The Power of Memory

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking today. I’m not usually one to sit in a chair with my eyes closed and meditate on human nature but today I was doing that. I was seated with my eyes closed for nearly a few hours just thinking about the power of memory. Imagine a world where there was no memory! People don’t stop taking it for granted once it starts to go away, like everything else. But my memory is still great and for the first time in my life I was overwhelmingly grateful for it.

Without my profound memory, I could not have shared such stories like my fishing trip in Gresham OR or my times as a kid living the marine life. With my memory I’m able to turn a two hour session of sitting in a chair into a cinematic experience through my past.

Memory allows us to remember who we love, all the things we’ve learned in books. We would not be able to have a favorite color yet alone a permanent opinion without it. That’s how powerful it is, and it affects every aspect of our lives.

Wow, memory is so powerful. I’m glad we all get to take this time to be grateful for it today!

Ranting About Public Panic to COVID-19

I think it’s a good thing people are worried, but I also think the wrong people are worried too much about COVID-19. My grocery store here at home is empty of all products because people are panicking and filling their larders up like preppers. I say leave it up to the experts to panic and if you’re just a dad or mom living a normal life then do what you can to stop the virus from spreading but there’s no need to take the worrying into your own heart. There are professionals paid to worry about this and there’s nothing we can do except help to stop the spreading.

silver lining of covid-19

I’m hoping to do my share in helping to lessen the amount of worry with this blog post. You might be like me and see people overreacting everywhere you go. COVID-19 is not the plague. It’s like any other flue. The flue kills people every year. Malaria is still more of a threat. Or that disease that ticks give you. I’m not saying go about your lives as if nothings happening, because that would be delusional. But just have some hope. There’s a silver lining to this all that I want to share.

Have you read any positive press about how nations who a month ago were bickering are now working together? Not that we should need a pandemic to help us work together more, but nations are organizing and speaking together in ways that reminds me of us all coming together to fight off an alien invasion or something. It’s incredible!

Not only are countries working together on this but institutions are creating relationships with government officials as universities and hospitals seek advice and instruction from the government. This is people working together and now after seeing what we can do to stop a virus from spreading I believe we have all it takes to solve our world problems. If only global warming was as much in our faces as COVID-19 then we might work together like this to stop pollution. With this power to unite under pressure the human race can bend and move like water to conquer any problem. If you still need help seeing this silver lining then reach out to me and let’s debate. Seeing more points of view on this issue is very healthy even if you don’t agree with me, and so I’d love to see your point of view on this, so long as it’s not “the world is ending!”

Think about how positive it is to see the world respond together as one like an ant colony under threat. We unite under pressure and I’m so grateful to behold it!

My Story of Fishing in Columbia River north of Gresham OR

This is yet another story from my past. Being a former marine who spent a lot of their youth in marinas and around bodies of water, I have hundreds of memories I could share but this is one of the ones that are special enough to share on this blog. Warning: this story is a little rambly and has some adult content. But it does have a good moral lesson at the end.

river fishing

The Columbia River is of historical significance to North America in more ways than I can count. People have fished there for thousands of years and even as a 16-year-old young man I tried to remember that. I only wish I knew the name the Natives used to call it a thousand years ago. If I knew I would call it by that name, but I’m bad at research and am too afraid of using a historical name that is incorrect. If you know the original First Nations’ name of the Columbia River, please email me to let me know. Thank you!

Anyways, this story isn’t about Native American rivers and traditions but rather the foolish shenanigans of a modern American teenager and his friends fishing in a river without the permission of their parents. My dad and I were visiting some of my dad’s old friends in Gresham Oregon when they invited us to visit their cabin on the banks of the Columbia River and do some fishing. Being men of marine life, of course we said “yes”.

The day started driving up from downtown Gresham OR to the cabin by the river, which seemed like a long time at the time but looking back at it know it must’ve not taken too long. I remember when we “finally” arrived at the cabin and I saw my first glance of the river. Boy, was it beautiful, and the sight made the wait worth while.

However, the real fun for me didn’t begin until after my dad went to bed that night. I remember not being able to sleep because I could hear people partying in the distance. I had partied once or twice before, maybe a lot more than that, but still… at my age the sound of people my own age laughing and having a good time was like something from a dream. I closed my eyes and tried to go back to sleep but every time I came close to sleeping I would picture myself meeting the cutest girl of my dreams at a river party and for the life of me I just couldn’t fall asleep.

That’s when I sprang from bed like a rabbit in a foxhole and climbed out the window with a flashlight to investigate just how much fun these hooligans were having without me. I remember walking through the wooded bank beside the river for a brief time before spotting a dock. The dock gave a sight beyond my expectations, as I witnessed at least 20 teenagers drinking and dancing, all the while fishing and not only fishing but actually catching fish, which is what had caused much of their uproar. Right as I arrived they had caught another fish, and everyone on the dock jumped up and down to make the dock shake in the river.

