Monday, December 12, 2011

Slogging On

It's been a month since I posted anything, and despite sitting here in the recliner, gazing at the Christmas tree, my mind is still blank!
There are many things that I could write about, but the opinions I have about the state of our nation at present, have pretty well been covered by all of the talking heads, both pro and con, so I think I will let that alone for now.
I am slogging through the Christmas season with a total lack of enthusiasm. It's just one giant 'buy fest."
This year we have refused to be part of the commercialism, and every one will get a monetary gift, like it or not!     Baa Humbug!
 I have noticed a lack of Salvation Army kettles at stores, at least here on the ridge. It's the only outfit I help support, as I have seen first hand the good they do for displaced families with kids.
The other is St. Jude Children's Hospital in Memphis. I guess everyone has their favorites!
This morning I got up early, drove the 15 miles down the ridge to civilization, to give them a blood sample in advance of next weeks doctor appointment. These quarterly exams get a little old, but if grazing with the cows and eating rabbit food works to keep the ticker going, I guess everybody is happy! BUT, I did sneak over to Mickey D's for a sausage bisquit after I was done....shame on me, but it did taste damn good! What's a little more grease, huh!
I have been finding that to get through my favorite blogs, it takes up most of the morning. I guess you know who you are from my commenting from time to time on your blogspot.  Keep them coming, they sure make my day! There is life out there.
The big question for the week... will Newty be able to stay on top in the polls?
OMG has a new meaning...Obama Must Go. Can I hear an "Amen."

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Watch Out For The Bear !

The wind is howling up here on the ridge with gusts up to 57 mph. Our house is moaning with each gust.
I can remember when I was a kid, I was told the moaning were the voices of the dead trying to speak.
There are times I think my folks just liked to scare the crap out of us. Can you imagine being sent off to bed with dead people screaming at your window! Or if you had been bad that day, the Devil was going to come out from under your bed and snatch you up, and then there was the bear hiding in the closet for really bad offences! When you are six or seven years old you would believe most anything your folks told you. Well, I survived the dead screaming, the Devil, and the bear in the closet somehow!
The family tradition died when we had our own children, no reading Grimm's Fairy Tales at bedtime for them. Hansel and Gretel were for daytime reading only!
The funeral home was another matter. There were times when we would have to call in an electrician or plumber. Game on! I would watch them work and strike up a conversation and then "Shush, did you hear that?" and then slowly leave them. I had planted the seed in their mind that something was there. It was amazing how quickly the work would get done and they were out of there! People, we knew were generally just spooked out about coming to a funeral home. There are a lot of stories over the years that I could share. I still laugh about them.
So the wind is howling, I hear the voices and laugh!
Watch out for the bear!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Restaurants Banning Kids

Now here's a new twist on things! Many of the restaurants in the Metro-Nashville area are banning small children in their establishments. Being the old geezer that I am, I'm all for it!
It's like being stuck on a plane for a few hours with some kid screaming and crying for the duration of the flight, same is true when you are paying premium bucks to eat out, and some little urchin throws a dinner roll at you from across the restaurant, upset because he/she has to eat their pea's!
I'm not anti-child, raised two of them myself, but when we did go to a restaurant to eat, they knew that the old man went by the adage that, children are to be seen and not heard! Now, that was a long time ago and times have changed, now days, the kids are running the show and the parents are frazzled because they just can't figure out what it will take to please little Johnny!
We recently went out to eat at just an average restaurant. Next to us was a young man of about eight, dining out with his parents. The kid rudely treated the server like a galley slave, demanding his meal be served quickly! Then layed his head on the table, playing with his silver ware. Once his food was served,  he said  he didn't like it and refused to eat a bite! His parents just went along with it, like the kid was some kind of young prince. It was frustrating to watch, but I blame the parents for not teaching their kid some basic manners, or maybe he had just completed the "Redneck In Training" program, and we are just behind the times!
So, Metro-Nashville, put that sign on the door! "No children under 10 years allowed." Fine with me!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Halloween Mask

It was getting close to Halloween, a Holiday that all of us working at the funeral home tried to keep low key for obvious reasons. We tried to maintain the dignity of the profession as best we could.
However, one incident seems to stand out. One of the young apprentices had obtained a full head mask of a rough looking old man. As was the custom, after visitation was over for the evening, and the place cleaned and locked up, someone would go for a bag of hamburgers for all of us.
The young fellow told us he was going to hide in the bushes by the front door and when the runner for the hamburgers got back he was going to jump out at him. So out he went to hide by the front door!
Unknown to us, was that an elderly couple had gotten back into town late after a trip, and wanted to pay their respects to the deceased, hoping someone would let them in, so they could do this before going home.
Well, the kid with the mask only heard footsteps and jumped out of the bushes at them thinking it was the burger runner!
Later he told us, the old man grabbed his chest and fell to his knees, and his wife started screaming for all she was worth. We heard the commotion and let them in. They were soon back to normal telling us what had happened. We had a hard time keeping a straight face,. explaing that it must have been some Halloween trickster.
I think it scared the kid with the mask, more than it did the old couple! He thought he had given the old man a heart attack!
Later that evening we ate our very cold hamburgers, talked about what could have happened, all in the presence of a very young, scared, and quiet apprentice! Once the "shame on you" talk was finished, we all couldn't hold it any longer and laughed like Hell!
The legacy of that Halloween at the home lived on for years! Undertakers being dull and boring....if you only knew!!!!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Riding The Rails

I'm sure a few of you out there, can remember the mournful sound of a steam locomotive whistle in the night. It wasn't until many years later that I learned that each engineer had his own signature sound with the whistle. I had always thought the whistle would make those mournful sounds on it's own, but it took a special touch with the whistle chain to do the job with finesse!
Then there was steam every where, when those old locomotives would start to move, and the "I Think I can, I think I can" cadence of the steam pistons as they fed power to the wheel's.
Seems a though I was always around trains. My mother's whole family had always worked for the Illinois Central railroad, so I got plenty of exposure to the railroad world. After high school, I worked for the I.C.R.R. for a short time, had to keep the tradition alive, or so I thought! By then steam locomotives were just about gone, and the diesel locomotives were being phased in. I can remember two engineers, one steam, the other diesel, almost coming to blows over which could out pull the other. The steam was more powerful, hands down over the diesel units of the time, just a lot dirtier to operate!
After riding "The Extra Board" for a long time (railroad lingo for work for free, until you learn the job,) I finally got a job as a fireman trainee on a diesel locomotive. Since there was no fire to feed on a diesel, the job was to watch a few gauges, and make sure the engineer was well coffee'ed up! The job soon got boring, even though the pay was great. So I broke tradition, and bid the railroad farwell!
Next, I thought I try a little 'Undertaking"....that job lasted 44 years. Still, everytime I see a locomotive I can still feel the vibration of the steel floor plates under my feet.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Mountain Memories !

