SADIE AND THE GOLDEN LOCOMOTIVE


SADIE AND THE GOLDEN LOCOMOTIVE

My granddaughter Sadie and my daughter Sunshine are birds of a feather. They keep their eyes open.   They both know a good thing when they spot it. Sadie might be better at it than Sunny. They’re both pros though. Grandparents are the prime target for each of them. Sunny always had my folks in the cross hairs. Sadie has me wrapped around her pinky.  There’s no escape. It’s tradition.

If a pickpocket ever tries for my riches, chances are they will probably take a look at the stuff in my jeans and carefully put it back. Then, they’ll take some of their own money and, very cautiously slip me a few bucks and go rob someone else. The fences just don’t need any thing I got. Of course, value is a matter of opinion. In a crisis, a bag of spuds will be worth more than a bag of gold. Gold is just not that tasty or nourishing but, spuds fill an empty belly. A coin is just a coin but, a souvenir is a memory when you’re all alone. One such memory sits in my pocket. Let me tell you how it got there.

Sandy and I were riding through Phillipsburg, NJ about nine years ago. Sadie was in the back seat. She was three or four years old going on thirty. I can still hear her talking. “Hey, Pop Pop! Why are we going thirty five miles an hour?”

She kind of caught me by surprise. I had to look at the gauge and talk fast. “Gosh, I don’t know Sadie. I guess I just am.   Does it matter?”

I guess it did. Sadie got right on the case. “Pop Pop, you just passed a twenty five mile an hour sign. You could get a ticket.”

I guess she was right. I slowed down a bit only to be reminded that twenty seven miles an hour wasn’t twenty five.

It seemed to take forever but, we finally got to our destination. I parked the van and, we all hopped out. Sadie worked the parking meter. I had to help her up to reach it. The destination was a surprise so she had to close her eyes and walk with her eyes closed till I said she could look.

When we got close enough I told her to open her peepers and there she was standing right next to a big operating steam locomotive. The engine was blowing off steam and let out with a whistle. It must have been twelve feet high. That’s pretty tall to a three year old. The engineer and fireman were looking out of the cab. It was to be a Halloween run so, they were wearing goblin masks. Most kids would have wanted to run. Sadie just cheered with a big thumbs up.

I had been advertising this excursion on the radio and, as a result, I knew some of the crew from an interview we did together. The engineer hollered down to me. “Hey Doc! Do you two want to come up and take a look around the cab? Put your granddaughter in front of you as you climb and she’ll be OK.”

I turned to ask Sadie if she’d like to climb up the engine. She was already heading for the ladder. I guess that was a yes. Up we went. It didn’t take long and, we were stepping into the cab. The crew took their masks off and said hello. They did a pretty good job of showing her how the engine worked. Sadie wanted to know if she could drive it. They said she’d have to be a bit older than four.

I mentioned that a big fire that turns water into steam makes the whole shebang run. The crew opened the firebox doors for Sadie to see.  Sadie walked up to the flames and warmed her hands. I knelt down next to her and pointed out the water jacket surrounding the fire. Sadie asked if that’s where the steam would be. I told her yes and that it’s mostly steam and very hot water behind the steel, more than enough to pull the whole train at a pretty good clip.

It was time to climb down and get into the passenger cars. Sadie shook hands all around with the crew. Her hands were filthy. She liked that. When we got back on the ground, the crew waved and let loose with the steam whistle and told us to hurry up and get on board. We were the last ones except for the conductor. Sandy got us to our seats. Our fannies hit the seat with a thump as the train jolted us off our feet. We were on our way to the pumpkin patch eight miles down line.

The ride was a good one. We got to the pumpkin patch on time. Sadie picked out a nice pumpkin and said hello to a few of the ghosts and goblins that haunted the area. Soon, we were on our way back to the station.

On the way back, Sadie asked if there was a gift shop on the train. She was and still is, pretty big on gift shops. I told her that it was just a small train and, they probably didn’t have one on board. Sadie looked around the coach and pointed at a sign and hollered. “That sign says there is a gift shop on board Pop Pop. It’s in the rear car.”

Sandy, likes gift shops too. So, the two of them headed to the rear.   I stayed back and looked out the window at the Deleware River passing by. I was remembering my first train ride so long ago. I was daydreaming about how good the hot dogs were at the Newark station when I felt a tug at my sleeve.

