Saturday, April 8, 2023

Are we finally liking logic?

 Are things finally looking up?

Or is it all just a flash in the pan?

This is an opinion piece. If you like it, that’s great. If you don’t that’s good, too. Leave a comment regardless of your stance. You are entitled to your opinion.
Travis Tritt 2022

Kid Rock 2022

I was beginning to think we might not see a demonstration of intelligence ever again. But finally, someone has made a stand for logic. Hopefully that action, though it might cost them a small amount will grow and expand so that we can all get back onto a productive, sustainable track to success for the majority.

I’ve been getting very tired of courts creating legislation. Laws that govern the interaction of the diverse members of society should, to my mind, be created for the people by the people. That is, a majority of the population choose representatives  (definitely NOT “leaders”) to create laws which ensure development, (growth or progress) and safety for a majority of the population in a way and for a result or goal that the majority envision and desire.

Not legislation from a body who’s whole reason for being is administration of legislation created by legislators representing the majority.

If a governing body did not receive a majority of votes cast by the populace they DO NOT have the support to create any new legislation that is not supportive of laws/legislation that already exists. Any attempt to create such legislation is counter to  the countries creation or constitution and thus a treasonous act.

If a governing body amalgamates with other elected officials who had not been completely supportive of their expressed/advertised policies in the lead up to and during the election in order to achieve a governing majority they DO NOT have the support to create NEW LEGISLATION but can only manage through existing legislation. Anything else should be considered destructive to the constitution and thus treasonous.

There are very few governments in the world today – barring of course the disgusting, inhumane dictatorships that claim all manner of benign governing methods such as Russia, China and North Korea – who have the backing of a definable majority of the population. Therefor there should be very few new “laws” enacted in those countries.

Having made statements that I hope shine a light on the disgusting actions of many so called “enlightened” governments I’ll now turn that light on the general populace.

There seems to be a strong belief that the primary focus of “western” governments or democracies is freedom.  I don’t know if this is because of the often quoted, “It’s a free country” or because no one was paying attention in school during social study classes. The freedom was never intended to be complete or without restrictions.

Individual  ”freedoms”  of democracies  are only meant to extend to the point where the actions of the individuals do not interfere with the safety or lifestyle of the majority. This includes religion, managerial methods and life-style. Religion would include cults that have members “drinking the Cool-Aid.” Managerial methods would include minority governments amalgamated with some peripheral body. Lifestyle would include so called “trans gender” persons competing in sporting events against those who have always belonged to their “newly acquired” gender.

There have been court decisions stating that those who have not reached
the “age of majority” and thus are without the right to vote, consume alcohol or even be licenced to drive on public roads, can never the less legally make a decision about their own gender. The primary reason they are not given those rights is because the majority don’t think they have the knowledge or experience to make such decisions without guidance. Perhaps the court decision that they can make a decision about their own gender was the result of some legal student’s reading of poorly worded legislation. Perhaps it was in response to a case that should not have been presented to a court of law. There is absolutely no question that it is one of the top five stupid judicial decisions ever handed down.

Another one of those top five dumb decisions is related and pertains to the sports world. Apparently someone who has competed as a male in a very physically demanding sport can undergo gender transition therapy and/or surgery and then compete with women in the same sport.

Legally that is; certainly not morally.

And if that is true the legal system needs to make serious efforts to incorporate morality. Without it, they aren’t doing that for which they are required.

And if you were six or seven in that aforementioned sport you can very well become number one in the new endeavor because the competition is no longer a competition. Perhaps you even leave the “competition” far behind because many in the sport, those who have spent years working toward the top, may just QUIT IN DISGUST.

If the playing field isn’t level, why even have the sport?

 

It is time we all made our voice heard. It is time to stop this destruction of our society. Make a statement before today’s society goes the way of all those societies that succumbed to an absence of morality and increased indifference

In the instance where a few have now spoken out it was a transgender influencer, Dylan Mulvaney and Anheuser-Busch who started the back-lash. Anheuser hired Mulvaney to be a spokesperson for their “March Madness” promotion and put her (?) picture on Bud Light cans.

