NO WATER COOLER AT THIS JOB

NO WATER COOLER AT THIS JOB

 

I think that I may have just heard of perhaps, one of the hardest occupations ever.   I asked my listeners to send me descriptions of the most difficult jobs they ever had. I got some wild replies. But, this one from a listener now living in China beat them all hands down. Mike Rowe eat your heart out. Friends, I think even he would have quit on the spot for this one. Want to hear about it? You’re sure? OK here goes.

The listeners name is Scotty, I believe he lived, as a young man, in the coal fields of southern Illinois. Scotty told me that although he never worked in a production coal mine, he did in fact work for a tunnel contractor instead.   Their basic function was to make shaft tunnels to service working and new mines. One of his toughest projects was to sink a tunnel for a new mine. The tunnel was to be thirty feet in diameter and travel straight down eight hundred and sixty feet deep.

Scotty told me that your basic plan is to drill fifty ten foot long holes into solid rock. You then pack the holes with dynamite and get out of the way. When the smoke clears, you go in and remove the rubble. Then they lower circular steel mold forms. You get them into position and, pour concrete between the form and the bed rock. When the concrete dries, you remove the forms and send them topside. You have a cup of coffee to celebrate and, then you start the process all over again. Repeat this for eighty five more times and you can go to the next project. Towards the end of the job, you are in a hole that’s over eight hundred feet deep. The sky above must look like a tiny little far away light bulb. There is no corner office. In fact, there’s no corners.

Hard hats with lights on them are standard issue. You do not need a tie. There is no snack bar. Everyone is issued a first aid kit that is worn on your belt next to the headlamps battery pack. You can chew but, don’t even think about smoking. It takes two hundred pounds of dynamite to blast the rock apart. If for some reason, it went off prematurely, you’d all become human cannon balls.

It seems to be a rite of passage in this job to get a new guy to break off a hunk of dynamite and chew it like tobacco. Turns out that will ruin your whole day. Dynamite is sawdust and nitroglycerine. The Nitroglycerine gives you a headache that if you live to retirement age,you’ll want to tell your grandchildren about. The nitro fumes off the dynamite evidently gives you a headache as well but, it’s something you can get used to.

Scotty, said that the worst thing he ever saw happened, was when quicksand pressed against a fairly new concrete sidewall and caved it in. The crew found themselves swimming in a fast rising sea of quicksand and concrete hunks. Somehow they were able to climb above the mess and escape. This sort of makes a day when the office copier breaks down seem like a walk in the park doesn’t it?

I think this jobs gets the first prize.   The wild thing is that I’ll bet somewhere out there, people are most likely sinking shafts nowadays, just like Scotty and his crews did it many years ago. I don’t know about you but, the next time my supervisor yells at me to polish the chrome on the dairy case, I think I’ll just kiss her right on the lips and get to work, smiling all the way.

In true Australian fashion, one of my other listeners, Paul, wrote in and wondered out loud if sinking one of those tunnels was how Scotty got to China? You know? That just might be how it happened.

I know, I tried to dig a hole to China myself once. I gave up at an unheard of depth of three feet. Cartoons were on and my Mom had made popcorn. I never went back to that worthless pit.

 

 

 

GOD, WHAT’S WRONG WITH THAT HORN?

GOD, WHAT’S WITH THAT HORN???

 

The other day I was at the Wanderers Food Drive playing some tunes. We were all in front of the Sussex, A&P and having a good time. Most of the Wanderers parked their classic cars and hot rods all together in a small section of the parking lot. The cars are always a great attention getter.   The club members stationed themselves at the entrance and exit doors of the A&P.   They then asked shoppers, if they’d be so kind, to get a few nonperishable food items while shopping and place them into carts just outside the exit door. All of this food then, is donated to a local food pantry and goes to help those less fortunate in the area. It’s a great thing to do and, I love being part of it. I’ve done many of these events for free but, the Wanderers insist on paying me a bit for my effort. I use the money to fund my station. All in all, it’s a win win kind of day.

When I arrive on the scene, what I do is to park just under the walkway over hang right in front of the A&P. I use my van as if it were a control booth. All the playing equipment is set up right at the tail end of the van and I sit right off the tail bumper and do my thing. This set up provides shade for my vinyl records and protection for my electronics if it should drizzle. This way too, if it really starts to pour, all I have to do is slam the rear hatch on the van and, all my stuff is safe inside. I have covers for my speakers so, they’re safe too. In short, my minivan is a rolling control booth. God, but I love having a van.

