ONE VERY TRUE TELLING PHOTO

ONE VERY TRUE TELLING PHOTO

I spent today writing captions for the photos that are going to be in my first book. They were mostly family photos. In some cases, they were from very long ago. There was one someone got of me very early in my radio days cueing up a record for airplay. There were a few of my kids and me. We’re putting one in of our old hound Roxy back when she was alive, sitting next to a giant pumpkin I was growing. You know, the usual photo album stuff we all have. Funny though, I found one photo that really got me to thinking. Most folks would have just passed it by but, it hit a chord.

It was a picture of my Mom and me. I couldn’t have been more than three years old when it was taken. I remember Mom getting all prettied up for it. She was doing her hair in the mirror at her vanity table. Lipstick had to be just right. She put on a pretty dress and then she looked at me and said, “Now, it’s your turn. Let’s get you all set. Go into your room and get out of that filthy shirt and your old trousers. I’m going to find your sun suit. Get those shoes off too.”

Earlier Mom had been talking about making cookies so, I didn’t want to cross her. I did as I was told. I was standing in my underpants when she came into my room with the sun suit, a wash cloth, and a brush. Oh my gosh but, I got a going over. It was a regular head to toe scrub down. Soon there I was in my sun suit with my hair brushed and not a speck of dirt on me. Mom stood back to admire her handiwork and smiled. There was a knock at the door.

Some guy was at the door. He was carrying all this stuff. He carried in a whole bunch of funny looking lights and, black boxes with glass on them. He had a briefcase or two. He and Mom talked as he put the stuff all over the living room. He told me he was a photographer.

Pretty soon I was sitting on Moms lap looking at this photographer guy. Mom had her arms around me so, I figured all was well. She tickled me a bit to get me to smile. The guy hollered something about watching a bird. I looked around and didn’t see any bird. In fact, I didn’t see a thing because all these lights were flashing in my face. Whatever the man did it didn’t take too awful long. Soon Mom was telling me that I could get back into my play clothes. That was great because I didn’t really dig the sun suit. It seemed like a dumb thing to wear. I was glad to get out of it.

That was so long ago now. Of the three people in that room that day, I’m the only one left alive. But, I looked at that picture of Mom and me. I guess she kept it on her dressing table the rest of her long life. It’s going to be in the book.

I got to thinking about Mom and how she always there for me with a lap to sit on and arms to hold me. It was great as a kid to have her there when there were spiders in the hallway or, a bully in Kindergarten. She’d just sit down on the sofa, and put her arms out to me as I climbed up into her lap to make it all go away.   Whatever it was, if it was bad, it soon was gone.

Sure, when I got older, I didn’t necessarily sit on Moms lap anymore. I got a little too heavy for that kind of thing. So, with age, maybe instead of a cuddle, it might be spaghetti, or a few bucks, or a smile at just the right time. With Mom the door was always open for one kind of hug or another.

I hope your Mom was like mine. If so, you were very lucky indeed.

 

SPRING IS HERE TRUST THE POWER OF THE SHOPPERS

I should have sent this out the other day as that last winter storm came through.  My observation would have been a comfort to all fortunate enough to read it.  Here’s proof that winter is on it’s last legs for this year.   Forget what is being told to you through the media and news outlets.   Not that there’s anything wrong with weathermen, they certainly are a help most all the time.  Late last week, it seemed that they were telling of icy conditions lasting till July.  All who heard reports of this sad nature fell into a deep blue funk.  One would cringe at the reports of eight or nine inches of cold wet snow coming our way for the weekend.  True, enough, we got quite a bit.  But, a higher power tells me that we have seen the last of winter for now.  The icy blasts of winter will not torment us again now till December at the very soonest.

