Tag: New York

A Bit More Grandfatherly Wisdom and the American Flag

Measure twice, cut once!

We’ve all heard that saying, I guess. While it is clearly a carpenter’s saying, advising that you measure the board twice before you make the cut to eliminate mistakes and waste, it can apply to many situations in our lives.

My Grandfather Klippel had his own unique spin on many of these old bits of wisdom. His version was …

“I sawed it off twice, and it’s still to short!”

Raquette Lake, NY

When you visit Raquette Lake in the Adirondack Park, you drive along Route 28 and pass through Burke Town. Don’t blink, because you will miss it. It consists of Burke’s Marina, a few rental cabins, a restaurant across the road which is no longer open, and three dirt roads on your left if you are headed towards Montreal. Raquette Lake will be on your right.

If you turn up the first dirt road, you will find camps along both sides of the road. In the south, they call them cabins. In the Adirondacks, they are camps. Most of these were initially built by employees of Remington Arms as vacation homes and were quite small and rustic.

Some have been turned into homes now, and most have changed hands with the original owners dying off and families selling them off. There’s quite a waiting list to get these camps. Both of my Grandfathers were Remington Arms employees who bought lots and built camps. My parents bought a lot when I was just a year or two old. We tented on our lot for many years before starting our camp.

L to R, Grandpa Klippel, Grandpa Gilbert, Curt Gilbert (my father) pouring concrete footers for the camp piers.

Grandpa Klippel is the “grandfather” featured in the true story Adirondack Bear Tale #3: A Trip to the Dump.

Grandpa Gilbert plays a part in the tale Adirondack Bear Take #8: Campfire BBQ Chicken.

We still have our camp, and I try to get up to the Adirondacks every summer, but sometimes life does get in the way. One trip Sophie and I made a short time ago was the basis for Adirondack Bear Tale #11: Sophie and the Three Bears.

And these stories, along with other true tales, are featured in my little book, Adirondack Bear Tales, available on Amazon.com.

In fact, the picture below was taken the evening after our “bear interrupted” hike to the old ski slope!

Sophie resting after saving me from the mamma bear and her three cubs!

Back to the Grandfather thing …

All this is kind of a set up for one of my favorite memories of my Grandfather Klippel. When I was perhaps 8 or 10-years-old, I wanted to put a flagpole on our lot, so we could fly the American flag over it when we were there.

I was telling my Grandfather about this, and he figured that it should be no problem at all. He took me out, and we found a tall White Pine tree on the back of their lot. They had to be thinned out occasionally anyway, because they grew so high, and would blow over in the winter, sometimes causing a lot of damage.

My Grandfather had me cut it down, and trim off all the branches. Then he provided me with a draw knife with which to peel the bark off the trunk. If you have never seen a draw knife, I have included a picture here.

Draw Knife

Peeling that bark off was a lot of hard work, but with his encouragement, I stuck it out. Once the trunk was clean, he had me coat the butt end, which would be buried in the ground, heavily with some kind of wood preservative. Then it was off to the Raquette Lake General Supply Store for a pulley, a rope, and a dock cleat to use as a tie-down.

Boat Cleat

It was a proud day in my life when my Grandfather helped me set that flagpole. Of course, it has long since rotted away. That was many years ago. However, we flew the American flag from that flag pole for many years while camping on our lot at Raquette Lake.

Raquette Lake Supply Company – General Store

I hope you will check out some of my other posts by clicking here!

Egad! Deer Flies in North Carolina?

Let me just say up front, I hate Deer Flies!

If you’ve read my collection of short stories called Adirondack Bear Tales, you probably know I grew spending my summers at Raquette Lake in the Adirondack Park of upstate New York. I made my first camping trip at all of 6-mos-old. I believe, if my memory serves me correctly, my mother made my first sleeping bag out of an old flannel blanket and a paper bag.

Summers at Raquette Lake were filled non-stop adventures that many boys only dream about. Fishing, boating, canoeing, hiking, swimming, exploring, and even getting lost in those deep North Woods.

