and now Gene Wilder. he was great.
I never heard of Robin Olds til I read TFTW. Thanks Forrest.
Of course then, I don’t claim to have ever met Robin but I did talk to Chuck Yeager on the phone once. True story.
October, 1997 Wellsville Kansas
My neighbor, Eddie Spanknoble, who we called Spanky, had just returned from Edwards AFB, California. He witnessed Yeager’s 50th anniversary of breaking the sound barrier. In the flight, Yeager carried letters with him signed, dated, collector items that could be purchased. Spanky bought one- “this letter flew at over Mach 1 with Chuck!” He said proudly. Spanky was an avid aviator, planes, and even helicopter training, but failed the physical due to asthma. Spanky had a subscription to Kitplane Magazine. A fellow named Graham Lee from Canada was selling plans for 7/8 scale WW1 Nieuports, Volkswagen powered. Spanky bought a wrecked N-11 and put most of the pieces in his garage and some in his living room. We used to drink beer and take turns sitting in the cockpit. I bought two Corvair engines at a farm auction. I wanted to build the N-12 a two seater.
Halloween was just a couple weeks away. Every year I hosted a big Halloween party in my old two-story Victorian style home. A walk through haunted house. A good friend of mine would bring over his 8N Ford tractor and flatbed trailer for hayrides. We had a bonfire in the yard with food and drinks for everyone. Wells ville, KS had a population of about 3,000 it seemed half of them wandered in and out through the night. I printed up flyers and handed them out at work and in town. Then, I got a great idea….I’ll invite Chuck Yeager to the party to surprise Spanky! I could envision me, Spanky and Chuck taking turns sitting in the cockpit of that N-11 making machine gun noises. What fun! So I wrote a long letter explaining how there would be no tv reporters there, just us good ole boys drinking beer and having fun talking about airplanes. Satisfied with my letter, I included one of my flyers too. On the envelope I just put:
Grass Valley, CA
I figured the postman knew who I was talking about and didn’t need the street adress, but Halloween was fast approaching so I better have a zip code on it. I called 411 information in CA.
Operator-“information, what can I do for you?”
Me- “I just need the zip code for Grass Valley.”
Op- “what listing? We have several zip codes here.”
Me- “oh ok….um, Chuck Yeager.”
Op- “THE Chuck Yeager?”
Op- “well I’ll be darned, here it is!”
Me- “wait, wait!”
Recording- “the number you requested is 916-273-8681
I didn’t want his phone number, what good is that? I wanted the zip code. Dang it. Well, I guess I could call it….probably get a secretary or housekeeper. Yeah, that would be good, I’ll have the complete adress that way. Ok, here goes…one ring, two rings, and then- “YEAGER!”
That’s all he said. In milliseconds, I knew I had to say something. And it was good.
Me- “hello Chuck, hey what is your zip code there in Grass Valley?”
(I couldn’t believe how calm and collected I was. Get the zip code and get out. Mission complete.)
Chuck- “it’s 9-5-9-2-4…..and in Cedar Ridge, PO box 128. Not grass valley.”
Me- ” thanks ! Gotta go.” (Whew! I made it! But then, disaster.)
Chuck- “now hold on son, just what is it I’m getting in the mail ?”
(Thinking fast, I went with the truth)
Me- “it’s an invitation to my Halloween party.”
Chuck- “Awwww , SHIT! I AINT COMIN TO YOUR DAM PARTY!”
(Uh-oh I’m in trouble, but he made me mad so I fought back)
Me- “now you hold on one minuite, you read my letter and flyer, then decide.”
Chuck- “well….send it on, but I doubt it.”
Click. He hung up.
I started shaking uncontrollably. Took me all night to relax. The next day, I decided to tell Spanky what happened. Since Chuck wasn’t coming, there was no more surprise.
Spanky- “YOU DID WHAT?!?!”
Me- “why are you mad?”
Spanky- “you don’t understand! Chuck Yeager is my HERO! You can’t call him on the phone!”
Me- “it was an accident, I didn’t think he would answer.”
Spanky- “Oh God, what if he comes ?”
Me- “that would be cool dude!”