First it was Kid Rock who spoke out then it was Travis Tritt who said, “enough is enough.” Since Anheuser-Busch is a sponsor for many concerts and jamborees it will undoubtedly cost those entertainers who have taken this stand (There are more than just two).

You can find this story at Country Rebel .com/ Bud Light Boycott Explained

 But how much should it cost to save society?

How much is logic worth?

Is there a way to reward hard work, intelligence and talent, perhaps by issuing top marks or rewards?

Is there a way to reward a good effort by demonstrating that more effort might result in a higher mark?

Is there a way to demonstrate that no effort will result in no reward?

And why would any company support a kids show featuring drag queens, a trans-gender person regardless of their past accomplishments, an unrepentant thief and liar (including politicians),  or anyone who incites violence.  It might – might – garner attention for your “brand” in the short term but history shows that it’s all destructive to society and in the long term, destructive for you

 

Friday, March 31, 2023

Self Important Idiots Do Vex Me

Responding to rudeness

and unwarranted condemnation
Here is an excerpt from "The Making of Jake McTavish", Chapter 6. At this point in the story Jake has had a successful winter, despite it having been one of the worst in decades. He is proud of that success and the prospects for the future. However, the man he has been working for has made a serious error at a poker game ...


One of Canada's Rocky Mountain Rangers, John Clarke

with 1776 Winchester

Picture from mid 1800s



Calgary cowboys in 1883

Three years before the "winter of blizzards"

 An excerpt from

The Making of Jake McTavish

Chapter 6

 Southern Manitoba, 1887

  It was May 16, 1887 when Egan and four other men rode up to the cabin. Jake had just finished having lunch and was on his way out, intending to ride around the cattle.

Jake was feeling cocky and proud of himself. Of the hundred and fifty cows he first started out with he still had one hundred and four. They had also increased their numbers with sixty-three calves, which was not a great rate of reproduction, but considering that the cows were all malnourished and many had wounds, it was a good number. Besides, other people Jake had talked with had lost far more. Some had lost most of their herds.

When the five men rode up Egan opened his mouth as if he was about to say something but the man riding beside him, the only one with a full beard, spoke first. “You get out of here saddle tramp, and be damn careful what you take with you. Everything here is mine.”

Jake hung his jacket on the saddle horn, turned slowly, jacked a round into his rifle and fired a round under the man’s horse. A dirt geyser peppered the horse’s belly slightly. The mount liked neither the blast nor the geyser, reared slightly and then bucked. By the time it hit the ground Jake had chambered another round and fired again. When Jake fired the third round the horse took off bucking across the prairie. The other four horses were backing, humping, and dancing. Jake’s mount, used to him shooting wolves, coyotes and wounded cattle turned his head to watch the antics of his equine brethren with some interest.

“Damn it, Jake,” Egan complained. “Settle down. I lost everything to him in a poker game. It’s his.”

Jake looked over to see if the other three riders were close enough to hear, then asked, “Everything? What about the pay you promised me? If I’m lookin’ fer a place t’ live, I’d say I’m in a bit of a pickle.”

“Now just settle down and keep quiet. I’ve a plan for that, but don’t interrupt. I expect it’ll take me a few minutes, now that you’ve upset Carter.”

They sat in silence for a few moments as the other men brought their mounts under control.

“As far as that goes, you could have had no place to live over the winter,” Egan pointed out.

“Now that’s true,” Jake admitted. “But I did a damn fine job on these cows an’ figure I deserve some recognition.”

“Well, you won’t get any from Hal Carter. As for me, I certainly appreciate it as I’ve already said. Not that your efforts will help me much now.

“My own fault. I know better than to gamble. I’m a good card player, but when I take chances, I lose. If I had followed my own rules I’d still own this herd.”

The other four riders returned with jumpy, snorting, head-shaking mounts. Jake still held a loaded rifle in his hands so they came up in such a way as to keep Egan between them and the wild man with the weapon.

