Sunday, December 25, 2016

Rudd Christmas Farm...A Southern Ohio Memory



***Enjoy this classic holiday post***

A holiday tradition that many people in southern Ohio enjoyed throughout the years was a visit to see the lights. Actually, it was called Rudd's Christmas Farm and it featured almost a million lights by the time it closed in 1999. The light display was nestled in the hills of southern Ohio near the Shawnee National Forest in a town called Blue Creek.

I knew Blue Creek because that's where my Granny and Uncle Tommy lived. Each year after Thanksgiving Mr. Rudd would flip the switch and the twinkling lights would fill the nighttime sky with a dazzling display of electric sunshine. If you were looking for plastic Santa Clauses or mechanized Frosty the Snowmans then this light display wasn't for you. Rudd's Christmas Farm celebrated the true meaning of Christmas, which was the birth of Jesus. Some years he would have live animals on display and a manger scene was usually set up in the barn.

We usually went to see the lights on Christmas night. We had spent the day at Granny's house--eating and running down all of the batteries in our new toys. As darkness began to close in it was time to load up in her truck and drive over to see this year's display. I don't know how we managed but we always seemed to fit 23 people in Granny's truck, plus a wheelchair.

The drive to see the lights was an adventure by itself. It was a couple miles back a curvy road with a large stream on one side and a big drop off down into a gully on the other. Throw in some icy weather and a couple tour buses and you got yourself a happening situation.

Once we unloaded and made our way through the display it was time to meet Mr. Rudd. Both Mr. Rudd and my Granny had extremely large families. He didn't know who you specifically belonged to, but he knew you were one of Margaret's kids' kids. Greetings were exchanged and Christmas carols were sang with full-bellied gusto. It was a good time.

I guess the event that stands out the most about my visits to Rudd's Christmas Farm was the year he did something special for my family. Due to horrible weather and a death in the family we were unable to view the lights on Christmas night. We had several family members that didn't make it to Granny's house until well up into January. Granny placed a phone call and asked if Mr. Rudd might turn on the lights for a few minutes so we could witness the majesty of his display. Not a problem, he told my grandmother, come on over.

Now, that's the true meaning of Christmas.

Merry Christmas from my family to yours!

Gianetta

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas Eve Traditions


Some of my fondest memories around the holidays occurred on Christmas Eve. It wasn’t the actual event that was so much fun but the preparations up to that special day.

My Dad would always help in the decorating of the living room. There are certain decorations that had to go in a specific spot each year. We always had red and green crepe paper chains that ran across the ceiling of the living room. We would take branches from the bottom of the Christmas tree and place them on the mantel above the fireplace. We had a fabulously colored gold and shiny tinsel looking thing that hung from one of the doorways.

My job on Christmas Eve was to always set out the different food-laden bowls in the living room. We always had a bowl with various nuts, mainly walnuts. We had a specific bowl for the fruit, mainly navel oranges that we ordered from the FFA each year. And you can’t forget about the cheese plate. (Which was my favorite.)

Both sets of my grandparents would come to my house each year for Christmas Eve dinner. My dad’s mom and my step-grandfather, both affectionately known as Mamaw and Papaw, as well as my mom’s mother and her brother, also known affectionately as Granny and Uncle Tommy. You needed to make sure you called Mamaw “mamaw” and Granny “granny”, or they’d let you know about it.

We would have a very big meal and then get to open our presents from our grandparents. I always knew what I was getting. Mamaw gave up buying us presents when we were really young. Instead, we were given money to go buy ourselves a present, which you had to wrap and then open in front of Mamaw.

Granny had so many grandchildren that all she could afford was usually a dollar bill and a pair of socks. I didn’t mind because I always knew that I would get a new pair of dress socks for Christmas.

Christmas Eve also meant something else too. That night the furnace got turned up to almost 80. Both grandparents were extremely cold-natured and we would have the fireplace going full blast and the furnace wide open. I loved it! I swear that was the coldest house I have ever lived in. The furnace had two vents—one into the living room and the other into mom and dad’s bedroom. There was an exhaust pipe that ran up through the ceiling and on out to the outside. The pipe was right beside my bed and I would hug it (it was warm) before I burrowed into my bed covered with about 15 quilts and blankets.

It seemed we were in bed relatively early and we tried to stay awake so we could monitor the comings and goings of the busy bees downstairs as they readied the living room for Christmas morning. I’m not sure what time they got to bed but everything was always perfect.

Our Christmas Eve dinners were always a lot of fun and something that we looked forward to. Sadly, several of the key players are no longer with us and they are deeply missed. We have a new tradition for Christmas Eve that we started after we lost Dad. I’m not sure why, but now we always go out for Chinese food.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The Thing About Birthdays So Close To The Holidays



I was holiday shopping recently and got behind a group of people that included a grandma, daughter and several grandkids. The mall was so packed it was hard to get past them as they paused to window shop so I just fell along behind them as  they lingered near several stores that catered toward a younger clientele. The stores that seemed to capture their attention the most was the Disney Store and the Build-a-Bear Workshop.

When the family stopped first at the Disney Store the children went absolutely bananas. "Oh, Granny, can we get a princess dress? Oh, Mommy, can we get a movie? Pleasssseee. It's almost my birthday. Pleeeeeeazzzze."

The daughter looked toward her mother who just shook her head and gave her an 'I don't know' look. "No, honey. Not today. It's almost Christmas and you're going to get lots of presents from Santa and your Aunt Susan and Aunt Alice."

I watched the children frown slightly as they processed this information so they stopped looking and continued on through the mall. What was surprising was that the kids accepted what their mother had told them and hadn't pitched a royal fit.

When we arrived at the Build-a-Bear Workshop the excitement started all over again. "Granny! Mommy! Can we make a bear? I just love teddy bears, don't you?
Oh, please! Cam we make one, please? My birthday is in TWO days. Pleeeaaase."

Mother and daughter exchanged another look and this time the grandmother said, "Sweetie, you're gonna get lots of presents for Christmas."

"I know, but they won't be for my birthday," one said with a pronounced frown.

At that moment, an older gentleman walked up and everybody just squealed, "Grandpa!"

"What's going on?" Grandpa asked.

Granny and daughter informed him about the shopping they had done and wondered where he had been. "I've been sitting on that bench over there with all the other old guys," he said with a chuckle. "I saw y'all over at the bear shop and wandered what you was fussing about?"

"Well, the kids were wanting some things for their birthday," said the daughter.

"What's wrong with that?" he asked.

"Dad, they are going to get tons of presents for Christmas. They do every year and we have this same conversation every year."

"That's a load of crap. It seems to me that it isn't the kids' faults that they were born so close to Christmas. Go ahead, get 'em what they want and I'll pay for it."

My thoughts exactly!

(I just hope you have a grandpa to pay for it.)

Friday, December 16, 2016

Holiday Conversations


Since Thanksgiving was so late this year my family and many others, I'm sure, have been playing catch up for the past several weeks. The following is actual dialogue between my family members on various subjects.

MA Fat Woman: "You got your tree yet"?
Mom: "No, it's too early yet".
MA Fat Woman: "It's December 21. How much later are you going to wait?"
Mom: "It's been raining. I can't very well get a tree in the rain, can I? Besides, I called a guy and he said he would deliver it to me".
MAFW: "I didn't know that Christmas tree farms delivered?"
Mom: "Listen here young lady! Don't you get smart with me".

Sister: "What did you get Mom for Christmas?"
MAFW: "Nothing yet. She already has everything she could possibly want or need. What did you get her?"

Brother: "What does Mom want for Christmas?"
Sister: "I don't know. MAFW was supposed to do some hinting around and find out".

