As a child of the 70s, one of the most interesting things to do was watch stunt men on TV doing death-defying stunts. They didn’t always go well. Probably why I was a nervous kid when it came to doing stupid things.
That doesn’t mean I didn’t do stupid things.
When I was really young, probably 4 or 5, I had a Big Wheel. If you know, you know. I would get going fast, pull the hand brake and slide to a stop. If I was feeling adventurous, I’d get going really fast and go over the speed bump in our apartment complex. Jumps weren’t high enough to do anything.
When we moved from the cities (that’s what you called Minneapolis/St Paul when you lived in Minnesota) up to McGregor, I got a bike. Took me a long time to get my training wheels off. I was never very coordinated or agile or smart. I was pretty much a scardey-cat kid who avoid pain as much as I could.
That didn’t stop me, once the training wheels were off, from riding down the dirt roads and jumping through all the little pot holes in the road.
Growing up, there were two kids that lived nearby, Dan and Jodi. I had an older brother and an even older step-brother (Jon and Doug), Jodi had an older brother and Dan also had an older brother. There were sisters for both Dan and Jodi, but we’re not talking about them in this story.
The other brothers decided to take a 2×8 we’d found and put a cinder block under one side. We each took turns going over our makeshift jump. Many times the board would slip and many crashes happened.
One time we took a sheet of plywood and two cinder blocks and put a ramp at the end of a dock where we’d go swimming in Big Sandy Lake. I was the most nervous about this. So, unlike the other kids who jumped their bikes into the lake at full speed, I went a little slower. The front tire went over the end of the ramp and I flipped over the bike into the lake.
Yeah, not very graceful.
We had a surprise ramp appear one day on a trail we would sled down. A tree had fallen across a path during the fall and gotten covered over with snow. We’d go down the hill and SURPRISE! End up in the trees, flipped over, or, if lucky, jump and keep going.
That leads us to the last ramp I remember from those days.
Dan lived at the top of a hill with a road that went down to the lake. After a turn to the left, and a turn to the right, you’d be at a boat launch. During the winter, this was where snowmobiles would ride out onto the lake. All of us were paid in hot dish (yeah, that’s MN food) to shovel the road because the snow plow wouldn’t go down there. We piled the excess snow on the sides of the road and the older kids had a bright idea.
We made a curved bank on the left turn.
We made a curved bank on the right turn.
A three-foot ramp was made at the bottom, because we had a LOT of snow.
Then, we took turns heading down the course. Well, all of them did. I was the youngest and the scaredest. I wasn’t about to go down that alone.
My step-brother, Doug, said he’d let me ride in front of the sled and he’d hold onto me. Well, if he’d keep me safe, why not, right? I pulled my hat down over my face and got in.
The “sled” in question one one of those roll-up plastic sheets with handles on the front. We took the left turn, I nearly fell off the sled, but Doug held me on. We took the right turn. With my hat pulled down over my face, I had no idea how fast we were going, but I knew it was fast because I could feel every little bump on the road.
We hit the jump.
I had that moment of weightlessness that felt like it lasted forever. I could hear all the boys screaming and cheering. I knew some of them had made big jumps, but no idea how far I was going or how high in the air I was. Thankfully I was well-padded from all my snow gear and there was about two-feet of snow on the frozen lake. I landed softly.
I jumped up and turned around. Now, I was much smaller back then, but I looked back and I was quite a ways away from the ramp. And the sled. And my step brother. The sled had stopped on the ramp. Doug went about two feet and landed on his face. Me? I shot off the ramp like a rocket and kept going across the inlet and nearly made it to the other side. Again, I’ve no idea the distance, but I went much further than any of the others had gone by themselves.
Yeah, I still don’t like ramps or jumps.
Until Next Time!
I graduated high school in 1987. In August of that year, I joined the Navy. I spent a couple of months in Boot Camp in Orlando before heading off to me ‘A’ school in Pensacola, FL. At the time, the Navy needed people to go into my rate. Because of that, there was an incentive to sign up. I was what they called a “push button” 3rd. Meaning once I completed my ‘A’ school, I was awarded the rank of E4, a 3rd class petty officer. I was proud of that accomplishment.
