Our friend, “czar”

You probably all know that the world lost a good man on January 16. He couldn’t beat that last enemy, one that beats many of us, cancer.

czarowniczy came to the Conservative Treehouse many years ago, originally using the handle “Zauber”. You may have noticed that WeeWeed called him “Z” in her comments to czar, and that’s why. Zauber was czar’s much loved GSD, and he used Zauber’s picture as his Gravatar up to his last comment, on December 22.

From the first comment to the last, czar said something that we all wanted to read. Sometimes it was serious, important and informative. Other times it was funny, snarky or just plain clever. I will never forget his pun “wars” with Menagerie and others on Stella’s blog! His first comment here at Stella’s Place on December 1, 2015, was typical:

Helloooooo – is this the Hamtramck dinar, home of the bottomless cup of Kafir?

Think I’d mentioned many moons ago my grandmother’s apartment in Munich overlooked the Olympic Park where the incident occurred and my having two unissued sets of commemorative ’72 Munich beer glasses. I’m saving the’. glasses in case Jeopardy needs a prop – ‘I’ll take ‘Who Gives a S****’ for 30 pieces of silver, Alex’.
We’re talking 40-plus years here, many citizens of the People’s Democratic Republic of America can’t recall 911 never mind a long-gone incident in a place they can’t even find on a map. Anyway, it’s irrelevant because this was caused by people who are now old white Christian people that didn’t have PC gland educationally implanted – couldn’t happen now.

That comment was on a post I did about the 1972 Munich attack on the Israeli Olympic team. In the five years he was a member here at Stella’s Place, he made a total of 28, 218 comments. Here is one of his more poetic entries, on December 14, 2020:

I can remember the morning light in Utah after a snow storm. The storm cleared the air and while the rising sun indirectly lit the valley from behind the mountains, as it crested the peaks the golden light would illuminate everything from trees to buildings from the top down.

Same up the valleys, but there you’d get the uneven lighting due to sunlight sneaking in from other angles. Probably not that much of that left now as the California nest-dirtiers have changed the Valley forever.

Czar and I were the same age, and our “growing up” experiences were influenced by the same history. A big part of his was the Vietnam war, in which he and his father both served. He served in the military much of his life, beginning in the Air Force right out of high school. He spent some years before that in Germany as an Air Force brat:

I’d mentioned yesterday about my friend Norman in Germany. We’d spent a lot of time together getting into trouble and doing quite a few things we shouldn’t.

His family rotated stateside about 2 months before mine did and, even though his father was an Army colonel, Norm joined the Air Force. When he found out I was in basic training in Lackland he had his dad arrange for me to take the ‘off’ weekend we got and spend it at their house in San Antonio, his dad got stationed there. Norm was language tested, found to have a natural aptitude for Chinese, and was sent off to language school where he excelled at Mandarin.

2 years later we were both in Vietnam, I managed to wrangle a week off, went to see him and we spent a very interesting week off base in downtown Da Nang that was off limits at the time. He was working for someone who, though he was active duty AF, had him wearing civilian clothes and driving a white Jeep…

Menagerie said to me that she doesn’t think there has been anyone else on the Tree she’s learned more from than czar. Quote: “I’d rate him right up there with SD. I don’t know if he was ever in intelligence and analysis in all his careers, but boy, could he ever tell you why what they were doing in Russia, Japan, and the Sea of Okhotsk were related and really important to you. Also, he would read the tea leaves and predict what would be the next political moves in D.C. for months out, and he was never shy about reminding you when it came to pass.”

Czar contributed to his community. Czarina tells me that they volunteered at the 1984 New Orleans World’s Fair and the 1988 Republican Presidential Convention. Czar was a big part of the Vietnam Memorial in New Orleans – both in its creation and upkeep. Here is a photo of czar (on the right in the black shirt) cleaning the memorial in 1994:

His humor was appreciated by most of us –

Someone next door in the Thanksgiving recipe thread posted that they steam their turkey until it’s 3/4 done then put it in the oven to brown the skin. Someone then asked: “How do you steam a turkey?”. I chimed in with: “Tell him he has poor taste in chicks”…so far only one ‘like’, maybe the reference is too obscure.

AND

Had a lot of things to do in town today so though the highlight was to be meeting Czarina for dinner. It was a nice dinner, good drinks (for an only recently ‘wet’ town with limited ‘by the drink’ permits) but great steaks.

