Tag Archives: california

WINGSPREAD Ezine for August, 2021


“Spreading your wings in a perplexing world”

August, 2021                                    James P. Hurd

Please forward, and share this E-zine with anyone. Thank you.

Contents

  • New story: The Christmas Arrest
  • Puzzler for August
  • Writer’s Corner
  • How to purchase Wingspread: A Memoir of Faith and Flying
  • Wingspread E-zine subscription information

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 New story: The Christmas Arrest

 One night in the spring of my senior year, Gary and Ron and I decided to drive past “No Trespassing” signs into a Nike anti-aircraft missile base, raising a cloud of dust on the unpaved road. Immediately, a passing squad lit up and chased us in.

What were we doing? Here in Orange County, California, we were inside the perimeter of a secure site where ground-to-air missiles were poised like deadly darts to thwart any air attack against the U.S.

Gary panicked.  “Tell him you didn’t see the second No Trespassing sign!”

“Wait a minute, Gary,” I said. “Think that through a bit . . .”    To read more, click here:   https://jimhurd.com/2021/08/09/the-christmas-arrest/

(*Please leave a comment on the website. Thanks.)

Puzzler for August: The Interchangeable Part

What part of a car is virtually interchangeable with virtually any other car, whether it’s foreign or domestic, let’s say within the last 30 years?

And don’t say something silly like motor oil! It’s not liquid…. It’s an actual piece that you can take out of any car, no matter where in the world it was made, and it would fit on any other car.

So, what is it?

 (Answer in next month’s Ezine)

Remember July’s puzzler: The trash truck that weighed 40 pounds less?

Why did the truck weigh 40 pounds less the second time it exited the trash dump than it did the first time it exited? Exact same truck.

Answer: 

The reason the truck weighed 40 pounds less is that it had burned 40 pounds of fuel or about six gallons.

Writers’ Corner

Watch for my upcoming novel: East Into Unbelief (provisional title)

Sean loses his father, his best girlfriend, his life dream, and finally, his faith. But how can he be a good atheist, especially when he’s stuck at Torrey Bible Institute? He can’t see it, but grace is coming . . .

Tip of the month: If your story is bogging down, introduce a plot twist: someone falls ill or dies; a person from long ago shows up again; something unexplainable happens; someone confides a dark secret; someone acts completely out of character; someone goes missing; etc. That’ll perk ‘er up.

Word of the Month:  Paraprosdokians

My word processor flags this as a misspelled word, but Winston Churchill would disagree. Paraprosdokians refer to sentences where the last part is surprising or unexpected. Churchill and Groucho Marx used these often. (See examples below.)

Buy James Hurd’s Wingspread: A Memoir of Faith and Flying  How childhood (Fundamentalist) faith led to mission bush-piloting in South America—and Barbara. Buy it here:  https://jimhurd.com/home/  (or order it at Barnes and Noble, Amazon, etc.) 

See pics here related to Wingspread: Of Faith and Flying: http://www.pinterest.com/hurd1149/wingspread-of-faith-and-flying/

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Our lives in the 21st century

Winston Churchill loved paraprosdokians: figures of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected.

  1. Where there’s a will, I want to be in it.
  2. The last thing I want to do is hurt you, but it’s still on my list.
  3. Since light travels faster than sound, some people appear bright until you hear them speak.
  4. If I agreed with you, we’d both be wrong.
  5. War does not determine who is right – only who is left.
  6. Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  7. They begin the evening news with ‘Good Evening,’ then proceed to tell you why it isn’t.
  8. To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism. To steal from many is research.
  9. I thought I wanted a career. Turns out, I just wanted pay checks.
  10. In filling out an application, where it says, “In case of emergency, notify:” I put “DOCTOR.”
  11. I didn’t say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you.
  12. Women will never be equal to men until they can walk down the street with a bald head and a beer gut, and still think they are sexy.
  13. Behind every successful man is his woman. Behind the fall of a successful man is usually another woman.
  14. A clear conscience is the sign of a fuzzy memory.
  15. You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive twice.
  16. Money can’t buy happiness, but it sure makes misery easier to live with.
  17. There’s a fine line between cuddling and holding someone down so they can’t get away.
  18. I used to be indecisive. Now I’m not so sure.
  19. You’re never too old to learn something stupid.
  20. Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be.
  21. Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.
  22. Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.
  23. I’m supposed to respect my elders, but now it’s getting harder and harder for me to find any.

