Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Just Americans Talking Politics

At a local coffee shop, a few of us were just sitting there chewing the fat talking about what's been going on in the Country. And yes, as usual it went from one subject to another.

First one of the guys started talking about high gas prices, and the high price of hay these days. Then it went to how food prices are climbing as well. Then all of us talked about the high unemployment numbers in this area and across the Nation.

One friend said, "it's was the damn Liberals and the Environmentalist. They're trying to bring down the Nation."

He mentioned how they shut down our Lumber Mills, but yet at the same time those Liberal types don't find anything wrong with buying lumber from the people who are clear cutting the Rain Forest in Brazil. All there agreed that they are definitely a problem.

"They're the ruination of our Country," another friend said.

Someone said that it's the liberal attitude that's made Americans more dependant on other Nations for everything we need to live. Someone brought up our dependency on Foreign Oil from oil rich Dictators.

Another mentioned that we get almost all of our manufactured products like televisions, radios, other electronics, cars and trucks and their parts from foreigners. Another said let's not forget shoes and boots, clothing, clocks and watches, building supplies, and yes beef and more and more of the food we eat.

I said that I had a problem with the way Liberals think. Only God knows how the Liberal mind allows them to justify the poor working conditions, the slave labor, the polluted rivers and harbors in other countries. At least if we produced stuff here, we'd have a handle on taking care of the workers and making sure the land isn't completely shot to Hell in the mean while.

Another brought up how about their safety measures when it comes to everything from the water they use to make beer in Mexico for example to the horse manure and raw feces that some countries use as fertilize the crops that they are sending to Americans.

Our Environmental Laws have no standing in Foreign Countries. Someone said that he wouldn't want to eat the food that is grown in some of those countries with both no regulation or enforcement.

He said, "Just look what happened in Europe on Tuesday. A News report came out that there was a massive and unprecedented outbreak of bacterial infections linked to contaminated vegetables that were shipped in from one country to another. And it's killing some folks while it's making thousands of other folks sick. And pards that's in at least eight different countries over there."

We all talked about how those Environmentalist are the same folks who live in the city and are trying to shut down American Farms, Ranches, and Dairies.

One of the guys said, "it's as if the damn Liberals have an agenda to shut down everything American and make us all dependant on everyone else! There's nothing wrong with getting some stuff from overseas, put we have so much coming in these days that we ain't got enough inspectors to see if it's all safe to eat."

And as for the liberals wanting to shut down America, weaken us and make us a second rate country, we all agreed that their plan is simple. And yes, it's working.

They want to shut down American Farms by regulating how they grow crops to the point of making the cost of growing enormous and non-profitable for the everyday Farmer. Ranches by way of a bogus argument that cattle destroy the land. Liberals conveniently forget that bovine in the shape or another either cattle or buffalo were in the millions in the West long before Americans came West.

Yes, we all agreed that the Environmentalist are the same crazies who want to close Dairies because of the cow manure. Imagine that! As if you can have milk without manure!

One friend said, "Heck, what used to be Dairies and crazing land is now more and more Grape Vineyards. But to the Liberal mind, people need a good Chardonnay wine more than they need milk and meat."

Another said, "And try finding things built in America anymore? It's harder and harder to find quality American goods because of all the regulations put on our Manufacturers."

"Do we even make anything anymore?" I asked.

"Not much!" a friend answered.

Then the subject finally got around to President Barack Hussein Obama. Someone asked if anyone heard about Obama throwing Israel to the wolves. Obama wants Israel to give up the lands that they got when they were invaded in 1967.

That's when the subject got around to those poor folks in Joplin Missouri and how many people were still unaccounted for. The lost, the destruction, the lack of Federal help afterwards. And by the way, why was Obama in an Irish Pub during the disaster in Joplin?

We all laughed agreeing that the Liberal News Media would have lynched George W Bush if he were in some Pub drinking while there's a disaster at home!

Someone brought up the fact that Obama increased the amount of Foreign Aid that we send to the Middle East when he first entered office. And someone else brought up how Obama is now trying to write off and forgive the huge debt that the oil rich countries in the Middle East still owe America - at a time when we need whatever money we have.

"Imagine that," one friend said. "He seems to care more about the folks in other countries and to Hell with the folks right at home!"

Then before we know it, one of the few die hard Liberals in town got up from the counter and loudly called us all, "Racists!"

He then went on to say, "You folks don't like him because he's Black! You're all Racist! And besides, all of our problems in this country are Bush's fault."

A stranger sitting behind me who must have been listening for a while leaned over from his booth and said, "No, they're not! I'm not! And he's not!"

"You're not and he's not what?" the old Liberal asked.

"These men are not Racists. They're just talking what's on their minds. We are still free to do that aren't we? Obama is not all Black. He's actually only half Black. But that doesn't matter. His skin color doesn't matter. It's his actions that matters. His skin color has no bearing on his lousy job performance. Besides, he's supposed to be representing all Americans and not just Black or Liberal Americans."

We just sort of looked at these two and let them go at it awhile. We didn't know the stranger sitting behind me. And as for the old Liberal, well we knew that he was the same guy that was trying to get the County to have more say in how we live by having the County "inspect" our properties as if we were in a Communist State where the State rules over the people. I think it's called Big Brother!

The old Liberal had had enough and stood up, saying, "You're all just Racists! His policies would be better received if he were White!"

"No it wouldn't!" the stranger answered. "Sir, my doctor is Black and he is the father of my son-in-law who is also Black. I love them both. I'm very proud of my son-in-law because he is an educated man who is a good husband to my daughter. I might not agree with all of their Conservative ways, but then again I'm pretty much a Moderate and not some Leftist Liberal Democrat."

The stranger went on, "I see my self as a JFK Democrat. Not Liberal at all. In fact even Conservative in some things like John F Kennedy was. The Democratic Party these days doesn't seem to want people in it if they are not ultra-Left Liberal types like yourself. But besides that, the point of the matter is that skin color has nothing to do with bad policies or taking our country in a direction that most people do not want to go."

