My friend arrived exactly on time yesterday. This was the first part of our new plan. It was 0830 hours. The Sunshine felt warm on my body as I sat there on my east facing front porch. I had been up since 0330 hours, working on a Blog post, and I  felt a little sleepy. After a round of ” good morning” pleasantries, we left in Brian’s pickup truck. We were headed for a day of volunteer work at the Orange Empire Railroad Museum (OERM). Brian is a member of the group of volunteers that maintain the museum’s 2-6-0 steam locomotive. Beside helping maintain the locomotive, Brian is one of several Engineer/fireman that operate the locomotive. Our new plan was for Brian to come to my home and take me to the museum where I would spend the day “tutoring” him in the art of machining. The “new” part of the plan was for Brian to pick me up at my house. Until recently, we had met in Anaheim, but since I had recently voluntarily ceased driving, we had to change the plan. After arrival at OERM, we did not waste any time as we gathered up what we needed. We were planning to finish the fabrication of a new valve stem for a large brass steam whistle owned by a collector friend of ours. It is a challenging and fun project for us. Our work to finish the valve stem went well. Brian does all the work and I “supervise”. From time to time, members of the volunteer group that make up the “shop gang” stop by to say hello. We generally spend some time exchanging the shop gossip of the day before we conduct any real business. If someone has something that needs fixing, this is the time they negotiate the terms of a plan to fix what needs fixing. We finished the valve stem and we stopped work for lunch. We went into Perris and ate at Jenny’s Diner as usual. Upon returning to the shop, I made a sketch of a lapping fixture we would need to lap the valve stem to the valve body and, after digging a piece of aluminum from the scrap pile, we commenced to make the necessary part. It was getting late in the day. We were tired. We decided to quit before we made a mistake or injured our selves. We cleaned up and left for home. The drive was as it usually is, slow and somewhat boring. I must have dosed off as I have no recollection of the new 15 to 91 interchange. When I got home, I indulged myself with a tall glass of cold milk and crashed. A good day defined.


I am 89 years old and was married for 66 years. My wife passed away in 2016. I am a retired engineer and spent 35 years developing INS gyroscopes. I was a High School mentor in physics, a mountaineer, a model builder, a machinist and I have a degree in Physics. My interests include railroad history and photography, science history, cosmology, interesting people, and old engineering drawings. I place a high value on my friendships. I enjoying my life and I try look forward with a sense of anticipation and curiosity about what my future has in store for me.

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