I think this is the first summer in my 68 years that we did not take an extended vacation! For the most part, it was just too hot to even think about several days on the road, and once arriving at a destination, the heat would wear you down pretty quickly.
Now that the weather has cooled down we  decided a "short" trip might be in order, maybe somewhere here in Tennessee. Since our state is long and narrow, that leaves two choices, Memphis (No way!) or the mountains of east Tennessee. We packed the Accord and headed for The Great Smokey Mountains!
I guess all of the other Geezer's must have had a call to the mountains as well! Gatlinburg was full of them, I'm talking busloads of  'um. Now,  I'm no spring chicken, but these folks were old.
We fit in pretty well with the "senior" scene, and to be honest, I'll take an old Geezer any day over a screaming, bratty kid in a restaurant!
I am still amazed at how the early settlers got across those mountains. I know there are Gaps here and there they could get through, but still, they had to be pretty tough to make it. I'm sure that holds true with the Rockie's as well. We had a great trip!
This coming week end there are all kinds of Bluegrass Festivals to go to. Now for us ridge runners, a good Bluegrass group is about as good as it gets! My good friend, Dapper Dan and I have thought about making an appearance as "The Deep Holler Boy's",  Dapper Dan on his Silvertone guitar can keep up with the best of them, but, my old five string banjo can't seem to get the right notes, or completely forgets what song we are playing! Must be "CRS" creeping up on me!  Some of these folks that play at these festival's, come out of the hills around here and have virtually been playing and singing Bluegrass music since they were kids! Tough acts to follow.
No frost yet here on the ridge, but you know it's coming. Keep your wood dry!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The List

It started out to be a good day here on the ridge. After dragging out of bed and heading straight for the recliner, I'm thinking, now this is the life! But then, on the end table was my list of "must do's"
before winter. Almost everything had been crossed off, but a quick scan of the list told me that pressure washing the house had not been accomplished yet!
I guess the reason it was glaring at me, is because I put this in the same category as watching paint dry!
Our home has vinyl siding, so when we bought it, I thought it would be maintenance free, WRONG!!
The crud in the atmosphere is drawn to it like a magnet. It looked clean, but the first swipe of the pressure washer told the story---- Covered with Big Al Gore's industrial pollution from some where!
Now, this chore is somewhat mindless and fall's into the same area as cutting grass, fence staining, and using the weed eater. But this requires the use of a ladder. O.K., I can handle that with out a problem, but throw in the meds I have to take in the morning...which make me about half drunk until about noon, and it can be a real challenge! I'm sure the neighbors who happen to see me stagger out to the mail box in the mornings, must think it's awfully early for him to have his snoot in the jug, bless their hearts!
It's going to be cooler tomorrow, so think I'll wait until after lunch to finish the job.

On another note, Dapper Dan over at The Cumberland Post, has published his latest book "Blood Country." I got a copy a few afternoon's ago, and once I got into it, I couldn't put it down. I finished it in the wee hours, and was still thinking about it after I went to bed! It's a great mystery novel, and Dapper Dan pulled out all the stops on this one!
Dan, I hope I didn't embarrass you, but it's a good one!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Wimpy's Delight!

I don't claim to be the "Duncan Hines" of hamburger joints, but here in the ridge, up by I-65, we have three. A Mickey D's, a Hardee's and a Windy's. The interstae keeps them all pretty busy most of the time, so if you can find a parking spot, a grease burger is in your immediate future!
Having slipped the surly bonds of my cardiologist, I have enjoyed what all three have to offer at one time or another. My conclusion is that Hardee's make the best burger for the buck. The "Thick Burger",
is so loaded with condiments that they will run down your arms if you are not careful. They taste like a hamburger should, with no guessing about the mystery meat inside the bun!
I don't think they are nationwide yet, so some of you might not be familiar with this chain, based out of Spartanburg, S.C., maybe there's one coming near you!!
Some years back a rumor got started about Windy's putting ground up worms in the meat, it almost put them out of business here in the south! The rumor was soon dispelled, and everybody was happy again.
The old standard, Mickey D's, is kind of like going to Mr. Walton's place. Never know what will drag in off of I-65. You can see it all, right there! I got to say their cardio-fry's are still the best of the chains! Bon Apatite', Y'all.

Monday, August 29, 2011

No Gas!

My old Ford truck wasn't getting any gas, so naturally it wouldn't start. Well, all I could see was a whopping repair bill for a new fuel pump. Last evening I got on the net, typed in the problem, and the soultion popped up. "Replace the fuel pump relay", so this morning I went to the parts store, came home, popped the relay in place, crossed my fingers, and the damn thing started right up! I am now building an altar for my HP Pavillion to rest upon. Instant results, now that's my kind of religion!
Speaking of religion, I read that Bachmann said that Irene and the earth quake were sent as a message to the politicians in Washington. Look's like we have another one with a direct line to the heavens!
Give me a break!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

New Jeans!

I had to go to WalMart today and purchase a couple of pairs of new blue jeans. My old ones would probably qualify for "Antiques Roadshow" if it weren't for the fact that the a$$ on them is about to come apart! I found some that actually fit, looked at the tag and saw that they were made in Mexico.
This was a definite improvement over the short crotched stuff made in China and Indonesia.
I hate to not "Buy USA", but not a single pair could I find. Even the "old standard" Levi's are made off shore, besides they are made for seventeen year old anorexics!
So now I can sport about in my Mexican jeans, maybe they will help my limited Spanish!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The News???

I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm tired of hearing about Libya!
Throw the bum out and get on with it, (Humm, sounds a little like our situation here in the U.S.!!)
The networks had 'ol Mo'mar long gone before the rebels even reached Tripoli! Guess they wanted to "out scoop" each other. The whole thing reminds me of the story about the dog barking furiously at the door and the cat laying on the couch saying he could care less! Apathy is sneaking into what I used to think was creditable news reporting!
I think I'm beginning to see the cat's point of view. So who cares!!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Something New Every Day !

The Quik-O oil place here on the ridge was not busy, so I made a dive for the empty bay. The Ford truck was just about ready for an oil change anyway, so I tossed frugality aside, and went for it. I was guided over the oil pit by a very attractive young lady, nice change I thought! When I got out and happened to look down in the pit, another young lady was draining the hot oil! My curiousity was killing me, so I asked them where did they learn about working on trucks and cars. Come to find out, they had returned from the Middle-East where they had served a tour with Uncle Sam, working in the motor pool. When they got out, they needed a job, so they took these at Quick-O!
I've got to admit, they did a far better job than the grease monkey, drop outs I have encountered in the past.
Now, how 'bout that! "Go Army!"

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Back On The Blog !

Yesterday, the weather here on the ridge moderated a little (Just 90!) so it seemed like a good day to install the new mailbox and post. The old one was looking pretty bad, survived a few drive-by
ball bats and was fodder for neighborhood gossip! The project started out just fine until we hit limestone rock about ten inches down. I would have been just fine if I had my ice spud, from my Michigan days to break up the rock. Three hours later the project was complete, my wife and I both covered with concrete dust! So now we will see how long it takes some little bastid to work it over!
Over the course of the summer, after haggeling with the insurance company, we got a new roof.
The storm damage occured in April and evidently did more damage to the roof than we had thought.
But, all is well now!
The big event for the summer was helping move our son and family into their new home here on the ridge. It took three days but we made it. I'm just glad we don't have to worry about moving our selves again, it's just too much work! The Pres. might have all of us retired folks eating cat food before he's gone, but at least we will have a place to call home!
We still have not gone on vacation, just too many doctor visits and other projects kept getting in the way.
So now we are going to try for mid-September, at least all of the kids will be back in school, and the old geezers like us will be taking their place on the road, (Scarey thought, huh!)
Where to go is the question. Do we visit kin folks, or do we just follow the hood on the Honda, and see where we end up? Either way, we need a little road time!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Happy Trails !

I'm going to sign off for the summer, be back in the fall with more stories to share.
To all of my blog friends out there, have a great summer.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Another Day in the Life....