“Now, Hal, you just take it easy for a minute,” Egan said. “Jake here has managed to make it through the winter with about three quarters of the animals he started out with and that’s a lot better than many have done.”

“Cattle ‘r damn thin,” Carter observed.

“They’re alive,” Jake said.

“That’s enough,” Egan said, glancing at Jake. “He’s right, though, they’re alive. I’ll get back to that in a minute.

“As for you owning everything, Hal, I put up the cattle and horses I own out here. That includes anything wearing an E C connected brand and most of the horses are wearing Bar 2. There are four horses here aren’t wearing either brand. Jake’ll be taking them when he leaves. And there are several other things around here that aren’t wearing those two brands I mentioned, like the food in the cabin.”

Egan paused, turned his gaze and unreadable expression from Hal to Jake, and then looked back at Hal. “What do you say you and your men take a look at the cattle and I’ll help Jake pack up?”

Hal chewed on the ends of his moustache for a moment and then nodded. He let his eyes flicker to the Winchester Jake still held under his arm, nodded again and said, “Reckon that sounds like a good idea.” He turned his mount away and the three other men followed.

So in the spring of 1887 Jake became a wealthy saddle tramp. He only had fourteen Canadian dollars, two U.S. dollars and eighty six cents, but he was rich in other goods. He had four horses, a fine, double rigged saddle, a short barrelled Colt pistol, a Colt Navy .36 and a Winchester rifle. He also had a serviceable pack saddle, bed roll, enough food to last a month and the pack covered with two tarps.

 

https://www.amazon.com/D.-M.-McGowan/e/B004V9WZVI

 


Friday, January 13, 2023

A Review of "The Great Liquor War"

 4 out of 4 stars

Official Review: The Great Liquor War by D.M. McGowan

Report






Post by Kelebogile Mbangi » 22 Sep 2018, 13:38

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "The Great Liquor War" by D.M. McGowan.]

The Great Liquor War is a historical fiction book by D.M. McGowan. It is set in the 1880s in the British Colony of British Columbia.

(Author note: In 1874 BC became a province of the 6 year old country of Canada)

Hank James is a young man who has set out into the world to find his fortune. He settles in Rossland where he stakes a claim and makes a living from panning gold. Soon, he realises that he will probably never become rich on that piece of land. Jack Kirkup, a British Columbia Police constable, advises him to start a freight business in Farwell where construction of the transcontinental railway is currently underway. Kirkup's advice turns out to be gold, and Hank is able to build a successful freight business. The railroad construction is policed by the North West Mounted Police. Thus, Farwell is burdened with the presence of two different police forces. Inevitably, these two forces clash. Because he feels that he owes Kirkup, Hank is pulled into the conflict, known as the "Liquor War". With the police forces distracted, criminals in the area jump at the opportunity to intensify their activities.

The Great Liquor War is action-packed and entertaining. It is told from Hank's viewpoint. Hank is quite likeable. He is easygoing and has an amusing dry humour which is edged with sarcasm, making his narrative hilarious!

There was not a single dull moment in this book. This is largely due to its colourful characters, from tough, no-nonsense police officers to pompous judges. Despite this, the book is plot-driven. Thus, there are no tedious backstories that drag out and delay the storyline. Because of the engaging plot, I found that my enthusiasm for the book remained high all the way to the end and did not wane.

I mentioned earlier that the book is narrated by the main character, Hank James. His narrative added to the 1880s feel and setting because he speaks in the style of the time. Most of the time, I found it easy to understand him, but there were a few times when his slang went over my head. Fortunately, I could fill in the gaps by reading the author's note at the end of the book. Here, the author explains which parts of his book are based on true events.

All in all, I greatly enjoyed reading this book. It isn't lengthy, and has a comfortable, slightly fast pace that kept things moving along nicely. I rate it 4 out of 4 stars. It deserves nothing less. If you enjoy stories about cowboys, or legends in the west, then I think you will enjoy this book.