     How do I know this to be true.  Easy, I have tapped into the sacred power of Mom’s and Housewives.  This time, when the storm reports flooded the airwaves and newsprint, we, in the supermarket trade braced for the usual onslaught of rabid panicked shoppers hitting us full tilt.  We readied wound dressings for the fist fights in the bread section.  We had splints set to stabilize all the fractures that would curse the dairy aisle.  Heart seizures called for oxygen ready in the snack aisle.  You get the picture.  Off duty prison guards were called into maintain order at the checkout lanes.  In short we were ready for all hell to break loose with news of an impending weekend snow storm.
     We waited in silence as dusk settled over north Jersey.  We thought we heard the chants and screams of approaching shoppers in the far off distance.  But, we were only hearing the far off howls of the north wind.  It sounded as if it was gasping it’s last.  Still we waited.  Would they hit us after dinner?  Would they attack at dawns misty light?  We waited.  Someone sent out for pizza.
     The pizza came and we ate what we thought could be the last meal for some of us.  Casualties run high in a pre storm rush.  Some of us called home for tearful goodbyes.  We waited all night.  Most of us couldn’t sleep.  Our chaplain held a pre dawn service over in the produce section.  Still nothing.
     After awhile, the snow started and we were still not under attack.  We looked at each other.  “Why are they holding back?” we asked. ” Are we spared?”
     Our manager, a wise veteran of many winters called us together.  He passed out coffee and doughnuts and smiled.  “Troops” he laughed.  “The war is over.  Winter is done.  Spring will be here soon.  I saw this happen once many years ago.  When  heavy snow is predicted and no customers attack, it’s the surest sign that winter is finished.  We have come through without a casualty.”
     From cart guys to co managers and all in between cheers rang out.  Checkers wept openly.  Winter at the supermarket was done with us and we could all go home after our shift.  It has always been as certain as a sunrise that when a storm threatens and no customers, especially housewives, come running, that Spring, blessed Spring is upon us.   The housewives know instinctively when the last storm approaches.  They know then, that they can get by with leftovers and whatever is in the freezer.  It is then that they all find their favorite show on TV and much like the swallows returning to Capistrano they put winter behind them and enjoy coffee and a show.
     Friends, Spring is here.  You can bank on it.

MY TWO KIDS

MY TWO KIDS

It just hit me that I didn’t really devote a whole lot of Blurps to my kids Sunshine and Burgess. My Granddaughter Sadie has the honor of being the star of the first Blurp.   Other than that gee, I kind of goofed up.   I must apologize. In truth, I couldn’t have better kids then the ones I got. They turned out better than I could ever hope for. Both, are winners in my book and I love them to death. They’re both self taught and  can be very capable at whatever they choose to do. Sunshine is a psychic and is a great mom. She’s picked a very good husband in Richie. There just couldn’t be a better kid than Sadie. Burgess, lives out in Hollywood and works as a musician and also has been working for some time now at Amoeba Records. Amoeba sells any and all types of recorded music old and new.

Unlike a lot of folks I know, my two kids, seem to be able to be happy in whatever environment they find themselves in. Not everyone can do that. They can take the lemons life hands them and make lemonade.

Do I have proud moments of them? Yes, I have many.

Burgess, at six years old, one time on our way back to Pennsylvania from North Carolina, started making that noise you get when you stick out your tongue and blow. Call it a raspberry. He did one blow every two seconds to a polka beat from the Mason Dixon Line to his moms home in Forksville. That’s about ninty miles. Yes, it drove Sunny and me nuts but, there was no stopping him.  He was a kid on a mission. He’s a musician now as I told you. I’m surprised he hasn’t done a song utilizing raspberries. Maybe he’ll be doing that next.

I was very proud of Sunny at ten years old, when out on a playground some boy was bullying her. She got away from the little brat. He was a bit bigger than she was. I was too far away to really help in time. The boy went to play on the swings and was going back and forth pretty darn good. Sunny walked over to a nearby apple tree and found an apple that fit her hand really well. With that she turned and winged that apple at the bully like she was Whitey Ford. She got him right between the shoulder blades. The brat hit the dirt and ran off screaming.   Sunny just wiped the dirt off her hands and walked away.   I don’t think she knew I saw it all. Now, Sunny does psychic work and deals with hauntings. It would take a pretty scary ghost to make her back off.

I figure my kids will always do just fine in life. I promise to write more about them in the next blurp book.

