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?