The Sound Of Music – Fifty Plus Going On Fifteen

AlpsLove The Alps

It has been fifty-two (52) years since the Sound Of Music premiered and I have never watched it. It is hard to believe that this movie was not only a box office success but was an artistic classic.

This week, I was volunteered to attend the Sound Of Music musical at Juanita K. Hammons Hall in Springfield Missouri and being a non-musical person, I did not look forward to a performing arts rehash.

My bride of thirty (30) years plus and son of twenty-two (22) would attend with me so I thought we would make the most out of the night by eating out. It was my goal to at least get a decent meal out of the evening.

We ate at Bruno’s which is an authentic Italian restaurant in the downtown business district, and I had a small glass of house merlot and a great meal to start out the evening. I also enjoyed the company since we had not been out for dinner in some time.

Our daughter was kind enough to stay with our fur babies since our alpha male Scrappy tore his ACL and has been a pain in the butt while healing. Buddy and Roxy enjoyed the company so I figured everyone would enjoy the night even though I was going to a musical.

We arrived 45 minutes early so we could get to our seats since we were in the middle of the mezzanine in row G and everyone must have forgotten I like end seats. Anyhow, I bought a cup of Starbucks coffee which I detest but needed to keep myself awake.

Being in the middle of any row is a challenge and being an ex-submariner I make every effort to not be in the center. We experienced the typical clueless theater fans who come in on the wrong side of the theater and laugh and giggle about how they made a mistake and are so sorry to make you stand up so they can get to the correct seat.

It is times like this that you ask specific questions that I cannot repeat on this blog for numerous reasons. I can and will think them though.

Why Go To A Movie?

So the lights dim and it is time for me to take a 120-minute snooze and the show starts with Preludium sung by the Nuns of the Nonnberg Abbey cast. A bit of dust touched my eye and for some reason, my night went from being a dreaded event to a mesmerizing night at the theater.

You heard me correctly, the musical I had no desire to watch was not only the center of my attention, but there was no way I would miss a minute of it.

The cast’s performance was incredible in all aspects. Musical renditions were perfect, and the skill of the actors was on the mark. They appeared not only to know the parts but also seemed to enjoy performing for the audience.

Primary Cast Members

No matter the scene, I was transfixed, and when the intermission occurred, I was amazed that two (2) hours had nearly passed. I needed to take care of business, but there was no way I was taking a chance on missing any of the musical.

The last acts played out, and when the final curtain fell, I was sad that the Sound of Music had finished and that this magic moment in my life had come to an end.

We left the theater in awe, and after fighting traffic in the parking garage we went home for the night, and I was glad my daughter allowed me to use her ticket.

Being fifty plus going on fifteen can be heart touching at times when you find out you have missed out on a treasure and I believe the Sound Of Music is a treasure. I will now watch the original movie and hope it moves me like the theatrical version.

  • Have you ever dreaded attending a similar event and had the time of your life.
  • What are your thoughts about The Sound Of Music?

I wish you health, safety, and success. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

Jay Patterson

Be Right, Not Politically Correct – Fifty Plus Going On Fifteen

Moonwalk During Apollo Missions


I have been tied up traveling for a new job the last week so wanted to check in and put some words on my keyboard.

Today, we woke up to the news that John Young has passed away at the age of 87 and he was an accomplished astronaut and an American hero.

I am a child of the 60s and 70s, so I have many memories lodged in the grey matter surrounding the space program and cold war competition that involved space.

John Young participated in the Gemini, Apollo, and Shuttle programs and traveled to space while attached to each.

  • As one of few individuals who walked on the moon, John was also one of the few squeaky wheels when it came to space program safety.
  • Most astronauts drifted off into the sunset and took advantage of fame in the civilian sector, but John Young as part of the NASA until 2004 when he officially retired in his 70s.
  • John Young impacted the world in many ways, and he lived his life based on his quote “You Don’t Want To Be Politically Correct, You Want To Be Right.”

Who can argue with a point like that? 

Well, today it seems like we have become politically correct to a fault and if we do not wake up soon, progress will be impossible because of PC.

  • The politically correct (PC) world that has evolved over the last fifty (50) years is destroying society and stifling the benefits of diversity.

Don’t Let Others Talk Over You!!

