Gill Rosenberg: Person of Interest – Fighting the Islamic State?

Gill Rosenberg

Gill Rosenberg says she has her sights set on killing members of the Islamic State.

Gill Rosenberg, a 31-year-old Israeli-Canadian woman, made headlines last month when she travelled to Iraq and then on to Syria in early November, purportedly to join Kurdish forces in their fight against the Islamic State (IS).

The former member of the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) was reported Sunday to have been captured by IS in Syria.  The Jerusalem Post, an Israeli newspaper, reported Islamist websites were claiming IS militants had kidnapped Rosenberg.  Canada’s CTV News broke the story in Canada and within minutes the USA mainstream media had reported the abduction claims.

Those reports were possibly put to rest Monday afternoon after a post on her Facebook page told friends she was safe.  The post was made around 3:30 p.m. ET Monday afternoon.

“Guys, I’m totally safe and secure. I don’t have Internet access or any communication devices with me for my safety and security. I can’t reply regularly and only happened to have a chance to log in and see these buklshit (sic) news stories. Ignore the reports I’ve been captured.”

It is possible the updates could have been made from her mobile phone by someone claiming to be her (captors), but friends are reportedly optimistic and hoping she will send some verifiable proof she is OK soon.

Rosenberg indicated on her Facebook account that her birth date is Nov. 12, 1983.  The 31-year-old Canadian-Israeli who is originally from White Rock, B.C., attended King David High School in Vancouver. She studied aviation at the British Columbia Institute of Technology, according to her Facebook page, before going on to work as a civil aviation pilot and emigrating to Israel.

Rosenberg indicated she was a member of the IDF, the search-and-rescue unit of the Israeli army, from 2006 to 2008 and posted several photos of herself in uniform.

Gill Rosenberg

Gill Rosenberg poses for a photo in Jerusalem in 2007, when she was in the Israeli Defence Forces. Two years later she was arrested for her role in an international phone scam. (Facebook)

In 2009, Rosenberg reportedly was arrested and extradited to the U.S for her role in a lottery telemarketing scheme based in Israel in which 11 members conspired and stole over $8 million from elderly victims in the United States between 2007 and July 2009. FBI files labeled the group con artists who used every trick in the book to swindle elderly victims in the United States out of their hard-earned savings.”

The Jerusalem Post reported Rosenberg helped blow the scheme’s cover, when she contacted an undercover police officer and told the agent she had won $500,000, but had to transfer $4,200 “in fees to Israel.” 

Rosenberg consented to extradition and plead guilty to her involvement in the scam. She served four years in a U.S. prison under a plea bargain, according to court documents. The U.S. Federal Bureau of Prisons lists a Gillian Chealsea (sic) Rosenberg as having been released from prison on Nov. 27, 2013.

Israel’s NRG news site reported at the time that Rosenberg turned to crime after running short on money, that she was estranged from her parents and had tried in vain to join the Mossad spy service.

There was little to no activity on her Facebook account between 2009 through 2013. Her Facebook account came back to life in January 2014. Through the late winter and spring, Rosenberg referred to a “new beginning” and often posted inspirational quotes from the likes of Gandhi and Deepak Chopra.

FBI files indicated she was to leave the USA as part of her plea deal in New York.

On July 31, 2014 Rosenberg excitedly announced the time she was spending in New York “just became precious,” because she would be “going home to TLV (Tel Aviv) on Wednesday!!!”

Gill Rosenberg

Gill Rosenberg – going home to TLV (Tel Aviv)

​As she prepared to return to Tel Aviv, she started to post political material — touching on the Israeli Defence Forces’ fight with Hamas and the IDF’s increased use of female reservists.

She discussed the downing of Malaysia Airlines MH17 over Ukraine, remarking she would be flying with the Israeli airline El Al because “at least they are equipped with [anti-missile] flares.”

Upon returning to Israel via Moscow on Aug. 7, she posted photos from places such as Jerusalem and the Judean desert, and described — sometimes in coarse language — coming under the rocket attacks launched by militants in Gaza.

She spent most of August through October touring historical sites and describing the rocket attacks that struck Tel Aviv. (Facebook)  Her posts became less frequent into the fall.

