Little Spies

It must have been a challenge for parents to hide Christmas presents. Some things were more difficult than others–for example new bicycles, sleds.

As adults, our children confessed to finding hidden Christmas presents, unwrapping, and carefully rewrapping them. My parents several decades before, had different options.

They hid presents at grandma and grandpa’s large, two-story house. The most sneaky, was when mom hid presents at one of her teacher friend’s homes, ten miles away.

Mother’s sense of humor came through one Christmas. Our family had a tradition of letting us kids break the wishbone of turkeys or chickens. We happened to raise chickens.

Gathering eggs from setting hens could be hazardous. They guarded their eggs, at all costs, and pecked anything that came their direction.

Freshly killed frying chickens were a real treat in summer. It was crowning point of a home-grown feast, presented when the local pastor came for a visit.

Wishbone breaking rules: The participant with the shortest piece, after both sides of the wishbone bent to the breaking point, was the loser. My older brother incessantly protested his lack of participation opportunities in the contests

It must have tried mother’s patience one too many times that summer. That Christmas, carefully wrapped, box within a box, within a box was a wishbone, marked with my older brother’s name. It was all in good fun, but my brother missed the point.

More Questions, Few Answers

Tropical storms have been named for decades. Many lived on in notoriety–Katrina, Sandy, Harvey, Michael–just to name a few. When did winter storms take on names? What is the purpose of christening winter storms? Is it to sensationalize winter weather events?

The effect on the public is the same as for tropical storms. There are those that panic; raid the store shelves for food, snow shovels. Disaster preparedness advice for winter storms, is, to stay home, instead of evacuation. With extreme snowfall, you’re not going to go anywhere, anyway.

I won’t dignify the latest PC shenanigans, as they’ve been applied to two traditional Christmas songs: “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” and “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.” The PC movement spun off its axis years ago.  The Rudolph saga represented bullying–which was inappropriate? No Virginia, “Rudolph,” was a story about the triumph of an underdog.

I shudder to think what could be said about Santa.  After all, he’s described as a bearded “Jolly Fat Man” with a workshop full of loyal elves; faithful spouse, Mrs. Claus, waiting for his return on Christmas Eve; a stable with sleigh, and eight reindeer capable of an annual flight around the world.

Tripping the Light Fantastic

Went on my monthly visit to the local warehouse, food and domestic supplies store.

The whole process from arrival to departure took only one hour. Not that I’m complaining–just that it was very unusual.

Traffic lights, for the most part were green, instead of the usual red. The Holiday season isn’t that far off.

That’s when people should be jolly, but, instead will be at their worst. No wonder more-and-more people do their shopping on-line.

Maybe the rest of my weekend will be just as enjoyable?

Happy Soupsgiving

No one needs to be reminded of the countdown to Christmas.  It seems to me that after Halloween ends, the Holiday season is upon us.

Our family tradition–a holiday before the Holidays.  No gifts exchanged–except for homemade beef vegetable soup, simmered all day. Homemade chicken noodle soup for those that prefer.

Estranged family members still crave it and are never turned away.  They are obliged with a quart of home-made soup to take home.  Leftovers are enjoyed for days.

Just a few more days till “Soupsgiving.” I can’t wait.  There will be plenty for everyone.  Happy Soupsgiving everyone.

Local Customs

People on winding roads

with names nobody knew

didn’t want to be found

Their thoughts passed by

like gaudy billboards

so unlike, wonders

of the natural world

Noises–pyrotechnics or nature?

Big-city cynicism wasted

Fell curbside with other detritus

Never cared to get too close

Lived lives of their own choosing

Feared for the sanctity

of precious oceans and forests

Adapted when necessary

Then forgot everything

“Was there–anything to declare?”

Nothing–other than what they were

Weird Laws For $200, Alex…

A living trivia category for over thirty years, was the tiny hamlet of Paradise, located in a corner of Michigan’s upper peninsula.  Townsfolk could take social media publicity no longer.

A popular fishing and vacation destination, the “Please refrain from playing Jimmy Buffet music–thank you for your cooperation,” signs in store windows were hard to explain.  The law was impossible to enforce.

“I wouldn’t care if I never heard that “Cheeseburger in Paradise” song, ever again.  And I think most everybody here would agree with me,” Mayor H. Claven Clifford II said at the town meeting.

“If I get another request from a Hollywood media producer, to be interviewed about our being anti-Jimmy Buffet this or that–I’m gonna’ scream.  I swear, Buffet got more publicity from our denial, than he would have gotten otherwise.”

“My father, who was mayor at that time, is probably turning over in his grave.”

“Permission to speak?” Asked Councilman L. E. Muenster.  “Don’t you think it’s time we overturned this asinine piece of legislation?”

“Permission granted.  However, I would caution the councilman to watch his choice of words.  Did you wish to make a motion?”

