MARC’S SUCCESSFUL WEEKEND!


icecream

What a successful weekend!  First of all, if you know anything about me you know that ice cream ranks #1 on my food chain and, therefore, it is with the utmost euphoria that I discovered two new, GOOD flavors among the Publix premium brand this weekend. Publix, for those not from these parts is “the” supermarket that nicely serves the hunger pangs of most Floridians.  Now, do not consider this a crass commercial plug on my part, but rather think of it as a public service announcement from me to you.  The two flavors are  Mocha Mud Pie and Chocolate Cookie Quarry.  Not only are the packages really cool, the stuff inside was great.  Way to go Publix!

Okay, on to other great things that happened on Marc’s Successful Weekend. Saturday morning  I was wide awake at 3am, but I did not waste the time toss’n and turn’n.  Nope, not me.  Instead, I made chocolate chip cookies from scratch and they turned out perfect…which means they are a disaster for the, ah, diet I’m on.  So, okay, it’s a likable disaster. Nonetheless, I cannot help myself from grabbing one every time I am in the kitchen.  I have been in the kitchen a lot. That’s where they are; that’s where I go.  Normally, I am a very disciplined person…except when it comes to baked goods, especially homemade chocolate chip cookies.   Oh, did  I mention I am supposed to be on a bit of a diet…again.

Next, a funny thing happened during an author webinar I was watching on the internet.  This one dealt with the do’s and don’ts for authors attempting to establish a successful website for the purpose of marketing and selling their book(s). Like 100 others (the host mentioned that number) I had responded in advance to the request that people submit samples of their websites and they would be used to illustrates points made during the webinar.  So out of the aforementioned 100 websites, whose do you think was the very first one to be selected and ripped?   You guess right.  Subsequently, I spent the entire rest of the weekend redesigning my website, but I was having some technical difficulties and “happiness” issues. I was not happy with everything I did  and not everything I did was working properly.  Consequently, I put off making any changes. You can still catch the bad example at http://marckuhn.com

During all my fiddling around with my website I committed the inexcusable, unacceptable, can’t-believe-I-did-that mistake.  I was so involved in the new design I was developing that I did not take the time to save it properly.  And then…and then…well, you can see this coming.  I hiccuped the wrong way and it was all gone.  I am still not sure what I did.  It happened in the last minute of the Green Bay/Dallas game so I was a little distracted, rightly so.  Green Bay won in the last few seconds.  I lost everything in the last few seconds.

But here’s the unusual thing that happened…I did not get upset!   I would normally start throwing electronic equipment across the room or launch coffee mugs off the loft railing onto the masses below and then thrust my thoracic cavity violently against the chimney on the roof.  I did none of those things.  How unlike me.  And that is another reason it was a successful weekend.  I managed to control my computer temper and I made the decision that all the stuff that I produce on the computer, while I previously judged meritorious and worthy of penultimate platitudes, is just more of the same old crap I spend my time doing that nobody really gives a damn about except me.  I am finally getting over all this and I will accept a whole new neutral attitude about my time spent at the computer(s).  This has caused a great release of angst and frustration out from my body and soul and it feels GREAT!  Never again shall I take my blog and websites so seriously.  So what if my website headline is too vague!

Okay, onto the final event of my successful weekend.  I had the beginning of an epiphany!  What’s that you ask? Well, my personal definition of an epiphany is finally, finallllly coming up with even the tiniest inkling of a unique idea for my next book.  After almost an entire year of braindeadness I have at least an idea that I will begin researching.  It may not blossom, but right now it is sprouting roots and taking hold….and it all has to do with this:

isaacmarc

This is a picture I featured on one of my postings a few weeks back.  That’s Isaac on the left.  He’s a distant relative of mine that Ancestry.com dug up.  He died in his 70s when I was 10 years old.  We never knew each other.  He lived his entire life in Australia.  The other dude, on the right, is me at about the same age as Isaac.  Do you see any similarities in our appearance, besides we’re both wearing a bowtie?  Do you think DNA sorta prowls around one’s family lineage, maybe even “bounces around” and every once in a while it configures itself into an almost exact duplicate state that it did once before?  Do you think that could happen?   And is it only cosmetics that the DNA replicates…or could more things be involved?  Hmmmm.

