Monday, March 27, 2017

Around Town Again

Image result for fisher animal free image

Dreary weekend – rainy and looking kind of Edgar Alan Poe-ish out there. Can’t go outside and sick of being inside. Thank the good Lord for wheels. Right?

So, hubby and I hopped to and got ourselves on the road only to be stopped by the train. We live very near some railroad tracks on the Boston to Buffalo line. Both of us hoped for a short wait, but as the big arms and flashing lights blocked our exit to freedom (aka the grocery store), we knew all we could do was wait it out. And then I thought, “Hang on! Graffiti – I love graffiti and side-of-the train graffiti is the best.” My face brightened as I watched. Spray painted and bold with block letters spewing forth phrases like “Go Bulldogs” and “Hey Man” assaulting my vision. But the best one was simple. The word “Chico” in chubby black letters (remember those from school?) setting in a cloud of white with a little green thrown in for good measure all running along the bottom of one rusty boxcar. Whoever Chico is, I’ll bet he’s beaming. I wonder if railroad execs secretly hire spray paint artists so we don’t go all crazy waiting for the 120 car train to go by. In any case, it’s nice to have some interesting reading to do while you wait, don’t  you think?

Then, on Saturday, I happened to be in Walmart. As I cruised down the aisles an employee with a wide broom came towards me. An older man, longish hair and it looked to me like he and joy were complete strangers. I dodged his broom and zipped over to a clearance rack. Then I saw him again on my way to dog food. He was leaning on the jewelry counter as a fellow employee nattered on about fishers. “The only natural predator of porcupines,” he enthused, leaning in. The joyless man listened with great patience. “You don’t see hardly any of those around anymore,” opined his friend. Hearing this and glancing at broom guy’s face, I reassessed my opinion of him. He was a serious dude and perhaps reserved his joy for the chance of one day seeing an actual fisher (related to minks and ferrets) and hopefully not as road kill.

Sunday it was off to an afternoon of basketball game. #1 grandson is on a premier team and was plucked from his regular school team to play for them. HOWEVER, for this game he sat on the bench for nearly the entire time. Here was a situation that put those of us who came to watch in a bit of a snit. Yeah, we wanted our team to win. Yeah, we want Sam to be on a winning team. But our boy is our love and our favorite player and we came to see him. But I paused in my inward ranting when a thought popped into my stewing brain. Sam was a preferred player on his former team. While having to watch rather than play he may develop some empathy for those who sat on the bench all those games while he owned the court. It calmed me to think more in that direction than the other.

Life. Things happen. So - how goes it in your neighborhood?  

Image: A Fisher                                                            Free Internet

Monday, March 20, 2017

Comfortable Spaces


When I was a kid I loved the funny papers and comic books. One of my favorites was Nancy and Sluggo. I know – from a very long time ago. The two of them were best buds. Always having grand adventures and  pulling stunts on each other. Similar to how my sisters and brothers and I got along. I wax nostalgic whenever I think of Nancy and her pal Sluggo. I was someone who would have jumped right into the cartoon frames to live in the world created by Guy Gilcrest.

Coming forward  many decades and some of that same feeling was roused a few nights ago when I decided to re-watch “Cranford” set in nineteenth century Britain. The opening credits are rolled out against an artist’s rendering of what the village of Cranford and its surrounding countryside might have looked like. Again, I thought of how lovely it would be to jump into that space and live the idyllic life. The sheep pastures, the flys (a kind of carriage not the insects), lace collars, bright bonnets, quaint haberdasheries and all the marvelous and quirky characters with which Elizabeth Gaskell peopled her village.

But, as comfortable as it is to inhabit those spaces, reality has a way of popping up out of the floorboards and smacking  you one. Like when Nancy and Sluggo get into a name calling contest. “You’re dumb!”  “No, you’re dumb!” In the last frame that’s the only word either of them is shouting. Dumb, Dumb, Dumb. As a kid this cracked me up. It was a very real scenario in our household of nine children and there was some pleasure in seeing that two of my favorite comic book characters knew about real life.

In the second episode of Cranford things were not so amusing. A small child is stricken with the croup and does not survive. He lies dead in his sister’s arms and the family is devastated. The new doctor in town was unable to save him and is stunned.  In the same episode, across town, Deborah dies of a stroke leaving her sister, Miss Mattie, alone. It was a fate all too common then. These two old spinsters had been life itself to each other and it brought to mind the very real possibility that I may outlive one of my own sisters. Quite sobering.

Sometimes I hate reality. Fights. Family feuds. Loss of friends, funds and function. In the dark times It takes some doing to remember that reality doesn’t always mean the dreadful things. Reality is a complete package and until the dreadful outweighs the delightful we have a reason to smile. Jumping into the comfortable frames – whatever they are - every once in a while helps us to cope and makes us better. It’s a great place to go when  you need it. I have mine. What are  yours? 