******
The Great Liquor War

Click on the author picture to the right to
View:  on Amazon

 





Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Another FIVE star review

 

Review of Jake McTavish from TUTORLUCHI
Rating:⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐-(5/5)

The Making of Jake McTavish, by D. M. McGowan, is one 1800s canard set in the west. It encompasses unique storytelling with a chronological tale. This western tale features well-developed characters that are wholesome make-believe. The book is set in such a manner that it is easy for readers to actualize the atmosphere. Without giving too much away, the book follows a young man, Jake, up to his marriage till his wife’s rape case and murder. Jake’s response to the varied challenges makes up a very intriguing plot. 

There's a solid diffusion of ecstasy in this book. At first, I was a bit skeptical about the setting, but alas, I enjoyed every bit of the book. The language was easy to connect with, and comprehension was flawless. 

 

I would recommend this book to historical mystery buffs. Ultimately, this is a 5-star novel and deserves the broadest possible readership. 


 Found at amazon.com/author/dmmcgowan 
or simply click on the author picture to the right


Sunday, December 11, 2022

Time We Made Some Changes - and not just in Canada


 Lt. General Michel Maisonneuve (Retired)

Lt. General Michel Maisonneuve received the “Vimy Award” on Nov. 9, 2022 and much of the speech he delivered was published in the National Post. I agree with much of it and present it here for your consideration.

One concept I don’t support completely is his thoughts on Canadian ‘leaders’. I know of no one in Canadian Federal or Provincial politics who is fit to be considered a “leader”. Many, the majority in provincial office, qualify quite well as “representatives’ but none have presented or proven themselves as “leaders” of anything.

I very much hope that Pierre Poilievre will have the chance to prove me wrong in that last statement but he hasn’t had an opportunity to show Canada what he can manage. So far he qualifies quite well as a “representative”.

The General has been heavily ostracized for many of his comments but the items he condemned have already been proven destructive and those he supports in his speech have proven productive.

It’s time we made some changes!

'Making Canada better': Excerpt from ex-general's anti-woke speech that caused an uproar

Lt.-Gen. Michel Maisonneuve pulled no punches in describing what he thinks needs to be done to make Canada great again

The following is an excerpt from a speech delivered by Lt.-Gen. Michel Maisonneuve (retired) at a Nov. 9 gala in Ottawa as he accepted the Vimy Award, a top defence award. He received a standing ovation from senior military officers in attendance.

 

The Vimy Award. How humbling; what a tremendous honour. With this honour comes the opportunity to accept this award with a speech that acknowledges the spirit of Vimy and shares with you my vision for Canada today and for the future.

Canada — once we were great. We stopped the Americans in 1812, we gave the world Billy Bishop, Alexander Graham Bell and Lucy Maud Montgomery. We isolated insulin, invented the zipper and the snowblower. In World War One we mobilized 620,000 troops. (The population of Canada in 1901census was 5,371,315)We were victorious at Vimy Ridge. In World War Two we were brave enough to land at Dieppe, and we secured our beach on D-Day. The Devil’s Brigade remains the template for special forces the world over. Our small country boasted the world’s third largest navy at the end of that conflict.

We became internationally recognized peacekeepers and more than 80,000 of us served on missions during the Cold War. We beat the Russians on their ice in 1972 and a young man named Terry Fox continues to inspire us all with his unparalleled courage and determination. We gave the world the Canadarm in space; we won a world series. When the world changed again on 9/11, Canada stepped up — first to join the coalition of the willing and send in ships and JTF 2. Serving with distinction in Afghanistan — we still mourn the loss of our 159 men and women. Canada was a great nation and though we are faltering today I believe we can be great again.

Since this is my speech, I get to share what I believe Canada needs to do to take the world stage again; to be thought of first when it comes to seeking alliances, to be seen as a serious country once again.

What will it take? Well, I believe it will take leadership and service. These two crucial foundations of greatness for any nation have somehow become secondary — lost in these days of entitlement, “me first”, “not my problem” and endless subsidies and handouts.

