Tag Archives: Joseph J Kockelmans

Sharing another story from my second book with you

Greetings, readers. I am sharing a story, “Going Down the Runway,” from my second camp book, published in 2012 from CreateSpace.com. I have written three books that I published using CreateSpace, a publish-on-demand site which I have had good experiences using. I am proud of all of them and the hard work I put into them. All three books are available through CreateSpace, or through Amazon. The first two, about Bear Spring Camps, are also available on Kindle (I haven’t put the third one on that platform yet.) In case you are interested in looking them up, here is the information to find them. You can find most of same information on the Books for Sale page.

My first book, Picking Up Where We Left Off: My Bear Spring Camps Stories, is available on my e-store, https://www.createspace.com/3625476, Amazon.com, and Amazon Kindle. I have shared two stories from this book in the blog before, about a tribute to my mother the year she passed away, and about when I fell asleep fishing.

My second book, Tales from North Bay & Beyond: More Bear Spring Camps Stories, is the one I am sharing a story from today. It is available on my e-store, https://www.createspace.com/3674407, and Amazon.com and Amazon Kindle. I shared one story from this book already, about a run-away boat.

My third book, Greetings, Readers: A Year in the Life of a New Blogger, has entries from my first year of doing this blog. It is available on my e-store, https://www.createspace.com/3678800, and Amazon.com.

Without further ado, here is the story. I certainly hope you enjoy it.

Going Down the Runway – The worst mishap the Galileo ever
endured was due to lack of planning. It was a hot breezy afternoon.
David, Pop, and I decided to cool ourselves down with a long boat
ride. Mom decided to stay behind on the porch with a cool drink. We
were going to go to the other side of Great Pond where any breeze
might be stronger. It was an area that none of us went to very often.
After we got back, I wished that I had, the night before, asked Mr.
Mosher for a lake map that I could study before we left. But I didn’t.

The ride started out in North Bay as usual. We then started
making our way through Chutes Channel to the other side. We were
enjoying our ride with the Galileo’s throttle open to full. She was
getting a good workout. On this rare occasion, I was not at the helm.
Dave had taken a turn driving and then Pop took his turn; a rarity for
Dad. I should have been paying attention to his driving so that I
could assist him as needed, but I didn’t think of it.

It was during Pop’s turn at the wheel when the minor tragedy
occurred. We were on our way back to North Bay (where we knew
what the markers meant) but we were unsure of the markers on the
other side. He had to navigate the Galileo in an area where rocks
were abundant. On one side was a row of green markers and on the
other side, approximately ten yards away on the left, was a row of
red markers. Pop must have thought that in between the rows of
markers was the danger zone. As it turns out, it was the safe passage.
Just like landing an aircraft, we should have aimed right down the
middle of the runway. Pop veered to the right toward the rocks.

By this point in the ride, I was sitting in the front passenger area
half asleep. I got a rude awakening. As the propeller smacked
against a boulder just underneath the water surface, the Galileo came
out of the water for a fraction of a second. Pop immediately brought
the boat to a halt. As he lifted the engine up with the automatic
lifting device, he asked, “Davey, do you see any damage?”

Dave, though not really wanting to be the bearer of bad news,
replied, “Um, yes, sir, there is.”

I quickly walked back to where the engine was. Luckily the boat
itself was undamaged. To this day, I don’t know how the propeller
was the only thing that hit the rock, but it happened. With the
propeller in the mangled shape it was in, we weren’t getting out of
that spot on our own. I reached into the glove box, got the air horn, and blew it to call for help. After several minutes, someone came to
our aid and carefully got us out of the rocky situation we were in.

Once back in deep water, the ride home was slow but
uneventful. The propeller was just useable enough for us to drive our
boat back to our dock at the slowest possible speed, although the
engine put out a rough quiver. I kept thinking to myself, now how
am I going to explain this to Mother? Pop assured me that he would
take full responsibility. I felt guilty, yet relieved.