It was Sadie. She could hardly contain herself. She handed me a tiny bag. Her smile had her speechless. I took the bag as Sadie told me to open it up right now. I did as I was told and found that I was now the proud owner of a miniature steam locomotive key chain. Sadie was the first to point out that if I pushed down on the steam bell housing on the top of the engine, the headlight would light up. “That way, you can see the keyhole in the dark Pop Pop!” Darned if it didn’t work just as she said. I held it as if it were made of gold because it was.

Well, the years have not been kind to the locomotive key chain. The key holder part fell off first. The battery died in about two months. The roof came off the cab about a month ago. The wheels are long gone. Most of the paint has worn off too. One day a while back, I couldn’t find it. I searched for hours and finally found it under some dirty socks. Every evening, it’s the last thing to go on the bed table. Every morning, that little engine is the first thing in my pocket. That’s because it’s made of gold…..sort of.

 

 

 

SOMEONE PICKED THE GREEN ONE

SOMEONE PICKED THE GREEN ONE.

In the dairy aisle, we get roughly four pallets of milk each week. That’s about two hundred and twenty five cases at four jugs per case. I guess we keep the cows pretty busy.   As you might already know there’s all kinds of milk available anymore. It used to be that you just got two kinds of milk. You could choose from pasturised or homogenized. That was pretty much it. Don’t get me started on all the types and styles you can get nowadays. There’s dozens. I’ve seen husbands come in just shake their heads. Soon they get out the cell phones and call the wife or kids to read the label on the milk in the fridge. Next, they’re calling me over for a consultation. You should hear them.

“Hey Sir! Where’s the 2% lactose free organic grass fed half gallons?” Actually, that one’s pretty easy. It’s the one with the drawing on the label of cow skipping rope in the farmers front yard.

Now that they have that one, they need a gallon of whole milk and, the house brand will do. I point out that it’s the big jug with the red cap on top sitting in the bottom rack. Bingo, we have yet another satisfied customer as off they go. For the gallons the cap pretty much identifies the product. I won’t get into details for all the styles of jugged milk but, in our store, a red capped gallon signifies whole milk. At least that’s how it was till the other day.

The dairy manager and I were in the cooler when the milk delivery came. The receiver forklifted it through the swinging cooler doors and dropped the pallet in front of us. She said that we’re going to have a problem with one case. We asked if we had a leaker. She said no. Nothing was dripping but, it looked like that one case of whole milk was shorted by one bottle and the driver stuck a different jug in the case of four.   We looked to see a jug with a green cap mixed in with all the red capped jugs.

Now a green cap signifies a jug of a different brands 1% milk. Luckily, we sell that brand in our store. It’s a bit more money but, at least we handle it. We let it go, some things just don’t need a whole lot of bother and, this was one of those things. Or, was it?

We were low on milk out on the shelf so, I got busy lugging cases out to the aisle while my manager busied himself loading yogurt. Eventually, I grabbed the case with the one green topped jug.   I took it along with other cases out onto the selling floor.   There was plenty of room for the red capped whole milks. They went up in a jiffy. I saw we had room for the green capped jug in the 1% spot so, I stuck it in place.   I eyed my handiwork briefly and turned to deal with the empty milk crates. Suddenly, I recoiled in horror and turned back to eye the shelf.

You know how sometimes something doesn’t quite sink in at first but, when it does…..POW!!!!   Well, that’s just what happened to me. I looked back at the 1% section. My fears were well founded. The green capped bottle wasn’t what it seemed to be. Oh, it had a green cap alright. But, the green cap wasn’t on a 1% jug. The green cap sat instead on a gallon of house brand whole milk. It’s every dairy clerks worst nightmare. Only the shelf losing coolant and getting hot could be worse.

I ran to my manager with the dreaded news. He dropped what he was doing and we ran to the milk section. We just stood there and shook our heads my manager finally spoke.

“It’ll never sell! That jug’s a goner for sure. Take it out of the 1% section and stick it with the whole milk house brand. It’s never going to sell. No one’ going to trust a green capped whole milk mixed in with all the red caps. What’s the date on the back of the jug?”

I looked and gave my report. “It’s good for twelve days. Should I put a half price sticker on it?”

My manager didn’t think that was a good idea. “No, let’s see how it goes. Remind me in a week.   Just hope the top brass doesn’t see this.” Boy, I agreed with that.

