Snow was falling in giant flakes when the Wednesday Morning Breakfast and Philosophical Society left the diner this week. Huge flakes left wet dents in the concrete where they splattered against the planet. Continue reading When winter was, uh, WINTER!
A dark-skinned angel with golden wings and a billowing white gown looks down on our living room from atop the fir. She Who Must Be Loved elevated the angel in honor of her – our – granddaughters, hers because they were here when I got here, ours because, well, they’re ours now.
Christmas is like that – a time for traditions. Continue reading Christmas memories
Getting old is like keeping an antique car running. It’s a
constant effort to replace worn parts, some of which are no longer available,
and tinker with the parts you can’t replace, and put up with the creaking and
inflexibility of the parts you can’t reach. Someone told me this week ankles
are now included in the list of parts that can be replaced. I don’t need one,
but its nice to know, along with shock absorbers (knees) and oil pumps
(hearts), we now can buy new u-joints (ankles).
Continue reading Antiques and New-tech
A few decades ago, when I was in the U.S. Navy, I was a crewmember in a P-3 Orion patrol plane. One of my jobs, it turned out, was to talk with Santa via radio. Let me explain.
Continue reading Wendy Sue and Santa
Mother often said if you really want to compliment the cook, clean your plate. Don’t just say it was good, then eat only one helping. I am clear proof that I took my filial duties seriously, and complimented her sincerely at every opportunity. Especially at Thanksgiving.
Continue reading “Here he goes again.”
“Every couple of weeks, I get to write about a performance at the playhouse. Plays such as “Driving Miss Daisy” and, this week, “Mamma Mia.”
Continue reading Playing with memories
Classmates wrote in my high school yearbook I was most likely to become a social worker. I don’t why they thought that.
Continue reading The finest kind of gift
It used to be if the phone rang, which wasn’t often, we answered. That was before Caller ID and telemarketers.
Now the phone rings constantly, especially during dinner and those evening television shows I like to watch. And the only thing Caller ID does is tell me whether to answer the phone or just let it keep ringing. Some calls display numbers beginning with “800-“ while others report titles like “Friendswood, TX” and “Platinum Reward.” One day this week, the phone rang and the display reported “Adams County.” We answered because we live here – to hear a recorded pitch about interest rates.
There was a time when I could go through my detailed phone bill and look up each number I called to find out who I tried to talk with. All I needed was an Internet connection to my phone company, enter the number, and get back the name of the person who owned it. Not anymore.
Now I search the number and get pages of advertisements for companies who report knowing the information, and offering to charge $10 or more to share it.
Continue reading Phone technology has run amok
I wonder where Johnny Tracy is today. He came to mind Sunday when, at the Totem Pole Playhouse production of “I Love a Piano,” there stood an antique upright at the front of the stage, just like the one – or close enough – Johnny Tracy used to play at Roosevelt Grammar School.
That was the two-room schoolhouse where I spent my early years of more or less formal education, from Fourth through Eighth Grade. It was where Emma Hargreaves made hot lunch every day, where I fell in fourth-grade love with a cute red-haired girl who gave no sign she was aware of my existence, smoked my first cigarette (which didn’t work out nearly as well as when other guys did it) and learned to love Rock-and-Roll music, the latter thanks mostly to Johnny Tracy.
Continue reading Where is Johnny Tracy?
The eldest granddaughter graduated from college Saturday, first in her familial generation to be so accomplished. Even the gods were joyful, judging from the graduation eve celebration and fireworks. The rain started Friday evening as the celestial band tuned up, beginning with a soft breeze and a few drops, growing rapidly progressively windier and wetter with each hour. Then suddenly, amid the cloud-to-cloud arcing, the lights went out, as though one of the young gods, overcome with his own revelry, had stumbled into the switch.
Continue reading Springtime celebrations
Nearly fifty years ago, my son entered our world – screaming, probably because he was not holding a glass of Knob Creek in his fist. He and we survived his growing up, though there were times we wondered whether he or we actually would pull it off.
Continue reading It’s official
The thing I remember most about Christmas was Dad waking us kids up with his shooting at Santa:
“Wait! Stop! DON’T GO! My kids want to meet you.”
Continue reading Wendy Sue and Santa
We met Grady at a doctor’s office in February 2007. He was homeless, effusively friendly, and eager to see us. We invited him home. It doesn’t seem that long ago.
