Hurricane Katrina Ruined Radio Broadcasting in New Orleans

I was always interested in radio.

Starting at the age of eight going on nine, I listened to the radio regularly. From that age until the age of fifteen or sixteen, I mostly listened to stations that played Top 40 music.

Starting at age 15, I began to become interested in talk radio, though I didn’t start to listen to it on the regular until the Summer of 2003 at the age of sixteen and a half.

Part of this was a desire to experiment with AM radio and the other part of this, was because I was starting to think politically.

By the Fall of 2003, I was listening to talk radio more than music radio. I was then sixteen going on seventeen.

Because of many policies of the Bush Administration (2001-2009), I remember commenting in my World History Class that America had become “a police state.” I was echoing what former Libertarian Presidential Candidate Harry Browne, God rest his soul, said on his talk show. The teacher barked back saying that I “listen to too much talk radio.” He was right about me listening to too much talk radio, but, America during the Second Bush Administration had become very much like a Fascist police state. Do me a favor and read the 14 Points of Fascism and see for yourself. Another time, this same teacher personally went up to my desk and referred to the French as “cheese-eating surrender monkeys” because they refused to participate in the Iraq War. He durn well knew that nationality of my surname is French and he frequently made fun of it.

Okay, I may seem off topic but I’m going somewhere with this.

Between the time I started listening to talk radio in 2003 until late August of 2005, there was a lot of awesome talk radio content to choose from in the New Orleans market and even in adjoining markets.

A very wicked woman named Katrina ruined all of this and many other things. Some things have rebuilt themselves out of the ruins, but unfortunately, talk radio in New Orleans has not. Even most of the current content on WWL is pretty boring for someone like me.

In this piece, I will try to list the stations in the New Orleans market that was once very entertaining and informative but have since either gone dark or were converted to something more boring.

I think the best way to do this is to list by frequency. I will be going mostly by memory but I do have the assistance of good ole Wikipedia. Some stations are still in operation, but during that time I didn’t listen to them. Keep in mind that the period I am referencing for these stations is between June of 2003 and late August/early September 2005.

Here we go:

600 kHz WVOG-So I didn’t listen to this station until after I came to Christ in July of 2004. Afterward, I listened to it quite a bit until I began to backslide for the first time in March of 2005.

690 kHz WTIX/WIST (now WQNO)-I discovered this station in October of 2003 and it was carrying a show hosted by former Libertarian Presidential Candidate Harry Browne. The station had a feed from a radio network that carried other interesting shows. I wish I could remember the name of that network. Harry Browne came on every night at 10:00 PM Central Time but before Harry Browne came on, there was a show about astronomy that I would tune in while waiting for Harry Browne to come on. I almost began to cultivate an interest in astronomy just from listening to that show. At the top of every hour, there was a news broadcast from CNN Radio and at the time CNN was more moderate, very much unlike today. In April or May of 2004, the station became more conservative, which I was opposed to conservative values mostly because I had not yet come to Christ and I was young. Furthermore, I was staunchly against blindly following those in authority just because they were indeed in authority. It seems that so many around me blindly supported George W. Bush, no matter what, and I was appalled. The station began playing news broadcasts on the hour from Fox News, which I eschewed. Another thing I eschewed was so much dedication to sports on that station. There were still some talk programs but only aired while I was in school. One program that stayed on until maybe Katrina was a local show hosted by Gerry McCann who was an electronics technician in the New Orleans area. Seriously why can’t there be more shows like these? By the time Katrina did her evil deeds, I didn’t listen to this station. 690 kHz used to put out 20,000 Watts but now puts out less than 10,000 during the day and even less power at night. I’m not complaining at all because the station now carries catholic community radio and also some feeds from ewtn. I cannot endorse anything catholic anymore and maintain a clear conscience.

750 kHz KKNO-I received this station a couple of times whilst trying to receive WSB out of Atlanta, which is on the same channel.

800 kHz WSHO-I didn’t listen to this station until after coming back to Christ in late 2008, so I cannot comment much on what it was like pre-Katrina. I know now that I enjoy Christian music and some of the Bible studies aired on this station.

870 kHz WWL-my Dad listened to this station a lot all while I was growing up, especially during sporting events and whenever preparing for a hurricane. I discovered “Newswatch Magazine” hosted by David J. Smith on this station in the Summer of 2003 but didn’t listen to his show on the regular until the Spring of 2004. That show was a contributing factor in me having a mental breakdown in June of 2004 but that mental breakdown was also a major factor in making me realize that I am a sinner and therefore my need for Christ. I finally came to Christ in July of 2004. I always thought there was way too much sports programming on WWL and of course, I think sports are boring. This station was very helpful though in relaying information during and in the aftermath of Katrina. While I was with my family in Bossier City, Louisiana, they were wondering if they could find out what was going on in New Orleans. So after sunset, I was able to tune in to WWL and they were all amazed.

940 kHz WYLD-I never really listened to this station for any lengthy amount of time.

990 kHz WGSO-I could only catch this station sometimes and only on higher-end radios such as a car radio. I remember it being a business format. I also remember it carried the audio feed to WWL-TV newscasts.

1010 kHz WCKW-I never really listened to this station during that time and it was many times difficult to catch anyway.

1060 kHz WLNO-I did listen to this station quite a bit after coming to Christ in July 2004. In fact, it was on this station at some point in the Fall of 2004 that I was listening to Irwin Baxter’s program about the end times and it was through his program that the roman catholic church was exposed. He stated that the roman catholic church is indeed the great harlot mentioned in the 17th Chapter of Revelation. I didn’t take this too well since I was going to a catholic school at the time and because of my young and inexperienced Christian faith, this was a factor in my backsliding.

1230 kHz WBOK-I don’t ever recall listening to this station during that time, nor do I think the radios I had were sensitive enough to receive it.

1280 kHz WODT-I never had any reason to listen to this station at the time because it was a sports station and as I’ve mentioned before I think sports are boring.

1350 kHz WSMB (now WWWL)-I listened to this station extensively starting in the Spring of 2004 until some time in 2005. Besides WTIX/WIST I think this station was most adversely affected by Katrina. I initially started by listening to Coast to Coast AM on this station. Then I had a mental breakdown in June of 2004. I started listening to the radio again in the Fall of 2004. I remember shows such as “Dig In” with Chef Duke (the theme song was cool and catchy), The Phil Hendrie Show, and others. I listened to this station the most in April and May of 2005, then later secured my first job and didn’t have as much time for radio.

1400 kHz WFPR-I don’t recall even knowing about this station until I was doing my research for this piece.

1540 kHz KGLA (now WFNO)-I don’t speak or understand Spanish, so I never listened to this station.

1560 kHz WSLA-I’ve only caught this a handful of times during this period and when I did, it was almost always sports, so I quickly lost interest.

I could also list the FM stations but they change formats much more frequently than their AM counterparts. In my mid to late teens, I was more interested in talk radio than music radio because while Pop and Punk/Indie music was pretty good back then, there weren’t too many stations in my area that would play it. Most of the stations in my area that were supposed to play Top 40 music (including Pop and Punk/Indie) instead were playing more Rap music. And Rap music got stupid some time around late 2003 or early 2004. Amazingly around this time, Country music was pretty good, but I would listen to that genre on a station closer to me. Unfortunately now, and since about 2013, Country music has become stupid. The only current Pop artist that I am even remotely familiar with is Billie Eilish and while she’s very genuine, she can be weird at times, but maybe I am no longer into what is considered trendy. I never really was. In the late 2000s and throughout the 2010s decade Punk/Indie music was awesome but I’m ashamed to admit that I’m not familiar with any of their current hits. Rap, these days, is sometimes stupid yet some of it is funny too. I am most familiar with Contemporary Christian Music these days and I do indeed like it, which is amazing because there was a time I didn’t like it, yes even after becoming a Christian and years afterward. The genre of music that I liked most in my mid to late teen years was New Age because it did indeed help me early on as a writer. I have recently stopped listening to it because I am a Christian and such music hinders my relationship with Christ.

Okay, enough about my music tastes, this piece is supposed to be about how radio broadcasting in New Orleans was ruined after Katrina and has not recovered at all.

I wish there were some stations in the New Orleans market that carried talk shows about politics, history, science, technology, culture, the arts, literature, health, and other intelligent topics. And have them from diverse viewpoints, not just one. Sure there is WWNO which carries NPR for most of its broadcast cycle, but NPR is way too biased these days, unfortunately. I wish there were more stations to choose from. And I wish there weren’t so many sports stations, especially since there is hardly any other type of programming. New Orleans is a very culture-rich city and is the perfect home for visual artists, musicians, writers, and thinkers. The City is also a wonderful place for those in the medical and technology sectors. So I think the broadcasters owe good radio content to the people of New Orleans and those in the surrounding communities. I will admit that a lot of people do indeed love The New Orleans Saints and I certainly would want those people to have a medium for all topics concerning their team. We all know that there is a whole lot more to New Orleans than just sports. While I think sports are boring and pointless, I get that they make many people happy. Of course, these same people become irate if a bad call is made or their team does poorly, so I don’t see exactly how it makes them so happy. However, I’m all for the policy of to each his/her own. That’s the former Libertarian in me talking, I’ll admit that I still espouse many Libertarian ideals but since about 2019, I have been fiercely Moderate. And I’ve been all over the political spectrum throughout my life. I will also say that Christ not only helps form my current political views but He trumps all of my political views. With all that being said, I think that those like me ought to have a broadcast medium to cover our interests, I mean we once did in the days before Katrina, at least to some degree. Why can’t we have it again?

I know that I’m not that important but maybe there is a reader of this blog who will see this piece. And maybe he or she has plenty of influence and will use that influence to change the way radio broadcasting is done, not only in New Orleans but in all markets or at least the ones that are lacking.

It definitely would be nice to have the programming that was on par with that of WTIX-AM circa 2003.

I won’t hold my breath for it though.

I know that Internet Radio and streaming, in general, has probably taken a good bit of revenue from analog terrestrial radio, but I don’t see how programming on the latter in New Orleans has not yet recovered from Katrina when so many aspects of life in that City things have. I know there are others out there like myself, albeit somewhat few and far between. And it just seems we cannot band together.

For now, I have found other ways to enrich my mind and learn about what interests me. Unfortunately, it is rarely through local radio.

I guess this, therefore, concludes my piece on how radio broadcasting in New Orleans was ruined by Hurricane Katrina.

I hope that you, the reader, have been informed, enlightened, and maybe even entertained.

May God richly bless you.

Back to “Articles”

A Christian Family in Nazi Germany (inspired by a 1942 magazine picture)

Just for the record, I do not own the cropped image featured on this page. It originated from an American magazine in 1942 and the main message of the magazine image was that in America, as opposed to Nazi Germany, the people are allowed to listen to whichever broadcast they so choose and form their own opinion. They are also able to do so in their living room instead of a hideout. I cropped those details out, so the image would fit better on this page.

I’ve been told all my life, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” I find that statement to be entirely true. And not only that, God has given me a gift in which I can create stories by just looking at certain works of art. I began to utilize this gift around the age of 31 when I started my “Christmas in July” posts on Facebook and Instagram. I can also credit my Mom for helping me realize this gift because when I was a toddler, she would show me images in “The Reader’s Digest” and tell me stories about them on the spot.

So, I’ve been well aware of this image for some time now. For almost as long as I have been aware of it, I’ve wanted to turn it into a story detailing the lives of the four persons pictured:

It is my guess that they are in a secret hideout listening to an illegal radio which is capable of receiving foreign broadcasting services (definitely not a Volksempfänger AKA People’s Receiver.) They appear to be very troubled over the news they are hearing. In addition, their troubled facial expressions are also probably indicative of the fact that they are hyper-vigilant as to not get caught listening by the Gestapo…

The older gentleman on the far left is a skilled 60-year-old blacksmith living in Nazi-era Germany. He worked his way up from an apprentice and eventually obtained his own shop. Even though Germany has been a poor state from the end of World War 1 until the rise of Hitler, he has prospered because his business has several contracts to forge hand tools for those employed as electricians and telephone/telegraph linemen. Therefore, he is well established and has the money and connections to afford one of those sophisticated but illegal radios and furnish a hideout to secretly listen. At the beginning of World War 2, he was listening with his wife and daughter, they were all listening to a Christian broadcast and because of their uncertain future in addition to realizing their sinful conditions, they all gave their lives to Jesus Christ and subsequently began attending their local church. This gentleman has secretly been supporting underground churches financially and otherwise.

Next is the young lady, the blacksmith’s 25-year-old daughter. Up until recently was employed by their local church as a children’s Sunday School teacher. Their church has now gone underground, due to extensive persecution from the Nazi authorities. She realized that God had gifted her with the ability to teach and out of her love and dedication to Him decided to teach the very young of Germany in hopes that they too would come to Christ. Whilst attending the church, she met and fell in love with her future husband, a young minister and pastor’s assistant.

Further along is an older lady who is the blacksmith’s wife, a 52-year-old former socialite. She has been married for 36 years and was employed in her parents’ bakery since her early teens. Up until recently she and her siblings were still running it, where she was employed as the manager. The bakery was raided and shut down by the Gestapo as punishment for their kindness to Christians and Jews among other groups tormented by the Nazis. Because of her husband’s connections, she manages to escape further trouble but secretly uses her baking skills to provide food for the underground churches.

Finally, on the far right, is the bespectacled young gentleman, a 31-year-old Christian minister who up until recently was furthering his education and employed assisting the head pastor of the aforementioned church. A troubled child, he came to Christ in his late teens and subsequently felt the call to ministry, thus entering seminary. They met when he graduated with a Bachelor’s and had been appointed to this local church as the pastor’s assistant. There was an instant spark of mutual attraction between them, both physically and emotionally. Not long after, he began courting her. The young lady’s parents were impressed by his strong morals, eloquence, sobriety, and dedication to Christ that they were overjoyed when he asked for their permission to marry her. When the Nazis began persecuting The Church, they were quietly married and her family hid him from the Gestapo. From his hiding place, he would secretly write letters of encouragement to Christians who were scattered about and Gospel tracts for anyone who wished to know Christ. He also received secret cash payments for his ministry, to help support his young wife and his in-laws.

What will become of these four Christians?

