Hello Readers!

045


Goofed Today

At the clubhouse, Champions Golf at Bluff Creek.

“Hey Howie, buddy, how are ya?”

“Good, Jamie.  And you, buddy?”

“I’m good, Howie.   A nice day to play the course.”

“I already trekked the green. I goofed today.”

“Goofed today?” said Jamie a bit puzzled.

“Yeah, I played golf,” said Howie.

Jamie replied, “Oh, you did goof today!  Well, did you tee off?”

Howie to Jamie, “Of course, I made it that far.  How was your game today?”

Jamie replied, “Always good.  I made par.  I aced the hole four times.  How about you, Howie?  Parred under one hundred yet?  Last time, I remember your par was about one- twenty.  Any better?  Probably not. Try to get it under a hundred, if you ever can, Howie.  Really, how is your game?”

“Well, I did a bogey on hole two.” “Not bad,” said Jamie. “What about the rest of them?”

Howie thought to himself,  I’ll exaggerate about my game, just like Jamie and the rest of them off the green.  A little bluff can’t hurt.  They all do it.  One thing I did do today, I got out of the sand trap in two strokes.  Jamie doesn’t know it.  Actually it took ten times, but he doesn’t need to know.

“Jamie, did you tear up any turf today?  Leave any work for the maintenance crew?”               “I never dig the earth, ever!” replied Jamie, a bit annoyed. “Me neither,” said Howie. “Oh really?  How come, Howie, I seem divots everywhere  after you play a hole?” “There’s gophers underneath.  They can’t seem to get rid of them.”

“Howie, you’re doing good for a ‘lefty.’” “What do you mean, Jamie?” “You could use some  lessons from a pro.  But since you’re left-handed, I doubt you will ever find a left-handed pro.  Just aren’t any around here.  Check with the clubhouse manager, he may know of someone.”

“You know, Jamie, Phil Mickelson and Bubba Watson are both lefties.  Phil won the Masters at least three times.” “Well, Howie, they both learned to play the game the right way and then switched over to the left.  Howie, I doubt you will ever be able to learn how to play golf the right way.  You’re just a ‘lefty.’” “How do you know that, Jamie?” “I just know.”

“Jamie, golf is a game you play on your own.  It’s your game and you’re not competing against anyone, unless you’re a pro and playing for the big money.” “Howie, you will never play for the money.  It takes years to become a pro, I know.” “Well, Jamie, has the PGA invited you to join?” “Not yet, but I’m hoping.”

“Howie, you will never see Augusta.” “Well, Jamie, I don’t see you putting on a green jacket ever.  By the way, I have been to Augusta.  The most beautiful green I’ve ever seen and so many azaleas.  Jamie, when you’re at the Masters, you just feel the greatness of all the pros who have won there.  Arnie, Jack, Tiger and Phil.  The excitement is just electric.  What a thrill!  Arnold got jackets.  Nicklaus got several of them,and so did Tiger.  Phil got three of them, and Bubba just got his second one.  He’s a southpaw and always makes par. Just had to say it again.  Nothing like Augusta.”

“Well, Howie, I gotta go.  Glad you had a better game today.  One day you will play golf, but until then, you’ll just goof along.” “Jamie, I know you will never admit it, but I betcha you   played goof for awhile and then became pro, now that you are a real golfer.” “Never goofed!” “You’re a bluff, Jamie!” “I bet you are too, Howie.” “Aren’t we all, Jamie?  All of us at Bluff Creek.” “I’ll never say, Howie.” “No one will, Jamie.  It’s a ‘green code of silence.’” Both exchange smiles and winks.

“Howie, next time at the club?  I expect to see you here.” “Jamie, I know I’ll see you here.   You’re such a champ.  I idolize you.” “Now, you’re talking the right talk, Howie.” They both laugh. “See ya, Jamie.” “You too, Howie.”

By the way, Jamie and I are friends outside of golf.  I like him better there.  We are buddies, I think?

Goof or golf.  Whatever you call it, its just a game, but it’s always par for the course.         Even if you fib a little about it.  That’s what Bluff Creek is all about, a bluff club.

 

Mango Market

Mango Market on Isla del Sol.

Feel the breeze, the warmth of the sun.

Isla del Sol is an uninhabited island and protected to keep it in it’s natural state.  A very    tropical feel to the island with it’s abundance of mangoes, fanned palmetto palms, and    awesome wind blown oaks.  It is believed that the island was originally occupied by the Mango Indians who worked in the groves of mango there.  The island is also nicknamed Mango Island.  Today, descendants of explorers live in a nearby  village on the mainland. Isla del Sol is only accessible by canoe.  Visitors must paddle their way to the island, across a small inlet, as did the Indians long ago.  Abandoned and weathered canoes still rest upon it’s shore.   The island is managed by a farm cooperative.  Members, who grow their own natural fruits and vegetables, share them in a marketplace twice weekly on the island.

“Good morning, members.  Another delightful day in our marketplace.  I decided to add some color to make it look more festive and tropical.  I have the usual six carts. They  are now painted with a variety of pastels.  I hope you like them.  Thank you, Ernesto,” said Magdalena, manager of Mango Market. “Let’s see what you have, Diego.” “Mama,  I have the finest coffee, tea, cocoa and apple cider.  The coffee, today, is one hundred percent Colombian.  I have English tea, the best Swiss chocolate, and fresh squeezed apple cider.    I have four decanters, one for each.  Piping hot,  ready to serve,” said Diego. “Load your items on this cart.  It’s mocha brown.  Place your cart at the end of the path on the left.   The aromas will radiate throughout the market.” “I will, señora.  And I have my earthen clay mugs and wooden spoons.  Natural everything.  Raw honey, fresh cream, and brown sugar cane,” said Diego.

“The breads, come ahead.  Rosa, what a wheat wagon you have.  Mmm, hot crusted French, Italian, and Cuban.  Oh, the aromas will blend well with the coffee cart,” said Magdalena with delight and a smile. “Buenos días, Magdalena.  Fresh from the oven. Spreads of butter, cream cheese, and apple butter.  Clove and cinnamon sprinkles.  These will awaken the senses,” said Rosa as she fans her hand across the baskets. “Take this cart.  It’s painted with a pastel of clay yellow.  Please, set up on the left, up front next to Diego’s mocha brown coffee cart.  A nice contrast of color.” said Magdalena.

Feel the breeze, the warmth of the sun.

“Need fruit.  Need fruits and juices.  Come on up, Juan,” said Magdalena. “I got the fruits,    señora, and I got the juice.  Is tropical okay?” said Juan. “Of course, they look so luscious.  The juice boxes are fine, as long as they are fresh squeezed,” said Magdalena. “I have papaya, guava, and ripened mangoes,” said Juan proudly. “I hope those are my mangoes.  They don’t look like my mangoes. Are they organic and not supermarket?” said Magdalena with suspicion. “Not supermarket, but farmer’s market and I was told that they are organic.  All natural,” said Juan. “Well, they’ll do, but please, do not tell anyone about them.  They all come here for my mangoes, as you know, grown here on the island.  Here. Take the aqua marine cart.  A nice contrast of color.  On the left, right here, up front.   Gracias, Juan,” said Magdalena.

“I need a hot food cart.  Benito, I smell your tamale pies and burritos and sizzling sausage.   Do you have sauce and cheese?” “Yes, I do, señora.  And I have hot cheese sticks and nachos.” “I’ll be the first in line for your cheese sticks.  I hope you have a blazing hot sauce for the nachos. Need mild too.  Oh, your cart.  Take this one, the pastel palmetto green.  At the end, on the right, across from Diego’s coffee cart,” said Magdalena as she views the set up of the carts.

Feel the breeze, the warmth of the sun.

“Let’s see, the pastries. Ah, the smell of yeast, vanilla, chocolate, sugar and spice.  I know you are here, please come forward,” said Magdalena with anticipation. “I have the cart already.  Loaded and ready to go,” said Anna Maria. “Oh, my goodness, what a display.  A bakery cart adds flavor to a marketplace. This is the perfect cart.  Raspberry is the right color for you.  Up this way, on the right, next to Benito’s hot food cart.  Mmm, the blend of coffee, sizzling sausage, and pastries will compliment each other.”

“One last cart, a vegetable cart, please. Señora Alvarez,  good morning.  Your vegetables look so fresh.  All organic, I hope,” said Magdalena. “Yes, indeed, señora. I have fresh golden corn in their husks, ripened cherry tomatoes, green and red peppers, red  onions, and crisp lettuce,” said Señora Alvarez. “This cart is for you, brilliant orange. On the right, up front, here.”

Feel the breeze, the warmth of the sun.

Magdalena, with her arms crossed, looks at the marketplace on the yellow clay path, under the shade of the wind blown oaks.  The sun is beaming through providing the light of day.   She bends back breathing in the flavors of the market and she delights in the pastels of color she has created. “Everyone, this is the day, this is the place, this is the time for us to celebrate.  Moments away before our first guests arrive.  Are you ready? Do you all have mangoes?” “We are ready,” said by all the vendors in the marketplace. “And yes, Magdalena, we all have mangoes, plenty of them!” said Juan.  All laugh.

“We are ready, then.  I need two greeters at the entrance.  Carlos and Alicia, can you assist me here?  Remember to check their membership cards.  All guests must be accompanied by a member.  Must do a count.  We only allow twenty five into the marketplace per hour.  On each side of you, there are two tables of my fresh mangoes.  Give one of each to our  members and guests may have one, too.  Oh yes, tell them about our sunrise market.  It’s the day after tomorrow.  Must be here at predawn before sunrise.  I know it’s early, but that’s what it’s all about, the sunrise.  It’s a two hour market open to only twenty five.  That way, there will be room to casually roam, allow time and space to gather, and to enjoy the flavors of our food and drink.”

“Good morning, all.  Welcome to Mango Market.  A mango for you and a mango for you,” said Carlos wearing his straw hat with a colorful red band. “This way, please.  Straight ahead.  Enjoy your time in the market,” said Alicia wearing a long melon tunic belted at the waist with a yellow braided tie.  On her feet are simple leather sandals.

Magdalena said to those entering the market, “Good morning, buenos dias.  It’s a delightful day.  Have a great time.  We have everything for you.  All fresh and natural.”

Just before noon when the market closes, Magdalena walks through the market  talking with each vendor. “Everything good, Diego?” “Yes, used four decanters of each today.”       “Benito, all your food is gone.  Did you run out?” “Yes, Magdalena.  I was raided,” laughingly said Benito. “Rosa, you still have breads.  What happened?” “Not too many bread lovers today.   Everyone seemed to like the bagels which I  don’t normally have much of a demand.  And the cream cheese.   Went like ice cream!” “I know the pastries did well and I see they did, Anna Maria.” “Everyone wanted every one of them.  The sweet breads were the most popular, conchas and, believe or not, the German chocolate cake.  This is a Mexican market, you would think.  The frosted apple turnovers went like fresh apples picked from the tree.” “Did you save me a couple?  You know what I like,” said Magdalena with a smile. “Yes, I did.  The concha and the German chocolate cake.  Shh!” said Anna Maria. “All right, give me your score, Juan.” “I did well, all stopped here first because I’m at the front of the market.  The most popular fruit was the Georgia peach.  The most favored juice was pineapple,” said hesitantly by Juan. “What do you mean, no mangoes sold? How did the Georgia peach get in here? and the pineapple juice?  This is not Hawaii!” said Magdalena a little distressed.  Juan to Magdalena, “They were requested and I had a few under the counter.  Yes, I got them at the farmer’s market, too.” “Aye Yai Yai!  Next time, all mangoes, my mangoes!” said Magdalena shaking her finger with a smile. “Mrs. Alvarez,       I know you came through for me, you always do.  Vegetables.  Everyone needs vegetables.   How did you do?” said Magdalena hoping for a home run. “I sold a few tomatoes, and the husks of corn are always popular, but the rest  are still here.  I’m sorry no home run,” said   Señora Alvarez, then said “I sold mangoes, many of them.  Fresh from your grove.” “That really delights me, you did make a home run!  You win the prize,” said Magdalena. “Prize, I get a prize?” said Señora Alvarez. “Yes, you sold mangoes.  Above the rest!  Here’s a bag of mangoes to go,” said Magdalena with a grin and a wink.

“Thank you folks for coming, the market closes in five minutes.  Remember the sunrise market in two days.  Only twenty five are allowed and must be here before the break of dawn.  Reservations are required,” said Magdalena as she directs Carlos to close the gate. 

Feel the breeze, the warmth of the sun.

A Promise to Myself

New Year’s Resolutions-2014

“I’m going to lose fifty pounds this year. I’m doing it for Jack. He seems
to have lost interest in me.” “That’s a hefty challenge. What are you going to do?”
“Walk with my girlfriends around the building three times on our lunch breaks.
That’s about a mile. So, I will walk five miles per week.” “Mrs. Midriff, have you thought about changing your diet?” “I don’t plan to change my diet. It’s as easy as a cake walk.” “You said you were doing it for Jack.” “Well, if I don’t, I will lose him,” said Mrs. Midriff in a bit of a sad tone of voice. “If you’re doing it for someone else, it’s not fair to you. Think about a water aerobics class. Here’s her card. Carole will help you get into shape and she makes it fun. Think about it,” said Dr. Insight.

“I will give up cigarettes for the fifth time, for real, this year. I first made that promise to myself five years ago, and see I can’t let go of even one. Tomorrow, I will give them up for good,” said Lucky. “Why not give them up beginning today?” “I just need one more pack and tomorrow, I’ll just throw them away,”said Lucky with a smile. “Mr. Smoker, have you thought about a smoking cessation program?” “Never heard of it. My plan will work. Easy as apple pie,” said Lucky Smoker as he pulls a single out of his filterless cigarette pack. “You know, you’ve been quite lucky still in pretty good health. I hope you keep your promise to yourself,” said Dr. Insight.

“I have made a promise to myself to make a commitment to one woman. No more playing the field,” said Tom.   “How are you going to do that?” “I have five of them. I’ll just drop one a week. Can’t break too many hearts at one time. It just wouldn’t be right. I can do it. I’m sure they won’t mind.” “Why so many women? It’s like you are crazed for them. Can you give up all these other women just for one?” “Maybe so, but my eyes are only for Mary Lou now. She will be my only love.” “You know to keep a love, you need to develop a relationship.” “What’s that?,” said Tom, a bit puzzled. “It means spending time with her and focusing on her needs and not just your own.” “I’ll try it, Dr. Insight.”

“I will do my homework first, then play. A promise to myself, I know I can keep,” said Ernie. “What is your plan?” “Right when I get home after school, I’ll have a quick snack and then get right to it. Should only take an hour. When I’m finished, I’ll play an iPod game for thirty minutes. I like ‘Angry Birds.’ I play that on Facebook with some friends. Then I’ll review my Facebook posts. I will like most of them, others I’ll just delete. Haven’t unfriended anyone lately. Hope I haven’t been unfriended. I need all the friends I can get. I like to be liked. After two hours on Facebook, I’ll be ready to wind down with a scoop of vanilla drizzled with hot caramel syrup. Then off to bed,” said Ernie with confidence. “You know, I think you may be overloading yourself. Change your frame of mind about homework to an opportunity to learn. Back off on Facebook a little. Think about cutting your time back to an hour. Ernie, there are many addicted to Facebook. So, keep your promise to yourself. Next session, give me an update on how well you have managed your time,” said Dr. Insight.

“I have promised to myself to spend quality time with my family this year. Every week,” said James. “How much time?” “On Monday, that’s my day off. Only time for me. Thirty minutes with the kids on Tuesday and Thursday.  Sixty minutes with Marge on Wednesday. Breakfast, thirty minutes. She will have lunch for me at noon. That will be the other thirty minutes together. On Friday, it’s poker night with the guys. Saturday, it’s golf all day long.”

“One day left, James. It’s Sunday. Anything spiritual?” “Don’t think so. No time for God. He understands. I’m too busy for him.” “You need to get your priorities in order. You haven’t given up anything. It’s all about you and your needs. Your family needs you, and believe it or not, God needs time with you,” said Dr. Insight.

“I’m resigned to doing nothing again this year. Nothing ever changes. I never keep any resolutions. No promises to myself. My life will be the same. That’s fine with me. I can’t change,” said sad Sally. “Are you sure you can’t change? You do spend a lot of time alone. How about making a life for yourself?”

“It’s time to take care of you. You deserve it. Get out of bed. Fix yourself a light breakfast. Take a morning walk. Greet a neighbor with a smile. Volunteer to help someone,” said Dr. Insight. “You may be right, Dr. Insight. Usually I take my pills to numb my sadness and then do nothing for the rest of the day. But, I do need my medicine.” “Then, take your medication, as your doctor prescribed. Most of all, enjoy your day, every day. Even if it’s just for you,” said Dr. Insight with a bright smile.

So, what about New Year’s resolutions, forget about them? Not really, it’s how you view them. If you think of them as giving something up, they will be harder to keep. But, if you think you will gain something from them, then keep your promise to yourself. You are worth it. Just make “a promise to myself.”

The Shoe Patch

 

Giovanni Vanelli, Proprietor                                                                                                                             Established 1799, Genoa, Italy                                                                                                                   Brooklyn, New York                                                                                                                                                           “I can fixa dat shoe.”

“Papa Giovanni, I got a blow out.  Can you patch?” said Leonardo in an excited tone of voice.  Leo continues, “I was running the court, my sole came apart.  I fell, so I was pulled out of the game.  Basketball is my game, you know.  I need to get back in a flash.  I’m the star player.  I slam dunk more than the others.  Please hurry, Papa.”

“Calm down, Leo.  I have to do a diagnostic.  If it’s fixable, I will fix it for free,”                         said Giovanni as he looked closely at the shoe through his spectacles along with a magnifying glass. “I see this is one of those high tech designer shoes.  They don’t hold up and not worth the money.  Okay, one is fine, the other is totaled.  So, I can’t fixa dat shoe. But, no time to waste, here’s another pair just like them.  They’ll hold up till you win that game.  Good luck!”

“Ooh, la, la.  Look what’s coming here.”  Store door is pushed open and the door bells jingle. “Good morning, sir.  I have one shoe that needs a quick fix.  The bow came off and needs to be reattached.  Can you fix? I need to make it to brunch in the Village in an hour.  Pardon me, Mr. Vanelli, I’m so preoccupied with the time and the brunch, I’m Annalise.” “Pleased to meet you, Annalise.  You can call me Gino. Let me do a quick diagnostic.  Yup,     I see the problem.  I can fixa dat shoe.  Just give me five minutes.”  It’s understandable why this woman caught his eye.  She is very attractive.  Tall and slender with sparkling blue eyes.  A blonde, always a plus to men, and so stylish.  She is fashionably dressed in a sea green linen jacket and slacks. A pink necklace of small fan shells separated by a small golden bead between each.  And, of course, very high style flats of the finest shell pink leather.  The shoes are high class.  The finest in Italian footwear.  Salvatore’s for sure.

“Annalise.  This is a very fine shoe.  All Italian. I just fixa da shoe.  Ready to go,” said Giovanni as he does a diagnostic on this fine woman. “Thank you, Gino.   How much, please?” “Nothing for you.  A lady of class to come in here with this fine footwear gets it for free.  Plus, I like your personality.  Enjoy your brunch.”  Annalise leaves out the door and bells ring.  He continues to do a diagnostic on Annalise as she returns to her car. “I hope she comes back and tells her well to do friends about me.  What a morning.  She made my day.  Glad to fixa dat shoe.”

“Good a mornin, fine sir.  What can I do for you?” “Embarrassed to say, I have no shoes, do you have a worn pair you can give to me?”  The gentleman with hair out of sorts and appears very disheveled. “I see, no shoes.  Come right in.  I fixa you right up.  Foist, let me make ah you a hot cup of expresso.  Here, enjoy.  Now, I make ah you the finest Genoan salami sandwich.  Here.  Hot and pressed and the best from Italy.  Your name, sir?”

“I’m Giuseppe.  I have no home and I have no work.  I do have a trade.  Like you, I am a cobbler.” “Hmm, ya know, I think I can use you here.  You can do some basic repairs and keep track of the orders.  Will you do?” “Gladly, thank you, Giovanni.  When do I start?” “Right after that salami sandwich,” said Gino in a playful way with a laugh. “Also, three things you must always do.  Greet the customer.  Then say ‘I can fixa dat shoe,’ and ‘let me do a diagnostic.’  Remember we are professionals and take pride in our trade.  Got it?” said Giovanni looking directly into Giuseppe’s eyes.  A little serious, but instructive of how the business is run. “I got it, Gino.  Thanks for the chance to prove myself and to gain back some self respect which I lost.” “You are on your way to happiness,  I will fixa you and Mamma will fixa you, too.  She’s been my love for forty five years.  She’s Genoan and I’m Sicilian.  We lived in Genoa for years.   I was known as the ‘Cobbler of Genoa.’ We came here with an invite from family.  They made us feel at home and Brooklyn is our home now.  Grab an apron and let’s get started,” said Giovanni with a smile and eager to perform his trade, ‘fixa da shoes.’