COFFEE TABLE BOOKS, HOW I LOVE YA, HOW I LOVE YUH

 

I had to go for a heart checkup the other day. It was just a routine thing. I have to go about once every six months for blood work. It’s a small price to pay for being alive. Long ago, I had a badly clogged coronary artery and these guys fixed it up just fine with a stent or two. We’re all so lucky to be living in a time when these lifesaving procedures are about as routine as getting a tooth filled. My doctor’s a pretty cool guy and visiting him every six months is a lot more fun than visiting the undertaker even just once. Plus, I love this particular doctors office.

They say on the appointment card to arrive a half hour early. I get there about an hour early. I do that because in the lobby they’ve got a whole bunch of one of my favorite things. The whole waiting room is littered with coffee table books.

The darn things are everywhere you look. I walk in there and, to quote my Uncle Don, “I feel like a fly in a nudist camp. I don’t know where to start first.” On one coffee table, there’s a huge book on battles of the American Revolution. Right next to it, I see Scenes from the Mighty Mississippi. That one’s full of photos along the Mississippi River from the headwaters to the Gulf of Mexico. God, it’s about two inches thick. Next to the easy chair, I spotted a book on the Alps. There’s one on Classic California Hot Rods. I grab a nice chair near the window for better light and, cover myself with about forty pounds of books and start flipping pages. It’s like the whole world is in my lap.

Do you remember that show, Married With Children and, how Al, for his vacation, would rope off his sofa and TV area in the living room and, then, he’d spend his two weeks off watching girly movies from around the world? I could do that same thing with coffee table books. Just leave me alone for two weeks and, let me read.

Better than that, here’s what I’d do if I was really rich. I’d get my own Amtrak Lounge Car and fill it with coffee table books and one of those old lounge chairs the railroads used to have in the Smoking Parlor Cars. I’d hire a guy or gal to keep the windows clean and make coffee. I’d tip them very well and they’d be welcome to read any book I wasn’t reading at the moment and, they could drink all the coffee they want.   All I’d ask is for no interruptions and just let me either look at the books or look out the window at the passing scene and let me know gently when the two weeks is up. I’d go for a month but, after a month, I’d be too spoiled for words. Of course, I’d want all my vacation books delivered to my home for mementoes.

Assuming that my wife Sandy would let me back in the house, after this trip, I would want a nice large and cozy, room with heavily reinforced walls and floor to store all my vast collection of paged treasure. It would be a dream come true.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t the Library of Congress have to keep a hard copy of every book ever written? If so, that would mean they must have this huge warehouse devoted to, to, to…. That’s right you guessed it. Would they, maybe let a fellow in for a peek? Could they use someone to dust a bit? You know, some lucky stiff probably already has that job. What a lucky break for them.

 

 

SANDY WAS WATCHING AND TAKING NOTES

Many years ago I was a boiler maker.  Yes I also drank boiler makers but, that’s another story.  I loved the job and a day spent working one way or another in a big old boiler room was a day well spent.   I actually found it fun to work on equipment that generated heat and lots of it.

     So, when Sandy and I got a wood stove, it generally fell on me to clean it out and do whatever service work the thing might need.  It brought back pleasant memories of days gone for me.  As I’d be resealing the fire box door on our woodstove, my mind would float back to pouring heat baffle cement into the tail cover on a 400 horsepower Cleaver Brooks fire tube boiler in the middle of some God forsaken factory out in Pennsylvania.   Once the cement dried, we’d have to get this very, very, heavy piece back into its exact place with come-a-longs and pinch bars.   You had to do it just right, or else.  Oh, I could go on for hours I guess.   But, this is how my mind would wander as I touched up on our little stove.  I’d even wear my old style work gloves with the heavy wrist guards when I worked o the little stove, just for old times sake.

     The stove recently needed cleaning and, I wanted to get it done in time for yet another cold snap that was supposed to be coming.  I had to get it done soon to meet the upcoming heavy demand.  Snow was in the forecast and, a snowy roof would make it very hard to get to the chimney for a good brushing.   Our roof is pretty steep. The job would have to be done Thursday or, not at all.