MAFW: "What would you like for Christmas this year?"
Mom: "Well, I've been through so many Christmases that I already have everything that I could possibly need".

Brother: "Did you find out what Mom wanted for Christmas?"
MAFW: "She said she had been through so many Christmases that she had everything that she could possibly want or need".
Brother: "That's helpful"!
Sister: "Ask her again".

MAFW: "Have you bought the turkey yet"?
Mom: "I don't think I want turkey this year. I might want to get a ham".
MAFW: "Why do you want ham?"
Mom: "I just want to try something a little different this year".

MAFW: "Mom wants to have ham for Christmas this year. She wants to try something different".
Brother & Sister: "Is she sick? What's going on? You're supposed to find out what she wants for Christmas and now you tell us she wants ham instead of turkey. Do we need to come earlier than expected?"

MAFW: Mom, Brother & Sister want to know if they need to come sooner for Christmas"?
Mom: "Lord, heavens what for"?
MAFW: "To see if you need any help getting the tree and buying the ham".
Mom: "You kids need to worry about your own problems, not mine. I've already got the tree up and decorated and I bought a turkey and a ham. See you on Christmas Eve"!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

O' Christmas Tree


I’ve been going to the same Christmas tree farm for the last fifty years. We're not related but I’ve been such a regular customer that the proprietor of said farm lets me drive the John Deere tractor and wagon to haul my tree in after I have made my selection.  For all of you city dwellers that think a Christmas tree farm is something set up on a vacant lot somewhere with a string of lights and overpriced Charlie Brown cedar bushes you’re wrong.

An authentic tree farm is where the trees are still in the ground and you take an axe and cut down the tree of your choice.  Now, before the tree-huggers start pelting me with bits of holiday fruitcake about the damage that I am causing the environment by chopping down a tree, let it be said that I recycle my tree every year.  I take my used tree and drop it in my friend’s lake to give the fish some added protective habitat.  I’m been doing that for about five years and I haven’t caught a fish out of that lake since.  I usually lose my line several times, probably on one of those dang trees.

When I went to get my tree this year I thought I was at the mall.  The owner of the farm saw me pull in and waved me over to the John Deere.  “Can’t talk now,” he said.  “This place is jumping.”

He was right.  I counted at least 4 pickups, 3 minivans, 2 SUVs, and a brightly colored red mustang.

I get the same kind of tree every year.  My favorite has always been a white pine.  There are several rules when choosing a tree.  You have to walk through the entire field, up and down the rows, checking out each tree.  I never choose one in the middle.  It’s either all the way down at the other end of the field or it’s the very first one I see.  In years past, I would take the handsaw and cut it down myself.  Something has happened over the years, if I get down on the ground I can’t get back up.  No problem, the owner will cut it for me, load it into the wagon, and then let me drive it back to the car.

The field was crowded with folks searching for just the perfect tree.  A lot of people had already been there; the selection of white pines wasn’t as good as in past years.  I had narrowed my choice down to 3 different trees and was trying to decide.  I was on the opposite side of the field when an older lady and gentleman sidled up to one of the trees that I was considering.  Before I could take one step in that direction, that old man had dropped to his knees and started cutting down my tree.  I turned to look toward the other tree that I had been considering and it was gone too.  I guess I was going to take the one closest to my car, the very first tree that I had looked at.  I started to walk away from my chosen one when I heard something from behind me.  It was a little boy that was standing excitedly beside my tree exclaiming that that was the tree he wanted.

He didn’t get it.  I caught the eye of the owner of the farm and he walked over and asked if I had made my selection.  I pointed to my Christmas tree and he chopped it down.  The little boy was standing there as his parents walked up to a freshly cut tree stump.  They looked at me and I looked at them and then we all looked at the owner of the Christmas tree farm who said this:  “Sorry folks, you’re too late; my niece has been watching this tree grow for the past five years.”

He looked at me, gave me a wink, and proceeded to carry my new Christmas tree over to my car.  Sometimes, it helps to know the owner.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Twelve Days Of Dieting...Year VII...Day 12

On my twelfth day of dieting my body said to me:

12 disappointing weigh-ins

11 times the kitties have told me to pick up her  book

10 minutes of walking

9 times I've cheated

8 glasses of water

7 slimy salads

6 sugar-free Jello cups

YOU LOST 5 POUNDS (all water weight)

4 protein shakes

3 low-carb bars

2 hunger pains...

...and a

Thank goodness, that's over!  There's always next year!

Now, let's eat!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Twelve Days Of Dieting...Year VII...Day 11

11 times the kitties have told you to buy the book



10 minutes of walking

9 times I've cheated

8 glasses of water

7 slimey salads

6 sugarfree Jello cups

YOU LOST 5 POUNDS (all water weight)

4 protein shakes

3 low-carb bars

2 hunger pains...

...and a

Boy, howdy! You can do it! Just think how much better you'll feel.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Twelve Days Of Dieting...Year VII...Day 10

days-of-christmas-10-lords-a-lea.jpg" style="cursor: pointer; float: left; height: 160px; margin: 0px 10px 10px 0px; width: 145px;" />

Hey! This thing is almost over.  Have you picked up my book yet? If you have, then I say, "way to go." If not, I say, "What are you waiting for?"


On my tenth day of dieting my body said to me:

10 minutes of walking

9 times I've cheated

8 glasses of water

7 slimy salads

6 sugar free Jello cups

YOU LOST 5 POUNDS (all water weight)

4 protein shakes

3 low-carb bars

2 hunger pains...

...and a

Boy, howdy! You can do it! Just think how much better you'll feel.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Twelve Days Of Dieting...Year VII...Day 9




On my ninth day of dieting my body said to me:

9 times I've cheated (ate at Red Lobster)

8 glasses of water

7 slimy salads

6 sugar free Jello cups

YOU LOST 5 POUNDS (all water weight)

4 protein shakes

3 low-carb bars

2 hunger pains...

...and a

Boy, howdy! You can do it! Just think how much better you'll feel.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Twelve Days Of Dieting...Year VII...Day 8




Have you picked up a copy of my book yet? It makes a great gift!

On my eighth day of dieting my body said to me:

8 glasses of water

7 slimey salads

6 sugarfree Jello cups

YOU LOST 5 POUNDS (all water weight)

4 protein shakes

3 low-carb bars

2 hunger pains...

...and a

Boy, howdy! You can do it! Just think how much better you'll feel.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Twelve Days Of Dieting...Year VII...Day 7




It's less than three weeks until Christmas and the goodies are everywhere. But stay strong, you're over halfway there.

On my seventh day of dieting my body said to me:

7 slimy salads

6 sugar free Jello cups

YOU LOST 5 POUNDS (all water weight)

4 protein shakes

3 low-carb bars

2 hunger pains...

...and a

Boy, howdy! You can do it! Just think how much better you'll feel.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Twelve Days Of Dieting...Year VII...Day 6



On my sixth day of dieting my body said to me:

6 sugar-free Jello cups

YOU LOST 5 POUNDS (all water weight)

4 protein shakes

3 low-carb bars

2 hunger pains...

...and a

Boy, howdy! You can do it! Just think how much better you'll feel.

HEY! It's Christmastime! Don't you need an extra gift for Uncle Fred or "the take the present and pass it game?" Give a copy of my latest book.  It makes a great gift.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Twelve Days Of Dieting...Year VII...Day 5





On my fifth day of dieting my body said to me:

YOU LOST 5 POUNDS (all water weight)

4 protein shakes

3 low-carb bars

2 hunger pains...