The Christmas Arrest

One night in the spring of my senior year, Gary and Ron and I decided to drive past “No Trespassing” signs into a Nike anti-aircraft missile base, raising a cloud of dust on the unpaved road. Immediately, a passing squad lit up and chased us in.

What were we doing? Here in Orange County, California, we were inside the perimeter of a secure site where ground-to-air missiles were poised like deadly darts to thwart any air attack against the U.S.

Gary panicked.  “Tell him you didn’t see the second ‘No Trespassing’ sign!”

“Wait a minute, Gary,” I said. “Think that through a bit . . .”

We stopped. The policeman walked up to my window. “You boys have no business in here. You need to turn around and get out now.”

We turned and drove out. A graceful non-arrest. I wondered what would have happened if we had been Mexicans.

I got stopped several other times, but the time they arrested me, I wasn’t even driving.

It was Thursday night before Christmas, 1958, in Orange, California, my home town. After driving around aimlessly for a couple hours (gas was 25 cents a gallon), Gary and Ron suggested we head downtown Orange to see the Christmas decorations. My beautiful 1953 Ford—nosed, decked, hung, painted metallic gold—we caught a few eyes. Just a few months before, I’d gotten a ticket for loud pipes, so I took it easy as we circled the Orange Plaza with its billowing fountain and huge palm trees all dazzling with a thousand lights, and Christmas carols playing from loudspeakers.

After we parked we walked into Coronet 5 & 10 cent store to look around, roaming the aisles, buying nothing. We got hungry, so we exited the store and crossed Glassell Street toward the car, pushing and laughing. A woman carrying some packages approached us in the crosswalk. Even though we tried to avoid her, Gary bumped her going by. I turned and murmured an apology as we stepped up onto the far sidewalk.

Right then a policeman yelled at us. “Hey you guys. Why did you bump into that woman? She says two of her packages are missing.”

“We told her we were sorry,” I said. “I didn’t notice she dropped any packages.”

“Well, they’re gone. I’m going to have to take you boys down to the station.”

“What?” Ron said. “What’d we do?”

“Unruly behavior, and her packages are missing.”

He wore a black uniform and carried a gun at his waist. Shiny black shoes. Young, crew cut. He loaded us in the back of his squad behind the black wire screen and drove the two blocks to the station. As I smelled the leather seats, I looked out, hoping none of my friends would see us. I tried to tell myself what my elementary teacher had told us: “The policeman is your friend.”

When he marched us into the interrogation room, I noticed the one-way mirror they used to observe us without being seen. We sat there stunned and speechless. were isolated for 45 minutes. To quell my anxiety I repeated the 23rd Psalm under my breath.

Then a policeman came in abruptly, said we were free to leave. We filed out, savoring our freedom as we walked back to my car that was parked on the plaza.

Gary told us, “I overheard some of the cops talking. That woman we bumped into was the officer’s wife, and he was sitting in that squad at the intersection!” He called his mom from a pay phone, his hand trembling as he inserted his nickel.

She told him, “We’re not going to let our good name be drug through the mud. Will they create a police record? I’m going to call the station and demand an explanation.”

Then Ron said, “I know why they hauled us in.”

“What?” I asked. “What do you mean? He thought we took the woman’s packages.”

“No, not really. I recognize that cop.”

“Who is he?”

“A couple months ago some of us were driving around Villa Park Heights and this convertible full of guys blew by us, weaving all over the road. This was that cop—off-duty and driving drunk. I called in a citizens’ complaint on him. This was payback.”

So our arrest was a setup, a cop getting back at the kid who had embarrassed him. Reflecting back, I hadn’t been worried, just puzzled. I wonder if I would have felt differently if I were a Mexican.