Last night I was playing records at The Chatterbox. My show was in it’s usual state of bedlam. In the middle of it all, members of the Wanderers Car Club came in for their usual Saturday night feast. It’s a rare night that at least a dozen of them don’t come by. They sit all at one table and whoop it up till closing. Generally, they come in a song or two before the National Anthem. It’s nice to have them in just before the ceremony. Everyone of them honors the flag and that always gets the rest of the crowd to join in. Not that the other diners wouldn’t salute the flag but, with all the noise in the Chatterbox, they might not hear my call to stand and salute. Absolutely everyone in the house got up last night. I guess that’s Super Bowl Weekend working it’s magic.After the Star Spangled Banner, a few of the Wanderers came over. They almost always do. If nothing else, they come by to at least say hi and shake hands and stuff. I’m grateful for their friendship. They remind me of the wonderful brothers and sisters I had at the rescue squad back in Wilson. Like my fellow squad members, the Wanderers are more action than politics. Last night, though, some of the members coming by to say hi had a different look to them. Something was up.Oh, it wasn’t anything bad, the guys coming over were smiling. But, somehow their smiles weren’t quite the usual grins. Maybe they had a good joke for me. Maybe they had some kind of crazy news. Oh God, I thought, please don’t let them announce a winter cruise night. I’ll freeze to death out on the patio in February. Well, whatever it was going to be, I felt that I didn’t have long to wait. Jim, from the Wanderers was holding something. I think Lou was starting to speak.I wouldn’t be able to give you the conversation word for word but, it went something like this. Lou was saying how the club had just come out with the new Cruise Nite Dash Plaque. He thought that I might like to take a look at it. Jim had it in his hands. Gosh,but Jim was smiling a lot.What is a dash plaque, you ask? Well, it’s abut the size of an inspection sticker. When you go to a car clubs regular cruise nite. You put this plaque on your dashboard so the club will know that you have paid your cruise fee for the season. Usually, dash plaques don’t cost a fortune, just a few bucks and they’re good for all season. Displaying your dash plaque entitles you to maybe win a trophy or a door prize. It shows your support for the event and, it helps cover the cost of running a regular cruise nite. All entrants to a cruise nite are strongly encouraged to get a plaque.Lou continued talking. Saying how they usually put a different classic cars photo on the dash plaque each year. That is usually the case. Lou went on to say how I’ve always been there for the club. He liked how I’m always helping with this and that. Jim kept smiling. It looked like his face was going to crack. I started to fear that this year the car of honor was going to be my rotten old van. I’m thinking oh God, they can’t do that. I’ve never even cleaned my van, ever. What if they took an interior shot? Lord, the White Castle bag from the first day I had the van is still in there somewhere under some rubbish. This can’t be happening.Lou was still talking. He said words to this effect. ” Doc, so because of all you do, this year we’re going to do something different. show him the plaque Jim.” Jim turned the face of the plaque towards me. Lou was saying how this year instead of a car, we’re going with a person Doc. It’s you! You’re on the face of the Wanderers dash plaque for 2015!!!!!Jim handed me the dash plaque and, darned if I wasn’t on it. There I was smiling in my control booth at the Chatterbox. I seem to remember someone taking my picture last fall as I cleaned a record but, I had no idea what for. Camera warranties don’t cover taking pictures of me. If I break the camera, you’re stuck with the damages. But, you know I came out looking not too darned bad if I do say so myself. I may just offer to autograph each plaque.That’s what all the stars do, right?Honestly, I was so honored. To think that such nice people as the Wanderers think enough of me and the work I do, to do such nice thing, is such a thrill for me. I’m really overwhelmed. Truthfully, I almost started bawling right there on the spot. I’m still feeling great almost 24 hours later.Don’t let anyone know but, I did lose it after a Wanderers Christmas party many years ago when they gave me my own Wanderers Jacket. That just threw me for an emotional sob fest on the drive home. With all that nose blowing and tears squirting all over my glasses, I was lucky to get home in one piece. When someone asks me to dress up for a gig, I wear that jacket. It’s my tuxedo. The Wanderers are ok by me. Bless them all.–
There’s a small town I pass right through on my way to work at the A&P. There’s maybe only fifteen houses in the whole town. I think in the old days, the whole place was built around a mill, a country store, and a very small church. Nowadays, traffic flies through on a fairly good sized two lane highway. The only reason to stop is for a traffic light.