     And yet, it was going to be pretty tough to do the job on Thursday.  Thursday is my long day at the A&P.  I also had a doctors appointment that day for a routine heart check up.  I had to get up real early to be at the doctors.   Then, I’d have to start later than I usually do at the store.  This meant that I wouldn’t get done with my shift for at least two hours later than usual.  I wouldn’t be able to even start on the stove till 7:30 or so and, it’s a job that takes at least  two hours.  Wow, it was going to be a long day.

    In the middle of the night I was sleeping pretty good when Millie our Hound marched into my bedroom whining to go out.  That was at three in he morning.  I stood out in the yard with her while she sniffed around for just the right place.  I had to get up very early to be at the doctor so, when I got back into bed naturally, I found myself locked out of dreamland.  I just tossed and turned and, when I finally did fall asleep, the alarm clock gave me a minute or two of bliss then, started to ring. Worse yet, I had to fast for the doctor so, coffee was out.

    At the A&P dairy aisle, I was alone with lots to get done and, a snow storm on it’s way.  I won’t get into details but, oh gosh I moved a lot of milk and eggs out onto the floor.  Did Dr. Oz tell his audience about the health benefits of buttermilk on a recent show?  I’m just asking.  We had this incredible run on buttermilk and didn’t have a lick of it on the shelf.  No one ever asks for buttermilk.  You’d have thought it could be turned into gold the way people were after it.  It was a great day to run out of buttermilk quarts at 8 am.  My ears are still ringing.

     Quitting time came and I crawled to the van and,  found the strength to get my keys out of my pocket and start the car.  Somehow, I got home.  All the while fretting over the woodstove maintenance job waiting for me at the door.  I was almost a beaten man.

     I dragged myself down our walk to the front door moving slower with every step.  I finally knew how Napoleans Grand Army of the Republic felt trying to get back to Paris from Moscow.  I know that they had a much harder time than me but, by then, I was turning into a great big baby.  I was ashamed of myself but, I was also so darned tired.

     I actually crawled through the front door as a beaten man.  You know how the TV wrestlers look when it’s their turn to lose?  Picture a scrawny old guy on the door mat doing the same thing.  That was me.  But then a miracle happened.

     It came to me in a very subtle manner.  Just a tiny whiff.  The smallest hint of creosote wafting through the air.  I sniffed much like Millie does when she’s sound asleep and you pass a sausage in front of her nose.  When you do that, her nose moves but nothing else does.  Even though the rest of her is asleep, the nose follows the sausage.  In it’s own way, my nose was doing the same thing.  Why was I smelling creosote?  I raised my head and looked around.

     All around me I could see parts from the wood stove laying here and there in the room.  My head lifted and I saw the stove top over there on a door mat right next to a box of soot.  The flame diverter was placed carefully on the woodpile.  The catalytic converter rested on a newspaper.  Nuts and bolts were sitting in an ashtray all neatly arranged.  Standing in the middle of all those parts with her hands on her hips in a  Superwoman  pose was my beautiful wife Sandy all covered in soot.

     Oh, she was a vision friends backlit by the TV  tuned to one of those gossip shows on Fox Network.  She never looked more beautiful as she spoke.  “I think it’s all clean.  I did it myself.  You just got to do the flue and bolt it all back together.”  She looked so pretty all covered in soot.  “Make sure I did it right.  Look it over.”

     I wiped a tiny tear of joy as I checked her handiwork.  It was done to a tee.  Perfect in all areas.  she even got the soot off the damper.  Only experts think of that kind of thing.  It’s very important that you don’t forget the damper.  I had nothing but praise for her.  ” It’s perfect.  How did you know what to do?  You’ve done a great job here.  I’m impressed.  Very Impressed”

     Sandy just said  “I knew you were going to have a long day and, I figured I could take care of it.  I kind of watch you whenever you do it.  So, I gave it a try.  Looks good huh!?”

     I had to say it.  “You cleaned better than ever.  You even got the back wall in the firebox.  Amazing.”  With new found energy, I flew up the ladder, brushed out the flue and before not too long we had heat again.  The stove was warm to the touch, blowing clear smoke, just as the cold night fell.

