Mr. Bill and Miz Mona

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Why I Love Alaska

Bill Says: Over the last 33 years or so I have had many an opportunity to visit with grinning tourists from all over the world, mostly with strong accents, while on walking patrol in the various towns I worked- especially the communities of Skagway and Seward. Besides asking me thing like, "Why is there an American flag over your post office?", or "Why aren't you wearing your Mountie uniform?" ( made me wonder if these people took history and geography in school) . These tourists were in Skagway, where they would also walk right off the cruise ship, stand on the dock, look at the majestic mountain peaks surrounding the town and ask me, "What's the elevation here", and I would respond with a friendly, "12 feet, sir." They always seemed to ask me the same things and one such question was, "Why do you love Alaska so much?", and I always replied with, "I love Alaska's freedom and its sheer wildness".

This last weekend we were able once again to experience Alaska's wildness and of course, the tourists missed it. The weather people, ( those courageous people who stand in front of the TV and hope to show you the weather patterns for a state nearly the size of one half of the Lower 48... and often they sadly fail), were reporting a small snow storm on the way to the Kenai Peninsula. We were to expect a possible 6 inches of white stuff... and oh, possibility some high winds. What we got though...I'd say was the worst storm in our 10 years in Moose Pass.  Heavy snow started around 11:30 a.m. on Sunday and the blizzard hit around noon, as we left church. Power was knocked out and stayed that way for the next 42 hours, along with cell phones and even our home phones. So if you called and couldn't get through, this is why.

To say the least, I missed Sunday Football and heard through the grapevine it was a great game.

Now on the east coast they declare a hurricane when a storm hits 70 mph. Will, once this storm hit, those same weather people now reported those high winds were sustaining a strength of 70-90 mph in our area and boy, did it blow! I thought some of those gusts were hitting the 200 mph and I half expected to see an old Kansas farm house come flying by and some witch character on a bicycle/broom on her way to OZ.

Trees were bending in a fashion I didn't think possible without pulling their roots out, and some of them didn't survive the ordeal. We have tree tops and branches all over the yard and at least 6 big trees now laying on the ground. I watched as one of our taller spruce trees did its winter dance, bowing before the wind and I just knew it was about to fall any second and close off our driveway. But it held, except for losing about 9 feet off the top and boy, my ravens are going to be mad. This was one of their favorite spots. When it was all over, we only ended up with a foot of snow a top of what we already had. Most of the new stuff was blown south to Seward...oh, those lucky people.

Brave electric crews from Anchorage, Cooper Landing and even Seward were in our area trying to restore power, but the high winds made it difficult for them to move about. Power line insulation actually burst into flames for various lengths of line and one reported fiery line running tower to tower was observed south of us. If not for the snow already on the roof, I am sure we would've lost most of our shingles on the old part of the house roof. (I still gotta get those 30 year old shingles replaced and keep putting it off- they cost too much and I'm naturally lazy. Besides I weigh too much to go dancing across the roof top with a lethal nail gun in my hand... I am also afraid of heights. Had to do with falling out of helicopter- sorry, another story!).

During the storm, Linda Sherill, co-owner, with her husband, Wes, of the old Moose Pass Inn and one of our dear seniors, passed away in the early morning hours. Linda was surrounded by her family and died in her sleep. Mona, who has already done comfort in-home care twice before for those preparing for the trip home to Heaven, has been taking care of Linda for some time and helped prepare the family for this day. When the time came, Mona stepped in and handled most of the things needing to be done, as to relieve the family from these... tasks. My wife is one incredible lady and she does this all out of love. She is also now on a first name basis with the workers of the Peninsula Funeral Home and all the nurses in the Seward Clinic. We will all miss Linda, but we also know where she is now and she is without pain. If you are reading this, please lift the Sherill family, especially Wes, in your prayers. Besides being husband and wife, they were best friends.

But yes, it is times like this I love my Alaska. True, we have a wood stove to keep the house warm and a propane kitchen stove to keep the tea water hot, but we still have to rough it a bit. Lamps were burning throughout the house and we had enough flashlights to furnish a boy scout troop and not forget a large container of peanut butter. We also have fantastic friends, like Chad, who weathered the severity of the storm to come over and plow our driveway twice and move some of the heavier branches with his loader. He does this out of love too. That's another part of Alaska- people who care for one another and do not ask for payment for such services. Food and water is shared as needed, drivers become available for a trip to the store and someone is always checking on you.

I guess that's why our population stays at that less than a million mark- our wildness keeps most people away. Bears and moose wander the yards, wide-eyed crazy tundra wookies in your store line don't effect you, everyone is armed to the teeth for that coming zombie invasion and that occasional winter storm that blows your roof off or puts your car in the tree is simply a road bump. We deal with constant frozen water lines, empty fuel tanks because you decided to eat that week instead of buying fuel, and learning how to use a water bucket to flush the toilet when the power is out. This is Alaska.

Yes, my only real concern in Alaska is simply that summer tourist- his humongous RV blocking my road at 45 mph and then having the gall to complain that ivory carving and scrimshaw isn't a true art and how they could get the same thing in plastic...PLASTIC!

But someday, it will be my turn again and I will once again return to the Lower 48 and become a TOURIST! I'll ask those stupid questions, get lost on the freeway and K-Mart, here I come....


Friday, October 28, 2011

Moose Pass Journal/Some Early Morning Thoughts

Bill Says: I got up at 4 a.m. this morning and thought I'd share a few thoughts with my computer. Mostly a one-sided conversation, ( there are those rare occasions when this contraption pops up with an intelligent reply and I promptly rush out to the kitchen to throw cold water on my face and wake-up), but I have found having a quiet chat with this nearly antique word processing machine often relieves some of the inner stress in my bizarre life. Much like this morning, while listening to the news on TV, where my 58 year old highly intelligent mind, ( it's my blog- I can mix sci-fi with realism), is struggling with taking in the events of today. I find myself comparing these news stories with the activities of the not so distant past. How the Fast and Furious operation is beginning to sound a lot like the news build-up, which led to President Nixon's resignation. It was called the Watergate Scandal and brought about the downfall of the most powerful political figure in our country.

I can easily, ( yes, the dementia hasn't set in yet), recall the anti-Viet Nam War protests held on the lawn before my high school auditorium between 1969-1971.  Crowds numbering in the dozens to a build-up of hundreds came together to voice their bitterness or simply some concern of the young men forced to serve in a far away land in a very unpopular conflict. We even had our school cheerleaders out there leading in some of the more interesting protest songs. Our school allowed this, mainly because it lost a lot of support in 1969, when it attempted to bring down the pupil's protest against a school dress code. A small riot developed and when it was all said and done, the dress code was out.

I often attended these protests, curious, but I never participated. I was actually a fledgling hawk- one of those John Wayne grunt and spit wanna-be warriors and a lover of mom's apple pie kids. Though, mom couldn't actually bake an apple pie and good old John Wayne never did serve in the military.

Usually wrapped up with either football or wrestling, forgetting my homework on a regular basis and giving the rest of my time to my girl friend, I was able to see how most of these protesting teenagers rarely knew exactly what they were protesting about. They blurted out this all encompassing message of "Say NO to Viet Nam and bring our boys home!" or "Hell NO- We Won't Go!" They were not old enough to have draft cards to burn yet and these very loud speakers with bull horns possessed little knowledge of what was occurring in Viet Nam. I became so interested in this subject that I enlisted right after high school graduation and promptly volunteered for Viet Nam- which they granted and flew me over there with only 24-hours notice. Stupidly, I forgot to mention all this to my new wife and I remember how they called me at my post, working main gate at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, to tell me my orders for shipment overseas had come in. Excited, I asked the two big questions, "Where am I going? and "When do I leave?" The desk sergeant replied in a calm voice, "You're going to Danang, Viet Nam and we're sending your relief out right now!"   NOW? My young wife was not very happy to learn our shipment was to be done in haste and I don't remember if she even talked to me as we drove across country to California. I left her with her mother, which probably prompted the "Dear John" letter I got soon afterward.

So, as I watch these protesters from New York to Oakland, I am reminded of those events in my past- mainly because so many of the people camping out there have almost no true understanding in how Wall Street works. I don't. But I do know this is the wrong place to be if you're upset with the country's handling of finances, jobs and other aspects of the economy. These people, some who have stated there just out there for something to do, should be march on Washington DC to get their point across- much like the anti- Viet Nam War protesters did.

As a retired police officer, I am taken back by the conduct of some the police officers in how they have physically dealt with these protesters, and again much like the police dealt with the protesters of my day. But the hundreds of thousands who marched on Washington DC in 1968-69 and smaller numbers in 1970-71, got their point across and the war ended. Our Congress needs to understand how, why and what we are upset about, but mostly in a peaceful fashion. Oh, we have a right to protest- for our beloved country was founded on this idea. BUT we have no right to hurt people, cause damage to businesses and turn our beautiful parks into wasteland. We must also be careful of the communist-socialist propaganda spreading professionals who are out there to spur a lot of this on- just as they did in 1968. For them their cause is the downfall of the USA.

We must not let the media control our thoughts, for their sole drive is ratings. Yes, they do provide the news, but we must investigate the stories ourselves through the Internet and other sources to ensure the news is true and balanced. Most of media, from newspapers to radio and TV is controlled by democrats. Only a few media sources come from republican or right-wing liberals, and even they must be checked out. Good old Rush can get a bit overhanded and carry a big wind that is unsupported by facts- so be careful. The news you might share with a friend can be only based on rumor and before long the rumor creates serious harm.

In closing I wish to state I am extremely unhappy in how our president continues to go outside the laws of the Constitution to get his programs into operation- bypassing congress in hopes to gain votes. I firmly believe, (I'll probably get a visit by those dudes in the black suits and dark glasses, who'll want to seize my guns for this), our current Commander in Chief, wishes to bring about the downfall of our country. He is a socialist, with just too many ties to communist and multi-billionaires, who have attempted to cause such problems in Greece, Spain and other parts of Europe. His association with the Labor Unions, taking in their monies for his campaign, is simply wrong as he works to put the union's desires over the health of our country. Too many lies are coming out of his mouth as he hopes to use fear to get his job bill passed. He says we need more police out there, but it is the police unions who have selected higher pay over additional officers.

Look, a union I was required to join to work for the State of Alaska, in fact saved my job, while investigating the Lt. Governor. But I shouldn't have been required to join the union and it speaks of the old boss laws on New York in the mid to late 1800's and early 1900's, when the knuckle draggers came out of their holes to enforce the desires of the growing unions. Did they bother to explain how all those dues were being used and if I agreed with their union support of different politicians or bills before congress?

