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Tom Garrett

Stories by Tom

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Some ancestors had great humor Part 2

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Last week I wrote that I happened to look up someone mentioned in a humorous way in a story I read. His name was Sydney Smith, an Anglican minister born in England in 1771. I didn’t think I had found someone likely to say anything very funny.

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Our ancestors were not all serious

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In reading books about our ancestors, or looking at some of their portraits, you would swear that they must have been a straight-laced bunch that never cracked a smile. And by and large you wouldn’t be too far from being right. But every once in a while ...

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The Depression years were good for America – Part 2

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Last week I started to tell you about a typical 1930s Sunday in New York City where I lived as a boy, but I had to talk about the reason younger people have the wrong idea about the Depression, and here we are with a Part 2.

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Depression years were good for us

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I wouldn’t blame someone if he or she read the title to this column and said, “Well, that’s it; Tom has finally lost it.”

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Ever try buying a 1943 Ford or Chevy?

You’re wondering why I asked the question in the title, right?

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Amazing to read thoughts of our predecessors

Your Turn

I was reading Agatha Christie’s delightfully well-written autobiography when I came across something that really surprised me.

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Grab your seat and hang on for the ride

Your Turn

A few weeks ago I was sitting in the eye doctor’s watching a bright spot of sunlight slowly creeping across the tiled floor. I suppose that bright spot was nothing special to anyone else in the room. There it was, as ordinary as the day is long — a spot of sunlight. So what?

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The United States Marines

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As I write this it is Thursday Oct 2, 2014. Yesterday, as I read the Roundup I noticed a letter inviting everyone to attend the annual celebration of the founding of the United States Marine Corps.

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Somebody up there likes us

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I just finished reading a book titled “The Fifteen Decisive Battles of The World From Marathon to Waterloo.” It was written in 1851 by Sir Edward Creasy, and is a classic, which is still read and quoted today.

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Things my pets taught me, Part 3

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Though Lolly and I always talked about having a dog around the house, it never happened.

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Things my pets taught me, Part 2

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Last week I told you that my very first memories include our dog Duke, a small white fox terrier. He lived until I was 21, but after I re-enlisted in the Air Force I learned a harsh truth: there are no pets in barracks, and even after you are married, pets are not part of your life.

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Things my pets have taught me

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No matter how far I look back in my life I always see a pet. For the first 21 years of my life it was always the same pet — a small white fox terrier named Duke.

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Not-so-famous last words Part 2

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Last week we mentioned Lt. Pat O’Brien, an American volunteer who served in the Royal Flying Corps in World War I.

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Not-so-famous last words

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Lt. Pat O’Brien, an American volunteer who served in the Royal Flying Corps in WWI, was shot down over hostile territory, escaped, and wrote a book about it.

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We are lucky to have PRMC

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Years ago when Lolly and I first began looking for a retirement home away from the Valley our eyes turned northward. It didn’t take long before we knew where we wanted to be: up here among the tall pines, beautiful vistas, and friendly people of the Rim Country.

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We create some of life’s ‘worst’ moments Part 2

Your Turn

Last week I mentioned that we sometimes get into one of life’s worst moments by not using the area of the body located above the ears.

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We create some of life’s worst moments

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A while back I wrote a pair of columns about life’s most exciting moments. At the time something occurred to me. I didn’t mention it then, but I thought about it a lot — some of life’s most exciting moments are also some of its worst ones.

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It’s amazing how chance events affect our lives. The last word.

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I didn’t write this column. It wrote itself in my head at 6:30 p.m. on 26 May 2014 as I took a shower after finishing the second part of what was to have been a two-part series on good luck, and is now a three-part series.

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Impact of chance events amazing Part II

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Last week I talked about a few of the events in my life that looked terrible, but turned out to be lucky breaks.

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How chance events affect our lives

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More than once I have compared my life to the downhill roll of a ball in a pinball machine. Down the slope it goes, rolling calmly and quietly, seemingly headed for a few dull, predictable minutes before it drops into the ball return.

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Expect the unexpected in travel – Part 2

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Last week we talked about being unprepared for rude shocks as a part of traveling to other lands. It’s true, and although I never gave it a thought until I donned a uniform, being in the military is like going to another land. And the rude shocks can be just as bad.

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To prepare for travel expect the unexpected

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There are some things we just cannot prepare for. Why? Because people — you, me, everyone — are “experts” as long as we stay home, but when we travel? Sorry!

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What it takes is caring

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Lolly and I are well into the ninth year of her illness, a rare form of Parkinsonism, which is debilitating, progressive, and — so they claim, and I do not believe — fatal. Once in a while someone will say that I must be a special person to have been a 24/7 caregiver all these years. I don’t really think that’s true.

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If you live long enough you can be all wrong

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Back in 1943 I discovered O. Henry, a writer famous for his surprise endings. I was just 11, and I liked his stories a lot. In fact, I started out to read every O. Henry book in the library.

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A blessing we don’t even realize we have

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As I write this, it is a Tuesday in early April. I drove from Pine to Payson this morning, something I do once a week when I go shopping for groceries.

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Sometimes ‘rest of the story’ is most important – Part II

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Last week I said it sometimes seems as if American history teachers forgot to tell us the “rest of the story.” What did they leave out? A major reason why American colonists were so often angry with England: Most colonies were the private property of absentee landlords who ran them as their personal cash cows.

