Yes, there’s a lot of bad things happening in the world.  There’s stinkers everywhere.  But, there’s also many, many, wonderful folks out there doing such great things for so many less fortunate people.  In this episode, Pop Pop remembers and tells all about the god folks he’s run across.  Hopefully, this episode will set you to remembering the good people you’ve seen in action too.  Forward ho!!!!



Back when movies we’re just invented, Pop Pop used to go a lot with his hoodlum friends.  Return with him now to those thrilling days of yesteryear.  You’ll only need a quarter to get in, a dime for popcorn, and, a nickel for a soda.  Just don’t throw licorice at the screen.  The lady who owns the theater goes nut when you do that and she might throw us out.



We all had chores back in the day.  Not too many people had butlers and maids sitting around the house.  Well, actually, they did.  They were called kids.  In this episode Pop Pop recalls his daily grind back in the day.  Watch out for the demon in the coal bin and the weir wolf behind the garbage can.  Get busy and check this one out.



One of life’s simple pleasures passed me by the other evening.  I’m really bummed and don’t know what to do.  I noticed my misfortune as I pulled into the driveway last Saturday night when I got back from the Chatterbox.  I realized then and there that a great moment passed me by.  This was a moment and event that I had been anticipating for weeks and, it’s gone.   Yes, gone forever and, there’s nothing I can do.  For weeks I’ve been waiting to see my odometer hit 88888 and I missed it.  It went right by me somewhere between Newton and Hackettstown.  It probably happened when I was keeping an eye peeled for a convenience store that sold those pre made ice cream cones I love so much.  There was one stretch of road full of deer running from out of nowhere.  I had to be a bit more vigilant.  Then, again, at my age I might have just forgot.  I know that I had made a mental note on my way up to the Chatterbox that morning, to be especially aware..  I figured the number would hit on the return trip back home.  Darn, where’s a post-it when you need one.  That only thing I can do, is back up fourteen miles.  Don’t laugh.  I’m thinking about it.   Gosh, it’s 11,097 miles to 99999.  Hope I don’t miss it.  Darn!!!!


The other night I was broadcasting from the Chatterbox  patio.  The final Wanderers Cruise Night of the season was ramping down.  A few people were at the outside tables but, most everyone was in the main dining room knocking down cheeseburgers and fries.  I was playing a few of the quieter oldies at the time like the  Duprees, or Flamingoes.  It was a perfect time to be playing In the Still of the Night.  The Chatterbox sits in a long flat valley that stretches from the northwest to the southeast.  Low Jersey mountains rise on both sides of flat farm fields.  It presents a pretty view anytime but, I like it especially at night.  It reminds me of south east Ohio where I went to college.  Railroads ran down the Ohio valleys and my friends and I used to walk the lines at night under the moon.  Railroads once ran through the Chatterbox’s valley but they’re gone now.

     Sometimes, depending on the winds, Newark airport’s traffic control, sends it’s flights over the Chatterbox.  I’ll bet the pilots can use it as a beacon at night.  The place kind of sticks out.  I like watching the planes slowly fly overhead.  They come in regular intervals.  There’s usually four in view at any given time.  One will be right over head, two will be over the middle of the sight line probably over Lake Hopatcong, and, one will be just appearing on the far horizon.   That one just got done with it’s initial climb and probably isn’t too far from Newark.  The pilot will be looking west and gunning it.
     I felt like playing that song by Peter, Paul, and Mary, Leaving on a Jet Plane.  Fortunately, it was right at hand and, I fired it up.  You know the song.  It’s all about leaving your sweetie to go on a long journey when, you’d sooner just stay home and mess around.   The trip itself seems to be more of a chore than anything else.  But, maybe this time, when you return, maybe things will be better.   Also, back in the day, I’m told the song had special meaning for soldiers heading off to do battle in Vietnam.  They pretty much all went there by plane, hoping they wouldn’t come home as cargo.
     As Peter Paul and Mary sang their song, I just watched the planes and wondered how many people sitting up in those little specks of light were leaving one way or another and, what was the story they could tell? Were they glad about it or sad about it.  We’re they coming home or going for good?   I guess I’ve been there cone that one time or another and watching the planes leave kind of got me down.
     DJ’s can’t stay blue for long.  Peter Paul and Mary we’re kind of getting to me so, I hurried up and found a copy of Tie a Yellow Ribbon.  Thanks to Tony Orlando and Dawn, life was good again.  I sat back and enjoyed what was left of my soft pretzel.  I’d be heading home soon myself.