Enough said, my computer is frowning at me and my morning coffee has grown cold. Love to all and God Bless your day.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Moose Pass Journal/Blue Eyes Part 3

Bill Says: Please refer to Parts 1 & 2 if lost or just beginning this strange tale.

As I walked up to the Flight Chief, outside the MARS Station on South Base, he begin to brief me on what had least as far as he was able to determine to this point.

Two people were working the swing shift at the MARS Site tonight. One was a female Airman First Class, (two stripes) and the other, a male Buck Sergeant, (three stripes). Approximately 30-seconds before the emergency call was made, the two of them had been busy with their machines, when they heard a loud crash outside. Though the female airmen first believed one of the vehicles had been crashed into, it was the sergeant who suspected the main gate was being smashed into. Neither of them was armed.

The sergeant walked over to the one window that looked out toward the gate and he suddenly startled the young female airman, by giving off a half-scream - half gasp, before feinting to the floor with a wump-like sound. Unfortunately, this would embarrass the young sergeant for sometime.

Seeing her supervisor collapsed on the floor, she ran over to the telephone to call the Security Police. This is when she had shreiked into the mouth piece, hurting my ear, and feinted to the floor only a few feet away from the young sergeant. Now most of us thought a girl feinting, upon being freightned, wasn't all that abnormal, but the poor guy should've saught reassignment to another base after his feinting episode...That was until other events occured and we understood why he was so startled.

When the South Base patrol arrived on scene, he discovered the gate smashed inward and was smart enough to park outside and walk-in, not wanting to destroy the gate further and cover over any tire prints caused by the intruder. He took caution, but remembering there were at least two people working inside, he continued to advance. He saw the two vehicles parked inside by the one entry door, but no other vehicles parked inside the compound or outside the fence.

He found the front door unlocked and discovered the two people unconscious on the floor. He first checked to make sure they were breathing and then took a brief look around before calling in. A combat veteran, his sixth sense was buzzing and he didn't like the feeling and this is why he wanted to flight chief dispatched to his location. None of the equipment appeared to be missing, nor was it damaged. Both personnel were first incoherant with the Security Police and the ambulance personnel, spouting off about some strange creature of amazing size. Due to this, their squadron commander ordered hospital personnel to administer blood tests for possible alcohol or drug usage. Both tested out negative for both booze and illegal narcotics, and they had no record of prior illegal usage. This greatly relieved the MARS Station Supervisor, who first arrived at the site and then appeared at the hopsital to check on his people. He was happy to see that none of the expensive equipment was destroyed, but the damage to the main gate troubled all of us. Later, when the two people were able to talk with us, refusing legal counsel, their separate stories were the same and they never had time to create a fable before the interviews. Doctors verfieid they had behaved as if truly shocked and their feintings appeared to be real. They were still excitable, while talking with our investigators and I later typed up these interviews.

After hearing the crashing noise, the sergeant first looked at his assistant's troubled expression and walked over to the window, not knowing what he would find. He first saw that the gate was heavily damaged and then he saw something that reminded him of a giant bear- his word, not mine. He thought it had burst through the gate and was now in the compound and approaching the building.  He added that this thing, for a better term, had these two radiating blue eyes, each one the size of a old-fashioned silver dollar. The eyes glowed, he had said. The thing was dark in color, even under the overhead security lights and all he could distingush was those weird eyes and that was all he could remember. But added that he had never seen such a creature before and especially around the site or even in the desert before that very strange moment. At the time, I thought it very bizarre how he couldn't remember more about the thing, but later....

Now the girl, who was 19-years old, she couldn't remember any shape or form what so ever. Just those radiating blue eyes staring back at her through a southside window, as the thing came closer and closer. That's when she collapsed and now doesn't even remember making the call to me on the emergency line.

Well, so much for interviews. We accomplished a thorough check of the place- inside and outside. I halfway expected to find a large California Grizzly, or maybe an escaped Gorilla, hiding behind the MARS Station. But we found no animal or some man in a animal suit playing some kind of joke. We also didn't find a motorcycle with a battering ram to take the gate down. One of our patrolman found a clump of hair on the gate, which was dark brown in color and felt strange, unlike any hair I could recall and it didn't feel like plastic or cloth. It was placed into evidence.

The Flight Chief summoned me to the other side of the building, the same side where the window was that the female airman saw the thing. The Flight Chief had his flashlight aimed at the desert floor, adjacent the building. His beam was reflecting off a smashed Coke bottle, one of those little 8 ounce jobs. There was a foot empression, or what appeared to be a foot empression right on top of the bottle glass. I say on top, because the broken glass in the impression was driven down into the dirt. The investigator summoned by myself, made a plaster cast of the print and took all the glass into evidence. He had also taken a dozen or more photographs of the impression, this side of the building and of course the gate. We never found fresh tire tracks that could've come from a vehicle smashing its way through. Only the fresh tracks of the vehilces owned by the two airmen. The investigator also took impressions of the tire belonging to all the personnel who worked at the site.

It appeared to all of us that the bottle had recently been broken; the glass edges were clean and shiny. But the rest of the glass was dirty from long exposure. Now, from prior experience I know I could stand on one of those bottles and never break it and I weighed 300 pounds...remember I was 6'7" and not shaped like some dumpy basketball...okay. So, I had to figure this thing was heavier than I. We also noticed that to look through this window, as the young airman had stated, the thing had to be over 7 foot tall and closer to 8 feet in height. The building was split level, making the first floor over 3-feet above ground. The thought of such a thing sent a cold chill up my back and we tossed around all kind of ideas... was it NASA? Was it from a UFO.... or was it a prank?

When the cast impression was pulled it revealed a flat print just over 14-inches in length and 6-inches wide. There were no ridges, no marks or scars- a real flat foot. There was also no evience of any blood from breaking the bottle. Nothing else was found at the site.

The Flight Chief insisted I ride back with him, so I turned my keys over to another patrolman and reminded him the vehicle had transmission problems. He was to deadline it upon returning to SP Headquarters. I don't think my Flight Chief trusted me, he saw that look in my eyes and probably thought I'd be out scouring the desert for this thing. I admit the idea had run through my mind- but I had a lot of typing to do. We didn't have word processors back then, but at least my typewriter was electric and I had a lot of white out.

Oddly enough, the very next day the MARS Site was closed down. All the equipment was moved and placed into another facility closer to Main Base.

I finally finished my report, attached evidence sheets and interviews, and handed it over to my Flight Chief for him to review. I also added the needed information to my running police blotter. The blotter is always provided to the Base Commander so he can keep an eye on what was occuring around the base, so it was constantly reviewed for content, spelling errors and mistakes before being sent to the Base Command Post. I can't tell you how many times I had to redo my blotter before I could go home. Everything looked okay tonight and I returned to the dorm, letting the mid-shift desk sergeant take over the reins. The oncoming flight was briefed on the incident and warned to keep their eyes open. An extra two-man patrol was assigned to South Base.

The next morning, I was awakened by an unapologetic day shift patrolman with loud knuckles, advising me my presence was required at SP Headquarters. They wanted my blotter completely redone and all mention of last night removed. I was advised the incident report was gone and later discovered so was the evidence.

Although I felt it wrong to retype the blotter, I followed my orders. I also wondered why the day shift guy couldn't have done it, but then remembered my signature was required at the bottom of each page. So, it took me less than an hour to accomplish what they wanted. I had to redo it twice due to mistakes- I'm not at my best early in the morning. I also only used three fingers to type back then and now use five. Having been self-taught, I tried typing school and thought they were trying to break my fingers and went back to my method. However, over the years I've learned to be quite fast with my five finger method. It was either that or get off work a couple hours late. There was one such night that left me with over 20 incident reports and I got off work some 7 or 8 hours later. The base was having racial problems in the barracks. Still, for some reason they liked my calm composure on the desk- probably something from having the daylights all scared out of my in Viet Nam.

Will, nothing happened for the next few nights, except for the routine UFO sightings that were called in from off-base residents and the few obscene phone calls called in by my intoxicated buddies. But otherwise, it was quiet and I was once again pestering my Flight Chief to let me back on patrol- he wouldn't budge.

Then....  sorry, you have to wait for the next part.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Moose Pass Journal/Blue Eyes Part 2 10/20/11

Bill Says: Hello People- it's a lovely day here in Moose Pass land, though a bit windy and snow is for casted for this weekend. Temperatures in the low 40's during the latter part of the day and dropping to 22 degrees. So, enough on the weather report. We are now on part two of the Legend of Blue Eyes-

In the late summer of 1974, I was stuck on the desk as usual and working the 4 p.m. to 12 a.m. shift. So far it had been a relatively quiet night; a drunk sergeant needing a ride home from the NCO Club to an angry wife and a brief fight at the Airmen's Club, which was broken up by the time the patrols arrived. With all the alcohol served at these clubs there always seemed to be a disturbance at one of them.

It was coming on 9:30 p.m. or 2130 hours in military time, when the emergency line began to ring. I quickly reached up and grabbed the special phone before the ring even ended, startling my assistant desk sergeant with my speed. To my surprise, all I heard on the phone was a woman's loud terror-filled scream, which was immediately followed by a thunk-like sound and I imagined this was the phone hitting the floor or table-top. This left me with an open phone line and no detectable background noises.

We had set procedures for such incidents and I grabbed up the other phone, while advising my assistant to go get the flight chief from the other office. I called the base phone exchange, which always kept an open tap on our emergency line, which would show the exact location the call had come in from. It took a young sergeant about 12-minutes to show the location- a bit slower than usual, but the call had come in from the base MARS Station on South Base. This surprised me, I was expecting a domestic disturbance from base housing or the woman's barracks.

As I dispatched three patrol units to the MARS Station, I was recalling what the building looked like; a single building of approximately 800-square feet and manned 24-hours a day by between two to five personnel. It was their job to operate radio equipment, which connected them to locations all over the world, similar to HAM radio operation. But this MARS equipment was far more complicated and extremely expensive. The station was located 8-miles south of the main base area, surrounded by a vast expanse of open desert. It would take my south base patrol a good five minutes to make it there. My highway patrol unit and a patrol I dispatched from the housing area, would take approximately 9 minutes to arrive on site for back-up.

I had the assistant desk sergeant continue to listen in on the open line in the event the caller came back on or if he could hear any other sounds, while I briefed the flight chief on the initial call and what actions I had taken.

8 minutes later, ( I had to record all the times in my running police blotter), my south base patrolman came on the emergency phone and my assistant handed the phone to me. He requested an ambulance for two personnel and our flight chief to respond to the MARS Station. When I asked for further details, he advised me it would have to wait and I hated waiting. So, I dispatched the ambulance for unknown injuries and watched as my flight chief left the office to respond to the location. I was getting mighty curious and had a strong desire for a chocolate donut. Whenever I got anxious, I had a hankering for a donut and my 300-pounds was evidence of this problem.

