Friday, September 24, 2010

Grandsons Bluegrass Music and Fishing

My daughter recently moved much closer to me than she has been in quite some time. Now, instead of a 3 hour drive it takes just a few minutes to get to her house. I am thankful to have my grandsons so near, now maybe we can really get to know and enjoy each other more than just an occasional, and rushed, visit.

My older grandson is excited about two things; fishing and bluegrass festivals, he loves both and has hardly stopped talking about them since he learned they were moving. He doesn't seem to be too excited about the new school but I am trying to encourage him. Most of us know how scary it can be for a kid starting a new school, especially in the middle of the school year. But I think he will be fine and he will like this new school even better than the old one once he gets settled in.

Well, we have already went out to the lake so he could do some practice casting and we have plans to hit the lake more intently soon. The weather is getting cool and it is a great time to sit out by the edge of the lake and enjoy the Earth!

Today we have a bluegrass festival to attend. He loves bluegrass music and has since he was very small. It was odd but nice, he was barely two years old the first time he heard bluegrass and he just took a liking to it right away. Maybe I will see about getting him some private music lessons. It really does my heart good to see young people enjoying such traditions as bluegrass music and festivals. Not too long ago there was a youth contest at one particular bluegrass festival and there were children as young as 8 or 9 who were 'burning it up' on banjo, mandolin, fiddle and guitar. It is truly an awesome thing to see these kids who are so talented and dedicated. ( Children Love Bluegrass Music )

My other grandson is still in diapers but I look forward to the times when he can get out and enjoy all that life has to offer too. I am sure that all three of us will be sitting by the waters edge fishing and sharing tales, attending bluegrass festivals, hitting the amusement parks and so much more. Great stuff to look forward too!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Gun Fight in Kentucky Death and Jail at Age 14

In 1977 I was involved in a gun battle and had to watch as my father died. I returned fire and on that same day I lost my father and went to jail for the first time. I was 14 years old. This is something that I have been wanting to write about for a long time. I have told this story to a few friends and relatives but this is the first time I have shared it with the "world".

My parents were separated and working on a divorce. They were living apart with my sisters and I being with our dad. Dad had decided to move us all from Wayland, Kentucky to Ohio. We loaded as much as we could into a big U-Haul and headed north. There were only a few things left in the house and dad said we would come back for it later.

I had visited Dayton many times but it had been a long time since I had actually lived there. All the time I was growing up we moved a lot. We were continually moving. New school, new neighborhood... Anyway, we got mostly settled in and I had went to the new school for a couple days. I hated it, of course. It is hard to change schools any time but especially in the middle of a school year. Everything, and everyone is different.

Finally dad told me that we were going to go to Kentucky to get the rest of our things. I looked forward to seeing the old place and maybe some of my friends. I doubted I would get to see my mother but I thought of it just the same. So it was just me and dad on a long road trip.

We got to the old house and found that whatever we had left was gone. Dad assumed that mom had gotten it. We drove down the road a short distance to where my grandmother and grandfather lived. This house was sitting next to the road. The only thing that separated the road from the house was the sidewalk. We were parked right next to the sidewalk so were only a few feet from the porch.

My cousin was staying with our (maternal) grandparents and so he came out and talked with me for awhile while dad was talking to my grandmother. But she called him back into the house saying it was past his bedtime. Her and dad were talking and everything was calm. She was holding a baby girl, I think around 2 years old at the time. Dad asked her if she could ride with us to where mom was staying and go give her a message. He said he didn't want to go to the house himself and didn't want any trouble. He asked her to be dropped at the end of the road and walk a short distance to the house.

Suddenly my grandfather rushed out of the house and yelled "She's not going anywhere with you!" and right away started shooting! Dad fell over on me and blood was everywhere. His foot released from the brake and the truck began to roll forward and finally stopped in the neighbors hedges. I tried to talk to dad but he only mumbled a few words. The only thing I could understand was "Jesus".

It is hard to describe how I felt. I pushed it away. It was as though I was in a movie. I reached under the seat of the truck and got the pistol, a .38 caliber Smith & Wesson with a long barrel. Yes, dad carried a gun in the truck and often more than one. Back then many people did, especially in southeastern Kentucky. I stepped out of the truck and walked toward the back of it to see the house. When I stepped out my grandfather fired more shots. I raised up that .38 and pulled the trigger as quickly as I could with it pointed at him. Normally, I was a good shot. We practiced a lot, but for some reason I didn't even take time to aim or to even think about what I was doing. It was more like I was watching it happen. One shot hit him in the knee and he dropped. Another shot hit him in the chest. Later I realized how amazing it was that my grandmother nor the baby she was holding were hurt.

About the time I heard a loud voice. It was the town cop, finally. He said "Throw down the gun!" I stood there with it in my hand but lowered. He shouted the command a couple more times. Very slowly and calmly I walked back to the pickup truck to the still open passenger door and laid the gun down in the seat next to dad. Dad would never have thrown down a gun and I sure wasn't going to either. I didn't care at the time and had no concern that the cop might shoot me.