Now, these people are definitely in love with their spouses.  For the younger couple, though, it is a much Greater Love in them that drew them to each other.  It is also that Greater Love that keeps the marital bonds of the older couple so strong.  This Greater Love is so powerful that it compels those who possess it to propagate it even under the threat of torture and death.  It is the Greatest Love there is and best of all it is available to all who accept it.  Furthermore it does not have the stringent prerequisites and conditions that carnal human love associates itself with.

Back to “Works of Fiction”

The Personal Crisis I Face whilst Listening to NPR

A recent personal conflict of mine is whether I should listen to NPR (National Public Radio) or not.

The local NPR stations that are available in my area are WWNO on 89.9 FM from The University of New Orleans and KTLN, its translator station on 90.5 FM which serves the Houma-Thibodaux Metro.

I do enjoy listening to that radio network because I find doing so enhances my vocabulary, therefore my writing. And not only that, I find it makes me more informed as an individual. It was through listening to NPR that I first discovered the Coronavirus back in January of 2020. I appreciate their science programs and some of their cultural programs as well.

Since my early thirties, I’ve also tried to be more civic-minded and involved in my community at all levels. NPR allows me to do this, at least at varying degrees.

NPR is very educational, entertaining, and informative. And best of all it is free. At the most, I have to pay for the radio receiver and the source of power. So it’s not free, but it is very cheap as opposed to other mediums of information and entertainment.

So, yes, listening to NPR does bring me a considerable deal of happiness and benefits.

…BUT…

I find some of their news reporting leads a little more to the left than they should. After all, NPR is supposed to serve the entire American public, not just certain factions.

Don’t get me wrong, throughout my thirty-four years on this planet (at the time I am writing this), I have been scattered across the political spectrum. Since the ages of thirty-two or thirty-three, though I would consider myself fiercely Moderate. All I’m going to say is that it was a combination of having disabilities, one of my romantic relationships, and just my strong sense of community in general that has made me more Moderate than I used to be. I espouse some Conservative values and I espouse some Liberal values as well. But there are a few Conservative values I eschew, likewise, there are some Liberal values I equally eschew. As I’ve stated before, I know, as a Christian that we live in a flawed, fallen, and imperfect world. There is no getting around it and there are certain judgments that God has placed in this world and humanity. What I have noticed in recent years is that Liberals try to completely remove God’s judgments while Conservatives try to exacerbate God’s judgments. Both of these tactics would be considered playing God in my book and they are both going to have to answer to Him for it.

Okay, so I think I have established my position on my Moderate political stance.

I’m not trying to just attack Liberals in this piece, but I will point out that NPR tends to be more Liberal than Conservative, especially in recent years. Ideally, NPR should not be Conservative, Moderate, or Liberal. NPR should be apolitical, especially because it is meant to serve all of America.

I find the said radio network was especially harsh on the recent Trump administration.

On a Wednesday evening in late January or early February 2020, I had finished listening to NPR for a sizeable portion of the day. They were consistently badmouthing the president at the time.

So, I walked to my church and was waiting for everyone else to arrive so we could have our Prayer Meeting and Bible Study.

At the time I was EDCing a compact Bible and its translation was The Christian Standard Bible.

I was reading that Bible and came across Proverbs Chapter 31 Verse 3, “Don’t spend your energy on women or your efforts on those who destroy kings.”

Immediately I felt the strong Conviction of The Holy Ghost come upon me for listening to NPR earlier that day.

Like most of the American media, NPR had an agenda to destroy the Trump administration.

Now when that scripture was written, the only types of heads of state were kings. Donald Trump was certainly not a king, but I can safely say that the Bible does not endorse destroying any other sort of world leader, no matter how unpopular. The 13th Chapter of Romans will back this belief of mine up, by the way.

Thus began my crisis over whether or not I should listen to NPR.

I know I am a Moderate and a Christian and most American Christians tend to be staunchly pro-Conservative and equally anti Liberal.

I think this is because conservatives tend to be more espoused to Biblical principles, protect religious freedom and they are also mostly Christian, whereas Liberals tend to be more humanist, are not in favor of all religious freedoms and some have been known to persecute Christians in diverse ways.

I’ve mentioned previously in lesser detail how a goal/fantasy of mine is to be married to a super-sized lady and living in a neighborhood that is gentrifying. We would spend our days reading or writing and listening to NPR, to be more informed and to provoke more creativity. Likely we would have a daughter who sings in the school choir. And we would be a civic-minded family in general. I still think of this as a goal and fantasy, but I’m more hesitant about it after I received Divine Conviction about listening to NPR. Also, I am quite single at the moment, but I would still definitely want to be married to a super-sized lady and eventually have children with her. God has shown me very certain attributes about my future spouse, by the way, and I know I just need to wait on Him to bring her into my life.

I’ve seen media sway the political minds of other family members of mine, on both sides of the spectrum.

NPR could even sway my mind if I still listened to it as much as I have in the past.

As a Christian, the only Liberal policies I can truly get behind are those that are meant to protect the vulnerable amongst us, but doing so without a hidden agenda!

By the way, I think I discovered NPR sometime in 2005 and I had listened to it at length for the first time in December of 2005. I had a pocket-sized radio and was sitting on the outside balcony of a public library. It was late afternoon and the skies were overcast. Still, the atmosphere was enough to be tremendously inspiring. And at the time I was on medication that crippled most of my emotions, yet I was still inspired. I don’t remember any of the content of what I had heard that day, but it was still powerful enough to lift my mood and make me more lively, despite all these artificial chemical restraints! I’m not sure what made me stop listening to NPR, but I wouldn’t listen to it again until the Summer of 2017 while doing laundry in the afternoon. During that Summer, I would frequently listen to NPR while sitting on the back porch of a friend. My then-wife-now-ex-wife would be inside watching television. It was a peaceful time in my otherwise stressful marriage. Usually, I would listen to the afternoon program, “All Things Considered.” By the way, she would get angry if I tried to listen to it on my car radio while she was riding with me. I would listen to NPR on the regular whenever I could. In May of 2018, I moved into my current residence, but it is difficult to catch my local NPR station because a nearby FM transmitter bleeds all over most of my radio dials. And even if I could catch it, this constant talk about Coronavirus and other unpleasant issues these days makes it very depressing and hard to listen to. It’s not like it was in 2017 and before!

All in all, I wish I could get in touch with someone who influenced NPR and tells him or her that maybe they would have more listeners if they tried to serve the entire American public instead of just pandering to liberals like the rest of the mainstream media. NPR is supposed to be of a higher caliber than that and therefore should at least try to do better. Imagine if they fairly and accurately reported the news and still did their educational pieces how much listenership they could gain! I won’t hold my breath though. It took Divine Conviction from The Holy Ghost to call me out on listening to NPR and therefore it will take Divine Intervention on a massive scale to make NPR better for everyone.

Until then I wish there was a comparable broadcasting service that was available on the scale that NPR is and truly served all of its listeners.

I guess this, therefore, concludes my piece on the crisis I face for listening to NPR.

I hope that you, the reader, have been informed, entertained, and maybe even enlightened.

May God richly bless you!

Back to “Personal Reflections”

Garrity Flashlights have Fallen from Grace

Just for the record, I do not own the featured image.

It is the property of Smart Brands International.

I like the old school Garrity image with the sunburst better, but I chose to use their current logo because this piece is about how Garrity has fallen from grace.

I associate their old sunburst logo with their glory days, the likes of which we will probably never see again.

So, for the past few weeks, I have been romanticizing the flashlights that were on the market during the mid-2000s decade.

I had been highly fascinated by flashlights as a child, but then suppressed the interest in my teens years due to fear of harassment by peers for liking them.

In 2005, I realized that flashlights are indeed cool, and no longer did I care if someone was to harass me for liking flashlights. The strange thing is, no one harassed me like they did in grade school simply for liking flashlights and some even joined me in my flashlight hobby.

I guess that is why I am currently romanticizing the flashlights made during the mid-2000’s decade, because it was the time in my life when I finally mustered up the courage to embrace what I love, no matter what anyone else thought.

Also, there were some very nice flashlights on the market at this time.

It was a time of heated battle between the light bulb and the LED. During this particular time, the light bulb was still winning, at least in terms of brightness, throw and color temperature.

Spoiler Alert: Several years later (in about 2012 or so) the LED would ultimately win all of these categories except in terms of being EMP proof.

So lately, I’ve been looking at flashlight company websites that were archived in The Wayback Machine between 2004 and 2007.

This activity has provided me with hours of entertainment and reminiscing.

There are three companies of which I had been extensively looking at archived versions of their websites:

…Maglite…
…Streamlight…
…AND…
…Garrity…

I had known about Garrity and Maglite since about 1998, but wouldn’t learn of Streamlight until October 24, 2004, when I saw their Stinger flashlight being sold at the then newly opened Academy Sports and Outdoors. I wouldn’t own one of their lights until some time in 2009. I actually was tempted to purchase a Streamlight Junior (the Xenon version) in January of 2006 but forewent the purchase and now I could kick myself for not seizing that opportunity. It is now discontinued and extremely rare now. At the moment I currently EDC the LED version of the Streamlight Junior and have done so since January of 2019. Academy used to sell some awesome flashlights in those days, not so much now, but I digress.

In this piece, I will focus on Garrity and how they have fallen from grace probably worse than any other flashlight company out there.
Change my mind!

Maglite has seen its ups and downs but as of now, they are making some fairly nice flashlights.

Likewise, Streamlight has always been awesome and in 2021, they are cooler than ever, though I wish they would bring back some of their vintage models just for old time sake. Plus I didn’t know about Streamlight until I was 17, so I wish they could bring back some of those vintage products just to give their more recent fans a taste of their original glory!

Garrity, on the other hand, used to be such a wonderful company, but now they are pretty pathetic. All of their current and designs look and feel flimsy. Their brightness is only marginal, especially when compared against Eveready/Energizer, their most similar competitor.

From the 1980s until about 2007, though, Garrity was making some pretty nice flashlights and it seemed they had a model for just about every market.

I do remember growing up how a lot of the men in my neighborhood had a Garrity Tuff Lite (the 1990s version.) By the way, the most recent incarnation of the Tuff Lite is pathetic, but the 1980s and 1990s versions of the Tuff Life were probably one of the best consumer flashlights out there. Their Krypton bulbs seemed to cast out such a pure white beam, even when used with simple cheap Carbon Zinc or Carbon Zinc Chloride (don’t let the phrase Heavy Duty fool you) batteries. I was given one for Christmas in 1998 and I still have it though, I need to do some restoration on it. The same quality was with their Rugged Lite series, which was introduced in 1994 but sadly discontinued sometime in 2004. That, by the way, was my favorite flashlight before I discovered tactical flashlights. My favorite version was the yellow 2AA model, which I first bought in June of 1998. I had a 4AA Garrity Touch ‘N’ Lite in my closet as a preteen. When I decided to permanently carry a flashlight on me (May 5, 2005), the model of my choice was a Garrity K009, which was a compact, almost tactical 3AAA LED flashlight that came bundled with a Nylon carrying pouch as well as red and blue lens filters. When I acquired my first job, later on in May of 2005, I EDCed a Garrity A300G. That was a 2AA Aluminum flashlight with a Xenon bulb. It was slightly similar to a Mini Maglite but sold for a few dollars cheaper. It is also probably the closest I will ever get to a Xenon Streamlight Junior! Those who know about the bulbs both of these flashlights take will get my reference…

So, if you, the reader, haven’t figured it out yet, Garrity holds a special place in my heart. Likewise, it breaks my heart to see them market these inferior flashlights that they are producing as of lately

Garrity flashlights were once sold at retailers such as Ride Aid, Wal*Mart, K*Mart, True Value, West Marine, and many truck stops.

Throughout my twenties, I had acquired many Garrity flashlights, mostly as new-old-stock at some of these retailers or on eBay.

In January of 2007, I bought a GTech LED at Wal*Mart whilst pulling an all-nighter and going out on a drive with my then-girlfriend, now ex-wife.

In the Fall of 2007, Garrity was doing remakes of some of their classic products and selling them at The Ruble, I mean, The Dollar General and The Family Dollar. I was able to get some Tuff Lites which were almost identical to the 1990s versions.

In 2011, on two separate occasions, my then-wife, now ex-wife bought me a Garrity G-Tech Floating Lantern on clearance at West Marine. When I left her, in January of 2018, I gave them back to her. Don’t get me wrong, they were built very well and they could sure cast a very sharp beam, but I was feeling a mixture of guilt and pride when I left her, and I didn’t want to keep anything she gave me aside from a pair of work boots.

I will say that while my marriage to this woman was faulty, there were some good times.

I now think that it was brain damage due to complications from her hydrocephalus that altered her personality and made her so mean.

There’s only so much I could take and in my defense, I stood by her for almost eight years after she sustained the brain damage.

Also in 2011, after seeing me post so much about it, a fellow member on CandlepowerForums mailed me a Garrity Mini Rugged Lite, which I have on my desk while I am typing this piece.

In 2013 and 2015, I purchased an iBeam 6 Volt Floating Lantern from Rite Aid. The green lantern from 2013 was NOS but the blue lantern from 2015 was brand new as Garrity had been revived. The former was better than the latter.

In 2016, I purchased an LED Tuff Lite, on eBay, thinking it would be great, but it broke a few days later, with only gentle use.

It was about that time when I realized that while Garrity had been revived, these new products were inferior.

I don’t understand how a company that once made some pretty nice flashlights now makes pee poor flashlights.

Take for example their current product line (and my scathing commentary):

9 LED 3AAA Flashlight: This is just a rebadged mass-produced cheap flashlight that would normally sell for $1 apiece but the price is jacked up a few more dollars because the name Garrity is on it. Don’t tighten the tailcap too much or it will crack!

2AA/2D Value Lite: This design of this flashlight was stolen from a similar flashlight that Energizer made in the early 2000s. Since Garrity or whoever owns them at this point wants to bring back designs from that era, how about using their own instead?

Navigator 2AA LED Flashlight: This is nothing more than a rebadged Duracell Voyager. It’s a fairly decent light but why can’t Garrity be more original like they once were?

