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My Grandfather – Charles Leslie Meinsler

chill01My grandfather was born Charles Leslie Meinsler on February 26, 1916. His nick name was Chill. That was his nick name before cool was even cool. 1916 is hard for me to wrap my head around. Automobiles and motorcycles were in their infancy. World war one was in full swing. Woodrow Wilson was president. Prohibition was in force from 1919 to 1933. Radio was just invented and was basically a military secret. Long distance communication was done primarily by messenger and telegraph. That’s when Pop Pop was born. Pop Pop was in his teens during the crash of ’29 and the great depression. I can’t imagine what tuff times they were, but he survived them when many did not. I remember being told that he dug basements with a mule and a pan to make a living.

mompop8He married my grandmother Dorothy Olivia Auch on August 21, 1937. Roosevelt was president. My dad was born in September of 1938. The Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 and Pop Pop enlisted in the Navy and left his lovely bride and young son to go off and defend his country. Our country. My country.

Pop Pop was aboard the Navy destroyer USS Borie DD-704. They attacked and tormented Iwo Jima, Tokyo, Okinawa and the Japanese home islands.

dd704018On August 9, 1945 a kamikaze crashed into Borie’s superstructure between the mast and the 5-inch gun director, causing extensive damage, killing 48 men, and wounding 66. Pop Pop was one of those 66 that were wounded. He was burned from head to toe by the aviation fuel from the explosion of the plane. He paid an awful price for my freedom, for Nanny’s freedom and for your freedom. Medicine was crude back then. I remember him telling me once that they packed his bandages with maggots because maggots only eat dead flesh, not live flesh, and that’s the method that they used back then to clear the dead flesh from the wounds. I can only imagine what he went through, but he survived. Six days later on August 15th, 1945 the Japanese surrendered and the war in Asia ended.

He went on to own and operate a service station in the 50’s, back when service really meant something. When your car needed service he would ride his Harley Davidson servicar to your house and clip it on to the back of your car with a tow bar, and drive your car to his station and fix it. Afterwards he would wash your car, fill it up with fuel and deliver it back to your house, unhook the Harley and ride it back to the station and send you a bill in the mail. He trusted others and he was trustworthy.

I was born in 1961. John Kennedy was president. Nanny and Pop Pop owned and operated a small 5 room motel in Dauphin, PA. Pop Pop also worked full time at the Navy Depot. He was a hard working man who always made it his main focus to provide for his family. He was a kind man and he loved me and my brothers. He bought us all mini-bikes when we were youngsters and taught us how to ride them. He always had time for us. He helped us when we needed it and he taught us when we needed teaching.

Ally Cat was his favorite song. I remember how he used to smile, and the little dance move that he did when that song would play. I remember his quick wit and wide sense of humor. Most of all I remember his impeccable character. He was a man that believed that anything that was of value was built on a foundation of integrity, including himself.

mompop1Pop Pop died April 6, 1986. It was the day I learned about loss. It was the day I learned about grief and it was the day I learned about true emotional pain. It was the worst day of my life by far.

Pop Pop has been gone now for 23 years and I still think about him every day. I wish I would have made him more proud of me when I had the chance but I didn’t, and that is one of my life’s greatest regrets. He was a great man and a true American hero. He was my hero and I miss him deeply.

Camp is set up. Time to party!

site2Well, the second trip is done and camp is pretty much all set up. There are a few things to do yet but, pretty much, I’m in and I’m happy. Granted, this isn’t a lot of people’s idea of camping, but it suits me just fine.

The campers in and level. The dog kennel is set up and Sky is happy. The golf cart is there to make campground travel and visiting much more pleasant, and the picnic tables are there and set up. Camping life is good. I have a great view from the camper and even a better view from the hammock.

hammockThe hammock is a wonderful invention. It comes in very handy when you wake up with the pain of a whiskey induced railroad spike being driven through your ear by Harry, like it was on Saturday Morning. Well, Harry busted out the Southern Comfort and Blueberry Schnapps at the campfire Friday night after we were already drinking. The severe hangover didn’t come of course until Saturday morning to be clear.

Then Saturday night, some of the gang did it all again. Mike S drank beer till he fell over. First time I’d ever seen that……twice. Someone tried to help him up but he opted to stay on the ground saying…”No no, I’m fine right here. If you help me up I’ll just fall down again.

