Friday, November 25, 2022

A Christmas Manger

My wife is a Christmas addict, the 12 step program and the long road to recovery, at least so far has failed. 

Experts say to correct any disorder you must first determine the cause. Last year, I accidentally discovered the source of my wife’s lifelong obsession with all things Christmas.  

She is a person with Christmas boxes. Ornaments and lights, Santas and nativities, angels and stars, teddy bears and stockings all reside in boxes during the off season. One rather large box has been around since our first Christmas together. 

Over the years the box had become what my grandmother would call “dog eared” meaning the flaps to the box were so worn that they were no longer stiff but floppy like the ears on my Labrador Retrievers. 

So last year well into January and with much discussion we agreed to replace the worn out box with a couple of plastic tubs. It was my task to make the orderly transition, out of the old box and into the new tubs. Deep Inside, at the very bottom of the old and tattered box, among crumpled old newspapers was a small wad of tissue. 

So small, that it was almost thrown away.


In a split second of clarity my hand quickly backed away from the trash bag. The paper had just enough weight to cause suspicion. I carefully unwrapped the tissue to reveal a tiny paper box, no larger than an inch wide and two inches across. 

A price of 10 Cents was stamped in ink on the top of the box with that symbol of a “C” with a line through it that somehow vanished during the transition of typewriter keyboard to computer keyboard decades ago. 

The drawing on the outside of the box, depicted a manger scene complete with 3 lambs and a shepherd, a donkey, a cow, three wise men, Joseph and Mary and baby Jesus with an angel overhead. Inside a plastic full color replica of the western world’s perception of the birth of Jesus. 

The micro sized nativity scene complete with a manger was my wife’s first Christmas decoration purchase and the first hint of a life long love of all things involving her favorite winter holiday. 

Her explanation was simple. In elementary school they had a bake and toy sale twice a year. Donated items were laid out on a table for students to peruse all morning, then during the 45 minute lunch break students would buy things that ranged from ten cents to a dollar. Comic books, and silly putty are things she remembers, in addition to cookies and cupcakes. It seems the manger was a one of a kind. 

The only one offered and during lunch while boys jostled for airplane models and the girls turned the pages of Nancy Drew story books my wife scored the tiny manger scene for 10 Cents. 

 Now nearly four decades later it is dwarfed by all that we possess, yet it is indeed one of the most valuable items in the home we share. 

It is a part of her past, and finding it has allowed me to touch a part of her childhood and in the process to begin to understand her love of all things Christmas, and perhaps the cause of her addiction.

Friday, November 18, 2022

Carl

More accurately known as “motor-mouth carl” was my “training manager” at my first job. 

I’m proud to say my first job was as a gas station attendant at Starmount Gulf Oil and Service on the corner of Archdale Drive and South Boulevard in Charlotte. 



Hubert Blanton the owner said he'd hire me if I got a haircut. So, I rode my bike across and down the street to a barbershop in the Starmount Shopping Center and went from hippy kid with hair nearly to my shoulders to grease monkey in about ten minutes. Even the barber asked "are you sure?" 

When I returned to the service station cut high and tight I got a “well damn, ok you can start now”. 

That summer I learned about perverts, racists, college girls, stealing from your employer, how to mount a set of tires and pretty much fell in love with cars of all makes and models. 

It wasn't a great job; the pay was not even minimum wage and I worked ten hours a day from 11 a.m. until the 9 p.m. closing. Six days a week. I had 2 15-minute breaks and 30 minutes for lunch. None of which I was paid for, even though I seldom took neither, and I had Sundays and Holidays off because we were closed Sundays and Holidays. 

My first experience with a handgun happened behind the station. Motor-mouth Carl the station's 6-3 uniformed attendant asked me if I could shoot a gun, pointing to the chrome 38 revolver under the cash register. 

We took the gun out back and he put a bottle on the fence, stepped back a dozen feet and put six holes in the fence, leaving the bottle standing. Laughing at his poor aim he took a bullet from his pocket and loaded it into the gun handed it to me. I took aim, then lowered the gun and took aim again, I took me nearly a minute to steady myself when I lightly squeezed the trigger and recycled the bottle into a hundred pieces. 

I don’t recall exactly what Carl's instructions were, but I'm sure it included the "N" word and some encouragement for not taking so long to aim. Maybe something along the lines of you don’t need to shoot the nigger exactly between the eyes just point it and shoot the SUM  BITCH but make sure you drag his body into the station before the cops come.

I suspect Hubert and Motor-mouth Carl, Shemp the mechanic, and Jim who cleaned the bathrooms are all gone now. But they live on in the echoes of gas station bells of long ago.

One afternoon with the Carolina sun high overhead and the humidity somewhere near crazy, Carl filled his Pepsi with Lance peanuts and gave his bottle a good hard shake with his thumb over the opening.

Then he folded the Charlotte News afternoon paper over his knee and slapped that back of the paper with his hand.

Says right hear it’s gonna be illegal to call a nigger a nigger how the hell is that possible?

I mean a nigger is a nigger but starting right now and here in the present we are supposed to call them folks Blacks? 

How on God’s Green Earth is that possible. I swear the world is going to hell!

It was soon thereafter a “nigger” and his car limped into the service station parking lot with a flat tire. He didn’t pull up to the pumps, rather he just pulled into the station lot at the far end.

The Pontiac was clean and shiny with wide white wall tires, the left front tire however was ripped to shreds. 

The black man about 40 exited the car was surveying the damage as Carl risking possible heat stroke walked across the hot pavement over to the man and firmly says “How can I help you?”

The Black man looked around and replies “I was hoping to put in enough air in to get home”.

Carl looked the South Carolina tag and then at the tire. He then give the tire a couple of pokes with his foot. “That tire ain’t gonna even hold a prayer on Sunday, you got a spare?”

Nope the man shakes his head with a combination of embarrassment and acknowledgement.