On November 2, 2014 Rosenberg posted five photos from Amman, Jordan, and gave her location as Queen Alia International Airport. About a half hour after posting the photos, she posted a quote: “You get a strange feeling when you’re about to leave a place, like you’ll not only miss the people you love but you’ll miss the person you are now at this time and place because you’ll never be this way ever again.”

Late that night, she posts a photo of Erbil International Airport in Iraq with the caption: “Terre ferme in Erbil, Iraq.”

Gill Rosenberg

Gill Rosenberg – Terre ferme in Erbil, Iraq (Facebook)

November 5, 2014 Rosenberg posted a photo that appears to be taken from the front passenger seat of a vehicle, with a stretch of highway ahead. The caption says it is from “the drive to Sulaymaniya (sic). Kinda looks like anywhere in middle America.”

Sulaymaniyah is in southern Kurdistan, Iraq.

Gill Rosenberg

Gill Rosenberg – the drive to Sulaymaniyah. Kinda looks like anywhere in middle America.”

A photo from later that morning shows a bag of ketchup chips.

“I f****** love Kurdistan.  Canada – you are officially no longer relevant in my life. I was just using you for your ketchup chips.”

Gill Rosenberg

Gill Rosenberg – Ketchup Chips

November 9, 2014 Rosenberg checked in on Facebook in Nusaybin, Turkey.

Later that day, she posted photos of herself from South Kurdistan and Rojava (the Kurdish region of Syria).

Gill Rosenberg

Gill Rosenberg – South Kurdistan and Rojava

She later posted a status update with a quote used by soldiers in the Israeli Defence Forces, partly in Hebrew and partly in English: “After me.”

“Let’s show ISIS what that means,” she says.

Rosenberg’s account is quiet for several days, while about 60 friends wish her a happy birthday on Nov. 12.

November 19, 2014 Rosenberg thanked everyone for their good wishes, and said she would not have Internet access anytime soon.

“Someone will manage the page for me,” she writes. “Remember, life is good.”

November 29, 2014 Rosenberg posted a music video by Somalian-Canadian artist K’Naan, and then posted a “selection of songs I keep on repeat.”

She said it will be her “last post for a while – enjoy!!”

She then says that her Facebook account will be managed “by someone else” until she once again has Internet access, which she says could be on or around the week of Dec. 8.

Gill Rosenberg

Gill Rosenberg – selection of songs I keep on repeat.

November 30, 2014 Israel’s Haaretz reported that during an interview with Israel Radio, a woman identified as Rosenberg by Reuters said she joined YPG, the Kurds’ dominant fighting force in northern Syria, after contacting them on the internet.

“They [the Kurds] are our brothers. They are good people. They love life, a lot like us, really,” Rosenberg allegedly said, in Hebrew.

Rosenberg is an Orthodox Jew and fond of musicians including K’naan, Macklemore and Tiesto, according to her postings online. Her taste in movies ranges from military-action films like Top Gun to comedies including Pretty Woman.

A source in the Kurdistan region with knowledge of the issue told Reuters that Rosenberg was the first foreign woman to join YPG and that she had indeed crossed into Syria.

She is one of about 10 Westerners recruited by YPG, the source said.

With files from Reuters, Associated Press, CCTV, The Jerusalem Post, Global News, Vice News, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Walla News, Haaretz, and Facebook

Like, Share or Comment if you enjoyed this story.  Thanks  MDW

We will continue to follow the story of Gill Rosenberg: Person of Interest – Fighting the Islamic State?

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Where “Fake News” Comes From – The Art of Bull Shit

Roughly 30% of Americans get their news from Facebook according to a recent study from the Pew Research Center.   The World Economic Forum said in a 2013 report that “massive digital misinformation” is one of the main risks for modern society — it can influence war, voting and a plethora of other things.

Fake news is “the reason you might have thought Islamic State fighters infected with Ebola were crossing the US border. (They weren’t.) Or that Facebook is going to start charging users a $2.99 monthly fee. (It isn’t.)” said Keegan Hamilton in a recent article on Vice News.

