My Father's comments on life in 1962
written by Harold "Pat" C. Rahn,
posted by Jan Faust as an example his perception of life's challenges

Gramps, is the person who permeated me with a love for the water and introduced me to SCUBA diving, accidentally, by dying (see )"The Service" - A Celebration of the life of my father.   There is more to this story and I will get it to the net as soon as I am able. Remember that he wrote this in 1962.......

This letter is primarily to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, but so many events have happened since last Christmas that we feel compelled to explain them.

In February, Boeing engaged in a competition to design the TFX Fighter Airplane and on February 14th they brought me to Seattle to assist in the effort - so off I went, leaving Ruth and the children in Wichita.  The first week it was great no worries, no cares, no children asking for help in homework, no wife with her "fix-it" list when I walked in the door - Great!  The second week I began doubting my new found freedom, the third week I knew it wasn't worth a darn and the fourth week I found an excuse to go home for a short visit.  Somehow we made it to the end of school and home I went to gather up the brood.

Our original plan was to go to Seattle for 18 months - take a few things with us (I had rented a furnished house), rent our Wichita home, and then return at the end of our stay.  Ruth began packing the few items and off I went to the garage to assemble a 4'x8' trailer, on which I had worked on and off (mostly off) for two years.  At the end of the first day I began doubting my trailer's capacity and as the mound grew to a mountain my plans for a few things collapsed and work on the trailer dwindled and finally halted.  After carefully analyzing the situation down I went to the U Rent Um and came back shortly with the biggest trailer they had - 6' x 14' with four wheels and a top.  By this time the few things were covering the driveway; but rising to the occasion I began loading - dishwasher, ironrite and so on - each was assessed and carefully put in place until finally only odds and ends were left - bicycle, ping-pong table - you know small things - well anyway, I decided to move the car ahead to get a little more room.  There was a horrible screeching  of rubber - I stopped, got out and looked.  The trailer fenders were laying on the front tires.  Obvious solution - shift the load.  So out I got, unloaded the trailer, (all 4000# of few items) and began reloading - this time the dishwasher and ironrite in back.  When the task was once again complete I noted with untold satisfaction that I had gained the tremendous clearance of ½".  The problem of course , had now reached the necessity of consultation, so down I drove to the U Rent Um and after much deliberation and study we discovered the idiot that built this monstrosity in the first place had built it with no clearance when empty.  Now what? - Down to the blacksmith shop I went and after 2 hours back I came with the ball raised 5 inches - hooked up the trailer - clearance marginal but sufficient, and home triumphant to the family I went.  It's now 5 p.m. of our scheduled 8 a.m. leaving day and the family was still waiting, bag in hand, ready to go, so as I carefully backed into the driveway to pick up the troops, Ruthie, helpful as ever, said "Why does the trailer ball move back and forth? - By this time of course, relations are somewhat strained, but at last I consent to look and what do you know - It did!  Fatigue life of the hitch probably 100 miles - Seattle 2000 miles - obvious solution - back to the blacksmith shop to rebuild the trailer hitch but this time Ruth, Jan, Chris and the two dogs are with me.  At 7:00 p.m. it's braced to my satisfaction and with tears in our eyes, dirt on my hands and dog hair in our coffee, off we drove, and the first nite arrived at Great Bend - 70 miles - not bad for the first day.

Normally one would think we'd had our share but no lady luck apparently had bypassed and was riding in someone else's caravan cuz on the second day we drove through several cloud bursts and that evening Jan complained of a severe head and had 102 degrees - not so obvious solution - exhaust  fumes from a leaky muffler, but by morning the little trouper was ready to go. Sunday, of course, and no place to go for a muffler so off we gaily drove with windows open, joy in our hearts and more dog hair in our coffee cups. This day was lovely and we had the exciting experience of entering Yellowstone and seeing the grandeur of this extremely beautiful country. The next day we saw "Old Faithful", the Paint Pots, the bears and as all tourists, stood with camera in hand trying in a punitive measure to capture the enthralling beauty of Mother Nature until "Old Dad" with many regrets had to make the decision to leave, and off we drove "dragging our trailer behind us", little knowing what was again in store for us!

