Thursday, August 22, 2019

Coming up....




In the near future, I'm going to be doing a little 'guest writing' for the

national trade paper:   the Funeral Home and Cemetery News.

It's a trade monthly going to thousands of funeral homes, cemetery

workers, suppliers and others in the business.

It's  based in Ohio...the folks there did press reviews when both of

my books were published.. and have been great supporters.

I'll share the writing with you when I get underway as it's a

publication generally not open for the public at large.

More on that as it happens... I believe my first story will be

published in their October issue...will let you know!




Saturday, August 17, 2019

Remembering that first car...




My first car, purchased for $500 in the fall of 1967 to go to Alfred State..

a 1959 Olds Delta 88.. it was a beast, a monster if you will.. it was two

 tone blue and white... I remember taking a short cut up over the hills from

 Andover into Alfred when it stopped on the railroad tracks....just stopped..

I had to ask a guy who lived within 100 yards of the tracks to help me

push it off the tracks...within moments of moving it..we heard the

sounds of a train blowing it's whistle from not too far away...

it was one of those 'whew' moments in life... I had the car for


a couple of years... one always thinks about where that 


first car ever ended up! Back in the 60's and 70's.. a lot of those


used cars ended up as stock cars at the local dirt tracks. 

The cars made today are pretty much like soda cans compared to

those made many years ago...

I'm not sure a train would really have destroyed that car... it was 

so heavy and well made. I'm sure it would have given the 

'cow catcher' a good run for it's money...

Remember your first one? Maybe it's tucked into an old barn 

somewhere...waiting for your return....to bring it out... put in a 

new battery and some fresh gas...then a trip down an old 

favorite country road. Memories...it's what life is really about. SS








Friday, August 16, 2019

A chilling adventure near Interlaken...







Emily and Melissa were cousins, and at the age of fifteen, each 

had her own idea of what would come their respective ways later

in life. Emily and her family had moved to Boston, Melissa, a country

girl at heart, remained at home with her folks in Interlaken. Interlaken,

a magical little town in the Fingerlakes and resting place for that most

famous writer Rod Serling of  the Twilight Zone.

On one fine day while visiting her cousin Melissa, Emily would be

taken on an expedition to find the remains of a family home that had

been destroyed years before by fire... a fire that took the home and the

three people who lived within it.

Melissa told Emily that the only thing standing was the chimney... and

that she had to see it.....

So the girls set off on their adventure...not quite sure of what they would

encounter....it would be an afternoon of exploring....seeing, experiencing,

wondering and questioning.

'The Forgotten Chimney', it's the last story in the new fiction story book

Tales Unleashed, now at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. You can read

the first two stories by just opening the book at either of those locations.

Enjoy.  SS

Friday, August 9, 2019

A son flies his father home...




What an incredible story....a five year old son says goodbye to his

father in 1967...his father going to Vietnam as a fighter pilot.....

and now, more that five decades later that son flies his father's

remains back home. It's a great story....we thank him for his

service, his life given...his dedicated family. 

Born in Texas in 1931, Roy Abner Knight Jr. was the sixth of eight children. He joined the U.S. Air Force just days after his 17th birthday. He started off as a clerk and typist at various locations in Southeast Asia, but eventually attended officer candidate school in the U.S. By 1953, he was a commissioned officer, and in 1957, he began flight training in Texas. He shipped overseas in January 1967, reporting to the 602nd Fighter Squadron (Commando) at Udorn Royal Thai Air Force Base. He flew combat missions almost every day until he was shot down on May 19, 1967. His obit states that he was posthumously awarded the Air Force Cross, Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross, Purple Heart and six air medals. But his final honor would involve his own family. On this day, his son Bryan — that five-year-old son who had waved goodbye to him when he left for overseas in 1967 — is now a captain with Southwest Airlines, and was the pilot brought home his father home 52 years after that goodbye.

Friday, August 2, 2019

Remembering Jim Reeves..






If you are or were a country music fan...you would remember the velvet

smooth voice of one of the all time greats, Jim Reeves.  Being discovered

in the late 1950's and having the zenith of his short career in the early

60's...he was a tremendous talent. It was on July 31st, 1964, fifty five

years ago this last week that he and one other were lost in a plane crash.