This week, I started my new career at a large, diverse corporation that is 100 plus years old and has a cosmic footprint.

  • The primary goal of the orientation class appeared oriented at getting a diverse group of people to network and communicate. These are all great things.
  • Our orientation class had US citizens, foreign citizens, foreign nationals, numerous races, and undoubtedly many more HR classifications of people.
  • We were broken up into different teams through much of the day so you had the chance to work with everyone in orientation at least once and it was a successful day I believe.

After orientation class, a few of us were not flying out until the next day, so we walked the drizzly downtown streets until we found a small pub with food and drink.

  • We had a couple of drinks, and some great local fare food and after started discussing challenges encountered in today’s world.
  • It should not be a surprise that we have people at different ends of the political spectrum at the table, so a lively conversation occurred for probably sixty (60) minutes.
  • Being of the same generational age, we had much in common, but our life experiences were significantly different resulting in what our expectations of government intervention should be.
  • We ended the conversation civilly, and although neither of us swayed, we both made some thought-provoking points and learned that although different, we were closer than thought.

Diversity And Dialogue Is Great!!!

This line of thinking brings me back to what PC is doing to our world. A short list of why PC is negative includes.

  • Reduces Dialogue – People Do Not Want To Talk.
  • Offenders Run Over others – Shout Louder And Longer.
  • Makes Society Dumber – Close Your Eyes And Ears.
  • Increased Stubbornness And Ignorance – Hunker Down.
  • Freedom Of Speech Is Compromised – You Cannot Say That.
  • This Short List Just Scratches The Surface!!

Welcome to the 21st Century where it is becoming more like 1984 where Political Correctness is reducing diversity while acting as a champion for diversity and we are scratching our heads trying to learn what the new rules of the game are.

  • With that, I will say I would rather “Be Right, Not Politically Correct.” I also must thank John Young and other heroes like him that were willing to not cave in for PC.

Please share your thoughts surrounding this subject.

  • What Are Your Thoughts On Our PC World?
  • Who Are Your Non-PC Heroes?

I wish you health, safety, and success in 2018. It sure is great being fifty plus going on fifteen.

Jay Patterson

My Little Girl Is Getting Married – Fifty Plus Going On Fifteen

Oh My, A Wedding

Sooner or later it was going to happen, and I am happy to say that my daughter accepted a proposed to in early December. We were unable to inform anyone until after Christmas, but I am quite pleased.

The gentleman that proposed to her is an active Army Reservist, Police Officer in a large metropolitan area, and a mature adult. My daughter is a responsible professional at a local business that travels for work.

We have discussed the how both are not only marrying each other, but they are also joining families and professions. Marriage is always a challenge requiring much work, and I believe they have what it takes.

My daughter and bride have been busy as bees planning since the initial announcement, and the goal is to schedule the wedding before the end of 2018.

Planning and scheduling a wedding in less than twelve (12) months is a significant endeavor but I believe they will be successful since we have had tighter challenges.

  • To date, the search for a wedding venue has been successful, and although there were numerous options available supporting the schedule they have decided to use a small lodge in the Ozarks.
  • The lodge is quite reasonable and includes many of the side expenses associated with a wedding including the preacher, reception, etc.
  • I was asked to take pre-engagement pictures at a local park so they could purchase the “Save The Date” cards and make a selective Facebook announcement.
  • This weekend my daughter and I are going to the lodge to check out the winery since I have been a spectator at this point allowing them to do what they want because I do not have a clue.
  • During the past few days, the bridesmaids have verified participation, and it appears as though they have selected a bridesmaid dress that is not ugly.
  • I am not sure what the wedding dress status is, but I am sure that will be wrapped up in short order and within budget. We will see how this progresses.
  • Today the question of the day was in regards to the father of the bride dance and my choice was the Warp Dance from Rockey Horror. This selection would be fitting and fun I believe, but we will see.

I Hope The Rings Are Not Misplaced!!

The guest list is in progress, and we are many hours away from our immediate family, so we are not sure how many family members will attend. This number will be firmed up in time.

  • We are lucky that our daughter’s grandparents met he fiance although my mother met him during her final hours. My mom would have been happy with the pending nuptials.
  • I doubt my father or sister will come to the wedding since they don’t travel but I am confident my wife’s parents will be here. Unluckily, my wife’s siblings probably won’t attend.