Spanky- “no, it would not!”
Spanky lectured me about honor, respect and all those things. Waving his arms and pacing the whole time. I just said hey, he puts his pants on one leg at a time, just chill out .
And Halloween came and went, we had a great time without Chuck. Everyone loved this story. Now here’s a photo of my old adress book from Wellsville. Notice I put Chucks phone number under “home” not office. I’m proud of that.
Hi, Bob. That phone number now belongs to Kim Justin. I wonder if Kim knows his number once belonged to Brigadier General Chuck Yeager. If that was MY number I’d probably answer like I was General Yeager…and then probably get arrested for impersonating a Brigadier General. 🙂
Fun story Bob!
JC did you call the number or just look it up online?
Hi, Spallies. I just looked it up online.
You can just do Ctrl-f and search for 8681. Simple. WAY simpler than lots of other things. 🙂
You know what, Spallies? I think Bob is telling the truth…not that I ever doubted anything he ever said/wrote. With the same search method you can find “Chuck Yeager Circle” and “Yeager Way”.
On a side note, I’ve even tried the General’s refreshing beverage “Yeagermeister”. 🙂
Bob, you are a nut! LOL The things you will do for a friend. Good job! 🙂
deb – Why we are different than Dal’s blog,…because we are FREE,…to post off-topic,…and share. 🙂
Thank you for that great story, Bob,…this is for you:
interesting, story Bob, I live in Cedar Ridge and never knew that fact.
Here’s another poem by Rufus Porter originally entitled- “Drunken Pat McCain”.
I changed it just a little, for Robin Williams. I pray Rufus won’t mind.
Comic Robin Williams
In Hollywood, a hard rock town,
There lived a man of such renown,
That he was known for miles aroun’
as Comic Robin Williams
A jester of highest stripe,
The witty, sharp, ornery type.
His humor filled our pipes
was Comic Robin Williams
He didn’t have a single enemy,
And all his actions did portend,
A rich mans grave would be the end,
of Comic Robin Williams
There were those who could recall,
He’d been a human before his fall,
And, as such he topped them all
that Comic Robin Williams
On looking backward they had found,
He made us laugh, all around.
He turned frowns upside down,
this Comic Robin Williams
When our world, as we knew it then,
Caved and trapped a crew of men,
The foremen soon rememberd then,
Comic Robin Williams
So while the generals mulled about,
They heard the frantic foremen shout-
“One man alone can help them out!
that’s Comic Robin Williams!”
They found him on a movie lot,
He drank a pint to sober up,
That brilliant, clever,
Comic Robin Williams
They took him to the USO,
’twas the only man in the show,
Soon laughter did grow,
from Comic Robin Williams
In thinking, from head to shoe,
Bystanders all, thought he would lose.
For everyone could smell the booze,
on Comic Robin Williams
“You cannot do it Robin” said one
“You will be dead before it’s done”
-“they have families, I have none”
said Comic Robin Williams
While widowed women stood crying
He went in, jokes flying.
To humor them, or die trying.
brave Comic Robin Williams
Doing alone, the work of ten,
He managed to enlighten all of them
And they all saw sunlight again,
because of Comic Robin Williams
He lifted them up , as he went down
For an unseen reason,
His mountain caved in
on Comic Robin Williams
We let him go, in sad despair
As the parson said a little prayer,
And left him in his glory there,
poor Comic Robin Williams
And now we remember his name,
The years will add to his fame,
And few will recall the former shame
of Hero Robin Williams
“Those who bring sunshine to others, cannot keep it from themselves.”*
*exception: Robin Williams
Bob – Yes,…J.M. Barrie:
Hi Bob and E*. I remember what happened the first day when Hook got his new hook. LOL!
Recorded by Iona Opie back in the 1950s in the UK:
As I sat under the apple tree
a birdie sent his love to me
and as I wiped it from my eye
I said “thank goodness cows can’t fly!
…Nod, nod. Wink, wink. Better bring a shovel then. 🙂
JC1117 – Another good one:
The night was dark and stormy
The toilet light was dim
We heard him shout for all his worth
‘My God – I’ve fallen in!”