I hope you had a good weekend too!

*****

mkwanted

 

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WEATHERING SOUTH FLORIDA


postcard6

Well well well, winter has subtly descended upon South Florida…at least for a day or so. Our nighttime temps fell into the 60’s.  I rev’d up the heater last night just to take the edge off the slight nip in the air.  This morning I dressed in long pants which proved to be uncomfortable and a bit annoying.

Climate is the one element that practically by itself defines South Florida and differentiates the state–at least this portion–from all others except perhaps Hawaii.  It is the main topic of conversation—always—when there is an exchange between Floridians and those who live elsewhere.  When strangers meet and it is determined one is from Florida the comments that follow will most certainly pertain to the weather.  In this case, weather serves as the ice breaker to get the flow of conversation started. Yes, pun intended.

It is a unique experience living in this part of the country having spent the first 25 years of my life shivering on bus stop corners, scraping ice off windshields and wearing fur-lined leather gloves.  Now I live less than 8 miles from Fort Lauderdale Beach, a destination that visitors will pay upwards of a $1000 or more for the opportunity of sinking their toes into the sand.  I can do that anytime I want for the tossing of a few coins into a parking meter.

People born here do not understand the complexities of the weather as much as a transplant like me.   Grass is a good example.  One thing I noticed when I first moved here was how much thicker blades of grass blades are.  In fact, leaves on plants and trees are sturdier, too.  It’s mother nature’s response to withstanding the higher temperatures and exposure to sunlight.

Time is the element most influenced by the weather since I moved to South Florida. Disregarding hurricanes, there are no significant changes in the environment here due to the weather.  Outside of the occasional, short-lived radical flexing in temperatures, such as we are experiencing right now, it is difficult to define winter, spring, summer and fall.  The four seasons blend almost seamlessly.  There is no annual sense of euphoria on that first balmy spring day following several months of harsh winter.  There is no long winter’s night snuggling with a down-filled quilt when the air turns cold and crisp each fall.  Here, the changes in the seasons are subtle and you actually don’t notice the transitions between them until you’ve become seasoned yourself to living here.  Most folks don’t have two sets of clothes they interchange each year.  Like snow shovels, gloves simply do not exist in South Florida.

The result of this weather-directed lifestyle is that one loses a sense of timing.  When I lived in Pennsylvania it was easier to remember when things occurred.  There, the time of year places benchmarks along your memory path and helps you to recall when events took place.  In South Florida where the seasonal changes are not as noticeable, it is more difficult to remember when things happened.

I admit, I somewhat miss the seasons, especially fall.  Football in 90˚ weather just isn’t right. I hasten—in fact, panic—to assure you that I do not enjoy winter and can just about tolerate temperatures much below  50˚.  They say one’s blood thins the longer you live here and I have come to believe that.

For those who enjoy a white blanketing of snow or tossing another log on the fire, I toast you (another pun intended)  happiness and warm feet.  Me, I’ll take the warmer path, the shorts and t-shirts and the quiet hum of my air conditioner.  And if I don’t know what time of year it is by looking out the window, I’ll check the calendar.

*****

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GOLDEN ADVICE…AND IT’S FREE!


various pills and capsules as background

I cannot believe that right off the bat for 2017 I feel compelled to discuss things that many of you are not interested in…but should be. There is a process in life that we all go through eventually. It’s called getting old and it stinks. Not smelly stinks—well, sometimes smelly—but stinks in the way it treats your body. And, maybe…maybe maybe maybe…there are things one can do at an earlier age that will help ease the horrors down the Birthday Candle Highway. And that, if anything, is actually the message I hope to convey.

I am a few months away from celebrating (is that the right word?) my 72nd birthday. I’m not sure how I reached this age so quickly although I have definitely accumulated a lifetime worth of memories, relationships, successes, failures and tons of after-effects which folks nowadays call baggage. My baggage, unfortunately, is the older kind. It doesn’t have those little wheels on the bottom to make it easier to drag them along with me. Other things that I have accumulated are pills, lot of ‘em, and a collection of medical paraphernalia allegedly designed to help whatever ails-yuh.