We have come along way since my daughter learned to ride a bike in Georgia, played her first slow-pitch softball game in South Dakota, went on her first date in Iowa, and attended her first day of college in Missouri.

There are so many fond memories that are ingrained in my head and heart. The pets, band-aids, sour kids, VHS rentals, roller blades, laying in the grass watching the stars, and the list goes on.

With nine (9) months before the wedding, we have an extensive to-do list, and I am sure we will experience much emotion. I am confident we will make it through this challenge like we have many before.

What Will The Grandkittens Think?

Many of you have gone through the process of your daughter getting married, and I am somewhat at a loss on what to expect.

  • Will our relationship change with our daughter getting married?
  • Is it more fun to have grandchildren than children?

Please provide comments, and I wish you health, safety, and success. It sure is great being fifty plus going on fifteen.

Jay Patterson

How I Joined The US Navy – Fifty Plus Going On Fifteen

North DakotaNorth Dakota Skyline

I am proud to be from North Dakota and happy that I was able to grow up with the freedom that is almost unknown in this day and age.

In many ways, you could compare the escapades of my friends and myself much like Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn although 100 plus years later and located in Jamestown North Dakota.

All good things must come to an end as they say and as I entered Senior High School, it was apparent that my future was limited in North Dakota, so I started looking at options.

-I loved auto body and auto mechanics but without a college fund and being bored in High School, my potential to attend higher education was limited.

  • There were numerous options for work in agriculture and service industries in the area, but without higher education, my Career possibilities would decrease as my body aged.
  • A military career was possible, but if this were my choice, I would need to leave my family, my friends, and the life and freedom I so enjoyed. The long-term career and training opportunity was a plus.
  • The worst direction was a career that included making big rocks into small rocks if caught. You may think that I am joking, but it was possible being the product of a law enforcement family.

During my junior year, I decided to join the military, and I wanted to be a United States Marine as my primary choice and a United States Sailor as my alternate choice.

  • I met with the Marine and Navy recruiters and decided I wanted to be a photographer or meteorologist.
  • The ASVAB test would determine what I would qualify for, so I held fast until I was old enough to test.
  • It was my goal to sign up for the Marines when I turned seventeen (17) and leave for boot camp once I graduated from high school.
  • A couple of weeks before taking the ASVAB, my dad informed me that he would not sign for me if I went into the Marines so I decided the Navy was the way to go.

RTC Great Lakes - Source: US NavyUS Navy RTC Great Lakes IL – Source: US Navy

Around the time I turned seventeen (17), the Navy Recruiter scheduled my ASVAB test in Fargo North Dakota.

  • Numerous potential recruits and I arrived at the Ramada Inn and commenced to prepare for the ASVAB by getting crocked.
  • Early the next morning we were taken to the AFEEs Station where we would take the ASVAB test, and we were all in poor shape.
  • We took the ASVAB test, and I was sure I was going to be scraping paint in the Navy since I was so hung over.
  • There was no drumroll, but there was a score provided that allowed me to choose any Navy career I wanted.
  • The recruiter was immediately on me to choose nuclear power or advanced electronics, but I wanted to be a photographer or meteorologist.

I held firm in my choices and the recruit detailer determined the timeline for me to leave for the Navy based on the need for photographers of meteorologists.

  • Shocked is an understatement when informed that the wait for these fields was at least twelve (12) months out.
  • These options had to be a set up since the recruiter and station received more points for the fields they wanted me to select.
  • It was back to the drawing board since the wait was too long for careers I preferred jobs.
  • In the end, I selected the advanced electronics field where my career was limited to a select training field.

The paperwork was submitted, and I was sworn into the Navy under the Delayed Entry Program and would leave a week after graduation in 1981.

CPOEnded Up A Chief

We have all made career decisions with limited knowledge of what to expect. In my mind, I had not only selected a career but was also anticipating an adventure.

Thanks for visiting and would appreciate your comments and/or input.

  • Have you ever leaped into the unknown when relocating or accepting a job?
  • Did you make similar decisions when joining the military?

I wish you health, safety, and success. It sure is great being fifty plus going on fifteen.

