Archive for the ‘The Study of Bud’ Category

Middletown, PA

My father, Bud, has had a vegetable garden for as many years as I can remember.  One year he was particularly angry with his massive squirrel population.  They were feasting daily on his garden and depriving him of even a single tiny ripe tomato.  They were even nervy enough to bring them up from the garden and sit just outside the kitchen window to munch arrogantly in front of his face.  There were too many to shoot and he lived in town, so he decided he was going to get rid of them humanely.  He put out his traps and declared war.

We were somewhat amused as he trapped squirrels daily and relocated them to Hoffer Park, about one mile from the house.  This went on for weeks, and every day he drove to the park and released squirrels there.  It was becoming a full-time job.  The family began to believe the squirrels were making their way back and he was catching the same creatures time after time.  He argued he was not, but he must have had some doubts because after transporting about four dozen squirrels, he decided he’d find out for sure.  Dad had a spray can of flourescent orange paint in the basement.  He began to spray each squirrel’s tail orange before releasing them.  He estimates he sprayed thirty tails.

Well, he did prove us wrong.  He never once caught an orange-tailed squirrel in his trap, and we were forced to apologize for doubting him.  This is not, however, the end or even the interesting part of the story.  Unknown to my father, people around town began to talk widely and publicly about the orange-tailed squirrels which had appeared in Hoffer Park.  People were taking their children to the park to see them.  (It was just after Three Mile Island which was about two miles south.  Could they have been radiated?)  Finally, my dad opened the Middletown Press & Journal one week and read an article about these strange squirrels with orange tails running around Hoffer Park.  There was speculation they were some new breed of squirrel, heretofore unseen and unknown.  They were going to call in someone to check this out for the borough.

Before causing any more trouble, Dad called the game commission and told them he had trapped the squirrels and had spray painted them.  He promised he would stop and assured them he had run out of orange paint anyway.


Now living just outside Hershey, Dad had a community of groundhogs take up residence under his back porch this year.  He began trapping them about a month ago and relocating them three miles from the house.  He transported number ten yesterday.  His friends now want him to come and get their groundhogs.  I told him I could make up business cards and he could start a new career.  After all, he is only eighty-nine.


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Ninety degrees and sunny in Gettysburg for the kick-off of 149th Anniversary Battle Reenactment this morning.  They’re out there now in their wool uniforms putting on a fantastic show.  I know because I went to it one year.  It was hot then also and I remember we took lots of water and still wilted before the stalwart reenactors.  The activities are taking place about two miles from my house.  I expect to hear cannon fire when they get to that.  I was wondering last night how geared up the hospital and emt’s are to deal with heat stroke this weekend.  They said they have cool mists (whatever that is) in the medical tents on site.  I was also wondering when I would hear the first ambulance sirens.  That actually happened at six o’clock this morning.  If you want information about attending, the number in the paper was 717-338-1525.  The large encampments are awesome to visit while here.  You can walk among the soldiers and the families that follow them, ask questions, buy things from the sutlers, enjoy great photo opportunities and have a memorable time.  Bring lots of water and sunscreen and leave babies and the infirm behind in the AC.

Cuba:  Yet Another Revelation Of My Father, AKA Bud

My father has been complaining vociferously for the past two weeks about his Dish bill…$99 a month for four televisions which I thought was pretty reasonable, but as he proves time and time again, what do I know?

He switched to Direct TV, not without a great deal of contentious conversations with Dish (this distressing a man who is living with one functioning heart valve), and now has his four connections for $60 a month.

He told me he could barely understand the young fellow from Direct TV who came to hook him up.  He said he asked him, “Where are you from?”  The answer was, “Coo-bah.”  A conversation thus began when the young man asked, “Have you ever been to Coo-bah?”  He was astounded, as was I, when my father replied, “Yes, I’ve been to Cuba.”  I said, “What are you talking about?  When were you ever in Cuba?”

He told me, “Oh I took Kay (his long-time girlfriend after the divorce from my mother) one time, but we only stayed one day.”

“You went to Cuba for one day?”  (This is how conversations go with my father.)

“I thought I told you this.”  (No, I’m sure I would have remembered this, Dad.)  “Yes.  We were in Miami and thought it would be nice to visit Cuba for a few days.  When we got there, everyone had guns.  That didn’t bother me, but Kay didn’t like it.  It was 1959.”  (Yeah, that’s right.  It was the year of the revolution when Castro and the rebels ousted Batista).  “Anyway, everyone was carrying guns.  I didn’t realize there was still a resistance going on.”  (I’m thinking, Oh Dear God!)  He said, “We walked to a sidewalk cafe and were sitting there having their strong, thick licorice-flavored coffee.  You could eat it with a spoon.  Well, a car drove down the street and four guys near us opened fire on it.  I pushed Kay behind a marble column.” (I’m incredulous.)  He continued in his nonchalant fashion, “Yeah, I could have talked her into staying, but Pan Am was talking about stopping flights.  We flew in on Pan Am, and if they stopped flights, we didn’t know when we’d get out.  Kay wanted to leave, so we did.”


As you get to know my father, you will realize it is a miracle I still have him.  Briefly, he is 89, a World War II veteran, was stationed in the Phillipines, shot down twice over the Pacific, and had a myriad of other adventures while in the Army-Air Force.  His rifle instructors in Atlantic City before deploying were Ward Bond and Broderick Crawford (funny story to follow on this).  He studied Japanese code, got bored with that job and seemed to have a penchant for volunteering for things, finally ending up as a bombardier.  There is so, so much more.  I have lead a dreary, dull existence by comparison, and I even buried my mother-in-law with the wrong man once (I got it right the second time).

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