We both shook our heads at our misfortune and went back to our chores. It was a sad day indeed. That jug was doomed. No one will even glance sideways at a jug with an odd colored cap on it. They just don’t trust it. Honestly, I thought it would just be better to snag the jug and get it out of site.   I felt it was the kind thing to do.

Sure as heck, every day we’d sell quite a few gallons of whole milk. Sometimes, there’d only be a few left and only a few to pick from. Still, no one took the green capped jug. It just sat there.

Days went by.   Soon, it would be time to remove the jug from the shelf because it was getting old. Fellow workers from other departments would pass by on their way to the rest room and just stare at the jug shaking their heads. One girl from the meat department just said, “It just doesn’t fit in. Maybe one of us should buy it. What do you think? Still, it’s got that green cap. It should have a red cap. I don’t get it.” It’s funny, but, I think we were all starting to identify with that jug of milk. I know I was rooting for it to realize its full potential and sell.

One day I was sticking sliced cheese packages on these long shelf hooks. I noticed out of the corner of my eye that a guy was walking down the aisle towards check out with just a jug of milk in his hand. I couldn’t believe my eyes. He had a green capped jug and, it wasn’t 1%. This guy was buying Ole Greenie. I dropped what I was doing and ran over to him.

“Sir, are you buying that jug of milk?” He said he was.

“You know that’s whole milk, right?” He said he saw that it was.

“The date’s OK for you right? It’s getting pretty close.” I pointed out.

He looked and figured his family would drink the jug dry in no time at all.   The date was fine. He started wondering if he had made a mistake. It’s not every day a customer gets the third degree for buying a gallon of milk. He started looking at me funny. I continued undaunted.

“The milk’s just fine sir. I’m just surprised someone finally bought it. It’s got a green cap.   No one’s been wanting it. Doesn’t make sense but, it’s just been sitting there and not getting picked up.”

The customer said he prefers to read labels. The cap color didn’t seem to matter much to him. He was more interested in what was in the bottle not so much whether the cap was green or red. He needed whole milk and the label read whole milk. That was all he needed to see.

The guy took the jug out to his car and drove off. Word spread through the store like greased lightning. We were all relieved. Me, I just liked thinking how that jug of milk would do just fine in its new home. Maybe the guy had kids in the house and they’d get up early and use the milk for their oatmeal. Maybe the kids would make chocolate milk. Maybe the guys wife would need milk for making mashed potatoes. Most of all I hoped that one of the kids would think the green cap was pretty and they’d stick it in their pocket or goodie box.

 

I

 

POSTAGE DUE

POSTAGE DUE

It’s funny how life can turn on a dime from one extreme to the next. Last Saturday night I was feeling pretty darn good about things. I managed to knock out two car shows earlier in the day. They went very well. They sounded good if nothing else. They could have been rained out but, it didn’t happen. I got paid so, financially, all was well.   I had a nice meal to go from the Chatterbox sitting in the back of the truck. I think it was chicken cordon bleu and, it certainly had my name on it. Millie the Hound and I were going to have a feast when I got home. Even better than all that was the fact that I had raised a bunch of money in my donation jar for the VFW. You know, that’s the jar that sits on my DJ table whenever I’m doing a gig. Once again, I had a check ready and sitting right next to me. The envelope was all stamped up and ready to mail. I just needed a mailbox and, bingo. I have to admit that I felt right on top of the old heap­-a-roo as I drove through the night. I almost didn’t need headlights I was beaming so much.

So there’s this mailbox I like to use on my way home from the Chatterbox on Saturday nights. I think it’s in the town of Greendell. You have to turn off the road and into a dark parking lot and go back off the road about a hundred feet.  There’s lawn and woods on the left. The darkened old post office sits on the right. I think the post office is actually the basement of an old firehouse. The old fire hall might just be used for storage nowadays. A newer fire station rests nearby on the other end of the large parking lot. At this time of night it’s a lonely and dark scene lit only by a lone street light or two. On some nights there might be some firemen around doing this or that but, not this evening.

I drove up to the mail drop box. It’s like any other post box you might find anywhere. Like most modern drop boxes, this one just uses a narrow slit to insert the mail you have. It didn’t have the old weighted drop door from days gone by. I guess the new ones, like this one, somehow use the twists in the slit chamber to hold back even the hardest windblown rain.

