Saturday, February 10, 2018


Most of us are no doubt familiar with the expression -
A man's home is his castle.
Which has never meant that a fellow could do as his pleases under his own roof. William Pitt (the Elder) said, in 1763 -
"The poorest man may in his cottage bid defiance to all the forces of the crown. It may be frail - its roof may shake - the wind may blow through it - the storm may enter - the rain may enter - but the King of England cannot enter." (Source)
'Tis even spelled out in Blackstone's Commentaries upon the Laws of England -
And the law of England has so particular and tender a regard to the immunity of a man's house, that it stiles it his castle, and will never suffer it to be violated with impunity: agreeing herein with the sentiments of ancient Rome, as expressed in the words of Tully; “quid enim sanctius, quid omni religione munitius, quam domus unusquisque civium?*” (Source)
I suppose nowadays one shouldn't say "a man's home" but rather "a person's home" to include those of both genders (sorry boys and girls, there are only two, it is a binary thing, no matter how you might "identify") and to be all, ya know, inclusive. But I'm wandering away from my point, as I am wont to do. (If you wish, blame Cicero for saying "man.")

That opening photo (Kumamoto Castle in Japan for those who didn't chase the link) is rather the mental picture I have of my own home. The folks in the right foreground (which gives you idea of the size of the castle, my house is rather smaller) are the outside world. They can come in, but only with my permission. Provided of course that The Missus Herself has already okayed that.

My home is my sanctuary, where I go to get away from the world. While we do stay abreast of current events, it doesn't dominate our lives. Often I will only hear of the latest catastrophe/controversy/cataclysm/what-have-you if it is mentioned on the sports radio station I listen to or someone at work broaches the topic.

While you might find that puzzling ("What Sarge, you don't stay aware of current events?") I only care about the "news I can use." Will it snow/rain/sleet/hail today? Will there be high winds or flooding or invasions of Little Rhody? Will the price of gasoline prohibit me from filling my tank on any given day? Things of that nature.

Many current events which come into my ken are poorly reported and (worse) poorly understood by those reporting them. As an amateur historian I take a longer view of things which don't impact me and mine directly. (The economy and the military are both things I like to stay abreast of, the former for monetary reasons, the latter for professional reasons. The two often intersect in my line of work.)

As long as I have a job, my kids have jobs, my relatives have jobs (should they so desire them, my Mom is of an age where she doesn't work anymore, which she did until fairly recently) and so long as we all have our health, things are peachy in my world.

Truth be told, I care about my friends as well, but misfortunes in their lives won't necessarily impact the well-being of my clan. That's me keeping an eye on the "big picture" but understanding that my actions have to be local (within my household) first and foremost.

I am reluctant to have just anyone into my home. Solicitors, Jehovah's Witnesses, Fuller Brush men (do they even still have those?), wandering mendicants, minstrels, and the like need not apply.

Had some political fellow come to the door once rather insistent that I should listen to his views on the state of the state of Little Rhody and the Nation. Furthermore would I sign his petition? After being told that I wasn't interested, not even a little, he just kept going on and on. When I informed him that he was trespassing on private property and would he leave voluntarily or would the intercession of the local constabulary be required, he unassed the premises rather expeditiously.

Family are always welcome as are close friends. Casual acquaintances and work colleagues are well-advised to call ahead first. Expect to be told that the time is inconvenient but can I meet you somewhere else. As my home is my sanctuary I am reluctant to open it to just anyone.

While I'm not this insistent on my privacy...

There have been times.

Which reminds me of a story. (Natürlich.)

One day, a few years back, quite a few actually, think ten, I was driving down the street which leads to my own when I smelled a smell which while familiar, is not something you want to emanate from your personal automotive conveyance. The smell of hot metal. Think "hot brakes."

As I was close to home, less than a hundred yards, I decided to go ahead and motor on. And yes, the smell got worse. When I pulled into the driveway I jumped out to locate the location of the smell. Lo and behold the left rear wheel of my vehicle was actually on fire. So think "really hot brakes."

I dashed to the back yard, grabbed the garden hose, turned on the spigot and dashed back to the driveway. Now The Missus Herself, having witnessed this antic behavior on my part, came to the door and inquired as to "what the heck are you doing?"

"The car is on fire, call 911. Tell them that the car is on fire."

"Which part of the car is on fire?" she wanted to know.

"Just call 911 damn it, I'll give you the specifics later!" (And yes, I paid dearly for that "damn it" bit later on. In case you were wondering.)

As I hose down the hot brakes, the flames subside and up rolls the fire department. Followed by a cop. I explain to the fireman what happened, what I did, etc., and he's giving the whole mess a good look-see to make sure that the conflagration is indeed out and that my vehicle poses no danger to the neighborhood.

I am, of course, cheek by jowl with the fireman as I too wish to make sure that nothing is going to blow up, burst into flames, etc. At which point the cop walks over and tells me, while I am standing in my own driveway mind you, "Sir, I need you to step back from the vehicle."

Both the fireman and I turned to look at the cop.

"Now Sir."

Okay, maybe I had a bit too much adrenaline in my system but I blurted out, "Really Dick Tracy? You're telling me to step away from my own car, on my own property?"

"Uh..." sayeth the constable.

"Seriously dude, get off my property. We called in a fire, not a crime. Why are you even here?" I admit, I was a bit riled up at that point.

When the three firemen all started laughing, the police officer realized that he was being just a tad overbearing and went back to his car. Then drove off.