Carl mutters to himself “what kind of fool drives to Charlotte without a spare?”

The man and the ladies in the car were dressed for church but it is Thursday, now this concerns Carl. He mutters something about being all dressed up like it was Sunday seems suspicious.

Carl tells the man I can sell you a tire, but I can’t fix that one.

The man explained he only had 15 dollars. Carl tells him that ain’t even enough for a down payment. Plus, we don’t carry those fancy pimp tires.

“Can I use the payphone?” the man politely asks

Now this also presents a problem. The payphone is basically a public phone supplied by BellSouth, but it’s also the gas station business telephone. The owner is tight as dick’s hat band and figured one phone was enough. So, to use the payphone you had to go behind the counter and Carl was having nothing of that since that’s where the gun is in plain sight once you’re behind the counter.

“Sorry the phone’s broke hasn’t worked in weeks.” Says Carl. The man nods. But I know the man understands what is really being said, and that is that the phone is for white folk only.

Carl sends me back behind the station telling me bring out a fifteen-inch tire, “get a bias ply not a damn radial” Then he adds “but make sure it will hold air and has some tread on it”.

I do as I’m told and hunt through the stacks of discarded tires waiting for pick up behind the station. Most are well worn, toe and camber issues I’ve learned, and grab the best that I can find. 

Carl has already dragged a floor jack some chocks out of the garage bay and is telling the ladies they might want to wait next door at the Burger King they have a/c he points out. Again the air-conditioned gas station office is off limits.

We pull the wheel and within a minute it’s on the tire machine. Carl lets me do the work. 

"You know what Pontiac stands for?" askes Carl.

"No sir" knowing full well that I'm about to find out.

"Poor Old Nigger Thinks Its A Cadillac" laughs Carl.

The old tire is removed and the new one inspected by Carl he’s of the opinion that it’s too nice of a tire but given the heat of the summer day, he doesn’t want to go around back and have a look for himself.

“Dang son, what you couldn’t find a new one?” He jokes. 

The used tire is back on the rim, filled with air and Carl runs a soapy rag across the tire, seeing that there are no leaks, he gives in a hard bounce on the garage floor and it starts roll towards the street. He motions for me to follow along and make sure it rolls toward the Pontiac and not into traffic or to the Kmart across the street.

Not long after wheel is back on the car with five quick bursts of the air wrench.

Carl drops the car as if he’s at Dayton and swings the floor jack into an empty bay.

The man opens his wallet, but carl waives him off tells the man no charge.

The man is overwhelmed and very apperceive as the ladies return and without another word the Pontic is gone.

A few minutes later in the comfort of the air-conditioned office I look at Carl and ask: "Why did you did do that?"

Carl says what? I press him further: “Help that man out? Carl looks at me says "oh you think I’m soft? A push over? Shit son, I don’t put up with no niggers in my gas station. I did what I needed to do to get him off the property and on his way."

I smile at Carl and tell him, “I suspect you did it because beyond being a redneck you also have a big heart."

Carl now swearing like a sailor tells me to go to hell and if I tell anyone he’ll cut tongue off. I’ll not say a word I promise. 

The air conditioner mounted over the gas station door hums and cold air blows nonstop which keeps the small room “Kool Inside” and the Carolina heat and humidity outside. Carl now sitting in Hubert Blanton’s desk chair leans back puts his feet up on the desk then mutters something about not being soft or a push over and takes a swig of his Pepsi and Lance Peanuts.

Another customer runs over the gas station airbell hose.

Now all these years later I’m still smiling at Carl.


Thursday, November 17, 2022

Throwback Thursday

 Just a shout out to anyone who has stood watch and seen this view. My TBT is for you!



In fact here or any port around the world. 

I still have my Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club Jacket and Coffee Cup.

Oh the stories.....

Monday, November 14, 2022

Texas Raiders B-17 Flying Fortress Loss - So Close To Home

Two World War II-era airplanes collided in midair at an air show in Dallas on Saturday killing six in the crash, the National Transportation Safety Board said on Sunday.



The planes — the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress "Texas Raiders" and a Bell P-63 Kingcobra — crashed at about 1:20 p.m. local time, the Federal Aviation Administration said. The crash happened at the Wings Over Dallas air show at Dallas Executive Airport, which is about 10 miles south of downtown Dallas.

Videos posted online show the P-63 slamming into the B-17 during a pre planned low pass.

Michael Graham, a member of the N.T.S.B., said that the five crew members of the B-17 and the sole pilot of the Kingcobra were killed.

This really hurts. Those who know CP understand the life long love of the B-17 and even years after my first flight the sound of radial engines starting gets my heart rate up.

Prayers for all those lost, their families, the fellow aviators who understand the risks and all those fans of these old birds who feel this loss.


The Cedar Kid, a few years back in the best "Right Seat" ever while making a run to Asheville aboard the B-17G "Aluminum Overcast". 


Friday, November 11, 2022

Unknown Soldier Veterans Day 2022

The 11th Month on the 11th Day at the 11th Hour. Today is our Veterans Day and while often confused with Memorial Day, this holiday has a far different meaning. And so this is my contribution and acknowledgment to those who served and all those we never knew that they served.

Unknown Soldier

I’ve watched him from a distance, in passing and close up. 

I’ve stood behind him in line at the post office, sat across the aisle from him at church and our paths have crossed at the gas station and the grocery store as well. Yet I don’t know him... 

Over many years I’ve noticed the two flags that fly from the large flag pole in his backyard. And because of those two flags and the regularity they fly, I know a little something about him just the same, for he flies our country’s flag daily and below it the Marine Corps Standard.  

He is punctual I’ve discovered, and if I time my morning run just right I’ll pass by his home as he raises those flags. So, this morning I make the effort to rise early and Madison my five-year-old Lab and I head out the door before the sun warms the pavement beneath our feet. 

