THREE PEOPLE FOUND

THREE PEOPLE FOUND

 

Yesterday a fellow came up to me at The Chatterbox just before I was getting ready to go into the web with my show from the Wanderers Cruise Night. I like talking with folks and, this guy seemed to share my gift of gab. I’ve heard and told most of my stories so, I was very happy to listen to his. He had a good supply. I believe he was retired from the New York City police force. We talked for a while about the recent shooting attacks on officers throughout the country. We didn’t come up with any real solutions. We just agreed that shootings stink no matter what and, that it just seemed to be a shame that folks are doing that kind of thing to one another.

I noticed that the guy had a bit of a rasp to his voice and a slight cough. That was a kind of tip that he was once at the 9/11 world trade center attacks. I’m not sure if he was there on the actual day it happened. He might have been but, he didn’t talk about it. But, he was there for a good part of the cleanup. In fact, he may have been there for the entire cleanup.   It was tough on him.

If I understood him right, his task was to do an investigation each and every time a body was found in the debris. He and others with him would do all they could to identify the victims and come up with some idea of how they died. When he was done with that task, the bodies would be removed and given to their families. He knew many of the police, fire, and rescue personnel that were being uncovered. He knew them by name and at one time or another served with them. Some of the victims had coffee and maybe a doughnut with him a week earlier. Now, he was pulling what was left of them out of the pile and recording all the circumstances he could find. I know he wasn’t enjoying himself but, he felt that he owed these folks his best efforts so, he stayed at it.

He told me how one day, he was called to a mass uncovering. I may have the circumstances a bit wrong as I tell you what he went through. I’ll do the best I can to tell this right but, I may have some facts wrong. I apologize in advance for any unintended errors.

Workmen had just lifted a large chunk of debris. It may have been a heavy section of wall or, maybe, a floor ceiling assembly.   There were victims underneath the slab.   He hurried over to find three bodies. The workmen were standing over the small pit. Their faces were grim as they hoisted the slab from over the victims to a safer loading spot. My new friend said how he just stopped at the edge and took in the awful scene. The bodies were badly damaged by the crushing blow of that slab hitting them. One was a woman and the other two were men wearing uniforms. One may have been a paramedic. The other was a cop. The woman was apparently a worker at the trade center.

The investigator climbed down to them and squatted down next to the victims. The cop and the paramedic both had either badges or identification. My friend knew the cop. He didn’t know the paramedic.   The woman didn’t seem to have any apparent identification. Still, dental records and the clothes she was wearing might be all that was needed. It appeared that the trio died instantly. They were very flat. My friend was grateful that they didn’t appear to have suffered for any more than an instant. It looked to him like they were in maybe a dusty, smoky, and, blocked hallway. Perhaps they heard the rumble of the collapse above them and then pow, they were gone and on their way to heaven.

The floor of the scene was heavy with dust and junk. The investigator casually moved some of it aside and discovered that the woman was lying on something. It was a stretcher. She must have been injured somehow when the cop and the paramedic came upon her in the confusion. They must have been carrying a stretcher that day as they went into the trade center over and over again to get injured victims outside and away from the danger and off to hospitals. They may have made dozens of trips or maybe this was their first time inside. Who knows?

The investigator moved some more of the dust on the floor and, then he moved some more. He was on a mission. There was something he wanted to see and confirm. Soon he had the whole stretcher clear. Sure as heck he found what he was looking for. There at each end of the stretcher were the mangled and now decomposing hands of the cop and the paramedic. With all that was going on that day. With all that fear and danger to face. There in the face of hell on earth, my friend noted that the cop and the paramedic never let go of the stretcher.

He hoped that in a much better place the trio was drinking good coffee and munching really really great jelly donuts and licking their brand new fingers.

 

PILOTS HAVE MORE FUN

PILOTS HAVE MORE FUN

My father flew Corsairs during WW II. They were a pretty hot item back then. They went about as fast as you could ever want to go. A novice riding in one as it went through its paces would be barfing in a matter of seconds. Luckily for most folks, there was only room in a Corsair for just the pilot.