The following is a quick review of that incident.  Much of it taken

from Wikepedia............The best way to remember  Jim Reeves: play his music,

 and share it with someone who has never been exposed to it....he was awesome.



On Friday, July 31, 1964, Reeves and his business partner and manager Dean Manuel (also the pianist of Reeves' backing group, the Blue Boys) left Batesville, Arkansas, en route to Nashville in a single-engine Beechcraft Debonair aircraft, with Reeves at the controls. The two had secured a deal on some real estate (Reeves had also unsuccessfully tried to buy property from the LaGrone family in Deadwood, Texas, north of his birthplace of Galloway).
While flying over Brentwood, Tennessee, they encountered a violent thunderstorm. A subsequent investigation showed that the small airplane had become caught in the storm and Reeves suffered spatial disorientation. The singer's widow, Mary Reeves (1929–1999), probably unwittingly started the rumor that he was flying the airplane upside down and assumed he was increasing altitude to clear the storm. However, according to Larry Jordan, author of the 2011 biography, Jim Reeves: His Untold Story, this scenario is rebutted by eyewitnesses known to crash investigators who saw the plane overhead immediately before the mishap and confirmed that Reeves was not upside down. Reeves' friend, the musician Marty Robbins, recalled hearing the wreck happen and alerting authorities to which direction he heard the impact. Jordan writes extensively about forensic evidence (including from the long-elusive tower tape and accident report), which suggests that instead of making a right turn to avoid the storm (as he had been advised by the approach controller to do), Reeves turned left in an attempt to follow Franklin Road to the airport. In so doing, he flew further into the rain. While preoccupied with trying to re-establish his ground references, Reeves let his airspeed get too low and stalled the aircraft. Relying on his instincts more than his training, evidence suggests he applied full power and pulled back on the yoke before leveling his wings—a fatal, but not uncommon, mistake that induced a stall/spin from which he was too low to recover. Jordan writes that according to the tower tape, Reeves ran into the heavy rain at 4:51 p.m. and crashed only a minute later, at 4:52 p.m.
When the wreckage was found some 42 hours later, it was discovered the airplane's engine and nose were buried in the ground due to the impact of the crash. The crash site was in a wooded area north-northeast of Brentwood approximately at the junction of Baxter Lane and Franklin Pike Circle, just east of Interstate 65, and southwest of Nashville International Airportwhere Reeves planned to land.

On the morning of August 2, 1964, after an intense search by several parties (which included several personal friends of Reeves including Ernest Tubb and Marty Robbins) the bodies of the singer and Dean Manuel were found in the wreckage of the aircraft and, at 1:00 p.m. local time, radio stations across the United States began to announce Reeves' death formally. Thousands of people traveled to pay their last respects at his funeral two days later. The coffin, draped in flowers from fans, was driven through the streets of Nashville and then to Reeves' final resting place near Carthage, Texas.

(as a foot note...and this is a bit strange...well, more than a bit actually. 
While walking thru a second hand record store earlier this week... I 
happened to be going through albums when I saw this particular one..
and I remember my dad having it and others by Reeves and Eddy Arnold.
I thought...  gee maybe I should do a quick note about Reeves...kind of
remembering it was summer when he died in the airplane crash.
So, Friday, I quickly put the post together...then started checking the dates..
I composed the piece two days after the crash of July 31st.. and 
actually posted it on Aug. 2nd...it was 47 hours after the crash that they
actually found the airplane...on Aug. 2nd. Now that is just a bit weird..
even for me... a conservative type guy.)

Thursday, August 1, 2019

The second appearance...





on Ron's Amazing Stories.....to talk about Tales Unleashed...

It's now produced and up on the web!


If you go to Ron's Amazing Stories....it's his latest addition to

his programming...I'm in the middle of episode 391, Spacemen

Never die.  Once you start the program...scroll  to point 23:00

minutes in... that's where our discussion begins.