The day we met, the doctor took the stitches out from having surgically removed the collar that had grown into his neck. It was most of a year before he’d not make a puddle on the floor when someone new came to the door.
Continue reading So long, old friend
“The sky is falling!” That’s the cry around my home whenever the rain or snow comes down upon us. Tuesday afternoon, the sky was falling in a great white cloud of snow. Fifteen minutes after it began, it was over, leaving white patches on the still-green grass where the ground was a little colder than other places.
The mini-blizzard lasted long enough for a little girl whose home I passed on the way home to put on her coat with the hood and dash outside. She jumped off the porch to the sidewalk and, tilting her head up with her tongue out as far as it would stretch, started catching snowflakes.
Continue reading Bats’ and fairies’ return awaited
The previous night’s snow had coated the forest with foot-deep powder, silencing the footsteps of the three hunters – my brother and I and our father, in the annual quest for a Christmas tree. It was like being in a sound-proofed studio – that weird, echoless sensation of walking alone in an enchanted world.
“Look at this one, Daddy,” my brother exclaimed.
“Shake the snow off it and let’s see,” the elder replied.
Continue reading Mincemeat pie and a perfect Christmas tree
The day I quit tobacco was sunny and warm. Beyond that, I remember only that it was the summer that Travel Partner No. 2 and I were still dating.
I tried cigarettes when I was in about seventh or eighth grade. I swiped some from Dad’s supply. A few of us slipped off down a trail behind the two-room school house and tried to impress each other with our hoped-for manhood. If inhaling Dad’s Marlboros was a ticket to manhood, I was doomed to stay with Peter Pan’s Lost Boys.
A few years later, I was in the Navy. Cigars – especially big, fat, Bering Plazas, seemed cool and, along with my mustache, they made me look older. Sandy, a.k.a. Travel Partner No. 1, was two years older than I, and would become visibly unhappy when she got carded in some nice wine-and-dine establishments, while I, at 19, was never questioned.
Continue reading In which are extinguished smoking pachyderms …
Gettysburg, in west-central Adams County, Pa. takes pride in being “the most famous small town in the world.” It is slightly more than one and-a-half square miles, and has 16 traffic lights within its boundary.[pullquote]“Then she looked up.
At the green light.”[/pullquote]
There are a few more traffic lights in the county, most to the east of the borough, a couple to the north – but none to the west (not counting the light on U.S.30 northwest of the borough. That is about to change. A traffic light is planned for installation in Hamiltonban Township, barely across the town line at the west edge of the tiny borough of Fairfield.
Continue reading First stop light in (that part of) the county
Granddaughter Kass has a school project involving me supplying pictures from experiences of my younger self. One image she chose was my first wife and a 1954 Ford Ranch Wagon.
[pullquote]His test, his rules. My second try was a success.[/pullquote]That station wagon was pretty terrific. It had a three-on-the-tree shifter, and ran fine if one didn’t count that it burned more oil than gasoline. We and that car went places, many of which were night runs to the Ponte Vedra dunes south of Jacksonville Beach – before people with money bought up the land and erected Don’t Even Think About Walking On Our Sand signs.
Continue reading First driver’s license
Fishing season opened this weekend past. I did not go, for several reasons unnecessary to list here, but the day did pull out images of fishing seasons of my youth.
Being a boy with little patience for sitting still for long hours, I spent most of my fishing time alone with a homemade spooning rig or a spinning rod and reel set and store-bought lures. Dad, was more into dragging a two-inch piece of silver metal wrapped partially around a strip of mother-of-pearl.
He would go out for hours, trolling – the 5.5 hp Chris Craft Challenger outboard barely ticking over, keeping the boat moving just fast enough to steer as he navigated the triangular circuit, from our house to a curve in the far southern shore, to the island at the north end of the lake and back nearly home.
Continue reading A seriously big togue
Part of Granddaughter Kass’s assignment for her World War Two class was I had to write a short memoir about an experience from my Navy career. (Remind me sometime to explain how MY assignment for HER class …)
It is sometimes difficult to sort the dissonance of which my Navy career memories are woven – separating the fun I had traveling the world from the events that made such travels possible. Without war, I likely would not have seen Hong Kong or Japan or the beaches of Nice and Torremolinos … or Bangkok or U-Tapao, Thailand.
Continue reading Drive-in movies without the drive in