blisters dried up, my eyelids swelled up.  I was sure it was going to get better soon, until my cheeks started to get red and itchy.  I finally admitted defeat yesterday and went to the local Doctor's Urgent Care Clinic for a prescription of Hydrocortisone cream.  Things are better now, although I still have a ways to go.  But I am soooo much better than I was.  Our Activity Coordinator Brenda offered to work for me in the Snack Shack today and I was very happy to take her up on the offer.

Randy runs a different special every weekend at the Snack Shack.  One weekend it was his South Carolina Burger - one of his great burgers, topped with his great pulled pork, topped with his special cole slaw.  The guests hadn't seen anything like this before and they loved it!
Last weekend the special was his own recipe for Chicken Salad, which he served as a sandwich, a wrap,
or a plate.
He usually makes the same special for both Friday and Saturday.  This weekend he made 6 pounds of meatloaf for the special and we sold out before Friday was over!  He has had several requests for his Chicken Salad again, so he's serving that today. 

One year ago: Sugarbaby . . .
Two years ago: St. Louis Tour Guides
Four years ago: enjoying Arizona

The Mighty 8th

We went to the Mighty 8th Museum in Pooler, Georiga, just west of Savannah, and I was so impressed.  They have several complete planes on display 
and interesting parts, like this great big 9 cylinder Wright Cyclone engine, which produced up to 1,200 horsepower.
I never really understand how uncomfortable gun turrets were.  I knew they were tucked under the belly of the plane, but I never thought about fitting into them.
But gee, what a bad way to spend a battle! 
And in this day of technology, it's easy to forget what they had to work with back then . . . 
But what I was interested in were the personal stories, and this museum was very good with those.  For example, there is a room with information about people who saved Allied airmen who ended up in Axis-controlled lands.  And because of downed flights (see technology note, above), there seemed to be a lot of downed airmen.  Not everyone who helped them ended up being executed but several were, and everyone knew it was a possibility; they did it anyway.  I learned about Johanna Folmer, who helped over 100 people into Belgium.  She spent time in a concentration camp for it but survived to be “liberated” by Russians; eventually she got back to the Netherlands as part of a prisoner exchange.

Andree de Jongh organized the Comete Line, hiding airmen, providing them with clothes, food, passports, ID cards, and getting them on trains to other safe houses in the line, which ended when they crossed the Pyrenees mountains into Spain.  She helped over 100 airmen before she was arrested; then her family and friends continued to run the line, getting 600 more out.

Fernand Dumoulin smuggled several US Airmen to freedom in his truck before he was arrested and executed.

Anne Brusselman was instrumental in saving up to 130 downed airmen.

Martinus Antonius Lelivelt built false walls in his house to hide airmen, then taught them to blend in with the locals in case they were seen; eat with the knife in your right hand and fork in your left; don't place food on the back of the fork (a British trait), sip gin instead of gulping it . . . there were so many ways to give yourself away.  All of the guys he helped got out safely, but Martinus was eventually arrested and executed.

In the "Prisoner of War" section I learned that POWs would have starved without Red Cross packages.  #10 was the most popular package because it included cheese, chocolate, sugar, corned beef, powered milk, jam, canned meat, prunes and, of course, cigarettes.  

And there was a small story about POWs being killed by civilians.  I wanted to find out more about that, but there weren't any specific details.  I
t took some research but eventually I decided this referred to the Russelsheim massacre, when a mob killed 6 POWs who they (mistakenly) thought were the guys who had bombed their town the day before.  Here is a site with some of the facts, plus info about the Memorial that the town recently built to honor the dead pilots.

Best story:  Luftwaffe pilot Franz Stigler found a badly-damanged B17 that was managing to stay air-borne.  He was ready to blow it up when he saw the occupants - some guys trying to save the life of their buddy.  And he just couldn’t pull the trigger.  He signaled to them to surrender but when they refused, he let them go.  Of course, he would have been court marshaled if that got out so he didn’t tell anyone.  In 1990 one of the guys from the B17 finally discovered  who he was.  According to Franz’s statement, “The B17 was like a sieve and there was blood everywhere; I could see the crew was having a terrible time dealing with their wounded and struggling to stay in the air.  I was amazed that the aircraft could fly.  I thought to myself, how can I shoot something like that?  I cannot kill these half dead people.  I saw badly wounded and defenseless MEN on board, rather than just the AIRPLANE, which was our normal target.  It was one thing to shoot at an airplane, but in this case I saw the men.  I just couldn’t do it.”  Franz eventually met the B17 airman who had searched for him and they became good friends.   And - no kidding - the B17 airman's name was Charlie Brown.  Wouldn’t Snoopy be happy?
Second best story:  Over the Netherlands Sergeant Tyre Weaver Jr. was terribly wounded when a shell severed his arm.  His buddies dressed the wound the best they could, but it was clear he would not live without medical help, nor would he survive the long trip home.  He pointed to the airplane hatchway with his remaining arm.  They knew what he meant and knew he was right.  They checked his parachute, put the cord in his good hand, and he pushed out through the hatch.  The plane made it home but everyone wondered what happened to Weaver. 

When Weaver hit the ground, a little girl ran up to him and helped him out of his parachute.  She gave him a drink of water, then called for her family, who made a stretcher from his parachute and carried him to their house.  Very soon a German officer showed up and got him to a hospital.  He spent some time as a prisoner, but he lived.  25 years later he searched for that little girl, who was now a Dutch housewife named Hetty Weistenhoff.  It's a great story because it was illegal to help downed pilots, but everyone in this story prioritized the man before the politics.