The old man loved telling and retelling the tales of his days up in the sky. One of his favorites was about one day in dive bombing class. The student pilots, affectionately referred to by the instructor as you @#%&X%&*** idiots, were having a rough day. They went up multiple times and took turns diving for and dropping dummy bombs on a giant bulls eye made of chalk dust on the ground. One bomb almost got the instructor standing a quarter mile away. He said he’d be safer standing on the target. Another bomb kind of just missed the control tower. You get the idea. It wasn’t going well at all but, the instructor had a plan.

The class was refitted with more dummy bombs and, they were ready to go aloft for a third try. The instructor lined them up and took off his hat. He went from man to man and ordered each student to put five dollars into the kitty. At the end of the line, he had $45.00. He took five of his own hard earned cash to make it $50! He then announced that the pilot who came closest to the bulls eye would get the whole Kit and Kaboodle. If they all totally missed the target again, he would get the pot. It was every man for himself and all against the instructor. With that in mind, they went back up.

No one on God’s green earth loves to win a bet more than my father. To make a long story short, the others went first and missed pretty bad. One guy got the target at least and that put the instructor out of the running. Though he did have to run from one of the bombs but, just a little.

Years later, my father would tell the tale of how he came out of his circle pattern and winged over into his dive. My kid brother Ed and I used to love seeing him use his hands to describe how the Corsair banked and turned into a screaming dive.   Then, he’d put his hands out in front of himself as if he had the control stick in his hands. You could see his thumb or forefinger was on the machine gun button. He spoke through gritted teeth of how the target just kept getting nearer and nearer as his speed increased to a zillion miles an hour. My brother and I would be running in circles screaming as he let the bomb go and pulled out of the dive just in time to miss hitting the ground by just a foot or two and then off back into the sky.

The bomb hit dead center. In fact, it broke the center pole they used each day to re chalk the target. When he came back and landed you’d have thought he had just stuck one down the main stack of the Battleship Yamamoto and blew it all to kingdom come.   Instead of a brass band and an admiral sticking a medal on his chest, he had the untold sum of fifty bucks in his pocket and soon, the night would be young and his to enjoy.

Now just this past weekend I was talking to an old high school friend. He’s a retired airline pilot who used to serve in the National Guard. He was helping out at Operation Chillout’s annual Vets Summer Fest. We were talking for a while.   It was kind of hard to hear him as we were right in front of the band stage but, I think I got the gist of what he had to say. It’s funny how pilots for the most part don’t care if it’s too loud to hear them talk. It might be that they really communicate telepathically. Who knows?

I remember Ken back in the 60’s flying his fighter jet low and fast over the Chester Firemans Fair. He was pretty low. People on the top of the Ferris wheel were about to abandon ship when he buzzed them at top speed.   His next run came in even lower and faster. Right over the fair at tree top level, he pulled back on the stick and gave it all the engine had.   He went straight up as this wild blast shook the fairground. Oh my God but, you could see right through the tailpipe into the sky above.   At least it looked like you could see through the craft. It was like a ball of pure glowing energy surrounded by a metal skin. Poof, he was into the clouds and gone. Ken’s younger brother Dave was standing with us. He said something like how Ken had mentioned that he might drop by the fair for a second or two to say hello. I guess he did.

As the bands guitars screamed even louder, Ken continued with a neat story. I hope that I have this right. It was pretty loud at the Vets Fest but, I think I’ve got it pretty close to right.   Ken and his squadron were ordered to fly to Norway to participate in joint NATO exercises. I guess the Russians were acting up a bit and the powers that be figured a show of strength might be a good idea. Ken and his fellow pilots packed a few things and flew east.

When they arrived Ken and his guys realized that the squadrons mission was to win at soccer and attempt to outdrink the Norwegians. Ken and his guys were up to the challenge. The commies had their spies everywhere so, the men had to do their best. After a week or so of soccer games by day and pubbing it at night, some idiot at NATO HQ decided a war game out over the North Sea would be just the ticket to put the Russkies in their place once and for all.

I may have this next bit wrong. The band was really wailing as Ken told me how he and his guys suited up and headed off to run a mock attack of a Dutch battle fleet. If I understand it correctly, the jets carry dummy bombs and try to hit the ships as the ships dodge and fire back without hitting the incoming planes.   Maybe, if they holler bang at just the right moment, it’s considered a hit. The fake bombs that the planes are dropping are harmless. As long as no one is on deck, they won’t hurt anything I guess. Judges, I think, decide the outcome.

