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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

PUT THE PEDDLE TO THE METAL WHEN IN TEXAS

"IF YOU SEE ME COMING,  YOU'D BETTER STEP ASIDE"
Wednesday, noon.  30 degrees F, wind variable, gusty.  The sky is overcast, the humidity 38% and the barometer stands at 30.53". 
   The welcome sign at the Texas border (I won’t call it the “state line,” it is the border) admonishes visitors to “Drive Texas Nice”.  Texans do drive nice…nice and fast.
   And like when driving the German Autobahn, it’s best to keep an eye on the rear view mirror to see what’s bearing down on you. In Germany it might be be a Mercedes 500 SEL; in Texas more likely a monster pickup truck.  In either case, it’s best to heed the admonishment  in that old Tennessee Ernie Ford song; “If you see me coming, you’d better step aside.” Luckily, most Texas roads have a very generous paved shoulder engineered to accommodate slow moving farm equipment, and one soon learns to deftly hug the right when about to be blown off the road.
    It’s either that or up one’s game and learn to “put the peddle to the metal.” 
  

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

PECAN TREES

TEXAS PECAN TREE...

...OFTEN MULTIPLE TRUNKED...
...EMPTY NUT HUSKS STILL ATTACHED TO BRANCHES

Tuesday, 11:30 AM.  38 degrees F, wind E, gusty.  The sky is overcast, the humidity 34% and the barometer stands at 30.05".
  Pecan trees, Carya illinoisensis, in the walnut family, the Juglandaceae, are native to Texas and plentiful in the landscape.  They are a good cash crop, and I can personally attest to their best use: pecan pie with whipped cream.  Pecan trees attain a good size and are distinct in their winter appearance from the more prevalent oaks by their more open branching pattern, they are often multiple trunked, and at this time of year the empty husks of the nuts clinging to the branches are a definitive visual clue.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

A MIGHTY BIG TEXAS PET

ONE HORSE OR TEN, YOU GOTTA HAVE A TRAILER...

....AND TEX,  A MIGHTY BIG PET
Sunday noon, 42 degrees F and sunny.  Wind light, variable. Humidity 51%, barometer more or less steady, at 30.31".
   No matter the size of your Texas spread, it is obligatory to have a horse trailer.  One horse or ten, a big trailer is de'rigure.  Besides, when you drive it through town, no one  really knows how many acres and horses you have.
   But I think it would be great to have a really big pet, like Tex here (sorry Buddy, I didn't really mean that).

Saturday, December 27, 2014

LIFE ON THE RANCHETTE

GRANDDAUGHTER ALLISON AND HER GOATS...

...DITTO, WITH BUDDY

NEIGHBOR'S PONY AND YOUNG RODEO BULL

DON'T BEND OVER
Saturday, 11:00 AM.  26 degrees F, wind N, very gusty.  The sky is overcast, the humidity 85% and the barometer 30.03".  Christmas Day was warm and sunny; today not so much.
   If a Texan can't afford a ranch he can always aspire to a couple of acre ranchette.  If you don't have pasture for cows and horses you can usually manage to have a goat or goats, even if tethered to the front porch, and certainly dogs and chickens, even on the smallest "spread."  There are lots of rodeo fans and bronco-bustin' wannabe's.  It all makes for a lively scene.

Friday, December 26, 2014

HO, HO, HO! Y'ALL

GRANVILLE, TX CHRISTMAS TREE...

...DITTO, PARK DISPLAY...

...THIS SAYS IT ALL..

...COURTHOUSE
Friday, 10:30 AM.  Weatherford, TX.  60 degrees F, wind variable, light.  Humidity 50%, barometer 29.93" and steady.
   We had a fine Christmas, the above photos are of the huge light display at Grandville, TX.  Impressive, and lots of fun for all.
   Buddy is having a great time too, but is somewhat personna-non-gratta after digging a trench worthy of a backhoe in the farmyard going after a gopher, and then grabbing a prize chicken and removing a lot of its feathers.   He has learned to leave the barn cats alone.  I don't know about the chickens.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

BAYFIELD ALMANAC CHRISTMAS GREETINGS


CHRISTMAS 2014
CHRIST CHURCH, BAYFIELD

Dear Friends :
   Yet another year has slipped by, and we are thankful for good health and all the blessing of this life, in particular our children and grandchildren.  Joan had cataract surgery on both eyes and now can see well again and can drive long distances and at night. We truly live in an age of miracles, but also of great turmoil and tragedy.
   Art often remembers the singing of Silent Night, in English and then in German, in the Lutheran Church of his youth in Milwaukee.
 
Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht,
Alles schläft; einsam wacht
Nur das traute hochheilige Paar.
Holder Knabe im lockigen Haar,
Schlaf in himmlischer Ruh!
Schlaf in himmlischer Ruh!

   And he remembers his mother telling of sitting huddled in the back of the wagon with her siblings, coming back from town on a cold winter’s evening, and his grandmother telling them in German, “Be still, we’ll soon be home.”
   May we all experience God’s peace and good will this Christmas, and in the New Year to come.

Art and Joan Ode

IT''S BAAAACK!


A FOOT OF NEW SNOW ON THE DECK RAILINGS


Wednesday, 8:30 AM.  18 degrees F, wind NNW, very light.  The sky is overcast but lightening, with a few errant snowflakes still falling.  The humidity is 88% and the barometer is steady, at 30.30".  We got another five or six inches of new snow last night, but it was light and fluffy and easy to shovel. About a foot of snow has fallen in the last twenty-four hours and it looks like winter again; very pretty, though, and the ice on roofs and roads melted during the thaw.
   Tomorrow, Thursday, we will head for Texas for the holidays. Buddy will of course come along. We will leave from Duluth, where I have a late afternoon appointment.  We hope to get to Weatherford, west of Fort Worth, by late Sunday.  Posts will be intermittent while we are gone, but we will try to give readers some Texas news;  reports on pit barbecue, Tex-Mex dishes and Texas beer (some great German-tradition brews).

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

WAITING... FOR A GOOD FREEZE AND A FAIR BREEZE

WAITING, AT THE BEACH IN ASHLAND ...

...FOR A GOOD FREEZE AND A FAIR BREEZE

Tuesday, 10:00 AM.  20 degress F, wind N, gusty.  The sky is cloudy with a high overcast.  It is foggy and snowing moderately hard,  the humidity is 91% and the barometer is rising, currently at 30.07".  I shoveled 3+" of sticky lake effedt snow this morning and we will have at least that much more to shovel latter.
   We have had a significant warmup, which has weakened the ice on Chequamegon Bay and delayed most ice sports.  But it has also gotten rid of the snow on top of the ice, and if we get significant cold weather before a lot more snow, the ice will be perfectly smooth...and perfect for ice-boating!  
   An exciting sport with boats attaining race-car speed, ice-boating is not often seen on our waters, as the conditions are seldom right; the ice usually too rough or snow covered, or unsafe.  But when conditions are good,  the wind on the Bay provides great fun.
   When we lived in New York I loved to watch the ice boats, some a big as sailboats, race on the Hudson River north of the City.  I never rode one, and have always wished that I had. 


Monday, December 15, 2014

FOG

WE WERE'N'T ALONE
BUDDY USES HIS NOSE TO "SEE"
MOUTH OF THE SIOUX RIVER...
...DITTO, WHILE STANDING ON A NEWLY DEPOSITED SAND BAR



THE MARSH BEHIND THE DUNE, ENSHROUDED IN FOG
Monday, 8:30 AM.  40 degrees F, wind variable, mostly calm.  The sky is overcast, it is again very foggy, the humidity is 95% and the barometer is steady, at 29.77",  It is raining, at times quite hard. The fog horns are sounding.
   Yesterday it was densely foggy all day, but Buddy and I both needed to stretch our legs.  I had considered going out for what might have been a final grouse hunt but the weather just  wasn't inspiring, so off to the beach we went.  Looking straight out into the lake from the strand was like looking into, what else, a pot of pea soup. The lake was absolutely calm, with not so much as a ripple.  I could hear voices from somewhere but could not divine their location.  I hoped they were not out in a boat.  Buddy was absolutely charged up, so down the beach to the south he flew, and I followed.
   It is amazing how radically the beach can change from visit to visit.  I did not recognize the mouth of the Sioux River when we got there.  For a long time the mouth of the river spanned about a hundred yards, but here it was, narrowed down to a stone's throw by a new sand beach that has completely cut off the backwater that has been there as long as I have been a visitor. It must have been one whale of a storm that deposited thousands and thousands of yards of sand and changed the course of the river, but it will be a great place to cast a plug into the depths of the river mouth, and a fine destination for those August sun bathers and sand castle builders who care to walk the distance from the parking area.
   Just when we thought we were truly isolated from everything but the muffled sound of traffic on Hwy. 13, two dog walkers appeared out of the murky gloom.  We had a good conservation as Buddy and their two big dogs bounded up and down the beach playing, periodically disappearing into and then reemerging from the fog.  Eventually everyone had enough and we were alone again.  
   On the way back to the truck we met two young guys that I think from their talk and actions were Northland College students.  They were ecstatic about the solitude and mystery wrought by the fog, and about the prospect of bringing their kayaks to explore the lakeshore and the river on a more auspicious day.
   Dense fog may limit our ability to see, but it sharpens our other senses to compensate for the loss.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