The air is brisk, and our pace is easy, down the long street around the corner and up to the top of the hill. It is a mile or so from my home where we finally stop and it is from this vantage point I can peer down the hill into his back yard. The cold brushed aluminum flag pole now bare will soon spring to life, and right on time with purposeful steps the unknown soldier walks out the door. 

He is a man of some age, and so his walk is not as steady as I suspect it once was. On this morning as he’s done so many mornings before his hand reaches for halyard and he takes the brass clips in hand, then in one fluid movement the flag of our country is quickly hoisted to the top of the pole and unfurls in the chilly fall breeze. 

He steps back and offers a proud salute and seconds later the Marine Corps Colors unfurl as well and with it another salute. I watch as he turns heel smartly and walks towards the house but just before he disappears behind the door, he turns for one last look at the red, white, and blue that he proudly flies each day. 

And while he pauses, all time stands still. 

Perhaps it is in this moment he reflects on his life, the friends and fellow Marines he left behind in some far away place and his war. 

His war is unknown to me, but Korea I’d guess given his age, too young for World War II and too old for Viet Nam. 

Korea, with names like Chosin, Inchon, and Hwachon with the 1st Marine Division or with the 5th Marines at outposts, nicknamed "Reno," "Vegas" and "Carson" where the marines held their ground despite heavy losses after Reno fell to the enemy. 

I don’t know him and Korea remains the often, forgotten war.  


Korean War Veterans Memorial Washington, DC 

The leaves rustle in the wind, they depart in droves from the trees, and then scatter about the ground. Madison sitting politely next to me nudges my hand with her cold, wet black nose. She's ready to go, but we stay just a little longer and watch the flags. 

In my heart the gratefulness is palatable, and I wonder aloud who is this veteran, what battles did he fight for my freedom, what stories does he tell, and what stories he does not? 

He is an unknown soldier, who is always a Marine, yet there are so many unknown soldiers who live their lives in quiet contemplation next to ours and I am so truly thankful for their service and sacrifices they have made for our country. 

The flags of the United States of America and the United States Marine Corps snap smartly in the stiff autumn wind, for Corps and Country, these unknown soldiers are Semper Fi.

Thursday, November 10, 2022

Throwback Thursday Bernie Sanders Arrested


1963 and Frank Sinatra is looking on as nutbird protester Bernie Sanders age 21 is dragged away by Chicago Police Officers. 

Yes it's true and the follow-up story is here.

As you can see Sander's over the top reaction to small things hasn't changed in the years since. Always overly dramatic. 

Happy Thursday Y'all!

Tuesday, November 8, 2022

Charlotte Douglas International Airport - Devonte Tisdale Death Redux

It's been more than a decade since a young Charlotte teenager jumped a fence at Charlotte Douglas International Airport climbed into a US Airways 737 wheel well and would later fall to his death. 

As with so many news stories this one died at the hands of an ABC News Editor and Senior Management who shit canned the story before it aired. 

But for a brief moment on January 8th of 2014 the story had a chance at seeing daylight. 

I had the pleasure and meeting Juju Chang who seemed genuinely interested in the story. Two days and a number of interviews later the 20/20 story went sideways. 

Finally citing security concerns and story was killed. But the CP hypothetical lives on here









Sunday, November 6, 2022

What Was Wrong With Twitter?

It's pretty simple. 

This was the reply to my complaint about a tweet with a photo of then acquitted Kyle Rittenhouse:




National Saxophone Day November 6, 2022

In honor of "National Saxophone Day" this is Candy Dulfer with "Lily Was Here" ...


Saw Candy at the Ball and Chain in Miami so long ago I can't remember when, but I do remember riding in a Audi A-8 on A1A at 1 am the ocean warm breeze and full moon and the world going by at better than 90 mph. 

We were young. We were gods.

Happy National Saxophone Day.

Friday, November 4, 2022

The Last Voter (Redux)

I posted this more than a decade ago but I liked it, felt it was worth sharing and well it is my show and so I'm posting it again. Hope you're having a Great Friday. CP

I worked at my local polling place on Election Day, a day that will certainly become a defining moment in our country’s most recent history.



I spent the day handing out flyers, wearing the badges and buttons of a good friend and pronouncing to all who would listen the benefits of voting for my candidate.

In the early morning hours the rain came and went, by midday the long line of voters that started in the predawn darkness dwindled. Friends and neighbors stopped to chat, adorable children ran in circles around their mothers like the wind that had scattered the leaves and campaign signs all day long and made the parking lot look like a rag tag yard sale.

And as the afternoon wore on the line vanished. By 5 PM it was clear that the expected evening rush was not to be.

Campaign volunteers, who had numbered nearly a dozen, began to depart one by one, eventually leaving myself and two attractive young women outside in the dampness. A few feet away a handful of paid poll workers tolled inside the brightly lit and well heated recreation center that for the last three presidential elections has been my neighborhood’s polling place.

Darkness came and the CMPD Police Officer who had jokingly told us he was there to make sure we didn’t get out of hand called it a night and headed home. His unmarked police cruiser left in a wake of scattered leaves, and with a tap of his brakes at the end of the parking lot his city issued car tail lights momentarily glistened red across the wet pavement and then vanished into the night.

A light rain began to fall, and in the blackness of the damp and chilly evening a lone car, with one headlight slightly out of alignment slowly rounded the corner coming to a halt in a nearby parking space.

I glanced at my watch, 7:23 pm, only seven minutes and the polls would close, and then I’d be on my way to join family and friends, the beautiful and the powerful that run our, city and our country, in celebration of our nation’s most anticipated event, the day’s election results.

A sudden gust of wind pushed a downpour of rain past the street lights at the far end of the parking lot as the driver walked towards us with a somewhat unsteady gait.

A hood up over his head, in the darkness the shadowy figure seemed out of place, a noticeable misstep at the curb, suggested a drunk who at the last minute had set aside the bottle to brave the chilly night air after sobering up long enough to remember he had not yet voted.