Much like at the Chester Fair, Ken and his guys come in fast and low to attack. But, I guess it didn’t go well. Either the bombs missed or the judges didn’t see them hit. I guess the first round went to the Dutch Battle Frigate. Ken’s calls of foul fell on deaf ears.   The guys were pretty sore as they headed back to the field in Norway.

It’s times like this that the tough get going. Back at the field, a plan was hatched and put into play. A new weapon was devised on the spot and secretly loaded into the bomb bays of the waiting avengers. This time there would be no mistake and no misjudging.   This time it was real.

The American jets came in lower than low. Sardines and anchovies in the cold waters between Norway and Denmark had to duck or be steamed. The Dutch ships appeared on the cockpit radar screens. The run commenced.   With proper altitude, proper speed, and, proper grit the four jets struck with a vengeance. At just the right moment, they released their payload. Bang, right on target. This time there would be no mistake.   Mock destruction was assured.   The Americans banked and returned to see the carnage as scores of Dutch damage control crews ran out on deck to remove something like five hundred rolls of toilet paper strung out like Halloween from bow to stern. God Bess America!!!!

Side note…..This historical event actually did have the effect of cooling Russian and NATO tensions. The Dutch Navy carefully rolled up the toilet paper and gave it to the Russians as a token of good will between our peoples.

 

 

 

TAKING CARE OF IT

TAKING CARE OF IT

The other day I was poking around Operation Chillout’s annual Fund Raiser. They call it Vets Summer Fest. It’s a pretty good sized festival. There’s a whole bunch of live bands, vendors, lots of great food, and pretty good beer I’m told. There’s a car show in the shade and, a pretty big motorcycle run ends there too. You couldn’t really ask for a better day.

I was invited to come by and take a look. I figured that I could poke around a bit and maybe come up with a blurp or two. I packed a couple of outdated three by five inch sale signs from my A&P. At an event this ripe with stories, I figured it best to bring three pens from my banks lobby. I got there pretty early. They were still setting up.

I wanted to check in with Major Tony just to let him know I was there. He plays guitar so, I went to the music stage. It was still being set up. Sound men and musicians were climbing all over it messing with wires and computers. There were guys sticking stage lights on overhead girders. A few musicians were hollering “check, test, check, check!” I think one guy slipped with a screw driver and pinched his finger pretty bad. He was hollering something else. It was the typical stage set up scene and Tony was in the middle of it.

He saw me and waved. I walked over and reported in with a bit of small talk. Tony had plenty of small talk to return. I asked a few questions about how the event was going. Tony figured that it was going just fine. Another taller fellow joined our group. I’m a professional blabbermouth so, we were having fun telling tall and small tales back and forth.

It wasn’t long before a guy came by and asked if he could put his stuff up onto the stage. He said he’d be playing in the second or third set.   I think he thought we were musicians or stage hands. Tony took over and said sure. He just told the guy to place it all to one side or another out of the way and it would be safe.   The guy asked if anyone could help him lug the stuff. It turns out that he had a sore or injured back.

Now, here’s the interesting thing. Tony and that other tall fellow didn’t even think twice. They just asked the guy to point out his vehicle and tell them what was supposed to go. There was no complaining, no saying to do it yourself, no hesitation, and definitely, no hollering for someone else to do it. They just headed for the guys car and started grabbing stuff. I helped too. I would have felt pretty dumb to just stand there. It took about two trips each and some of the stuff was heavy but, I didn’t hear one complaint or gripe. Actually, it was kind of fun. It felt right. The musician thanked us with a smile and said how worried he was, during his drive to the gig, that he’d pull his back out. He was very relieved. We wished him well and did a bit more talking about nothing.

I don’t think Tony or that other tall guy thought much about what they just did. I’m betting that the tall guy was a veteran somehow. He had to be. That trait of just taking care of it, whatever it might be, is so ingrained into a serving persons basic being. They’re just that way. “Taking care of it!” is squished into their basic DNA. Today, it was a few amps, a guitar, and a box or two of wires. Decades ago, it might have been a hill with a lot of unfriendly enemy soldiers holding it or, it might have been an injured fellow soldier out in the open who needed saving and, they took care of it.

Operation Chillout is made up of dedicated veterans dedicated to locating and aiding homeless vets. They’re taking care of it. Who’d expect anything else?