...and a

Boy, howdy! You can do it! Just think how much better you'll feel.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Twelve Days Of Dieting...Year VII...Day 4




Looking for a unique gift? Check out my latest book. You'll be laughing for days!

On my fourth day of dieting my body said to me:

4 protein shakes

3 low-carb bars

2 hunger pains...

...and a

Boy, howdy! You can do it! Just think how much better you'll feel.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Twelve Days Of Dieting...Year VII...Day 3



My crazy neighbor, Miss Merlethem Shatz, caught me outside today as I was putting up my Christmas lights. She said she had been watching me through the window and I looked like I could use a snack. Now, I'm always up for a snack, but she brought me one of those yucky tasting low-carb bars that usually results in a mad dash to the bathroom upon consumption.

I'm nothing if not neighborly, so I ate it and...well...it works great in my song.

Don't forget to buy a copy of my book. It makes a great gift!


On my third day of dieting my body said to me:

3 low-carb bars

2 hunger pains...

...and a

You can do it! Just think how much better you'll feel.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Twelve Days Of Dieting...Year VII...Day 2



I did really well on my first day of dieting. I finished off the no-bake cookies. Now on to day 2...

Don't forget to pick up my latest book. It makes a great gift!

On the second day of dieting my body said to me:


2 hunger pains...

...and

You're gonna do great! Just think how much better you'll feel.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Twelve Days Of Dieting...Year VII...Day 1



It's December once again and you know what that means: It's time for the Twelve Days of Dieting!

Please join me as I continue my quest to become the MA not so Fat Woman. I'm sure you've heard the holiday classic The Twelve days of Christmas. Well, my version is The Twelve Days of Dieting.

Check back for added days and don't hesitate to sing along!

Don't forget to pick up my book; it makes a great gift.

On my first day of dieting my body said to me, "You can do it, just think how much better you'll feel..."

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The Erma Bombeck Writer's Workshop

In 2012, I was lucky enough to attend the Erma Bombeck Writer's Workshop in Dayton, Ohio. I had such a good time that I went back two more times. Not only do they change writers' lives (notice, I said writers--that's another thing they say it's okay to do: call yourself a writer) by offering advice, education, (free wine) (and lemon cake) and a whole lot of camaraderie with like-minded people but they also hand out these terrific looking bags.

ERMA swag



Today, November 29, 2016, is designated as Giving Tuesday across our great country. It's a day to give what you can, to whomever you can, and when you're deciding on a charitable cause to give to on this wonderful day, I hope you'll consider a give to the Endowment Fund of the Erma Bombeck Writer's Workshop.


After you've made your gift, snap an #UNselfie of yourself and post it online. Just like this:

#UNselfie



Erma changed my life, and the friends I met there have become my family. We listen to each other. We love each other. And most of all, we laugh together. There's nothing better than that.

Here's the link to donate, again: Erma Bombeck Writer's Workshop

Thanks so much and I'll let Erma have the last line "Did you ever notice that the first piece of luggage on the carousel never belongs to anyone?"

#GivingTuesday

Monday, November 28, 2016

Cyber Monday Sale

Need that perfect gift?

Why not give the gift of laughter this holiday season?

It's on sale today!

Here are the links for the perfect bathroom reader:


                               Reflections On A Middle-Aged Fat Woman



                                                        Scrunchie-Fried

After you've made your purchase, please write a review. Reviews really do help independent authors move up in the ranks at Amazon.

Happy Cyber Monday!

And most of all, thanks!

Gianetta

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving

It's a few hours before the meal and I'm already stuffed. No, I'm not the turkey.

I almost had a major meltdown earlier over the deviled eggs.

You wouldn't think that it would be that hard to boil eggs and then peel the shells but somewhere there was a major breakdown in this process. The shells would not come off the eggs and I had to take a butter knife and chip the shells off. This process resulted in four different opinions as to why the shells would not come off more easily.

Mom says that the eggs were too fresh and that was the reason the shells were difficult to remove.

Sister says the eggs needed to be at room temperature before they were boiled.

Niece says the eggs probably came from the chickens outside and have been buried out behind the outhouse for the last few years.

The MA Fat Woman didn't say anything but just kept swearing under her breath.

Brother says the eggs weren't boiled long enough and the shells needed to be removed promptly after boiling.

After this discussion which took almost an hour it was time to make the deviled egg mixture. Again, an hour to discuss how to make the mixture and four differing opinions.

If we're having this much trouble with the eggs I can hardly wait until it's time to mash the potatoes.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

It's Customer Appreciation Day At The Gas Company...The Complete Story

If you've been following along for the last several years, then you know that I enjoy a special relationship with my local gas company. On more than one occasion I have received the worst customer service imaginable from this company but for some reason I keep going back.

Am I a glutton for punishment?

Am I such a loyal customer that I will stay with them no matter what?

Or maybe, I'm just plain dumb?

All three could possibly be correct, but when I saw a handwritten sign driving past the local office one day advertising an upcoming customer appreciation day, I thought if anyone needs to feel like they're appreciated, it's this customer.

A week or so later, I was at my mom's house in the next town up the four-lane and mentioned that I wanted to go to the customer appreciation day. I had driven past the office where I had originally seen the sign earlier in the morning but nothing was set up except the handwritten sign. Pitiful. And typical. The gas company has another office in her town and I had driven past it and they had a big tent, balloons, stacks of cases of Cokes and free hot dogs and brownies for anyone that showed up.

We put it on the list of things we were going to do that day and more than once I griped about the office in my town and how they hadn't set up anything near as comparable to what the office in Mom's town had. We giggled about it and soon found ourselves visiting one yard sale after another and when my stomach growled Mom remarked she was hungry. It was slightly after two o'clock and when we pulled up to customer appreciation day they were out of hot dogs, Cokes and were already taking down the tent.

"Had a huge crowd," said one of the workers in a friendly voice.

"Shoot, we missed it," I said.

"I think they've got a balloon over there you can have," Mom said helpfully.

I looked where she was pointing and there was a man in a clown face rubbing a balloon all over (I mean ALL over) his body trying to create enough electricity to make it stick to his head. It was weird. And gross. "Um, I think I'll pass."

"You can always check out the one in Jasper," said the worker.

"I went past there today and they didn't have anything up but a hand-written sign. I was disappointed but not surprised," I said. "I haven't had the best service from them."

"Hmm," she said, "well, they probably didn't have anything but the sign because their customer appreciation day isn't until next Saturday. I'll be up there, too, passing out the free Cokes and $25 gift certificates. Don't forget to bring a canned good for the food pantry to get your gift certificate. I'll see you then...

Yes, you will.

In the middle of the week, I rode out past the gas company and there wasn't any sign of customer appreciation day. In fact, the hand-written sign wasn't even there. Typical, I thought.

Saturday morning, Mom called and wanted to go to a movie, but I was working around the house and didn't want to go. She reminded me of the customer appreciation day and told me to call if the hot dogs were any good, (we have no problem dropping everything and driving 25 miles for a good hot dog) and I said I would. 

I ran a few errands around town and it was exactly noon when I approached the gas company. Traffic was heavy (as it usually is on a Saturday morning in town) but I was surprised to see a line of cars in front of me waiting to pull into the drive of the gas company. 

The place was packed. They had a big tent outside with the same stacks of Cokes I'd seen last week. The delivery drivers were manning the grill. The nice lady I had spoken with the previous week was minding the serving table and the picnic tables under the tent were completely full with people enjoying the food. I found a place to park in the side yard in front of  the big propane tank (no problem parking in the grass, it's so dry because of the drought that vehicles were parked everywhere; however there was a guy smoking a cigarette nearby) when I was more surprised by the sight of a clown coming out of the back of the building. He saw me, gave me a wave and started the rubbing routine with the balloons and headed the opposite way.