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Tuesday, March 14, 2017

An Old Truck Story

This is a story (a repeat) from my sister-in-law, Elizabeth Bagger. She is married to my brother, Tim, and sent it to me years ago when I requested car stories from the family thinking maybe I could do an anthology of sorts. Our late brothers, Jim and David, had tough lives, but this story illustrates how crazy and puzzling those lives could be sometimes. This one's for you, boys. Miss you.

The year was 2002, and the Anaheim Angels were in the World Series.  Jim and David were at Mom’s house watching the 7th game, and the Angels won their first World Series! What a glorious time of jubilant celebration! And this was happening just three miles down the road. Dave and Jim leapt off the couch in celebration and said, “Let’s go down and watch the fireworks and join in the celebration!” They jumped in Jim’s 1978 Ford Ranger, decided a quarter tank of gas was enough, and headed toward the festivities.
The crowds were thick, and they had to park blocks from the stadium.  Knowing the potential for vandalism, Jim was sure to roll up the windows, and lock the doors.  The two brothers walked toward the stadium, mesmerized by the extravagant show of fireworks. People were in the streets shouting and cheering with joy.  They arrived on State College Blvd where there were parades of cars honking and people cheering. They talked with other members of the crowd about what a great year the Angels had had. After about an hour, having sufficiently experienced the revelry, Jim and Dave headed back to the truck four blocks away.
They were parked just east of the stadium, in an industrial complex parking lot, filled with the vehicles of other fans. As they walked, they noticed flyers for a local gym under the windshield wipers of all the cars. When they arrived where they had parked, the truck was not there.  After searching through the complex to be sure they were looking in the right place, they finally concluded that the truck had been stolen. Jim made a call to the Anaheim PD to make a report. After his interview with the officers, they found a phone and called mom to come pick them up.
The Police checked with the local tow services and impound yards, suspecting that it had been illegally parked and towed away. Nope. No records of such a vehicle.  Jim hoped to get a call from the Police Department saying they had retrieved his stolen truck. As the weeks turned into months, he began to lose hope.  
Six months later, he got a call. The police received a call from a local impound yard, looking to find the owner of a 1978 Ford Ranger. The police contacted Jim, and told him he could pick up the truck.  No, there was no record of any theft. No, there were no fees due at the impound yard, and there was no damage to the vehicle. When Jim asked how it got there, they could give him no answer. They said, “It just appeared, and we want you to get it out of here.” It still had a quarter tank of gas, and the flyer was still under the wiper.
What’s the moral of the story? When God does not want you to drive for a while, He will snatch your vehicle out of existence, and return it just as He found it when the time is right!

Image: The truck in question. 

Monday, March 6, 2017

Magazines - A Few Reviews

Done any good magazine reading lately? That’s a question readers don’t hear too often, right? But this morning it occurred to me that while book reading is awesome, so too is magazine reading. Shorter and often of greater impact. And even though I’m not being paid (darn!) to mention any of the following, I think you may enjoy my review of a few of my recent reads.

Reminisce – I actually have a subscription to this one and it arrives every other month via the Way Back Machine. Memories of the adventures, ill spent moments of youth and grandma’s fabulous Sunday chicken dinners abound. Written by readers and accompanied by all manner of old photos, it’s a big hit at our house. The photos are awesome and bring it on home as far as memories are concerned. We who grew up in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s love this one.

Popular Mechanics – This was a Christmas gift to hubby from our youngest son. It’s been relegated to the “necessary room” and gets snatched from the basket when something short and informative is called for. That’s where I learned about gas – uh – natural gas, that is. The kind from the ground! Settle down. I took the Test Your Fuel IQ quiz that popped up in the article sidebar. But even after reading the article, I failed the question about which firewood has the highest BTU. See? That’s why I read the mag. To find out good stuff and never use it.

Woman’s World – This one brings out the girly in me. Well, and the bound and determined writer who wants to sell them a mini-mystery or a romance. That comes out, too. Been trying for years. Anyway, this one is full of the latest diets and rich desserts (go figure), fashion, home d├ęcor, and a complete diagnosis of what your guardian angel may be telling you if only you'd pay more attention. I love it. It’s a weekly pub and I grab one at the grocery store at least once a month.

Now watch. Because I’ve written so wittily and in-depth about magazines, the Prize Patrol will probably arrive to award me with a gazillion of them instead of the $$$ check. Just so you know, PP – I’ll take the check. Okay?

What are  your faves in the magazine realm

Image: The Fuel Quiz is in this issue