Rugged LED Flashlight: This one is an abomination and personal to me! First of all, this is simply a rebadged Duracell Industrial. It will never be as cool as the original Garrity Rugged Lite of the 1990s which was my favorite flashlight as a child! Furthermore, if it is built like the Duracell Industrial, then it will crack all-too-easily. Seriously, why couldn’t Garrity have built it like their Rugged Lite of bygone times and simply fit it with a PR based LED module? Oh, right that would make too much sense and maybe make too many people happy!

Trailblazer LED Flashlight: This may be the only [halfway] decent flashlight in their product line. I cannot complain about the specs, but I wonder exactly how rugged this flashlight is and what grade of Aluminum is used in its construction. Furthermore, why can’t it be anodized with a black finish? Finally, I think the switch boot sticks out a bit too much.

G-Tech 2D LED Flashlight: This looks nothing like the original G-Tech and if my memory serves me correctly this current design was stolen from Rayovac. Just for the record, sorry folks, there is no cool multi-tool hidden inside either!

LED Touch ‘N Lite: A modern twist on a classic. Well, except I think since it has LEDs instead of a KPR bulb the run time of just 16 hours could be significantly improved, but what do I know?

LED Work Light Penlight: A cross between a rebadged Duracell Daylite and a knockoff of one of Streamlight’s penlights? Again, Garrity used to have their own independent and original ideas! Now they feel the need to take from others just to stay relevant? What is even more agonizing is that this excuse for a flashlight puts out a measly 45 Lumens for only 1 hour despite running on 2 AAA batteries. Those poor specs were never acceptable.

60 Lumen Headlamp: Here we have Garrity trying hard but failing to be like Streamlight. I mean it would be a pretty neat light if the design were Garrity’s original work and it was 2006, not 2021!

ibeam100 Headlamp: Looks original, indeed, but flimsy. Probably would only be useful in a corporate or academic setting for a facility director doing close up work. However, it only has one output setting and that is 100 Lumens which would likely be inappropriate for most close-up work.

Tuff MP: A multipurpose (as the MP initials suggest) two in one flashlight. I must say, this actually looks original but is neither cool nor tuff (sic.) It looks just as flimsy as almost anything else Garrity makes these days.

ibeam LED Lantern: This is certainly nothing like their original iBeam lanterns. In fact, this design was stolen from Rayovac. Gosh durnit, Garrity, couldn’t you have retained the original iBeam design and maybe just fitted it with a nice PR LED module?

LED Safety Keylite: I must admit that this looks neat and original, but the good looks don’t compensate for the shoddy performance. It gives off a measly 12 Lumens on a single AAA battery. Maybe, just maybe if it were constructed of metal instead of plastic not only could it be more rugged but a more powerful LED engine could be used. But that would mean making flashlights that are actually nice.

LED LifeLite: The website claims new and improved. I smell bovine droppings! First of all, this light gives off only 53 Lumens despite being driven by the equivalent of 3AA batteries. Secondly, it only runs for 9 hours, then it must be chucked. Not very green at all! Actually, in 2015 whatever company makes flashlights for the Wal*Mart brand Ozark Trail borrowed this idea and managed to improve on it by instead offering it to be run on 3 replaceable AA batteries, but with the otherwise same form factor.

That, my friends, is a list of all the flashlights currently made under the Garrity name.

Please know that while I at times felt pretty smug and even witty in writing these not so nice reviews, that I am heartbroken and tremendously disappointed that a flashlight company that I once loved in my childhood is now, this heartless soul-less conglomerate with cheesy knock-offs.

I don’t know what goes on in these board rooms but whatever the case it is neither wise nor fruitful. Consumers are more informed than ever these days and they now know a sub-par flashlight when they see one. If Garrity would start making flashlights like they did before this proverbial fall from grace and incorporated modern LED technology, then they just might be restored to their former glory. I won’t hold my breath for that though. While I may be respected amongst the flashlight community, these directors in these board rooms don’t give a single durn about what I have to say.

Well because of that, they have lost a once faithful and loyal customer.

Furthermore, those of you who know me well enough know how much I love flashlights and equally know that if I am saying anything ill about a flashlight, I am not taking any pleasure in my words.

I would have liked to elaborate more on this, but maybe I will in the form of fiction quite possibly about a young couple honeymooning in a lakeside cottage and enjoying some alone time by the light of a vintage Garrity lantern on a stormy late afternoon. I could incorporate a Radio Shack Weather Cube and some other cool gadgets as well! Radio Shack is another company I loved that fell from grace by the way.

UPDATE May 2021:  I did indeed write such a story.  The Garrity product of which I imagined to be used in this story is a model number K013G, which is a 4 LED lantern with SMART LITEZ 5-Function switch.  I never owned that model, but I think it does indeed look cool, especially the translucent red model.  And, yes, there is also a Weather Cube featured.

Here is a link to that story.

All in all, this concludes my piece.

I hope you, the reader, have been informed…

Thank you for reading and God bless.

Back to “Articles I have Written”

 

 

Thoughts and Humor on Communism and Government Subsidized Housing

So, since the Spring of 2020, I had begun to liken the apartment complex in which I currently reside as I am writing this piece to a Communist or Soviet State. I have also begun to create jokes about the complex I formerly resided in with my then, now ex-wife. I do this only in jest and mean no harm or malice of it, whatsoever. Those of you who know me in person, know very well that I am immensely grateful that I have a safe and affordable place of my own. They also know that I feel a strong sense of community with my complex and my fellow tenants. They have become closer than my biological family, literally! Many of them are also part of my Blood Washed Heavenly Family, praise God! If I ever move out and purchase a home of my own, I want it to be near this complex so I can still visit everybody daily!

I don’t go public with my political humor too much, but I think one will appreciate the complexity that it took for me to come up with these jokes and how I was inspired to create them.

I have so far lived in two subsidized apartment complexes because as of now, the amount I get from my disability pension cannot cover most market-rate rent prices in addition to my other necessary living expenses. I truly believe that it is personal greed that is driving up the cost of housing and it is also what makes Communism or Socialism appear so attractive to many people within my age group. Some folks my age have to work two and three jobs just to make rent. Anyone that can think should be able to see why so many young people are angry about this. I mean, so many people are working their best years away at jobs for which they are overqualified and underpaid and therefore have little to nothing to show for it. They also have little time to no time to do what they enjoy. Such an existence is unbearably miserable. Such an existence turns citizens into serfs and even borderline slaves. Such an existence makes Communism and/or Socialism look relieving, refreshing, and even prosperous!

Now, for every record, I am certainly not advocating Communism or Socialism, but I do believe there should be access to affordable housing for everyone. Home ownership for all or at least much more than currently would be nice as well. Unfettered Capitalism does stand in the way of these desires tremendously. That is a fact! Unfettered Capitalism can and will eventually bring back the feudal system. People in my age group are afraid of this because they will lose even more.

Still, I don’t think that the have-nots ought to use lethal or even brutal force to take what they want or even need away from the haves, which in essence is Communism and also some strains of Socialism. I am neither condoning nor endorsing anyone who suggests taking what is not rightfully theirs, whether in reality or just morally, by force. There are more peaceful and, yes, even godly alternatives. We need cooperation and compromise from both sides. We most of all need both sides to help each other and to understand each other. Wicked people in high places want the exact opposite though. These wicked people want to incite a class war and race war and war, in general, to overthrow what is currently in place and establish the most oppressive government ever. It will be even worse than the darkest, bleakest dystopian novel ever written.

My biggest complaint about Communism and Socialism is that in many aspects and executions of the two, they are in direct conflict with my Christian Faith! My next biggest complaint about Communism and Socialism is that they have failed almost every time they were implemented and in places where they still succeed is only due to outside Capitalist influence and support. I believe with all my heart that my biggest complaint about these nefarious economic policies is the cause of my second biggest complaint about them.

And government-subsidized housing is indeed a Socialist policy/practice, but it helps millions of people tremendously, myself included.

Still, there are certain aspects of government-subsidized housing, that make it only attractive to those who have no other choices.

So I began to make jokes about how the apartment complexes in which I resided were like miniature Communist countries.

Let me back up to July of 2017. As some of you who have followed me on social media for a lengthy amount of time, you will know that I frequently poke fun at the Dollar General chain of retailers by referring to it as “The Ruble General.” I came up with this joke while wanting to make some groceries for my dinner. I specifically wanted some pickled beets to have as a side dish. So I drove to the local Dollar General hoping to find a can or jar of pickled beets. There were none. Not only that, the said store was out of several other grocery items of which I had intended to purchase. Then there were long lines and cluttered aisles. So I got back to my then friend’s house and posted to Facebook how I thought the Dollar General should be called The Ruble General because shopping there is very similar to shopping in the Former Soviet Union and/or all of the Sattelite States. I had been listening to NPR all afternoon, that day and there’s something about NPR that fuels my creativity. For those of you who didn’t know, the Ruble was the official unit of currency for The Soviet Union. The Ruble was to the USSR what the Dollar is to The USA and various other sovereign states. So, it has become one of my trademark jokes to refer to The Dollar General as The Ruble General.

Well, my back is starting to hurt, so I just took a muscle relaxer and chased it with some ginger ale. In the recent weeks and months, my lower back pain has been getting worse, so I sought medical attention for it, after being in tremendous pain while doing a task as simple as reformatting my neighbor’s laptop. Therefore, my physician prescribed me a muscle relaxer known as Baclofen. I’m too afraid to take anything stronger, or something with narcotic properties nor do I think I need such a pill, to begin with. I’ve seen how pain pills ruin lives and cause more problems than they solve. Therefore, I shall avoid them for as long as I can. My two favorite activities are going to church and writing. And sadly it is during those two activities that my back pain acts up the worst.

So, moving on, I will also admit that I have a fascination with and even an admiration for the Polish electrician turned politician, ultimately the first president of Post-communist Poland, namely, Lech Walesa. I truly believe he is an honest man, a family man, and an ethical man. I had first learned about him during my Sophomore year of high school while reading ahead in my World Geography book. I read about how his Solidarity campaign brought down Communism in Poland and eventually contributed to the entire collapse of the USSR! Like any good man, there will be those opposed to him and try to ruin his name, but I don’t believe the lies said about him. What is amazing is that his motives behind starting Solidarity were to be able to feed his family. He was a hardworking marine electrician who loved his wife and children and likely did his best to provide for them. Therefore, he was infuriated by the rising food prices in Poland that a worker’s wages did not keep up with. See, Communism did not and does not solve this inflation problem! Likely, inflation is inherent to all economic systems. So, he positively channeled his fury and frustrations and started what would become Solidarity on the grounds of the shipyard at which he was employed. All in all, I had partially forgotten about him after I completed World Geography and turned in my textbook. But then in my very early thirties, I began to read more extensively about him, through online sources. There were pictures of the insides of the apartments in which he resided. I was quite amused when I observed how the living room of one of his residences was strikingly similar to the living room of the apartment that I shared with my then-wife, now ex-wife. By the way, Lech Walesa is still happily married and his strong marriage puts my faulty former marriage to shame by a factor of about (6^6)! Just so you know I chose the number 6 because he is about 6 years older than his wife and I am the same age as my now ex-wife. One thing I have since learned about relationships is that couples with an age difference get along much better than couples who are very close in age. Case in point, Donald Trump is about twenty-four years older than his current wife and say what you want about him, but they appear to have a very solid marriage and they are raising a brilliant son! I could go on about this, but there are more important matters to cover in this piece. I may, someday, write more extensively about how couples with an age difference get along better than couples without an age difference. By the way, it doesn’t matter if the man or woman is older, I’ve observed happy and solid relationships in both scenarios.

And look at that, I’m just realizing my back has stopped hurting! This Baclofen treatment does indeed work, God be praised!

It was late one evening in the Spring of 2020, that inspirations for my jokes of referring to my apartment complex as a miniature Communist country started to develop. I was doing laundry in the laundromat and was also listening to a new portable scanner, which I had recently purchased. It is the entry-level Whistler handheld model, the WS1010. It is a far descendant of the Radio Shack Pro-32. I had also installed a high performance, multi-band antenna on it, in hopes to pull in signals better than the pathetic stock antenna. On that evening, I was particularly interested in trying to see if there was any traffic on a certain VHF Low Band frequency that was licensed to the Waterford 3 Nuclear Power Plant. Granted, it is located about fifty miles from where I was, but I am very much aware of how VHF Low Band Signals travel quite farther than their higher frequency counterparts. The frequency I had in my scanner, by the way, was 37.46 MHz. It was assigned to Entergy for use at the aforementioned power plant, but I just checked the FCC records a few minutes ago and couldn’t find it. And I ashamedly admit that I failed to maintain a Christian vocabulary when I couldn’t find it. All in all, I was trying to see if I could hear any traffic on that frequency during that Spring evening. There was none. However, my mind wanders at times and when it does, it sometimes brings forth creativity. The such happened on that evening. I began thinking of the fact that I was trying to listen in on the operations of a nuclear power plant. A younger me would have associated this with The Simpsons, but my current (age 28 to present) self began to think about Chernobyl instead. I pondered extensively about it. Then I began to realize how this apartment complex in which I reside does indeed have some very Soviet qualities. At some point, I had decided to scan other channels in that scanner and picked up a signal from The Feds, but it was sadly encrypted, or at the very least encoded, and the scanner I was using is an analog-only model. But the thoughts of how I feel like I am living in a Communist country, albeit a very benevolent one, while I am in this complex began to multiply. They brewed for a few months. At some point in very late August or early September, I began to refer to my apartment complex as: “The People’s Republic of [insert complex name here.]” I won’t say the name of my complex on this blog, because of my safety. And also for the safety of my neighbors.

I was driving a friend around and had to stop by my apartment to pick up something and he commented on how the buildings in the complex do appear very Soviet. I don’t see how, but to a degree, I trust his judgment. Although, I think he may be confusing Soviet architecture with 1980s architecture in general. Of course, there were numerous housing projects constructed in the Soviet Union during the early 1980s. All in all, I ask my Christian friends to pray fervently for his salvation. He is highly intelligent on diverse subjects and equally skilled in many things that which I value. In fact, he too, for most of his working life was a marine electrician just like Lech Walesa, but also was employed in road construction, as a freight train conductor and most recently, a corporate chauffeur. He holds the highest amateur radio license there is, can build complicated antenna systems and is an avid model railroader. He is one of my biggest supporters as far as my creativity goes, he laughs at my jokes more than anyone else and also more than anyone else, aside from The Lord Himself, has helped me tremendously whilst I was going through a divorce. However, he lacks what is most important of all, namely: Jesus Christ. His lack of Christ and flat-out refusal to come to Him is starting to cause issues in my spiritual life. If that weren’t bad enough, he either shuts down and lately has become hostile when I talk about my faith. If it gets any worse, I am going to have to make a choice between him and Christ, and I know I must needs choose Christ.