I did an about face, nearly ran into the guy smoking right beside the no smoking sign and made my way to the serving line. "Nice crowd," I said to the nice lady from last week.

"Yes, not as big as last week, but still good. I see you made it in time for the food. Where's your momma at?" she asked looking around.

"She couldn't make it today," I said.

"That's too bad. She was nice people--I felt like I knew her," the lady said.

"Well, she does get around," I said. The woman looked at me strangely and I continued "She goes to a lot of yard sales around town."

"Maybe," she said handing me a plate. "Go ahead and fix yourself a plate and when you get done, take your canned goods inside to the donation box and they'll fix you up with your $25 coupon."

"Thanks," I said looking at the spread in front of me. CANNED GOOD? Oh, no. I had forgotten to bring any cans for the donation box. The smell of the grill and platter of hot dogs soon had my full attention and I focused on dressing up my dogs (straight ketchup) (I ain't messing with mustard, chili, slaw or onions), grabbing a bag (or two) of chips, a chocolate chip cookie (or two) and two cans of Diet Coke and made my way to one of the tables. (I got seconds with my firsts because I didn't want people to see me getting seconds.)

I was enjoying myself tremendously, (the food was good) and keeping a wary eye out for the clown. Different people came and went--some stopping for food, but most seemed to be carrying canned goods and with a wave from the lady manning the paper plates hurried up the  steps and inside the building.

"Mind if I join you?" asked a voice. "I noticed you was eating alone."

I looked up and standing there in front of me was the clown that I had seen earlier, except he didn't look like a clown. He had changed his clothes and now wore a biker jacket, a "Jesus loves me" t-shirt, jeans, and a belt with a big buckle that might have resembled the state of Texas, but I couldn't be sure because my gaze was drawn to his head. He had a balloon stuck on his head. Actually, it was in the shape of a snake and it wiggled every time he moved his head.

"Sure," I said. "I'm just finishing up. I want to get one of those $25 coupons before they run out."

He sat down and we started chatting about the drought, the upcoming election and the crowd of people at the customer appreciation day. "I'm surprised how many people are here," I said. "I'll have to come to this every year. I haven't had the best luck with their customer service, but this almost makes up for it. How long have you been a clown?"

"I've been clowning for 50 years or so. I just moved to the area and this is the first time I have performed in North Georgia," the man said. "The gas people had another clown in another town last week but they got a few complaints about him or something. I don't know what the details are..."

"I heard about that," I said. "Well, it was nice talking to you, but I need to be going. I forgot my canned good so I'm gonna run up to the Dollar General and pick one up for the donation box so I can get my coupon."

"It was nice talking to you, too, but you don't need a canned good, just tell 'em the clown sent you. I hope I see you around town."

I waved goodbye and went inside the building waiting my turn to approach the counter. "I forgot my canned good but the clown told me to tell y'all that he sent me," I said.

"I thought he left a while ago," one of them said. "I don't know why he told you to say that because several folks didn't bring a can and that's all right, too. But hey, this is customer appreciation day and we want to thank you for being a customer, so here is your $25 coupon."

"Great! Thanks," I said. "I didn't think I was going to get to see you guys this year after the mix up last spring."

"What mix up?" one asked.

"Oh, when I ordered gas in March, I only ordered 100 gallons, but I got 400 gallons instead."

"That's where I remember you from," one said. "Well, we're glad you came to see us today and that we got that all worked out."

"Don't forget to use your coupon," one hollered after me as I walked out the door.

I walked to my car and was surprised to see something through the back window. My stomach dropped a bit when I saw what was on the hood of my car. It was the balloon I'd seen earlier on the head of the man that asked to sit with me. I picked up the balloon and looked around but saw no sign of the clown. There was a note attached to it that read "I remember you and your mother from last week. Hope you got your coupon."

Weird.

Really weird.

Later in the day when I was recounting the story to Mom (who thought it was weird, too), I picked up the $25 coupon from the gas company and read what it said. Mom was telling me about the boxes of books she picked up at a yard sale for only a buck when I made the oddest noise she had ever heard.



"Are you all right?" she asked.

"They've done it, again," I said.

"Who did what?" she asked.

"The gas company."

"Oh, my. What happened this time?" Mom asked.

"Listen to this," I said and read the fine print on the coupon. "This $25 coupon is good off the purchase of 150 gallons or more of propane."

"So, you always get that much, don't you?"

"I normally do, but remember they filled the tank up by mistake last year."

"That's right. I  forgot," Mom said. "Well, you can always use it later in the winter."

"Not hardly," I said.

"Why?"

"It expires December 31, 2016."

"Oh, well. Look on the bright side, you won't have to spend $500 right before Christmas. Maybe, you can go to Vegas or somewhere," Mom said....

What a great idea....I think I will.


Monday, November 21, 2016

It's Customer Appreciation Day...At The Gas Company...Part II

In the middle of the week, I rode out past the gas company and there wasn't any sign of customer appreciation day. In fact, the hand-written sign wasn't even there. Typical, I thought.

Saturday morning, Mom called and wanted to go to a movie, but I was working around the house and didn't want to go. She reminded me of the customer appreciation day and told me to call if the hot dogs were any good, (we have no problem dropping everything and driving 25 miles for a good hot dog) and I said I would. 

I ran a few errands around town and it was exactly noon when I approached the gas company. Traffic was heavy (as it usually is on a Saturday morning in town) but I was surprised to see a line of cars in front of me waiting to pull into the drive of the gas company. 

The place was packed. They had a big tent outside with the same stacks of Cokes I'd seen last week. The delivery drivers were manning the grill. The nice lady I had spoken with the previous week was minding the serving table and the picnic tables under the tent were completely full with people enjoying the food. I found a place to park in the side yard in front of  the big propane tank (no problem parking in the grass, it's so dry because of the drought that vehicles were parked everywhere; however there was a guy smoking a cigarette nearby) when I was more surprised by the sight of a clown coming out of the back of the building. He saw me, gave me a wave and started the rubbing routine with the balloons and headed the opposite way.

I did an about face, nearly ran into the guy smoking right beside the no smoking sign and made my way to the serving line. "Nice crowd," I said to the nice lady from last week.

"Yes, not as big as last week, but still good. I see you made it in time for the food. Where's your momma at?" she asked looking around.

"She couldn't make it today," I said.

"That's too bad. She was nice people--I felt like I knew her," the lady said.

"Well, she does get around," I said. The woman looked at me strangely and I continued "She goes to a lot of yard sales around town."

"Maybe," she said handing me a plate. "Go ahead and fix yourself a plate and when you get done, take your canned goods inside to the donation box and they'll fix you up with your $25 coupon."

"Thanks," I said looking at the spread in front of me. CANNED GOOD? Oh, no. I had forgotten to bring any cans for the donation box. The smell of the grill and platter of hot dogs soon had my full attention and I focused on dressing up my dogs (straight ketchup) (I ain't messing with mustard, chili, slaw or onions), grabbing a bag (or two) of chips, a chocolate chip cookie (or two) and two cans of Diet Coke and made my way to one of the tables. (I got seconds with my firsts because I didn't want people to see me getting seconds.)

I was enjoying myself tremendously, (the food was good) and keeping a wary eye out for the clown. Different people came and went--some stopping for food, but most seemed to be carrying canned goods and with a wave from the lady manning the paper plates hurried up the  steps and inside the building.

"Mind if I join you?" asked a voice. "I noticed you was eating alone."

