That Tractor Has a Flat

I was driving up US20 heading north, exiting Orange, Virginia at about 40 miles per hour. Traffic was moving very nicely and Phlash Phelps was in the middle of identifying his City of the Day on Sirius 60’s Gold. I was in the zone and enjoying some time to myself.

As I was passing the Harley Davison shop, I noticed a green and yellow tractor parked in the grass on the side of the road.

First impression: John Deer Tractor.

Second impression: First time I’ve ever seen a tractor with a flat tire. Wonder if this is why it is parked there.

Third impression: Tractor is made entirely of square and round hay bales which is why the tire appeared flat.

How long has it taken you to notice something on the side of the road, accurately?

Janine’s Mission 64: Veteran’s 95th Birthday

Mission 64:
Wish this WWII Army Vet a Happy 95th! Paul Stenftennagel served in the Army during WWII. He turns 95 on December 8th, and his family will celebrate his birthday on the 12th. So you’ve got a little over a week to complete this! 🙂  I received this message from Paul’s nephew: My Uncle served as Senior Master Sergeant with headquarters Battery 63rd Field Artillery Battalion in the Pacific Theater of operation as a communication Chief Supervising Operations and Installation of frequent modulated transmitters and receivers also repairs responsible for the communication between division artillery and battalion and the control coordination of station.
His entry date into service was April 7, 1945. Is there a way your team can recognize him with cards for his 95th birthday?  Please mail your cards no later than 12/8 to:  Paul Stenftennagel 648A Old Nassau Road
Monroe Township, NJ 08831
Pictured below is a letter he received from Harry S Truman.  (Beneath the photo is info on Mission 61 – cards for our vets in hospice care deadline is 12/3)
ICYMI: Here is Mission 61:
Holiday Cards for our Veterans in Hospice It’s Veteran’s Last Patrol 3rd Annual Operation Holiday Salute!  Teachers, managers, families, coaches, associations, companies…this is a GREAT group project. There are many veterans in hospice care who could use extra love this holiday season. Please take an hour or so out of your day to write to them. Here’s how: Create your own cards, buy a batch of cards, send postcards…they will love it all! Send as many as you would like. The more the merrier!! Here is a message from Veteran’s Last Patrol: Last year we obtained and delivered over 30,000 Holiday Cards.  Americans across the nation participated in this amazing operation to bring a little joy to veterans on their Last Patrol.  This year our goal is 50,000! Can you help us? You are welcome to send cards to us addressed: Dear Hero or Dear Veteran. Our packaging and postage expenses for this drive to get these cards to dying veterans is significant. Would you consider a small donation to help? Tax deductible donations can be made here.
We’re motivated to deliver as many Christmas & Holiday Greeting Cards to veterans in hospice care around the country as we can.
Please mail your cards no later than 12/3 to:  Veteran Last Patrol
140B Venture Blvd
Spartanburg, SC, 29306

If you’re sending more than one card, just put them in one package and send all together. No need for individual stamps on each card.

November 30 is National Personal Space Day

This is the third year of National Personal Space Day.

National Personal Space Day “November 30th promotes kindness toward sensitivities and supports healing by recognizing everyone’s right to decide when and how to be touched, or not.

Touch can hurt. Germs can harm.

The day provides an opportunity to be aware of a person’s unspoken need for space or a gentler touch. When you see someone wearing the peach symbol, forgo the handshake or hug and offer a genuine smile instead and offer another way to show you care.”

All we are saying is give Peach a chance.

Taking Books to the People, Part 15: Biblioburro

He realized that many of the children, living on isolated farmsteads that were several miles along narrow dirt paths from the nearest school, couldn’t practice reading at home because they didn’t have access to books. A teacher with limited resources himself, he decided to do the only thing he could: bring his own books to them.

To find out how in Colombia Luis Soriano turned his dream, two donkeys, and a lot of books into Biblioburro, click here.

Reflections on Joy

The most recent two-hour offsite at church centered on Thanksgiving and Joy.

The swirling, twirling joys
lift and settle on 
the sun-driven breeze
of this golden fall day.

The soaring wooden beams
of the vaulted ceiling
soar heavenwards
with the  sighs and prayers
of praise and adoration
from the boon of
time and fellowship.

Individuals voluntarily joined
to lift, thoughts
and intentions
to thank God
for today
and hopefully everyday.