“Yes, I move that city ordinance 192-85 prohibiting the playing of Jimmy Buffet songs within city limits be overturned.”  The motion passed, almost without objection.

In tiny Paradise, Michigan, it had been against the law to play Jimmy Buffet songs in businesses or public buildings.  It went back to the mid-eighties, when a merchant applied for a license to open a local “Cheeseburger in Paradise” restaurant.

Needless to say, Jimmy Buffet’s lawyers weren’t pleased; threatened legal action if the name wasn’t changed forthwith.  Mayor H. Claven Clifford, not to be outdone, sent a petition to Buffet’s people.  The village of Paradise wasn’t much of a competitive threat–he pleaded.  Paradise, MI was denied–left to its own fates.

Times changed–the years went by.  Most townspeople became indifferent to Paradise’s “Anti-Buffet” ordinance.  After all, Paradise was best know for “pasties”–tasty, homemade meat pies.  And Paradisians were satisfied with the fame that pasties brought their fair city.

Whitefish Point was nearby, and had a museum dedicated to Great Lakes shipwrecks.  Included in the exhibits, was a tribute to the wrecked, Edmund Fitzgerald.  The lake waters began to clear.

The Jimmy Buffet, “Cheeseburger in Paradise” debacle faded from memory.  Gordon Lightfoot, who popularized the “Ballad of the Edmund Fitzgerald,” although Canadian, remained as close to being a local favorite son, as anyone else would ever get.

 

http://www.jeopardy.com/–

 

Happy Favorite Furry Prognosticator Day! (Updated)

punx-phil_wide-f5538c38d419577b08da8bb8da820ee533859c04-s900-c85Unlike when this was written, Super Bowl LI won’t be until next Sunday.  February 1st is also my father’s birthday.  Were he still here, he would be 102 years old. 

Retailers are missing a great marketing opportunity by not capitalizing on Groundhog Day.  Outside of Punxatawny, PA, the holiday is a mere curiosity.  There is a holiday between New Years and Valentines Day.

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It’s the big letdown, day after the Super Bowl.  No doubt, some fuzzy-headed, thick-tongued, post SB revelers, will see their own shadows this morning.  Those going to work will wish they had the day off.  For non-football fans, the wait is on till spring training and the baseball season.

Before I forget it–Happy Favorite Furry Prognosticator Day!  Maybe you hadn’t thought about it much, but it’s a big deal.  The folks in Punxsutawny, PA think so, anyway.  Whatever the rudely awakened Punxsutawny Phil sees, determines how spring will arrive–according to local legend.

Why should the good folks of Punxsutawny, PA have a lock on the occasion?  Why don’t we make it a national holiday?  And why should groundhogs get all the glory?

There are other furry critters, that I’m sure could prognosticate as well.  Beavers, for example–which are also rodents.  Has anyone explored the prognosticating potential of beavers?  And what about their underestimated distant cousins, the muskrats?

My personal favorite, furry prognosticator is the “Wooly Bear” caterpillar–or, as is commonly known, the “Wooly Worm.”  In the interest of brevity, the official holiday could be shortened to “NFFPD” from “National Favorite Furry Prognosticator Day.”

If you’re interested–and I hope you are.  Please contact your local elected representatives.  Just leave my name out of it.  I shy away from publicity–just like the groundhog.  Perhaps the idea of getting chummy with furry critters is abhorrent?  That’s entirely your choice.

Groundhog day is a bit like bowling.  Some like it–some don’t.  Bowling has its own terminology.  Bowling enthusiasts have their own clothing; colorful bowling shirts–monogrammed, with bold-face names, like “Duke,” “Marge,” “Bud,” or “Princess.”  Strikes mean something entirely different from strikes in baseball.  Good bowlers–I come in peace, and mean no harm.  For baseball fans, like myself–help is on the way.

Zero For Three

Sunday morning breakfast has been a tradition for as long as we’ve been a couple.

Not that chain restaurants aren’t good in their own rights. When the same entrees become old and tired, it’s time to find something new.

Last Sunday, we drove by two local, diner-type restaurants–they were both closed. Back to good old Cracker Barrel for usual fare.

Today, an old favorite, known for comfort food, let me down. Formerly, they had breakfast buffets on weekends. They were open, and we were the only, early morning diners.

It seems in the last nine years, due to the economy, the Sunday breakfast buffet was no more. They still were open with a lunch buffet on weekdays.

The quest continues for a mom-and-pop local breakfast restaurant–within a 20 mile radius.  Food, prepared with love–because love conquers all.

ALICE IN MURMURLAND

Things were done the same

Because nobody complained

It was making a living

Everybody’s so sensitive

Tired of walking on eggshells

I’m not talking anymore

Unless, it’s somebody I know and trust

There are fewer of them everyday

How can you tell friends from enemies anymore?

The welcome mat was rolled up and stored

Somewhere further away from reality