THIS IS THE WAY TO BUY BEEF!

FOGGY MORNING


OUR FREEZER IS MOSTLY FULL OF ORGANIC BEEF
Sunday, 9:00 AM.  41 degrees F at the ferry dock, 37 on the back porch.  Wind N, very light.  The sky has a high overcast and it is very foggy over the channel.  The humidity is 97% and the barometer is still dropping, now at 29.94".  It is a very quiet, damp morning.  Our January thaw has come a bit early.
   Yesterday morning we spent picking up our 175 lbs. of organic beef (1/4 of an 18 month old grass fed steer) from the Robertson's, who have acreage a ways south of Ashland.  This is the third time we have purchased from them, and we have been very satisfied with the quality and the way it is cut and packaged.
   For any Almanac readers in the Bayfield area: the Robertson's have an extra half a beef, due to the unfortunate death of a customer.  Either the half or a quarter is available at $3.90 cents a pound.  Call Steve and Barb Robertson, of Mason, at 715-765-4499.  Or, email Barb at indianlake@cheqnet.net.
  This is the way to buy beef!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

PARTY ON, BAYFIELD TREE BOARD!

BAYFIELD TREE BOARD CHRISTMAS PARTY
Saturday, 7:45 AM.  37 degrees F at the ferry dock, 34 on the back porch.  Wind S, light with slightly stronger gusts.  The sky is shrouded in a low overcast, the humidity is 94% and the barometer is still falling, currently at 30.03". The icy roads are melting rapidly.
   We have another busy day:  we have to drive south of ashland a ways to pick up our annual quarter of  beef, 175 lbs, from the Robinsons, who raise four beef cattle a year.  It is wonderful, grass-fed, antibiotic free meat. Current price is $3.90 per pound, cut and freezer wrapped. Then its off to the recycle center.
   Joan and I hosted a Christmas party for the Bayfield Tree Board last night.  We had a grand time, and almost everyone could make it.  2014 was a banner year; we planted 39 trees of various species on Bayfield streets, trimmed and fertilized 65 young trees and accomplished many other tasks as well, including revising the tree ordinance and managing a $49,800 grant to plant trees to reduce storm water runoff in Ashland, Washburn, Bayfield and Red Cliff.
  Party on, Bayfield Tree Board!

Friday, December 12, 2014

ASHLAND MYSTERY BUILDING

WEST  SIDE OF ASHLAND MYSTERY BUILDING...

...SOUTH SIDE...

...EAST SIDE
Friday, 8:30 AM,  30 degrees F, wind SW, light with slightly stronger gusts.  The sky is overcast, humidity 91% and the barometer lis falling, now at 30.21".
   Ashland has some beautiful lakefront parks, with hiking and biking trails, beaches and marinas.
Unfortunately it also has some business activity that could easily be located elsewhere, a function of days gone by when the lake was a workplace and had far less recreational and esthetic value.
   A year and more ago a small lakefront store was sold and demolished, and plans made to erect a new building and start a business devoted to lake sports...fishing, surfing, paddle boarding, kayaking and so forth.  I have been watching the building being constructed, and have been mystified by its design, but it has progressed to the point that it seems to look like a boat of some kind.  It is really no concern of mine, but I think it exceedingly silly, and I can't imagine a planning commission approving it, given its prime location between two parcels of public beach.
  My first thought was that it was meant to look like a fish, but I now am sure that boat it is meant to be, but what kind?  Laker ore boat?  Fishing boat?  Charter cruise boat?  Joan says it looks like Noah's Ark, and soon the animals will be looking out the windows, "two by two."
   Or, maybe it is simply abstract architecture, meant to entice us to put our own interpretation upon it.  If so, I think the architect exceeded his abilities. It sure isn't a Calatrava or a Sarranin, or the Sydney opera house.
    Too bad the site wasn't dedicated as a park.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