Because of the highly unreliable nature of our complex’s laundry equipment, these machines frequently eat our money. This is overwhelmingly frustrating, especially since the majority of us living here are indeed on government pensions and therefore our incomes are limited. I made a joke out of it by saying, “Oh well, the laundry machines are eating our money again, I must inform the Politburo at once!” From those of whom I was brave enough to tell that joke, I received plenty of laughs. Politburo is an Anglicized spelling of a Slavic portmanteau of the words, Political Bureau. Certain Slavic words are amazingly similar to English words and my theory behind that is much of modern English has words that are derived from Greek and Latin, as do Slavic languages. So, every Communist state has a Politburo. Actually, the phrase of “…must inform the Politburo…” is from Goldeneye when MI6 agent James Bond meets with Soviet Defence Minister Dimitri Minshkin in the Saint Petersburg National Archives about General Arkady Orumov indeed being a traitor to the USSR, and which Minshkin tells Bond of how he “must inform the Politburo.” Well, Goldeneye is one of my favorite movies, and the video game, namely for the Nintendo 64 console is my all time favorite video game. By the way, I’m highly amused on how my Ruger LCP II appears quite similar in appearance to James Bond’s PP7 or Walther PPK, depending on the movie or video game, and has the same ammunition capacity, assuming one is using a standard magazine clip. My next gun will hopefully be a Ruger LCR in .38 Special! By the way, speaking of firearms, the overwhelming majority of Communist countries and also countries with significant Socialist tendencies are notorious for flat out banning the civilian ownership of firearms. There are wicked people here in The States that have this nefarious practice in their agenda, too, I won’t lie.

My back pain is slightly coming back. If it gets worse, I will take another Baclofen and likely once again, chase it with some ginger ale. It may not seem like I have written much in this piece and, it’s true, I haven’t, but it is taking me the course of several hours to get this piece done. It was actually in the neighborhood of about two hours ago that I took my last Balclofen and it was over twenty-four hours previous to that when I took the one prior. I’m allowed to take three pills in a twenty-four-hour period and as of now, that is more than enough.

So I ended up taking another Baclofen because the back pain was getting slightly more than I could bear and I do want to get this piece finished. And, yes I chased it with some ginger ale. I like both Schweppes and Canada Dry, by the way. I will admit that I was afflicted with a mild case of Covid in late July and early August of 2020. But because of prayers most of all and but also highly aggressive treatment, I survived and am back to normal save coughing a little more than I used to do! Yes, God be praised, indeed! Before this bout with Covid, I drank Wild Cherry Pepsi, those of you who have been reading this blog since the earlier days and those of you who follow me on social media are very well aware of this. However, during my quarantine, a family member delivered me some groceries, one of them was a case or two of ginger ale and I have since been hooked on it. Ginger ale is indeed an acquired taste, but once acquired it is a very refreshing soft drink! I suppose I could write more about my experiences with Covid, but if I do, that piece will trump this piece in terms of controversy and I don’t think the world is ready for it! Anyway, I’m just waiting for this Baclofen to kick in and do its wonders so I can focus on concluding this piece.

Durnit, my back is still very tight at the moment, but I am going to try and press on.

So our complex has its own sewerage treatment plant. Those who live in closer proximity to it, are subjected to the highly offensive odor of Hydrogen Sulfide. I’m not sure as to why but as of lately that smell has been very present in the complex. If that weren’t enough, a day or two ago, an alarm was incessantly blaring at the sewerage treatment plant. I won’t pretend to know why our sewerage plant has an alarm. I know little to nothing about it, actually. A younger me would be fascinated by it and would naturally want to check it out, but my current self doesn’t want to be accused of tampering with it and risking eviction. All in all, I decided to make a joke, which went along the lines of, “Oh no, our sewer plant has been infiltrated, I need to contact the Politburo about this at once!” Those whom I told this joke to in person were in hysterics. I could have elaborated more on that by claiming that the sewerage treatment plant was infiltrated by either a spy, the special forces unit of an opposing state, or insurgents and if the alarm goes off again, I just might elaborate more!

The only hint I will give about my complex is that a Dollar General is situated right next to it. Dollar General is known for setting up its stores in low-income areas. I could write some jokes just about that, but, when one gets to thinking about it, they’re not funny. They would, in essence, be making light of the fact that a greedy corporate giant taking advantage of the vulnerable and impoverished, all to turn a greater profit. In reality, I don’t have any complaints about this particular Dollar General and I shop there almost every day. I’m sure all of the workers know me and I would hope they would find me to be a friendly and respectful customer. Well, around the same time, the alarm for the sewer was going off, the transformer that is dedicated to electrical service for the Dollar General next door had malfunctioned and the store was without power for about a day. Of course, this was gold material for my type of humor and I started cracking jokes along these lines, “Well, The Ruble General that serves The People’s Republic of [insert complex name here] has experienced a power cut and now we the people cannot buy groceries or supplies. Can the Politburo do anything about this?” As part of CYB purposes, the management at this Dollar General disposed of all frozen and/or perishable foods that could have spoiled due to a lack of adequate refrigeration. I personally know of people who took those foods from the trash bin and I praise God that they were able to get some food for free and that it didn’t go to waste. This sadly happens a lot more in a truly Communist country such as Venezuela and I won’t make light of it, because it’s not funny. Guess what, though: Communism does not solve the ills of humanity! Many times, it only exacerbates them, and I believe this is so because it attempts to remove God from anything and everything. The Bible says, though, “God is not mocked.” By the way for those of you who are curious, that statement is made in Galatians 6:7, and yes I am taking it out of context, but the statement is still very true, regardless. And, yes, I spent a good deal of this piece mocking Communism but in the earlier parts, I pointed out why it is becoming popular again. I’d like to think though, that I also pointed you, the reader, towards God, through Christ.

We are more divided than ever and instead of cooperating and compromising, we want to kill or at least maim each and all those who are diverse from ourselves. Who can solve this mess we’re in? Only one, of course: Jesus Christ! Whether you like it or not! But, consider following Him and if you do, you shall not be disappointed!

Yes, I know this piece is more controversial than what you, the reader, are used to when you read my blog and I apologize if you have been offended. If you were indeed offended, at least I made you think, right? Maybe even provoked the types of thought that bring forth growth? However, if you, got any laughs at all from this piece, then kudos to you, and thank you. Most of those with whom I shared these jokes in real life were laughing quite a bit.

I hope to continue posting material for my blog, and I know I haven’t been posting as frequently as I ought to, but I’ve just been busy forming communal bonds with people in real life. But I do appreciate each one of you that reads my work!

My Baclofen hasn’t kicked in yet and I realize it is getting near 3:00 AM in my part of the world as I write this, so I need to take other medications as well. Actually, it is now closer to 4:00 AM after editing and fine-tuning my grammar. Likely it will be near 5:00 AM by the time I post this piece!

I think, though, I have gotten my point across nicely and I sincerely hope that you, the reader, have been informed as well as entertained.

May God richly bless you!

Back to “Personal Reflections”

Celebrating God’s Divine Providence

At the age of seventeen and a half, I came into a relationship with God through saving faith in Jesus Christ.

My life has been improving overall since, although there have been some ups and downs.

Even prior to my coming into this sacred relationship, I recognized where God has watched over me and provided for me every time I needed help in some way shape, or form.

He started drawing me some time at the age of fifteen going on sixteen and I fully realized everything in July of 2004 at the age of seventeen and a half. I surrendered to The Gospel and therefore put my faith in Christ at that very moment. It took a life of rebellion and defiance and finally a mental breakdown before I had accepted The Gospel.

Even after salvation, though my life is far from perfect. It will never be perfect, at least not on this side of Glory!

But, God has met every one of my earthly needs and always in His perfect timing.

He also grants the appropriate desires of my heart, especially when I delight myself in Him.

I know I could never make it without Him, in this life and especially the next!

Some years ago, I was sitting in church and the Pastor/Teacher was preaching on the even when Jesus Christ miraculously fed five thousand men and many more women and children. That particular event is recorded in every Biblical Gospel narrative.

For those who want to read them; the Scripture references of this miracle are:
Matthew Chapter 14 Verses 13 through 21.
Mark Chapter 6 Verses 31 through 44.
Luke Chapter 9 Verses 12 through 17.
John Chapter 6 Verses 1 through 14.

The Pastor/Teacher went on to say how the five loaves of bread were the size of pistolettes or maybe dinner rolls and the two small fish were likely sardines. He went on to say that likely the young boy’s mother had given them to eat while he went out and about. It was a meal that was easily transportable, even while on foot. In other words, the loaves of bread were not like the size of a loaf of sliced bread one buys at a modern grocer and the two small fish were sardines which are indeed quite small. This meal likely could not hold up a grown man, much less five thousand men and at least just as many women and children maybe more. Calorie needs in those times were likely more than they were now because life, in general, was much more physically demanding. But Jesus using Divine power was able to multiply the fish and bread to feed everyone there and their bellies were completely full. Like more full than they had ever been in their lives. And not only that there were several baskets full of leftovers. The point that made itself clear was that Divine Providence is perfect and all needs are totally met. And as the Cajun in me would say, there is even some lagniappe! God always goes above in beyond because He is all-powerful!

While going through a divorce and moving into my own place, there were quite a few trials but ultimately, God allowed all things to work together for my good and He definitely carried me through this difficult time. As my Paw Paw would have said, had he lived to see the divorce finalized, it was as if I ‘fell into a pile of dung but came out smelling like roses.’ He used a different word than dung, of course, but it’s a word I refuse to use because I’ll assume that it would offend any ladies who may be reading this piece. Furthermore, I, as a Christian, ought not to use that word he used nor should I utter any other filthy or offensive word. I slip up in my speech from time to time, but every time I do, The Holy Ghost convicts me and I subsequently ask God for forgiveness! Therefore I used the word dung instead because it is the word in the Bible that is used to describe any sort of fecal matter. By the way, it wasn’t the only time my Paw Paw used that analogy to describe a situation I was faced with, which simply means that God has been taking care of me for a long time, as in even pre-salvation!

So during the time I was going through a divorce, I could sense God’s Hand upon me. In July of 2018, I was one-day making groceries and was meditating on that aforementioned sermon I had heard some time ago. Immediately, I thought of how I should buy some sardines and pistolettes and eat them when I got home, even if just by myself as a reminder of God taking care of everything for me. I did just that.

Now I will admit that nowhere in The Bible are we as Christians commanded to eat bread and fish, to celebrate God’s providence. There is, however, a meal that we are commanded to eat of unleavened bread and wine (or grape juice) as a memorial to Jesus’ sacrificial death. Yes, I do celebrate this at my local church and every other Christian should as well. By the way drinking any un-fermented fruit juice in Biblical times could have proven fatal because of microbial pathogens and no one in that day knew about the health benefits of pasteurization (killing microbial pathogens with strong heat.) Somehow they figured out that the alcohol produced in fermentation made these fruit juices safe to drink, although if consumed in excess resulted in drunkenness. There is a book in the Catholic Bible, but not the Standard Bible, the Book of Sirach, where it does indeed teach that the inebriating effects of alcoholic beverages were meant to allow the drinker to forget his or her troubles and have a joyful time during feast and festivities. To this day, this is likely the main reason why so many people drink alcohol. This could also be one of the reasons why Catholics have a more lax attitude towards drinking than Protestants do. The numerous references of Scripture that warn against drunkenness are likely there because of the many sinful behaviors that drunkenness results in. These were written not to stop us from having a good time, but to protect from the consequences of the foolish things that are said and done when one is inebriated. God has our best interest at heart, remember that. His commands are guidelines which are there simply to protect us from our own sinful selves.

All in all, eating this meal of sardines and dinner rolls or pistolettes (whichever is available in the bakery section of my grocer) is something I thought of on my own, but while I am enjoying this meal, I eat with a prayerful and grateful attitude, thank my God for taking care of me and providing everything I need and even for the appropriate things that I want. I am not sure if anyone prior to myself thought of this meal, quite possibly several others thought of this, I doubt that I am the only one. However, I eat this meal because it tastes good, it is very filling and it reminds me of how much I depend on God. Our relationship with God is the only relationship where our clinginess will never be annoying because He loves us that much. In fact, He deeply desires for us to cling to Him! He will also fervently chase us down when we stray from Him. He does this not in an abusive way but out of His loving concern for us! Those who think otherwise don’t know Him therefore cannot trust Him. But I sure trust Him! And I’m learning to trust Him even more.

If you, the reader, feel God moving on you to also partake in this meal, then do it reverently, prayerfully, and gratefully. Acknowledge all that God has done for you! Praise Him and give Him the honor and glory He deserves! Then enjoy your meal.

By the way, we should say grace every time we eat, sometimes I forget to do so, to which I get immediately convicted by The Holy Ghost and I ask for forgiveness then say grace.

I’m not trying to start a new practice or anything, I am simply doing that which makes me realize all that God has provided for me.

I’ll admit that I do enjoy this food combination and I will equally admit that not everyone else does. I’ll also admit that not everyone can eat this because of either dietary restrictions or allergies.

In that case, do what works for you, but make sure it lines up with God’s Word and honors Him above all!

I hope you, the reader, have been informed, enlightened, encouraged, and maybe even inspired!

May God richly bless you!

Back to “Personal Reflections”

Contact Me

A Teenage Fantasy

I began writing this in 2017 and into 2018 then finished it. I cut off the end and won’t share it publicly because of the sinful situations it contains. However, I feel the rest of the story teaches a very good lesson so that I why I want to share it with the world. It takes place in 2001 and the narrator is loosely based on me, though this never happened to me. That is why it is called “A Teenage Fantasy!”

So, here it is, without further ado:

…Late Spring 2001…

*HOW WE MET*

It’s springtime and school is going to be letting out in just a few weeks.

It’s a bright Saturday afternoon in May and I’m forced to be having a picnic with my family.

What teenager in his right mind wants to do such a thing?

So I hurriedly eat my piece of fried chicken, then go explore the park.

