THOSE WHO SERVE

There should be a  very good show coming up at 10am this morning.  I’ll be interviewing Will Spencer.  Will is a retired policeman and said he’d like to come in and talk about his time as a public servant.  I’m expecting a very good show.  When I think about it, the people that I have always enjoyed being with are those men and women who do something to protect and serve us all.  My short time in the Navy was a blast.  Maybe blast isn’t the right word to use around a warship but you know what I mean. My fellow trainees and those I met who were out of training and into the real deal were pretty decent folks.  They had lifetimes of stories.  My rescue squad brothers were like a big wonderful family.  Oh there was more than enough squabbles, but, when the alarm rang, everything was put aside as we flew out the door to where ever the trouble was. It was a joy to be part of a team that lived to save lives.   When I was a college student and had that awful head on collision, crowds gathered and just gawked helplessly.  It was an Ohio State Trooper who called for rescue and got down the embankment to help us.  Now that I think about it, he was pretty young and just as scared as we were but, he was there and doing his best.  I think also of our local police force.  When everyone is so busy getting ready for Christmas, this particular police department holds this huge party for the poor kids in town.  The kids don’t feel poor that day and it’s all smiles. This party takes months to  prepare.  I’m sure each person in the department has better things to do during the holidays.  But, these folks see the party and their day to day duties as one of those better things to do.   God Bless Them All.

THANKSGIVING DINNER ON A BUN

Some of you may remember my stories of Thanksgiving  dinner at my grand parents house back when I was a kid.  All the kids in the family, which was about five or six of us, got to sit away from the grownups.  We took over the breakfast room far from prying parental control.  The moms should have just shoveled the meal into a trough for us.  Actually pigs eat with more manners than we used.  One highlight of the feast was to take these little slices of party rye and jam everything we could from our plates onto the bottom slice and then stick a slice on top and shove all that into our mouth.  Gravy and coleslaw would squirt out our ears as laughter ringed the room.  You knew the party was really out of control when we’d open our mouths and play train wreck..  Oh, we were rotten kids.  No, we never got caught.

 Well, at the Vets Rockin Fest in Newton, NJ this past Saturday, I noticed that one of the food vendors who, through the grace of God, was parked right next to my broadcast site, had a big sign and banner that read Thanksgiving Dinner on a Bun.  Intrepid broadcaster that I am, I had to investigate.  Once the fellow was done with his set up, I casually made my way over to say hello.  At first it was nothing but a bit of small talk.  When I finally felt the time was right, I hit him with the big question.  “I couldn’t help but notice….what’s this Thanksgiving Dinner On a Bun thing all about?”  Some vet bikers came by for a few bacon dogs and he explained as he wrapped strips of bacon around some hot dogs and stuck it all in the deep fryer.  He said.  ” Who doesn’t like Thanksgiving?  No one. Absolutely no one.  So, I developed this sandwich.  Pulled turkey breast, cranberry sauce, stuffing and gravy all on a bun.”  I chimed in, “What about coleslaw too?”   He rubbed his chin, “Hey that’s a good idea.  I’m going to look into that.”  Long story short, the guy made me one and gave it to me on the house.  I offered to pay but, he would not take my money.
 It was a beautiful delight.  Pretty to look at and wow what a great aroma.  Just like grandma’s kitchen smelled like on the big day.  The cold and chilly day melted away as I took the first bite.  Some turkey squirted out of the opposite end and fell on my shoes.  I carefully picked it up and stuffed it back into the bun and started to chomp.  I could almost hear my cousins egging me on to chew with my mouth open.   Each bite tasted different.  One bite was heavy with cranberry.  Another was more turkey than stuffing.  God, it was so good.  What a great day.  It was cold and rainy and my hands were numb but, that sandwich made it all go away with a hint of late Novembers chill and a warm kitchen surrounded by family.
 Keep an eye peeled for this guy.  He and, I assume, his wife run it.  The booth is red and white and, has turkey dinner on a bun banners on the front corners.   His deep fryer is always on.  He wears a navy ball cap with a aircraft carrier logo on it.  I’ll bet he was a navy cook.  I’ll just bet.