 

MAYBE A WIN WIN WIN SITUATION

MAYBE A WIN WIN WIN WIN SITUATION

Let me run this idea by you.

I think most of you know that I operate my own oldies web station. You can hear it at www.dosouth.net   There, I try my best to be a friend in the night for anyone who cares to listen to any of my many shows. I feel it’s my calling to try and cheer up any and all who might log on looking to be entertained.   In fairness to sponsors, and because my listenership is scattered all over the world, I have stopped taking money for advertising. It didn’t seem fair to me to charge for advertising that wouldn’t be much help to hard working local business owners.

Instead of advertising, I’ve decided to ask for the support of my listeners. It seems to be the best thing to do. Of course, if a fan of the station can’t donate, I never hold that against them.

I also play oldies at events. Some of these events are for charity and, in some cases, I do the shows for free or for very little money. Yes, some gigs pay very well. But, lately, I’ve been trying to help at no charge or, for very little charge, the smaller charities that can be found in any community. I offer interviews, announcements, and talk ups at no charge. I’ve often played music or have done live web casts at their events. At many of these events, I have worked for free.

One other thing you may not know is that I have also written a book dedicated to the search for the little but, very important nice things in life. Its title is, The Book of Doc, Blurps the Starter Set.  People have told me they’ve enjoyed reading it. Some, I notice are now on their own path of searching for the good things in life that surround us all.

Unfortunately, I’m not made of money. Operating expenses, debt, and day to day personal bills are always banging on the door. It wouldn’t take much of a downturn to end my present efforts to make the world a better place. True, there’s always something positive to do in life and, I can find other ways to improve the world if I have to leave my broadcasting and writing behind. It’s just that the writing and broadcasting is what I do best. It would be great to do more of it, not less.

Here’s what I’m proposing to solve the problem.  If you donate at least $25.00 to my station fund through gofundme, I will send you an autographed copy of my first book. That’s easy enough but, here’s the kicker. For every $25.00 above the first $25.00 donated, I will send you an extra copy. If you send $100.00, you get four books. Now, if you send $100.00 but, only want one book for yourself, I will see to it that someone less fortunate, or a deserving charity or help group, gets the three copies you didn’t need. Those extra books could go to a church group, library, hospital book store, senior care center, or you name it. Heck, I’d be happy to send the books to you and you can donate them yourself wherever you might see a need.  It’s a Johnny Appleseed kind of thing.  Books get sent on their way to cheer up more folks, my station will continue to bring some happiness to others, and eventually, more books will be created. I’ll be busier than ever and Sandy, Millie the Hound, and I won’t starve.

Just  click on the big blue banner ad at the top of this page to respond friends or email me at docsouthshow@yahoo.com

 

 

OH THE PAIN

OH, THE PAIN

I sometimes get perfectly good Blurps from messing around on facebook. Today I got a doozy. On one of my friends pages there’s a photo of a bare foot with this awful looking straight line abrasion running from left to right about two inches behind the base of the toes. That would be about right where the penny would be on a pair of penny loafers. Of course, with inflation, penny loafers would be more like fifty cent loafers. My guess from the look of the claw mark, is that the fellow won’t be wearing any shoes for a while. That’s one sore looking abrasion. Tap dancing and, kick boxing is out of the question for a day or two at least.

What happened you ask? If I understood it right, the man was power washing a deck and had the power washer set on kill not stun. It was so hot that he decided to do the job bare foot. Well, somehow the power washer, running at full blast, played the stream across his foot. Funny, but I’m about sixty miles from the Jersey Shore and I think I heard agonizing screams coming from that direction. I figured something was up. Boy, that had to hurt. Especially if there was some kind of caustic or acidic cleaning solution in the line. That would make a fellow want to do the Highland Fling for sure. Of course, it would be the first time the human voice ever out hollered bagpipes.

To make my friend feel better about the whole thing, and with the idea that misery loves company, I immediately sent him this posting of sympathy and consolation. I shared it with him and, since we all get nailed one time or another, I’m sharing it with you as a post. Maybe you’d like to share something similar for all to see. Just keep it clean. No cussing please. Perhaps, I’ll use the postings in my next blurp book.   The following is what I wrote.