“Those are just a few of the recent stories by Allen Montgomery and Paul Horner, publisher and prankster-in-chief, respectively, of the fake news website National Report,” said Hamilton.

at-national-report-all-the-fake-news-thats-fit-to-share-body-image-1417054845

“They have carved out a niche for themselves with a form of satire that borders on disinformation. Like a darker, angrier version of the Onion, National Report skewers mass media coverage of trending stories by dreaming up patently ridiculous news and passing it off as real,” Hamilton continued. “It pisses people off.”

“We’ve been getting bunches and bunches of hate mail on the fear-bola,” Montgomery told Hamilton from his office in California, using a word he coined for coverage of the Ebola outbreak. “Some of these stories on Ebola we kind of bait the crazies out. You write something that will get a response from racists or bigots, these guys that are fearing everything — you write something to pull ‘em out of the woodwork and sometimes they come running.”

Does that leave you feeling like we are being played as suckers?  It does me.  And if that isn’t bad enough sometimes even the most conservative of the main stream media get pulled in.  Here is a clip from Fox & Friends criticizing President Obama for offering to personally pay for a “museum of Muslim culture” to remain open during the government shutdown, a claim originated by Horner that was fake news/bull shit.

Hamilton says the hoaxes more frequently target the right wing territory dominated by Glenn Beck and Alex Jones. The site’s design — lifted from the Huffington Post — is clean and professional, with a masthead flanked by pictures of Ted Cruz and Sarah Palin that frame the slogan “America’s #1 Independent News Source.”

In reality National Report is probably America’s #1 fake news source.  There is no connection to Ted Cruz or Sarah Palin.  Everything  about National Report is blatant bull shit.

There are dozens of sites that are generally owned by pranksters that love to think things up to piss people off.  They know that pissed off people share their feelings and when one of their stories goes viral and gets millions of shares they feel pride in knowing they have totally duped that 30% of Americans that get their news from Facebook.

So next time you read on Facebook that Dennis Rodman is flying to Iraq to meet with the Islamic State to try and broker a peace deal don’t believe it. It came from National Report. National Report wrote a story that Obama was going to auction off all of the marijuana that had been confiscated in the USA since his election and it went insanely viral on Facebook.  A National Report story that stirred up a frenzy recently proclaimed that the Dearborne, Michigan City Commission had passed a proclamation making Sharia Law the new law in Dearborne.

Even look at the small text on the screenshot of the National Report masthead (above and again below) taken November 24, 2014.  It says “HEADLINE: Mom Calls 911 on Masturbating Teenage Son.  Boy Arrested. Charged with New ‘Self Rape’ State Law.”

at-national-report-all-the-fake-news-thats-fit-to-share-body-image-1417054845

Facebook is not a news source.  Facebook is media (social, antisocial or both). Facebook is an echo chamber of National Report and every other source of fake news in the world.

  • Roughly 30% of Americans get their news from Facebook.
  • Massive digital misinformation is one of the main risks for modern society.
  • Facebook is the echo chamber of all of the fake news/bull shit in the world.

Like, Share, or Comment below. Thanks for allowing me to share with you.

I’ll see you back on FB. I must see what conversations I am missing out on. MDW

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Pampa Noon Lions Club Program From Manila

One of the great honors of my life was presenting online  The Pampa Noon Lions Club program on July 24, 2014.

I was a member of this great institution in the nineties, but left Pampa and had not seen many of the remaining members in over 17 years. My program was entitled “My Marvelous Destiny.

 

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The Skies Just Ain’t Friendly Anymore

The skies just ain’t friendly anymore, since flying became a contact sport. You take off your coat, your belt, your shoes, but that’s not all they make you lose. The skies just ain’t friendly anymore.

Once every 16 months the Philippines requires all non citizens without a permanent visa to leave the country.  You can immediately return (subject to checking in with immigration every two months), but regardless, once every 16 months you must depart Philippine soil for at least a day.

Unlike the USA where there are land borders there are only two ways in and out of the 7,000 plus islands that make up the Republic of the Philippines.  By air or by sea.  It is a little over 600 miles from Manila to Hong Kong and the fastest way to get there is to fly . . . the other option being a slow boat to China.