     As I tightened the last bolt, I got to thinking how Sandy would have been a great boiler maker.  She’s wiry and small.  She certainly has the strength and flexibility to squeeze into a tight steam drum.  She doesn’t mind getting all sooty.  She’d look good wearing a respirator, hard hat, welding gloves, and goggles.  Best of all, she knows how to learn fast by keeping her eyes open.

     Darn but, I’m lucky.  Ahh, it’s warm in our happy home again.

HOORAY FOR HORLUSKA

HOORAY FOR HALUSKA

Last night I was kind of bummed out at work. Actually, I was bummed out a bit all day because I realized that I just wouldn’t have enough loot to get a corned beef for St Patrick’s Day. I’d practically need a bank loan to get one. They’re a fortune this year. I just couldn’t bring myself to spend that much money and, armed robbery seemed like a bad idea.

I had visions of the coppers waiting out in the parking lot for me as I shot my way past the check out with a ten pound brisket under one arm and a blazing revolver in the other. With my luck I’d get to the car and realize that I forgot the cabbage and potatoes. The law was waiting behind the carrot display in produce. When I ran back in, they opened fire. There I was, cut down right near the rutabagas breathing my last still clutching that beautiful ten pounder.

Thought’s like that were running through my tortured brain last night as I tended to the dairy case. Sooner or later, I decided that it would be best if I just grew up and forgot about Saint Patrick’s Day dinner for this year. There’s just no sense being miserable. There’s always next year. I got to working harder and enjoying the customers.

One nice customer came around the corner. She was an older lady and, she was using the motorized handicapped cart. I smiled and said hello. She said hello right back. I saw this huge cabbage in her basket. It was like a beach ball.

I was impressed. “Wow, now that’s a big cabbage there young lady. Are you using that for a corned beef dinner tomorrow?” She told me no. I went on. “That’s one big cabbage. I figured you were going to use it for Saint Patrick’s Day dinner. So, what are you going to do with it?”

She had a Polish accent and said just a few words to me. “Horluska! Tonight, I make Horluska!” It was almost as if she was Napoleon saying that at dawn he would attack Vienna. She was ready for the task ahead. In just a few short hours the aroma of hot Horluska would waft through the hallowed halls of her humble home or, she would know the reason why. She was on her way to conquer mealtime. She also said that cabbage was on sale and pretty darn cheap right now. She gunned her cart and disappeared around the coffee shelf on her way to her kitchen and destiny.

I stood there saluting her in my mind as she left my aisle. I never saw her before. She might have been an angel in disguise. Her words inspired me. I went over to the produce section and snagged a nice cabbage. There were only a few left. The lady was right. They were pretty darn cheap.

I had forgotten about Horluska. It’s an eastern European dish of fried cabbage and egg noodles. There’s all sorts of ways to make it and they’re all good. On the web you can google some great ways to make it in all of its variations. I decided that for tonight, I would make the basic Horluska dish and for a Saint Patricks Day flair, simply, add a can of corned beef hash. Saint Patrick’s Day dinner will be served!! It’ll will be tasty and won’t cost much more than a few bucks.

 

 

CALLING ALL BLURPERS

This idea came to me this morning as I was waking up.  For some reason, most great ideas hit at that time of day.  I guess that’s what they mean when they say, “Let’s sleep on it.”  Maybe, we do our best thinking when we’re asleep and not all cluttered up with thought.  Who knows but, this is a good idea I’ve had.  I think it is anyway.