"Quit hiding beind semantics and catch phrases like a being a JFK Democrat. Face the truth!" the old Liberal said. "You're all just like those angry racist whites in the Tea Party! Just all Conservative Racists!"

"I was a life long Democrat until Clinton was in Office." one of my friends said, "I didn't like McCain because I thought he was too Liberal and a Wimp. I didn't vote at all because I didn't like McCain and I couldn't vote for Obama because he had absolutely no experience other than being some sort of Community Organizer. Whatever the Hell that is!"

"The Liberals used to love to say that Bush was stupid, but being honest I don't think Obama is as bright as he was advertised to be," one friend said. "Geeeze, the man didn't even know how many States we have or how many stars are on our flag! What's that all about! And by the way, I've attended a Tea Party rally. Does that make me a Racist?"

"I am a Democrat." the stranger said. "I voted for Obama because I didn't like Bush and I thought Obama was what we needed. But now that Bush is gone, I'm learning that Bush wasn't all that bad. And what's worse is I've found out that Obama is not what we need. I made the mistake of letting the News Media, who loved to spred Bush hate, tell me how to think. I won't make that mistake again."

We listened to the stranger and then turned to look at the old Liberal. My one friend asked, "OK, what do you say to that?"

Another stranger who was sitting near by, pulled his chair out and asked, "Why is it that anyone who disagrees with Obama is called a Racist? When I was disagreeing with George W Bush, like say on his Border Policy, everyone called me a smart man. Now if I disagree with Obama's Border Policy, I'm a Racist! That stinks!"

"There are a lot of Americans getting killed and kidnapped along the Border, and he's not doing a thing to help the situation. I read that he doesn't want to rile the Mexican voters. So am I a Racist because I care about those folks on the Border and disagree with his policies? I don't think so. And by the way, I've been to a few Tea Party rallies. Another thing! At those Tea Party rallies, there isn't any of the hate that there used to be at the Bush protests when he was President. I worked in Sacramento and saw it for myself!"

"I would not call our peaceful protest of Bush hateful." the old Liberal said. "We were just exercising Free Speech ...."

"Sir, there were a lot of threats against Bush's life," the observer behind me interrupted. "I was working in San Francisco up until last month. I witnessed a lot of protests while Bush was in Office. A lot of crazies hated Bush for no reason. A lot of them wanted him dead, and they said so much in their signs."

"Try saying that now? Man, you'd have the Secret Service, FBI, and all sorts of law coming after you," one man said. "No one cared if someone wanted Bush dead when he was in Office."

"I'm sorry, but as much as you want it to be that way, it is not a matter of color or race," the stranger standing behind me said looking directly at the old Liberal.

"It's all about bad policies, pandering to special interest groups, raising over a billion dollars in Campaign Contributions from unknown and foreign sources, his ineptness when dealing with other nations. Then there is that little thing about him trying to turn America into a Socialist State by having the government takeover our Medical System. It's nothing to do with his color."

"Any regrets?" I asked.

"Sure! I know I helped put him into Office by voting for him, but I also know that I will not make the same mistake twice."

The old Liberal turned and walked out as angry as they come, and the observer turned around and went back to reading his paper.

We looked at each other and smiled. Then one of guys signaled for more coffee.

Story by Tom Correa

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Memorial Day -- originally Decoration Day

I love learning about American History. I really enjoy the little things about some of our traditions and where some of our holidays came from. I've been doing some reading on the origin of Memorial Day, and I found out it was originally called Decoration Day.  It was originally May 30th instead of "the last Monday in May" as it is now. It was a day set aside to remember those who have died while in the service to our Nation.

There are many stories as to its actual beginnings, and from what I've read so far there are over two dozen cities and towns that claim to be the birthplace of Memorial Day. There is also evidence that organized women's groups in the South during the Civil War between 1861 and 1865 were decorating the graves of their fallen.

But all in all, I don't think it's important where it started because I feel it's more important that we understand why it was started. It is more than likely that it started in many different places when our Nation was torn apart by Civil War.

It may began as someone simply deciding that the graves of their town's dead needed recognition and remembrance. It may have been planned or maybe it was just a spontaneous gathering of people to honor the war dead in the 1860's.

We should remember that many of the early Cowboys were men coming West to get away from the destruction that was left after the Civil War.  Observences of special dates was a way of keeping a connection for the home they left behind.

I'm thinking that it started with our basic need to honor our dead. It may have been more than once a year. It may have been started with a single flag and flower on a single grave. It was a day that took on a life of its own and culminated in an official proclamation in 1868.

It is not important what town was the very first, but instead what is important is that Memorial Day was established. Memorial Day is not about division. It is about reconciliation. It is not about pride in some cause. It is about us, all of America, coming together to honor those who gave all.

Memorial Day was officially proclaimed a day of remembrance on 5 May 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic. In his General Order No. 11, it was a day first observed on 30 May 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery.

The first state to officially recognize the holiday was New York in 1873. And yes, the tradition spread West as well. With the Cowboys and the Pioneers coming West came the traditions and values that are the glue that holds a Nation together. It is a part of our identity.

Some folks might find it odd to think that Americans in Cow towns, in Rail heads, at Ports, in Gold Camps, and across the West would take the time to observe Memorial Day. Most don't think of the Old West as having celebrations and such. But in fact, even when California was just an isolated State in the West.

Folks out in what was called the "Far West" were celebrating the 4th of July, Christmas, and yes Memorial Day.

Yes, the Cowboy who worked all day in the hot sun, the Miner who prayed as he dug for gold and silver, the Teamster who hauled everything that everyone needed with his team of mules or oxen, as well as all others in the West took the time to stop on Memorial Day in observance of those who have fought and died defending nation during the Civil War.

In the West, where the Civil War did not play out so dramatically as it did in the East, Memorial Day was a day to also recognize those who fought to help them settle the land, keep their homes, and keep them free.

Some folks don't realize that in the West, there were churches actually everywhere. Some were Missions dotted throughout California left over from the Spanish. Some were Chapels built in new towns. Some took the shape of tents in Mining Camps, while others were make-shift alters made out of stacked rocks.