I didn’t sense I was getting older until I was in my 60’s. That’s when things began happening…little hints of what was to come. There were the sore knees, loss of mall power (the ability to shop and never drop), the telltale signs of rashy psoriasis, less patience waiting for things to get done because of less time between needed trips to the bathroom . Stuff like that. Nothing excruciatingly painful…just annoying. Now, a decade later, things have progressed considerably.

In the past six months the doctors have added psoriatic arthritis and neuropathy to my list of diagnoses. Add these to my sleep and motion disorders, plus my lifelong high blood pressure and you can see why I made poster boy in December for the National Hypochondriacs Foundation. Neither one of these new ailments is curable while they slowly erode my joints, numb my extremities and prove why an aluminum walker, not a Toyota Camry, is the vehicle of choice for many elderly.  And, oh yeah, add in last week’s  MRI that shows two bulging disks that have pinched a nerve causing me enough pain that I’m actually thinking one of those walkers may not be such a bad thing.

Meanwhile, it takes several weeks to be approved for financial support for the more effective medicines for my diseases. No, I am not at poverty level (give it time) and that is why I have been turned down for one already. It happens that the co-pay for these medicines will cost me—no kidding—over $1000 for a one month supply.  And I have the better insurance, not the HMO. These are the same medicines you see on those TV commercials with all the cheerful not-quite-so-elderly appearing people who are happily swimming with friends or tossing bowling balls. These are the same commercials in which the announcer reads off an endless list of all the horrible things the medicine can do to you if your body doesn’t like it. It happens that death would be one of the less stressful side effects.

And this is why older people have nothing to do but talk about all their medical issues. It is overwhelming and much of it cannot be ignored…especially the painful part.  Bad things seem to be happening all the time and guess what results from the bad things: other bad things!  As horrible as my back pain is, it is unbelievable that my appointment with the back doctor is still two weeks off. No one will see me any sooner. I call every day to check if there have been any cancellations, but demand is high so it’s like a lottery win if you happen to get in early.

So listen up all you 30-60 year-olds out there. Check your family history. See what’s in store for you and then add in all the unexpected issues that could start ruining your so-called Golden Years. Explore opportunities that may be present now that will help you fend off many of these calamities later on. You don’t think they can happen to you?  Well damn, yours are the generations that seem to like reality shows, so…Get Real!

*****

 

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REX THE BALLOON, PART II


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The following is Part II of the story of Rex the Balloon.  If you missed Part I, simply scroll down to the posting below this one.  And while I have your attention, I am adjusting the appearance of the blog so you will see various “experiments” taking place right before your very eyes!  That said, here now is Part II of Rex the Balloon…

I was sitting at my desk the Monday morning after Thanksgiving, still fretting over the loss of Rex.  I had just about given up.  The situation had taken the air out of me…and I suspected it did Rex too.  Earlier I had spotted a newspaper clip someone had posted on the bulletin board.  It was a picture of the Macy’s parade in New York and the doctored headline read, “Rex the Balloon Seen in Macy’s Parade.”  And then the phone rang.  Every time it did, I has hopeful it’d be the kidnappers and maybe there was a chance to negotiate a settlement and get Rex back.  But it wasn’t them.  Instead, it was a very low whispering voice and it said, “Check the trunks in the news cars” and then it hung up.  I had lucked out.  Someone on staff had taken pity on me…or Rex.

I had copies of all the keys for the news cars.  I grabbed them and quietly went out to the parking lot.  Rex was in the trunk of the second car I checked.  I admit, it was a tearful reunion.  The crisis was over.  I proudly walked backed into the station, Rex tucked under my arm.  It was like old times.

Life was back to normal, but not for long.  Rex was aging.  His skin was blistering  and he had shrunk a good bit.  It was one afternoon as I was returning to my desk and putting Rex down that he just barely brushed up against the pencil jar.  It was enough.  He suffered a massive puncture and it was over in seconds as the air rushed out of him.  I was speechless as I held his deflated remains in my hand.

There’s more to the story, but first, some background.  The radio station was owned by a newspaper company that was run by a small, conservative family that was headquartered in Maine.  At this particular time, the General Manager of the station was one of the sons. He was a businessman at heart, constantly checking the clip board in the business manager’s office to see how revenues were doing.  He was quite affable and supportive of the product we put out on the air. He had to be aware of most of the shenanigans perpetrated by the staff, but chose to turn the other way…and we all loved him for it.