Right in the middle of the dinner I get a text – I open it and…it’s a woman sending a break-up text to her married boyfriend who won’t leave his wife and kids for her. It was phrased in a combination of sidewalk profanity and light ebonics all held together with a heavy thread of anger woven with angst. We didn’t need desert, that made the meal.

I only wish I could have seen her face when I texted her back saying: ” I think you may have texted this to the wrong number”.

If you are wondering why he stuck around for so many years, here is czar’s reply to Sundance’s “Treehouse Thanksgiving Questionnaire” last November:

May I be right up there with the others saying ‘**** WordPressure’. When it comes the time that the Americans start winnowing the traitors from their midst I hope the progressive WordPressure ring-kissers are one of the first to feel the burn. They’re an embarrassment to the Constitution and are burning bridges.

How did you find yourself a member of the CTH community?….I came, I saw, CTH conquered. It’s that simple, it is an open and vibrant platform for free thought.

What was it that brought you here?… It was Google, back in the days before Google became the Left’s house be-atch. I was Googling something, can’t remember what, perhaps plans for a tree house with a conservative design, and poof, CTH jes done showed up. I touched the flypaper and I done been here for around 12 years, not zackly sure.

And why did you stick around with this group through whatever endeavors you found of value? That’s easy, the rare treat of a ‘like’ from Sundance as he works those switches and levers from behind the curtains.

I can’t say too many times how happy I am that czar “stuck around” at the Treehouse and here at Stella’s Place. Czar was intelligent, funny, well-read and knew a lot about a lot. He was an avid gardener and an adventurous cook.

He loved nature, animals,

Lil bird reminded me that years ago one of Czarina’s charges found a baby bird on the ground and brought it into her office. Long-short, she ended up taking it home. We had no idea of what it was and less of an idea how to care for it so we went to the internet and lo, it grew and prospered. Turned out it was a starling and we were its flock – we named it Mr Bord.

We used a large dog crate as its cage when we were gone but it was out and with us when we were home. Where we went in the house, it went. When we were on the couch it was right there with us, hopping from shoulder to shoulder, peking at what we were eating or drinking. If it liked what we were drinking, especially carbonated, Mr Bird would do a little hoppy dance.

He’d fly thru the house and play with the cats – they never bothered him – and was particularly in to playing with the dog. The two times he actually got out he’d fly up about 40 or 50 feet in a big circle then come right back to us. We were his flock.

Starlings are mimics, and they can imitate others’ sounds, most likely as a social issue. He had something of a scratchy call but also mimicked the squeaky gate, the car chirp, my cell ring and Czarina’s dry cough. He’d use it to let us know where he was and that he was ‘with’ us. His flock was us, the dogs and the cat and he was happy.

gardening,

Those pine seedlings we planted (she failed to mention they were stored in our kitchen fridge while we were planting them) are quite happy, we have some now about 30 feet tall, good care = good growth. They’re a hybrid developed by crossing the largest and fastest growing pines the breeders could find so it took a while to develop this commercial strain but it grows well and is fertile.

New grape vines are going in today if the ground’s dry enough, ditto a few pots of Louisiana iris in the slough. Russian pomegranates went in about 2 weeks ago, Russian kiwis to go in as soon as we can get some limb trimming and ground prep done – sure proof of Russian influence in our farming.

his children, his grandchildren and his great grandchildren.  Most of all, he loved his wife of 40 years, czarina.

And then there is you, my Christmas gift that’s lasted 40 years.

AND

Ah well, just in case I forget…

We ‘met’ through a mutual friend. She was dating someone else at the time and I was going through a particularly irritating divorce.

Our friend found out that a newly built support facility for a nuclear fuel reprocessing facility was tossing out all of its leftovers so he thought it would be a good idea to go over and see what was salvageable. He invited us separately and we all showed up.

It was just a group of about 4 or 5 people going through yard of construction debris until she and I ended up loading cinder blocks into a car’s trunk and she, possibly with malice aforethought (never definitively determined) maneuvered one of my fingers between the cinder block and the uncushioned, steel lip of the trunk.

We both have (I had, I’ve become much more stodgy) a bit of a comedic theatric about us so we spontaneously went into this ‘You have to raise your finger above your head” and “No, the blood has to drain down to the ground!”. “UP!”, “NO DOWN!” – and on it went to the amusement of everyone whose finger wasn’t mangled, throbbing and threatening to fall off.

