Friday, November 28, 2014

Not much to say

Walking today was more like wading. The foliage that was so stunning just over a week ago, is not a tangled-brown-crunchy carpet.

Our tiny dog Taz that tips the scales at just over six pounds almost got lost beneath it all.

I walked today as the sun was setting and noticed the pin oak was still in color so I snapped a quick photo before wading on.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

I love shopping on Thanksgiving

I think, as a nation, we've grown soft. The pansies are whining about all the violence surrounding Pre-Black Friday sales that start just after Thanksgiving supper. 

I for one, consider it a sport. I survived a few hours of shopping with only a dislocated shoulder, a puncture wound just above my navel, three cracked teeth, and a stone bruise.

The closest call was from a woman who wanted the last remaining 32 foot big screen TV. She almost had it on her basket when I arrived and intervened, taking the device for my workshop. 

She would have been a little more of a challenge had she not been holding 18 month old twins and pushing her paraplegic husband in a wheelchair. 

She had a wicked back-stroke elbow slam which gained momentum with the weight of the twins. The force of the elbow caught me off guard and sent me sprawling blood dripping from the corner of my mouth. 

I'd thought her husband was a quadriplegic but he had full use of his arms and drained a high-output taser he'd been concealing the diaper bag. It had grounding probe which hit me in the lower stomach. (Puncture wound I mentioned). 

While I was twitching on the floor, the woman did a Victory Star Drop move banned by World Wrestling Entertainment as being too violent. 

Breathless, I rolled out of her reach when one of the nursing twins bit her distracting her momentarily. 

Unfortunately I came too close to  her five-year-old who pulled a quart can of mace from her backpack and blistered both my eyes. She also kicked me in the teeth with her steel-toed Uggs. I didn't see that coming.

I gained my footing, drop-kicked the kid into the toy aisle where she immediately tied up with another kid over a Disney Princess  doll, which was a stroke of luck for me,  It leveled the playing field significantly.

When the woman leaned over to put the twins in her husband's lap, I did a spin kick with lead-toed work boots and she was down for the count.

I strolled up to the checkout with my booty and reached for my wallet and realized I'd lost it in the melee. 

A few counters over the woman pushing the wheelchair was ringing up $3000 worth of pampers, popcorn, Marlboro Lights, and Diet Mountain Dews  purchased with my credit card.

I saluted her as she shuffled out. She shot me a bird.


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Sunset through the pines

Last night was cooler than I expected, and when I rolled out of bed to get the coffee dripping, I had to step back to my closet for a sweatshirt.

Our priorities changed this week which rearranged my writing schedule and I struggled with my column out on time. That happens from time to time. 

Sometimes the words won't come no matter how hard I coax. I used to fret, but now I've come to realize that not everything I write will qualify for the Pulitzer :)

I do my best. When it's finished, Jilda edits, I make corrections and send that baby winging its way through cyberspace to all the papers that run it.

It was pretty for most of the day, but by late afternoon, clouds rolled in from the gulf and I assumed it would be a sad sunset, but like yesterday Ol' Sol wouldn't be denied.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Everything coming up roses

I think I got a job today. I've been kicking around the idea of going back to work for a while now. We want to go to Europe next year while our great niece and nephew are in London. His job is taking them there for about a year and they asked if we'd like to visit next fall. It's really a no brainer except we would have to take money from savings.

A few weeks ago I began poking around to see if there was any part-time work available. As it turns out, the local college has a part-time job helping people over 50 go back to work.

I sent my resume, transcripts, and some solid letters of recommendation. They review my package and said they'd get back to me.

They called late last week and asked if I could meet with them today. My calendar had things like, check the air conditioning filter, reorder planner refills, and straighten the wires in back of my computer, so I figured I could find the time to meet with them.

The person that interviewed me gave me a brief rundown on the responsibilities before asking, "Does this sound like something you'd be interested in? 

"As a matter of fact I would," I muttered.

A few moments later I was signing an intent to hire, and filing out a stack of forms as thick as War and Peace. 

There are still a number of obstacles I'll have to go through, but it looks like I'll be employed this time next week. I'm excited.

The sky had been beautiful all day, but I walked out of the interview into foreboding skies. I hoped that was not some kind of harbinger.

As I got closer to home, I saw the sun setting beneath the clouds making the horizon look as if it were ablaze.