That was how one young boy was transformed over night. One day it was homework, curfews, and chores and the next day it was death and jail. The fact that it was a family thing made it even worse. Each side of the family seemed to hate each other. I was in jail for a few days but it seemed like much longer for me. While the family were comforting each other and crying on each others shoulders I was laying in a jail cell.

Copyright 2010, David Slone

Added 9/27 - According to some of my family I refused to testify in court about any of this and the man who killed my father went free. THAT IS A LIE. I don't know where that came from but it is wrong. I was not permitted to testify nor was I even allowed to go into the actual court room. If you think I refused to testify voluntarily then adjust your thoughts because I did not.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Arrested and Forced to Pay Up Again

Have you ever heard of someone being arrested for a fine that they had already paid? Believe it or not that is what happened to me recently!

I was driving a little too fast on the Interstate and was pulled over for speeding. We sat there for quite some time as the police officer was doing his thing in his car. Finally he asked me to step out of the vehicle and informed me that I was under arrest. I was really surprised and stunned. What was I under arrest for? What was the charge? I had done nothing (other than speeding a bit) and had not been into any trouble.

I was told by the police officer that the warrant was for a traffic ticket that was unpaid from several years ago. I had only gotten one ticket - which was for improper passing and carried a $61.00 fine - during that time period and that ticket had been paid years ago! I had even attended traffic school because of it.

I spent about 5 hours in jail while my wife posted my bond and then two weeks later I had to appear in court to answer to the warrant. I was told basically that if I could find the receipt it would be fine but if I could not... So I searched for the receipt but never did find it. No matter what I said to the judge it was the same... "We have no record of your payment therefore no payment was made." In the end I had no choice but to pay the fine a second time.

Now here is the part that really infuriated me. When the police officer took me to jail he left my wife and two babies sitting out in the 'middle of nowhere' beside the Interstate! She has no license, the vehicle has no air conditioning and they all sat out in the blazing sun on the shoulder for hours. And to make matters even worse the cop who pulled me over claiming that I was doing 16 miles above the speed limit was traveling at 73 mph in a 55 mph zone to get me to jail! How ironic that he was going 1 mile more above the limit than I was supposedly traveling!

While I was in court that day there was a woman who had been ticketed for driving with an expired registration. She said that she had insisted to the cop that her registration had not in fact expired but he wrote the ticket anyway and she was ordered to appear in court. She showed the judge her registration and her case was dismissed. How could such an error be made by that police officer? She said that her sticker was fine (on her plate) and even her registration receipt yet when the cop "ran" her info he came up with expired registration!

When I talk about what happened to some of my friends and family I often hear something like "Wow, I know several people who claimed something similar happened to them!"

Lessons learned
You cannot depend upon the "system" to treat you fairly
ALWAYS keep receipts like this or "the man" might get you again

I wrote a follow up to this at Many Cops Routinely Break the Law

What if Facebook Disappeared?

Well it seems that Facebook has been seeing technical problems quite often lately. I can recall three different times in the past week when the site was down. As of now it has been mostly down for the past 2 hours or more. Up one minute down the next.

How many people are there who have been sitting in front of their computers clicking that refresh button over and over hoping that Facebook will be there this time? Or perhaps others just leave Facebook for awhile and spend more time on sites like this. Well, I am here aren't I?

I wouldn't care if MySpace or Twitter vanished but I have sort of gotten to like Facebook. It took me a long time to sign up with Facebook and I only did it then to satisfy my daughter and a couple friends who kept talking about it.

Of course all websites have technical problems from time to time and most likely they always will. I am sure facebook will be back to normal shortly. Just as sure as I am that they will go back down again in the future.

So, what did you do when the lights went out on Facebook?

Oh, and while I am on the subject of Facebook here is:

How to Avoid a Virus on Facebook and Don't Be Click Happy Avoid a Virus on Facebook

Monday, September 13, 2010

Free Candy and 'Tater Chips Courtesy of the Tax Payers

Why is it that people are allowed to buy candy, cookies, pop/soda, potato chips and things like that with Food Stamps? It just doesn't make a bit of sense to me.

I completely understand that a lot of folks need things like Food Stamps to help out but this is ridiculous! Why should the government, i.e. the tax payers, have to pay for this stuff? I am beginning to think it is all just a big money making racket (surprise!) for marketers.

Could I be the only one who feels outraged by this? Could I be the only one who has noticed it? I have no doubt that many, many others feel the same way.

If anyone is offended by this then something is very badly wrong. Food Stamps are intended to help families to feed themselves... Wait, if that were really true then you would not be able to buy a shopping buggy full of Mountain Dew, Dorito's, Oreos and candy bars! And so many people do that!
In a country where obesity and diabetes are continually growing problems should the government be handing out free sweets and treats to the poor and less fortunate? NO! There are so many things that just do not make sense and this is a big one.

So, what do you think? Is it OK for folks to buy this stuff with Food Stamps?