10-minutes later, the flight chief came over the radio and requested I contact the on-call Investigator and have them respond. He also add that since I'd be typing up all the reports, I'd better respond also once another NCO arrived to take over my duties. My assistant was only an Airman First Class and at least a Sergeant had to be on the desk at all times. I brought in a Sergeant from off North Base Patrol to relieve me and I took his vehicle to respond to the site. The flight chief felt my first hand look would help in what I needed to write up and I could tell by his voice he was somewhat confused and this had me really wondering what had happened at the MARS Station, as I drove south with my red and blue lights flashing.

I also realized my recently appropriated patrol vehicle was having transmission problems; the clutch was going out. I'd deadline this vehicle once I got back to headquarters and hoped the grinding gears would survive the round trip and then address this problem with the sergeant who was operating it earlier. He should've reported it and checked out another vehicle, instead he was up in North Base grinding gears and tearing up a transmission because the vehicle didn't belong to him. Or maybe he simply didn't know how to use a manual shift and thought the grinding was normal usage, I'd have to check into this. As Desk Sergeant I was also partially in charge of the vehicles used on my shift, a sad fact I came to learn early on when I was called back from a sound sleep to explain some of these problems discovered by the next shift and not reported in my blotter.  

The MARS Station is one large two-story open floor building, with the lower level sunken half-way into the desert floor; a split level surrounded by hard packed desert sand. The site is also surrounded by an 8-foot tall chain link fence, with coils of barbed wire on top of it. A large vehicle gate, which is always secured by a chain and heavy lock, is the only access. The lower level of the building is three feet tall and made of cinder block construction. The only door has four wooden steps leading to it and there are four sets of two windows on each side of the building and the area inside the lot is completely lit up by overhead security lights.

Driving south and grinding gears, I felt this location was one of the more secure sites on south base, especially since it was manned 24/7. I figured it would be pretty difficult for someone to break in and assault the personnel and why would they...unless someone wanted to steal all the equipment. That's what I thought, until I arrived on scene.

When I drove up, the first thing I noticed was how the heavy metal front gate was mashed down, appearing to be actually run over. All the Security Police vehicles were parked outside the compounded, not wanting to drive over any possible evidence. But it appeared strange, not like a gate being run over by a vehicle; the center of the gate was smashed down, but not wide enough for a vehicle to pass through and still secured by the chain and lock. I believed it would've taken a very large and mighty heavy motorcycle to accomplish such a degree of damage. Something like a two-ton bike at least and I couldn't remember any bikes weighing that much.

I parked my funky patrol vehicle and walked in to where the others were standing. The ambulance crew were inside the building. My Flight Chief saw me and he walked over to brief me on what he had learned so far.....

Part 3 to follow

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Moose Pass Journal/Legend of Blue Eyes

Bill Says: Long ago in a far distant galaxy- sorry, that's been used far too often and relates to a fictional tale and this isn't one of those. However, quite a few years ago, I wrote out the story of the "Legend of Blue Eyes" for my children. I had told them this weird and spooky story at many a bedtime and or while out camping- it was one of Micah Sue and Joshua's favorites. Now, as I said, this is not fiction, but a true event, which occurred at Edwards Air Force Base, California in the summer of 1974. It effected the lives of a lot of people. Later, I extended the story to add some details and provided a 15-page copy of the event to each of my kids one Christmas. Now, wanting to keep a record of such things in our new blog, I've decided to add this experience to my list of police cases and will present it in parts.

For information: Our son James, who is an E-6 in the Air Force, was sent to Edwards for a very short stay and he learned they still talked about Blue Eyes. This led me to check the Internet for any information concerning Blue Eyes and found several reports of a highly fictitious nature. These reports were made by people who were never there and the supposed facts they detailed never happened. This upset me some. So, this is the true story of Blue Eyes and I hope you enjoy it. If you want a sci-fi story about Blue Eyes, look it up on the Internet. Makes great fiction, but it didn't happen that way.

PART ONE: Now there were some who thought that strange night and the days to follow had something to do with the experiments NASA was conducting up in their high security area. We knew they did some really weird things up there and it was even rumored they were the ones who actually had the Roswell alien aircraft and three dead aliens. Their compound on Edward's North Base Area was extremely secretive, well guarded and very mysterious. I once watched a helicopter crash into the compound, which was mostly underground and the guards wouldn't even let us, the ambulance or the fire trucks in. Strange place.

There were others who claimed that night was all tied in with so many of the mysterious UFO sightings during that same time period, but a lot of the Air Force personnel who worked the flight line felt these sightings were only the highly classified Air Force and NASA aircraft buzzing about. These aircraft only flew at night and did cause some bizarre lighting effects. Then we had a few people who thought it was all a hoax, tied in with the recent showing of a "big foot" movie at the base theater. But for me, the summer of 1974 was a very real experience, one that still makes me wonder what really did happen in that desert compound and who or what, was Blue Eyes?

I had recently returned from a tour of Southeast Asia, where Uncle Sam had thoughtfully provided me with a all expense paid vacation to Viet Nam, followed by a tour in Thailand. I had weathered monsoons, unbearable heat and 200% humidity, along with little brown people trying to kill me, only to find myself assigned to the Upper Mojave Desert. This was where the summer's heat could hit 133 degrees.

A law enforcement specialist, I had become a member of the 6510th Security Police Squadron and a chilly night could drop below zero. At the time, being a city boy from the Los Angeles area, I thought these temperatures were down right cold, but little did I know... 4 years later, the Air Force sent me to the interior of Alaska. Here I was to learn what real cold was all about; 82 degrees below zero, ( actual temp), and another time when the windchill factor dropped to 122 degrees below zero. But I would come to love Alaska, where I met my beautiful wife and raised my family for the last 34-years.

Back to my story- To me the high desert country was a thing of mystery, a land where the imagination came alive and shadows of all forms, from dinosaurs to Martians, seemed to move about under a full moon. I spent almost all my free time exploring the 300-square miles of Edwards Air Force Base; 2nd largest military installation in the continental USA and 3rd or 4th largest in the world. Still, I have to admit I sometimes drove off base when I was on duty- but with good reason or at least what I thought to be a good reason. Once I chased a wild long horn steer with my truck and another time I fled from a pack of coyotes, ( I was exploring an abandoned underground facility).

My supervisors didn't always agree with my reasoning or my antics and they often grounded me by putting me behind a desk. I became the C Flight primary Desk Sergeant; handling the radios, alarms, typing the reports and a running police blotter, and talking with people over the phone or walk-ins.

I doubt if there were many people who had come to know this military desert as well as I did. For 4 1/2 years I patrolled it and took off on my own, while off-duty. There were of course some sun-bleached miners, who lived in some "Death Valley Day" old lean-to shacks just off-base and who I  found talking to themselves- but friendly. And there was the famous Pancho Barnes, the woman identified in the "Right Stuff" movie as the owner of a desert cafe/house of prostitution. They ignored the prostitution part in the movie, but Pancho was a madame and politicians visited her abode, while supposedly making a tour of Edwards. I finally got to meet her during a traffic stop, driving her massive Cadillac 30-miles over the posted speed limit. Back then she owned most of the desert the Air Force leased from her and she knew every square inch of that land, but her old cafe had burned to the ground by the time I arrived. I still liked to go out there and wander through the ruins- looking for a bit of history of all the men and women who had passed through there. Pancho finally died alone, surrounded by some 36-cats and the military took over ownership of the whole base. She never did pay for the ticket I issued her, she simply tossed into the back of her Cadillac, smiled and drove off.

The center of Edwards, or what we called Main Base, was a large island-like complex surrounded by a sea of sand. This was our service housing and barracks, stores and the various maintenance buildings, a massive flight line and two active runways. The runways ended at a huge dry lake bed, which was used to land test aircraft and these covered a distance of several miles in length and over a mile wide. This provided Edwards with the longest runway in the world and would come to used as the emergency landing strip for the Space Shuttle. Occasionally a SAC B-52 would need to make an emergency belly landing, diverted to Edwards because they carried nukes on board and Edwards was considered to be expendable if the bomb went off on landing. We'd all go out to watch it circle the base, using up its fuel and then come in for its belly landing. For one brief moment everyone on base would hold their breath until the plane came to a stop and then smile, when no mushroom cloud appeared to ruin our scheduled barbecue we had planned.

Edwards Air Force Base, named after a Captain Edwards, who was killed testing the flying wing, was the Air Force Flight Test Center. Assorted manufacturers brought their latest jet aircraft to Edwards to test and hopefully sell to the military at great expense. The northern part of the base, the area situated off the flight line, belonged to NASA and they conducted their own tests with some mighty funny looking aircraft. . This brought great delight to the local UFO society. Far across the lake bed from the main base area was an area known as the rocket site. It had a longer and formal name, but we just called it the rocket site. Here they tested among other things- rocket engines. They also had numerous labs, some of them underground and all highly classified. We would sometimes refer to them as the magic shops and I am here to tell you, some of the strangest things happened up there and these are a story in themselves, but that is for a later time.

After arriving at Edwards, I was quickly grabbed up by a very intelligent flight chief, who knew a good thing when he saw it. But in truth, he was extremely short handed at the time and needed a sergeant who could count all 11 of his fingers and twelve of his toes. He made me the desk sergeant, placing me in charge of 28-30 patrols and two gate posts. Most of our incidents concerned theft, disorderly conduct, domestic problems in housing, criminal mischief and assault, drug and alcohol violations, and vehicle accidents. My job was to also represent the Base Commander as visitors passed through the base all the time. Edwards was an open installation back then and outside the flight line area, the two highways that ran through the base were used by civilian traffic taking a shortcuts to either Los Angeles, Mojave and Lancaster or other communities in all four directions. We had special tickets to issue to civilians and even had a magistrate come on base to conduct traffic court. If we had to arrest a civilians, they were transported to either the LA County Sheriff or Kern County Sheriff- depending on where the offense was since the country line came right through the center of the base.

Some of the visitors would get lost and come in to Security Police Headquarters and meet me or my over worked and picked on assistant desk sergeant. I was training him or her and made sure they knew what their responsibilities were... along with some of mine. I needed to stay fresh to meet the public and I also needed to learn how to type. I thought my fingers were going to walk off and leave me.