That evening, Mother went up to supper early to place a call to
the marina right before it closed. A mechanic was up the next
morning to not only install the new propeller but to inspect the
engine for any other damage. To my relief, when the new propeller
was put on, everything else checked out ok. Mom told all of us that
she would greatly appreciate it if we would stay on our side of the
lake.

The next morning, Uncle Cy, David, and I planned and partook
of a fishing trip. The engine started up as usual and ran smoothly. I
purposely opened her up to full throttle to check for any vibration.
Thankfully, it was as though the entire incident never happened.

A month or so later, when the marina bill was sent to our home
in Pennsylvania, Mom showed me how much the new propeller cost.
I felt like crawling under the rock that we had hit.

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Thank you readers for staying with us. Here is #500.

Greetings, readers. When Rebecca and I began this blog in late 2011, I never dreamed that we would still be going now. Not only are we still going, but numbers and popularity seem to be on the rise. I know quite a few regular readers personally. I love it. Today’s entry is going to be a thank you and a quick recap of some of our most popular blog posts.

It is with my deepest gratitude and my appreciation that I say a heartfelt thank you to all the people who have read this blog over the years. Some of my regular readers leave comments, and I take the time to read and respond to each and every one of them. It helps me to have that feedback and connection when it happens. I am grateful to the readers who have reached out to me.

The most read blog entry, by far, is still Top ten list of Air Crash Investigation stories, from September 2013. This probably is caused by the continued search for the downed Air Malaysia 370 flight. But I also know from the search terms used that I can see in the stats, that a lot of the views for this entry are from fans of the show. I also am a fan, which why I wrote it in the first place. It still intrigues me that so many look at this entry each and every day. It is always at the top of the stats or near it. Many people have also looked at my follow up about the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl team crash, though not as many have looked at that as have looked at my post In memory of Air Florida Flight 90. Suffice it to say, that the blog entries about airliners and airline disasters seem to be my most popular.

Another entry that comes up a lot in the stats every month is the one I wrote in 2012, Remembering my father, Professor Joseph J. Kockelmans, and that truly warms my heart. The majority of comments I have received have been from former students of his, and their kind words about my father are special to me. To think that Pop is still enriching people’s lives years after his passing is truly amazing.

The entry that Rebecca and I still get a chuckle about is the Top ten list of modern conveniences, from February 2013. Rebecca and I both think that it’s being used as a teaching aid, perhaps in a college or university. If any of our regular readers know what this entry is actually used for so often, please do tell. We would love to know.

The From Rebecca series is also quite popular I’ve noticed, and they do get many reads, which I’m sure puts a smile on Rebecca’s face. I think it is cool too. The one that keeps coming up so much is From Rebecca: A little bit in a hurry. We don’t know why. It was written in August of 2012 while I was on the road to Maine a few years ago.

We have a direct link to Facebook and Twitter. My friends on both social medias learn about the new blog entry almost immediately after it is published. Over the last few months, I’ve noticed that more and more of my friends are coming over from there to read my blog. I am extremely happy about this. I have 250 some odd friends on Facebook, and it is exciting to see the numbers that are generated from there. They seem to especially respond when I write about something extremely personal, which I will admit I don’t do all the time. I’ve known some of them for many years, and I care about them as much as they seem to care about me.

As I’ve said before, I have no immediate plans to end the blog. I am seriously considering self-publishing a second blog book. Most of my 500 entries were written after the first book, Greetings, Readers: A Year in the Life of a New Blogger, was published in 2013. Rebecca and I will work on that quite soon.

It is with my utmost joy and appreciation that I close this entry by once again saying thank you to you my readers who have kept this blog such a joy for me to write. Until Friday, have a great couple of days, take care, and, as always, happy reading.

Top ten list of things I wish I had kept from my parents’ house

Greetings, readers. It pains me to have to say this, but when I moved into my new apartment, I simply didn’t have enough room to take everything I wanted from my parents’ house. I chose paintings, small knickknacks, and small family pictures. The two most important items I did take were the credenza which sat in the front hallway and my mom’s desk which was in her home office. I knew right away that I wasn’t going to part with those. When loved ones pass away, or are forced to sell a house, sometimes your judgement is clouded by emotions. This is what happened to me. Here’s a top ten list of items I wish I had taken before the house was cleared out. These are in no particular order except #1, and whose to say if I would have had room for them or not.