I didn’t give much thought to it but just walked over to see if anyone would notice that some stranger was here watching all the fun. Against my shy hopes, yet making my previously mentioned dream come true, a cute girl noticed me and walked over. Of course, the first thing she said to me was “what’s your story?”

I replied, “I’m here with my father. We plan to do some fishing in the morning. I hope you guys don’t catch them all.”

“We won’t,” she said. “But you must be an angel because we just ran out of alcohol.”

At the time I was too young to notice that she was trying to use me. More of her friends came over and as quickly as any conversation can switch topics I found myself being interviewed about how many beers my dad’s friends kept in their fridge. I remembered seeing at least a six pack of beers in there when I had grabbed milk, and told them the truth.

The cute girl, while I was fantasizing about kissing her, seduced me into agreeing to the plan to sneak into the cabin I was staying in so that I could steal beer for my new friends. Today, I no longer consider these kids friends, but at the time I thought I was the coolest kid in Gresham. But I wasn’t so cool when it came time to actually stealing the beer.

As flashlights glimmered in the trees and I snuck up to the window, hearing exciting whispers behind me, I cracked the window open and did my naughty duty. Except when I got to the fridge I found that it was locked! I snuck back outside to tell my friends the sad news and the cute girl replied “no worries, I can break any lock! Let me have a look at it.”

flashlight

At that moment, the thought of letting a cute girl sneak into my window was only an excuse to get the chance to kiss her in my bedroom. That moment when I did have her in my room all to myself is the most vivid moment of this whole story for me. I remember thinking about that moment as a marine during a gunfight in the Middle East: when I thought I was going to die my only regret was not kissing her.

Now that I’m a little wiser though… I still wish I had kissed her. Instead, we snuck straight to the kitchen and when she saw the lock all her hope of getting more beer for her friends was gone. But then a spark lit up in her eyes and she came up with an idea. Whispering in my ear, she said “there’s a whole case of beer on top of the fridge.”

I looked to where she was pointing and saw that she was right. Why hadn’t I seen that before? I ask myself that as I blindly watched my new cute, fake friend climb up the fridge to grab it. That’s when all of hell broke loose, and the fridge came toppling over to crash all over the kitchen floor like a beached whale. Right away, the fridge broke, and at my age I was still too young and inexperienced to fix it, although I would soon become well versed in the appliance repair trade. So I was just as innocent as her as my dad’s friends came stomping out of their bedrooms to scream in rage at me. Upon seeing all the drunken teenagers waiting with flashlights outside, they didn’t even need me to explain what was going on, especially as the cute girl snatched up the beers anyways and sprang outside to flee.

The rest of that night is a little blurry but the next morning is still vivid in my mind. The fridge turned out to need repairs so my hosts called Appliance Repair Gresham to get it fixed and to this day I can still feel the blow of having to pay back my dad the $160 it cost to repair the fridge.

Boy, was that girl cute…

It turned out that much later when I was 21-years-old I fished at that same river again, although in a different spot, and I must say despite this strange memory I think Columbia River is a great place to go fishing. Just remember, if you bring your teenager along with you it’s best to lock them in their room, because locking the fridge just isn’t good enough.

game over

Working at the Marina as a Boy

Yes, I was a marine who fought. But I also was the other kind of marine. As a boy, I worked at a marina in Frenchman’s Bay, Pickering, Ontario. That’s where my step father worked his marine equipment supplies business with great success, but I worked for another bloke doing odd labor work around the docks. I want to tell you about that experience because it might be interesting if you’re invested in the marine life too.

marine life

This was back when it wasn’t strange to find a 10 year old boy getting his hands dirty, working 8 hour shifts. The truth is I wasn’t forced to do it but wanted to. I found the marina there at Frenchman’s Bay beautiful beyond description. My daily tasks working for the marina manager mostly involved helping people who had boats parked there meet their satisfaction at the marina. I used to look at how much people paid to keep their boats there and thought it was all the money in the world, so I respected the people who docked there and gladly helped them.

Sometimes I would spray off the decks and keep them clean, other times I would assist old retired gentlemen retrieve lost dinghies. Most times I’d be looking for something to do, because I was paid off the books and just did work that came up as it came. When I had nothing to do, I would go around and talk with people and ask if there was anything I could help with. I remember one lady said she would love it if I could catch her some shrimp with a net and that was one of my favorite memories. After catching a whole bucket of shrimp I boarded her boat and she cooked me dinner, telling me stories about her great, great grandfather in the Napoleonic war.

As I’m writing this now more memories are sprouting up and tears are forming in my eyes. These might have been the happiest times of my life. Perhaps my second favorite memory is the day I found a lost dog roaming the docks. I spent the whole day asking around for who the owner might be but after a long day of that my manager insisted that I should keep it and take it home if my step father would let me. The dog turned out to be very well behaved, a great addition to the family. I think now that’s why I love dogs so much. My dog Charlie should thank that dog, for that time in my life is the main reason why I treat Charlie so well.