Occasionally, tears flowing from my eyes, I prostrated myself before my flight chief and begged to escape my prison. Tired of my whining,  he'd let me escape and go on patrol. I'd usually have all-base patrol, which allowed me to go anywhere I wanted and of course, I'd head for the desert. One of the laws on base was no vehicle traffic in the desert after dark, this was due to people becoming lost and dying out there. One time my partner and I busted two men running guns to the Boron Mines, using the base's desert area to reach the striking miners. I also found a case of dynamite and one time, ( fortunate or cursed), I found an old World War I bomb.  Boy did I feel foolish when the bomb guys told me it was still live, especially after picking it up. It was a photo flash bomb, used to light up the area to show bomb damage. When they blew it up, it was brighter than the sun and would have simply evaporated me had it gone off when I dropped it. Again, my angels were watching over me. Poor guys work overtime in my life.

There was the time I had a 26-mile high speed chase after catching a guy who was stealing copper from the Rocket site. The chase ended when he plowed into a California Highway Patrol roadblock and destroyed two patrol cruisers. He ended up in their custody and was on the way to the hospital. So, I liked to stay busy on patrol and often caused my flight chief some heart ache, which landed me back on the desk until the next time I felt the walls closing in and began my whimpering scene.

He got mad at me once, can't remember what I did, but he put me on flight line patrol. So... I impounded enough tools, left behind tail stands and misplaced radios to provide for 15 incident reports. The desk sergeant was not happy, especially when a complaint call came in from one of the aircraft squadrons. What I did was certainly part of my job, but the colonel was not too happy. He knew the base commander would be receiving a report, showing how his men were leaving behind their tools and radios. Then I was back on the desk the following night and my flight chief was not talking to me. Good thing we were friends.

But on that summer night of 1974, I was on the desk and working the swing shift- 4 p.m. to 12 a.m. or 1600 to 2400 hours in military time. So far it had been a quiet night. It was about 9:30 p.m. when the emergency line began to ring... this was pre- 9-1-1 days.

Part Two to follow soon.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Moose Pass Journal/Books/ 9-20-2011

Bill Says: This synopsis is for my second book in the "Badge and the Cross" series and is entitled, "A Political Action". I have recently finished editing it and was surprised to see I had written this story in 2005. I have never sent it out, but will enter it into some contests in the future, unless I acquire an agent or publisher beforehand.

Synopsis: Terrorism strikes in the heart of downtown Toronto, with an early morning explosion. The Provincial Parliament Building is decimated by a device similar to the one used in the Oklahoma bombing. Dozens of people are killed and hundreds more injured. Is this the act of al-Qaeda fanatics or domestic terrorists, or possibly a despicable plan put into action by greedy men, who wish  to masquerade their heinous crimes of insurance fraud under the guise of international terrorism?

This story begins in May 1969, when a UH-1 Huey helicopter is shot down north of Chu Lai in South Viet Nam. A Marine patrol is sent out to locate the crash site and finds only two survivors. Evidence shows how an 8-man Viet Cong unit had reached the site first and was apparently taken by surprise; thinking everyone was dead they are caught unaware and killed by a seriously wounded Army chaplain, Captain Anthony Rogers. Hoping to protect the wounded soldier with him, Rogers uses the man's M-16 before loss of blood renders him unconscious.

The tale jumps ahead to present day and the Toronto bombing by terrorists claiming to be the infamous Front de Liberation du Quebec ( Liberty for Quebec); a faction, which in real-life actually operated in Eastern Canada in the late 1960's and early 1970's. But this new faction, known simply in the story as the FLQ, are not working for some great cause, but in fact they are paid mercenaries. This group is being financed by five wealthy French-Canadian industrialists, who intend to use the FLQ to mislead the authorities in a basic grand scheme to defraud provincial and federal governments, and property insurance companies to the tune of 300 Million dollars. The FLQ will attack and destroy occupied or empty buildings; mostly under long term lease to the the government and where property values have soared. Their plan is to rebuild massive office buildings, malls and apartment complexes on this land, with no concern for the dead and injured brought about by their scheme.

Leader of the 12 men and women of the FLQ is Steve Munroe; a half-crazy militant radical of French-Canadian and Sioux bloodlines. His second-in-command is an explosives expert with an alias of Hugo Rice; former East German Army Officer turned cold-blooded mercenary.

Captain Jean-Paul Leon, Sgt. Steve Adler and Sgt. Brady Wilkens of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Intelligence Division are assigned to investigate the bombing and work with the Toronto Police Department. After a second bombing of a massive multi-level parking garage, killing a woman and reducing the structure to rubble, Captain Leon angers the FLQ with his derogatory comments made during a TV interview. This infuriates Monroe and results in the FLQ fire-bombing Leon's home and killing his wife and two sons.

Upset over Monroe's personal vendetta against the RCMP captain and his poor attitude in general, the financiers no longer have faith in Munroe's ability to carry out the rest of the operation. They have a change in plans and order the FLQ to Alaska.

Due to salmon fishery concerns, Canadian fishermen use their boats to surround the Alaska ferry, M/V Columbia inside Prince Rupert Harbor. A US Coast Guard vessel is sent in, causing the Canadians to respond with a Canadian Navy vessel. Within hours of their arrival, Canadian fishermen cease their blockade and the ferry sails north. But due to rising hostilities in Canadian and Alaska waters between fishermen, the Canadian Prime Minister travels to Alaska to meet with the Governor. Travel arrangements are made; they will meet in Fairbanks and travel by VIP train car to Anchorage, with an overnight stop at Mt. McKinley National Park.

Broken up into teams and traveling different routes, the FLQ meets in Fairbanks with plans to stop the train south of the park and kidnap the Prime Minister and Governor. Hugo has stopped in Montana and met with local militia to acquire weapons needed for the operation and this includes two-stinger missiles.

Fearing the current Prime Minister, who supports a free Quebec, is too weak politically to be re-elected, the five industrialists put this operation into effect to make him an international hero and hopefully sworn into office for another term. The FLQ will hold him for ransom for 5-days and then allow him and the Governor to escape. After which, Hugo has orders to kill the members of the FLQ, including Munroe.

The FLQ use explosives to cause an avalanche and stop the train. The ambush results in the killing of 13-people and wounding another 7. While they hold 8 passenger cars filled with tourists under their guns, the FLQ remove the politicians and vanish into the woods to a prearranged location. This now includes an Alaska US Senator, who was along for the meeting. But after the ambush, things go bad for the FLQ. An 800-pound grizzly sow protecting its cubs attacks and kills two of the terrorists, including Munroe's girl friend. Munroe begins to going insane from losing his girl friend and takes his anger out on the US Senator, killing her. When he threatens to kill the other two politicians, he is put in restraints. Hugo shoots down a State Trooper helicopter with a stinger missile and kills the four troopers in it. The FLQ is now on the run as a forest fire results.

A vengeful Captain Leon goes on leave and travels to Fairbanks. Relying on friendships he made with local Fairbanks Police years ago, he is put in touch with Alaska Railroad Special Investigator Greg Hansen. A former Trooper, Greg is sympathetic with the RCMP captain's plan to locate and kill the FLQ. Wishing to avenge the four dead troopers and not wanting to see the terrorists paraded before the international courts and made into heroes, Hansen joins with Leon and they travel to Cantwell, Alaska. Looking for a guide, a trooper friend from the Cantwell Post introduces them to a partially disabled trapper by the name of Anthony Rogers, ( former Army Chaplain, who resents God for what happened to him in Viet Nam and the 8-men that haunt his dreams).

For the past few nights, Tony Rogers was plagued with nightmares, unlike the ones he had grown accustomed to  from his Viet Nam experience. He sees himself leading two complete strangers through the bush. When he meets Leon and Hansen, he knows that God is once more at work here and he finally agrees to take them to where he suspects the FLQ are holding the hostages. He has hunted and trapped this area for years and knows all the trails and where several cabins were built by trappers.

Meanwhile the FBI's prestigious Hostage/Rescue Team has arrived and they are on the trail, assisted by members of the Alaska Army National Guard, US and Canadian Secret Service and Alaska State Troopers.  
Hansen had earlier attempted to join the rescue party but was told to remain in Fairbanks.

Fearful of losing another helicopter, surveillance is being done by high flying Alaska Air National Guard jets.
There is also a boy scout troops in the area, with no idea anything is going on and they stumble into an ambush site set up by Alaska National Guardsmen.

Unauthorized and unexpected, the three man rescue team of Rogers, Hansen and Leon locates and then takes on the FLQ. In the shoot-out that follows, Rogers is wounded and a terrorist loses his life to protect the Governor; a bond had developed between the two men. Hugo has wounded Leon and thinking him dead, holds the Canadian Prime Minister hostage. Hugo orders Rogers and Hansen to surrender, the the Prime Minister would be killed. Fearing for the lives of the two politicians, they offer up their guns. but before Hugo can shoot Hansen, a blood-curdling cry of rage comes from behind Hugo; Captain Leon comes flying from behind and impales a surprised Hugo with his sheath knife. Both Hugo and Leon stumble backwards and over a 50-foot cliff and to their deaths. Moments later, the FBI rescue party arrives on scene.

Back in Toronto, Sgt Wilkens and Sgt Adler's investigation uncovers the five industrialists and arrests are made. The investigation also reveals 9 provincial and federal employees, including the Prime Minister and his Chief of Staff, were on the payroll of the five men. Certain properties and contracts were routinely awarded to one of the five industrialist's many shadow companies.

In the conclusion, Captain Leon is posthumously decorated for valor and buried with his family. Tony Roger begins to pastor a small church in Cantwell and at the Governor's request, Hansen returns to his former lieutenant's position in the troopers.

In another planned story, Lt. Hansen and Pastor Rogers will be brought back together for a murder case in Cantwell.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Moose Pass Journal/Book Synopsis/9-15-2011

Bill Says: I've completed two manuscripts into a series I entitle, "Badge and the Cross". This first one is subtitled, "Stronghold".

Synopsis: 1989 Klondike Gold Rush- Skagway, Alaska and final port-of-call for dreamy-eyed fortune hunters; miners, get-rich-quick con artists and covetous opportunists in frilly dresses. They lived in a muddy tent city of 5,000 people, located on the rocky shores of the Upper Lynn Canal and farthest northern point of the Inland Passage.

From the earliest days, Skagway was a sin-filled town and the only law was handled with the fastest gun or the blade of a knife. Right or wrong was often decided by dangerous gangs of thugs, who controlled the prostitution, gambling and liquor sales. Many a miner died, either from natural hazards in climbing the treacherous Chilkoot Trail, or by the hands of evil men and women waiting to get rich off the hard labors of weary men. As the town grew wild with its heinous acts of debauchery, Skagway's cornerstone was laid in murder, suicide, insanity and lust,violence and mayhem, prostitution and thievery.