Since it is an international flight it requires checking in a minimum of two hours before departure.  The flight is shorter than the check in time required at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).  Additionally, traffic in Manila is insane (even at 2:00AM which is the time I must leave for the airport). It is about a two-hour taxi ride for me to NAIA. All combined it will take more than twice as long to leave home and take off than it will to actually fly to the Chinese free port of Hong Kong.

Spending a few nights in Hong Kong is pretty easy on the mind and eyes, but a little hard on the wallet. I went to one of my favorite travel sites and clicked on deals and discovered I could save over $700 USD at the Hullet House. Only $916.12 USD a night plus 10% service charge and tax. Only two rooms left. This is a bargain? I think not. Still two rooms left.

I have been to Hong Kong numerous times. I decide I will stick with some places I have experienced. The Mira Moon is a nice place and it was reasonably priced last time I was there. I check the rate. $179.48 plus 10% service charge and taxes. Better, but still a lot to pay for a non essential trip I would rather not be taking.

I stayed at the Panda Hotel in 2011 and really liked it. The Panda decor was unique and fun. The staff was friendly and the location is good, but not right in the middle of everything which makes it more economical. Let’s see what kind of deal I can find at the Panda. $98.97 USD plus 10% service charge and taxes. Well, I must be realistic. I know I am not going to find a selection of decent Hong Kong hotels for under $100 USD so the Panda Hotel now has one less room available on the nights I must travel.

What a hassle it is to travel today. It is expensive and in this case unnecessary except if I don’t want to be deported..

There is still the return trip and . . . “the skies just ain’t friendly anymore.”

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The Angel Flight

I fly that plane called the Angel Flight. Got a hero riding with us tonight . . .
It don’t matter where we touch down. On the Angel Flight it’s sacred ground.

Radney Foster is an American singer-songwriter and music producer from Del Rio, Texas.  Foster grew up in two worlds – herding cattle on horseback at his grandfather’s East Texas ranch in the summers and hunkering over a transistor radio in his West Texas hometown listening to border radio.

“My house in Del Rio was a mile from Mexico, so I heard everything growing up – from country to conjunto.” says Foster. “Telling stories is embedded and ingrained in my DNA.”

“My grandfather was a cowboy raconteur and a storyteller. He didn’t sing songs, but he sure told stories around the campfire. There’s a long, long history of yarn spinning in Texas, and I like to think I come from that tradition.” Foster continues.

Another Texas musician, Darden Smith from Austin and Lt. Col. Jim Nugent with the Texas National Guard Family Support Foundation had met up at Amy’s Ice Cream, an Austin Institution. Amy’s has several locations, and one just happened to be around the corner from another Austin landmark, Waterloo Records, where music fan Nugent had just bought Smith’s latest CD.

“Darden begins a relationship (with Nugent) and begins to start thinking about having talks with the Texas National Guard about songwriting. He’s thinking at this point that it’s to help guys cope with PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) issues and re-entry issues,” Foster relates.

Smith learned about “Red River 44,” a mission in Iraq in which seven Texas National Guardsmen died when their Chinook helicopter crashed outside Tallil, Iraq. “In the midst of these conversations, the Guard told him about . . . this thing they call ‘Angel Flights.'”

“He tells me the story and says, ‘Are you interested?’ and I said, ‘Oh, my God, are you kidding? Absolutely!’ So we write this song after dinner one night.  Immediately I knew I had to record that song.”

The song they wrote together,”Angel Flight”, is named after the designation for the Texas Air National Guard C-130 that transports the bodies of Texas Guardsmen slain in combat.

Smith sent a heavily orchestrated version to Foster, who opted to remove almost all the other instruments. The end result is a bare-bones, gut-wrenching, emotional song with poignant but not syrupy lyrics, the kind of song at which Foster excels.

“That was my hope,” he admitted. “I wanted you to feel that sense of the last verse:  ‘The cockpit’s quiet and the stars are bright. / Feels kind of like church in here tonight.’  And I wanted that feeling through the whole song.”

