Saturday, December 17, 2016

How I survived the mid 20th Century.

"Life was simpler, not easier!"

The Olden days: The current generation cannot grasp the hardships we had to endure before the advent of television, the cell phone, the information superhighway, and of course, Subway and McDonalds. The conditions were almost medieval.

FOOD: The life of hardship commenced when we would get up in the morning eat porridge(also known as oatmeal), eggs fresh from the chicken, homemade bread with butter. It was difficult eating eggs from free range chickens, maple flavored oatmeal, deliciously buttered homemade bread. No tasty chemical preservatives were in sight. The dairy would deliver fresh milk everyday. It didn't have a shelf life. The cream would be on the top and the milk below. After WW II people started to see stuff called "Oleo".

Oleo was strange stuff. It came in a soft plastic container bag. Oleo was white. It had an orange capsule stuck on the inside of the bag. You had to squeeze the capsule and break it and massage the orange stuff evenly through the plastic bag so it would look like butter. It wasn't so bad. In fact, I became so accustom to it that I didn't like butter any more. It took me 20 years before I started enjoying butter again.

My Grandfather was a dairy farmer. We always had fresh eggs, milk, and bread.

My other grandfather was a Blacksmith. We always had....ummm....horseshoes.

In retrospect I am thinking that food was not really a problem unless you enjoy the taste of chemicals. They do have some tasty chemicals these days. I purchased some raspberry cookies last week. There was no raspberries in it. It kinda tasted like raspberries. It had a lot of high fructose corn syrup. It had some other stuff that had nice chemically compounded names like hypotherapeuticsalivanate or oxobenzathenite. Doesn't that make you start to drool? yum! yum!


I attended a small school. We had only 2 school buses. If you missed the bus you had a long walk ahead of you. Too bad for you. The school buses didn't stop in front of your house and honk their horn or the bus driver didn't go to your door and ask if Wilbur was done with his breakfast yet. NOOOOO! You had to be at the bus stop when the bus got there. Not almost there. There!! The bus driver had a schedule to meet. He had other bus runs. If you were a hundred feet from the bus stop and running like a maniac, the bus driver would smile and wave at you and keep going.

It was a tough situation. If you walked to school it was uphill both ways. To and from. Bare footed. During the winter. At least that is what I told my nephews when they were growing up.

Elementary School: Kindergarten was a breeze. Ironically, I took a strange route in the beginning. I started school when I was four and a half years old. I had to get on a bus that wasn't a school bus. It would take me about three or four blocks from the school. I had to walk the rest of the way.

The school did not have a Kindergarten. So I started in first grade. This may not have been a good idea. I tolerated it for a few months. On a warm November day I decided that I had enough schooling and I was ready for some adventure. After I got off the bus, walked to the school, walked to the baseball field and started up the mountain. There was a very steep hill behind the school. I just started up the hill. I had a bag lunch with me. I stayed there all day. Near the end of the day I climbed down the mountain and tried to sneak by the gym class.

The teacher caught me. No one knew I had been missing all day long. I believe that was near the end of my career at that particular school.

The next year I started at a different school. The new school had Kindergarten. So I started Kindergarten at the new school. This has to be a defining moment in my search for self esteem. How many kids do you know that start school at one level and not only does he not get promoted but he is set back one year? So instead of being in second grade, I am in Kindergarten. When you lose ground at that level it is pretty sad.

I hope high school will be easier than this.

Barber school

I run this school.  What's your problem?

I finally went for my haircut Monday.  I have been putting off this traumatic event for a while and I was starting to look shaggy.  The  last time I went for a haircut at Walmart, the result were not pleasing to the eye.  In fact, the little French lady said it was the worst haircut she had ever seen inflicted on a human.  She had seen a worse haircut on an unruly poodle at Petsmart.

I decided I would try at a different place.  My thinking was; if I go to a school that cuts hair, the instructor will correct any mistakes the student makes, so that's what I did.

I sat in the chair, took off my glasses and chatted with the student haircutting person while she zipped away with her clippers.   She had been a student there for two years.  Hmmm...I thought the course was only six months long.
She finally took away her horse blanket, shook it off and said "done."
I asked, "isn't that a blanket instead of a barber cape?"
"No, it is a body bag, we have a few left."
Alarmed, I queried, " From what?"
"I dunno, I'll ask my instructor, Mrs. Camelsnout."
I was anxious to leave. "Check please!"