Jay Patterson

I Love Dirt Track Stock Car Racing – Fifty Plus Going On Fifteen

Marks Dirt Track RacingJameston Speedway – Source: Marks Dirt Track Racing

Growing Up In Jamestown North Dakota in the 60s and 70s allowed you to look forward to certain events much like the seasons.

The calendar was marked specifically in order of occurrence through the year.

  • Boy Scout Fair at the Civic Center occurred in mid-March and was an indoor competition between local scout troops. My Troop won the scout fair with Finger Printing.
  • Last snowfall of the year which normally followed the first melt. This event would normally occur in late March to the middle of April.
  • Fishing season (non-ice) which started on or about April 1st. You could fish off the shores or in boats for perch, walleye, northern pike, etc.
  • Lawn mowing season would normally start about the same time as the fishing season.
  • Stock car racing season which started in early May and ended in late September or early October. This was the greatest late model and street car racing in the upper midwest.
  • School ended for summer which normally occurred on Memorial Day weekend unless there were too many snow days.
  • The Stutsman County Fair surrounding the 4th of July where the Murphy Brothers Exposition came to town. There was a midway, concerts, Joey Chitwood, tractor pulls, demolition derbies, and stock car racing.
  • School started during the Labor Day weekend and it was also the start of leave raking season and Indian summer.
  • Stock car racing ended in late September or early October and the Stock Car Stampede was the final event of the year.
  • Hunting seasons for upland game, waterfowl, deer, etc, would occur throughout the fall. My favorite was working the potholes for ducks and geese.
  • Christmas school break and ice fishing season normally started around the third week of December. School started up in early January and ice fishing continued until the ice was no longer safe to walk on.

My favorite event when growing up was stock car racing since our entire family was not only involved in it but truly attached to it.

Stock Car Racing happened every Wednesday night from early May to late September unless the races were rained out.

  • On Wednesday nights, time was short between my parents getting off work and us heading to the races so we normally had burgers from the American Legion which were delicious.
  • We would chow down the burgers while watching the Sonny and Cher show on CBS and once complete would head to the races so we could get our normal seats in front of the announcer’s booth.
  • Once at the races, we enjoyed rooting for our favorite drivers for three (3) to four (4) hours and we cursed those we did not like. Many of our favorite drivers included:
    • Mike and Rich Swangler (#10 and #12).
    • Ernie Brookings (#41)
    • Bobby Zimmerman (#13)
    • Dick Miller (#76)
  • This was our weekly family event and I would never trade it for a million dollars. I can still remember my ears ringing from the noise, dirt caked on my face, and mosquito bites everywhere. It was great.

Marks Dirt Track Racing 2





Source: Marks Dirt Track Racing





When vacation season rolled around in July, we would follow the Northern Racing Circuit for a week of racing. Jim Corcoran promoted not only the Jamestown ND tracks but also the tracks below that we visited.

  • Grand Forks ND on Friday Night.
  • Kittson County, Hallock MN on Saturday Night.
  • Riverside Speedway, Crookston MN on Sunday Afternoon.

During our vacation week, we round stay in motels, eat out, and enjoy our favorite racers at new tracks. It was so much fun.

When fall would hit, we had the Stock Car Stampede to attend which occurred over the weekend in late September or early October.

  • This was the last event of the year before the snows and was scheduled for Saturday night and Sunday afternoon.
  • More than 100 cars would come to compete for the large purses that were awarded to the winners.
  • Nobody held back since it was the last race of the year and I remember one year where it snowed during the races.

When the last checkered flag waved, it was clear that winter would arrive soon and another joyful season had come to an end.

Dreams were forged at the Jamestown Speedway and although as a teenager I pitted for a friend and ran a wrecker, I never drove a stock car during a race.

Marks #3Source: Marks Dirt Track Racing

  • What memories do you have of family activities or vacations that you will never forget?
  • Did you have similar dreams based on family activities or vacation?

Thanks for stopping by and I wish you health, safety, and success. It is great being fifty plus going on fifteen.

Jay Patterson

Christmas Past – Fifty Plus Going On Fifteen

barn in winterBarn In The Winter

2017 will be the first Christmas without my mother so it is fitting that I blog about how it was possible to have a perfect Christmas with family and few gifts.

Every Christmas, we would go to my grand parent’s farm eight miles north of Jamestown North Dakota on Highway 20. This was not a forced event as many would think but you looked forward to it.

