Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Sink Hole by Wild Bill

So Our Town Has a Sink Hole by Wild Bill

It is an understatement to call that massive depression a sink hole. When you see it for the first time, you expect to see rivers of lava winding their way along central London's main drag. They are working night and day to close the yawning gap, and get the local merchants off their back. What would they be like if this had been like New Orleans?

But let me change the subject for a moment and respond to the consternation of our three name mayor and the deficit her consultants have to face to resolve the loss experienced at Story Book Gardens this past year. I guess all that expensive plastic could have been replaced by cute petable creatures so kids would have something to remember, including the timeless adventures of creatures from classic children's books.

Where are the deer and that wonderful black and white collie which herded them so efficiently? And where are kids going to feel the warmth of touching a friendly cow, or look into the deep brown eyes of a favourite steed. And another thing, why must it cost so much for a family to come all the way to London, and have to pay big bucks for their children to climb on lifeless objects that are forgotten as soon as they leave the park.

So why have I linked the sink hole and kid's park? Look up my blog on the adventure in the storm well in Yawkee Bush. Here's what I would like to see happen. The engineers' department plan a long range tunnel beginning at Storybook and link it with numerous side trips all the way to the crater in the core. Sounds great doesn't it. "Crater in the Core". Throughout this long range construction many alcoves would be built to contain three "D" versions of famous nursery stories. This is an imaginative plan that would take years to produce, but Disney World did not happen overnight.

I don't know what got me started on this freakish concept. Must have been those beans which went bad. I find it hard to throw things away.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


Remembering by Wild Bill

In a small village in the Azores, a Portuguese island off the west coast of Europe, there is an ancient church on a hill overlooking the town square. The wind battered building was made by the local farmers and their families before Columbus discovered America. That's how things got made in those early days. Religion was the heart of the tiny community and this beaten structure had survived many Atlantic storms in its past history.

I enjoyed the warm breeze coming up the rugged coast from the turbulent ocean below as I day dreamed in this tranquil setting. It was then I first noticed the weary, body-bent, farmer heading for the church doorway. Laced behind his head were his shoes which he pulled on before entering the chapel. His worn bare feet were the colour of burnished leather, with deep folds of wrinkles folding under, crowned with ivory covered toenails, larger than I had ever seen before.

He disappeared into the church, which I decided I should visit also. He was on his knees, his head and shoulders bent in prayer. His devotional pose got my attention first, then it happened. I saw that the entire sanctuary was filled with a primitive depiction of Hell damnation, with a crucified Christ rising out of the scorching mass of naked bodies struggling to reach their Saviour.

Suddenly the entire epic thrust me back in time to my first experience with the horrors of damnation which we Catholic kids were made to experience. I was six years old and our grade one teacher was showing us a large illustration of a fiery pool filled with naked sinners crying out for help. Sitting on the edge of this mass of burning flesh were angels complete with wings, holding chalices filled with holy water which they sprayed on the suffering souls. The young nun stressed the fact that this was not Hell. This was Purgatory, and if we led good lives we might be lucky enough to go there before entering Heaven. And if this is not Hell, can you imagine how horrible Hell must be?

I don't know what made me remember this early lesson in morality, but I am convinced that at six years of age, I was having a genuine example of child abuse.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Middle East Deception

Middle East Deception by Wild Bill

And Isaac was forty years old when he was wed to Rebekah, and she was barren. He entreated the Lord on his wife's behalf, and she conceived twins who struggled within her.

She implored the Lord to help her at this difficult time. And the Lord said, "Two nations are in thy womb and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels, and the one people shall be stronger than the other people and the elder shall serve the younger."

The first born came out reddish and covered in hair and they called him Esau, and soon came the other twin whose hand took hold of Esau's heel and he was called Jacob. Both grew into strong men, Esau, a man of the field, and Jacob a quiet man, dwelling in tents.

Isaac loved Esau. In his seventieth year, feeble and blind he asked Rebekah to prepare Esau to receive his blessing and be officially recognized the leader of the family. Fearing he was about to die he asked Esau the hunter, to prepare venison for him, and he would bless him, and make him the leader of his family. Rebekah, who favoured Jacob schemed with him to cheat Esau out of this honour, by disguising him with animal furs on his arms and told him how to speak to his father, imitating Esau's ruggedness.

