Friday, July 06, 2012

Packing it in

Today, of course, backpacks are a drug on the market. The late summer L.L. Bean catalog sported 13 pages of various choices out of 52 pages. One wall of a department store aisle had those colorful versions shown above.

 Growing up in the late 1940s in Hanford, Calif., though, the only choice a child had for a pack was afull-sized WWII Army surplus green one, or some sort of canvas rucksack. As a 7-year-old, I didn't have the money or the physique for such an esoteric piece of equipment. 

And I wanted one badly. Somehow I had been infected with the fishing and camping bug, possibly because I had joined the Cub Scouts and garnered a 1948 Boy Scout Manual somewhere. I dreamed about going fishing, and the only nearby water of any size was the King's River.

Dad, a veteran of the war, wasn't very interested in the outdoors. So, since I couldn't talk my parents into taking me, my brother and sister I camping and/or fishing, I decided to take matters into my own grubby little fists.

On page 147 of the Manual it had a solution to my packlessness: a way to make a pack out of a sack or, in my case, a pillow case.
(To be continued.)

Thursday, July 05, 2012

I'm not lichen it

My last post was four months ago.

Since then, I had:
  • A second cataract operation to remove the scrap of cataract remaining from the first operation. When the VA physicians realized this scrap remained in the eye, they rescheduled this operation within a week or two of the first. (Additional note: because it was a mistake, they didn't charge me for this or all the followup visits for six months. That's what I was told, but haven't verified they've removed those charges as of 7/4/2012.)
  • A herpes infection of the eye that left me driving--at night--with one teary eye and a patch over the other.
  • Twice or more weekly visits to the VA hospital to check on my eyes.
  • Then I had some sort of rash on my left knee that turned out to be lichen planus. Lichen, as in moss! I guess I'm not enough of a rolling stone. But, as my friend D.R. pointed out, at least I can look at my knee and know which direction north is. So that requires a daily coat of ointment.
My eye still stings a little, and I have to keep putting drops in it, but the last time I had it checked, the vision was 20/30. Of course, the plastic lens they put in doesn't let me focus closely, so reading a book can be a task.