No, I haven't had a lot of traffic citations since then. None actually. Why do you ask?

* What more sacred, what more strongly guarded by every holy feeling, than a man's own home? - Marcus Tullius Cicero


  1. Good thing those firemen laughed, nowadays you'd have to hide the dog, what with how some law enforcement reacts.

  2. Our dining room windows give us a broadside to, and close up view of anybody ringing our doorbell.
    When the windows are locked partially open I have enjoyed from time to time quietly going to the window, assessing the person ringing the bell, and then calling out rather loudly, and insanely cheerfully, "Hello, what do you want?"
    As my greeting is delivered in an engineroom trained voice, and from a distance of about 20 inches from their left ear, the reaction is always interesting.
    I haven't yet had to hose off the porch, but I think it has been a near thing.

    Good post.

  3. I understand why the cop was concerned. He just needed some training from Dale Carnegie.
    Door knockers irritate me no end.

    1. He was a young guy, still wet behind the ears. Fairly clueless as well.

    2. At least the cop could age and dry behind his ears. Becoming unclueless is not as certain.

    3. Perhaps with experience and time he might spot the clue train.

      And jump on.

  4. I live in an apartment. It is a well built, but older, complex and the voice intercom doesn't work. The buzzer and remote door release does. There will always be those seeking entrance, not having a key, that will push all the apartment buttons knowing someone will let them in without checking. To get to the point. If you don't have my cell number, or can't be bothered to call, you will be ignored. While you won't be able to hear me, you will be cursed.

  5. Castle, indeed. Just one more thing that warms my heart here in Texas. There was a time here when 'trespass' was considered synonymous with 'suicide'.

    Our neighborhood is laid out without fences in the front yards. There are curbs, but no sidewalks. On occasion, we get what I call 'walkers'. These are the street folks hired by Billy-Bob's Buffet to walk the neighborhoods and hang fliers on front door knobs. They just cut straight across from yard to yard, which I find annoying, but I can see their point. Just the other day I was out in the garage (faces the street) with the door open. I was rummaging in one of our steel cabinets when I heard footsteps and a small noise. Turns out to be one of these 'walkers', and the noise I heard was him tossing his empty soda cup into an empty box at the front of the garage as he walked by. The guy looks to be about my age, very lean, and wearing a ski jacket on a balmy 65 degree day.

    My gaze may not have been a perfect 'Harry Callahan', but it did stop him in his tracks.

    Him--"Well, it looked like a trash can.".

    Me--"Did it look like YOUR trashcan, punk?". (OK, maybe I didn't say 'punk').

    He reversed course, retrieved his trash, and made straight away for the neighbors front door, mumbling to himself as he went.

  6. "And yes, I paid dearly for that "damn it" bit later on." Yep, that's pretty much a given! I won't even ask how.

    1. Angry glances was about it.

      She is a patient woman, after all, she married me.

  7. Heh. Reminds me of the time when our "Castle" was on a cul-de-sac and one of our more distant neighbors would walk his rather large dogs on our street. I came out of the garage one afternoon to find his retriever doin his "Bidness" in my front yard. I said something to the effect of "please control your dog and clean up his mess, there is a leash law ya know." His diatribe in reply was something about the dog was just doing what came natural and how I should mind my own business as he continued back down the street.

    Fast forward to Saturday morning as I am in my garage putting my pistols in carrying cases in preparation for a match. He must have seen me with the big stainless 686 with red-dot in my hand because all I heard was "Com'on Boy! Com'Boy!" When I looked out to the street all I saw was his retreating back as he dragged the dog down the street. Never saw him in our cul-de-sac again.

  8. Once again, top grade post and comments. I especially liked Flugelman's comment.

    Thanks for the post.
    Paul L. Quandt

  9. Paid dearly, my left.....tibia (I'm being polite, as asked. It is, after all, your place, Sarge).
    My woman knows that if she asks or says something really stupid, at a time when there isn't leisure for such stupidity, I will not regret anything I say. Being a grown woman, she understands the correctness of this, as she would do the same to me, also without regret.
    We never direct harsh words at one another. NEVER. We each do reserve the right to do so should the other exhibit symptoms of cranio-rectal inversion at a critical time.
    --Tennessee Budd

  10. I recall my post about Mr. Dryden of Scotland. I would not have voted to convict. Let me relate a story from today about fires.

  11. Just think, they built that whole castle without anything with CAT, DEERE, or KOMATSU printed on the side, nor anything labeled Ryobi, Hitachi, Bosch, DeWalt, or Milwaukee being involved.

    1. It does boggle the mind.

      (I had to pull you out of the spam filter, again. I told those guys I didn't want spammers badgering me but that actual badgers were okay.)

  12. My ideal "castle" would be very Swiss. Modern Swiss. You wouldn't know it was anything but a beautiful mountain valley with trees, meadows, and wildlife. A rustic chalet and a couple of outbuildings. A modern Swiss fortress with deep caverns, and all the nasty bits well-hidden. No need to frighten or intimidate the neighbors, after all.

  13. Some cops do tend to get an overly inflated sense of self importance. Fortunately you recaged that ones gyro. As for your home being a sanctuary open to others, from what I've seen in your pics, Song keeps a VERY nice house that will surely be welcoming if I ever visit outside of dinner time.

    1. If you come for dinner, bring an appetite!

    2. Will do, but we do like that Irish place!

    3. Oh dear yes, Aidan's is my favorite!


Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)
Can't be nice, go somewhere else...

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