Like in many parts of the Country, out in the Old West, Memorial Day was a time of prayer and worship. It was a time to thank and remember.

By 1890, Memorial Day was recognized by all of the States except for those in the South. The South refused to acknowledge the day, and instead decided to honor their dead on separate days. That separation lasted until after World War I when the holiday changed from honoring just those who died fighting in the Civil War to honoring all American Servicemen and women who have died while serving our Country.

It is now celebrated in almost every State on the last Monday in May, which was passed by Congress with the National Holiday Act of 1971 to ensure a three day weekend for Federal workers. And of course, knowing how "Southern Pride" runs deep, many Southern States have an additional separate day for honoring the Confederate Civil War dead still to this day.

Unlike in the Old West, today we have a problem!

Traditional observances of Memorial Day has greatly diminished over the last 30 years. Believe it or not, many Americans nowadays have forgotten the meaning and traditions of Memorial Day. Some even confuse Memorial Day, which is set aside as a day of remembrance of those who have died, with Veterans Day which is a day set aside so that we can thank veterans for their service to our nation.

As shameful as it is, at many cemeteries with graves of the fallen servicemen and women, more and more of those fallen are being ignored and neglected. Some believe that most Americans no longer remember the proper flag etiquette for Memorial Day of lowering our flag to Half Mast.

While there are towns and cities that still hold Memorial Day parades, many are not and haven't in years. And unfortunately, some Americans actually think that Memorial Day is for honoring any and all who've died and not just those fallen in service to our country. It's not. It is specific to those who have served our nation in uniform.

My friends, we need to educate and remind our children that Memorial Day is not just another day off. It's not just another 3 day holiday.  We need to return to the days when all Americans set aside one day out of the year to remember and honor those who have died.

American troops have liberated more cities and have sent more evil back to Hell than any other nation in the world. We have forced dictators and despots to flee and in some case commit suicide. We have given freedom to more than can be counted. And in contrast to every other such powerful nation in the history of man, we have not planted our flag and declared ourselves conquerors. Instead, we have only sought friendship and peace in return. In every case where diplomacy has failed, the American Soldier, Sailor, Airman, and Marine has been there to right wrongs and bring about victory.

Yes, indeed. They have given so much to us, and one day of remembrance is not much to ask in return. 

Tom Correa

We Need To Remember - Memorial Day

My Dear Friends,

Tomorrow I will form up a Rifle Squad of 7 American Legion members as an Honor Guard. We will be at the Railroad Flat Cemetery at 10am to practice our salute to the Veterans buried there. We do this because we understand too well that all give some and some give all.

It will be a small gathering, probably like it was last year, maybe only a half dozen or more locals. But even if there was just one who shows up, it is a victory! 

A victory if only one shows up? How is it a victory? Well, if only one person shows up, it shows that someone has not forgotten to honor the sacrifice that was made for them. And friends, to remember is a victory. To forget is a defeat the likes of which America can never recover from.

I believe we possess the blessings of God, the blessings of freedom, by paying a heavy price for it.

We stay vigilant. We stand guard when others sleep. We fight daily in places near and far. We watch our children and pray that they will share in what we have had. And yes, the whole time we do this, we remember those who have paid the ultimate price of giving their lives in defense of our America.

Our lives are richer because we remember those who came before us. We remember those who have died. We remember members of our families who went off the war and never returned. For the families it's sorrow and heartache.

For Veterans, some of us remember friends as if they never passed and are still today cemented in our minds never to have aged. Some are still 18, 19, 20 years old, almost 40 years later. And like the families who lost them, they have kept their youth in our dreams, our thoughts, our hearts.

Yes, we remember those who have passed on. And for me, I still keep in mind that many still suffer daily both physically and emotionally. Yes my friends, some still give daily.

As a young poet once wrote,   

"Wild dogs tease and tear
flesh off the rabbit still in flight.
Not all nights are hunters
Yet sleep makes some the hunted
When dreams are frothing dogs."

To those Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines who still fight battles long gone and skirmishes unforgotten, I give my heart and my prayers to them just as I do for those who've paid that most ultimate sacrifice of giving their lives for us. 

Memorial Day is a day to remember all who have given so much for us, for America, for you and me, for your family and mine. We should all remember them everyday, and not just one day a year.

May God Bless those who passed, those who still suffer, and their families. And yes, may God Bless America!

Please Remember Me

Tom Correa

Thursday, May 26, 2011

My Older Brother

My older brother has had it rough in many ways, and today he is fighting to stay alive.

The day before yesterday, he had chills and really didn't think much of it.

Then yesterday when he was on the phone with my wife, he was pretty incoherent. So my wife, suspecting something was definitely wrong, immediately called 911 to have him rushed to a local hospital.

That was at 2:30 yesterday afternoon. When I started to write this, it was almost 24 hours since he was admitted and the last word that I got was that he is still in trouble.  

He has been diagnosed with pneumonia, a weakened heart, and something called "sepsis".  I know what pneumonia is, and as for his weakened heart - well he did have a valve replaced a year ago.  But "sepsis" was one that I'd never heard of.

It was explained to me by his Doctor and a Nurse, that sepsis is an infection and an inflammation in his blood. Sepsis is a potentially deadly medical condition that is characterized by a whole-body inflammatory state.

After they told me what they suspected, both the down side and the up side as to how they will attack the problem. It was consoling to know that my family has such a wonderful group of people working on his condition.  I felt that he was being attended to by Professionals who wouldn't give up.

The staff there asked me to hold his hand, but I really don't think he knew that I was there. I watched as he fought with the Nurses as they were trying to help him. He was delirious. And yes, I believe he was frightened.

One of the Nurses said that he's as strong as a Bull, and I agreed.

It was strange watching him toss and try to pull his EKG wires and other probes off.  It was strange in the respect that I started remembering certain things. There I was trying with all my heart to give him strength. And yes, I knew how hard headed he has always been.