CUTE KID SIGHTING

I was playing tunes at the Chatterbox yesterday.  I was pretty tired from a long dee jay schedule this past week so, the only thing to do was to amuse myself by doing some serious people watching as the songs played.  That kind of thing perks me up quite a bit.  It’s almost better than coffee but, not quite.  So, I’m looking around the room and I cast my eyes upon a little girl and her dad in a booth across the dining room.  They were facing me. Mom sat across from them and had her back to me.  The little girl was about two or three years old and her folks looked to be in their low thirties. The little girl looked kind of like both my daughter Sunshine at that age and, my grand daughter Sadie when she was a toddler.  In other words she was a very pretty little girl and, she had the devil in her eyes.   A plate of French fries came to the table.  Dad tried one and rubbed his belly.  She tried one and rubbed her belly.  Dad picked up a big one and held it close to her mouth and, she bit at it like a fish going after a worm.  So, now she picked one up and held it to for her dad to bite.  He gobbled it all up.  Real quick she grabbed one and held it up again laughing.   This time dad, gulped at it but, she pulled it away real fast and stuck it up his nose.  Then she grabbed another and stuck it in his ear.  So, he tickled her nose with a French fry he had in his grip,  She bit it and gulped it down.  The war was on.  Mom tried to get them to stop but, they pelted her with little crusty fries from the platter.  Anyway, it went on like this till the fries were gone.  Mom didn’t realize it but she had one fry with ketchup on it stuck to her ponytail.  They looked like a pretty happy family to me.  They made my night.

A PUZZLE FOR US

Once, there was this great civilization of plant life.  Plants everywhere.  Giant ferns and four ton potatoes roamed the earth in search of fertilizer.  Some how many of the plants went extinct.  Some survived whatever it was that killed their brethren.   Still most of those ancient plants became one with the earth and became coal.

Then, there was the next great civilization, dinosaurs.   Lizards everywhere.   Leather skinned monsters clawed their way around night and day roaming the earth in search of raw meat.  Soon enough in a flash, they became extinct like the plants and became oil.
Now there’s us.   Critters with well functioning brains and seemingly able to perform many functions with hands and thoughts roaming the earth in search of, (fill in the blank)   Sometime, hopefully a long time from now, and, in a flash, we’ll go away and be extinct and we’ll become, (fill in the blank)
It’s kind of a workout to fill in these blanks.  What do you come up with?

DOG SNOOTS

Here is a really cool thing or two I learned yesterday during an interview with Jerry Calcagno.  Jerry is the chief of the Sussex County Canine Emergency Response Team.   Pretty much his teams dogs are used for search and rescue.  Jerry compared a dogs sense of smell to a humans sense of smell this way.  Your mom is cooking soup on a chilly day.  You walk in and take a whiff and know that she is cooking your favorite, chicken soup.  In other words you know in one snort that what you smell is chicken soup.   Your dog walks in, and with out really trying, smells the soup and actually could tell you every possible ingredient your mom used to make dinner.  Your dog could differentiate chicken from parsley, and noodles from broth.    Pretty cool huh?  Every moment we shed sent from our bodies into the air.  It’s a very tiny microscopic amount.  Some of that scent falls to the ground.  Some of it floats in the air.  Search dogs use both sources to find the person they’re looking for.   The great thing is they do all this good work because they can and because they really love doing it for us.  Dogs are great.  I’m gonna go kiss the hound of mine.

A BIG DAY

I had a very nice gig yesterday.  It was a live broadcast from an assisted care center in north Jersey.  Mostly, I played big band and crooner style music for the residents.  It looked like they had not heard some of the songs I played in years.  Seeing their smiles when a long forgotten tune hit their ears was treasure enough but, then something else happened.   After a Glenn Miller tune I asked if anyone in the room ever saw Glenn Miller.  Hands shot up with a yes.  One older couple said they actually danced to Glenn Miller at some ballroom in Manhattan.  I played an early Sinatra tune.  One lady said she actually got to dance with old blue eyes.  Get this, another lady said that Frank Sinatra lived on her street.  She saw him all the time.  There was folks in the room who actually stopped their daily chores back then to sit and listen to Fibber Mc Gee and Molly.  In other words my talking about those good old days was one thing but, these folks were there.  I think, given time, those memories would have come flooding out into the room by the bucket full.  Just a few tunes,= and some small stories, got it going.

MOON FESTIVAL TONIGHT

This just in from our listener and friend Scotty in China.  Tonight is Moon Festival Night.  In China, on  this evening, families pack a basket with moon cakes and tea and they go out and have a family picnic under the moon.  Moon cakes are kind of like round pop tarts best I can tell.  I’m here to say that this is a great idea for the whole planet.  There’s something really great about sitting in the dark and respecting the light.  This sounds like a very ancient way to have fun and dig our lives in one fell swoop.  Wait till you see the moon that’s out there tonight.  It’s huge.  Millie the Hound woke me up last night wanting to go out.  The moon was waiting for us, seemingly right outside the front door, with a brilliant blast of light.  It was like we walked right into a spotlight.   Once Millie got through doing her business, we both just stared at the moon for about five minutes.  Do yourself a favor and get some Pop Tarts and a little Lipton and out you go tonight for a great time.   Thanks Scotty.