Don’t fret, something like this happens to all of us sooner or later. I remember helping a baker make doughnuts. You boil them in hot oil and flip them with chopsticks to cook the other side. While I was flipping a batch, someone hollered a question to me and I turned to answer them. My advice is to never take your attention off of a hot vat of oil. My fingers went in right up to the second knuckles. The chop sticks are still stuck in the ceiling boards. With a little powdered sugar on ‘em, my fingers my fingers looked so swollen that they looked like crullers.

SOMETIMES SPILLED MILK CAN BE A GOOD THING.

SOMETIMES SPILLED MILK CAN BE A GOOD THING

This past Sunday I was just about done with my morning shift in the dairy aisle.   Just a touch up or two and I could head out sipping a well deserved coffee. As I was checking the sell by date on a cup of yogurt, my eye caught a father and son up near the milk section. The kid and his dad were checking out the gallons. I’d say the young fellow was maybe eight or so. He could have been older. I don’t tell age that well anymore. The two of them seemed happy enough. There was talk of getting a coffee cake.

Like most kids his age, the young fellow wanted to help. He insisted in carrying the gallon jug. Dad said ok and, off they went walking behind me. At first, the son carried the bottle by its handle but, they do get heavy. To make it easier, he hoisted the bottle onto his shoulder. That’s a kind of macho way to lug anything. Pirates walking kegs of gunpowder or rum up the gangplank carry things that way. John Wayne used to heft cannon barrels to the other side of the Alamo like that.

This is all well and good for pirates and Davy Crockett but, kids holding milk like that isn’t the best of plans. I was going to say something but, gee he was with his dad. They only had seventy five feet to go. I went back to checking for yogurt outdates. Then, I heard it.

The little guy was hollering, “But Dad. It was an accident!!!!” It sure as heck was.

I turned to see the two of them down near the bread section. The kid was almost in tears. He had his hands up in pleading despair. Dad, has his hands on his hips and was shaking his head. It was a scene of total grief and confusion as one gallon of two percent Americas Choice flowed and spread from in front of the rye bread section to well past the Twinkies shelf.

Hands on my hips, I arrived on the scene. The kid was very upset. He hollered, “It was an accident. The bottle fell off my shoulder. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to do it. I was wrong to hold it on my shoulder. It just slipped. I’m sorry.” Dad was strangely quiet. His son was on a roll. The kid continued. “What can I do to help?   It’s all my fault!!”

I tried to think before I spoke. Many times in my life, I’ve found myself in the same pickle as this little guy. I remembered how it felt to be standing in front of a broken window waiting for the old guy who lived next door to call my folks. It’s not the greatest of feelings to be caught red handed. I got my hands off my hips and figured it best to stroke my beard instead.

I tried to choose my words. “It’s just a gallon of milk guys. The cows will make more. No big deal.” I saw that they wanted to help. “Tell you what men. You guys stand guard and don’t let anyone walk in this stuff. I’ll go get some warning signs.” I headed off to find a few wet floor markers. You’d have thought that the kid was guarding the president. I found the markers and brought them to the scene. I gave the kid one to place on the far side of the milk pond. He adjusted it just right. I told them to keep an eye on things while I went to get the mop and bucket. The milk was spreading fast.

In the mop room, I chose the red bucket because it sort of looked like an ambulance. With a fresh mop on board, I headed for the accident scene.   The milk had really spread out by the time I got there. This was going to be a big deal.

The kid asked if he could do the mopping. I had to say no because I had to work fast. I didn’t want him slipping and falling into the puddle. I said something about how I learned to mop in the Navy. Unfortunately, that’s about all I learned in the service but, I did learn it well. All those screaming chiefs would have been proud of me as I sopped up that milk in record time.

Still, we weren’t done yet. The milk was up but, old milk residue can get a bit ripe in due time. I told the guys that we had to do a rinse. The kid thought that to be a good idea and said he’d keep folks from venturing into the danger zone. I went off to the mop room for fresh warm water. This was getting to be fun.

The rinse went well. Soon, there would be no chance of foul odors in the bread aisle. In a few short moments once again the aisle would no longer be a danger to humanity. The kid was all smiles. He asked if he and his dad could pay for the milk. I said that wasn’t necessary because it was an honest accident. Now he was really smiling. I think his allowance was going to suffer a spilled milk levy. The crisis was over.