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Sometimes the ‘rest of the story’ is the most important part

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Recently I was reading about the French and Indian War in Ben Franklin’s autobiography. Massachusetts was under imminent threat of attack and asked Pennsylvania and New York for help. Franklin set out to get a tax bill through the Pennsylvania Assembly to raise money for an army, but ran straight into a stone wall.

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Right and wrong can sometimes be a matter of viewpoint

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The 15 years right after 1958 were learning years for me.

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Invention sometimes is plain hard work, Part 2

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Were you surprised last week when Tom Edison was offered $100,000 for one of his earliest inventions — equal to $2,000,000 today — and said he would only accept it if it was paid to him at the rate of $6,000 a year over the 17 years of the patent?

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Invention isn’t always sudden inspiration; sometimes it’s plain hard work

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I recently stumbled upon a book about Thomas Edison that tells things that are usually left out. It’s called “Edison: His Life and Inventions.” Written in 1910 before people began taking for granted the wonderful things Edison invented, it is a great book, one you can get free online at the Gutenberg site.

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An unknown expression can be very confusing

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Ever find yourself wondering what someone is trying to say? I have.

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There’s a funny story I’d like to tell, but I don’t think I can ...

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Well-l-l-l ... Maybe I can, Johnny. Maybe I just can. Had a brainstorm.

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There’s nothing worse than someone who plays word games

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I’m not the kind of person who always thinks he’s right. How could I be? There have been plenty of times when I was wrong. So I’ve always felt that if someone had an opinion that was different from mine he had a right to it.

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What made Mom, Mom

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Several weeks ago I told you about the light-handed way that my Mom, a widow at the age of 39, raised four sons by herself during the tough years of the Great Depression.

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Do we really grow wiser when taught right and wrong?

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The question in the title of this column is something I’ve only begun to ask myself, and I’m still not too sure I know the answer.

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Some people are born with a natural sense of humor, Part 2

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I’ve already told you about Roger, one of the NCOs in my small outfit overseas in England. Roger had a knack for saying the right thing at the right time — and usually breaking everyone up with it.

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Some people are born with a natural sense of humor

Your Turn

There is nothing as valuable on this stress-ridden planet as a man or woman with a natural sense of humor, someone who brings a smile to today and makes yesterday a thing to smile about. I’ve known a few people like that in my life, and I’d like to tell you about two of them.

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Sometimes the harder we try the more foolish we look, Part 2

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I left off last week where my National Guard outfit had arrived at Otis AFB, found it had one more company-size mess hall than it needed and turned the extra one into a break room equipped with a TV set.

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Sometimes the harder we try the more foolish we look

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I’ve already told you the funniest thing I’ve have ever seen in my life, which was me trying very hard to be smart and ending up doing the dumbest thing I’ve ever done — and the funniest. I’ve already told you about it, but I’ll do a quick repeat so that I can get to numbers two, three and four.

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Living for 80 years means a lot more today than it used to – Part III

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Last week I warned you that you might think I was out of my mind when you read what I have to say about what may going to happen to information technology — and when.

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Living for 80 years means a lot more today than it used to, Part II

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Last week we talked about how even the most wild-eyed science-fiction fan back in 1939 would not have dared to predict that some of the changes we have seen in recent years arrive here so soon.

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Living for 80 years means a lot more today than it used to

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As of last week I have lived 82 years. That’s not so unusual; many people live that long or longer, but living that long is different from what it was in the past. We live in a world of accelerating change.

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Another birthday coming up

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You are reading this, God willing, on Feb. 28, 2014, but I wrote it on the evening of Dec. 24, 2013, the evening before the day of the birth of Our Lord and a time, I felt, for reflection and a counting of blessings because my birthday was coming up soon.

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Meditation is not for all of us

I’ve always believed that since we’re all different it’s only natural that we like different things, but I also believe there’s a natural overlap among us, and when someone says he hates something other people seem to love, he may be missing out on a good thing.

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A promise is a promise – sometimes, Part 2

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Last week, I left off at the point where George Dasch and Pete Burger had landed on a Long Island beach as part of a four-man German sabotage team.

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A promise is a promise — sometimes

Your Turn

Although you will read this at a different time, I am writing it on Thanksgiving Day, a day when you and I are focused on things we are thankful for.

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The flip side of ‘free’ is ‘broke’

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Last week I talked about the way we jumped at a chance to get anything free during the Depression. The reason was simple; most of the time it was the only price we could afford. Everything is so different today.

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Back when a buck was a buck – ‘free’ sounded mighty good

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Because people had almost no cash during the Depression, anything that was free, or almost free, got a lot of attention.

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Lucky, lucky, lucky me

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In 1952, along with the rest of my Air National Guard outfit, I waited at Camp Kilmer in New Jersey to board a troop ship for Iceland. A male vocalist on a live radio program sang a song that made me think. It was called “Lucky, Lucky, Lucky Me.” The words really stuck in my head.

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When someone really loves you

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I’ll bet that humans, both male and female, have asked that question from the beginning of time. It’s a good one. I don’t even pretend to have the answer, of course, but 81 years of observing my fellow man — and woman — have led me to suspect that there are part answers.

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