That was it, just those 5 pain-filled minutes, nothing special but that was our first meeting until about a month later when our friend rounded us up, with others, to work a benefit haunted house. Her job was to lie on top of a pool table like a corpse (method acting – she just pretends it’s 10:30m PM and she’s ready to zonk out) while I was to lie under the table motionless (I was a Federal employee at the time so it was no big stretch) and grab peoples’ ankles.

We had down time and chatted, she inquired on how my finger was and if I needed any more mangled but aside from that it was just two co-workers killing time.

I really can’t remember if we met at all between Halloween and Christmas but our friend was throwing a Christmas party and invited us. I wasn’t doing much but getting divorced so with time to kill I accepted, plus the city was dry and he had booze.

I remember, clear as if it happened 5 minutes ago, walking into the front door (it was at night) and looking to my right where there was a small group in a small, lit room that had a few people in it. She was sitting on a couch talking to the guy she was dating and it was as if she was the only person in focus and the light in the room was on her. As I looked at her there was a voice in my head that clearly said: ” You are going to marry her”.

She was relatively new in town, I was still picking shrapnel out of my soul from my still-dissolving marriage and I didn’t even remember her last name. Our relationship, if you can call it that, consisted primarily of her causing me great bodily injury and my trying to keep the fingernail from dropping off. Our primary personal interaction was laying in wait for unsuspecting people and scaring the hell out of them – something we still do quite well.

From there it went as if we’d been together for a long time, despite people giving great odds we wouldn’t last more than 30 days. They saw us as polar opposites, some even as a latter day crosses between Bonnie and Clyde and Charlie Manson and Squeaky Fromme – and those were people who sorta liked us. It just went on despite bumps that came, we just sorta worked right over them in the course of discovering that we were the only two people in the world that could stand to be with each other for more than a short period.

We were together for about 2 years before she got a job in New Orleans and decided to move. I could either stay or go and as I scouted around and weighed my options a job showed up there for me and I made the decision to move. I decided to uproot, move and that’s been it ever since.

As lovely commented a few days ago:

Whenever Czar comes to mind the first thing I think of is not his service to country, his humbleness (every time I thanked him for his service he thanked me for his paycheck), his love of animals, or even his puns.

The picture that will always be painted in my mind, the picture that defines Czar for me is whenever someone asked him what his favorite Christmas present was and he would always say you, Czarina.

And then in his true great story teller fashion he would tell how he saw you by a window, and his world began and ended in that moment.

Not many people get to experience that type of love. Pure unashamed bottomless love. You were both very blessed to not only experience that moment (I know it took you a little longer to warm up) but to live that love.

You can not get much more beautiful than that.

I will never forget him, and always wish that he was here. czar is irreplaceable.

 

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28 Responses to Our friend, “czar”

  1. Menagerie says:

    Eternal rest grant unto him, oh Lord, and may perpetual light shine upon him. My the soul of your faithful departed Rest In Peace.

    Not a day I visit Stella’s that I don’t think of him. Heaven just got a little funnier.

    Liked by 15 people

  2. MaryNutmeg says:

    ♡♡♡

    Liked by 11 people

  3. JTR says:

    We’re going to miss him a bunch. It’s hard to believe such affection for someone I’ve never met, but Czar and Czarina are in my heart. I can’t even begin to imagine how she feels.

    Liked by 10 people

  4. Gary says:

    Speechless, my condolences to Czarina and the family.

    Liked by 11 people

  5. WeeWeed says:

    This year we will all miss hearing about preparations for the purple martin housing and of clearing the brush, etc. for spring plowing and planting of Czar’s beloved garden. I’ve seen posts, and replies, the past two weeks and thought to myself, “boy, Z would tear that guy a new one…” or something that would urge me to get over here just to see what he said about it. When recounting a memory or a chore he could make you visualize it just with his wording and his taste in music was similar to my own. He is sorely missed.

    Liked by 14 people

  6. Reflection says:

    Exceptional tribute to a remarkable man.
    .
    Thank you, Stella

    Liked by 11 people

  7. auscitizenmom says:

    Stella, this is lovely. I always got a kick out of Czar’s posts. I miss him. And, hugs to Czarina.