Out of the hood the figured plucked a cigarette from his mouth and tossed it into the concrete gutter swollen with rainwater soaked oak leaves.

I glanced at the girl next to me her name Jenna boldly printed on a miniature campaign sign of the candidate she was representing; she looked at me and rolled her eyes but at the same time bravely called out to the darkness offering information about her candidate.

I stood silent, for in the pool of light that we stood, his face was suddenly revealed. I had seen the face before, disfigured by some disease that had robbed his body's immune system of the ability to fight off the growths that populated nearly every inch of his face.

His soft speech, offered a quiet "No Thank You" as he slowly made his was way toward the front door.

The rainy mist swirled around us, the night broken only by his slow shuffle and the sound of the wind. The girls said nothing, and I started to offer an explanation, that the man worked at Walmart nearby, but the three of us just stood there in silence.

And I thought to myself that in a world of perfect candidates, attractive first ladies to be and well groomed campaign workers; we often forget that all Americans have a right to vote.

The sky opened up and a steady rain coated my umbrella, the girls said a few hasty goodbyes and dashed to their cars in opposite directions, I too retreated to the shelter of my car.

And so it was that on a cold damp night in November the last voter made his choice and recorded his vote. And of all the people who came and went, the many whom I spoke to and the many I know, the most important voter of the night was a man that some people look away from, not wanting to gaze upon his disfigured face.

But he is a man that I owe a heartfelt thank you, thank you for being my neighbor, thank you for coming out to vote on a cold rainy night and above all else thank you for being a patriot and a fellow American. 

Footnote:In 2004 and 2006 I worked for Dan Ramirez who was genuinely respected by all. Then in 2008 I worked the polls and door to door for the republican candidate for congress. The work is sobering, it was the first time since Jimmy Carter that a democrat presidential candidate carried North Carolina. But the 2008 election would be my last. Ever since then I've had a solid respect for those who take the time to help elect someone, regardless of party. 

So here two days before then election I am hopeful that your choice will be the right one. If you plan to vote on Tuesday look for me standing in the parking lot early before the polls open. Just an American on election day.  

Thursday, November 3, 2022

Throwback Thursday West Pac 2002-2003 Operation Iraqi Freedom

Pretty easy for the liberal snow flakes to forget what we had to do to knock Islamic Terrorism on its ass 20 years ago. Sadly most if not all of those gains were wiped away thanks to the Biden administration's election promises and weak on terrorism stance.

Well kidos its now a new ballgame....

I'm sad to note those who have passed since those days and I miss steel beach parties.

While the Connie may be gone, there are a plenty of us who still remember Shock and Awe!




In November 2002, VFA-137 deployed to the Persian Gulf on board USS Constellation for her final deployment. The squadron participated in extensive operations in the skies over Iraq, initially in support of Operation Southern Watch, and then in combat operations during Operation Iraqi Freedom. During the course of the conflict, the squadron flew over 500 combat sorties and dropped more than 300,000 pounds of precision-guided ordnance.

Monday, October 31, 2022

The Legend of Master Trooper Darrell Higgins

The unmistakable black and silver markings of a North Carolina State Trooper’s cruiser came into view for only a brief moment as the car slowly rolled past under the streetlight. Chip Mitchell remembered watching the car, as it disappeared into the midnight fog and mist without so much as a tap of the brake lights making a sharp turn at the end of the street.

Yet the familiar paint scheme, and massive whip antenna seemed somehow off. The markings while standard for the North Carolina Highway Patrol were different. The more he thought about it the more he became intrigued. 

The next morning his google search turned up countless photos of modern NCSHP cruisers where Dodge Chargers seem to be the norm, bright graphics emblazoned with North Carolina and State Trooper end to end. 

Then he clicked on a link and there it was, a late 1970s Plymouth which was once the car of choice for the NCSHP.



Was it possible that the highway patrol was still using these older cruisers? 

Within a few hours the car and that night was forgotten.

Three counties away Anna Sherrill was late for an appointment when she suddenly noticed headlights behind her. She immediately became concerned because the headlights were rapidly gaining on her, closer and closer they came. She checked her speed and saw that she was doing better than 75 along the four-lane road. 

Taking her foot off the gas pedal, she slowed to the posted speed limit of 55 as the unmistakable image of a state trooper pulled into the left lane and stayed behind her for more than a mile. 

The Trooper’s presence annoyed her, she was running late and the last thing she wanted to do was drive the speed limit.

Fearing she was about to be pulled over for speeding she glanced down and reached for her cell phone, scrolled through the numbers, and called her husband.  

But before her husband could answer she realized the trooper was gone. 

Her rearview mirror showed nothing but an empty four lane mountain road, and on the curving highway ahead not a car or truck as well. She unconsciously slowed further on the empty highway. 

As her husband answered her call, she was still scanning in all directions, still trying to find the state police cruiser. 

When she finally said hello, her husband replied: “hey babe you’re butt dialing me again?” but her silence got his attention.

“Babe are you ok?” 

Anna replied: “What?” and quickly added “Oh hey hold on”. 

As she rounded the blind curve there was a massive rockslide blocking the road. It had clearly just happened. Slamming on her brakes her car drifted slightly to the left but managed to miss several large rocks in the road. Her heart was racing, as several smaller boulders suddenly tumbled toward the pavement.

Anna went back to her cellphone: "you won't believe what just happened!" "yes, I'm ok". 

Thankfully the only other vehicle near the rockslide was a tractor trailer heading in the opposite direction and was far enough away from the rockslide. His flashers were on as he moved slowly past the few rocks that had crossed over the concrete barrier and into the opposite travel lane. 

Within minutes the North Carolina Department of Transportation was on the scene and local sheriff deputies were directing traffic and she was on her way again. But what of the State Trooper? 