I think I was singing base to a doo wop cd I had playing when I pulled up to the drop box. I didn’t put the window down all the way. I stopped and grabbed the envelope for the VFW. I transferred the letter to my left hand and put the envelope down and into the slot. I reached in a bit just to make sure the envelope fell into place. I hit the gas lightly and started to move out. That’s when it happened. That’s when day almost turned into night real fast.

Somehow, I didn’t realize that my hand and most of my forearm was still in the slot. My index finger and thumb was on outside of the lip on the right side of the slot. My other fingers formed a wide V on the inside of the slot. My forearm was straddling the middle of the slot bottom and my upper arm was against my vans drivers side window post. Long story short, when the van started to move, my fingers jammed up against the lip and got stuck as my whole arm was pushed into the slot wall by the momentum of the van. This all happened very fast.   In a mini second I went from whistling to yelling. It was going to be my fingers first, then, my hand followed by my wrist, next my forearm bones would go as would my elbow, topped off by a nice fracture of my humerous. To do all this, the van would only have to move two feet. Three or four feet would probably yank my arm out by the socket. Talk about a jam.

I went for the brake and got the van stopped. In the slowdown process, I somehow moved my index finger enough to free my wrist action and that got my hand out of the way of the far wall. With that done, I bought enough microseconds to get my forearm away from the wall and yank it all out of the slot before my shoulder went past the far slot edge. If there had been one delay in any motion, there would have been lots of cracking and hollering. It still hurt like holy heck but, I was free. This all took less than a second or two to happen. Funny but, in all of this I thought I felt a warm hand grab my fingers and lower palm and yank them in the right direction to escape. I could be wrong but, I did feel something. Of course, I’m also very double jointed so, maybe that was it. Still, I think something got my outside fingers out of the way which started the escape. It all happened so fast. It’s hard to tell but, still I thought I felt another hand.   All I know is that I was in a potentially bad spot and seconds were like years.

I don’t even want to think of the pain that I would have felt. Every bone in my arm could have been broken. It would have been bang, just like that. Then, worse than the actual break, I would have had to drive myself for help. My poor useless arm would have been dangling out the window swaying back and forth as I drove for help. That’s if I still had an arm. Even if I had a cell phone, how could I call anyone? It would be even worse when help arrived. Somehow they’d have to move my arm to stabilize it. I’d be going right through the roof. Worse than that, if my whole arm came off and fell into the letterbox they’d have to use the jaws of life to retrieve it. I’d probably have to pay the postage due on my arm to get it back. I’ll bet I would have got yelled at for no zip code.   God bless me but, I sure dodged a bullet.

On the way home I kind of cringed a bit in the drivers seat as I dwelt a bit on life’s sudden turns for better or worse. I said thanks to the powers that be and resolved to keep one eye peeled for trouble when all is going well. I think I’ll mail a letter at that box again this Saturday night and, if I feel that helping hand come up out of the slot, I think I’ll shake hands with it.

 

 

 

DESCRIBING MY BOOK…..JUST IN CASE

DESCRIBING MY BOOK, JUST IN CASE

I got to thinking the other day, while I was hosting a car show, that my books title might be a bit confusing. No one could possibly have any idea as to what a book of blurps is about. I sat there playing car songs and realized that heck, I hardly know what my book is about and, I wrote it. So, I sat there drinking a coffee and went over it all in my mind as I went from one song to the next. Frankly, I was having a hard time getting even one little thought about it to come out of my cranium. I finally decided to take a break and just play some tunes. After all, I did have a nice crowd on hand and this was a pretty good car show. I started concentrating on the tunes instead of the problem plaguing my noggin. I figured it best to stick the question on a back burner and wait for a clue to hit me.

I don’t know how many cool tunes I played or, how many intros and announcements I did. But, I did quite a few. I bent over into my record pile to look for a song to play next. When, I looked up from that mess, record in hand, I saw that one of the car people was standing in front of me. He was smiling. I said hello. He did the same.

He went on to speak. “Hey, Doc. Thanks for playing that last song. I haven’t heard it in years. Where did you find it? That was The Beach Boys, right?”

I shook my head yes. It was that song of theirs called, At the Drive In.   The guy continued.  Man he was on a roll.