I wasn’t, however, excited about the fact I was about to go on a Navy vessel. I was terrified of open water.
So, Jay, why did you join the Navy? Isn’t that kind of what they do?
I’ll cover that another time, it’s not important to this story.
Upon completion of my ‘A’ school, my either class, and the class behind us, were told there were now too many 3rd classmen of my rate. Therefore, the fleet didn’t need us at that time. Instead, we were all to be sent to security guard duty and we would be relieving the Marines that were currently doing security guard duty on Naval Weapons Stations.
Whew. No ship for me!
Some of my classmates and I climbed into a giant car, six of us if I recall, and we drove from Pensacola to Pittsburgh, PA. One of the guys was from there and wanted to stop off and live it up before we reported for duty in Lakehurst, NJ where our Security Guard School was going to be. I’ll tell a story about PA another time. Yeah, everything was a story in the Navy.
The lot of us spent a month in Lakehurst. Now, being 18, I knew very little about Jersey let alone Lakehurst. I didn’t know the history. I knew nothing about the place. I was young, dumb, and ….
Every day we’d walk from the barracks across the large field in front of two massive hangars. Inside of one of the hangars was an entire flight deck of an aircraft carrier. When I say massive hangars, I mean wow were they big. It’s difficult to describe their size or how small you’d feel walking past them.
The field was mostly concrete with patches of overgrowth all over. One day while crossing the field, I tripped on something. I had no idea what it was. Being early as we always were, I took the time to rip up the grass over what I’d tripped on. Color me surprised when I uncovered a plaque.
Now, if you look at the plaque online, you’ll see something very different than what I experienced. The plaque had been placed in the spot where the Hindenburg went down 51 years before. The plaque commemorating the 50th anniversary. I don’t know why it was overgrown or why it was allowed to become overgrown. All I know is what I tripped over.
When you look at pictures of the plaque online, you’ll now see it surrounded with anchor chain and a long stretch of concrete and lots of nice landscaping. Back when I tripped over it, that wasn’t the case.
That’s how I found the plaque.
Until next Time!
Hey Howdy Hey Gang! This will be a short post. The video is also short cuz I’m a dummy and the camera died on me. <sigh> Were I a smart YouTuber, I’d have just swapped out the battery, but didn’t have it handy. Next time.
Let’s start with MONEY! Yes, I’m selling books to make money. That’s sort of the entire goal here. Bear in mind I’m doing almost no promotion other than my newsletter and a blog post that I share on all the social medias. The fact I’m selling anything at all amazes me. I won’t lie.
So, I’m happy with last month. I won’t be buying a new car any time soon, but I made $12.75 for the month of June. Given that I made only $3 in May, I’ll take that as a win. As I said, I’m not a rock star supermodel author with six figure book deals. I’m starting over from failing the last time I tried to get things going. I need to rebuild my brand from the ground up and regain the trust of readers I’ve lost over the years. This isn’t going happen over night. I need to keep repeating that more for myself than anyone else. The fact I sold 3 copies of my latest book and a couple of copies of back titles means I’m doing as well as I can.
Yes, there’s a lot more I’d love to see happen, but for right now at this moment in time, I’m writing books, and publishing on a schedule. Nothing more, nothing less. Once I get deeper into each series, say, with 3 books in each series, THEN I’ll start doing a lot more because those 4th books will blow people’s socks off and I’ll be crazy excited to get them out there.
One thing I’ve been thinking about doing and I should have thought about this sooner, is put the first chapter of the next book to read in the series in each book. Because I’m a dummy, I didn’t think about that until I was recording today’s video and then the camera died. <grumble>
At any rate, if you’re curious about the numbers, check out today’s video. If you were following along with my ‘story’ idea from yesterday, that will be starting on Monday! I will reserve Friday for getting folks caught up on what I’m doing on my writing. I think that’ll be a good point to do it.
I’m off to make words happen that I didn’t make happen this week.
Until Next Time!