     You know how I like writing Blurps and sharing them with you, right?  Well, I got to thinking.  Why should I have all the fun of writing these things when, I have such a boat load of friends who might like to write and share their blurps too?  It makes sense to me to open up the blurp line to one and all.
     Here’s how it will work.  If you feel a blurp coming on, get busy and write it down.  Think of a blurp as a blog turned into a burp.  Once a burp starts, you really can’t stop it till it’s over, right?  It’s the same with a blurp.  You should write it in one sitting and, don’t stop till it’s done.  Now, you can write blurps with all sorts of subject matter and, that’s fine.  However, I want Blurps that accentuate the positive and paint the world as an interesting and, good place to be.  Just start with a simple inspiration and go with it till it’s done.  Think of it like this.  A big gulp of seltzer will make you burp like a trucker.  Picture your world and surroundings to be a big swig of seltzer for your mind and soul.  Slurp it up and let it rip.
     I would suggest that you use a pen name for yourself and don’t use  real names for the people in your blurps.  Always strive to be positive and all should be well.  Keep the language clean.  Make sure that I have a way to contact you. Please proofread.
     What I’m going to do is put the blurbs I like into my website, and share them on facebook.  Please don’t put your blurps into my website or facebook page on your own.  I must see and approve them first.  I reserve the right to edit the blurps before they go into my sites.  However, I will run the edited piece by you first for your approval.
     As you may know, I’m putting a book of blurps together.  I hope it will be out soon.  If it takes off, I’ll be looking to do more blurp books.  Perhaps, if enough good blurps come in, I could use some of the ones you folks have sent in.  If so, I will offer some kind of payment for your creation.  I doubt it would be a giant pile of loot but, you never know.  What ever I pay would be based on how many of your blurps are in the book along with how many books sell.  I wouldn’t count on going to Monte Carlo on the money but, you certainly could get to White Castle or even spend a day at Knobels.  Who knows.  Just remember that the blurps that go to my website or to my facebook page you are doing for free and fun.  There’s a chance that later they may pay off.  I will never steal another persons hard earned blurp.
     I hope this will be fun more than anything else.  Ok now, get busy.  Send your completed blurps to my email address.  Just look for a simple inspiration and knock out a few paragraphs about it.  That’s a blurp.   Good Blurping to you.

CREATIVE PROBLEM SOLVERS

CREATIVE PROBLEM SOLVERS

Do you remember this commercial from a few years ago? There’s a CEO in a board room and, he’s pacing back and forth looking out the window of his corner office. He starts pounding on his desk as his underlings cringe in corporate terror. This actor portrayed to a tee the kind of weasel faced CEO who’d make JR Ewing look like a choirboy eating milk and cookies. James Bond villains would cringe in fear of this character. We didn’t see it in the shot but, be certain this guy had the fountain out front of the corporate headquarters filled with sharks and human remains.

In this commercial, the CEO is pounding the desk and screaming about some weird problem only CEO’s and underlings would worry about. You know, something like a two percent drop in multilateral, offshore trans corporate, divested, tri vested pork belly futures. Whatever it means, heaven knows but, the underlings are just looking at each other shrugging their shoulders and sweating like blast furnace workers. The CEO continues pounding and screaming. “WE NEED CREATIVE PROLEM SOLVERS!!!!!   WHERE CAN I FIND CREATIVE PROBLEM SOLVERS!” Anywhere else, someone would have thrown this guy in the shark pool out front but, not these henchmen. One of them, the good looking one, raises his hand a little and with a choking kind of whisper says, “We could try Bilbo and Wannaby sir.” The scene cuts to an announcer who very confidently extolls the virtues of Bilbo and Wannaby. All is saved when the scene cuts back to the corner office as a square jawed rep from Bilbo and Wannaby arrives with his golden briefcase.

Well, I was at the Chatterbox last night and I saw a great creative problem solver. He’s a bit young but, he’s got what it takes. I think he’d work cheap. That boss could probably get this kid for a gallon of ice cream per week and the company would be saved. Let me explain.

There was this dad and his two very young boys at the table in front of my DJ control booth last night. I had a long song on and found myself watching them. They were doing dessert. Each one of them had a dish of ice cream. I couldn’t see Dad but, I assume that he was eating his ice cream in a normal manner. Most Dad’s do. The four year old boy was facing me, and was doing OK. Sure he had a little chocolate sauce on his cheek but, what the heck.