Doing the show yesterday from Project Homeless Connect wasn’t the first show I’ve done from where people are helping other people. I guess I’ve done quite a few. This time, I saw something I don’t think I’ve noticed before. Let me set the stage for you. The day was held at the Hackettstown American Legion. The Legion is always up for these kind of events. They opened eagerly and I hear they had the coffee ready when the doors opened.
This was a great day friends. All sorts of people and organizations out at the Hackettstown American Legion Hall. There mission was to offer all sorts of aid for the homeless or near homeless in our area. I was there to knock out a mass interview. I think it came out very good. Enjoy.
Yesterday I was coming home from work. It was still daylight. School was out for a snow day. I was passing by this house and yard. I know the family. They’re very nice folks. Lots of kids. I kind of smiled as I drove by the field alongside their backyard. There was about four or five kids from the family out in the big field. They were sitting on their sleds. It looked like they were ready for a run. I remembered way back in the day, when I was a kid, and the thrill of starting a downhill run on my toboggan or my American Flyer. I remembered hanging on tight and giving the sled a little nudge by leaning forward fast. Better yet, it was even more fun to hold the sled in my hands and run at the hill and dive onto it for a high speed run. I envied those kids out in the field. Many a winters day, I had been there and done that on my own favorite slope.
I’m kind of glad that the 1000 pound gorilla turned out to be, at least in New Jersey, just one of those charm bracelet monkeys. That storm sure looked hairy coming our way. Mother nature smiled upon us for a change. I’m off to the A&P to clean up the dairy aisle a bit. When I get back, I’ll do a live show. I think it will be just a mish mosh kind of thing. You know, grab a record and play it kind of thing. I think we’ll run from 4pm to 7pm. Looking forward to it. Anyone want a bagel? I was afraid we’d get snowed in and I bought a dozen. Millie the hound and I are doing our best to finish them but, I think it’s hopeless. My wife Sandy, will only eat a bite or two. Maybe I can make a lamp out of the ones that get stale.
Last night I was on the phone quite awhile with someone very dear to me who was having a bad night. We all have these nights, myself included. I did what I could to calm this wonderful person down. Life has hit this person hard, make that very hard. Still, this person is fighting the fight. In due time, all will be well but, right now it’s tougher than tough. Self doubt was taking over but, will pass in time. No one said life should or, will be a snap.
Yes our hound Millie is going out of her little but, very smart, brain. The heavy snow yesterday has frozen up the critternet. She’s having an awful time getting her pee mails. Just a trickle is getting through. Dogs, foxes, coyotes, and deer are all in the same fix. It’s all been blocked by a heavy blanket of snow. Millie is visibly upset. She has no idea where her fellow critters are or, what they’re up to. Snow has been piled high up the sides of trees and telephone poles and there’s just no way to access her data. The telephone poles are usually a major gathering point, a kind of cyber café, for her and those on her friends page. It’s like Mother Nature, has popped off an EMF bomb in her world. There’s no physical damage done, but her web is destroyed. The only thing that cheered her up was a slice of left over pizza for breakfast,and Fox and Friends. I think when I leave for the Chatterbox today, I’ll leave the TV on. Millie likes Animal Planet.
I just ended one of my facebook postings saying how I’ll be leaving soon for The Chatterbox and the usual line up of shows. It snowed pretty good last night here in north Jersey so, I ended the posting with something I remember from Sargent Preston of the Yukon. He used to run to his dog sled much like Bat Man and Robin would run to the Batmobile. He’d grab the reins and holler, “MUSH !!! Mush you huskys!!! MUSH!!! I don’t think he ever whipped them. Just hollering Mush was enough to put them into immediate overdrive out into the Artic Waste Lands in search of Bad Man Pierre. I didn’t know that huskys liked mush so much that they’d run like fiends into the night just for a steaming bowl of the stuff at trails end.
The other evening I was sticking bags of shredded cheese on the shelf hooks at the A&P I work at. It was a slow night due to crummy weather. I was pretty much alone and more bored than busy. Suddenly, good luck came my way in the form of a mom and her son who looked to be a tall nine years old. The son was in charge but, mom was in control.