“Yeah, my wife reminded me that the Beach boys were singing that song in the background when she and I first met back in our school days. We were trying to think of a place to go on our first date and that song came on.   So, I asked her to go to the drive in movies with me and some friends. Yeah, I had to promise not to get fresh. I had my fingers crossed behind my back though. She’s been a great wife. I’m glad we met. Hey thanks for that song.”

As the guy walked away, I realized I had my answer. Most good songs spur great actions, and rekindle great memories. My Blurps do somewhat the same thing only they’re not very musical.

So, there you have it. I’ve written these things for what I hope is a good purpose. You see, I mean for them to entertain you and get you to see and partake in the good things of life. It’s my hope that these cool little nothings will inspire you to look for cool little nothings of your own to enjoy. I want them to make your life happier.

Now, go read the book and get busy. I want to see lots of smiles and good efforts.

 

If you want a copy of the book, email me at docsouthshow@yahoo.com or message me on facebook. Of course, I’ll be happy to autograph one for you. It’s also available on Amazon Books.

THE FOURTH TELLING

THE FOURTH TELLING.   THERE’S A TRUTH HERE SOMEWHERE.

This time I’m going out on a limb tell you a joke that you may have heard before. I hope this won’t get me in trouble with the joke police but, it’s too good to not pass on. I got it from my brother Ed, who got it from his minister, who probably got it from a book of weekly jokes ministers subscribe to. I salute whoever it was who came up with this one because besides being funny, this person was also dabbling in certain absolute and universal truth.   Still, it’s going to be tough going into the pen and being thrown into a cell with an ax murdering convict or two. How can I tell them I got twenty years for stealing a joke? They may want me to tell it to them. I’m awful at joke telling. I’ll be doomed. Still, I’ve got to pass this one on.

It’s raining real hard all around this housing development. It’s coming down in buckets. This home owner notices a leak in the ceiling. He grabs a ladder and climbs up on the roof to fix the leak. He’s very religious so he crosses himself before he takes to the first step. He’s busy putting roof patch on the leaky area when the cops drive by.   One of the officers hollers form the squad car.

“Hey mister. The dam upstream looks like it might give out. Climb on down here and we’ll drive you to a shelter on high ground! Hurry up!”

The guy on the roof waves them off. They can see him through the driving rain as he shouts.

“Go on. I don’t need your help officers. If the dam breaks God will save me.”

With that, he starts working on the roof some more as the police drive to the next house. Minutes later the water rises just a bit more from all the rain. Now, the wind kicks up too and, blows the ladder over. The guy is now stuck on the roof.

The water rises another foot. It’s looking pretty bad.   Just then from around the corner, the rescue squad rows up the street in a boat. The squad chief hollers through a megaphone.

“Ahoy there sir! This rain isn’t going to let up any time soon. We’ve just got time to stick your ladder back up and get you down from there and row you off to safety. We’ll heave up a line. Grab it!”

The guy on the roof refuses the help. He just hollers down to the boat as it rows closer.

“Never mind. I’m ok. If it gets worse, God will take care of me. I’m putting my trust in the Lord!!!”

The rescue squad chief shrugged his shoulders gave the sign to push on down the street to continue the search and, off they went. The rain got worse with every minute. Soon, the ladder was impossible to even see in the murky water.

Just then, a loud rumble sounded in the far distance. It sounded like thunder but, it wasn’t thunder. As everyone feared, the dam was failing and water was rushing down the valley right for the mans home. This time he was really in a spot. Suddenly, he could hear, over the distant rushing water, the muffled rumble of an engine approaching. It was a helicopter just skimming the tree tops and coming his way.   The chopper hovered over the roof and lowered a safety line. Things were finally looking up. The crew in the chopper signaled for the man to grab the harness so he could be pulled up to safety. Again, he waved off the rope as he hollered at the top of his lungs.

“God will save me. I have no doubt or fear. He will save me. Go away!

The chopper couldn’t do anything but rise up above the trees and boogie out of there. The water was near and coming fast. Just as the chopper disappeared behind a tree, a wall of water hit the entire neighborhood. All was washed away downstream up to and including the lifeless body of the guy from the roof.

Mere seconds later, the man, drenched to the bone, crawled up to the Pearly Gates. Saint Peter said hello and, welcome. The guy just croaked out a feeble yet angry request.

He gasped, “Let me speak to God! Right now!!!”

Saint Peter got God on the Pearly Gate Intercom. (Note: This intercom was installed at the gate house back in 1950. Bell Telephone got the contract. It still works just fine.)