I showed the kid that the right way to hold a milk jug is to always grab the handle. I also told him how once I spilled twenty four bottles of milk back in the cooler. Oh God was that a mess. He said he was sorry one more time and, I said that was ok one more time too. He and his dad went off to check out the coffee cake section.

You know, grownups could learn quite a bit from this wonderful kid. Accidents happen in life. Mistakes are made. But, if you’re sorry, and do your best to make things right and also, learn from the mistake, in most cases the world will keep on turning and you’ll learn a thing or two. I’m proud of that kid. If he can keep that attitude, he’ll goof up now and then, but he’ll be the better for it.

 

 

 

GOOD, NO, VERY GOOD ADVICE

GOOD, NO, VERY GOOD ADVICE
The other day was about as gloomy as a day could be. Hot and muggy. World news was even more rotten and scary than it usually is. Money was pretty low. Make that very low. I think I had enough cash on hand to get a can of generic canned ravioli. That would be supper. Rumors were heavily afoot that the store I work in might close. I learned that unemployment which I thought lasted two years, only lasts six months now. Listenership at the station was down a tad. I ran into a friend of mine who is a medical technician. He had a patient die on him earlier that day. Trying to cheer him up made me remember some of the times when I would lose a patient as an EMT. Soon, we were both almost crying in the canned goods aisle. If that weren’t enough, my armpits really itched too. Worse than that, the deodorant that might fix the problem, would cost a whole bunch more than I could afford. Even worse than that, there was a problem with my wifes Obama Care. Some kind of glitch in the subsidy data. That would mean I’d be spending the night playing phone pong and being asked to submit once again the data they’ve lost three times in a row now. I wearily faced a weary night in phone jail sitting for hours with itchy armpits. With a heavy heart, I dragged my fanny to the checkout cashier. On the way, I slipped a bit on a grape and sprained my ankle a little. I wasn’t hurt enough to sue. Just my rotten luck.
At least the line was very short. Instead of being thankful for a short line, I figured that short lines all the time were the reason the store was closing. There was no pleasing me. I had a bit of a talk with the cashier. She’s a lovely person named Susie. I thought to myself that Sue, like any of us has, had her times of mostly down too. Funny though, I’ve known her for about eight years and, I’ve only heard her get really upset maybe just once or twice. God knows, she’s been through the grinder too. Most folks wouldn’t want to deal with some of the things she’s had to work out. I was glad she was my cashier.
We got to talking about a mutual friend who has a very rough family problem. Things are getting pretty serious and it’s a shame. Sue asked if I had any news about that person and, I said that all I knew was that the situation looked pretty bleak. Sue started to stuff my can of ravioli into a bag and said that she guessed that person needed a miracle. I agreed and said that she was right. Then, I said how it seemed like miracles were in short supply lately.
Sue stopped and looked at me with my can of ravioli in her hand and said. “Listen to you Doc. No miracles??? You need to go back and read your book.” She smiled and dropped the can into the bag. She nailed the situation. I could have kissed her. She was right and, I told her so. Darn but, that answer of hers came so quick. She’s never read my book. She’s only heard of it. But, she nailed it. With that, I changed my tune and went outside just in time to see the pretty sunset and cool breeze that I would have missed.
I decided to do a show instead of battling with Obama Care. I’ll wait till they send a few more notices. There’s no hurry. It’s government work. I looked at the clouds in the sunset and figured the patient my friend lost and those who I lost are probably hanging out in the sky with God having a ball. I went home and played my favorite tunes for a happy crowd. Except for my itchy armpits, it turned out to be a good night.
Maybe that miracle will come to my friend with the sick family member. Maybe I’m going to have to give Sue a copy of my book for her very own

MY AUTOGRAPH, WOW WHAT A DEAL

MY AUTOGRAPH, WOW WHAT A DEAL

It was a long time ago now but, the Girl Scout Father Daughter dance turned out ok. In fact, a great time was had by all. Basically, the party was thrown by our towns Girl Scout Council. It was like a junior prom but, the girls came with their dad’s. It was my job to provide the oldies and host the party.   I truly enjoy this kind of thing.

The best part was getting the dads to dance. For them, resistance was futile. How do you turn down your own daughter when she wants to twist or do the stroll with you? After a while the dads all got kind of used to looking silly and, the party took off just fine. There was ice cream sodas, pizza, and each other. Who could ask for more?