However, there are just one or two things that could be a bit of a pain when spending time in the Adirondacks. One of those is Deer Flies!

You can avoid the worst of the black flies and mosquitoes by waiting until mid-summer or early fall before venturing into the area. By then, the black flies are about gone and the mosquito population has been reduced to a tolerable level. However, deer flies are quite another story.

As you walked up and down the sandy dirt roads of Burketown, the deer flies would circle your head incessantly, looking for an opportunity to swoop in and nail you. The only positive was that, since they did continuously circle you, you could often snatch them out of the air and squish them … which always gave me an enormous sense of satisfaction.

Of course, wearing a hat helped. But I have always really hated wearing hats and only do so now when there is really no choice.

deer flies

Meet the Deer Fly!

A deer fly looks like a cross between a horsefly and a yellow-jacket. While their bites do hurt, fortunately they are nothing like a yellow jacket sting. Note the swept back delta-type wing. I always thought with a wing like that, they should be able to fly so much faster. Of course, that would make them harder to snatch out of the air and squish.

So, what prompted this post on the deer fly you might ask (or you might not, but I will tell you anyway!). I thought I had left them behind (other than for the occasional trip back to Raquette Lake). I moved to Tennessee at the age of 19 and lived there 36 years, and never saw a deer fly.

I moved to Cary, North Caroline and lived there 3 years and never saw a deer fly either.

But recently I moved to Asheville, North Carolina, and there (while exercising my GSD, Sophie) just the other day, I snatched two deer flies out of the air and squished them. And, while I did get an enormous sense of satisfaction out of squishing them, I am thinking seriously about moving back to Tennessee!

deer flies

Sophie has seconded that motion. She is not overly fond of the deer flies either.

If you are looking for a good quick read, check out Adirondack Bear Tales. I think you will get a real kick out of it. Sophie even stars in one of the stories. She likes to tell how she “saved me” from the mother black bear with her two cubs on our last trip to Raquette Lake.

For more great posts, click here!

What Is It About The Electoral College?

electoral college

The Electoral College has recently been the subject of heated debate. However, most of what I’ve seen and heard makes it clear not too many Americans today understand why and how the Electoral College came to be. This is not all that surprising, given the state of our public school system. The truth is that, at one time, the Electoral College was not controversial at all. This was because people understood how it worked and why it was put in place.

Today, more than a dozen states have joined in an attempt to remove or circumvent the Electoral College. This is because Hillary Clinton lost the 2016 election while receiving a majority of the popular vote. However, if you examine how that popular vote broke down, Clinton received a large number of votes from densely-populated urban areas like New York and California. In fact, if you remove California, President Trump would have won the popular vote by 1.4 million votes.

This is a somewhat flawed argument. You could arbitrarily remove any state’s electoral votes and the outcome could be altered in some way. But, it still illustrates the central point. The Electoral College was instituted to ensure that a President must have broad national support to win. The president is the president of the whole nation, not just president of the most densely-populated urban areas.

Article II, Section I of the U.S. Constitution states:

Each state shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in Congress.

Article II, Section I of the U.S. Constitution insures that each state retains equal representation in presidential elections, exactly like they do in Congress. It is genius and it insures a nationwide “fair” representation in presidential elections.

The Electoral College was designed to make sure that each candidate took their message to the whole nation, and subsequently won based on national support for their policies. The Electoral College was designed precisely to prevent a situation where a state like New York or California become the defacto policy decision maker for the entire nation. Since its inception, it has worked brilliantly in doing exactly that, sometime benefiting the Democratic Party and sometimes the Republican Party.

One has to ask if those currently clamoring for ending the Electoral College would be doing so if their side had won the majority of Electoral College votes and the election.

electoral college

Perhaps the Electoral College is a victim of its own success. Throughout American history it has shaped American politics in many ways that were beneficial to this country. It only becomes an issue when one side loses a closely contested election and just cannot make themselves accept the results.