I look around curiously, happy to have to time by myself; something I hardly get.

I walk up and down the sidewalks and ponder life to myself.

Suddenly, I see her. She is sitting on a bench and sobbing.

Despite tears flowing almost profusely from her eyes, I think she is very beautiful.

I have the urge to comfort her, but I don’t know what to say.

However, I know I’ll regret it if I just pass her by.

She’s pleasantly plump and my kind of pretty. I very attracted to her and, naturally, want to make her feel better.

Maybe I could be a friend to her, hopefully though, something more.

My, God, I’m starting to have feelings for her.

Speaking of God, ‘God please give me the courage to talk to her and the wisdom to say the right thing.’

I walk up to her bench and then say, “Hi.”

She looks up and then waves at me.

Awkwardly I stand there.

Finally, I ask her, “May I sit with you?”

She wipes her eyes and then says, “I guess if you want.”

“I think you’re very pretty,” I tell her.

She looks at me and humbly smiles, then says, “Thanks, but you obviously don’t see how fat I am.”

There’s a brief silence but then I continue, “I mean what I said; I think you’re very pretty.”

She smiles even more and says, “You’re so sweet to tell me that.”

“What do you think about me?”

“I think you’re cute, but you seem kind of young.”

“I’m about to be fifteen.”

“I knew you were young, I’m about to be seventeen.”

“I would still like to get to know you if you indeed give me a chance.” I pause then continue, “What are you upset about anyway?”

“My boyfriend dumped me because I started gaining weight.”

“Well, it’s his loss, not yours. I might have just met you, but I know for sure what he did was cruel and not to mention so foolish. You don’t know how I’d be overjoyed to be with someone like you.”

“It’s his fault I started gaining weight too. Since I’m about to turn seventeen, which would make it legal for him to sleep with me in this state, my mom put me on birth control. It was all so he wouldn’t get me pregnant, then I started gaining weight because of the shots and he dumped me.”

“If you give just me a chance, I wouldn’t ever dump you. I’d also be willing to wait however long for you.”

“You’re so sweet. In just a little while, all the girls are going to be after you.”

“But what if I want you instead?”

“Why me?”

“Because I think you’re pretty and, I know it’s quick, but I already have feelings for you. Please don’t hurt me and turn me down.” I pause, then continue, “Give me a chance and I will do my best to treat you like a princess.”

“Okay, I’ll give you a chance, now you give me a hug!”

“Gladly!”

We embrace and she pulls my body close to hers.

I hold her and gently rub her back and sides.

She smiles at me, but her eyes are still wet.

“There’s something I would like to do, but I need your permission first.”

“What is it?”

“I’d like to kiss those tears off your face.”

“You may!”

I begin to gently kiss her eyes and cheeks.

She runs her fingers through my curly hair.

“I’m glad you’re giving me a chance,” I tell her.

“Is there a way we can keep in touch?” She asks me.

“I can give you my parents’ house number, my AIM screen name, and my ICQ number.”

“Cool beans, I’ll give you mine as well, plus my cell number, but only call it after nine at night,” She says, then takes a Palm Pilot out of her purse and enters my information. Afterward, she writes her information on my arm.”

I then lay on the bench with my head in her lap, staring up at her beautiful face.

We stay there for a while completely lost in time and space.

Finally, I hear my dad shouting my name.

In distress, I tell her, “I have to go now, but I’ll call you or instant message you as soon as I can.”

“I’m looking forward to it.”

“Could I kiss you goodbye?” I humbly ask her.

“Of course. In fact, you better kiss me!”

Our lips meet, then passionately lock.

We kiss again and again until I hear my dad shout my name once more, then I know I have to leave.

“I’ll contact you as soon as I can.”

“I’ll be waiting,” she says with a smile and dry eyes.
…A FEW WEEKS PASS, THEN…
*A DREARY SUMMER AFTERNOON*

On a dreary summer afternoon, I find myself home alone. My parents and siblings went run errands and won’t be home for a few hours. So, with that, I get on the phone and call my girlfriend. Yes, she is seventeen and I am only fifteen, but I love her to the moon and back. I think she loves me too or at least that is what I hope. No one in my family knows about this relationship and I plan to keep it that way for as long as possible.

The phone rings only once and then I hear her beautiful voice.

“Hey, you!” She answers with excitement.

“I’m home alone if you want to come over, baby.”

“I would love to come and see you! Let me just get my things and I’ll be right over.”

“I can’t wait for you to hold me again!”

“And I can’t wait to see your cute face again!” She thinks I am cute. I feel like I am on cloud nine when she tells me that.

“It looks like it might rain, so please be careful driving here.”

“You know I will. Now let me hang up so I can come over.”

“All right, baby, I love you.”

“I love you too.”

We hang up and I anxiously await her arrival while standing on my parents’ driveway. I pace up and down like a madman until I finally see her hand me down Jetta Wagon approaching my parents’ house.

I begin to smile from ear to ear as she pulls up.

She parks her car then steps out dressed in a white blouse and a pink skirt. Seeing her dressed like this makes me attracted to her with a hot passion.

We lovingly embrace then kiss with ecstasy. She runs her fingers through my curly hair and I gently caress her porcelain face.

After greeting each other with much affection, she asks, “What would you like to do?”

“We could go walk in the back fields and find a place to lay down look up at the sky and talk.”

“That’s a good idea, it reminds me of a song I heard a while back.”

I give her my hand and say, “Let’s go then.”

We walk through the back fields, looking for a spot to be alone together. Finally, we find the perfect spot situated in the long green grass. She sits down, then cradles my head in her lap. I couldn’t be more content as I looked up into her beautiful brown eyes.

She wraps her legs around me, then says, “You’re mine all mine! I want you forever!”

So, I reply, “You don’t know how happy I am to hear that, but what do you see in me?”

“You’re cute as can be. You’re so sweet. And I love how you are such a noble person.” She pauses, then asks, “Do you want me forever as well?”

“Yes I most surely do, no one wanted me before I met you, but you did. I’ll always remember that and do everything I can to keep you!” I pause then continue, “It’s not only that though, but you are also so beautiful, more than I ever dreamed. You also give my life meaning. I know there are plenty of guys your age and older who would want to be yours, but you choose me. I feel so honored.”

“None of them would make me feel as special as you do.” She says as she kisses my face.

Suddenly there is a flash of lightning.

We both jump in fear, then rush to her car to wait out the storm…
…ANOTHER DAY OR TWO PASSES, THEN…

*DESIRING PRIVACY*

My parents found out about my girlfriend a few days ago and their reaction was better than I expected. They accepted her and they even like her. The fact that I am fifteen and she is seventeen didn’t phase my family at all. However, we rarely have any privacy now. It seems that my whole family watches our every move. We lay together on my bed and snuggle each other. The denim overalls and tight baby blue shirt she is wearing hug her body and show all of her curves and features. Seeing her dressed like this drives me wild.

We share a kiss when my brother walks in on us.

“Get out!” I tell him.

“My room too,” He replies.

“Just pretend he isn’t here,” My girlfriend whispers.

We continue to kiss and caress each other.

My brother turns on some vulgar rap music, full blast. My girlfriend and I are appalled at the atrocious lyrics.

We eventually leave the room and go outside.

It’s hot and sunny outside.

We both sit on the glider and talk.

“Your brother is so annoying,” She tells me.

“He definitely is, but I think he’s jealous of me. After all, I have you and you are so beautiful.”

“I don’t see how you think I am beautiful, I think I’m a bit too chubby. Those filthy rap lyrics about big butts really got to me.”

“Don’t be so hard on yourself. To me, you are the most beautiful girl I ever laid eyes on.”

“Oh, I love you so much!”

“And I love you just as much!”

We sweetly rub noses, then she pulls my face into her perky breasts. I feel great comfort in this position.

At that point, my sister walks onto the patio and says, “I’m going to tell mom and dad that y’all are acting lewd.”

“Get a life!” I tell her.

“I have a life but I don’t want to share my room with any baby you might make.”

My girlfriend is now irritated and asks with frustration, “Will we ever have any privacy?”

“We could if my parents would let you drive me to your house.”

“I wish they would.”

“You and I both. There’s so much I want to do with you!”

“And I want to do those things too!”

She then puts her arm around me and rubs my chest.

I look around for just a moment, then I see the empty house on my neighbor’s property, behind to their main one.

“I know where we can be alone.”

“Where?”

“See that little house back there? It’s empty and usually unlocked, we can go in there.”

“Let’s go there, then, but just know, I’d go anywhere if it meant we could be together.”

Hand in hand we cross the property line and enter the empty house.

It’s dark and dusty inside, but at least we now have privacy.

We go into the empty master bedroom and snuggle on the carpet.

She lays down on her back and I lay on top of her. We kiss wildly.

She pulls my face into her breasts once again and giggles saying, “No one can see us here!”

“You don’t know how happy I feel when my face is in your beautiful breasts!”

“You should feel happy because that is where it belongs!”

I then kiss her soft stomach.

“I feel so fat.” She says with a slight depression.

I kiss her stomach again and say, “That’s my fat and I think it is sexy!”

She wraps her arms and legs around me tightly and holds me close to her saying, “You make me feel so loved!”

We both get a very strong urge to become intimately known to each other but are equally afraid of the potential consequences…
…A FEW MOMENTS LATER…

*GETTING CAUGHT*

We are soon overpowered by our biological urges and quickly forget about the many potential consequences of underage intimacy. She pulls off my shirt and begins to unbutton my cargo pants. I unhook her overalls and pull them down, then I then take off her shirt.

We are now in our undergarments and staring at each other with gentle smiles. We embrace then begin to remove each others’undergarments as well.

Suddenly, we hear the front door unlocking.

My name is bellowed by my busybody neighbor from the other side of my parents’ house. He’s pretty tight with the owners of this house and apparently was watching our every move.

Both of us are extremely nervous now.

“Let’s hide in the closet, he used to beat me when I was younger,” I whisper to my girlfriend.

She nods nervously, then asks, “Do you think he will beat you again?”

“He might even beat you, I’m so sorry I put you in this position,” I reply, soberly.

“It would be worth it if it means we could still lose our virginity to each other,” She answers me softly.

We then grab our clothes and hide behind boxes in the closet.

Quickly we get dressed, by the light of my Garrity Mini Rugged Lite that I keep in my pocket.

We have our clothes on again as we hear my busybody neighbor walking through the house.

My girlfriend and I hold each other tightly, wondering whether we will get caught or not.

We share several kisses as we are somewhat turned on by the fear of getting caught.

We hear his footsteps approaching the bedroom.

Now the bedroom door is opening.

We both tremble, wondering if these containers will keep us concealed.

“I know you’re in here with that girl! And I am going to beat both of your a**es when I find y’all!” My neighbor bellows.

We hear the closet door open.

“Well, *blank* damn, where are they? I saw them come inside this house,” My busybody neighbor says angrily.

My girlfriend begins to tremble so much with fright that the boxes begin to fall and our hiding spot is revealed.

We see my neighbor is holding a thick leather belt in his hands as he says, “Now both of you are going to get it!”

We hold each other tightly with fear as he lashes us with that belt.

I flinch and nash my teeth. My girlfriend shrieks and cries in pain.

He then yanks us out of the closet and shoves us out of the house. He then escorts us to the property line where my parents are about to confront us…

…A WEEK OR TWO PASSES, THEN…
*ONLINE CONVERSATION*

My parents have now forbidden me from seeing her since we got caught in my neighbor’s vacant house.

Because of that cruel decision, my heart feels ripped to shreds and it feels there are a thousand knives in my back.

It’s late at night and I cannot sleep.

I walk to my family computer and log on.

After a few minutes of looking at Expage and ICQ, I hear that all too familiar “uh-oh” sound.

This means I have a private message.

It’s from the girl whom I am so deeply in love with but strictly forbidden to see.

It reads, “Hey. I miss you so much. You’re the sweetest boy I’ve ever met and my one true wish is that I was holding you in my arms right now. My mom is away on a business trip right now and I have the house to myself. I’m going crazy being in here all alone and being forbidden to see you makes it that much worse.”

“How did your mom react when she found out about us almost doing it?”

“She was okay with it, I mean that is why I am on birth control, to begin with.”

“You know, you are so worth the wait and as soon as I turn eighteen, I’ll run away and stay with you even if it means staying under a bridge.”

“You’re worth the wait too. You have such a sweet heart and you’re so cute.”

“I’m blushing, but it feels wonderful.”

“What are you doing up so late anyway?”

“To tell the truth; I’m thinking about you. I can’t stop thinking about you either. In fact, you’re all I think about these days. I wish my parents and extended family could see how happy you make me and that you’re actually good for me, despite what they think.”

“We’re separated by cruel people who just refuse to understand.”

“If only I could get away from them.”

“Maybe you can.”

“Well, maybe we could meet somewhere and I could take you to my mom’s house.”

“I don’t want to say where online, in case the government is watching.”

“Do you have any money on you?”

“Yes. Three ten-dollar bills. I’ve been saving them from doing odd jobs.”

“If you can sneak out, all you have to do it go to a truck stop, buy a phone card and call me from a pay-phone. Don’t say which one online, but I can come to pick you up when you tell me over the phone.”

“Sounds like a plan and a half.”

“That’s such a cute saying, of course, you’re cute already.”

“Okay let me pack my things and try to sneak out.”

“I’ll be waiting on my cell phone.”
…A FEW MOMENTS LATER…
*FORBIDDEN MEETING*

I then uninstall ICQ from the family computer to cover my tracks.

Then I grab my duffel bag and pack a few tee shirts underwear and pants, a box cutter and my 4 D cell Maglite for protection. Then I grab my wallet with the three ten-dollar bills and sneak out of the window.

I leave my parents’ yard and begin walking to the nearest truck stop.

I contemplate my life during this long walk, but finally, I’m there.

I go inside and purchase a phone card for a little less than $10.

Then I go to the payphone and place the call to my forbidden girlfriend.

It rings once and then she picks up.

“Hello,” She says in an unsure voice.

“It’s me,” I tell her.

“Hey, you!” She replies with affection.

I state the location of the truck stop over the phone.

“I’m coming right now.”

“I’ll hide so I cannot be seen, but I’ll signal you with my flashlight when I see your car. I blink the light at intervals of two blinks because we’re two years apart.”

