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Anvil looking for a hammer…

December 25, 2021
Anvil made from a piece of steel rail.

December 25, 2021

I feel Christmasy today.  A social media post by a fellow NOVA theater actor, Manni Ratliff, showed him ecstatic, pleased to be the owner of a new smithy forge!  

Who would have guessed? I have an anvil (albeit homemade out of a railroad rail) in my garage!  I got it from my brother-in-law John Aseltine and now I’m going to give it to Manni when I get the chance.  He messaged me that he would be honored to accept my offering.

At this point I’m the only one at our house who is up amongst the napping folk.  It’s noon hour, but P. has been up cooking and baking Norwegian meat balls since early.  Dolly, recovering from total knee replacement surgery, is napping after a morning of catching up with her friends on the phone.

Faithful dog, Gunther, is on my neck, mostly sitting on the back of the chair.  Lucy, Dolly’s miniature schnauzer puppy, is nestled by my foot.  Probably thinking about urinating on the floor.  Or pooping.  That seems to be her strong suit.  That and cruelly nipping at my fingers and toes.

I like puppies, only insofar as they eventually become mature dogs who do their business outdoors.  And quit biting me and chewing on my stuff. My big sister announced she “hates puppies. And kittens. Kittens’ mothers, at least, clean up after the children.

Santa was excellent to me this year.  I am nearly 73 and I don’t want much stuff.  In fact, my idea of a good time is to get rid of stuff, such as the useful anvil described above.  I did receive a book of sea shanties, three pair of pants, two shirts, a fantastic book and a calendar of Hawaiian flowers.  I’m sure I forgot something.

Sure, there were the usual bottles of wine and popcorn and cookies.  Lots of cookies from neighbors who say they are glad I clear their sidewalks of snow.  I clear their sidewalks with my 24″ Briggs and Stratton snow thrower so I can later freely walk Gunther around the block without falling on the ice.  Selfish reasons.  The cookies are nice, though, and the candy.  I like to clear the sidewalks, makes me feel like a big shot.  I haven’t been a big shot since 1974, when a Marine sergeant told me to “let them know who is the boss” when I was conducting close order drill for a lot of Marines.  

I drilled soldiers exactly once in my 7 years of Marine Corps experience.  I think I could do it again, but there’s some pitfalls to guard against.  When ordering “column right” or “column left” you have to start the command on the proper foot or the soldiers in the platoon can tell you don’t know shit about marching.  Suffice it to say I don’t know much about marching.

I would refer you to the chapter in Joseph Heller’s book, Catch-22 , when he describes how Lieutenant Scheistkopf won a pennant drilling soldiers at the airbase in Santa Ana, California. After I got out of jail the Marine Corps sent me to the airbase in Santa Ana. I conducted close order drill there myself, as described above.

Nor did I win a pennant.

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