#10. My double bed. [I took Pop’s single bed instead and though it is comfortable, I quickly learned that I toss and turn way too much, and enjoyed the extra room the double bed gave me.]

#9. The marble coffee table. [My mom and dad’s house had two living rooms. The actual living room, a fancier room used for Dad’s parties for colleagues. And the family room where we sat and enjoyed life everyday. The marble coffee table was in the living room. It was my favorite room in the house.]

#8. My organ. [Although it was 8/10ths dead already, the organ my parents purchased for me held special memories; the nicest of which was me learning to play Christmas carols to perform at the holiday time. My favorite was “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”.]

#7. The big screen TV. [This model was not one that hung on a wall and it would have taken up all of this apartment’s living room. Ha ha. For sports watching it was gorgeous.]

#6. The fancy clock in the living room which worked under its own power. [It was stylish, gorgeous and would have looked great on the credenza.]

#5. My grandmother’s teacup and saucer set. [I took the tea service but was dumb enough to forget the dainty cups and saucers that went along with it. Having fancy 4:00 tea with guests just doesn’t seem right when the tea has to be served in coffee mugs.]

#4. My grandmother’s chest of drawers. [Yes, it was fancy and maybe a little girlie, but I loved it and certainly could have put it to good use. The small bureau I took turned out to not have enough room for everything I needed it to hold.]

#3. My thick black winter coat. [I had a fancy thick black coat from New York, very stylish and warm in the winter, and in my sorrow and confusion, left it behind. It was something I could have easily had room for.]

#2. My Pittsburgh Steelers and Miami Dolphins knit winter caps. [I had them from a very early age and they probably wouldn’t have fit anymore, but again, they would have been mementos I could easily store in my walk-in closet.]

#1. The house itself. [It goes without saying that I would have loved to keep the family home. I doubt very seriously whether I would have had the monetary means to pull it off for many years, but I didn’t even get a chance to try. On a side note, my eye doctor and her family now own our house. It’s not very often that you know the owners of your former home. Since Pop’s passing, I have been inside the old homestead once. It was very nicely remodeled but there was not much left that I could say I remembered as being from my house. It’s their place and I have no qualms with them making it theirs. I’m just going to remember it the way it was.]

There’s the list. Hope you enjoy. If you have questions or comments you can contact me either here or on my Facebook page.

I’m going out of town for Thanksgiving, so there will be no blog entries Wednesday or Friday. We do have one set up on a schedule to automatically post on Thursday. This is the first time we have tried this feature on WordPress, let’s hope it works. We will be back to our normal schedule the week after Thanksgiving.

Have a great holiday, take care, and happy reading. Gobble-gobble.

Thanks for reading my blog, now and in the future

Greetings, readers. Slowly but surely I am inching closer to my 300th blog entry. Wow! Who’d have thought I’d have that much to say. Today I want to take a moment to thank you, my readers, for your continued support. Two entries that are always on the statistics list are the Air Crash Investigation entry, and the entry about my father, which is currently sitting in second for all time views.

I must admit, when I wrote Remembering my father, Professor Joseph J. Kockelmans, I thought that it was going to be popular, but I never dreamt just how popular. As of today, there are 641 views and lots of positive comments. Thank you all. I am especially touched by the warm comments left by his former students and colleagues who took the time to reach out to me. That means so much. Most of the comments I get are on this entry, but I don’t want to leave out the people who have left comments on other entries. I am honored by all the comments I get from readers and wish to thank them too.