I looked up and standing there in front of me was the clown that I had seen earlier, except he didn't look like a clown. He had changed his clothes and now wore a biker jacket, a "Jesus loves me" t-shirt, jeans, and a belt with a big buckle that might have resembled the state of Texas, but I couldn't be sure because my gaze was drawn to his head. He had a balloon stuck on his head. Actually, it was in the shape of a snake and it wiggled every time he moved his head.

"Sure," I said. "I'm just finishing up. I want to get one of those $25 coupons before they run out."

He sat down and we started chatting about the drought, the upcoming election and the crowd of people at the customer appreciation day. "I'm surprised how many people are here," I said. "I'll have to come to this every year. I haven't had the best luck with their customer service, but this almost makes up for it. How long have you been a clown?"

"I've been clowning for 50 years or so. I just moved to the area and this is the first time I have performed in North Georgia," the man said. "The gas people had another clown in another town last week but they got a few complaints about him or something. I don't know what the details are..."

"I heard about that," I said. "Well, it was nice talking to you, but I need to be going. I forgot my canned good so I'm gonna run up to the Dollar General and pick one up for the donation box so I can get my coupon."

"It was nice talking to you, too, but you don't need a canned good, just tell 'em the clown sent you. I hope I see you around town."

I waved goodbye and went inside the building waiting my turn to approach the counter. "I forgot my canned good but the clown told me to tell y'all that he sent me," I said.

"I thought he left a while ago," one of them said. "I don't know why he told you to say that because several folks didn't bring a can and that's all right, too. But hey, this is customer appreciation day and we want to thank you for being a customer, so here is your $25 coupon."

"Great! Thanks," I said. "I didn't think I was going to get to see you guys this year after the mix up last spring."

"What mix up?" one asked.

"Oh, when I ordered gas in March, I only ordered 100 gallons, but I got 400 gallons instead."

"That's where I remember you from," one said. "Well, we're glad you came to see us today and that we got that all worked out."

"Don't forget to use your coupon," one hollered after me as I walked out the door.

I walked to my car and was surprised to see something through the back window. My stomach dropped a bit when I saw what was on the hood of my car. It was the balloon I'd seen earlier on the head of the man that asked to sit with me. I picked up the balloon and looked around but saw no sign of the clown. There was a note attached to it that read "I remember you and your mother from last week. Hope you got your coupon."

Weird.

Really weird.

Later in the day when I was recounting the story to Mom (who thought it was weird, too), I picked up the $25 coupon from the gas company and read what it said. Mom was telling me about the boxes of books she picked up at a yard sale for only a buck when I made the oddest noise she had ever heard.



"Are you all right?" she asked.

"They've done it, again," I said.

"Who did what?" she asked.

"The gas company."

"Oh, my. What happened this time?" Mom asked.

"Listen to this," I said and read the fine print on the coupon. "This $25 coupon is good off the purchase of 150 gallons or more of propane."

"So, you always get that much, don't you?"

"I normally do, but remember they filled the tank up by mistake last year."

"That's right. I  forgot," Mom said. "Well, you can always use it later in the winter."

"Not hardly," I said.

"Why?"

"It expires December 31, 2016."

"Oh, well. Look on the bright side, you won't have to spend $500 right before Christmas. Maybe, you can go to Vegas or somewhere," Mom said....

What a great idea....I think I will.


Thursday, November 17, 2016

We're On A Diet, Remember?

The fridge is closed.
Over the last few months I've watched the thingy on my scales continue to lean steadily to the right--sorta like what the country did in the last election. I can't say what the long term effect will have on the country because it's too soon to tell, but I can tell you that the immediate effects on me aren't pretty.

I've had some changes in my medication that may or may not have contributed to the extra pounds and I've been very lax with my diet. I'm no stranger to any of the restaurants in town...well, maybe the one that offers an all-you-can-eat salad bar (I stay away from that place.), but pizza, wings, and scattered and covered hash browns from Waffle House probably does have a lot to do with it.

Ten years ago I quit smoking and gained a lot of weight in a two-year period. I replaced one vice with another. I've lost half (had) of those extra pounds, but as the year has progressed, my progress has been slipping away-kinda like the progress of the last eight years--and my clothes are getting too tight to wear.

If I assessed myself a baggage fee for the extra poundage I'm transporting right now, I'd have a nice bank roll to spend on my upcoming trip to Vegas.

But, what really made me stand up and pay attention was when my boy, Ralphie, began having problems jumping. He's always been "built like a brick shit house" as we like to say in my family which translates to "solid, stout and muscular with a few rolls that jiggle when you run."

We hopped on the scales and sure enough, Ralphie was about two pounds over his normal weight. Every time I go to the refrigerator for a snack, he does too, and if I don't give him something he will meow for the next half hour. Loudly. And I'm not kidding.

I've examined his back legs thoroughly and spoken with the vet. It could be age (I think he's about 9 or 10). I mentioned the extra weight and they recommended to scale back on his food to see if he might lose those two extra pounds.

A few days passed and each time I went to the fridge, Ralphie would stare at me and wait for his snack. After a few times of not receiving anything and voicing his displeasure, he stopped meowing and looked at me just like the picture above.

It took me a while, but I finally got it.

No snacks for Ralphie means no snacks for me.

I decided not to wait until the New Year because the upcoming season of gluttony is almost upon us. I'm sure I could've added a few more pounds and the extra fees would've been good for my bank roll, but the extra rolls on me and Ralphie are bad for our health.

It's early in our journey and I'll be sure to keep you posted. I'll enjoy this Thanksgiving a bit more sensibly, and so will Ralphie, but until then, the fridge is closed.





Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Need A Lift...Election Day Humor

I did what millions of other Americans did on Election Day recently and that was to vote. I live in a small town, roughly 2000 people, and the precinct that I vote in is at the middle school just up the road. I've never had to wait more than five minutes to exercise my constitutional right which is a good thing. I've heard horror stories of people waiting eight hours or longer to exercise that same right. You would think in this advanced technological age that we could vote online by now without too much cheating, but for whatever reason, it hasn't happened.

On my way into the gymnasium to cast my ballot I became distracted by yelling across the street. It was the family and friends of those running for office urging us, the voters, to support their candidate. I gave a nonchalant wave of the hand and nearly ran smack dab into the back of a little old lady pushing a walker. "Hey! Watch it! Little old lady walking here!" she exclaimed.

"Oh, I'm terribly sorry," I said. "Those people across the street distracted me. Are you okay?" I asked opening the door for her.

"Yes, I'm fine. Thanks for holding the door," she said. "I don't know why they make these doors so heavy. When you get my age, it's hard to get around," she said motioning to the walker. "The legs don't work quite like they used to."

I smiled in response and settled into line behind her. We went through the usual steps of filling out the paper, showing our Ids and receiving the plastic key card that is inserted into the voting machine. "Push this button when you are through casting your ballot," said a nice old man. "Make sure to hand your key card to Alice," he said, "she's handing out the "I voted today" stickers."

"Thank you," I replied. I'm not sure how long it took me to vote but I got held up on the wording of one of the proposed constitutional amendments. It didn't sound right so I kept repeating it. After the fifth time of reading it, I gave up and just pushed the "no" button. It must not be that important.

I received my sticker from Alice, gave her a smile and headed out to my car. Unknowingly, I had parked right beside the lady with the walker who was now standing directly beside a very large pickup truck. "Another year of doing my civic duty," she said.

"Me too," I replied. "I got hung up on one of those amendments; it didn't make sense to me."

"That used to happen to me too, sometimes. Now, I just vote no on everything new. If you vote yes, it's usually just going to cost you more money," she said looking around the parking lot.

