‘Stand By Me’ was my childhood


The movie Stand By Me was released thirty years ago. Without the searching for the dead body, my childhood was reflected pretty closely by the movie. It was set in the summer of 1959 – I was twelve years old in 1959. Naturally, it is on my list of favorites – one I’ll watch over and over, even if I join it in progress I’ll watch it to the end.

Stand By Me starred Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Corey Feldman and Jerry O’Connell played the group of friends. The cast also included Kiefer Sutherland and Richard Dreyfuss as narrator. (Just so you don’t have to google “who was the kid that was a looney” or “which kid loved Cherry Pez?”

My hometown was 300 population. We had the small array of stores as represented in the movie. Ruby’s general store, Fidler’s Hardware Store, the phone company was owned by Carl and Wilma… (my home phone number was 45.)

I was a nerd. Gordy was me, I was Gordy – except I wasn’t as talented and my older brother hadn’t died yet.

We built tree houses – not as elaborate as the movie version of course, we never quite got to that stage. We would get a platform built. That’s all we needed: a place to launch potatoes at late arrivers or intruders.

There were older kids that were “hoods” that hassled us.

We played cards, hearts – at the Standard gas station across from my house owned by Louie and Hortense.

We smoked cigarettes that I could sneak from my mother’s pack. The wheat/corn field next to our house was a convenient place to light up.

And we had adventures… but nothing like the boys of Stand By Me. The one that pops to mind is the weekend we spent camping at a local lake.

We got there by tractor with a clunky old trailer attached. Sure beats walking like the boys of Stand By Me. 


The tractor belong Richard’s dad… it was his “garden” tractor so he allowed us to use it for the weekend. The trailer had high wood slate sides so we all hung off the back or on the slats. Top speed for the tractor was probably 8 mph so falling off wasn’t a big deal. Jumping off and running ahead was fun for a while.

In Stand By Me They had a handgun, we had a bb gun!

We didn’t bother with a tent. We threw our bedrolls and some canvas in the trailer because it was a hot steamy July weekend. Any rain would be a thundershower that would pass quickly.

Getting there was more than half the fun. Once we arrived at the small lake, we attempted to catch our dinner by fishing. After we lost all our fishing worms to clever fish or throwing them at each other, we spent the rest of the day screwing around with rocks, tree limbs, fire, and the bb gun.

floatingdockwithoildrumsEventually we grew bored and wanted to add to our adventure. We decided to swim across the small lake because there was a small store across the lake and up the road a little. Dinner!

Problem: Donnie didn’t swim. After a suitable amount of making fun of him and threatening to leave him/or throw him off the floating dock, Gary had a brilliant idea. We would unhook the dock from it’s anchor and push it -with Donnie aboard across the lake.

Yeah, those floating docks are heavy! And not steerable. After a few attempts which resulted in just spinning Donnie’s Dock around, we got coordinated enough to make forward progress.

Hours later we arrived at the other side of the lake and walked to the store –  we did pool our money just like the boys of Stand by Me to buy some crap to stuff down our throats along with some bottles of RC Cola which launched a massive burp-o-rama that could have been the basis for the barf-o-rama like the film.

We made it back to camp after dark, after many yells of “shark” and fake drownings on the swim back.

The thunderstorm came and went as normal, but our cigarettes and matches got wet so no relaxing smoke or campfire.

Next day we loaded up and chugged our way back home. Remember the end of the movie?

I never had any friends later on like the ones I had when I was twelve.

Jesus, does anyone?



What Kaitlyn Jenner and I Have In Common


Aside from the appendage dangling between our legs – and assuming that Kaitlyn will revert to being a male again once the book is completed, we have something else in common.

We visit the GYN floor to see our doctors.

I need a new blood pressure med. One that is available free from the government, but requires the approval of a medical specialist to write the scrip.

His office is in the Ginecologia floor  and his office is labeled as such. I got an appointment about a month ago and paid my first visit.

I had been warned that before I could see the doc, a file needed to be started at the hospital where his office was located. We arrived a few minutes before the 8 a.m. appointment. 90 minutes later I was with a clerk who took my vitals – and then some. He wanted to know if I was married, but not to whom; he wanted my parent’s name, my age, but not date of birth; did I go to college; and was I working.

I saw the doc – needing one scrip for one med. I came out with four scrips for four meds, an order for a complete urine test, and order for an EKG, and order for a chest Xray, and order for a complete blood workup.

The socialized medicine program in Costa Rica is in bad shape financially. I think we got a clue why.

One last “only-in-Costa-Rica” moment. It’s a one year wait for an EKG, but I have to go back in August before they will give me an appointment.

Costa Rica Real Estate Scam? Or Stupid Tax?


Dave Ramsey is a talk-radio financial adviser that I used to listen too faithfully when in the Old Country. He has a saying regarding spending money and losing it… he calls it Stupid Tax.

In Costa Rica, I’ve paid stupid tax because of my own ignorance. It may have happened again… OR I may be the victim of a Costa Rica Real Estate Scam perpetrated by surveyors, or as they call themselves here: topographers.

The guy that owns the lot next to ours discovered that our common property line had some problems. He paid to have the lot re-surveyed to resolve the issue. Things when pretty smoothly and we were both satisfied. I got a new plano – the legal description of the property.


Last week I learned that the map shown in the center of the plano is out-of-date and our plano has “expired.” It still is registered with the property government agency, no problem there.

The problem is that the surveyor/topographer didn’t tell me that I had one year to update the registry to reflect the new map illustration. I missed the deadline by three years. I had a document in my hands with all the required stamps. Looked very official to me.

I remedy the situation, I must pay the surveyor $200 USD to print out a new plano and get all three tax stamps to make it all kosher. Plus I must pay a lawyer $100 to file the revised plano with the government.


Because nobody told me of this requirement.

Scam or Stupid Tax? Either way, I’m out $300.


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