February 4, 2019
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Welcome to Week #385 of Extraneous Thoughts for Extraordinary Times, a compelling compendium of random ravings.
The other day I happened to hear some medical-related story about Walter Reed Army Medical Center, most of which is now situated in Maryland, but used to be in Northwest Washington, DC, fronting on lovely (and busy) Georgia Avenue. The original structure, a grand old building more than a hundred years-old, closed a few years ago.
Hearing that story and the daily news coverage about ‘walls’ made me think about how tight the security is at many military installations nowadays and loose it used to be when I was in the Army. A few years go I made inquiries to HQ at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio about visiting there and ‘just looking around’ since I had trained there for a few months in 1971 and really liked the place. Didn’t even get a reply. I looked at their website which held out little hope that a mere military veteran could ever visit the ‘old stomping grounds’ for a sentimental look-see. Maybe I’m on some sort of watch list. Nowadays, who knows?
Contrast that stone-wall treatment with 1971 when I was stationed for about six months at Walter Reed. A few of us troops who worked in the office lived across the street from the hospital in the Georgia Avenue Apartments, which actually were pretty nice, though a little small.
Anyway, the hospital grounds were surrounded by an eight-foot iron fence topped with decorative spikes, the type of spikes designed to look threatening, but actually had blunted tops, which was good news for guys, if you get my drift. The grounds, which covered several city blocks, had only a few drive-through/walk-through entrances. The closest one to our apartment building was a good quarter-mile away. So every morning you would see a steady stream of guys (and some girls) just climbing up and over the fence, a climb made easy by conveniently placed horizontal bars running along the ‘barrier.’ If you watched where you placed your feet when going over, there never was any danger of incurring embarrassing ‘personal injury.’
I once asked one of the MP guards (actually, more info dispenser for visitors than guard) at the Main Gate if he minded us going over the fence, since it was a well-known practice. Nah, he said, everyone does it, even some of the Docs.
If I ever get another yen to visit old Fort Sam, maybe I should just present myself at the Main Gate and ask the MP if my fence-climbing authorization from 1971 was still good, and if they wouldn’t let me come in the gate, could I just climb their wall instead?
Hmmm, looks like it’s time to survey your input from last week’s post…
Congrats to Terry; he knew the Jacksonville Jaguars were part of the ‘Feeble Four,’ the four teams that have never played in a Super Bowl. The others are the Lions, Browns and Texans.
Roger remembered big ol’ Roosevelt Grier, AKA “Rosie,’ a proud member of the LA Rams’ ‘Fearsome Foursome’ and also a knitter. He said it helped him calm down and focus.
Paul tried the fishing question, the answer to which, has so far been as elusive as the legendary “one that got away.” Paul guessed the crucial element in the fishing equation was the reel, a modern version which was invented by British angler O. Ustonson in about 1760. No, I’m sorry to say. Go back about 100 more years and you’ll find the guy (and his invention, still in use) we’re looking for. Again, this is not a complicated or tricky question.
So, that leaves the fishing tackle question still available, also the question about the old-time soap (a two-part name AND still available) that was used to treat things like poison ivy.
Two other questions are still in search of an answer: former Chiefs’ coach Marv Levy’s musical contribution to team spirit, and the name of the 1980’s (maybe early ‘90s, too) restaurant in the old railroad depot in Larned.
Here’s a newbie: two music legends working together had a 1982 Number One hit in which a musical instrument was featured in the lyrics. But the instrument was merely a clever springboard for the message they REALLY wanted to convey. Name the performer, song or both.
Okay, start firing off those emails if you think you have an answer, or if you have a question, AND especially if you have a good local trivia question that we might use. We’re usually at firstname.lastname@example.org.
BY THE WAY: If we do not mention your name in any given week, tell us. There may be an email problem. We have a new email system and I just want to make sure I’m getting all your messages.
Enjoy your week. I look forward to visiting with you next week.