“I had the wonderful and yet hard opportunity to sing ‘Angel Flight’ at the service for the dedication of the memorial for the Red River 44,” Foster recalls.  “It’s a lightning rod moment for me.  I watched the general bend down to children my own children’s ages and hand them a folded flag for their father’s memory. I still don’t know how I got through that.”

When carrying a fallen hero the C-130 Angel Flight is always number one for takeoff and landing.

“Angel Flight” is one of the most touching stories I have ever had the opportunity to share.  I hope you enjoy knowing the story behind it.

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You Raise Me Up

Martin Hurkens is a baker by trade. In 2009 he lost his job in Holland.  Martin had been a baker for 35 years and had no trade outside of tending an oven and creating food delights in a commercial kitchen.

Martin always dreamed of being an opera singer.  When he was a 7-year-old boy he auditioned for the youth choir in his native village Schinveld.  The director was very fond of his vocal talent and took him under his wing as a soloist.  Martin began singing in churches and became very popular.

At 13, Martin received a scholarship to music school in Brunssum, where he studied singing and piano lessons. Funding problems forced him to leave the music school. His dream of becoming a professional singer ended abruptly.

After processing this disappointment Martin made his career with Erkens Bakeries in Brunssum. Martin continued to sing because he was happy. He sang because it made his day at the bakery a pleasure. He sang because it made him feel good. He sang and baked for 35 years.  Then he lost his job.

In order to provide for his family Martin turned to the streets to share his talent with the small crowds that would pass by.   He would lay his hat on the cobblestone street and resonate the joy he felt within.

Later that same year he entered a talent competition called “Holland Has Talent”. Could an aged amateur opera singer overcome the advantages youth had in both energy and a sizable majority of the television demographic that voted on the competition?

The competition was tough, but Martin built a following and he made it to the finals where he made the most of his moment in time. He won “Holland Has Talent” in 2010. He began a recording career and has given countless beautiful performances in the Netherlands, Turkey and even New York City. He also began headlining with the Limburg Symphony Orchestra.

Success has never gone to Martin’s head. He remembers the pain of having lost his scholarship and his job. He humbly accepts success, but has never lost his benchmark. Today Martin can still on occasion be seen laying his hat down on the cobblestone streets of Brunssum.

Strangers and tourists do not recognize him and sometimes give him looks of scorn when he first lays down his hat (see above video).  When his tenor voice begins to sing in perfect pitch to the small crowd a transformation takes place.

Those watching begin to smile as their hearts are touched by his rendition.  Martin is no longer simply a street singer.  Martin is an angelic evangelist of the hope we have in life and the love of God.

When he holds the last note for what seems like eternity his hat holds the worth of the value the crowd sends his way.  He doesn’t need the money, but he wraps himself in the spirit in which it is given.

Martin’s story is inspiring because he made the most of his moment.  Martin reminds us we are raised up so we can stand on mountains.  He also reminds us to remember the cobblestone streets from which we came.

 

Like, Share or Comment below. Thanks, MDW

Posted in People Who Inspire Me | 2 Comments

The Peppermint Lounge

Editor’s Note:  My friend David Schaub sent me this revealing experience about a nightclub in Pampa, Texas called The Peppermint Lounge. David’s real life experience at the Peppermint Lounge in Pampa will take those who lived in Pampa during that era on a trip down memory lane.  The rest of you will find it a fun article that accurately reveals a legendary place in small town America in 1968.

The Peppermint Lounge

by David Schaub

Pampa, Texas 1968

In the late 1960’s when I was living there, Pampa had a population which consisted of primarily whites with barely a thousand or so blacks. As it had always been up to that time, virtually all of the blacks lived in an area called the Flats. As was then typical in most of the South and Texas, it was located “across the tracks”. Segregated schools had only been abolished a couple of years before and the Flats had lost its binding feature—the schools. One of the most famous places to many people who knew Pampa was the Peppermint Lounge, a black nightclub located in the Flats.

The Peppermint Lounge had a bad reputation. There were always notes of fights with the police being called in the Police Beat in the newspaper. There had been a couple of shootings and stabbings there. I had heard stories about this place for several years from the black guys I played baseball and football with but to myself and most of my friends, it was a place which I would never set foot. It was way too dangerous to even think about. Well, one of the problems of being young is that you are bullet-proof or at least you think you are. I was just bored enough to want to find out what the Peppermint Lounge was all about.