Most probably remember how we fought with each other when we were kids. But really, it was just a case of two strong willed kids with their own way of looking at things. And really, it was all fairly harmless when you look back at it. What most don't know about, or maybe they've forgotten, are all the good times that we've had. 

It's funny that while standing there with him in the ER, I tried making him look a little better so I reached up and put my hand on his head and pulled back his hair. 

It was funny because at that very moment, I remembered him helping me comb my hair in our bathroom at our old house in Kaimuki when I was a little kid. He was there when I couldn't comb it myself. But then again, I guess that's what older brothers do.

A Doctor walked in and asked me if I was his friend or if I was related to him. After I told him that I'm his brother, the Doctor started asking me all sorts of questions about his medications, the date of his heart surgery, that sort of thing. 

They asked me to leave the room because they were going to do a procedure. Then after returning to the waiting room and talking with my family, I left thinking that he was stable.

After I came home, I had to go to the American Legion for our monthly meeting and yearly election.  While there, I was talking with some friends about my brother's condition.  Then I told them about a story that he and I love to laugh about.

Toward the end of my way through Boot Camp, I was selected for Sea Duty which was a premiere assignment in the Marine Corps in those days. Well, I came out third in my Class in Sea School. And because of my coming in as one of the top 3, I was given my pick of ships to be stationed on.

In those days, most of the Sea Going Marines who finished in the top of their class automatically picked the USS Enterprise. She was still under 20 years old in those days. She was modern in compared to the rest of the Fleet in those days. She was also well known for going to all sorts of Ports of Call that other ships would never go to.

I remember how shocked my First Sergeant was when I picked the caircraft carrier USS Hancock CVA-19.  He told me that that ship was one of the oldest left over from World War II.  He went on to tell me how the ship's crew had cock-roach killing contests, salt water showers, reconstituted milk, and even food rationing.

In fact, I remember my First Sergeant saying, "Marine, she still carries lumber to fix her wooden flight deck! She has a wooden flight deck!"

Then he asked, "Give me one reason, good or bad, as to why you would want to be stationed on such an old scow as the Hancock?"

"My older brother is a Petty Officer stationed on the Hancock!" I replied.

I can still remember the First Sergeant nodding his approval as a small smile swept across his face.

He must have know what I was in for. I was sent to the Hancock. And once there, I found out that everything the First Sergeant said was true. No matter really. You see the one thing that happens when you're stationed aboard ship is that no matter how bad things are, you still find affection for her.

And honestly all in all, it was great that I was on the same ship with my brother. The Hana as she was known was a great ship, and my brother helped me more than anyone ever knew. Since he was already a Petty Officer and had been aboard her for almost 2 years when I showed up, he knew that ship inside and out. And yes, that was a big help!

Over the years he and I have actually grown closer. In fact he calls every few days to shot the bull and catch me up on things like what's going on with his son Steven and his daughter Jessica. And of course, yes, he loves talking about his love of NASCAR and the Oakland Raiders Football Team.

In the last few years, he's had a desire to take up target shooting. One day he was here visiting when he asked me about shooting. He wanted my recommendation as to what kind of pistol to buy.

I remember thinking about it for a moment, then I told him to wait right there while I went inside the house to get a pistol that he might like to shoot.  When I returned to my small shooting range on the side of my house, I loaded the pistol for him and let him have at it.

He loved it. His eyes lit up and he smiled and laughed. He loved how that pistol felt. Then he asked how much would one cost and so on. Since I could see that he really liked it, I gave it to him! 

And lately, well we've both been looking forward to him coming out and shooting again. I figure that most likely next week he'll come out and we'll shoot up the steel plates that I use for targets. He's always fun to shoot with. 

Love is so different in so many different ways. Of course, there is the love between a Mom and her children. That is definitely different than the love a Dad feels for his kids, similar but different. The love for Mom and Dad is always there and only God knows those ties bind tight.

And of course, there is that love a husband feels for his wife. And yes, vice-versa. Compassion and respect and trust are the corner stones of this love. It is an emotional bond that envelopes your heart and seals it forever.

And yes, there is the love that I have for my horses and my dog. It is vastly different from the love that I had for my job before I retired. And like my older brother who has a love for NASCAR and the Oakland Raiders, I've had a love of fishing and shooting and riding the back country.

But than there is the love between brothers and sisters. It is in most cases just accepted as it is. There is never a question that I love my older brother. Just as there's no question that I love my sisters and my other brothers. It just is. And yes, it is forgiving.

My older brother certainly has done some things that has made me shake my head in the past. But in the long run, it just doesn't matter.

I know that some aren't into forgiveness, and honestly I think that that is a shame. Those who can't forgive should realize that there's only so much penance that a person should have to pay for their screw ups.

For me, I'm glad that over the years that we have actually grown closer. And yes, I know he can still be a as pessimistic as the day is long. But honestly, when he's here and relaxed and he allows himself to just let go of his pessimism, it's always great.

We laugh and talk story about where we came from, and yes we even laugh about some of the craziness that comes with a big family. Yes, it's always great.

Earlier I wrote that I left the hospital yesterday thinking that he was stable, well I was wrong. In fact what I didn't know was that the worse was yet to come.

Today when I got to the hospital, I learned that we almost lost him last night. He had stop breathing and the hospital had to put in a ventalator to keep him alive.

And now he's slowly recovering. Slowly, but I'll take anything right now. Today he looks a lot better than he did yesterday. I figure his recovery will be slow but steady. Pneumonia takes a while to heal.

In the next few days, I'll print this out and let him read this. I'm sure he'll get a kick out of it. And honestly, I'm willing to bet that he'll be surprised that I remember him helping me comb my hair when I was a little kid more than 50 years ago.

Story by Tom Correa

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


A Poem by Tom Correa

My bay’s registration's with the American Quarter Horse Association.
He’s got great bloodlines and real nice conformation,
Yet at first, I swore I bought a cold-blooded clown
Who was so darn cinchy he’d simply throw himself down.