Well it's Tuesday already, and so far this week I have not had my "borrowing neighbor" come over and ask to use something. I have never been selfish with my toys, always willing to loan anything that someone needed, but this guy must think we moved here just to be his own resource for what he seems to need that is" broken" or "not working right now". Case in point, a few weeks ago he came over asking to use a one inch socket and ratchet. I knuckled under and let him use it, breaking my own rule about never loaning out my tools. My tools have a sentimental value, as my step dad gave me a complete set of Craftsmen tools when I graduated from high school, which allowed me to tear down a whole lotta engines when we couldn't afford a decent car. Anyway, about an hour later he brought it back, spotless, with a light coat of oil applied. So far, so good! Then last week he came over wanting to borrow my riding mower claiming his drive belt was slipping. It took me by surprise as it really takes some balls to mooch some one's mower, plus the gas! Since the mower is almost new and belongs to my son on loan to me, I told him I wouldn't feel right loaning it out. I did explain to him how to adjust the belt tensioner to make the belt grip. You would have thought I just gave him a $100.00 gift card to Walmart!!! He had no idea that you could make the belt tighter. Now, I'm thinking the boy is one brick shy of a load!
Several weeks ago, we had a wind storm that took down one of his bradford pears, you can guess who's chain saw cut it up! I got to thinking about it and if he had cut a foot off, he would have claimed that I had loaned him a defective and dangerous chain saw and take me to court. I'm learning!! Fast!
On another subject, it was a banner week at Walmart for people watching. It was a light shopping day for groceries, I had just turned down an isle, and way at the other end, I saw an elderly lady reaching up for a cake mix on a top shelf, just as she got a grip on it her "step-ins" fell down down around her knees! Not wanting to embaress her, I grabbed something off of the shelf and pretended to read the label. Well, low and behold, she just stepped out of them and put them in her purse, just as though nothing had happened and continued shopping! Now at 68 years old, I  just thought I'd seen it all!!!!
Now, I know why nothing shocks me anymore.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Green Thumb !

It's great to be back on the Gooble after a short set of problems that developed, from where I still don't know. I tried the suggestions from Buck and the Woodsterman, and the damned thing started acting right.
Glad I didn't take an axe to the laptop after all. Thanks again.
We spent a little of that Social Insecurity money making a raised garden spot. You've seen them on the TV garden shows, the 2 x 12's and then you fill the space with top soil, mulch, all the right stuff. Planted the tomato plants and other veggies. It is a total disaster! We didn't have room for all of the tomato plants, so I dug a hole in the old garden spot and threw them in, well, wouldn't you know, they are doing great, twice the size of the ones in the super soil. The raised garden was the wife's idea, so now I am being accused of planticide! You live and learn.
We are still having August type of heat here on the ridge, need rain, but it goes around us it seems. Need to do a rain dance I guess!
The Accord is due for it's 5000 mile check up which I am dreading. No problems with it, just that I get the feeling like being hit in the butt with a wet mop, when it's time to pay the bill. It's still under warranty, but we all know how that goes! This is our second Accord, both trouble free and unlike the Cadillac's I have driven in the past that liked staying at the dealership more than my garage! I must say though, the Cadillac's rode like a cloud and were very comfortable. The Accord's not so much!
Dapper Dan and I were discussing cars and we can both remember when a 1000 mile oil change was suggested for the cars of the period. Things have changed a little, huh.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Now What?

The google will not let me make a comment on my blog site or others!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Bee's and Other Things.

Our long time friends, Charles and Beverly, who live south of Atlanta sent me an email talking about the lack of honey bees they are seeing. Come to think of it, we are seeing the same thing here on the ridge.
We have blooms in the garden and a patch of clover in bloom, but nary a bee in sight! I wish I could say the same about wasps, it must be a banner year for them as they are everywhere. There is a wasp here in the south known as a "Cow killer" wasp. It's about the size of a June bug. If it tags you, it's  trip to the hospital for sure! The most vicious of all of the bee family that I have encountered is the yellow jacket.
They have sent me packing many a time, generally with 5 to 7 stings. Mean  little critters!
The weather has been hot and dry now for about two weeks, which means a lot of watering just to keep the things we planted from withering away. The water bill will be a big one as it always is, even in the winter! The Cumberland River is not that far away, plenty of water there, but the utility charges premium bucks for it, on the other hand electricity is very cheap because of TVA, so I guess it's a wash when it's all totaled.
It's been a while since I have blogged, the heat has kept us inside, so a lot of TV has been watched!
The National political scene is getting interesting...will she run, or will she not! The trail in Florida has been pretty dull at this point, but maybe this week it will get down to the nitty gritty. Then there is the news! It's pretty bad when you have to read off-shore newspapers on the web to find out what's really going on. Kudos to the CIA/FBI for arresting two more Muzzies, who were plotting against us. We need more of it.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Pink Flamingo's

Here lately, it seems like all of my time has been taken up with doctor visits! Just the usual check ups that they seem to require. Last week when I was waiting my turn to see the doctor, I started looking around the waiting room, man, those people are old I thought, then I remembered the old guy in the mirror looking back at me as I was shaving that morning. It's strange how you don't picture yourself as getting on in age.
I kind of equate going to the doctor about like taking your car in for the check ups in order to keep the car in warranty. The car can be running perfectly, and you can bet your bottom dollar they will find something to repair, about the same with the medical community! I have to give the medical folks credit though for a job well done, otherwise, I'd be pushing up daiseys by now!
On another subject, I had to go and buy another gas can for the mower. I thought I'd  zip into WallyWorld and pick one up. I wanted a steel gas can like I had, but found nothing but plastic cans, no steel. So passing them up, I went to ACE Hardware and the friendly folks explained that steel cans were no longer made for gas! Come to find out some jerk in the UPA thought they were too dangerous for home use and let too many fumes into the atmosphere, so plastic is the relacement with a filler cap that is almost impossable to get to work right. Boy, now that's progress, huh!
It's flower planting time here on the ridge, so made the pilgramage to the nursery with the wife.
Came home with the pick up loaded with annuals to plant in the beds. What is it with old geezers and flowers? Reminds me of a story...My brother in law used to live in a very exclusive neighborhood in Georgia. All kinds of covenants on what you could and couldn't do with your yard. I happened to find a bunch of those God-awful pink flamingos someone was throwing away, and the wheels started turning!!
The next Sunday we were there for a visit, and I covertly placed the pink flamingo's in his flower beds! (sorry Andy, mauve flamingo's)
The next day, I got a rather heated phone call from him. It was a true "gotcha" moment!!! It is  amazing the crap people put in their front yards. I recently drove by a clawfoot bath tub standing on end with a statue of the Virgin Mary enscounced there in! I still don't know what to think about that, is there a message there?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Be Back Soon!