An Idle Mind and Curiosity

I had always had a very good rapport with the black guys with whom I played little league/babe ruth league baseball and high school football. We kidded around a lot with our black buddies and some of us got a real education about how some of the guys lived in the Flats. Things like sex, prostitution, liquor laws, gambling, and the general view of how life is lived was a lot different for most of them. We also found out that some, if not all, of our buddies went to the Peppermint on a regular basis.

The rules were different there. I was very curious. The second semester of my senior year in high school, I was effectively worthless. I had enough credits to graduate, I had been accepted to Tech already, I was just going through the motions. Thus, I didn’t study, did little homework, sports were over for me, and I was only going to 3 classes. The rest of the day, I worked at the Chevy car dealership parts department.

One of the guys I kidded around with at work was a black fellow I will call Swede (not his real name). He was single, probably about 30 years old and drove a cool car. Swede was always good for a laugh and my working partner, Bennie, and I knew where he would hide when he wanted to “rest”. We would find him and hide with him sometimes and talk about all kinds of stuff.

I found out that he went to the Peppermint Lounge on a regular basis. The stories he told us were amazing! One day I was chatting with him about the Peppermint and he asked me if I would like to go with him. He said no one would bother me and I would probably know a bunch of folks there. I told him I would go if my running buddy, Lanny, would go and I would get back to him. No chance I was going there by myself.

The Flats

I excited. That night I tracked Lanny down on the drag. Lanny had not grown up in Pampa. He was already out of high school and was a really cool dude. He was only about a year older than me. He was living with his cousins to let a situation cool off in Arkansas. Lanny had the coolest car — a brand new ‘68 Mustang fastback with a 351 Cleveland engine. It looked good and ran like a bat out of hell! We had been running around together for almost a year and gotten into only minor trouble.

When I explained to him what Swede had offered to do, he said sure let’s go! The weekend was only a couple of days away so I told Swede that we would be at his house at 9pm on Saturday. Swede told me how to find his house. I wanted to go later in the evening so that it was dark to help “hide” us from prying eyes.

On Saturday, Lanny and I met up and I jumped in his car. I directed him over to the Flats and to Swede’s house. We pulled up in front of his house. It was dark but Swede’s car was in the driveway. We went up to the door and it was open, with only a screen door to keep the mosquitoes out. I knocked on the screen door and nothing! I knew he had to be there. His car is there. I banged louder and this time I heard a muffled noise that sounded like, “Come on in.”

Swede Cops Out

We entered the mostly dark house and in the bedroom off the kitchen was Swede sprawled across the bed. He was dead drunk. I helped him sit up on the edge of the bed and he said he had been drinking since that morning. I asked him if he remembered he was going to take us down to the Peppermint Lounge. He said yeah, but he could not go because he was too sick. However he had set it up with the bartender and it would be OK. He told us to Just go on down there and we would see our buddies there. Lanny and I went back to the car to figure out what to do.

When we got outside, we found a young kid standing next to the car admiring it. When he turned around, I recognized the brother of one of my black friends. He said he loved the car and wondered if he could have a ride in it. I looked at Lanny and then I turned to him and told him that Swede was going to take us to the Peppermint but was not in any shape. He said, no problem, I will show you where it is. He said his brother was there and it would be ok if we went in. I turned to Lanny and asked him what he thought. “Let’s do it!” So off we went. Our new guide directed us to a street with a lot of houses.

Peppermint Lounge Shooting Investigation

Shootings were common at the Peppermint Lounge. This photo came from the front page of the November 29, 1965 edition of The Pampa Daily News.

Making an Impression

He was asking how fast the car was and telling us how neat it was. Then he said, Will this car peal out?”

“You better believe it will”, Lanny responded.

“Well, would you mind going down to that white house and peal out in front of it?”, our young friend asked.

“What for?”, Lanny asked.

“Well, there is a little chick that lives there I want to impress,” he says.

Lanny about fell out of the car laughing. “Are you kidding me? Man, to impress a girl, I would be happy to do that.”