Door bells jingle.  Giuseppe said, “Good a mornin.  I can fixa dat shoe.” The lady laughs and said, “I’m his old lady, Ivanna.  I’ve been trying to fixa him for years, but it’s never worked. So we live together in peace and harmony.  He stays here and I stay at home,” she laughs with a smile. “Now, stop it, Ivanna.  We have work to do.  Giuseppe is my new assistant. He’s a cobbler, too.  Somehow related to you.  His heart always goes back to Genoa.  So, let us be.  What time is dinnah?  Add a plate for Giuseppe.  We will treat him like family.”

One last customer for the day.  The door is pushed open and the door bells jingle. “Liza, how good to see you.  What can I do for you?  By the way, this is my new assistant, Giuseppe.  He’s a cobbler, too.  Now, two in Brooklyn.” “Gino, I need a used pair of baby shoes.  My third grand child, a girl, is nearly a year old and I’m on a budget.  I figured you had a lot of them after the children grow out of them,” said Liza with anticipation. “I see you have a Snoberiche shopping bag.  What expensive shoes did you buy for yourself today?  I know you women all like Italian.  I won’t ask how much, but you paid too much.”

Giovanni thinking to himself…I can’t believe it.  Used shoes for her grande bambino. Shame on her.  I know just the thing to get her to change her mind.  And she will.

“Liza, I have a basket of baby shoes for you to see.  All worn, torn and dirty.  Not really fixable.  A new and sturdy pair is what a baby needs.  Remember, the best shoes for a correct walk for the rest of her life.  Do you really want these?  I can never, out of good conscience, fix or sell these shoes to anyone.  Here’s a coupon to ‘Baby Feet,’ just two doors down.  Andrea will fit the shoes good, but you must bring bambino with you to get a proper fit.” “Thank you, Giovanni, you have convinced me.  Arrivederci, Gino, and to you Giuseppe.”

“Well, Giuseppe.  Day is done.  Lock the door and close the blinds.  One last thing.  You need a place to live.  Let me call my cousin Marco, he owns the block and the rentals across the street.  I’m sure he has one for you.  Remember, you are family.” “Cousin Marco, how are ya?  Cousin Giovanni, here.  Never heard of me?  I’m your cousin, our papas are brothers.  All from Sicily.  I have a favor to ask of you.  I need a place for a cousin to live. Yes, he is family.  Do you have a rental across the street?  His name?  Giuseppe.  Never heard of him?  Doesn’t sound Sicilian?  He’s Genoan, on Mamma’s side of the family.  That doesn’t count?  He is blood.  You can trust me.  You will?  Yes, I will tell him to behave himself and if he doesn’t you will be around to see him.  Thank you, cousin.” “You have a place to live.  Now, dinnah is on the table.  Always remember, you are family.  Don’t need Marco upset.  He runs the family business.  Now let me hear that line once more, please.”

Giuseppe said “I can fixa dat shoe. And, I need to do a diagnostic.” “Great,  Mamma should have table set and an Italian feast waits for us.” “Hello, Gino and Giuseppe.  Dinnah’s on the table.  Have a seat.” “These are salami sandwiches.  Is that all?” “That’s all, the best of Genoa.  You fixa da shoes.  I fixa da dinnah.  We are family.”

Paintings You Write

From the Palette of Life.

You know, we all paint stories every day.  We write our days in what we say.                          Every day we tell a story about our day.  We talk about our days every day.

Days of our lives…

“Donnie, Marie, out of bed.  Oatmeal on table.  Eat it fast and don’t complain.                         Let’s go, time can’t wait.  We’re late.  No time to waste.  Hurry along!” “Yes, Mom.”

“Ben, have a great day.  Please don’t forget to pick up the pizzas, as I told you.                       One for you and one for me.  One for the kids and one for the dog.  Need a note?                 I’m not cooking.  My night off.  And don’t be late.  Love you dear” said Lorraine.

“Mornin, Joe.  I’ll have two loaves of French bread buttered across the top.”                          “Yes ma’am, Joyce.  Just as you like.”  “Also a half gallon of the seafood gumbo.”            “Good taste, lady.  Anything else?”  “Just hurry, Joe, gotta go.”  “Have a good day.”

“We have a new sales goal to meet.  See, on the chart, we’re down for the month.              Sales better be up next month, if you know what I mean.  Get with it, said Bill, sales manager of Brooms n’ Mops.”

“I thought I left early enough for work.  Never expected this.  Why are the Shriners        taking up collection during rush hour?  This is just unbelievable.  There’s another bunch  across the way collecting, so they say, for their worthy causes.  Such cons!  Lou is not having a good day.

You know, these days don’t paint a perfect picture.  Just think what our days could be?    Maybe, just maybe, we can write a better picture of our days.  Let’s see.  Let’s try.

“Wonderful, children.  Thanks for being up and ready for a new day.”  “Yes, mom, we are so excited.”  “Wonderful, kids.  Did you eat?  Oatmeal always warms your heart.”  “Mom, you’re wonderful, too.  There’s no mom like our mom.”  “Its’ going to be a delightful day” said mother with a smile.

“Thanks, Ben, you really are a sweetheart for doing dinner for me.  Now, remember, four pizzas.  One for you and one for me.  One for the kids and one for the dog.  I can tell you    won’t forget.  Mmm, the supreme pizzas smell like Italy.  I am delighted.  Here come the  kids and here comes Hugo.”

Joyce to Mr. Drew  “It’s a great day to be alive.  Let’s savor every moment. You agree?”          “I agree.  Now, how may I help you?”  “I’ll have the New Orleans gumbo and two hot and buttered fresh loaves of bread.”  “Okay, there you go, ma’am.”  “Joe, you are so polite and   such a gentleman.  It’s a wonderful day, wouldn’t you agree?”  “I agree.  Be on your way, Joyce.  I mean, have a great day.”  “Next?”

“Team, in advance, let me thank you for going over the top.  Our sales are up and we have  our jobs for one more month.  I couldn’t be more pleased.”  Bill said in a warm and friendly voice.

“I’m so glad I left an hour early.  It really makes a difference.  I have a new attitude.                     I really admire the Shriners for doing it for the kids.  Don’t mind the delay at all.   Lou,            a happy man today.

Which painting do you prefer?  A broken frame or a perfect portrait?  A broken frame makes a miserable day with rattled nerves throughout the day.  But a portrait can make      a delightful day, although it’s not a perfect day.  It depends on the painting you write.

Remember, we write our days in what we say.  We paint it all in what we write.

And the Rockers Rocked

Neighborhood Playhouse                                                                                                                           Township of Remington

“Welcome to the audition for ‘And the Rockers Rocked.’  It’s a murder mystery written by a famed author and playwright.  I know the author and she has granted me the privilege to write an adaption of the novel.  This is a different approach by her.  Most plays are written after the novel.  She wanted to see the novel acted out before she submits her final manuscript to the publisher.  So, if you want to be selected, please put expression in your roles.  I will only select the best of you. She has asked to remain anonymous.  I agreed to do so.  By the way, my name is Josef Dietrich.  I’m the director.  You can call me Joe. The cast will include the roles in the following order.  I need a narrator.   I need two female roles and two male roles.  I need an additional female for voice and an image.  Lastly, I need two percussionist.  That should be all for now.  We’ll see how the the rehearsals go. Many of you know about the old ‘Remington House.’  It has been vacant for years.”

Helene and Edison Remington constructed the small Victorian cottage in October of 1918. They were a happy couple and enjoyed their life there.  They were childless, so he did his own thing as a watchmaker.  Helene enjoyed making pastries.  They just disappeared one day and haven’t been seen since then.  No one knows why.  That was in March of 1928.

Gwendolyn and John Dietrich purchased the home in May of 1928.  They enjoyed their lives there.   A wide wooden porch provided shade from the Summer sun.   A great place to make homemade ice cream and provide pop for the children.  In the Wintertime, Gwendolyn baked hot apple streusel and provided warm milk for the children. They had no children, but enjoyed entertaining the children on Elm street.  Like an aunt and uncle to them.  But something happened there in October of 1938.  Gwendolyn was found lifeless on the floor in her kitchen where she spent most of her time.  John, immediately, became the prime suspect in the death of Gwendolyn.  Many thought murder, but no evidence was found to convict him.  He disappeared and has never been seen since. Maybe returned to Germany to live out the rest of his life.

The home became known as the old ‘Dietrich House,’ vacant for years.  Located high on a ridge overlooking the township of Remington.  There is something haunting about it.  No one quite knows the full history about the house, only that something occurred there many years ago in October of 1938. A small home of Victorian charm.  Wood shingled with a simple open porch and columns supporting the roof of the porch.  The  weathered, seamed brass covered tin roof is now tarnished with rain water stains from it’s pitch down to it’s bottom edge.  But the roof is still intact.  Blistered from the salt of the sea, the home is now a faded slate blue with gingerbread siding and some of the shingles have fallen off the house. A lovely house at one time, full of life, but no more.  The eye catching feature of the house is it’s large wide porch painted in gray, but fading away.  But the most intriguing thing about the house are the four rockers that remain on the porch.  The white paint of the rockers is cracked and blistered, but they still appear to be sturdy and ready to be rocked in again. There is no railing around the porch, so you have a full view of the porch.

The house has been abandoned for years.  Many have inquired about the home, but because of the mystery associated with the house, it has never been able to sell.  It has been said that when a gust of the wind blows across the porch, the rockers begin to rock. Always happens.

In October, when the warm Summer winds collide with the crisp Autumn breeze, the rockers always rocked, but on the 13th of the month, a furious thunderstorm lights up the sky with lightning strikes all over and the house’s metal roof is struck by a fierce, electrical bolt of lightning.  The gust of wind increases and the rockers rocked back and forth.  They begin to creak as they rocked and picked up momentum.  One rocker suddenly stopped. Footsteps are heard across the wooden porch.  The front door creaks open and the other rocker continues to rock.  A sound of foot steps are heard on return to the porch.  The sound of a tray seemed to be placed on the table between the rockers. You can hear the cling of glassware as it is in placed on the table.  The smell of hot bread fills the air with an aroma of spiced cinnamon.  The left rocker begins to rock again.  The right rocker remains to rock. There are two more rockers, one on each side of the rocking chairs, that never rock.  When a lighting storm lights up the sky with crackling bolts, all four rockers begin to rock.  No one knows why.  As a swift wind passes across the porch, all four rockers began to rock out of control, then they softly rock again.  No one knows why.

Thomas Davenport had been living on Elm Street for a long time.  It was his family retreat. The home was located at the bottom of the hill near the boardwalk to the beach. Frequently, Thomas strolled up along Elm Street.  Massive wind blown oaks, palmetto in abundance, and colorful periwinkles were bedded in most yards and the cracked hexagonal walk was adorned with liriope all along the way.  He always enjoyed his walk past the old beautiful Victorian cottages that have been renovated.  Uphill overlooking the ridge down to the beach front, there was one house that had gone into disrepair.  It’s now known as the ‘Dietrich House.’  It’s been abandoned for years.  Looked at by many, but no one has ever purchased the home because of a mystery about the house.  Something happened there in 1938. That’s all most know. Thomas heard from his mother,”I hear that the home is frequently struck by lightning, particularly in October.  I have heard that a murder occurred their in 1938.  The owner, Gwendolyn, I understand, was found lying on the floor lifeless, but no one knows the reason.”

Mary Hunter’s last novel won the prestigious writers award and was a best seller for over one year.  She traveled abroad to London for a week. Glad to be back in the states, she had three last signings.  One in New York and the other at Boston Common.  A week in Manhattan and the other at Boston’s noted Commonwealth Books for another week.  Mary was near exhaustion and ended her book tour at Savannah.  She was Georgian by birth.  Mary’s family was of high prominence in Savannah and lived in the historic Victorian village there.  She became enamored with the Victorian style home and it has always remained in her mind as her favorite style of home.

Two weeks later, a gala event, celebrating Mary’s success as an author and playwright, was held at Savannah’s historic ‘Davenport House.’  The socialites of Savannah were there, along with some other famed celebrities.  One special guest was Thomas Davenport, no kin to the Davenports of Savannah.  He was an architect interested in the historic preservation of all homes of prominence and of architectural style and value.  He met Mary there and began a conversation about Savannah’s historic squares and cobblestone streets near the riverside.

All were dressed in the finest of wears.  Men in tuxs and the ladies dressed in fabulous evening gowns.  An assortment of satin, and other fabrics.  Most ladies faces were painted with the finest makeup and their hairstyles designed by Savannah’s best salons. Mary was dressed in a cranberry red satin gown with a beaded pearl jacket of a dark pink satin.  She was adorned with a family necklace of opalescent pearls with ear ware of tear drop pearls to match.  Mary’s auburn red hair was up in a twist with combs of diamond studded pearls. She was just ravishing and Thomas took notice and smiled with admiration.

Thomas was slender and tall with yellowish blonde hair with sparkling blue eyes.  A dashing and debonair looking man of class.  Everyone noticed Thomas as he entered the dance hall of the house.  None of the men there looked like him.  All with rotund bellies, hoping the black tuxs would cover up their guts, but not so.  They all thought they looked like Tom Selleck, but just one look in the mirror revealed the ravages of age.  One thing they did have was money and status.  That’s all that mattered to them.  All women turned their heads toward Thomas.  He had a mesmerizing look about him.  Mary found him to be quite electric.  Stunning she thought.  He’s the man for me.  I will charm him with my alluring eyes of admiration.  The others, so called dames here, don’t match my sophistication and intellect.  I’m the novelist and most of them read cheap paperbacks   of passion and romance.  I will win his heart.  He is just so electrifying. 

Mary and Thomas got to know each other and they eloped to marry far away to the township of Remington where he had a home.  About six hours away from Savannah. “Georgia will always be in my heart, but murder is always on my mind, as you know Thomas,” said Mary in a melancholy tone of voice. “And the Victorian style and the old homes will be my preoccupation,” said Thomas in a positive, upbeat, tone of voice.  Then he said to Mary, “I look forward to us living here for a long time. We will make friends.  I hear that on nearby Manasses Island, many famed people live a quiet and secluded life.  Maybe we could consider it.  We’ll see,” said Thomas thinking of options for themselves in the area. But they both liked Remington and were very much interested in the ‘Dietrich House.’ They lived in Thomas’s smaller home down the hill closer to the shore.  They made sure it had a porch or a deck where they could place four rockers.  Two for them and two for the guests.  They were happy there.

Back to the audition.  “Okay, folks, ready to read your scripts?  I have them placed on the table to the left of the stage.  Select one.  They are numbered.  We will start off with the narrator, and go from there.  I see two of you have selected scripts for this role.  Number one, lets hear it.” “Once upon a time there were three bears…” “Please stop number one, the three bears have nothing to do with this play.  How old are you?” “I’m six, sir. That’s all I know how to read, I sound pretty good, don’t you think?” “Please sit down, number one.”

“Narrator, number two, please stay with the story line.  Let’s hear a strong manly voice.” “The house has been abandoned for years.  Many have inquired about the home, but because of the mystery associated with the house, it has never been able to sell.  It has been said that when a gust of the wind blows across the porch, the rockers begin to rock.  Always happens.”  “Very strong and clear voice.  I may want you to stay.  Thank you, number two.”

“Sir, I’m  ready to read.  If I may?” “Yes, you may, go ahead number three.  Let’s hear Gwendolyn with emotion.” “Sir, there are no lines.  Only an appearance of a woman in     the kitchen taking something out of the oven.  Then there is a flash of lightning and then collapses to the floor.” “So go over to the kitchen prop, bend over as getting something out of the oven. When the strobe flashes collapse to the floor.” “How did I do, Josef?” “You did great, you got the part.”

“Now, I see we have no one selected for the role of John Dietrich.  He has no words.  There will only be a spotlight of him making ice cream on the porch with a smile on his face.  One other scene, he will be in the spotlight again as the law officers arrest him, cuff him and take him off stage.  I need a grown man for this role.  How about you, sir?” “I’m just here with my wife, but I think I can do it?” “Okay you got the part,” said Josef.

“Now, the role of Mary Hunter.  I really need a drama queen for this role.  The queen of the ball, one who can talk syrupy Southern.  I need a young and attractive woman for this role. About thirty years of age. No one signed up for this role.  I certainly can’t do it.  How about you, young lady?” said Josef. “I’m here with my boyfriend.  That’s him with the blonde hair and blue eyes.” “Where are you from?” “Savannah.” “If you are willing, you could be Mary?  And if your handsome, debonair boyfriend will agree, could he be Thomas?  I think you both would be great for the roles.  Yes or no?” “Sir, I will do it, my name is Mary.” “Tom, will you be Mr. Davenport?” “I”ll only do it with her.  Okay, Mr. Director?” “Fine with me, your name, sir?” “It’s Thomas.  Thomas Davenport.” “This is just unbelievable.  A God send for sure.  You both got the roles.”

“I just realized that I have two more major roles.  Really the primary roles of the play.               I need an older Mary and an older Thomas.  It has been seventy five years since the apparent murder in 1938 at the ‘Dietrich House’ at 999 Elm Street.  I need a frail, yet controlling Mary who has grown weak and overwhelmed with writing about murder.   Thomas must be a robust man of sixty who has become Mary’s caretaker.  There is no longer any feeling between them.  She dictates with no emotion.  He responds with no emotion. Maybe I should call my parents, they would be perfect for the roles,”  laughingly said Josef. “I can’t be an old woman. We still love each other.  Don’t we, Stanley?” said Genevieve. “What’s love got to do with it?  We’re perfect for the roles,” said Stanley in a comical manner. “Well, are you in the act?” “Yes, we’ll do it.  We don’t do anything together anyhow.  I got my chair.  She embroiders.” “We’re near the end.  I need a voice behind a dimmed screen that says in a ghostly soft sound, ‘I’m here.  I’m still here.’” Then a swift wind of air blows across the audience.  The rockers begin to rock. Then again in a stronger voice, “I am still here.”  Then the drum rolls and the cymbals clash, and the strobes begin to flash.  A voice from the back of the audience over the sound system said in an eerie, spooky, sound of voice, “And the rockers rocked.”

Dance of the Seagulls

Circling around above the bay, like a dance of ballet.                                                                           They soar, they dive, as they glide in the flow of the wind.

Dancers have a common interest, they like to dance.  Apart and together.                     Whatever type of dance, it is movement.  An expression of self and spirit.  But there is something unique about a ballet dancer.  It’s a love of grace and beauty, and discipline.  Theatrical, yet very athletic.  They practice their art to perfection.

What do the seagulls have in common with dance, the ballet?  It’s movement.  But  they   are birds in flight.  They have the ability to glide effortlessly across the sky.   Again, it’s movement, a disciplined coordinated dance of sorts.  A free expression of self and spirit. They can fly together or apart.  Something graceful about them, but it comes naturally with them.  A movement, yes a ballet in flight.

“Welcome to ‘Ballet for the Birds.’ All of you have the ability to dance, to move with ease and grace.  I will take you to new heights in flight.  You will learn how to dance with class.       I have observed many birds in flight, but seagulls can perform with grace and beauty. Naturally, you have the ability to move together in coordinated moves.  In ballet, our moves are graceful, yet disciplined.  A ballerina performs for art alone, but for a seagull, it’s for survival.  By the end of this class, all of you will be able to perform a ballet in the sky. We can practice and perfect our art.  As you can see, I am a seagull, too.  By the way, I’m Petra, a prima ballerina of flight.  You’re learning from the very best.  You’ll see.”

“Ms. Petra, I don’t know anything about ballet, but I’m eager to learn,” said Angelina. “By the end of this class, you may become the prima ballerina in the sky.  I’m so glad you’re eager to learn,” said Petra.

“Lady, I mean Ms. Petra,  I’m Francois. Looking for a gull friend.  Maybe one in here.” “You are so debonair.  Just like a Frenchman, looking for love.  We’re here to learn ballet first, maybe a girlfriend for you later,” said Petra with a wink of her eye.

“I’m Sofia, always wanted to dance in the sky.  This seems to be the place for me.”                  “A very wise decision.  You will dance in the sky with grace,” said Petra with a smile.

“May I speak?  I’m Mikhail.  Ballet is my forte.” “Oh my, with a name like that you are a cavalier of ballet.  I look forward to dancing with you,” said Petra in an excited tone of voice with much interest in Mikhail.”