So, I’m playing tunes like crazy and firing up the shoppers to get them in the mood to donate a bit. I’m also running a live broadcast on my web station. I had plenty of coffee and doughnuts. Life was good. I had no complaints whatsoever.   Then it happened.

All of a sudden and out of nowhere someones car horn starts blaring away. HONK, HONK, HONK!!!! Gosh, it was loud and, it wouldn’t stop. I started to look around.   HONK HONK!!! I didn’t see a thing. Soon, I’m craning my neck to get an overview of the parking lot. HONK HONK HONK!!! Usually, the guilty car will have its lights flashing. HONK HONK!!!! Nothing. My heads just spinning and, it won’t quit. I was standing up now.   It got to the point that I was about to say something on the microphone when I looked through the front window of my van.      Steve, one of the Wanderers was pointing at my van. I could read his lips. He was saying, “It’s you Doc!!!” Behind him all the Wanderers were cracking up. I must have looked a sight trying to spot the offensive horn. Yet, it was me all the while. From behind the van I couldn’t tell it was me causing all the trouble. I started walking around my set up to get to the drivers seat. I forgot my headphones were on. They flew off my head to the pavement. All the while it’s HONK! HONK! HONK!!!   I sat down in the drivers seat and fumbled a bit with keys and controls till the noise finally stopped. It seemed to take hours. Some of the Wanderers were about to hit the deck they were laughing so hard. I’ve got to admit it had to be a funny site to see.

I keep an awful lot of stuff in my pockets. I guess my electronic ignition key somehow must have gotten its panic button pushed by one hunk of junk or another and, that started all the fun.  I think the whole incident lasted about two minutes at the most. It seemed like two hours.   I was so grateful I kept my mouth shut and didn’t get all full of myself and, self-righteous about this rude interruption of my very important and timely broadcast. Oh, a tirade would have been so wrong.

The day went just fine from then on. The horn incident was just a little blip on the screen of life. In the long run, it’ll be good for a smile or two and forgotten. The big blip on the screen, of course, was that the Sussex Food Pantry got about eighteen shopping carts full of food and a bit of money to boot. All in all, that makes for a great day in anyones book. Now, if that horn would just stop.

 

 

 

OLD SOLDIER YOUNG SOLDIER

Young Soldier,   Old Soldier

My nephew Blake lives down in the South Western Mountains of Virginia about a mile or two from the Peaks of Otter. He’s lucky. That area is perhaps one of the most beautiful places on earth. Blake moved down that way shortly after his time in the Marines. He served in Afghanistan and Iraq and I don’t think it was all fun and games. In fact, it was anything but. But, that’s another story for some time later on.

I just got off the phone with Blake. He wanted to tell me of a fellow he met. This past weekend marked the 71st anniversary of D Day. If I understood it right and, forgive me if I’m wrong, there was an army unit of soldiers from Bedford who were on some of the first landing boats to hit Omaha Beach. They were known as the Bedford Boys I think.  Many of them died or were wounded that day. Many died or were wounded in later action in the fight to rid the world of Hitler. Of course, after the war, many of them left us due to natural causes. Time has a way of marching on. Still, after all these years, there’s more than enough of these men alive to hold an event to thank them for their brave efforts on that day long ago.

Blake said that it was the usual ceremony and, it was very nice. The men from that unit were thanked and saluted as well they should have been.   I can’t imagine that their money would have been any good in any bar or café in town. That just goes without saying. I believe a D Day Monument was erected in the area long ago. I’m pretty sure that it may be a national monument. It should be.

There was a meet and greet after the event. Blake went to it. Some of the original unit were shaking hands with folks. They were thankful for the honors and gratitude bestowed upon them during the ceremony. They answered questions as best they could and told what stories they could remember. As Blake was talking with them, he noticed another soldier who sat a little bit away from the crowd.

The fellow sitting off to one side wasn’t really all by himself. He was shaking hands and talking a little. The crowd around him eventually moved on so, Blake went over to him to say hello.   The old veteran smiled a little as Blake introduced himself and said how he had been in the Middle East. I’m sure they shook hands. Blake was being way too modest when he said that he had seen more than his share of war during his time in the Marines but, that it had to be nothing compared to what this old timer went through so many years ago. Blake said thank you to the man. He also asked if the old man had anything to say about that day.