You could hear God saying “Hello? Hello? Is this the right button Gabriel? Yes, this is God. What can I do for you?”

The guy was a bit miffed. “God! What the heck happened down there? I put my trust in you and, you let me be washed away to my death. I told everyone that you were going to save me and, you didn’t! You didn’t do anything!!”

God answered laughing. “What do you mean I didn’t do anything? For crying out loud. You wanted miracles? Well, I sent miracles. Just for you, I called the cops. Then, I called the rescue squad. Heck, I even sent out a chopper.”

Moral of the story…..   Miracles can be boring and routine if you let them. But, you shouldn’t do that. Especially in a flood.

 

 

 

 

THE SECRET GOOD DEED

THE SECRET GOOD DEED

Sometimes I like to do a good deed when no one is watching.   That way, the only person knows about it is me. It might be something innocuous like not taking a choice parking space near the front door of a building leaving it for someone else. Sometimes, I go out of my way to not step on a bug and just let it go on its way. Even if it’s a big hairy spider drooling poison out of its two grimy fangs, I just choose to let it go. Of course, if it’s climbing up the inside of my pant leg, all bets are off.

One of my favorite things to do is to just pick up litter when I see it on the ground. I think in the service they call that policing an area. I just check to see that no one is watching and, go to town. The other night at the Chatterbox there were these purple fliers all over the patio floor. This sometimes happens. People have an event planned and, they pass out the info to whoever wants one. There’s no harm done and, you might get a few more folks at the event for your trouble.

Of course, sometimes the fliers get dropped.   They can sometimes blow off a table or a windshield. It doesn’t take long and soon the sidewalks full of the darn things.   This was the case a few Saturdays ago.   There were probably two dozen of them on the Chatterbox patio.

I was done with packing up my stuff. It was dark out and, I was waiting for my fish sandwich to come out. I was fixing to eat it on the way home. In short it was time for the Masked Dogooder to strike again. Making sure no one was looking, I put on my cape and mask and got out my atomic litter picker. My mission to eradicate the scourge of litter from the Chatterbox patio was handled in short order. All that remained to do was to place the wayward sheets of trash into the proper and approved receptacle. I covered my face with my cape to hide my true identity and slithered to the trash cans.

Then I got to thinking. What was written on these slips of paper? Could it perhaps be something of interest? Perhaps, I should investigate. So, I stood there and read one of the slips. Turns out it was an advertisement for a new cruise night. HMMM!!!! I saw that they had no indication that there would be a dee jay for this night. “ Interesting”, I thought as I stuffed one slip into the zippered top secret data pocket on the inside of my cape.

In a flash, I changed back into my true identity. The waiter was coming around the far corner with my fish sandwich with extra lemon. Soon, I was in my car and heading home. The waiter had no clue but, he did mention that the patio looked really clean for having had such a busy night.

On the ride home in the trash mobile, I vowed to give this business owner a call. Maybe, I’d just drop in unannounced and see what’s up.

PROLOGUE : Yes, I got the gig……Proving once again that good works are their own reward. Up UP AND AWAY!!!!!!

 

SITTING ON THE PORCH JUST BUNSCHOOTEN THE BREEZE

SITTING ON THE PORCH JUST BUNSCHOOTEN THE BREEZE

I had just the best day in a while yesterday sitting on the porch at the Elias Van Bunschooten Museum. It stands along Route 23 just a bit north of Sussex, NJ. I was talking with Diane. She’s belongs to the Chinkchewunska Chapter of the DAR. The museum is under their care and is open to the public from mid Spring to about mid Fall.

The museum sits on a smaller version of what used to be a one thousand acre plantation. I think they have six acres of the original parcel. Diane mentioned that they’re all kind of grateful that they don’t have a thousand acres to care for. Six is more than enough she told me as we did a one hour conversation for my station.

Elias Von Bunschooten, the original owner, was a traveling minister for the Dutch Reformed Church.   His flock got together and built him an adequate home on a thousand acre tract of land. It was his to work and he prospered rather nicely. During those days Elias and others, owned slaves. That was common then but, they were treated well. Many became free in due time and prospered like anyone else with hard work.