When I arrived home the little French lady took one look at my haircut and said, "OMG, what happened?"
"What do you mean?"
"Did you ask for the hillbilly Hitler haircut or did you have a North Korean barber?"

"No, her name ended with "a". You know I get bad haircuts from girls with one "a"  in their name, especially if it is the last letter, like Donna, or Lequeshia. The exception to that rule is if their first and last letter is "a", such as Ava and Amanda. I thought you knew that."
"What kind of logic is that? You are a deranged coot. "
"Logic? That kind of critical thinking got "The Donald" elected, besides that girl did a wonderful job on my eyebrows and besides, I threw away my sootie hoodie."
"You have no eyebrows. They're gone.
"I rest my case, they can't be wrong if there are none."

Later while we were watching tv I could feel my wife staring at me. After a while she said "have you ever considered shaving your head, Sweetie?"   That really hurt my feelings. 

So I wait patiently for the numerous gouges to grow back, the cut on my ear to heal, my dandruff to take root again. 
The toque can be tossed in a few weeks, hopefully my wife will let me go outside by next weekend.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Mrs Skoda's camp coffee

A love story

The summer of 1958 was an idyllic time to be 15 years old.  While the adults were concerned with their car payments and fallout shelters, my pals and I were more concerned about meeting girls at the beach.
Our little cadre consisted of 4 gentlemen, (Harry, Andy, Jim, Pat) and myself.
We decided to hang around the jukebox at the pavilion and hope that some girls would show up.
They did.  Five girls from Schenectady.  We had hit the mother lode.
Harold danced with Sandra, Andy danced with Susan, Pat danced with Pat, Barbra danced with Jim, and I danced with Mary Lou.
We were invited to Barbra's parents' camp later that day.  
The stars and planets were aligned. 5 girls,  5 guys.  That doesn't happen in real life but it did.

We arrived at the cabin and met Mr. And Mrs. Skoda.  After a respectable amount of time, we whisked the girls down to the beach for a little romance and sweet talk.  
The problem was...Mrs. Skoda!
After about fifteen minutes she would holler down to the beach, "Who wants coffee?  I'm making some coffee.  Coffee's ready"
I never tasted coffee in my life but it smelled great. 
I told Mrs. Skoda I would give it a try.  It tasted great.  

Since that evening in 1958 I have been searching for that perfect cup of coffee that Mrs. Skoda served.  I've tasted coffee from all over the world.  I love my coffee.

My summer romance was wonderful.  Mary Lou was a nice young lady but my true love that summer was Mrs. Skoda's cabin coffee.

Epilog: although my summer romance with Mary Lou did not last, two did.
My love of coffee.
Pat and Pat.
They have been married 50 years.
Pat likes coffee but Pat doesn't.

Monday, December 5, 2016

The Don of a new era

The don of a new era

Ahhhh!  The election is finally over.
I am not a big fan of Hillary Clinton.  She will not be president.  I should be relieved.  I'm not.
I am terrified.

I am trying to take the advice of  others and give the man a chance, but he is already giving me a very uneasy feeling.
This morning's paper asked, "Can Trump bring America together?'
I believe he can.
A year from today everyone in the country will hate him.

How did this happen?
A country of 320,000,000 people and this is the best we could do?
America demands change.
Buckle up! It is coming.
The fox is in the henhouse.
We are the chickens.
I don't think egg production will get better this year.
I think the fox will get fatter and sassier and will not give a cluck about you.
The next year, the next four years will not be pretty for the average person who wanted change.

I hope I am totally wrong.
Nothing would make me happier.
Wouldn't it be great to say, "Wow! I didn't see that coming.  He is doing a great job."

First...we have to get his mind off Saturday Night Live.
He is embarrassing himself.

Second...Stop hiring Generals and billionaires for your cabinet.
You don't have to be a rocket surgeon to see where that is heading.

Third...please don't appoint Dennis Rodman to be Ambassador to North Korea.

This is my wish list.
I may add a few things later, but it is a nice start.