ADVANCING ICE, MORE SHIPS, AND A BOBCAT

 ICE ON LOWER CHEQUAMEGON BAY NOW VISIBLE FROM BAYFIELD
BOBCAT (from Google files) 



DULUTH/SUPERIOR HARBOR IN THE EVENING


Thursday,  8:00 AM.  20 degrees F, wind WSW, calm with light to moderate gusts.  The sky is covered with a light overcast, the humidity is 91% and the barometer is trending down, currently at 30.29".  It is  a gray, rather shapeless day.
   We are hosting a Christmas party for the Tree Board tomorrow evening, so today and tomorrow will be mostly devoted to cooking, cleaning and generally getting ready for guests.  I am recovering quickly from a minor operation yesterday, the result of spending most of my life in the sun.  But I would do it all over again (with my shirt on).
   Yesterday morning the ice of the lower Chequemegon Bay was clearly visible from Bayfield as a white band on the southern horizon, between the dark waters of the upper Bay and the gray of the Penoke hills. The Duluth-Superior Harbor was  lit up with the loading and unloading of  ships yesterday evening.
   On the way home yesterday, just a few miles west of Ashland on Hwy. 2, we almost hit a bobcat that ran in front of the truck.    The animal was definitely a feline, it was tawny, with a short tail and chunky head and body.and at about thirty pounds could not have been anything else.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

THE VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE



LOOKING NORTH TOWARD THE BIG LAKE AND CANADA

LOOKING SOUTH TOWARD THE RIVER...


...DITTO
THE THOUSAND-FOOT AMERICAN SPIRIT (Boat Nerd files)


Wednesday,  8:15 AM.  20 degrees F on the back porch.  Wind SW, very light with some stronger gusts.  The sky is overcast, the humidity is 88% and the barometer is trending down, and now stands at 30.47".  We have another trip to Duluth today, this time for my issues.
   On our trip to Duluth yesterday we had good views from the Blatnik Bridge over the Duluth/Superior harbor, which gave us a feel for what is happening with Great Lakes shipping as we plunge further into winter.
   The first photo above shows, from near to far; the ice within the harbor, Barker's Island (which forms the harbor breakwater),  the still-open waters of Lake Superior and the north shore of the lake and Canada in the far distance
  The second photo, looking south,  shows a huge grain elevator in the distance and the stern of a large grain ship in the foreground; the third photo shows the stern of the ship again, next to four grain bins.  It looked like the ship was still being loaded, and all three photos show that the ice has been broken up by the Coast Guard ice breaker so that ships can continue to enter and leave the harbor.  The huge grain and ore boats will continue to traverse the lake until the Soo locks between the eastern end of Lake Superior and Lake Huron are frozen shut.  Storms render this is a very dangerous time on the lake for even the thousand-foot ore boats.
   It is quite interesting to see the varied cargoes being shipped back and forth between Duluth and other US and international ports.  For instance, an outgoing ship containing iron ore from Minnesota may return with a cargo of coal from Pennsylvania.  And if unknowing and uncaring politicians and bureaucrats shut down the eastern coal fields through severe restrictions on the use of coal, that will negatively affect the cost of shipping iron ore from Minnesota.  And so on and on.  We cannot let distant, uncaring and ignorant authorities ruin a prosperous and very complicated American economy with politically correct decisions dictated by dogma promulgated by left-wing intellectuals!  We have been caught in that deadly trap for years, and we must escape it if we are to survive as a prosperous and free nation.
   Yesterday there were six ships arriving or departing from the harbor, carrying various commodities, such as grain, coal, salt and petroleum products, which are too bulky to transport at reasonable cost except by ship.
   To follow Great Lakes shipping real-time; name, length,  destination, cargo, flag, etc., go to BoatNerd.com.