For those interested in states rights, abolishing the Electoral College would give the states less power against the federal government. The Electoral College also prevents a strong, charismatic person from using a fickle surge in popular support to consolidate more power and become a dictator.

If you truly understand the role of the Electoral College in making sure the entire nation has a voice in its presidential elections and you believe in fairness and the Rule of Law, it is hard to imagine why anyone would call for its abolition. I can only think of two reasons.

  • You do not understand what it does
  • You are making a power grab, and you can’t win national elections … therefore, you have to change the rules.

Adirondack Bear Tales Gets First 5 Star Review

“An Unbearably Good Book!”

A reader who did not leave a name just gave Adirondack Bear Tales its first review … Five Stars. So, thank you whoever you are. I am glad the stories were enjoyable!

Here is the text of the review:


DC Gilbert has done a masterful job of recreating the Adirondack camping experience of his childhood. Each of these stories involves a personal (or family) encounter with the local Black bears. Not to give any plots away, no bear or human was seriously maimed or killed by any of these stories. If you like a good North Woods story, with a personal touch, then this short entertaining volume is for you.

Bringing back fond memories!

bear tales

I was talking to a friend at the dog park the other night and Joe told me that he and his wife both greatly enjoyed the bear tales.

In previous years, they did a lot of camping on Sacandaga Lake, also in the Adirondack Park. Therefore, they really enjoyed the details in the tales about the camping experience. Joe said his wife called her sister on the phone and she read some bits of the stories to her. They had a great time laughing over the fact they shared a lot of similar experiences while camping themselves. Joe said that his wife laughed several times while on the phone, exclaiming “that’s exactly what we used to do!” Needless to say, we had a great conversation about camping and bears while the dogs romped about.

Moreover, it really meant a lot to me to hear how much they enjoyed reading Adirondack Bear Tales.

I think you will enjoy these Adirondack Bear Tales as well!

You can download a Kindle version or order a paperback from Amazon.com. I would love to hear from some other readers about what you think about the stories in my book, Adirondack Bear Tales. Most importantly, it costs less than a large cup of coffee at Starbucks!

In addition, you can also read other great blog posts by clicking here!

Contest: Adirondack Bear Tale Book Cover

Here are the two covers in the contest!

Will you please help me with this cover contest by picking which cover you like best for my next book. It is a collection of family-friendly tales about true encounters with black bears in the Adirondack Park! I have two cover designs and both of them are pretty good.

contest
contest


Below is the link to the poll. Thanks, in advance, for your help!

Click here to go to the contest page and make your choice. 

Again, thank you for your help with this. Also, if you like military action thrillers, check out my novel, Serpents Underfoot, available in Kindle, paperback, and hardcover from Amazon.com!

Adirondack Bear Tale #9: A Trip to the Laundromat!