The old veteran, showed Blake a wound on his head. On D Day, a bullet went through his eye and came out his left temple. Blake could see that the man’s left eye was made of glass and wasn’t moving. The last thing that eye saw, was the D Day beach head.

The old soldier just looked forward off into the distance. He said that he had only one word to describe the battle for Normandy. He delivered that word with a loud whisper.  Blake had to lean closer to hear the word……”Hell!”

Then, the man sat back and just stared some more. Blake sat with him a bit until someone else came over to shake hands.

 

KIBBLE INSTEAD OF DAILY BREAD

KIBBLE INSTEAD OF DAILY BREAD

 

I hope I don’t hurt anyones feelings with this Blurp but, I have to write it. For some reason I’ve been wanting to write something about The Lords Prayer.   It’s my favorite. I’m sure it’s been analyzed in every way possible for centuries. I don’t really have a clue as to what to say that might add to its wonder. So, I got to thinking about maybe using the message of the prayer and telling it from an odd point of view. You see, I think a good prayer like this one, can fit so many situations like a glove. You can almost use it’s guidance to work out a problem much like you would use a math equation to solve a math problem.   Or, you can put this prayer into a different point of view and marvel at how its truth holds up.

I know dogs don’t think in words like we do. But, I do think they are a gift from the Almighty and they love us just as much as we love them. A dogs thoughts towards his or her master, in a way, are very much like a humans thoughts and feelings towards God.  So, I tried to rework the basic message of the Lords Prayer as if it were coming from a dogs point of view towards his master. This is more as if the dog took the lesson of the Lords Prayer and put it to practice. I guess I’m trying to point out the good we can find in the simple things.

“ Master. You’re at the Big Table patting my head. I smell a snack. I can’t stop wagging my tail.

This home is yours and mine. You’ve brought me here long ago and, took off the leash.

Now, it’s ours to enjoy. You have your bed and bowl and, I have mine.

I’m happy with kibble if that’s what you give me. Oh, and maybe a meatball or something.

I’m sorry I barked at the mail man and knocked over the garbage can. You’re patting my head again. Thank you. I’ll do my best to not growl at the cat when she’s in the big chair. Maybe, if she just scoots over, we could share. Oh, the doughnuts on the coffee table might be a bad idea. Maybe just one. No huh? Ok.

This is your home. You sure know about belly rubs. Are we going for a walk soon? Just you and me? This is great.   I can’t stop my tail. It just keeps wagging.”

AIN’T LOVE GRAND

AIN’T LOVE GRAND

We both knew we were weird when we married each other. We had no delusions and our eyes were wide open. For our first real date Sandy wore knee high rubber boots and long leather welders gloves. I had invited her to help me clean out the contents of a house. I told her there were two very old chicken coops out back of the main home that might need her attention. She rooted through them with a vengeance and pulled two or three great old pedal cars out from under the piles of straw. I knew then and there that she was the girl for me.

So, this morning maybe twenty three years later, Sandy said she needed help with a large pile of rubbish at a barn she was cleaning out for a guy. She said that some of it was too big for her to move by herself. Well, she didn’t even have to ask. I jumped at the chance to help out. I figured that there might be a cool thing or two for me. Plus you never know, the chore might produce a great blurp. If nothing else, it would be just like old times for her and me.

I got me a coffee on the way to the job. It gave me a bit of a boost. When I saw the pile of junk, I was glad I had picked a large coffee. I slurped at the lid hole as Sandy showed me this long high pile of rotten old wooden pallets. There were four stacks about six feet high. They had been there for at least fifteen years, maybe longer. I sized them up and told Sandy that if we weren’t careful, the pallets would take up the whole twenty yard dumpster. That would leave no room for anything else. The pallets that had the most rotted wood would have to be broken up with crowbars to conserve precious dumpster space. We both casually spit on the ground and agreed that the more pallets we broke up the better things would be. Sandy warned me about a spider she saw the other day when she was bidding the job. She said it had a body the size of a large mouse and it looked like it lived in one of the middle pallets. I decided to wear gloves. I tried to remember when we last had tetanus shots. It was a long time ago. There’d be a lot of nails. We’d just have to watch our step.

