Sunday, March 9, 2014

Driving While Intoxicated, San Marcos, Texas

Published - Texas State University

Sunday, November 10, 1996

Like most cops, moonlighting at an extra job is pretty normal. One of the assignments I have is working in the Emergency Room for a few nights a month. The ER is a crossroads or focal point where the paths of family violence, drug addiction, crime and tragedy often intersect. A crowded routine of uneducated and under-insured patients with no health care alternative find long lines and lengthy waits. Amidst is all is the medical emergency, the family tragedy, the victim, and all of the human compassion and empathy that come along with them. It is from this unique perspective that I will relate my thoughts – watching from afar the unfolding events – assisting where I can, listening and learning more about our World.

It is Sunday, November 10, 1996 at 11:00pm. I am watching the clock. The Doctors are giving dictation. The nurses are doing what they normally do, filling out charts, moving patients, waiting for test results among many other things. My radio clicks with an EMS tone. The paramedics are sent to an accident and car fire on Highway 21. I tell my favorite nurse that we have a wreck.
At 11:15pm, the EMS radio breaks the ER ambience. A stressful voice calls from the field for the Doctor. “A 19 year old male, ejected from the vehicle, seriously injured, c-spine step off, head injury, couldn’t locate pulse, has one now, extreme trauma. Second patient ambulatory on arrival, now secured spine, conscious.”

The sense of calm and routine in the ER is replaced by focus and concentration. There is an impromptu gathering. The doctor gives directions. The ER is on the move. The Trauma Room, closest to the door is prepared. Suction, sheets, gloves, oxygen and other medical implements are readied. X-Ray, Lab and respiratory personnel are standing by. The radio is silent for several minutes.

11:25pm, the radio opens up in that odd and somehow nondescript dialect. The voice is different now than before. “Flat line, no transport” the paramedic reports – as if somehow relieved.

11:40pm, the ambulance is transporting the second patient. He’s ten minutes away.

11:50pm, the 19 year old male patient arrives. The smell of diesel fumes precedes him, rushing through the crash doors as he is wheeled inside. He is covered in dry blood. His clothes are cut off. He is completely taped down and secured to a backboard and c-spine collar. He has an IV attached to his arm. The senior paramedic hastily walks to everyone standing nearby and whispers, “he doesn’t know his friend is dead”.

The ER team has begun its assessment, checking for broken bones, signs of bleeding, head injury and the like. He’s asking about his friend. The physician in charge walks to the end of the bed and pauses for a moment by his feet. She works her way around the many activities underway and stands to the left of his head. She leans over his face, locked down from movement and looks into his eyes. “Are you ready for this?” she says. “Your friend was killed.”

By midnight my relief arrived. I gave him a quick briefing, handed him the hospital pager and walked out the door. In ten minutes, I was home.

The young man who died this night in San Marcos was nineteen years old. Alcohol is considered a contributing factor in the one vehicle accident. Test results will resolve that question. I have been there and done that a hundred times in my career. For me, the bigger question is why we continue to try and re-invent the wheel. A parent, a teacher, a friend or a cop can enlighten anyone of youth with the many lessons of wisdom. Seldom do the lessons sink in. Every new generation of young people seem destined to repeat the mistakes of so many people who have come before them. There is a reason that young people between the ages of 16 and 24 are injured or killed in automobile accidents at a far higher rate than any other age group.

When I came to this town, to this university and to this Greek system, I like many of you did things that today make me cringe. I was lucky and never suffered the consequences of my actions. I always made it home, avoided trouble and never got arrested. It’s not that I didn’t know better, I just didn’t realize how serious some of these things really are. I was just darned lucky.

It is the consequences that should always be considered when making the decisions that as young people you must make. Whether to have another drink, to drive a car, to experiment with drugs or whether she said “no” or not are just four of the many questions that the consequences of which can have life long implications. The wheel has already been invented. The questions have already been answered. All we really need to do is listen.

It is easy to run wild and thoughtless about the fallout of what you’re doing, or how to get away with something you know is wrong or dangerous. It is not so easy to think ahead of time about how to avoid a problem, to prevent the aftermath, or to anticipate the consequences. On the other hand, it is a whole lot smarter, safer and responsible.

Someone dying is always the worst-case scenario. There are so many equally tragic events of lesser magnitude that can forever change your future. For this young man, the consequences of his drinking and driving were his death and the injury of his friend. The consequences of his death will live on in members of his family, his colleagues and friends for as long as they will remember.

