Recollections and Memoirs

Search or scroll down for stories: Mexican Monkey, Man o’ war, Bull Shark Island, Melvin the Moose, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Great Outdoors, more to come!

Cozemel, Mexico 1980ish

A Monkey Story

My first wife, Kathleen, and I went to Cozumel, Mexico on a vacation. We bored of the Western tourist filled leeward side and rented a mo-ped to explore the windward side. We zigged and zagged along the abandoned coast. As all of the Islands in the stream, the windward side was windy and inhospitable. Not the tourist attraction. We stopped at a gas station/bar/shop/whore house/drug purchasing venue; and no one came out to greet us. But there was a monkey chained to a pole in the sandy front. My wife, a tall, red head, with Irish Rose white skin, and freckles, decided to pet the cute little creature. The monkey like a dog in a pound begged for her attention. Chains rattled as the love hungry cutie clamored into Kathleen’s outstretched arms. The touch hungry animal scrambled up her arms and onto her head. My wife sought to dislodge it from her hair and return it to her arms. But the communication broke down. The monkey viewed her attempt to extract it from her hair, as an aggressive move to throw it onto the ground. The now vampire like beast was fighting for its life with teeth barred to keep from being thrown down. His open jaws snapped in my wife’s face. The more she panicked to rid herself of the death threat, the more the primate tried to slash, and hold on to her face. When I engaged, the beast hung onto my wife’s hair just inches from her face, with teeth mashing, and screams emitting. My wife performed the exact same primate display.

I took my camera; an old style SLR of sturdy frame with a camera strap and smashed the little ape in the face. He fell to the ground and ran up the post. I consoled my wife and hoped some hombre did not come out of the bar and kill me for hurting his monkey. We drove away on our little mo-ped.

Some stories are better off left untold, I think.

Next:

Man ‘o war:

To prepare for landing on Mars, I was assigned to document a joint military training mission on the harsh, desert, coast of Oman.

The view of the desert touching the sea, floated up and down as seen from the flight deck. My two-man combat camera team consisting of myself and my videotape assistant climbed aboard the assault helicopter. A Marine Lieutenant waited inside. A dozen helos airlifted to begin the joint training mission with the military forces of Oman. Locked in the rear without a view, the cameraman and I could feel the helo descend. The exit doors opened. My video assistant and I rushed down the ramp and onto the LZ. A sandstorm surrounded us. Not able to see each other, he and I froze in place fearing the rotating blades! The chopper blades all around us sliced the air over our heads.

The dust settled. Alone on the sand, a mile from the beach; no Marine Lt, no other troopers anywhere to be seen. My assistant shouldered the three-quarter videotape machine weighing thirty pounds and connected to the fifteen-pound video camera I carried. The sun beamed down. Our supplies did not include water or food.

Other helicopters and marine assault units landed down the coast about three miles from us. The two of us set out to get there and immediately found our way impaired by the hard crust top of the sand giving way, and like walking in snow, we had to lift our feet up and out of each footstep. My partner and I headed straight to the beach hoping to find hard wet sand to walk the rest of the way to the training area.

After an hour of hard labor, my comrade and I made it to the coastline and found the wet sand much firmer to walk on. Thirsty and tired neither dared to rest. A settlement of hostiles;

Large yellow crabs, by the hundreds, scurried from their condo complex at the high-water mark. Each menacingly washed in and out with the waves, snapping their pinchers at us, when the waves pushed them up close. Trudging on; our imaginations pictured our fleshless bones bleaching in the sands.

Making it to the assault zone; helos flew overhead, tanks and gun trucks raced by, and Marines with rifles pointed them at each other. Eventually, my fellow warrior and I found a command center and reported our plight. To our dismay, both of us would have to spend the night on the beach as the aircraft carrier had been disabled. What enemy force could disable a US Aircraft carrier? Jellyfish, we were informed had been sucked up into the boiler, and they had to relocate out to deep water to blast out the system.

The mission to Mar’s never happened due to human incompetence and the over-whelming capability of Man o’ war sea jellies to cripple our battleship. The plan changed to replace humans with robots and input data into them so they could defeat brainless creatures like jellyfish.

Bull Shark Island:

Upon the end of the Mar’s mission, I decided I needed a vacation and hooked up with my brother living in the Caribbean. David, a carpenter, sought opportunities on St. John Island after Hurricane Hugo devastated the Isle. A few years passed, and he succeeded. David lived in a house he worked on, and his girlfriend worked at a tour company. He enjoyed a life of ease and pleasure on an Island Paradise.

I visited him, and a group of us sailed out to a remote coral key called Bull Shark atoll. From previous trips, David knew of an adventure involving snorkeling through a coral tunnel. So, we sorted out the snorkeling equipment, and we all had a least a mask and snorkel, but we ran short on flippers.

David and I come from a water family. Raised in the sea, people often call us fish, as our favorite form of swimming mimics dolphins. When the foot fins ran out, David decided that he and I did not need them: seemed fair.

All the others swam through the tunnel, and David and I assumed they made it; as their bodies did not wash back out. The sailboat owner, Chris, was in front of me and he signaled he was going in and submerged.

Not knowing the route, I thought to follow him closely through the tunnel as to know where to go and when to come up to breathe, as a coral ceiling loomed overhead.

I dove and could see Chris ahead of me in the clear blue water. I synced up with him maybe about five feet behind. A tidal backwash swirled through the tunnel. Chris flattened out, and his body propelled back towards me.

I could see Chris scramble up for air. I need a breath or two myself. Without fins, I could not project myself ahead and against the backwash. I had no idea if I was clear of the obstruction.

