My wife Sandy buys stuff at auctions or out of homes and then sells the stuff at auction.  She’s always rooting around finding this and that.  That’s why I love her so.  The other day, she found a collage of old fancy postcards matted and framed that a guy and his girl must have put together in the very early 1900′s.  You can tell they had a thing going between each other.  I’ll bet they got married eventually.   I hope they had a good life.  Looking at this made me think about the first date Sandy and I had almost 25 years ago.   It was looking bleak.  Sandy would often come into my second hand store.  We’d talk quite a bit.  All the time, I’m thinking wow, what a hot babe, I’ve got to ask her out for a date.  But, every time I’d ask she said no.  I would get a steady stream of no’s to dinner, movies, parties, drive’s and romantic walks on the beach.  Always it was NO.  She’d keep coming by, we’d talk, I’d ask again and get that awful two letter word.  I was ready to run screaming naked into the night but, figured even that wouldn’t work.  A complex was developing.

 So, one day she walks in again.  By that time I had almost given up.  It was a Tuesday, and I was talking on the phone to a person who needed a house cleaned out.   Sandy stood by listening to my end of the conversation.  I was telling the lady how I could come out this coming Friday and get started.  I explained to the owner that for a certain amount of money I was buying the rights to anything in the house that I wanted to take.  If I found anything of sentimental value or anything that was extremely valuable it would belong to the lady who owned the house and not to me.  The conversation went on and on.  Sandy was glued to the call.
After the call, Sandy asked what I was talking about to the lady.  I explained that basically I was buying the rights to anything I cared to take out of this old house that the woman’s mom once lived in.  There were some exceptions, but basically, anything in the place was mine.   hat I didn’t want was hitting the dumpster.  I saw a glow in Sandy’s face come into view.  “Hey, could I come along when you go?”   I wasn’t about to say no.   We decided it might be a good idea to go that coming Friday night.   That was our first date.
 Sandy showed up in tall muck boots and shorts.  I think she was wearing an old flannel shirt and a kerchief on her head.  She looked very fetching in long black rubber gloves.  On the way down to the house site, she asked if maybe she could make a pile of stuff from anything I didn’t want.  I wasn’t about to say no.   At the house while I was up in the attic picking through stuff, she went out to the chicken coops out back and dug through some piles of straw to reveal two mint condition pedal cars worth about $150  each.  I knew this was the girl for me.


I was off to work today with a big cloud of dust behind me pealing out down the lane.   On the corner, I saw a car off to the side near the mailboxes with people gathered round outside.  There was three or four grownups and a couple of kids.  The adults were all on their cell phones and pacing back and forth.  I only saw one car.  “Gosh, I think something’s wrong down there.” I said to myself.  I figured maybe they had engine trouble or maybe, they hit an animal.  They looked like the authorities were on the way.  I know we have some roaming pets on our lane.  What if one of them got run over.  I figured I could maybe be of some help till the police showed up so I slowed don’t quite a bit and drove alongside the scene being carful to stay well off to one side of it all.  My old rescue squad feelings were coming back nicely as I rolled down the passenger side window.  “Hey are you guys OK?”  I hollered.  “Is anything wrong?”   One of the men in the group came over and leaned in the window.  “No we’re OK  Everything’s fine.  We’re all just waiting for the school bus.”  My adrenaline took a nose dive.   Today was the first day of school in our township.  I didn’t have a clue.  I told the guy how I haven’t had school age kids for about 35 years and how that era was long forgotten.   I did tell him how I used to do rescue and how at first, they looked like they were having a mild rescue scene to me.  He said how I looked pretty calm all considered and, that I must have been pretty good at helping people.  We all laughed a bit and I went on my way in search of new adventures.


Believe it or not, Norm and Chris were able to teach Doc some pretty cool things about computers here in this one.  Rule number one, always plug in the computer.  Rule number two, that slide out thing on the side of your laptop is not a cup holder.  That’s about as far as they got.  It’s a start.  Next time I’ll find out just what that slide is actually used for.  Can’t wait.  Enjoy.



I’ve seen my share of wild beasts there friends.  You’d be surprised.  1000 pound bears, 15 foot long rattlers, panthers up on the ridge screaming for love, and big spiders.  Oh, I’ve seen it all.  Yep.  Yes Sir.  Even saw one of my friends clawed unmercifully by a bobcat.  My advice in that case was to invest in a port a john.   My pleas fell on deaf ears.  Enjoy this one with someone you love.



My Saturday morning drive from my home to the Chatterbox is one of my favorite short trips.  Well, actually, it’s not that short.  It takes me about an hour to get there but, I tend to take the long way.  My preferred route takes me through valleys, into the hills, along streams, through the Lackawanna Cutoff, and I’m never more than five miles from a few old country stores that serve good coffee.  So, it’s a nice way to start my Saturday.  Other people have the same idea it seems and, I find myself sharing the road.  I have to keep an eye peeled for other drivers, fishermen on bridges, tractors, garage sale slow downs, motorcycles, airplanes, and most of all, bicyclists.   The two wheel riders are everywhere.  Most all of them are on those fancy racing bikes wearing those whacked out bicycle suits and helmets.  They seem to be a very serious bunch to me.  They ride  with such a purpose and intensity.  I look at them and remember bike hikes I used to take with my friends many years ago.  We’d be in jeans, a few of us would probably be smoking.  We’d be drinking sodas.  If we had an upgrade that was too much for us, we’d just hop off and walk the bike.  I guess it was more of a social event than a thousand dollar work out.  I was thinking all this last Saturday as I past a bunch of the modern day cyclists riding fully equipped and way too serious.   I mean bless their hearts but, I kind of longed for the days when we would just use our beat up old bikes to mosey down the road.   I was feeling just a little bit blue about all this when she appeared coasting down hill in the opposing lane.  Right before me and heading my way was this vision from the old days of cycling.  It was a middle aged woman in a bright red dress on and old beat up bike.  I didn’t notice any gears on the bike and I think she would have had to use her pedal brakes to stop. Bless her heart but, her bike was equipped with big fat balloon tires too.  There was a basket attached to the handle bars.  She was wearing this huge red hat over her helmet.  The hat had a long white visor.  She was wearing big wide glasses and they weren’t sunglasses either.  Now, a modern day cyclist would be pedaling down the hill to make up precious time.  She was coasting.  Get this friends, she was using the downhill coasting run to sing at the top of her lungs.  I can’t remember when I’ve seen a happier rider.  Bless her heart.  Made my day and, I pass this on to you.  Do a little coasting today.