Monday, December 8, 2014

SOME UNSETTLED WEATHER

OLD MAN WINTER IS BACK

LOOKS LIKE A NOR'EASTER
Wednesday (posted late Tuesday eventing).  31 degrees F, wind northerly, gusty.  Skies overcast, humidity 89%, barometer 30.24" and steady.  We must be in Duluth by 9:30 AM so this is posted earlier.
   Everything is back to winter again, after a melting weekend.  We are going to have to spend a lot of time driving today and tomorrow, so I took Buddy to the beach for a real run late yesterday afternoon, and  it was quite evident we would be getting some unsettled weather, perhaps a storm.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

THE GOOD GUYS ALWAYS WON



FORGIVE, BUT NEVER FORGET
Sunday, Pearl Harbor Day, 8:30 AM.  30 degrees F, wind SW, gusty.  The sky is overcast, the humidity is 73% and the barometer is high but falling rapidly, now at 30.54".  The sun is now rising just to the north of the LaPointe dock.  When it rises over the south end of Madeline Island it will be the shortest day of the year.
   It was a beautiful morning yesterday, and on the way to the Recycle Center a pair of mallards flew low over the truck and landed in a small impoundment on an unnamed creek.  They flew off again before I could stop and get a photo of them.  I am surprised they are still hanging around.
   Today is the 73rd Anniversary of the Japanese sneak attack on Pearl Harbor.  I was only five years old at the time so I do not actually remember "the day that will live in infamy."  But I find it surprising how much I remember of the subsequent war years.  The battles in the Pacific, D Day, and finally Hiroshima, Nagasaki and the capitulation of Japan.  And at home and at Sunday School, I was taught to forgive.  But I never forgot.
   Of course, at that time the war news was emblazoned across the movie theater screens so we saw plenty of war footage along with the cowboy movies on Saturday afternoons.  And in both cases,  in the end, the good guys always won.

OLD DOGS AND OLD MEN

WINTER MORNING


BILL AND ART'S EXCELLENT GOOSE HUNT
Monday, 9:15 AM.  31 degrees F, wind SSW, light.  The sky is overcast and it is quite foggy.  The humidity is 92% and the barometer is beginning to rise, currently at 29.94".  We got a surprise 4"-5" of snow last night, which I just finished shoveling.
   I was grousing about the unsuccessful deer season, when I got an email from old friend Bill Peebles with a photo of our goose hunt last September at his farm in Occonomowoc in southeastern Wisconsin.  Cheered me up considerably.

OLD DOGS AND OLD MEN
                    Art Ode

Of what does the old dog dream,
   As he lies by the fire's last light?
Of puppy days
And a bitch's ways
and the cold north wind that blows

Of what does the old man dream,
   As he nods by the fire's last light?
Of long dead friends
And youth that ne'er ends
And the cold north wind that blows

And what do they think,
   This old dog and old man?
That each had his day,
And with the old Indian they say,
"Nothing lives long but the earth 
   and the hills."
                             

Saturday, December 6, 2014

THE LEMMNGS ARE US

SATURDAY MORNING'S
MOLTEN DAWN


GRAY ON GRAY...VIEW OF MADELINE ISLAND FROM THE BEACH ON FRIDAY
LEMMING OLYMPICS

Saturday, 8:30 AM.  20 degrees F, wind WNW, calm to light .  The sky is cloudless, the humidity 78% and the barometer is still rising, currently at 30.66".
   It was a gray day yesterday until the sun won out later in the afternoon; until then,  Madeline Island was a featureless gray mass on the horizon, as viewed from the Sioux River beach.  Ice fishing tents have begun to sprout just south of Washburn, but there is no ice in sight a few miles to the north.
   Current events are weirdly similar to the 1960's, and it makes me wonder whether human society and its history are not ruled by cycles and principles we cannot comprehend, nor even recognize.
   Look at the similarities:  we are again in an era of very rapid technological change, actually anticipating a manned mission to Mars (back then it was the moon);  the world situation is extremely volatile with continual wars and terrorism (then it was Vietnam and the Cold War);  there is great civil unrest and protest, currently centered on police issues (then it was the civil rights movement);  there is a similar  spate of disintegration of the family, established religion, and political parties.
   Then as now, there is alienation between age groups, ethnic groups and social classes, high inflation and general economic chaos, and a similar distrust of government and a drift toward anarchy.  Representative government, reason and logic were, and are, being abandoned to the passions of the mob.The only good thing I can say about the present is that we survived the last cycle, which gives me hope that we will survive this one.
   But it often seems to me that our species has no greater degree of free will than the lemmings of the tundra which, legend has it, with predictable regularity cast themselves into the icy arctic sea to drown.