Listen and think before you do. That’s the moral of this story.

Carl H. Deal III
San Marcos PD
Be Smart, Be Safe and Do Good Things

Racism in America

Terrence Stith is a black student at Texas State and editor of the Texas State Newspaper. He wrote an editorial which was very anti-white and Carl felt he had to respond. The paper wanted to change some of the letter and Carl said “no” – so they did NOT print it – but maybe Mr. Stith got the message – probably not.

Friday, November 10, 1995

Terrence Stith
University Star
Texas State University
San Marcos, Texas

Attn: Letter to the Editor

To see someone of such great  potential drowned by bitterness and anger is a tragedy for all of us. Sometimes, what we all need is a change of perspective. When we’re so tuned into our own vision of things, we don’t see the big picture.

We do not live in a racist nation. We do not live in a racist society. What we do have is terrible disparity in the quality of education that our citizens enjoy. Sadly for Black America, the lack of education has perpetuated many of the social matters of contemporary consideration. Poverty, illegal drugs, sexual promiscuity, teen pregnancy, AIDS, and violent criminality seem to linger amidst this state of existence.

It is not blackness and it is not racism that winces some of us from others. It is lack of understanding, narrowness of perspective, a lack of education about one another, and a lack of education as a whole. It is not blackness that concerns a late night store clerk about the intentions of his customer. It is the mystery from whence he came. Moral values, ethics, love, truth, honesty, humility, compassion, empathy, and respect for life are not born to anyone. They are learned. These powerful values of civility are learned from the good parents of children, from the community of churches, from well-intended mentors and in public schools. Sadly again for Black America, it is the perception – with some degree of validity – that the family, the church and the schools have failed you. Hate, truthlessness, dishonesty, in-humility, in-compassion, callousness, criminality and disregard for life are also learned – but seldom in the same places.

If you really want to do something to help all people, including your own…..educate them, educate them, educated them about everything. Help them to learn the World and to want to. Through education and the attainment of knowledge comes empowerment. What separates us as humans from all other living things in the Universe is our unique ability to manipulate, change and overcome our environment. Our unique ability to reason gives us the power to utilize tools to our benefit. The greatest tool we can ever have is an education. It is the one tool that unlike all others, you cannot lose or have taken away. It will always be yours and yours alone to make use of in life.

The World we live in is still a wondrous place. There are so many incredible and fascinating things going on around us all the time. We are truly fortunate to be living at this time and in this nation, for certainly, no matter what your standing is in society, our standard of living and quality of life is astounding in the World. You do not serve yourself or your mission by whimpering or threatening. You do not activate solutions by looking backwards for someone to blame. You cannot perceive the whole of anything while looking through the end of a funnel.  All you accomplish by focusing your strengths in negativity, bitterness, rage and hopelessness is to perpetuate your condition. You cannot expect the government to be responsible for an individual’s personal responsibility. When you yell in violence or declare war, you usually start one. Seldom do wars resolve the issues for which they began.

Peace and long life,
Carl H. Deal III 

Family Letters - The War of 1812

My mother's family moved to the America's in about 1730, settling in Dansville, New York. The following text is from a letter to my great grandfather written in 1813 by a friend of his searching for farm land in Upstate New York. Letters in those days were handed from passerby to passerby who might be going in the direction of the letters destination. Included is a description of a skirmish with the British near Fort Niagara. Any italicized text is the contemporary georgaphy not included in the original letter.

New Town (Pennsylvania), June 10,
Mr. Abraham Zerfass
Near Dansville
Stuben County
State of New York

Dear Sir:

You will please to excuse me for not writing more and giving you a more satisfactory account of my journey – the reason is this, there is a gentleman going in company with me and he is in a hurry, however I shall give you a sketch of it – When I left you I saw some fine farms about 5 or 6 miles below you which pleased me very much but whether they were for sale is more than I can tell for I did not inquire. (Geneseo, New York) In Big Tree there is a most beautiful country but by what I could understand, the land there was not for sale, that is of the good land. From thence I proceeded on my journey toward Buffalo but in all my march there did not find any land that pleased me; however, there is a settlement of Dutch Pennsylvanians in the Buffalo Valley and I believe very good land but by what I could learn it was also high in price – as high as in Canaseraga where you live.