"That makes sense," I said. "Well, you have a good one," I said opening my car door.

"Honey?" she asked looking in my direction.

"Yes?" I replied.

"Would you mind giving me a lift?" she asked.

"Sure," I replied. "Where to?" I knew it couldn't be far because she had just voted and you had to live close by to be able to vote in this precinct. I had walked around to the passenger side of the Mustang and opened the door. "It's hard to get into sometimes, because it's so low to the ground."

The lady had continued searching the parking lot, frowned slightly and looked back in my direction. "My daughter was supposed to give me a lift but she isn't here yet," Looking at the open door of my car she chuckled, "Thanks, honey. But that's not the kind of lift I need. I need a boost up into my truck. I can get down all right; it's just climbing back into it that gives me fits."

I closed the door of the car and walked over to where she was standing. "Okay, do you want me to pick you up?" I asked.

"Nope. Wait until I step with one foot, grab the steering wheel and then start to lift myself up. Then put your hand under my butt and kinda throw me up into the truck. I'll turn slightly and slide into the driver's seat. I've been doing it this way for years and it works every time."

"Okay?" I said with a questioning look.

"Oh, don't be afraid of it. It'll be all right. If you feel something squishy, that's just my adult underwear. You ready? On the count of three…one…two…lift."

And I did. She stepped up, grabbed the steering wheel, adjusted her hips and slid right behind the wheel. It worked perfectly. "There you go," I said.

"Perfect," she said. "Thanks, honey, put my walker in the back, will ya?"

I did as she instructed, stepped back around to my car and opened the door, "Take care," I said.

"Okey doke," she said. "I'll look for you the next time I need a lift when I'm out somewhere. Most people are afraid to help me; afraid I might sue them or something if they drop me. Or when I mention the squishy part," she chuckled. "That scares a lot of them off," she said driving away.


"Glad I could help," I said with a final wave. Yep, the squishy part nearly stopped me from helping her but I'm glad it didn't. You never know, I might need the same kind of help  someday, squishy pants and all.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

It's Customer Appreciation Day...At The Gas Company...Part I

If you've been following along for the last several years, then you know that I enjoy a special relationship with my local gas company. On more than one occasion I have received the worst customer service imaginable from this company but for some reason I keep going back.

Am I a glutton for punishment?

Am I such a loyal customer that I will stay with them no matter what?

Or maybe, I'm just plain dumb?

All three could possibly be correct, but when I saw a handwritten sign driving past the local office one day advertising an upcoming customer appreciation day, I thought if anyone needs to feel like they're appreciated, it's this customer.

A week or so later, I was at my mom's house in the next town up the four-lane and mentioned that I wanted to go to the customer appreciation day. I had driven past the office where I had originally seen the sign earlier in the morning but nothing was set up except the handwritten sign. Pitiful. And typical. The gas company has another office in her town and I had driven past it and they had a big tent, balloons, stacks of cases of Cokes and free hot dogs and brownies for anyone that showed up.

We put it on the list of things we were going to do that day and more than once I griped about the office in my town and how they hadn't set up anything near as comparable to what the office in Mom's town had. We giggled about it and soon found ourselves visiting one yard sale after another and when my stomach growled Mom remarked she was hungry. It was slightly after two o'clock and when we pulled up to customer appreciation day they were out of hot dogs, Cokes and were already taking down the tent.

"Had a huge crowd," said one of the workers in a friendly voice.

"Shoot, we missed it," I said.

"I think they've got a balloon over there you can have," Mom said helpfully.

I looked where she was pointing and there was a man in a clown face rubbing a balloon all over (I mean ALL over) his body trying to create enough electricity to make it stick to his head. It was weird. And gross. "Um, I think I'll pass."

"You can always check out the one in Jasper," said the worker.

"I went past there today and they didn't have anything up but a hand-written sign. I was disappointed but not surprised," I said. "I haven't had the best service from them."

"Hmm," she said, "well, they probably didn't have anything but the sign because their customer appreciation day isn't until next Saturday. I'll be up there, too, passing out the free Cokes and $25 gift certificates. Don't forget to bring a canned good for the food pantry to get your gift certificate. I'll see you then...

Yes, you will....


Monday, October 31, 2016

Happy Halloween


Sunday, October 30, 2016

It Ain't A Turkey...Part IV

..."I've seen wild turkeys before and these birds are definitely not turkeys. They don't have those things under their necks, combs or something?"

"Hmm, I thought combs were only found on chickens?"

"I don't know," I said. "Well, I gotta go, someone is knocking at the door."

"I hope it ain't Merlethem, he he," mom said.

I hoped it wasn't my crazy neighbor, either. However, I wasn't too surprised to see her standing there on my porch, shotgun in hand. "I'm thinking about going after those turkeys, you wanna have a go with old Winston, here?"

"Well, I'm not sure. Why do you call it Winston?"

"Oh, heehehehe, you silly girl, after Winston Churchill, of course. He's saved me arse on more than one occasion."

"Who? Winston Churchill? I didn't think you were in the war?" I asked. As many times as it has happened in the past, I should have known better than to ask Merlethem any questions.

"Well, back in '44, I was just a wee lass and we had just come through the roughest winter. It seems we spent every other hour down in the bomb shelters hiding from those blimey Germans. Whenever we ran into the shelters, we were always told to bring any form of weaponry we had. And this is how old Winston ended up in the Shatz family. Watch this!"

When Merlethem said that, I stepped back and watched in complete disbelief as she raised old Winston to her shoulder and got off two rounds from the double-barrelled beast. "Holy Crap! What in the hell are you shooting at?" I yelled.

"Look there. Look down there." I followed her gaze down to the old chicken house and saw the birds again. Or what was left of them.

"Well, I think you killed 'em," I said. As we walked down the hill to inspect the damage (two birds were dead) we were surprised when the last remaining bird flew over our shoulders and landed near his friends. "Well, Merlethem, it ain't a turkey, that's for sure."

"I guess not. Wretch! Thy God hath lent thee--by these angels, he had sent thee..."

"Huh? You're tripping again. You killed these birds, I hope you're gonna dispose of them." I said and started to walk away when I heard something behind me.

"Nevermore," said the last remaining bird to his friends. Then he turned to us and said, "I'm a turkey buzzard, you nitwits! Now, leave me alone. It's time for my dinner." he said.

And then he dug in...

Saturday, October 29, 2016

It Ain't A Turkey...Part III

...As my mind tends to do these days, I soon forgot about Merlethem and her crazy words until one evening. I happened to look out my front window and was startled to see three large black birds staring at me along with one crazy old bat.

OH. MY. GOODNESS.

I was reaching for my camera when I caught Merlethem's eye or something because she took off running for her house next door. (Because of an earlier situation or two, her kids had put up a fence around her house that she was not supposed to leave from.) She was too fast for me but I was able to snap a few pictures of Huey and Duey, but as you can see, they definitely aren't ducks!




At that moment, my phone rang. It was my mom calling to see if I wanted to go with her to her belly dancing lesson and then out for a bite to eat. I explained the situation about Merlethem and the birds, and the early morning encounter and the sputtering of crazy words. "She ain't crazy," Mom said. "It sounds like she was quoting "The Raven" or maybe parts of it. Why don't you go ask her?"

"Heavens, no!" I said. "I don't want to encourage her at all. You know what happens when you get too friendly with her."

"You're right! You had to stay with me for two weeks the last time because she kept calling you and knocking on your doors at all times of the day and night. If I remember correctly, you 'bout ate me out of house and home too. I thought her kids fenced her in?"

"They did. She must have climbed over it or something."

