Sticks and Stones

Away from home

While missing home

Tropical uncertainties traded

For low humidity, blue skies

Family traditions

Free room and board

Minor discomforts

Boring road food

Some of it was acting

Acting, for the benefit

Of those in attendance

Buddy Holly tribute eyewear

In fashion–without thought

Given to rockabilly legends

Some left to make room

for those, yet to come

Modern-day prophets

Rested, never knowing

Their promised lands

Mere words unimportant

Sticks and stones

 

2017 Father’s Day Thoughts

What did I remember most about my father, twenty-two years after his passing?

Like other men of his generation, he wore hats. His favorite was a gray fedora. Fathers, back then dressed up more, than fathers do today.

Most in the community thought him to be extremely patient and even-tempered. They never got on his bad side–like I did, on occasion.

He was a man of faith. His relationship to his maker was most important. We read the Bible aloud, from cover-to-cover, in family devotionals–down to every begat, whereas, and wherefore.

His lame jokes, that made everyone cringe, notwithstanding; if it were possible, on this Father’s Day, I would tell him that his example made a difference.

The Kid’s Table

Let’s see a show of hands. How many of you remember the kid’s table? …At Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, and family gatherings.

Adults sat in the dining room, discussed the usual.  Was it pass to the left or right?  Nobody ever gave an answer–because, from that point they would be regarded as the family etiquette expert.

“Where did you get all that energy?  My how you’ve grown.  What grade were you in school?  Did you like school this year?”  Questions answered with poker faces, shoulder shrugs, and “I don’t knows.”

Older kids served themselves.  Younger ones had plates fixed by moms, grandmas, aunts, older brothers, and sisters.  “Eat something else besides mashed potatoes.  Take some of these green beans.  No dessert till you’re finished.”  Lots of laughter prevailed, subdued, so, as to not draw attention from the adult table.

Everybody had a cousin Ralphie–or, someone like him.  Cousin Ralphie balanced green peas on his knife, ate disgusting food mixtures–pickled beets, mashed potatoes, and milk.

“Cousin Ralphies” turned their eyelids inside out, to disgusted “ewws” and “ahs” at the kid’s table.  “What did he need ketchup for?”  A self-appointed gastronomic virtuoso, Ralphie shared his secrets on holidays.  Ketchup made everything more palatable.  It was rumored, Ralphie subsisted on ketchup sandwiches at home.

Mid-afternoon, after dishes were cleared, washed, and put away, the oldest adults were first to leave.  Early evening, tears flowed from the eyes of younger ones, that wanted to stay longer.  Moms, sisters, aunts comforted.  Dads weren’t as patient.

My “To-Do” List For Today

What to do today?  There’s a disparity between what should be done and what will actually get done–like always.

My big brother’s 70th birthday is upcoming on May 26th.  This is indeed a milestone for my precocious older brother.  He was blessed with the gift of gab that I never had.

Yesterday, was the dogs annual check up.  I need to clean out the car, reconfigure it for human passengers.  It’s always a fun experience.

I was chided by the Vet for passing out too many dog treats.  Max’s fun car ride ended, when he saw we were outside the Vet’s office.  He kept trying to jump back in the car.

Were the car windows ever dirty on the inside from nose and paw prints.  The windows got an thorough cleaning inside and out.  Just in time for my wife to make a trip to the grocery.

The Past Week Summarized

Their visit started with a harrowing drive through unfamiliar territory in driving rainstorms.  Most of the week–with the exception of Thursday morning–weather was perfect.  Discussion topics were myriad and any mean-spirited implications were in jest.

  • The $5000 mutt, changes to last will and testament being considered.
  • Trip to veterinarian by the 18th, before warranty ran out.  Since when did pets come with warranties?
  • New dog couldn’t be left alone–even on bathroom trips.
  • Kennel cough contagious to other dog.  Trip to vet–another $75.00.
  • Sibling rivalries–new dog problems were, alleged to be, all my fault.  Who was most popular in high school?
  • Childhood recollections: Playing in pig slop.  Mother’s cooking.  Favorite teachers? Who was most mischievous?
  • Discussed children, grandchildren–no great-grandchildren at this point.
  • Activities: Walked the new pier.  Visited Ft. Morgan historic site.  Toured scenic Bon Secour, Magnolia Springs.  Spent time at Dauphin Island beach and Sea Lab.  Visited National Naval Aviation Museum and Pensacola’s old town.  Stopped for ice cream–rainstorm struck while waiting under canopy.  Dined at favorite local restaurants. Bought pecans at a pecan farm.  Shopped for antiques and souvenirs.  Exchanged pleasantries and promises to visit each other in near future.

 

 

From the Sidelines

This week I will be entertaining first-time visitors to the area–my sister and brother-in-law.  Looking forward to their visit and showing them around.

My klutziness has been in full force this past week.  Starting with my dropping a jar of chili sauce in the supermarket.  Tonight, I accidently sprayed myself with mayonnaise at a local restaurant.

Maybe I needed to be put in “time out?”  In the meantime my posts will be sporadic.  I’ll be watching from the sidelines.

Bless This House…

Old English scripted wall plaques with homespun homilies was what they were.  Sold to raise funds for our church.  The texture, applied to heavy cardboard, reminded me of asphalt shingle colors–spruce green, estate gray, federal blue.  “Blessed are the meek.”  “The family that prayed together…” “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death…”

It was small town America in the late fifties, far from the valley of death.  Peddling door-to-door on Sunday afternoon, seemed pretty close to it at the time.  “What if they didn’t answer the door?”  “What if they weren’t home?”  “What if they told my brother and me to go away?”  “What if there were mean dogs?” Just like that, I was out of “what if” questions.

Mom, always the eternal optimist, “You can go to the Wilsons, the Dowlands, the Parkers.  Do the best you can, dear.”  These were people we knew from church, the grocery store, and from school.  Everybody knew everybody, in our village of 300.  Dad didn’t say much–which meant, “Quit your grousing and do it.”

What I didn’t know back then.  It was tit-for-tat.  You buy what my kid’s selling, and I’ll buy from yours.  If it wasn’t fund raising for the church, it was garden seeds for school, candy for 4-H club, or something else.

Little kids were cuter–less likely to be turned down.  Parents weren’t walking from house to house–were grateful for time away from their little monsters.  So what if they didn’t win any of the neat prizes listed in the catalogue.  They’d get over it.