It was a fun 22 minutes with him... and I thank Ron for his

continues support of both Undertakings, and now of Tales

Unleashed! SS   And if you missed it a year ago.... scroll down for

the story to my visit to Interlaken, N.Y. and Rod Serling.

Friday, July 26, 2019

From almost a year ago..




For my new followers here on the world wide web, I'm repeating this post that
appeared, well, almost one year ago. It's a story of my visit to the resting place
of Rod Serling, superb writer, creator of the Twilight Zone and Night Gallery.

It was an awesome day. I hope as you read the article and view the pictures,
you will be drawn into the mystery of Rod Serling... a man of incredible
talent. It's not unusual that his programs are as much watched today as they
were thirty and forty years ago.....

So, sit back, enjoy the read. And if you ever get to Interlaken, N.Y., a stop
and a 'visit' with him must be on your list!


Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Visiting Rod Serling.....



I'd been planning the trip for sometime now...an hour and one half from Loon
Lake here in Cohocton....but the drive was well worth the discovery.

Rod Serling's grave site in Interlaken, N.Y.  was an experience, let me tell you.

When I was a mile out, the anticipation grew, I was hoping I would not have
difficulty finding the spot, but the map I had spelled out the location pretty
well.

Driving thru the gate and meandering thru to section G reminded me of many
funerals I have had over the years....the quiet, the peaceful surroundings...
being anxious to get to the right place.  The last turn to section G where he
is buried had some pretty good washouts, but my car handled them easily,
and I pulled over and parked. Grabbing my camera and tripod, I headed up
the slight incline to where the map indicated where he rested....

I found rows of markers with death dates of the 90s', then the 80's...then
I hit the 70's and I knew I was very very close.  Within thirty feet, a grave
that looked a little 'busy' with things around the stone jumped out at me.

As I walked up to the the grave, I was actually overwhelmed.  Here he was.
Rod Serling, master of the short story, creator of the world famous
Twilight Zone, followed by Night Gallery. Wow. I was finally here.

I had followed him and Alfred Hitchcock for years...enjoying their stories
and most of all, their surprise endings to their stories. I have mentioned both
writers on the back cover of my new book Tales Unleashed coming out this
fall.

As I knelt down to inspect Rod's simple 12 by 24 grave marker...I could tell
that he has not been forgotten. Many who traveled here before me left little
tokens, coins, photographs of Rod.  It's so pleasurable to know that others
have made the journey here before me... just to experience this guy and
the talent that he had. But what a short life, just 50. How much more could
he have written if he had lived to 70, 80 and beyond?

A flag also was present..he served in the Army, WW2. He had received
several medals during service in the Pacific.

So in the quiet, I sat my tripod, took some photos, spoke a few words to
this man, thanking him for his stories, in inspirations, and for his service
to the country.
Wikipedia has an excellent long biography of Rod. You should go there
sometime and read it. He had many





many talents indeed.

As you know, Serling was a big smoker...the following explained that
and his death:

Serling was said to smoke 3-4 packs of cigarettes a day. On May 3, 1975, he had a minor heart attack and was hospitalized. He spent two weeks at Tompkins County Community Hospital before being released. A second heart attack two weeks later forced doctors to agree that open-heart surgery, though considered risky at the time, was in order. The ten-hour-long procedure was performed on June 26, but Serling had a third heart attack on the operating table and died two days later at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, New York. He was 50 years old. His funeral and burial took place on July 2 at Lake View Cemetery, Interlaken, (Seneca County), New York.


His grave site is easy to find, and is lot G, plot 1044. He has a simple 12” by 24” headstone.
Contributing factors to his early death included the fact that he was a very heavy smoker,
his favorite being Chesterfield ‘long’ cigarettes. He endorsed the brand and was rarely seen

without a cigarette in his hand, even while introducing some of his TV episodes. 

I wasn't at his grave site too awfully long. I almost felt like an intruder into this
space, a quiet and serene place....you could here a pin drop. 
Thanks Rod. Perhaps I'll go back there another day. If you find yourself in the
Fingerlakes of New York, direct your car to that gate. It's a place that is indeed
where your imagination can abound, where time itself slows to a halt...it's
a place where the Twilight Zone has come to rest. SS