When you leave Yellowstone by the north gate one overlooks a breathing view of the mountains and far below the valley to which you will descend.  After one last look you take leave and begin descending by means of long switchback roads. - Back and forth you weave, seeking lower and lower levels and you note with some alarm, that each time you step on the brake the response is less and less, so now you look for a place to pull over without alarming the family.  The only other thought is your conversation with U Rent Em and their answer "No Problem".  Finally you're approaching the point of refusal -- place to pull off, the road going down with a right angle turn on a precipice overlooking the canyon far below and you're in the outside lane and the breaks let go!  Fortunately we were going slow and as the car started gaining speed I did the only thing I could and cut across the highway and rammed it into the mountain.  The good Lord was with us and we picked a soft spot and nothing was hurt.  Many remarks were made, of course, but personally, I just sat - kinda needed a rest anyway! Finally the brakes cooled and I readjusted them as best I could and finally in low gear we reached the bottom, very grateful, and somewhat exhausted.

The rest of the trip was through beautiful country and made with no further incidents and finally we arrived at out new home in Seattle.  The trailer was quickly unloaded and down we went to U Rent Em and dropped the ornery cuss - Did you ever wear long johns all winter and then experience deliciousness in slipping into shorts in the spring when you were a kid?

Summer was spent with work, family becoming reoriented and the major event being the purchase of an old 38' cruiser.  Proud indeed we were as we gaily cruised our home to our new port not realizing the perils and dangers of the deep that beset the new skipper.  Being new at this and filled with great ambitions we of course daily visited our gay craft.  Each day, however, the step down to the boat became longer, so down to the bowels of the ship I went - sure enuff - the bilge is progressively taking on water at an alarming rate - on goes the bilge pump and down comes the water level in the bilge, but prudence suggests that we now consult with the boat works.  Off we go jauntily wearing our newly purchased yachting caps.  When we arrive he listens to our tale of woe and the first thing we know we're dry docked.  As the investigation  progressed and his faces gets longer and longer, mine does too and visions of money bags dance in our heads - me giving - him taking.  I am now known as the "dry rot king" of Seattle or "Have you had your boat rebuilt lately?"  Dry rot is to boats as termites are to homes, and the net result was jacking up the engine and building a new boat under it!  Anyway the summer went and the rains came and finally we brought the boat home, trading in our jaunty yachting caps for used southwestern rain outfits.

Concurrently  with bringing the boat home we also acquired a new possession.  "All the girls have a horse!" , said Jan, and as low as our morale was from purchasing the boat works, apparently we were an easy mark, for before I knew it, Caesar had joined the family - all 1400 pounds of him - looking like he had just trotted off the scenes of Bonanza - ever own a horse?  You soon realize a horse is the nearest thing to perpetual motion there is and he keeps you busy on both ends.   Only two inexpensive tools are required:  a pitchfork and a shovel and your hands are quickly callused.  As we said we were new at horses and didn't know a thing about them.  A horse will eat till he busts, and ours almost did, and in one nite poor old Caesar almost bit the dust.  A week later Caesar was on his feet again, but not until I had rebought the horse in vet bills and we had spent a few sleepless nights out with the vets.  Now that Caesar is well again, Ruth swears the funniest thing she has ever witnessed is 3 vets pushing a horse that's just had an enema around the barnyard at midnight to make him run and slosh, with me running ahead leading them.  My own thought was to get the heck out of the road and you couldn't have paid me to be back there!

Well, we're in Seattle, the boats working, the horse is working and I'm working and Ruth and the kids have talked us into living in a big house out on the edge of Puget Sound.  "The Toolies" is what we call it and we're out in the woods like the rest of the Seattleites.  We love it and now that Boeing has lost the TFX contract we'll probably stay here - besides what can you do with a sick horse and leaky boat in Kansas.

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visitor # 2010 since 9/29/97
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