I was busy making funeral arrangements for Rex and I had announced to the staff when the service would take place.  We worked in a beautiful building that featured an incredible atrium in the front lobby area.  There were four quadrants with small trees and tropical plants well landscaped, under bright skylights in the ceiling.  I had chosen a nice section of one of the quadrants in which to bury Rex.  He was to lie in state in the center of the atrium most of the day where people would have the opportunity to stop by and pay their respects.

The General Manager came into my office and sat down.  He told me that his brother was coming to visit the station on the same day I had planned Rex’s funeral.  His brother was a lot less open-mined, I was told, and he just would not understand what was going on.  In fact, the GM appeared worried about what his brother might report back to headquarters about his wayward sun-stroked sibling in Miami and the kind of operation he was running.  The GM asked me not to go through with the funeral.

On the brink of subordination and maybe even losing my job, I told the GM we just could not do that.  The staff was counting on closure, I explained, but I assured him I would try to manipulate events around his bother’s visit.

So the day came and there was Rex in the atrium, in a small cardboard box draped with a paper crayon-drawn flag, atop a typewriter table.  The staff paraded past throughout the day, some softly touching Rex’s box, others whispering their goodbyes.

The only problem I had with keeping my word to maneuver events around the brother’s visit is that I was never told the schedule.  I had absolutely no idea when the brother would be there…until I saw the GM and his guest walking through the front door.  The GM quickly shielded his brother from seeing what was going on in the atrium while he ushered him into his corner office.  It appeared rather awkward and I’m not sure if the brother saw anything strange going on other than his brother acting strangely.  The two of them were secluded behind a closed door.  It was exactly at the same time the staff was gathering for the burial ceremony.  Nearly everyone who could leave what they were doing, other than those on the air, had gathered in the atrium.

It was a lovely funeral.  The Production Manager, draped in a cleric’s robe read a passionate eulogy while soft organ music played on a reporter’s portable tape recorder.  As two of us lowered Rex into the grave we had dug in the atrium, just under a nice areca palm, the tape recorder now played the sounds of a seven-gun salute and the flyover of a F-117 Nighthawk Stealth Fighter.  Everyone was moved.  We gathered up our emotions, small-talked each other about the many good memories we had of Rex and then slowly returned to our desks.  A few on the news staff were heard mumbling something about their chances for better coffee being blown.

It had been a difficult day for me.  I left a little early feeling good about Rex’s goodbye.  He would have liked everything we did and I knew he’d be flattered by the huge turnout.  I understand from those who left later that night that the General Manager and his brother had remained in the office with the door closed well after everyone had departed for the evening.  After that day, the GM never said anything to me about Rex.

If you have ever wondered if there are actually radio stations similar to the television sitcom, WKRP in Cincinnati…wonder no more!

*****

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REX THE BALLOON – Part I


Balloon isolated on white

I’ve gotten a request.  This is a first for Marc’s Blog–what a great way to start off its fifth year.  I’ve never had a request.  I feel like a piano man in a late night bar who’s been asked to play “Hotel California.”  Anyway, I’ve been asked to tell you the story of Rex the Balloon.  So without further ado…

Back in the late 80s/early 90s I was the Program Director at a Miami radio station where a most wonderful conglomerate of people worked.  They were hard-working, conscientious, very talented and, most of all, they shared with me a deliciously irreverent sense of humor.  Our working environment was very much akin to the atmosphere generated each week on the popular TV sitcom, M*A*S*H.  Just as the good doctors did on the TV show, the staff at this news station worked harder and better than any other when “crunch time” came along.  But then, on the other hand, they played and fooled around almost as much…and a lot of what they did closely challenged the parameters of what later became known as “politically incorrect.”

For example…if there was a picture in the newspaper that even remotely resembled someone on the staff, it found its way onto the bulletin board with a totally new and hysterical caption attributing that staff person to some hideous activity.  No one at the station would be left out.  Eventually your ‘look alike” would be on the board, but now with your identity, doing something outrageous. There were other similar pranks going on all the time.  It was an accepted culture of silliness that everyone bought into, including me and, seemingly, the chickens and peacocks that often wandered in from outside and had to be persuaded not to hop up on the assignment desk in the newsroom.