We drive down to the white house and stopped. Our little friend leans over to the window next to me and yells at the girl standing on the porch, “Hey, watch this! OK, hit it, man.”

Lanny lays into it and there are two black stripes and a cloud of smoke when we finally looked back. “Holy Cow, this thing is really something!” our little buddy yells, “This thing will really run!”.

“OK, dude, your all set with your new squeeze, so lets go to the Peppermint,” I told him.

Here We Go

He guides us down and around until we come to a long street with very little on it except this building set back off of the street to our right. There are cars parked everywhere. We drive by and see 5 or 6 dudes standing around outside. I don’t see anyone I know. We go past the club and turn around in the street. Lanny sees that there is a vacant lot across the street and the curb is pretty well beat off. He pulls in and parallels a pickup sitting near the street. We look at each other and I say, “Well, here we go.”

Our little buddy jumps out and is gone into the night. As we walk by the pickup, I look in the bed and there is a dude laying there either passed out or dead. Either way, he did not move. Lanny and I cross the street and head for the door. None of the guys outside say anything to us but look us over really good. I did not know what to expect when we went through that door. This could be the largest mistake of my life or not, but I knew we would soon find out. I lead going in. The music is loud. It is really dark and smoke is everywhere. I cant see anything. I hear someone yelling “Hey, man. Come over here!”

Meeting Up

It is my buddy, Wayne. His brother was our guide. We go over to this table full of guys and I suddenly discover that it is most of my friends and a few more. Besides Wayne, there is Frank, Stanley, and Bobby. He introduces two slightly older guys and we pull up a couple of chairs. There are empties all over the table so they are obviously not just sitting there. Our butts barely hit the bottom of the chair when the largest man I have ever seen in my life comes over and says he wants to see our licenses! Holy cow, we are about to get bounced out of here.

Wayne yells to me—“Give him your license, man”. Lanny and I pull out our licenses and hand them up what seems like 20 feet to his hands. He stands there a second and looks at them, looks at us, and then says, “What will you guys have?”

I must have had my mouth hanging wide open because all I can say is, “ Ah, Ah, Ah!”

Lanny says, “Bring us two Buds and one for each of our buddies!” He disappears. We start talking to the guys and tell them about Swede and the kid. The guys know about Swede being out of commission. Wayne says they had a bet that we would not show up.

My eyes are beginning to adjust to the dark room. The walls are covered with neon beer signs. There is maybe 30 tables in the room and a fair size dance floor filled with people. Along the walls are some chairs with young ladies in them. They all seem to be looking at us. It is loud.

Wayne tells us that the bartender only wanted to see our license so he would know how old we are in case of trouble. He needs to know who to throw out the side door in case the cops come! Well, that makes me feel better!! Geez. About that time, the beer shows up and we all get served. I suck down about half and I noticed Lanny did too. I introduce him around to everyone. He doesn’t know any of the guys but when I tell them he owns the red and black Mustang, they all know him!

The Dance

At this point, we were doing good. I was beginning to get used to this place. Then Wayne said, “Hey man, you want to dance?”

Before I could say anything, this girl appeared and sits down in the empty chair next to me. She had to be about my age or maybe a little younger but I had no idea who she was. I don’t remember seeing her at school, but here she is. I don’t know who I am going to offend if I say no, or what kind of stuff I am going to get into if I say yes. Yes looked like the easiest thing to do, so off we went to the dance floor. I have no clue what song is being played, but it was fast and hot and we danced like crazy. We made it thru the first song and stayed on the dance floor. The next song fires up and we begin dancing again.

The Peppermint Lounge in Pampa was named after the original Peppermint Lounge that opened in 1958 in Manhattan, New York. As the Twist craze hit in 1960-1961, celebrities swarmed into the Peppermint Lounge: Jackie Kennedy, Audrey Hepburn, Truman Capote, Marilyn Monroe, Judy Garland, Liberace, Noel Coward, Frank Sinatra, Norman Mailer, Annette Funicello, even the elusive Greta Garbo, to dance to the house band Joey Dee and the Starliters. Jackie Kennedy was such an enthusiast that she arranged for a temporary ‘Peppermint Lounge’ in the White House.