Sandy had some crates to get out of a loft area so, I started on the first pallet pile. It’s always a good idea to shake the top pallet. Most bugs leave when you do that. True to form, a whole bunch of flying ants went airborne and escaped. They were probably some kind of termites. I looked further down the stack and a whole bunch of beetles were beating feet. Still further down, the carpenter ants were getting out of Dodge. Below them, in a lower pallet, wood spiders were repelling down to the leaves. On the very bottom level of the pile in the lowest levels of the stack, larger spiders, earwigs, and centipedes were jumping ship and hiding under old brown leaves. In a way, I was messing up their whole neighborhood. I kind of felt like Godzilla.

A light drizzle started to fall as I dragged the first pallet to the dumpster. It came apart pretty good. I only had to hit it a dozen times to bust it up and throw the small hunks of wood into the dumpster. And so it went, for me. Some pallets fell to dust with one blow. Weird bugs ran up my sleeve. Other pallets seemed to take forever to break. My gloves were just black with gunk and a couple of times I just missed stepping on some mighty dirty and sharp bent nails.

I looked over at Sandy. Like me, she too was snapping pallet boards over on the other side of the dumpster. There she was with her face all covered with dust and her sleeves full of dead bugs, as she was swinging a pinch bar at the main pallet support board and cussing a mile a minute. You might not believe this, but I don’t think she ever looked prettier. It was just like our first date. It was just like our entire time together.

We found some pressure treated posts I thought we could use back home for stacking firewood this winter. They can go for a pretty penny. Sandy helped me load them into the van. The drizzle stopped as the last pallet went into the dumpster. Sandy had to go find someone to take the old tires we found. I had to get home and do some station stuff. I got me a coffee on the way home and felt very lucky.   Very lucky indeed.

THE GOOD OLD GLORY GAME

THE GOOD OLD GLORY GAME

 

Punch Bug, Highway Bingo, and License Plate Seek and Find, eat your heart out.   Step aside for the new highway game, The Quest for Old Glory!

Here’s how it goes. The next time you’re on a road trip, choose sides. The driver is disqualified because he or she will not be able to participate and drive at the same time. I don’t want anyone getting hurt. Please be careful. Each team should also have twenty five pennies as the game starts.

When the driver hollers go, all team member start looking for the American Flag. (Old Glory) When someone from either team spots a flag they holler “OLD GLORY” and point at the flag they see. It can be an American flag of any size, anywhere within view.   The team who saw that flag first gets a penny from the other team or teams.

When the penny changes hands, the search starts anew for another American Flag. All teams are in the search. When the next flag is spotted, again to win another penny a team member must holler, “Old Glory.” Now if the first flag has disappeared from view, the team that spotted the new flag gets two pennies from the other team. If the first flag is still within view, the spotting team gets just one penny.

To make the game more fun, whoever is riding shotgun, can mark the time between spottings and holler out the minutes as they pass by. For every minute with no flag spotted, the team gets a penny from the losing team when a flag is finally seen.  So, say it takes three minutes to see another American flag, the spotting team is owed three pennies.   The spotting team may be entitled to a two penny bonus if the flag last seen disappears from view.

I don’t know but, I think, back in the day when they were kids, my two would have gone crazy for this. Though I feel they would have probably wanted to up the ante to quarters.

SADIE AND THE GOLDEN LOCOMOTIVE


SADIE AND THE GOLDEN LOCOMOTIVE

My granddaughter Sadie and my daughter Sunshine are birds of a feather. They keep their eyes open.   They both know a good thing when they spot it. Sadie might be better at it than Sunny. They’re both pros though. Grandparents are the prime target for each of them. Sunny always had my folks in the cross hairs. Sadie has me wrapped around her pinky.  There’s no escape. It’s tradition.

If a pickpocket ever tries for my riches, chances are they will probably take a look at the stuff in my jeans and carefully put it back. Then, they’ll take some of their own money and, very cautiously slip me a few bucks and go rob someone else. The fences just don’t need any thing I got. Of course, value is a matter of opinion. In a crisis, a bag of spuds will be worth more than a bag of gold. Gold is just not that tasty or nourishing but, spuds fill an empty belly. A coin is just a coin but, a souvenir is a memory when you’re all alone. One such memory sits in my pocket. Let me tell you how it got there.