The youngest had his back to me. He looked to be between two and three. He was doing ok too. Sort of. There was a problem though. He was new to spoons. He held the spoon in his tight little fist right where the bowl attaches to the handle. He dug into the ice cream but, I guess due to the width of the spoon bowl and the hardness of the ice cream, he couldn’t get that much into his spoon. He licked what he could off the bowl but, most of it just got all over his cheeks. It wasn’t working out. So, he turned the spoon around and started digging at the sundae with the spoon handle.   He was able to spear a hunk of ice cream with the handle OK but, the hunk slithered down the handle as he tried to lick it. Soon, the ice cream fell to the floor.

Most kids would be throwing a fit like that CEO in the commercial by now. Not this kid. He just calmly thought the situation over. He tried a second shot from a different angle with the spoon handle. He got the same result of more ice cream on the floor and not much in his mouth. By the way, he didn’t bother his father or brother in all of this. This was his concern and his alone. Here’s what he did to fix things.   It was simple really. Most solutions are.   He just put down the spoon, he held the dish in his left hand and he grabbed the ice cream in his right hand. He then securely held the ice cream as he ate it like anyone might eat an apple. Problem solved. Sure, there might be, you know what to pay, when he got back home and Mom saw his shirt but, for now he was getting more than his fair share of ice cream into his mouth. As an added bonus, he had ten fingers to lick like popsicles.

Dad just looked at him and smiled. I think he knew that this very smart boy of his will, someday run an empire very well indeed and the tantrum makers will bow at his feet with offerings of ice cream or something like it.

A DRUNKEN RACCOON

THE DRUNKEN RACCOON

Some days the wife and I just stare out the windows here at home. We’re lucky to have a great view of the Musconetcong River in our back yard. Ducks, geese, squirrels, bears, deer, eagles, and more are always out there to look at. There’s never a shortage of critters to enjoy watching and, we normally love our spot on the bluff.   But, just the other day we were stunned by a shameful display of decadence in the land beyond the river. The true mother of us all, Mother Nature herself, must be shaking her head in shame.

The wife and I were enjoying the view and waiting for movement in the woods on the other shore. Sandy’s eyes are pretty sharp. She spotted something and pointed to the big tree. She was pretty excited. She hollered, “Look in the crotch of the tree about twenty five feet up!! Do you see it?”

There’s a big “Y” about twenty five feet up on the main trunk of this particular tree. The limb that spreads out to the left and upward must have had a twin branch attached to it that many years ago, has since fallen away. This has created a hole in the limb that spreads to a portion of the main trunks top. It’s a pretty big hole.   A big beach ball would easily fit in that hole and disappear. Over the past few years some rather large birds have called it home for a season. We keep hoping an eagle couple will move in. So, far no eagles have applied.

Sandy couldn’t tell what it was but, something was looking out of that hole in the tree. Forget me making an ID. There’s bats that see better than I do. But, even I could see a kind of brownish greyish lump sticking about six inches out of the hole and, it was moving.   “My God, you’re right, Sandy! Something’s trying to pop out of the hole. Is that an eagle head? Where’s my binoculars?”

I couldn’t see worth a darn through the binoculars. So, I gave them to Sandy. She looked and hollered that it kind of looked like a small bear maybe.   I mentioned that if it’s a bear and there’s no mama bear, we’ll have to call the game warden. Sandy said that it might be fun to keep it but, I said no. That went over big. In any case, it wasn’t a bear. I could see a big furry striped grey and white tail. Sandy saw the tail too and was the first to holler.   “Ahh! that’s a raccoon and, it’s a big one too. “

Friends, we were looking at the biggest raccoon either one of us has ever seen. You could have mistaken him for a small bear. I’d guess his weight to be 60 pounds at least. He may have weighed more. His head was the size of a dodge ball. He had a butt on him not that much smaller than the butt of a small pony. His tail was at least two feet long. He was the Godzilla of all raccoons and, friends, he was stinking drunk!!!!