It was Sunday the day before Labor day and, I saw a very cool thing.  On the way The Chatterbox around mid morning, I was driving past Donaldson Farms on the western outskirts of Hackettstown.  I was passing by around 9:30 or so.  The farm has about five or ten acres planted with nothing but sunflowers.  They’re starting to bloom.  I don’t know how sunflowers do it but their flowers follow the sun as if they were watching it.  It’s sort of like how the radio telescopes do, only it’s all these flowers in a field like they’re an audience watching Elvis.  You can almost imagine the Sun getting up early on the other side of the horizon.  There he is putting on his make up in his dressing room and maybe having some coffee and a cruller back stage with the stage crew going over details for the big show.  Meanwhile on the other side of the event horizon the sunflowers are all lining up and finding their seats.  All of a sudden, it’s show time.  The lighting tech moves the clouds and rays of light into place for the spectacular opening number.  A big chorus of birds start singing for all they’re worth.  The scene is all aglow with color as the star of the show just appears as a little red glowing slit of light brightening into a full trumpeting blast of energy.  The show is on and the sunflowers are glued to it.  There’s one nice thing about this show.  Admission is free and it lasts all day.


When I walk Millie our hound, there’s a spot out in the yard that she like to visit almost every time.  There’s an area of shrubbery near the big tree, that’s become over grown a bit.  In the middle of all the bushes and weeds, there’s a naturally formed tunnel.  This tunnel goes from one side of the thicket to the other.   Millie can’t resist entering on one end and coming out the other. While she’s in there, I have to release the leash and so, she’s on her own.  She takes her time in there and I can hear her sniffing all the way through.   Sooner or later she pops out the other ends wagging her tail.  Sometimes, she’ll turn around and reverse her course to make it a round trip.    I got to thinking about how I have had similar comfort zones myself.   Here’s one that was one of my favorites.  I’d save my allowance of 7 cents a day and, I’d go out and buy a few rolls of kite string.   Then I’d go into my room and tie one end of the string to a dresser drawer knob and then pull the string and secure it to maybe a door knob, then drag it off some more and loop it around   a closet latch.  I’d continue like this for an hour or more, stretching out all my kite string back and forth until I finally had this giant web.  It was pretty psychotic looking but, once it was done anyone had to be impressed.   When I was done with the construction, the rest of the day would be spent crawling around inside the web and checking it out from all angles.   I guess, the web was to me what the tunnel in the bushes is to Millie.  I guess it’s a kind of comfort zone thing.  I guess.


It’s Labor Day and the wife and I are doing just what we should.  We’re laboring.  Sandy’s out selling at a flea market and, I’ll be dee jaying the whole weekend.  You’re supposed to be laboring this weekend, right?   Maybe we’re kind of off base on that one there.  Still, our jobs start when everyone else wants to take a break.  Maybe we’ll wave when we’re off for a good time while everyone else is slaving away in the salt mine of their choice.  One good thing I guess is that we can usually sleep in on Mondays.  But isn’t work great?  It’s really the glue that holds this country together.  The more people working in America, the better.  People getting up early to head out to earn a few bucks  to feather their nests is a great thing.  It’s Americas warp drive.  If we all sat around we wouldn’t last long.   I’m going to dedicate my Labor Day fun to my brother Ed.  He had a serious operation about two months ago. That came with a very painful recuperation.  He’s better but still under the weather and, what did he do a day or two ago?  He went to work just like I would do.  He sells on the road and his boss got after him and told him to get back home and rest or else.  Of course the front office loves him and just didn’t want him to aggravate his healing process.  They know that they’re lucky to have such an inspired worker.  So, Ed’s squirming at home for the Labor Day weekend chomping at the bit to get back in the race.  God Bless America and it’s workers.   I’ll be running the usual weekend schedule at the Chatterbox


This is a good one.   Talk about songs evoking memories.  I was playing a song at the Goodfellows  Cruise Night at Wendy’s in Denville the other night.  The song was Little Star by The Elegants.  A guy came over to me.  He had brought a car to the event.  He said that when he was just a kid, his uncle showed him how to build a crystal radio.  He had to build it himself as his uncle directed the process.  The two of them worked at it all afternoon.  They strung an antenna and finally were all set to fire the set up for a listen.  The guy said he stuck his tiny headset on and worked the simple controls. There was a bit of static and then, just like magic and clear as a bell WABC came through as pretty as you please.  They were playing Little Star.  The song was just starting.  He caught the song just as Vito Picone sings…..”There you are…little star.”   Ain’t life grand and full of wonderful memories?   The guy said he later made a better antenna out of his dads used beer cans and climbed out on the roof to attach it to the chimney.  He was getting the Philly stations with that but, his dad made him take it down.  I guess the neighbors were talking.