Sandy and I were riding through Phillipsburg, NJ about nine years ago. Sadie was in the back seat. She was three or four years old going on thirty. I can still hear her talking. “Hey, Pop Pop! Why are we going thirty five miles an hour?”

She kind of caught me by surprise. I had to look at the gauge and talk fast. “Gosh, I don’t know Sadie. I guess I just am.   Does it matter?”

I guess it did. Sadie got right on the case. “Pop Pop, you just passed a twenty five mile an hour sign. You could get a ticket.”

I guess she was right. I slowed down a bit only to be reminded that twenty seven miles an hour wasn’t twenty five.

It seemed to take forever but, we finally got to our destination. I parked the van and, we all hopped out. Sadie worked the parking meter. I had to help her up to reach it. The destination was a surprise so she had to close her eyes and walk with her eyes closed till I said she could look.

When we got close enough I told her to open her peepers and there she was standing right next to a big operating steam locomotive. The engine was blowing off steam and let out with a whistle. It must have been twelve feet high. That’s pretty tall to a three year old. The engineer and fireman were looking out of the cab. It was to be a Halloween run so, they were wearing goblin masks. Most kids would have wanted to run. Sadie just cheered with a big thumbs up.

I had been advertising this excursion on the radio and, as a result, I knew some of the crew from an interview we did together. The engineer hollered down to me. “Hey Doc! Do you two want to come up and take a look around the cab? Put your granddaughter in front of you as you climb and she’ll be OK.”

I turned to ask Sadie if she’d like to climb up the engine. She was already heading for the ladder. I guess that was a yes. Up we went. It didn’t take long and, we were stepping into the cab. The crew took their masks off and said hello. They did a pretty good job of showing her how the engine worked. Sadie wanted to know if she could drive it. They said she’d have to be a bit older than four.

I mentioned that a big fire that turns water into steam makes the whole shebang run. The crew opened the firebox doors for Sadie to see.  Sadie walked up to the flames and warmed her hands. I knelt down next to her and pointed out the water jacket surrounding the fire. Sadie asked if that’s where the steam would be. I told her yes and that it’s mostly steam and very hot water behind the steel, more than enough to pull the whole train at a pretty good clip.

It was time to climb down and get into the passenger cars. Sadie shook hands all around with the crew. Her hands were filthy. She liked that. When we got back on the ground, the crew waved and let loose with the steam whistle and told us to hurry up and get on board. We were the last ones except for the conductor. Sandy got us to our seats. Our fannies hit the seat with a thump as the train jolted us off our feet. We were on our way to the pumpkin patch eight miles down line.

The ride was a good one. We got to the pumpkin patch on time. Sadie picked out a nice pumpkin and said hello to a few of the ghosts and goblins that haunted the area. Soon, we were on our way back to the station.

On the way back, Sadie asked if there was a gift shop on the train. She was and still is, pretty big on gift shops. I told her that it was just a small train and, they probably didn’t have one on board. Sadie looked around the coach and pointed at a sign and hollered. “That sign says there is a gift shop on board Pop Pop. It’s in the rear car.”

Sandy, likes gift shops too. So, the two of them headed to the rear.   I stayed back and looked out the window at the Deleware River passing by. I was remembering my first train ride so long ago. I was daydreaming about how good the hot dogs were at the Newark station when I felt a tug at my sleeve.

It was Sadie. She could hardly contain herself. She handed me a tiny bag. Her smile had her speechless. I took the bag as Sadie told me to open it up right now. I did as I was told and found that I was now the proud owner of a miniature steam locomotive key chain. Sadie was the first to point out that if I pushed down on the steam bell housing on the top of the engine, the headlight would light up. “That way, you can see the keyhole in the dark Pop Pop!” Darned if it didn’t work just as she said. I held it as if it were made of gold because it was.

Well, the years have not been kind to the locomotive key chain. The key holder part fell off first. The battery died in about two months. The roof came off the cab about a month ago. The wheels are long gone. Most of the paint has worn off too. One day a while back, I couldn’t find it. I searched for hours and finally found it under some dirty socks. Every evening, it’s the last thing to go on the bed table. Every morning, that little engine is the first thing in my pocket. That’s because it’s made of gold…..sort of.

 

 

 

SOMEONE PICKED THE GREEN ONE

SOMEONE PICKED THE GREEN ONE.