Laundry time is always such a thrill in the Adirondacks. For us, it meant a trip to Raquette Lake Village and the laundromat at the Raquette Lake General Store. As kids we would hang out in the store or on the village dock, or play in the old ice storage sheds (the sheds are long gone now) until Mom and Dad were finished with the laundry. It was always an adventure. There are more “modern” laundromats in Old Forge or Eagle Bay, but there was just something nostalgic about the old Raquette Lake Laundromat. We had been using it for generations. In fact, we had been using it before it had moved to its current location at the General Store. I remember it being located for years over near the now since long gone ice storage sheds.
laundromat
This particular laundry adventure involved my sister-in-law, Brenda, who gone in to the village to do the weeks laundry. Brenda had finished loading the clothes, detergent, and the required number of quarters into the washing machines, and the machine started doing their thing. She decided she’d kill some time looking around in the store for a bit. There were always interesting things to look at. And, the store has a real-honest-to-goodness butcher providing fantastic cuts of meat, home-made sausages, etc. The store also carried the best baked good in the region, delivered fresh daily from Mary’s Bakery in Inlet, about ten minutes away. In the laundromat there was one doorway that led directly into the general store as well as the exterior door that led out to the sandy parking lot.  Brenda was just about to head into the general store, when she heard an awful banging sound coming from outside the laundromat. She went to the exterior door to investigate.
laundromat
It did not take long to determine what was causing the banging noises. Near the laundromat sat the store’s dumpster, and standing on top of the dumpster was a medium-sized black bear. The bear had a hold of the dumpster lid on which he was standing, and was rearing back, trying to open the lid. Of course, since he was also standing on the lid, it would only lift so far before his weight slammed it back down with a loud bang! Brenda quickly went into the general store and over to the counter. “There’s a bear out there on your dumpster, trying to get it open,” Brenda exclaimed. “Oh, that’s just Charlie! He won’t hurt anything. Charlie makes regular appearances to our dumpster. We just wait until he’s done before we put try to put anything in it.” Brenda considered this new information carefully for a bit before cautiously returning to check on the laundry. Charlie was still poking around the dumpster but seemed to have little interest in the goings-on in the laundromat. Brenda quickly transferred the clean clothes from the washing machines to some dryers, and went back into the store area. When she later returned some time later to check on the dry clothes, Charlie had apparently moved along. That is what I always loved about Raquette Lake! Even the weekly trip to the laundromat can turn into an interesting adventure. Check out Serpents Underfoot at Amazon.com or here!

Adirondack Bear Tale #1: Golden Beach

Bear Tales from the Adirondack Park

Adirondack Bear Tale #1: Golden Beach

Adirondack Bear TaleIt was dark at the Golden Beach Campground! When the lights go out in the Adirondacks, it gets pitch black. A twelve-year-old girl squirms in her sleeping bag. Her mother had warned her not to drink that last bottle of Coke Cola before going to bed. She had not listened, and now she had to use the bathroom!

What time is it? She wondered. Can I make it until morning? She did not think she could. Working quietly, trying not to wake her parents or her older brother and younger sister, she got herself ready. There was little chance of waking them, as her father was loudly snoring away. All four slept blissfully unaware. The cool Adirondack nights did make for great sleeping.

Reaching for the flashlight, she kept on the floor of the tent by her sleeping bag; the young girl turned it on. Careful not to shine it in anyone’s face, she unzipped the zipper on the side of her sleeping bag and crawled out. First, she put on the plaid flannel shirt because the night air was quite chilly outside her warm sleeping bag. Next, she reached for the beaded leather moccasins her mom had gotten for her on their last trip to the gift shops in Inlet.

Making her way to the front flap of the big cabin tent, she unzipped the mosquito netting, stepped out, and zipping the netting back; made her way down the path toward the women’s bathrooms. It was a short walk, maybe fifty yards. Golden Beach Campground had several men’s and women’s bathrooms and shower houses strategically located throughout the campground. Golden Beach Campground was a great place to camp. Their family had been camping there for years.

The girl made her way along the path, the beam of the flashlight projecting its circle of light on the ground a few feet in front of her. She was about halfway to the women’s bathroom when she froze. There, clearly defined in the circle of light from the flashlight, were two large black paws. The paws were attached to two somewhat furry black legs. Not panicking, the young girl tilted her light ever-so-slightly upward. Standing in the path a few feet in front of her, clearly framed in the light of her flashlight, was a rather large black bear!

Carefully, the girl lowered the light again until only the bear’s paws were visible. She slowly began to back up a step at a time while keeping the bear paws in the circle of light so she could see if it moved. When the beam of light could no longer reach the bear’s paws, she turned and made her way swiftly back to the tent. Quickly unzipping the mosquito netting, she stepped inside and zipped it shut. In a few minutes, she was back in her sleeping bag, listening to her father snore.

She decided she could wait until the morning after all!

Did you like this Adirondack Bear Tale #1?

If you did like this Adirondack Bear Tale, then stay tuned for future installments, and check out my novel here!