Diane and I got to talking about how hard the folks back then worked. Most of us in this day and age wouldn’t last ten minutes.   We’d be screaming about when’s break time.   I don’t think any of us would enjoy moving a twelve foot boulder from the path of a new roadway with horses and manpower. Making boards with huge two handled hand saws with one guy standing on the log and the other guy in a ditch under the log would give a new meaning to the term blue Monday. The chores and tasks were never in short supply.

Elias took ill as he grew older. A family came to care for him in his old age. When he passed away, the farm became theirs. This was the Cooper family. Like Elias, they prospered with the usual hard work. Talk about hard labor, the mom in that family had ten kids.  The house had to be enlarged. At least there were plenty of hands to work the ever increasing chores. It must have been a great family. I’ll bet they had more than their share of good times.

One of the Cooper kids became a doctor. When the Civil War broke out, he served in the field with the Union forces. I wasn’t able to get the stories of his time in the Union Army but, it had to be harrowing. His home had to be the most wonderful sight ever when he came up the hill and back to it at wars end. As I looked around the museum, I saw that other members of the Cooper family were in one military operation or another all through our nations history.

Somehow I felt bad for Dr. Cooper. He and his medical unit had to feel so helpless and overwhelmed by the carnage coming in from our Civil War battlefields. I heard that after the war, Dr Cooper became a pharmacist in nearby Port Jervis. I don’t know, of course, but maybe he had his fill of surgery and blood. No matter what, I’m sure his home, after the war, had to be such a joy and relief.

Some of the Coopers did rather well in the Pennsylvania Oil boom during the late 1800’s and into the early 1900’s. The old home became a summer retreat. I’m sure the porch rockers rocked all day and into the evening.  They probably enjoyed seeing Route 23 go from a dirt road to a paved two lane.

The house changed hands from the Coopers. Other nice folks moved in. One lady made extra money by cooking these really great chicken dinners once or twice a week. Neighbors came by hungry and left quite full and smiling. She charged $3.00 per person.

Another family moved in around the middle of our century and stayed quite a while. I may have this wrong but I believe they were the ones who gave the house to the DAR to maintain and keep under their care as a museum. After that happened, I hear that members of that large family who lived in other parts of the country started sending furniture to the museum. It turns out that they were finding and sending the original furniture and knick knacks that once graced the home. That kind of thing almost never happens. So, if you go to the museum, you might see in the front hallway, the very desk that Medical Capt Cooper once sat at to do his paperwork and gather his thoughts. You can feel his presence there if you get real quiet and still. His portrait hangs nearby.

Sitting on the front porch with Diane and learning about this farm made for a perfect day as we rocked back and forth and jabber jawed. I wonder how many folks must have done just the same over the past two centuries. That porch, I feel, has had a lot of rockers on it at one time or another. For over two hundred years, this place was just a great home for some very nice well meaning people. People like you and me only, they lived long ago.   They sat on that porch and waved at horses and wagons going by, just like Diane and I waved at trucks and cars as we talked.   Not much has changed for that wonderful, busy, and, peaceful home.   What a great place.

GET YOUR BLURPS RIGHT HERE.

Hi friends.  Doc South here.  As near as I know, I’ll be getting a load of my books tomorrow.  Like I said the other day, I’ll generally have some with me at any public appearance.   The book costs $16.95.  Some folks have asked how much I’d charge for autographing the book.  To tell you the truth, I wouldn’t think of charging for an autograph.  Feel free to ask me to sign the thing.  I’ll be very honored to do that for you.  Just be sure you have a good pen on hand.  I get my pens from the bank and they sometimes go dry on me.  Better not ask me to spell anything too difficult either.  All’s I can say is, thank God for spell check.  One last thing. The book will be available at the Chatterbox anytime unless they run out of stock.

You can get my book at Amazon Books for sure.  Just search for The Book of Doc,  Blurps the Starter Set.  They’ll ask you if you meant to type Blurps.  Tell them you did.  We might be starting a new word here.  I don’t know but, maybe.  I tried Amazon to get my book to my son Burgess for his birthday.  It seems to work just fine.

One problem is that you can’t get an autographed book from Amazon.  So, here’s a thought.  I’ll be glad to have you mail me a check covering the cost of the book plus shipping and handling.  Then, what I’ll do is autograph one of the books I have in stock here at home and get it out to you by priority mail.  I believe priority mail is $5.95.  Figure a cost of $1.00 for handling and the whole total should be. $23.90 per book.  I believe that New Jersey residents must pay 7% sales tax which would be an additional $1.19.