In the dairy aisle, we get roughly four pallets of milk each week. That’s about two hundred and twenty five cases at four jugs per case. I guess we keep the cows pretty busy.   As you might already know there’s all kinds of milk available anymore. It used to be that you just got two kinds of milk. You could choose from pasturised or homogenized. That was pretty much it. Don’t get me started on all the types and styles you can get nowadays. There’s dozens. I’ve seen husbands come in just shake their heads. Soon they get out the cell phones and call the wife or kids to read the label on the milk in the fridge. Next, they’re calling me over for a consultation. You should hear them.

“Hey Sir! Where’s the 2% lactose free organic grass fed half gallons?” Actually, that one’s pretty easy. It’s the one with the drawing on the label of cow skipping rope in the farmers front yard.

Now that they have that one, they need a gallon of whole milk and, the house brand will do. I point out that it’s the big jug with the red cap on top sitting in the bottom rack. Bingo, we have yet another satisfied customer as off they go. For the gallons the cap pretty much identifies the product. I won’t get into details for all the styles of jugged milk but, in our store, a red capped gallon signifies whole milk. At least that’s how it was till the other day.

The dairy manager and I were in the cooler when the milk delivery came. The receiver forklifted it through the swinging cooler doors and dropped the pallet in front of us. She said that we’re going to have a problem with one case. We asked if we had a leaker. She said no. Nothing was dripping but, it looked like that one case of whole milk was shorted by one bottle and the driver stuck a different jug in the case of four.   We looked to see a jug with a green cap mixed in with all the red capped jugs.

Now a green cap signifies a jug of a different brands 1% milk. Luckily, we sell that brand in our store. It’s a bit more money but, at least we handle it. We let it go, some things just don’t need a whole lot of bother and, this was one of those things. Or, was it?

We were low on milk out on the shelf so, I got busy lugging cases out to the aisle while my manager busied himself loading yogurt. Eventually, I grabbed the case with the one green topped jug.   I took it along with other cases out onto the selling floor.   There was plenty of room for the red capped whole milks. They went up in a jiffy. I saw we had room for the green capped jug in the 1% spot so, I stuck it in place.   I eyed my handiwork briefly and turned to deal with the empty milk crates. Suddenly, I recoiled in horror and turned back to eye the shelf.

You know how sometimes something doesn’t quite sink in at first but, when it does…..POW!!!!   Well, that’s just what happened to me. I looked back at the 1% section. My fears were well founded. The green capped bottle wasn’t what it seemed to be. Oh, it had a green cap alright. But, the green cap wasn’t on a 1% jug. The green cap sat instead on a gallon of house brand whole milk. It’s every dairy clerks worst nightmare. Only the shelf losing coolant and getting hot could be worse.

I ran to my manager with the dreaded news. He dropped what he was doing and we ran to the milk section. We just stood there and shook our heads my manager finally spoke.

“It’ll never sell! That jug’s a goner for sure. Take it out of the 1% section and stick it with the whole milk house brand. It’s never going to sell. No one’ going to trust a green capped whole milk mixed in with all the red caps. What’s the date on the back of the jug?”

I looked and gave my report. “It’s good for twelve days. Should I put a half price sticker on it?”

My manager didn’t think that was a good idea. “No, let’s see how it goes. Remind me in a week.   Just hope the top brass doesn’t see this.” Boy, I agreed with that.

We both shook our heads at our misfortune and went back to our chores. It was a sad day indeed. That jug was doomed. No one will even glance sideways at a jug with an odd colored cap on it. They just don’t trust it. Honestly, I thought it would just be better to snag the jug and get it out of site.   I felt it was the kind thing to do.

Sure as heck, every day we’d sell quite a few gallons of whole milk. Sometimes, there’d only be a few left and only a few to pick from. Still, no one took the green capped jug. It just sat there.

Days went by.   Soon, it would be time to remove the jug from the shelf because it was getting old. Fellow workers from other departments would pass by on their way to the rest room and just stare at the jug shaking their heads. One girl from the meat department just said, “It just doesn’t fit in. Maybe one of us should buy it. What do you think? Still, it’s got that green cap. It should have a red cap. I don’t get it.” It’s funny, but, I think we were all starting to identify with that jug of milk. I know I was rooting for it to realize its full potential and sell.