SATURDAY NIGHT DRIVING HOME

This past Saturday I was coming home from the Chatterbox after a long day of playing records.  I had stopped at a convenience store to buy one of those prefab ice cream cones.  You know, the ones all covered in chocolate and nuts.  I love those darn things.  The only problem was that this particular ice cream cone fell apart in my hands as I unwrapped it at a light.  The light turned green before I could  pick up all the pieces.  So, I’m driving down Route 519 south of Newton and groping in the dark for ice cream cone hunks that scattered all over the front seat and down to the floor.  To make it worse, a wild storm lit up the sky.  The fact is, that there was one blast of lightening that lasted so long I was able to use it to spot and grab a fairly large chunk of ice cream that still had some nuts and chocolate on it.  I wasn’t too happy with my lot in life just then but, I pushed on into the storm.

I came into a section of Route 519 where it ran along some open fields and lawns.  The storm was getting way too intense.  Trees were swaying like hula girls but, I didn’t hear ukuleles.  Instead, there was just more and more wind and thunder like artillery.  I was in the middle of a pretty hairy deal and, then I saw it.

Not that high up in the sky I could see a slow moving medium sized airplane with all of it’s headlights on.  It might have been a thousand feet up.  Perhaps it was a bit higher but not by much.  The lightning just kept flaring all around it.  It would be real dark and gusty and then, suddenly, brighter than day and that plane just kept inching along up above me.  I was actually fearful of driving under it’s flight path up in front of me.  It seemed to be hanging in the sky by a thread.  I thought I saw four more lights come on as I came almost under it as it passed over me from right to left out over the valley to the east.   I thought to myself that the extra lights might have been angels  hanging on to the plane and flapping like mad.  I could almost hear the head angel standing on the top of the fuselage yelling to his squad.  “Ok you idiots (They were recruit angels)  hang onto this thing cause its getting down in one piece.  The Andover Airports not that far now.  Heave!!!  I didn’t say to really heave.  Your paying for that robe.  Come on you guys. let’s do it!!!!”   With that there was the biggest blast of lightening I’ve ever seen.  It totally lit up the sky from horizon to horizon.  The plane was silhouetted like a dead black bird on a sheet of white.  It almost looked like it was on it’s side.

My car moved into a tree lined section of highway.  the lightning glare went away and I lost sight of the aircraft.  I hit another open patch and there was nothing to be seen.

I knew that there was an airport midway into the valley to the east and the plane probably had a rough go  of it but, got down safely.  It turns out that there were no plane crashes over night in the county but, I didn’t know that last night.  I drove along into the dark watching for trees in the road.  I found one more hunk of ice cream cone but it was covered with crud from the floor.  I threw it out and was glad to get home to some real ice cream in the freezer.  Cherry Vanilla.   I shared it with Millie the Hound

SOMETIMES I’M STUPID

Last night probably around 3 am I woke up and realized that the power was out.  I spent the rest of the night, fretting and planning my options.  Can I go to the fridge?  What if we have to go to the bathroom?  Oh gosh, the ice creams going to melt.  No hot water.  It’s so dark.  Is the whole country out?  Did meteors just hit the earth.  I think I hear angels singing.  What if I have to go to the bathroom.   No wait, now I do have to go to the bathroom.  Well, you get the idea.  It would have been better to roll over and get some really good sleep in all that silence and dark but, oh no.  Not me.  Sometimes I’m stupid.    I’ll be at the Chester Craft Show today till around 2:30.  Then, it’s up to the Wanderers Cruise Night for a trip back in time.

THE SHOW MUST GO ON

I’m totally whooped and almost blind from changing over all the price tags in my dairy aisle.  I’m covered in cream cheese and onion dip.  I knocked three big boxes of cookies off a table by mistake and couldn’t even eat one.  Missed lunch and cut my finger with a razor.  I slipped in butter but, didn’t fall.  I reached into a big crate of eggs and pulled out a carton of eggs only to find that most of them were broken and oozing down my sleeve.  One lady was mad at me because we didn’t have lactose free key lime yogurt.   Finally, my fingers hurt from being to cold while everyone else has nice warm hands and toes.  In short it was a typical Friday in the dairy case.  In spite of all this, I will be on with a front porch show n just a few minutes.  I’ll fire it all up just before 5:30 this evening.  Tune in.