…Nod, nod. Wink, wink. Better bring a shovel then. 🙂
…And a reminder: TC is NOT associated with any structure.
Ok, E*. Got it! In a structure…but not associated with any structure. Check!
🙂 thank you E* for reminding me of that movie.
Yeah, who said “diamonds are a girls best friend”? I think a few would beg to dither. I think in their minds it goes back and forth.
After all, nobody really NEEDS diamonds. 🙂 If I had diamonds I’d probably sell some and buy a waverunner. Have you ever seen a sad person on a waverunner?
On a different note…anybody ever have a road trip like this? 🙂
Sending some love…
Hi, Deb. It took me a little while to find this clip. I couldn’t find it on YouTube anywhere, but I knew it had to be out there somewhere. That Chris Farley video and all your comments about love made me think of it. It kind of makes me think of what it might feel like to sit down with Forrest and ask him questions…me being Chris…and Forrest being Paul. I’ve never met Forrest in person. Have you ever had the chance to meet him, Deb?
btw, I had nothing to do with the name of that website. I find The Chase to be anything…and everything…but boring.
JC1117 – When I imagine speaking with Forrest,…I think of this skit from SNL,…featuring Jerry Hall and Mick Jagger:
LOL My son had a friend like that. I sure miss those days when all the kids were hanging around our house. 🙂 Kids are fun !
Yes I have met Forrest. I was nervous when I met him . 🙂 I shouldn’t have been, he is kind and so intelligent. I hope to someday get another chance to visit him. 🙂
I have to clarify that last statement in case Mr. Words (Forrest) stops by to read it. (Hello, Forrest!)
What I MEANT to write was…I find The Chase to be anything…and everything…EXCEPT boring.
There! Words and connotations get misinterpreted all the time.
Always close to the heart. 🙂
Hi Deb, I don’t want to post another YouTube video, but here are the lyrics to another favorite song of mine from one of my favorite bands. I thought of it because of your post above.
vgboss – I am sad,…because I miss you on Mike’s blog.
Here’s another Rufus L. Porter poem, I guess I’m posting these as sort of a tribute to whoever found the placer nuggets in Forrest’s bronze box. I’m not sure why I’m doing this really. Of course I know placer nuggets are found in a creek or river bed by panning, not mining. But the work is hard, just the same.
Gold Is Where You Find It
He who pities the miner,
Never worked in a mine.
No crew of men finer,
Ever came down the line.
Their work is galling,
But they’re proud of their skill
And they follow their calling
With a right good will .
They’re tough, don’t mistake it,
They’re rough but sincere-
The rock , as they break it,
Knows it’s master is here.
They love a good brawl
And they fight very hard;
And they’ll gamble their all
On the turn of a card.
When drink makes them mellow
They love to talk shop,
And to pity the fellow
Who has to work “on top”.
If you want friends around
You’ll find none finer,
For gold is often found
In the heart of a miner.
Bob – I really like Rufus L. Porter poems,…and all things mining history. Big ol’ rocks can be a great hiding place for those nuggets, too,…as in this great scene,…from “Pale Rider”,…which was filmed in my neck of the woods (where there was Silver and Lead mining):
The mountains rise in misted beauty still
To plague an old mans homesick dream,
A ledge of pay dirt tops a wooded hill
And sylvanite shines from every seam.
In memory I find the ore once more,
The highgrade rock led me to the lode,
Where I staked my claim rich in story
And filed it proper by the minin’ code.
Then, sold out I did for a life of ease;
I quit the game I played so long to win.
I can never erase those old memories
Nor drown them in a bottle of gin.
Here, hoist another drink and wish me well,
I’m headin for the mountains, sure as hell!
“Bet Your Life”
Minin’s a game where stakes are high
In blood and sweat and strife ,
Where the rules of Hoyle do not apply
And you often bet your life.
Many a guy has lost his all
When the final show-down came;
But no true miner we can recall
Regretted playin the game.
The game has had it’s winners too,
When fortune smiled her best-
And gold that’s won by lucky few
Gives courage to the rest.
