Wednesday, December 2, 2009

New granddaughter, Rep. Bob Filner

We received the happy news on November 24th that our son Nick and his wife Carrie just made us grandparents for the sixth time. Their new daughter, Lily, weighed in at 8#10 oz., and was 20.5" long. Carrie, Lily, and the family are doing well. We rejoice with them and pray for their health and protection.

Last Friday we were asked to accompany U.S. Representative Bob Filner, (D-Cal), on a tour of Corregidor Island. Filner is very popular in the Philippines since he is chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee. Recently, the U.S. Congress voted to give each living Filipino who could prove he fought against the Japanese in WWII a long-overdue payment of $9000. To date, 10,000 have been paid out of 38,000 applications, about 20,000 more applications than had been anticipated. There is much verification needed for each claimant, which can prove difficult due to lost records, poor record-keeping at the time, and the deaths of some who can attest to service records for others. After Steve led the tour, Filner gave us an official U.S. House of Representatives crystal snowflake Christmas ornament, our first here on snowy Corregidor. The photo shows the ornament in its box because the red background makes a much better picture. We now have it hanging on our front door.

In our Veterans Day newsletter we mentioned and printed a picture of Carlos Inigo, Jr., familiarly known as Jun, the nickname for almost every Filipino son named after his father. Col. Ed Ramsey, who served in the Philippines and later married a daughter of the U.S. Ambassador to Japan, read the newsletter and asked us about Jun. Col. Ramsey knew Carlos Sr. as well as Jun, who was only a teenager when he served during the war. As a result of our newsletter, we managed to put the two men in contact with each other.

On the story of Motts Tonelli’s ring, we received this email from another one of our readers, John Lukacs, a sports and history writer and Notre Dame graduate:

I can't believe you'd cheat one of your friends and loyal readers out of credit for the story of my friend Motts Tonelli! I was the first to tell his story to a national audience; Sports Ill. saw my story and copied it. In fact, they even had the audacity to contact me for help while writing it. Motts and I got a kick out of that.

It was Motts' ND class ring; the Irish didn't win the nat. championship that year. Tonelli's late heroics secured a mediocre 6-2-1 record, but that record was good enough for a top 10 finish...I lust after that kind of mediocrity now...

I found the Dial ring story fascinating -- thanks for sharing! I hope the grandson gets it back. I'll certainly keep my eyes peeled. After reading all those stories about guys on the Death March losing their fingers along with their rings, I often wondered what became of those rings...does anyone in Japan have them and if so, are they too embarrassed to try to return them to the rings' rightful owners? Jack Hawkins, the last surviving character of my book, somehow kept his Annapolis ring throughout captivity. He sewed a secret compartment in the hemlines of his trousers before the Rock surrendered and managed to keep the ring, as well as several hundred dollars, inside.

While on a recent hike we saw a cool snake. It was basking in a little sunny spot in the jungle road by our house, lying very still. The length was 18-20 inches, and it was fairly narrow – less than ¾ inch wide. After we spent a few seconds looking at it, and before Steve could take its picture, it suddenly curled its tail up over its body toward its head, nearly making a circle. Then it combined the typical 'serpentine' motion with rolling like a wheel to very quickly head across the road and into the vegetation. We have never seen anything like it before, really amazing. It literally rolled or cart-wheeled away! One of the tour guides we know well said he's heard of this type of snake, and thinks they are called spinners or some variation of that, but did not think they were found in the Philippines. This one was a milk-chocolate brown color, with skin that sparkled in the sun, and it had a very narrow head—not the triangular head you see on many snakes. It was almost more as if the body-width just continued thru the head and then tapered toward its mouth. The snake’s behavior was not at all aggressive; it just wanted to hide as quickly as it could. If anyone knows the correct name for this snake, please let us know.

And finally, we’ve taken quite a few pictures of walking sticks on the kalamansi trees by our house. As you can see, they are quite photogenic. One seems very proud of his new false teeth, and the other we simply called, “Lawrence Welkingstick.” For those of you too young or otherwise unfamiliar with Lawrence Welk, he was seen on television for many years. The show featured professional singers and dancers performing to his Lawrence Welk Orchestra. He always lead the orchestra into its next piece with “a one and a two and.”

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting experience with that snake. I have never heard any snake here in the Philippines exhibiting such behavior or motion as you described. Such a shame you weren't able to get a picture of it.

    Who knows? It could be an undiscovered species or something as yet not known to exist in the country. Sad to say, at the rate habitat destruction occurs in the Philippines it is feared that species are being lost before they're being made known to science. If and when you do run into the reptile again, could you please take a picture and post it on your blog? Thank you so much!

    P.S. If I get a chance to come back to Corregidor, hopefully to explore the natural environment more, I'd love to meet you guys in person. Splendid work in promoting Corregidor. All the best!