“I need just one more ballerina,  how about you Mademoiselle?” said Petra. “I’m awfully shy.  I was told to come here to build confidence,” said Marie with a blush of her cheeks.        I will spend time with you ’til you feel comfortable with dance.  Ballet is an art form.  Think ‘I am a ballerina’ and you are, just need to practice.  I’ll make sure of it,” said Petra in a soft and encouraging voice.

“I need a man of confidence, you look self assured. Sir, how about you?” said Petra.       “You got the wrong man.  All I know how to do is circle around for fish.  This is not me.            I doubt I can do it, but I will try,” said Peter. “A positive attitude is what it takes to start. You already know how to circle for fish.  I will teach you to circle in dance.  That’s exactly what this class is all about, learning to circle in dance.  No need to doubt yourself, you can do it,” said Petra with her head held high.

“Okay, now we have an ensemble of ballet.  Are you ready to dance?  Even haphazardly?”  said laughingly by Petra. “We will have fun.  I will show you how.  I’ll see you at ten at the Academy tomorrow at mid morning.  Be here at ten a.m.”  said Petra.

“Good morning, all.  I see you all are here.  You are courageous and you will do well.  Just  follow my lead,” said Petra. “Any comments before we go up? Be positive, I’m listening.”

“I’m eager to learn,” said Angelina. “I will learn to dance first, but still eyeing for a gull friend,” said Francois. “Up, up and away.  I’m ready to dance in the sky.  So beautifully blue in the beam of the sun,” said Sofia. “I will lead.  I’m the danseur of the ballet,” said       Mikail with insistence. “I know, but you must dance with the rest.  All equally able.   I know you want to be treated special, and you are, but you must dance together with the ensemble,” said Petra in an affectionate way.  Marie said, “I’m a ballerina.” “You know, a circle of dance may be better than eyeing for fish, but I don’t think so.  I must keep my eyes on you,” said Peter in a confident manner.

“Everyone sounds great.  Upbeat and ready to fly.  This morning we will do only one thing.  We will fly up high and form a circle of dance.  Just follow me and I will show you how.  You will enjoy.  All seagulls like to fly.  Let’s go up.  Follow me,” said Petra with exuberant energy up to the sky.  All follow right behind.  They reach the height set by Petra and she   instructs them on how to fly in a circle.

“Here we are, just hover in place.  I will demonstrate a circle for you, just watch,” said Petra.  She flies around and around and around. “That’s how you do it.  Now I want each of you to follow me.  I will call your names.”

“Peter, behind me.  Don’t take your eyes off of me.” “Angelina, behind Peter.” “Francois, follow behind Angelina.  Think dance, dance, dance.” “Sofia, follow behind Francois.”     “Mademoiselle Marie, get behind Sofia.  Think ‘I’m a ballerina.’ That’s all you need to do.” “My cavalier, Mikhail, behind Marie.”  Now we have formed a circle.  Circle around, and around, and around. A circle of dance.  I will flutter and observe.  Wonderful.  A dance in the sky for sure.  Three more rounds and we’ll fly down.  One, two, and three. Marvelous!”

A slow descent to the ground. “This is truly amazing.  All of you have done well.  You followed my lead.  You know how to dance in the sky.  A dance of seagulls in perfect form. Tomorrow, here at ten a.m.  We will try a little more to add to our dance.  It’s called ‘drop down, rise up’  See you, my ensemble of ballet.”  Petra departs and so do the rest.

The next morning.  Another beautiful day.  Clear blue sky with puffs of clouds and a brilliant morning sun. “Good morning, all.  I see you all are here.  Feeling more confident? I’m sure you do.  Let’s rise up now to form a circle of dance in the sky.  Same line up, follow me.  Up, up and away!”  All up in air and follow Petra’s commands. “Follow me, the same order.  Peter, Angelina, Francois, Sofia, Marie and Mikhail.  Circle, circle, circle around.       Again.  Circle, circle, circle around.  One more time.  Circle, circle, circle around.”

All birds move out of circle hovering in front of Petra.”This is our new move.  It’s called       ‘drop down, rise up.’ I need two other gulls to help me demonstrate.  Mikhail and Francois. I’m in the middle.  Okay, men, hover in place.  I will hover with you.  Stay in place and I will drop down and rise up.  Watch everyone. I drop down and rise up back in formation with the guys.  Now Mikhail, you’re in the middle.  Drop down, rise up.  Drop down, rise up. Bravo!  Francois, in the middle, please.  Drop down, rise up.  Drop down, rise up.  Very good to both of you.  Now, everyone let’s form a circle again.  Okay guys, drop down, rise up.  Girls, drop down, rise up.  Repeat.  Very good.  Repeat.  Now, back in place as a circle. Marvelous!  That’s it for today.  A great performance.” All fly down to the ground.

Petra to all, “I am so proud. Perfect formation.  A dance in the sky.  One last move tomorrow.  See you at ten,” said Petra.  All leave with smiles, heads held high, and leave       with a sense of confidence.

“Good morning, again.  A beautiful morning to learn and perform.  We are going to do an advanced move of ballet.  It’s called ‘pirouette.’  It means to whirl around.  A spin of the body.  Let’s go up and I will demonstrate.  I need to make one slight adjustment in order.     I need a guy, then a girl.  A guy, then a girl.  A guy, then a girl.  Let’s fly up and form a circle. Okay, follow me to circle around.  In this order.  Peter, Angelina, Francois, Sofia, Mikhail and lastly, Marie.  Watch me.  I will pirouette, roll over to the left, and return to formation with my head up.  Watch again. Roll over to the left and back to formation with my head up.  Let’s all try it together.  Left wing down and around to the top.  Left wing down and around to the top.  Great.  Now alternate moves.  Girls remain in place in the circle.  Ready.  Guys, left wing down and around to the top.  Roll over, left wing down and around to the top.  Now guys remain in circle formation.  Girls, wings down to the left and around to the top with your heads up.  Left wing down and around to the top. We have just done a ballet in the sky.  A dance of seagulls.  See you down at earth.”

Everyone is excited.  Chatter and hugs and cheers. “All hail to the queen.  Our prima ballerina.   Hooray, hooray, hooray!” “Here’s your dance certificates.  Also, there is a coupon for the next advanced class. Fifty percent off.  Next week, ten a.m. at the Academy.”

Petra thinking to herself.  They’ve all done well.  A little sloppy, but I couldn’t tell them that.  New recruits for the academy.  I can’t do this for nothing.  Let’s see, six times fifty is three hundred dollars.  Not bad for a one hour session.

A Daily Plate of Crazy

We live in a crazy world.  The demands of daily life can become too much to handle, at times.  Meeting the needs of family and home, managing an increased work load, and doing more for less in less time.  So, what do you do?  Fight? Deal with it and become more time efficient.  Accept it as a challenge and become turbo-charged with energy to handle it. Flight?  Just ignore it and pretend it will go away, which it won’t do.  Go run and hide.  Flee the scene.  So, if you don’t fight, you don’t flee, and the pressure is on, what else is there to do?  Go Bonkers.  Yes, go crazy.  That way you won’t have to accept responsibility for anything in your life.  We all get served a daily plate of crazy every once in awhile.  There are better ways to handle it.  There are options.  Thus the creation of a new game show,   “A Daily Plate of Crazy.”

Studio C at Television Central.  Commotion is stirring, the chatter of the audience, movement of cameras and crew on the set, contestants are set in place and the host is checked for appearance and is instructed by the director to follow his cues and to speak from the script as it rolls through the teleprompter.  One last sound check.  Director turns to producer with thumbs up.  Ten seconds to live, five, three, one.  Live.  The set becomes flooded with light.  The music begins with a lively dixieland sound of brass and clarinet, along with a rousing rendition in song of “Happy Days Are Here Again,” sung as “Crazy Days Are Here Again.”

The studio audience joins in song with clapping and shouts of “crazy” and “bonkers.”  Then continue with “fight, flight, go bonkers!” “Fight, flight, go bonkers!”  Enters onto stage, our most bonkerous host, Crazy McSane.  Short and rotund, his face covered with a wash of white paint with large arched brows.  His lips are large and red.  An accentuated red bulbous nose.  Two bolts of hair each side his head.  He’s dressed in red checkered baggy pants with a purple jacket adorned with shimmering orange sequined petals. A glittering silver bow tie around his neck.  Yes, Crazy is a clown.  He knows a lot about life and has been served many daily plates of crazy.  Crazy knows crazy and handles it well.  Ready to play?  No?  Well, then sit back, relax and enjoy the show.  Maybe you’ll be the next contestant on “A Daily Plate of Crazy.”

Crazy McSane walks out to the audience waves and takes bows, he walks back to the set and greets his contestants with a hand shake.  Balloons drop and confetti falls, the show is on and now it’s time to play the game.  Crazy steps up to his podium and speaks out with joy to the studio audience and directly into the camera to viewers at home. “Welcome, interrupted by applause, welcome to the debut of ‘A Daily Plate of Crazy.’  It is such an honor, and I am thrilled to be a part of something that I hold so dear to my heart.  This show is about me. It’s about you.  We all have challenges we face every day in our lives. Some are simple and easy to handle, but others, not so easy. ‘A Daily Plate of Crazy,’ is a game about fight or flight.  This is a simple game.  Three choices for each challenge.  Fight, flight, or go bonkers.  I added bonkers for comic relief and to give us an out just in case we feel that we are unable to handle the challenge.  And that’s okay.  We’re here to learn.  Not in competition, but to help and support one another.  So that’s the basics of the game.  We’ll start right after this break. Stay tuned, we’ll be right back.”

“Welcome back to ‘A Daily Plate of Crazy.’  Now, let’s meet our contestants.  Number one, your name, I see, is Zeenee.  Tell us about yourself.” “Yes, I’m Zeenee.  I’m from Barbados. I’m here to learn bravery.” “Number two, about you, sir.” “I’m John Rosenthal. Retired! Well, from the metal works business.  Ornamental iron was my specialty.  New Orleans is my home.  My wife sent me here.  She said I needed to be here.” “Okay, number two, you can learn to be brave, too.” “And number three, tell us about yourself, young lad.” “My name is Randy Lee.  I’ve been wanting to get on a game show for a long time.  Some of these big time shows you have to audition, I never got the chance.  Too many others smarter than me, I guess.  But, I’m here now.” “Well, it’s about time, Randy Lee.  You already have something that many people lack, you have persistence.  You’ve heard the expression, ‘if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.’  I can tell, already, that you have fight and certainly not flight.  Welcome all and good luck to each of you.  Almost forgot, yes this is a game and you do play to win.  We play to learn, but you do win a prize.  Each of you have already won a tin of cookies and can win an additional tin for each challenge you are able to handle.  Right after this short break, we will begin to play ‘A Daily Plate of Crazy.’”

“Okay, folks, this is the moment.  Contestants, there are three rounds of play.  Each round has one plate of crazy.  Each plate has one challenge.  Each player has three choices to the challenge.  Fight, accept the challenge and play.  Flight, refuse the challenge and not play. Lastly, may choose to go bonkers.  The purpose of this game is to try to fight and handle the challenge.  Try to avoid going bonkers for this removes you from the round of play.  If the pressure becomes too much, then press the bonkers button.  In front of each of you are three colored buttons.  Green for fight.  Yellow for flight.  Red for bonkers.  Also, each of you have a mouse to use as a pointer to make a selection to answer the challenge question. Let’s go through a trial play.  Number one, let’s give it a try, okay?  This will certainly be your time to be brave. You will do well.  Okay, in front of you, Zeenee, you see a blue plate marked ‘plate of crazy.’  I will ask you, do you want to be served?  You must say, yes, I want to be served.  Then I will open the plate and it will reveal the challenge.  Then you will make your choice to fight, flight, or go bonkers.  Got it?” “I got it,” said Zeenee.

“Let’s play ‘A Daily Plate of Crazy.’  Number one, do you want to be served?” “Yes, I want to be served.” “The plate is now opened.  Read your challenge, you have ten seconds to respond.”  Which must you do now?  Change the baby’s diaper.  Wipe up spilled milk.  Take the dog for a walk.  You have five seconds, make a choice.  Zeenee pressed green button to fight and to accept the challenge. “Now, use your pointer to select what you think you must do now.”  Zeenee points and clicks on change the baby’s diaper.  Smiley face appears. “You are correct.  You just handled a daily plate of crazy.  Congratulations,” said Crazy with a smile as he hands Zeenee another tin of cookies.

“Way down yonder in New Orleens…ready to play ‘A Daily Plate of Crazy?’” “I think I am crazy.  Oh, I mean, I think I am ready, Crazy.” “Don’t worry about it , metal man.  Let’s do a trial play.” “Number two, do you want to be served?” “Yes, I want to be served.” “The plate is now opened.  Read your challenge, you have ten seconds to respond.”  You’re late for work.  It will take you thirty minutes to get there.  The client will be there in forty five minutes.  This will be a big sale for you.  You can’t find your reading glasses. What must you do?  Look for them.  Go directly to work.  Walk the dog.  You have fifteen minutes to spare.  You have five seconds, make a choice.  John pressed the green button to fight and to accept the challenge. “Now, use your pointer to select what you must do.”  John quickly clicks on go directly to work.  Smiley face appears. “You are correct, iron man.  You just handled a daily plate of crazy,” said Crazy with a smile and with an iron grip of a hand shake and John gets another tin of cookies.

“One last trial and that’ll be you, Randy Lee.  Ready to play ‘A Daily Plate of Crazy?”         “You bet I am, Mr. Crazy.” “Number three, do you want to be served?” “Yes, I want to be served.” “The plate is now opened.  Read your challenge, you have ten seconds to respond.”  There has been a change in the school bus schedule for the new year.  Due to a reduction in personnel, one bus driver must handle two routes.  A pick up at seven a.m. to arrive at school at eight a.m.  A second pick up at eight thirty a.m. with arrival at school at nine a.m.   Mom is not able to pick you up after school today.  Your first class starts at nine a.m. today, what do you do?  Have Mom drop me off at school.  Take the second bus to school.  Walk the dog.  You have five seconds, make a choice.  Randy Lee slams the green button to fight and to accept the challenge.  “Now, use your pointer to select what you must do.”  Randy Lee thinking to himself, Maybe Mom could drop me off and I’ll ride the bus home.  I’m not going to walk the dog.  I much rather ride the bus than walk two miles to school.  My first class is science and I can’t wait to discover new things.  Randy Lee points, then clicks take the second bus to school.  Smiley face appears. “Randy Lee, you are correct, you made the right choice.  Congratulations,” said Mr. Crazy as Randy Lee reaches for his tin of cookies.

“I want to say thanks and congratulations to each of our players.  All three chose to fight and to accept the challenge of a daily plate of crazy.  And none of them have gone bonkers!   I would also like to thank everyone involved in the production of this new game show.  A lot of thought, time and energy were spent on it’s development from an idea into a game format that is easy to follow and enjoyable to play.  Studio audience, you are the greatest. And viewers at home, thank you for watching and hope to seen you soon on the next ‘A Daily Plate of Crazy.’  Til then, bonkers!”

Nickel & Dime

A Nickel and a Dime.

I found a nickel on the ground.  Tarnished and covered with dirt and grime.                                  I know not where it came, but it was found by me.  Finders, keepers.

A little blonde haired, blue eyed girl approaches a wrinkle-faced man.                               “Mister, did you find my nickel?  It was there, over there.  I need it back for me to keep.  Finders, keepers.”

“Little girl, here’s your nickel, but you can’t keep it.  You must pass it on.                                    It’s meant to travel.  Leave it somewhere for someone else to find.”

“But, it’s my nickel. I do not want to give it away.  It goes with two others and that makes three.  Fifteen cents.  I need one dime more, then I will  spend it for an ice cream cone.”  The wrinkle-faced man said, “So, it’s for an ice cream cone.  What’s your flavor?”  “Fudge Ripple.  A ribbon of chocolate all throughout.  Just what a little girl needs.”

Wrinkle-faced man says, “Little girl, ribbons of chocolate for you to eat?                                          I thought ribbons were for little girl curls.  Once nickels are spent, you have no more.”  “Okay with me.  It’s just what I wanted.  The delight of chocolate within my soul.  Mmm, the taste of it all.  Now, give me a dime for ribbons of swirl.”

The wrinkle-faced man said, “Again, little girl, it’s not for you to keep.                                        You must pass it along for someone else to keep.”  “Someone else to keep and not me?”  “Yes, that’s where it must go.  It’s not meant for you to keep.”  “That’s not fair, I won’t let it go.  It’s mine.  Finders, keepers.”

“You may not know this, little blue eyed girl, but it has been said, once you find a nickel and pass it on , another may come your way.  Maybe two.”  The little girl said, “Really?             I need a dime then.  That will make it two nickels plus three nickels, enough for my ice cream cone.”

“Well, here’s a dime.  I found it, too.  But you can’t keep it.  It always travels with the nickel.”  Little girl said, “But it can’t go, I need it for me.  I want it now, please.”

The wrinkle-faced man said, “It seems hard for you to let things go.  You want  to hold on to the nickel and dime as if your life depended on them.”  “Please, no, I can’t let it go.  What will I do without my nickel and dime?”  “Well, what can you do without the nickel and the dime?”  “Nothing at all.  No ice cream cone, for sure.”

The smiling wrinkle-faced man said, “You know, an ice cream cone can come to you.”         “Really, how?”  “All you need do is ask for it.  No nickel or dime needed.”  The little     blonde haired, blue eyed girl smiles and says, “May I have my ice cream cone, please.”    The wrinkle-faced man said, “Yes, here it is for you.  Double scooped with swirls and ribbons of chocolate just as you like.  Enjoy your ice cream cone, just for the asking.”

Moral of story:  sometimes you have to ask for what you need.  No need to hang on to a nickel and a dime.  All you need do is ask.  Now, how about an ice cream cone?

 

Oleo Buttermilk

“Hello, Oleo, what are you making?” “I’m making buttermilk pancakes, Mrs. Butterworth.  Recipe calls for two aigs, a stick of oleo, and a large cup of buttermilk.” “You mean two eggs, a stick of butter, and a large cup of buttermilk.” “I mean two aigs, a stick of oleo, and a large cup of buttermilk.”  Mrs. Butterworth to Oleo, “If you’re making buttermilk pancakes, it requires more eggs, more butter, and more buttermilk. You need four eggs, two sticks of butter, and two large cups of buttermilk.” “Okay, if you’re doubling the recipe, then it’s four aigs, two sticks of oleo, and two large cups of buttermilk.  That means we’re making twice as many pancakes,” said Oleo to Mrs. Butterworth. “Whatever you think, Oleo.  Four aigs, two sticks of oleo, and two large cups of buttermilk.  I have no idea what aigs are, but if they’re like eggs, then, they will do,” said Mrs. Butterworth.

“Where did you get this recipe, Oleo?  It’s not the standard pancake recipe,” said Mrs. Butterworth. “Yes, it’s a special family recipe.  It’s my Mama’s recipe.  Not one like it.”   “Whatever you say, Oleo.  I don’t quite understand your ingredients.  Rather primitive.     My mother would not approve.  She always follows the exact recipe and it always comes out perfect.  I follow Mama’s recipe and it always comes out just as Mama told me,” said Oleo.

“Let me give a call to my sista.  She can interpret and confirm that this is Mama’s genuine recipe.  Sista, this is Oleo, can you come over and explain my buttermilk pancake recipe? On your way, good.  My sista lives next door.  She knows the recipe well.” “Thank you, Oleo.  It’s always a good idea to have someone else, who knows the recipe well, verify that you know what you’re doing, which I think not.  This is not a standard buttermilk pancake recipe,” said Mrs. Butterworth.

“Sista, good mornin.  Mrs. Butterworth, meet my sista, Jolene.  This here lady is having a problem understanding Mama’s buttermilk pancake recipe.  Can you explain it to her?” “Glad to, sista.” “Mrs. Buttermilk, I mean, Mrs. Butterworth, it’s a simple recipe.  Let me clear up your problem.  I’m sorry you can’t follow the directions, but let me see if I can make sense out of it for you.  Once I explain it and show you how, any idiot can make these cakes,” said Jolene. “Oleo seems to be the one that doesn’t know how to follow directions. This recipe is a train wreck in the making.  Give me a sensible explanation to your Mama’s fine recipe and it’s proper ingredients,” “Glad to do it, Mrs. Butterworth,” said Jolene.

“Now, Mrs. Butterworth, these are the main ingredients.  Two aigs, a stick of oleo, and a large cup of buttermilk,” said Jolene. “It’s the same as Oleo’s recipe.  Surely there must be other ingredients.  I just cannot imagine these ingredients making a culinary delight,” said Mrs. Butterworth in a repulsed manner of speaking.

