This Is Who I Am

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Chief Longwind Of The North

Certified/Certifiable
Joined
Aug 26, 2004
Messages
12,454
Location
USA,Michigan
Let's try this again. I had created a topic for telling everyone a little about ourselves, our histories, what we cherish in life, and how we got to be who we are. The post accidentally got deleted. This thread is for everyone to enjoy, and add to. Let us know who you are.

Me: I was born in Sault Sainte Marie, MI in 1955. I am told that I came into the world at about 4 pounds as a full term baby. I had a brother who was born in similar circumstances, and didn't survive. I was sickly until both my tonsils and adenoids were removed. Because I was so small, my paternal grandmother was always trying to geed me aspirin. I'd find it hidden in my glass of milk, or buried in my mashed potatoes, or sitting in my soup, and other places as well. I never liked the idea of taking pills. Besides, aspirin isn't a good flavor.

I remember some details of my life from the age of three years. I can remember some of the wall decorations from our home before my Mom and Dad were divorced. I remember loving to sit in front of the Christmas tree, and watch the flashing lights, and the bubble lights. I remember that I got more joy from watching how my sister, and my Mom and Dad would react to what I gave them, rather than get excited about what I was getting. And I remember a recurring nightmare from after they were divorced, where I would be standing on the subdivision road, in my yellow rain slicker, and rubber boots, crying, and begging my Dad not to drive away. But life went on.

My Mother was actually the one who left the house, We moved to the west side of town. Though it was still within city limits, that area was, and is known as Algonquin. I don't remember that year at all. Mom moved to the east side of town. We lived as far East as we could, at the end of Maple Street. There were several of my cousins who lived on the same street. And it was while in that home that I started kindergarten, at almost 5 years of age ( birthday was at the end of September. Even back then, I was a child who loved adventure, and who had a need to go as fast as I could, on everything I could go fast on. I remember a Radio Flyer red wagon, all metal. I knelt in it and pushed it as fast as I could until I flipped it going around some corner. I rarely walked, and was always being told to slow down by my Mom.

I had an insatiable need to learn everything i could. I studied the bark on the oak trees, and figured out how to climb them by using that bark to create hand and foot holds. And then I remember my first real experiences with winter. I'd been outside before, overdressed by my parents and grandparents in thick, and layered clothing, with hand knitted mittens, and hats, and worn out overcoats. But it was in my 6th yer that I really began to develop my independence. I wanted to be friends with every kid I'd meet. Unfortunately, it was a tough neighborhood, where everyone was much larger that I was. That would continue until I hit about 20 years of age. I more often than not was bullied. I did however make a couple of good friends. The school was only one city block from my home. It would take me an hour or better to walk home. My Mom was single, and worked. We were watched by a baby-sitter who was a very nice lady. But she would worry about me, as i had a penchant for engaging in risky behaviors. Usually, it was walking the 3 to 4 foot snowbanks on the sides of the road. Children had died doing such things. You could fall off into the road and be struck by a car, though there was not much traffic, or sink into the snow and get berried alive, and freeze to death, etc., etc. She would tell my Mom that she had to do something about this. My Mom cautioned me that the next time I was late coming home from school, I was going to get the strap. I'd gotten the strap the year before, for adjusting the oven temperature, and ruining the stuffed acorn squash that we were supposed to eat for dinner. And I remembered how painful that experience had been. I didn't want a repeat.

So one sunny, winter day. I left school, again in first grade, and walked past my best friend's house where the driveway had just been plowed, leaving what looked like a mountain of snow to me. It called to me. I knocked on the house door and asked if my buddy could come out and play, not remembering that I had to hurry home. We played on that gargantuan hell for well over an hour, and then I remembered that I was supposed to get home right after school, or I would get the strap. I immediately convinced my friend to run away with me.