We had a supply of over-sized balloons that were used to decorate various promotional events in which the station participated.  A few balloons happened to be on my desk as I set off on my daily “walk-around” one morning.  I was a follower of a management style known as “managing by walking around” the objective of which was to get you out of your office and into the work-a-day world of the staff.  I grabbed one of the balloons, a bright red one, blew it up and then with a magic marker, drew a big smiley face on it.  I proceeded on my walk with the balloon tucked under my arm.

The first person I met was quick to ask, “What’s up with the balloon?”

“Oh him?” I answered, “That’s my new assistant, Rex.”  It wasn’t long before everyone said hello to both me and Rex during my daily walks around the office.  Sometimes I was ignored and people talked only to Rex which gave him an even more inflated ego than he already had.  Everyone liked Rex. He even started attending various meetings and other activities around the radio station.  He would have easily won employee of the month if the staff had its way.

One day I returned from lunch to find a most disturbing occurrence.  There, hanging from the ceiling light fixture was a long thin string.  Dangling on the end of it was a small shredded piece of red balloon. A note was attached that read: “We have Rex. If you ever want to see him again you will have to meet our demands for higher salaries, more vacation time and a better selection of coffee in the office kitchen.”   Well, needless to say, I was devastated.  My anxiety level mirrored that of Tom Hanks when he lost Wilson in the movie, Cast Away.  I should have never left Rex alone.

The next few days were traumatic. I looked everywhere for Rex, but could not find him.  I was worried sick as I awaited contact from the kidnappers. They obviously wanted to string me along as much as possible.  Meanwhile, work was piling up which is why I made Rex my assistant in the first place.   The staff was hush.  No one was talking.  No one would offer any information as to the whereabouts of Rex.  The tension was ballooning…until one morning the phone rang.

To

be

continued….        

*****    

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TO RESOLVE OR NOT TO RESOLVE


happy new year with red ribbon

So here it comes…another new year all wrapped up in a pretty bow.  We anxiously await to open it up, get inside it and see what new incredibly exciting things we can wallow around in.

Well, that’s how many view the coming of a new year.  As your perspective turns older, the view assimilates.  It is not filled with as much of the youthful optimism you once fostered. No, the new year is instead stuffed to the gills with new challenges, lingering old ones that still demand attention, and a scattering of yet others likely never to be achieved.   The new year is less bright, less joyful and, in fact, a bit hostile.

Despite all this negativism, I look forward to 2017 with hope and expectations…hope that some of my aches and pains will ease and expectations that my brain will remain functional enough to spew out a new book that will impress both of us.

I resolve this year not to resolve.  Who needs the pressure of a list of resolutions that more than likely will be discarded as time goes by?  I will however, commit all that I can be, and do, for my wife Rosemarie as we celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary later in 2017.  It has been a long and marvelous journey for the two of us.  There have been both bumpy and smooth roads along the way, but I suspect the buggy will hold up for many good miles to come.  I hope your ride is as good.

That said…Happy New Year everyone!

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SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY


hands2

Today I began putting a piece of me back together. Actually, it’s a total of three pieces that I was working on in an attempt to make them, and me, whole once more. When everything unexpectedly shattered right before me a few years back, I was unable to deal with it at the time.  It was too much.  I was heartbroken.  I put it all in a drawer is what I did…deep back in the very back of a drawer where I was sure I would not venture and what was broken could remain in that state for a long time.  For me, I made it all go away.  I hadn’t the fortitude to fight what had happened.

In 1950 I was in kindergarten.  No, I don’t remember much about it.  Maybe I convince myself I see images of milk and graham crackers or children spread across the floor, lying on blankies and fidgeting.  There is, however, one thing I definitely do not remember doing, but I do know I did.  I made my hand.  Maybe you made yours when you were in kindergarten too. Like it wasn’t an uncommon kinder kind of craft.  The teacher took your hand and pressed it into a slab of soft clay, making sure each finger was accounted for so that after she removed your hand from the clay there was left a perfect impression of it.  Next, she would form a wall around the clay impression and into this she poured liquid Plaster-of-Paris. When we returned the next day the plaster had hardened and the teacher had separated it from the clay and, voilá, there it was: a perfect 3-D sculpture of your hand, featuring all its imperfections perfectly represented in an exact duplicate of the real thing.  What mother of a young five-year-old could not help but fall instantly in love with such an extraordinary piece of art to be treasured forever.  My mother was no exception