The Bible tells us that God told her there were two nations in her womb, and they would be different in manner. This unending struggle of the semitic race, Arab being Esau's side of the family, and the Israelis Jacob's descendants, even in todays middle east, is the continuing feud, based upon a deception and a willingness to claim unjustly the land which legally belongs to Esau's side of the family. There can be no end of the destruction until the participants return to the beginning, and the blessing of the father to his first born.

The guilt of the world nations after the enormity of the holocaust, does not validate the occupation of another's homeland, because the scripture promised a holy land to ancient descendants. This land was seized by deception.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

New Old Me

The New Old Me by Wild Bill

Let me introduce myself. You can see what an aging young guy looks like by referring to the edited photo in my profile. I'm William James Johnson when I'm pretending to be more important than normal. I like using the name, because it sounds like I'm a writer, when in fact, I am a professional portrait painter and I sign my work with simply "Johnson". Look me up in the national gallery's "Dictionary of Canadian Artists". It says that I'm known for outstanding portrait painting. Not exactly faint praise.

Now that we know each other a little more, you can call me "Noozoon" a coined word which means "New Life." I'll tell you more about that in another post. Or if you want to be really friendly, just call me "Bill". One of my best friends has taken to calling me "Wild Bill." Makes me feel I should be doing something about it.

If you're interested I can tell you about the excitement I had as a war artist for the Department of National Defence on three missions to Cyprus to document the work of our "Peace Keeper Troops."

In another life fifty years ago, I spent nine weeks living with Eskimos in Canada's Arctic. Have you ever seen the glory of the northern lights in the midst of a Norwegian winter. I had the urgent call of my bladder screaming for relief, when at 3AM I stood in long underwear and boots in knee deep snow and was overwhelmed by the magic of dancing green and yellow reams of colour pouring over the snow. You realize of course I am referring to the dancing waves of the aurora borealis. That is what I meant.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007


Fear by Wild Bill

Hardly a day goes by without hearing about the exceptional bravery of someone who put their life on the line to help save a person who would have perished if they had not made a decision to risk all to rescue this victim in distress. Often the action is taken without considering the possibility of losing one's own life. Many times the fear of this ultimate sacrifice is realized long after the action has been taken. The fear may actually be altered as the memory factors in the dire consequences which could have happened if the rescuer had doubted for a moment instead of taking the saving action.

The most trying test for the brave person is to charge into flames to rescue someone trapped in a burning house or smashed vehicle which could blow up in any minute. It was this kind of experience which continues to bring back fantastic memories in my life which I would like to share with you.

Several years ago, when I was an aircrew electronics officer in the RCAF, I was stationed at the Maritime 407 Squadron at Comox, British Columbia. Nestled in a beautiful mountainous valley on the east coast of Vancouver Island, we were flying P2V Neptune aircraft for our submarine patrols. This was the aircraft of choice because it was fitted with two jetpods, and two propeller engines. We used to call our aircraft "two burning, and two turning". Because of the geographic location we needed to climb over the surrounding mountains which were 9000 feet high. We needed the power of our jets to get us above that altitude within the first few seconds of take off.

On this memorable flight we had completed all of our pre-flight preparations, settling in for our take off. The normal procedure was for the pilot to bring up the power settings on the two jet engines to 100% take off thrust, while keeping the brakes on the wheels. Once the power was reached, he would release the brakes and we would leave the runway like a rocket assisted take-off.

I was strapped in my seat at the rear rest position, beside a large observation window used on our search operations. We all listened to the co-pilot reading off the pressure settings on the jets in his monotonous tone. "Three zero. Thirty-five percent. Forty. Forty-five"

That was when the explosion startled everyone.

"What the hell was that?" asked the skipper.

"We are on fire skipper. I've got the rear hatch open. Everyone out. Hurry."

I got eight of the crew out before I jumped through the opening and struck the scorching runway.

A high wall of flame was within ten feet of where I landed. The pilot kept the aircraft going forward so that the wind would keep the flames away from the body of the plane. It was then I realized there were still two pilots and an engineer on board. I was certain they could not see from their position that their machine was still burning. I ran as fast as I could in my heavy flying boots so that I could indicate what was happening.

Suddenly I was soaked by a brown coloured liquid being shot at the fire by our base firemen from the massive foam truck which had raced across the tarmac to intercept our burning plane. In seconds the flames were snuffed out, and our plane stood dripping like a wet dog, as the last three crewmen came out of the desperate looking Neptune.

Investigators discovered the explosion was caused by a broken hydraulic line which spewed fluid over the hot engine until it combusted and blew large chunks of metal and flames all over the runway.