Second Poem

Pilgrim seeking God's joy
on a path strew with
Jesus prayers.
and monkey minds.
Some lift up.
Some trip up.
High-stepping, shuffling
seeking, searching
sighting glimpses
of God's joy
appearing and disappearing
like sunbeams on 
a cloudy day. 

Interview with Troy Prince, Pt 2

  1.  Troy, I’ve learned from you that being on the Midway is a family affair.  Did you all decide to be stationed on the Midway accidently or coincidently?  How many of your family have served on the Midway and when? Were you ever on at the same time as any of your cousins?

There have been four of my family who served aboard the Midway. We are all cousins and three of us were actually aboard at the same time:

  • ATCS Shirley Duane Bangerter, VA-23, 1963
  • LT David Scott Killpack, HS-12, 1989-1991
  • AN Marcus Steven Killpack, VAQ-136, 1989
  • ADAN Thomas Troy Prince, VAQ-136 1989-1991

2. What has been your most difficult information request from the Midway Library since you have become a volunteer?

I can honestly say I have never received a difficult request from the Midway Library. Some requests have required more research than others and there have been a few I was unable to answer due to a lack of source material.

3. What do you like best about being a Midway Library volunteer?

I love working with the other Library volunteers. Although I’ve never met any of them in person (I work remotely from Minneapolis), I feel I’ve made many friends and work well with everyone.

4. What types of information have you been providing to the Midway? 

,In the beginning, when the Museum first opened, I contributed the ship’s history research I had done for my website. I was also able to occasionally help with questions and provide various photos. Later, I began asking for various documents and started offering updates or corrections. Since 2019, I have written or contributed to several lists and projects. My main contribution has been deployment dates, locations, and squadrons.

5. How many volunteer hours have you earned since you started (the nearest 1000 hour level will be fine.)  And how long have you been a volunteer?

As of October 2021, I have now exceeded 2,000 hours. I officially became a Library volunteer in June 2020.

6. Have you planned your next visit to the Midway?  Hint Hint, the volunteer dinner in September would be a good time, if it works with your schedule.

I have visited the Midway three times since her arrival in San Diego: January 2004 (I rode the ship across San Diego Bay from NAS North Island to her present location), June 2004 (for the Museum’s Opening Week, during which I volunteered with the Safety Team) and March 2005. I have always wanted to make a return visit (or two or many) but haven’t been able to yet. There have been so many changes and additions to the Museum that it will be a whole new experience for me when I am finally able to return.

7. Is there a project that you would like to be involved in, but have not yet had the opportunity to?

To date, I am involved in every project I would like to be with and have even been able to contribute towards others I wasn’t. I really have so many projects I’m currently working on that I have to prioritize them in order to make any progress. However, it is nice to have some smaller projects to work on when I need to take a break from the larger ones.

8. Have you ever thought about writing a Midway related book?  If so, what might it  be about?

I never thought about writing a book until my family and a few friends suggested I should take the research I’ve done and publish it. If I ever do go through with it, it wouldn’t be a story-type book like Scott McGaugh’s books. It would most likely be similar to Pete Clayton’s books, but with much more updated information and photographs.

9. Do you have a good Midway sea story that you would like to share?

I only have one good story and it was when I witnessed one of Midway’s planes crash right in front of me:  On June 22, 1989, while in the South China Sea, about 90 miles west of the Philippine island of Luzon, I watched VFA-151’s F/A-18A Hornet (BuNo. 162908, NF 207) experience an engine failure while being launched from Midway’s starboard catapult. I was standing all the way forward on the port bow with one of our EA-6B Prowlers and watched NF 207 go down the cat with sparks flying out behind it. The aircraft became airborne, suddenly wobbled and went into the water directly in front of the ship. All I could see as it hit was a huge spray of water and smoke with a parachute floating down. The Hornet sank immediately, and the ship turned hard to port to avoid hitting the pilot, LCDR D.C. Conrad who was rescued soon after by a helo from HS-12.

10. Is there anything about your volunteer experience that you would like to share with us?

Only that all the volunteers I work with are wonderful people and that there aren’t enough hours in the day to work on all the projects I’m involved with.

Troy’s bio from

I started out in life as a “Military Brat” because my father was in the U.S. Navy. I spent my early years moving around the States and the world. After high school, I decided that I “liked” the military life so much that I joined up myself. I spent ten years in the Navy, with nine of those stationed in Japan. I was assigned to the Gauntlets of VAQ-136, an EA-6B Prowler Electronic Warfare squadron for the first three years. Our home port was NAF Atsugi, Japan and we embarked aboard USS Midway, CV-41. When Midway was replaced by USS Independence, CV-62, I cross-decked over to the  Indy with the squadron. After I left the squadron in 1992, I transferred to a two year shore duty billet at NAF Atsugi AIMD. I then transferred to another shore duty billet at NAF Misawa AIMD for four years.