One day I was sticking sliced cheese packages on these long shelf hooks. I noticed out of the corner of my eye that a guy was walking down the aisle towards check out with just a jug of milk in his hand. I couldn’t believe my eyes. He had a green capped jug and, it wasn’t 1%. This guy was buying Ole Greenie. I dropped what I was doing and ran over to him.

“Sir, are you buying that jug of milk?” He said he was.

“You know that’s whole milk, right?” He said he saw that it was.

“The date’s OK for you right? It’s getting pretty close.” I pointed out.

He looked and figured his family would drink the jug dry in no time at all.   The date was fine. He started wondering if he had made a mistake. It’s not every day a customer gets the third degree for buying a gallon of milk. He started looking at me funny. I continued undaunted.

“The milk’s just fine sir. I’m just surprised someone finally bought it. It’s got a green cap.   No one’s been wanting it. Doesn’t make sense but, it’s just been sitting there and not getting picked up.”

The customer said he prefers to read labels. The cap color didn’t seem to matter much to him. He was more interested in what was in the bottle not so much whether the cap was green or red. He needed whole milk and the label read whole milk. That was all he needed to see.

The guy took the jug out to his car and drove off. Word spread through the store like greased lightning. We were all relieved. Me, I just liked thinking how that jug of milk would do just fine in its new home. Maybe the guy had kids in the house and they’d get up early and use the milk for their oatmeal. Maybe the kids would make chocolate milk. Maybe the guys wife would need milk for making mashed potatoes. Most of all I hoped that one of the kids would think the green cap was pretty and they’d stick it in their pocket or goodie box.

 

I

 

POSTAGE DUE

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It’s funny how life can turn on a dime from one extreme to the next. Last Saturday night I was feeling pretty darn good about things. I managed to knock out two car shows earlier in the day. They went very well. They sounded good if nothing else. They could have been rained out but, it didn’t happen. I got paid so, financially, all was well.   I had a nice meal to go from the Chatterbox sitting in the back of the truck. I think it was chicken cordon bleu and, it certainly had my name on it. Millie the Hound and I were going to have a feast when I got home. Even better than all that was the fact that I had raised a bunch of money in my donation jar for the VFW. You know, that’s the jar that sits on my DJ table whenever I’m doing a gig. Once again, I had a check ready and sitting right next to me. The envelope was all stamped up and ready to mail. I just needed a mailbox and, bingo. I have to admit that I felt right on top of the old heap­-a-roo as I drove through the night. I almost didn’t need headlights I was beaming so much.

So there’s this mailbox I like to use on my way home from the Chatterbox on Saturday nights. I think it’s in the town of Greendell. You have to turn off the road and into a dark parking lot and go back off the road about a hundred feet.  There’s lawn and woods on the left. The darkened old post office sits on the right. I think the post office is actually the basement of an old firehouse. The old fire hall might just be used for storage nowadays. A newer fire station rests nearby on the other end of the large parking lot. At this time of night it’s a lonely and dark scene lit only by a lone street light or two. On some nights there might be some firemen around doing this or that but, not this evening.

I drove up to the mail drop box. It’s like any other post box you might find anywhere. Like most modern drop boxes, this one just uses a narrow slit to insert the mail you have. It didn’t have the old weighted drop door from days gone by. I guess the new ones, like this one, somehow use the twists in the slit chamber to hold back even the hardest windblown rain.

I think I was singing base to a doo wop cd I had playing when I pulled up to the drop box. I didn’t put the window down all the way. I stopped and grabbed the envelope for the VFW. I transferred the letter to my left hand and put the envelope down and into the slot. I reached in a bit just to make sure the envelope fell into place. I hit the gas lightly and started to move out. That’s when it happened. That’s when day almost turned into night real fast.

Somehow, I didn’t realize that my hand and most of my forearm was still in the slot. My index finger and thumb was on outside of the lip on the right side of the slot. My other fingers formed a wide V on the inside of the slot. My forearm was straddling the middle of the slot bottom and my upper arm was against my vans drivers side window post. Long story short, when the van started to move, my fingers jammed up against the lip and got stuck as my whole arm was pushed into the slot wall by the momentum of the van. This all happened very fast.   In a mini second I went from whistling to yelling. It was going to be my fingers first, then, my hand followed by my wrist, next my forearm bones would go as would my elbow, topped off by a nice fracture of my humerous. To do all this, the van would only have to move two feet. Three or four feet would probably yank my arm out by the socket. Talk about a jam.