“Here’s the rest of the ingredients. Two cups of flour, a teaspoon of baking soda, a teaspoon of baking powder, a little salt and sweeten as you like with white sugar,” said Jolene to Mrs. Butterworth. “Well, Jolene, you, at least, know the rest of the proper ingredients.  Two aigs and a stick of oleo makes the worst kind of anything,” said Mrs. Butterworth to Jolene. “Sista, Oleo, you got one ingredient wrong, only a half stick of oleo.  Mrs. Butterworth, here’s a mixing bowl.  I’ll let you do it for yourself.  Add two cups of flour, two aigs, the oleo, and buttermilk, then add the rest.  Stir the batter, not too much, then you’re ready to make your pancakes,” said Jolene. “Sounds so simple and it’s easy to do.  Maybe these will turn out to be pancakes after all. Maybe,” said Mrs. Butterworth is a skeptical, yet positive manner of speaking. “Oh they will, you’ll see.  Mama told us so and we are right,” said Oleo emphatically to Mrs. Butterworth.

“Mrs. Butterworth, have you ever tasted buttermilk?  No.  Well, have a taste,” said Jolene. “This is awful, spoiled milk.  So bitter and so sour.  There must be a substitute for it,” “Nope, that’s the way it is.  It’s the left over butter cream with bacteria added to it.  A tangy and sour taste.  You will be surprised with the outcome.  You’ll see and taste the difference,” said Jolene to Mrs. Butterworth. “I am not responsible for any sickness caused by these flat and despicable pancakes.  In good conscience, I cannot do it.  Mother would, certainly, not approve.  She would disown me,” said Mrs. Butterworth.

“Now, here’s the pan.  It’s a cast iron griddle.  Been in the family for years. It was Mama’s,” said Jolene with pride. “You mean, pancakes are made on that dirty, smutty flat pan?  I really don’t think these buttermilk pancakes will be pleasing to the eye. Like burnt toast, I’m sure,” said Mrs. Butterworth. “Now don’t draw any conclusions, yet.  Let’s make them, then you can judge for yourself.  You will be surprised with the outcome.  I promise,” said Jolene. “Turn your fire on low, then slowly add your batter, a large tablespoon for each pancake.  We are making large pancakes.  Just like Mama told us so,” said Jolene. “Oh, I’m so nervous. Here goes. Batter on the griddle.  How long do I cook them, Jolene?” said Mrs. Butterworth. “About two minutes on one side and one minute on the other because the griddle is already hot enough,” said Jolene.

“You know, Jolene, these do look like pancakes.  I like what I see. Just like mother learned in culinary school.  She may approve.” “Now flip them over and in one minute you will have made your first genuine buttermilk pancake.  Just like Mama told us, and she is always right.  You’ve done it.  Have a taste.  What do you think?  A culinary delight?” asked Jolene. “These are more than culinary, they are delicious,” said Mrs. Butterworth.

“Now, place your cakes on this here plate.  Add two pats of oleo and pour a hot warm liquid of real, artificial, maple syrup.  I guess you may know something about artificial.  The pancake mix out of a box, just doesn’t taste like Mama’s cakes.  Mama knows best,” said Oleo. “I think your Mama does know best.  These are cultured and I like them,” said Mrs. Butterworth.

Any homemade recipe is always better than out of the box.  Real ingredients make the difference. Whether it’s Mother or Mama, they know best, really.

Savor the Flavor

Pause for a moment and just enjoy. Savor the moment.  Savor the flavor of life.  Enjoy the flavor of something as much as you can by eating or drinking it slowly.  I sipped my coffee, savoring every mouthful.  Tasted so good.

Jason in his tee, shorts and slippers eases back in his chair to enjoy the moment of a new day. “I enjoy my time on the deck savoring the sunrise.  The birds begin to chirp.  I hear them, do you hear?  There’s a lark that sings every morning for me. The sparrows  jump from limb to limb, then they perch on the fence to begin a new day, you see them?  A blue jay, with feathers of blue and white, just dropped down to the ground.  He is already attacking the cat.  He does this every day.  A mockingbird is rustling through the leaves and brush on the ground, do you see it?  Take a look, John.  Here’s my binoculars.  Look up there.  A bluebird, another one, sings a song to me.  I’m a bird watcher.  This is my morning delight.”

John replied, “I hear them.  I see them.  Never noticed before.  I’m out the door in a rush. Never take the time to slow down.  Marie is good to me, but she gets in the way.  I don’t have time for her.  She wants me to embrace her for a moment.  I’ve done it.  She gets so emotional.  I don’t have time for her nonsense.”

Jason thinking to himself,  He’s married to his work.  That’s all he does, work.  I’m sure she has thought about…well I won’t say it.  A woman needs tender loving care.  

“Well, I’ve got to go, Jase.  The bird show was interesting.  You’re retired.  The way things are going, I’ll never retire.  I hope you and Edith have time to savor the moment,” said John with a wink as he left out the door.

“Here darling, fresh cinnamon twirls right out of the oven.  Iced and buttered just for my man.  Enjoy, savor the flavor,” said Edith. “Maybe later to have and to hold?” said Jason. “Maybe later,” said Edith with a smile.

Rap, rap, rap. “Well, what a surprise.  How are you today, Marie?” “I just made this peppered omelet,  It’s still hot.  Would you like it?  It was for John.  As you know, he’s always in a hurry going somewhere, but really nowhere with us.  No appreciation whatsoever.  He doesn’t savor the moment,” said Marie.

“Have a seat, my friend.  You and I can enjoy the omelet.  I’ll cut it in half.  Coffee?  It’s hazelnut.  Love the taste.  I savor every sip.  Here you go, dear.  And fresh fruit, chilled from the fridge.  Apples and oranges.  Like? “Indeed, I do.” “How about one of each?     Have your pick.  Fresh from the market,” said Edith holding the bowl for Marie to choose.

“Let’s see, a Washington State, and a sunshine orange from the groves of Florida.  Nothing like them,” said Marie. “Yes, indeed.  Only the best for you.  You said Washington, then you’ll have Washington.  Florida citrus is the best.  Have a little sunshine.”  Edith thinking to herself,  Actually, these are from Pennsylvania and California.  Amish country and Pleasant Valley Ranch.  Both organic.  The very best.  Glad I noticed and removed the small oval labels.  One with Amish on the apple, and the orange labeled California.  She won’t know the difference.  But she will taste the difference.    

“Marie, just thinking, there is a solution.  It worked with Jason after he retired.  He was so grumpy and restless.  All of a sudden he was doing nothing, where he was doing something. He worked all the time, just like John.  But I found a way to soften him up.  See on this sheet, chocolate chips.  One hard, the other soft.  How did I turn a hard cookie into a soft cookie?  It has to do with the ingredients.  For a hard cookie, add extra flour.  It stiffens the dough.  A double dose of brown sugar will make a soft and chewy cookie.  It depends on which you prefer.”

“Hmm, you think I can make John into a soft cookie?” “Yes you can. Add extra sugar and he will melt in your hand. Here’a what you do, simply pamper him. If he comes home stressed, draw a pleasant warm shower for him.  Give him time and let him savor his shower.  When he steps out, be there for him. Have a soft towel for him.  Next ingredient, pat him dry.  We may be moving a little fast with this recipe.  Just hand him the towel. Later, you can pat him dry.  Savor the moment with him.  He will begin to like it.”

“Edie, you are so inventive.  Thank you for the recipe.” “You will notice the difference in him and he will feel the difference.  Give him time to soften up.  Don’t want to rush, let him enjoy the moment with himself.  We all need that time.  That’s what I did and Jason is a new man.  One last thing that is universal about men, feed them well.  The way to their hearts is how much sugar you add to the dough.  Sweeten him up for a flavor to savor.  He will savor the flavor with you.”

Silly Obsessions

The Leisure Guide                                                                                                                                               Support Groups–Silly Obsessions.  For Women Only.

“Welcome, ladies, to ‘Silly Obsessions.’  Thanks for responding to my ad.  I assume most of you found me listed under support groups.  I applaud you for having the courage to be here.”

“Let me take a count.  Eleven of you plus me makes twelve.  Perfect.  There are twelve chairs.  Choose a chair and have a seat.  Notice that each chair is numbered, one through twelve.  Once seated, that will be your assigned seat for every session.  There will be twelve sessions.  The cost of each session is twelve dollars.  Cash up front.”

“One rule.  What we share in here remains confidential.  It’s our secret.  We never use names, only numbers.  I’m seated in chair one, so I’m number one.  Number seven, you’re seated in chair seven.  That’s your number.  And so forth.  We are numbers and nothing else.  That way our identities are protected.  Perfect.”

“Now, let’s get started.  Just say your number, then your obsession.  Any volunteers?”   “I’m number seven.  I’m obsessed.”  Number one to number seven, “Obsessed with…?”     “That’s all I can say for now.” “Thank you for sharing.  You are courageous.”

“Anyone else?  Number four, you seem like you want to say something.  It’s okay to share.”  Number four shakes her head no while staring down at the floor. “Thank you for sharing.  You are courageous,” said number one.  Number four thinking to herself, I’ll talk when I’m ready to talk.  First, I’ve got to see what cards are placed on the table by the others, then I’ll know what to say about me.

“Go ahead, two.” “Dust bunnies are running wild in my house.” “So brave of you, number two.  Thank you for sharing.  You are courageous, said number one.  Dust bunnies seem to be one of the most common obsessions with women.  All having a need to keep a perfectly clean house.  I suspect there are others here with the same obsession.”

“Number ten, you seem to be delighted with what you’re doing.  Would you like to comment?” “See, I have ten of them.  Five on each hand.  I just love painting my nails.       That’s my obsession.” “If you like painting your nails, then why are you here?” “I always read the personals.  I was applying my new shade of color, missed a nail, and painted your ad red.  That’s glossy apple red.  Then I read, ‘Silly Obsessions.  For Women Only.’                     I thought, ‘that’s me.’  So here I am, along with my glossy apple reds.  I know it’s a silly obsession, but it’s what I like to do. I have a sample for each of you.”

Number one thinking to herself, Why is she here?  So, she polishes her nails.  Nothing wrong with that.  But if she wants to be here, and wants to share, she is welcome. That’s twelve more dollars in my treasure chest.  She’s up to something.  It’s rumored that a cosmetics peddler has been making the rounds to the women support groups. Could it be her?  I do like the glossy apple red.

“Go ahead, number five.” “I’m obsessed with my refrigerator magnets.  All  one-hundred of them.  All kinds.  They know their place and I put them there.  I spend five hours each day arranging them.  Organized in sets of twenty five.  Five across and five down.  Five hours is way too long.  If I could just cut the time in half.  But, then, what would I do with the rest of my half-time obsessing?  I’m sure I can think of something else to do for the other two and one half hours.  A magnetic force just pulls me to the fridge.” “Thank you for sharing.  You are courageous.  High five to you, number five.”

“How about in the middle this time?  Number six, I have a sixth sense about you.  I sense you want to say it.  I can’t say it for you.  Go ahead.  You can do it.” “I’m into…” “Say it, number six,” said number one. “I’m into…” “I know it’s the unthinkable, a bit of madness. It’s time to say it.” “I have a fetish.”  Every woman is listening intently bracing to hear the confession of sin. “I’m into…nothing.  Nothing at all.  Okay, I really enjoy keeping people on the edge of their seats.  I just get a thrill from it. Such a rush.  See, I just did it.” All women sigh with relief.

“Let’s move to the top of the ladder.  Number twelve, tell us about your obsession.” “Well, I’m into cracking eggs.  A dozen each morning.  Must be fresh and Grade A Large.  It gives me such a release.  I perform this ritual every morning at the crack of dawn.  A great way to start my day, every day.” “What do you do with them, number twelve?” “Placed in the fridge until twelve noon.  Two scrambled for lunch.  Three added to my mixing bowls to bake three cakes.  Four boiled for no reason.  And three over lightly added to my man’s plate with a T-Bone steak.  Ready for him at noon every day, just as he likes it.  Always been told to always please my man and to always keep a clean house.” “Number twelve, you have told a tale of twelve.  How can any woman today believe that one?  No woman takes care of her man these days.  She takes care of herself and does the housework, too.  Thank you for sharing,” said number one.

“May I speak, please.  I have someone to sell, I mean something to share.” “Number eight, to sell or share or both?  Go ahead, this must be worth hearing,” laughingly said number one. “I’m obsessed with the yellow pages.  I turn each and every page.  If I miss one, then I start all over again.” “Oh my.  How many pages and what’s your interest?” Number eight pulls out from under her chair a large book.  She holds up the book, points to the cover and flips through it’s pages. “See, it’s him.  He’s on the cover, the back, and the spine of the book.  He is on every page.  A photo for all pages.” “Who is he, number eight?”  “He’s an attorney.  We all know him.  He is everywhere.  Notice his smile and his wink.  His line, ‘at your service.’  Now, what is that about?  I’ve got his number.  Always ready to help a woman in need.” “Thank you for sharing.  You really are obsessed with him, I mean the yellow pages.  Thank you for your courage.”

“What are you looking at, number nine?” “I see two, three, four of them rolling across the floor.  Just like tumbling tumbleweed rolling across a dusty street of a deserted ghost town.  The saloon doors are slamming back and forth, and the shutters are rattling in the howl of the wind.  The piano is playing, but no one is there…” “Number nine, number nine, are you there?  Please return.” “I’m back from the ‘Old West.’  That’s what dust bunnies do to me.” “Such an imagination.  Thank you for sharing.”

“Whew, I hope someone has something lighter to share.” “I do, light as a feather.  I have what they call a ‘feather fetish.’  I’m a bit superstitious.  My feather has some magical power.  See, this one, it’s a pheasant feather.  Long with colors of brown and red.  It can lighten a heavy load.  Need the laundry basket lifted?  One swipe of the feather can lift from floor to counter with ease.  Arranging furniture?  This one feather can move a trunk across a room with no effort at all.  I have many others, but this feather has power, magical power.” “Wishful thinking, don’t you think, number eleven?” “No, it works.  Worried about dust bunnies?  It can lift a bed to search for them.  One fan and it removes them.  All of them.” “Thank you for sharing, number eleven.  An obsession worth keeping for sure.”

“Okay, number three, then me. “You’re in a chuckle, number three.  Share the laugh.”  In the light lilt of a British tone of voice, “These preoccupations with dust bunnies, painting nails, organizing magnets, and a love affair with the yellow pages are utterly ridiculous. Rather silly, I think, really.” “Number three, you’ve made a good point.  Silly and ridiculous, but important to those that are obsessed.  Do you have a little, teensy-weensy, obsession to share?” “Yes, I do.  It’s…dust bunnies…really.” “I just knew it, number three. We’re all obsessed with them.  Thank you for sharing.  You are really courageous.  You had the nerve to say what most obsessions really are.  Silly and ridiculous.”

“Now, me.  My obsession is…with obsessions.  I just love them.  Nothing like being fixated on something.  I’ve enjoyed every one you’ve shared.  If you enjoy them, why not keep them?  If not, maybe change to something else.  I’m sure we, obsessives, can always come up with a new one.  Session over.  Remember next time-twelve, twelve, twelve.  Twelve noon.  Room Twelve.  Twelve dollars.  And that’s cash up front.”

“Silly me.  Silly you.  Silly obsessions.”

Gorilla In Mirror

One time in a social psychology class, I read about the concept of “the looking glass self.”   Supposedly the idea is, how do I see myself as others see me?  It’s like looking in a mirror.  Some say it’s a mirror image of who we are, the reverse of that is real about ourselves.    So, if you’re looking in the mirror at yourself, you are seeing the opposite of who you are.

One morning, Ed said to himself, “I’m so glad I took the day off.  I’ve been pushing it.  Burning the candle at both ends.  I need a day to rest and recover.”

The phone rings, “Mornin, Ed.  This is Edith.  Remember our lunch date today?  Meet me   at the new restaurant ‘Reflections.’  It’s located at Image Way and Mirody Highway.  You can’t miss it.  It’s all covered in glass.  You can seen the sunrise and the sunset in it.  A real cool place.  Wait til you see it inside.  See you there at ten forty five.  I’ll make reservations, for the lunch crowd is already there.  Brunch ends at eleven thirty, so don’t be late.”

“Edie, I look kind of rough today. Unshaven and in my tee shirt.”  “Don’t worry, come as you are.  There are many there that look just like you.  They all look like gorillas that just came in from the jungle.  I think you’ll be quite comfortable there.  Just wait til you see it.  It’s operated by my friend ‘Beau.’  He used to own a diner and is used to short order cooking.   Again, you’re in for a imaginary experience.  I’ve never seen this concept ever in a restaurant.  Beau is a former college professor of sociology.  He created a unique theme with this restaurant.”

Ed to himself, “It’s seven a.m.  I’ll lie down for a few more winks.”  Beep, beep, beep.  Radio news.  “Good morning.  Here’s the latest top news.  The Commerce Department reports that the economy may be on an upswing.  Retail sales are up and new job growth of two hundred thousand this year, thus far.  From Hollywood, a remake of  ‘Alice through the Looking Glass’ debuts this week.  An extraordinary story,  anthropologists believe that humans and gorillas may share 98.6 % DNA.  Are we apes now?  What do you see in your mirror?  After the break.  Stay with us”.

From Now Radio News.  “We are joined by phone with Dr. Bradley Holway, an anthropologist who has studied primates and humans.  Dr. Holway, what do you think about this find?”  “It’s probably true, but we are more kin to the chimpanzee than we are to gorillas, but they are primates too.”  “Are you familiar with the concept of ‘the looking glass self?”  “Yes, I am, but I have never seen a gorilla in my mirror.”

Dr. Holway laughed and said “Maybe I should take a look to see what may be there.  Chimps first, then gorillas.  Do I look like a gorilla?  Do you look like a gorilla?”  Dr. Holway finally comments, “When I see a gorilla in my mirror, I may become a believer, but not just yet.”  “There you have it folks.  What do you see in your mirror?   Send me your responses to jgoodall@nowradio.com.”

“All right it’s time to rise out of bed, Ed.  Brunch at eleven.”  Ed grabs his tooth brush and his shaving gear.  “Okay, it’s time for a warm invigorating shower.  It should clear my mind.  Ah, this is so stimulating.  My body is coming alive.  Must hurry, I must get out of here soon, time can’t wait.”  Ed towels off and goes to his vanity.  The mirror is fogged and wet, so he wiped off the glass with his hand.  “There, I can see now.  Wash my face, brush my teeth, and shave myself back into my human likeness.”

Ed turns on the TV news.  “Good morning.  NCN reports an astonishing find.  Humans and gorillas are kin.  It’s believed that man is more ape than man and ape is more human than ape.  Scientist report there is a strong connection sharing 98.6 DNA.  Do you see a gorilla in your mirror?  More after the break.”

Ed picks up his “Morning Daily News” at his door step.  He unfolds paper and the headlines read, “Gorillas are Men.”  More inside about this amazing story.  Do you see a gorilla in you mirror? ”  Ed says to himself, “They’re all talking about gorillas in mirrors.  Can’t be real.  What we see in the mirror is only a reflection and nothing more.”

“Now that does it.  I am not an ape and certainly not a gorilla.  Let me prove it to myself.  Now, Ed go to the mirror in the hall and take a look at what you see.  All I see is me. That settles it.  Take another look.  What is that?  Oh no, did I just see a gorilla in my mirror?  Let me look again, there’s me again.  I knew I wasn’t a gorilla.  I just don’t believe this nonsense.  There’s that gorilla in my mirror, again.  I am not a gorilla.  I am not a gorilla.         I am not a gorilla.  Good, I just saw me again.”

It’s getting late.  I don’t want to be late and Edie is treating.  One quick call to Jim.   “Mornin, this is Ed.  Say, Jim, what did you see in your mirror this morning?”  Jim to Ed, “Me, of course.  “Not anything else,” said Ed. ” No gorilla?”  “Ed, don’t be ridiculous, we’re not apes.  Only me in my mirror, a little unshaven, but no gorilla.”  “Thanks, Jim,” said Ed.

Phone rings again.  “Ed, where are you?  It’s ten of eleven.”  “Edith, I just had a strange occurrence.  I’ll tell you when we chat.  You would not believe it.  On my way.  Fifteen minutes away.  Looking forward to “Reflections.”

“Hi, Edith. You made it Ed.  It’s eleven fifteen.  You made it just in the nick of time.  Brunch ends at eleven thirty.  Miss, do you have a table for two in the dining room?”  Waitress to Edith, “As you can see it’s full.  We do have seats at the counter.  Will that do?”  Edith said, “We’ll take them.  Come on Ed.”

Ed to Edith, “This place is just full of mirrors.  I’ve never been here.  I see mirrors on the floor, mirrors on the ceiling, mirrors on the wall and a mirror right in front of us.”  Edith to Ed, “Notice in the dining room, the back wall is mirrored.  It gives the illusion that the dining room is twice it’s size and has twice as many customers.  But it’s a mirror and not true to life.”