“That’s so romantic in its own way. You’re so sweet and thoughtful.”

I hide in the bushes looking out for her Jetta Wagon.

Time crawls by at a snail’s pace.

I’m filled with both anxiety and anticipation.

Finally, I see that Jetta Wagon pulling up.

I remove myself from the bushes, then blink my flashlight while pointing at her windshield.

She slows down.

I blink my flashlight twice again.

She parks next to the bushes and I come to her car.

She rolls down the passenger window and says, “Hop in!”

I stand there and adore her for just a moment as she is dressed in a tight black shirt that hugs all of her beautiful curves and a knee-length black and white skirt that is sexy enough yet modest enough.

“Come on before someone sees us!” She says.

Most gladly I open the door, enter, place my bag and flashlight between my legs, buckle my seatbelt and she drives off into the night as we lovingly hold hands…

I admit now that this is quite a poor example of love between a boy and girl.  Honestly, as the title suggests, it is more of a fantasy, with some romance and infatuation attached.  However, there is a tremendously Greater Love that exists and is available to all who receive it.  And the best part is, there are none of the conditions or pre-requisites that the love between a man and a woman demands!

Contact Me

Back to “Works of Fiction”

Millennial Affection

I wrote this in the Summer of 2016, but it takes place in the late Spring or early Summer of 2002.

The main character is loosely based on me or whom I would like to be.

His girlfriend is based on someone I knew a long time ago but lost all contact with.

Without further ado, here is the story:

 

…June 2002…

Emmet Matthews was browsing the Internet on his self built computer after getting home from his summer job. He was a hard-working fifteen-year-old, who fixed computers in his spare time and pushed shopping carts for his local Target store as his main summer job. The Express Page or Expage was a popular social networking site at the time and Emmet was browsing other teens’ pages. He had come across a girl’s page and found out that her name was Kira Andersen. Emmet had always been partial to the name Kira because he was very close to a girl with that said first name as a young child. Unfortunately, he had lost all contact with her. In the back of his mind, he wondered if she was the same Kira he had known many years ago. Feverishly he studied her page, but there was no picture of her, past or present. The only information he had acquired from the page was that she wanted to be a writer and wanted to post some of her stories, but her computer had crashed. There was a listing of her ICQ number. Upon reading those two details, Emmet worked up the courage to message her. He started his ICQ application. Anxiously Emmet waited for it to load as the foghorn sound blared. When it finally loaded, Emmet added her number to his contact list. Upon looking at her ICQ information, he learned that she wasn’t far from him, only fifteen miles to the northwest.

He then sent her a message, “Hi. I saw your Expage site and I learned that you’re a writer. I also saw that your computer with all the stories you wrote is broken. I might be able to fix it and, for you, I’ll do it for free.”

Patiently, Emmet waited for a reply.

Finally he heard the “uh-oh” voice through his speaker and a reply message flashed on his screen “First tell me about yourself. I would like to know you better before I am able to trust you with my computer, let alone any of my stories.”

“That’s fine. I’m fifteen and I push shopping carts at Target but also work on computers in my free time. I might be young, but I have lots of experience. I built the computer that I’m talking to you on right now.”

“Is there a Home Depot next to the Target where you work?”

“Yes.”

“Then I work next door to you. I’m a cashier there.”

“Awesome!” “Maybe we could meet up on our breaks?”

“We’ll see. I want to make sure that you are who you say you are.”

“I can get on my WebCam and show you what I look like.”

“Sure.”

Emmet turned on his camera and invited Kira to watch him. She accepted.

“You’re cute!” She said.

“Thanks.” He began to blush and smile from ear to ear after sending that message.

“I would like to see a picture of you as well. You know just to make sure you are who you say you are.”

“I understand.” “I’ll send you a picture.” Kira took her school picture from her yearbook and scanned it then sent it to him.”

“Good Lord, Kira, you are beautiful!” Emmet said.

“Thanks. You’re sweet to tell me that.”

“Well it’s the God’s honest truth. How old are you though?”

“I made sixteen this past April.”

“Nice! Do you drive? I can’t get my license yet.”

“Yes, I drive. I work and give the money to my mom and she pays the note on my car. That’s also how I pay for Internet service.”

“What school do you go to?”

“Landing Station High.”

“Oh. Well I go to Seven Hills Catholic High. I guess that’s why we’ve never seen each other before.”

“I bet that’s a strict school. But at least, I would imagine harassment is not allowed. A bunch of stupid boys are always trying to touch me where I go to school.”

“Do you want me to protect you?”

“That’s sweet and noble of you, but some of those boys would kill you if you tried. They carry sharp weapons made of plastic so the metal detectors won’t pick them up.”

“Well I must say that doesn’t go on at Seven Hills, but there is still much harassment. And if the student doing the harassing is rich or an athlete, he gets away with it. I’m not rich and I hate sports as well, not to mention I’m a computer nerd, so I get harassed quite a bit.”

“Well don’t worry about them, you’ll be a huge success one day, if you are as skilled with computers as you claim.”

“I’ll try. Speaking of that, do you still want me to fix your computer?”

“I sure do. We can meet tomorrow if you work.”

“I go in at ten o’clock in the morning.”

“Awesome, I go in at eight but I get off at three. When do you get off?”

“Four P.M.”

“Great! When can you take a lunch break?”

“One P.M. I guess.”

“Good, I’ll take mine then as well.”

“You mean we can spend our break together?”

“Yes. Then you can come to my house and work on the computer. That is if your parents allow you.”

“I can convince my dad, no problem. My mom might grill me a lot though, but for you it’s worth it.”

“You’re sweet! Now we should get some rest, so we can work tomorrow.”

“Hey, where do you want to meet tomorrow?”

I’ll drive to the Target and you wait for me in the food court.”

“Good idea.”

“All right. I guess I’ll tell you good night.”

“Good night to you too.”

Emmet turned off his computer filled with anticipation and a slight anxiety. He was beginning to have feelings for Kira and thoughts about if she was indeed the same Kira from years ago were bombarding his mind. He knew he had to sleep, so he quietly went to his parents’ medicine cabinet and took a single Tylenol P.M. then dozed off. He dreamt many dreams about this Kira and the one from his past. These dreams seemed to hint that they were the same person.

The next morning Emmet woke up to the beeping of his Casio watch. He dressed for work and also retrieved his computer tools, along with an Anti Virus CD ROM. He ate two energy bars, then brushed his teeth and washed out his mouth with Listerine.

Then his dad asked “Are you ready son?”

“Yes, I’m ready.”

They walked to the car, when his dad asked “What’s with the tools?”

“I’m fixing a computer for a girl. She’s going to drive me to her house after work.”

“Is that all?”

“Well I do have feelings for her, I won’t lie.”

“Do you have any money on you?”

“Yes, why?”

“I want you to go to the pharmacy section in Target and get a condom, in case you get lucky.”

“Right, dad.”

“How are you going to get home?”

“She’ll drive me.”

“Okay remember, there is a curfew so don’t stay out too late, or you both can be arrested.” He then handed Emmet his cell phone and said “Take this in case plans change.”

“Will do. I’m off tomorrow, just so you know.”

“Just remember what I said about using protection.”

The rest of the ride was awkwardly silent.

Finally, Emmet was dropped off at Target. He immediately clocked in, placed his tool kit and CD ROM in his locker and began work. Naturally, Emmet kept an almost constant gaze at the screen on his watch.

Customers came and went and Emmet continuously moved the shopping carts from the parking lot to the store.

An old couple tipped him five dollars for loading the new television they purchased set into their van.

A pregnant lady also tipped him ten dollars for pushing her crib on a flat cart and loading it into her SUV. Seeing a pregnant woman made Emmet think about the condom he was told to buy but instead, decided to use the money to take Kira to lunch.

Emmet continued to push carts with his heart racing, thinking about Kira. Finally, his watch indicated twelve fifty-eight. He walked to the time clock, punched out and went sit down in the food court.

He sat down with anxious anticipation. Finally, he saw Kira walk into the store and towards the food court. He stood up and couldn’t help but admire her.

She smiled, waved and then said “Emmet?”

“Yes, it’s me.”

They walked up to each other and embraced.

Emmet then asked, “Could I buy you lunch?”

“Sure, that’s very sweet of you.”

“What would you like?”

“The fruit and yogurt cup.”

“It’s yours.”

“Thank you!” Kira said with another hug, then asked, “What are you going to eat?”

“The all-beef hot dog and a pretzel, what do you want to drink? I get free fountain drinks, but since you’re so nice to me, I’ll buy you a better drink.”

“An iced coffee I guess.”

“It’s yours.”

Emmet retrieved the yogurt and coffee from the refrigerator, paid for them, then ordered the hot dog and pretzel. Afterward, he asked the cashier for a fountain cup which he filled with Pepsi from the soda tap.

They then ate in happy silence, smiling at each other.

What broke the silence was when Emmet asked Kira, “What are you going to do while waiting for me to get off?”

“I guess I could park my car and wait in the parking lot to watch you work, that is if me doing so won’t make you mad.”

“It wouldn’t make me mad, but if anyone else did, then I don’t know.”

“You’re so sweet and you have such cute curly hair! Can I play with it?”

“Sure. That would feel so good!”

“Awesome!”

Kira moved from the chair across from Emmet and sat in the chair next to him. She then rested his head in her lap and played with his hair. He smiled up at her with bliss and she giggled.

They exchanged phone numbers and addresses and continued until the manager said “Emmet, it’s time to get back to work. The shopping carts need to be brought back in.”

“Yes, sir,” Emmet replied.

“I guess I’ll see you at four o’clock.” Kira said, winking.

“For sure, Kira.” Emmet replied.

They hugged affectionately then got back to work.

The rest of the day dragged on. Emmet pushed shopping carts in the hot sun. What kept him going was thinking about the evening he would spend with Kira.

When three P.M. came, Kira drove her car to the Target parking lot and watched Emmet push the carts. Every time their eyes met, there was also a wink and a wave.

Finally it was four P.M. Emmet clocked out, retrieved his tools and antivirus CD-ROM from his locker, then walked to Kira’s car. She then drove him to her mom’s house.

When they arrived, Emmet said, nervously “I guess I’ll get to work.”

“Great, come to my room.”

Emmet said “I need to open up your old and your new computer, but first let me install antivirus on your new one.”

“Sure, do whatever you need to do.”

Emmet installed the antivirus software, then shut the computer down. He then opened both of them up and took the hard drive out of the old one and connected it to the mother board and IDE power supply of the new one. He turned it on and checked the boot sequence, making sure that the new computer’s original hard drive would boot. He had Kira log in and then clicked on the My Computer icon and double-clicked the icon for the old hard drive.

Emmet then asked Kira “What folder were you stories in?”

“My Document\Stories I believe.”

Emmet accessed the My Documents folder and right clicked on Stories and selected Copy. Afterward he accessed the new computer’s original hard drive then Windows, then My Documents and right-clicked in the folder then selected Paste. Quickly the files were transferred.

“May I read one of your stories to make sure it copied?”

“Sure.”

Emmet opened the text file and said “It works!”

“Let me read it to you.” Kira said.

She read about a teenage couple whom were massacred by gang members.

“That was tragic, but very beautiful. At least they died together.”

“Thank you, Emmet! I was so full of emotions before and after I wrote that.”

“You truly have a gift.”

“You know, I wrote this before I met you but, somehow, you remind me of the boy in this story. The girl is based on me.”

Emmet simply hugged Kira and she petted his hair, but then there was a slight awkwardness.

Kira then said “Would you like to watch As the World Turns with me? I record it every day.”

“Sure. But I would do anything if it meant we could spend time together.”

They sat on Kira’s bed with Emmet resting his head in her lap. The theme music to ATWT began playing.

“I see all these couples together: Jack and Carly, Holden and Lilly, Tom and Margo. Yet, I can’t seem to find anyone.” Kira said.

“I cannot believe you don’t have a boyfriend.”

Kira paused the show and said, “It’s because I have high standards, but that’s my own fault because I expect a guy to be like the good guys in my stories.”

“You can’t think too highly of me, then right. I mean I can’t even legally drive yet.”

“Actually I think the world and the moon of you. You’re a hard worker. You are so good with computers. You are adorable. And, as I’ve said before you do remind me of the good male characters in my stories.”

“Kira, I have feelings for you as well. I’m just afraid you would dump me because of my nerdiness.”

“Rest assured, that would never happen.”

“Then, yes I want you too. I was just afraid I would do something to turn you off.”

“Why do you think that?”

“Because I eventually turn everyone else off.”

“Have you ever had a girlfriend before me?”

“Well sort of. In fact her name was Kira as well, but I was four years old and she was a little older than me. Sadly, I lost all contact with her.”

“Where did you meet her?”

“At a church nursery in Landing Station, this was back in 1991. My grandmother convinced my dad to take me out of there. I wish I could see her again.”

“You’re looking up at her right now! It was me! Now I can see why so many of the characters in my stories remind me of you! Let me say that I’ve wanted you before, but now I want you more than ever!”

“My God, Kira, you have no idea how I’ve been longing to see you again!”

“Yes. I remember how we were always the first kids there and we grew close. I was so sad when you left.”

“Well now we have each other and I refuse to let anything come between us again.”

Their lips met and they began to passionately kiss. They began to hug. They began to pet each others’ hair.

“My gosh that felt wonderful,” Kira said.

“It was as if fate set us up. What’s really something is that we first met in 1991, and here it is 2002 and we meet again. 1991 and 2002 are the only years whose digits are the same frontwards and backward that we will see in our lifetime.” Emmet replied.

Suddenly they heard the front door opening.

Kira’s mom called out “Kira are you home?”

“Yes, mom.”

Emmet got nervous once again.

“Don’t worry, Emmet,” Kira whispered

“Are you in your room, Kira?”

“Yes.”

“Okay. I’m coming to see you.”

Kira’s mom walked into the room.

“Who’s this Kira?”

“This is Emmet Matthews. Remember the boy from church eleven years ago? This is him! I’ve finally found him!”

“Hi. I’m Harriet Andersen. I remember you and Kira playing together before all the other children arrived but I also remember how heartbroken Kira was when you were taken out of the church nursery.”

With great seriousness, Emmet answered her “That was completely beyond my control, but in every way I can, I’ll to make it up to her for the rest of my life. I love her and I’ve always loved her.”