I wheeled to the side of the road even though the driver behind me showed her annoyance by laying down on her horn. It was a small price to pay for a few moments of heaven, and a signal from above that everything is coming up roses.

Monday, November 24, 2014

A treasure of old photographs ~ my column this week

I stumbled upon a cache of old photos of Jilda’s family this week. She’d almost broken a hip trying to get sweaters out of the depths of my closet. From the darkness, I could hear muffled curses and unkind words about the way I stored my winter clothing.
I’d be the first to admit my storage methodology is a bit unorthodox and hard for others to grasp, but it works for me.
After the sermon, I started packing away all my summer things and fetching the sweats, sweaters and long johns from the bowels of my closet. In the back corner, I found a large plastic storage box the size of a footlocker.
It was filled with things her mother had kept for almost a century. We’d found it in the back of her closet while cleaning out her house after she passed away.
Once I had it out in the open, I poked it a few times with the broom handle to make sure no spiders or wintering mice hopped out.
Popping the plastic lid, I found old cards, letters, photographs, and yellowed newspaper clippings as fragile as a butterfly wing.
Jilda and I started dating when she was barely 16, so I attended holidays, funerals, family reunions and vacations. I took many pictures through the years. But these pictures predated me, and they showed a part of their lives that I’d never seen.
A rolled picture that resembled a scroll stood in one corner. It was about 12 inches tall, but about three-feet wide. I had to put a book on one end to weigh it down, and gently unroll the picture with the tips of my fingers.
The photograph was taken during the early days of WWII when her dad Sharky served as an Army medic. There were 112 soldiers posing in rows for the camera.
Normally with that many men, the photographer would have to back up so far that the faces in the picture would be unrecognizable.
But somehow, the photographer used a lens that allowed him to get close enough that every face was clear. I guess that’s why the picture was so wide.
Standing in the third row in his kakis with his garrison cap tilted to one side, was the young Sharky Phillips looking pensively at the camera. I couldn’t believe I’d never seen that photograph.
Another older picture was of Jilda’s mom Ruby standing outside in a dress and hat, holding her firstborn child Herbert. She was 15 years old at the time. The picture looked as if it could have appeared in Vogue magazine.
Jilda heard me say “Wow!” as I looked at it for the first time. She said, “Mama was so afraid that someone would steal her beautiful baby, that she pinned him to her breast pocket with a diaper pin whenever she took him anywhere.”
There was another picture of Jilda's mom in her Captain Anderson waitress uniform that was taken in 1942 when Sharky was in training at Kendall Air force base.
We both looked at the photographs for a long time. I wish I knew the stories behind all the pictures, but I’d never seen them before, and now it is too late to ask.
Old photographs add richness to the story of our families, and at the risk of sounding like a cliché, they add color to the tapestry of our lives.
I made a decision right then to scan all these one-of-a-kind images.
It would be a shame not to share them with others in our family so they can be passed down to the generations that follow.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

A story behind every photograph

The paper in which my column runs usually puts the lead paragraphs along with a picture of me on the front of the Lifestyle section of the paper. The second half of the column usually jumps to a page inside the section.

Today, the front page had the column as usual, but somehow they didn't include the last half of it. My phone number is listed in the book, and it rang off the hook today. 

When I pointed out to the folks that the entire column was online and that I'd posted it on Facebook, most of them said, "Well, I'M NOT ON THE INTERNET!!!!" 

One demographic that my column tends to resonate with are older folks who grew up hard. Many of them survived the Great Depression, and although I came alone much later, the circumstances around my early life were not that different than many of them, so they identify with many of my topics.

As I mentioned late last week in this blog, the column is about coming across a cache of old photographs. I'll post it tomorrow night, but in the story I describe the picture below which is of Jilda's mom.

She's barely 15 and holding her first child, and there is a story behind this photograph. 

Be sure and come back on Monday night to read it.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Patient creatures

Dogs are patient creatures. They'll sit and wait for hours. Today I did yard yoga.  Caillou walked out with me to supervise.

He lay with his head on his paws while I moved slowly through my routine. It seems he's never bored, and rarely interrupts me when I'm doing my stretches.

Though meditation is hard for him to witness. Anyone lying on the ground obviously needs assistance.  

Today, while he didn't actually touch me, he was so close I could feel his breath on my face. He was so close, all I could see was his nose. 

I think he was trying to decided if I needed mouth to mouth. I'm glad he decided to wait until I opened my eyes.

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