Having some issues with the computer at present. Looks like a trip to the Geek Squad will be in order to get it back on track. It can't make up it's mind on which operating system to use!
I'm still reading your blogs, just takes it forever to work.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Lawn Mower Therapy

We have had so much rain here in middle Tennessee, that the grass is jumping out of the ground!
I am using more gas in the riding mower than the car just trying to keep up with it.
For some folks cutting the grass is a real drudge, just one of those mundane," have to do" jobs around the house. But for me, it's time well spent. I used to joke about it being "lawn mower therapy" time, but the next time you are faced with the chore, see if your mind doesn't drift from one thought to the next!
I have had folks that ride motorcycles tell me the same thing happens to them, in that after a good ride, all of the problems of the world are solved. Well, I've got to tell you the first and only time I was on a motorcycle, I rode it through a huge rose bush trying to get to the street, but I do envy the folks that enjoy a day on the hog. My experience kind of wiped out the "biker" image and used up a full box of Band-Aids.
Flying a plane also has the same cathartic effect. You are so busy trying not to kill yourself that everything else seems to vanish. When you land the thought that "I cheated death one more time" does pop into your head!
I have know several people in the past who have paid big bucks for psychotherapy sessions, when you know, all they needed was a riding mower and a big yard! It works every time!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Telling On Myself

Back in the Dark Ages when I was a junior in high school, I had a car to support like many of my friends, so like many of my friends, a job was needed, any job that would buy gas,  pay for insurance and a set of glass pack mufflers!
I was lucky in that I found a job with the local flower shop delivering flowers after school and on the week ends. The money was good and I got to drive a VW bus which I enjoyed. All was going fine until the owner got the wild idea that the day before Easter, one of the other guys would drive and I would wear a bunny suit to deliver flowers to the door. Despite a lot of protesting and "no way", it came down to "my way, or the highway", so the Saturday before Easter, I put on this pink bunny outfit, complete with big ears and a huge
cotton tail!
All was going fine until the last delivery just before a break for lunch. A big vase of roses. We pulled up in front of the house, which had a fence around the house with a gate to go through to get to the front door.
I got about half way to the front door, when around the corner of the house a big German Shepherd appears! The dog froze in his tracks probably thinking that that was the biggest damn rabbit he had ever seen! I almost made it back to the gate, when he got me. He tore the a$$ completely out of the bunny suit and got a good chunk of mine as well! The roses went everywhere as I made it out of the gate.
On the trip to the emergency room, I had been so preoccupied with trying to stop the bleeding, I had forgotten to take off my big floppy ears and the now bloody bunny suit with the back in shreds.
The E.R. staff was all laughing, and called everyone in to "get a load of this!" Several stitches later, we drove back to the flower shop. Jack, the owner, was upset because the bunny suit had cost him a pretty penny, but was sympathetic for my stitches as well and doubled my pay for the day saying that I had earned it! We never heard about the roses.
So every Easter, I think about that story and feel where the stitches were and smile. My senior year I worked in a Shell gas station, no bunny suit there!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Banjo Pickin

We started out the day with a little sunshine that has faded into an overcast sky. More wind and T-storms for later today. Can you believe we lost a few more shingles in a high windstorm of a few days ago.
Time to call Bubba and his boys back to the house for a few repairs. Dealing with Bubba almost takes the sting out of loosing a few shingles!
Since the weather will keep me inside today, I need to knock the dust off of the banjo, tune it up, and start building my speed up again. My good friend, Dapper Dan, plays a mean guitar and one of these days we will do another session of back porch pickin and yowling. It used to be that after a little liquid refreshment we just sounded better and better as the evening went on! Now, do to health considerations, the liquid refreshment is not allowed, so the dogs howling in the neighborhood will be the best judge of our efforts.
I never really understood what Bluegrass music was about until I did a lot of extensive traveling through out Appalachia. It's the music of the people, telling of hard times, lost loves and just about anything else they wanted to put to music. I always found it interesting that no matter how bad a mountain house may look, the folks living there could always bring out a guitar, banjo or mandolin. The music was that important to them.
 The banjo is an instrument that many people might play, but very few do it well, me included! I found this one years ago in a music store in North Carolina. The fellow that owned the place must have wanted to get rid of it pretty bad and made me a deal I couldn't refuse. So, I'm walking out of the place with an instrument that I have no idea how to play. I guess that's when the Bluegrass saga began.
The news, with regard to the politics of the day,  reminds  me of two kids playing marbles, where at the end of the day, one kid wins most of the marbles, and the next day looses them. The whole thing is turning into a circus, and we are paying for admission.
Well, guess I had better go call Bubba over in Dark Holler about the roof!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Pet Peeve Time

Pet peeve time!
A few days ago I was in line to check out a few grocery's, just items that I had overlooked at Walmart.
In front of me was a lady, very well dressed and coiffed, with a cart full of food. Since I knew it would take a few minutes for her to check out, I was curious as to what kind of food she fed her family. It was all good stuff, not like me with store brands in my cart. When she flipped out her food stamp card, I couldn't believe it! I'm sure my jaw dropped.
She was still loading her food in her car when I went out to the parking lot. Her year old Lexus looked brand new!  I drove home doing the slow burn.
Now, I know there are many folks that need food stamps, and have no problem with that. In the past when I have seen people use them I could picture hungry children at home and have a lot of empathy for those folks.
Then tonight on the news they said that food stamp usage has gained in number by a huge percentage.
Well, dah! Who's minding the store?
Several years back, they had dropped the hammer on these Welfare Queens by making them  re-qualify, but they know the system and how to use it to their advantage, so now they are back in greater numbers as it appears. This gal must have had some connections somewhere, because to qualify for food stamps you have to be dirt poor, among other things.  I guess I shouldn't be too critical, if the big "O" keeps killing our Social Security increases, I might need those stamps myself!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Up We Go.......

The day started out a little cool, but turned into a beauty, clear sky's and plenty of sunshine. A great day for a little day dreaming. I got to thinking about my old flying days, and a few of those "stark terror" moments that I recall. When I was still a student pilot, my instructor (The Crazyman) told me that since I had enough hours logged and had done good on my radio work that I needed to fly into a "controlled airport" in other words, one that had approach control, a tower and ground control, all requiring separate radio frequency's. I was ready for it! I took off  for large airport about 40 miles from us, contacted approach control to let them know of my intentions, so good so far, then with the airport in sight was told to contact the tower. They put me in the pattern for the active runway. No traffic chatter on the radio so I knew this would be easy. Just as I was turning on to short final, the tower comes on the radio  and says that there is a DC 9, right behind me and to "make good time and turn off at the first taxiway" These tower guys don't kid around, so I went to full flaps and crossed the fench at 70 knts, rather than the 55 to 60 knts Cessna recommends. The tires squeeled and smoked as I touched the runway, then I stood on the brakes to slow her down enough to make the first taxiway, as soon as I turned I looked back and the DC 9 landed! Too close for me, because if I had missed that first taxiway, we would have made the nightly news. I was having a Coke in the pilots lounge gathering up the courage to fly out of there and I get a call from the tower. They said that the DC 9 had a sick passenger on board and they had put him right behind me, sorry if they made me a little anxious, but I had done an outstanding job. (Whats a few more grey hairs!) When I got ready to fly back, the tower put me number one for take off, in front of an L1011. Guess they were still feeling a little bad!!
I used to keep a journal about my flying experiences. It was a great hobby, one that was made even better by an understanding wife.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Took A Little Trip