    Liked by 10 people

  8. Sharon says:

    Thank you, Stella. I’m still getting used to the reality that he is not here–and not doing that very well. I still hear his footprints falling on the page, one paragraph at a time. I miss him.

    Liked by 11 people

  9. Lucille says:

    Thanks for the beautiful tribute, Stella. Ordinarily a person doesn’t deeply weep at the death of those not personally known to him. Certainly we are touched at the general horribleness of world tragedies and we have empathy for people we read about who lose loved ones in war or accidents or illness. But we don’t know any of their hearts and minds.

    There are certain folks, though, who have given us glimpses of their hearts and minds and souls even that we find charming or funny or endearing or heartening or enlightening which brings our admiration and fondness to the fore. Czar was one of those people.

    I wonder if he knew how much affection we held for him. It’s sort of hard to know if you aren’t told, but on occasion I hope he felt we cared for him and would miss him should he not return out of choice or final inevitability.

    So thanks, czar. You are missed. It was great having you among us.

    Liked by 9 people

    • weather257 says:

      Yes, I always made it a point to read Czar’s comments (there are others here and ‘next door’ who I look forward to reading as well).
      I must admit it has cossed my mind that Czar would chuckle at the inscriptions on the door of that U-haul! RIP, Czar – you have been a good servant here, and I hope you will pull some strings upstairs for us hapless holdovers.

      Liked by 7 people

  10. The Tundra PA says:

    …all of the above…and much love to Czarina…it is so hard to grasp that he is gone.

    Liked by 8 people

  11. TigerBear says:

    Remember the joy and laughter
    The memories so dear
    Knowing you’ll be seeing them
    Gods promise is quite clear 🤗

    My sincerest sympathy and condolences

    God bless and comfort friends family and loved ones ❤️

    Liked by 6 people

  12. I keep on waiting to see his comments.
    I read this earlier in the day, and had to take a break. Today the word “hero” is used so much it is cheapened. In thinking of him it dawned on me that there are many very appropriately named “everyday heroes”. Even though Czar was never “everyday”, I think he was one of these heroes. Men and women who may have served their country, who get up every day to work at a job they may hate to support their family, teach their children right from wrong as well as kindness and compassion, volunteer and are supportive to others, educate others, and make people smile and laugh. They do not have a fancy house, car, clothes or fancy “brand”, but in the matters of the heart and soul they have more class and are more of a true American hero than many who are rich and powerful. Czar was one of these “everyday heroes”. We have more of them here all around us at Stella’s and next door writing posts and comments. We are so Blessed to have them, and to have had those who have gone home to God.
    I saw this saying I think is appropriate for today: “It’s hard to forget someone who gave you so much to remember”. So if you need a smile just look at Czar’s sly one, then go find yourself some great Korean food and celebrate his life! 😉
    May God Bless you and your family dear Czarina, and please remember:

    Liked by 7 people

  13. lovely says:

    The only thing I can add to what Stella has written (Thank you Stella ❤️) is that I would bet good money that every single person here who read, “Our friend “Czar”” all thought “Yes, Czar was my friend.”

    That is a clear sign that we had one of the very best among us.

    Thank you Czarina for sharing your Czar with us.

    Liked by 9 people

  14. stella says:

    Have you ever noticed that there are certain things or places or activities that trigger a memory of a certain person (especially those who have passed on to a better place)?

    I often think of czar when I’m cooking. He always had a handy tip or suggestion or just an anecdote about food, or cooking or eating … I’ll miss that.

    Liked by 7 people

  15. michellc says:

    This just breaks my heart. I’m so sorry I didn’t even realize he had cancer, he has always been one of my favorite posters.

    Liked by 7 people

  16. ZurichMike says:

    Oh, dear. I am so sorry to hear this news. I so enjoyed his puns and nuggets of wisdom. I wish we would have met in person . . . .

    My condolences to czarina and family (and his extended family here!).

    Liked by 6 people

  17. texan59 says:

    You always knew that when czar posted it was story time. I don’t think he ever knew the phrase – make a long story short………..and it was A-OK. He was a storyteller. He was of that age where he grew up with people who didn’t have 55″ flat screens when they were kids, people who grew up watching the radio in the 40’s and 50’s, where he learned his craft (so to speak) and how to turn a phrase. It was always a treat when I would pull up the page and there were multiple posts from the czar. He couldn’t leave here with just one post. He could weave his current story through several posts, and often into a different thread. It was a joy. A wonderful tribute, Miss Stella. I will miss him. 😦

    Liked by 7 people

  18. MaryfromMarin says:

    Whenever I’d log on, I ALWAYS read his comments. And was never disappointed.