Dad’s blog post was number one for the longest time. When Malaysia Flight 370 vanished, there was a lot of world interest which had people searching on Google for information. I was following this story too. I have a fascination for air safety and when it goes wrong. I did write an entry about the missing plane and the search for it, but I also did an entry on a TV series that is one of my favorites, Air Crash Investigation. That entry, Top ten list of Air Crash Investigation stories, became popular. Even after the news frenzy has ended and the search has grinded to a halt, I still get views of the entry. As of today, that entry has been viewed 1, 490 times, though most of the views are from the time the search was at its height. Rebecca and I do know from looking at the search tags that lots of you are looking for references to the actual TV series. I wrote a follow-up entry about one of the episodes, titled The Air Crash Investigation episode on The Lokomotiv Yaroslavl hockey team crash, thinking the same people might be interested in it, but so far not many of you have viewed it directly.

There are a few posts that keep coming up in the statistics, and though pleased, we are not quite certain what is the spark of so much interest. We still have views of Top Ten List of Modern Conveniences; as of today 291. The entry From Rebecca: A little bit in a hurry, about my coming back soon from Maine and my cat Keekee shedding, still shows up and sits at 53 views. We may never know the real reason someone views an entry, but we are grateful for each and every read we get.

I will continue in the months and years to come to write about topic that not only interest me but that I think is hot news in the world.

After I come back from Maine this August, I will have some pictures that I will put in the gallery.

Until next time, again thank you for your reading support, have a great weekend, and happy reading.

Top ten list of the best things I’ve ever done

Greetings, readers. Here is a top ten list of highlights from my life, plus one honorable mention. They are eleven things or events which I’ve done, that every time I look back on them they bring a smile to my face. Only #1 and #2 are in definitive order. So I hope you enjoy.

#10. Taking a cross-country trip from Pennsylvania to California with my Aunt Marilyn. [Circa the late 70s or early 80s.]

#9. My transatlantic crossing on the Queen Elizabeth 2. [1973. Mom, Dad, Grandma, and I sat at the captain’s table. I have a photo of Dad and me in white hats, on board the ship, most likely on the way to dinner.]

#8. While married to Georgia Barnhart, we took a cross-country trip, via the southern states, to visit my mother-in-law in California, and the subsequent trip to Disneyland.

#7. As a child, learning to play Christmas Carols on my organ. [Ordinarily I’m not good with instruments, but the chords were one finger touch for my weak left hand, so I was able to learn some songs to play for my parents.]

#6. Becoming the Godfather to David and Geri’s older daughter Ashley. I also treasure becoming part of my best friend’s wife’s family as their uncle figure. [Extremely rewarding.]

#5. Meeting and remaining good friends over many years with David Trost, Rebecca Taylor, Georgia Barnhart & Jim Sneeringer.

#4. Wrote my three books and had them published through CreateSpace.com. [I am also proud of my play which got a staged reading at a nearby playhouse, and is currently being turned into a novel by Darren. I also wrote a screenplay for a Charlie’s Angels TV movie back in the day.]

#3. Started my blog in December 2011.

#2. My various trips to Europe with my parents. [Especially Rome, Italy and Amsterdam, Holland.]

#1. Going to Bear Spring Camps in central Maine.

Honorable Mention: Giving several performances of my lip-sync air-guitar show in my apartment building, including a tribute concert to a late friend, Erin Beish.

Well, there you have it. As most of my steady readers will note, Bear Spring Camps is #1. No big shock there folks. Until next week, have a great weekend, take care and happy reading.

My parents’ habits

Greetings, readers. During a writing exercise late last week, both Rebecca and I came to the conclusion that the work would be a good blog entry. We just now read over it and it reads a little choppy. This is the first time that I can recall that we have used a writing exercise as a blog entry. It has some good details that I want to share with you about my parents. I hope you enjoy it.

My mother was a creature of habit. I remember in her final years that she would always get up at precisely 7:00. She must have set an alarm. After getting dressed I would hear her walk down the steps and then the morning ritual would begin. First, she would unlatch the front door, then she would turn and switch on the lamp which was on the credenza. Making her way into the kitchen, she would activate the fluorescent light on our old stove.