Let me start with leadership. Leadership applies in all pursuits and at all levels. Great leaders are distinguished by the success of those they lead and the entity they lead — be it a country, an army, a corporation or a sports team. When that entity succeeds, we recognize its leader … and when that entity fails, misses, or misses the playoffs, the leader must — should — take responsibility.

History has given us many great leaders. Ask yourself: would those leaders have been as successful in today’s world? Well, let’s see; today’s world, where social media captures every move and word spoken — taken in context or not. Where cancel culture still flourishes and there is no call for redaction or amendment even when accusations are proved false. Truth is not a requirement; once cancelled, you are done.

Today’s world, where balanced journalism is difficult to find. The practice of presenting the facts — a truthful illustration of an event, a personality or issue that allowed the reader to form their own opinion — is no longer compulsory in mainstream media. The line between “news” and op-eds has blurred and too often we are subjected to sermons written not by seasoned journalists but by first-year graduates of woke journalism schools. Unbiased reporting seems to have died with Christie Blatchford and Matthew Fisher.

Today’s world, where extremism — once the almost exclusive purview of religious zealots — seems to be flourishing in all aspects of our lives, on the right … and on the left. Some of the most popular “causes” and beliefs of today are embraced by all manner of extremists with no thought of how to achieve this utopian ideal in a responsible or plausible manner. For example, Canada’s prosperity is being sacrificed at the altar of climate change as opposed to being used to help the world transition to clean energy. Throwing soup and paint at the world’s art treasures is as heinous as it is useless. The perpetrators should be punished, not celebrated.

Today’s world is also where taking personal responsibility for our own actions has disappeared from the landscape while the phenomenon of collective apologies flourishes in our country. Individuals and groups fight over who gets to wear the coveted victim’s cloak. But any role they may have played in their own fate or in injuring others is dismissed as learned behaviour, inherited flaws or generational oppression.

So I am not here to debate whether those great leaders of yesteryear would be as successful in today’s world. But nor will I judge the decisions they made in their time against the standards of today. Enough statues have been toppled; erasing our history is not the solution.

I believe that the most important leadership skills have not changed and are even more so today than ever.

Number one is communication — it is more critical than ever in this world of sound bites and mic dropping. A good leader ensures his followers know where they are going and how to get there. A great leader makes them want to go there. A great leader can take a seemingly insurmountable objective and make it possible to achieve in the hearts and minds of their followers. Thankfully these leaders still do exist in today’s world and there is no better example than Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. In his nightly address he clearly, continuously, and passionately articulates the mission to his fellow Ukrainians. Dismissed early on as “an actor, a comedian, a dancer,” President Zelenskyy has rallied the world to his just cause. He surrounded himself with good people, made difficult decisions and by communicating, has captured our hearts and souls with Ukraine’s plight. God speed Mr. President and Slava Ukraini.

Zelenskyy has rallied the world to his just cause

Secondly, cohesion, acceptance and tolerance. Today’s leaders must stop dividing those they lead! Hasn’t history shown us that success as a leader demands cohesion, unity and respect of all those they lead — not just those who agree wholeheartedly with them? Can you imagine a military leader labelling half of his command as deplorables, fringe radicals or less-thans and then expect them to fight as one? Today’s leaders must find a way to unite; not divide.

Leaders lead. There is a difference between making a good decision, based on research and consultation, and making a decision because it is popular or it polls well. The best decisions are those made for the good of the whole — not just good for friends of the leader. Today, special interests have trumped the collective good. Making decisions for the collective good requires

Courage remains one of the most important qualities of a leader. The courage of ideas, courage in the face of criticism, the courage to guide and lead. The courage to create a vision for the good of all. The courage to recognize a mistake and accept responsibility — personal — for that mistake.

Courage remains one of the most important qualities

The second key to bring Canada back to prominence is service.

Just a short two months ago, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the second, queen of Canada, died. It would be impossible to find a better example of service. On her coronation she promised that she would dedicate her life, whether long or short, to the service of all. Over the next 70 years, in good times and in bad, she placed the care of her realm and subjects above all else. She exemplified character and duty and provided us all with an example of dedication to service. She kept her promise. May she rest in peace.