That’s right, DRUNK! There, I said it. That raccoon was snookered. I should have known when I first saw him stick his sloppy drunk noggin out of the hole. You could see that the light hurt his eyes. What a sorry display. He staggered around in the crotch of that poor tree. It was all he could do to keep his feet under him. He had to hold on to an upper limb so he wouldn’t fall. He growled and bared his teeth at a distant woodpecker for being too noisy. Mama bunnies with their little babies did all they could to shield their children’s eyes from this vagabond display of public drunkenness. We could see him bobbing and weaving as he tried to get up on his own two hind legs. He just stood there and grabbed hold of a small limb to keep him from falling into the river below. At one point, he started to show off by walking out onto a one inch limb. He danced on it and laughed.

You know what I think it was? This year the cold weather came early. It happened right before Christmas. Raccoons go and hibernate as soon as it gets cold. I’ll bet he broke into a post Christmas party garbage can found some booze and got himself nine sheets to the wind, and on his way home to his wife and family, he noticed it was getting chilly. He then dropped into the nearest flop house he could find, that tree across the river from us. Two months later he comes to and, he finds himself still buzzed and with the mother of all hangovers. Now, there he was trying to get home before the wife wakes up.  All I can say is that he better stop by the nearest dumpster and get the family something nice.  Oh shame!

 

Sandy and I had to close the blinds. If we see him again, we may try an intervention.

A short after thought :   This is being written two days after the drunken raccoon sighting.   Upon further investigation Sandy and I owe that raccoon an apology.  Shocked at what we saw that morning, we took the liberty of reporting this incident to the proper authorities. We were ready to lodge a formal complaint with the forest service. As we described the actions of that shameless critter across the river, the game warden interrupted us and said that he knows this particular large raccoon quite well and considers him to be a raccoon of good standing in his community. Certainly not the type who would knowingly indulge in hard liquor or wild parties of any kind. Perhaps, the game warden continued, this poor unfortunate critter that night came, through no fault of his own, upon a fruitcake laced with strong drink in that dumpster. Perhaps he sampled it and well, being a normally sober citizen of the forest he soon found himself inebriated through no fault of his own. Then, as it was getting quite frigid, he took shelter in the only placed he could find, a shabby hollow tree crotch. The warden went on to say that it’s a known fact of nature that all animals coming out of hibernation are a bit sloth at first. Perhaps this stellar citizen of the forest wasn’t drunk at all. Perhaps he was just groggy and nothing else!!!

Gee, Sandy and I feel awful about this.   Maybe, this summer we’ll leave a plate of tuna out on the deck for our new furry friend, if he’ll accept our apology.   I’m going to throw out my binoculars.

 

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

You wouldn’t know this but, I’ve had the worst time trying to write the simplest part of this book.  Here I am at the part where I should thank all those who helped me along the path from scratch paper to books in hand being read.   This should be easy but, to my chagrin, I’ve had a hard time putting this part into words. It’s not that I’m ungrateful at all. I try always to be as thankful as can be. In truth, I’m afraid I’ll forget someone. At my age that’s pretty easy to do.

Also, there’s so many to thank. There’s the ones who inspired me to try. There’s those who cheered me on and didn’t gripe when I was busy with this thing and ignoring them. There’s plenty of people who gave me a hand with the hard parts and details. There’s all the people in my life who put ideas into my head for stories. I might also want to thank all those who made my life miserable in one way or another. Without them, I wouldn’t have been inspired to try. I should thank those that made my life happy and interesting. Without them, I wouldn’t have been inspired to try.

There has to be some names. Let me thank Sandy, Millie, Sunny, Sadie, Richie, Burgess, Dan, Jeff, and the guy who arranged all the loose manuscripts into a book. I don’t know his name yet but, he’s got one heck of a chore coming.   If I missed anyone, just consider yourselves thanked. Let me know and I’ll acknowledge you in the next book.

Mostly, I’ve just got to say that I’ve run into some wonderful people in my time here. Yes there’s been some stinkers for sure. But, heck, I’ve been a stinker myself. We all stink at times and then, with luck, we get over it and move on. I just want to thank all the fine and good people I’ve known. There have been so many of them to meet and enjoy. I really can’t complain.  I thank all of the people I’ve known. You’ve all been great.

I’ve dedicated my life, to trying to improve things one way or another. You have all, and I do mean all, have been very helpful in this assignment, You and I are shipmates on planet Earth and, I thank you all.