A little girl and her mom rolled by me in the dairy aisle.  They seemed to be buying party stuff.  They were getting whipped cream and that kind of thing.   I figured with the way they were talking that a birthday was coming up.  “So, who’s having a birthday?” I asked.   The little girl raised her hand.  “Me!!!  I’m gong to be six in two days now!!!”   I answered back.  “Six huh?  I’ll bet you’re going to be eight.   You’re a lot older than six.”   “Nuh huh!!!!  I’m going to be six”  she giggled.

     “Ok.  If you say so.  Wow!!!  It sure was a long time ago when I was just six.”    “How long?” She asked.  I thought a minute.  “Don’t rush me. I’m trying to count back that far.   Boy, it’s a long time ago.  I think my grandma  had to bake my birthday cake on a hot rock in the sun.  I know we didn’t have icing.”   ” No icing! Why?” she wondered.   “Well it hadn’t been invented yet. Grandma just slapped some cinnamon butter on the cake.  It’s all we had.”  Her eyes were wide now.  “So what did you get for your birthday?”
     “I have to think.  It was so long ago    Oh my gosh.  I remember now.  Yes!    I got two things, one good and, one bad.”
The little girl was all ears.  “What was the good thing?”   Well, about four days before my birthday, my Mom had a baby.  That was my gift.  She gave me my kid brother Ed.   She had Ed in the hospital so, I had to wait till my birthday to meet him.  I was staying with my Grandma and Granddad on the other side of the valley”    She liked the idea of a baby brother for a birthday gift and looked at her mom.   Mom, I think had other gifts in mind.   ” So what was the bad thing you got.” she asked me.
    I answered.  ” Grandma was helping get dressed that morning.  She was a nurse when she was younger.   She was helping me get my shirt on when all of a sudden lifted my shirt up and spoke.”   She was looking at my back when she said, “What’s all these bumps on your back?  Hey!  You’ve got measles!!!!!”   I tried to look at my back.  “I got measles?  What’s measles!!!”   Grandma told me that it wasn’t anything serious but, that I’d have to get into bed cause I could give measles to anyone that came near me.   “Can I give them to my new brother?”  I asked.   “Yep, you sure can.  Your going to have to stay here till they go away.  That’ll take about a week.”   The little girl looked like she was kind of sorry for me.  “That’s pretty bad!!!  Were you crying?”  I said, “Heck no!!!  My grandparents were great.  They spoiled me rotten.  I went straight to bed and figured I’d make out like a king.   Besides I didn’t feel that sick at all.  Then all of a sudden I started to itch and I started to feel kind of hot.  Pretty soon I was getting kind of sleepy.   Anyway, it wasn’t too bad.  I ate pretty good and scratched a lot and, I couldn’t go out to play.  I just had to lay low for a week.  Mostly, I was bored.”
     The little girl in the dairy aisle was smiling again..  I think her mom said how she wouldn’t be getting measles any time soon.  They went turned into the frozen food aisle and looked at ice cream cone sprinkles.


This particular show came out just fine.  Chris gave me a pretty good tutorial on the wonderful world of Youtube.   Turns out Youtube is a fantastic window on the world of music and entertainment and it’s waiting for young and old alike.  I’d have gotten to this sooner but I after this show, I was too busy watching music videos.  Enjoy.



All the way down the Blue Ridge Parkway a number of years ago, I was telling Sandy about this great restaurant basking in the shadow of the Peaks of Otter.  ” Wait till you see this place Sandy.  We can sit out on the porch over looking this beautiful lake and, beyond the lake, these two gorgeous twin peaks reflecting in the glistening water.   And, there’s all this great food.”   Poor Sandy heard this description every twenty miles all the way down.   She would have gone and sat in the back with the dog and pretend to be asleep but, the view was just too good to miss.  I’d see a peak and tell her that the particular mountain she was looking at was nice but, nothing compared to the left peak at the Peaks of Otter.  Of course you know that there’s two of ‘em there.  So, it’s twice as nice.