This tale begins aboard the Alaska ferry M/V Taku, heading north  and out of Seattle. Jake Roberts, (primary character), is returning to Skagway following a lengthy absence. While en route, he recounts those 10-months he served as a police officer in Skagway and how, on a Halloween night, he was seriously wounded from a young assassin's blade. The incident left his life in shambles and a long painful recovery.

Jake was a brand new Christian and fairly new civilian police officer when he stood alongside his bible believing wife, a former occultist, and faced down a collection of dark spiritual forces. Meanwhile, a satanic cult held Skagway in a tightening grasp of demonic oppression.

With a constant flow of bar fights to break-up, seasonal soft ball tournaments with rowdy ball players, attempted suicides and a murder investigation to handle, plus deterring prostitutes from operating in town, Jake is called upon to investigate serious and occasional fatal accidents, between chasing ghosts from haunted hotel rooms and bars, and dealing with an unruly gigantic stuff grizzly bear. He has his hands full, as Skagway comes under siege with the arrival of over 250,000 summer tourists. He is later grieved to investigate a teenage homicide of a local youth and struggles to keep his job, while working under an anti-Christian Police Chief, who belongs to the town's Masonic Order.

Things take a turn for the worse when Jake is called upon to investigate  the desecration of an historic grave site at the request of the US Park Service. Human bones were used for occultist altars and members of a secret clan make violent war against Jake and eventually attempt to murder him in order to keep their identities secret.

Now after years of recovery, therapy and later attending Bible College, Jake returns to Skagway. He is the new pastor and with his wife by his side, they will do whatever is necessary to bring the Lord's Salvation to the lost people of Skagway. They also desire to dethrone the Dark One who has reigned over this Alaskan coastal community for far too long.

Note: With the exception of the attempted murder of Officer Jake Roberts, all of the police cases used in this story actually occurred in Skagway, between February 1982 and September 1984. Names were changed. But the haunts and ghosts are on record, including the references to the stuffed 7-foot tall grizzly bear mount that often roams through the museum at night- even though it is secured to the wall by a length of heavy steel chain. The Skagway Asylum, built to handle the many depressed and insane miners of 1898-99, was torn down in the 1950's and only a few blocks of ruble remain. The U.S. Marshall's Office of the early 1900's, which once held Eric Stroud, "Bird Man of Alcatrz", was used for a recorded 12-suicides and is still used by the Skagway Police Department.   

Monday, September 5, 2011

Moose Pass Journal/Thoughts/9-5-2011

Bill Says: I guess you could add this to my wife's post concerning my mother and the pain and down right exhaustion of watching her die ever so slowly. In my lifetime, which involved losing my father, an earlier wife in the war, my brother and too many fellow soldier friends in the war, I have seen my fare share of death. I experienced even more in my years as a cop. But in this case, watching my mother slowly dwindle away, pound by pound, over a period of months has really and gradually just zapped the life out of me. The depression of impending death hangs over the house like a fog. Yet, it has also given me a time to think so-called deep thoughts, while I hold her hand and play solitary on the computer, concerning the relationship between parents and kids. But I wish to begin with saying how fortunate I am to have a beautiful and loving wife, who is capable of great giving, who has offered up some 21-years by taking care of my mom. I think of her sister Sally, who has done much the same thing over the years for her mother-in-law. These ladies came from good stock and I hope my children will learn from this experience.

Most of this is simply my putting my thoughts onto this record and I sincerely hope I do not bore the reader too badly with my wanderings. I will return to my books in the next blog.

My dad, who was often thought of as my hero, next to John Wayne, suddenly left our home in California when I was 9 years old. My older brother and I never saw my parents fight and later, my mom wished she had forgiven my dad for an affair. But she ordered him out and sought a divorce and then she was alone for the next 20-years. He moved far away to Arizona and eventually met and married my mother # 2- Bea.

In those early years I saw him two weeks out of the summer and the occasional Christmas. He rarely called, and seldom wrote, both of which were hard for him. Yet I always knew he was there. He was prompt with child support payments and paid for my braces. Later, as a teenager I was able to spend whole summers with him and we had great adventures across the Arizona desert.

But when I graduated from high school and he wasn't there, I was really hurt. He never saw me wrestle, play football or toss a 12 lb shot-put through the air. He wasn't there for the varsity letter ceremonies or when I simply needed advice about girls. My mom did it all. She was at every game, every wrestling match and often came to weekend practices to gauge my distances with that hefty lead ball. We had a very special friendship. My siblings, who were older, were all gone by the time I entered high school, so it was just the two of us.

After high school, my dad and I grew apart and we often fought over the phone or through the occasional letter. He rarely liked the women I chose to marry; Mary, when I was 18yrs old and she was 16- who Dear John'd me in Viet Nam.... maybe he was right about her. Then there was Nancy, who gave birth to John and Micheal. Oh, he loved the kids and was over joyed that we arranged it somehow to have John born on my Dad's birthday.

When I became a Christian, Dad and I reconciled and I was baptized in front of him in his boss's jacuzzi. He came to love Mona, because she stood up to his brashness and foolishness. And he loved Elizabeth, James, Joshua and Micah Sue very much. He was a much better grandfather than a dad.

When he died in 1990 and I stood over his coffin, I was in anguish over the the months and years we wasted in fighting. We were so much alike- too stubborn and unable to compromise. As a result, we wasted so much time apart. I was to later learn he had died with a major lie in his thoughts concerning me and which made him think poorly of me and this again, hurt.

Nancy, upon our break-up, had gone to live with my Dad and Bea- his wife and my friend, along with the two boys. They paid for Nancy to go to beauty school for a year and took care of the boys this whole time. I never knew of this and he thought I had simply abandoned them. Had I known, the boys would've joined us in Alaska and life would've taken a different turn for both of them. But he never approached me by phone or letter to discuss this. Now I know he's in Heaven and knows the truth, but it was rough on Mona and I in learning of this lie and how hurt he and Bea were in thinking so poorly of me.

So, I was raised without a dad and I told myself I would do better with my kids, yet I ended up doing much the very same thing to John and Micheal. Then came along our other four kids and I swore I'd again do better. That I would try to be there for them and I guess I failed pretty badly because of work, church and helped other youth through our church youth group. I was a cop and I put a lot of time into it while the kids grew. I missed some games and pushed one son into a sport he did not want to do, but tried to honor his father by joining in. There were apparently times when they needed to be protected and I wasn't there, but only learned of it years later. The times they needed to talk with me about serious things and I wasn't there, learning of this too years later .

Of late I have seen some of the results in how injured, hurt and silent my children have become toward us. I can only hope they will forgive me or us, and learn from the mistakes we made. I hope they are capable of doing better then their parents. One of my children is silent, as I was and another is angry, as I was. So many blood traits can be passed along. Yet some of the children have forged ahead and do well and I pray they all will.

I am immensely proud of my children and what they have accomplished. I am proud of the kids who have come into our lives by situation and choices. We may not always agree with the decisions they all make, but they are all now adults and some with children to raise.

I look back through my dad's life. His father deserted him at an early age and he tried hard not to repeat it. A blood curse has followed the Casselman's first born son for at least 4 generations I know of and now down through my oldest son, John. I can only pray that God breaks this curse and Tariq will not be another father to pass it along. I wish I could learn of how it came about, but I do know my Great-Great Grandfather was murdered on a train in Canada and the family fled to the USA. This curse may be involved. I do not know, but I pray against it.

I desire all my sons and daughters stand proudly, to be strong Christians and charitable to their fellow man. I also pray for them to be loyal and giving spouses and parents, who listen to their kids and are there to support them.  I wish this for all of you. God Bless!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Moose Pass Journal/Books/8-31-2011

Bill Says: This next book synopsis is for, "Legend of Silene", which is my first attempt at writing a Christian fable of sorts. The story is based upon the Legend of St. George and the Dragon and surprisingly, this tale did take place in Libya, North Africa. The story was carried into Europe by knights and fighting men returning home from King Richard's 3rd Crusade, which takes place in the latter part of the12th Century.

My fable has a touch of Edgar Rice Burroughs, a dash of HG Wells and smidgen of Jules Verne, and begins in current day Tripoli, Libya. Here a Sunni storyteller entertains children and tourists with a very unusual fairy tale. This is an ancient story, where the oddities of the universe transform reality into the imaginary, myth into a courageous man's destiny to fulfill an ancient prophecy. In doing so, he becomes the slayer of evil and a legend in the service of Jesus Christ.

The Sunni story teller takes his listeners back to 1968 Viet Nam, where newly promoted Corporal GW Sanders, a proud member of the 101st Airborne, is about to participate in a helicopter assault deep into the ominous A Shau Valley. While the helicopters warm up, Sanders in approached by a South Vietnamese Captain, who has brought with him an elderly Montegnard holy man. The tribesman has come a great distance on foot to meet GW, a foreigner he has seen only in his visions. The holy man brings with him three strange gifts for GW; a handmade wooden cross hanging from an elephant hair necklace, a satchel of dried water buffalo meat and a large and extremely sharp flint blade. The old man tells GW of his visions and how these things were necessary for GW's survival over the next few days. The captain interprets the Jade dialect and tells of how the spirits had named the blade-Ascalon.

Not wanting to offend the holy man, GW places the items in his field pack and boards the helicopter. He immediately notices the holy man has disappeared in to the crowd of soldiers and soon forgets about the gifts as he mentally prepares himself for battle.

The Army hopes to catch the enemy by surprise, but within hours a major battle is underway. Outnumbered, US forces are ordered to withdraw by helicopter and GW's shot-up platoon is given the job of rear-guard action. A massive attack overruns their position and survivors flee deep into the jungle. GW is accompanied by Corporal Paul Grant and PFC Richard Hughes, and they eventually find refuge in a small cave.

With GW on guard, the other two sleep and after midnight the earth rumbles under a massive earthquake. All three are rendered unconscious, while a mysterious and bizarre event occurs around them. The cave is transformed into a gyrating blender, emptying the three men into a multi-colored vortex. They leave one reality and are dropped into another, thousands of miles away and hundreds of years earlier.

The tale now moves to Silene, Libya, the year is 1178 A.D and Brother Samuel, a 75-year old man with a secret past is introduced. Sam poses as a defrocked Catholic priest in a Muslim world. He washed up on the northern shores of Silene 42-years ago and was promptly thrown into a castle dungeon. Through his knowledge of medicine and engineering, he was able to earn his release. Through time, he became Chief Court Advisor to King Ramie, Lord and High Protector for the Kingdom of Silene. He now educates the king's daughters; Princess Lonnia- a witch, Princess Lannia- a female warrior in exile and Princess Lennia- the king's favorite.

