Q-Tip Quip

May 31, 2009


“Mr. Consumer” (Hubby): “Hey, instead of just putting a few Q-tips in the jar at a time like you usually do, why don’t you start stuffing in as many as you possibly can so that it takes a crowbar to get them out?  Oh, wait a minute, you already thought of that!”

The “Stocking Clerk” (me!): “Thank you, sir, for your comments regarding our new overstocking policy.  We always appreciate your input.  By the way, have you thought about leaving a tip?” 

Sheeesh.  All I did was use up the “last few” in the Q-tip box so that I could throw it away.  So, sue me! 

Humor makes life so much easier and more fun! 

May your Sunday be blessed with shared humor.

Happy to be a Rent-a-Friend!

May 28, 2009


Me, Phoebe Ann and Linda 002x   The Hoffelt’s granddaughter, Linda, in the middle with their dog, Taffy and her “rent-a-friends” … Phoebe Ann on the right and me on the left.

When I was little, our second-door neighbors were the Hoffelts.  When I look back now at what I considered the very old Mr. and Mrs. Hoffelt, I would guess they were in their late 50’s.  Sigh.

Anyway, Mrs. Hoffelt didn’t work and her husband was a pharmacist who worked long hours at his drug store so she had alot of free time.  Mrs. Hoffelt did enjoy tending the flowers in her yard, but she always found a little time almost every day for her other favorite “hobby” — sitting in the porch swing on her wonderful big awning-covered front porch for an hour or two,  just watching the world go by … and talking to us little kids in the neighborhood when we would stop by.  Sometimes she would give us kool-aid and cookies, so she was definitely a popular stop with us, and besides, when you’re a little kid, it’s just fun to have an adult actually carry on a conversation with you.  (Mama did tell me years later that she always had a little fear that the reason Mrs. Hoffelt enjoyed talking to at least me so much was because I probably told her everything I heard and that happened at our house!  I always was a “talker”.)

Mr. and Mrs. Hoffelt only had one child, an adult daughter.  Their daughter and her husband, the Fletcher’s, were both professors at the University of Missouri.  And they only had one daughter too — the much adored, only child, only grandchild, Linda.  (I’m telling you these names because wouldn’t it be fun if I heard from Linda or Phoebe Ann?)

In the summer, Linda would come to spend a week with Mr. and Mrs. Hoffelt, and as soon as they knew which week it would be, Mrs. Hoffelt would be sure to tell the mothers in the neighborhood when Linda would be there.  I suppose that was so that the mamas could clear their daughters’ “social calendars” because Linda would need playmates — and we were them!

When I call us “rent-a-friends” I, of course, don’t mean we were paid.  But, we did get alot of perks.  For that week, we were treated much like we were Mrs. Hoffelt’s granddaughters too!  So, believe me, I never complained and, in fact, looked forward to Linda’s yearly visits. 

Because Linda only came for a week-long stay once a year and because, when she was there, Mrs. Hoffelt made sure that we got to do lots of things, it was a fun time.  There were other kids in the neighborhood who played with us too, but much of the time it was Linda, Phoebe Ann and me.  I think that was probably because Phoebe Ann and I were the two who lived the closest.

Me, Phoebe Ann and Linda 001xx     At the kiddie pool.  I remember begging Mama to buy me a two-piece bathing suit so that I could be just like the other two.  You can see how much success I had, but apparently had fun anyway.

Cowgirl Wanna-bees zoom

Cowgirls Feet zoom   And, I think the picture of us in high heels with our cowgirl outfits probably illustrates how quickly we must have moved from one play activity to another — “Does this feather boa make me look fat?”  to “Round ‘um up, cowgirl!” in the blink of an eye!

  Me and Lindax    Roller skating.   Notice my bare feet?  I guess when you go barefooted most of the summer, you wouldn’t hesitate to strap roller skates on your bare feet, but it seems like that would hurt!  

Me, Phoebe Ann and Linda 005x   One time we actually went to a for-real roller skating rink.

Another time either Linda or Mrs. H came up with the idea of the two of us sleeping in a tent in the Hoffelt’s back yard.  By the way, this was the only night in my whole life that I remember “camping”  in a tent, and, just my guess here, real campers would probably say that “camping” in a backyard with a grandma holding your hand most of the night is still not camping! 

Camping out at Mrs Hoffelts   In our PJ’s.  Notice the sun is still shining brightly?  We probably put them on about noon!  Mrs. Hoffelt served us supper on this little table in the tent.  (See her watching protectively from the door of the tent?)

The tent was just big enough for a cot on either side of the door, with (luckily) a chair-width space between.  I don’t really remember exactly how that night went, but Linda and I must have been afraid after we had been left alone in the tent and it actually got dark!  The reason I’m pretty sure of that is because I DO remember Mrs. Hoffelt bringing a chair out sometime during the night and spending the rest of the night sitting between our two cots so that we wouldn’t be afraid (and would maybe stop crying?) and would get some sleep.  I’m sure that night wasn’t much fun for her, and I’m also pretty sure that’s the reason it is the only time I remember us “camping out” in her back yard.