     At twenty miles away I started counting down the miles.  Twenty minutes away, I started counting down the minutes.  I was becoming a tour guide possessed.  My eyes were bugging out and my hands trembled as we pulled into the lot.   I told Sandy, to close her eyes cause I wanted her first view of the peaks to be from the porch.  I forgot it was summer so with the leaves on the trees, you couldn’t see the peaks anyway.  Still, just in case, made her keep her eyes shut through the parking lot and into the restaurant.  Good thing she couldn’t see all the folks looking with pity as this wonderful man walked his blind wife into past the hostess.
     “Ok Sandy, we’re almost there.  Closer, closer, Ooh sorry about that banister.  Bet that hurts.  Ten more steps. Careful”   We got to the porch.  I could see the lake and was almost to where I could see the peaks once again after all these years.  And then, I just stopped dead in my tracks staring in disbelief.
     Sandy felt my hand tense up and opened her eyes.  “What’s wrong?”, she asked.  My jaw was past my belt.  “Where’s the other peak?  There should be two of ‘em.”  Sandy kind of agreed.  She chimed in, “Yeah, you said there was two peaks”  I only see one”  We sat down at our table.  People were glad Sandy wasn’t blind.  I called to the waiter.  He came over.  “Where’s the other peak?”  I asked him.  The poor waiter just looked at me and said, “Ain’t no other peak.  There’s just  one.  You must have been at the brunch.” He walked away.
     “What’s with the brunch?” Sandy asked.  Then it hit me.  I was caught.  “Last time I was here, I came with my drinking buddy’s from work.  They served this great Sunday morning brunch here.  I remember it was all you can eat”   Sandy caught on.  “Was it all you could drink too?”  I had to confess that I thought that might have been the case.  ” I think they were famous back then for their ice cold pitchers of Bloody Mary’s.  I think they were having a sale.  We kept toasting the mountain and I guess after awhile we were toasting the whole range.  There’s probably some of my friends think there’s four peaks here.”  I kind of spent the rest of the meal eating well with my wife.  Both of us looked at the peak and, I was very happy with my coffee.



Today at 6:51 PM
 I caught a tiny little bit of TV the other day and there was this segment on reporting that your heart would be better off if you drank whole milk instead of fat free.  Evidently, taking out the fat in milk eliminates some kind of basic nutrition you need for proper heart function.  The virtues of eating butter was on one of the doctor shows.  Butter is now the key to a long and healthy life.   I always heard that seafood was great for you.  But now, seafood  might increase the lead levels in your system.   At one time, specialists in nutrition would sooner see you drink a cup of gasoline than to have even a sip of coffee.  Now, coffee is the elixir of the Gods.  Just watch, pretty soon there’ll be a BBQ potato chip diet.  All of Hollywood will have orange teeth from chip spice.  It’ll be the in thing to put on your latte’.   Next thing will be hot dog frappe’s with kraut.  Maybe it’s just best to eat a little bit of everything.  Probably, worrying about your diet is what makes us sick.   Who wants to go for White Castles and Tacos?   I hear they’re  really good for you.


Out in the country and back in the old days, sometimes a barn or a cabin would catch fire and burn down.  When that happened, neighbors would come from all around and make a weekend of rebuilding the lost building.  They made it into a party.  I think that the Amish still do this kind of thing.   I guess it just went without saying that if something bad happened the friends and neighbors would appear with tools in hand and that’s that.

     Let’s jump ahead a whole bunch of decades and take a look at the oldies and doo wop community.  Bless their hearts but, they went and became kind of like the Amish and the old settlers.  Let me tell you about it.   A great oldies singer, Joel Katz came down with cancer of the mouth.  That’s a bad disease for a singer to have and not much different than an early pioneer losing his barn.  Joel, a man who brought and hopefully will bring so much great talent to our ears and hearts, is in the fight of his life.  Luckily, he has many friends.  Today, just like the pioneers of old, they’re doing all they can to help Joel, a member of their community.   This is all being done as a party and, it’s a great party indeed.
     Today, in Lodi, New Jersey, at the Elan on Route 46 as many friends and fans as possible held and attended this huge sold out concert, dance, and banquet style party.  Many doo wop singers came to sing.  One of New Jersey’s greatest DJ’s, the Golden Gup came to MC and play a song or two.  I’m certain the food was great and tasted even better just because of the fun that was had.  There were also, I’m certain, lots of kind words spoken and buckets of applause.  In a way, this was a kind of musicians barn raising.  What a good thing these people did for Joel and his wife Joan.  It was the oldies version of an old pioneer barn raising.   I’m writing this Sunday at 5:30 pm.  I hope this party goes till sometime tomorrow evening and that it stays in everyone’s memory forever
     I feel like maybe I’ve written this a bit too mushy but, I wanted you to know that in this large and very negative world we’ve created, that  this great and very good and positive event happened just right around the corner really.