There is also a curse hanging over Silene in the form of a 20-ton, 50-foot tall aquatic dinosaur landlocked in a salt water lake by a quake/tsunami event in the long past. Set down by ancient decree, twice a month this dragon is fed fair maidens in hopes to keep the beast from destroying Silene. Girls are taken in raids, from local families or bought in slave markets to fulfill the quota. Brother Samuel spends a lot of his time trying to figure out a way to destroy the monster and pleads with God for a miracle. The answer to his prayers has arrived.

Sanders, Grant and Hughes discover their modern weapons, other than their knives, shovels and a single grenade, were destroyed by strange the quake. They struggle for a week to find their way out of a long tunnel-like cavern. Following days of travel, the come up against a rock wall and once their last torch burns out, they discover a baseball sized hole in the wall that allows sunlight into the cave. They use their one grenade and E-tool shovels to escape. But they are startled by what they find before them; a white sandy beach and a blue-green ocean. Not the jungle they expected. The three men soon lay eyes on a fairy tale castle off in the distance and to make matters even more surreal, they are taken prisoner by a troop of mounted Saracen knights and thrown into a rat-infested dungeon.

The meat had kept them fed and the wood cross kept them from being slain on the spot, for the officer in charge of the knights recognized it and how it matched with Sam's cross.

Brother Samuel visits them and once he had learned who they are and what century they had come from, he admits to them in how he was a US Navy Lt. Commander, who had been thrown from a British Destroyer in the early days of World War II. It is Sam's plan to identify GW and Paul as fellow Irishmen; both being anti-British mercenaries, who survived their ship's sinking. Richard would be a Black Moor and Sudanese court officer, who was accompanying GW and Paul to his country to train their soldiers.

Released into Sam's custody, they are forced to accept their situation and Mushid, a Silene knight, begins training them with lance and horse. GW lays his eyes on a proud steed, a grey speckled Arabian, thought to be a cursed animal because three of its owners were either killed in battle or severely injured. He names his horse, Valiant and a strange bond forms between horse and man. Richard, who is utterly afraid of horses, is forced into a fight to the death with an unruly ogre of a man and demonstrates his skills in both Judo and Karate. Both of which he had learned through years of training at the local YMCA. Paul, unable to grasp the skills of fighting with a sword or lance, becomes and apprentice to Sam.

Princess Lennia becomes fascinated with GW and being of royal blood, Sam can only see trouble developing.  Princess Lonnia, who worships her dark gods, is jealous of Sam's relationship with her father, his religion and she wants Sam and the other three men dead. Repeatedly, she does her best to have them killed.

The Great Imam, Muslim Holy Leader for all Libya, visits Silene and he too would like Sam's head on a pike. But he also desires the death of the king's two oldest daughters for their blasphemy against Muslim Law. Fortunately, the Caliph of Libya uses his royal relationship with King Ramie to keep the religious leader in line and prevents him from executing Sam and the two daughters of the king. But the Great Imam finally uses religious law to force King Ramie to either slay the dragon within one year or feed Sam to it.

A relationship between Princess Lennia and GW blossoms and Princess Lonnia uses it to set a trap for both of them. Found innocently in the stables after dark, GW and Princess Lennia are taken into custody. As a favor to Sam, King Ramie banishes the three men from Libya and they journey into Egypt. But Princess Lonnia isn't done yet and she has her youngest sister sentenced to be sacrificed to the dragon. The king attempts to stop it, offering the townspeople a ransom, but they have seen too many of their own daughters fed to the foul beast and will not accept it.

Sam and Mushid travel to Egypt to locate the three men. They know of an ancient prophecy of a stranger riding in mounted upon a war horse to do battle with the dragon for the life of a princess. Sam and Mushid believe GW is that man. GW is of course named George Whitney, but he never liked the name and went by his initials.

In the prophecy, the knight carries a lance named Ascalon, which now has George believing in the story. The blade is fitted to a lance, which is reinforced with metal plating. No other lance or arrow had been able to pierce the dinosaur's hide and Sam believes this finely edged flint blade may just do the job.

George returns to Silene, does battle with the dragon and slays it. Following with prophecy, the dragon 's blood seeps into the desert sand and a gusher of fresh healing waters erupts. Hundreds of people come from a far to be healed. Through this miracle and the slaying of the beast, the Kingdom of Silene returns to Christianity, having once been so before the Sword of Islam conquered Africa.

George marries the princess, becomes a prince of the land, while his two friends carry the tale into the crusades.

There is a bit more, but this is getting long winded for a blog. Thanks and God Bless!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Moose Pass Journal/Book # 2/ 8/26/2011

Bill Says: First off, today in our son, Joshua Troy Casselman's 27th Birthday. He was born in Skagway, Alaska.

Okay, this synopsis is for my very first completed manuscript and it is entitled, "Operation Apache Snow- a Story of Viet Nam". Oddly enough, when I decided to change the setting and story line, preferring to write about my time in Viet Nam, I suffered writer's block. Once I returned to this story, everything began to flow again. I have also written a sequel to this story, but it needs final editing.


A work of Christian fiction, Operation Apache  Snow is an action based story primarily set in 1969 Viet Nam and it tells of the many young Christian boys, who right out of high school, became men in a very few short moments. How they came face to face with their deepest fears and a challenge of faith, when they lost their youthful innocence with the simple pull of a trigger, and of the grief they suffered in watching their friends suffer from wounds or death.

In many cases, such boys lost their faith in their Lord Jesus Christ and in a lesser sense their faith in their government. Most of these same soldiers suffered severe forms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder for decades to come and sadly, only a few would renew their faith in God.

The main character in this story is one such young man, who came from a strong Christian middle-class family in Southern California. Matthew Kendal is a pastor's son, who was raised on the Word of God and is engaged to his high school sweetheart- Kathy Lee.

After participating in a high school varsity track meet, Matthew returned home to learn of his older brother's death in Viet Nam. Angry, especially with God for allowing this to happen, he turns from his faith, puts aside his plans for Bible College and marriage to enlist in the US Army. Matthew also volunteers for duty in Viet Nam and carries a dangerous blood thirst for vengeance and becomes a proud member of the 101st Airborne- the Screaming Eagles.

During training, Matthew befriends Pvt. John Adams; a troubled Black youth from Washington DC. Adams, like many others, was given a choice between going to jail for car theft or enlistment in the military. Later, while both men are going through jump school together, they befriend, Pvt. Jose Martinez; a street wise Chicano, who left behind the gang life of East Los Angeles  to fulfill a promise to his dying mother. These three young men become an unlikely trio, who stand-up  against racial pressures from all fronts and face head-on the rigorous and often painful weeks of boot camp and airborne training.

As fictional characters, these characters are placed into an actual rifle squad of D Company, 3rd Battalion, which participated in Operation Apache Snow. History now remembers this operation as the epic May 10-May 20, 1969 battle for Hamburger Hill.

Here the 101st Airborne suffered previously unheard of losses; 70-killed and 422 men wounded. For 11-days they were pounded by torrential rain fall, forced to slosh through knee-deep mud and face relentless enemy fire, but still they made the heroic climb to claim the summit of Hill 937.

Outnumbered, they nearly reach the top, when the 29th North Vietnamese Army counter-attacked with fresh troops. But refusing to give up, D Company pushed forward with one goal in mind; to take the summit at all costs. Their courage entices the rest of the battalion and on their 11th drive up the mountain, they breach the summit defenses, where the battle continued on in brutal hand-to-hand combat.

Jose Martinez sacrifices his life to save Matthew by jumping upon a grenade, but before this battle is over both Matthew and John are severely wounded and left crippled for life.

However, the story doesn't end there, it continues on with how Matthew and John renew their faith in God and remain close for the rest of their lives. As disabled veterans they face the new challenges of civilian life and come home to such accusatory names like "baby killer", and "Nixon's gestapo". They begin to witness a nation renewing itself with the unveiling of the Viet Nam Memorial- The Wall.

John finds the Lord's teachings instrumental in his drug rehab and community work, while Matthew, who finished Bible College, entered the ministry. As their families grow in time, Matthew and John are part of a group of Christian Viet Nam veterans who return to Viet Nam. Only this time they are not carrying M-16s, but they risk much by smuggling Bibles for the growing number of underground Christian churches in a communist country.

Though this story chronicles the battle for Hamburger Hill, Operation Apache Snow also tells of the men's loved ones back home in the world, of worried parents who wait for every letter from their son, Matthew, and how Kathy Lee's confusion with an anti-war rally and the riot to follow leads her to writing Matthew a Dear John letter. There is also the ever so vivid nightly news casts that became more graphic with the passing years and brought the war's violence right into the family's living room.

Unlike other Viet Nam war novels, Operation Apache Snow speaks of the busy life of a North Vietnamese medic. Trapped inside the mountain, Lin He Que, a member of the 29th North Vietnamese Army, struggles to keep his comrades a live with limited medical supplies. Weary from lack of sleep and seeing so many of his friends die, Que had a startling confrontation with a wounded Matthew upon the mountain's summit. Unable to  kill Matthew because of his convictions as a medic, Que leaves him alive in a trench and flees down the mountain. 30-years later, Matthew and Que are brought together by God in the hallways of a Hanoi hospital. Que, now a surgeon and disillusioned with communism, listens to Matthew's word of forgiveness and God's love and eventually accepts Jesus Christ into his life. He becomes instrumental in help with Viet Nam's underground church movement.

Note: It is not surprising that the reader will find how my main three characters closely resemble the three soldiers cast in the Viet Nam Memorial Statue. Matthew is a composite of the 18019 year old white middle-class, while John and Jose represent the ethnic and often uneducated minorities sent to Viet Nam in droves. These are the men who became the country's strong backbone, whose courage and sacrifice would be forever enshrined on the Wall.

It was my goal in writing this story to show that through a time of great violence and fear, moral upheaval  and barbarism, that in such a lengthy conflict and its aftermath, there can also be found a time of spiritual growth, repentance, forgiveness and brotherhood, and prayer. This was Viet Nam.  

That's it for Book # 2. Thanks for reading and God Bless!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Moose Pass Journal/ My Books/ 8/23/2011

Bill Says: As earlier stated, I wanted to show you all the Synopsis pages for my 5 and maybe 6 books. This is a basic outline into each of my stories and I will only put one out at a time. Some of them are long and some short, but they will explain what the story is about. My first one is the manuscript I will soon be sending out over the internet through a Christian Publication's outfit for a 6 month period. Here it will be reviewed by agents and publishers- hopefully. I am planning to send out a new one each month. Hope you enjoy this one, but most of you have already heard the basic idea for, "A Coming Storm".

SYNOPSIS: "A Coming Storm" - 22 Chapters and 878 double-spaced pages- 238,000 words.

