“Billy, as you get older it’s not the miles, but the maintenance”
—- Bernice Wilson, circa 1978
My late Aunt Bernice was more than a friend, she was a wise confidante during my many stays at “The Farm“.
As with many of the things she told me, I came to see the wisdom in this as I am passing middle age.
One of the things I love about travel is the misconceptions finally corrected. You see things – or meet people – that change your beliefs. Both people and places have changed my outlook over the years.
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”
I was trying to remember the year I drove to Deadwood, SD and across Montana. Montana still had a “safe and reasonable” speed limit, and I thought that I would be in my element.
To the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese, he was known as “White Feather” for the feather he wore in his cap, and they had a $30,000 reward for him. They sent their own snipers to get him, and he killed them all.
One of their best, named The Cobra, had him in his sights 500 yards away, and Carlos Hathcock, seeing the flash of his scope lens through his own scope, fired a fraction of a second first.
His bullet went through the enemy’s scope, killing him. Five hundred yards and hitting a lens maybe an inch in diameter.
A number of Hollywood movies have used this as a scene, but only Hathcock really did it.
The SEAL’s own Chris Kyle, considered to be the deadliest sniper in military history, credited Carlos Hathcock as his inspiration.
In the upcoming weeks, I will probably get some time off and was going to travel overseas for a coupla weeks.
Always wanted to see Manaus for some reason. It was, before the 1920s, a true boom town . I envisioned seeing the opera house, where the world’s opera companies made the long journey up the Amazon to perform. People would send their laundry to Paris to be cleaned. Although perhaps my imagination was too detached as the population today is over 2 million. But the rubber boom, which died in the 1920s with the rapid development of more efficient rubber plantations in Southeast Asia, made Manaus for a time one of the richest cities in the world. The thought just came to me that for a time, Manaus was the Virginia City of South America.