    A while back, when I had more time to comment, I enjoyed engaging in puns with him. Back and forth, getting worse and worse–or better and better, depending on how you viewed puns (I choose Door #2).

    Neither one would let go until we’d wrung the topic dry–and then some. Those were extremely satisfying exchanges, which I would wait for with great anticipation.

    After reading all the above comments, it is undeniably clear–he will be sorely missed by everyone.

    May God be with all czar’s family.

    Liked by 5 people

  19. Guy-Blanc Déploré says:

    Just found out about czar’s passing while looking at yesterday’s open thread at CTH.
    He was a treasure, one of my favorite posters and someone who will definitely be missed.

    May God rest him and keep him. ✝😢

    Liked by 3 people

  20. Spar Harmon says:

    I can no longer sit long enough to do justice to such as brother and friend Czar. I too ventured into exhilarating flights of punnary with him; he seemed always to assay yet another turn of the screw to keep things going, though the time between return twists grew rediculously long…

    In the code between those whose service has touched on the unspeakable, we Knew one another.

    Through the veil and into the loving arms of the Holy, brother —

    Liked by 5 people

  21. MIKE says:

    I read Czarina’s sad announcement on the day after Czar passed, and wanted to respond to her but felt I had nothing more to offer her to help ease her pain.
    It was like taking a gut shot.
    Which was a strange feeling for having never met the Czars, so I figured it was because his stories, musings, and anecdotes most often intersected with some of my own experiences.
    And then, with this excellent tribute, I viewed a picture of Czar helping to maintain a Vietnam memorial statue, and there it was, an affirmation that we were kindred spirits of sorts.
    This may be a weak example, but here goes, anyway.
    Among the few pictures I have of my dad, on of them is a picture from the mid 1950’s, a couple of years before I was born, in which my dad took his first salesman job with Johnson’s wax, and had sold some product to whoever was in charge of maintaining the memorials in the Arlington area. The picture shows my father deep in the creases of the Iwo Jima memorial statue, in a Johnson’s wax striped and logoed jumpsuit, cleaning and waxing the statue. In the background was the skeletal structures of what was to become Crystal City and the Rosslyn skyline. The picture is one of my most prized possessions along with an original photo of my pop breaching the seawall on Betio,Tarawa, on 20 November 1943. The USMC declassified the photo in the 1970’s, and it began to appear in all the Time-Life type of pictoral books that were so popular back then. You all may recognize the picture of one Marine in the foreground in a “starting block” pose, with his Gurand, and another Marine already over the wall with a trenching tool in one hand(my pop), and tall swaying palms in the background.
    Anyway, the pics of Czar and my dad, doing the same generational tasks great Americans did without hesitancy, really hit home with me. Dad is resting some 1100 yards or so away from the Iwo Jima memorial, I hope he and Czar will meet one another and share a cold beer or two, and swap some stories about their life experiences.
    Czarina33 I am very sorry you have lost your soulmate.
    If ever you feel the time is right, and you want to share some stories of this wonderful man here at Stella’s, I will read everything with great enthusiasm, your husband is kind of a surrogate older brother for me that I never got to meet.
    God Bless you and keep you safe.
    Your friend, MIKE

    Liked by 6 people

  22. jeans2nd says:

    These comments are the hardest to write. What might one say that has not already been expressed so much better with the words above mine?

    One thing that always struck me about czar was czar rarely, if ever, not answer a comment or question one directed to him.
    That it how is was with me anyway, except once,

    When I first started commenting at CTH, czar was involved in a discussion about the young soldiers stationed in Egypt, and how they were not allowed off-base without an Egyptian military escort, which I questioned as my late niece’s husband had just been in Egypt with the Army.

    czar gave me the answer, and my reply was what now seems to be somewhat arrogant.
    That one time czar never answered. Did not take long for me to realize my reply was very incorrect, arrogant, uninformed, and perhaps even a bit condescending.
    Lesson learned.
    I think czar’s silence did exactly what czar meant for it to do.

    Not only all that has been written above, but czar was also a Great Teacher to those minds needing taught.

    Liked by 2 people

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