Call to Action

Mom’s and Dad’s, Grandma’s and Grandpa’s, lots of sweet little kids and people of all ages, are being murdered in our country every day. Yes, it’s happening in our country, our America. Who cares? The Supreme Court doesn’t seem to. The Congress doesn’t. The NRA damn sure doesn’t. I fully understand this is a mental health problem. What irritates me is that we could cut the fatalities and swing the odds to more favorable numbers. It’s not that complicated.

  1.  Ban the sale of assault rifles and similar weapons.
  2. Background checks for gun buyers 18-25 years of age
  3. Red flag laws to alert police to people of questionable intent
  4. Gun safety classes
  5. No open carry.
  6. Review qualifications for concealed carry permits.
  7. Public service announcements regarding respect for others, courtesy, and good manners.

The mass killing problem has many facets. If we are going to win, we must commit to going after them with determination and all the forces we can muster.

If you think number 7 above is too simple or corny, please thing again. In 2016, when the Trump administration came into power, it was like an evil cloud had settled over the whole country. Suddenly, it was okay to be your worst self. Disrespect for others, lust for power, greed, nastiness, and just plain being mean seemed to be okay. Well, it’s not okay. We need to make better individuals of ourselves.

Dave Thomas


Mealtime Entertainment

Yeah, I know I’m a wuss. My wife tells me that every time we eat something containing peppers or horse radish. I can break into a sweat just by thinking of eating something hot. Being at the table with everyone can definitely be embarrassing. For instance, if we are having chili, I need two paper towels. One should be two tear-off sections wide for my face, and the other, three sections wide for my hair. My hair gets just as wet as if I’m having a shampoo. The sweat actually drips off of it.

My wife feels I have missed a great career opportunity. I could have been a television advertising star for Mexican, Chinese, and Italian food products. Picture this: the commercial opens with me sitting at the kitchen table looking calm and relaxed. My wife, Pat, places a bowl of chili in front of me, and I start eating. Suddenly, there is a surprised look on my face. The orchestra hits a majestic lick, and the camera zooms to a shot of my forehead. Beads of sweat break out all over my brow. I throw up my arms and yell “This Casa Caliente Chili is fantastic!”

I can do this. No sweat.

P.S.- Just writing this has caused my hair to become sopping wet!

Dave Thomas


Still a Bad Idea

In the spring of 1952, Jack Watson was a senior, and I was a sophomore at Augusta High School. Jack and I had been friends since I was 3 or maybe 4 years old. This was due to our parents being friends. Jack and I did a lot of things together as we were growing up. We bicycled and hiked, and as we got older, we hunted and fished and went camping. Occasionally, some dumb idea would show that we might be a bad influence on one another.

In his senior year, Jack was taking a chemistry class. I’m not sure why. Later, in college, he majored in finance, and became a CPA. Claude Wise was the instructor of the chemistry class. Mr. Wise always made his classes interesting by adding extra facts and tidbits of information to the curriculum. One day, for instance, he told Jack’s class how easy it was to make a still. Jack even ended up with a sketch showing how the thing would go together. Jack was pretty excited when he told me about it later, and convinced me that we should build and operate a still of our own. We knew that stills and moonshine were illegal, and that under-age drinking was illegal, and that the whole idea was probably covered by a bunch of laws we hadn’t even heard of. Of course, that made no difference because we both were hooked on the idea.

I can’t recall the details such as what hardware was required or how to prepare the mash. I do remember that Jack and I went down to the Western Auto Store, and split the cost of some copper tubing.

We needed a placed to store our secret project and Jack suggested his smoke house. I know that you younger people may not have heard of smoke houses, so I’ll tell you what little I learned as a kid.

Prior to the invention of refrigerators and freezers, it was impossible to preserve meat for any length of time. It could be smoked, packed in salt, pickled in brine, or jerked, but none of these preserved it for long.

Some of the finer homes, I guess built in the 1920’s or 1930’s, had a smokehouse built directly by or behind the back door of the home. That provided easy access in inclement weather. The residents could smoke their own meat or store the meat that someone else smoked for them. The Watson home was one of those nicer places that had a smoke house. Though an older home, Jack’s dad, Frank, had remodeled the place, and it was in fine condition. Their place had a smoke house and a single car garage. The smoke house was maybe ½ to ¾ the size of the garage. Frank used it as a workshop and kept his tools and equipment in it.

There were only two smoke houses in town that I was acquainted with. The first, of course, was the Watson’s. I remember one time when Jack bought an old Cushman motor scooter for $5. We put it in the smoke house and worked on it for days. It never fired. Jack finally had his dad haul it to the city dump.

The other smoke house I remember belonged to old Mrs. Rogers, the mother of Ordess Rogers and grandmother of Russell Rogers. She hired me a couple of times to do yard work, and kept the yard tools in the smoke house. Her smoke house was smaller than the Watson’s. It was maybe 8 x 10 or 8 x 12.

Before getting involved with smoke houses, I was talking about making a still. Jack and I spent a couple of weeks rounding up the parts and storing them behind some stuff in the back of the smoke house. One weekend when Jack’s folks were out of town, we assembled the thing and fired it up. It worked perfectly, and soon real moonshine was dripping out of the coil. When there was enough for both of us, we took a sip. Gad, it was awful! It was like drinking turpentine! That cured us right then. We dismantled the still while trying to get the taste out of our mouths, and hid the parts in the back of the smoke house again. Unfortunately, Jack’s dad found the parts before Jack could get rid of them. Jack got reamed out thoroughly, and then Frank told my folks, and it was my turn in the barrel. We both agreed  later that the chewing out wasn’t half as bad as the taste of that stuff. It was a dumb mistake that was never repeated.

Dave Thomas