A Christian apocalyptic thriller set in the near future, the story begins with a chronological six-year listing of significant worldwide events following NASA's startling discovery of a planet-killer comet. Previously undetected, it had suddenly appeared in deep space and on a collision course with earth. Impact point is shown to be Northern Thailand, setting off worldwide panic when the public is informed.

Chaos brings an end to the United Nations and now unopposed, China and its neighboring countries of Southeast, Central and Central Asia form the Oriental Alliance Pact, (OAP).

From the slums of Mexico City springs forth a new Class IX plague. No antidote can be found and nearly one-third of the world's population will succumb to it.

The Unified World Church Alliance, (UWCA), comes into being with promises of charity and pro-Christian teachings, but will soon reveal its true self to be both Anti-Christian and Anti-Semitic, and begins a reign of terrorism against Synagogues, Christian churches and their leaders.

With a collapsed economy, frightened people begin running amok and race riots cripple the United States. A Christmas morning  missile attack is launched  against the USA by OAP submarines. Hidden in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico, the OAP catches a downsized military unaware. Within 30-minutes, most of the continental United States becomes a radioactive wasteland.

Other enemies soon follow suit and nuclear, biological and chemical weapons are exchanged throughout Europe, the Middle East and South Central Asia. But with such an assault on the planet, the earth responds violently with great quakes. Once dormant volcanoes  erupt around the globe and towering tsunamis spread out across the oceans, wiping out coastal areas and sweeping over  whole island nations. Millions die within days, as thick clouds of darkened ash soon covers over most of the Northern Hemisphere.

NATO, now without the support of the USA, comes under invasion by Western Russia armed forces seeking to secure vital seaports and valuable natural resources. A young French officer rises up to rally the troops, saving Paris from ruin and before long, this charismatic hero has the Russians on the run. Hailed as a savior and with his new army in support, the man eventually becomes the First Emperor of the newly formed New European Empire. The Anti-Christ has risen and he now reveals himself as leader and founder of the UWCA.

In the Orient, where hordes of people are fleeing the expected impact zone, food and clean water is in short supply. Rumors of cannibalism begins to circulate through OAP ranks. OAP Warlords break their alliance with Eastern Russia and invade Siberia in overwhelming numbers. After conquering Eastern Russia in quick order, OAP forces readies its battle hardened legions for the invasion of Alaska and Western Canada.

With the exchange of weapons of mass destruction between neighboring Arabian and North African countries, Israel is no longer in danger of their attacks. But Israel now finds itself facing even a larger foe, as both OAP and New European Empire forces launch their invasion of the Holy Land by air, land and sea.

Chapter One identifies Fairbanks Police Sergeant Brad Sawyer, his Christian family and his non-believing Afro-American patrol partner, Scott Radley. The harsh realities of  of a nuclear winter sets in, accompanied by clouds of volcanic ash, forcing the Alaskans to deal with strict food rationing and Martial Law, while the await a deadly comet and impending invasion.

Following a battle with UWCA terrorists, Fairbanks is evacuated and all the civilians and most of the military are withdrawn 90- miles to the east; to Delta Junction and Fort Greeley. Sgt Brad Sawyer becomes an Army Captain and assigned to military intelligence. He becomes a member of a three-man team and given the task of going behind enemy lines in Fairbanks. This is an assignment that will lead to his death. Officer Scott Radley is made a militia 2nd lieutenant and placed in charge of a platoon of weekend warriors, while working under a bigoted company commander.

Chapter Two tells of the Eskimo men and women of the fighting 1st Division, Alaska Defense Force and their preparations to repel the OAP army on the northwest coastal plains of Wales, Alaska. Led by Colonel Freeman and assisted by a Major Jeb Stewart, who is new to the division and assigned as the senior Intelligence Section Officer, they fortify the City of Wales. But before the invasion commences, Stewart, wounded earlier by a polar bear attack, lands a top-secret mission into Canada. Following the orders of newly appointed President Andrews, General Saunders, Alaska Defense Force Commander orders Stewart and a Captain Wayne Rogers to carry sealed documents across a closed border with Canada and deliver them to the Canadian Army Commander. The document is a proposal of an alliance between the two countries. But at the moment, Western and Eastern Canada are involved in a civil war.

Chapter Three is a show of faith, as envisioned by a Pastor James Woodway of Phoenix, Arizona. Assisted by Arizona State Police Lieutenant Ed Sawyer, (Brad-s younger brother), they lead their congregation from out of the fiery ruins of Phoenix and enter into an Exodus-like journey through a war ravaged land of the USA and into Canada. Their destination is Alaska. Enduring many hardships along the way, which include mutiny, various gun battles and fighting off a outlaw motorcycle gang, dealing with unfriendly townspeople, meeting up with an Apache Indian tribe in dire need of a doctor and finding themselves surrounded by plague and radioactive hot zones. But through their faith and miracles to follow, they will reach Alaska.

In the closing chapters, the three main character groups will join together at Fort Greeley, in Alaska's Tanana Valley, for the final battle against the OAP.

The invasion on, the enemy crosses the Bering Strait ice bridge and drives the greatly outnumbered 1st Division into full retreat across an unforgiving arctic wilderness. Northern OAP forces move into interior Alaska, while a fleet of OAP warships attack Anchorage and the Kenai Peninsula from the south. The two OAP armies later converge in the Alaskan heartland for the final battle at Fort Greeley.

Heroes will rise and some will fall, but the survivors join together for one last gallant stand. General Howard Wright of the Western Canadian Armed Forces, leads a 600-members Royal Canadian Mounted Police against the OAP southern spearhead. Believers and non-believers alike now stand shoulder to shoulder against a vengeful and starving army.

During these finale days, a miraculous event occurs, which lines up with Biblical prophecy: 24 hours of complete darkness, a strange blood red moon and the comet suddenly blows up within mere hours before breaking through earth's atmosphere. A fiery explosion of such magnitude  is to illustrate how the skies were suddenly filled with a thousand falling stars- as detailed in the Book of Revelations.

When OAP forces overwhelm the perimeter of Fort Greeley and direct their fire against the civilian population, a great sonic boom drives everyone on earth to the ground, soon followed by the sweet sounds of the Heavenly Trumpet. God demonstrates His divine power by dividing the sun into two halves, with even a brighter light shooting outward from between them. From this blinding light , golden rays  shoot out and cascade down to touch the horizons of the earth.  Colors of the rainbow fill the skies, as these golden rays form a spiritual bridge between the spiritual realm and the world of mankind. A majestic highway is formed, one in which carries the Heavenly Host forward, to the mighty sounds of a million thunderclaps and bolts of white and golden lightening. Great and towering thunderheads begin to form at the foot of this bridge and atop these majestic clouds ride the Angelic Army of God. These warriors dressed in white and riding upon great white steeds, descend from the skies to do battle and defeat the enemies of God.

These same towering thunderheads begin to produce a fine silvery mist, which showers upon all the land and all around the globe, transforming winter's ice and the desert's dry wastelands into lush greenery. The mist brings with it an instant healing for the wounded and even the dead who lay upon the fields of battle begin to rise. The sun becomes its normal self, but the silvery mist continues on, dissolving all of mankind's weapons of warfare as the land is prepared for the Lamb of God's reign.

Sorry this was a bit long, but it was a very long tale. I had originally made it over 1700-pages, then turned it into a trilogy and finally shortened it to its current length.  Thanks for reading. Pass allong comments if you have any, I appreciate feedback.

God Bless!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Reading the fine print...

Miss Mona sez:

Did you ever find that you had signed up for something that turned out to be significantly more than you anticipated?  Bill keeps bugging me about blogging more and today he said I should write about taking care of Mom. At first my attitude was "yeah, right", but on reflection, I think I want to try it. I shall endeavor not to sound whiny.

To begin with, I believe in the family and I do not think that God designed us to live alone. Yes, sometimes circumstances develop where we are alone and there are those who choose to be alone, but I do not think we are at our best that way.

When I say family, I do not mean Mom, Dad, 2.5 children and occasional visits from grandparents. Perhaps "tribe" is a better word? For me, a family is a group of people of various ages and developmental states bound together by blood, marriage, choice or life circumstance.

I grew up the youngest of 9 with innumerable nieces, nephews, cousins and whatnot, so I guess I am somewhat predisposed to that viewpoint by my upbringing. Go figure.

My grandparents were not in the picture as they had all died long before I came on the scene. Further along, my own parents died, Daddy when I was 17 and pregnant with Elizabeth and Momma when I was 24, right after James' birth. Bill's folks were long-divorced, both remarried and lived in the Lower 48 while we lived in Alaska. There were visits and whatnot, but distance and finances made them necessarily infrequent and not terribly lengthy.

So, along comes 1990 and a visit from Bill's Mom. We were living in Fairbanks and Bill Welch had died a couple of years prior to this(The final of Mom's four husbands). Mom was thinking about moving to Alaska to be near us and we talked her into spending a winter here before she made the leap of moving. As a life-long California girl, she had never experienced snow, not to mention a Fairbanks winter! Anyway, she closed up her house and came toodling up to Fairbanks, her Persian, Pierre, in tow.

Bill was a State Investigator, working a steady day shift for the first time in our marriage (10 yrs and counting), the kids were Micah Sue-4, Joshua-6, James-8 and Elizabeth-14. We homeschooled, were the Youth Group leaders at church, Bill played percussion for the Worship Team and this had been the summer he and Gary did umpty-jillion overtime hours together chasing down bad guys (see Bill's FBX tales for more on that). Pierre hid under the spread on Mom's bed and the kids called him The Lump. We already had two cats, Hawkeye and Margaret, and a Newfoundland named Radar

Long story short, we had 12 ft of snow that winter, Mom bought a parka and Sorels (she hated them both) , broke her clavicle falling down the stairs while Bill and I were gone for the evening (Elizabeth did a bang-up job handling the emergency) and she headed south in the spring to sell her house, pack her stuff and move back up in spite of all that.

Her original plan was to move into a senior apartment in town as she had always been a solo person, not the cookie-baking, spend-the-night Grandma type. While she was in California, her Mom died, releasing her from the only responsibility she had left (Pierre was portable, much to his chagrin). I probably should have noticed that Granny was nearly 92 and had been in a nursing home 15 years before this, somehow it didn't register... Oh, well.

A week into her time in California she called to say that even the cat was lonely and to go ahead and look for a house big enough for her, too-"This house is just too damned quiet!"
So we did.

I forgot to say that Bill's father, Frank, passed away suddenly during the time Mom spent the winter. She stayed with the kids while Bill and I flew to Arizona for his services. This was among the things that influenced my willingness, heck- eagerness!-to have Mom come live with us. In my experience, parents tended not to live too long (mine were both 67 when they died, Frank was 58) and Mom was already 71. I wanted (Bill did, too, but this is my story) my kids to know at least one grandparent before she died.