Anna would dismiss the encounter with the state Trooper’s car to her lifestyle, the three kids, and a job that she loved as a real-estate agent. She thought maybe she was just suffering from the long hours and her out of control work life balance. After all she was in a hurry and somewhat distracted, but how could the Trooper just disappear? And so she was left to assume that the trooper had simply turned around. 

And then in a sobering moment she realized the Trooper had saved her life. Had she not slowed down she would have been hit by the rockslide on the blind curve.

Thoughts come and go as life races on, and so it was that Anna went about her daily routine. It would be sometime before she thought of the State Trooper again.

A few weeks after her near encounter with North Carolina Mountain’s frequent rockslides, Anna sat down at the local Cracker-Barrel with her clients, an older couple looking to retire to the North Carolina mountains. 

Gary and Christina were from New York, she already had learned that they were tired of the Rochester New York winters but were not willing to give up the seasons and particularly fall. 

After some small pleasantries Christina stated that she was a nurse, and that Gary was a retired State Police Captain. Anna must have looked surprised at the mention of State Police because Christina was quick to ask if that was a problem. 

Anna apologized: “oh no it’s just that I saw a State Trooper the other day and it was really weird”. She went on to explain to her new clients about her encounter and how the cruiser had just vanished. 

Their conversation drifted on to other small talk and then the business at hand. Before long Gary and Christina said their goodbyes leaving Anna to collect the check and pay on her way out.

But before she could reach the register to pay her bill, she was stopped by an older gentleman. 

“I couldn’t help but overhear your State Trooper concerns” the man said.

 “I’d spect you’d seen Trooper Higgins”. The gentleman looked away as if to be certain no one else was listening. 

Trooper Higgins? Anna asked.

“Trooper Darrell Higgins or more properly Master Trooper Darrell Higgins NCSHP Troop F out of Newton, North Carolina. Graduated in 1976.” Stated the man.

Percy Craven stood up and formally introduced himself. 

“Hi I’m Anna” she was somewhat surprised.

Percy was quick to say that he knew who she was since she’s on two billboards on 321 going into the Highlands Resort.

She changed the conversation back to Master Trooper Higgins: “How do you know this State Trooper?” asked Anna.

Percy continued: “Good man served in Viet Nam joined the Highway Patrol right after he got back. Lost his wife the following year to a drunk driver and then committed himself to enforcing the law thereafter. Two years later he had been promoted and given several awards. Then one night he vanished. Never a trace of him or his cruiser was ever found.”

Anna tried to understand the details that Percy had just stated. Before she could ask what happened to the Trooper Percy continued:

“Lemma ask you something, you seem like a smart girl who might know your cars, what did the trooper’s car look like?”

“North Carolina Highway Patrol I’m certain not county or city police.” Anna told the older man. 

And then she continued “Silver and Black but not like a car I’ve seen before, and it wasn’t that is was old it was new looking but an older style. The windows were up but there was definitely a Trooper in the driver’s seat. Distinctive wide brim hat.” 



Percy smiled and chuckled to himself then went on to explain: "Some say he stumbled upon some boys from Tennessee moving shine across the state line near Hurricane, others say he left with a college girl from Cullowhee and moved to Mexico".  

“Well about two years after he disappeared folks swore, they saw him on 321 helping a man change a tire.”  Percy continued.

“Then there was a trailer fire back up “Cat Lick Hollow” in Sparta. A married couple and four kids escaped just in time, woken up by a State Trooper pounding on their front door. The Trooper even carried the families’ dog out of the fire. When the fire department arrived the Trooper was long gone.”

By this time the two of them had sat down at an empty table and ordered coffee.

"Then there's that murder suspect who somehow locked himself in a telephone booth in front of the Henderson County courthouse".

Percy continued to recount what he had heard over the years: 

“Back in the 1990’s a McDowell County Sheriff's Deputy escaped death when a North Carolina State Trooper pushed the deputy out of the path of an oncoming and out of control car. The deputy said that he had stopped behind an abandoned vehicle and was returning to his car when a drunk driver lost control and sideswiped the deputy’s patrol car. 

Collecting himself while climbing out of a ditch and seeing his destroyed patrol car he searched for the Trooper who had just pushed him into the ditch saving his life. He feared the worst but there was no trooper and no a sign of a Highway Patrol car. “

“Been a few years since I’ve heard anyone speak of him, but back in the spring there was a man handcuffed to a fence post out near Beaver Creek. Turned out he was a drug dealer wanted by the feds. Said he wanted to go to jail because he'd seen an apparition and was afraid the ghost he saw was going to come back and take him straight to hell." 

Percy pointed out "You see, some of these parts are sparsely populated he may have spent two or three nights out there in the cold. I figure that will make you see things. But over the years I’ve heard plenty of similar tales from other folk.” Percy’s words would echo for weeks to come.

The headlights of an approaching car became silhouetted against the backdrop of tall North Carolina oak and maple trees in their splendid fall glory at dusk.  Then at the crest of the hill the patrol car stopped as the blue flashing beacon of an older model police car and Wig-Wag Blue and White grill lights flashed across the rural landscape. 

From the opposite direction a suspect’s car crossed the bridge at better than 90 miles an hour, another police cruiser close behind. 

As the speeding car rounded the curve and the flashing blue and white lights came into view, the chase ended abruptly as the suspect pulled over to the far-right shoulder and put his car in park. The driver now stopped more than hundred yards from where the road was blocked by a North Carolina State Patrol car. 

The pursuing Police Officer pulled in behind the suspect’s car ordered the occupant out of the car. Within seconds the driver a young man in his 20s had his chin pressed firmly against the hood of the marked police car. 

With the suspect’s hands behind his back, he was promptly stuffed into the patrol car and the door slammed shut. 

Then as if on cue, the North Carolina State Trooper Plymouth eased down the hill and approached. As the Highway Patrol car passed the uniformed driver just touched the wide brim of his Smokey the Bear hat and drove on by.

Then the silver and black cruiser’s bubblegum machine blue light switched off and the Plymouth disappeared silently once again into the mountain mist.