We headed to the main street, which was one street over from Maple, and headed West toward town. I didn't have a clue as to where I was going. I had no plan, no provisions, and didn't know what I was going to do when I got to wherever I was going. My Mother drove home from work on Portage (the main street) and saw me and my friend heading for town. She knew what was going on and sent my sister, who was older and much larger in stature than me, to fetch me back home. My friends parents forbid me to see my buddy for the rest of that school year, as I was a bad influence, and I got the strap. I was never late walking home from school again.

All of my friends were large than life to me. I was always the smallest kid in the class. To top it off, I've always been a peacemaker, and hated to fight. I just couldn't bring myself to throw a punch and hurt someone. Of course there were a few times when it was purely unavoidable. I won those fights, but walked home afterward crying because I felt so bad about having to hurt someone. And in such situations, as I was a talented grapple, I could usually restrain my opponent without hurting them, until they just got too tired to continue fighting.

At 6 years of my age, my Mom married a truly great guy,. We moved to the river, across from the city's largest cemetery. The river is about 3/4 miles wide, and 35-40 feet deep, with a 5 MPH current. I was not to go near the river. However, there was a sandy beach right next to our yard, with long and tall boulders that just looked like horses to my rich imagination. I was used to entertaining myself. A picnic bensh could be a rocket ship to me. And so I rode the horses. One day, I fell off and into the water. It was shallow, with no current where I was. But I was soaking wet, and I'd disobeyed again. I knew that if I was caught, well, I didn't like the consequences of my actions. There was a very large, grassy field the next property over from ours, about a block ling, and quater block wide. Our yard was the same length, but half the width, and covered by tag alders and poplar trees. It was a bright and warm day. i slunk my way into the tall grass and let the sun dry me. It took a couple of hours. Like I stated though, I was pretty independent, even at 7 years of age. It was early in the day and i knew I wouldn't ne missed by my parents until about lunch time. I actually got away with that one. I didn't get away with much.

There was a girl next door, whose parents owned that field. she was about a year and a half older than me. She was like another boy, full of adventure, who loved throwing snowballs in the winter, and shoot bb guns in the summer. She showed me a pipe coming off of their property that drained into the river. It was just a trickle of water that issued from that pipe, clear ad clean from a naturally flowing well. She explained to me how it was clean and pure, and we drank from it. I was a little bit in awe of this playmate as she seemed so much older, and more knowledgeable than I was. They had a baby Grand piano in their house, and her dad had hit a hole-in-one at the golf club. She'd been to Israel, and Disneyland, and had rode the Matterhorn. Eventually, they sold their home and moved away.

At 7 years of age, I quit wearing shorts, pretty much for the rest of my life. I was with a group of boys, all of whom were my age, at the creek that ran through the middle of the cemetery and into the river. We were on the West side of the creek, with fishing poles in out young hands. The bank had a small trail that led down about four feet to a well made raft. One of the boys dropped his pole and I rushed to be a good friend and retrieve it for him. Someone yelled, but too late. I had stepped on a yellow-jacket nest. Those winged critters didn't much care for me tromping on their home. I received about 12 stings, all up my left leg, and arm. I jumped into the creek after trying unsuccessfully to knock them off. But as quick as I could dislodge them, they stung me again. The creek was only waist deep, but allowed me to get away and run the quarter mile back to my home, crying in agony. My step-dad put a paste of baking soda on the welts and told me it would draw out the venom and take away the pain. I don't know how accurate that was, but eventually the pain did subside. I never wore shorts again. Two years later, I jumped into a ditch where the woods met the cemetery while playing army with another friend. Yep, I found another yellow Jacket nest, and got all stung up again. It would take several pages to document all of the bee, wasp, and hornet stings I've experienced over the years. Let's just say that I've had my share, and a few other people's share as well
I stated that all of my good friends were larger than life to me. One of them, Donny, could roman press a 100 lb.. barbell over his head with one hand, in eighth grade. I once helped him change a tire in his compact car. He dead-lifted one side of the car, while I changed the tire. He was 6 foot tall, and about 200 lbs. I was 5'6" and about 92 lbs. We wrestled each other a lot. His parent's home had a finished basement, with a pool table, a couch, a stereo, and a glass coffee table. There was also a dart board. on one wrestling match, on a smooth concrete floor no less, I went flying through the air and landed on the glass table, shattering it. We replaced it, and I wa unhurt.