    Me and Linda 001x   Since this picture had the year 1955 on the back of it, and my family moved to Indiana in January of ’56, this was probably taken the last time Linda and I spent time together.

I don’t like to think that my friendship has ever been “for rent”, and I like to think that Linda and I would have been friends if we had met in any case.  But, I have to say it was awfully easy to be her “rent-a-friend” for a week each year, when Mrs. Hoffelt made it so much fun!

Excuse Me, Will You Be Long?

May 27, 2009


Line at the Litter Box When DD was in law school and she and two cats shared a tiny apartment.  Two cats, one litter box … it was inevitable.  Sometimes there was a line.

A Clever Old Porch

May 26, 2009


Climbing Rose at Farm 2

When we moved to the farm, we did alot of renovating.  And one of the things that really needed renovating was this little porch that had a door into the dining room.  We never used that door, in fact, we put the Christmas tree in that corner of the dining room each year.  The door was treated as just another window inside the house. 

Climbing Rose at Farm ZoomBut, from the outside, it was obvious that this porch was in very bad repair, and really should be replaced.

But, apparently, you don’t get to the age of this old porch, without having developed some survival skills.  So, the porch had very cleverly cloaked itself in this beautiful climbing rose.  So, whenever we talked about tearing off the porch and building a new, prettier version of it, the debate would always eventually turn to the climbing rose that we enjoyed so much.  And, each time, we would come to the conclusion that there was no way that the rose would survive the upheaval of having its buddy the porch torn down. 

So, each spring we looked forward to seeing the beautiful climbing rose, and we put up with its friend, the old porch, the rest of the year.

Proud to be an American

May 25, 2009



And I’m proud to be an American,
where at least I know I’m free.
And I won’t forget the men who died,
who gave that right to me.
~Lee Greenwood

I never fail to be stirred by the song Lee Greenwood wrote about being proud to be an American.

I once had the opportunity to meet Mr. Greenwood and, just by chance, to sit next to him at dinner.  What a humble, generous, patriotic man.  As we were eating, Tom, an acquaintance of Hubby’s and mine, stopped by our table to say hello.  I introduced him to Mr. Greenwood and added that Tom was a Viet Nam veteran.  Without a moment’s hesitation, Mr. Greenwood pushed back his chair, stood up, shook Tom’s hand, and thanked him for his service to our country.  When I write that it somehow sounds “showy”, but, believe me, he did it in such a way that it seemed very unrehearsed … it seemed like just a very natural reaction by someone who appreciates what our military does.  Tom was visibly touched by the gesture.

At that same dinner, one of the speakers told about being in the audience when Lee Greenwood sang the song for the very first time in a concert in Las Vegas.  The man said that half-way through the song members of the audience started standing up and by the end of the song, the whole audience was standing and cheering, many with tears in their eyes!  I can absolutely imagine that reaction, because that’s the way I feel when I hear it too.

I am proud to be an American, and I know that my freedom isn’t free.  God bless those who have paid the ultimate price for my freedom.

I Am Writing a Gospel …

May 24, 2009


… whether I know it or not, by my words and actions.


You are writing a gospel, a chapter each day

By deeds that you do, by words that you say.

Men “read” what you “write”, whether faithless or true.

Say, what is the gospel, according to you?

— Anonymous


I came across this little reminder in an old church cookbook.  May we all remember that others are “reading” what we believe by how we speak and behave.

May you have a blessed Sunday.

What Is “Over-Paid”?

May 23, 2009


At one time, I was a fairly low-paid secretary to an insurance company Senior VP  who had very little for me to do.  So, some might say, “What a great job!  Not big pay, but not alot of work either.  Perfect!”  But, I have never been more unhappy in a job, even though it was a lovely work environment and the boss was a great guy (who was on the road for the company alot).  “Bored to tears” is an apt description of how I felt in that job.  In the six months I was there, I ended up re-typing an insurance manual, just to give myself something to do.

I left that boring but outwardly lovely job for much better pay at the major truck manufacturer in town.  There I was a humble entry-level clerk typist who had so much work to do I could barely get it all done in an eight hour day.  And, in this case, some might say, “Hey, you’re making good money, but, wow, you work hard.  Is it worth it?”

In which job was I “overpaid”?

If I make low wages, but have nothing meaningful to do, no way to contribute to the success of the company, no way to show my value as an employee, I would contend I am “overpaid”.

May you always do work that makes you feel that you are a contributor … the best feeling and the best “wages” in the world!

A Family Outing

May 22, 2009


P1010801(1)   This “pile of fluff” next to a goose out at the water’s edge caught my eye.  Then as I watched,  I saw it move a little and realized it was a “gaggle of goslings” (is that the right term?).  The babies must have been napping with Mama keeping a look-out.

P1010803(1)  But then Daddy arrived and the babies woke up and started moving around.

P1010806(1)   Is it just me or do you agree that Daddy looks like he’s swimming extra tall and proud as he leads his family?

Geese are as common as an old shoe in our area, year-round.  But I am still charmed whenever I see a new cycle of life begin with their babies in the Spring.