I went for the brake and got the van stopped. In the slowdown process, I somehow moved my index finger enough to free my wrist action and that got my hand out of the way of the far wall. With that done, I bought enough microseconds to get my forearm away from the wall and yank it all out of the slot before my shoulder went past the far slot edge. If there had been one delay in any motion, there would have been lots of cracking and hollering. It still hurt like holy heck but, I was free. This all took less than a second or two to happen. Funny but, in all of this I thought I felt a warm hand grab my fingers and lower palm and yank them in the right direction to escape. I could be wrong but, I did feel something. Of course, I’m also very double jointed so, maybe that was it. Still, I think something got my outside fingers out of the way which started the escape. It all happened so fast. It’s hard to tell but, still I thought I felt another hand.   All I know is that I was in a potentially bad spot and seconds were like years.

I don’t even want to think of the pain that I would have felt. Every bone in my arm could have been broken. It would have been bang, just like that. Then, worse than the actual break, I would have had to drive myself for help. My poor useless arm would have been dangling out the window swaying back and forth as I drove for help. That’s if I still had an arm. Even if I had a cell phone, how could I call anyone? It would be even worse when help arrived. Somehow they’d have to move my arm to stabilize it. I’d be going right through the roof. Worse than that, if my whole arm came off and fell into the letterbox they’d have to use the jaws of life to retrieve it. I’d probably have to pay the postage due on my arm to get it back. I’ll bet I would have got yelled at for no zip code.   God bless me but, I sure dodged a bullet.

On the way home I kind of cringed a bit in the drivers seat as I dwelt a bit on life’s sudden turns for better or worse. I said thanks to the powers that be and resolved to keep one eye peeled for trouble when all is going well. I think I’ll mail a letter at that box again this Saturday night and, if I feel that helping hand come up out of the slot, I think I’ll shake hands with it.

 

 

 

DESCRIBING MY BOOK…..JUST IN CASE

DESCRIBING MY BOOK, JUST IN CASE

I got to thinking the other day, while I was hosting a car show, that my books title might be a bit confusing. No one could possibly have any idea as to what a book of blurps is about. I sat there playing car songs and realized that heck, I hardly know what my book is about and, I wrote it. So, I sat there drinking a coffee and went over it all in my mind as I went from one song to the next. Frankly, I was having a hard time getting even one little thought about it to come out of my cranium. I finally decided to take a break and just play some tunes. After all, I did have a nice crowd on hand and this was a pretty good car show. I started concentrating on the tunes instead of the problem plaguing my noggin. I figured it best to stick the question on a back burner and wait for a clue to hit me.

I don’t know how many cool tunes I played or, how many intros and announcements I did. But, I did quite a few. I bent over into my record pile to look for a song to play next. When, I looked up from that mess, record in hand, I saw that one of the car people was standing in front of me. He was smiling. I said hello. He did the same.

He went on to speak. “Hey, Doc. Thanks for playing that last song. I haven’t heard it in years. Where did you find it? That was The Beach Boys, right?”

I shook my head yes. It was that song of theirs called, At the Drive In.   The guy continued.  Man he was on a roll.

“Yeah, my wife reminded me that the Beach boys were singing that song in the background when she and I first met back in our school days. We were trying to think of a place to go on our first date and that song came on.   So, I asked her to go to the drive in movies with me and some friends. Yeah, I had to promise not to get fresh. I had my fingers crossed behind my back though. She’s been a great wife. I’m glad we met. Hey thanks for that song.”

As the guy walked away, I realized I had my answer. Most good songs spur great actions, and rekindle great memories. My Blurps do somewhat the same thing only they’re not very musical.

So, there you have it. I’ve written these things for what I hope is a good purpose. You see, I mean for them to entertain you and get you to see and partake in the good things of life. It’s my hope that these cool little nothings will inspire you to look for cool little nothings of your own to enjoy. I want them to make your life happier.

Now, go read the book and get busy. I want to see lots of smiles and good efforts.

 

If you want a copy of the book, email me at docsouthshow@yahoo.com or message me on facebook. Of course, I’ll be happy to autograph one for you. It’s also available on Amazon Books.