Remember I said memory plays a part in the fear generated after such a trauma. We had a full fuel load on for a ten hour mission. Can you imagine what a fireball would have lit up the sky if the explosion had happened only fifty seconds later, after we got airborne. I sure can't forget it. In fact, I'm lucky that I'm still here, and can share this memory with you.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Yawkee Storm Sewer

Yawkee Storm Sewer by Wild Bill

Before venturing on my detailed discovery of the mysterious man-made hole in the forest, I went to the archives of our local newspaper to see if the location of the well which I had found was where the body of the murdered young girl was recovered. There was no mention of its location except to say there were several of these sewers throughout the surrounding countryside. I decided that I would continue my preparations, even if there was an inherent risk.

One of the great obstacles was the intense blackness in the gaping tunnel once I moved away from the descending stairs. After considering many options, I settled on using candles. I even had an unlimited source of these, called, "vigil lights". These were the small lights in coloured containers in abundance in all Catholic churches. Parishioners who were praying for special favors would buy a candle and light it up. To ensure they would get their money's worth, they preferred to select new candles. For this reason the janitor would remove all used candles and dump in the trash. This became my abundant source, which I loaded into a canvas bag.

It was my intention to find small chunks of floatable wood on which my candles would stand. My scrounging skills were in high gear when I went to a lumber supply yard and told the yard guy that I needed these for a school project. He gave me about 30 cut off pieces of shingles which went into the candle bag.

I rode my bike to Yawkee Bush, and after almost an hour of trudging through the swamp I found the opening. Tentatively I turned my trusty penlight into the void, and began having second thoughts. What if something happened? I hadn't told anyone what I was going to do. At least my bike was up top, within sight of the well. Nothing is going to happen.

My sack of light supplies banged on my back as I went slowly into the unknown. There was about a foot of water in the bottom of the five foot space. This was double what had been here the last time. I could hear surges of water emptying into the tunnel, a long ways off to the right I began splashing as I walked away from the opening. Rats scurried along the edge of the stream trying to get away from me.

Setting the wood carefully, I placed one of my used candles on it which I lit with my dad's lighter I found on his dresser. Suddenly I was startled to see a huddled dark shadow standing behind me. I almost laughed out loud when I realized I was the shadow. It was amazing how far I could see from one candle. With this minimum light, I was not even startled by the number of rodents that swam near my feet. The second candle made me feel like I was in a subway underground.

Ten floating vigil lights spurred my self-confidence. I must have covered a city block in this bleak tunnel. Then without warning, I heard a roaring sound of a torrent of water, flooding the tunnel from where I had begun, sinking each burning candle. No light whatsoever. I could hear the rats panicking, trying to climb my legs.

Keep cool. There's only one way to get out. I had to go back. I had to hurry, because I had no idea what caused the flooding water sound,or how deep it would be. By the time I got back to the steps, rain was pelting down the opening, one of those unexpected summer storms common in our area. The water in the bottom of the well was now waist deep. I looked like a drowned rat by the time I reached my bike. Wet or not, its hard to forget what could've happened. I guess those vigil lights had the power to answer my anxious pleading.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Yawkee Bush

Yawkee Bush by Wild Bill

If you didn't have the excitement of discovery in a complex bush when you were young, you missed days of adventure. We lived within four miles of an overgrown, forested area which was our favourite place to become everything from Robin Hood, to the ancients who created Stonehenge. Such a place, with an abundant imagination, had no boundaries. Yawkee Bush had the reputation of being one of the prime areas for burgeoning youth to visit with that special young thing who was yearning to become enjoyed. Now that was something you will always remember. The twisted trees sending shoots in every direction gave ample cover once you had prepared the nest.

Swamps, and a murky river dotted with bullrushes made you want to go deeper into the mystery of this ageless forest. It was then I made one of my greatest Yawkee discoveries. After making it across the winding creek, I saw that surface water was flowing towards a concrete opening, about four feet across. Using my special penlight I had obtained by saving Rolled Oat coupons, I looked through the opening and there were rusted metal steps leading into a wet well about a hundred feet below me. I just had to see where this structure was going. Usually I wouldn't take a chance like this alone, but I thought I might never find this well again.

At the bottom, I saw the shallow water was flowing towards the right, into a black void. This must be one of those storm sewers I had read about. Just a few months before my experience, the body of a young rape victim had been discovered in one of these storm sewers. That's enough for now.