It’s always rough at first. No one is used to that level of partying. It’s been a long lonely winter and now the gang is all here and the beer and booze is flowing like water. In a few weeks we’ll all step it back a notch. It’ll be time for boating, but we do have three weeks to kill.

bertFinally, Bert came over Sunday. He wanted to paint the stair supports and bannister that lead to the dock, and the picnic table. Bert is a Packers fan so he painted the stuff green and yellow. I’ve known Bert pretty much all of my adult life. I’ll post more about him later. He’s quite the character.

Anyway, life is good and if the liver holds up….boating will begin in mid May.

The season opener for camping

200236712-001Well, this past weekend was the season opener for camping season and I have to tell you that there’s nothing I enjoy more than standing outside on a frigid, rainy evening with an icy cold drink in my hand. I’m kidding of course. The weather was miserable. It was cold and windy. It rained about half the time but we all made the best of it. We got our campers set up and the basics laid out. When it rained hard we all went into our campers and cleaned and organized them. When it wasn’t raining, we huddled around a big campfire and drank like vikings. We all had fun and we all got a lot of stuff done.

I mounted a 17″ monitor on the wall of my camper to use as a PC and TV. They gave me an AT&T wireless air card from work since I’m on call one week a month, and a USB TV tuner will come in handy for rainy days and the morning news. Wall mounting a tv or monitor is a must in a camper for saving space since real estate in a small camper is at a premium. I’m pretty happy with it.

Next week I’ll take the golf cart, picnic tables and some firewood up. I’ll try to remember to bring my camera along so I can take some pictures to share. The weather is supposed to be nice so prolly not much else will get done other than beer drinking and bullshitting since the boating season doesn’t officially start until mid May.

Compac 16 cabin door customization

cabindoor-origNow I’ll be the first to admit that I’m no Ty Pennington. I’m a systems administrator Jim, not a carpenter, so for all you true craftsmen out there, please hold your laughter to a minimum. Anyway, I got to looking at the cabin door on my sailboat a few weeks ago and had a bright idea to build and install a drink holder on it. There are no drink holders installed in the CP-16 from the factory, in fact, back in 1981 when this was made, there weren’t a whole lot of options period for this model sailboat, so one can pretty much pimp them out however they want. I’ve just started really, and this post is about the cabin door. The picture to the left is the cabin door as it was originally from the factory. That is still the way it looks when I have my customized side of the door facing in.

cabindoor-orig-backThe picture on the right shows the inside of the cabin door in it’s original configuration(at least, this is the way it was when I got it). That frame is a 1/2″ aluminum angle and I guess was designed by the factory to hold the slabs of Teak togetfher to form and brace the door. I thought the frame was ugly. All last year I thought about mounting a sailboat picture or a mirror in there or anything to dress it up a bit. While I was out working on the boat a few weeks ago it hit me. I can install a backing plate inside that frame and mount a drink holder and maybe some other stuff on there, so that’s what I did.

cabindoor-inside-finishedI had a 1×8 piece of pine out in the garage so that’s what I used. I cut two pieces to fit horizontally inside the frame and that left about 3 /12 inches left at the bottom. Perfect height for a drink holder. So I measured and cut out the top bottom and braces for it. Then I busted out the trusty 3″ hole saw to cut holes out of the top. Ooooops, no brass screws in the inventory, so I hustled up to the hardware store to grab some before they closed. You have to use brass or stainless on anything related to the boat or they’ll rust out on you. Anyway, I screwed it together and dropped it into place for a perfect fit. It looked good to me so I brought everything in, gave it a quick sand and a few coats of finish. Here’s what the cabin door looks like from inside the cabin now.

cabindoor-cockpitSince the cabin door is completely reversable, you can slide it into place front side out or front side in. So now I can put it with the functional side facing the cockpit when I’m sailing to keep my drinks and my GPS/Marine Radio from rolling and sliding all over the cockpit, and I can reverse it for some nifty organization for when I’m camping out inside the cabin. Since there’s still plenty of real estate near the top of the door, I may install a compass and a pouch for my cell phone. The possibilities are endless 😀