Some dads came over and begged me not to play a Limbo. They had bad backs and big bellies. I told them I’d make it a girls only event and that dads could join in only if they wanted to do so. When the Limbo call was sounded, those that could, did. All went well. Chubby Checker would have been pleased at the carnage out on the dance floor. Dad’s hitting the floor actually shook the building enough to make my turntable tone arm jump. Cool.

I’ve attended parties during my drinking days that lasted for entire weekends, maybe even longer. They tell me that I had a great time. But I think this particular party was one of the greatest I ever saw. The Girl Scout leaders really out did themselves.   But even a great party has its last dance and, this one was no exception. I looked on as the girls all slow danced with their dads to perhaps Daddy’s Little Girl or a song just like it. I don’t remember the exact song. I was too busy holding back the tears. I choked out a good night and the lights came on. The party was over.

I was packing up my gear and getting it out to the van as people came by and said thank you. Some of the scout leaders came over to tell me there was extra pizza if I wanted any. I’m always up for that. Cold pizza is the best. Picture me gobbling down one slice with a second slice in my hand ready to go. I looked like a chipmunk after he’s found a stash of sunflower seeds. Suddenly, two girl scouts come over to the table. They said hello and thanked me. It was hard for me to talk back with a mouthful but, I did my best. I think a pepperoni slice fell out of my mouth but, I caught it. I popped it back into my mouth as the girls each handed me an empty paper plate and asked if I would autograph it for them.

Friends, I almost never get asked for an autograph. It’s very rare that it ever happens. I’ve gone whole decades without even as much as a glance from an autograph hound.  So these girls just floored me. There they were, pens in hand and a paper plate each wearing great big grins. I pretended that I was someone special and signed my name with a flourish making sure that I got the spelling right. I even wrote a little note on each plate too. Just to make it a bit more personal. Then, I handed the plates back to those two wonderful young ladies.

They stood in front of me and gave me a great big thank you. Their dads were calling to them so they turned and headed off. As they left, I could hear one saying to the other. “Wow! We got Doc South to autograph these plates. These could be worth fifty dollars each someday!”

I just went back to stuffing my face. I got to thinking they might be right. My autograph could someday be worth $50 as long as I put it on a check for $100. Still, at that party, for those few hours everyone was a kind of millionaire, myself included.

 

 

TWO GOOD KIDS

TWO GOOD KIDS.

I was working up in the milk section of my dairy case at the A&P just the other day. It’s up near the rest rooms. I paused a minute as a mom and her five year old son approached. Mom stood in front of the case and searched for just the right jug of milk as her son ran into the mens room. Like most kids, he was in a hurry. His mom and I talked a bit while he was indisposed.

Soon, the little fellow came out. He was all grins. In fact, he was more than all grins. I’d say he was jumping for joy as he pointed at his mouth. His lips were a little bloody but, he didn’t care. I saw what it was. He had a loose tooth and he was wiggling it.  It was one of the upper front teeth. This might have been the first of his baby teeth to loosen up.

Mom and I were suitably impressed. The kid was beaming. I think his mom had a gauze pad or a hanky handy to mop up the bleeding. She was dabbing at the little bit of blood when her son just reached into his mouth and grabbed his tooth with his fingers and yanked. The tooth didn’t stand a chance. He looked at it and then held it up for all to see. He was really proud of himself.

I asked if it hurt as mom dabbed at the blood and stuck the gauze into the gaping hole. The little guy said that it didn’t hurt a bit. He wanted to use his moms mirror to see the hole and all the blood. He was mugging in the mirror and sticking the tip of his tongue into the gap. I said something about the tooth fairy but, he didn’t want the tooth fairy to get in on the action. No sir, he wanted to show that tooth off to his pals. That tooth was definitely a keeper.

I said how he looked like he’d lost his tooth in a big fight. He looked in the mirror again and figured I was right. Mom found the milk she wanted and they went on their way.

Later, I had a U boat full of empty cardboard boxes that I was rolling to the back room. I had let the boxes get too high.   I’ll bet they were easily about two feet higher than me. Well, I took the turn around the upright orange juice cooler a bit too fast, and wouldn’t you know it.   Yep! Every box leaned to the right and promptly fell all over the floor. No, I didn’t cuss. It wasn’t that big a deal. Now, if it was a U boat full of eggs, that might have been a different story.