We had to make a quick up to western Kentucky to visit my brother, who was undergoing gallbladder surgery. I think he is the last in the family to receive the gallbladder merit badge, complete with green ribbons and stones attached!
The economy must be getting better for someone, as I don't think I have ever seen so many trucks on the road. I have a lot of sympathy for truckers as I have another brother, who is a long haul driver and have heard some of his horror stories dealing with wacko car drivers. But, the truckers who really gripe my tail are the ones who pull out to pass another trucker going up a hill, then don't  have the horse power to pass, so there you are, stuck, until the down hill side allows him to finally get around. I-24 going toward Ky. used to be known as "ticket alley", but since the cut back in state troopers, the speed limit of 70 mph is a joke. Now, it's go as fast as you have the guts to drive! I don't think I was much below 80 mph the whole trip, you would have thought I was driving a mule wagon the way cars and trucks were zipping around us! If I would have had a plastic Jesus on the dashboard, I think he would have had his hands over his eyes! Anyway, we made the round trip with out incident. Got home and were unpacking and get a call that one of our grand daughters had been in an accident and was in the hospital. Totaled the car in a mix up with a Fed Ex truck.
She is doing fine just a little banged up, and went home around noon today.
So for us on the ridge,  it's been a very busy and anxious week. Reminds me of an old commercial pilot I used to know who stated it best, "Hours and hours of boredom, punctuated by moments of shear terror." Yep, that about gets it.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Hitting The Wall

I knew it would happen sooner or later, that is, a bad case of writers block!
To see what other people Blog about I have been hitting the "next blog" on the header. Amazed, is the best word to describe all that I have found. Stories about family pets abound, in your face religious blogs, politics out the wazoo and a zillion family day to day events! I have been intrigued by some sites that are intelligently written and thought provoking regarding life events, and other sights that are a total turn off with cat pictures and narrative on kitty's life! Sorry, no cat lover am I. Cooking sites also get a mention, especially the ones with pictures that makes the gravy appear purple...plop that one down in front of your family sometime!
I am especially fond of the blogs that I follow on a regular basis. I think I have found the cream of the crop, and enjoy every one of them,  as many times they make my day.
Back to the writers block, I have many stories to tell after fourty four years as a funeral director, man,  I am chock full of stories! Many are hilarious, many not so much, but all deal with the human condition. I have had many friends tell me I should write a book, but who would believe it! To post a blog about these things I have seen and been a part of,  would not be in the traditions of the profession. So here I am stuck with just day to day events, and for a retired old geezer, that doesn't leave much!
From time to time I might throw in a post about flying, the second love of my life. There was nothing more exciting after your pre-flight check of the plane, than to get in, buckle up, yell clear prop, and hit the starter and watch that big prop start to turn and the engine cough and finally catch and smooth out. Just you and the plane, it gets no better than that!
I'll come up with something to post about eventually, meantime, I'll just enjoy reading what others are writing. about

Monday, March 21, 2011

Hammer and Nails

The past several days, we have had the best weather yet for some of those projects I have been putting on the back burner. Our "shed house" or storage building, in the back yard has needed a lot of repairs since we bought our home, one heart attack and two years ago. It's one of those things that you have to force yourself to get started on, like any project around the house, where a small project turns into a big one. Well, that's what happened. Come to find out the trim work was full of carpenter ants, because the yahoo's who built it didn't use pressure treated wood. Long story short, after four days work and several trips to the lumber yard it is finished. Now, I know Norm  from "This Old House" would be rolling with laughter at my handy work, but for an old worn out undertaker,  I think it looks pretty good!  I've got to give a little praise to my Michigan wife for staying right in there with me until the last nail was pounded in. Do you remember when library ladies were tough a a nickle steak when you got too loud, well, you ought to see this one with hammer and nails, makes you want to do the "get back!"
I'm contemplating what the next project will be, might take a week or more in the recliner just to give it enough thought. I'm sure something will come to mind, it always does when you are a "happy homeowner."

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Electric Hooptie

The local news tonight was telling us how Pub lix grocery stores are going to install electric charging stations at their stores. The first of these will be in the silk stocking area of Nashville. I wonder who the marketing brainiac was that got an "Attaboy" from his boss for this brain fart! Who is going to want to shop at Pub lix for from one to four hours while the electric hooptie slurps up a charge to get the caviar home. Now folks, this is middle Tennessee, not the west coast where I'm sure there are many electric/gas combo cars. This is the land of the pick up truck. No self respecting redneck would be caught dead in any thing other than his pick up to take his bride to the nearest Motel 6 for an elegant honeymoon.
The old pick up would "Get 'er done, the electric tinymobile, maybe not!
I'm sure it will be years before we see a charging station here on the ridge. It's hard to put a good set of loud pipes on a Chevy Jolt, and there is no place to throw your "Bud" cans!
Just think about electric hearse that poops out half way to the cemetery, but,  that's a no brainer, just use the ministers pick up to go the rest of the way!
I guess my age is showing, but where is the economy when you have to replace the worn out batteries,
and they WILL wear out eventually, for thousands of dollars in an electric.
I know we have to make changes in our transportation modes for obvious reasons, but it's fun seeing what will come along next. MoPed anyone?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Working On The Railroad

Shortly after getting out of high school, I had the opportunity to work for the I. C.  Railroad.
The job was nothing glorious like an engineer or brakeman, but was a job working at night in the switch yard, humping and tagging rail cars, so that they could be made up into out going trains. This was a dangerous job then, and still is today, someone still has to cut the cars loose, in all but the biggest switch yards The job of the switch man.  I found out later that the guy I replaced had lost a leg. It was a pitch black night and he thought he was between sets of tracks, but was standing right in the middle, when a loose gondola car got him. The yard was black except for your lantern and I could easily see how this could happen. You had to really pay attention, as a heavily loaded freight car, rolling by itself is almost silent! I had been warned to watch out for any freight car with the door open, as a bum could jump you and steal your money, or if you found a bum sleeping in a car, you let the railroad "Bulls" handle them. After witnessing the "Bulls" in action, I decided that if the bums left me alone, I'd do the same.
Back in the 60's, many of the older, grizzled steam locomotive engineers were transitioning in diesel electrics.
These old guys would argue steam vs. electric for hours, the steam guys usually coming out on top, because they knew steam would out pull the electrics all day long, unit for unit.
About the best thing I can say about working for the railroad, was that the money was fantastic for an 18 year old kid!  You grew up quick, you were given a job and no one was going to hold your hand, the money was so good, you didn't want to mess up.
Every job on the railroad is based on seniority, so with this in mind, I had a hard time realizing that being a "Yard Bird" could be my job for the next ten years. My mothers family all worked for the railroad, so I had no illusions from listening to those folks that it would be a long time,  for a better slot came open.  I was told that I could have been put on a track crew, "Gandy Dancing" my way through the MS. delta! So I should be happy.
After 6 months went past, I knew the job was not for me, and it was time to get some more education and look for a college to attend.
So I left the railroad and some great money behind. I admire the railroad folks here in the U.S.,
because it is a hard, dirty and dangerous job for the most part. Even for an engineer!
Looking back now, it was a great experience.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Once is Enough!!