“Ed, look directly in front of us, we can see ourselves and the other diners at the counter.  Cool, isn’t it?”  Ed sees himself and Edith to his right.  On the other side of Edith are four more customers.  Over to his left, he sees four other patrons.  Total seated at the counter  are ten customers.   So, there are ten images in the mirror.  The counter has ten seats.

Waitress takes their brunch orders and returns with hot fresh coffee.  Ed looking ahead,    he sees Edith and all of the counter guests.  He looks down to mix his coffee.  Then raises up his cup of Columbia’s best.  What he sees is alarming.  He sees a gorilla holding a cup of coffee just like he.  He raises his cup again and takes another sip.  The gorilla mimics the same.  The gorilla mirrors Ed’s every move.

Ed looks over and comments to Edith.  “Do you see what I see in the mirror?”  “Just us, Ed. Why do you ask?”  “Just wondering, that’s all.”  Peering up again, he sees himself and Edith.  But to the right of Edith he sees all four guests as gorillas.  “Ed, why are you looking  my way?”  “Oh nothing.  These mirrors can create all types of illusions.”

They continue in a casual chat.  While enjoy his plate and conversation, Ed looks up again for a glance in the mirror.  Now, the four guests to his left look like gorillas.  All eight counter patrons are gorillas and he and Edith are just the same.  Ed, starts to wonder, Is Edith a gorilla?  I don’t see it yet.  Ed eyes scan the dining room.  All he sees are gorillas at the tables and gorilla waitresses.  He thinks to himself, “I’m really losing my mind.  Gorillas are not people and people are not them.”

“Edith, I’ve got something to tell you.  Look in the mirror, we are all gorillas, see?”  “Ed, there is nothing but you and me and all these people. No gorillas.”  “I think you’re right, Edith. I’ve been working too hard.  My nerves are just about shot. I can’t think straight and now my eyes are on the blink.  I just don’t know what to do.”

Edith to Ed, “I can arrange an appointment with my friend, Nick.  He’s a great psychiatrist. There is medicine to take away these delusions.  Ed, my friend, these mirrors or any mirror are only reflections of ourselves and you may see a gorilla in your mirror.  Just tell yourself,  that may look like a gorilla, but it’s not me.  I hear once the medicine starts to work the gorillas disappear.”

On their way out, the cashier takes their payment and they leave.  Ed to Edith, “Did you notice that the cashier was a gorilla, too?”  “No Ed, no.  Here’s Nick’s card and make an appointment soon and don’t work so hard.”

Ed gets in his car and adjusts his rear view mirror.  Guess what he sees?  Ed, of course.  Traveling down a busy street at an intersection.  He looks over to his left and a gorilla is driving a cab.  Over to his right is a police gorilla driving the squad car.  Ed turns on his radio and hears “You’re listening to Gorilla 98.6 on you radio dial.”

 

Angelo the Greek

The Docks at Hidden Inlet.

“Hey, Fred. We have a new boat at the dock.  Have you seen it?  Looks weathered, but a sturdy vessel.  All white and trimmed in marine blue.  I couldn’t read it’s name.  Just about faded away,” said Marco.

“Just saw it this morn.  I was at the dock getting ready for my next trawl, then I saw him and I met him.  Well, sort of.  I said hello with a smile.  He said opa in a grumpy sound of voice.  He went on about his business washing his deck and pushing around some crates with all types of grunts.  He looked a bit weathered, like his boat.  Yeah, weathered, that’s what we are.  We have weathered many a storm. Heard his name is Angelo.  Also known as ‘ the Greek.’  The name of his boat is the ‘Athena.’”

“Describe Angelo to me, Fred.”   “He is short and stocky.  His hair is grayed, and so is his beard.  He is very tanned and burly chested.  A very robust and solid man.  He wears a torn shirt, dirty baggy pants, and dark blue rubber boots.  He wears a cap, it’s black with no bill, but a visor.  There’s a black braid between the visor and the top of his cap.  He sees with rounded spectacles. One lens is cracked.  He has a distinct belly.  Most of us do.  And yes, he smells like fish.  I said to him with a smile,   ‘ You’re new here.  Must know how to fish. I’m Fred, the friendly fisherman.’  He glared at me and said opa again.   Not friendly at all.  What did I do wrong, Marco?”

“You did nothing wrong. Fred.  Just being your friendly self.  So, the boat is named ‘Athena?’  That’s Greek.  She was a Greek goddess.  It means divine wisdom.  He probably originated from the Greek islands.  You know about Athens, don’t you?” said Marco.   “You bet I do.  Once a ‘dawgs’ fan, always a ‘dawgs’ fan.  I already feel a chill in the air,” said Fred.   “No Fred, you knucklehead.  Athens in Georgia is named for Athens in Greece. Look at the globe.  We are here and Greece is all the way around here,” said Marco.   Fred replied,   “Just about around the world.  Learn something new every day.  I just knew there had to be Bulldog fans elsewhere.  Just knew it.” “This ‘Angelo the Greek’ knows something.  Let’s watch him and see what catch he brings to the docks tomorrow morning. Maybe there’s more to know about him than opa,” said Marco.   Both laughed.

The next morning at the docks. “Well, how’d you do, Fred?” “Well, you see it.  Not too much.  And you, Marco, a bounty of a catch?” said Fred. “Nope, nothing but a few crabs and some trash fish.”

Marco sees in the distance another boat coming to dock. “I think it’s ‘the Greek.’  The ‘Athena’ moves closer into the inlet.  “It’s Angelo and just look at his nets.  About to burst with fish on both sides.  He certainly is doing something the rest of us aren’t doing.  We’ve got to find out.”

“I see he has a crew with him.  A young, tanned, musculared torso, and  slender waisted man tending to the nets.  And there is a beautiful young woman,” said Marco.  “What do women know about fishing?” said Fred.  “They know more than you think, Fred.  Fishing with the Greeks is a family effort.  It’s their livelihood. They all fish.  Let’s greet them and congratulate them on their catch,” said Marco.

The well tanned young man, ties the boat to the dock. “Good Mornin, said Marco, what a catch!” “Absolutely sirs, a beautiful day.  It’s an ‘opa of a day.’  You fellas going out tonight? Pappa said today is the day to drop our nets.  He always knows.  Gentlemen, pardon me, I’m Theo, and come on out, sis.  This is Thena.  My kid sister.  I’m first mate and she is second mate.”  Thena says playfully and with spunk, “I may be second mate, but I’m not second rate.  I am a Greek woman and the best fisherman on this boat, and Pappa knows it.”  All laugh. “Your names, sirs?” said Theo with a smile and his long wavy black hair blowing in the breeze. “I’m Fred.  Fred Friendly.” “I’m Marco.  Marco Polo.”  “Oh, you really know how to navigate the seas.”   “Well my ancestors did, but not me.  But I am proud of my heritage.”  Theo to Marco, “You should be.  You’ll see how proud Pappa is of his Greek ancestry. A proud man.”

“Hey, Pappa, come around to this side at the dock.  I have some gentlemen for you to meet.  They are fishermen, too.”  Pappa comes around to dock and eyes Fred.  Pappa thinks to himself, I see the so called ‘friendly fisherman.’  I can’t believe Theo made friends with him.  He’s nothin’ but a nincompoop to me.  Well, I’ll try to be friendly and say another Opa!

“Pappa, these gentlemen paid us a compliment on our catch.  They would, formally, like to meet you and us, ” said Thena.   “Okay, your names first.” “I’m Fred Friendly.” “I’m Marco Polo.” “Nice to meet you.  I’m Apollo.  Actually, I’m Angelo Pappadoris.  My son, who thinks he knows how to fish, is Theodoros and my daughter, Athena, ‘Thena.’  Fishing is all we are.  It’s our everything.  Hard work, but we are happy and we are happy family.”

“Mr. Pappadoris, may I can you Angelo?” “Yes, you may, mate.” “Me and my friend Marco are amazed with all the fish you net?  What’s your secret?” “Simple.  We always pray to Christos for protection, where to drop our nets, and thank him for his blessings.”

Fred to Marcos, “maybe we should pray, too.” “Next time out, we pray together.  In the mean time, Thena bring these men a breakfast pita.  Flat bread with scrambled eggs, lamb and topped with feta cheese.  You will like.  Here.”

“One last and most important question for you, Angelo.  What is Opa?” said curiously by Fred. “Opa means celebrate life.  Maybe yahoo to you.  But it’s more than an expression, it’s about our heritage and who we are.  We are fishermen and the sea is our home away from home.  So, opa to you and thanks for your welcome.  Once we become ‘real friends’ maybe we have a Greek feast.  We will eat, we will dance, and we will all say Opa!”

Fish Market Drifter

“If you don’t write your own story, somebody else will write it for you.”

“Just be yourself.  No need for pretense.  Write your own story.  If they write your story, will it be about them or you?  Be yourself and your story will be about you,” said the fish market  drifter. “Who are you?  You seem to be a very wise man.  How did you know that I wanted to write a story, one about me,” said the somewhat startled, surprised young man. “I know a lot about life.  Been there, done that.  I know a lot about writing, that’s what I do.  I’m a ghostwriter.” “Are you a ghost?  What is a ghostwriter?”

“A ghostwriter?  Let’s see.  Someone hidden, not visible, not known, writing a story for you. Why do you ask such a question young man?” “I have a draft of a story I have written and I think it isn’t very good.  I don’t write very well.  I need someone to polish it up.  Make it a worthwhile read.  It needs to be inviting.  Like the neon sign behind you,” said young Mark. “Your name, bright young man?” “I’m Mark.  Mark Twain.” “Mark Twain?  Do you know who you are?  Your style of writing was a new genre of literature.  A little rough around the edges, but your books were, and still are, some of the most read books to this day,” said the ghostwriter beneath the neon light.

“How do you know that about me?  I never knew it.  I want to write an engaging and provocative story.  One that makes people think.  Imaginative and adventurous.  A ghostwriter, I hear, can bring a story to life.  A ghost never reveals himself.  Remains anonymous.  One told me on the telephone that she could write me a story that will shine. As bright as that neon light behind you.  You see it?” “Yes, I see it.  It’s bright and sends a message that there is something of value in there. ‘We have crabs’ must be in demand here.  You know this is a fish market?  People come here for the best and select.  You already have that gift with your writing.  Thought you ought to know,” said the gravely voiced old man. “I really do?  I already have what I need to write my story?” said young Mark, and said, “I’m only a diamond in the rough.” “That’s what makes your writing so special.”

“How do you know me?” “All ghostwriters know about you.  They try to copy your style, but have never been able to do it.  Who are you and where do you come from?” “Maybe I’m someone from your past.  Maybe you.”

A Beggar’s Bounty

Why beg?  Because I am hungry.  Because I have no money.  Because I have no home.   Because I have no friends.  Because I am hungry.  Because I’m hungry!

“Lady, can you help me?  I am hungry.”  “No time for you.  Find your own food.”

“Sir, I just need a few morsels of food.  Can you help me?  “Here.  Have a half of sandwich.  It’s salami, you will like it.”

“Lady, I need food.  I have nothing to eat.”  “If you took a bath, you could get a job.   Then you could buy your own food.”

“Boys, I like your skateboards.  I had one once.  Can you spare some chips and a burger?”  “Yeah man.  Have some chips and a burger.  We always get enough to eat.”

“Kind sir, could you buy me a meal at the diner?”  “That’s asking too  much.  You’re a beggar.  I don’t want to be seen with you.”

“Lady, may I have half of your pastrami on rye with everything on it?”  “Well, since you know a good sandwich, and for someone who has good taste, this one’s for you.”

“Nice looking men you are.  I see you are dressed in designer, tailored fit suits.  I particularly like the double breasted charcoal jacket and slacks, and the light chalk blue pinstriped brown suit.  You are wearing designer shoes.  Classic cotton shirts.  Silk ties are my favorites.  They denote a debonair man.  Your ties are quite dashing.  Wearing expensive timepieces and designer eyewear.  And you look happy and successful.”

“How do you know so much about us?  You have class and very good taste.”  “I was once like you.”  “I don’t understand, can you explain?”  “I was once like you.  I used to be a businessman at one time.  Actually, I operated a fine men’s clothing store.  I was a tailor.  I dressed men in the best of clothes and accessories. ”

“Where were you a tailor?”  “Here in town in the garden district.  I’m Herb Bergenstein.  I was once somebody and now I am nothing.  I was a noted tailor at one time.  Anyhow, I fell on hard times.  I lost my business and I lost my self worth.  I was once like you.”

“Man.  Hey guys, this man needs help.  He was once like us.”  The other man, “This man has class.  He knows a lot about us.”  The third man, “Sir, you the man!  How about joining us for lunch?  Like steak?  How about a New York strip sauteed with onions and mushrooms and covered with the finest of steak sauce?  The Gentlemen’s Club for you.” “All I need is a burger and fries.  Also, I like a thick malted shake.”

“Herb, buddy.  Are you hungry?” said Jake.  “Of course I am.  I wouldn’t be begging otherwise.”  “You like smorgasbord, a food buffet?  I’ts all you can eat,” said Mel.  “I think the ‘Pig Out Place’ would be good for him,” said Zell.  “Yeah, the ‘Pig Out Place’ sounds good to me,” said Herb.  “Let’s go to the ‘Pig Out Place.’” “Need to hurry before all the other hungry men get there,” said Jake.  All laugh.

“Before we go, Herb, we’re going to stop by our shop to get you cleaned up.  Here we are, ‘The Finely Dressed Man,’  this is our business.  Let’s go in, get you a shower and cleaned up.  You’re about my size, Herb, you can wear my tee and jeans,” said Mel.  “We’re ready, Mel.  You and Herb ready to go pig out?  We are all dressed in our pig out tee shirts, said Jake.  “See Herb, the pig’s head is on the front of the shirt and the back is his rump and it’s curly pink tail.  Oink, oink!” said Zell.

“We have arrived, the ‘The Pig Out Place.’  The place to pig out.  Let’s get in before the herd.  It will be fresh and ready just for you, Herb,” said Zell.

“Wait til you see the spread of food.  If you’re hungry, this is the place.  I pig out on the baked chicken, and just about every vegetable.  My grand finale is the cherry cobbler.  Yum, yum.  And I have a frozen soda,” said Mel.

“What can I choose?  I don’t know where to start,” said Herb.  “You can choose anything you want.  This is the ‘Pig Out Place.’  Have at it and eat plenty.  We start right here with the vegetables,” said Zell.

Jake to Herb, “I could eat everything in here.  I worked out hard at the gym this morning, I need to refuel.  I pig out on baked salmon, the broccoli casserole, and a teriyaki salad.  I can just taste it now.  And my dessert, apple pie a la mode.  I think I’ll move ahead.  See you guys at the table.”  “Oh no, you’re last in line.  Herb is first in line,” said Mel followed by Zell.

Zell, a southern boy.  “I’m southern grown.  I like everything out of the fryer.  Fried chicken, fried cat fish, fried and savory pork chops, and fried okra.  My favorite dessert is banana pudding with plenty of vanilla wafers.  And doused with vanilla.  Mmm, Mmm. Let me at it,” said Zell.

“They have everything.  Fresh vegetables.  I see eight of them.  Creamed corn, buttered corn, green limas, asparagus spears, broccoli casserole, peas and carrots, and my favorite, artichoke hearts.  This is a bounty for a beggar, ” said Herb with an awesome expression.

“Go ahead, Herb, the meats are next.  Fried chicken,  sirloin tips, baked chicken, sizzling pork chops, honey glazed ham, and steak grilled kabobs of steak, onions, tomatoes, and onions.  That one is hard to pass up,” said Jake.

“I’ll have one of each.  Look so appetizing.  A beggar’s feast,” said Herb.  “I though you were kosher,” said Mel.”  When you’re a hungry man like me, everything is kosher!”  said Herb.  All laugh.

“There’s every type of salad, Herb.  My favorite is the tossed salad of spinach and tomatoes with oil and vinegar,”  said Mel.  “My favorite is the Waldorf salad.  Diced red apples, chopped celery and walnuts with a thin coating of mayonnaise and served cold.   There it is,” said Herb with glee.   “This is really a bounty for a beggar,” said Herb again.

“Herb, we’re near the end of the line.  Select the beverage of your choice, and they do have shakes.  You can make your own dream shake.  Plenty of natural ice cream and malt to add.  See you at table number seven,” said Jake.

“Fellas, awfully nice of you to recognize me on the street.  Most ignore me.  They think I’m  a bum.  Useless and worthless.  What was it that made you help me?” said Herb.

Jake to Herb, “You said, you were once like us.  It made me think.  This man has class and is a gentleman.  My kind of man.”  “Our type of man,” said Mel and followed by Zell.  “Did I say anything of interest?” said Herb inquiring more from these men of class and style.

Mel to Herb, “You said you were once like me and that you were a tailor.  That really made me take notice.”  Zell to Herb, “You said you once dressed men in the best of clothes.  Then you said that you were Herb Bergenstein.  I could not believe it.  I thought, what happened to Herb?  I knew then that we had to help you up and restore your dignity and self worth,” said Zell in a very caring tone of voice.

“Mr. Bergenstein, I know my business and I know you knew your business. We are exactly alike.  He knows the ups and downs about the business,  I’m a tailor, too.  Then I thought, he knows about the ups and downs about life.  That you are and it is a pleasure to meet you, sir,” said Mel in a warm and friendly manner.

“Herb, I’m a tailor, too.  It is my craft.  I really like fitting men in a well fitted suit,” said Jake.  “I sell the clothes to our customers.  I pay close attention to what they want and make suggestions to what will  make them look their very best, said Zell.

“I’m the proprietor of the business.  I own the business,” said Mel.  “We all work there, and have managed to get along all these years.    I don’t know how, but we like what we do,” said Zell laughing with a smile.  “Oh my, you really know about me.  What can I say?’ said Herb.

“Herb, I think you still have something to contribute to life.  I believe that tailor is still in you.  We could use a fashion consultant there.  Maybe I’ll even make you the ‘Master Tailor.’  What do you guys think?” said Mel.  “Well, since you are a tailor, you’re in.  You got my vote of confidence.  Just don’t show me up.  I like to think that I’m the best tailor in town,” said Jake with a smile and with a jeering smile at Mel.  “Well, Zell, do you think Herb knows how to sell clothes?” said Mel.  “If he is Herb Bergenstein, and I believe you are, you would be a perfect fit in our store.  A finely dressed man for ‘The Finely Dressed Man.’”

Jake, Zell, and Mel to Herb, “Will you join us?”  “You made me feel like a man again.  I do know the business, and yes I would enjoy coming aboard,” said Herb.

Mel to Herb, “Welcome home, Herb.  You’re just like us and we’re just like you.  And we like to eat, and so do you.”  All laugh including Herb.  “You will never be a beggar again,” said Mel.

“You mean we will pig out everyday?” said Herb with a laugh and a smile.  “Only on Friday, Herb, only on ‘Pig Out Friday.’  We try to eat in moderation for the rest of the week,” said Jake.

“Sound like a good fit to me.  I was hungry, now I am fed.  I got purpose in my life again.  You gave me hope.  Good friends that care. Thank you for restoring my life,”  said Herb.

Mel to Herb, “You are a tailor of a man.  You will fit in well here.  Just our style.  See you on Monday.  By the way, we have a place for you.  It’s upstairs above our business.  We all live there.  Welcome home and welcome back to life.”

Tidal Melody

A sound in the morning.                                                                                                                                                 A soft and gentle sound.

The tide washes in, the tide trickles out.                                                                                                             The tide washes in, the tide trickles out.

Can you hear it                                                                                                                                                                 Can you see it?                                                                                                                                                                 Can you feel it?

The tide washes in, the tide trickles out.                                                                                                         The tide washes in, the tide trickles out.

Can you hear it?                                                                                                                                                               Can you see it?                                                                                                                                                                 Can you feel it?

The tide washes in, the tide trickles out.                                                                                                         The tide washes in, the tide trickles out.

Can you hear it?                                                                                                                                                               Can you see it?                                                                                                                                                                 Can you feel it?

It moves closer to the shore                                                                                                                                           It backs into the sea.                                                                                                                                                   Even closer to the shore.                                                                                                                                                 It backs into the sea.

Can you hear it?                                                                                                                                                              Can you see it?                                                                                                                                                                Can you feel it?

The tide washes in, the tide trickles out.                                                                                                         The tide washes in, the tide trickles out.

Yes, I hear it.  Yes, I see it.  Yes, I feel it.                                                                                                               The tide washes in, the tide washes in, the tide washes in.

Alegria Estates

Exclusive and upscale living.