In the village of Buffalo I staid about 2 days but saw nothing worthy of note but a great number of Indians who flocked in from all quarters to receive their Annuity. The Town was crowded with them of all Nations. They had collected there and you could see the most different fashions. Some had rings in their noses, some in their ears, and great chains thru them heavy enough for drawing a saw log and hanging down on their shoulders in order to make them less burdensome to their ears. You could hardly pass along on the street without being interrupted by them. Some would sell their daughters for a little whiskey or tobacco. I found, however, that they were more free with giving their wives than their daughters. At first I did not like them but after I had got used to them a little I had considerable fun with them. Get them about half drunk – then you may amuse yourself with the capers they cut up which appear so different from those that our drinking men do.

From there I started down the line to Black Rock, from thence to the Niagara Falls from thence to Lewiston and from thence to Fort Niagara where I staid until after the engagement.

The next day after the engagement I crossed over to Canada and saw the dead laying about on the field as a parcel of sheep scattered about. There were about 30 of our soldiers killed and about 110 or upwards of theirs. It was one of the most wonderful things to me that there were not more lives lost on our side than there were, for the British had all the chance in the World to cut them down like dust. It is true that our soldiers did not give much time while they were crossing to be shot at, as every one did their best to get over and as soon as the boats had come near that the soldiers could reach bottom, they lept out and ran ashore right under the shower of musket balls from the British who were on the bank. As soon as a sufficient number of men had landed, they formed immediately and ascended the bank, which was about 20 feet nearly perpendicular, but then to see them scamper as hard as they could was really a pleasing sight. And then to see their flag fall and ours put in place of theirs was really pleasing amidst the multitude of shouts and acclimations of joy.

From thence I started on my journey to return, and went on the Ridge Road to Genessee Falls, but there was also nothing to be got to suit my mind. That will in time be a place of great business, (Rochester, New York) there is no doubt in the World with me – perhaps the greatest trading place in this western country for there is such a handsome place for mills, but the mill seats are all taken up there and there is no chance of any more in that line.

From thence I went to Geneva through the other German settlement and also inquired there for Mr. Canel but could get no word of him until I had passed several miles by when I happened to meet with a person who lived near him, but he told me that the old man had taken down his sign, otherwise I should have gone back. He also said that Mr. Canel had gone to see Dansville so I passed on my journey homewards.

I had a good journey until here and hope for a good one all the way. I am so far from being suited that I shall hardly be up to see you very soon; however, if I do, Canaseraga would I believe be my choice, for it is in my opinion the best land that I saw in my whole tour. The Geneva or lake settlement or lands are not as good as the land about Dansville, but it is a handsome country for grapes, but not so good for corn. It is also good for wheat, more so than rye.

Excuse me for not giving you a more full description of my journey for I am really in haste. You may read this letter to Mr. John Hartman as I promised to write also to him and it will perhaps serve in stead of another. I am sorry that I could not spare more time to write to Mr. Hartman as he is a particular friend of mine by whom I set much store. I intended to write 3 or 4 sheets full, but can’t spare the time.

Please do not forget to write every opportunity to me, as I would be very happy to hear from you. Please do give my best respects to Mrs. Zerfass, George and his sweetheart, not forgetting Mr. Hartman’s family. No more at present—

I remain with great esteem, your Obedient Servant,
Abraham Haupt

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Virginia Zerfass Deal, San Marcos, Texas

San Francisco Chronicle
Thursday, April 9, 1953

Bay Wife Gets Tribute From Oil Industry
Virginia Deal is Artist, Scientist, and Homemaker All Wrapped Up In One