Gina … Fun, Efficient and Memorable

May 21, 2009


P1010843(1)x   Gina, my favorite server at one of my favorite lunch spots, Hartley’s, is not only verrrry good at what she does, but she is fun and interesting.  Worth a post of her own.

When Linda and I still worked at the truck manufacturer, which was near this restaurant, we got in the habit of going there once a week, always asking for our favorite server, Gina.  But, now that  I’m  retired, this restaurant is on the other side of town, and also I don’t eat lunch out as much, so I don’t get there nearly as often as I would like.

So, last week when my friend Candy asked where I would like to go for lunch to celebrate my birthday, I chose Hartley’s.  That was certainly all right with her because it’s a favorite of hers too.

I got there first, so Gina and I had a few minutes to catch up.  Candy had told her it was my birthday when she called to make the reservation, so Gina had decorated the table.  She does that any time she knows a table will be celebrating a special event.  So when she wished me a happy birthday, it brought to mind a story regarding her birthday.  I reminded her of the time that Linda and I were coming in on her birthday, but we didn’t have a birthday card at the office, so (necessity really is the mother of invention!), I took a sympathy card and adjusted the wording “a little bit” so that we could use it as a birthday card.  Gina surprised me by saying that she not only remembered that card but still had it.  I was impressed that she is a “saver”; I’m lucky if I can find my birth certificate.

In our conversation, I mentioned to Gina that I now wrote a blog, and that I felt a “Gina post” coming on.  Her immediate response was, “Oh-oh, I see my Jeff  story being told!”  And, she’s right.  Here it is.

Gina is a football fan, and her all-time favorite player was/is a guy who played both his high school and college football in our state, and for a while was even the quarterback of the NFL team based in our state’s capital.  I’m not going to use his name because I don’t want to hurt his feelings if he uses Google to find things written about him.  I’m just going to call him Jeff.

Anyway, after Jeff’s star had fallen (he found out just a rocket arm isn’t enough to be a top-notch NFL quarterback) and he was bouncing around the NFL as a back-up quarterback here and there, Gina went on a trip that took her through the Fort Lauderdale airport.  When we saw her after her trip, and asked how her vacation had been, she said it had been great, but that the high point had actually been in the airport.  As she was walking through it, she saw Jeff, her hero!  She rushed over to him, told him what a big fan she was, and asked if she could have her picture taken with him.  She said he readily agreed.  Not a surprise to me, because by that time, he had been knocked around quite a bit both by the league and by the sportswriters, so I’m sure it was refreshing for him to meet a still very enthusiastic fan. 

Now as it happens, Hubby and I went to a Sheriff’s Conference in Fort Lauderdale just a few weeks later so, of course, flew into the same airport.  And as we walked through, I did actually keep an eye out, in case lightening would strike twice and I would see Jeff, because I would have loved to be able to tell Gina I saw him too!  But, I didn’t.

But when we returned from our trip, I couldn’t resist telling Gina a little “fairy tale” to tease her about her hero.  The next time I saw her and she asked about our trip, I told her it was great, but actually something interesting had happened in the Fort Lauderdale airport … I had seen Jeff hanging around, watching people.  And, I was pretty sure he was doing that in hopes that his one fan would come through again! 

Luckily she does see the humor in her faithfulness to her somewhat has-been hero.  As proof of that, I offer this second story.

For Halloween that year, all the servers at the restaurant dressed up.  Linda and I happened to go in that day, and laughed out loud when we saw Gina’s very clever (and appropriate) costume.  She was dressed as Jeff, in the full football uniform even down to the black stuff under her eyes, but she had added a little something.  She had made a small bench out of styrofoam and attached it to the seat of the uniform pants, in “honor” of Jeff’s current benchwarmer status as a back-up quarterback!  So clever.

  P1010842(1)   Candy and I had a “celebratory” serving of our favorite Hartley’s dessert … raspberries in a liqueur with whipped cream on top.

 P1010841(1)    If I had only known, I would have worn a black top so that you would be able to see that, typical Gina, she had put a birthday candle in my whipped cream! (Notice Gina’s artwork on the table top?)

Thank you Gina, for making lunch on my birthday a real “event” and for all the great Gina memories!

It’s All Relative, Isn’t it?

May 20, 2009


In my golf league last week, I was in the group with Linda N.  This is my third season in the league, so I have gotten to know the very nice Linda a little bit, but have avoided saying her last name, because it is a little hard to pronounce.

But, since we were playing together, I talked to her about the pronunciation and practiced it while we were playing.

After I had screwed up several attempts to pronounce the name, I said to Linda, “Have you ever remembered some guy named something like “Bill Smith” you knew when you were single and thought how much easier life would have been if you had married him?” 

She laughed and said, “No.  My maiden name was Russian … this one is like “Smith” compared to it!”

It really is all relative, isn’t it?

And using the name Smith as the prototypical “easy” name, reminds me that I used to deal with a truck salesman in Canada with that last name but it was spelled “Smythe”.  So, even though his name sounded simple, he ended up explaining it too.