Friday, December 5, 2014

THANK GOD FOR MACDONALDS!

DAWN IN ASHLAND

XCEL ENERGY'S WOOD BURNING ASHLAND POWER PLANT AT DAWN
BUDDY PLAYING ON THE BEACH IN ASHLAND
Friday, 8:00 AM.  27 degrees F, wind SW with light to moderate gusts.The sky is overcast, the humidity 76% and the barometer is rising, currently at 30.19".  I finally got the bird feeders up and filled yesterday afternoon, which was delayed by the early winter and the deer season, but the bears are asleep now and we hope the birds start showing up to give us some winter entertainment.
   We were in Ashland yesterday morning before sunup for Joan's cataract operation, and the dawn was clear, quiet, and very cold; which didn't stop Buddy from having a good time playing on the beach, tossing and chasing a plastic bottle endlessly.
   I went to the MacDonald's for coffee and an Egg McMuffin while Joan was in surgery, and had an opportunity to eavesdrop on the locals who were drinking 59 cent Senior coffees.  Some of what I heard: the DNR says the local deer harvest was down 18% from last year, which drew derisive laughter from those assembled, who said it was more like 50%;  The DNR also took it on the chin for publishing new lake trout size and possession limits of one fish per day, and legal length of less than 20" or more than 40".  Evidently trout have been overfished, and there are new restrictions on commercial fishing as well.  Some comments:  "I'm going to sell my boat."  "I'm glad I never bought a boat."  "Maybe the DNR will buy my boat."
   Also overheard: there is no longer a middle class, only rich and poor, and the retired guys are grateful for a place to have a good cup of coffee, a place to sit and talk,  and refills at a price they can afford, instead of $2.50 coffee at some boutique cafe'.
   Thank God for MacDonalds!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

LOWER CHEQUAMEGON BAY IS FROZEN AND SNOW COVERED

LOWER CHEQUJAMEGON BAY
Thursday.  Posted Wednesday night due to Joan's cataract surgery early tomorrow morning.
   Yesterday started out very windy and cold with blowing lake effect snow, but by mid-morning the clouds dissipated and it was quite nice by afternoon.
   The lower Chequamegon Bay is now frozen over and snow covered, but there has not as yet been any ice fishing or snowmobile activity, and it may be a while for it to became safe.   It freezes long before the upper portion of the bay because it is generally much shallower.  The upper portions of the bay beyond Washburn have deep channels and strong currents.  The waters off Bayfield will be open for another month.

A PRETTY GOOD RENDITION OF "LILY MARLENE."

ICE FLOWS ARE BEGINNING TO FORM ON THE CHANNEL'S WATERS

BUDDY ENJOYING A RUN ON THE BEACH


BEYOND THE CALL OF VOLUNTEERING

Wednesday, 8:30 AM. 19 degrees F at the ferry dock, 15 degrees on the back porch.  Wind WSW, calm with intermittant strong gusts.   The sky is mostly cloudy with a high overcast and it is beginning to snow.   The humidity is 76% and the barometer is rising, now at 30.09".  Ice flows have begun to form on the waters of the channel.
   I am getting back to some semblance of normalcy after deer season, Thanksgiving, and a lot of travel.  Mundane things like catching up on food shopping, prescriptions and getting Buddy some exercise have been in order.  Now we enter another maintenance cycle, getting Joan's second cataract operation over with and then on to some of my issues.
   But for the immediate present, Buddy had a good run on the beach yesterday and I again encountered the old-timer who plays his accordion while manning the Salvation Army donation bucket at the Washburn IGA.  It is a charming scene, a glimpse back to a simpler, albeit harsher,  era. Volunteering as he does is far beyond the call of duty, God Bless him, and coaxed a last fiver out of my pocket.
   Besides, he plays a pretty good rendition of "Lily Marlene."