“We have a restrictive covenant that prohibits trucks in here. The homeowners association will make you remove it. Tell Tom he will have ten days to move his truck out of here,” said Elliott Sizemore, president of the association.

“Oh no, that’s my truck.  He likes luxury, but I like power.  It’s a ‘Meteor Classic,’ loaded with all the luxuries plus power.  It is super powered by a rugged hemi 16 cylinder engine.  Just a tap of the pedal and you will zoom out of here.  Twenty two hundred horses power this baby,” said Audrey proudly with a delightful smile.

“This truck is not you.  Ladies don’t drive trucks.  Only men drive trucks.  You are a woman with class.  You need luxury and not power.  The ‘LaMonte’ is your style,” said Elliott hoping to convince Audrey to return to conformity.

“Look Elliott, I’m a new type of woman.  Free to be me.  I will have it no other way.  It’s time to change the rules here,” said Audrey with a stance ready to fight.  The right leg is bent at the knee and firmly planted in front of her.  Audrey’s left leg is stretched behind her to provide support for her as she moves forward.  She makes a one, two punch forcefully to her side looking Elliott straight in the eye.  He stares her down hoping to intimidate her into submission.  Audrey just ignores him and does another one, two.

“You cannot have this truck in here.  It’s not what we want. I wonder what the neighbors will think.  This is ‘Alegria Estates,’ not ‘Hillbilly Hills.’  We are high class and not trash. This is an eyesore and a classless nuisance.  It must go.  It will go,” said Elliott with his finger pointed directly at Audrey.

Audrey points her finger back at Elliott saying “You are not the almighty here.  How dare you dictate to me.  I will fight to the end.  I will not make it easy for you, and I mean it.”

“Look at it, jacked up ten feet above the ground with monster tractor tires.  This vehicle will never fit into your garage.  You know that everyone is expected to park their cars inside their garages at seven p.m. sharp. That truck will never fit in there,”  said Elliott.

“My truck does has style.  It’s painted with a metallic raspberry red with sparking specks across it’s finish.  On it’s side panel, as you see, there is a graphic of silver stars spilling down from the sky from the upper left corner of the door.  At the base of the panel, the stars become iridescent flowing like a river across the the edge, then rise up to the upper right corner, then streaking across the tail gate.  Across the panel of stars, scripted in pink and outlined in raspberry, are the words in a lower case, ‘free to be me.’  Now that is magnificent.  Wouldn’t you agree?”

“Audrey, your truck does have class and it is luxurious, but I’m afraid it must go.  The association will vote against it.” said Elliott.

“Elliott, who makes the decision about my truck?” said Audrey in a resigned manner.

“It’s the association.  The bylaws of the association already make it clear that no truck belongs here.  There’s nothing I can do about it.    I got an idea.  How about the ladies from the association board take a look at your truck?” said Elliott in a hopeful tone of voice.

“That’s fine with me.  Where shall we meet and when?” said Audrey with a hopeful tone of voice, too.

“Well, Audrey, it will be the women of the committee.  There are three of them.  You know them well.  They will be awfully critical of it.  The  three are, Countess Vanessa LaFortunata, the richest woman  here.  Second is Stella Alvarez.  She has tagged herself as the ‘queen of Alegria.’  It was she that drafted the ordinance including a clause that no trucks are allowed here.  She knows how to charm and influence the committee to follow her dictates. We already know her decision.  It will be no,” said Elliott in a resigned tone of voice.

“Lastly, Maybelline Avonage.  She knows what is beauty and what is not.  Maybelline has an eye for glamour.  She may like the style and color, particularly the raspberry red frosted by a sea of stars.”

“I will even add a man, Sir Anthony of Empathy to view your truck and to give an honest opinion about it.  He is someone who has good judgement and he will try to give a fair assessment of it.  He is no knight in shining armor.  He may or may not rule against you,” said Elliott in an assuring voice.

“Again, Elliott, where shall we meet and when?” “At twelve noon tomorrow at the clubhouse.  Look your best and have your truck sparkling like diamond stars.  See you then,” said Elliott. “I’ll be ready to accept their approval.  Got to be positive about it,” said Audrey.

The three ladies and gentleman arrive at the association clubhouse.  Audrey is standing next to her truck moving her hand across it’s hood and side panel to point out it’s most noticeable feature, the graphic of shining stars.

“Well, what do we have here?  I see you have lowered your standards, Audrey.  This is a nuisance and quite vulgar, I must say.  It must go.  I’ll see to it,” said Countess Vanessa LaFortunata.

Stella Alvarez speaks her mind. “Simply, it must go.  I will direct the committee to see it my way, and they will, Audrey,”  in a snobbish manner and her arrogant way.

“Maybelline Avonage, your opinion, please,” said Elliott. “You call this luxurious with class?  I think not.  It has no glamour.  Audrey, you should have, at least, applied some blush and lip gloss.  And a string of pearls would have swayed my opinion, but it does not.”

“Sir Anthony of Empathy, your assessment, please?” said Elliott with an appeal for Audrey. “Mrs. Ventura, I will give you an unbiased  assessment of your truck.  It has charm, it has style, but it is not a ‘LaMonte.’  Common sense tells me a truck is not a car.  It has no luxury at all.   I’m sorry, Audrey, but to tell you the truth, it doesn’t belong here.”

“Ladies and gentleman, and you too, Audrey.  We will meet here at the clubhouse tomorrow at seven o’clock in the evening.  Audrey, you and Tom, both, must be there.  See all of you then,” said Elliott with style and charm.

Audrey and Tom appear before the homeowners association. “Mr. and Mrs. Ventura, you have violated the rules here.  We have a restrictive covenant that requires every homeowner to drive motorcars of class.  A truck does not belong here,” said association president Elliott Sizemore.

Audrey to the committee. “I have come to the realization that I no longer fit the mold here.  Conformity is not for me.  I’m a new type of woman.  Free to be me,” said Audrey.

“Mr. Ventura, what do you think of your spouse’s rebellious ways?” said Elliott waiting to hear his comments about the ‘new type of woman.’ “Well, Audrey is not the same.  She attended a seminar a month ago called ‘For Women Only.’  She came home so excited. Audrey said, ‘I’m a new type of woman.  Free to be me.’”

Committee chair, Elliott Sizemore, seeks recommendations from the committee.  “Countess  LaFortunata, your decision?” “Mrs. Ventura no longer belongs here.  Although she has wealth, she no longer is a lady, but a woman who wants her freedom.  She must be granted her wishes.”

“And you, Sir Anthony, you are a man of wisdom and stature, your recommendation for the Ventura’s?”  “This is a matter of principle.  Logic tells me it doesn’t make sense for them to stay.  My judgement is to expel them from ‘Alegria.’”

“Maybelline, does Audrey appear to be a woman of class and distinction?”  said Elliott hoping for a sway to the positive in favor of Audrey.  “No, Elliott.  She no longer cares about keeping up appearances.  She has let herself go.  She is not a lady of glamour and has to go.  A truck is not a ‘LaMonte.’  Sadly, Audrey, you must go and your truck, too.”

“Senora Alvarez, your judgement call?” said Elliott with the last appeal for Audrey.   “They longer are elitist.  She has lowered her standards.  Women of class do not drive trucks.  The bylaws state that a truck is not allowed here.  It must go.”

Chairman Sizemore to Mr. and Mrs. Ventura. “What do you want to do, conform or rebel?”  “I’m a new type of woman.  Free to be me. I want to go,” said proudly by Audrey to the committee. “Mr. Ventura, since Audrey is a ‘new type of woman,’  she deserves the freedom to go.   Now, Mr. Ventura, your decision?”  “I’m a new type of man.  Free to be me.  We must go,” said in a joyful tone of voice by Tom Ventura.”   “I, and the committee, rule in your favor, you are free to leave,” said Elliott Sizemore to the Ventura’s.

Tom to Audrey.   “My darling, you’re free to be you.  I’m free to be me.  Remember we belong to each other.”   “We do, indeed,” said Audrey with a sparkle in her eyes.

Tom and Audrey embrace and leave the clubhouse arm in arm. “Now, who is driving what?  You the LaMonte and me the truck.   You know, women don’t drive trucks,” Tom said laughingly.  Audrey responds with a smile, “I drive a truck and men drive luxury.  I’m a new type of woman.  Free to be me.”

Pack of Five

“A pack of dogs, on the run?  Mutts, junkyards, pedigrees?  Crossing Pine at Magnolia?         Coming my way, get Lillie in?  Don’t need a dog n’ cat fight?  Where is Buffy?  Bring my dillywhacker, meet at street, no time to waste?  Call Lurleen?  A pack of five? On my way dear,” said Emma to Mary Lou.  “Calling Sam, our reliable dogcatcher.  He knows how to handle rabid dogs.  Catch net and whistle will subdue them all.  He’s a man of courage.  We can count on Sam,” said by Mary Lou to Emma.

“Lurleen, this is Emma.  Dogs are on the loose.  Mad dogs and foaming at the mouth.  Bring  your artillery.”  “Hanging out my wash.  Will clothespins do?” said Lurleen.  “Bring them.  Must hurry.  It’s a pack of five. Call Virginia!” said Emma in a hyper tone of voice.

“Virginia, this is Lurleen.  Vicious dogs heading your way.  Heard they are hungry.  Bring in ‘Pom Pom’ and her pork chop, too.  They can wait for lunch in pound.  Hurry.  Bring your broom.   We need to make a clean sweep.  Call Lolita.  No time to waste.  A pack of five,” said Lurleen.

“Lolita, need you right away.  Deranged dogs on the run.  I know Jim and Joyce are hiding in the closet.  Record ‘Hospital Lovers’ for later. They will still be there tomorrow. Grab your rake.  For heaven’s sake,” said hurriedly by Virginia, “And call Daberta.” “She’s watching ‘Hospital Lovers,’ too.  Never misses an episode,” said Lolita.  “Get her away from the tube.  Bring your mace, I mean your tape and lace.  We will round them up and tie them down.  Hurry!” said Virginia.

“We pick up today where we left off.  Jim eyes Joyce across the hall.   He nods his head to signal to Joyce his desire for her.  Joyce nods her head back to Jim.  ‘Hospital Lovers’ will continue in a moment.”  “Nurse Cratchet, please monitor patient in critical care.  We cannot leave him alone.  He needs to be nursed back to health.  A professional is needed.  Thank you,” said Joyce in a nervous and rushed voice.

Joyce, thinking to herself.  My lover awaits me.  My heart is pounding.  My, he looks so fine.  Jim can’t wait to get with me.  I know this is not appropriate behavior, but with Hospital Lovers, anything goes here.  

“Not a good time to call.  In the middle of things.  Rinsing greens.  Peas in the pot. Cornbread with peppers in the oven, spread with a coat of butter.  Banana pudding cooling in the fridge,” said Daberta and back to Lolita.  “Girl, I can’t miss ‘Hospital Lovers.’  Jim and Joyce just closed the hall door.  Just know it’s hot in there.  Oh, I am so hot, too.” “Killers on the run. This is urgent.  Mongrels hunting for prey.  A pack of five,” said Lolita. “Need to bring ‘Prissy.’  She knows how to charm the men.  Dabbing her with ‘Alure,’ from head to tail, as we speak,” said Daberta back to Lolita.  “Okay, bring her.  A distraction may lure to our defense.  Let’s get out of here!”     

All are meeting one street over, Carnivore Alley.  “Yes, this is risky, but we must do.                 A pack of five.  All killers ready to prey.  Got your weapons, girls?  Broom, rake, mace, I mean lace, clothespins, and my dillywhacker.   Here, leather boots, coats, and pants.  None of us can afford to go rabid crazy.  Must use caution, and listen to my commands.  That way we will all know the plays.  A strong defense is what we need.  Ready to fight? Ready to strike?  A battle we will win,” said by Mary Lou in a commanding and spirited voice.              “A pack of five.  Five of us to match their might.  Again, we will fight and we must strike,” said again by Mary Lou in a devious and shrewd snicker.

“I see them coming, over the hill.   A calvary of five.  Sprinting by ground and in air.  An aggressive assault, defeat their intent.  We must stand strong and fight to the end.  Ready? Charge!” said Mary Lou with dillywhacker in hand.

“Yap,yap, yap, yap.  Growl.  Yap, yap, yap, yap.  Swat, swat, swat.  Snap, snap, snap.  Swat, snap, swat, swap, swat, snap.  “Where is Sam?” said Lurleen in a panic.  “Two at me.   Please help.  Oh, please help me.  The mace, the mace, the lace, the lace,” said Emma in a panic of fear. Swat, swat. “Take that, you little varmint,”said Virginia, as she swipes her broom.  “Let me at ‘em. ” said Mary Lou with dillywhacker in hand.  Whack, whack, whack. Swat, swat, swat.  Swat, whack.  Snap, snap.  Swat, whack, swat, whack.  Snap, snap, snap. Yap, yap, yap.  “Oh, you want to fight?  How’s that whack?” said Mary Lou fighting the ferocious little mongrel.  “Take that, take that, you little killer.”  One last, swat.  One last whack.  “Now, get out of here.”  All cower away in defeat.

“Whew, what a fight,” said Emma gasping for air. “Me, too.  What a strike,” said Daberta.   “Where were you?  Certainly not on the front line,”  said Lolita.  So, ‘Prissy’ fizzled out in fear?” said Mary Lou.  Virginia to all, with chin on broom.  “We really swept them away.          I really swept them away.”  “Says who?” said Lurleen irked at Virginia.  The heroine of the hour.  “We are all heroes.  We banded together and victory is our win,” said Mary Lou smiling with glee.

“I’m hungry. wings anyone?  The treats on me.  Dilly Dog?”said Daberta in an apologetic sound of voice.  “I’m in.  I’m in.  I’m in and I’m in,” said  Mary Lou, Emma, Lurleen, Lolita, and Virginia.  “Can ‘Prissy’ go, too?  She cheered you on.  On the side line, I was rooting for you,” said Daberta to all.  “Yeah, come on.  You did say the Dilly’s are on you?  Then, you’re in,” said Mary Lou.  The other’s all say.  “You’re in.”

“Did anyone see them?” said Mary Lou.  “I don’t recall, but they were small,” said Lurleen. “There’s the ‘Dilly Dog,’ up ahead.  All, in a fast pace, “here we are at the ‘Dilly Dog, Dilly Dog, Dilly Dog,”  all in unison.  “Familiar, I see,” laughingly said by Emma.  “There’s the pack of five.  All killers, I see.  Ha, ha, ha,”  Lurleen exclaimed.  “There’s Sam, dog in hand and soda, the other,” said Lolita with a laugh and a smile.  “Now, ‘Prissy,’ mind your manners.  Mama’s got a dog for you,” said Daberta in a motherly way.

“Now, Sam, I knew we could count on you.  Reward this pack of five and you are forgiven,” said Mary Lou awaiting a reply.  “All of you, the pack of five, it’s on me.”  “I see you rewarded the pack of five.  A hot dog for each, I see,” said Lurleen with hands on hips       and jokingly to Sam.  “All killers, I see,” said Virginia, bent over with a laugh. “Pack of five meet the pack of five,” said Sam with a gleam in his eyes and a smirk on his face.

“Muffin, Ginger, Pom Pom, Spice Girl, and Buffy.  Where have you been?  So, you’re the pack of five,” said Mary Lou.  “Muffin, bad girl,” said Emma.  “You have been naughty, Ginger.  Never again,” said Lurleen.  “I would have never thought, you in a pack of mongrels, Pom Pom.  Shame on you, shame on me.  Enjoy your dog.  No pork chop tonight,” said Virginia.  “This is just like you, Spice Girl.  You are grounded.  Oh yes, grounded.  No TV for you.  Not on my lap.  No ‘Hospital Lovers,’” said Lolita in a rebuking tone of voice.  “You know, Buffy, I warned you about this.  Back gate opened.  You’re in lock up for the rest of the day, after your hot dog,” said Mary Lou.  All laugh.

Daberta to all, “‘Hospital Lovers,’ thirty minutes away.  Ice cream on me.  Must hurry, out of the closet today.”

Walk Softly

Old Town Neighborhood.

“Walk softly, because the termites are holding hands.”

“Hello, young folks, come on in.  Ready for the keys to your new home?  I’m Doris, agent  on duty today.  Can I get you a cola or coffee?  Well, all right, have a seat and we will take a look at our listings.  Excuse me, your names?  I have no manners.” “I’m Jillian, and this is my hubby, Jim.  We are ready to look at homes.” “No, you are ready to buy your home, today.  I will show you the home, point out all it’s special features and then, you will, sign on the dotted line.   That’s all you do.  I will walk you softly through it all.  We can close today,”  said Doris.  She’s the the top seller at Old Town Realty.

“Well, have you folks done some looking around?  You’re young, I bet this is your first home. I thought so.  This is special for you.  We will find the right home for you, today.  Where do you want to go, intown or the burbs? It’s your choice.  Since you are young,           I already have some affordable listings for you to see.  You’ll sign your offer, today.                 A lot of young people want intown, in the old neighborhoods.  I bet you do, too. These homes can be a lot of work, unless you are a handyman.  You won’t have to contract the work out, Jim.  You look like a man of knowledge.  I bet you have the know how to do it all.  Many want to do it themselves.  You can, too,” said Doris.  She wants to go for the close, today.  She will get it.  Doris, ain’t top seller for nothing.

“We’ve been driving around some old, intown neighborhoods, and we just love them.       The old red brick homes have the nice, extra wide, wooden porch with a decorative   wooden rail that wraps around all three sides.  There are old wooden steps that climb   from the walk up to the porch.  The large framed windows are great for flower boxes.           A decorative wooden entry door with very nice ornamental wrought iron bars across the door, and on the windows, too.  Also, there are two ornamental wrought iron rails up each side of the steps which rise from the walk to the porch.  I’m sure they all add value to the home,” said Jillian.

“The other houses, on this oak shaded street, have ornamental wrought iron door bars and window bars, too.  Oh, I feel home already, just thinking about it.  One last thing,             I really liked, was the nice neighborly hexagonal sidewalk that runs across the front, passing from home to home.  The walk just brings the neighborhood together,” said by Jillian in an excited tone of voice.

“The one thing I really like about the house is that the yard is small, less grass to mow.       Also, one great feature are the two hanging porch swings on each side of the porch.       Great for a summer breeze and a nice cold one, when I need it.  I’m sure we will entertain and the porch is extra wide for dinner guests for rest and relaxation, too.  They, too, can enjoy their beverage of choice on the cool shaded porch.  There will be rockers there,” said Jim.

“Sounds like you already know what you want.  Let’s get out of here.  I always say that because there is no time to waste.  Some other young couple is looking at the house right now.  We’ve got to beat them to it.  We will make the best offer that the seller won’t refuse.  You will buy your home today.  I got the papers in hand, all we’ll have to do is fill in the blanks. Then you will sign on the dotted lines, and I will present your offer. The seller will sign while you wait in the car.  This will be a fast deal, let’s get out of here,” said Doris.  They all laugh.

“All right, the old, historic, neighborhood is right up here, on the right.  Getting excited?  Yes, the name of the subdivision is ‘Old Town.’  Our agency is exclusive in this neighbor     hood.  We sell most of the homes.  I sell most of the homes.  That’s why I‘m the top agent.  You got the best one.  I know how to sell homes.  The intown neighborhoods are in high   demand.  The first one there usually gets it.  We will get this home today.  Here we go into this lovely neighborhood.  See the shade trees?  Majestic.  Smell the honeysuckle?  Heavenly.  We’re here. Oh, yes, you did say that you already saw the home.  One quick look is all it takes.  I bet you already have mental ownership.  Yes, Hon, this is already your ‘home, sweet, home.’”

“Oh, Jim, this is my home.  I want it.  I can see the window boxes of red geraniums.  Can’t you?  Doris is right.  No need to look inside, you are a handyman.  We will fix it up.  I am so excited,” said, Jillian. “Now, Jill, calm down a little bit.  We do have to look a little closer at  the home.  Maybe we need to call Roy to do an inspection.  He will be able to tell us about the shape of the house and what needs to be done.  I’m going to be doing the work. I need to know,” said Jim, in a bit of an anxious voice. “Oh, Honey, don’t cry.  You want the home, we’ll get it and forget about the inspection.  We’re nervous.  We’re about to sign our lives away.  That’s what I thought on our wedding day, but here we are happily ever after,” said Jim, again.

“Okay, folks, we’ll take a quick look, sign the papers, then get out of here.” All laugh.  Doris thinking to herself,  You darn right, we are going to get this home first, today.  That Rosemary is a sly one.  She beat me out of the bungalow, two houses down.  I really sold the home, it was my listing.  I should get all of the commission.  I don’t share anything. 

“I really like the house.  It’s got charm.  Just like my gram’s old neighborhood.  She had a   home just like this one, Jim.  I think I’m going to cry, I’m so happy and excited.  My home!”