Fall comes early to these parts of North Carolina, and while the Carolina Coast and the Foothills won’t seem fall like until late October, the mountains head into fall like a speeding patrol car. The sun falls swiftly along about four thirty and darkness comes on fast in the valleys and hollows, and with it sometimes the fog rolls down the mountains and makes everything seem just a little ghostly.

Sunday, October 30, 2022

Injun Summer 1907 By John T. McCutcheon

In 1907 these two cartoon panels debuted in the Chicago Tribune. This artwork and accompanying story written in 1900's simple folk speak was the formal declaration of fall and all that was magical about the season:

Yep, sonny this is sure enough Injun summer. Don't know what that is, I reckon, do you? 

Well, that's when all the homesick Injuns come back to play; You know, a long time ago, long afore yer granddaddy was born even, there used to be heaps of Injuns around here—thousands—millions, I reckon, far as that's concerned. Reg'lar sure 'nough Injuns—none o' yer cigar store Injuns, not much. They wuz all around here—right here where you're standin'. 

Don't be skeered—hain't none around here now, leastways no live ones. They been gone this many a year.


They all went away and died, so they ain't no more left. 

But every year, 'long about now, they all come back, leastways their sperrits do. They're here now. You can see 'em off across the fields. Look real hard. See that kind o' hazy misty look out yonder? Well, them's Injuns—Injun sperrits marchin' along an' dancin' in the sunlight. That's what makes that kind o' haze that's everywhere—it's jest the sperrits of the Injuns all come back. They're all around us now.

 

See off yonder; see them tepees? They kind o' look like corn shocks from here, but them's Injun tents, sure as you're a foot high. See 'em now? Sure, I knowed you could. Smell that smoky sort o' smell in the air? That's the campfires a-burnin' and their pipes a-goin'. 

Lots o' people say it's just leaves burnin', but it ain't. It's the campfires, an' th' Injuns are hoppin' 'round 'em t'beat the old Harry. 

You jest come out here tonight when the moon is hangin' over the hill off yonder an' the harvest fields is all swimmin' in the moonlight, an' you can see the Injuns and the tepees jest as plain as kin be. You can, eh? I knowed you would after a little while. 

Jever notice how the leaves turn red 'bout this time o' year? That's jest another sign o' redskins. That's when an old Injun sperrit gits tired dancin' an' goes up an' squats on a leaf t'rest. Why I kin hear 'em rustlin' an' whisper in' an' creepin' 'round among the leaves all the time; an' ever' once'n a while a leaf gives way under some fat old Injun ghost and comes floatin' down to the ground. See—here's one now. See how red it is? That's the war paint rubbed off'n an Injun ghost, sure's you're born. 

Purty soon all the Injuns'll go marchin' away agin, back to the happy huntin' ground, but next year you'll see 'em troopin' back—th' sky jest hazy with 'em and their campfires smolderin' away jest like they are now. 

Cedar's Take:

On every Sunday before Halloween up until the 1990's the Chicago Tribune ran Injun Summer by Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist John T. McCutcheon on the front page and in later years on the front cover of their Magazine section. 

It was a Halloween tradition as much as the Night Before Christmas was to December 24th. 

I suspect that if you are over forty it was a part of your Halloween as well since papers across the country usually found the column inches to print the generations old story. 

But the tradition of running the story on the Sunday before Halloween ended in 1992. 

According to the Tribune: "The "Injun Summer" era ended on Oct. 25, 1992, when it appeared for the last time. The drawings may be timeless, but the text had outlived its day. Complaints had been voiced for several years about its offensiveness to Native Americans. Wisps of smoke have continued to rise from those smoldering leaves, however. Every fall, some readers complain that they miss it." You can read more from the Tribune about McCutcheon's "Injun Summer" here.

Throughout my life, American Indian folklore has played a substantial part. I'm married to girl from Maine where nearly everything from the county Penobscot, to the mountain Katahdin has Indian significance. I have marveled at the lands once held by the famous Indian tribes out west the from the Badlands of South Dakota named Mako Sica by the Lakota Indians to Mesa Verde in Colorado New Mexico.

As a boy scout, from my first introduction it was a given that Indians, their ways and stories where important and offered endless knowledge and understanding.  

Today wokeness has removed most of Indian culture from our classrooms. All references to the old stories have been washed away as insensitive. 

Their names like the mist and smoke in McCutcheon's story, have vanished from text books.

Ask a fifth grader about who was Red Cloud, or Sacagawea you'll get a puzzled look. Mention Tecumseh and they think go-cart engines. But say George Floyd and you get an endless stream of misinformation. 

Redskins have become Commanders, Indians are Sentinels, and Land-o-Lakes has removed the Indian from the land once and for all, saying it was demeaning cultural appropriation to use the image of the woman, who had been depicted as kneeling for nearly 100 years. 

Like the Confederate statues on Monument Avenue in Richmond, the renaming of streets in Charlotte, woke idiots are erasing American History daily because the dumbing of America prohibits free thought. In other words you aren't smart enough to understand history.

Just another reminder that Socialist liberals what to control every aspect of your life from vaccines to history and what you share with your children. 

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Throwback Thursday Jordan Lake Circa 1984

18 years old and decided to take my girlfriend Terri on a camping trip. Piper 140 out of Monroe. Saw a grass strip on the charts at campground at Jordan Lake. I figured perfect. Never thought to ask for a little local knowledge. Turns out no one had bothered to mow the runway in two years. 


Of course on the low pass it all looked well. Green is green right? No ruts, no power lines, no cows or goats.

Easy approach, perfect flare, settle in to waist high grass, and we are mowing down the grass runway like a side sickle on a John Deere tractor.

Did not expect that, and the campers didn't expect someone to land in their backyard.