Sure he doctor’s easy and he’ll trailer OK, and sure both’s a benefit,
But with his crow hop’n starts, teeth jar’n gait, and the way he throws a fit,
I started to wonder if later I’d have a few regrets.

Now since I was raised around ol’ cowboys, a lot’a kids and cattle,
And over the years moved a few cows for folks,
I wasn’t completely blind to see I needed my son under saddle
And maybe some round pen work with a lunge line and rope.

Of course having things go right is always my hope,
But I know real well some things just won’t.

Allow me to try to elaborate and maybe make a few things straight:
You see Murphy still ain’t trained to head or heel, or sit in a box and wait,
And crossing water and opening gates are still among the things he hates.

Though at times he can go from easy keeper to bronc with no holds barred,
I did hook on to a bay want’n to respond with a great second wind and heart.

He's a horse that saved my life when I saved his.
And I don’t care if others laugh about my treat’n him as if he were my kid.

Some say I shouldn’t spoil my boy Murphy, and yes he can be a knot-head.
But simply put, he has done all that I've asked and to his credit
He simply doesn’t understand the word quit.

You see, he’ll move cows all day through any terrain, and that’s just a start.
He’ll go anywhere, do no matter what, and work real hard.

So folks can think or say what they may,
And yes some find it strange to treat stock my way,
But they’ll probably never understand how a horse like my bay
Can truly sneak into a life and steal your heart away.

In fact it wasn’t that long ago at a local auction, I think it was in late May,
That I couldn’t believe my ears when I heard my friend’s ol’ Uncle say,
“You should sell that horse of yours, and buy yourself a good horse today!”

Now I’ve only known the ol’ Timer a short while, and he’s likable of course,
But I figured he’d lost his mind by the way he talked about my horse.

Being respectful, I only replied, “No thanks, Murphy suits me just fine.”
Then days later, my friend and his ol’ Uncle asked me if I had some time
To help them go into the hills and look for a few strays they couldn’t find.

Now we worked all day and only stopped a few minutes to get out of the sun,
I’d say my friend's ol’ Uncle was purely amazed, I’d even say he was stunned,
See’n the way Murphy works for me, and that he just ain’t as bad as some!

And later when our day had ended and it was awful close to sundown,
I tried not to give him too hard a time as I figured the time had come around,
So I just sort’a brought up a fact to his attention and mentioned mostly in fun,
“Yes Sir, Uncle Louie, to sell ‘em would be pretty dumb!”


Heather Russell and The V.A.

Every once in a while, I'll meet someone who really sticks out.

Yesterday morning, that person happen to be a young women who's old enough to be my daughter  - if I had a daughter.

Her name is Heather Russell. She's 31, 5 foot 2, slim with curly auburn hair, dark eyes, and a smile that made my hectic 4 hour trip to the VA Hospital an almost pleasure to go through.

Yes, once I hit the Bay Area it was bumper to bumper commuter traffic. Bumper to bumper at less than 35 mph just so I could get to the Veterans Hospital in Palo Alto to run some tests.

You see, I've been fighting with my left kidney for the better part of 30 years now. It has been giving me fits of pain and discomfort every now and then over the years. The problem lately is that that "now and then" has become "more and more often." And yes, this last year has been a real joy  -  if you know what I mean.

Originally the VA told me that the pain was probably just my bad back.  That is, they did until about three or four weeks ago when I had seen a different doctor at the VA to ask for a second opinion. After seeing him, then it was a different story because immediately he sent me in to get a CAT Scan and blood work.

Granted after the CAT Scan that I didn't hear from anyone for a while, but I figured no news is really good news sometimes. I also figured that if they didn't find anything than there really was no need to contact me. Heck, maybe it really is just my back.

Then last week Thursday a nurse from Urology called. The word was that the Nuclear Medicine people at the VA Hospital in Palo Alto would call me to schedule a follow up Renal Scan to see exactly how my kidneys are doing.

Now I have to admit that I was a little apprehensive about going though the Nuclear Medicine Intravenous Test.  I wasn't looking forward to another dose of radiation from any source. But when I got to Palo Alto, well let's just say that that was all changed.

The people in that department are especially nice and respectful. No, they don't appear to be just going through the motions as some others in the VA Hospital System do. They are, well, honestly friendly.

The Veterans Administration has some really great people working for them. Most, if not all, are very nice, courteous, respectful folks. Most are definitely there to help Veterans. But like with any organization, there are always a few who are always in a hurry or have a tendency to be a little condescending.

I'm very fortunate to be receiving my Health Care from the VA, and especially at their Palo Alto Hospital. On the overall most people who work for the VA in Palo Alto have really good attitudes. Yes, very friendly.

And friends, like you, I too have a preference for friendly people. Personally, I'm pretty sick and tired of rude and angry people.

The San Francisco Bay Area traffic didn't disappoint me. It has always been fast paced, but lately it seems worse than ever. The congestion, the higher gas prices, the stop and go, stop and go, people cutting each other off, the dirty looks, the horns, the fingers, yes it was all there yesterday morning driving in.

So after yesterday's long drive, I was tired when I got there. After parking as far away from the Hospital as I possibly could not out of my choice, I headed to the hospital and found the Nuclear Medicine department to check in.

Yes, it was nice to be greeted by some real nice folks.  It was great hearing polite questions and polite requests. It was outstanding how a Nuclear Medicine technician named Heather Russell took the time to be both pleasant and professional.

Her approach to her duties was excellent in that she was very confident and explained to me what all was going on. She told me what the test was looking for and set me a little more at ease in the process. She walked me through it step by step and was both clear and concise in the things she wanted me to do, but certainly without being mechanical about getting what she needed from me.

She saw that I had no where to place my arm through the 45 minute test, and immediately she found a table and brought it over to help me out as I laid there. She made the whole process easy.

Heather proves that being professional can also mean being personable. She proves that cold and  indifferent doesn't put a patent at ease - friendliness does. Heather proves that good people treat others with respect and friendliness naturally. 