By Dolores Waldorf
Cal-Bulletin Women’s Club Editor

Virginia Z. Deal is a soft spoken young woman with a lifelong habit of asking why. Curiosity and a refusal to accept the traditional, even in the realm of chemistry, are habits she has no intention of changing. Why should she?
Why has made a research chemist of her, resulted in papers and achievements which have caused the Desk and Derrick Club of Los Angeles to nominate her for the May international petroleum exposition award in Oklahoma City of “oil Woman of the Year”. Why has has resulted in her marriage to her chemistry instructor at Duke University, North Carolina.
Since Virginia Z. Deal has been employed as a chemist at Shell Development Company, Emeryville, for nearly 10 years (ever since her graduation at Duke), and she is not a member of the Desk and Derrick Club, the Los Angeles girls must consider her outstanding. Desk and Derrick clubs are for women in the oil industry.
Virginia Z. Deal is a very versatile young woman. Actually a scholar who can work on such problems as ferreting out the destructive nitrogen and sulphur in oil, she is also a artist.
She has shared in the production of a technical paper on “The Determination of Basic Nitrogen in Oils” and she has whipped up safety posters, bond posters, farewell cards for retiring employees and a manual on how to make reports.
She has been a member of a team designing a commercial exhibit with mobiles nad dramatic visual arguments for such prosaic products as insecticides and fertilizers.
A young woman with an enviable complexion and bright, candid eyes, Virginia Deal is pretty, even with her hair drawn back in a severe part and wound in a braided bun. Somehow, it is not hard to see her as both an artist and an scientist.
She explains it all this way: “I always liked to sketch, especially in pen and ink. I might have taken up art, but I liked science. And I became more interested in chemistry when my instructor became interested in me. He said it was because I was the only student who ever asked  questions. My notebooks were filled with whys and question marks. Instructors and students aren’t supposed to fall in love, but we did, ethics or not.
         We were married right after I graduated. But Carl had not yet finished his graduate studies, so when Shell Development wanted to hire both of us, I came on ahead to California. During the war they relaxed their rule against hiring married couples. There are five couples left here.
“We hope they leave it that way. I like working in the same office with my husband. We console each other over our knotty problems in our work but seldom help each other. Usually we are too busy at home.
         There’s never any friction when one or the other has to work late. In fact, I have to do a lot of that. we understand each others problems in a way couples who don’t share the same work never could.”
         The Deals now live in a new house on a knoll in Orinda. He has built fences, bricked about the house, installed a sprinkler system and built furniture. They are trying to work out a planting that will preserve the view but protect the place from the wind.
         Daughter of a nurseryman and a florist in upper New York State, Mrs. Deal still marvels at the geraniums and fuchsias which seemed to grow wild when she arrived here. She is happy that camelias and fuchsias do well in Orinda, expects to have a garden chiefly of native shrubs and flowers.
Until the Deals bought their new home they shared in the housework. They had a nice elastic routine that spared each one from too many stints at the dish pan. But Mrs. Deal thinks the automated dishwasher her husband gave her one birthday was as much a boon to him as it was to her.
          The Deal livestock consists of seven cats (six Burmese,  including four kittens and a Manx cat). Mrs. Deal says Burmese cats have much sweeter voices than Siamese. In fact she is sure she understands every inflection in their voices.
        “I know it sounds as if I were talking about a child, but you can almost know what they are saying.”
        A charter member of the new Conta Costa chapter of Phi Mu Fraternity “alums,” Mrs. deal manages to turn out her share of bean bags and toys for hospitalized children, current projects of the group.

Her “Why?” led to a College Romance

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Aermotor F602

Hello Friends,
It was about this time last year that I set out to rescue an old Windmill in West Texas. It was the South Mill on an 1895 ranch and is probably a 1915 to 1920 era installation. Patent dates stamped on the motor case are all late 1800s and very early 1900s. The self oiling model, as this one is, was first offered in 1915. Pencil inscriptions on the tower from ranch hands or someone servicing the mill start in 1921. The original well was 521 feet deep.

It turns out that this is not the first Aermotor I've owned. After WWII, my dad acquired a Norden bomb sight out of a B29. I remember playing with all the intricate mechanisms of it as a child. I still have the prisms downstairs. Aermotor made the sight for Bell and Howell. I have a lamp too made out of a B29 prop cowling.

Anyhow - as soon as the opportunity presented itself, I drove out to West Texas hauling a trailer and a handful of tools with one pal - Chay Engleman. With the long awaited help of Gil Komechak and his son Matthew, a Windmiller from that part of the World - we laid the tower down from where it stood for eighty five years. 

For the next couple days, Chay and I disassembled the entire thing and stacked it all on the trailer. This was not without the occasional blood spewing injury, run in with cactus or stinging or sticker laden life form. And after a few nights of ranch fun, we headed for home - all 309 miles at forty miles an hour.

When we got home, the trainer wouldn't fit in the driveway, so we unloaded everything on the street - nearly the reverse of loading the trailer in the first place. With the exception of the motor, we stacked it all by the shop. The motor, weighing in as much as a good size engine block - we rocked and skidded it off the trailer on wooden skids. We ended up towing it on the skids down the driveway with my four wheeler - where it sat for a good long time.

As you may recall, there was an administrative process required to reassemble and restore this thing at home. Long and cumbersome to say the least, but in the end, we prevailed and were given the green light - and as it turns out, the green inspection sticker too.  

So I stood in my yard and imagined one day the old mill coming back to life - turning in the wind as it had so many years before - but this time with an innovative, improvised mission and purpose. 

For months it seems I toiled - carrying piece by piece out into the yard and slowly reassembling her. Interestingly, the one variable I'd not taken much store of was whether we would actually be able to get a crane into my yard. So too was I faced with the occasional reality that some of the parts for this old mill were no longer available - and so I had to make them myself. My little Blazer that could made it all the way from Triple S Steel in San Antonio with six 24 foot lengths of two inch galvanized angle iron sticking out the passenger window to the front and a good ways out the back - without incident. Although, carrying 20 feet of 4" by 3/8s angle iron from Green Guy was not so fruitful. 

I had to become friends with the local Windmiller - a 1925 business here in San Marcos without whose help, my mission would fail. And so once a week I'd grab a cup of coffee and drive out to the office of Kutscher Drilling and Well Service on Hunter Road. I do think I actually became a pain in their ass for a while. As one might expect, windmills are great and conquered the West and arid lands everywhere - making uninhabitable land inhabitable. But with the advent of electric service and solar technologies - windmills have found themselves in some parts, lower on the totem pole as they used to be - sad but true. 

And then one day I asked Daniel Kutscher - the proprietor and grandson of the company founder - if I was being a pain. Daniel is a good cat and he does a lot of good things to help people along. A whole book could be written on that. I could see in his face that day his anguish at putting me off again. And to make a long story short - he needed someone to help out on that part of the totem pole and I was it. The next week I started working on Windmills for him. I did a few other things too - hauled hay (hated it), pulled a few pump wells - but mostly helped out with Windmills in Hays, Comal and Blanco Counties. Dirty hard work but it was fun - and I earned my keep. 

As one might expect - now having the inside track - when the tower was finished, we got it raised. And we got the service truck into my yard with a half inch to spare. With all that I was learning at work, I slowly rebuilt the motor, re-tapping all the threads here and there, replacing parts where necessary - and making them if none could be found. I cut and knocked out 54 1920 era rivets - you know, from when things were made out of real metal. The thing cost me a fortune in nuts and bolts. I re-welded the original sail rings. I even pounded out a few things with a five pound hammer and anvil. I very nearly had to build a shop to make it all come true - certainly to improvise tools or contraptions to perform special requirements. And no part on this thing weighs less than a hundred pounds. Lots of people helped me carry things from place to place.

In mid September, my working partner at Kutscher, Will Martin - started back in school. This freed up my schedule a bit and I made haste finishing up what I could. Just before my mom's 91's birthday I'd finished nearly everything.  I started making plans at work to schedule a lift, checked in with Troy Kimmel to manage the weather, and raced to get all the little things done. You can't put up a windmill on a windy day - it wants to take off on you. Troy said Thursday and Friday would work, but not Saturday. 

On Wednesday night I dragged the generator and welder out into the yard and welded a bolt to the top the the motor for the hood and then cleared a path for the truck. At six o'clock on Thursday morning I let out the dogs and did my dishes - long overlooked - just in case one of my colleagues came into the house for some reason. At eight o'clock I bought a rope at Lowe's and started feeling giddy. At about 8:45, Hunter, Austin, and Daniel showed up at the house as I was tightening the last nut on the tail. Once again we managed to get the truck into the yard and positioned by the tower. The Dillon's cleared their drive so we could get up the hill. Will got out of class at 9:20 and raced home on my bike. He's been parking at my house and taking my bike to school so not to feed the University's coffers with ticket money. He arrived just in time to run up to the top and grease the stand pipe and set in the washers - the bearing on which the windmill turns around. Daniel, whose been doing this since he was a kid offered Will - his nephew - five bucks if he would ride the mill up to the top. It was a command performance. Hunter manned the hoist. Will and I quickly installed the brake assembly - which you can only do while the motor is hanging from the crane. Austin manned the ropes. I then manned my camera. 

By ten o'clock the mill had been "stabbed" - a colloquial term that described the insertion of the moist lubricated standpipe into the windmill motor's eager standpipe receptacle. 

A little oil, a little cleanup and we had a windmill. Daniel, Austin, Will and Hunter signed the tower - like "AD" did in 1921, "Juan" in 1946. I thanked them all. It has now been standing for twenty eight hours and it has not stopped turning once. 

Thanks to Chay Engleman, George Gries, Gil n Matthew Komechak, Aermotor Windmill Co. Jesse Zweibel, Scott Boruff, Alison Brake, Peter Baen, Chuck Nash, AD Welding and Fence, Alex Dillon, Ryan Davis, Milton Deal, Nick Deal, Daniel Deal, Virginia Deal, the ZBOA, Will Martin, Kutscher Drilling, Daniel Kutscher and his clan, all my good neighbors and two great dogs. 