The idea, the concept of service seems to be forgotten in our “me-first” culture. Service to others, to one’s country, to humanity must be a noble aspiration. The obligation to give back in gratitude for a life filled with blessings, peace and good fortune should not be innovative. It seems that Canadians have lost the desire to serve and the need to serve their country.

The military — being in the service of one’s country — used to be a most highly regarded profession. Today, I see a military woefully underfunded, undermanned and under-appreciated; a force where uniforms have become a means of personal expression rather than a symbol of collective pride and unity: uniforms are no longer uniform. The idea of serving in our armed forces is getting little traction. Could it be because the moral contract under which our military serve is broken?

Today, I see a military woefully underfunded and under-appreciated

Members of the Armed Forces fulfill their side of the moral contract that exists between them and Canadian society — they serve and are ready to serve in dangerous missions at home or abroad to protect our country and project Canadian values.

But Canada should also be holding up its end of the contract: providing them with the state-of-the-art tools they need, the best leadership, equipment, education and training to be safe and successful, and looking after them when they become veterans. In my opinion, we are failing. Because for Canadians generally, the Armed Forces are not important until there is a crisis, and successive governments’ support of the forces reflect that mindset. Our troops who have dedicated their lives to serve this country deserve better.

We are in Veterans’ Week, commemorating those who exemplified the concept of service by putting their life on the line for us, and honouring those who gave up their tomorrows for our todays. Let’s use them as our example to serve. If more inspiration is required one need not look far: let’s remember the words of two of the finest leaders of our time:

Margaret Thatcher believed “There’s no such thing as entitlement unless someone has first met an obligation.” And of course, JFK most famously said, “Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country.”

In the name of service, I challenge us

Soon the festive season will arrive; a season of generosity and benevolence. In the name of service, I challenge us. Offer to volunteer, no matter where: an animal shelter, home for the homeless, seniors or veterans. The most important gift we can give is our time.

I challenge us all to donate — instead of selling that surplus coffee maker on Kijiji, let’s donate it to Mission Services or Goodwill or the Salvation Army. I challenge us to be compassionate: give the panhandler enough cash for a warm meal but also ask them their name, wish them well and shake their hand.

I believe we can make Canada better. To find common ground with our neighbour and to unite our country rather than divide it. To apply our leadership and service; to live with compassion, tolerance and patience — but most of all to be proud of Canada and everything we once stood for.

We Canadians live in the greatest country in the world with almost unlimited resources, a tolerant and diverse people, and an educated population who can aspire to the greatest heights. We should be prepared to serve our country and be proud to do so. And our leaders must share this vision.

“If not us, who? If not now, when?”

Because, as Satchmo has told us, in spite of it all … it is a wonderful world.

Special to National Post

Lt.-Gen. Maisonneuve spent 35 years in the CAF and 10 more as Academic Director of RMC Saint-Jean. He testified in The Hague against Slobodan Milosevic, commanded the funeral for the Unknown Soldier in Ottawa, is a huge advocate for veterans, a long-time supporter of bilingualism and served as the first Chief of Staff of NATO’s Supreme Allied Command Transformation in Norfolk, Va.

 

Sunday, October 30, 2022

Remembrance Day

 The Eleventh Hour

Once again we  remember some of the destructive actions we have been lead into, often through circumstances but more often than not by those who are supposed to be our representatives.
As I have don in the past, here are a few pictures accompanying a poem I wrote.
Below that, my story inspired by a very good friend who was involved in the Battle of Britain and later training fighter pilots.
Bothe these offerings also appear in my collection of short stories and poems, "People of the West" A Timeline." I f you click on my pic to the right you'll see where to access it.

Native Sons in World War One



Deacon

By D.M. McGowan

 

 

 

Before men started shooting at him with 7.92 mm bullets Harry Burnside had been a singer. He stood in front of fifteen, twenty and sometimes thirty-man orchestras and sang the Dorsey, Kenton, or Ellington songs or whatever else the crowd in front and the band behind wanted to hear. He had worked his magic in Detroit, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and his home town, Windsor, Ontario. Harry thought it was only right to use his natural talent, his voice, to make at least part of his living. It had also been a great way to start a young life and learn the music and entertainment business from professionals. It was only incidental that it was the perfect place for a teenager to learn from the masters how to party.

Sometimes horrendous events are necessary to save a young man from himself. In Harry’s case it was the war in Europe that brought a young man’s party life to a close, at least temporarily. Of course it also accelerated the danger in that life.

Not that Harry rushed to a recruiting station in the autumn of 1939. Some of his young friends and even the older men he worked with certainly did. It was one of the older musicians who convinced him signing up for service was the thing to do.

“Folks ‘r sayin’ this here war is gonna be over in no time,” Marvin, a trumpet player said. “They is sorely mistaken. I bin readin’ up on these here Germans an’ they got ‘em an army. British ain’t got nothin’ an’ they’s gonna get whacked.”

“Are you suggesting we Canadian boys should go over there and get whacked, as you say, right along with them?” Harry asked.

“First off, I ain’t a Canuk, I’m a southern boy,” Marvin said. “Second, when things get tough they’ll be comin’ for us anyway. Might as well sign up for somethin’ you want t’ do instead o’ somethin’ the government thinks you’d be good at.”

“You’re country isn’t in it,” Harry pointed out.

“Not yet,” Marvin responded. “Now, you’ve been workin’ here an’ there along with singin’. I don’t got no income but my trumpet. A man signs up he’ll get three squares a day an’ a cot.”

Harry took a drink of his whiskey and water and cast his gaze around the musicians gathered in the late night or, to those who were not musicians, early morning booze hall.

“You know, Marv, I’ve always wanted to learn to fly a plane,” Harry said.

Marvin clapped him on the shoulder. “Now you’re talkin’, boy. Royal Canadian Air Force. What say we go sign up first thing in the mornin’?”

Harry looked at his watch. “Might I suggest early this afternoon? I might be awake by then.”

 

Somewhere between Windsor, Ontario and Ashford, Kent, Harry lost touch with Marvin, but not with men from the southern States. Almost half the men stationed on the airfield were Americans who had travelled north to Canada and signed on with the RCAF.

Though they wore Canadian uniforms and insignia they were technically in Royal Air Force squadrons. Their squadron commander was a British major, and Harry’s wing commander a Canadian Lieutenant or “Leftenant” as the British officers insisted. The other two Canadian pilots presently assigned to their understaffed wing were actually from Arkansas. In the two man barracks enjoyed by RAF pilots one of those southerners, Otis Tyler was Harry’s bunk mate.

“Ah hear we all getting’ new radios next month,” Otis said as the two pilots walked down the hall one early morning in late August.

Harry shrugged with one shoulder as he held the door open with the other hand and let Otis out into the humid dawn. “Be fine if they’re better than the T9. But if they aren’t, well, I’m starting to get used to being up there all by myself.”

“Mighty handy fur tellin’ somebody where you’s ‘bout t’ crash,” Otis noted.

“As long as they work and you’re no more than a mile away” Harry countered. “The T9 is good for about that far. You’re probably better off depending on a farmer seeing you go down.”

Otis chuckled.

As they approached the mess hall their wing leader, Lieutenant Mapes reached the door and opened it for them.

“Good news chaps,” the officer said as the two non-coms passed through the door he held open for them. “Just spoke with the CO. We stand down today.”

“Excellent!” Harry said. “Now I can have some real breakfast and more than one cup of coffee.”

“Yuh all worry too much ‘bout that coffee thing,” Otis said.

“Quite good policy,” the Lieutenant said.

“Nothin’ to it,” Otis responded. “Yuh all just take an empty cola bottle up with yuh.”

“I say, old boy, a bit hard to pee in a bottle when one is trying to avoid the 109 that is glued to your tail. Not to mention that bottle flying around loose in the cockpit.”