So we found a house.

With customary generosity, God not only blessed us with Mom that June- we also got custody of John, age 15. First significant contact in 10 years was a letter from Nancy that the kid was aimed at jail and we needed to "take responsibility for him." Probably shoulda thought of that 10 years ago when you lied like a rug and got full custody/no visitation...But I digress.How unusual.

So, along we go...

 And now, here I sit more than 21 years later, tapping on a computer and waiting for this amazing woman to die.

All through the years, I would get these sympathetic looks and comments- "Your mother-in-law lives with you?!" Mostly women, but the occasional man would pat my shoulder and smile. "You must be an amazing woman!" or"I could never do that!" Then I'd tell them she did the laundry for us and they would try to kidnap her.

A lot of amazing things have happened along the way. She taught the kids how to play poker. The kids taught her how to hug. We learned to respect each other. We disagreed, argued, fought and made up. She went to church with us, got baptized when she was 72. Pastor asked her why she wanted to do it and she said because the last time she did it was into the Mormon church. He complied. She learned how to forgive, she learned how to pray. My kids learned to honor and respect their grandmother. She went to countless conferences and trips to villages with us. She got involved in Prison Ministry because it was something she understood. Bill's brother, Larry, was an outlaw biker who did a lot of time and she visited him there.
She obsessed about the bathroom and running out of toilet paper. The first time I flushed a toilet with a bucket of water (the power was out 5 days that time) she thought I hung the moon.
She always had a pocket full of kleenex, a puzzle book and packets of crackers in her purse and thought that microwave dinners were the answer to her prayers.

Went to bed with a thermos of coffee, a pack of cigarettes and cookies or a pastry on her nightstand. Always had chocolate in her drawer.

The kids wandered in and out of her room, watched endless episodes of crime dramas with her, sat on her lap and got read to. So did the grandkids (her greats). Their teenage friends were terrified of her, Micah kept threatening to dye her pure white hair purple, and she has a thing for bright colors and sparkly shoes.

She learned to wear sweatpants and polar fleece vests, how to layer for warmth and never did get to where she would wear Sorels. The parka, however, still hangs downstairs and served her faithfully for many winters. We took her camping and took away her driver's license when she was 78 (she didn't speak to Bill for three days and still complained about it 10 yrs later when her vision was so poor she couldn't walk down the hall and didn't walk at all without her cane).

She was terrified of nursing homes and consumed with guilt that she could not stand to care for her own mother. I had trained as a care provider, worked in homes mostly but a short stint in a nursing home. Nursing homes are like hospitals- sometimes you have to be there, but it is not the best thing to have to stay there.
Bill and I promised she would never have to be in one, I have the skills and we have a large and supportive family and a good church family to call on.

We are by no means the first or only family to do this. We may get points for longevity, but that is about it. To me, this is a fact of life. At the beginning and at the end, people need to be cared for and I have never felt the job should be turned over to strangers, no matter how skilled or well-meaning. She is a part of my family, for better or worse, in sickness and in health.....

And she is my friend.

With love-

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Moose Pass Journal/Fairbanks/ 8-18/2011

Bill Says: It is an early Thursday morning. I was up before 7 a.m. to find thick clouds hanging low like fog and our area temperatures holding in the high 50's. Though it feels like Fall is upon us and even the plant life is behaving as such, it is still only Mid-August. I tossed out the remains of my prized stale popcorn, ( yes, I like old popcorn, but can only eat so much of it), upon the driveway and far quicker than I expected, some 11-black and white camp robbers descended upon it to feast. These have to be the noisiest birds in God's creation. They drive my two small dogs crazy, send them running in circles in their vain attempt to catch one and cause Jeremy to grasp his lethal BB gun in hand, so he can hopefully get some sleep. The birds love to taunt our cats and as soon as it is daylight, which comes at 5:30 a.m. right now and these highly intelligent birds begin their harassment of any of my cats still outside. They have now become an unwanted alarm clock. My neighbor has her own method of dealing with these troublesome birds. She lures them into her garage, catches them with her huge salmon net and beats them to death. These birds of prey have stolen far too many of her chicks and she has set the dogs of war against them.

I am watching the talking heads of morning news and observe our stock market plummeting yet again.  Everyone is blaming everyone else. But it seems to center on our two major political parties painting the blame on the other side for our troubles. They seem to have forgotten who they work for- US! I have come to the decision that with so many people unemployed, so many people homeless and so many people hungry, that we should sincerely think about doing away with so many, ( see how many times I can use "so many" in a sentence- count them and win a prize!), stupid government programs and use the funds to help so many of our people here at home. Why should we be giving money to so many people who hate us? Why should we be providing funds for foreign governments to expand their economy, when our own economy is failing. Our own President goes out on a bus tour, using a multi-million dollar bus built in Canada. Why isn't he using an American built bus. I am sure we could've used our tax dollars to build an armored bus and just how many times will this huge RV be used? I won't even get into the gun deal our country's leaders made with the cartels to supply them with 2600 automatic weapons- who's campaign chest got paid?

Well enough on politics and human interest. Back to cases.

While conducting my investigations, I entered into one such case involving Mr. Edward Dilley. This man was the biggest licensed Operator in the state and taking home about $10 million a year from assisting dozens of charities with his pull-tab sales from some two dozen outlets around the state. Inspecting one outlet in Fairbanks I noticed that his retail space in a strip mall was quite large and he was selling all kinds of tourist stuff, clothes and toys, along with a set up small stand for about two-dozen pull-tab jars. I became suspicious and began inspecting his leases from these various malls and discovered that he was billing the charities the whole amount for the rent of these locations, including labor and utilities. That's when I opened my case and had an accountant in Anchorage help me out with the numbers part. It became a 6-month long investigation and involved my traveling around the state to collect copies of rental agreements, interview employees and gather additional evidence. When this case was completed, I and the accountant, Joe Koss, were able to provide enough evidence to pull Dilley's operator's license from him. I was also able to find an old felony conviction for him concerning a kidnapping/assault case in Oregon and a Bad Conduct Discharge from the military for AWOL.

To say the least, this man no longer considered me a nice guy. Though he did try to bribe me twice during the investigation. Once with a 1st class plane ticket to Juneau and back, and a collector's Indian motorcycle. Both of which I immediately reported to my boss. Dilley had acquired a vast fortune over the years by bleeding funds from these charities and he blamed me for taking it away from him.

I had to go by his home/business building one day and when I came into his private office I found him sitting in his chair, behind an ornate desk, fingering the trigger on a commemorative Marine Corps .45 caliber machine gun- though it was only semi-auto. He had an intense and angry glare upon his unshaven face and I decided to make the meeting shorter than planned.

Dilley moved to Nevada and attempted to open a legal brothel. But I sent my investigation on to Nevada and this prevented him from doing so. I don't like to be threatened.

During another investigation, Gary Wing of the ABC Board and I set up a sting operation in Fairbanks. We had picked up information of how the liquor stores in town were selling booze and pull tabs to minors. So, we had the 19-year old son of the North Pole Police Department Police Chief assist us by making buys of both liquor and pull tabs. We ended up burning all but one liquor store in town, which really surprised us. We used the same young man to bust an after hour joint, operating in a warehouse. Assisted by Fairbanks Police Department personnel, our young man went in wearing a wire and recorded what we needed to have to stage the raid. We went in and busted some 30-people for charges of illegal liquor sales, illegal gambling and prostitution. The young man eventually became a police officer and was later killed on duty, saving the lives of two of his fellow officers. He was a great kid!

Gary and I assisted Fairbanks Police Department many times. During a burglary of the Fairbanks Curling Club, we happened to be out on our own patrol and ended up on the scene. We gave chase of the suspects and closed off their retreat in a residential neighborhood and kept them in their cars until a patrol car showed up. The suspects labeled us with the title of "Batman & Robin", and all night Gary and I argued who was who. My argument was that I was taller than he was, so I should be Batman. His argument was how he was the smarter, but I wouldn't buy into that one. Though his wife was my doctor and she used needles...I really have this fear of needles and the whole Batman and Robin thing eventually faded away. Well, we still got kidded some when we came into the police department.

We then pulled a summer of surveillance work for FPD. Setting up in three different hotel rooms over three months of weekends and pretty much on our own time, we provided extensive camera work on the trouble areas about town. From the second floor of the Motel 8, the 11th floor of the Polaris Hotel and 4th floor of the Northwood Building, we had radio contact with FPD and dispatched them to hot spots. We worked with a joint Army/Air Force/State Trooper/FBI and FPD task force to stop the violence in Fairbanks. At the time, this mainly involved B Company on Fort Wainwright. When it was all said and done, B Company was completely disbanded and the men not involved in a court martial, were sent across the globe. The camera work Gary and I did helped display the violence, where even automatic weapons were discharged as locals and military squared off. It was fun meeting with the Army general and having him call on Gary and I for suggestions. I'd never had a general ask for my advice before and he took it, which was more surprising.

I became involved in numerous forgery and embezzlement investigations and I really enjoyed squaring off with the lawyers. In one such case I had found a hidden account set up by five of these lawyers and I still remember their shocked expressions when I met with them to reveal our knowledge of their activities. I never went to college, but I knew criminal activity when I came across it. Joe Koss did a major assist in that case as he worked the numbers. Though I knew criminal activity, adding two plus two was still an effort.

As a result of that case, pretty soon I was handling a lot of the gaming annual financial reports for North Alaska, really stretching my brain power to the limit. But through this, I exposed a lot of fraud going on in the charitable gaming program. They just needed someone looking past the numbers and into what the money was being spent for.

I flew out to Savoonga on St Lawrence Island for an investigation. I wanted to know how a community of 250 people were doing 2.5 million dollars in gaming per year. An interesting thing I found out there was how they continued to make use of a personnel check. I found one check with over 50-names on the back as it continued to change hands in the place of cash. By the time I got it, no bank would have ever accepted it. Their bingo room floor was several inches deep in pulled pull-tabs. But a bar in Nome was even worse; their pull-tab area was up to three feet deep in pulled pull-tabs and boy, what a mess.

In 1994, I retired from law enforcement on disability from injuries I sustained while on the Seward PD. I decided it was time I learned to become a writer- which I am still working at after 17-years and 6-completed manuscripts.

In my next entries I will be listing the synopsis's for these manuscripts in the event one of the publishers or agents I am contacting happens to check out this blog. It will also provide you with the basis for my stories and you can offer up an opinion- choose wisely, my friends......God Bless!