Odd story:  Ben Kuroki was the only Japanese-American in the Air Force to serve in the Pacific in WWII.  He did a great job and was awarded a lot of medals, including three Distinguished Flying Crosses.  The odd part is that while he was in the U.S. recovering from an injury, he was sent to some Japanese-American internment camps to encourage guys there to enlist.  Not sure how those conversations went.
The museum has a couple of rooms filled with beautiful paintings by amateur artists, and some of those paintings told stories, too.  Like Forrest Vosler, who was almost blinded from blood in his eyes but still managed to send radio distress signals as his B17 went down.  When it ditched in the North Sea, he held the wounded gunner out of the water until he could be put into a dinghy.  

And there’s a famous photo of a B17 in the 414th Squadron which was struck by an enemy plane.  Not shot - struck.  The other plane crashed into the fuselage of the B17 and split the heck out of the tail section.  It looked like someone sliced through it longways, but oddly enough it not only stayed on, it held together in basically the right shape.  The crew worked like crazy to keep what was left of the plane together while the pilot flew to friendly territory.  After it landed the all experts looked at it and said “A plane hit like that can’t fly!”  And then the whole tail section fell off onto the pavement.
The museum has added a section for WASPs.  The government didn't come up with the WASP idea, of course; they didn't believe women could do the job.  But women pilots campaigned hard, saying they could “free a man to fight”.  And they really wanted in; once they got the OK, over 25,000 women applied.  1,830 were accepted for a 6 month training course.  After they graduated, since they were not allowed to fly combat missions, they delivered supplies and planes where needed and flew as target pilots, which meant towing a target behind them for anti-aircraft and gunners to shoot at.  
It turns out that WASPs were technically civilians.  They didn't have real uniforms at the start so they used too-large Army surplus; they just rolled up the cuffs, belted the waist and called them "Zoot Suit" uniforms.  That’s funny, but what’s not funny is the fact that when 38 WASPs died in the the line of duty, the government would not pay to ship their "civillian" coffins home.  And Janet Bragg, the first African American woman with a commercial pilot license, wasn’t allowed to be a WASP because of her race.  Gosh, people were stupid then.

But for those who became WASPs, this was what they lived for. The group flew over 60 million miles and did much more than expected.
Frances Green, Margaret Kirchner, Ann Waldner, Blanch Osborn

At the end of the display, reminiscent of "League of Their Own", are current photos of some of these women.
And in the back of the building is a nice memorial garden, with plaques commemorating individual bomber groups.
I recommend this museum to anyone.  It's on my "must see in Georgia" list now.

Two years ago: Visiting with Mom
Three years ago: Good food in Portland
Four years ago: Arriving in Arizona

Spending $ and Luke Bryan - non-related topics October 5, 2013

Monday we took the jeep in to a dealership to get it fixed.  A slew of things have been going wrong with it during the last month or so; in fact, so many things went wrong at the same time that we thought they must all be related.  But it turned out several different things went bad all about the same time.  One big, fat credit card bill later and they are all fixed.  I thought I would be able to skip drawing money from our 401 next month, but that's not going to happen!  But the jeep appears to be working now so it's worth it.  It's been a good vehicle with not much going wrong until now, and we are happy we don't have to look for a new car yet.

Wednesday I went to a Luke Bryan concert, courtesy of the two charming ladies I work for!  The concert was part of the "Luke Bryan Farm Tour" and was located about 2 hours away in Claxton, Georgia.  Claxton is famous for making Christmas fruitcakes but we didn't stop for that.  Instead we headed to a big field outside of town where we parked the car, walked over to the stage area and set up our lawn chairs.  There were typical fair food booths around, plus a couple that you will only find in the South.  I have never seen Gator-On-A-Stick or Fried-Bologna anywhere else!
The opening concert act was Chancie Neal, who got her break when Duck Dynasty's Phil Robertson asked her to write a song for an episode of his TV show.  She's a cute young thing with a pretty good voice, but she will have to get better at staying on key in a live performance before she hits it big.  The second act was Cole Swindel, who just signed a record deal with Warner Brothers.  He was good to listen to and I will probably be hearing more of him on the radio.

The third act was The Peach Pickers, 3 song-writers who occasionally like to sing their own songs.  And wow, they have written some great songs!  The guys' names are Dallas Davidson, Rhett Akins and Ben Haslip, and I knew and loved every song they played, including "Gimme That Girl" (recorded by Joe Nichols),  "All About Tonight" and "Honey Bee" (Blake Shelton) and "Country Girl Shake It For Me" (Luke Bryan).

Luke came on last, of course, and did a great set.  From where we sat on our lawn chairs, the stage was far enough away that I couldn't get a good picture with my little point-and-click camera.
Since I can't enjoy myself without taking pictures, I took a few pictures of the big concert video screen.  Luke has a great smile.
He was good with the crowd and the crowd was good right back, except for the folks right next to me.  They were determined to drink as much beer as possible, shout at each other as loud as possible, and spill their beer on me.  After the beer-spilling I finally told them I was here to listen to the concert and not them; they gave me a wider berth after that.  The rest of the crowd was enthusiastic and fun.  Somewhere along the line a fake tree was put on stage and every time someone threw a bra onto the stage, it was draped on the tree.  That tree got pretty full.

Luke has a ton of top-40 hits and he interspersed them with a touch of hip-hop in just the right places.  
The whole crowd danced to "Crash My Party", "Rain Is A Good Thing", "Someone Else Calling You Baby", "All My Friends Say" and of course, "Country Girl Shake It For Me", plus a bunch more.  
It was a great concert and we had a really, really fun time.  Didn't get home until 2 am and it takes me longer to recover from that than it used to, but it was worth it!  

Two years ago: St. Louis Zoo
Three years ago: Portland
Four years ago: An Amazing Mission