Now I have the sudden urge to take Charlie for a walk around the water so I’ll see you next time!

California Dreams: Learning from Appliance Repair Modesto, CA, USA

My visit to California after the New Years was quite informative. First of all, I met up with some happy folks who also find love in fixing appliances. Visiting Modesto, California, USA has always been a back-burner dream, but a dream of mine nonetheless. And now that dream has come true with good results to show for it.

My uncle Larry lives in Modesto and we never used to get a long well until we watched the movie Apocalypse Now together. He actually fought and lived through the Vietnam War so that’s his favorite movie even though he complained about a lot of inaccuracies in it. Now he’s just glad to be living the California dream. I tried to understand what the California dream meant to him, but only learned what it means to me.

To me, the California dream is doing what you love; so in my case that’s providing appliance replacement parts for commercial businesses and fixing kitchen dishwashers for lovely people. If you still don’t know why appliance repair services saved my life, then read this post. But to continue with the narrative here, indeed, the California dream, at least for me in Modesto, was spending time with like-minded people and sharing stories of the past.

modesto ca

In downtown Modesto, I met up with some boys from a local appliance repair company there. These guys were not what I was expecting when I first talked to them over the phone. They work for a reputable company named Appliance Repair Modesto and were very prim, glib and political. It seemed to me they could have been lawyers if they wanted to. Then again, I used to be a soldier so maybe my judgment of intelligence is misconstrued.

I took my time with them, talking about how great it is to be an appliance technician and we shared a few insider secrets back and forth which will hopefully help our businesses. I’ll never forget my time with them for one major reason: they were happy…

So in a turtle shell that sums up what the California dream means to me, doing whatever makes you happy. So long as it’s not homicide or breaking the speed limit, doing what makes you happy is something people in Modesto, CA seem to have down better than most people in the USA.

Don’t believe me? Just go there yourself!

Say Hello To My Dog, Charlie!

I love my dog a lot. I named him after my great grandpa who I never met because he died as a young man in World War One. My great grandpa was a good man, I heard, and so is my dog, Charlie. I’ve had him seemingly for as long as I can remember and sometimes he goes out in the truck with me to repair appliances. He gets along well with everyone he meets but sometimes licks people too much, maybe because I like it when he licks me. Is that weird? I just know it’s how he kisses me.

my dog

Strangely enough though, despite how friendly he is, he prefers to sleep by himself in a different room. I can’t complain about that though, except for when I’m cold, because at least I don’t have to clean dog hair from my bed.

If you have a dog and you’re reading this, I wish they could meet. I feel bad because I’m so busy all the time and Charlie doesn’t get to meet many other dogs. So now when he does he gets way too over excited and other owners get scared. I have to tell them he’s friendly and not to worry. The worst he will do is bark and wag his tale, perhaps run in circles around dogs he likes and sniff them. But the over-excitement is intimidating for people who are used to calm, behaved dogs. He usually doesn’t bark unless there’s another animal. He loves to bark and scare birds away.

My 4 favorite things about Charlie are:

  1. His friendly personality.
  2. His soft black coat.
  3. His loyalty.
  4. His name.

The definition of “dog” on Wikipedia says that they are “the most widely abundant terrestrial carnivore” and I have to say that’s not surprising. Dogs came from domesticated wolves thousands of years ago and even despite how much I love my truck and my appliance repair tools he’s still my best friend. A friend of mine is taking care of puppies Charlie begot so I’ll have his breed in my family for as long as I live, and even when he’s gone I’m going to continue the name “Charlie” in my family, expect there will be Charlie 2, Charlie 3, etc.

Well, thank you for meeting my dog. I think he likes you, and I hope you didn’t mind his licks. Feel free to check back on my blog for more posts. I hope to keep writing over the Christmas holidays as I get more time off work. Bye for now!

Why I Got Sick Of Being A Car Mechanic And Started Fixing Appliances

Being a mechanic in the Marines was stressful, and I’ve never been quite the car lover. I chose the job for similar reasons many people do when they join an army. Growing up in group homes I had little options. When I finished my service in the Marines I decided I’d never work on cars or hummers again. Instead, I had to find another way to use my mechanic skills and that’s how I became an appliance technician. Of course, other options were presented to me like HVAC and carpentry, but I find working with appliances peaceful. I never suffered from flashbacks or PTSD but when working with gas appliances I do get a flash in the face sometimes, but that’s nothing compared to fixing hummers while missiles are flying over your head and machine guns are going off.

marine

I don’t plan to blog too much about my experience in the Marines because I want to leave that past behind, but you knowing the fact that I did serve in the Marines may help you to understand where I’m coming from here.

So welcome to my blog. If you want to know more I have an about page, and I hope you visit again soon!