I started to pick up the pile.   There was an awful lot of boxes all over the floor. People passing by kind of laughed. I don’t blame them. This would have been a classic scene in one of those early silent films. Buster Keaton would have had a field day and won an Oscar. As for me, I was just hoping I’d get the mess picked up before one of the managers saw me.

I was concentrating on slugging boxes onto the cart. I wasn’t really looking up or around. This was a time to pay attention to details or the pile would fall again. Suddenly, I noticed that I had help.  From the other side of the mound, boxes were being picked up and placed on the cart. I figured it was a coworker or at worst, a manager.   I just couldn’t see from where I was. The pile was too big and, it blocked my view.

Suddenly, I saw one of the hands of my helper. It was a little hand attached to a tiny arm. I stopped picking up boxes and got up.   I looked over the pile to see a six year old just whistling to himself and stacking boxes one after another. I asked him what he was doing down there.

The kid didn’t stop his stacking but, he did look up at me.   “I thought I’d help you out. This is fun. Do you spill this many boxes all the time?

“Yeah, I do.” I answered back. “It happens quite a bit.”

The kid just said, “Kool!!” I guess his mom won’t have to ask twice if he wants to go with her to the store any more.   I thanked him when the job was done. He smiled like the Lone Ranger. Good kid.

So there you are two different kids on the same day. I think both of them will grow up into fine young men. I’m thinking they’ll both someday join rescue squads. It’s in their blood.

 

THE BEST WEATHER FORECAST EVER

THE BEST WEATHER FORECAST EVER

It was a long time ago now that I found myself driving down a long straight road in the flatlands of North Carolina. I think it was in late spring. I was rolling through farm country. Massive fields were on both sides of me. I’d been driving between fields for almost a half hour or so. It looked like I‘d be still driving between fields for at least another half hour to come. This sure was farm country. It looked like they were growing corn and tobacco. One farmer had a crop of cabbages sitting in a five mile by five mile field. That was sure going to be a lot of sauerkraut I thought. I was thinking about maybe having horlooshka for supper when I noticed that I wasn’t traveling alone.

Riding along with me along these long rolling tree lined fields and off to my right, was a lone pilot in a old biplane crop duster.  At first, he snuck up to me from behind and kind of buzzed my Rabbit Diesel. I heard him pretty good thanks to my sun roof being open. He wasn’t much higher off the road than I was. I guess he was heading to a dusting site.   He moved over to the right and flew along my right side matching my speed. I wondered if this was the first time a compact car had a wingman. I stuck my hand out the sun roof hatch and waved. He waved back and tilted his wings a bit. Every now and then, he’d have to pull up fast to clear a tree line. We went like that for a good five minutes or so. I’ve got to think that was some of the best fun I ever had while driving.

In any case, he eventually had to flap wings and get to his job. He kind of pumped his fist which I think is pilot sign language for time to rev up. He waved goodbye, and off he went. That biplane could really move out. He disappeared behind the tree lines and into the horizon. I went back to being a car driver and brought it down to fifty five. There was some pretty good beach music on the radio. I let that take my attention.

So, I’m riding along pretty much to myself and passing a fields’ tree line. I had a full view of the new field. I think it was full of corn about a yard high. The field was about a mile wide along the road edge.  I could see the far tree line in the distance. I could also see some pretty large clouds further off. The next thing I noticed was my crop duster friend popping over the far tree line and heading my way. This time you would have thought he was in the Blue Angels. It looked like he had a bad case of wings do your stuff. He saw me and slowed up a bit and went into a turn so he could match my direction. He came alongside and waved. I waved back. He then pointed to the far distant clouds and gave a thumbs down. Then he kind of made a cut sign along his neck. I had to think a bit and then, I got it. I didn’t need a weather report to know I was heading into a storm. I gave him the three ring sign and waved a thumbs up. He waved, banked, and got out of Dodge.

Sure enough after about three miles, the sun roof had to be closed and the wipers came on. The dee jay on the radio had some pretty good beach music going. The beat almost matched my wipers. He did say something about a small chance of showers. As the wind kicked up and the lightning flashed, I was kind of glad that my own private Guy in the Sky gave me an early heads up.