Donny introduced me to Judo. I went to his place to hang out one day. We went into the basement, and he reached down and grasped my left pant cuff with one hand, and the cloth of my winter jacket, lifted me bodily about 4 foot into the air, and dropped me onto my back. He then stated that If I'd known Judo, that wouldn't have hurt. I truthfully told him that it didn't hurt anyway. But I did get into Judo and enjoyed it immensely. And I do admit that the falling techniques save me from a great deal of pain through the years. I stepped off of a 2nd story roof, twice in one day without even a bruise. I've been struck by a car while riding a motorcycle, fallen both face-forward, and onto my back from slipping on ice, and the list goes on.

I stated earlier that I loved going fast. There was this sliding toy that came out in the late 60's called a Snurfer. It was about the size of a water ski, and had a small metal keel on the underside at the back. It was canted slightly, rising gently from the middle to the sides, and had a roe attached to the front tip. For best performance, it would be waxed like a pair of downhill skis. At my Dad's house, where i lived every weekend, there were very deep and large sand pits. A bunch of us got together and decided to see who was the bravest among us. We went the steepest, most unobstructed slope in the pit, and challenge each other to ride the snurfer down it. We all did it on our bellies. A few did it sitting on the Snurfer. I was the only one to take the slope standing up. It was a very fast ride, in a straight line from top to bottom. I didn't fall until I hit a patch of frozen sand at the bottom.

And then there was Larry. Now Larry was that friend who could be downright dangerous, and who was a bit on the wild side. As teens, we had our own snowmobiles. Larry had a Rupp 440, which was a lightweight machine whose engine jutted out from the cowling almost into your lap. It would od 75 to 80 mph. To make a long tory short,we tied a 20 foot rope to the back of his Rupp, and the other end to an aluminum saucer sled i had in the garage. I got on the sled and we went to a mile-long field that was covered in three foot of crusty snow. Larry towed me as fast as that sled would go, taking sweeping turns to keep up his speed. If I'd lost my control of the saucer, and hit that snow, it would have shredded me. But good reflexes, and proper body english allowed me to survive that ride. It was very exciting, even more so that skiing behind our cars with hard sole shoes on icy roads at 2 a.m.

The fun doesn't stop there. Ever accidentally drive off of a thirty foot cliff while dirt biking? I have. Ever cross a 3/4 mile wide river in the dead of night, with no lights, in a canoe, with a 1000 foot lake freighter bearing down on you, Donny and I did that one. Ever jump off a thirty foot cliff to land at the bottom of a sand pit, for the joy of free falling through the air? Yep, I did that. I talked Donny into doing it, though he was skeptical. When he hit the bottom, his knees collapsed, and he did a chest and face-plant into the sand. he was unhurt, but had sand in his clothes, in his moth, eyes, and ears. He wasn't very happy with me. When I landed, I just rolled out of it. No worries.

Frank was another of those larger than life friends. He was 6'2, and about 180 lbs. he was a hockey player. like me, he had a dirt bike. His dad was caretaker of the cemetery. We raced each other on the gravel twisty-turnis of the gravel roads that snaked through. Not a good idea. The gravel would act like ball bearings, and one of us would slide sideways, ending up picking gravel out of our skin. Frank and I hunted together, sometimes with Larry, you know, hte crazy one. I used my bow as I was deadly accurate with it. Frank used a 16 gauge, and Larry had a Wrist Rocket with steel shot. On one occasion, we three were heading toward the woods behind the cemetery to do some rabbit, or grouse hunting. Suddenly, Larry took off like a shot, and ran ahead about 60 yards. He turned and started launch steel shot at us. Frank pumped his shotgun and said "I'll take care of this!" I said that he couldn't shoot Larry. He said that at 60 yards, the loads he was using would just sting him. I said that he could put out an eye, and that I could better put a stop to our out-of-control buddy. I launched an arrow to land a foot to the right of Larry, then I planted a 2nd arrow a foot to the left of him. I yelled out; :I you don't stop, the next arrow's going in the middle." He stopped. The rest of the hunt was safe, and we each got a couple rabbits.