Shortly thereafter, I would walk downstairs and join her. I was amazed at the preparation that mom took to make her morning as simple as possible. All the coffee mugs would be laid out. My oatmeal packets would be sitting in the bowl ready to be opened. This was to cut down on as much extra activity as possible. I think my mom was just like me; not a morning person.

One of us would flick on the button to begin the water boiling in the kettle. The other would turn on the coffee maker. As the coffee began brewing, Mom would open up the packets of the instant oatmeal. My two favorite flavors were peaches and cream and strawberries and cream.

Even though I was still in school, I was allowed to have coffee. I began drinking it at age ten. Half coffee, half milk. That is how I liked it. Mom would then continue with her ritualistic ways. I have dreamt of being more like her but I just can’t seem to do it. Many of my problems might be solved if I could develop more good habits.

One of the habits I need to work on is set up days to do specific tasks. For instance, laundry on Wednesdays, shopping on Mondays, and house cleaning on Saturdays. Mom had the right idea though I think she went overboard with it at some points.

Dad was kind of the same way. He never slept in. Pop was always up between 6:45 and 7:00. Got himself dressed and shaved and was down to breakfast by 8:00. In the earlier years, I believe this was because he had to teach a 9:00 class at Penn State, so he was already in the early morning mode. If I’m at Panera café by 11:00 in the morning it is a miracle. I am not a morning person.

When I go to Maine every August, I enjoy getting up early. I want to have a nice long day to do all the sundry activities that Bear Spring Camps has to offer; 9:00 fishing, lunch at 12:30, afternoon swimming and boat rides, and still the occasional happy hour. Every year I tell myself I am going to keep to this schedule when I get home. LOL. That schedule lasts about a week and then I am right back to Mr. Lazybones.

Rebecca has told me that doing something 21 times tends to make it a habit. I think in July, right before I go to camp, I will force myself to get up early and have that long day. That way when I get back from camp, I’ll already be in my new habit. Wish me luck all.

Take care, have a great day, and happy reading.

A childhood memory of when I would be head of the house when Dad was on trips

Greetings, readers. Last night as I was trying to get to sleep, my mind wandered back to my childhood. I had a happy memory of when I would take over my dad’s home office when he would go away on short trips. I was roughly 10 years old. I had no brothers or sisters, so when Dad would leave I felt like I wanted to be the man of the house. This is how I would go about accomplishing it.

Around 5:00 in the afternoon, I would get myself a soda and that would be my before-dinner “beer.” I would then sit in Dad’s chair in the living room and watch my favorite TV shows from there, instead of where I would normally sit, which was on the floor. During dinner, I would also sit at Dad’s chair at the table. Mom thought this behavior was cute, though nothing was ever said. She knew exactly what I was trying to do, though the only indication she gave me was a smile. The other big thing I would do is that at 7:00, my homework time, I would walk upstairs to Dad’s office and do my school work there, instead of at the kitchen table. Sometimes if I didn’t have much homework, I would uncover his manual typewriter. I would just start typing my thoughts for the day.

At 9:00 when they evening was over, I would come downstairs, see what Mom was up to, say goodnight and get ready for bed. I have very vivid and fond memories of what I considered taking over for Dad during those early years of my life. Honestly, as I dictate this to Rebecca, I can’t say for certain if I was practicing for real life or if I was just a kid pretending to be Dad. You must remember that imitation is the highest form of flattery.

When Dad would return from his trips though, I was just as glad to see him as he was to be home. As much as I enjoyed using his office, I gladly got back to my routine of doing homework at the kitchen table, snacking on graham crackers.

This behavior stopped around the age of say 13. Why it was so important those two or three years to mimic Dad I’m not quite sure. All I know is it always put a smile on my face. Perhaps it made me feel important.

To conclude this trip down memory lane from some 35 or 40 years ago, I enjoy thinking about my past. There are a lot of memories that I will carry with me until I pass on and while my entire childhood was not peaches and cream, being head of the house for a few days is always one of my happiest memories.

Until next week, have a great weekend, take care and happy reading.

