Tag Archives: travel

An Incredible Story From Soviet Times

This was written by Tom Dailey, and I’ve lightly edited it:

In 1965, I was stationed at the Fleet Anti-Submarine Warfare Center in San Diego. I was a Radioman 2nd. Class in the USN, at the time.

One evening, at our radio club station (W6DCM – different license holder, now), I called CQ and got UAƘKKC (it’s no longer around), with Ivan at the mic. After a time of the usual signal reports and such, we asked what each did in their lives – I said that I was US Navy radio operator.

He answered that HE ALSO was a Navy radio operator in the Soviet navy. Then we discovered that his station was at the SUBMARINE base at Vladivostok, and I of course was his DIRECT opponent.

Yes… we really DID laugh at that, and I shall never forget what he said (that I heartily agreed with):

“Thomas, isn’t it shame that we’re supposed to hate each other?”

“Yes, Ivan, it is – someday we’ll share a vodka, da?”

“Da”, he replied.

We’re often told we should hate people. Messages I have heard on the media over the last 10 years have said we ought to hate illegal immigrants, CEOs, radical Muslims, the French, Iranians, Mexicans, presidents, UN diplomats, climate scientists, oil company employees, Chinese people, conservatives, liberals, religious people, atheists, and oh yes, still Russians.

But I get to choose who to hate, and in fact, I choose NO HATE. Not only does it keep my stress level way lower, but it also lets me enjoy life more, and makes the world a better place.

We can all talk to people in other countries and with other backgrounds and viewpoints so easily thanks to the Internet. Sadly we rarely have very deep online conversations to the point of getting to know people. For whatever reason, ham radio lends itself to that better.

Even better: visit other places. I wonder how many people that say they hate some group of people have visited them and made an effort to make a connection? It is, after all, really hard to hate someone that is kind to you. Perhaps they’re afraid to let go of their hate.

Think also about this: for whom is it convenient if you hate people? There is usually a reason that hatred is stoked, and it doesn’t usually lead to good things for individual people.

Tom W0EAJ added:

I actually tried to locate him and the station, but both appear to have vanished. Ivan (his name was pronounced Eee-von) could have, it occured to me later, gotten into trouble for saying such things. I think both of us realized AT THE TIME, what an astounding counterpoint each of us was to the other.

Proof that if it were left up to the simple little guys like us, and not to the politicians, we might actually pull off living in peace.

Jacob & Dad & Trains

Back in July, our family took a train trip from Kansas to New York for Debconf10. And then in September, we went to Indiana.

The only train service from here leaves at about 3AM in both directions. So starting about November, Jacob started asking me, “Dad, will you wake me up in the middle of the night to go to the train station TODAY?” He didn’t seem to get it through his head that we didn’t have another trip planned, although we surely would at some point. It just couldn’t possibly be, right?

So around Christmas, I booked a round trip from here to Galesburg, IL for just Jacob and me. We’ll get on the train at 3AM Saturday morning, get to Galesburg about noon, and then head back home at 5PM, getting home again at, well, 3:30AM.

Jacob is super excited about this. When the tickets arrived, he didn’t yet know about the trip. I thought he’d be excited then, but the ticket sleeve had a picture of a toy train that he didn’t own, so he was somewhat sad. But starting the next day he was very excited. We wrote “Amtrak” on the Jan. 15 spot on his pharmacy calendar (a local pharmacy gives them away free each year). He carefully checked off each day as it went past. And he’s been getting increasingly excited all week.

Tonight he couldn’t really think, couldn’t really play, couldn’t really calm down. He jabbered about how he would sit by the window, how precisely I would wake him up, and his eyes would open up “right away” and we’ll go straight there. He talked about how he will look out the window at the dark night, and was extra excited when I told him he’d see snow out the window like one of the Amtrak videos he likes to watch on Youtube. He already placed his order for breakfast in the dining car: “French toast with syrup on top.”

He ran past the computer while I was looking at things to do in Galesburg, and saw I had a map up, and immediately noticed the train tracks. Then he pointed to the station, and said, “Dad, that says ‘Galesburg Amtrak’.” A rather stunned dad replied, “Yes indeed it does, Jacob.” I guess it was some combination of pre-reading and detective skills, but that surprised me.

Anyhow, this is the first trip with just Jacob and me. We’re going to have a blast, I’m sure. I may, however, wind up going 24 hours without sleep if his adrenaline level is any guide…