After the test was over, I joked with her that I was going to find her a nice doctor for her to date.  She laughed, and yes she laughed honestly. You see there's nothing fake about Heather Russell. She's as genuine as they come.

And yes, the VA is lucky to have her! 

Story by Tom Correa

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Legal Immigrants vs Illegal Aliens

When it comes to what's Legal verses what's Illegal, it appears that Liberals have a major problem understanding the difference.

So allow me to help!

Drugs that are sold over the counter (OTC) are legal. Prescription Medications which some are now calling Prescription Drugs are also legal. 

But as most know all "Street Drugs" like Meth, Crank, Cocaine, Heroin, and yes Marijuana are illegal.

Buying guns from a licensed Gun Dealer is legal. Buying a gun from a Private Citizen is legal. But buying guns from a Felon is illegal, as so is buying a gun from a Private Citizen if the guns are stolen.
Buying a car is legal. Stealing a car is illegal. Answering a Government Survey about your Race is legal. Race discrimination is illegal. And it doesn't matter if you are Black, White, Yellow or Brown, discrimination based on your race is illegal. 

Race Discrimination can happen to anyone of any race, and not just Blacks, Negros, or Colored People.

And by the way, I use the term Negro the same way that Rev Martin Luther King, Jr.,used the word Negro to describe himself and his race in his "I Have a Dream Speech" speech. 

I use the term "Colored People" in the exact same way that that term is still being used today by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) which is a civil rights organization that helps liberal Back people in America.

The word "discriminate" is not a bad word.  People discriminate all the time about all sorts of things. It is the cognitive and sensory capacity or ability to see fine distinctions and perceive differences between objects, subjects, concepts, and patterns.

It is our ability to possess an exceptional development of our senses. We discriminate using our senses of perception. 

What's that? We use our senses to perceive things. And yes, we have a multitude of senses.

In addition to our five senses of sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch, we also have other senses which include that of our ability to discern temperature, keep our balance, feel pain, acceleration, and of course reason. 

It is our ability to reason that enables our sense of right and wrong, and good and bad, to function. We discriminate when we recognize a distinction and differentiate.

We know that stopping at a Red Light is adhering to Traffic Laws, and knowing that is what the law demands - we obey. Our stopping is a legal action, but we also know it's also smart to do so.

We discriminate and recognize a clear distinction between stopping and running a Red Light. We use our powers to reason what good for us, and we know that one action is smart while the other isn't. 

It's the same as knowing the difference between inviting someone into your home versus someone breaking  into a home. One is illegal and not right. One is not right while the other is wrong.  And yes, if you know that you may be met with a shotgun - than one is smart and the other isn't.

These are just a few examples, but basically one can see that there are differences in what's legal verses what's illegal in our country. After all, legal versus illegal is really not that hard to understand.

It is purely a matter of legal versus illegal when it comes to Illegal Aliens crossing America's Southern Border to enter our home?  It's also a matter of right and wrong when when liberals want to allow people to break into our home and then say it's OK once they're in?

And who's breaking the law? Yes, Illegal Aliens are. But they are not alone! There are others who are also breaking the law in not doing their jobs by enforcing the laws and protecting American citizens.

We know it's illegal to rob a Bank. But isn't it also illegal for a Police Officer to turn his back and do nothing while a Bank is being robbed? 

And how about the Police Chief who orders his Officers to let those Bank Robbers go free?  And how about a Mayor who knows that laws are being broken but decides on his own to disregard the law and allows the criminals who robbed that bank go free.

The Mayor is at fault because he is not doing what he has been elected to do. The Police Chief is at fault because he's usurping the law for his own reasons. The Police Officer is at fault because he's derelict in his duties.

It is not Race Discrimination to want Illegal Aliens to stay in there own country. They are breaking the law and harming American lives and property. 

President Obama just laid out his plan for what he calls "Immigration Reform." I hate to have to correct the President of the United States, but the facts are the facts and people coming into our country illegally are not "Immigrants."

Why? Well we have an Immigration Process for those want to want to become American Citizens. They are not breaking the law, instead they are doing what is legal. On the other hand Illegal Aliens are Law Breakers.

They are Criminals.

Obama said that "immigrants are the way to expand the middle class, make America more competitive on a global level."  He went on to say, "Immigration reform is an economic imperative, which it is considering illegal immigration costs Arizona and California over $12 billion per year." 

That's fine, I agree. There's nothing wrong at all with people migrating to this country legally. The key word is "Legally."

"Immigration Reform" does not deal with the criminal problem of Illegal Aliens.  To me, "Immigration Reform" means reforming our nation's immigration process and policies.  That has nothing to do with addressing what's legal versus what is plainly illegal.  

Being here illegally is a "Criminal Justice" problem, not an "Immigration" problem. Obama fails to distinguish the difference between Legal and Illegal.

My great-grandparents, and one of my grandfathers, were all Legal Immigrants.

I've worked with many people who were both Legal Immigrants and Illegal Aliens. Many, if not all, are great friends still to this day.

Most of the ones who were illegally here have either gone through the process or gone home if they couldn't get though it. I've known Legal Immigrants who came here to become American citizens from Vietnam, Hong Kong, China, Malaysia, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Brazil, Portugal, Spain, Italy, and yes Mexico.

And yes, I've known Illegal Aliens who did not want to become Americans.

I know some really wonderful families. Just try going to California Farms, Ranches, Dairies, and Wineries, and not knowing a few Illegals. It's just about impossible.

They are here. Working hard, and in fact paying taxes like you and me. In many cases they are scared of going through the process. Many think they will automatically be deported. It's a shame really, because some are great people. Part of the shame of it all is that the good folks who come here illegally suffer in many ways. 
Mostly they suffer because of the bad ones, the criminal element. The problem is with the Drug Runners, the Gang members, the Human Traffickers, and those just here to take advantage of our weak Law Enforcement response to their criminal behavior.

The problems with Illegal Aliens are pretty simple really.

First off, they are here illegally and have broken our laws while thousands upon thousands have to wait while they go through the real Immigration Process. That in itself is not fair.