“Okay, let’s take a look, then run.  Beautiful home, and oh what a porch.  Lemonade in the rockers.  The steps?  Nothing wrong with them.  What do you mean that there are loose  buckled boards with rusted nails popping up?  Just get a hammer and nail them down again.  A loose rail, here?  See, this can be secured with a power drill.  The stairs are pulling away from the porch?  I don’t think so.  What do you mean there are brown spots in the lawn?  A little grass fertilizer will bring it back to life.  No big deal.”  He’s getting difficult.           I know how to deal with a fault finder.  I’ll work with her, not him.

“Oh, Jillian, you’re rocking in the rocker.  And the baby will love it.  No baby yet?  Once you settle in, before a romantic dinner by candlelight, there will be all night loving.  Oh, that just slipped out.  Just reminds me of my nights with Charlie.  Yes, we had five of them.  All from loving.”

Jillian to Jim, “Honey, come on up next to me.  Sit here, in this rocker.  This is a nice sturdy rocker for a stud of a man.  That man is you.  What do you mean, don’t talk like that, it’s embarrassing?  But you’re my man, and I’m your woman.  No need to pace, everything will be all right.” “You’re right, Jill, all will be fine.  Already worrying about our baby. Worrying about the future.” “Honey, the future is now.  Tomorrow will be tomorrow.  Let’s enjoy today.”

“Ready to sign the papers?  We can go as low as you want on the bid, the seller is really motivated.  She will take your offer.” Doris to herself, The seller said she will take anything for the house to unload it.  I don’t need any more questions.  He will never know about the problem, it’s between me and the owner.  

Jim to Doris, “I just don’t know.  There seems to be some problems.  Loose boards, the porch is missing some decking, I saw some scratches on the warped grayed boards. Some of the wood looks rotten underneath the porch.  Could there be something wrong, Doris?”

“I know what you’re concerned about, it’s not a wood infestation.  The house is just old.   Old houses need a lot of care.  Yes, you will have to do some work on the house, you already know it.  But some things will be minor, like replacing a few rotten boards.  I’m sure there are not many.  Look at Jillian, she’s already at home. Come on Jim, let’s sign  the papers.” “Let’s sign the papers, Honey.  No time to waste.  We got to get out of here.” All laugh.

Doris to herself,  I don’t know why I do this kind of work.  Most of the time it’s easy.  This time it’s not.  They’re young.  I know he doesn’t know much about fixing houses, but you got to push for the sale, otherwise they will never move forward.  They don’t know it, but I’m doing them a favor.  I own the house.  I’d like to give it to them.  I am so sorry I didn’t tell the whole truth about other houses I’ve sold, but this time I have told the truth.

“Ready to sign?  Half price, already on the paper.  Here, sign here and here.  The house is sold ‘as is,’  Now the seller needs to sign the paper.  Doris M. Malone.  That’s me.  Now, let me get out of here.  Enjoy your life here.”

At least that Rosemary didn’t get this one.  We just hate each other, at times.  That happens in this business.  Cut throat, at times.   But good times like this one.

Walk softly with your life.  Don’t be hard on yourself.  Be soft.

Field of Clover

County Limerick, Ireland

Mo mhuirnin ban (Gaelic)                                                                                                                   Pronounciation:  Moh vor-neen bahn                                                                                             Translation:  My fair darling.

In a field of clover.                                                                                                                                                              A hidden charm fog over.

It glistens in the night.                                                                                                                                                       A gem that is so right.

Luminescent green, a wonder never seen.                                                                                                   Aglow beneath the clover, a love it will redeem.

Meet me there at midnight, something to delight.                                                                   Underneath the bed of clover, brilliant, out of sight.

You’ll never know luck, my darling, til you see it there.                                                                                A lover’s gift for you.  My heart will glow for you.

A glistening emerald shamrock, beneath a field of clover.                                                                 Lucky me.  Lucky you. Luck and love, forever more.

Dream of Barcelona

The Havana Cafe                                                                                                                                                     Tampa, Florida

“Jose, tienes que limpiar las mesas. Los clientes están esperando. Pronto!”                         “Jose, you have tables to clear.  Customers are waiting.  Pronto!”

“I’ll be right there, Carmina.  Four tables are ready.”

Carmina to Diego, “Four pressed Cubanos.  All the way.  Pronto!” “Yes, Carmina,           orders are up.”

“Senors, there’s a booth over there.  All set and ready for you,” said Carmina.

“Hello, I’m Alana, your beverages?”  “Mango Tango.”  “Cafe con Leche.”  “Just water.”         “A Coconut Creme, please.”  “Thank you, gentlemen.”  “Here you are.  Mango, leche, water and  cream.  I see your sandwiches are ready.  Senors, Cubano, Cubano, Cubano, and Cubano.  Enjoy!”

“Jose, tienes que limpiar las mesas. Los clientes están esperando. Pronto!”                     “Jose, you have tables to clear.  Customers are waiting.  Pronto!”

Jose is a busboy.  He’s the only busboy.  He has three things to do.                                                   He clears the tables.  He washes the dishes, and he sets the tables.                                                 And he does whatever he’s told to do.  He never complains.  Always                                         greets customers with a smile.  He has class.  He has finesse.

Alana is the hostess and server.  She greets guests, seats them and is very attentive to their needs.  “Welcome, I’m Alana.  May I have the honor of serving you? ”  She is friendly.  She has class.  She has finesse.

Diego is the cook and sandwich maker.  Prepares sandwiches custom to order.  He does it well and the customers know it.  Never forgets to make the sandwiches just right to the customer’s delight.  He takes orders well.  Carmina knows how to yell them out to him.  “Hey, Diego.  We have eight guests waiting.  Cubano, chilli.  Cubano, gazpachos. Cubano, avocado.  Cubano, salad.  Cubano, pressed and cut.  Cubano, vegetables, no meat. Cubano, cubano, two.  Cubano, add extras peppers.  Got it?”  “Yes, Carmina.”  Diego thinking to himself.  She’s a bossy thing.  So demanding.  I don’t know how much longer I can take her.  So obnoxious.  But, I have a job to do.  So get to it, Diego. Pronto!   By the way, he has class and he has finesse, too.  He knows how to take good care of the luncheon guests.

Now, there’s Carmina.  She is the owner and the manager.  Some finesse, but loses it when the pressure is on.  She panics when the luncheon crowd increases.  She gets overwhelmed by their demands and needs to get them in and out and on their way.  She yells out orders, she rings up sales.  It’s up to her to keep the patrons moving at a steady pace.  She is very dependent on Jose and Alana.  Without them, she would be a nervous wreck, but she already is.  She can lose her patience and can be rude to rude and demanding customers. No longer a friendly greeting.  Just herding the cattle in and out the door.  Always makes sure no one leaves without paying, even if the service is bad. She ain’t in business for nothing.  No free food.  Thinks to herself.  No free lunch on me.  This ain’t the soup kitchen.  These people, all dressed in business attire, think they can run my business.     Oh no, I run this show.

“Jose, tienes que limpiar las mesas. Los clientes están esperando. Pronto!”                     “Jose, you have tables to clear.  Customers are waiting.  Pronto!”

“Hey, Jose.  Can you help me out?  I have eight guests to seat.  I need two tables pulled       together, now!  Please hurry up.  Customers are waiting.  Pronto!”  Now, Alana is feeling the pressure.  Jose to Alana, “Right away, boss.  Pronto!”  Both laugh.

Jose to Alana, “Just look at her.  She’s about to crack up.  About ready to snap at any moment.”  Alana says, “If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen.” “Jose, I need to tell you something.  I’m leaving after this shift.  Start at the Barcelona on Friday. Carmina doesn’t know.  I will wait till the rush is over and before I leave at three, I will tell her.  I have to leave, the Barcelona is a big step up for me.”  “The Barcelona?  You’re going to work there?  Can you take me with you?  It makes me sad, but I’m glad for you.  You deserve to be at the Barcelona, you have class and you have finesse.  I’ll miss you.”  Alana hugs Jose and gives him a kiss.  She holds his hands and saying, “Your day will come.  I know you have a dream.  It will happen for you.  Dreams do come true.”

It’s just past noon, the line grows in size and many are waiting outside the door.  Carmina sees them out the smudge filled glass.  The name “Havana Cafe” is painted on the glass and it has peeled and cracked over the years.   So has Carmina.  Peeled and nearly cracked for good.

Carmina ringing up sales at the register.  She says, “Your lunch satisfactory?  Thank you.”   “Your lunch satisfactory?”  “Yes, Carmina.  Are you okay?  You really look stressed.  I’m concerned about you,” said Anna Marie.  “Oh, I’m fine.  Just a bit nervous.  That’s all.”  In a low voice to Anna Marie, “I have issues and I’m seeing the doctor.  He’s really helping me out.  He’s pushing me to shut this place down.  But, it’s Harry’s dream.  That was forty years ago.  Got to keep the business going for him.”  “Just concerned, Carmina.  Glad you are getting help.  Love you dear.”  A quick hug and Anna Marie is on her way.

“Senora, please, my client and I have to sign some papers.  Only twenty minutes, then we must go.  A table for two?”  “Yes, senor, right over there in the corner.  It’s private and quiet there.”

Very impatient business woman says, “What’s taking so long?  You are so disorganized.”     “I do my best, lady.”  “Don’t you know anything about time management?  Is the manager here?”  “You’re looking at her.”  “This is ridiculous.  I want to talk with the owner.”    You’re looking at her.”  Lady leaves in a huff saying to customers waiting in line “Hey, you others, it’s not worth the wait.  I’d leave, if I were you.”

“I need a table now!” said irritated, demanding man.  Carmina responds, “Well, is that so?  Seat yourself at that dirty table over there.  Someone may be with you soon.”

“Jose, tienes que limpiar las mesas. Los clientes están esperando. Pronto!”                     “Jose, you have tables to clear. Customers are waiting.  Pronto!”  Jose replies, “Okay, Carmina, okay.”

Carmina feeling more pressure at front counter.  Continues to take orders and ringing up     sales.  “That will be ten dollars and ninety-nine cents. Gracias, come back soon.”  “Don’t     think so.  You are so slow. Can’t you speed it up?  Here’s a quarter.  Next time, you may get a dime, too.”  “You are too kind, sir.  Thank you for the tip.  Have a mint.”  “Here’s your money.”  Man throws money on counter.  “It’s all there.  I know you can’t count.  By the way, here’s that extra dime.”  He leaves and kicks open the door.  Cursing as he goes out the door.

It’s the end of the lunch rush.  Carmina with heart pounding and feeling dizzy sits in a chair and says, “Maybe my doctor is right.  This has become too much for me.  I just hate to disappoint, Harry.”

Alana sits down at table with Carmina.  “I need to tell you something.  I’m leaving.  Start at the Barcelona on Friday.  It’s been great working here, but I must move on.”  Carmina shocked at the news,  starts shaking and says to Alana, “What am I going to do?  I depend on you and Jose so much.  Please don’t leave.”  “I’ve got to go.  Good luck.”

“Jose, it’s just me and you and Diego, now.  I need you to do Alana’s job, too.  So, please don’t let me down.”  “I won’t Carmina,  I promise.”  So weeks go by and they manage to get the customers taken care of haphazardly.  Carmina yells out to Jose.  “Please hurry, I have guests to seat.  No time to waste.”  “Come this way sirs, welcome to the Barcelona, I mean, to the Havana.  I have a table over there.”  Jose starts to daydream and thinking to himself.  I need to move on, too.  I have to go to a better restaurant where I can use my finesse.  I have class and know how to take good care of the customers.  I want to go to the Barcelona, too. Maybe my dream will come true.  I will pray to the virgin.  She will intercede for me.  Thank you, holy mother of God.

Jose continues to do as he is told.  He greets all guests with a genuine smile.  He says, again,”Welcome to the Barcelona, I mean the Havana.  This way please.”

“Please, senora, seat us now.  We don’t have much time.”  “Alana, it’s you.  Welcome back.  Ready to work?”  Alana replies, “No, Carmina,  My friend and I just need two leches and flans.”

“Jose, we have special guests, seat them now.  They are already over there.  Treat them nice.”

“Yes, ladies, welcome to the Barcelona, I mean the Havana.”  Both women laugh.  “Alana, it’s you. So good to see you.  And you ma’am, welcome as well.  The best dining experience for you.  At your service.”

“We’re actually here to see you.  I wanted Maria to see you in action.”  Maria to Jose, “You are just what I need at the Barcelona. You do your job so well.  You have class.  You have finesse.”  Jose says to Maria, “Thank you, so much.  I do my best.”  Maria to Jose,  “Here’s my card, come see me.”   Jose looks at business card.  Barcelona.  Maria Barcelona, General Manger.  “Wow,” said Jose.   “I’m Maria Barcelona.  It’s our family name and business. Established for nearly fifty years.  Excuse me, I have a phone call to make.               I’ll be right back.”

Alana to Jose, “I brought Maria here to see you in action.  I can tell she is pleased.  She would never give anyone her business card, unless she is serious about hiring them.  I’ll see you soon at the Barcelona.”  Jose smiles and gives Alana a hug, then holds her by her arms saying, “You came through for me.”  “Yes, I did, Jose.  I planned it all along that you would go with me.”  Maria returns, “Jose I’ll see you on Wednesday.  We will talk about what you will do at the Barcelona.  You will fit in well.  Welcome to the Barcelona.”

Jose gets hired and is working at the Barcelona.  He is so happy and he is taking good care of the guests. Finesse with caress.

By week’s end, Carmina tells customers, particularly the regulars, “I’m closing the restaurant.  Next Friday, I will close the doors for good.  My doctor and Harry would     want me to do it.  I’m taking their advice.”  Patrons, each, tell Carmina, “Thank you so much for being here for us.  Yes, Harry would be proud”  All applaud.

Jose gets his dream.  Dreams do come true.  “Welcome to the Barcelona,” Jose says with a bright smile.  He made his dream come true, along with the help of Alana and Maria. Carmina helped him, too.  She prepared him to become his best.

“Jose, tienes que limpiar las mesas. Los clientes están esperando. Pronto!”  “Jose, you have tables to clear.  Customers are waiting.  Pronto!”

Meltdown at Hershey!

If a serious meltdown ever occurs at the nuclear power plant near Harrisburg, PA,               the nearby Hershey plant in Hershey, Pennsylvania would be impacted by the                       nuclear explosion.

Can you imagine, the heat being so intense (5000 degrees plus), that the Hershey chocolate bars would melt down into a fiery lava type flow of bubbling chocolate                running like a river for miles around?

Also, once the plant cooled down and the chocolate cooled, there would be a layer                of chocolate fudge for miles around.  Maybe even sweetened by sugar, for sugar                   does melt too.  But the chocolate fudge would be so radioactive that no one could               ever eat it.

Way down deep below the hardened layer of chocolate could still be a flow of                    molten chocolate.  So hot that it may spew out like a volcano or a geyser like                         “Old Faithful” thus creating a new tourists attraction for Pennsylvania.

It could be called “Geyser Hershey.”  Tourists would be allowed to view the                   chocolate geyser and the miles of chocolate at the new “Fudge National Park.”                    But, the tourists would have to wear protective clothing to be able to view                                 the radioactive chocolate bed and geyser.

Then Hershey, Pennsylvania would have to be renamed “Fudgeville, Pennsylvania.”

News alerts are reporting bubbling hot flows of chocolate everywhere.  Tremors are radiating out from chocolate ground zero for hundreds of miles.

In the nation’s capitol, barricades are in place all along Pennsylvania Avenue.  Bubbling chocolate is flowing along all curbs around Capitol Hill.  In New York, transit officials report that torrents of chocolate are pushing through subway tubes and that chocolate has now entered the hub terminal at Grand Central Station.

Down south, the Blue Ridge Parkway has become a chocolate reservoir and a new “Chocolate Falls” has been created due to a spill over of chocolate near Asheville.                  Further south, in Georgia, a flash flood of chocolate moving south covering every peach, every peanut and every piece of cotton in it’s path.  Every hen in the hen house is covered in chocolate and each of their eggs are chocolate covered too.  Hey Florida!  Coming your way.  How about a chocolate covered flamingo?

Enough chocolate?  I think I better stop before my chocolate imagination runs away with me.  Geyser Hershey!  I really like it.  Now, that would really be something to see.

Tampa, Florida Author..New Book. “Frank Clark Short Stories.”

Frank Clark is proud to announce that his new book, “Frank Clark Short Stories” is now available.  Humor, Imagination and Introspective.  Creative writing style. Book is available in 3 formats, hardback, paperback, and e-book.  Kindle and Nook are included.  Available at these on-line book sellers.  Xlibris.com, my publisher.  Barnes & Noble, bn.com, and amazon.com.  Perfect gift for any occasion.

Signature with Style

Language Arts 101–The Art of Signature.

“Okay students, welcome to penmanship class.  My name is Mrs. Holgaralduski.”

“What kind of name is that?” said Marvin Lee.  “Sounds like ‘hoagie sandwich’ to me,”      said Molly.  “Mrs. Hoagie, Hoagie, Hoagie,” said Joey in a smart aleck mockery of Mrs. Holgaralduski.  All of the class laugh with him, except Ginnie Mae.

“Now, I don’t need any of you making fun of my name.  It’s aristocratic.  I come from a very distinguished family.  It’s my husband’s name and I won’t stand for this ridicule.   Get it?  Simple.”

Ginnie Mae said “Mrs. Holgaralduski, don’t pay any attention to these monkeys.  They have no manners and should be caged.  I like your name, and welcome to our academy.”

“Thank you, Ginnie Mae.  I can tell, already, you come from a home where education is valued.  A special welcome to you.”

“Your name, ma’am, how do you pronounce it?  I really want to know,” said Patsy Ann.

“Okay, class, I’ll pronounce it and write it on the board.  Now, pay attention, please.              Hol-ga-ral-dus-ki.  Holgaralduski.  It’s Mrs. Holgaralduski.  Say it with me.”  Teacher and students say it together.  Hol-ga-ral-dus-ki.  “Wonderful, class.  A good try for the  first time.”

Two of the students, Marvin Lee and Joey, didn’t even try to pronounce it with the rest of the class.  “Hogs are dusty,” said Marvin Lee.  Joey said “It still sounds confusing to me. Lets see,  ‘Mrs. Horseradish n’ tea.’  Is that better, ma’am?”  Mrs. Holgaralduski  responds,  “No , it’s not.  I can see you two are trouble.  I want you, boys, up here in front of me.  No more wisecracks.  Get it?  Simple.”

Mrs. Holgaralduski says to class, “I want all of you to know, if any student gets out of hand in this class, I have a surveillance camera, in here, recording it all.  You will regret it.  Each DVD, in high definition,  goes to the principal every day. Get it?  Simple.”

Tommy Lee to Mrs. Holgaralduski, “Do we have to take this class?  I don’t want to be here.”  “Me, neither,” said Joey.  Sally thinking to herself… I can tell this is gonna be bor-ing.  It already is.  There must be a way I can get exempt from this class.
Molly, chewing her bubble gum and popping bubbles, said, “We don’t need cursive.          It’s stone age.  We prefer to text.”

“This class is mandatory.  You children must learn cursive, at least to sign your signatures.  Students, you should have learned cursive in second grade.  All of you are preteens, now.    You must learn it.  That’s why you are here.  Get it?  Simple.”

“Mrs. Holgaralski, can I show you something?”  “Of course, Ben.  You’re in seat number seven.”  “See, this is a cell phone.  We text on here.”  “I have a cell phone, but have never  texted.  I didn’t know my phone had that capability.”  Ben continues with his instructions on how to text a message.  “Just press messaging.  Key in to whom.  Then type your message on the screen.  For example, ‘I see you are late for class.’  We abbreviate, shorten the message with letters and symbols.  Here’s your message in text.  ‘I c u r late 4 class.’   Press send and it is transmitted to your contact.  Get it?  Simple.”

Mrs. Holgaralduski thinking to herself…These kids have learned a new way to communicate.  Maybe they don’t need cursive at all.  I will take a different approach with them.

“Class, you have taught me something.  There are many new ways of communicating these days.  New technology is great, but a text is not a signature.  You must at least learn the   letters in your name and learn to write them in cursive.  You will be signing your names for the rest of your lives.  Any important document will need to be signed by you.  A signature is necessary.”  “We have electronic signatures now, don’t need hand written signatures,” said Molly.  “What is an electronic signature, Molly?”

“Sometimes it’s called an e-signature.  It’s a secret code, that only you know, that’s encrypted, hidden, sent along with your documents.  The receiver enters a code to authenticate that it’s your signature connected to the documents you sent.  Then it opens the document.  That’s it.  Get it?  Simple.”