My mother had eleven (11) siblings of which ten (10) survived past childhood. At Christmas, all that lived within the four (4) state region would drive to the farm for the annual get together for all the siblings and in-laws. Sometimes we would even have outlaws attend.

Mom As A Toddler

When I speak about inlaws and outlaws, I am referencing spouses and the current spouses were in-laws and the divorced spouses were outlaws. The kids like me were just part of the general herd.

With eleven (11) total siblings that were adults plus spouses and children, you had a significant gathering that occurred at a farmhouse with three (3) bedrooms upstairs and a partially finished basement with a pool table.

The temperatures were normally sub zero by this time of the year so most everyone was in the house or barn to keep warm and if you did go outside, your time was limited due to wind chill.

I have set the stage to allow you to understand the stock I came from and they were an interesting stock of Polish, English, and Danish ancestry.

The house had ground rules that involved the adults being upstairs unless downstairs playing pool. The grandchildren (40 plus) including myself were downstairs or outside.

Christmas lunch and dinner were served upstairs but you took your food downstairs and ate it if you were a kid and if you complained, you went without.

Lunch was normally something easy like sandwiches or pizza and I still remember thinking the mushrooms on the pizza were mouse butts.

Dinner was turkey and ham plus potluck from the siblings so you had a wide variety of food to chose from and it was normally worth the wait after being active all day.

There were plenty of activities to participate in and few involved sitting around. Common activities included:

  • Dodging the bull named Royal who would chase you as you played matador. My uncles would do this after drinking and would sometimes get the horn.
  • Snowball fights with your cousins when the snow was damp and when not manure fights were fun. It was imperative that you kept your mouth shut during either type of fight.
  • Jumping on the milk cows from the hayloft and attempting to ride them. We were not very successful at this.
  • Feeding the barn cats direct from the cow nipple during milking and did they love warm milk directly from the cow.
  • Riding a flipped over hood from a car behind the tractor through the snowy fields. You felt every rock, bump, and hole.

This is but a short list of activities us kids participated in during the day and early evening prior to opening gifts and I would not trade it for all the tea in China.

Once the meal was complete and dishes hand-washed by the older kids, Grandma and Grandpa gave each one of the grandchildren a gift specifically picked out for them.

Even though there were probably thirty (30) plus grandchildren at this time, not one grandchild received a duplicate gift and you felt so special. This would later grow to nearly fifty (50) grandchildren.

Once the gifts were opened, the older kids would return downstairs or outside until it was time to go and the younger children would normally nap.

While the kids were doing their thing, the adults were upstairs playing cards, drinking wine and beer, and bonding until somebody started a fight.

Yes, with siblings even though they were adults, the proverbial crap would sooner or later hit the fan and some member of the family would be a black sheep normally until the family summer picnic.

I can still remember watching one of the three (3) channels we received on antenna TV as the lava lamp did its thing on top of the TV while in the background there was screaming and shouting.



TVs With CRTs – Oh Yea



This part of my life was priceless and I will always cherish that I had a childhood where I was able to get barb wire cuts, a black eye from a thrown rubber milker insert, and a special gift picked just for me.

My grandparents, many of my aunts and uncles, my mother, and some cousins are no longer with us but they will always be part of my memories and heart.


Mom Third From Left & Siblings


  • What special memories do you have about your grandparents, aunts, and uncles?
  • Did you have similar family functions with the drama that was part of being a family?

Wishing you health, safety, and success. It is great being fifty plus going on fifteen but I wish I could be a kid back on the farm.

Jay Patterson

Love My Beta VCR But Lived With The VHS VCR – Fifty Plus Going On Fifteen

TapeNearly forty (40) years have passed since I purchased my first VCR after much research and consideration. The VCR first hit the market during the infancy of national cable television.

We did not have hundreds of channels to watch or video streaming. The only option prior to VCRs was to watch antenna TV which gave you up to four channels (4) or cable TV which gave you twenty (20) channels.

Without the internet to research, you had to use newspapers,  magazines, limited television coverage, or visit the local appliance store to determine which VCR was best.

There were two (2) primary players in the VCR war during the late 70s and early 80s. The companies and formats were Sony Beta and RCA VHS and the technology was expensive.