My suggestion to fix the first problem is to fix it by changing the Laws to reflect a need for a common sense approach to the problem of this hidden society of Illegals. Fix the Immigration Laws to allow people to be here to work, and then allow them to either go home or establish a probationary period of say 5 years so that they can good record for themselves.

Once it has been established that they have been good candidates for citizenship, then have some sort of program in place to enable them to join us as good American.

Regarding the second problem with Illegal Aliens. Well, by going around the Immigration Screening Process, Illegal Aliens bring problems.

Just check the number of murders, robberies, home invasions, acts of vehicular manslaughter, and kidnappings committed by Illegal Aliens each year.

Those committing those crimes aren't "Immigrants" looking for a good life in a new land. Most have no desire to even want to assimilate into American Society,  or even want to become Americans.

Lesser Offenders can be deported, no matter how many times they try coming here. And in the case of Violent Offenders such as in Capital Crimes, then have them face the death penalty just as they would where they came from if found guilty.  

And please don't think it's just Mexico, because it isn't. Mexico is the biggest offender of exporting their people to America, that's just a fact. 

Obama lied when he declared the border fence as "basically complete." And in addition to that, Obama claimed his administration had done everything that was asked to secure the southern border with Mexico and that his opposition should avoid playing politics with the issue.

"Done everything that was asked"? Who's he kidding!

May 10th was Obama's first time ever visit to the U.S.-Mexico border since becoming President. And yes, that's despite being asked numerous time by local officials and the Governors of the border States over the last two and half years.

Friends, Obama is breaking the law by not fulfilling the duties of the Office of the President as described in the U.S. Constitution.

He is not protecting or defending that United States as he was elected to do. 

His Justice Department and Homeland Security Department have ordered the Border Patrol and other Federal Law Enforcement on the border to stand down - and not arrest those crossing illegally.

Reports by local Law Enforcement states that even Drug Runners are not being stopped along the U.S.-Mexico Border.

This is unacceptable. 

The actions taken by the Justice Department and Homeland Security is illegal in the exact same way as if they were watching a bank being robbed, or a drug deal taking place, or a murder being committed, and they didn't do anything about it. 

And contrary to what U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder tries to depict it, it's not a case of Race Discrimination.  It is a case of Legal Immigrant versus Illegal Aliens.

But more importantly, it's about protecting Americans.

The Obama White House is currently on a Victory Tour for killing Obama, and that's fine. But there is work to be done for Americans. 

Besides the worse Economy since the Carter Administration, we are mounting a horrible casualty list of Victim of Illegal Aliens. 

Why you ask, well friends it's because President Obama who is the Chief Executive of our Federal Government is doing such a horrible job of protecting Americans.

We have a responsibility to ensure for the public welfare and defend Americans. We cannot let those who have already died, go unnoticed without action being taken on their behalf.

Story by Tom Correa

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Let's Talk About Gun Safety

Rifles, pistols, and shotguns! Yes, they are all a great deal of fun to shoot.

It's absolutely true that shooting is a lot of fun for everyone from men and women to boys and girls.

And yes, everyone can enjoy whatever kind of shooting they take to.

The fact is that Shooting Sports are America's First Sports. Americans were shooting for sport long before any other type of sport there is today including Horse Racing and Archery. 

Americans needed to master shooting so they worked at the skill it takes to shoot well. Why? Well, because being a good hunter meant being better at providing for your family and not letting them go hungry. And as my grandfather once told me, "the worth of a man is measured by how well he provides for his family."

Americans found pride in their ability to hit what they were shooting at, and sense of confidence know that they would be able to - when they needed to. That sense of assurance of being able to shoot well for hunting led to shooting competitions.  

Whatever type of shooting you're into, whether it's Cowboy Action Shooting or Trap Shooting, Target Shooting or Deer Hunting, we all must remember that firearms safety is number one.


1. Always Know How To Use A Gun Safely:  
  • First rule to always remember is that there should never be any sort of horseplay with any firearm.
  • Second, before handling a gun, learn how it operates. Know its basic parts, know how to safely open and close the action and remove any ammunition from the gun or magazine.
  • Remember, a gun's mechanical safety device is never foolproof.
  • Nothing can ever replace safe gun handling.
  • Be sure the gun is safe to operate. Just like other tools, guns need regular maintenance to remain operable. Regular cleaning and proper storage are a part of the gun's general upkeep.
  • If there is any question concerning a gun's ability to function, a knowledgeable gunsmith should look at it.
  • Use only the correct ammunition for your gun. Only BB's, pellets, cartridges or shells designed for a particular gun and caliber can be fired safely in that gun. Most guns have the ammunition type stamped on the barrel.
  • Ammunition can be identified by information printed on the box and sometimes stamped on the cartridge.
  • Do not shoot the gun unless you know you have the proper ammunition.
2. Always Keep Guns Pointed In A Safe Direction:
  • This is the primary rule of gun safety. A safe direction means that the gun is pointed so that even if it were to go off accidentally that it would not cause injury to others or damage property.
  • The key to this rule is control where the muzzle or front end of the barrel is pointed at all times.
  • Common sense dictates the safest direction, depending on different circumstances.
3. Always Keep Guns Unloaded Until You Are Ready To Shoot:
  • Treat all guns as if they are loaded at all times.
  • Do not fear guns, but show them the respect that they deserve.
  • Guns are not toys, and should not be treated like they are. 
  • Do not treat guns unsafely.
  • Whenever you pick up a gun, check if the safety is one.
  • If the gun has a magazine it, then remove it before opening the action. 
  • The gun's chamber should be clear of ammunition.
  • If you do not know how to open the action or inspect the chamber, then leave the gun alone and get help from someone who does.
4. Always Keep Your Finger Off The Trigger Until You Are Ready To Shoot:
  • Whether loaded or not, when holding a gun you should rest your finger on the trigger guard or along the side of the gun.
  • Do not touch the trigger until you are actually ready to fire.
5. Always Know Your Target And Your Surroundings: 
  • Be absolutely certain you have identified your target beyond any doubt.
  • Be absolutely certain the area around and beyond your target is clear. This means observing your entire area of fire before you shoot.
  • Never fire in a direction in which there may be people or property that may be damaged.
  • Think first. Look second. Shoot third.
6. Always Use Eye And Ear Protection:
  • Wear eye and ear protection as appropriate. 
  • Guns are loud and the noise can cause hearing damage. They can also emit debris and hot gas that could cause eye injury.
  • For these reasons, safety glasses and hearing protection should always be worn by spectators as well.
7. Always Store Guns And Ammunition Properly 
  • Keep and store guns and ammo so that they are not accessible to unauthorized people like kids and those completely unfamiliar with guns  -  like maybe a curious teenage friend of you son who never learned about gun safety like your son did.  
  • Many factors must be considered when deciding where and how to store guns.
  • A person's particular situation will be a major part of the consideration.
  • Dozens of gun storage devices, as well as locking devices that attach directly to the gun, are available.  However, mechanical locking devices, like the mechanical safeties built into guns can fail and should not be used as a substitute for safe gun handling and the observance of all gun safety rules.
Most of my guns are separated from the Ammo. My guns are in a Gun Safe, and my ammo is kept in a lock box. A Gun Safe is a good investment for someone like me who has a few guns.

Since I believe in Home Protection though, whether it's a mountain lion going for my stock or some wayward low-life criminal type individual breaking into my tack room or home, I do keep an unloaded gun with ammo near by in my home.

But when I have guests over, especially if they have children with them, then part of my gun safety precautions is to lock up that gun as well. 

I can only hope that someone out there will take this old Cowboy's advise and make Gun Safety your number one priority when you're at home and out shooting.

So whether it's shooting at cans and bottles with your .22 rifle or out Deer Hunting with your favorite rifle early in the morning --
Friends, Safety is First!
And yes, that's just the way I see it.

Tom Correa

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day - Thank You!

Today is Mother's Day!

This morning, my wife and I will meet her brother and his family to take their Mom to lunch.

My Mom-in-Law is a wonderful Mom! She is a great lady. She has worked hard, and raised both my wife and her brother right. And yes, like most Moms, no matter what age you are - you are still her child.

My Mom's the same way.

And yes, God Bless them both for being the way they are. For me, I think my wife and her brother were blessed to have such a great Mom.

After lunch, my wife and her Mom and I will join my Mom at a Bar-B-Q with my brother's family at their home in San Leandro. Yes, the city! And yes, parking will be a bear as usual.

But honestly, it will be nice. And yes, all of the Mom's there will be in heaven as they hand my niece's new baby girl from one shoulder to another to another to another.  My Mom has already designed her plan of action. She said if she sees the baby alone for a minute - on her shoulder she goes.

Baby's have a way of bringing out the Mother Instinct in women, but moreso in Moms. They love the feeling of a newborn's little body, their tiny hands and fingers not yet able to grab at their glasses, the coos, the wisp of a small smile that you know is the most honest true pure smile of pleasure on earth.

My Mom, who's 76 years old, always sees a newborn as the newest and greatest gift from God. And that's the way it really should be, a new baby should be treated as a gift from God. 

After all, boy or girl, it doesn't matter! He or she could rightfully be that gift we've all been waiting for. The gift of being another good person in our flock.  The chances are good and better than we realize!

Imagine for a moment what this newborn, my new grand-niece, will learn and the new world she has entered. She'll have more technology, more ways to learn, and there will be more ways to help her learn everything.  There are so many more tools to help educate kids today than there was when I was a child.

She could grow and be that person who writes an inspirational book, or maybe cures cancer. She might grow up to solve hunger in America, or maybe she'll find the cure to MS or diabetes. It is not that much of a stretch that this child could be a doctor, an engineer, or a master craftsmen.

It's not hard to imagine that she can do some of the great things we need to survive.  Heck, maybe she'll be a rancher, or farmer, or dairymen? Maybe she'll build a children's hospital using a hammer and square, or a drafting table?  Maybe she's lend her talents and knowledge to the development of the next generation of CAT Scan or MRI?

But hopefully she's grow up to be a good Mom, like her Mom, and bring us the next man or women who will work hard and raise their children right? Heck, that in itself is as great a goal as curing cancer!

Moms see this! Moms see it in us from that first moment of our life. Moms know things that no one knows, and they stand guard night and day. They live for us, and sometimes have that wooden spoon or slipper to get us back on the straight and narrow.

My wife said that she heard some DJ on the radio talk about their Mom having "The Wooden Spoon" when they were growing up. He said, "It was made of hickory, struck by lightning, and soaked in jalapeno juice!"

Now that sounds like a wooden spoon to be reckoned with.

And yes, some of the things we remember while growing up seem to have no rhyme or reason at the time. But later we all have to admit that if it wasn't for Mom, some of us would have never become the people we are today.

Moms see the good and the hard work ahead. They see that the chore is worth the prize. And the prize is being proud that your children turned out good and straight and solid. The prize is knowing that at the end, their children learned the difference between right and wrong and how to treat others the way that you want to be treated.

That is the Golden Rule, and most Moms who I've known whisper a silent prayer that their child has truly learns that early on.  After all, among the many things that Moms teach us, the difference between right and wrong and how to treat others with respect is among the most important.

Yes, the possibilities are endless. And yes, contrary to the News, there are more chances then not that she will grow up in a loving supportive family surrounded by those who care.  Of course if no one else is there, Mom will be there. 

My new grand-niece will have her time to learn, and her Mom, her grand-mother, and yes her great-grand-mother will be there to help along the way.  But for now, on this day, she will be passed on from shoulder to shoulder and hopefully the love will fill her senses.

And my Mom, well I can only pray to God that some of my Mom's goodness rubs off.  

I pray that my Mom will have more Mother's Days to again have me, or my brothers and sisters say - Thanks Mom!

I think it's OK to speak for my brothers and sisters when I say, we love you! 

Happy Mother's Day

Story by Tom Correa