After all, there ain’t no man
Can boast of greater thrills
Than finding gold with pick or pan
Among the handsome hills
So if you question, reader bold,
If this game is worth the strife,
My answer is, “for yellow gold,
It is- you bet your life.”
-Rufus L. Porter
Thanks for sharing that, Bob. That’s truly a beautiful poem. I hadn’t heard of Rufus L. Porter before. In fact, I don’t know a great deal about poetry, in general. My grandfather had a real love for another “poet of gold”, Robert Service. I heard him recite from memory The Cremation of Sam McGee several times in my younger years. He had many poems memorized.
Following his example – and perhaps being motivated by a school assignment – I memorized Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem “Paul Revere’s Ride” at the age of 9 (fifth grade)…the whole thing! My mom would drag me around to recite it to her “friends” and church-biddies. I wish my mind was as sharp as it used to be. I’d have a much better shot at solving Forrest Fenn’s poem if it was.
There are many heroes that I’d like to shake hands with…and, perhaps, “man hug” (see below)…one day. Paul Revere is only one of them. 🙂 And, like Rufus Porter, I hope God finds my life was “well done”…in which case I won’t have to worry about being sent to a place where I’ll end up “well done”…against my best wishes…nor will I have to worry about getting a “way-too-long hug” from Adolph…since we won’t find ourselves in the same place. 🙂
Thanks again, Bob. I also hope, like Rufus, to “loaf in the sun”…or to use a modern expression…”sun my buns”.
I must say that I needed a really good laugh and that website above…the oatmeal…is hilarious.
As a quick example, a macho man…not necessarily a “hero”… a might find himself wearing a “utulikilt”.
Then there’s this:
It’s a joke, Scottish people! …No, I don’t want to fight.
LOL JC , I actually like men in kilts. 🙂
I even own the ghillies to wear with them. Most comfortable shoes around.
Have a wonderful Friday !
I like kilts, too, Deb. I got to wear the whole “kilt and kaboodle” at a friends wedding once. Man!…did I feel like a MAN! There’s nothing so invigorating as a crisp, fall breeze wafting ’round the twig and berries. As refreshing as an Irish Spring!…only Scottish!…a Scottish Sproing, if you will.
I’m reminded of a great song to sing around the campfire…that is, if the campfire will cooperate…which they NEVER do. Right?
JC1117 – I was thnking of getting this book,…as a peace offering,…for My Grizz (check out the book preview pages):
Thanks, E*. I just added that book to my wishlist! …I hope to take a sizable chunk out of that wishlist one day. 🙂
As the other threads fill, I found this one bare so thought I add something new here I hope is of interest to other chasers. Many have sought the thrill and Rufus L. Porter is another. He wrote a booklet entitled “gold fever” in 1954. A longtime resident of Cripple Creek, CO. My edition of the book is 1960, the second edition. Of course I was too young to remember but I’m sure my parents bought it on our vacation to Colorado when I was just 8 or so years old. It was handed down to me. In the preface to this book, the last paragraph, applies here at mikes blog. Here it is as printed word for word….
“This, then, is Cripple Creek. It is not my purpose in this booklet to tell of the big shots and tycoons of the camp; they have been eulogized by better writers than myself. My tales and ballads are of the miners and mule-skinners, the pimps and gamblers, the crooks and honest lawmen, and other characters who made the camp richer in romance and glamor than it ever was in gold.”
My thanks to Rufus L. Porter, who calls himself “the hard rock poet” and Forrest Fenn, who has collected the same set of illustrious individuals here.
Here is a sample of poetry from Gold Fever.
A Miners Prayer
“When my hard task on earth is done
God, give me time to loaf in the sun;
Loaf in the sun on a cool, green hill
Where the breath if freedom lingers still;
Lingers still to caress my face
As I climb to the highest place;
Highest place where content I’ll stay
Praising thee, lord for each grand new day
For the carefree rest I’ve never known
Grant me a few years to call my own;
Call my own and, my sins forgiving,
Strength enough to enjoy their living,
There living enjoy with greater zest
Because I have worked and earned my rest;
Earned my rest and a place in the sun-
Providing You find my work well done.
(More to come searchers!)
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *