Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Swastika


      More Letters From Paradise
              Swastika
The hated Nazi symbol is  now often seen among groups of extreme right-wing people and members of the Ku Klux Clan. But free of its Nazi past, the swastika has been used by the Native Americans for centuries. I learned in an archaeology class, its use by ancient Greek pottery makers. During the so-called Geometric period you see swastika bands around the neck of an amphora (storage jar).

My grandfather Beal was an inventor. He invented a vending machine, thermostat, and as he was fond of playing cards, a card game. He named the deck of cards "Swastika." This was before WWII. But with Hitler and its use of the swastika, grandpa changed the name of the game to "Cheyenne." I am looking at a deck of his cards. The deck of cards show the profile of a Native American with a feather headdress. Below there is a tomahawk,arrows, and a string of beads. And below is a swastika. Above and below the name "Cheyenne" is the fact that the game   is a registered trade mark.

The back of the red colored deck we read the words"The Great Home and Social Game" Price 50 Cents Cheyenne Game Co. Adrian,Mich.

Sliding the cards from the pack a swastika is printed on the back of each card, and a sheet of instructions is included. These cards must be very rare. I think I am probably the only person in the family to own a deck. I never learned if grandpa made any money from this invention. I rather doubt it.

Aloha
Grant

 

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Navy Blue


      More Letters From Paradise
             Navy Blue        
I am afraid that anyone having read "My Old Ship" was led to believe that my entire time spent in the Navy was aboard a ship. Not so, as the following will clearly show.

I enlisted in the Navy twice, the first time was when I was a junior in high school.The summer of 1954, I attended boot camp at Great Lakes Naval Training Center, not far from Chicago. At the end of summer, my parents separated, and following graduation, I tried to go on active duty. I was told that I had a heart murmur, so I was given an Honorable Discharge.

But it just so happened that one Navy recruiter lived next door to us, and the other Navy recruiter rented an apartment from my grandmother. And guess what? I enlisted for the second time and spent the next four years in the Navy. I think the recruiters had a quota to fill. So I went to boot camp again, this time in the winter.

Following boot camp I was ordered to Naval Air Station Norman, Oklahoma. It was a school for men who were to serve in  Naval aviation. I fabricated an aluminum wing, safety wired a carburetor on an engine, drew weather maps, and a whole lot more.One of the most interesting aspects of the school was when I was wearing a parachute harness, and climbed a tower, only to be dropped into the middle of a swimming pool. The idea was to get out, and swim to a life raft. One other event is that I was taught to start up a F4U Corsair. That type of plane had a huge propeller and a gull-shaped wing which you had to lean out to see anything unless the plane was up and running. This was the carrier based fighter plane used in the Pacific War.

There were locker clubs in Norman where you could change into civilian clothes. For weekend liberty we went to Oklahoma City, which at that time was very dry, only 3.2 alcohol served in bars,unless you belonged to a club, or knew a bootlegger. One time while going up in an elevator in the Hotel Black,the operator (no self-service back then) asked if we sailors would like a drink. We quickly replied and he opened his double breasted jacket and disclosed several brands of booze seen in pockets. Five bucks would get you a half-pint.

My next stop was photo school located in Pensacola, Florida. Naval photographers belong to the aviation branch of the Navy and are often called "airdales." Photo school was a mixture of sailors and marines of both sexes. It made for some great parties. The school was very easy for me as I had worked at two photo studios while still in high school. Interesting assignments and use of various cameras. Pensacola is where Navy pilots train, and is home of the famous stunt flyers the "Blue Angels."

Following graduation from photo school we were able to choose where we would go next. I chose to go to Panama. Why? Simply because how many people go there?

Another sailor and I were the only passengers on a DC6 which was also carrying an airplane engine and cans of hydraulic fluid. We landed at U.S. Naval Station, Coco Solo, Panama Canal Zone. I became the newest member of Fleet Aircraft Service Squadron 105, or simply Fasron 105. This was a company of men who worked everything relating to Naval aircraft. There were two photographers, a guy named Gene Leach from Philadelphia, and me.

Our barracks had screens for walls and parking below. Every night a fog jeep would fill the interior with DDT so dense that you could see a light bulb glow. The chow hall was in the building also. I should mention that of all the branches of military service the Navy chow is noted as being the best. The best food I had in the Navy was at Coco Solo. For example Sunday morning breakfast. "How do you want your steak,"a cook calls ahead of the line.

The photo lab was located with weather men in the control tower. Part of the photo lab was air conditioned. It is hot and humid in Panama, leather would grow mold, and shoes were kept in a hot locker with a light bulb burning.

Our major task was to photograph every ship that was going to transit the canal from the Atlantic. The lab would receive a call telling us the name of the ship and its location, either docked or anchored out in the bay. If it was my turn I would go  to the boathouse and get a boat and a crew. We used all kinds of small boats including PT boats. What a fast wild ride they made. And it was me who told them where they should go for my photos. I felt very important. We were to shoot pictures of each side of the ship and a three-quarter bow and stern shot. As this was the "Cold War," we always took a lot of pictures if it was a Russian ship. I will always remember one British ship loaded with only women heading to Australia and New Zealand seeking husbands. Both world wars had greatly reduced their chances of getting a husband. We circled the ship many times after taking my pictures, and they called, waved, and threw kisses at us. It was all so very sad. We wished them good luck.

One other interesting event was when I went with my boss and a couple of  F.B.I. agents to an Italian cruise ship that was docked in Colon, Panama's largest city on the Atlantic coast. We wore civilian clothes and carried a suitcase containing a tripod and camera. We went to an empty stateroom where the camera was set up and I was given address books and some other stuff. I laid on the floor and turned pages as the photos were taken. When we finished taking our pictures one agent took the film from us and departed. After a time we also left the ship, and the agent took us out for dinner.

Another event which comes to mind is a wedding. My boss knew that I had worked for two wedding studios before I joined the Navy. So I guess that is why he asked me to go with a friend of his and take pictures of a wedding. I agreed to do so, as it meant a trip to a little village in the jungle where the wedding would take place. We had the only car in the village, and it was used to take the bride and groom to the church. People came to the wedding barefoot or on horseback. Women carried jars on their heads. I took a lot of pictures. Music came from guitars and large throwing drums. There were lightbulbs hanging from the ceiling in each one of the four rooms of the little house. Platters of roast pig were served. I remember a picture I took of a  man chewing on a leg of the pig. The father of the bride had managed to buy a case of scotch, and there was a lot of chichi fierce (strong corn) to drink. I got good and drunk and fell asleep to the sound of drumming. My high school Spanish was put to good use as I managed order breakfast the following morning. I no longer have those wedding pictures as they failed to make the trip to Hawaii.

I was having a splendid time in Panama, when somebody way up in the chain of command decided to transfer our squadron to Puerto Rico. We sailed aboard the a WWII Liberty ship  George Goethals (the man who built the Panama Canal.) I think it was a three or four day sail and squadron sailors with families were kept to the forward of the ship. We docked in San Juan and were taken to our new home, Roosevelt Roads, a forlorn base sixty miles from San Juan, consisting of one huge hangar, a couple of barracks, one for a company of Marines, and a small sheet metal sided photo lab. There was also a chow hall, and a single juke box playing the same tunes for two years, and a single pinball machine. Five miles away was the enlisted men's club reached by a bus every so often. You were able to buy a horse for $25.00. These horses had been used to test for malaria. One guy got so drunk one night that he rode his horse into the barracks and tied it up to his bunk.

This was quite a come down from Panama. Boredom and drink became the order of the day. Most times a square table would be filled with bottles before chow time. The only escape was to take a Publico (long distance taxi) into San Juan.

But we did have some things to do. We would develop 16mm film from fighter planes. They would shoot at a target towed by a plane, and wanted to see how well they had been shooting. Our method was as primitive as laughable. The film would be unreeled in the darkroom and thrust into a bucket of developer, and then into another bucket of hypo. a quick rinse and then taken outside and hung by clothes pins on a line. When dry the film would be wound on a reel for showing. We called it the "spaghetti method." We had a bunk with a mosquito net where each night one of us would spend the night just in case of a crash. One night the guy on duty in the hangar sat in a chair and smoked three or four cigarettes and then blew his brains out with his 45 colt revolver. Many pictures taken. There were also plane crashes to cover as well as showing damaged airplane parts. We had a cable across the end of one runway held up by car tires cut in half and attached at each end by long lengths of heavy anchor chain. If a carrier plane  arrived without ability to stop, his tail hook would do the job.

I have failed to mention that the base was built during WWII to house people from England in case of invasion by Hitler's armies. There were many underground bunkers  and the Sea Bees (construction branch of the Navy) were kept busy sprucing up the  base. This was also where the Navy trained its "Frog men," known today as "Seals."

Well, that was pretty much it. I could write about the whore houses in Panama and Puerto Rico but I think I will save it for a novel sometime. My story ends here when I was ordered to report to my ship.

    Aloha
    Grant      
                                 

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Remembering My Ship


     More Letters From Paradise
       Remembering My Ship
All of this happened some sixty years ago, and this is how I remember it.

My orders read that I was to report to the U.S.S. Tarawa CV 40 (Essex Class), built in 1945, an aircraft carrier berthed at Quonset Point, Rhode Island. The ship was named for the famous bloody battle fought by the Marines in the Pacific during WWII.

Lugging my seabag I climbed the tower stairs and,  as custom dictates, requested permission to come aboard. When granted, I handed the duty  officer my orders. A sailor from the photo lab was sent for, to escort me to where I would berth and stow my uniforms. Photographers shared a compartment on the 02 or 03 deck in the Island with Xerographers (weathermen). The compartment had a single porthole. Small square lockers for uniforms,  and all around were racks reaching from deck to the overhead. These were canvas sheets laced to pipe frames. Each sleeping place had a thin pad with a white cotton cover that sailors called a "fart sack." These racks were all chained up during the day and were only brought down when the ship's work for the day had ended. I was assigned the top bunk which made me happy as I had to climb over those below me. I soon discovered that the steel beam above me was a perfect place for my wallet and cigarettes. During rough weather you could wrap your arms around one of the chains holding up the rack. In the compartment were a couple of large canvas bags in which everyone tossed his dirty uniforms. Every item of clothing a sailor owned was stenciled with his service number. My number was 4553595. So the clothing returned from the laundry was easily sorted.
 
Next to the sleeping compartment were the showers and toilet. A Navy shower at sea consisted of rules. First turn on  the shower and get wet, then turn it off and soap down. Then rinse, and turn the shower off. While in port you could use as much fresh water as you wanted.

The toilet consisted of a long stainless steel trough about two feet deep with divided seats set above a constantly running stream of water. I was to learn that sometimes as a joke, a wad of paper would be set blazing and sent down the rushing water under those seated. Or as the divided seats were set on pegs, it was easy to lift the seat off the pegs unknown to the guy when trying to sit down.

The photo lab was located on the hanger deck just below the flight deck where planes with their folded wings were tied down to rings in the deck. Sometimes movies would be shown on the hanger deck. During night operations when only red lights were allowed, sometimes a guy would fall into the elevator pit and get hurt. All doors leading outside had a trip lever that shut off all flights when the door was opened. After the door closed the lights again came on. Pilots landing in the dark must only see a row of landing lights. No other lights must be seen.

One other thing before I discuss the photo lab and what it was we did. This was the "Mail Buoy." A really dumb sailor would be convinced that there was a mail buoy way out here in the sea that would have mail that would have to be picked up. The victim  was taken to the fantail (end of the ship) and given a steel helmet, lifejacket, and a long boat hook. He was told that it was his job to hook the mail bag as we passed. Good for a few laughs.

The photo lab as I have said was located on the hanger deck. Inside was an office with desk and chair. And all along one side ran a counter under which guys could put their personal stuff. Above the counter were two port holes. Across the deck on the other side was a refrigerator in which to keep film. Ha! More often it was filled with blocks of cheese, gallon cans of strawberries  and such. The Engineering Officer who wanted his film developed would stop  by for a snack. A couple of other officers did so too. We made a deal with the with the cooks and  bakers, while  guys in the pipe shop made doughnuts with a blowtorch and shared with us. Some bakers wanted to play poker or shoot craps would use one of our darkrooms to play where they wouldn't get caught. Imagine a fresh loaf of bread with a pound of melting butter inside.
But life aboard was not all tea and cookies. The Tarawa was a war ship, at this period of history  called the "Cold War." An American U-2 spy plane was shot down by the Russians, the Russians were placing guided missiles in Cuba, and children in schools were being taught how to duck and cover under their desks in case of a nuclear attack.

The role played by my ship and a sister ship the U.S.S. Wasp was to protect the east coast of America. We would stay out 200 miles which is our territorial limit, and patrol from Halifax Nova Scotia to Mayport, Florida. A period of patrol was thirty days or more, until relieved by the U.S.S. Wasp.

Our task was to discover Russian submarines and if ordered, destroy them. The Tarawa carried a number of S-2F anti-submarine aircraft. These were twin-engine planes carrying sonar buoys and depth charge bombs. When a submarine was located, a pilot would release a number of long sonar buoys. When each buoy landed in the sea, a paper tape would break, holding a spring-loaded antenna that would pop up, and a microphone would descend into the ocean depth. A pattern could surround a sub and then a depth charge would be dropped to kill it.

Pictures of men on the flight deck of a carrier show that men are dressed in different colors. This is so   the captain and flight deck officer always know what is going on. Those wearing yellow are  plane captains and the flight deck officer,  responsible for each aircraft being launched. The color red is fuel and men with black means ordnance. Green is worn by catapult crew with the words "CAT" on the back. They hook the plane to the catapult that will sling the plane to the sky. And those also wearing green are photographers. With the words "PHOTO" on the back.  Depending the weather, both sweaters and tee shirts are worn, with color matching cloth helmets and tight-fitting goggles.

The flight deck and surrounding area was a dangerous place to be. We had a guy new to the photo lab and was assigned to one of our three positions, on the catwalk aft to cover the landings. A catwalk is a steel walkway three feet wide alongside the flight deck with a couple of strands of wire on the side. One plane landing caught a  cable causing it to break and whip around and cut  our guy in the head. He was very lucky, as   some accidents on other ships were very much worse. We visited him in sickbay and he recovered.

The one favored and safe position for photographers was on the 08 level in  a gun tub on the island. One day it was my turn to cover launches. Things were proceeding as usual when all of a sudden there was a huge noise behind me and I watched as a jet (sometimes we carried a few) flew past and went between two other jets making ready to launch, and then went over the side. My camera was a bulky K-20 which carried a roll of film 4 x5 inches wide. To take the picture you had to throw a lever forward and back to cock the camera. Then  pull the trigger to capture the picture. All I remember is cocking and pulling the trigger. The Angel (a helicopter kept ready ) picked  up the pilot, and as there was a hole in the wood flight deck, nothing was left to do. When I returned to the photo lab the chief asked if I got the picture, I said that I thought so. When developed and delivered to the captain, it showed that I had taken four pictures in the excitement of the moment. Everyone was well pleased and it showed why we were there.

And so it was, day after day, on patrol, launching aircraft and bringing them safely aboard. We had just returned from our time at sea when our sister ship the U.S.S. Wasp  berthed across from us, had a large fire in its hangar deck. We watched as body bags were carried ashore. And so just having ended our patrol, it was out to sea again.      
One final note about the different colors worn on the flight deck, The men who wore blue were the ones who with brute strength, pushed the planes into position so the pilot could taxi down the flight deck to the catapult. We called them "plane pushers." Not very nice of us, but accurate.

I have said a lot about launching aircraft, but what about bringing them home? This was the most dangerous job on the flight deck, when planes returning to the ship hope for a safe landing. Rising up from the deck were eleven cables and two barriers of nylon webbing and steel cables. In a normal situation, the plane landing with its tail hook would catch a cable and be brought to a complete stop. If not, the barriers would do the job. When planes were being taken aboard, the arresting gear men, also dressed in green, operated the cables from their place on the catwalk. On the port side on the very edge above the fantail was where the LSO (Landing Signal Officer) stood with two large paddles, threaded with bright ribbons, one for each hand. It was his job to guide the plane in for landing. He would move his paddles to tell the pilot the angle of his plane. If the plane was level, the LSO moved his paddles sharply down telling the pilot he is in position to land. If not, the pilot is waved off and has to go around and try again. The pilot of the plane trusts the LSO's signals because he is also a pilot. If the plane comes too close to him he can dive to a canvas platform and get out of the way.

An aircraft carrier is a floating city with a barber shop, dentist, doctors, ship's store stocked with wristwatches, razors, zippo lighters, candy, and cartons of cigarettes, a buck a carton. The ship is so large that below decks there are arrows on the bulkhead to tell you that you are either going forward or aft. The galley and large mess hall for the crew was located below decks, as well as sleeping compartments for crew. The quarters for the officers was known as "officer's country." The crew of my ship would have numbered 2000, whereas today the larger carriers carry twice as many men.

I was discharged in 1959, and requested permission to go ashore forever. I was a member of the last crew, as it was soon headed to Philadelphia to be scrapped.
History and literature have often shown, that a time spent at sea helped to make a man. And so it was with me.
   Aloha
   Grant

   
     

Saturday, July 15, 2017

The Sport of Kings


      More Letters From Paradise
         The Sport of Kings
Polo the sport of kings originated in Persia some 2000 years ago, and later spread to India and the rest of the world. The sport evolved as a training aid for mounted calvary. Polo revealed  the character of the players and their courage.  Players mounted on horses with mallets fought for a small ball which would lead to a victory goal at the end of the playing field.

Polo today remains pretty much as it always had. Trained horses,riders with a mallet chasing a small boll towards a goal. But remember I called this the "Sport of Kings?"
This year the Oak Brook Polo Club in Oak Brook, Illinois, traveled to Deli India to play polo, and visited many sites including the Taj Mahal. Also, The Polo Gold Cup series was played this year in Dubai at the Habtoor Polo Resort and Club in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

But polo is also played and enjoyed by people of more modest means. Polo is played here in Hawaii at two polo clubs. And I should note that the famous WWII General George Patton played polo here.

The Honolulu Polo Club is located at Waimanalo, one of the most beautiful spots on the island of Oahu. But this was not always so. Club President Allen Hoe told me that years ago if a car was stolen, it could often be found stripped and burned on what later became the polo playing field. The land is leased from the State of Hawaii as it is located on a flood plane and not considered valuable.

The Honolulu Polo Club boasts a covered seating area for members, and seating below for visitors. A converted shipping container houses tools,generator,and a restroom for women.There is also a tall booth reached by stairs for the public sound system. Across the field are the stables for the many horses.

Club President Allen Hoe was recently honored in the June 2017 edition of Players Edition of "Polo" magazine. The U.S. Polo Association presented the George S. Patton Jr. award to Allen Hoe in appreciation of his efforts to create opportunities for military members and their families to become involved in the sport of polo.

A combat medic in  the Vietnam War he is the recipient of the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, and Combat Medics Badge. He is a lawyer, judge, and one of the founders of the Honolulu Polo Club. He has been training solders of the 25th Infantry Division in the rudiments of horsemanship and polo at famous Schofield Barracks. For all his work with veterans, the Department of the Army made him a Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army, which carries a three-star rank. And so the Honolulu Polo Club is being well led.    The gates at the Honolulu Polo Club open at 1/pm and the match begins at 3pm. Entry fee is only $5.00 but the fee is waved for military families and members.

When the British ruled India, the game of polo was divided into a  period of play called a  "chukka." A normal game consists of four chukkers, although sometimes five or even six are not unusual. Each chukker lasts just seven minutes, and a horn blasts warning that only 30 seconds of play remain until the sound of a bell ends play. This is so civilized. While the riders leave the field and mount fresh horses there is time to eat, drink and gossip.                                                                

A beautiful Sunday afternoon well spent with polo and friends, is something not to be missed when you are visiting Hawaii during the polo season.
                                                  Aloha
     Grant                                      

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Witch Doctor


      More Letters From Paradise
           Witch Doctor
I met Neal last night. He was stopping here on his way to Seattle, where he hopes to sell his 48 foot sailboat. He said that he was from South Africa, but that he lived in Sidney Australia. He had just returned from spending several days in Tahiti and Bora Bora. While talking with him he seemed pleased that I knew so very much about South Africa. We talked about the Transvaal and the Boer War. I asked him to tell me a story about South Africa.

He said that the factory where he worked  employed members of the Zulu tribe. One day a very delicate precision instrument was stolen. It was used to measure the thickness of paint. In order to have it returned he went to see the local witch doctor.

He stated the problem of the theft and ask what he could to about it. The witch doctor said that for 50 Rand (currency) he could have it returned in one month. And the instrument would be returned for 100 Rand in one week. But if he wanted it returned in one day it would cost 150 Rand. Neal needed the instrument and agreed to pay the 150 Rand.

The following day the Witch doctor arrived dressed in all of his fancy dress. He asked that all the workers be brought together. He then began to dance around,looking at each man and throwing some powder about. Then he departed and the men went back to work. The following morning behind a box on Neal's desk was the missing instrument.

     Aloha
     Grant

Down and Dirty


      More Letters From Paradise
          Down and Dirty
When I was a boy we played a game called "Marbles." We didn't invent the game, and I am sure that some sort of a game played by boys in the dirt with marbles, has been played for centuries,if not thousands of years.

All the equipment we needed was a stick, a smooth patch of dirt, and a bag of marbles. Using the stick a circle was drawn in the dirt, and each boy would put an equal number of marbles deep inside the circle. The object of the game was to hit the marbles out of the the circle and  became the property of the shooter. Each boy had a large size marble or boulder which was his shooter. The boy whose turn it was, kneeled in the dirt and took aim. The shooter was driven by the thumb of your hand and released by the index finger. Just like releasing a spring. It was a game that even poor boys could play.

I doubt that this game is played by boys today. Technology sometimes kills even simple fun. I record this game so that it will be remembered, and not lost to the dust of history.

     Aloha
     Grant

Friday, June 30, 2017

Navajo Notes


      More Letters From Paradise
            Navajo Notes
The Navajo Nation Police Department patrols approximately 27,000 square miles of the Navajo Nation. The police responds to over 200,000 calls for service and conducts over 25,000 arrests every year. This is a huge amount of work for approximately 200 officers on patrol duty.
The Navajo Nation's Department of Corrections is in need of 75 facilities. The average daily population is roughly 199 individuals per day at the six facilities.
Major crimes like murder is handled by the F.B.I. "Navajo Times" Thursday,April27, 2017.
Much of what I know about the Navajo people  has come from the detective novels of Tony Hillerman, which all take place on the reservation.

The Navajo Nation is about the size of West Virginia. It is located primarily in Arizona, but also extends into Utah and in  New Mexico. In addition there is much Navajo country in New Mexico which is outside the nation.

The Navajo call themselves "Dine"-"The People." They have been living there for more than four hundred years. But no discussion of the Navajo would be complete without telling of the terrible trials they were forced to endure.

In 1863 the U.S. Army under the command of Colonel Kit Carson, began a systematic campaign of destroying all means of livelihood of the Navaho. Thousands of sheep and livestock were slaughtered, and crops burned.

The winter of 1863 and faced with starvation, thousands of Navajo surrendered to a forced removal policy known as the "Long Walk."  More than 9,000 Navajo walked more than 300 miles to Fort Sumner, New Mexico, to a reservation called Bosque Redondo. In 1868 and after many hardships, the Navajo under treaty were allowed to return to their homelands.      

The focus of the Navajo economy, culture and weaving is the the Churro breed of sheep. This breed was the first breed of domesticated sheep imported by the Spanish explorers. During the 1930s and 1940s the federal government called for the reduction of the sheep on Navajo land.Tens of thousands of sheep were killed. By the 1970s fewer than 450 Churro sheep were left. Today there are organizations that promote the restoration and development of the Churro sheep. The wool is highly valued by hand spinners and weavers.

The Navajo Nation is divided into sections like townships, called chapters. Each chapter hosts a clan group, often a house called a hogan surrounded by house trailers. These clusters are to be found all across the wide space of the Nation.

There is a story of how a group of white men were trying to build a Navajo hogan but they were undecided  how many sides the building  would require. A Navajo man seated nearby watching them,left and returned giving them a stop sign!

One important story concerning the Navajo is the newly de-classified role played by  Navajo code talkers in the Pacific during World War II. All six U.S. Marine Divisions used Navajo speaking code talkers which the Japanese were unable to break. The town of Kayenta on the reservation has a small museum located in a fast food restaurant run by the son of one of the famous code talkers.

The reservation has its share of problems,   alcoholism, domestic abuse, and unemployment. And to make matters worse hills of tailings from uranium mines  dot some of the landscape. Children playing in these tailings debris are poisoned. The Federal Government built a hospital and surrounding outbuildings only to find out that the well water was poisoned by uranium. The hospital remains empty.

One source of income for the Navajo has been a coal mine. Coals sent by rail to Laughlin, Nevada where several casinos are located. But now with the emphasis on cleaner forms of energy such as solar and natural gas, I wonder what will happen to this source of income, and the employment of a thousand miners.

In reading the novels of Tony Hillman, there is frequent mention of Navajo tacos.A Navajo taco is nothing like its cousin. The  Navajo taco is only made from Blue Bird flour grown in Colorado. The flour provides greater elasticity, which creates a high rim around the taco. The taco is then covered with the usual fixings. A Navajo taco is the size of a dinner plate and will feed two people easily.

The Navajo are famous for their hand loomed wool blankets, and beautiful silver jewelry. Recordings of Navajo flute music are hauntingly beautiful. I have a hand-crafted cedar flute and a song book. The flute is called a"Love Flute," as young men play the flute when courting. I find that there is a steep learning curve.

As I write these sentences the television reports that temperatures in the Southwest are 117 to 120 degrees. I pity the Navajo, without even a tree for shade.

    Aloha
    Grant