“Yuh all make sure yuh strap it in so it don’ fly ‘round,” Otis said. “As fur takin’ a leak when Gerry’s on muh tail an fillin’ my magic carpet full o’ holes, why ‘bout then I don’ have no trouble passin’ water.”

Lieutenant Mapes laughed. Harry grinned and shook his head in resignation.

“Since we aren’t going up to be shot at, perhaps we could talk about something else?” Harry suggested.

“Our Calm Colonial boy is right once again,” Mapes said. “We have a day to repair gear.”

“And talk about new radios,” Harry suggested.

“There isn’t anything to talk about,” Mapes said. “I’ve heard the same rumours as you men. However, I haven’t heard anything from the Old Man and I haven’t seen any radios. Other than the 9 in my Spit that quit working entirely the last time I was up.”

 

Later that day, Otis asked Harry to join him and some other airmen to study and review the local ladies and pubs. However, Harry had grown out of the need to wake up with a pounding hangover. He had already had years of partying. Besides, bringing in bullet scarred Spitfires had made the drinking bouts seem very unimportant. His mates, often a year younger or more, still asked him even though he seldom went with them.

An hour after the other pilots had gone into town Harry walked off the base and caught a ride into Ashford. He walked the streets for awhile admiring the buildings and the history.

Occasionally a Junkers 88 would fly across the English Channel very close to the water, start a steep climb to miss the Cliffs of Dover and release a bomb mounted to its belly at the end of that climb. The speed of the bomber combined with the force of the climb would cast that bomb for a very long way and it would land wherever the laws of physics, geology, and aerodynamics might decide and no man could say. On that beautiful day in late August, 1940 a building Harry had admired moments before and at that moment was no more than a block and a half away, disappeared in a cloud of dust, smoke and noise.

Harry Burnside had been flying over Britain for three months. He had been as far as France on a half dozen occasions. He had no idea how many dog fights he had been in but had shot down three Me 109s and crash landed twice. He had landed successfully in Spitfires that probably should have quit flying several minutes before. He had been scared out of his mind on those occasions but had worked his way through it.

That day, on the streets of Ashford, after the completely random bombing of a very historic building, Harry Burnside could not control the choking fear.

Looking around he saw the sign for a pub, the Anvil and Hammer. He stepped through the door and saw ale glasses stacked on the bar. He turned the pint glass over and said to the barman, “Whiskey.”

The barman could see by the look on Harry’s face that discussion might be dangerous. He poured a shot into the ale glass.

“Fill it,” Harry ordered.

The inn keeper complied.

Harry downed the whiskey and noticed only in passing that it was smooth, a single malt.

          He put the glass back down on the bar and said, “Again.”

          Once it was full, he downed the second glass.

          He remembered opening the door to his barrack, but very little after that.

          Much later Otis Tyler returned to find his bunk mate, the man who usually refused to go drinking with his mates, passed out on the floor.

          “Burnside,” he said, as he picked Harry up and placed him on the bunk, “yuh all just like them travelin’ preachers back t’ home; Preachin’ hell fire an’ brimstone then next thing yuh got some farmer’s daughter out behind the tent.”

          And that is how Sergeant Pilot Harold Burnside became known as “Deacon.”

 

 

 

 

 


Sunday, July 10, 2022

The “Cliff notes” version?

Is quicker always a good idea?

 Some time ago, perhaps last year, I wrote a rhyme about the story in the first novel I released, “The Great Liquor War”. I really don’t know when, but it would have been sometime in the last three years while I was unloading Diesel fuel into a large tank. I wrote or at least started several that way.

Whatever the time I recently recorded that rhyme and thirteen more on a CD. I’ve also collected a few pictures that, though they aren’t timed perfectly to the recitation are pertinent to the story.

I created the original story around a historical event, a disagreement between a police force created in 1859 and an upstart force created in 1873 called the North West Mounted Police.

This little video presented here is perhaps the “Cliff notes” version of the novel – definitely shorter – but its all entertainment.

I hope!

Or, at least that was my plan!

Enjoy.