"Ha, maybe she flew over. You always call her an old bat..."

"Mom? I do not!"

"Are you sure them birds ain't tom turkeys or something?..."

Friday, October 28, 2016

It Ain't A Turkey...Part II

...Anyhow, the next few weeks passed uneventfully without any sightings of the birds or my wacky neighbor until one early morning. It was barely daylight and I was outside packing up the car to head out to the flea market when I heard an eerie moan and the following from somewhere near my neighbor's house.

"Whhhooo, prithy, once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore. While I nodded, nearly napping, SUDDENLY there came a tapping, as of someone gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door..."

"Merlethem, is that you?" I asked. "Who are you talking to? You scared me a little bit." At that point, in the early morning light, I heard a whoosh and a flapping of wings as something very large took flight just over my head. "What the hell is it? Are those buzzards back?" I yelled.

Melethem, whom without my noticing was now standing directly behind me. "Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore; 'Tis the wind and nothing more."

"What are you talking about..."

"Open here, I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter..."

"Flirts and flutter, are you drinking again? Man, I gotta go. I'm going to the flea market."

"Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing..."

"I know one thing, you're making me wonder," I said as I got in my car. As I was pulling out of my driveway I glanced up at my rear view mirror and there was just enough daylight to see Merlethem standing there, watching me leave, alongside a very strange looking black object that I hadn't seen before.

What was that, I wondered to myself as I drove away...

Thursday, October 27, 2016

It Ain't A Turkey...Part I

A month or so ago, I was walking past one of the windows in my house when something caught my eye. It was big, black and stood about two feet tall. Before I could get closer to the window for a better view, that THING took flight. Holy Crap! I ain't never been that close to a buzzard, raven, vulture, turkey or whatever it was before.

Since nature was calling I didn't have time to go outside and check it out right then and my short term memory seems to be fading as fast as my hairline so within a few minutes I had totally forgotten about my new visitor.

A few days later I was awakened by a pounding on my front door. "Hey! MA Fat Lady! Get out here! I wanna show you something."

Oh, no. It was my crazy elderly neighbor, Ms. Merlethem Shatz. I rolled out of bed and made it to the door, "What is it?"

"Look! Look there!" I followed her outstretched arm with my gaze and saw three (3) of those big, black birds standing in my backyard down by the old chicken house staring back at me and Merlethem. "What are they?"




"I don't know. They're kind of freaking me out. Maybe we should throw a rock at them."

"Rock, me arse. (She's British.) I'm gonna get my gun."

"I don't think you can fire a gun off this close to town," I said.

"BOLLOCKS! I thought this was a free country." At that outburst the large birds took flight nearly buzzing our heads as they flew off in the distance. My neighbor spun on her heels and talked to herself the whole way as she made her way back to her house. "Bollocks!" she yelled one last time as she went inside.

I had to agree with her. I didn't like the idea of these big birds hanging out at my house. I'm not superstitious (maybe, a little) or anything but isn't having three (3) large black Edgar Allen Poe type birds as neighbors an omen of some kind...

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Thoughts From The Donald's Feminine Side

Photobucket


I bet you didn't know that Donald J. Trump has a side he has yet to reveal to the American voters. According to several sources that I interviewed and recorded secretly without their consent, the side that the Donald has been trying desperately to keep under wraps, wait for it----is his more feminine side.

I know it's astonishing to think that there could be more information out there that the voters needed to hear to make their decision on election day, but I feel it is my duty to pass along to my faithful readers all I have learned.

So without further delay, here are the top ten thoughts from the Donald's feminine side:


10. Does this suit make me look bloated?

 9.  I'm feeling a little hormonal today.

 8.  Does this foundation make me look like a pumpkin?

 7.  I hope I don't start my period today.

 6.  This humidity is just wrecking my hair. Is this flip okay or should I just pull it back?

 5.  I love how the sleeves of my jacket make my hands look so petite.

 4. I can't believe I started my period today.

 3. I really do have a headache.

 2. I'm taking some time for "me" when this damn election is over.

 1. (On seeing a picture of himself) I've got to remember to stay at least an arm's length away from that guy.


There you have it. These thoughts are not helpful to anyone in any way but I've sent the Clinton campaign an email telling them of my findings. I'm sure they'll know what to do with them.

One last thing before I go. Please don't complain if your candidate doesn't win. Haven't you wondered how much better our lives could be if we stopped being so negative about everything? I know I have and I'm going to do my best to do my part.

Keep smiling.

Keep laughing.

And remember to vote on November 8!

Friday, October 14, 2016

Bathroom Brawls At The Cracker Barrel

Recently, my sister and her family came to town for a visit. When she takes a road trip, one stop is always a requirement and that is a visit to the local Cracker Barrel. Now, I don't know about other parts of the country, but every Cracker Barrel restaurant that I have ever visited has been standing room only...even in the bathroom.

I have strategies whenever I visit a busy restaurant. First, I go at odd times of the day, like before noon for lunch or around 4:00 p.m. for dinner; that way you beat the crowds most days.

Next, if there is a school bus within eye shot of the parking area, I'm going somewhere else; too many pimples and hormones for me. The same goes for tour or charter buses; I try to avoid these as well.

Also, if I arrive in the parking lot at the same time as another patron, I always try to beat them to the door. Nothing personal, but beating them might be the difference between a seat by the window or a seat back by the open kitchen door, or worse, right in front of the bathroom. Sitting there gives a whole new meaning to "What's that smell?"

Those are all good strategies but they don't work at Cracker Barrel. I think the company knows that too. Why else would they have all of those comfy rocking chairs out front and a gift shop that I always get lost in because I can't seem to stay away from the hard stick candy if they didn't know that waiting was part of the allure?

Anyhow, upon arrival at the restaurant, sure enough, there was a tour bus parked out front. It was later in the afternoon, so maybe they had already eaten and were browsing the gift shop was a thought that passed through my head.

As we hurried in the door trying to beat the minivan full of people that had parked near us, it was soon apparent that my thought was correct: They had finished eating and were browsing the gift shop. It was packed!

I needed to use the facilities immediately upon arrival so I headed through the crowd and tried to enter the bathroom. I made it just inside the door when I fully grasped the situation at hand. In front of me, filling every available empty space was a senior citizen. They were washing their hands and fluffing their blue hair; one had her false teeth out and was applying an extra layer of Poli Grip.

One thing I found quite astonishing was that here was a line for the handicapped stall. Three lovely old ladies and their walkers on wheels waiting patiently to get the stall big enough to turn around in as one of them said.

I don't know how many ladies there was in the ladies room, I do know that I smiled politely and moved out of the way for this one and moved over there for that one. I opened the door twice and I pulled off paper towels for another; all the while getting a little bit nervous because I needed to go myself.

Somehow, at the exact same time, every old lady left in the bathroom wanted to get out at the same time. Some were skipping the hand washing, others had finished with their hair and teeth and every one of them made straight for the door, heading right to me. I had backed as far back in the corner as I could and one lady with a walker said, "Honey, you're gonna have to move, so I can get this thing out the door."

I was trying to move. But the other ladies weren't being cooperative. Instead of backing up against one of the stalls, they were all converging towards the door where I was. Another made a comment about them trying to get out, and then another.

It was a standoff! Finally, after some polite laughter and a loud gurgle from my stomach, I said, "Sorry, I'm bigger than all of ya'll put together and you need to move."

And they did. The lady with the walker maneuvered to the right, another backed into an empty stall and two others backed up against the sinks. "Here ya go, honey. Why don't you use the handicapped stall? It's got an extra roll of paper in it!"