I'm going up the hill to pick up my mom and drive her down to see the "Kasch Mill".

What's next you say? Something spectacular!

Friday, August 30, 2013

Key West and Gib Peters

For a number of years my pal Troy and I would try and make a trip to Key West to hide out before school started - usually at the end of August. Troy was teaching at UT - weather and climate. I was teaching at Texas State - photography. I was also a Policeman in Texas as well.

Mike Peters was an acquaintance of ours from Austin, Texas who happened to be home to Key West while we were there. We stayed at the La Concha. Mike stayed with his family and father Gib Peters. Mr. Peters was a local banker and wrote for the local Key West paper.

Troy and I had cop friends there too. Kurt Stephens, now retired was a great guy and good for Key West. The other cop we knew ended up in prison for selling cocaine. Oh so Conchish.

Part of this trip was going to be a trek out on the water on Gib Peter's Dutchman - I think - a trawler none the less. At reasonably early hours, and the day before we were scheduled to fly back home, we met at the dock with our days supplies and headed out to sea. We were going to go Lobstering.

In short order, we were past the flats and on the reef. I was the only certified diver and hobbled on a tank and fins. Everyone else was wearing snorkels. We found our spot and anchored. After a quick lesson on how to use a tickle stick, down I went. Holy Crap, I was pulling up lobster after lobster, one after the other - and big ones too. I imagined the forthcoming barbecue. When I'd get a few in my bag, I'd come up and throw them in the boat.

The sea isn't silent and I heard the sound of a boat screw closer than all the rest. When I looked up, there was a cigarette boat pulled along side ours. When I surfaced to take a looksee, it was a pair of Game Wardens and they were tossing my lobsters overboard. We all sheepishly climbed back on the boat. It seems we had anchored inside of a newly designated wildlife refuge where anchoring and fishing were not allowed. 

I heard Gib arguing with the Wardens about the maps and the buoys and like all Game Wardens, they weren't having any of it and proceeded to issue Captain Gib a $750 ticket. He turned to me - the only cop on board and said. "well say something", like I might be able to sway their judgement. He was, after all, trying to show us a good time. 

Well when they left, we did too, running toward the mud flats, a place we could dive and where we might see dolphins. It was a beautiful warm day, and despite our run in with the law - the day crept to its end. 

With the sun hanging on the horizon and beneath the clouds, we raced toward home. From the deck I spied the sun, and then to its left a water spout. I, also a photographer, and right here before my eyes I had a waterspout backlit by the sun - wow - I needed my camera. I'd put it below and so I hurriedly stepped into the galley space to get it - and as I stepped down, the boat skidded to a stop. My first step was about twelve feet long and I ended up in the bow, along with everything else that wasn't tied down. I was unhurt, and found my camera, and rose to the deck only to find us stranded in the sand - a boat length outside the channel. We were good and stuck too - and when the sun goes down, it goes down fast.

Before long and after a few chats with the harbor master - we sort of decided that getting towed out wasn't going to work - and that we would sit it out until the tide returned at 4am. 

Ok, this was cool. It was an adventure after all. Troy, bless his heart tried as he could and tried has me might - but couldn't help Mike and I try and salvage our boat - and there we were, beneath the stars, the Gulf Stream storms popping their lighting in the distance. 

It was peaceful, quiet, and fun - although we had eagerly anticipated a crazy night of drunken debauchery on Duval - which this night would elude us. And then we ran out of beer - too early - and food as well. Dammit.

But in what must continue to be the most fantastic pizza delivery of all time, we called Pizza Hut by cell phone from seven miles out at sea, and ordered two giant pepperoni pizzas. Yes - it's true - and the pizza boy did deliver using the harbor taxi, showing up by boat and leaving with a handsome tip. He probably told that story to his friends at the High School the following Monday morning.

It was Gulfstream storms in the distance, clear starry skies, calm warm water - like a bath. And shallow enough to step right off the boat and walk a hundred yards shin deep. Alas - no beer. 
And as God and the heavens predicted the sea began to rise - and in due time freed us from the sand. 

At 4AM, we turned the screw and headed for home. Oh wait - and we'd bent the propeller shaft too. It was slow going - not unlike watching your washing machine dance on the floor when a pile of towels bunches up on one side. And with one loud outburst from Gib - "God Dammit" - we were home.

It was all good fun.