My hand hung on the kitchen wall as long as I can remember.  Over the years it slowly began to change color and seemed to absorb every speck of dust and dirt that floated by its perimeter.  I once suggested to my mother that she at least attempt to wash the darn thing so it didn’t appear so dirty.  “Never,” she told me, “I want it as soiled and dirty as your hands always were.  That makes it all the more realistic.”  I was never sure if I should have taken that as an insult or compliment.

After my parents were gone, among their treasures that my brother and I would filter through and decide which ones went with whom, I welcomed my hand, not so much that it was mine, but more because my mother had so cherished it. It eventually found a likely spot on the wall of my little sanctuary at home and there it hung, undisturbed for still many more years.

Sentiment is a dangerous thing. It can spawn tears of joy as fast as it can tears of sadness.  A family artifact of a five-year-old’s Plaster-of-Paris hand holds more sentiment than you can imagine. In fact, more than all the hands in the world could capture and caress.  I learned this the hard way.  I decided one day a few years ago, that I would attempt to clean my plaster hand…at least just a little.  As I took it off the hook on the wall, it dropped and fell to the floor.  I will never forgive myself.  I suspect neither would my mother.

I forgot it was in the back of a drawer, exactly as I hoped I would when I put it there.  I came across it today quite by accident as I was looking for something else.  I admit, all the horror of the day it dropped returned in a flash.  But this time was different.  This time it was about time.  Much of it had passed and with it, my guilt softened and my appreciation for this wayward object of art returned with a passion.  Like my real hand, it has served me honorably for a very long time.  And like my real hand, it has been broken and then put back together again.  And that is what I did today.  True, it doesn’t quite look the same, but all three pieces are there together again, hanging proudly on my wall.  An heirloom?  Well, maybe not…but one really, really cherished hand-me-down.

handtogethersm

*****

 

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THE CHRISTMAS CONTROVERSY


 

flatSo, here Rosemarie and I face off, each with a full fury of steam heading down the track at top speed destine for the big collision when our cow bars meet head-on.  Oh, cow bars?  Those are wedge-shaped grills on the front of old steam locomotives that were used to nudge cattle off the tracks.  Rosemarie, I know, would take great pleasure at nudging me off the tracks.

So what is the big controversy that has us riled up and hurling anti-ballistic missiles toward each other?  It’s the Christmas tree.  Yeah, can you believe that?  The Christmas tree, an object of beauty and good holiday cheer has turned the object of ugly, contentious bickering.  The issue:  real or artificial?

While not a wild undisciplined spendthrift, I am more prone to pay full-freight as long as the product fulfills my needs.  Rosemarie, on the other hand, can sometimes pinch a penny to the extent the copper will liquefy.  To her, it’s a waste spending upwards of $70-$90 every year for a tree that will be used for a few weeks and then tossed like an ex-husband to the curb to await transit to the big bonfire.

This issue wasn’t always front and center.  It’s arrived at that destination like several others since a thing called retirement placed a permanent choke-hold on the continuous flow of pay checks into the family treasury.  Understandable.  However, there are some things that just have to be maintained, a real Christmas tree is one of them.

Rosemarie throws in a new twist to her argument this year.  She now claims to have turned—get this—treegan!  “A tree is a living element of nature,” she says, “and I will not be party to killing one just to please the consumptive impulses of us humans.”

My argument against a fake tree has suffered a bit because of technology.  Lately, some of the phony trees are looking quite realistic.  You don’t have to settle for a scrawny “bottle brush” tree anymore.  Today’s artificial Christmas trees offer a variety of very real appearing evergreens.  Many come with the lights already attached, something I’d pay the bucks for.  And speaking of bucks, fake Christmas trees are a great example of the phrase you get what you pay for.  A good, really realistic tree, at least 5-6 feet tall, will cost you $300 or more.

Rosemarie figures we’d begin to profit from buying a fake tree in the fourth year.  I’m not so sure we’ll still be putting a big tree up in four years.  The goal of most any senior Santa, after all, is to get the entire Christmas Holiday firmly planted at one of the kids’ homes.  Let them deal with the tree issue.