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Pikes Peak Or Bust

Next week's destination.

Wikipedia


That's an awfully tall mountain.

Did you know I was scared of heights? Just like my father, except I didn't realize it until the last few years.

When I look down I get sick to my stomach and dizzy. It's a physical reaction.

Of course, it won't stop me from doing anything I want to do.

I just close my eyes and roll with it.

(Mom will be right beside me holding my hand.)

That's what moms do...

Monday, September 19, 2016

Top Ten Signs You're Going On Vacation Very Soon

It's time for another trip of a lifetime. And, yep, I'm going too! Mom and I are going on a bus ride all the way across the central part of the country to Denver and The Colorado Rockies. We're going to the Olympic Training Center, the Air Force Academy, Pikes Peak (or bust) and a really high bridge which is going to be difficult for me to get across. It seems the older I get, the more afraid of heights I become. I might need to be medicated.  Pass the brownies, please!

We're very excited!

So here are the top ten signs that you are going on vacation very soon:


10. Your Facebook page is full of the places you are going to visit.

9. You're worrying because you haven't counted to see if you have enough underwear.

8. All work related emergencies are not your top priority.

7. You're broke!

6. You're the only happy person in the room when the boss says everyone has to work overtime the day you go on vacation.

5. No one likes you because they've already used up all of their vacation time.

4. The cats won't get out of the suitcase so you can pack.

3. Every piece of clothing you own has been tried on repeatedly and you are now convinced that the bright purple shirt goes with the too tight red pants and lime green flip flops.

2. You've concluded that there isn't enough time to lose that last ten pounds, said screw it and have just eaten a box of donuts.

1. The car breaks down and you are presented with an estimate that costs twice the price of your vacation.


Be sure and check back again, I'll be doing updates from the road.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

A Silent Reminder



In memory of those who lost their lives on that tragic day and for the family and friends that continue to grieve for you, I silence my laughter on this day and fill my heart and soul instead with the prayers and songs of those who remember.

You will never be forgotten and we will never forget.

God Bless America.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

One Hundred Days Of Writing...100 Days In...What I Learned Along The Way


It’s after Labor Day, and besides not being able to wear white (not that I have anything white to wear) or go to the local swimming pool (because it closed on August 1 when the kiddos went back to school), it also means that I am nearing the completion of my one hundred days of writing. In fact, when I finish this post I will no longer be nearing the finish line, I will have crossed it.

Hooray for me!

I have thought about what I wanted to write about in this post for several weeks. I could list the breakdown of the words and what got added to which project but my eyes begin to glaze over when I start to talk about numbers and if it bores me then it certainly will bore you, too. No, I’ll leave the numbers to the math teachers and calculators, but all of them do add up to over a 100,000 words (which if you do the math is…well, you know).

Hooray for me!

So that leads me back to the original questions: Why write for one hundred days? What is so special about that? Does anyone care? (All good questions, mind you, and there are probably several more that could be asked but who wants to waste time with that.)

The answer is simple: To prove to myself that I could.

I made a decision to do something and I followed through and accomplished the task. For me, decisions have always been a challenge. Here’s an example: Do I start with a salad at Golden Corral or go straight for the mashed potatoes? (Good Heavens! Why would you even waste any of your stomach space for lettuce and cucumbers when there is macaroni & cheese and ribs to choose from?) 

And rolls! With honey butter!

(Well, maybe I did an okay job on making this decision but it was tough to decide between Ryan’s Buffet and Golden Corral.) Actually, this decision wasn’t difficult either because Ryan’s has closed its doors recently because of a bankruptcy filing.

But, I think you get my drift.

I could go on and on about this and I’m sure I’m not the only one. Someone once told me that you could become paralyzed by the possibilities and not choose anything at all (Personally, I will always choose the mashed potatoes over the roughage, but that’s just me.).

I did more than just write these past 100 days. I also had at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day, most of it being a walk around the outside of my house. It’s a 114 paces around the house and is mostly covered so I tried to walk early in the morning or right before dusk so the heat wouldn’t make me wilt (I don’t like wilted lettuce, either.).

I’ve lost about seven pounds, which isn’t as much as I wanted to but my clothes definitely fit better. I’m even beginning to chip away at the cellulite on my hips that has remained as unmovable as the gridlock in Congress over the last eight years (Be gone with ye, oh patrons of little use.).

Hooray for me!

Another thing I have started doing is keeping an (almost) daily journal. I don’t start each entry with ‘Dear Diary’ but as I have gone back and read over some of my past entries I was surprised at some of the things I had written. Not earth shattering, by any means--some days the entry might only consist of what I had to eat, but I also recorded where I was, who I was with and how I felt. It’s hard to recollect an average summer day, months, if not years in the past if there isn’t a record of it (My memory ain’t what it used to be.). And aren’t ‘average’ days some of the best days that you can have? 

Hooray for me!

Lastly, this challenge wouldn’t be complete without a story about me and my mom and finding help in the most unexpected places. The following is our conversation from a few days ago:

Mom called me:

Me: “Hello?”

Mom: “What are you doing?”

Me: “You wouldn’t believe me if I told you straight to your face.”

Mom: “Hmm. That bad, is it? Are you trying to balance your checkbook again?”

Me: “No. Worse.”

Mom: “You started another low-carb diet?”

Me: “No. But, that’s true, though. Ain’t much worse than that. Except going to a buffet that serves rice instead of potatoes.”

Mom: “You’ve got a point there. So what’s your problem?”

Me: “I’m trying to sew a button back on my favorite shirt.”

Mom: “I thought Jimi Hendrix was your favorite shirt. It doesn’t have any buttons.”

Me: “It doesn’t. I guess it’s my second favorite shirt then.”

Mom: “Oh, I see. So what’s your problem?”

Me: “I can’t thread the needle.”

Mom: “Well, you know I showed you how to do that when you were in 3rd grade.”

Me: “If I still had the eyes of a 3rd grader, I’d be finished by now.”

Mom: “Oh, I’m sorry. That hole is hard to see.”

Me: “Tell me about it. Hold on a sec, there’s someone at the door.”

Mom: “Okay.”

I went to answer the door and returned a few minutes later.

Me: “Guess what?”

Mom: “What?”

Me: “Problem solved.”

Mom: “Who was at the door?”

Me: “I think it was the Jehovah Witness people. I still had the needle and thread in my hand and when I went to accept the literature she was handing out it almost fell out of my hand. I told her I’d been trying to thread the needle all day and you know what she did?”

Mom: “What?”

Me: “She said since I didn’t slam the door in her face and accepted her literature, it was the least she could do and reached into her purse and pulled out an eyepiece that looked like Colonel Klink’s and threaded that needle on the first try.”

Mom: “What about that. That’s my girl. Be kind to everyone. All the time. And one last thing?”

Me: “What’s that?”

Mom: “Be kind to yourself.”

And that, my friends, is the main thing I learned in my one hundred days of writing. That’s why I wrote ‘hooray for me’ several times in this post. I think everyone in life could use more cheerleaders and it must start with you. The last thing I said to my mom before ending that conversation was “You know, Mom, I’m a pretty terrific person.”

Her response couldn’t have been any better unless I had written the words for her. “Sure you are. You’re too hard on yourself. You’re headed in a good direction and keep setting goals for yourself. Just look what you’ve accomplished this summer? Small steps eventually lead to a marathon completed.”

Small steps eventually lead to a marathon completed.

That statement really sums it up for me. Whatever it is that you want to get accomplished can only be achieved one way and that is the decision to start. Just  decide. You can do it.

Hooray for me!

And, hooray for you!

LinkWithin

Blog Widget by LinkWithin