The Fight

But before this song gets too far, I noticed what looked like a whirling mass of legs, arms and bodies in the middle of the dance floor! At first, I can not quite figure out what is going on. Holy cow, those two dudes are fighting. People start giving them room. It was also getting serious because I thought I saw a knife in one of their hands. This is not good and I headed back to the table and everyone, including my buddies, are beginning to charge toward the door. Someone said the cops are on their way and we got to get out of here. I knew there was one black cop that patrolled the Flats so there had to be one very close by.

Hiding Out

Lanny and I hit the door at about the same time. We got about five steps past the door and I looked up the street and sure enough, there was a car coming with red lights a-blazing! We would probably run right in front of it if we continued. I grabbed Lanny’s arm and we made a sharp right turn into the vacant lot next door with weeds at least as tall as our shoulders. We got in the weeds and crouched down and made it to a large tree in the middle of the lot. Between the weeds and the tree, we could not be seen out there (plus it was dark)! The car stopped and one black cop ran into the Peppermint. We are watching intently as a second car pulls up, this time with two white cops. In what seemed like 30 minutes but probably was closer to 5, out come all three cops with two handcuffed guys in tow and put them in the cars. They milled around for a few minutes and then drive away. We decide to wait a few minutes to be sure they are good and gone. About the time we are about to leave, a couple comes out of the club and they are obviously not happy with each other. He has a hold of her right arm above the elbow and is half dragging her towards the car. She is a long, tall person in a very shapely dress and high heals. He is a handsome man in a very nice tan stripe suit. Lanny and I hold our position to see what is going to happen. They are heading for a car right in front of us and only about 30 yards away. We see and hear everything as it unfolds.

One Tough Woman

“Don’t you ever do that shit again around me!”, she exclaims in a very self righteous voice that only black women can do as he shoves her toward the passenger door. He shoots back, “Don’t you talk to me that way, woman. I will talk to anybody I want to, any time I want to, without asking your permission!” She rips open the car door and wheels around, standing in the opened door, with one arm over the top of the door, and screams at him just three feet away: “I will say any damn thing I want to, any time I want to!” With that he draws back and hits her right between the breasts, really hard. So hard in fact it sounded like the thump of a bat hitting a softball. She is knocked backwards and the open door catches her or else she would probably have been on her back on the ground. With her left arm still over the top of the door to hold herself up, her knees buckled and I thought she was going down. But she kind of bent over with her knees still bent and came up like a coiled spring unwinding with an upper cut that hit him as square on the chin as you could hit someone! I mean he was tagged. We saw the bottom of his shoes as he flew backwards and hit the ground flat on his back. Lanny and I simultaneously said, “Shiiittt!” We were standing there with our mouths agape. He slowly gathers himself up, rolls over onto his knees and manages to get upright. She is still hanging there with her arm across the door. “Git in the damn car, woman, and let’s go! I am tired of messing with you.” She slowly turns around and gets in the car. He grabs the door and slams it shut. He walks around the car mumbling something we could not hear, gets in and tears out of the lot and onto the street. We are standing there with our mouths open. I turned to Lanny and said, “Buddy, that is the toughest woman I have ever seen in my life! The shot he gave her would have killed me!” “Yeah, and then she had the strength to hit him with a punch that literally knocked him off his feet! Wow, what a pair! Hey, lets get out of here while we still can,” Lanny said.

Time to Scatter

So we ran out of the lot and across the street but as we came to that same pickup that was parked there when we went in, the man in the back raised up and said, “Hey, them cops came out here and asked me which way them white boys went, and I told them I don’t know cause I’ve been passed out here since before they came. I think it might be a good idea for you guys to scatter!” With that Lanny had the doors unlocked and we jumped in. He backed up onto the street and let her rip. There were two black stripes and a cloud of smoke in our path. Too bad there was no little teenage girl standing on the porch who would be impressed!

Peppermint Lounge Today

All that remains of the legendary Peppermint Lounge in Pampa, TX today is a vacant lot, the tree David and Lanny hid behind and perhaps a few ghosts.

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