Grampa Fields Audio

Grampa Fields Audio

Grandpa Fields was born around 1880 and died around 1952. This would have been recorded shortly before he died.

Grandpa Howard Fields and his wife, Christine Fields would be my Mom’s parents. My mom, Doris, had one sister named Betty.

F. Howard Fields
F. Howard Fields
F. Howard Fields

Talking Dog

Talking Dog

A man sees a sign in front of a house: “Talking Dog For Sale.”

He rings the bell and the owner tells him that the dog is in the backyard.  The guy goes into the backyard and sees a black mutt just sitting there.  

“You talk?” he asks.

“Of course,” the dog replies.

“So what’s your story?”

The dog looks up and says, “well, I discovered my gift of talking quite young and I wanted to help the government, so I told the CIA about my gift and in no time they had me jetting from country to country, sitting with spies and world leaders in rooms because no one thought a dog was eavesdropping.  I was one of the most valuable spies eight years running.

The jetting around really tired me out, and I knew I was not getting any younger and I wanted to settle down.  So, I signed up for a job at the airport to do some undercover security work, mostly wandering near suspicious characters and listening in.  There I uncovered some incredible dealings and was awarded a batch of medals.   Later I had a wife, a mess of puppies, and now I’m just retired.”

The guy is amazed.  He goes back in and asks the owner how much he wants for the dog.

The owner says, “Ten dollars.”

The guy says, “This dog is amazing.  Why on earth are you selling him so cheap?”

“Because he’s a liar.  He didn’t do any of that stuff!”



For over thirty years I’ve watched with curious silent humor as my wife would wash the dishes thoroughly before loading them into the dishwasher.  I, myself, don’t engage in dishwashing very often because, as with all domestic tasks – I do it wrong.  There is, apparently, a specific science beyond my comprehension, to the delicacies of laundry folding, towel stacking, pillowcase fitting, bed making, carpet vacuum lines, and now – dishwashing.

But yesterday my sweetheart had put in a particularly long and exhausting day and I wanted to relive her of the menial task of washing the dishes.  

So, after watching her perform this tedious enterprise thousands of times over the years I duplicated her actions and performed the duty flawlessly.  However, about midway through the stack she asked, “why are you hand washing them, we have a dishwasher?”

I was perplexed and bewildered because now I had no answer.  The foolishness of my actions was obvious, to me at least.  But the foolishness was a learned action, perceived though years of visible evidence.  Yet now, it was me, caught red-handed as it were, with the foolishness of the action, as if criminal, now in my wet hands.

I unfolded my defense in a deliberation suitable to withstand judgment in any courthouse.  Yet, in the end, my feeble defense faltered at her denial that she had EVER pre-washed the dishes.

That was it.  A simple denial and my case was annihilated.  

How can I, after the passing of thirty-some years, my eyes gloriously affixed to this lovely woman, watching and wordlessly amused at her need to double-wash, be so entirely and completely wrong?

My self-worth, my self-esteem, my entire ego teeters in the balance at these moments.  Every drop of manliness is shredded into a prison of mental mush.

It may be weeks, or even months before I can show my face in public again.  The shame is too great, the burden is too heavy.  

Marriage has defeated me.  

Alas, I surrender.

Dangerous Driving

Dangerous Driving

In all my years of driving I have logged countless miles; spent an inordinate amount of time behind the wheel, and wore out more cars than I can remember. Considering all of that driving I’ve seen some terrible and unspeakable things on the road.

One of the most insidious things I see, regularly, are devastating crashes caused by distracted driving because of cell phones or texting. We’ve all seen it, the driver, weaving across the line, or running straight through a red light with a phone in his or her lap, texting away, oblivious of the traffic around. I’m frustrated because distracted driving often ends with a pile of twisted metal and fatal results. The bloody fatalities are often innocent and conscientious drivers, who are impacted by the selfish careless acts of another person.

Sadly, by far, the greatest single population of dangerous distracted drivers are cops. The careless driving habits of police officers are exasperated by more than phones, but by cabin mounted computers and a host of other electronic devices.

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve seen police officers flying by (as they nearly always are radically speeding) with their eyes glued to their phones. I’ve literally seen them drive off into the median at high rates of speed because they were not watching the road. On two specific occasions I’ve personally been run out of my lane to avoid side-swiping a patrol car.

Now, please understand, I have respect for the jobs that our police officers have to do. Honestly, I wouldn’t want their jobs. But they are fooling themselves if they think they are immune to the causalities of reckless driving.

Last night, driving back in the dark from Cincinnati, I experienced another type of reckless driving on the part of a police officer. The driver of a large SUV entered the expressway and illegally crossed two lanes of traffic to find his spot in the flow of vehicles. Certainly his action was not safe and warranted correction. A patrol vehicle came out from his hiding spot, crossed three lanes of traffic, nearly causing a massive collision, passed me on the left, cut directly in front of my left fender before slamming on his brakes in front of me. Again, a domino effect of near catastrophe was narrowly averted. By this time, the SUV had moved to the right shoulder and the officer moved right, cutting more vehicles in his path.

No driver on the road last night deserved a severe citation more than that careless reckless officer. For the want of a minor traffic infraction, the high speed reckless officer carelessly endangered the lives of countless individuals on the highway.

Please, if you are a highway patrol officer of some kind, or you have friends or relatives that patrol the roads, be careful and considerate of the lives you are sworn to protect. I fear the strains of the job can cause public servants to forget why they are there. Driving while texting or using your computer is no safer in patrol vehicles than it is in ours. Catching your traffic violator does not merit killing innocent victims on the road. The cop had plenty of space and time to make a safe and controlled maneuver and approach the offending SUV. No amount of high speed training will protect police or us on the roads from foolishness and carelessness. Police lives depend on safe driving; ours and yours, and our lives depend of it too.