  • The Beta VCR cost approximately $1,000 in 1978. In today’s dollars, the Beta VCR would cost $3,750.
    • Minimum wage in 1978 was $2.65 per hour so you would need to work 1,415 hours to purchase, nearly nine (9) months.
  • The VHS VCR cost approximately $700 in 1978. In today’s dollars, the VHS VCR would cost $2,628.
    • Minimum wage in 1978 was $2.65 per hour so you would need to work 991 hours to purchase, nearly six (6) months.
  • As a comparison, the average new car cost in 1978 was $6,380 and the same car would cost $23,180 today.
  • The Beta and VHS VCRs were both a small fortune.

Owners argued about which VCR was better much like today with game consoles and smartphones.  In the end, it was not quality that won the battle but price and the limited differences between the two units.

  • At low speed, the Beta was superior to the VHS when recording but with a limited recording time on Beta, VHS was superior.
  • The Beta had a smaller tape footprint so the Beta unit normally took up less space.
  • The movies you purchased on Beta could be judged as better but the quality was not worth a price tag of 30% more.

When Beta and VHS both came out, you had to order movies using the mail and they would cost anywhere from $60 when on sale to more than $100.

  • There were no video rental stores established so your options were to purchase the movies or record the movies on television so you would capture commercials.
  • The early VCRs also did not have timers to set recording times and if it took more than one tape to record, you had to put in a new tape when the original rewound and popped out with a clunk.

Based on price and other subtle reasons, the VHS VCR won the battle by the mid-80s so many of us were stuck with worthless Beta videotapes once our Beta VCRs broke down.

I thought I would never see a Beta VCR again until I reported to the USS Newport News (SSN-750) in 1994 and found four (4) Beta VCRs onboard.

  • The funny thing is the US Navy discontinued reel to reel movies and moved to Beta VCRs on submarines instead of VHS VCRs so nobody would pilfer the movies.
  • So, in a roundabout way, I am sure Beta recovered its investment after all since the Navy had purchased $10 hammers for $300 so each Beta VCR probably cost the Navy $30,000 each.
    • Think about it, there were 400 ships in 1994 with a minimum of four (4) Beta VCRs per ship for a total of 1,600 Beta VCRs.
    • The Navy’s invested value would probably be $48 million.
    • It looks like I should have invested in Beta VCRs after all.

Unluckily, VHS and Beta only paved the road for Video DVDs that came along not ten (10) years later. Since that time, technology has just marched on.

  • Beta and VHS VCRs may be obsolete but I still miss the first time I popped the Great Escape in and watched a movie on my schedule without commercials. What a feeling of freedom in the late 70s.
  • There are many other long-lived and short-lived formats that were utilized to watch movies at home but the VCR tape and DVD format were the leaders.

Although this was a quick overview about Beta and VHS, I must ask:

  • What did you first watch movies at home on? 
  • Did you prefer Beta or VHS?

Wishing you health, safety, and success. Isn’t it great being fifty plus going on fifteen.

Jay Patterson

37 Years Ago – The Journey – Fifty Plus Going On Fifteen


Each of us has major dates that we remember including birthdays, wedding anniversaries, etc.

Every year I have the pleasure of not only noting the anniversary of Pearl Harbor and the birth of the Greatest Generation but also my enlistment anniversary into the United States Navy.

This year marks the 37th year since I swore the oath to “Protect and Defend” and left my childhood home of North Dakota for the big bad world I so desired to enter.

The night before I left was memorable since it was my last day of not having a care beyond my own selfish desires as an adolescent that knew everything but was dumb as a rock.

What was memorable about the day before I left for Fargo North Dakota and flew to Great Lakes Illinois for my first long-term career?

  • It was a cold day for December with the temperatures not passing twenty (20) degrees, the wind blowing from ten (10) to twenty (20) miles per hour (MPH), and it was snowing.
    • I remember it being a humid day with a bitter wind from the northwest.
  • I did not work the day prior to leaving since I had resigned from Dale’s Mobil since this was a planned transition.
    • The owner, Dale, is one of my special mentors.
  • My parents, sister and I went to Wagon Masters for the last meal before I ate boot camp chow hall food.
    • I worked for Wagon Masters as a cook as a teenager and loved the food.
  • Our dinner (supper) was interrupted by news that my friend’s (Mike) farmhouse was on fire.
    • Mike was my best man a few days later and passed to another realm at a young age.
  • Mike and his dog needed a ride back to town to stay with his parents and this was the last time I saw him until we hooked up a few years later.
    • The dog ate something that did not agree with him so we had to drive with the windows down in the bitter cold.