Happy Thanksgiving

I learned more about Thanksgiving here.

Nicholas C. Rossis

Even though Greece doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving, I went to an American school so the family and I sort of do — mostly because we love the idea of a day dedicated to gratitude. In that spirit, I am very grateful to all of you for your love and support all these years! And to all my American friends, I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving!

But what is the history behind the celebration of Thanksgiving? The Washington Post, Wikipedia, The Vintage News, and All That’s Interesting answer that question.

Thanksgiving | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's books
A painting done in 1995 by Karen Rinaldo, of Falmouth, Mass., depicts what many Wampanoag tribal leaders and historians say is one of the few accurate portrayals of “The First Thanksgiving 1621” between the Wampanoags and the Pilgrims.
(Karen Rinaldo via The Washington Post)

People of the First Light

The actual history of what happened in 1621 bears…

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Cabrillo’s Tidepools Made the Top Ten List

These wonderful tide pools exist because they are partially restricted. Otherwise, they might suffer the same fate as other too-popular tidepools in Southern California. Hard to believe they are within the city of San Diego.


According to, our rocky intertidal made the top 10 list of beaches in North America for exploring tidepools. We made the list at #9, but one advantage of our location is we have rules enforced for the tidepools to help protect them.

We always knew we had a special place here and it’s nice to see others appreciate it as well. Have you been to any of the others on the list? How do you compare them? Leave us a comment.

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Beaver Full Moon–19 November

The Beaver Moon or the Frosty Moon are both names for this full moon. It will also feature the second lunar eclipse occurring early in the morning; a nearly-total eclipse with 97.4% of the moon’s diameter becoming immersed in the Earth’s dark umbra at 4:04 a.m. EST (0904 GMT).

Beavers busy preparing for winter
before the water fully freezes
Fur coats help ward off
most brisk breezes

Wait, I’m also a moon?

Nine Ways to Write When You’re the Writer-in-Residence on the Washington State Ferry

Have you ever imagined being a writer in residence on a ferry? Sign me up!

Click here to read the article since WordPress does not provide the URL when you hit the reblog button.

BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

By Iris Graville

  1. Sit. Place a folded sign with your name and title on the table where you usually work. A table under sepia photographs of Coast Salish peoples rocking a baby in a cradleboard, carving wood, and hunting whales. Some of their faces carry deep creases; many fold chapped and worn hands in their laps. They lived, worked on, and cared for this sea long before you did, years before this sixty-year-old vessel plied these waters at 13 knots, coursing between islands that now carry names of European explorers who claimed them as their own.
  2. Scrawl. With a pen in a leather, handbound journal, numbering each page and dating each entry. Record conversations overheard; observations of rocky cliffs, cedars and coppery Madrones, and jewel-like water carrying the 310-foot Tillikum on its route through Washington’s San Juan Islands.
  3. Type. On a shiny, 13-inch, three-pound laptop Coast Salish tribes never…

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A Mutual Inclination

I wanted to hike
but the body declined
I wanted to study
but not so, the mind
I wanted to relax
and the chair so inclined
The only agreeable thing
I could find.

I knew a master chief petty office that said, “It now takes all night to do what I used to do all night.”

Besides THAT, is there anything else from your younger days that you miss no longer being able to do or do without having to decide if it is worth the effort?

  • Easily getting up and down off the floor
  • Carrying heavy groceries in from the car
  • Running up and down stairs
  • Staying up past 8 or 9 pm
  • What’s on you list ?

November 16 is National Fast Food Day and National Check Your Wipers Day

You may want to check your wipers on the way to your favorite Fast Food restaurant.

  • Merriam-Webster dictionary first recognized the term “fast food” in 1951
  • Fun fact: The first Happy Meal was served in June of 1979.

Q. Which is faster, drive-thru or walking in?
A. Much of it depends on the time of day. During busy lunch and dinner hours, the line of cars might stretch to the street and it is probably quicker to go in to order at a fast-food restaurant. However, during slower times, the drive-thru will beat the lobby almost every time. Additionally, most restaurants have their drive-thru systems down to a science, shaving off the time it takes to complete an order and increasing the number of customers served through the drive-thru.