If you’d like to do this, send a check made out to Richard Tomlinson (that’s me.)  PO Box 150, Long Valley, NJ 07853.   Make your check out to my real name please.  The bank will take a check made out to Doc South but, I have to endure ten lashes.  You should see the welts.

My wife Sandy just told me that we have an active Paypal account left over from when she did ebay. This might make things easier. I’ve never used Paypal but she tells me it’s pretty easy to do. You evidently go to Paypal and find our account. The account is our old store email address. Here it is…..edandmikes@verizon.net   You can pay this way if you wish. Still, email me with the info on your order. Send your email to docsouthshow@yahoo.com   I’ll need info on who to mention in the autograph. We’ll need info on your address and how many books you want. There you go.

It’s my hope that all of you will enjoy this book. It’s my first one so it may not be perfect. Still, I’m very proud of it. I’m hoping it puts a smile on your face and a glow in your heart. Thank you all so much for being such great fans.

 

 

OLD TIMERS ALL IT SEEMS LIKE IT WAS JUST YESTERDAY

OLD TIMERS ALL   IT SEEMS LIKE IT WAS JUST YESTERDAY

It seems like it was just yesterday. Actually, it was just a lot of yesterdays ago that I was talking to my father on the phone. It was my birthday. I was turning forty. The old man had called to wish me a happy birthday.   He wanted to know if my present came. It had. I think it was a nice load of money from him and probably a shirt from mom.

He wondered if I had plans for the day. I said I thought my girlfriend, her son, and I would maybe go to Guido’s Restaurant in Dover.   Guido’s isn’t there anymore. They had great Italian food.   If it was your birthday, the waitress would bring out a special dessert from the kitchen and this God awful rendition of Happy Birthday would blast out of the kitchens intercom. It was all scratchy and very over modulated and way too loud. I think the vocal was performed by tortured parrots and mynah birds. The walls shook and any dish made of jello melted right before your eyes when it played. The neon sign across Route 46 blinked on and off through the whole song. You didn’t have to blow out the candles on your cake if you had one. The song did it for you. My kids and my girlfriends son Casey loved it. I think my son Burgess had milk come out his nose when he first heard it.

My father wanted to know what I was going to order.   For some reason, he always dug having that information and a great conversation would ensue once he knew your choice. You’d then have to go over what you were having for your soup, your salad, your appetizer, your main course and finally your desert.  As you told him your plans, you could hear him drooling on the other end of the line. He loved eating out like a sailor loved bar flies.

Then suddenly he got kind of quiet. I figured he was drooling at my choice of an antipasto and veal cutlet for my supper at Guidos. But, no I couldn’t even hear him smacking his lips on the other end. In fact I thought the line was dead. I remember asking if he was still there.

I was ready to hang up and call him back when his side came back to life. I asked if everything was OK. My father said he was fine but that he just thought of something. I waited for him to explain. He went on to say that it just hit him that he now has a son who is forty years old. He said how now he has a kid who’s middle aged. He wondered what that made him.

Always the caring son, I said something like how that made him pretty old. Then, I figured that he could stop payment on that birthday check he sent me so, I changed my tune. I said something about the great shape he was in and how being sixty is more like being fifty nowadays. No, make that sixty is the new forty. It was just on the news the other day. Nine out of ten doctors agree.

I guess he got over it sooner or later. I knew he would never stop payment on a birthday check. I just really was taken by surprise at his suddenly feeling so old just because it was my fortieth. I couldn’t believe my birthday would hit him like that. That was a pretty long pause he had on the phone.

We talked a bit more. We discussed whether or not I should get French fries or a side dish of spaghetti with my veal cutlet. Mom was yelling about something in the kitchen and he had to go.

Time marched on.   Wouldn’t you know it, my two kids are much older. Sunshine already passed forty a few years ago. Today, my son Burgess is forty. All my kids are middle aged. You wouldn’t know it to look at them but, they are. What’s that make me? The phrase older than dirt comes to mind. Suddenly, I’m feeling kind of quiet too. Can’t quite put a finger on it. One word comes to mind……Gosh!

One sentence comes to mind too. Happy Birthday Messer. Get the French fries with your veal cutlet and don’t let the milk squirt out your nose. You’re not kids anymore but, I love you like you are.