Winter Farmhouse

The next morning was an early morning for myself and I used my ticket to get on the bus with one (1) set of clothes, a few pictures and long hair to my name.

Being my first commercial bus ride, I quickly decided this was not a preferred method of transportation based on the odors emanating from the restroom.

I was thankful the ride lasted only two (2) hours on Interstate 94 and my first stop was Fargo North Dakota.

Once I arrived in Fargo, I was transported to the Fargo Airport and hopped on my first airplane flight to Ohara in Chicago Illinois. Flying was much better than taking a bus, but I still felt trapped.

The flight was uneventful, and I had to make my way to the bus that would transport me to Great Lakes Recruit Training Center after arriving at Ohara.

I quickly realized I was no longer in Kansas (North Dakota) anymore when I observed the skinheads, Hare Krishna, and other oddities (to me) roaming the airport.

The bus ride from Ohara to Great Lakes Recruit Training Center did not change my opinion about buses since this bus had the same odor the bus in North Dakota had.

I daydreamed as the bus bounced up Interstate 94 and finally the bus came to an abrupt stop and I was told this was my stop.

  • This made me think of the movie “Bus Stop” with Marilyn Monroe and that was a classic.
  • What events in your life do you clearly remember as a defining point in your life?

Stepping off the bus, I observed the gates and guardhouses at Great Lakes Recruit Training Center and had never felt so alone in my life.

Walking to the gate, I handed over my orders and it became very clear to me that I was a piece of meat from this point on.

I have always had great first impressions and guess what, I was a piece of meat for many weeks to come as I participated in boot camp.

Pearl Harbor Day will always be special to me for not only the obvious reasons but also because this is the day I became a sailor even though it was 39 years later.

Thanks for stopping by and may you have health, safety, and success. It is wonderful being fifty plus going on fifteen (50 plus going on 15).

Jay Patterson

I Would Love A Cheeseburger From A Local Diner – Fifty Plus Going On Fifteen

Come In We're OpenWho doesn’t love a cheeseburger from a local diner with melted cheese, a toasted bun, and fresh, crisp onions.

There was a time when you had a choice of many local diners, cafes, and restaurants where you could get cheeseburgers named the bull wacker, the lumberjack, the conductor and each one of them had its own little twist.

Menu selections appeared endless and each location had its own twist. One thing for certain was that you could get a great cup of coffee and a piece of pie with ice cream.

The city I currently live in with 15,000 people, has less than ten (10) local places to eat that are not owned by regional or national chains. This is crazy in my opinion.

Occasionally, I travel back to my home town of Jamestown North Dakota. You can count local establishments on a hands and the population is 15,000 people. When I was a kid, there were more than 25 family owned locations. Some places that no longer exist include:

  • Big Jims Steakhouse
  • Ebertz Cafe
  • Wagon Masters Restaurant
  • Northwest Y
  • Lakeway Drive Inn
  • Blue Jay Inn
  • Randy’s
  • Pizza Palace
  • Continental Inn
  • Chuck Wagon

I travel the nation for work and it has become increasingly difficult to find local eateries and this is a real shame. When I travel into a new area, I look for new and interesting places to each and it can be tough to find.

At one time, you could estimate the quality of the diner, cafe, or restaurant by the number of calendars near the cash register.

  • If there was one calendar, you probably would not like the food.
  • Three (3) or more calendars identified great food.

The new local eatery trend has been food trucks. Although food trucks have existed since the invention of the automobile, the quality and variety has changed.

  • In the past, food trucks were known as few roach coaches and food quality was poor and variety was limited.
  • Today, food trucks are becoming the new place to eat that are clean and have excellent food with variety.

It is great that food trucks are meeting the needs of consumers that do not want to eat at chain restaurants.

Although there are locally owned diners, cafes and restaurants that you can enjoy, the majority of places you can eat are part of local, regional or national chains.

Branding is critical to chains, you will find limited variety and personality when a visit different locations but quality can vary.