The worst part of having friends so much larger was that you had to keep up with them. My short legs just wouldn't allow me to run as fast as they could on open ground. But in thte woods, I was quicker quicker, and more nimble. I could jump over logs, doge trees, and duck under brush at full speed, while the others had to plow through the woods. I loved being able to outrun everyone in the woods. There was that time though, as a child, when we were playing cops and robbers, or cowboys and Indians, and I turned to see how far ahead I was from my opponent, and turned my head forward again just in time to run full speed into a three-foot wide red oak. I bounced off of that tree and just laid there for several minutes. At age 18, out of high school, and before Iye joined he U.S. Navy, I worked at a pop bottling plant. One of my jobs was to carry 100 lb. bags of sugar to large mixing vats, and dump them in, along with a gallon of syrup concentrate, and a 100 gallons of water. I also loaded cases of 16 oz, bottles full of soda pop onto pallets, and used a fork life to load the pallets onto the trucks. All of this while weighing in at 95 lbs. In my senior year of high school, i was tired of being skinny and small. Every morning, I'd get off of the bus and go to the gym before classes started. I did 15 pull-ups, followed by 15 chin-ups, climb the rope to the ceiling, using only my arms, clime the slanted ladder to the celling, again using only my arms, and then to dips on the still rings, followed by skin the cat, and half iron cross movements. After I got done, I did it again. After school, before the bus arrived, I did the same routine. I was still small, but had tremendous upper body strength. This served me well in Judo, where I competed in the 139 lb. and under class. By the time I was stationed in Millington Tennessee, just outside of Memphis, and had joined a Judo club there, I was right at the top of my weight class. I won a few tournaments, earned a few medals and trophies, and had a great time. I was finally coming into my own. I had a good friend who had never seen snow. He was a man of color and i invited him to come up to my hometown for two weeks with me for hte leave I was going to take. He was 17 and so still living with his parents. he got permission, and I introduced him to snow, ice, and Donny. We challenged each other to matches in the high school gym, where they had suitable mats, skidded behind Donny's car in our shoes, on the icy roads at 2 a.m., adn just had a grand tme.

It was a good thing I was so physically capable as I didn't always have the sense to curb that need for an adrenaline rush, or desire to just do something. Case in point; While camping at a place called REd's Meadow, in he High Seerras, I wanted to fish a large and fast nearby river. I didn't have waders, or wading boots, only tennis shoes and blue jeans. So I got up one morning, grabbed my pole, and headed for the river. Now, downstream about a mile was a tall waterfall tht dropped maybe a hundred feet, Rainbow Falls. The riveer, as I said had a fairly swift current. There was frost all over the place and the air was crisp. I walked into the stream, not knowing if it was deep or shallow. I found out quickly that sometimes it was knee deep, and sometimes waist deep. But the water was cold. Now growing up swimming in Lake Superior, where the water never gets to a reasonable swimming temperature, the chill water didn't bother me. I fished for a few hours, never getting so much as a nibble on my bait. I found out later that I was using the wrong kind of bait. Eventually, I accidentally dropped my jar of salmon eggs. The water was about chest deep and I wasn't going to dive for them. I decided to call it a day and turned to head upstream. The current was too strong, and I had to find a way out of the river. I looked to my left and saw Devil's Postpile, with its sheer rock formations rising strait up fo 100 feet. That was obviously not an option. I looked left and was confronted with another mountain side Red's Meadow is in a valley. But the slope was doable. though challenging. So in wet tennis shoos, half frozen, and a fishing pole in one hand, I climbed the mountainside to a trail that led me back to the campground, but on the other side of the river.