I came up gasping. Fighting to stay in place, I sucked air and struggled to dive and swim under him. We entangled with his legs kicking to stay afloat, now kicking and blocking me.

The tidal flow switched, and we both were pulled through and emerged on the ‘safe side.’ I dragged myself on to the rocks and joined all the others who were sitting and enjoying the sun without having had any problem shooting through the funnel. David showed up a minute later, happy as a clam as the incoming surge pushed him through.

I decided not the run the shoot on the way back, all the rest did, but David thought he should cover me. We swam around the outcropping of “Bull Shark Isle” exposing us to the possibility of finding out why this atoll was called Bull Shark Isle.

We made it back to the boat, and I felt like a wimp.

Melvin the Moose:

I left the service and moved to California, divorced my first wife, and began dating. I picked up a girl in a bar and sat near a fireplace with a moose head on the mantle.

“Let me tell you about Melvin the Moose.”

“Melvin the Moose?” Ruth Anne looks up at the moose head, towering over us, with trophy antlers.

“I traveled way up North to Alaska and spent a winter outside of Homer, Alaska. I occupied an abandoned cabin. A moose adopted me, and I named him Melvin. Melvin would sleep on the cabin doorstep and in the morning, and I would have to shoo him off the porch to get him out of the way. One-time Melvin got pissed off at me and chased me onto a frozen lake, but Melvin broke through. He froze to death with his head above the ice. I was sad but got my friends to pull the moose out and butcher him.”

I nod up at the moose head above us and toast the moose. “One of them was a taxidermist and mounted the head.”

“What?” She makes a shocked face.

“I purchased this bar-hotel, and I mounted Melvin here above the fireplace.”

She gasps, “You live here?”

“Yes. Shall we retire to my room for more bedtime stories?

“Lets!”

Well, sometimes my pickup story worked, but often it did not, and, I tired of the single life, and hooked up with my sweetheart from twenty years ago.

To Kill a Mockingbird:

The only thing I knew about a Mockingbird is the classic movie: “To Kill a Mockingbird.” I love the movie and just now watched it again. But, now, reunited with my flame in a one-bedroom love nest over-looking a tidal slough, I encountered a Mockingbird. I will never forget the night.

Our bedroom window overlooked the parking lot of the condo complex. To add a touch of nature, they planted a tree outside of our window. A nice sapling, not one of those cotton-swab palm trees defacing California; which provide no shade or beauty. A popular seedling, maybe a dogwood, with lots of branches and leaves.

We arrived home at about midnight. I know I succeed in getting my shoes and socks off, and I remember removing my shirt. Did I take my pants off or not? I don’t quite remember, as a loud, distracting, melody burst forth just outside the window. The tune repeated itself over and over. I remember then, in a rage, this beast of torture engages in disrupting my sleep for many a night now, and my wife to be; let me know it was my male responsibility to defend our house against this mad being who sought to torment us so. SHE WAS NOT HAPPY, COULD NOT SLEEP, AND IF SHE WAS NOT HAPPY, AND COULD NOT SLEEP; THEN I WAS UNHAPPY AND COULD NOT SLEEP! Though in reality, I could have passed out and never been bothered by a peep.

When I got down to the pavement, it occurred to me it was midnight. Now, I needed to have a strategy for dethroning this evil nuisance without anyone in the condo complex seeing my half naked attempt at the battle.

I spotted the tree giving refuge to this annoying villain and approached it feeling confident. Not sure of how I planned to dislodge the ruffian, with a rock, or stick, or what, but I figured I would improvise some means of terror. When I cleared the parked cars about 50 feet from the tree, I hesitated.

Standing below the last branch, and touching the fortress of the beast, was a twenty-something, blond, attractive, girl, dressed in short blue jean cutoffs, and a halter top. I marveled at her beauty. I speculated she looked at me and saw a middle-aged man, wearing only blue jeans, approaching her in the middle of the night, with a look like he was out to kill something. She reminded me of a dragon captured damsel in distress, and I the brave knight in shining armor (well, I forgot to don it) to fight off her evil snatcher and save her.

As I approached her, she said, “This bird is driving me crazy.”

I laughed and said, “Yeah, he’s been at it all night, night after night, the same tune over and over.”

I boldly walked over next to her and shook the tree. She may have helped. Anyway, a good couple seconds shake, and the bird flew off.

We wanted to hug each other, but, just then her boyfriend came over and said, “Thank you, my girlfriend wasn’t going to sleep with me.” His look implied: no sex. “Because she could not stand one more tweet.”

We all laughed, and I retreated to my castle, to claim my reward for being such a brave Knight and defeating the ogre keeping us awake at night. Well, not sure about the recompense, fog of war, you know?

The Great Outdoors:

My adventure in the outdoors, motivated me to go camping. Startled by a noise, I awaken. Something snorts around outside my tent. I smell a foul odor and hear an animal scraping the dirt. I listen to it rummaging through all the supplies I laid out neatly around the camp. I peer out the tent window and make out the silhouette of a bear. Terror rips through me. I grab the flashlight and try to beam it on the creature. The light only provokes the bear, and it runs towards my tent. I scream as the animal thrashes against the fabric. Finally, I hit it on the snout with the flashlight, and really make it mad. It tears and bites its way through the tent. At that moment, a thunderous clap of thunder and a bright bolt of lightning hits nearby.

Thank God, the thunder and lightning scared the bear off. I’m shaking. I survey the campsite with the light and see everything scattered and apart.

The next morning, I check into a lodge where ‘roughing it’ consists of going barefoot to the ice machine.

That’s it for now!

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5 Comments

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    Like

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