When traveling for work, the primary place they would choose to meet was Applebees. Overall not a bad chain restaurant but you can only eat at Applebees so many times.

  • Recent news reports indicate that the company that owns Applebees also owns IHOP and they are closing 100 plus locations in 2017. This is sad for the employees.
Another chain restaurant that technicians enjoy eating at is Ruby Tuesdays. Great salad bar and decent food but again, you can only eat at Ruby Tuesdays so many times.


  • Ruby Tuesdays has also been struggling recently and has closed locations nationwide. They were sold to an investment group in 2017 so we shall see what happens.

It seems like chain restaurants are similar to food and both have a shelf life since so many local, regional and national chains have closed down. A short list includes:

  • Happy Joes
  • Howard Johnsons
  • Country Kitchen
  • Chi-Chi’s
  • Steak & Ale

I have discussed full-service chain restaurants but have not touched on fast food restaurants because there have been a few that are always there and many that come and go.

This takes me back to I want a greasy cheeseburger from a local non-chain establishment and it is not going to happen unless I drive ten (10) miles into Springfield Missouri and that is not right.

  • Do you prefer chain restaurants or local restaurants?


  • What is your favorite chain restaurant that went out of business?

Wishing you health, safety, and success. It’s great being fifty plus going of fifteen (50 plus going on 15)

Thanks for visiting and please comment. 

Jay Patterson


Tribute To Submarines On Eternal Patrol – Fifty Plus Going On Fifteen

I write this blog as a tribute to all submarines on eternal patrol and for the ARA San Juan which has been missing and presumed lost in the south Atlantic since the middle of November 2017.

Submarines are a mystery to many but home for a small population of sailors worldwide. I was lucky enough to be an active submariner in the 1980s and 1990s and will always value this experience.

The probable loss of the ARA San Juan has emotionally impacted me over the past couple weeks because the sailors on this vessel were brothers and sisters of mine since we are a small community.

My heart goes out to the families of the ARA San Juan crew members since it is doubtful they will ever have closure since the reasons why the vessel disappeared will probably never be fully understood.

Although the United States has deployed hundreds of submarines since the end of World War II, we have lost four (4) submarines that are identified below.

  • USS Cochino – SS-345 – Lost 1949 in the Norwegian Sea.
  • USS Stickleback – SS-415 – Lost 1958 in the Pacific Ocean.
  • USS Thresher – SSN-593 – Lost 1963 in the Atlantic Ocean.
  • USS Scorpion – SSN-589 – Lost 1968 in the Atlantic Ocean.

It is believed that the US Navy Subsafe program which was implemented after the loss of the USS Thresher is responsible for the improved safety record since the 1960s.

What is known about the ARA San Juan last messages on November 15th.

  • 12:30 a.m. – The San Juan Captain contacted the local land-based commander via satellite phone informing them of flooding through the snorkel mast. The flooding short-circuited the bow battery system causing a fire that was extinguished. The Captain identified that the short was bypassed and the San Juan would continue to travel towards the base.
  • 6:00 a.m. – The San Juan transmitted the same message from 12:30 am as transmitted radio traffic.
  • 7:30 a.m. – The San Juan Captain contacted the local land-based commander indicating the San Juan was transiting, submerged, as planned, without additional issues.
  • 10:30 a.m. – An explosion and/or implosion was detected near the ships last location. The explosion/implosion was not identified as occurring through recorded acoustic data.

There was hope that the 44 crew members of the ARA San Juan would have enough air to last seven (7) to twelve (12) days if the submarine was submerged but disabled. Unluckily, we have exceeded this timeline so the current mission is probably a recovery mission.

A multi-national team continues to search a 40,000 square mile area for the ARA San Juan although results are doubtful.

Indications are that the casualty was a combination of flooding and fire.

  • Experiencing one (1) of these casualties is a major challenge that submarine crews constantly drill for.
  • Experiencing two (2) of these casualties and additional catastrophic failures related to the battery compartment would likely cause loss of the submarine.

We may never know what occurred with the ARA San Juan but our thoughts and prayers will be with the crew and families forever.

Wishing you health, safety, and success. I am Fifty Plus Going On Fifteen (50 Plus Going On 15) and I hope for a miracle.

Jay Patterson