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This is the continuation of the “last chapter.”

I had given considerable thought to exposing, if you will, what I have experienced these past 5 years of my health issues. To let you know I view them as a further experience in life. When talking with my father about his health issues, he said each of us, he was eighty, referring to the many men who lived as he did in south Florida, they each had health issues that were different, so you accept the hand you are dealt. I now know what he meant. Aside from tiring easily, playing basketball is out of the question but my brain still functions as good as ever.

All of that said I give remembrances to the good fortune [not monetary] that I have and how things have come to pass now.

I have had the opportunity to use my knowledge of insulation to make and I am proud to say the finest sleeping bags in the world dating back to I believe 1850 when they were first made. I proudly display my sleeping bag patent in my home. I display it with three other patents, one for pack boots, one for a hootch and finally my insulated flotation suit. But it is the sleeping bag I take the greatest pride in because try as other companies may try in the outdoor industry to work at it, they have yet to make what I would call a sleeping bag, but they do make no sleep sleeping bags successfully. So, I stand alone as the only sleeping bag manufacturer in the world. That is a position I expect to be in for an exceedingly long time to come, it is and will be my legacy and claim to fame.

Having taken the opportunity of buying a boat after going through the Offshore Sailing School, I unknowingly purchased an ocean-going sailboat. It was a 28-foot Dutch built steel hull vessel with an 8-foot beam. It had a 14-foot keel with three thousand pounds of poured concrete in it with a huge rudder. The rudder post fits into a slot in the keel, so there was but a ¼ inch space between the keel and rudder. It was about 3-feet deep, behind the keel. The rudder was filled with oil. The total weight displacement of the hull was 12000 pounds. Sail boats with fin keels are separated from their rudders and it is easy to lose steerage if you sail too fast the water between the keel and rudder gets slopy. Dulcinea, the name of my boat, was listed as a maximum hull speed of 7.2 knots. One day sailing to one island in the Bahamas I was going down wind in a 5-foot following sea, maybe thirty knot wind, I was going wing and wing, and she hit 8.5 knots and stayed there until I arrived at the island, about 3 hours. It was the first and only time I ever saw an island grow. I did not lose steerage because the keel and rudder were not separated.

On another occasion sailing in Long Island Sound, it was blowing surprisingly good, I was flying two sails main and working jib. I got tired so I loosened the sheets to drop the sails. I looked at a cupola on land and proceeded to lower the sails. I never tied off the tiller in a heave to position and noted the boat was heave toing so to speak on her own, my position to the cupola never changed in the hour it took to take down the sails and put them away.

I also learned she could turn in her own length.

The mast, twenty-eight foot was set in a 3-sided steel slot and the bow rail was hinged so it could be raised and attached to the mast, and you could now lower the mast into the boom crutch. I never did this but it is common in Europe so they can go under bridges.

Unbeknown to me when I purchased the boat that I would have a find.

Someone once asked me where I could go with her, I said any place you have a chart.

Meeting and getting into business with Kok was another stroke of what has turned out to be exceptional good fortune. Kok worked at Marmot for 12 years. He knew everything you wanted to know about down and how to make down bag construction as well as other down filled products. I showed him once how I made bags and explained the insulation, Lamilite continuous filament fiberfill. He seemed to have a photographic memory since he never skipped a beat or had to ask me a second time about any product, I was interested in making. Finding a partner with knowledge in his area of expertise I felt complimented. At the expense of laboring a point Kok demonstrated over the 35 years we have been together he was able to make all of the different items other than sleeping bags, view the web site to know what we make and sell.

Kok represents a situation for me the likes of which I never thought I would know again.

When I was nineteen, I met Henry Tate whose nickname was Cookie, hence my dog’s name Cookie in his honor. He did get to meet her before he passed away, he still lived in N.Y., so I put Cookie in the pick-up drove back to see him before he died. We were friends for 54 years. Bill Russell authored a book [I highly recommend it], Red and Me, his friendship with Red Auerbach that mimicked my relationship with Henry, just as accepting of the person as is. My relationship with Kok is the same so I am doubly fortunate to have two of these relationships in my life.

I have already alluded to the assistance I now have from Kok and Pum that I cannot put in words, I have only scratched the surface. As an example, I have fed Cookie cut up chunks of meat for years as well as thinly sliced meat for dehydrating as well. Kok and Pum do not let me do that. Kok does accompany me to all of my medical appointments, he has to drive me, it’s like having a teenager being driven to a social event, this is my social life. All my doctors are gems. The outcome is that I never have to remember what the doctors say and relay the information to him. Kok very often remembers things that I may miss.

Driving me to pick up prescriptions takes time from his day which never seems a burden. A couple of days a week after work Kok and Pum do other things but most of the time Pum will have dinner prepared for me, Cookie and I eat at 5.

They sit down to eat generally at about eight. During this time, they chat in their language Khmer, and they laugh a lot. Then Pum will call her sister in Cambodia with a video screen. Much more chatter and laughter. The other night Pum called Kok’s sister in Texas, and she was on the screen as well, a three-way conversation. The marvel of modern-day communication.

For me all of their in-house activity is a joy. Their sounds help put me to sleep as well since cookie and I bed down between 8:30 and 9. Actually Cookie will get in bed about 8:30 and wait for me.

I will not go on with how much assistance they give me today, although before the stroke Kok did do things for me, but I look at the bright side of having had the stroke. It has not been particularly debilitating. I have so far returned about 80 percent to normal. However, there is a silver lining for me. Had it not been for the stroke all of what has transpired with Kok and Pum would not have taken place.

On my own I would have continued to have simple dinners; I lost my desire to cook as I had in past years for myself and would be with Cookie. I have been single for 15 years so having others in the house is in a word “wonderful.”

Listening to the banter taking place between Kok and Pum and their families in distant places in a language that I do not understand is music to my ears. It basically helps me to sleep sooner than I had been, and I sleep more soundly.

It is Sunday morning and we finished breakfast, Pum cleaned up and then to my surprise she started slicing meat Kok and I bought on Friday for dehydrating as well as for Cookies lunch and dinner meat. Kok places the meat on the trays while Pum cuts and then puts them in the dehydrator. All of this before they dress for church.

They constantly find time to do these things [some would consider chores] naturally comfortably without any rushing, chatting between themselves all the while. Sorry to be repetitive but it just happened.

I have just described one more activity they are engaged in that would be a chore for me.

I will end here not saying any more before I cry praising Kok and Pum for what they have come to mean to me.

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