Kira gently held Emmet’s hands and kissed his forehead.

“You better never break her heart again.”

“I swear by whatever or whomever you wish me to that I never will.”

“Well you shouldn’t swear, but I’ll give you another chance. You’re welcome to stay for dinner.”

“Sure.”

“I’ll let you two alone for now.”

Harriet left the room and began to prepare dinner.

Kira said “Imagine if my mom wouldn’t have come in. Would you have made love to me?”

“Only if you would have wanted me to.”

“My God, Emmet, you’re so sweet!”

“I’m off tomorrow, what about you?”

“Yes, I’m off too!”

“Will your parents be home?”

“I can convince my dad to take my mom out for a few hours. He’s been wanting me to have a girlfriend for a long time now.” Emmet paused, then continued “In fact, let me call him now!”

“Put it on speakerphone.” Kira said

Emmet dialed his dad’s house number.

“Hello.”

“Hey. I’m still at the girl’s house. Her name is Kira Andersen and we are now a couple. Is there a way you can take mom out to the city tomorrow, so we can be alone at your house?

“I guess Emmet. Did you go to the pharmacy section at Target.”

“Not yet.”

“You better. By the way, when are you coming home?”

“Right before curfew begins.”

“Where’s her house?”

“In Landing Station.”

“Then make it an hour before that. You might get delayed because of a slow-moving train.”

“All right. Will do. But you take mom out tomorrow.”

“I’ll try.”

“Okay, I’ll let you go for now.”

“Okay bye.”

“Bye son.”

Emmet looked at Kira and said, “My dad definitely wants me to use protection.”

“You don’t have to worry about STDs because I’m a virgin.”

“So am I, but you probably realized that already.”

“Yes. I figured that, but that makes our relationship even more special. By the way, when you told my mom that you loved me, I wanted to say love you too Emmet! Let’s never be taken apart again.”

“I will do everything I can to keep us together.” He paused, then continued “I think my dad is more concerned about me getting you pregnant.”

“I’m on birth control, just to regulate my cycles, nothing else. But it should prevent me from getting pregnant when we do make love.”

“I hope it will be wonderful when we do.”

“I am almost sure it will be.”

Kira kissed Emmet once again and they resumed watching As the World Turns.

“Is this boring you?” Kira asked Emmet.

“Not really, my parents and grandparents used to watch it when I was younger, so I’m used to it.”

“Why don’t they still watch it?”

“Well, I don’t know why my parents stopped. But, my grandparents stopped because myself and the other grandchildren were at their house and there was a lovemaking scene. My grandparents tend to get very uptight about sex.”

“Oh, I see. You know I do want you in every way possible and I hope your grandparents don’t come down too hard on you or me when and if they find out.”

“It wouldn’t matter who gets mad at me. It would be worth any drama if it means I can love you in all the ways you want.”

Kira put her arms around Emmet as he still lay in her lap and said, “Fate is definitely on our side. The fact that we’ve been pining for each other so long and never been with anyone else, makes me believe that we are truly meant for each other!”

“I wholeheartedly agree.”

Kira kissed Emmet’s head and they resumed watching, until Kira’s mom called them for dinner.

Over the course of dinner, Emmet’s dad’s cell phone rang. The number shown on the caller ID was his grandparents’ house number.

“It’s my grandparents calling, I have to answer.”

“Go ahead.” Kira’s mom said.

Kira nodded at Emmet as well.

“Hello.” Emmet answered.

“Emmet, I see you have a girlfriend.”

“Yes. How did you know?”

“Several people saw you and her in the food court at your job. They said you two were acting lewd.”

“All she did was play with my hair.”

“How long have you known her?”

“About eleven years.”

“Eleven years? How come I’ve never heard about her before?”

“Because we met as children at the church nursery.”

“Oh, so she’s a Protestant and you’re supposed to be a Catholic.”

“I don’t believe in all that religious stuff and more importantly I love her.”

“You don’t know what love is.”

“I think I do; I’ve waited eleven years for her.”

“Well you were raised a Catholic and if you leave the Catholic church you will have plenty to answer God for.”

“Can’t you just be happy for me?”

“No. I don’t want you with her. She’s a hellbound Protestant and she’ll take you to hell with her.”

“Look I have to go. I’m eating dinner with her right now and you’re not going to change my mind. I love her, period.”

“Emmet Joseph Matthews! You’re breaking bread with Protestants?!”

“Yes, because I love her!”

“Go ahead do what you want. However, don’t say I didn’t warn you.”

Emmet’s grandmother hung up the phone.

He was visibly upset as he returned to the table.

“What’s the matter?” Kira asked.

“My grandmother is giving me a hard time because you’re not Catholic.”

“Well I hope you still want me.”

“Of course I do. Nothing can change that.”

Kira walked up to him and hugged him.

Emmet continued “Even though she gives me a hard time, I still choose you. We lost each other once before and I refuse to let it happen again.”

“Why is she hung up on all this Catholic stuff? If anything the Catholic church is a false, money-hungry and corrupt church.” Kira paused then continued “Remember how you said if a rich or athletic student harasses someone at Seven Hills, they get away with it?”

Emmet nodded.

Kira’s mom walked out of the room as she said “I’ll leave you two alone. Kira, you should tell him the truth.”

Kira continued “As I was saying before the Catholic church is full of corruption. The unfair rules at your school are just an example of many hypocrisies in the Catholic church. The Bible says ‘For the love of money is the root of all evil’ it also says to ‘Make not a graven image’. Aren’t there all kinds of statues in those so-called churches and schools?”

“You’re right! My God, I’ve never realized this. If all this Catholic stuff is wrong, then how do I get to Heaven then?”

“You may get to Heaven only by trusting Jesus Christ through His sacrifice on the cross to forgive you of your sins. God knows we cannot pay for the sins we commit, so He paid for them Himself through Jesus Christ His Son. There is no way you can earn your way into Heaven like the Catholics teach. The reality is Jesus paid it all. The most famous quote from the Bible says “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believe on Him should not perish but have everlasting life.’ All you must do is earnestly and sincerely believe this truth in your ask Jesus to forgive you of your sins then invite Him to be Lord of your life and Savior of your soul. Just pray to Him from your heart.

Emmet understood and believed, then bowed his head and silently prayed, with the utmost reverence and honesty. He could feel as if a huge burden was taken off of him and he felt peace like never before and then spoke “I’ve never experienced this before, but it is wonderful! I am in complete peace with God even though I had been running from up until this point. Something keeps telling me that if we love each other and we can’t control our urges that we must marry, but I am too young. However I know that I love you Kira with all my heart and I want to express it to you physically. I do know that it is a sin, but I cannot control myself.”

“I know Emmet. I too want to love you physically. If we ever do, I know God can forgive us of it, but if we are tempted we can pray and God will give us an escape route.”

“I was planning for us to be alone at my parents’ house tomorrow, but now I don’t want to sin. But I definitely want to spend all my time with you. Can we go somewhere tomorrow?”

“Sure thing, Emmet!”

Kira’s mom walked back into the room and asked Emmet “Did Kira tell you the truth about God and salvation?”

“She sure did.”

“And do you believe it”?

“I sure do.”

“Praise God! Now let’s eat.”

Happily the three ate dinner.

After eating Emmet and Kira were walking back to her bedroom when the cell phone rang again. It was Emmet’s dad calling.

He answered “Hello.”

“Hey I don’t mean to interrupt your date but curfew starts in an hour.”

“Okay, I’ll have her bring me home then.”

“Tell her to be careful.”

“Are you and mom going out tomorrow?”

“Yes.”

“Okay.”

“You know I want you to use protection.”

Emmet lied, knowing he would try his best not to fornicate, and said, “Will do.”

They hung up and Kira asked “Do I have to take you home?”

Emmet blushed and said, “Yes, but I’ll deeply miss you and I want to see you again tomorrow and every other possible time!”

“I’ll definitely try for us to spend every possible hour together.” Kira said, kissing him.

“Mom I have to take Emmet home.”

“Okay be careful, Kira. It was nice meeting you again, Emmet.”

They walked to Kira’s car and rode off into the darkness.

“I love you so deeply Emmet!”

“And I love you so massively Kira!”

They held hands for the entire trip, which seemed to go very quickly. Emmet secretly hoped for a train to pass, so they could spend just a few more minutes together.

In what seemed like an instant, they arrived at Emmet’s house.

They kissed lovingly, then Emmet said, “Be careful on your way home and call either my dad’s cell phone or our house phone when you get back home to let me know you’re safe.”

“You’re so sweet, Emmet. I love you!”

“I love you too, Kira.”

They kissed once more and Kira drove off.

Emmet walked in, handed the cell phone to his dad and said, “When it rings, that’s Kira telling me she’s home safe so let me know when it does.”

“Okay. You know I just got an earful from my mother how you and Kira were acting lewd in the food court and she’s angry that Kira’s a Protestant.”

“How do you feel?”

“I’m happy for you and proud as well. But remember to stay respectful to your grandmother and try to keep the public displays of affection to a minimum while at work or you both could be fired.”

“You’re right. Will do.”

“Now why don’t you get some sleep so you can be awake for tomorrow.”

“Sure.”

Emmet was preparing for bed when his dad came with the phone and said “I think Kira is calling. Answer it.”

Emmet answered “Hey.”

“Hey I wanted to let you know I’m safe at home.”

“Thank God! I love you, Kira!”

“I love you too, Emmet! Good night.”

“Good night.”

They hung up and went to bed. Emmet dreamt many dreams about Kira.

The next day he woke up and his parents had already left.

Quickly he called Kira “Hey. My parents left, so you can come over.”

“Awesome! I’m coming right now.”

“I love you and be careful!”

“I love you too!”

They hung up and Emmet got ready.

He then paced around the house in anticipation of Kira’s arrival. Finally, he looked through the dining room window and saw Kira pulling up in her car. Emmet walked outside and greeted her with open arms. They kissed with strong affection and then walked inside.

“Should I give you a tour of the house?” Emmet asked

“If you want to,” Kira replied.

So he began to show her around, then they came to the bedroom.

Kira hugged him and said, “I know it’s a sin, but I could very much make love to you.”

“I would do it for you, Kira.”

They began to remove each other’s clothes, until Kira took a deep breath and said, “We need to pray for an escape route.”

“You’re right.”

Suddenly there was knocking at the door, followed by a shrill voice. It was Emmet’s grandmother. She shouted “Emmet I know you’re alone in here with that horrible Protestant girl. Either both of you come out or I will call Bruce Mitchell to deal with you.”

“Who’s Bruce Mitchell?” Kira asked.

“My busy body neighbor. He used to beat me when I was younger.”

“Do you think he would try it again?”

“Possibly. He might even try to hurt you. Just pretend we’re not home.”

Kira nodded.

“I have a key, Emmet and I’m coming in.”

“What will we do now?” Kira asked in distress.

“I’ll get our clothes and you get your keys and make a break for it. I doubt she can catch us.”

“How will we get past her if she blocks us in?”

“You’re right. Damnit I don’t know.”

“I’m scared Emmet.”

They could hear the door unlocking and held each other tightly.

“Emmet, I know your in here and I know your with that damn girl.”

She walked to Emmet’s room and saw them half-dressed and said “Tell me you shoplifted. Tell me you’re on drugs. Even tell me you’re gay. But don’t tell me you laid down with this Protestant girl.”

“No, we didn’t,” Kira said

“But you were going to.” She paused, looked at Kira and said “You need to leave, right now!”

“Then I’m going with her!” Emmet said.

“Don’t you dare.” His grandmother interjected

“But I will,” Emmet replied with confidence.

“Then I’m calling Bruce over.”

Kira said “If whoever this Bruce person is strikes me or Emmet, I’m calling the police!”

“Just try it. I’ll tell them that you two were having sex.”

“But we weren’t.” Kira answered.

“But you were going to. Now leave.”

Emmet whispered in Kira’s ear “She’s blocking us in the doorway right now, but pretend to leave. As soon as she gets out your way I’ll run fast and follow you.”

Kira nodded and kissed him, then began to walk away. Immediately, Emmet ran and followed her then they both ran out of the house.

Emmet’s grandmother shouted “Wait, now I’m calling Bruce and he’s going to deal with both of you.”

Emmet and Kira hurriedly got into the car and she drove off.

“Watch the speed limit Kira; it’s only fifteen. We can’t afford to get pulled over.”

“You’re right. That’s the last thing we need.”

So Kira slowed down.

Emmet looked in the right side mirror and saw an old white truck catching up with them. “Damnit, that’s Bruce Mitchell following us.”

“I’ll tap my brakes and if he hits us, we can sue,” Kira said.

“Good idea,” Emmet replied.

So Kira stared at him in her rearview mirror then hit her brake pedal.

Bruce came within a foot of hitting her. She then accelerated again, but Bruce was soon on her tail. She tapped her brakes again, but Bruce flashed a revolver.

“Oh, God! He’s got a gun!” Kira said in a panic.

“Screw the speed limit, let’s get the hell out of here. If the cops pull us over we can tell them about what Bruce Mitchell was doing to us and his address as well.” Emmet said.

“Good idea.”

Kira accelerated. Bruce also accelerated. After catching up with them, he fired a shot, striking Kira’s left rear tire. They went into a spin and struck a utility pole. Then the car burst into flames…

Contact Me

Back to “Works of Fiction”

 

The Evolution of EDC (Mid 2000s to Late 2010s)

On one side of the featured image is a Victorinox Recruit ii Swiss Army Knife and an incandescent Mini Maglite, circa, 2005/2006.

On the other side of the featured image is a Gerber US1 pocket knife and an LED Mini Maglite, circa, 2018.

In this piece, I will try to write what I observe in the evolution of EDC or everyday carry.

I had first seen the Swiss Army Knife and Mini Maglite combination sold at Target in 2006 while I was a senior in high school. This prompted me to start carrying a Swiss Army Knife and a Mini Maglite everywhere I could, though I carried different models than what was sold at Target. I carried them everywhere I legally could and I also tried to get other guys to do so as well, with very limited success. That was the top of the line EDC for the mid 2000s. LED technology had not advanced enough yet, but the Mini Maglite was well established as a tried and true favorite. The Swiss Army Knife was even more established. Since I was still in high school, I couldn’t legally carry any type of knife on me, but I definitely carried the flashlight. I didn’t actually own the featured combination until April of 2016 when I purchased it as new old stock on eBay. I guess I was feeling reminiscent of my high school days. By the way, this Mini Maglite was bundled with a Swiss Army Knife.