Every one needs to buy and restore a home built in 1865 at least ONCE!
In the mid '70's we had been transferred from Nashville to Charlotte N.C. Not wanting to live in Charlotte, we looked at all of the little towns close by for a home. After an exhaustive search, with various real estate agents we were about to give up. The evening before we were to fly back to Nashville, we were driving around the little town of Mt. Holly, and Bam, there it was! We called the listing agent the next morning and found out the home was being sold by the relatives of the original owner, and very little had been changed since it was built! We met him at the house about noon.
The place was single story and huge. The central hallway was 18' X 50', looked like a bowling alley.
The bathrooms and kitchen were added in the '30's, after the detached kitchen caught on fire and burned up not only the kitchen, but the smoke house and outhouse as well. Every room had a fireplace with an attached woodbox closet. The porch went around two sides of the house. The place had good bones, but the 50 year old paint job on the whole outside, was a little faded or missing! The owner was with the agent and gave us the history of the house. The place was at a give away price so we bought it!! The movers saw what we left in Nashville and couldn't believe what they were moving us into! It was rough, but all I could see was dollar signs after we would eventually fix it up. The neighbors were very supportive of our efforts in fixing up the neighborhood eye sore.  The well over 60 gallons of exterior paint made it go from "Faded Glory" to a show stopper! The 1920's wiring blew fuses on a regular basis, and the plumbing was unreliable at best. We were there for two years when we were transferred back to Nashville! When we put it on the market we got lucky in that the folks that bought it had just finished restoring an old home in N.Y. state and understood the work that yet had to be done on the house. We made a huge profit on the home, despite the money pit it turned out to be. I had the opportunity to go back to Charlotte on business a few years later and made a point to see the old house. The people had done a fantastic job on it!
Every one who gets inspiration from the TV show "This Old House", needs to think again! It was fun once, but never again!!!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Scooney's Big Adventure

Yesterday was a big day here on the ridge!
I had been putting off getting those few shingles on the roof replaced,  that were blown off in the "Breeze" we had last week. So I got started by calling a few roofing companies in the local phone book. This was a futile exercise, as most of them said they could not help me, or they had a minimum charge of $250.00 to do roof repairs, even with me furnishing the shingles and nails!!!
Well, now what am I going to do. We have only lived here for two years, and not knowing folks that might tack up three shingles was going to be a challenge. I'm sitting in my recliner trying to figure it out and there on the end table is the latest copy of the local advertiser. I swear it had an aura around it, like some Davine magnet drawing me to it!  I located the best ad I could find that suited my situation, and called the number.
Bubba, answered the phone! I had some misgivings right away, but went on to tell Bubba my problem.
"Sure, he could help, soon as he was done movin this frigerator, he'd head on over air". He arrived in full Camo from "hog huntin" and a ladder tied to the top of the cab of an old Toyota pick up. His partner,
looked like he had escaped from the set of "Deliverance", boy, now I'm really apprehensive about the outcome of this! They went right to work, did the repairs and checked out the rest of the roof as well.
It was pretty obvious they knew what they were doing. So now, I have someone I can call if I need any repairs. The best part was the check I wrote for $60.00!!! I guess the old adage about not judging a book by it's cover holds true here on the ridge.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Working !

Sometimes when it's quiet, flashbacks of many of the people I have worked with in the past,  just jump into my thoughts out of no where. For the most part, it was the good, the bad, and the ugly, pretty well across the board! I have always been a keen observer of people, especially my fellow directors!
One fellow I especially remember,  because he totally believed that the road to success was paved with the backs of others! This guy was an "Operator" to the max, and would steal any one's thunder in a minute. He was fun to watch in action, but the powers that be soon caught on, and an unceremonious dismissal took place.
I was fortunate to work along side some of the most professional and caring folks in the biz. These were the people that you hoped you would turn out to emulate one day. Then, there were people I worked with that had served their apprenticeship, gone on to college and passed all of the state board exams, like all the rest of us. Then they discovered that the biz just wasn't what they thought it would be. Now these were some miserable people. Some slogged it out for a while, doing a half-fassed job, and eventually just left. These were the folks that wearing a suit and driving a Cadillac was all they were after....until they found themselves crawling out of bed at 2AM, putting on a suit and yes, driving that same Cadillac to the hospital or nursing home!
I am sure that many of my fellow bloggers have put up with the rotten eggs, slackers and SOB's in the work place. People are people, almost every job or profession has the about the same mixture. Out living them is the reward, but unfortunately, when one goes down, another takes their place!

Friday, February 25, 2011

What Ever!

We had a pretty good storm go through last evening around 11:00 P.M., with a lot of high wind and sideways rain. Tornado warnings all around us. Got a little crazy there for about an hour. I went out this morning and found a few shingles off of the roof on the lawn. I'm glad I have a bundle of spares, now have to have someone come out and nail them back on. Used to be I would do it myself, but me and ladders don't get along very well. Just another chapter in the happy homeowners book.
To change he subject, the situation in Libya has been interesting to follow on T.V. Gaddafi is suffering from delusions of grandeur and he just can't believe the party is over! I think it's a matter of time before Tripoli falls once he is abandoned by his own troops, and his female bodyguards. Maybe he can sell his clothes on EBay!
Another hot item on the tube, unions and teachers. I am not a fan of labor unions and feel they should be no where near our education system. Have you ever tried to dismiss an employee who was a slacker, doing a lousy job, and a member of a union? Nuff said!
Yesterday was a fix the computer day. The thing was going nuts! No matter what I did it would throw me off of the net. Despite all of the safeguards I have on it, nothing bad bounced up as a problem. What ever I did in my hunting around it's brain must have fixed it. No problems today so far. I would be lost with out one.  For retired folks,  it's one of the best things going.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The John Deere

The warm weather of the past few days has been a real pleasure!
Even though there is not a bud about to bloom yet, I know Spring is coming and with it, yard work!
I know there is a John Deere lawn tractor in my future. Our son has taken care of our lawn for the past two years, but since one of his part-time jobs went full time, old dad will finally have to bite the bullet and start doing it. When we moved from Atlanta, we left a very tired 20 year old  Craftsman lawn tractor with the new owner who was happy to have it. Most of the folks here in the hood, have John Deere lawn tractors and think they are the best. Far be it from me to stray from the fold,  and buy some off-brand lawn tractor!
Just think of the consequences. I could be banned from the garage/man cave gatherings in the evenings or they might train all of their dogs to leave mega piles of poo in our yard.  Boy,  it's just scary!
I know there is a big John Deere waiting for me at Lowes. I can see it now on the day it will be delivered. It's flagship colors of yellow and green shining in the sun, and the hardy approval of neighbors. Ahhh, life is good here in America!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Days Events

You never know what events await you with the start of each new day. Seems like on the days you really have nothing planned, you get zapped with something out of the blue! Such was the case involving our nine month old Honda Accord. A dead battery! Now, this is a car that lives in a semi heated garage, and has been afforded all the TLC a fellow could bestow on it. Nothing to do but limp on down to the Honda dealership for a new battery. The dealership is about 15 miles from us, so I was hoping I could make it before the battery conked out again. The people at the dealership are first class in all aspects and in thirty minutes,  I was on my way back home with a new battery, at no charge. The folks in Ohio build a mighty good car. This is our second Accord.
I also own a '93 Ford Ranger pick up with almost 100K absolutely carefree miles on it. I've always felt that if you take good care of a vehicle, it will take good care of you! Not always, but most of the time anyway.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

a wasted mind!

