Short Little Things

The following are just short little items which I don't feel deserve a whole post.  I will be adding to this post as these "Little Short Things" come to mind.


I once drove a train.  Uncle Tom worked for the Boston & Maine Railroad.  One night when I was about 10 Dad & I visited him at work and he had to move a self-powered passeinger car across the switching yard.  I got to set in the Engineer's seat and control the throttle.  Uncle Tom had his foot on the "Dead Man's Pedal."

At 48, Julius Boros was the oldest golfer ever to win a Major.  The next oldest was Jerry Barber at 45.

Tiger Woods hasn't won a Major since 2008.  He will be the same age Boros was when Boros won his last Major when he plays the Masters in 2024.  So as of August 2013, if he can win a Major when he is as old as Boros was, he has 41 Majors left to win the four that he needs to match Jack Nicklaus's total of 18.  To do this he has to win about 10% of the next 41 Majors.  Is it possible?

When Woods plays in the PGA Championship in 2020 he will be the same age Barber was when he won his Major title.  So as of July 2013, if he can win a Major when he is as old as Barber was, he has 32 Majors left to win the four that he needs to match Jack Nicklaus' total of 18.  To do this he has to win about 12% of the next 32 Majors.  Is it possible?

As of July 2013, there have been 70 majors since Tiger turned professional.  He has won 14 of these (20%).


Things my Grandmother (Dad's Mom) used to say:

When you were starting to get on her nerves a bit. "I'm going to cloud up and rain all over you!"

When there was lightning or you'd pretend to be a monster:  "Oh!  That scares me and I ain't afraid of nothing!"


I had a friend who played football at Notre Dame for Knute Rockne and who was in the locker room for the "Win one for the Gipper" speech.

Manny in 1929
Manny Vezie was the owner of Gold Arrow Camp, a children's summer camp, at Huntington Lake.

We used to go there pretty often to give fire prevention and nature talks and I got to know him pretty well.  He was an entertaining storyteller and loved to talk about his adventures in football and things that had happened at the camp in the past.


When you work outdoors as a Ranger and Ski Instructor, as I did for most of my life, you are very aware of the weather and the change of seasons.

Rangers have a very precise way of determining when the various seasons begin.  Summer begins the first day that you decide to eat your lunch in the shade instead of sitting in the sun.  Fall begins the day you decide to sit in the sun while eating your lunch, instead of the shade.

Winter’s first day is when you decide to sit inside your vehicle to eat lunch.  And Spring begins when you think sitting outside in the sun feels better than staying the vehicle.




I saw Ted Williams hit a home run at Fenway Park.  It was in 1960 - his last season.  I was with my Dad and my Uncle, John Cranford.  We were sitting in the right field stands and the ball was hit right at us.  My memory is that it hit the top of the low wall separting the stands from the filed.  It was about 50 feet in front of us.  The game was against the Cleveland Indians and Jimmy Piersall hit two home runs that game - one of which cleared the fence atop the "Green Monster".


Guided by Voices

 Guided by Voices is a well-known & well-regarded American indie rock band led by Bob Pollard, who is my second cousin. 

Bob is more than seven years younger than me, so I really don't know him well.  They lived just a few miles south of us, off of Dixie Drive (his Mom & Dad still live in the same house) and our families visited one another often, but we rarely interacted.  I haven't listened to much of his music -- so I can't say I'm an expert -- but I have liked very few of the ones I've heard.

Overheard in London - 1994 -
Blonde, "Oh, hi, it's good to see you.  How was the vacation?"
Brunette, "It was great.  We had a wonderful time.  It's a really beautiful place."
Blonde, "Where did you go again?"
Brunette, "Majorca."
Blonde, "Where's that?"
Brunette, "I don't know, we flew."

We were sitting near the field at about the
right edge of this picture.
One time when Dad and I went to a game at Riverfront Stadium.  Not sure what year it was.  We were sitting pretty near the fence in the left field corner by the visitor bullpen. Dennis Martinez, a fine pitcher who made the All-Star Team four times, was hanging out near us.  There was an attractive young women sitting near us. She was about 30 and had her about 10-year-old son with her. She and Martinez were flirting with each other in a very slimy way. They were using her son as a go-between in a way that was really creepy. I can't remember the specifics of what was said, but it made both of us very uncomfortable and neither of us are prudes.

During some of the time we lived in Davis I rode the train to work.  I usually rode in the last coach. On Halloween morning in 2013 the train pulled into the station with the last coach smoking and sparks flying from underneath it like something was dragging. The smell of overheated brakes was overwhelming.

As the coach passed me I could see that it wasn't just sparks, there were actual flames coming from near the last set of wheels, opposite the platform. Someone in the crowd said, "It's on fire!" The flames weren't huge, about the size of a small campfire, but, as it was still dark, there was enough light coming from the flames that the existence of a fire was obvious.

None-the-less, and to my great surprise, people rushed to board as soon as the doors opened! Getting a seat is pretty important to some! The Conductor exited and was told of the situation. He was shocked when he came to the rear and saw what was happening.

He went back on board to get an extinguisher and tell the passengers to evacuate. By now, most of the people on the platform (and all of them with any sense) were moving away for the coach. I told the Conductor that I was a Fireman and willing to help (I did not tell him that, at that time, I'd been retired for more than 10 years!).

We went around the coach to access the flames. They had not grown since the train's arrival, but they hadn't diminished either. The Conductor looked at the extinguisher and asked me, "Do you just pull this pin out?"   It was obvious he'd never used one.  (It's one thing to be trained how to use one and another thing to actually have to use it to put out a fire.)

"Yes," I replied and then offered to do it. I crawled under the train and directed the extinguisher at the flames and with a few squirts the fire went out.

I stuck around for a while just in case they flared up again. When I was sure it was safe I went to Starbucks for a cup of joe and returned for the next (non-flaming) train, arriving at work about 35 minutes late.



  1. Wow! Good thing you were there.
    Kym Locker Broadstock

  2. Awesome!!
    Cathy Coehick Short-Papp

  3. Wow! A hero! I took the train from Davis to San Jose last weekend. Nice way to travel.
    Joyce Drew Snyder

  4. Well done, Tom.
    Jim Cahalane

  5. Way to go, Tom!
    Nancy Ross

  6. Good job Tom! Training never leaves you
    Elbert Chang

  7. Good deed indeed
    Cindi Williams Parente

  8. Way to be Tom! Aren't people nuts?
    Nolan D. Lloyd

  9. Good work, Tom! They were lucky to have your help!
    Barbara Gregorich

  10. good job!
    Dennis Orbus

  11. Good Job! So glad somebody actually had their head screwed on right!
    Kathy Blankenship