Dialing For Doilies (Trouser Truths)

Oh, Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz…

Oh, Lord won’t you buy me a color TV

Dialing for dollars is trying to find me

I wait for delivery each day until three…  –Janis Joplin–


Remember doilies–those white crocheted things on the back of your grandma’s couch and overstuffed chairs.  They would slide off and granny didn’t like little fingers playing with them.

There was an old TV show, called “Dialing For Dollars,” viewers competed to win cash.  I don’t think “Dialing For Doilies,” would have been nearly as popular.

Before I fire up the grill, more silliness for a Sunday afternoon–a grandfatherly conversation.

When I was your age, we wore real trousers–made from real fabrics.

Wore them with pride.  Snugged them up to our chests–like they should be.

Because we were real men–and that’s what real men did.

Flipping Out at Christmas (Santa’s Dead)

For some folks, Christmas causes depression–painful memories.  Days are shorter nights are longer.  First responders everywhere would tell you the Holidays can bring out bizarre behavior.

“Go to the base hotel,” Came the call.  “There’s a young man there causing a disturbance.”

It fell upon me as a young Airman working emergency room night shift to check out the situation.

The German ambulance driver and myself, restrained a young Air Force enlistee, who had apparently attacked a mechanical Santa Claus in the base hotel lobby.

He was sent away for a psych evaluation.  Problems caused by excessive alcohol consumption, loneliness, depression–from being away from home in a foreign country.

Fast forward forty-plus years.  A blonde, blue-eyed three-year old boy was crying.  The jovial, singing, mechanical Santa in the center, main hardware store aisle, frightened him.

“There, there–it’s all right,”  Consoled the little boy’s  gray-haired, well-intentioned grandfather.

“Look, it’s fake–it’s not real.  It’s not going to hurt you.”  Obviously, the grandfather was frustrated to his limit.  The crying continued unabated.

A few curious customers looked up from the nuts-and-bolts.  “Grandpa won’t let it hurt you. Now, stop crying!”

“See–I told you it’s not real!”  Grandpa’s foot connected with Santa’s head, sent it skittering across the polished concrete floor.  Santa’s disembodied head continued to regale with loud “Ho, Ho, Ho’s” and “Merry Christmases.”

The grandson was not to be consoled, until his mother arrived.  Store workers gathered Santa’s pitiful remains.  Hopefully, the grandson wasn’t permanently traumatized on the day Santa died.


How high’s the water, mama?

Three feet high and rising

How high’s the water, Mama?

Six feet high and rising…

–Johnny Cash–

“Get up!  Get out!  Go to higher ground!  The river is already over the low water bridge,” came the dire warning–accompanied by a loud knock on the trailer door.

My concentration was shot all to heck after being awakened brutally at two in the morning.  My wife grabbed our three-year-old grandson–still in pajamas.  Essentials were packed as quickly as possible–clothesline and barbecue grill left behind.

Swift river water lapped the edge of the campsite.  Trees yielded to the sledgehammer force of mighty floodwaters with loud cracks and pops.  Darkness added to the terror.  It was still raining.

Led out of the campground, somewhere in the middle of a caravan.  All of us were now wide-awake.  Water stood everywhere in low spots.  Park rangers directed us to a campground road on a hillside.  There were no hookups.  It was primitive camping from that point forward.  Facilities were about a quarter-mile up the road.

Would the river recede in time to get to work?  Would we have to be ferried across by helicopter or boat?  There were many questions to be answered in the next thirty-six hours.

Angry brown floodwaters flowed through the valley campground the next morning.  The top of our picnic table was still above water.  Some of our firewood floated willy-nilly.  At least the rain stopped.  Nobody was swept away.  The ranger said six inches of rain fell overnight.

I wondered if three-year-old Alex knew how panicked his grandparents were the night before.  He showed no signs of stress.  I made numerous trips to the playground.  It was there he made an observation–well beyond his years, “Grandpa, I really like the monkey bars, but they scare the hell out of me.”

Another gem of wisdom, came the next night at the nature show.  The park rangers explained differences between reptiles and mammals.  Alex grabbed my arm; looked at me with innocent brown eyes, “Grampa, he was talking about Mamaws.”  I smiled–we’d be sure to mention it to grandma back at the camper.