Since 2005/2006 EDC gear has advanced considerably, both in knives becoming more tactical and therefore rugged. LED technology in flashlights has also vastly improved allowing them to give off more and more light for longer and longer runtimes. Flashlights have become more tactical and therefore rugged as well. Maglite was one of the earlier tactical flashlight models to choose from, but now they are not the most tactical. They are also not the brightest. However, they are built very well in the USA. The brand as I’ve said before is also better well established than any of these Chinese tactical brands that may be brighter.

In 2018 or so I had first seen the Mini Maglite LED and Gerber US1 sold at Wal Mart. Target has been dwindling their selection of flashlights. Well Wal Mart has too, but Target did far worse. At a church Christmas party I received a gift card to Wal Mart. I knew I would be purchasing that aforementioned combination. To this day, a little over a year later, I still carry them in my EDC backpack. This is not the top of the line for EDC in the lates 2010s and early 2020s, but both of these items are American made. The Mini Maglite appears the same on the outside as it did in 2005/2006, but it has a robust LED light engine instead of a vacuum bi pin bulb. Instead of giving off 9 Lumens it gives off 100 Lumens. Plus the light engine is quite rugged and never needs to be replaced. The knife appears to be more tactical than a Swiss Army Knife, though it doesn’t have all the features. There has been a trend that started some time ago to make all knives look more tactical. I don’t know if this is a good or a bad thing. This knife really is not a tactical knife, just a simple everyday model. However, it goes well with the Mini Maglite LED.

In 2005/2006 being more fashionable and almost European, for lack of a better word, was the trendy thing. This was especially the case in stores like Target. However in the late 2010s and looks like the early 2020s being tactical is the trendy thing. I don’t know how long the tactical trend will last, but it has caught on to every store almost.

These trends have bled over into the world of EDC at least to some degree.

I wish we could marry both ideas!

I cannot wait to see what new EDC gadgets will be put on the market throughout the 2020s, but it would be something if they were both tactical and fashionable at the same time.

I wish Victorinox (Swiss) would make some tactical models, but that is mostly an American and maybe a Chinese thing. The rest of the world doesn’t emphasize the value of a tactical gadget. I appreciate tactical grade because it will stand up to more abuse.

I’d like to elaborate more on this, but my back is starting to hurt me.

This therefore concludes my piece of the evolution of EDC items.

I hope you, the reader, have been informed and entertained…

All of the Industrial Grade Flashlights I’ve Owned-Written from 2013 a Conversation on CPF

Back in February of 2013, I was consulted on Candle Power Forums because I had frequently talked about industrial grade flashlights on there. So I sent a private message detailing all of the industrial grade flashlights I had owned up to that point. I had recently added to the list since it was dated. At some point in 2015 or 2016, I had switched to more tactical models, but I still have extensive experience with the industrial models and they will always have a place in my heart.

Without further ado, here is the piece:

“…Well, I like the explosion proof models most. I don’t know why except for the fact that they are common in my area (South Louisiana.) We have plenty of sugar refining, oil production, grain storage, chemical processing and people working on boats. Incandescent explosion proof flashlights are significantly dimmer than a flaslight with a Krypton bulb. This is because the surface temparature of a bulb filled with a noble gas is much hotter than a vacuum bulb. This keeps the flashlight’s temparature below the ignition point of the hazardous dust or vapor that it is approved to be used in. I try to buy only American Made lights, but I have experience with both. IMHO I find smooth reflectors out preform faceted ones. I don’t know who brilliant idea (sarcastic) was it to start making those durn things. I will attempt to list, describe and review every industrial flashlight I have ever owned or used.

Rayovac Industrial 2D (1990’s version.) I have had mine since February or March of 2000. It is actually the flashlight that I have had the second longest. It has always preformed wonderfully and has a uniform beam. It came with a powerful, high quality PR Krypton bulb. It is American Made. Bought it from Wal-Mart when I was 13. Faceted reflector.

Eveready Industrial IN-251 (1990’s version.) Made in Macau. Incandescent. I had one for over a year from 1994-1995. From what I remember, it was VERY bright for its time. I remember one night I was playing in the backyard at dusk and my neighbor [and uncle by marriage] was coming in from working in the shipyards and I shined it at him from about 200+ feet away. He acknowledged it by shining his bigger and brighter flashlight at me. He also likes flashlights, in fact it was him who gave me my first flashlight. (Playskool 2c lantern.) This was probably the flashlight that made me interested in industrial flashlights. The bulb blew finally and instead of buying a new bulb, my mom bought me an Eveready Value flashlight (the good 1980s-90’s version.) Came with a high quality PR bulb. Smooth reflector.

Eveready Industrial 1151 (very similar to previous model, 2000’s version) Made in China and no where near as good as the 1990s version. Bought several around 2007-2008. Unless I got used to brighter lights, this one seemed dimmer. Faceted reflector.

Rayovac Industrial MSHA (1990’s/2000’s version.) I bought one at an aviation supplier and hangar in 2006. It preformed just like my original Rayovac 2D, just not as bright. This is because it uses a standard PR bulb and not a Krypton bulb. I lent it to my aunt during Hurricane Gustav and never got it back. Smooth reflector.

Eveready 1251 (2000’s version.) I’ve had several of these and I plan to buy another. It is American Made. Almost as good as the Rayovac Industrial 2D from the 1990s. It also uses a high quality Krypton PR bulb, but is slightly dimmer. This is because of the contact point at the bottom of the bulb socket. It easily gets oxide on it and that comprimises the connection. Produces a uniform beam. Bought it from my local NAPA auto parts store. I gave the damn thing away. Faceted reflector. UPDATE: I also have a few of the 1990’s versions of the Eveready 1251 and I must say that they are brighter somehow and just look cooler in general.

Eveready 1259 2D and 1359 3D (1990s versions.) I currently have each. They are not as bright as their Krypton counterparts, but they have a much better connection system at the base of the bulb socket. Instead of a Copper or Bronze contact at the base of the bulb socket, it has a stainless steel wire coil. This makes a very solid connection and with fresh bulbs and batteries, it produces a decent amount of light for its class. They are both American Made. It does not produce an even beam and that is about the only drawback for a light in its class. Got the 1359 off ebay and the 1259 from Motion Industries. Smooth reflector.

Bright Star 2618 2D Incandescent (2000’s version) and 2618 LED (2010s version.) American Made (shame.) At first they seem like very good flashlights, especially for their price. BUT stear clear of them! Their switch mechanism, though replaceable, lasts only a few weeks with regular use. I bought the LED version a few weeks ago. Very bright and efficient (40 lumens for 200 hours,) however it also has a failing switch system and gave out within about a week. The good news is that Koehler-Bright Star stands by their products. They sent me a 2217 LED as a replacement. This one has a much better switch and also the LED engine that gives off 40 lumens for 200 hours. The Incandescent came with a high quality PR bulb. The LED produced a perfect beam. Got the 2618 LED from Bright Guy and the 2618 Incandescent fro Motion Industries. Faceted reflector.

Bright Star 2217 2D Incandescent (2000’s version) and 2224 3D (2000’s version.) They have a much better switch system than the 2618. It is more rugged and doesn’t move as much. I have had the 2D for almost 3 years and the 3D for almost 2 years. They are starting to flicker, but ONLY because I tampered with them and shouldn’t have. If I would have left them alone, they would still be working wonderfully. American made and came with high quality PR bulbs. Got them from Motion Industries. Faceted reflector.

Bright Star 1618 2D (1950’s version.) This is the ancestor of the 2618 and works almost infinitely better. It has a similar, but much better switch system than the modern 2618. It also has better contacts at the base of the bulb and metal rings pressed into both ends. I gave mine away because there was something on my shelf that ate the lens. These are getting harder and harder to find and many times they cost much more than what they were worth when they first came out. I personally call it the “Kel Lite of Industrial Flashlights.” It was American made and produced a very uniform beam. Also came with a high quality PR bulbs. Got it off ebay. Smooth reflector.

Eveready 330 2D (1970’s version.) This is American made and produced a decent beam. It worked fine in lieu of its age and came with a high quality PR bulb. Got it off ebay. Smooth reflector.

Railtek 992-321-AG Trainman’s Lantern 6 Volt 908 (2000s or 2010s version. Both LED and incandescent. Has a screw base Krypton bulb which has a specific model number. I am trying to look it up but the site seems to be down or slow. I have no idea what is the country of origin. It was given to me by a railroad dispatcher whom I initially heard on my scanner than looked up online. I have it as a shelf queen, so I don’t know how it would preform under harsh conditions. Supposedly they are very rugged since they are used by conductors and brakemen which are exposed to some of the roughest conditions a job can present. Faceted reflector.

Duracell Industrial-I was given this by some BNSF Railway maintenance of way workers. I seriously don’t know what the issue with this light is. It comes with a decent quality Krypton PR Bulb. The connection is very stable, but there has to be some kind of loss of current in circuitry. But it only gives off 6 lumens on a fresh set of batteries. It is made in Thailand. Beam is dim and ringy. Faceted reflector.

Garrity R300G 2AA Mini Rugged Lite (1990’s version.) It looks like an industrial flashlight and it could be used as an industrial flashlight. It is, however, also marketed to consumers and even children. This was my favorite flashlight growing up. It was made in 1994 and I got my first one in the summer of 1998 (age 11.) I’ve had several of them over the years. They were made in Macau. Garrity is now back in business and I will strongly petition them to bring back this flashlight again. It came with a VERY high quality Krypton PR bulb. Had a ringy, but very focused and uniform beam. The rings were produced by the Fresnel lens. These are now EXTREMELY rare and a fellow CPFer mailed me one. May God immensely bless him. Smooth reflector.

Energizer Hardcase 6 Volt 908 lantern (2006.) Made in China and built like a tank. It floats too. IIRC, it came with a Xenon PR bulb. Could have also made a good self defense weapon. Got one in the summer of 2006, but lent it to my now ex in laws and never got it back. Smooth reflector.

Energizer 4 AA Hardcase swivel flashlight (2000’s.) Made in China. Decent brightness. smooth reflector. Built like a tank.

Rayovac Workhorse 2 AA (1990s version.) Made in Malaysia. Focused, neatly ringed beam. Bright, Krypton PR bulb. I bought one when I was 12 and had it for years until I lost the spring. I even EDCed it on and off as a child and teenager. Smooth reflector.

Garrity G600G G-Tech Floating Lantern. Made in Thailand. This is not as rugged as an industrial flashlight, but it still rugged enough for the outdoors. It has plenty of features to brag about. High quality Krypton PR bulb. Strong, decent beam. I personally called my “fisherman’s lanterns.” I had two of them, [my now ex-]wife bought them for me at West Marine, two of the last three on the shelf. Faceted reflector. UPDATE: My divorce was semi-nasty and I gave back just about everything she gave me, including these lanterns. I told her to give them to her nephews.

Bright Star 575 2D made in USA, shame. (been around for a long time.) Do NOT buy one of these, unless only for shelf display. One of the flimsiest flashlights I have ever laid my hands upon. smooth reflector. I honestly don’t know how these railroad journeymen put up with such a flimsy flashlight, but it is very common among railroad electricians.

Lumilite Industrial 5451 with push button switch 2 AA. Made in China. Bought one in the late winter of 2004. It lasted until about 2007, then began to flicker. Don’t remember too many details. Faceted reflector. How do these railroad journeymen put up with such a flimsy flashlight?”

UPDATES (not in orginal text):
Eveready Commander Lantern (1970s version.) Made in Hong Kong. This was probably the flashlight that sparked my interest in flashlights. My Paternal Grandpa (God rest his soul) carried one on his job and also used it into retirement and there is a picture of him showing it to me as an infant. It produces a sharp beam, especially when the PR-13 is upgraded to a KPR-113. It is reasonably rugged, constructed of HDPE. It has a white riveted sliding switch.

Rayovac Industrial 2 D flashlight (1970s version.) Made in USA. I am not sure of the model number, but have one in near mint condition that was supposed to be company issue for the Kansas City Southern Railway. I could see it being rugged enough for an engineer, but not for a journeyman or conductor. However, it does cast a sharp beam and it is bright enough with fresh batteries. It has a smooth refelector and a Fresnel lens. Constructed of rugged enough PP.

Star 292 Conductor’s Lantern (current version): Made in USA. It seems to be built rugged enough, but the internal circuitry is very delicate, so don’t tamper with it. It runs on a 6 Volt 908 lantern battery and has a light for both signalling and car inspection (both KPR113 bulbs.) I’ve had mine since May or June of 2017.

Star 2012 Conductor’s LED Lantern (2012 to present version): Made in USA. It also seems to be rugged enough and the internal circuitry is all electronic, which adds to the ruggedness. It too runs on a 6 Volt 908 lantern battery, but is all LED. There are dedicated LEDs for both signalling and inspection or they could all be turned on. This is probably the most expensive industrial flashlight I own and I keep it as a shelf queen.

Energizer HardCase LED 2AA and 2AAA (mid 2010s to present version): Made in China, but built very well. Bought in December of 2015 and July of 2017, respectively. I use these for working on computers and other electronics. I must admit the they are rugged (constructed of ABS.) They are also very bright and give off a pure white light. These are one of my favorite Energizer products.

Garrity Tuff Lite 2D and 2AA (1980s and 1990s versions): Made in Thailand. These are built very well and come with high quality Krypton bulbs. I’ve had my 2D model since Christmas of 1998 and it is the flashlight that I’ve had longest! Many men in my neighborhood also had these. The newer Garrity Tuff Lites (starting in 2004, or so) don’t hold a candle to these.

Garrity Power Lite 2AA (1990s version): I’m not sure the country of origin, but I bought a four pack of them in late 2017. They seem to be built fairly decent and cast a sharp pin point beam. They are fitted with Krypton bulbs and have a slide switch system in addition to a monentary on off button. I’m not sure though how much abuse they can withstand, and I imagaine they are on the fence between industrial and consumer grade. They do come with a Fresnel lens and a smooth refelector.
I hope I have been helpful. I hope you, the reader, have been informed and entertained.