Made some friends and traded water skiing behind a brand new Chris-Craft for a tour around the lake. My God the man trusted me to fly himself and his two kids around the lake. Some shirtless wanna be NAVY pilot 3 weeks before heading to Annapolis with about 200 hours of flight time.

Might have made three or four trips up and down out and back. Flawless other than the grass mowing aspect. 

All ego and no experience - Thank You Jesus!

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Cedar Posts Signing Off

It's been a great run.....

It all began in 2009 with a miles long expose' of then newly hired police chief Rodney Monroe



I had met the new chief at a charity event and was unimpressed. His first to the buffet move and inability to acknowledge the rank and file in attendance was problematic to say the least and would become the hallmark of his time in Charlotte.

In short he had the personality of a sand gnat. Small and super annoying. 

I watched Rodney up close interact with command staff at Hornet's games and each time I was dismayed at his inability to connect. He'd walk past officers and sergeants with sleeves full of service stripes and not speak to them, smile or look at them, not even acknowledge them in anyway.

At some point he figured out his floor seats where next to mine at the Hornet's games. The highlight of my life was sitting next to Vilma Leake and Rodney Monroe. (Sarcasm) Actually the theft of his golf cart during the Wells Fargo Golf Tournament would be the highlight.

Or the time command told him raiding my home with a search warrant to take my computer wouldn't be a good idea since the Editor of the Charlotte Observer was my next door neighbor.

I was told my Naval Officer background was expecting too much, that lead by example and  never passing someone without an appropriate greeting was beyond Monroe's scope of ability.

It is my firm belief that Rodney Monroe's tenure at CMPD is represented by the legacy of low morale and inability to recruit new officers today.

My apologies to the many of CMPD officers who over the years have been accused of either being CP or giving leds, reports and emails to CP. 

Somewhere Cedar Posts took a dark turn. And while providing a venue for current and former CMPD Officers to let off some steam and take swipes at command it has also gathered the attention of liberal nutbirds and cop haters. 

The cop haters have tried doxing, tried to cancel the CP's twitter account and on more than one occasion tried to shut down the CP Blog. 

Truth be told CP only took on this idea as crime in Charlotte has exploded. Not a day goes by without a shocking crime of violence and a local media that remains silent refusing to address the fact that our DA is incompetent the judicial system is broken and our Mayor is as dysfunctional as Chicago's Lori Lightfoot.

Blocked by Molly Grantham and Char-Meck Schools and yet followed by Pete Kaliner, Tara Servatius, Keith Larson, and Jenna Jameson. I can only assume I'm pushing the right buttons.

The murder Sunday of 32-year-old Ahylea Willard will be Cedar Posts final contribution of that sort.

Going forward Meckburbia will cover that sort of madness. 

I'm not sure if it will morph into the same dark look and feel of Cedar Posts. We shall see. 

I'm open to suggestions.

I do want to acknowledge the dozen CMPD, CFD and media types who have provided tips, content and sometimes much needed corrections anonymously, y'all better than I am at this. 

And so as Paul Harvey used to say after a long pause ...... page two....


Ahylea Willard Homicide In Charlotte Local Media Clueless

The usual song from the local Charlotte idiot media:

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police are investigating a homicide that took place in east Charlotte.


Police responded to the scene around 10:30 a.m. on Sunday near Snow Lane.

When officers arrived, 32-year-old Ahylea Willard was discovered with one gunshot wound and pronounced dead at the scene.

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call 704-432-TIPS and speak directly to a Homicide Unit detective.

And that's it. 

30 Seconds on the evening news:

You can seek out the short memo from CMPD:



But one thing is clear life is cheap in Charlotte.

Dig just a little deeper and it gets more disturbing.

From Charlotte Alerts:

Ahylea was found by several people that lived at the apartments. Video that has since been taken down shows multiple people on Facebook Live gathering around Ahylea's lifeless body.


Ahylea may of been shot overnight and found hours later. The people (kids and adults) around her body were conspiring to steal the gold belt and gold jewelry she was wearing.  A bystander can be heard saying "I'm about to get gloves and take her jewelry and belt" as they dance around her lifeless corpse.  


This is the audio only it starts after a short delay. Warning Graphic Content

To no surprise, when police arrived on scene, Ahylea's jewelry was gone.

The screen grab from FaceBook live apparently shows the victim lying in grass behind her apartment.

Another web post with the title "Beautiful Woman" murdered.

Apparently shows a photo from the victim's instagram account. 



Dig a little further and Ahylea's life comes into focus with arrests in 2014:

Ahylea Michelle Willard, 23, of Asheboro, was arrested on outstanding warrants for drug violations. She was placed under a $45,000 secured bond. Willard was able to post bond and was released. Following her release, as a result of the search of the residence on Northwood Drive, Willard is now wanted on several additional charges.

And then she was arrested again in 2016. 

Her 2017 convictions resulted in community service and probation from which she was released in 2020. 


Monday, October 24, 2022

The Arrest of Karen Baker's Killer Confirms Incompetence

Charlotte Mecklenburg Police announced Sunday that they had charged J’wuan Horton actually Juwan Horton AKA Juwan Marquies Horton and "J-Boosie" in the robbery and shooting death of Karen Baker. 


According to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, Karen Baker was killed in a random robbery on July 13 in the University City area of Charlotte. Her family said she was getting money from an ATM when it happened.

Now 3 months later CMPD says they have their man. 

But as expected the level of incompetency leading up to the death of Karen Baker is stunning.

On the morning of July 13, 2022 when Karen Baker was shot to death, Horton had been out of prison just four months. He had been released on February 25th after serving just 3 years for a string of armed robberies and felony breaking and entering that occured in February of 2018.

Despite the violent nature of his crimes the charges were consolidated and he was given only a three year and 8 month minimum sentence for the crimes that should have warranted a term of 20+ years.

On the Morning of July 13 bank surveillance cameras caught Horton on video as well as his getaway car. He remained at large in the weeks following the murder as CMPD and Baker's family pleaded for information.

