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To the A&W or bust...

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

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On one of the forum's, someone was talking about burger joints we fondly remember from our youth and mentioned A&W.  Ooh, A&W. That brings back memories.
When I was in college, I worked at Lone Star Camp in Athens, Texas for five summers. That's me, bottom center of the ski pyramid above.  The last couple of years I ran the water front and both my wife Sheila and I worked together. We were ensconced one that summer in one of the cabins for married people that were attached to the camp store, one of the few air-conditioned places in the whole camp. I had wisely brought along my king sized waterbed and as a result, we had a nice cool place to take a nap on a hot Sabbath afternoon after church let out – it’s a Seventh day Adventist Camp, so Saturdays were treated as a day of rest. We took turns taking the campers on a long hike in the blistering Texas heat so the rest of us could get a nap. It was a wonderful way to recoup from the week’s strenuous activity before a new batch of campers arrived on Sunday.
Swimming on Sabbath was verboten, although you could wade in water up to your kneecaps according to an official camp director ruling, so long as no evidence could be produced that when you fell on your face and were forced to swim for your life, that you did so deliberately or exhibited any evidence of having enjoyed doing so) Adventists were a bit more strict about Sabbath observance in those days and a lot of really fun stuff was not permissable. Sabbaths were, therefore a hot and miserable time for everyone except for maybe the camp director who used to crash in his air conditioned cabin for a 3-4 hour nap after Sabbath lunch. After the staff had got all the campers and their unfortunate counselors pushed off down the trail on the obligatory Sabbath afternoon safari round the lake and nature scavenger hunt, my wife and I took two little boys and repaired to the cool refuge of the cabin where we enjoyed about 10 minutes of solitude. Then came the inevitable knock at the door. Answering it, I would find one of the waterfront staff (a bold and self-interested lot) looking all bedraggled and pitiful standing on the front step. They always looked so pathetic. You could see them move their face to catch a waft of air-conditioning through the open door.
My wife, being a career mom and a notorious soft touch always invited the poor thing(s) in and told whoever it was to stretch out on the foot of the bed. Soon there was another knock and another and my Sweet Baboo would begin stacking them like cordwood crosswise on the waterbed from foot to head until we were at last forced to crawl out over the headboard and abandon our bed altogether, surrendering to the lemming-like hoard of ski instructors, canoe instructors, kitchens staff and the odd nature instructor (these guys were usually relegated to the floor as they were tended to be a rather shy breed and therefore the last to show up and claim a spot). Forced out of our own bed, we would pile the babies in our Pinto Hatchback and go for a drive for a couple of hours with the air-conditioner turned up high. By the time we returned, there would be 10-20 people piled all over the cabin, snoring contentedly. 
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Playing Since: 1973
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Occupation: Freelance Writer, nonprofit consultant & grant writer

Gender: Male
Age: 66

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Squared Eel custom banjo, Goya classical guitar

Favorite Bands/Musicians:
Clancy Brothers, Earl Scruggs, Steve Martin, Connie Dover, Emmy Lou and anyone, Willie Nelson and anyone, Pete Seeger, Arlo Guthrie, Gordon Lightfoot, Alison Kraus, Nickel Creek, Joe Bethancourt

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Created 6/26/2007
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I grew up in the small Seventh-day Adventist college town of Keene, Texas where I graduated in 1976 with a degree in English-Communications. I married a Scots-Irish-Indian woman from Monroe, Louisiana and raised three children and some cats and dogs, birds and fish. I’ve taught school, taught swimming, canoeing and sailing, knot tying, camping and astronomy for kids. I’ve water skied on canoe paddles, assorted bits of lumber and my elbows. I have a couple of canoes and a catamaran, 3 guitars, two banjos, a dulcimer, a mandolin, a fiddle, 2 recorders, a penny whistle, fife, a bag of harmonicas, a bodhrain, pair of bones and a jaw harp or two – all of which I play badly. I’ve helped start up 6 nonprofit organizations in 25 years and raised millions of dollars none of which ever managed to stick to my bank account. I’ve won awards for documentary screen-writing, published poetry and short stories and a book on how to organize a charity golf tournament. I was appointed to a two year term on the Public Transportation Advisory Committee for the Great State of Texas by the Governor and I work as an advocate for seniors, people with disabilities and low income families. I’m a Reagan conservative, which puzzles my fellow advocates, who think I should spontaneously combust from the sheer incongruity. On the other hand, I’ve taught them to speak Republican which has improved their rate of success with the state legislature. I am currently raising funds to expand Tiger Creek Wildlife Refuge here in East Texas. My advocacy work includes children’s issues, expanding public transportation, creating barrier free housing and promoting community wide accessibility standards that allow transportation challenged Texans to fully participate in their communities. I have three grandchildren, a son and daughter-in-law, my beautiful daughter and her new husband and we live on beautiful Lake Palestine near Tyler, Texas. My middle son, an amazing young man, passed away more than a year ago while finishing his senior year at UT Tyler. He was going to be a teacher. Since I wrote this, we moved away from the lake, lost almost everything and moved to Puyallup, Washington to live with my wife's sister and brother-in-law. In the midst of a recession and massive unemployment, it seemed to be the thing to do. We've cut our expenses drastically and I'm able to work on finishing up the books I have been working on.

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