What my blog means to me

Greetings, readers. Rebecca actually came up with the idea of doing a blog, and it was a good one. I’ve been writing my blog now since December 2012, with 254 entries. I must tell you though, that when I first began, I didn’t have a clue as to what I would be writing about. I thought to myself, surely my day isn’t important enough that people would want to read about it. But lo and behold, people were and still are. I love technology when it works.

The blog entry which has received the most views is Remembering my father, Professor Joseph J. Kockelmans. When it first came out I had an idea that it might be a biggie, but even I am shocked to see that it averages a view per day. Wow! Oddly enough, the Top ten list of modern conveniences gets viewed several times a week. At first that was a head scratcher, but with my blog available worldwide, I think people want to check out what I consider to be modern conveniences. Also, an entry that is viewed regularly is the Top ten list of Air Crash Investigation stories. I believe this coincides with when actual air crashes happen and people use those search terms and my entry must come up.

What does the blog actually mean to me? It means self-expression. It allows me to say hey world, this is what I think today … whether it is important or not. To this day I’ve never had a commenter writer in and say how stupid the blog entry was, so I must be pleasing people. Granted, I only get a non-spam comment once in a blue moon, so it is a three-star banner day when it does happen. Again, I must admit when Rebecca suggested this to me I thought dear Lord, this is going to be a disaster. However, three words can sum it all up. Oh, what fun. I can honestly say, I don’t know if I will ever close down the blog. We’ve averaged two blogs a week. That might slow down at some point, but as for closing it, I don’t think so.

Take care, have a good day, and happy reading.

Photos of my father in the Gallery

Greetings, readers. Today was spent finding and uploading photos of my dad. Several people have asked for them and I think putting them in the gallery of this blog is the easiest and best way to oblige. This is only a first step. For those who wish to have actual copies, I can still get them scanned and sent to you; except for the photo that melded to the glass and would rip beyond repair if we tried to remove it.

I apologize that this has taken so long but hopefully you will all agree that it was worth the wait. Please chime in with questions or comments and we shall respond.

I know that I intended to do a R.I.P. on Nelson Mandela, whom I admire greatly, but I feel that by now everything has been written about him already. I would like to say that it would have been so easy for him to lead his people to oppress the former oppressors, but he united the nation instead. He was a great man who changed that country for the better.

Until next time, with one of our usual longer blog entries, enjoy the day, take care, and happy reading.

Top ten list of things we take for granted

Greetings, readers. Unlike the list of modern conveniences, this top ten list will be on a more personal note. Although, I’m sure it will apply to many of my readers. So here we go.

#10. Our home. [Whether it be from childhood or at the present moment, be thankful if you have a roof over your head. Home is where the heart is.]

#9. A working vehicle. [I, like many in State College, rely on our bus system. Although it is a good one, I do miss the convenience of my old car.]

#8. Family pets. [Over the years I have lost dogs and a cat and I know I shall be devastated when it is Keekee’s turn to go.]

#7. Good health. [As we tend to get older, health problems usually arise; that is normal for life. Be thankful for your health while you have it.]

#6. A good mind. [I am witnessing first-hand, probably due to lack of stimulation, what I call the oatmeal brain syndrome. Like the old TV commercial said, a mind is a terrible thing to waste. Don’t forget to use yours.]

#5. Mother Earth. [There’s one we take for granted. One of these days, hopefully not in our lifetime, I think this poor planet is just going to explode.]

#4. For me, Bear Spring Camps. [A lifetime of happy memories, certainly not to be forgotten.]

#3. Numerous trips around the country, some voyages to other parts of the world. [Yes, I was a lucky lad.]

#2. Friends. [I have had more than my share of good friends over my lifetime. I was reminded of that so sweetly this past Wednesday when a dear friend of mine left a wonderful comment on my entry called Parallels.]

#1. Family. [Love them while you have them, you only have them for so long.]

Ok, there you have them; chime in with yours if you wish to. As always, have a great weekend, take care, and happy reading.