Meanwhile, I’m stick’n to my roots: a real Christmas tree is just…just….I can’t put a word on it.  It’s just necessary.  Too many things in our lives have become artificial or phonied up in some way.  Then too, you really shouldn’t ignore it…that thing about God and a tree.

xmastree16-2

Our tree this year…still live and kick’n!

*****

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Ahem, Gift Suggestion!


 

Note:  Before you leave my blog today, please see the message I left at the bottom.

xmasbookblog

HEY, DON’T MISS THIS:  At this time of year there are many tributes to events and people who helped make the past 12 months memorable.  My blogging friend,  Ron Carmean, offers a two-part post that goes down a path not often taken. Ron pays tribute to a great list of people of whom you may have never heard, but they all have one thing in common: their lives made a difference, not only for them, but often for you and me.  Here’s the link, or simply go back up the right-hand side of marc’s blog and click on the ad for Ron’s Omnibus. https://rcarmean.wordpress.com

*****

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FIRST CAR


53chevAmong all the priceless memories in your lifetime, a really outstanding one has to be that of your first car.  Just about everyone I know can instantly tell you about his or her first car–often far far more than you ever anticipated nor wanted to know. I am no different. Here goes…

My first car was a 1953 Chevrolet.  It looked pretty much like the one in the picture above. It even had the same paint job.  I became its master in 1964 when I was a freshman at Penn State.  The car originally belonged to my grandparents. Here’s how that went down…

My grandmother did not trust my grandfather when it came to large sums of money.  So when it was time to buy a new car she called in the one person she did trust and assigned him the role of designated purchaser.  This would be her son, my father.

In addition to my grandfather, Grandmom didn’t trust banks either.  That was not unusual for her generation.  So when my father arrived on the big day, Grandmom went to the china cabinet, opened the door and reached for the fine china sugar bowl.  This she placed on the round oak dining room table. She removed the lid, reached in and retrieved a thick wad of one hundred dollar bills.  She then proceeded to count out the amount she was willing to spend and gave that to the designated purchaser.

By the end of the afternoon my grandparents were the proud owners of a brand new tan, two-door, six cylinder 1953 Chevrolet.  My father, who was carless and traveled every day to work on public transportation, was the recipient of my grandparent’s would-be trade-in, a gray 1940 Plymouth Coup.  My father dubbed it the bone shaker.

Time marches on and as it did, two elements aligned: I grew old enough to drive; my grandfather grew old enough that he couldn’t anymore.  And thus, the 53 Chevy became mine.  By now it was eleven years old, but you wouldn’t know it.  All those years it had been garage-kept and only wandered out for occasional visits to doctors or family members.  As the title was transferred the car had less than newtails12,000 miles on it.  I, to say the least, was estatic.

I was to have the car for about four years. During that entire time I piled on the miles as I courted the beautiful young Rosemarie.  She lived 60 miles away, roundtrip.  Ironically, her family owned a very similar 54 Chevy.  Back then, an automobile brand had only subtle cosmetic changes year-to-year.  The easiest way I could tell a 53 Chevy from a 54 was by the taillights.  The 53 had bumps on the lense; the 54 taillights were flat. Now you know!

What was cool about my car AND my girlfriend was that one was a stick-shift and the other knew how to drive it–a rare badge of honor back then for a 17-year-old girl who could drive a stick.  The gear shift was mounted on the steering column and the car had a bench seat in the front.  This allowed Rosemarie and me to be able to sit close to each other, with my right arm around her.  I didn’t need it to shift gears–Rosemarie did that while I worked the clutch. We got pretty good at it once we learned how to do it right…same for some other things we could do in the 53 Chevy.  Oh, you want me to tell you about those things too?  ‘Fraid not!

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 A quick thanks to the following bloggers–some new, some long-lost returnees–who stopped by marc’s blog recently and dropped off a “like” before they left:  Sue S., Ben, Emma Snow (nice Rudolph interp), TFE Times, The Uncertain Scribe, Tetiana Aleksina, Wizard, Sarahylockwood, Frank Solanki, daily22792, Terry Ibele, Ankita B, inkbiotic, resterrester

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