It's early morning and I am sitting here savoring that first cup of coffee. I have visions of a good old southern style breakfast consisting of eggs, a small slice of country ham, hot steaming grits with butter just floating in them, and big 'ol cat head biscuits with butter and  'lasses, and of course, hot strong coffee with a little chicory in it.  With a breakfast like that you could chop 12 rows of cotton and cut a cord of firewood, and still be full! When I was a kid I stayed with my grandparents in Mississippi off and on for a pretty good while and you could just about count on the above breakfast every morning. When I would be shipped back up to Michigan, breakfast was what ever you could find! Some contrast huh.
Here on the ridge, we got blasted with two more inches of snow last night and woke up to eight degree temps. I know the rest of you are are equally tired of winter, so won't go into a tirade about it. No busted pipes, thanks to a good home builder!
I know now  why so many other "Geezers" head for south Florida. Leaves on the trees, green grass, a soft warm breeze,
short sleeve shirts, man, I can see it now! Even go for a hot "Cuban Sandwich" in "Little Havana"! We are close to I-65, and generally around late October, there are miles of RV's headed south. Who can blame them. We had thought about going full time RV'ing a few years back. I have to admit it has it's merits, but later health considerations ruled it out.
Well, this was going to be a thesis on southern cusine, but looks like I strayed from that pretty well, perhaps another time I can go into the finer points of stump slung and stream washed fried chitlins! BTW, a six pack must be consumed prior to eating the afore mentioned chitlins!
Remember, don't eat the yellow snow!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Random Thoughts

The commercials were great, the half time show sucked, and the boys from Acme Packing won! Now the Super Bowl can R.I.P. for another year. The best part of the whole deal was not having to listen to the "Talking Heads" on CNN, give us their opinions  (Ad Nausium) on the Egyptian guessing game. I hate to say this, but the average U.S. citizen doesn't give a big fat rat's as$  what happens over there! The end result will be the same with, or with out the U.S. sticking it's nose once again where it doesn't belong. How's that for a little personal opinion?
I think I must be suffering from "News Overload" again, just gotta quit watching and stick to reading the seed catalog!!!
It's Monday, so it looks like another another week of retirement bliss looms before us. A trip to Walmart is high on the list, need a few provisions for the coming week and to see that there are other actual people out there. The wife is great company, but after 48 years, we can almost anticipate each others thoughts. A new thought creates all kinds of excitement!
Maybe later in the week, a trip to McDonalds' for an artery clogger and to watch the people will be in order. The best place for people watching locally is the Waffle House. The old joke that it would take all of the waitresses in a Waffle House to make up a full set of teeth, is just about right, at least at ours! All kinds of people enjoy the gastronomic treats that Waffle House is noted for.  Just bring the Kaopectate for dessert! I'll just let the rest of the week be a surprise.
Now, the WX guessers are saying an inch and a half of snow by Tuesday A.M., Oh boy, here we go again!

Friday, February 4, 2011

The convertible

Funny how I can't remember what I had for supper last night, but the memory of old cars we had seems to stay in your thoughts of the past. I was reading  Dapper Dan's post about old Buick's he was fond of, and I guess a synapse fired in the old brain and the convertible the folks bought when I was in high school immediately came to mind.
It was a '57 Ford convertible. That car was slicker than a s**thouse rat!! Beige, with a beige top, and the police interceptor engine, man, it would fly! But... it came with it's own set of problems. If you drove it in the rain you were going to get wet, no two ways about it. The top around all of the windows leaked like a seive. The trans leaked, the rear end leaked, and if you filled the gas tank, it too, leaked out of the filler cap.
One saturday night, my buddy and I took it on a double date to the drive in movies, a huge rain storm moved in, and by the time it was over,  there was about an inch of water in the back floor boards, as the floor boards sat lower than the frame. We got wet up front as well, but it was a hot date, so we just put up with it and watched the movie (sure we did!)
I was working at a gas station  on the week ends, and took it to work to get the oil changed, and on the sly,  to weld two cut-outs into the exhaust system. They worked great until I came in late from cruising around and forgot to put the caps back on the cut outs. The next morning my dad went out to go somewhere in it and when he started it up, the ol' Ford roared like a tiger! Well, you can imagine the rest of that story!
The convertible stayed around for a couple of years despite her problems. Her on board gear always included a set of clean bath towels. Sure would like to have that car today!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Nice Day For a Car Wash

Yesterday, Saturday, was some kind of nice here on the ridge. The temp's climbed into the mid-sixties," Plenty of sunshine coming my way!"
I guess the brightness of the day woke me out of the winter hibernation I have been in for the past two months, so a little car washing was in order. My black (Not being racist, God forbid.)pick-up, had turned white from all of the salt on the roads, and the Accord was on it's way towards the same color. Keep in mind that to wash both of them is a big undertaking for this old Geezer. Despite the warnings from the wife about the back, the knees, and the heart, they BOTH got washed!
Well as always, "She who must be obeyed" was right! After putting them both back in the garage, there was no way I was going to limp into the house, knees and back both killing me, and the old ticker doing the "Boom, Chac a lah lak a"!!!!
I made it to the wash room, shucked my wet clothes and made a bee line for the easy chair until the old bod could get control of itself. Now, I know that must have been a Hell of a sight, me in my Jockeys, plopped in the living room in broad daylight. Not a word was said but there was that "I told you so" look that in itself, says it all.
I guess the car wash place will be getting my business from now on.
Today holds the promise of another warm (55degrees) and sunny day, but from what the weather guessers say we have another Artic blast coming this way later in the week, back into hibernation for me! The weather has been so bad here on the ridge that the grand kids have only been in school nine days for the month. When I was a kid in Michigan the schools were never closed for snow, you made it to school the best way you could, but, there again we didn't have the hills to worry about like we have here.
I guess this Egyptian thing will give the oil companies and excuse to charge us more at the pump. Seems like in their greed, any thing that happens is a great excuse to gouge us just a little bit more. Remember after Katrina the facts finally came out that we were awash in Light Sweet Crude! Sure some of the refinery's got damaged, but other refiners in the U.S. quickly picked up the slack. You would not believe the pipeline system that runs underground across our country. Got to admit they have us gaffed, pay the price or walk  BTW, how long do you think the 100% electric car craze will last? Wait until they have to buy a set of new batteries for them The gas/electric stands a better chance of making it, especially on the west coast where the Gore-ites  and fireplace police live!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

To dog, or not to dog

We have been trying to make a decision about getting another dog.
Willow, our mini short haired Dachshund lived with us for seven years. She was a great pet for us, and an even better lap dog on a cold winter evening. We got her as a pup and she soon became a part of our family.
She was one smart dog, and I think there were times she could read my mind, not saying much for my mind is it! The end finally came when the vet discovered that she had 3 slipped disks in her vertibral column, so we had to have her euthanized. That was a bad day at Blackrock, let me tell you. This old undertaker sure did shed a few tears getting her grave ready that day. Me, get attached to a dog, naw, no way, but it happens.
That was five years ago.
Since then my wife and I have both retired, and even with kids and grandkids close by, the wife has been dropping hints of late, about getting another Doxie. Well, what to do?
I can see both sides of the coin in that a pup is a lot of work house training, vet bills and dog food, but I know too, the companionship that comes along with the package. I guess we need to make a decision pretty soon or the dog is liable to outlive both of us!!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Ugly Cars

Some how, my folks had a penchant for buying the ugliest cars on the lot! I think the record breaker was a brand new Fraser! They wheeled this monster home for all to admire, boy, the designer of this thing had to be on something. It was light blue, and looked like an inverted bath tub sitting on four wheels. It was the kind of car you would duck down in the back seat, so that your friends would not see you riding in it!
Finally after a year or so, new car fever overtook them again, so the Fraser was traded in on a '49 Chevy.
Things were looking up! It was not a bad looking car for the time, but after 6 months, the dark blue paint started to oxidize. A repaint was in order, but they had it painted white! I don't think Chevy even sold the car in white! Wow, an instant ugly, hulking, white monster! Eventually it got to burning oil so bad, that it looked like a crop duster coming down the road, so, you guessed it, another ugly car would soon grace our driveway!
To my surprise, a new 1953 Buick, two door hardtop rolled into the driveway. Now, you're talking!!!
It was yellow with a dark green top, white walls and all! Even a radio. A sporty looking car, which was not the norm for the family. The old Buick lasted for many years, and was eventually replaced with Dodge's, Ford convertibles, and more Chevy's. Some were dog's, some not. None of the cars that followed could match the sporty appeal of that Buick hardtop.
When I was 16, I was looking for my first car. I had been saving my after school job money, and searching for an old Ford or Chevy that I could afford. My step-dad told me that he had found a great car for me, bought it and that I could pay him back and that he would drive it home the next day. He would not tell me what it was, and seeing as how he had not bought an ugly car in years, I knew it would be a great car.
The next day after school I was foaming at the mouth, waiting for him to drive home my soon to be ride!
Well, into the driveway rolls a '52 Crosley station wagon! The uglies had struck again!! I never drove it, and sold it with in a week to a neighbor who thought it was "cute". I bought a 54 Ford V8, that lasted until I got out of school in '61. A fellow I used to fly a lot with told me he had never seen an ugly looking airplane,
we both agreed that was not the case when it came to some cars!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Small Town Life