Nearly 7 weeks later North Carolina Department of Community Corrections officers known to most offenders as simply their "PO" attempted to speak with Mr. Horton. 

Horton had been non-compliant with the terms of his release since the first day of his parole. 

When NC Parole Officers tried to approach Horton, he apparently thought he was being arrested for the murder of Baker and other crimes and refused to stop and the speak with the parole officers, leading them on a brief and unsuccessful car chase.

Photo Courtesy MCSO August 30, 2022

His "PO" charged him with Flee and Elude with a Motor Vehicle, No Drivers License, Reckless and Wanton Disregard, Speeding and Violating the Terms of his Parole. Horton was placed in the custody of the Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office and was booked into the Mecklenburg County Jail. A week later a judge ordered Horton's release and he was back out on the streets of Charlotte.

Horton walked out of the Mecklenburg County Jail at 2 am on the morning of September 7th, 2022, once again free to continue his life of violent crime.

Sources tell CP that Horton was on CMPD's radar but that communication between the North Carolina Department of Public Safety Post Release Supervision and Parole officers is non-existent and that gap may be the reason Horton's arrest was never brought to the attention of CMPD Detectives. 

While this may explain why they had the killer in custody and turned him loose after one week it doesn't explain why Horton wasn't picked up right away or why he was given parole in the first place.

But let's repeat this: they had Karen Baker's killer in custody and a liberal judge turned him loose. 

Cedar Posts' Take: The real failure is an entire system that operates in favor of violent offenders and no longer protects the public, both within the courts and with those who are supposed to protect the community post release.

Horton was supposed to be on "parole with close supervision". Nothing could have been further from the truth.

The left hand (THE PO) had not a clue what the right hand (CMPD) was doing. Where was the breakdown?

Karen Baker's death is due to woeful negligence of the Mecklenburg County DA, North Carolina Courts, Parole Officers and a system that is broken beyond comprehension.


Sunday, October 23, 2022

Twitter

Cedar Posts has maintained a Twitter handle since 2009. 

In the beginning Twitter was a phenomenal idea. During the 2012 Benghazi attack those of us with Twitter accounts watched stunned as the events half a world away unfolded in real time.




We watched countless other events in real time. Tweets appeared in order, no filters, no computer algorithms, just a real-time feed of thoughts, comments, photos as it happened. 

Then slowly almost imperceivably things began to change. Conservative voices dimmed and the shrill shouts of the left took center stage. 

The @CedarPosts handle which was adding fifty or so followers per month slowed to a trickle. Then magically in 2016 the 3400 followers dropped to 1900.

It has remained there ever since. Never again to surpass 2000.

It didn't take long to understand that @CedarPosts had been shadow banned by twitter. Every reply was placed behind "other" and then behind "offensive" even replies that were only photos of puppies were deemed "may be offensive". 

Retweets of other conservative voices were also muted. 

From my perspective @CedarPosts tweets where at the top of the list, but in reality they were "shadow banned" to anyone other than those who followed @CedarPosts.

COVID began with amazing change to twitter, suggesting that healthy people might want to take a pass on the vaccine became a quick trip to "twitter jail".

Those who voiced concerns with the perceived anomalies in the voting process were labeled as mis and dis information sources, and bad actors.

While I didn't agree with everything Donald Trump said, and I frankly think he's his own worst enemy, twitter considered his pro America tweets Hate Speech. Never mind that 1/2 the country agreed. The silencing of the former president is a problem. 

If you looked at the twitter today and viewed the posted video of Joe Biden falling asleep mid interview you would be shocked to see that most the replies are pro-Biden.  

The "Joe Biden is my president" tweets far outnumber the people who point out that falling asleep mid sentence is normal for seniors in nursing homes, those who are dealing with the tragic effects of alzheimer's and dementia. 

Someone didn't like my comment regarding nodding Joe. So rather than delete the tweet, CP has decided to SHIT CAN Twitter.



Charlotte Douglas International Traffic Jam (The Great Moveway Jam Revisited)

Charlotte Douglas International is run by a morons. Need proof? Look no further than the mega idiot fiasco of the "temporary closure" of the Terminal Departures level roadway.  


If you took it at face value from the Charlotte Douglas International staff you'd say it don't look that bad.

But the real view is this:


The management of Charlotte Douglas International Airport has never accepted the input from Charlotte residents or area travelers.

Countless people complained about the old cell phone lot only to have the "new lot"  constructed with even less forethought. Now they've moved the lot again.

Signage is awful, creating confusion for new visitors and just plain "SMDH" from frequent travelers. 

Departing the terminal the signs are pretty straight forward. Left lane to I-85 and I-485 Uptown and the two right lanes to I-77 and Billy Graham Parkway.


Drive 100 yards and the lanes are marked on the pavement from left to right with 85 - 485 - 77 - 77


But be careful if you stay right you'll end up not on I-77 but in a parking lot.




As are the overhead signs



Drive another 300 yards and the sign says I-85 I-485 and Uptown these two lanes.



But that is not what happens up ahead. This sign says to I-485 "Return to Terminal" in the left lane and the two right lanes for I-85. Notice the car straddling the two lanes.




Another 200 yards and I-485 is a right turn but not here no it's up there. Notice the car straddling the left side lane stripe? 


 One of the first stories I ever read in my Quail Hollow Junior High School library was a 1979 fiction piece in Omni Magazine titled "The Great Moveway Jam" by John Keefeauver. I remember the story of a traffic jam that extended for miles and lasted for months and the government decided on a simple solution, which was to build walls along the sides of the road expressway, and later fill the walls with concrete, encapsulating all the cars and drivers in a concrete tomb, to which a new highway would be built on top. Problem solved. I've always thought it odd that the story has stuck with me all these years, until now. A quick search of the wonderful "internet" and I find there are other sci-fi sickos who remember the story. And much to my surprise ta da here it is. Part One is Here Part Two is Here