“Class, I have a homework assignment for you.  It’s very simple and it will be your only assignment for the entire semester.  I want each of you to bring a letter, a note, anything with a signature on it.  I prefer that it be someone you know.  Your mom or dad, or someone else you know that is special to you.  Bring two, so that we can compare them.  See you all next week.”

“Good morning, class.  Greet me, please.  All attempt to say it correctly.  “Good morning, Mrs. Holga.”  “That’s great.  Only part of it, but next week, I want you to add more.  Next week, we will add ral to Holga to make it Holgaral.  That’s Hol-ga-ral.  Practice, please.”

“Now, to cursive.  What is cursive?  Does anyone know?”  No answers, except Ginnie Mae. “Mrs. Holgaralduski, it’s circular letters.  Most of the curvature letters have a curve to them.”  “Correct, Ginnie Mae.  You are advanced in your language skills.  The rest of the class can learn from you.  Thank you, Ginnie Mae.”

“Here are a couple of examples of cursive signatures.  They are famous names in American history.  This one is John Hancock.  A signer of the Declaration of Independence.  He wrote his signature large enough so that the British crown would see that he, too, was declaring his independence from England.  Notice how well his signature is written.  It’s in cursive, but it has style.  It is his mark of distinction.”

“The next signature is a US president.  Does anyone recognize it?  It’s Abraham Lincoln.  Notice that his name is written with less flair than John Hancock.  Both men were important, but Mr. Lincoln’s signature, I feel, denotes that he was a humble and an unpretentious man.  Both are famous signatures that have been seen by many for years.”

“Now, your signatures.  Place your documents on top of your desks.  I will come around to look at them.  Yes, indeed, these signatures are unique and have style.  We will look at some of them.  Who wants to go first?”  “Me, first!” said Marie.  “Go ahead, Marie, show us what you have.”  “These three signatures are my dad’s.  The first one is normal, the way he first learned cursive.  You can read the letters.  The last two are scribble scratch.  He’s a doctor.  This is the way he always signs his name today, always scribbled.”  “You know, class, there are many ways to sign your name.  As you learn to write your signature in cursive, you may develop your own style of writing your name later.  Although Marie’s dad’s signature, she calls scribble scratch, doesn’t show any cursive letters, it’s how he signs his name.  It’s his mark of distinction.  It’s the style of his signature.”

“Who’s next?”  “I have one Mrs. Holga.  But it’s in German, and it’s my grandfather’s.”  “Tell us his name, Umberto.”  “It’s Franz Zeifenheimmer.”  “Language doesn’t matter.  Show us what you have with you.”  “It’s only two letters, an “f” and a “z.”  Mrs. Holgaralduski points  out, “Two letters are fine.  You have a lower case f and a lower case z.  Both have loops.  A very fine signature.  I see the other letter you have, the signature is the same.  This is his signature.  It has style to it.  It’s his mark of distinction. ”

“One last one.  Okay, Ginnie Mae, I see you are eager to share.  ‘I have two.  My dad’s signature.  Wealther Worth.  He signs it with two coiled w’s.  See, it’s the same here.  He makes lots of money.  I want my signature to be just like his.’”  Mrs. Holgaralduski said to Ginnie Mae.  “Your signature will not be his, but yours.  It will be your mark of distinction.”

“Here’s my signature.  Voncile Holgaralduski.  I sign it with a symbol, for the name is so long.  See, it’s a V that looks like a heart.  It is my unique signature.  It has style and it is my mark of distinction.”

Last week of class.  “Okay class, greet me with my full name.”  Students confidently reply,  “Good morning, Mrs. Holgaral..duski.”  You all did it.  Now each one of you show the class your cursive signature.  Molly proudly shows her signature.  “Molly Brown.”  “Very good, Molly.”  “Thank you , Mrs. Holgaralduski.”

“Ben, please share your signature with the class.” “My full name is Benjamin Beemer.     My signature has been shortened.  I only use the two capital B’s.  Capital B arch B.”  “I like the arch between the B’s.  It’s like a bridge connecting the two.  I like it Ben.  It’s short and brief and is creative.  It’s your mark of distinction.”

“Okay, Willie, you’re up next.”  “I’m ashamed of it.  I wrote it like my gramp.  He couldn’t read or write.  This is it.  Just a ‘w.’”  “But, Willie, it has style and the tail of the w crosses back across the w.  I think there are two letters.  A “w” and a “t.”  What’s your gramp’s last name?”  “Tanner, ma’am.  Willie Tanner.” “That’s his signature.  A great signature and his mark of distinction.”

“Class, we have all learned that our signatures have style and are our marks of distinction.  It doesn’t matter how you sign it.  It is your style of writing it.  You all have done well and have passed this class.  Pick up your certificates as you leave, but you must sign your name, as best you can, in cursive to get it.”

Signatures are your marks of distinction.  They all have a style to them.  A signature is an  expression of you on paper.  It does reveal something about you. So be proud of it.

Clear the Air

Unresolved Issues.

“You owe me an apology.”  “For what?”  “Edgar, this morning at my kitchen table, you had the nerve to say that my biscuits were dry.  They’re never dry.”  “They were, Mildred.”               “Well, you always show up when I take them out hot from the oven.  You’d always say ‘flaky and tasty.’”  “I do, but not this morning, hon.”

“Well, Edgar, where’s my apology?”  “I ain’t apologizing.  Just telling you the truth.  Maybe they’ll be better tomorrow.  By the way, to soften them up, add a pat of butter to each or some red eye gravy.  Then, maybe, someone will be fool enough to eat them.  But not me.”  “Edgar, please leave, I don’t need anymore insults.  I have my rolling pin on the counter, just to the left of the oven.”  “I’ll see you tomorrow ‘Betty Crocker’”  “See you then and I’ll expect an apology before I serve you anything.”

Edgar thinking to himself  Mildred is not herself.  Her biscuits are never dry.  She’s been so touchy latelyIf she wants an apology, I’ll give it to her tomorrow.  Maybe she’s going through the change.  Women are not in their right minds when this happens.  Elsa hasn’t been the same since.  Edgar passes through the hedge over to his porch.  He will rock the morning away.

“Your son owes my daughter an apology.”  “Oh really, for what?”  “He called Ginnie Mae      a spoiled brat.”  “Well, is she?  I’ve heard she gets everything she wants.”  “Marge, she is  not.  Now, ask him.”  “Freddie, did you?”  “Yes, mom, I did.  She brags all the time about     money.  She’ll say ‘I’m worth five dollars and you are only a quarter’s worth.’  Now, that hurts.  She makes me and the other twenty five cent kids feel worthless, but we are not.”

“Come on, Marge, make him apologize.”  “Joann, I will not follow your command.  Freddie  owes no apology to Ginnie Mae.  Just stating the truth about her.”  “Well, Ginnie Mae, let’s go.  We don’t need an apology from these undesirables.  They’re low class.  Beneath us.”

“You owe me an apology.”  “For what?”  Jeb to Connor “you made a fool out of me on the court this morning.  I don’t know what happened, I just couldn’t return your serves.”  “It’s not like you, Jeb, to net every ball.  I need some real competition.  Someone who can at least volley the ball.”  “Oh, I’m just feeling sorry for myself.  I’ll get over it.”  “Hey, Jeb, I know someone who can help you get your serve back.  My ten year old daughter, Tina, will work one on one with you.  She’s really good.  How about it?”  “No, thank you, Connor.”  “You seem a little upset” said Connor.  “I am, but I’ll be okay.  Tomorrow is another day.”

“You’re my buddy, Jeb.  I was just playing with you.  Your friendship means more to me than a tennis ball.  Forgive me?”  “You’re forgiven, you jerk!”  Both laugh and leave the court.

“Oh Harry.  I need to talk with you.”  “Mornin, Miss Abilene.”  “Mornin, Harry.”  “I think you owe me an apology.”  “For what?”  ” Harry, you mowed over my day lilies.  They were so lovely and yellow bright.  Every day, new ones open up and just make my day grand.”  “Well, their blooming season is about over.  I do it for you every year and you approve.”

“This time something is not right about it.  I must tell you, I had a dream about you last night.  In the dream, you were in a crazed state of mind mowing over my lillies in the middle of the night.  I heard you say, and you were laughing about it, ‘no more lilies,     gone forever, yee ha ha.’”  “But it wasn’t me, Miss Abilene.  Only a dream.”

“Oh it was you all right.  For sure.  I heard your mower and saw your tractor lamps.  You kept yelling out ‘yee ha ha, yee ha ha.’”  “Sounds like a nightmare to me, said Harry.  But it was only a dream, not for real.  Look out your window, see your day lillies?, bright as the day.”  “Oh Harry, you don’t owe me an apology.  I should apologize to you.  I judged you.”  “Miss Abilene, are you okay, now?”  “Yes, I am Harry.  Would you like some fresh coffee and biscuits on my front porch?  There we can both enjoy my lillies.”   “Yes ma’am!”

“You owe me an apology.”  “For what?”  “You called my Zsa Zsa a stinking little poodle.   Zsa Zsa does not stink.  I perfume her every day of the week.  When you insult Zsa Zsa, you insult me, too.  James, now your apology, please.”  “I ain’t apologizing.  Next time give her a bath, too.  Here.  This is a coupon from the ‘Bow Wow’ boutique.  They’re giving free baths this week.  The bath is on me.  That’s my apology.”  “Zsa Zsa, you’re too cute to stink.”  Zsa Zsa says “yap, yap.”

“You owe me an apology.”  “For what?”  “Brother, well, fifteen years ago, you said something to me in front of my girl friends that really embarrassed me.”  “So this happened fifteen years ago?”  “Yes it did, I was so upset that I held it inside of me all  these years.  I’m now in anger management and my therapist suggested that I resolve some of these long held grudges.”

“So, you’re at the top of my list.”  “What did I say, sister?”  “That dress you’re wearing looks like a rag you got at the discount thrift shop.  That really hurt.  I haven’t been in the thrift store for years because of it.  A bad memory.”  “Well, I’m sorry, sis.  I really mean it.  Just don’t hold on to hurt for years, the bitterness can really eat you up inside.  Anything else you want to confront me about from fifteen years ago?  Let me take you out to breakfast.  Okay with you?  No more hate?”  “Only love now, brother.  Only love for you.”

 

Eggs on Demand

Chicken House on Red Rooster Road                                                                                                     Valdosta, Georgia

When the rooster crows, the hens lay eggs.  “Here comes Boss Wringer.  I wonder what he’s gonna crow about this mornin?” said Ester Lee.  “He looks very concerned and is moving kinda fast toward the hen house.  This makes me nervous.  I think I’m gonna need a nerve pill.  I just know it,” said Florence shaking and fluttering.

“Girls, get ahold of yourselves.  I know what it’s about.  It’s a request and not an order. Our eggs are in high demand right now.  Girls, don’t panic, just listen to him.”  Boss Wringer walks inside the hen house.  “Mornin, girls, look plump and juicy this mornin. I have some news to tell you about and it does make me a bit distressed.  Two chicken houses have shut down and have been converted over to poultry plants.  We don’t want that, lordy-lordy.”

“Well, what happened to the hens, Boss Wringer?  Were they transferred to another chicken farm?” said Laydalee.  “I’m afraid to say.  Well, their necks were wrung and each wound up on the butcher’s block.   They were southern fried or became stock in a noodle soup.”

“Oh no, they didn’t?” said Ester Lee.  “Yes, that’s what happened girls, but we can prevent this from happening here.  We can determine our future and not let fate lead our way” said Boss Wringer.  “This is just shocking.  I can’t bear the thought of it,” said Florence and she said further “I’m about to faint, girls.  Help me.  Someone please catch me.”

Isabella voiced “I need to save my neck.  I’m the lead soprano in the chicken choir. My vocal chords are tightening up.  I’ll do anything to save myself.  Anything!”  “I got mouths to feed,” said  Laydalee in a sobering tone.  And she said “My chicks depend on me for feed.  For them, I will not let this get the best of me.  I gonna come out fighting,  just like Rocky.”

“Each of the two chicken houses had one hundred hens.  They produced one thousand eggs per week.  So, I have made an agreement with ‘Eggs on Demand’ that we could meet their need for one thousand eggs each week,” said Boss Wringer.

“Oh my,” said Ester Lee and she said “We’re doing good to lay our one normal egg each day.  This is not doable.  What do they think we are, an egg factory? ”  Henrietta to Ester “Hon, we are an egg factory.  We’ve just got to produce.  A lot of hard work, but if we work together and efficiently, I believe we can do it.”  Boss Wringer agreed.

“Boss man, we’ll do our best, but I need to remind you of what happened last year when you pushed us to produce more eggs,” said Henrietta.  “Go on, tell me.  I think I already know the effect of it all.  Not good,” said Boss Wringer.

“Remember Geraldine?  She collapsed and mm…mm…mm, bless her heart.  And Florence, she’s now on nerve pills and our elder hen, Irene, is still in chicken psychotherapy.  She nearly lost her mind from the strain of it all.  And…”  “Tell me no more, Henrietta.  I remember it all.  That will never happen again,” said Boss Wringer.

“Well said, boss.  Now, girls, as Wringer said, we need to produce one thousand eggs per week.  Relax for the rest of the day.  Tomorrow morn, when the rooster crows, hens lay eggs.  Now, go nibble on some chicken feed.  See you at the crack of dawn,” said Henrietta.

In place on the fence post, outside the barn, Boss Wringer crows out “Cock-a-doodle-doo.  Cock-a-doodle-doo!”  “Okay, girls, on your nests and start a laying.  Cackle, cackle, one egg down chute.  Cackle, cackle, another egg down chute and another and another.  Conveyor filled with eggs.

After one hour, Henrietta yells out, “Stop production.  Break time.  Fifteen minute stretch and back on nests.  Ladies, this is wonderful, you doubled your production in one hour.  Two hundred eggs laid.”  After another hour, two hundred more eggs down chutes.  Three hours later, five hundred eggs.”

“Chickadees, what got you motivated?” asked Henrietta.  Laydalee and Ester Lee said “That poster of him.  Brutus the rooster.  He’s a massage therapist and he is one hunk of a bird.  Boss Wringer said whoever triples production, gets an hour with him for a private massage.”  Henrietta announces “And the winner is…all of you.  Each one of you will get a fifteen minute massage with Brutus.  Ten today and the others over the next two days.  We’re off till Monday.  Enjoy your time with Brutus.”  Ester Lee says with excitement “Oh, I will and me first.”

A rooster can crow.  A demand can be made.  Pamper a hen and you may get more eggs.

 

Juicy Prime Steak

Dixie’s–”the prime place for steak.”                                                                                                   Cattletown, Texas

The power of suggestion.  One of the most persuasive ways is to make a subtle statement.   The most effective ads today are subliminal.  Not direct, but indirect, but heard over and   over again, till the customer believes that it’s true and that it’s right for him.  So he takes the bait. This story will demonstrate how the power of a subliminal statement can convince customers at Dixie’s to choose their “juicy prime steak” just by a subliminal  suggestion.

A crowded restaurant, Dixie’s, filled to the brim with diners.  A leisure lunch.  Business lunch.  Power lunch.  Just lunch.  It’s so crowded that it takes time to take and to deliver  their orders as quickly as they normally do.  So, in the mean time, luncheon guests enjoy pleasant conversation with a thirst quenching beverage while they wait and listen to  country pop tunes played overhead in the sound system throughout the restaurant.

“Hey, Bubba.  Darlene, you look great.  What can I getcha?  I know it’s hoppin in here right now, but I’ll put you at the top of my prime list,” said Maxine.  “Can you give us a few minutes, Maxine?  We have one more coming.  Don’t know what’s the hold up with Donna Sue,” said Darlene and she said “should be here shortly, then we will be ready to order.”   “The same ice tea for all of you?”  “Yes, ma’am,” all said.  Be right back folks.”

Music playing over sound system.  “Rockin and rollin at the honky-tonk.  The place where guy meets girl.  Love is in their eyes, but they don’t know it.  Our juicy prime steak is the one for you.  For love may be the thing for you.”

“Well, Donna Sue, where ya been?” said Bubba.  “Waitin in the line at the post office.  Just for one single stamp.  They are pushin the book now and said the single stamps will soon be gone.  Waitin thirty minutes for a postage stamp.”  “Donna Sue, ice tea is on it’s way.  We haven’t ordered yet.  Maxine will be back soon to take our orders,” said Darlene.

“Listen goz, said Donna Sue.  That’s Dolly’s new hit.”  “A hillbilly heart is so sincere.  It’s from the heart and know that it’s so  real.  Just remember our juicy prime steak are just a grillin.  It’s the thing that’s just for you.  A hillbilly heart is so sincere.  A hillbilly heart made just for you.”  Donna Sue singing along with Dolly.  “A hillbilly heart is so sincere.  It’s from the heart and know that it’s so real.  Just remember our juicy prime steak are just a grillin.  It’s the thing that’s just for you.  A hillbilly heart is so sincere.  A hillbilly heart made just for you.”

Maxine returns.  “Okay, folks, wha-da-ya have?  Hey, Donna Sue.”  “Juicy prime steak.  Juicy prime steak,” said Darlene and Bubba.  Donna Sue, “for some reason, juicy prime steak comes to mind.  I’ll have it, too.”  Back soon.  Maxine thinking to herself, “Hillbilly Heart works every time.  Donna Sue doesn’t even know that the lyrics with the message    ‘juicy prime steak’ convinced her that it was her choice to make and she did it.  Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!”

“Ben, where have you been?  We need to close this deal now. Only thirty minutes.  Sign here, Gilmer.  Ben, here.  I will notarize.  I am a notary.  Always been.  Have to be ready to seal the deal.”  Ben to Eddie “Sorry, Eddie.  You’re always in a hurry.  Fast Eddie!”  “Okay, fellas the deal is done.  A one hundred thousand dollar deal for three floors of office cubes.  Lunch is on me.  How does juicy prime steak sound?  It just sounds like a good deal, I mean an excellent choice for three hungry men.”  “Good to me,” said Ben.  “Me too,” said Gilmer.

“Hello, gals.  Where ya been?” said Bertha.  “Pretending that we know how to play bridge, but we don’t,” laughingly said Doris.  “We deal the cards, then play fish,” said Iris.  “We enjoy the bridge mix and then lollygag and gossip the rest of the time.” said Anna Belle.  Bertha to the three “where’s your fourth, June Bug?”  “Couldn’t stay.  Big dinner plans.  Likes to prepare a nice meal with the entree, of course, being the juicy prime steak,” said Doris.  “Ice tea for all three?”  “Yes, ma’am, Miss Bertha,” said Anna Belle.  “Back in a jiffy.”

Doris to Iris and Anna Belle “Every time I come in here, I always listen for Elvis.  I just love his trilogy of ‘Dixie and the Land of Cotton.’  Just brings tears to my eyes.”  Iris to the other ladies “Hey, listen, that’s an old tune of Loretta’s she never released.  Just listen and it just about tells the truth about some men.  It’s called ‘Fetch Me That Man.’  Good tune, but he ain’t no man to catch.”

“Fetch me that man.  He’s the only man I ever dared.  I’m ready for his heart, but I’m not in his heart.  A juicy prime steak will cure the ill in your heart.  He’s a sorry catch of a man.”   “Ready to order, girls?” said Bertha.  “Juicy prime steak, juicy prime steak and juicy prime steak,” all three agree.  Bertha to herself “Just unbelievable, ‘Fetch Me That Man’ with that subliminal line caught every one of them.”

“Hey, Miss Marie,” said all three youngsters.  “Hey to you darlins and hey to you Mama.”    “Marie, the kids will all have the juicy prime burgers and I’ll have the same, too.”  “All juicy coolers for you, babies?”  All three say “Yes ma’am, Miss Marie.”  Comin up!”

Geoffrey to his mom, “Hey, Mama, that’s your favorite song.  You and Miss Marie always like the lyrics.”  “Hey Bev, here’s the meal.  Enjoy!”  “Here’s our song Ree.  Just listen.”   “Only a woman understands a woman.  A man will never understand.  A juicy prime burger, a man will never know.  Juicy prime burgers do understand.”

Dixie to restaurant staff “We broke a record today.  We served ninety six juicy prime steaks in our three hour lunch.  Ninety six is just unbelievable.  We’re gonna keep our same tunes with our subliminal line “juicy prime steak” for quite some time.  Sing Dolly’s song with me and then a juicy prime steak lunch for all of us.”

“A hillbilly heart is so sincere.  It’s from the heart and know that it’s so real.  Just remember our juicy prime steak are just a grillin.  It’s the thing that’s just for you.                     A hillbilly heart is so sincere.  A hillbilly heart made just for us!”

“Hey, stop by Dixie’s.  There’s a juicy prime steak waiting just for you.”