Compared to Atlanta, where until 2 years ago we lived, this small town in middle TN is paradise!
I'm talking about people. Some folks rant about the Postal Service people, and I have run across some nasty ones, but here, they greet you like an old friend. This took some getting used to!
Last week I needed to go to the hardware store for some plumbing parts. The folks there don't just growl at you and say "Aisle 3", but take you to that section, ask what you are doing, and offer some brother in law advice that helped make the project go smoothly. You can bet I'll go back again, rather than drive 15 miles to Home Depot!
The only "big box" store we have here is Walmart. The "greeters" are actually glad to see you. Even folks stocking shelves will stop and have a word with you, same with the check out people. Sure wasn't that way in Atlanta!!
It's easy to go on, banks, neighbors and restaurants, all friendly.
One thing I can't get used to is that folks up here on the ridge like to "tailgate" you on the roads. Not another car in sight, but they will hug your bumper. We have a lot of curves and hills up here, and at times, I think these folks must have learned to drive at Le Mans. Yep, right on your bumper!
I'm sure many small towns across America are like ours, and there is a lot to be said for small town living.
One nice thing too, if you've been working on your car, cutting grass or what have you, no need to change clothes to go to the store, just go, you will blend in nicely!

Monday, January 10, 2011


After watching all of the news reports about this sad and tragic event, I wonder if the whack-job that did it even has a clue, as to the needless sorrow his actions resulted in.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Religious Folks At The Door

I was reading some of my favorite blogs, and the subject of religious folks at the door was being discussed. It must have jarred a synapse loose in the brain, because an instant memory picture flashed of one such incident I had several years ago.
There had been several cases of home invasions occurring in our area of the burbs of Atlanta, where we lived at the time. Our home was secluded in the woods, a pretty good way back from the street, so someone ringing our door bell was very unusual. Well, the bell rang, which to our eleven pound dachshund, who thought she was a doberman, was the signal to go into action, hackles up and all! I  peeked out of the window and saw two men standing there! With the news of the home invasions on my mind and the fact that you just don't snatch the door open to a stranger in Atlanta, I grabbed my .380 out of it's hiding place, holding it behind my back and opened the door, leaving the glass door closed. These two guys go into their religious spiel, thumping their Bible wanting to read Scripture on the spot!  Responding with "I'm just not interested" seemed to just crank up their zeal to save another poor boy from the fires of Hell!! Meantime, the dog is going nuts wanting to get at them! They kept wanting me to open the door so they could give me a bunch of religious tracts. If they had been giving away $100.00 bills, no way could I open the glass door!! First of all, the damned dog would have chewed a leg off of one of them, secondly, I was holding the main door open with one hand, and the .380 behind my back with the other!! I finally just closed the door on them. It goes to show you how much influence the local news can have on you! Home invasions!!!!!
I could see the headlines now: Local Funeral Director Shoots Religious Workers On Porch.
Here in our little town in Mid-TN, nothing to worry about like that. We do get a few religious folks at the door every now and again. The dog is dead, the .380 packed away, and I was actually nice to the folks that stopped by!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

I thought I'd throw this out for what it's worth.
How many of you were raised in ethnic neighborhoods? This has nothing to do with race, but a neighborhood where most of the people came from another country, and settled here in parts of the U.S. For example, most of us take for granted that Wisconsin and Minnesota both have large populations of Norwegians and Swedish people.
When I was a kid, the folks bought a home right smack in the middle of a very large Dutch community in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Since we were not born with klompin (wooden shoes) on our feet we were not
familiar with the customs of the area at first, but our Scots-Irish family learned quick!
Sunday was a good example. Since the Dutch in our area belonged to the Dutch Reformed Church (Calvinist), they went to church, closed all the blinds in the house after church, and you saw no one out until Monday morning, not even your playmates. So Sunday after Mass we too, stayed inside! The homes were all white in our area, and the outsides scrubbed down in the Spring when the storm widows were taken down. So, we scrubbed ours as well! Saturday was baking day, and you soon learned which house had an old grandmother baking bread and sweet rolls. Myself and my Dutch buddies would knock on the back door and in our best Flemish, ask for a roll. Most of the time we got one. No shoes were ever worn in a Dutch home, socks only, and if you forgot, it was Hell to pay!
I really feel fortunate to have been raised around these folks, their cleanliness, and need for order has stuck with me, including some pretty good Flemish cuss words!!
I revisited the old neighborhood two years ago. Change took it's toll. As the parents of my friends died out, and the kids moved away, others, moved in. It is urban blight to the max!
One big contrast I have noticed between being raised in Michigan, and living in the south for 40+ years is
up there, when meeting someone new, the question would eventually come up "What country do your people come from?" Here in the south it's "Where do you go to church?" And then there's the old standard down here, "You're not from down here are you?" My answer, "No, but I couldn't wait to get here." They don't know  that I have roots planted deep in Mississippi!!!!!
'nuff said for now!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Eastern Kentucky

Strange how the old easy chair can conjure up a memory, just out of the blue!
Back in the 80's I was doing a little traveling. The route took me into eastern Kentucky up into the coal mine regions of Appalachia. If you have ever traveled in that area, the hardcore poverty that exists hits you right in the face. It was winter time, which makes the area even more desolate, just gray rock, bare trees and the roads covered with coal dust spilled over from the coal haulers.
I had spent the night in Corbin, got up early and hit the road headed for Harlin. I knew that the last place to grab breakfast was a Mc Donalds, about 30 minutes up the road. I remember how cold it was that morning, with a promise that the rain would soon turn to sleet. Even my flight jacket felt tissue paper thin. The warmth inside Mickey D's felt good. I have always been a people watcher, and that morning there was a wide range of folks to enjoy.  I couldn't help but notice a poorly dressed man and two kids with him, a little girl about 8 and a boy about 6. The little girl had on a flour sack cotton dress and no shoes, the little boy a T-shirt and dirty jeans, tennis shoes with no strings. No coats! They both were hungry and begged their father for something to eat.
I was surprised when he told them he had no money to get them some breakfast, just enough for a coffee. I
could tell they were starving as they would watch people eating.
As soon as I finished, I ordered three breakfasts, got them, and with out saying a word, put them on their table and walked out. If you live in the south there is an old axiom " I might be poor, but I'm proud", I knew that if I said anything, the father would not accept what I left on their table.
I always found the folks up in that region anxious to work at any job they could find, good people, just a lot of hard luck.
When I hear of the millions of dollars we give to thrid world countries, who turn around and spit on us, I get a little pissed. What about our people?