I've swam in a water-falls pool in the Philippines, got a ride in a Navy Het, rode very fast motorcycles, and snowmobiles, caught air in a 69 Dodge van.high enough to destroy my shock absorberts, and have had sp many thrilling adventures, and somewhat crazy friends. One of them talked me into taking scuba lessons in San Diego. One fo them talked me into racing him on the famous Carlsbad Motocross track, where we were chased off a man with a shotgun, a large pickup, and a very powerful looking German Shepard. I love music, not just listening to the beat, but analyzing it, taking note (no pun intended) of the percussion, the melody, the harmonies, and the mathematical precision of note that either harmonize, or contrast each other, turning tht math into artistic genius. I love great classical, jazz, and progressive rock. I love the way that music can literally move me to tears.

Cooking for me is the same, part science, part creativity, part art. And then there was the other love of my life, archery. Shooting could be either organic, letting the bow become and extension of me, and just pointing and shooting, a skill I learned with my first bow at about age 7, or it oculd be a mastery of body, with concentrating on every nuance, every movement of the body, from controlled berating, to concentrating on letting the now-string pull intself from the fingertips, to steadying all movement so as to hold the sight-pin dead still on the desired bulls eye. And there is so much more to that almost zen approach.

For hobbies now, I cook, create new recipes (at least new to me), build custome fishing rods of many types, tie fishing flies, write science fiction and fantasy novels, and share everything I know with anybody who wants to learn from me. I've rebuilt car engines, nad four wheel drive transmissions, and repaired jet aircraft, and submarine electronics. I've cut trees and turned them into split firewood, ran a jackhammer, crawled in the nastiest [laces to run telecom copper, and fiber-optic cable, and go a B.S. EET degree while raising four precious children and taking care of a sick wife. And I did it in four years. I am devoutly religious, and admire honesty, integrity, and standing up for what is right. My stepfather was the benchmark of those traits. My natural father had some of them. I learned from both of them, and from others. I chose the traits i wanted to guide me, and rejected prejudices against others who aren't like me. I love to teach others, and learn from others. My greatest accomplishment in this world was to raise my four children, making them my life. I've watched them grow into amazing adults, and see how hard they are trying to raise their children. I told them That I started with the bar at a level that was better than what my parents were raised at. I expected them to raise that bar still higher, and improve the family even more.

Though this post seems long, for the rich life that I've enjoyed, it's just a little glimpse. So, that's who I am. Now, who are you?

Seeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North
 

cookieee

Sous Chef
Joined
Jan 5, 2019
Messages
908
Location
South Florida
6 PAGES - That is what I just printed out. Will get back to you later.

(are you sure this is not one of your novels?) lol
 

cookieee

Sous Chef
Joined
Jan 5, 2019
Messages
908
Location
South Florida
6 PAGES - That is what I just printed out. Will get back to you later.

(are you sure this is not one of your novels?) lol

DH is on page 2 and really enjoying it. He has a few things to take care of today. Hopefully he will get back to it soon.
 

cookieee

Sous Chef
Joined
Jan 5, 2019
Messages
908
Location
South Florida
Chief, I would really love to contribute to your thread, but I don't think I know who I am.
I was not prepared for this when I was younger. I am having a real hard time accepting being where I am at in life.
 

cookiecrafter

Senior Cook
Joined
Aug 10, 2021
Messages
208
Location
Chicago
This reminds of the year that I checked out Miss Freckles (story about a hen) from the elementary school library on a Friday. We moved that weekend and I made friends with the freckled face twins. And just like that we moved back and I was able to return my book.
 

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